VACATION: Escape from Digital World

Although my recent vacation to Colorado was not intended to be for this reason, it did turn out to be something of an escape from the digital world. I actually wondered if I would be able to go two weeks without the tremors of withdrawal from daily facebook contacts, exchange of e-mails, online bookkeeping, blogging, etc.

Escape

Escape from the Digital World © Beso.com

I am delighted to report that I did abstain without incident or discomfort. But I do have a confession to make. I had at my disposal both an iPad and an iPhone. They proved themselves to be essential traveling companions. In addition, the situation necessitated my learning how to use them. I now can text, download apps, do banking and enjoy their benefits.

There were many incidents when both proved themselves to be not only indispensable but also assets to our enjoyment. Let me elaborate. We spent a week in Denver, a lovely cosmopolitan area that has a downtown that has married the best of old and new architecture, is culturally rich and diverse, and because of my knowledge of Google searches, we were able to partake in quite a few of Denver’s offerings.

iPhone

iPhone, named 'Minnie Me' photo © Apple

We had met an Ethiopian gentleman at a 7-11 where we made our daily morning walk coffee stop. We got to talking and I inquired about Ethiopian food. Since I have an adventurous and curious palette, I was excited about experiencing Ethiopian food.

A simple Google search for ‘Ethiopian restaurant in Denver, Colorado’ took me to a list of places in Denver. After reading the reviews on several listings, it was easy to decide where to go. The food was fantastic. The service was excellent. The price was very reasonable.

Habesha Ethiopian Restaurant

Habesha Ethiopian Restaurant

They make bread that is like nothing I have ever tasted before in my life. It is in the shape of a pancake but has a spongy consistency with the taste of sour dough. One of these ‘pancakes’ is placed beneath the platter of food and several others are served on the side rolled up like cigars.

Reviews of Habesha Restaurant

Reviews of Habesha Restaurant

The food is eaten by hand in the same tradition of Indian food. One rips a piece of the bread from the platter benefiting from the contents atop it, vegetables and or meat as ordered. It is as delicious as it sounds.

Habesha Restaurant found on Google Places

Habesha Restaurant found on Google Places

Also in Denver, I needed to find some Asian foodstuffs as I had run out of seaweed and other treats. Once again a Google search did the trick. I found the largest Asian foods store in Denver. I could rival many in the NY area.

Pacific Merchantile Company

Pacific Merchantile Company

Pacific Merchantile Company's Google Place page

Pacific Merchantile Company's Google Place page

One minor but crucial search was for a Bank of America. That was a bit more challenging since the Google search did not reveal one essential factor. There are no actual branches. There are only kiosks within shopping centers or office buildings and much harder to locate.

The most significant use of our digital companions involved our fly fishing trip to Basalt in the mountains near Aspen. No search for where to go was necessary since we had found fly fish heaven the year before on the introduction to my beloved sport.

Fly Fishing in Basalt, Colorado

Frying Pan Angler is the best place to go for all your fly fishing needs.

But when I went online to review the place I go to for guides and equipment, I noticed only two reviews. One of them was less than glowing. It was listed first even though it was from 2009. That was easy enough to resolve. I added my own review(s) and made the owner of the Frying Pan Angler aware of the situation and suggested how they could easily overcome that outdated and unflattering review.

Frying Pan Angler reviewed as it should be.

Frying Pan Angler reviewed as it should be.

All told, I did manage not to read any e-mail. I had left an auto responder message saying that I had gone fishing. I did not check to see if there had been phone calls on my business number. I had given the same ‘gone fishing message’ there as well.

In conclusion, not only did I escape from my daily addiction to hours on the computer but also for a change, the digital world served me. I was not its slave.

Sources:
Google Searches
Google Maps
Google Places
Local Online Business Directories

Small Business Solutions: Sponsored Reviews

Statistic shows that the first page on Google search results brings about 40% click through rate. The sponsored links bring about 50% of the remaining clicks. It is said that most people will change their keyword search rather than go to the second page of the search results.

So, it is very important to try and rank on the first page of Google. One of the methods used to get a higher ranking is the SEO, having articles and posts posted on the internet that contain the keywords you are aiming for, to create more links and rank higher.

