Don’t Feed The Trolls!

I know, I know, but I just had to. Once.

I got one of those emails from an “Internet Marketer”. You know what I’m talking about. How they can help you with SEO/Internet Marketing/Web Design, and they’re cheap too! Well, obviously they are cheap, they’re emailing from a Gmail address.

Here is the email, sent via a contact web form for one of my sites:

From: Deejay Colin [mailto:[deleted]]
Sent: August-10-11 8:38 PM
To: Angela Robson
Subject: SEO| Internet Marketing| Website Designing
From: Deejay Colin
Subject: SEO| Internet Marketing| Website Designing


We can fairly quickly promote your website to the top of the search rankings with no long term contracts!

We can place your website on top of the Natural Listings on Google, Yahoo and MSN. Our Search Engine Optimization team delivers more top rankings then anyone else and we can prove it. We do not use “link farms” or “black hat” methods that Google and the other search engines frown upon and can use to de-list or ban your site. The techniques are proprietary, involving some valuable closely held trade secrets. Our prices are less then half of what other companies charge.

We would be happy to send you a proposal using the top search phrases for your area of expertise. Please contact me at your convenience so we can start saving you some money.

In order for us to respond to your request for information, please include your company’s website address (mandatory) and /or phone number.

Deejay Colin
SEO – Link Building – Copyright – Web Designing – PHP

They’re ALL like that. Sent via a contact form, with a Gmail email reply address. I found a very similar “comment” on a completely unrelated website…about mascara. And then I found a whole whackload (very technical term) on a bunch of others sites. [insertfirstname] I mean really. Come ON.

Here is my reply:

Hi….uh, whatever your name is…

I did a quick Google Search for your name. The first result is, which says absolutely zero about Internet Marketing, SEO, or web design. In fact, at a first gland it looks like nothing but reviews for GPS units. So I do a search (on what I assume is your site) for “internet marketing”, and I’m presented with a weblog entry from April 3, 2007 about a well-known webmaster tool kit.

At this point, I’m already seriously beginning to doubt your professed ability to rank my website in the top “Natural Listings”. Honestly though, it’s the email address that gave it away in the first place. I mean, if you really are a serious web-centric company, wouldn’t you at least email from your own domain? Or maybe you don’t have one? Or even a website? Isn’t it a tad ludicrous that I can’t find it? Do you even have a company name? Unlikely.

Upon further investigation, you claim you don’t use “link farms” or “black hat” methods, which is entirely possible because that would take too much work and thinking, but you do obviously “contact form spam”. As I see an example of here: Oh, and of course it’s how you contacted me too.

Yeah, that’s working out great for you, isn’t it?

So,, Go back to doing whatever it is you were doing before. If someone like me can detect your BS, you’re pretty much screwed.


That’s all I had the energy for. 🙂 Red Bull started wearing off…

How to stop your Windows Vista computer from rebooting automatically

Windows Vista automatically reboots after a specific time period if you have Automatic Updates automatically downloading new updates. I like my updates to download and install, and complete the install the next time I reboot. I’ve implemented the following on my laptop because I do reboot it fairly frequently.

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this for a desktop, or a system that is not often rebooted because Windows updates can affect currently running services. Instead, for those systems, I suggest downloading updates and choosing when to install them.

The good stuff:

1. Click the Windows Logo (Start button), type “gpedit.msc” and press Enter.
2. Expand Computer Configuration, Administrative Templates, Windows Components, then select Windows Update.
3. Open “No auto-restart with logged on users…”
4. Choose “Enable” and click OK.

That should do it!

Get Twitter Replies Sent to You Automatically

I’m addicted to my Blackberry. I’m addicted to Twitter. I’m on TwitterBerry all the time. Unfortunately, one of the things I find myself doing repeatedly (other than reading my Friend’s Timeline, which is never NOT new) is loading my @goaliegirl replies. It would be really nice to be able to get an email (or SMS) notification rather than repeatedly loading it in Twitterberry.

