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Telemarketers in a web 2.0 world



The downside

The downside of having an internet presence with some reach is the assorted sales people and other weirdos who call or write. They mostly call because they don’t get the internet thing yet.

Yesterday as I was getting my hair cut I got to argue with someone trying to sell me some kind of SEO. (Search engine optimization) I must have been in a good mood, or maybe bored, because I actually answered the phone.

She informed me that my web site . . not sure which one she meant, think I have 6 of them now, comes up on page two of Google. I informed her that it also comes up number one on page one of Google, and probably shows up in 48,000 other places too. (I just checked and it does) She argued with me. I gave her the name of the site and the search term. She continued to argue with me. . . as if I don’t know where I stand in every search engine . .

Which search was that?

It seems that she used a search where I don’t come up number 1. I guess it would be hard to come up number one in every conceivable search term a person could use in Google to find information about St. Paul Real Estate. I get a lot of advice on which search terms I need to come up number 1 in by people who make money by selling stuff to people like me.

I get plenty of traffic on my sites, and my very best clients come to me through the long tail searches. The kind of business that I am looking for is pretty specific, it is a niche. I am happy to share blogging secrets with others except for the one thing, the keywords that drive my business. I consider that to be proprietary. The traffic that comes to me from the term “St. Paul Real Estate” is traffic, and nice to have but not the kind of traffic that drives my business. Terms like “Twin Cities” and “Minneapolis” are not needed to drive my business.

Overcoming objections

She was a well trained sales person. She went on to “overcome objections”. She asked me who does my text links. I told her that I don’t pay for any kind of links. Not something that she wanted to hear.

She went on to ask me if I get tired of doing it all myself. I told her that I don’t and that it is kind of a game. I enjoy the challenge. She went back to the notion that I come up on page two under some search that she was unable to explain to me. I told her that it really doesn’t matter to me because the people that I want to do business with are finding me.

Keep this in mind

In the end she actually hung up on me. It made me smile. When these people call there are a few things to keep in mind:
• Do they know which term will bring you business?
• Do they know which terms people use when they search for real estate services or homes for sale?
• What does being “number 1 in Google” really mean?
• How will being number one help your business?

My blog may look random, but it is not. There is a system to what I am doing and it works. The other sites get traffic from the blog or in one case I have a site that brings traffic to the blog.

She will call back when her company comes up with a script to overcome my objections to spending money on keywords that will not help my business. . . . and the irony of her using a telephone to sell internet marketing/SEO was not lost on me. . . maybe they will figure out how to come up number #1, for re-pros searching for SEO help.

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  1. Ivan |

    February 20, 2008 at 9:10 am

    Hi Teresa,

    I get the same again and again. The words period is towards Christmas when all the print sales media goes to the ‘overdrive’ mode. The SEO sales people are mostly young, and (at least in Ireland) they might know some SEO, but have not much sales experience. In our case, we are a job board – they explain the difference between the print, PPC and organic listings. And no matter how hard I try to explain them that we ONLY do SEO, they keep on selling me that same service as BETTER than what we currently do…

    There should be a SPAM button on the phone too! 🙂

    Ivan |

  2. huntsville pr

    February 20, 2008 at 9:19 am

    Good going Teresa. I get a lot of calls like that from people who have no clue as to how my business operate. I am proud of you…

  3. Benn Rosales

    February 20, 2008 at 9:43 am

    I’m imagining that she now has PTSD having experienced that call with you- let that be a lesson to them to simply ‘remove you from all of their lists.’

  4. Jay Thompson

    February 20, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    T, I get these knuckleheads calling all the time.

    “Did you know your site isn’t on Google?”

    “Really? Hell it was there this morning, wonder what happened?!?”

    I love toying with them if I have the time. Sometimes I just ask them, “What are your thoughts on internal page linking structure? Is fully meshed or hierarchical better?”

    Then I listen to the sounds of crickets chirping.

    (and no, I don’t fully understand all that fully meshed / hierarchical mumbo jumbo, but I betcha 10 to 1 I know more about it than the caller)

  5. Charleston real estate blog

    February 20, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    I had one try to convince me that ad clicks were better than organic search results.

  6. Robert D. Ashby

    February 20, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    I like Jay’s response. Toying with them could be fun, not to mention a learning experience for them.