Since the Social Media has become a major player in influencing the ranking on Google, many have been searching for a way to increase their presence. One of the ways is to be mentioned on blogs and other social media platforms, but you can’t do it all yourself and sometimes help is available in places you haven’t thought about.

One of the newest trends are companies that will connect you with blog owners so you can pay them to write a review about your product or service, and link back to your site.

One such company is Buyblogreviews.Com which “brings advertisers and bloggers together for reviews on products and services”. They offer to connect the business owner with blog owners that specialize in that niche and get reviewed by professionals, semi-professionals and ordinary bloggers. The connection with the bloggers is done through their site and the bloggers bid for the opportunity to review the product. The site charges 30% of the deal.

Another company is Payperpost.com, which is owned by IZEA Innovation. “Think of it like eBay for sponsored blog posts” they say on their website. Advertisers offer opportunities for blog owners to connect with you, write a review and post it in their blog.

PayU2blog.com is yet another company that offers the same service. Theirs in the only site that says positive reviews are not guaranteed.

Socialspark.com offers an array of services, from connecting the advertiser with the blogger, set link the advertiser wants embedded in the post, choose which blog they want it posted on and measure the effectiveness of the campaign. They work with some Fortune 500 companies as GoDaddy.com, Overstock.com, AmericanGreetings.com and will create a whole campaign for the advertiser around the subject he want to enhance.

A new survey conducted by BlogHer and Ketchum.com found that 20% of women who used social media are motivated to try products bloggers wrote about and 53% of them have bought a product based on blog recommendation. The top three typed of products people look for personal recommendations are consumer electronics, computer hardware and software and movies. Almost half of blog readers read blogs to find new trends or ideas.

Is it legal? Yes. Is it Ethical? Yes, as long as the bloggers posts at the top of the article that this is a sponsored post and the opinions of the blogger are 100% his.

Sources:

Stik: Reviews from your social network

Making significant purchases such as new homes, insurance policies or even your well-planned retirement investments will require individuals to find professionals they can truly trust. Many unsuspecting consumers may find themselves working with unknown representatives or salespersons who may not always have the buyers best financial interest at heart.

Just as unfortunately it can often be confusing to know where to find a trustworthy partner in this important venture. Although some businesses, online or off, may proclaim their reputable characteristics, there can also be whispers about even their policies or practices being questionable. Most often, the best group to rely on are those who have already made their own investments with the help of good salespeople and had very pleasant and lucrative experiences.

Stik offers a great system for users to leave behind their own reviews for friends who they already know they can trust and rely on. Stik can help take the stress and anxiety from major purchases from the buyer side, as well as providing great feedback to professionals who deserve the recognition for delicate financial jobs well done and beneficial to the buyers.

Get Stik’D

Logging in via Facebook is likely the quickest and easiest option, though if you do not have a Facebook account for some reason, this would be a great time to get one. The integration provided by Facebook will prevent users from having to repetitively enter the same information.

Once you have signed it, Stik will give you the option to select from your Facebook friends users you would like to ask for recommendations from. Once you have sent that on you can leave recommendations of your own for those on your friends list.

Setting up your profile is as simple as entering a few descriptions of your services and allowing Facebook’s regional information to integrate itself. Once in you will be give several search options. Searching through your friends first, shared connections, the distance from your location and even through keyword relevance. Whenever you need to do a new search, click on the Stik site and select the type of business you are planning to do from the available choices:

  • Real Estate
  • Insurance
  • Mortgage
  • Finance
  • Law

Essentially, your Stik profile can help to showcase personalized recommendations or reviews that will encourage prospective customers to feel comfortable entering a business relationship with you. Since you can now display updates from your Facebook fan page on your Stik profile, you won’t have to work twice as hard to post them to both profiles. Simply visit the “Recent Activity” tab on your profile and select the link to “Display your Facebook content here” to quickly display your public posts to your Stik profile.

Stik Users

Stik’s current US traffic rank is at 3,972. User audience consist greatly of those with limited college educations as well as to women who earn over 60k per year. Most browsers view from work.

Sources:

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