I have never been able to get SMS to work right, and even then it’s only for people you select to follow with SMS, and I don’t really need that either.

I tried a few RSS-to-email services before I found the right one that worked well. Thanks to Dave Fleet (@davefleet) for pointing me to

Here’s what I did:

1. Go to Advanced Twitter Search.

2. In the People section, the “To this person” field, enter the Twitter name. (Optionally you can also put the name in the “Referencing this person” field, or whatever search method you choose!)

3. Search.

4. Click on the “Feed for this query” link and copy the URL.

5. Sign up at Enter a username, password and email address.

6. Click “Skip Account Setup”. Then click on “Sources” and add the URL from Step 4.

7. Click on “Your Account”, then Destinations. Use the “validate” link to validate your email address (or set up SMS if you like). They’ll send you a code.

8. Once validated, make sure email is turned ON in the Account/Destinations page. (Even after I set up my email, it wasn’t on by default.)

6. Voila!

You may have to wait a bit for it to “catch up”. It took a few hours for me, but once it did, it’s working great. I’m now getting all @goaliegirl Tweets in my Inbox.

Update: Emails don’t show who sent the @ and SMS updates are cut off, but it’s still WAY faster than TweetBeep.

How not to be spammy on Twitter: a customer’s point of view

I don’t use Twitter to promote my business. (Although, if I add a few non-location based services I just might.) I primarily use Twitter to feed my ADD tendencies and fulfill my social-networking addiction.

I’m not nearly as picky about who I follow as I should be, but I’m more selective than most (I think). “To follow or not to follow” is a topic for a whole new post. 🙂

One of the number one most important qualities of a “good” Twitterer is to not be spammy. That is guaranteed to make someone either NOT follow you, or UNfollow you. Here’s my short, practical tips on gaining faithful and interested followers.

1. Don’t send uninvited links via DM. This is probably my number one pet peeve on Twitter. Someone will follow me, then I’ll take a look at their twitter stream and I’ll follow them back if they seem okay. Five minutes later I get a DM, “Hi, thanks for the follow! Check out my website at!” Well, DUH. I could see that in your profile. But thanks for making me feel like I signed up for a newsletter. So, I unfollow.

If someone is interested, i.e. asks you a question, and you have a relevant blog post or product, THEN it’s okay. Otherwise it’s uninvited (read: SPAM).

2. Interesting content in your Twitter stream. Don’t just post links to your products or latest blog post. If I go to someone’s Twitter page and there’s nothing but links, on EVERY post, I’m most likely not going to follow. Talk about what you’re doing that’s not business related too. Be personable! Which leads me to the next topic…

3. Make friends. Find like-minded Twitterers and follow them. Learn from them, share your own experiences. Don’t forget, these friends can be non-business related as well. They can be local, they can be interested in some of the same hobbies as you, follow people who you’re interested in.

4. Don’t worry about your follower/followee ratio. Who cares if you follow someone and they don’t follow you back? Did you follow them just to be followed back, or did you follow them because you were interested in them?

5. Promote others. If you have a Twitter friend that’s really cool, or is doing something really cool, spread the word! Although, don’t go hog-wild, that’s spammy too. Be selective.

6. Target your audience. Do you know who your audience is? Don’t say “everyone” because that’s not true. Who is most likely to benefit from your service or product?

7. Don’t just use Twitter. If you’re only using Twitter to promote yourself, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Diversify where you advertise yourself. Join other social networks, use Google Ads, trade links with those in your industry, and leverage SEO.

Feel free to follow me (or not!) on Twitter: @goaliegirl.

Have I missed anything?

Please Don’t Replace Text Articles with Video

I’m increasingly seeing short videos replacing actual written articles. Not complementing, “replacing”. And I’m not a fan of it.

