I remember the first time I ever did a Google search on myself. My brother who lived in another state called me up and asked what connection I had with a certain company. It took me off guard because I had just started doing some contract work with the company in question. After I filled him in with what I was up to, I asked him how he found out about me working with this company. He told me he had done a Google search on our last name and it came up. I was curious and had never done a search on myself so I gave it a try. I was kind of shocked with I found. I found my name attached to a state government website that I never knew about in regards to a company I had not worked for in almost a year. I found directories with my name on them with the wrong information posted. I was really surprised to see that since my name is not common at all and I have never found another Phillip with the same spelling of the last name. It also turned out that the website my brother found me on was not what I had thought. This guy that I was doing a little work with had me posted on his website making it look like I worked for him, which was not the case and the website was half business and half religion and the religious content on the website was close to being considered flaming it was go aggressive. Needles to say I was not happy about my personal image on line.
In one of my first classes in the Internet Marketing degree program I am currently in we learned about online images and how important it is to make sure that it shows us in the light that we chose to be seen in. Since then I have worked very hard to make sure my online image is a good and positive one. In preparing to write this post I once again did a Google search on myself. The first couple of pages that came up were all about me and most of it was by me. Most of the first page is taken up with social media profiles for the various social channels I am on such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to name a few. The first page also shows my blog, which is just the way I want it. My blog is all about my studies and professional experiences in Internet Marketing. The communication on my blog is definitely meant to be a self-expressing message. Think of my blog as well as my YouTube channel as a portfolio of my knowledge and skills in areas of digital marketing that I want people interested in my services to see. So I am very happy with the search results that showed up.
Doing a Google image search did not bring up quite the crafted results page like the web search did. The image search has my profile pictures from my social media profiles and shows some of my friends and family, images form videos I have created and posted online, or at least the first half of the results page was that way; I will get to the rest in just a moment. Looking at the top part of the page, if you knew me well and followed my work you would be able to interpret the information and of course my personal interpretation of the information will be very different and make sense to me but will be harder to understand if you don’t know who I am.
The rest of the pictures are more random and even I can’t say how they ended up on a search for my name. Now, if I being honest with the results, I did find quite a few mug shots of people I do not know. I didn’t like see these images in a search on my name because of the negative stereotype such pictures have. I don’t think these results have a derogatory effect on my image, however looking at the image results page I think I need to do some more work on what shows up. To this point I have not posted a lot of pictures online nor on any of my social media profiles, but that’s about to change so I can have more control over what people will find when searching for me online. For the most part I am happy how I come across online and will do what I can to keep that way or to even make it better.
Flaming: Inappropriately aggressive messages that would not typical be said face-to-face.
Ethics and business have had their struggles for as long as they have been around. While I was working for a McDonalds franchise a number of years ago as a general manager I had a shift manager that was committing time clock theft. Basically she would stay punched in on the clock past her shift and hang out in the lobby with her friends getting paid. Once I found this out I let her go for the theft per company policy. To me stealing of any kind is unethical and she had no reason to do it other than she had been getting away with it. I did not feel bad firing her for what she did and feel I did what was right. Next thing I know she had gone down the street and got a job at a McDonalds that was part of the same organization that I worked for and was even the same district manager that I reported to. I would have gotten in trouble myself for just letting the theft go, however my supervisor knew about the theft and yet hired her again. I did not think any of the situation was ethical but it was out of my hands so what was I to do? Poor ethical practice is not new to business and most times does not stop until a lawsuit gets field.
Sometimes we see companies acting on their own to correct issues that are found internally and do what needs to be done regardless to who the guilty parties are. Look at Microsoft just this last year. An internal investigation by Microsoft found that two of its key players in the Bing department had committed violations to company policy related to mismanagement of company assets and vendor relations. The company would not give any more details then that according to article by Alex Wilhelm back on March 19th 2012 posted on The Next Web site. I was somewhat shocked that Microsoft did all of this without it becoming a scandal first. I total respect their actions in this matter. One can only imagine what these guys were doing but they were key players with a major search engine. I don’t even want to guess the damage these two caused for not just the company but think of how many people that used Bing under their tenure that could have been affected. If the violations had gone on it could have been very harmful to not only Microsoft but to countless other business and internet users. Without a doubt Microsoft made the right decision to get ride of these guys no matter how valuable they were to the company.
To me the CEO of Microsoft had not only to think about the company but he also had to make it from a social standpoint as well. No company is invincible and a big scandal could even hurt or even take down a company as large as Microsoft. Plus, he has shareholders to worry about as well as company stock. Because so many people around the world use the Internet as their life’s blood the effects of a serious issue with a major search engine could cripple many a small business and would probably put many of them out of business even if Microsoft weathered the storm well. Next, you have to look at all the users that could have been affected. Not acting on this matter could have had devastating effects to Internet users and companies all over the world. That is a lot of responsibility and I think Microsoft made the right call on this one. I would have done the same thing.
