Tag Archives: Paypal

Capture the Mindshare and the Market Share Will Follow

capture the mindshare final jacket(9)Seven “Mindshare Methods” to Maximum Brand Loyalty

by Libby Gill

ISBN 978-1-137-7851-7



To create a compelling brand, you have to capture more than just the market share, you have to capture the mindshare – that is, the heads, hearts, souls and unimpeachable trust of your customers. That’s what leads to long-term brand loyalty.

The Seven Mindshare Methods she cites are:

Clarify Your Customer Benefits: When describing your brand, be sure to focus on your customer benefits, not just your products or services. Use clear and compelling language and lead with your customers’ best interests, not your pedigree or technical specs. Remember, it’s what you can do for them and not vice versa.

Commit to Providing Exceptional Value: Confirm your commitment to value and customer success. Keep the big picture top-of-mind, but remember that every action you take on behalf of your client, no matter how seemingly insignificant, is an opportunity to provide additional value to enhance their overall experience. Blow their minds and they’ll keep coming back for more.

Connect at Every Possible Touch-point: It can take a dozen or more interactions – including emails, phone calls, newsletters or in-person meetings – before you begin to build a relationship with a prospect. If you think of this relationship-building process as a series of connective touch-points, you begin to see all the opportunities you have to deepen the relationship. Review and redesign your customer touch-points to make every interaction count.

Communicate with Total Confidence: Prepare, practice, and participate! Studies show that people who are extroverted, confident, or even assertive in the workplace have a competitive advantage over their more introverted peers (even when those peers are more talented). Come to meetings armed with critical information, industry updates, news headlines, and even sports scores so you can participate effectively. Sit in the front, dress appropriately, act as though you are worthy of attention – without being obnoxious – and you’ll get it.

Collaborate Openly with Clients and Colleagues: Information is the organizational life-blood on which decisions are made in every business. Except for confidential or proprietary data that can’t be shared, pass information readily both up and down the pipeline that can help others make timely decisions.  This doesn’t just mean sharing the facts, but also the nuances or “emotional truths” that you encounter

Compete with the Invisible Competition: Recognize, research, and analyze your competition so you can consistently outperform them. Go beyond the obvious direct competition – that is, companies whose offerings fill a similar need as yours. Identify the indirect competition, that is, anything that disrupts the buying process, like new technologies. But pay special attention to the invisible competition, including new challengers, competitive alliances, and even customer fear or inertia.


Contribute to the Community: Get involved in your community and actively support social causes that make sense for your business. Choose one or more charities that complement your brand. Contribute substantially and meaningfully with money, time and people. Donate products, pro-bono services, or other institutional or technological capabilities. Engage your management, staff, and employees to authentically support the goals and objectives of your chosen charitable organization.


About Libby Gill

libbyAn internationally recognized executive coach and branding expert with over 20 years of industry experience, Libby is the former head of communications and PR for Sony, Universal, and Turner Broadcasting. She is known as the “branding brain” behind the launch of the Dr. Phil Show. Her clients include ABC-Disney, Nike, PayPal, Warner Brothers, Wells Fargo, and many others.


Libby’s previous books include Traveling Hopefully: How to Lose Your Family Baggage and Jumpstart Your Life and award-winning You Unstuck: Mastering the New Rules of Risk-taking in Work and Life, which has been endorsed by business leaders including CEO Tony Hsieh and Dr. Ken Blanchard. A graduate of California State University at Long Beach with a degree in theatre, Libby has been a college instructor, a columnist for the Dallas Morning News, and a soap opera actress. She lives in Los Angeles, California and is the proud mother of two sons.


Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Varied And Virulent Breeds Of Hacker

hackersWhat is the one currency that is never devalued, destabilized, or inflated? Not gold, silver, or diamonds. Here’s a hint, although it may manifest itself on a computer screen or in a hard drive it is not even physical. In the modern world where everyone from the NSA to Edward Snowden to the crown prince of Nigeria wants to steal your data, it’s become obvious that information is the currency of the future. Sure, you can’t buy a big gulp by teaching the cashier at 7-Eleven how to solve a math problem, but anyone with a business can tell you that knowledge and data are the economic drivers of today and tomorrow.

Firewall? Please.

With knowledge commanding such a premium these days, it’s no wonder people are after it. The interconnectedness of our world just makes it tougher to hide the things that need hidden. The term hacker is certainly a loaded word, but the truth is all hackers aren’t third-world scam artists or guys living in their mom’s basement. Generally, a hacker is someone who tries to exploit weaknesses in a computer system. Accordingly, hackers are classified based on their motivations for exploiting those weaknesses. Let’s take a look at the types of hackers so you know what you’re up against.

