Internet Smackdown  
Frank talk about the busines of the Internet. From Domain secrets and little known facts to the function and nature of running a business successfully on the web, Intenet Smackdown is the accumulation of more than 20 years of experience behind running one of Canada's first CIRA Certified Domain Registries and Hosting Firms.

Join Kenn Cool for the weekly Internet Smackdown right here.
 

 

Are You Getting Quality Advice?

So to continue from where I left off last week how is lack of workforce oversight affecting your online business?

In my last newsie I laid out several examples of poor business practices and performance I experienced in some of my winter travels… things that could so easily be fixed and have a positive effect on the bottom line. Now let’s move that focus on some of my online experiences… things I’ve seen as a domain registrar, hosting company owner and marketer.

Look…. I love competition. Competition just makes
you better when you're dealing with value equations.

As an owner, I know that knowledge and skills gained through experience and study are critical in our technical environment. Sometimes even the simplest of processes can go extremely wrong when mishandled. Even more importantly, mistakes can have a compounding effect when not corrected quickly and efficiently. You’re fooling yourself if you think mistakes don’t or shouldn’t happen…it’s how quickly and properly they are addressed that smoothes out the bumps.

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Business on or off the Net; probably needs a Smack!

I was fortunate enough to find a break in a rather cold winter spell this year and getaway to both the US and Mexico on a couple of 10 day trips. Those interludes sure help with “attitude” when you’re facing minus 30C at home.

Besides personal attitude adjustment, I also find these trips to be re-awakenings when it comes to business vision. Sitting in the office day after day dealing with often repetitive tasks (as necessary as they are) can slowly numb you to learning experiences… and eventually you fail to see what’s in front of you. You start to lose the “bigger picture.”

In my last blast (can be found here) I started to talk about “a little knowledge” and the dangers of taking direction from those who know a little when they need to know a lot. I was referring to the online business in that article, webmasters… web administrators… IT’s… and the often questionable level of experience and know how so many of these self-anointed experts actually have.

 

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Don't Send them Bitcoins! ~ Just Delete...

While COOLCOM’s Tru-IT services are a subscription custom service, we're taking this moment to inform and update all COOLCOM clients about a recent spate of repetitive and worrisome emails appearing in inboxes.

These emails are TXT content (not html) and usually appear to be coming from your own email address or a known address at your own domain. The first line informs you your account was infected and that you should renew your password right away.

The email then goes on to state the sender has exploited your devices, created malware on them, has access to your contact list and plans to divulge your private info to that list UNLESS you send them a bitcoin deposit. It then includes a bitcoin account number.

FIRST…. These are nothing but scam emails

Please do not panic and most certainly … do NOT send anyone any Bitcoin deposit. It is highly unlikely your account has been compromised.

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A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

It’s been a few frustrating weeks lately on the ol’ Support Desk for me and my team.

We used to write of the “early days” in the industry when things were being wrangled out, sorted… methods and systems were being discovered, polished up, made better. It was all new to everyone… domains, websites, DNS, “pointing”, email. Somewhere along the line it also became apparent this was going to be a “Do It Yourself” kind of endeavor.

Because computers were masters of automation, somehow this wonderful group of new business and personal users were thrown into a self help pile. First it was How To pages… then it was FAQ sections (Frequently Asked Questions)… then graphics and videos… all focused on making you the client do the work to receive the services you were paying for.

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So how ARE you feeling?

Yep, getting a little sticky out there… trade embargos…. tariffs… unsteady dollar… seems like a lot of noise coming from across the border… things getting a little rocky right now.

It’s definitely stirring up some renewed patriotism. Oh hey… I know… we still love our neighbors to the south… but yep, sometimes it makes you think a little more about things sometimes taken for granted. We love our country, we want it to stay strong. We want a strong economy, local jobs and our nation to prosper.

So tell me something… how much of that do you relate to buying locally or even nationally? Do you support your local businesses when you have the opportunity… do you feel it makes a difference? The “Donald” sure feels strongly about keeping his country prosperous and first in line. Do you? Do you give it any thought?

COOLCOM has the great fortune of being able to provide a couple of very “All Canadian” service; .CA domains and Made In Canada webhosting. When you register a .CA domain and put it on your website, it immediately conveys that warm glowy “We’re Canadian” message. Tie that to an all Canadian hosting service and you have a unique place on the net… secure and private.