In a study done by Crawford Camiciottli, Belinda entitled “Ethics and Ethos in Financial Reporting: Analyzing Persuasive Language in Earnings Calls” they looked at the language used by executives in communicating in earning meetings to better understand the usage of ethics-related language. The way the top brass talks about things as important to a company as earnings in an ethical manner will effect the behavior of those under them for right or wrong. In the case of Microsoft I think it could not have been more clear as to the message they sent to company employees as that of letting go of two key figures to a department for policy violations and that is a message of no tolerance for that type of actions. For a large company like Microsoft a no tolerance policy is the way to go to protect everyone both internal and external to the company.
In conclusion I feel that Microsoft made the right decision in this matter. The only thing I might have done differently was use better reporting and tracking to make it harder for violations to go undetected for any length of time. Also, better communication from the top down setting clear expectations might also have helped to avoid or at least lessoned the damage done. To be fair to Microsoft they very well could have been doing these things all along. It just cost less to do things the right way the first time and not have to clean up messes. I just wish everyone felt the same way, it would make doing business so much easier.
“Microsoft fires two Bing marketing execs for ethics violations” by Alex Wilhelm on March 19th 2012 on The Next Web website (http://thenextweb.com/microsoft/2012/03/19/microsoft-fires-two-bing-marketing-execs-for-ethics-violations)
“Ethics and Ethos in Financial Reporting: Analyzing Persuasive Language in Earnings Calls” by Crawford Camiciottli, Belinda in Business Communication Quarterly; Sep2011, Vol. 74 Issue 3, p298-312, 15p, 3 Charts, 1 Graph
Back in the day when I was working as a loan broker I was working through Real Estate agents to find new loans to do. Things were going pretty good however, I was not getting as much business out of the Real Estate Agents as I would have liked so I came up with the bright idea to start using email to stay in touch with the agents I was working with. So, I created some nice emails and started sending them out, however nothing really changed. One day as I was talking to a realtor the topic of emails came up and I asked if he liked the ones I was sending and he looked at me like I was crazy. Turns out he did not even know he was receiving them due to the emails going to his junk mail folder. I felt like such an idiot. I knew nothing about email marketing and was just shooting blind and in the end wasted my time because I did not take the time to figure out how to do it right. Now years later I am taking the time to learn the in’s and out’s of email marketing. In this pursuit I read an interesting article about deliverability entitled “10 Myths For Inbox Deliverability” by Stephanie Miller and learn the things that I should have figured out a long time ago with my first email-marketing attempt.
I found a couple of the Myths to be somewhat eye opening. The first myth that hit me was “Permission-based marketing messages are delivered to the inbox” What? If someone has given permission to receive an email why would they not get it? It turns out that Stephanie’s company did some digging and found that 20% of legitimate emails in North America do not reach the inbox. That seems like a very high percent to me. She indicated that sender needs to track email delivery and make changes as need and I agree. However should the system used to send out the emails be part of the problem as well? At any rate, 20% should not be overlooked so anything that can be done to improve this should be done.
“My email service provider handles inbox placement for me” was the next myth. Wow–do email service providers do anything? Well, yes, they do a lot and help us understand what happened with reports; well the good ones do at any rate. It comes down to that old saying “Garbage In, Garbage Out”. The service provider works with the data we give them and it is up to the marketer to control the data sourcing, frequency and content.
The last one was not surprising to me, yet it is an important one that can be easily overlooked so I thought it was worth bringing up again. “Changing the content or subject line is a good was to get a block lifted” There are many different factors involved in getting blocked and removing a block. Using a tool like Sender Score provided by Return Path we can see what factors they look at to determine someone’s Sender Score that effects being blocked. They look at things like hostname, other IPS with the same hostname and deliverability risk. Now, this is not to say that content is not important because it is–however being confused as one of the dirty junk mailers because of an IP hostname conflict can really hurt.
Creating great content and having good copy and compelling offers that are relevant to the user are very important to having a good email campaign and doing things right will definitely improve things but you can not forget these other factors that hurt deliverability. The best emails in the world will do no good if they are never seen because they did not go to the inbox of the intend user, just like I faced with my first attempt at email marketing. Learn for my mistakes and look before you leap when trying something out for the first time. I promise it will save you time and money.
“10 Myths For Inbox Deliverability” by Stephanie Miller posted Feb 17, 2010 on Clickz (http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/1701157/myths-inbox-deliverability)