A Testimonial

A testimonial is given as acknowledgment of quality service or product. A testimonial is given by someone who has benefited from the service/ product and is willing to write (and have it published) a tribute to the quality of the product or service which they received. A testimonial needs to be sincere/ genuine and written clearly. Testimonials are valuable as word of mouth marketing.

If you write a testimonial, be honest and sincere and use your own words. Think of specifics rather than generic or multi purpose meanings. Don’t try to be too kind or flattering. You shouldn’t try to sell the product or service, instead, write as if you were telling a friend what you found useful, good or above your expectations about the service or product.

Keep the testimonial short, sometimes a sentence is just fine. It shouldn’t go beyond a paragraph. That’s enough to write and enough for someone else to give a quick read.

When a testimonial is published the person who gave it should have credit for it. Link to their site, or write the name of their own business, something that turns them into a creditable source and gives a point of reference. Also, if you wrote the testimonial you should ask where it will be published and check it once it does become available.

When you are actually asked to write a testimonial the simplest thing is to speak it out loud and write down what you said. If that doesn’t work for you try a structured approach:

  • Why did you need the product/ service?
  • Why did you choose that product or service?
  • What were your concerns as you began using the product/ service? What did you think might not work, or might not work for you?
  • What were the results that you did get from the product/ service?
  • What did you especially like about the product or service, was there a feature that really stood out or an extra benefit which you had not expected?
  • Who would you tell about this product/ service and what would you want them to know?
  • Will you use the product/ service again? Why?

An effective testimonial is in the customer’s own words but may have edits (which should be approved by the customer) to make the meaning clear or to add the name of the product or service. You want the testimonial to be sincere but you want it to be clear as well. Also, specifics are important, rather than something ambiguous like “the service was great!”.

Don’t write your own faked testimonials. You will end up sounding phony and insincere. In the end you will lose more than you will gain. When someone else writes a testimonial their perspective is not the same as your own, it will have more truth than advertising.

Don’t be shy about asking for a testimonial from someone who lets you know they are pleased with your service. People like to be asked for their opinion, to feel important. Also, as bloggers, they may be glad to have a link back to their own site.

Extra Resource:
WikiHow: How to Write a Personal Testimonial About Yourself?

A real testimonial as an example and an actual testimonial:

UP to the DL has a fresh, new white paper for sale, written as a guide to new and not so new bloggers who are getting into running and accepting ads on their sites.

“I’ve read the ProBlogger book, from the perspective of a long time blogger I didn’t learn many new things. However, reading “Passive Income” an article from Deanna I found at least two new things which I had never thought of before. I was impressed and I came away with something new to try in my own advertising and money making efforts online. Yay me!”

Testimonial by Laura, of ThatGrrl.ca and Word Grrls.com.

Camel Case

You see it in titles and names like WordPress and WikiLeaks. These are words which have the specialty of not being the usual lower or upper case. These words have more than one initial capital letter. Not lovingly accepted by Grammarians and dictionaries, yet. Still, a proper name for a company/ business should be spelled correctly, the way the company itself spells it out on their business cards, website headers and so on. Thus we get camel case.

I don’t 100% agree with it, or feel comfortable using it. I tend to split the name of this blog into two words versus typing it out as WordGrrls. What do you think about the issue of camel case?

I first read the term ‘camel case’ on Terribly Write. I knew about spelling words this way but had not heard the name for it before then.

See also: NYTimes: Against Camel Case

What is Crowdsource?

What is crowdsource? It’s a project which outsources work to random groups of people, often on the Internet. How could you use the crowdsource idea for your own work or site?

From Wikipedia:

Crowdsourcing is the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, to a large group of people or community (a crowd), through an open call.

For example, the public may be invited to develop a new technology, carry out a design task (also known as community-based design[1] and distributed participatory design), refine or carry out the steps of an algorithm (see human-based computation), or help capture, systematize or analyze large amounts of data (see also citizen science).

The term has become popular with businesses, authors, and journalists as shorthand for the trend of leveraging the mass collaboration enabled by Web 2.0 technologies to achieve business goals. However, both the term and its underlying business models have attracted controversy and criticisms.

Cambrian House – A crowdsourcing community. Helping others successfully adopt crowdsourcing.
The Daily Crowdsource – News, trends, reviews websites and services. Also offers crowdsourcing resources and guides.
Crowdsource Placemaking – The social network for crowdsourcing cool places.
Bloomberg Business Week: Crowdsourcing – What it Means for Innovation
CBC: Crowdsourcing

Wiki List of Crowdsourcing Projects

Is GoogleMe a Reality?

How nice that rhymes. Anyway, there is talk about a new thing coming from Google, competition for Facebook, maybe. They say it will be called GoogleMe. Here is what I wrote in a comment about the idea for GoogleMe at Regular Geek.