I can’t skim a video. With all the content out there on the Internet that I’m aching to consume, I don’t have time to watch even a 60 second video. I currently have 11,162 unread items in my RSS reader. Now, granted, I’ve become pretty good at filtering out what I don’t care about. I drop feeds I don’t read and skim through the feeds I do for information that interests me. (Sifting through the noise can be a whole new post, I thnk!) But when I click through to the website, if necessary, and I’m presented with a video, I’m just annoyed. If I *know* it’s a video, I’m actually less likely to visit the site.

Online video certainly has its place. I frequently visit YouTube with my 5 year old and watch videos of sharks. I’ve watched a TV show or two online, although I normally download them. I’ve looked for video content of “how to” do some hardware repairs. But in all of these cases I’m seeking the video out, not being bombarded with it upon entry to a site.

What do you think?

3 basic rules for your business website

I am one of those people that loves to research before I buy, particularly if it’s something that is high-priced. Thanks to the wonderful WWW, I can waste many hours in this particular hobby. 😉

I’ve discovered that I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to services and their web presence. There are three things that will guarantee that I will contact someone about a service or product. The absence of one or more decreases the possibility of me even making the first contact.

  1. Have a website — I need to be able to find that you exist, what services or products you provide, and if necessary, if you’re local.
    1. Exist! The hardest part is actually finding quality places to shop or get services. Google Local sucks. Sorry, but they do. I find myself turning to more and more, but that’s for another post. At least in a place can advertise if they have a website or not. For non-local items, I still tend to want to find someone local, or at least in Canada. (Not such a problem for the US.)
    2. Information. I don’t want a crappy website with no content. That does nothing for me. What do you DO? What products/services do you have? How are they delivered? And nine times out of ten, I check the about page. Seriously.
    3. Where are you? I always look, even if it’s not important to the research. Being in Canada is a bonus. Being in Ontaro is a super bonus. Being local is a warm-fuzzy. The same rule would apply if I were in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
  2. Have a nice website. Not some Frontpage crap design. And not one of those horrible graphic-laden templates. A nice, simple website that is very user friendly. This means you know what your customers need and want, and you’ve thought about how to help them in more than just your area of expertise.
  3. Respond via email. If you have a contact form, or advertise an email address, or any type of e-conversation at all, for the love of God, respond. If I contact someone, and they don’t email or call me back, what’s the use? And if they respond right away, or in a reasonable amount of time (less than 24 hours!), I’m 50% sold already.

Having one of these is good. Having all is the best.

There are exceptions. I’m looking for a local snow-removal service and a house-sitter for while I’m away during the Christmas holidays. For that, I turn to The same principles almost apply: Have an ad. Have a nice ad. Respond via email. Although the latter becomes much more important. The presentation is almost equally important. And well, you have to have an ad. 🙂

I hope I practice what I preach in my own business (Picobits) . 🙂 (Yes, that was a completely shameless plug.)

What’s important to you when you’re researching something online?

Pimping my new techie blog – Tips and Tricks

I run an IT services business in Hamilton, Ontario.  One of my current challenges surrounds making contacts and finding work, mostly due to the fact that I’ve just moved to Hamilton and just started the business.  Not to mention I’m not from Ontario and I don’t know a lot of people to start with!

I’m doing several things to get out into the community business-wise.  I’m going to a lot of networking events, getting in touch with local business owners, and contacting local IT companies.  I’m also advertising online in a few places.

That’s not enough.  I was with a large company that raised 160 million dollars due to their strategies building websites; why not take what I learned from there apply what I can to my own business website?  I’m not a marketing major, or even a minor for that matter, but I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t, and what it takes to be successful (and not!) in the web world.

Let’s combine that with my skills as an IT Goddess.  🙂  I managed a high-availability production environment for over the same highly successful company.  We had clustered web servers, redundant everything, blades, virtualization, you name it!

So, I love technology and I love the web.  One of the things I do when I’m working with technology is keep detailed notes.  When I come across something that’s particularly frustrating or interesting, I keep it filed away for future reference.  Instead of filing it away, I’ve created a tech tips and tricks section for my business website.  It’s basically a blog, and I have a ton of filed away stuff I can put up on it, and it will provide some useful information on my business website.  Having your contact info and what you do is just not enough.