Black Hat

If you’ve ever downloaded an attachment you shouldn’t have or replied to that lonely young woman in Russia, you are probably familiar with the concept of black hat hackers. In short, black hat hackers exploit weaknesses for personal gain regardless of laws or morals. Their techniques range from the usual stealing of credit card information to holding entire websites hostage until a hefty ransom is paid.

White Hat

White hat hackers are a lot like the white witch from The Wizard of oz. Except no one gets crushed by a house. White hat hackers usually contract with companies to expose and fix security threats before the black hats get to them. Many white hat hackers are even certified through the International Council of Electronic Commerce Consultants to prove they won’t steal your data.

Grey Hat

As you have no doubt guessed, grey hat hackers lie somewhere in the middle of the black and white hats. Grey hats usually hack into computer networks, then notify the administrator of the breach and offer to repair it for a small fee. Call it aggressive advertising or ransom, but it works.

Blue Hat

A blue hat hacker is broad term covering anyone outside a consulting firm who bug tests a system before it is launched. Blue hats are usually contracted by a company in addition to a standard security firm as an extra measure of safety. Microsoft actually hosts an annual Blue Hat Conference in which hackers and Microsoft’s developers exchange information and occasionally scream at one another.

Script Kiddie

Script kiddie (also known as “skiddie”) is actually something of an insult in the hacking world. Script kiddies are non-experts who use pre-packaged viruses that they downloaded (probably giving them a virus or six) from some sketchy website. While most legitimate hackers have a profound understanding of computers and programing, a skiddie is usually someone’s pale little brother with little to no knowledge of the concepts behind hacking. That’s not to say that they can’t completely wreck your computer system.


While all of the aforementioned types of hackers hack for personal gain, hacktivists are slightly nobler in their intentions. If black hat hackers are sneaky thieves, hacktivists are a loud and rowdy group of protesters. They use technology to get noticed and spread some sort of political, religious, or ideological message. You are probably familiar with the group “Anonymous” that has launched massive DDOS attacks against everyone from PayPal to North Korea. Anonymous is a great example of a group of hacktivists. They have used hacks to spread an ideological message.

Nation States

That’s right. Hackers aren’t all just unaffiliated loners drinking mountain dew and stealing your identity. Many states, including the good ‘ol US of A run hacking programs. In fact, the US recently claimed responsibility for a virus that attacked centrifuges in Iran, setting their nuclear program back by years.

Friend or Foe

Sun Tzu, author of The Art of War, famously said “Know your enemy.” Not all hackers are your enemies, but it does help to know them. Unless you are a multinational corporation, odds are low that you will come in contact with the many varieties of hackers. All the same, be aware and use caution. Consider how valuable your data is and think about implementing some extra security measures. Sure, having a firewall might sound cool, but it can be broken by an experienced hacker in a matter of seconds.

Featured images:
  •  License: Image author owned

The author of this article is Dylan Jones. If you enjoyed this piece you can follow me on Twitter @JakabokBotch. When I’m not writing about hackers and their colorful hats, I’m usually analyzing the best risk mitigation assessment companies I can find.


Tags: , , , , , , ,

PayPal’s Worst PR Decisions



PayPal is almost synonymous with online buying and selling, being used to pay for everything from online subscriptions to artwork to Ford Mustang parts, including classic Mustang parts. Of course, being a market leader means that you are under somewhat of a microscope, and PayPal certainly doesn’t always make the best PR decisions. Check out these biggest PR disasters that PayPal has had to live with.

Ordering an Antique Violin to Be Smashed to Pieces

One of the conditions of using PayPal is that you cannot use it to receive payment for counterfeit goods and if you do, the payment will be refunded once the buyer destroys the counterfeit item. Unfortunately for one seller, this simple-seeming condition gets a little more complicated when it comes to musical instruments.

Verifying the authenticity of musical instruments is quite complicated, and the buyer filed a dispute with PayPal. Instead of giving the seller a chance to take back her antique violin, they ordered the buyer to smash it to pieces, and reversed the payment.

In the world of music, instruments, especially older instruments, are almost sacred, and the treatment of this seller and her instrument caused a real storm. It’s likely that much fewer musicians will be using PayPal for such sales in the future!

Stopping Regretsy from Raising Money for Sick Kids

With Paypal accounts so ubiquitous and an easy-to integrate ‘Donate’ button available, it’s only natural to consider using PayPal to raise money for worthy causes. In fact ‘worthy causes’ are precisely what this button is for.

So, the Regretsy website community used the button to raise money to buy Christmas 2011 presents for sick children. Imagine the surprise when Regretsy’s fundraising account was frozen, along with the site-runners own personal account.

While essentially stealing toys from sick kids is bad enough, this is not the end of the PR disaster. After all, some publicity nous could have had it resolved quite quickly. Sadly, this is not what happened. Emails flew back and forth between Regretsy and PayPal, and the site owner was informed that while using the button would be okay if she had a sick cat, helping poor people was not allowed. PR disaster!

