The National Franchise and Business Opportunities Show

We ventured out to Arlington this weekend to exhibit at The National Franchise & Business Opportunities Show. Even though the attendance was “pedestrian” at best, I feel good about what we got out of the experience.

For starters, it was local. Anytime you don’t have to justify huge travel & lodging expenses you’re ahead of the game. On top of that, the show itself was relatively inexpensive. We gave away the usual shwag…bought a few lunches for our team…but that’s about the extent of the financial damage but companies providing payment solutions are helping many to move on.

More importantly, though, we will get a few accounts out of it. The attendance wasn’t great, but the folks we did talk to were quality. I think our biggest opportunity will come from the other exhibitors…but we’ll see.

But MOST importantly, this was a phenomenal opportunity for our new guys to apply what they’ve been learning for the past few months. There is no substitution for face-to-face interaction with clients (or prospective clients) and I was very proud of the way everyone handled themselves. I’m a lot less involved with the training of our new employees these days so I was happy to see that they’re coming along nicely. Talking about our services over and over again really seemed to build some confidence in them.

Way to go, dudes & dudettes! Who’s ready for San Jose, NYC, & Las Vegas???

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SES San Jose 2008 Discount Coupon

We haven’t mentioned much about our travel plans for this year, other than our trip to SXSW Interactive. I know we said we didn’t plan on attending the usual conferences this year, however, we are going to be exhibiting at a few. One being the Search Engine Strategies Conference in San Jose, August 18-21.

This is one of the premier SES shows due to it’s location, right down the road from Googleplex. Google has their Google Dance which is always a blast. Kind of a time when everyone puts down their guns and all hang out together for fun, food and beverages. If you haven’t been, I’d highly recommend this one. Matter of fact, we can get you 20% off of a Conference Passport (aka Platinum Passport) or a 1 day pass. If you just want to go to the expo, this coupon gets you in for free.

SES San Jose 2008 Coupon

Future conferences we’ll be attending:

  1. Dallas/Ft. Worth Franchise & Business Expo – May 16-18
  2. SES San Jose 2008 – August 18-21
  3. SMX East New York City – October 6-8
  4. Pubcon Las Vegas – November 11-14

Look for discounts to the other shows as we get them.

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SXSW Interactive Recap

The blog has been a little quite due to our trip 3 hours south to the great town of Austin for SXSW Interactive. We had a booth back in the corner where all the noise was. What does that mean? Guess you had to be there to understand, but our schwag was noisy and everyone wanted it. At one point during the last day, we walked the floor and all you could hear were these singing magnets from all corners of the room.

The conference itself was an absolute blast and we made a lot of new contacts and friends. A few of our friends in booths around us have exciting services I thought was worth mentioning.

  • SocialThing – had a booth directly in front of us with Rock Band setup. I think we spoke with most of them and they were all a very cool group of people. They even invited us to their private party at The PureVolume Ranch. When you get a chance, go check their site out as they have a really neat new social platform that centralizes all of your social accounts into one.
  • BarOptic – These guys were right next to us and were streaming the booth live with all of their fancy equipment. We had to be careful what we did out in front of the booth because no telling who was watching. BarOptic installs camera equipment in bars so they can stream live shows in their venue through the net. I think this is great because how many times do you wish you could make it to a show and not be able to? These guys make it an option to just watch it online.
  • ServerBeach – It felt like the entire company was there because of the number of employees we met, but they were all a lot of fun. While they are not our main hosting company (Alpha Omega), we do use them and they were very generous for inviting us to their private party at the Iron Cactus.

Along with our friends exhibiting, a few other mentions would be the B5 Media crew who stopped by to say hi. I was able to spend some time chatting with Darren Rowse of problogger.net and also Darcie Vany. Their whole crew rented a ranch and some were camping in tents! Also a shout to our good friend Natalie (never got the last name). She was the keeper of the bar within leaping distance. This was our first conference where they actually served beer during the conference and had happy hours that featured free beer. Natalie was a lot of fun and we seemed to run into her everywhere we went.