  7. Teresa Boardman

    February 20, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    Funny . . I have said the same thing Jay says . . . “my site was number one on page one last time I checked”. They spam us too. The sad truth is many agents don’t know how to get traffic and even when they do get traffic it doesn’t generate business for them so they buy these products.

  8. Charleston real estate blog

    February 20, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    I remember in another post somewhere that someone suggested asking how much it would cost to be on page five of Google rather than page one. I bet that stopped the sales pitch cold.

  9. KC Investments

    February 20, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    “My blog may look random, but it is not. There is a system to what I am doing and it works. ”


  10. Mack in Atlanta

    February 21, 2008 at 10:19 am

    Don’t you just love the way these SEO telemarketers start the call with the questions…Would you like to do more business this year than you did last year? or Could you stand to sell another home or two each month? And then they make the statement that they can get you on the first page of all the search engines. Fortunately I don’t have time to spend with them.

  11. Shailesh Ghimire

    February 21, 2008 at 12:38 pm


    Wow. The nerve to argue. I wonder how much business I’d get if I argued with a potential client. Usually with telemarketers I speak my native language in response to their questions and while I never say anything bad, insulting or bad (I honestly reply to their questions, only in a different language). After a while they just hang up…… I do switch back to English if they say something I don’t like.. and that throws them off… kind of toying with them like Jay.

  12. Mark A.

    February 23, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    Speaking of telemarketers:

  13. John Taylor

    April 23, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    What an excellent blog, I’ve added your feed to my RSS reader. 🙂

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Tech News

How to build apps without knowing how to code (it’s actually common!)

(TECHNOLOGY) No-code app-building tools are becoming more available to the everyday user, which could lead to more inventive and original apps.



no-code website

“Learn to code” is a common, frustrating refrain often hurled at job-seekers, entrepreneurs, creative professionals, and others. Depending on who’s saying it, the intent could range from well-meaning to willfully hurtful.

It does, in a way, make sense. Computer programming is the foundational language that modern life is built on. And while many people use technology that they don’t understand every day—from microwaves to cars—there’s something a little different about programming. It’s omnipresent for just about anyone, just about everywhere, whether they use it for work or not. And more people use it for work than ever. It’s the single most sought-after skill in the job market.

But “learn to code” isn’t practical for everyone. Not everyone with an app idea has the time to learn how to build an app from scratch, or the money to hire people to do it for them. That’s where the low-code/no-code movement comes in. It’s all about giving the people the tools they need to execute on an idea without having to learn an entire new skill set. When you bake a cake, you probably don’t grind wheat into flour, and when you build an app, you don’t have to start with Python.

No-code isn’t really a new idea.

The fact that computers have menus and icons is the result of early programmers realizing that non-programmers would have to use a computer sometimes. You could look to tools like RPG Maker that let people build their own video games back in 1992. RPG Maker was like a Lego kit for making a video game. And not only is it still going strong, it proved itself prophetic. It turns out that giving people tools and a sand box is a great way to enable creativity.

This has been the long arc of the Internet, too. There was a time when participating in the World Wide Web in a meaningful way meant learning to program. Places like Geocities gave you real estate to set up a website. But you had to build that site yourself. We’ve moved away from that as the Internet commodified. Sites like Facebook and Twitter remove customization in the name of uniformity.

But creative tools persist. Consider “WYSIWYG,” or “What You See Is What You Get” web editors. These are tools like WordPress that reclaimed some of that Internet customization. They give you assets to build a website, and you plug them in where you want.

It’s a middle ground between building from scratch, and having everything handed to you. It’s the sweet spot of accessible creativity. (If you’ve never heard anyone say “WYSIWYG,” that’s probably because these web development tools are so common that they don’t really need a special name anymore.)

Right now, one of the biggest areas of no-code design is in app development. These app dev tools are similar to building a WordPress site. They give you the raw materials, and you customize and assemble them however you want to. Adalo, a no-code platform for building apps, lets your bring assets and ideas to the table, and gives you a framework to organize those ideas into an app.

They aren’t alone. AppOnboard, a no-code software development suite, purchased Buildbox, a leading no-code game development platform. Their combined resources represent a stunning library of assets, full of potential.

What does this mean for coders? Probably not much. Specialized skills are still in high demand. But for the rest of us, a slow democratization of development is taking place, and it’s exciting to watch it take shape.