Tech Tips and Tricks at

Operamini on the Blackberry rocks

One of the features seriously lacking on the Blackberry is the mobile browser. That is one of the reasons I was considering getting a smartphone with Windows Mobile. The Blackberry browser just sucks. I’m not even sure it’s qualified to be called a browser. It does the job, but poorly.

I’ve had just about every model of the Blackberry and I’m currently on the Pearl (8100). I’ve tried the 8800 and then went back to the Pearl just for the small form factor. Typing on it is a real Pain In The Ass until it learns your custom words, but I find the features and the small form factor are worth the hassle of getting SureType customized. But I digress…

Enter Opera Mini 4. (It’s in beta.)

I installed Opera Mini on my Blackberry on Saturday. It was super easy to install. Just go to on your mobile browser and choose the download link for the beta of Opera Mini 4. My first impression was, “Wow, nice!” It feels just like using Opera on a Windows Mobile platform, which is exactly what I wanted. It crams the whole page into your screen, then you can pick what you want to zoom in on, and scroll around on the page. The downside is that it takes a few seconds to load, but who cares? Once you’re using it, you’re fine. Also, it wasn’t readily evident that I needed to use the QW and OP keys to use the bottom two menus (if you’re on a regular phone I’m sure it would be obvious to use the two navigation buttons, and the 8800 is the same — you use the Q and P keys).

It has only been two days, less actually, but I still find I’m using OperaMini more than the “old” Blackberry browser. Score 1 for Opera!

And there are a whole host of features I haven’t even explored yet!

Websites I Use Daily

I stumbled back onto Tumblr today and signed up. I’ve typically tried to limit the number of online tools I use. Tried. As I was adding my feeds into Tumblr, I realized that I actually use quite a few, and fairly frequently.

What I use: (my feed) – this is by far one of the most useful websites. I can save anything quickly and easily. I use the extension for Firefox to save stuff, and I fairly frequently go back to find something I’ve saved. It’s also good for finding stuff that other people tag. I also subscribe to the feed in Bloglines. And my username is “angela”. How cool is that?

(my feeds) – I have so many RSS feeds in Bloglines that I never have time to read them all. I almost daily have time to peruse the feed and the Digg feed. When I have more time I go down the list with the Blogs and Gadgets directories being my next reading choices.

Twitter (my feed) – This is more of a fun thing for me. I do it when I get a chance, and it only takes a second or two so it’s easy to pop on over to the site and update it. I’ve got it added to gTalk to get updates for those I follow. Since I have gTalk on my Blackberry, I can update it from anywhere. Like when I’m stuck in traffic.

Digg (my profile) – I never post and rarely comment on Digg, but I still visit it every day nonetheless. I like it for the information and entertainment, but the community is rather…dumb as a collective.

What I’m testing:

Tumblr (my profile) – seems cool. Signing up was amazingly fast and easy! The interface rocks.

Pownce (my profile) – I also have just signed up for Pownce. Not sure what I think of that yet.

What I have tried but don’t use:

StumbleUpon – I installed the Firefox extension and played around with it a little. I never really used it that much so the next time I reloaded my system, I just didn’t install it. I never ever go to the website.

Magnol.ia – There’s not really much point in using it if I’m already using, and I’m too tied to to make the switch.

Worth mentioning, but usually warrants weekly visits, not daily, are:

Facebook – I really try hard not to go on Facebook. It’s such a timesucker. I think I’ll only go for a minute, next thing you know it has been half an hour.

LinkedIn (my profile) – I’m probably on LinkedIn every other day or so. More so lately because I’ve been updating my contact information to reflect my recent changes.

Technorati (my profile) – I should probably visit this site a lot more often, but I just don’t find the time. Pretty useful for watching trends and researching though.

I’m sure there’s more to this list. What do you use?