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Take My Business.... Please

I had some house renovations done a week ago. Nothing that major, but a nice facelift of some outdated areas that put a nice fresh look on everything. I was very happy with the job done.

So, my carpenter then came to me and said that “to keep everything organized”, he needed to move my mortgage to his bank and that he needed to be able to sign for me as that would make moving everything easier.

If I just gave him the access to my bank account, that would suffice.

I figured sure… since he was the one renovating the house, it only made sense that he should control where I have my mortgage and to let him handle the entire transfer.

After all, he was a super carpenter, and if he knew how to update my bathroom and fix some cupboards so fabulously, he must know all about land titles, where to get the best interest rates, how to negotiate terms, ensure things were insured properly and ensure my house title was in order… all those essentials that go hand in hand with carpentry designing, painting and fabricating. 

What’s that you say… isn’t that usually handled by one’s lawyer… a totally different skill set than a carpenter?

You think I’m maybe a little off my rocker?

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Security is the new Unlimited…

Security is the new Unlimited… it’s the prime consideration now on the internet.

Things are getting nastier every day in terms of compromised websites, phishing scams, corrupted and spoofed email.

My goodness… how does one keep their head on straight?

Sometimes things just happen… no matter what you do, someone gets at your website and next thing you know your site is sending out thousands of spam emails or selling condos in the Congo.

Right now, we’re not going to go over all the things you need to do to TRY to prevent that… we’re going to tell you how we’re going to help you get back on your feet almost right away.

Seven little letters… powerful letters…

B a c k u p s

Wait though, not just ANY backups… and not just yesterday’s backups. You see, clever spammers can put little sleeper viruses into your material that don’t jump into action for weeks. When something happens, you figure… no problem… I’ll just grab my backup from yesterday or last week.

Guess what… that nasty little bug is still in there.

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I’ve shared a lot of great news with you the last few days and laid out a buffet of beneficial and very important freebies. Yes, they are all yours for the taking when you establish your web hosting and or email with COOLCOM Canada.

- Free SSL 
- WAYBACKUPS 
- Free Domain Privacy 

Now, these “freebies” are not some kind of sugar coating designed to make a “so so” cake look delicious.

These are fast becoming essential tools in your online platform.

  • If you do any kind of business on the net at all, SSL Secured webhosting and email are now a MUST HAVE.
  • Our new WAYBACKUPS are a stress relieving lifesaver that far out-perform standard backups systems.
  • Default and always there HideMyWHOIS Privacy keeps those bothersome and confusing scam emails out of your face
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First Year SSL Now Free

The news is out; Google is pushing for an SSL rich internet and, like it or not, consumers wishing to stay on top of their game will be needing to activate it in short order. As long as Google is the Search Engine of choice, what ranks one site over another will remain of very high importance, and was made abundantly clear the push is toward SSL only. 

COOLCOM has taken the bold step of passing SSL along as an inclusion in all Website Hosting packages in the first year. That's right, it's free for any hosted account here at COOLCOM. That includes all domains in your hosted plan too, not just the main domain (compare that with the rest)!

  • Year one with all Hosting and Email accounts is FREE
  • Year two and beyond is only 29.95 per year 

What you need to know and what this includes

SSL is required by Google and your site will rank higher if it adheres to Googles standards of security. 

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I still can’t wrap my head around why or how busy business owners want to sit and chat on the phone with their mechanic while he instructs them on how to fix their own vehicle.

I ran into this again today…

“We really like you but… “they” have a phone number.”

So… despite the fact “they” could not get a simple task completed, and despite the fact they were dishing out all sorts of important sounding but extremely misguided responses, they really had no idea what to do…

...“splaining” it over the phone somehow made it all legitimate and valuable to the customer.

Simply “getting it done” by making a short written help desk request to COOLCOM paled in comparison to the other guy’s verbal dance-a-thon.

As I mentioned… I’m stumped…

So, let me ask… when you need to get something fixed on your car or truck... do you

a) sit in the garage with the mechanic while he hands you tools and explains to you how you can fix your vehicle…
    or
b) tell the mechanic what's wrong, go about your daily business and then come back and pick it up later when it's repaired?

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COOLCOM's registration sites are making a bold move to Private Registrations by Default, and supplying this special service at no extra charge.

