Networking is it right for me?

Networking, the best friend of any business, big/small/medium, we all need to do it… but which one is best for you?

We’ve all hear of BNI, the ‘figurative’ marmite of the business networking world, let’s start by speaking the truth… The rules are a killer, and you can get kicked out, in fact you don’t necessary get an automatic entry if you want to join! This is entirely true, all the stuff you’ve heard is probably true, the traffic lights, the requirements to contribution, missing meetings is a ‘no-no’… so why on earth would you dare come to a meeting?

I have to admit it, it works… I had my reservations, until I attended Steel (Middlesbrough chapter), I meet Tad Web Solutions LTD and immediately we’re working on a large project with a client, that one overs all the membership fees, so straight out of the gate I’m making money from it… I have already passed 3 or 4 opportunities to other parties in the chapter and I’m genuinely excited to see what is coming next! You have to ask yourself is it right for everyone, no… You need a lot of time, a lot of commitment and you have to treat it as role in your company. The moto/saying ‘Givers Gain’ is entirely relevant and you will reap the rewards!

I don’t want to focus on BNI, as this isn’t the reason for writing this, but more to introduce you all to Networking! Let’s talk about Choice Networking, Steve runs a more relaxed networking group! There is no membership fees and no requirement to attend frequently, if you can’t make it, then there is no punishment… its £15 a session, served with breakfast and unlimited coffee (always good for morning meetings), so far I’ve attended 3 of these and I’ve actually broken even. The main difference is the contacts I’ve made, you’ll pick up a lot more people at these events as the BNI model can be scary for a lot of companies. They are already starting to refer to me as well! They won’t stop you coming if you’re in BNI as well, so feel free to mix the two. I like Steve and the meetings, so I’m always happy to recommend these, the meeting currently take place every two weeks in the same place but you’ll find them in Darlington, Durham, Newcastle, Gateshead, Middlesbrough, so plenty to choose from!

The final networking group I want to talk about is the Mussel Club (it’s nothing to do with Fish), this is entirely free and on most Fridays across the region. You book in and turn up, there’s no structure, and you just talk to people… I’ve meet some great contacts and at these events and have built solid relationships and business deals. Here you get to meet everyone, charities, SME, Enterprise level businesses (I’ve spoken to Barclaycard at these events) and it’s free.

The key advice I can give anyone, keep going, keep talking, try not to let the repetition wear you down (and it will). The more people see you, the less you need to talk, the more people will talk for you, and you’ll start to find referrals coming in with less effort. Remember that talking to people and building trust is almost as important as the product, people tend to buy from People not companies!

If you want to know more about these networking events, get in touch with me here, or show up!

I’m on a blacklist!!! How can i get off it!

Its not the end of the world, but you have some work to do. Here’s a list of all the common ones and what to do!

  1. Phishtank – Please visit the following page: http://www.phishtank.com/contact.php and follow the instructions for reporting an incorrect phishing page.
  2. Clean-MX – Please send an email to abuse@clean-mx.de with detailes of what you have done to take care of any malware/spam issues.
  3. Malware URL – Please follow the instructions here: http://www.malware.com.br/contrib.shtml#submit
  4. SURBL – Please follow the instructions here: http://www.surbl.org/faqs#whitelist
  5. DNS Blacklist – Please read the following page: http://www.dnsbl.info/blacklist-removal.php – you will need to put in your IP address at the top of the page to see why DNSBL is blacklisting your IP. You can find your website’s ip address by following the instructions here: http://www.wikihow.com/Find-a-Website’s-IP-Address . Once you put in your IP at DNSBL – you will be able to see the specific blacklist that is marking your domain/IP as unsafe – you will then need to visit the page of the blacklist by searching for it in a search engine like Google and request a removal from the specific blacklist.
  6. Symantec – Please follow the instructions here : http://safeweb.norton.com/help/site_owners#getting_started to get started with creating an account at Norton and request a removal from the blacklist.
  7. SpamCop – To get off SpamCop’s blacklist – please ensure that your site is clean and then contact our friends who do a good job of keeping spam off the Internet via http://www.spamcop.net/fom-serve/cache/91.html
  8. Jwspamspy – Please send an email to joewein@pobox.com asking to be let off the Joe Wein blacklist.
  9. Bing/Yahoo – To request a removal from Bing’s blacklist (which is often fraught with false positives) please use the information below:
    To request a removal from Bing and Yahoo’s lists you can go here: https://support.discoverbing.com/eform.aspx?productKey=bingcontentremoval&ct=eformts&scrx=1&st=1&wfxredirect=1
    Select “My Site Has a Malware Warning” and then select the appropriate option and continue.
  10. McAfee – To request a review for removal of your website off McAfee’s Blacklist, please visit http://www.siteadvisor.com/userfeedback.html , fill in the appropriate values and click the “Send Your Feedback” button.
    It will usually take 5-7 working days to get your site off this blacklist.
  11. Google – To request a review of your site at Google, here are the instructions:
    ====
    – Log into Google Webmaster Tools (www.google.com/webmasters/)
    – Click on your site name (e.g. www.yoursite.com)
    – Click on Health in the left hand navigation
    – Click on Malware
    If your site is not already registered with Google, you will first have to register it by following the instructions below –
    You will then be giving the choice to verify your website. You can verify your website using the standard Google method or ALTERNATIVE methods. The standard method requires inserting some code into your website that Google provides. However, if you have no knowledge of how to insert code, Google provides an Alternative tab and if you click there you will find a few simple methods to verify your website that require NO knowledge of the inner workings of your website. Select which verification method you want to use and then click the “Verify” button. After you are verified which takes a few seconds, you can proceed.
    – Click on Request a Review

Good Luck

Are you looking after your email reputation?

Over the past few months I have bumped into many companies that have not been looking after their email domains. So after many an hour helping people fix this I started wondering how many of use are looking after their email domains?

Ask yourself this, are you a responsible email marketer or a spammer? You many think of yourself as the first, but many other people might see you as the second. Did you know you can test this yourself?

www.mail-tester.com

Go here and send them an email from your coporate address, did you score less than 7? 5? 3? or even 0? Don’t be surprised if you got any of these scores, in my experience its quite common! Lets explore the common factors and how to fix them.

First all make sure the mail server you’re using is configured correctly? Do you have a DMARC? Is your SPF configured correctly? Is you DKIM Signature valid?

All of these things will affect your score and could be the difference between a 6 and 10 score. If you’re asking yourself what all these things are and where to fix them, have a look at your DNS entries, all of these things are linked back to DNS.

Lets remove the acronyms for you:

  1. DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) is an important authentication mechanism to help protect both email receivers and email senders from forged and phishing email. Forged email is a serious threat to all parties in an email exchange.
  2. An SPF (Sender Policy Framework) record is a type of Domain Name Service (DNS) record that identifies which mail servers are permitted to send email on behalf of your domain. The purpose of an SPF record is to prevent spammers from sending messages with forged From addresses at your domain. Recipients can refer to the SPF record to determine whether a message purporting to be from your domain comes from an authorized mail server.
  3. DMARC, which stands for “Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance”, is an email authentication protocol. It builds on the widely deployed SPF and DKIM protocols, adding a reporting function that allows senders and receivers to improve and monitor protection of the domain from fraudulent email.

Okay that’s the technical bit, the next bit is all about how you’ve been behaving over the past, are you on Blacklists?

In this case you need to contact the blacklist companies and have them remove you, it maybe your domain or it maybe your server. If its the server contact your hosting company to get help!

I hope this has been informative, let us know if you need any help!

Solidblueliquid Technical Team