The issue was finally solved, but PayPal still has yet to apologize, simply hiding behind their privacy policy to avoid discussing it.

The PR problems that PayPal has are quite obviously due to the difficulty of coming up with one-size-fits-all policies. However, this shouldn’t be an excuse and should serve as an important lesson for anyone who runs an online business. The online world allows one complaint to snowball into a cavalcade of bad publicity, so make sure to start off on the right foot!

Post by guest blogger James, a writer who enjoys blogging about technology from online payment systems to CJ Pony Ford Mustang parts.


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Tropical Traditions: Now that’s Customer Service

I recently ordered some coconut oil (great for your health BTW) from a company online. They advertised free shipping, and I was looking for the usual caveats, like you have to buy $125 worth of stuff, but there were none.  The only problem I had was that I couldn’t find out where to enter the discount code to get the free shipping.  Expecting to be blown off, I contacted customer service anyway.  Boy was I (pleasantly) surprised.

This is about the quickest, best, simple response string I have ever received from a supplier.

For those of you who might not be used to reading email strings upside down, I have taken the liberty of re-ordering it so it reads like a book:


Customer             Order number: 745836


I see FREE SHIPPING all over your site, but there was no place to enter the discount code and the cheapest shipping option was $6.94.  What did I miss?

Stephen Ulrich


Hi Stephen,

Thank you for writing Tropical Traditions. The free shipping coupon can be added to the cart where it states: Enter Coupon or Gift Certificate Code here:  We will gladly assist you in placing an order over the phone by calling our toll free # 1-866-311-2626 ext. 2 and a representative will be happy to assist you.  If we are busy helping other customers, please leave a voice message with your name, phone number and a convenient time to reach you, and we will return your call.

Warm regards

Tropical Traditions Customer Service




I looked for a place to enter the code, but couldn’t find it.  Could you please enter it for me?  The order has already been placed.


To: Steve Ulrich
Subject: Re: RE: [MailID: 319170] Questions about your order

Hi Steve,

A credit request of $6.94 was submitted today.  The credit will be applied back to your PayPal account that was used to purchase order 745836.  It may take your bank 2 to 5 days to post the monies to your account. 


Customer service is very important to us. We look forward to serving you again as the need arises!

Tropical Traditions Customer Service


Become a Tropical Traditions Fan on Facebook or Tweet with us on Twitter




Tags: , , , ,

Protecting Your Personal Details Online


When it comes to internet safety protecting your personal details is of paramount importance. Online crime is escalating at a rapid rate thanks to our increased dependence on the internet for shopping, personal finances and entertainment. More and more of us are conducting the majority of our shopping and personal finances online; partly for ease of use and partly because of the huge cost reductions the online world facilitates. However our personal details can often become targeted by less scrupulous individuals so we need to exercise caution when we browse and buy online. With that in mind we’ve put together a quick guide to protecting your personal details online.

Your computer
Your computer is one of the easiest targets for people to steal confidential information – if you leave it unprotected that is. If you don’t run home security software then your computer is incredibly vulnerable to attacks; both to steal your personal details and to damage the computer itself. Use reputable software and make sure that it has the following features: Online support, regular updates, virus scanner, virus removal, quarantine function, remote access blockers and software updater’s. These are essential e-safety features and you shouldn’t be without them. Finally make sure your browser is up to date and that you password protect any files you do not want falling into a third parties hands. This will create an additional layer of defence.

Browsing safely is key to keeping your personal details safe. Stay away from any site that feels at all dodgy and you should be kept relatively safe. If you search through one of the established search engines (Google, Bing, etc.) then you should mainly find reputable sites. Be wary of clicking on links and advertisements from other sites though as there I no guarantee that these will send you to a reputable retailer – even if the site you started on is itself reputable. Always avoid downloading from or inputting your personal details on any site that you do not recognise and/or trust.

Shopping online is incredibly rewarding and we wouldn’t want to discourage you from it. However you need to make sure that the company you are dealing with are doing everything they can to secure your personal information. Initially you should take the time to read their privacy policy and terms and conditions of use as this will give you a good idea of what security measures they take. Then when it comes to actually making a purchase you should be careful to check that a padlock symbol appears in your address bar and that the URL begins https:// as this means your personal information is being encrypted. Always be wary of sites that have offers that seem too good to be true as these often will be scams that will charge you repeatedly on your credit card. If you can try and use alternative payment methods such as PayPal as these provide additional security and recourse should you suffer at the hands of an unscrupulous vendor.