Yes, other registries do charge for privacy, most upward of $10 to $12 per year, per domain.

WHY then, would we give it away? Because we take issue with THE LIST.

Recently, the post registration experience has become nightmarish for many registrants due to the way the central registry database (WHOIS) has been compromised by unscrupulous marketing firms. No sooner does one register a domain name, than you find yourself overwhelmed with scam email notices (SEO, renewal, special WHOIS listings, website building), regular mail "renewal" invoices at two to three times the going rate, and even direct phone call solicitations... all to your personal contact info.

In short, you've been placed on THE LIST.

Since ICANN has been so busy developing hundreds of new incredibly profitable domain types (licensing starts at US$185,000 and quarterly fees are $6500) rather than guarding the integrity of the licensing system, COOLCOM has decided to take a stance on behalf of our registrants.

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A client asked me to research some hotel reservation software for his motel site. It’s a nicely run and attractive motel with good business. His current provider was… to be polite… moving in the wrong direction regarding their business relationship.

So, I started out where I normally go… with a few Google searches.

Now sometimes I’ll use the word “review” in my search and other times just the product itself. It’s the returns I’m getting lately however that have me wasting a lot more time than I should have to. The heavy offenders… TOP 10 sites. They pose as a wonderful aggregation of comparative analysis promising to save me tons of time by getting to the nitty gritty of who does what “the best.”

What soon becomes evident is a far more bitter reality. Just about all are little more than affiliate link lists whoring themselves out to the top bidders. Canned reviews… little if any research… and childish superlatives (the best, the largest, the cheapest) that hold zero value.

Top 10 Best Web Hosts, Top 10 Best Domain Registrars… and in my latest research… 2017’s Reviews of the Most Popular Reservations Software.

This list showed about 300 offerings… seriously… 300. God forbid they should miss a commission opportunity… and of course every single link was coded to make certain they didn’t.

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Spam is out of Control; Here's Why, and How to Fix It.

It’s overwhelming…

COOLCOM is receiving numerous notices from new and old domain registrants that they are being bombarded by unwanted emails and phone calls from all sorts of nefarious companies pushing everything from SEO work, to website building to app development.

The source of the problem… the public WHOIS. The WHOIS is the database of registrant information for most domain names. Accessing it is not restricted when looking for individual domain registrants. The info is available to anyone. What’s more likely however, is that a few unethical parties have set themselves up as ICANN registrars just to sell lists of new registrants to all sorts of spammers and merchants.

These parties are then using the phone numbers and email addresses to pummel domain owners new and old with all sorts of unsolicited offers. Even been to a public beach or a boardwalk in tourist Mexico… or run the gauntlet of time share pushers in the airport after you land? Same thing happening here now with domain registrants.

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"Shake It Up”

Bassist Benjamin Orr of 80’s pop rock sensation “The Cars” said the lyrics to their Billboard Top Tracks song “Shake It Up” tells the story of how important it is to make a mark in life.

OK… it’s not Wordsworth or Tennyson, and the message is not heavily laden with clever metaphor… in fact it’s pretty plain.

But maybe that’s the whole point… Get BUSY and Do Something!

When I see the number of domains sitting in our registry attached to NOTHING, it kind of hurts. I know there were good intentions… inspirational moments and probably some very real shouts of “AHA!” And then came that fatal pause… that “I’ll do it tomorrow” chant.

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Dishing a body slam to the tag team

So here I go… dishing a body slam to that dastardly tag team of misinformation and bad training that's choking & eye gouging your personal or business presence on the “weeb.”

Poorly trained webmasters, registrars with hidden agendas, best intentioned but misinformed friends, hypnotizing repeat marketing… and the always dangerous “they say.” One after one these gold mines of pyrite wisdom (that’s fools gold by the way) are stalling, stopping and totally derailing well intentioned website and domain owners right off the internet rails. Some never get back on… they just give up.

Maybe this is you…. maybe just a part of it. You wonder why things are so difficult… and you wonder why there are so many people to blame, or so you are told.

Your domain won’t point to your website… “they” said you have to “transfer” your domain. Then they said they fixed it… and your email stops working. Then your domain doesn’t get renewed… Oh wait, it’s not your domain anymore… your webmaster’s name is on it… and he’s quit the business… or gone on a skateboarding tour.

