Friday, July 22, 2016

The SEO racket: 21st century Snake Oil

Once a month I get a call from a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) firm who stumbled upon one of my Websites. They want to optimize my SEO, improve my Website, increase traffic, yadda yadda. They can be very persistent, calling repeatedly. One outfit (EZ Marketing) impersonated phone numbers so I would not recognize them on call display.

Their proposition is simple: I give them my credit card number, they siphon $500 to $1,000 from my account every month, and in return they'll assign some low-level grunt to learn my business in fifteen minutes, stuff my <meta> tags with keywords they've gleaned, and write generic link bait pages.

The problem is that there is no way of measuring the cost effectiveness of their efforts. It doesn't make sense to spend more money on advertising, than what revenue it generates.

If my sales increase, tadaa! they're successful. If not, too bad so sad, looks like we'll have to do more of the same and thank you for the cash flow.

I have a counter-proposition. I will assign the consultant an Affiliate Code from my e-commerce system. The Affiliate Code will be embedded in the material they create. If their pages generate sales, they will get credit, and a commission. Ditto email.

That usually takes them aback. What? No compensation without performance? We have to measure our results? Heresy!

Like Diogenes, I'm still looking for an honest firm. 

Snake oil, originally a fraudulent liniment without snake extract, has come to refer to any product with questionable or unverifiable quality or benefit.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Charting Companion and the new Family Tree Maker

New Family Tree Maker
Two months after declaring in Dec. 2015 that it would discontinue Family Tree Maker, Ancestry announced that Software MacKiev will be picking up FTM and continue to sell it.
We are pleased to announce that Charting Companion continues to be compatible with the new version of Family Tree Maker. Better still, Charting Companion 6.4 appears on the Plugin menu of FTM (click on "Tools, Plugins").
.Launching Charting Companion from FTM
The new Plugin way to launch Charting Companion offers a seamless and more convenient way for users to create great charts.
RootsMagic colors
Charting Companion can now represent RootsMagic colors. If you have assigned colors to persons in your RootsMagic database, they will automatically appear in Charting Companion charts.
  RootsMagic colors
 Customer feedback.
We are always interested in customer suggestions to improve our products. While we may not be able to implement them immediately, all suggestions get recorded in our bug/enhancement database.
If you have an idea for a new feature, please visit the Charting Companion Feature Request site where you can vote, rank and even fund enhancements. You can register to vote with your social media account, or you can create a new account.