Google is on the wrong path if they target LinkedIn as a style for GoogleMe. Facebook is the model they should use. LinkedIn is pretty stagnant as far as I am concerned. Meanwhile Facebook continues to grow no matter what is said about it’s security and privacy of information. It’s those damned game applications in my experience. I can’t ever login in there without having a dozen or so invitations to join and requests to send cows and etc. Most come from relatives I hardly see otherwise. Anyway, GoogleMe should be geared down to the masses rather than geared to the professional types who want to connect socially in a professional way. If they design GoogleMe for the casual user they could have a real winner and competetion for Facebook in reality.

TechCrunch posted about GoogleMe and I commented:

I don’t see Google going casual enough to attract the Facebook market. Facebook works for people who are not professionals but just connect socially, play addicting and useless games and collect things. It is out of Google’s usual market and not their style.

Also, I noticed there is a business already using GoogleMe as their name. As an interesting sidenote. http://www.aboutmeonline.com/

Mashable, Wired, and PC World have posts about GoogleMe too.

What do you think? How should GoogleMe work if they want to compete with Facebook? What would it take to knock Facebook off it’s throne or at least shake them up a good bit?

What to do with an Unused Web Domain

I’m not a domain seller, I’ve bought a few and find that I just can’t spread myself thin enough to make use of all of them as I’d wanted to. So, next stop is to make a decision about them. To use them in some way or to sell them. As it turns out, the best option is a mix of both (in my opinion). iGoldrush has a post about independently selling your domain. It was one of the best I found while looking around today and trying to come up with a plan.

There used to be more out there for people and domains, groups and clubs and other resources. I think it has lost that fun aspect as it sinks into being all about marketing and business. It’s a shame. I know there used to be a group like Domain Divas. I was a member. There was a group for people with .ca (Canadian) domains.

Anyway, to get back on track, the best way to handle a domain you want to sell is to keep using it, make it grow and become something desirable but add a note about the domain being for sale (to a good home/ best offer). Keeping the domain active brings it up in SEO and will make it worth more to buyers. Kind of a win-win thing if you can keep some kind of content on the site. Weekly updates would seem the best strategy. But don’t steal content or just become a splog. Post your kid’s drawings once a week if you don’t have anything else original and unique. Just keep posting something worthwhile other than ads.

So, I am probably going to sell a couple of domains. The one I am most sure of will have to wait about a year for the ad time to run out on the paid text ad. But, that’s fine. I can take a year to keep it going and see what price it gets. I don’t have to sell, I’ve just decided to try to sell and see what offers I get.

Sedo – Most often referred to when someone asks about a place to list a web domain for sale. There are others but you really want to know you are dealing with a trust worthy site. As new as I am to this I am really wary of the actual transaction. I had a domain hijacked once before, I’d like to avoid anything like that happening again.

AfterNIC – Another place to sell or buy a domain through. Has an escrow service.

WebHostingTalk: Forum: Domain Names

URL Appraisal: What to do with an Unused URL

Who Do You See?

You’ve become famous for your beauty but, in fact, it’s been 20 years since you last looked at yourself. In the morning you have body servants who do everything to prepare you for the day. During the day you have someone who follows along with you for any little touch ups to your hair, make up or wardrobe. Then, when you get home in the evening, there is a whole staff too for the bedtime routines. Once a week you have a spa day where every centimetre of your body is one kind of beauty treatment or another.

It’s been so long since you actually looked at yourself that you realize you’ve begun to forget what you look like. On your way to visit your business manager, the elevator has fancy mirrored doors which open to let you in. So you take a quick peek before they finish opening. How odd, you think. You can’t see yourself at all.

You decline to enter the elevator and tell those waiting to ride up and you will get the next one. You get a few odd looks but, it’s the city and there are all kinds of eccentrics here.

As the doors close behind them, you wait. Another chance to see yourself again and yet… you can’t see yourself. It’s not possible you could have become invisible.

Your daylong beauty checker notices a touch of glow on your face and moves to stand in front of you, fixing it but blocking your view. You can see around her and behind her in the mirror. You can see your arms wearing the dress you know you are wearing. It is only when she finally steps away, satisfied that you are perfect again, that you see the face and the body that go with the dress.

Someone has paid an awful trick on you! A joke! Surely it must be a joke. The woman in the mirror doesn’t look like you! She can’t be you! That face looks like something formed out of wax. It is perfect but it shows no sign of life. Unreal, like a mannequin. That can’t be you! You never looked like that!

As you turn towards your beauty checker, trying not to let out the scream which is racing up inside of you, you notice she is not real, not a real person. She’s mechanical, like a robot.

You look around you, there are other people coming and going, but as you look a bit closer you see they are all robots. No one that you can see is a real person, a human made of flesh, blood and bone. Now the scream rips out of you. You feel it leave your lungs, fly out of your throat and shake through every cell of your body.