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Business News

Ageism: How to properly combat this discrimination in the workplace

(BUSINESS) Ageism is still being fought by many companies, how can this new issue be resolved before it becomes more of a problem?



Ageism void

Workers over the age of 55 represent the fasting growing sector in labor. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that 25% of the labor force will be over age 55 by 2024. A 2018 AARP survey found that over 60% of the respondents reported age discrimination in their workplace. The figure is even higher among older women, minorities, and unemployed seniors. Age discrimination is a problem for many.

Unfortunately, age discrimination lawsuits aren’t uncommon. We have covered cases for Jewel Food Stores, Inc., Novo Nordisk, Inc., AT&T, and iTutorGroup, all alleging age or disability discrimination in some form or fashion. This could be from using vocabulary such as “tenured,” hiring a younger employee instead of promoting a well-season veteran, or pressuring older employees with extra responsibilities in order to get them to resign or retire early.

How can your organization create an age-inclusive workforce?

It is difficult to prove age discrimination but fighting a lawsuit against it could be expensive. Rather than worrying about getting sued for age discrimination, consider your own business and whether your culture creates a workplace that welcomes older workers.

  1. Check your job descriptions and hiring practices to eliminate graduation dates and birthdates. Focus on worker’s skills, not youthful attributes, such as “fresh graduate” or “digital native.” Feature workers of all ages in your branding and marketing.
  2. Include age diversity training for your managers and employees, especially those that hire or work in recruiting.
  3. Support legislative reforms that protect older workers. Use your experience to create content for your website.

Changing the culture of your workplace to include older workers will benefit you in many ways. Older workers bring experience and ideas to the table that younger employees don’t have. Having mixed-age teams encourages creativity. There are many ways to support older workers and to be inclusive in your workplace.

What steps are you taking in your organization to reduce ageism in your workplace?

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Opinion Editorials

Strong leaders can use times of crises to improve their company’s future

(EDITORIAL) In the COVID-19 crisis, some leaders fumbled through it, while others quietly safeguarded their company’s future.



strong leaders

Anthony J. Algmin is the Founder and CEO of Algmin Data Leadership, a company helping business and technology leaders transform their future with data, and author of a new book on data leadership. We asked for his insights on how strong leaders can see their teams, their companies, and their people through this global pandemic (and other crises in the future). The following are his own words:

Managers sometimes forget that the people we lead have lives outside of the office. This is true always but is amplified when a crisis occurs. We need to remember that our job is to serve their teams, to help them be as aligned and productive as possible in the short and long terms.

Crises are exactly when we need to think about what they might be going through, and realize that the partnership we have with our employees is more than a transaction. If we’ve ever asked our people to make sacrifices, like working over a weekend without extra pay, we should be thinking first about how we can support them through the tough times. When we do right by people when they really need it, they will run through walls again for our organizations when things return to normal.

Let them know it’s okay to breathe and talk about it. In a situation like COVID-19 where everything was disrupted and people are adjusting to things like working from home, it is naturally going to be difficult and frustrating.

The best advice is to encourage people to turn off the TV and stop frequently checking the news websites. As fast as news is happening, it will not make a difference in what we can control ourselves. Right now most of us know what our day will look like, and nothing that comes out in the news is going to materially change it. If we avoid the noisy inputs, we’ll be much better able to focus and get our brains to stop spinning on things we can’t control.

And this may be the only time I would advocate for more meetings. If you don’t have at least a daily standup with your team, you should. And encourage everyone to have a video-enabled setup if at all possible. We may not be able to be in the same room, but the sense of engagement with video is much greater than audio-only calls.

We also risk spiraling if we think too much about how our companies are struggling, or if our teams cannot achieve what our organizations need to be successful. It’s like the difference in sports between practice and the big game. Normal times are when leaders game plan, strategize, and work on our fundamentals. Crises are the time to focus and leave it all on the field.

That said, do not fail to observe and note what works well and where you struggle. If you had problems with data quality or inefficient processes before the crisis, you are not fixing them now. Pull out the duct tape and find a way through it. But later, when the crisis subsides, learn from the experience and get better for next time.

Find a hobby. Anything you can do to clear your head and separate work from the other considerations in your life. We may feel like the weight of the world is on our shoulders, and without a pressure release we will not be able to sustain this level of stress and remain as productive as our teams, businesses, and families need us.

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