Viral Marketing using Forums
There are different types of forums, beyond the obvious topical types, of “marketing” or “special interest”, etc. “Marketing” and “special interest” are two types of what are commonly referred to as “open forums”.
There are, however, business and professional forums, which do not operate under the same rules and, more often than not, disallow any and all types of advertising or self-promotion. Forums that have been created to support the membership of a particular program are especially adamant on this topic and often demand that all members refrain from all types if advertising on their sites.
Still, even with all these hurdles, it is possible to successfully advertise in forums. In all cases a pre-requisite for success is developing a good reputation and a good relationship and maintaining both. So, while it is true that this a form of free advertising, it does require a certain amount of investment as far as time and energy are concerned, not to mention subtly and finesse.
To successfully market on any forum, the first requirement is to take a personal interest in the main topic of the forum. That means visiting it on a regular basis and developing a good relationship with the members and the moderators. It, also, means taking an active roll in the conversations and being willing to help others. Of course, it goes without saying that it means abiding by any and all rules that exist. In this way, one can develop a reputation, and business will just naturally develop because humans tend to work with people they trust.
Since the main purpose of a forum is the exchange of information and/or ideas, marketers must respect that objective and abide by it. Marketing forums, where everyone there has something to advertise and sell, usually have even more stringent rules.
Viral Marketing using Forums
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The Fine Line between Internet Marketing and Spam
Savvy business owners who take advantage of Internet marketing realize there is a fine line between marketing and spam and orchestrate their marketing campaigns to gain the maximum amount of exposure without running the risk of being viewed as spam. The definition of spam is open to interpretation but most people agree on the fact that spam is equivalent to junk mail you receive at your residence. In general spam is unsolicited emails which are part of an advertising campaign. The term spam can also apply to message board postings which are posted solely for advertising purposes. This article will examine the differences between effective Internet marketing and spam.
First we will consider the use of message boards for the purpose of Internet marketing. Message boards are essentially online meetings places for Internet users who share a particular interest to exchange idea, ask or answer questions or just socialize. These message boards allow users to register and post messages. Most message boards have asset of guidelines which the users must follow when making posts. These guidelines may vary widely with some being very strict about acceptable content and others not being nearly as strict. It is important to follow these guidelines because failure to do so may result in the moderators deleting your account and other members not paying much attention to your posts.
Message boards are ideal for Internet marketing because they can provide a business owner with access to a specialized target audience. If you are in the business for finding jobs for employees who wish to telecommute, you might join a message board dedicated to working from home to find members who may be interested in your products. Here you may learn a great deal about the concerns of your target audience. You can also take the opportunity to post links to your website when appropriate and in accordance with the message board guidelines. This is considered to be smart Internet marketing. However, if you opt to respond to each and every post with a link to your website even when it is not relevant and do not offer comments of value to other members, they are likely to view your posts as spam. This can be damaging because these members may opt to avoid your website even if they have a need for your services.
E-newsletters and email advertising are one area of Internet marketing which is most likely to be viewed as spam if not done properly. Most Internet users to not appreciate unsolicited emails especially when these emails do not pertain to a subject that interests them. This is often the case when business owners buy email lists and send their advertisements to everyone on the list. This is not effective because you are not likely to reach a large population of your target audience. Additionally, recipients of the email may block your email address so future communications are automatically sent to a spam folder. Some recipients may even report you to their Internet service provider who may investigate the claim that you are a spammer. A better way to approach the concept of email marketing is to only send e-newsletters and advertisements to past customers who have specifically asked to receive such emails and potential customers who have requested additional information.
The Fine Line between Internet Marketing and Spam
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How Do Search Engines Work – Web Crawlers
It is the search engines that finally bring your website to the notice of the prospective customers. Hence it is better to know how these search engines actually work and how they present information to the customer initiating a search.
There are basically two types of search engines. The first is by robots called crawlers or spiders.
Search Engines use spiders to index websites. When you submit your website pages to a search engine by completing their required submission page, the search engine spider will index your entire site. A ‘spider’ is an automated program that is run by the search engine system. Spider visits a web site, read the content on the actual site, the site’s Meta tags and also follow the links that the site connects. The spider then returns all that information back to a central depository, where the data is indexed. It will visit each link you have on your website and index those sites as well. Some spiders will only index a certain number of pages on your site, so don’t create a site with 500 pages!
The spider will periodically return to the sites to check for any information that has changed. The frequency with which this happens is determined by the moderators of the search engine.
A spider is almost like a book where it contains the table of contents, the actual content and the links and references for all the websites it finds during its search, and it may index up to a million pages a day.
Example: Excite, Lycos, AltaVista and Google.
When you ask a search engine to locate information, it is actually searching through the index which it has created and not actually searching the Web. Different search engines produce different rankings because not every search engine uses the same algorithm to search through the indices.
One of the things that a search engine algorithm scans for is the frequency and location of keywords on a web page, but it can also detect artificial keyword stuffing or spamdexing. Then the algorithms analyze the way that pages link to other pages in the Web. By checking how pages link to each other, an engine can both determine what a page is about, if the keywords of the linked pages are similar to the keywords on the original page.
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