The whole vibe in Austin was great. Most conferences we attend, the city has no idea anything is going on. Between the Interactive, ScreenBurn, Film and Music, the city was buzzing with things to do. It was the most eclectic group of people we’ve encountered, which I really liked. It is just a shame we had to leave before the Music Festival started.

Best food we had: Iron Works Barbecue. WOW!

We plan on being there next year and we hope you will too. See our Flickr photos from the conference.

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LinkWorth Exhibiting at SXSW Interactive

SXSW InteractiveSunday, March 9th through Tuesday, March 11th, we will be exhibiting at the SXSW Interactive conference in Austin, Texas. This is our first trip to this conference, but not our first trip to Austin. We’ve heard great things about this conference and we’re really excited to have such a big conference so close to home.

For those unfamiliar with our state’s capitol, Austin is rightly named the “Live Music Capital of the World”. It is a great city with the University of Texas parked right in the middle. 6th street is lined with live music venues that will satisfy the musical taste of just about anyone looking. I think it will definitely be a fun conference to attend.

When I first heard of people in our industry going to SXSW for a conference, it was very confusing to me. Anyone that has been involved with music in some shape or form, you probably know of the annual SXSW Music Festival. I know back in my band days it was such a goal to shoot for; get an invite to play at SXSW! The festival showcases hundreds of bands throughout 68 different venues over the course of 5 days. So naturally, when I heard SXSW, I thought people were going to the music festival. Little did I know they have a conference right up our alley that precedes the music festival.

If you’re in Austin while we’re there, please stop by our booth. You can’t miss it. It’s the beautiful blue that jumps out and grabs you!

LinkWorth Booth

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Reputation Management – Network Solutions

Working with clients who need reputation management can really help open your eyes on what and what not to do. There are a lot of things that can fall into this list, but here’s a quick list of a few simple guidelines to keep your reputation in check online:

  • Answer customer support quickly, promptly and friendly. You can have a sub-par product but if you treat your customers with the respect you would expect, it will take you a long way.
  • Don’t piss off customers no matter how strongly you feel about your side. The term “Ass Kissing” should be plugged in here. Punch a hole in the wall after you kiss their ass, but make it your goal to do everything you can to make that customer happy. All it takes is one pissed off customer ripping you on a blog or site and it’s never going away.
  • Don’t engage in discussions about your company and/or product on message forums or blogs if you plan on saying something you’ll regret later. Once you publish it, it’s published and there’s no taking it back.
  • Intended or unintended deception is like digging your own grave. The worst thing a company could possibly do is deceive customers in any possible way. The feeling of “being had” is one that people like to talk about the most. Sometimes this can be an honest mistake, which is where quick and friendly customer support would fly in and handle the situation before it blows up, so keep up with what your customers are saying.

With these things in mind, let’s now take a look at what Network Solutions has been doing that is probably going to bite them in the ass. I’ve always wondered why people are still paying more than triple the price for a domain name at Network Solutions and Register.com when you can buy the same name over at Godaddy for less than $10! Evidently registrars are participating in a tactic called Front Running, which lets registrars snatch up domain names people search for making them only available through their own service and allowing them to charge higher prices.

Network Solutions has forced millions of people to buy Internet domain names from them instead of cheaper competitors through a scheme that’s netted the firm millions of dollars, a federal class action lawsuit filed today by Kabateck Brown Kellner, LLP states. ICANN, whose policies facilitate the scheme, is also named in the suit, filed in U.S. District Court, Central District of California.

 
“Imagine if you asked a car dealer if they had a black convertible and were then forced to buy the car from them. Would you get a good deal? Each time someone asks Network Solutions about a domain name, the firm creates a monopoly for itself, forcing consumers to pay the price they demand,” said Brian Kabateck, lead counsel in the class action and Kabateck Brown Kellner’s Managing Partner.