Personal finances
Many of us now use the internet for a variety of personal finance tasks such as online banking, policy renewals, vat returns etc. These systems are usually fairly secure but you still need to make sure that you are doing your utmost to protect your personal details. Your computer security is the first step but you also want to ensure that you are choosing strong passwords and that every account you use has a separate password. A password should be a string of seemingly random letters and numbers with capitals and lower case letters mixed in to ensure that it is as hard as possible to crack. Change your passwords regularly and make sure that you use different passwords for all your needs. Finally, if you are using your computer for personal finance documents it is a good idea to store them on a separate USB so that they are not constantly attached to your computer.

Jane writes about various internet safety topics for both children and parents. If you are interested in more information on this topic please see the Vodafone internet safety guide which provides a wealth of information and support.


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Ways to Save Money When Starting a Small Business

When you’re starting a business, you try your best to keep costs down, including and especially your start-up expenses. If you can, you use space, supplies and assets you already own, and when looking for software, you look for the lowest-priced items that you need. For some of those items, you can find many basic tools for free if you know where to look, and free always fits the budget!

Office Documents

If you can’t afford the exorbitant price of Microsoft’s popular Office 2010 or any other yearly version, but you really need a word processor, a spreadsheet and other common document tools, fear not: You can download a free, open-source program called Open Office.

Open Office provides all the tools the Microsoft product does. Your default file extension is .odt, but you can save in Microsoft-compatible formats and a rich text format as well. Open Office even lets you export your document into .pdf format that allows you to secure the information, allow or prevent others to change the document, allow or prevent printing or copying. You can even require a separate password to open the .pdf.

Invoices, Quotes, Receipts

One of the easiest programs you can find is free for a business of less than five employees. You work within various templates to customize your invoices, quotes and receipts. Your invoices can even include a remittance slip if you’d like.

You can email or fax the invoice directly from the program, save drafts until itemization is complete, sort clients and maintain separation, apply payments and even export into .pdf format for your files or to send as email attachments.

The program is Express Invoice Invoicing Software by NCH Software. The Express version includes almost all the features the paid-version possesses, and again, it’s free. As you expand, you can purchase the full version for extra bells and whistles, but for a small business with one person, you get the records, invoicing and a good selection of additional tracking tools in Express Invoice.

Why the employee limit? Express Invoice can also act as a check-in/check-out clock for up to five people, allowing for hours and wage tracking and payment.

Maintain your invoice and payment records online or locally in the downloaded program files. Full adaptability allows multiple choices all down the line.

File Storage

Keep electronic files not only locally but secured online in free online storage sites. In case of catastrophic failure, don’t rely on just your back-up procedures to recover most of the data: Your computer could be hacked or a trojan infest the back-up. And those possibilities don’t approach physical theft or damage of the actual equipment.

There are several excellent, highly secure free storage sites on the Internet from which to choose. Look carefully at the Terms of Service and the security guarantees. Play it doubly safe and store your files on different sites—just in case.


Know what you can and cannot note as a business expense. You may not get 100 percent of the cost allowed, but even 50 percent that qualifies as a tax deduction will certainly help: Consult a tax advisor or the IRS to make sure you’re not expecting a tax credit for non-deductible expenses or percentages.

Make sure you check back each January, for tax laws change, and don’t forget state tax exemptions and deductions. Often states have different standards and restrictions than the federal tax code allows.

Keep all your receipts! Scan all of them to duplicate your records between hard copies and electronic copies. Scanning them into electronic format is especially important with many register receipts: The ink fades after a short time, and if you can’t read it, you can’t claim it.


Save as much as you can as often as you can and in as many ways as you can. Save money, save data and save energy and worry. Good luck!

This post was contributed by John Walker (visit his site here).  John lives in London, UK where he works as a financial analyst.


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Assuming Goodwill

by Seth Godin

Productivity comes from interactivity and the exchange of ideas and talents.

People are happiest when they’re encouraged and trusted.

An airport functions far better when we don’t strip search passengers. Tiffany’s may post guards at the door, but the salespeople are happy to let you hold priceless jewels. Art museums let you stand close enough to paintings to see them. Restaurants don’t charge you until after you eat.

Compare this environment of trust with the world that Paypal has to live in. Every day, thousands of mobsters in various parts of the world sit down intent on scamming the company out of millions of dollars. If the site makes one mistake, permits just one security hole to linger, they’re going to be taken for a fortune. As a result, the company isn’t just paranoid–they know that people really are out to get them.

This is the fork in the road that just about all of us face, whether as individuals or organizations. We have to make an assumption about whether people are going to steal our ideas, break their promises, void their contracts and steal from us, or perhaps, that people are basically honest, trustworthy and generous. It’s very hard to have both postures simultaneously. I have no idea how those pistol-packing guys in the movies ever get a good night’s sleep.

In just about every industry (except electronic money transfer, apparently), assuming goodwill is not only more productive, it’s also likely to be an accurate forecast.

Trust pays.


Tags: , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: