Scam Alert

If this had happened today, I would have thought it was from a friend, trying to pull an April Fool’s Day joke on me. This is NOT an April Fool’s Day joke on you, really. This is just odd timing.

Woman at computer (free clip art)

Woman at computer (free clip art)

Yesterday, I was at home, working on the computer. I had just finished all I could do on my income taxes, done a bit of blogging, and had started to work on writing a post for the Ruritan Rapidan District website that I created and maintain in my spare time.

Then the cordless cell phone beside my desk rang. The Caller ID identified the number as 215-249-6100. Not recognizing the number, and thinking it might be a “real” telephone call, I decided to answer it.

I’m not sure now if I’m glad I answered it or not. Often I let the home phone just go to voice mail to screen the calls – there are so many telemarketers “out there” that did not seem to get the message that my phone is on the National Do Not Call Registry!

Be that as it may, I answered the phone. A male with a foreign accent asked to speak to me. Well, our family has dealt with a few doctors recently with a similar foreign accent, so I still thought it might be a legitimate phone call. I replied that I was the person he was asking to speak with.

Then the adventure began. The man identified himself as a Microsoft Windows Security employee. He informed me that he was calling to tell me that his company has identified my computer as having a virus!

Microsoft Windows logo (free clip art)

Microsoft Windows logo (free clip art)

As you can imagine, my immediate reaction was to think that this phone call was an attempt by someone who has malicious intent. (And I feel very bad for the many people “out there” that are not technologically savvy enough to see right through this type of ploy, and immediately fall prey to this predatory behavior!)

So, I repeated back to this man, “you are calling me to tell me that my computer has a virus on it?” His reply was, “Yes ma’am, a very serious virus, and I’m calling you to tell you how we can help you to remove the virus.” I thought to myself “I’ll bet you are!”

My reply to him was “You can tell, from where you are, that my computer has a virus on it?” His reply again, was, “Yes ma’am. a very serious virus. and I’m calling you to tell you how we can help you to remove the virus.”

Now I’ve decided to have a bit of fun at his expense. So I asked him “Well, I’ve got eight computers here, can you tell me which ONE of those computers has a virus on it? I really need to know which ONE!”

Computer hacker (free clip art)

Computer hacker (free clip art)

Well, as you can imagine, there was a brief pause at the other end, and then the man spoke “you have eight computers there?” to which I replied “yes sir, I have eight computers here, and if one of them is infected, I really need to know which one of those eight is infected, so I can take care of it right away!”

Then the man started to stammer and sputter “ummmmm…. eight computers…. ummmmmmm…. I don’t know….. ummmm….. eight computers…….”

My tolerance for stupidity depleted, I decided to put him out of his misery. I know it’s rude to interrupt, but I interrupted him (sorry) and said “Let me make this easy for you. I don’t believe that you are a legitimate business. I think you are a spammer, scammer, hacker, identity thief that is trying to rip me off. I have all kinds of firewalls, anti-malware, anti-spamware programs on my computers,and I don’t believe that you are who you say you are. Put this phone number on your ‘Do Not Call List’ and do not ever call me again!” And then I hung up the telephone.

Then I went to Google, and typed in the phone number 215-249-6100. The search results led me to a website called callercomplaints dot com, where people can register a telephone number and complain about it. There were already several complaints logged (with details) for that phone number. I added my complaint to the list – you can read it if you want to.

Please remember – when someone calls YOU and wants information from YOU, do NOT GIVE IT OUT! It is a SCAM! Hang up the phone!

The future of SEO – to be, or not to be?

Hamlet (free clip art)

Hamlet (free clip art)

Over the past several weeks I have been reading on a lot of self-proclaimed SEO and SERP people’s websites and I get the distinct impression that the future of SEO and SERP is going to be largely dependent on social interaction between the website and its readers. I have also gotten the distinct impression that the “blogroll” links that many blogs have will not be given any weight in the foreseeable future Google indexing algorithms.

So, what does that mean to me? First of all, I think that it means that a website should have an associated Facebook page. This is going to become more important down the road. Also Google Places, Google +1, and any other Google social thing has going on. After all, I think it only makes sense that Google is going to be favoring their products over any other. I think that it means that I might as well remove my blogroll widgets. All they are doing is taking up space on the blog. If a blog is a mature blog, that blogroll takes up valuable “real estate” (space) that would be better put to good use by putting in a tag cloud or a Facebook widget that displays an associated Facebook page or other Social Media product in use.

Additionally, it suggests to me that it would probably be a very good thing for businesses to incorporate a blog into their website. The blog would be a good place to dole out tips and perhaps run opinion polls. I think that in the spirit of showing “social interaction” that it would be appropriate for the blog to have comments enabled. When Google does its future indexing, if their robotic spiders find comments on the website I suspect that would make the Google spiders very happy. And I don’t know about you, but I want happy spiders, don’t you?

happy spider (free clip art)

happy spider (free clip art)

The importance of a good neighborhood

Installment 5 in an opinion series by Linda Bradshaw about blogging and SEO

MrRogersneighborhood

Mr Rogers Neighborhood – free clip art

Is your website or blog in a good neighborhood?

Web hosting can get really confusing and expensive. Who can blame you for signing up for cheap web hosting? You probably did not know that Google has defined some of those cheap web hosting companies servers as “bad neighborhoods.” I know that when I first started blogging I had no idea at all that there were “bad neighborhoods” in the Google universe. As for how to find out what web hosting companies have “bad neighborhood” servers, well I see there are sites that claim that they can check for you. I do not know if any of them work, and for the purposes of this discussion I really am not interested right now in pursuing that. Maybe sometime in the future, maybe not.

But the fact remains, Google, as the all-knowing and all-seeing and omnipotent ruler of the almighty much coveted Google page rank and Google Search Engine Results Page KNOWS where your domain is hosted. When Google does its quarterly re-indexing (or “sweep”) one of the things that it looks at is what “neighborhood” your domain is in. If it sees your website/blog is on one of those “bad neighborhood” servers, then they will at least penalize your website, which reduces the page rank, and at most they will “ban” or “black-list” your website. What that means is that they will put YOUR website on their list of naughty boys and girls that get ignored from that point on until Hades freezes over and a gay woman becomes the Pope of the Catholic Church.

Opinion disclaimer

Opinion disclaimer

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