BES and Exchange hosting – vs. LanLogic

After two days of fiddling with my email, I’m finally up and running on both Exchange and BES with all proper connections from my Outlook clients and my Blackberry.

Jake recommended I use LanLogic, but I researched other options and found that LanLogic is a little steep on the storage pricepoint compared to other vendors. Jake insisted that didn’t matter so much since their service is excellent, but I wasn’t so sure. Exchangemymail seemed to come highly recommended according to posts in the Blackberry Forums, plus they offered a small discount. So I went with, not knowing that Jake actually did use them before going to LanLogic. I soon found out why, and went the same route he did.

  1. The signup for Exchangemymail went relatively smoothly, no issues there.
  2. (Problem 1) I logged in to my control panel and attempted to set up a user. The first try didn’t work – I got an error that the account wasn’t created. The second try didn’t either. The error was “Email address can not be created because registrar status of the domain is not ‘Ready’.” I created a support ticket and apparently the issue was on their end. They did some magic and I re-tried, successfully creating the account.
  3. I set up DNS (I’m using my own hosted DNS through DynDNS) according to the welcome email I got.
  4. I set up Outlook (2007) according to their documentation and it connected fine.
  5. I tested sending email from my client to my gMail account. Presto.
  6. (Problem 2) I replied from my gMail account…uh oh. I was getting a bounce-back error saying “544 No relaying allowed – psmtp”.
  7. (Problem 3) I created a BES account in my control panel and attempted to activate my Blackberry. No amount of trying was helping. I wiped it a gazillion times and retried.
  8. (Problem 4) I attempted to log in to the Postini control panel but kept getting the error “Invalid log in or server error. Please try again.”
  9. At this point I contacted support via the ticket system about the newest three problems. Their (pretty quick) response was that they were having problems with Postini which was likely the cause of all of my issues. About 90 minutes later I got an email from them stating they were able to add me to the system and I should try again.
  10. I could now send email to my new account from gMail, but I still couldn’t log in to Postini (no biggie, or so I thought) and my Blackberry wouldn’t activate.
  11. I ended up solving the activation problem myself my getting around the wireless activation by installing Desktop Manager, which really isn’t needed unless your wireless isn’t working, and activating it “wiredly”.
  12. Day two. (Problem 5) I realize that I can’t send mail to Jake. He can send mail to me, but my emails to him go into the Black Hole of Lost Email. I contact support again, explaining that he’s a former customer and it’s likely due to some setting they still have. Sure enough, that’s the case. Although they said it’s “normal” to keep old settings around…which I find odd. They removed the setting and asked me to try again. I tried again and it didn’t work.
  13. (Problem 6) I settle in to setting up my new domain’s website and the PHP form just won’t send mail to my address. Finally, I check the obvious and try sending mail to my gMail account instead of my EMM account and it works. Now, I’m pissed.
  14. (Problem 4 again) I tried logging in to Postini again thinking maybe it’s some sort of spam setting not allowing mail through from my site. No go.
  15. I tried sending mail to Jake again. No go.
  16. I wrote a final email to them:

At this point, I’m extremely dissatisfied with EMM.

1. I’m still not able to send emails to [Jake’s domain].
2. Sending emails to my primary email account at EMM from a form on my website doesn’t work, but it does send to any other email address. I suspect this is related to Postini BUT
3. I can’t log in to Postini. Still. I mentioned this in the last ticket.

At this point I have to abandon your service and request a refund. I have wasted nearly two days of effort on your service, and while your response has typically been swift, I can’t afford any more delays.

Once my account is canceled, please remove all instances of from your system.


I signed up for LanLogic and was set up with my Exchange account immediately. I emailed them and asked for BES to be set up and Ted emailed me before I even had a chance to switch my DNS to the new servers asking me to switch them. I emailed him back and was set up with a BES account right away.

I still had wireless activation issues, the same issues as with EMM, but it wasn’t such a big deal since it was something I could fix myself anyway.

I got my refund, minus the “activation fees” from EMM.

Jake got to say, “I told you so.” And he was right.