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Who will ever forget Shoeless Joe delivering that unforgettable line in the wonderful movie Field of Dreams to the character Ray Kinsella played by Kevin Costner. Joe of course was alluding to the magical baseball diamond Ray eventually carved out of his Iowa corn field and foreshadowing his opportunity to make things right with his deceased father.

Despite the financial risk, personal adversity and against all advice and demands from “experts and family” all around him, Ray (Kevin) pursued the vision and built the field. Magic followed… a career choice (Doc Graham) reaffirmed, a childhood dream realized (Terrence Mann) and a father’s pain (John Kinsella) eased.

The movie closes with the sight of hundreds of approaching cars coming up the farm road full of people coming to regain childhood innocence.

He built it… they came.

There was an strong emotional need… action taken and a dream realized.

I’m suggesting that’s what you want to do. You don’t need to SELL to your client… you want to find out what your people need and then get it to them. Ask questions, get responses and provide solutions. Fix things, create, respond and deliver.

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I received an email of exasperation from a client the other day… an office administrator. We'll call her Jamie. She administers the email, web and domain accounts (hosting, webmail, dns) for a medium sized business through COOLCOM. It seems the local "IT" for her office was busy again... playing bounce the domain and "I found a number."

Jamie has been a long time happy client with COOLCOM... she loves the stability, the fact that problems get solved rather than discussed, the personal attention, the knowledge and the security... that fact that someone takes responsibility on her behalf rather than assigning blame and offering excuses when something goes "oops."

However now she had this "IT expert" advising her boss to start bouncing domain records around (to begin with). Seems he was watching TV, saw a GoDaddy ad and thought "Yah... tiny statues from basketball players... those guys know all about the net."

Wrong net...

... but that didn't seem to matter to the "IT". He was an expert in all things internet now and needed to start advising on domain registry matters.

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DNS Myth: Pointing, Nameservers

You know… this has been abused, corrupted and in some cases lied about since I got into this business.

In just about every case, the truth has been manipulated so self absorbed webmasters and self important hosting companies can put as much of your business under their control as possible…. to improve their numbers game. (Look how many I got!)

Harsh words? I think not… Here’s the real smack…

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO MOVE YOUR DOMAIN REGISTRATION TO MOVE YOUR HOSTING… ever!

Name servers are traffic cops… or better yet street maps. They point the browser in the right direction. It doesn’t matter WHERE your street cop lives or who has the map… as long as the domain record knows, the internet will know. The same name servers can serve your domain no matter where it is hosted… in fact, if you DON’T change them, your pointing changes are even faster… no 24 – 48 hour waits as some advertise.

To be precise, it is the info WITHIN the name server that points the domain… it is NOT the nameserver itself. One name server can hold the directions for thousands of domains.

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Critical Updates are... well... Critical

Oh the woe's of a forgotten critical update.

Your domain is a key to your location on the net... and the Admin contact on your domain record... the vital lifeline and holder of that key. I won't even begin to reference the thousands of stories you can find with a good Google or Bing search that tell of the horrible experiences created by the loss of a domain... and almost always due to a forgotten Admin email address update.

So really... this is VITAL, CRITICAL... my gosh people... this is IMPORTANT!

First things first... UPDATE, UPDATE, UPDATE. Send yourself a reminder every month... to check that WHOIS record and ensure the Admin email address is current. Better yet, stop bouncing around your email addresses (that's another smak coming up). But by all means, if it changes, CHANGE YOUR DOMAIN RECORD.

Renewal notices go to the admin email, transfer notices go to the admin email, changes of registrant and other confirmations go to the admin email... even INTERNIC's contact info reminders go to the admin email address. If that address doesn't work... you could be saying good-bye to that domain.

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The Internet Fault Line...

There's an 80% chance your business won't survive the coming shaker.

No I'm not some arm flinging alarmist... but yes I am serious. I'm serious about the survival of internet business, both yours and mine. There's one helluva crack developing in this whole online business system and it's getting wider and deeper every day.

What's worse... that ever widening threat is being severely agitated. We have a desperate shortage of REAL marketers and administrators needed to bring online business into the new social media era. Compound that with some "false prophets" running around offering band aid solutions and ineffectual tactics... and you have a crisis in the making.

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