But no… you realize. You didn’t really feel anything. You just expected to feel something.

Are you not real? No, you know you’re real. You can remember being real. About 20 years ago when you started being famous, you had a family, you had a cat too. Whatever happened to that cat? Seems you lost track of it and a lot of other things.

Your beauty checker tries to take hold of your arm but you are already off, running in a panic, out the doors, to the outside. If you can just get outside, everything will be right out there.

It’s been a long time since you ran anywhere. A long time since you did anything very physical. But you can still run. It feels good. You feel real again. No doubt this is just what you need. No doubt you can make everything make sense now that you’re not walking around half aware any more.

You catch sight of your face in the glass of the revolving doors… it’s like it’s melting. Slipping down from your hairline slowly like molasses. Underneath… under the waxy looking mask that you thought was your face… there are mechanical parts, wires, metal and circuit boards.

Everything inside of you shudders to a halt. You blow your final circuit, you become empty and frozen in place.

Later, a van pulls up outside. You are not really aware of it. You aren’t really aware when two clean up robots come and take you, place you in a long box and haul you into their van. On the side of the van it says “Acme”, of course.

Have you ever had a day where you get to the end of the day and realize you never actually, really looked at yourself all that whole day? How would it feel to look at yourself then and find a stranger looking back at you?

Decade of the Internet Marketer?

Will this be the decade everyone became an Internet marketer? I get less calls from telemarketers than I get promotional spam from Internet marketers. Yet, it’s still the telemarketers who get the worst reputation.

When I read blogs about Internet or online marketing I can’t really take any of them seriously. If they really were smart marketers they would have stepped out of the blog world by now. For one thing, it’s flooded. There are far too many bloggers and few readers/ subscribers/ buyers. Now that so many people have a blog it’s getting to be a pretty crowded pond. The only way you can still be a big fish in this pond is to hop out and create a new pond.

The only blogs still interesting enough to notice are those who have real, original content. I don’t include any blog about Internet marketing or related topics in this list. If one does find a new thought it will soon be posted to death through blogs and social networking. Their pond is more like a goldfish bowl so stuffed with fish there are only a few drops of water left in the bowl.

What is the last blog you read and actually liked enough to go back and read again? In my case it was a blog about recycling furniture, clothes and etc. I found it when I was looking for ideas to use buttons. (It had two).

What is the point of this post? Not much really. It’s not going to change anything. Just made me laugh today when I heard someone cursing telemarketers, Avon sales people and all those others when in fact they themselves run a blog promoting themselves as an expert on Internet marketing and offering their services. Funny that the very people most likely to be reading that blog are people who already offer the same services themselves.

I don’t offer a great solution. Just seems to me that as flooded as things are online, it may be time for people to consider going back to door-to-door sales again, local and in person. A live person who lets you sample the wares actually rather than virtually. Someone who will deliver your order or let you pick it up cause, after all, they live just down the next block. Don’t you kind of miss human contact and the feeling of dealing with a local business, someone who really does care about the product they sell?

Hyperlocal, What is It?

I’ve seen the term hyperlocal come up three times lately. I decided to spend some time to find out what it is exactly and how it is being used.
Of course, Wikipedia comes up first in the results I get from Google. : Hyperlocal –

refers to the emergent ecology of data (including textual content), aggregators, publication mechanism and user interactions and behaviours which centre on a resident of a location and the business of being a resident. Hyperlocal content, often referred to as hyperlocal news, is characterized by three major elements. Firstly, it refers to entities and events that are located within a well defined, community scale area. Secondly, it is intended primarily for consumption by residents of that area. Thirdly, it is created by a resident of the location (but this last point is discussed because for example a photo can be hyperlocal but not locally produced).

Hyperlocal World – Developments in news, people and the first law of geography.
HyperlocalBlogger.com – Tips and discussion for local bloggers.
Hyperlocal 101 – Tools and technique for the hyperlocal revolution.

Blog TO is a hyperlocal news blog from Toronto. It comes from a network, Freshdaily.ca (site is not up).

Other hyperlocal blog networks:

Individual hyperlocal content blogs:

If hyperlocal blogging is interesting you take a look at TwitterLocal, which gives you a Twitter feed by location and LocalTweeps which is a directory built with zip codes. Also, look for blog directories based on regional locations, each blog you find there is a possible source of news and events locally. You may find other locals to post their perspectives, advertising, photos and news stories on your hyperlocal blog. Of course everything local is a marketing/ promotion resource for a hyperlocal blog. You don’t need to be in to top rank of international lists for blogs, keep your focus on local in every way.

The links for networks and especially those for individual hyperlocal blogs are just a few I found when I went looking. There are masses of sites once you know what to look for. Some don’t use the term hyperlocal, they may call themselves citizen journalists, or maybe cell journalists.