The lawsuit also targets ICANN due to them allowing it to continue. Granted, ICANN will be fine after this is all over, but Network Solutions is going to need a strong reputation management campaign once this is said and done. This example might put it into perspective; a domain portfolio of 750 names would cost $20,000 MORE using Netsol.com versus Godaddy.com. Same product, same yearly charge, just $20k more each year. Keep them for 10 years and it’ll cost you $200k more.

Let this serve as our official letter to Network Solutions. If you decide you want to start knocking down the bad sites replacing them with the good, we can help you!

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LinkWorth Participates in Local Career Fairs

The beginning of the year is always a great time to start things off right! Maybe its a few extra pounds from the holidays you need to get rid of. Or it could be you have decided to stop spending extra money here and there and begin saving for your child’s college education with the best experts at Trilogy Education Services. Moreover, it could be that you have decided you need a career change. You want to do something that makes you happy and this is the year you intend on pursuing that dream! Well, LinkWorth might actually be able to help you out.

In the next couple of months, we are going to be participating in a few local job fairs. On January 30th , LinkWorth will be at the Tarrant County College Southeast Campus. We will be there from 9-2PM. February 5th, LinkWorth will be exhibiting at University of North Texas from 10-2PM. Last but not least, February 19th, we will be over at the University of North Texas Dallas campus from 2-5PM. If you think you might be a good fit for our company and want to see what we have to offer, come stop by at one of these job fairs.

We would love to see you there!

Job Fair

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*Free admission for Entrepreneur Expo*

On Friday, February 8th, LinkWorth will be exhibiting in the Entrepreneur Expo at the Fort Worth Convention Center. It’s one of our first trade shows/expos to be involved in locally. We hope all goes well and are able to introduce LinkWorth to some local businesses around here. For any of you that live in the DFW region,(or if you simply want to fly down here for the expo and grace us with your presence) we have free admission tickets that we can give you so you don’t have to pay at the door. Email one of us or comment on the blog and we will get you taken care of.

Entrepreneur Expo logo

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LinkWorth Participates in Salvation Army Angel Tree

Angel Tree

Christmas is a time for celebrating, eating good food, opening gifts and being with the ones you love. Most would say it is the most joyous season of the year. However, others might disagree. Simply put, although some of us are fortunate enough to provide gifts for people we care about, the lady that lost her husband and is working to support her three kids making $20,000 a year is not so fortunate. To her, it is a time of struggle and a time of disappointment because she can not provide what she would like to for her children.

Fortunately, there is a program called the “Salvation Army Angel Tree” that makes it all possible for families like this. The Angel Tree was created back in 1979 by Majors Charles and Shirley White. The Whites had each child write their gift needs on Hallmark greeting cards with pictures of angels on the front and place their cards on a Christmas Tree at the local mall. The first year it was created, over 700 children received gifts and had a happier Christmas.

Since then, the Angel Trees are now located in 9 metroplex areas in shopping malls, churches, corporations and other organizations. They are now helping over 41,000 children each year to have a better Christmas. It’s a very admirable program and LinkWorth is pleased to say we were able to participate in it this year for the first time. LinkWorth, along with Easeley McCaleb, Multigraphx, Cornerstone Staffing, Minister Search, Mercy Hospice, Z Option, Pepperidge Farm, Ameriprise Financial, Roch, Paycom, Select Insurance Agency and Orbin and Cooper Wealther Management, Inc. were able to sponsor 40 children this year. It’s a great feeling to know that you are making a difference in someone’s life like that. What’s even better is that we actually were able to have the angel tree in our office and had all the angels hanging on the tree.

Tree

Once we had all of the gifts bought and bagged up, we took them down to the Salvation Army headquarters of Dallas and actually walk around the warehouse where all of the magic happens. It was quite an experience. I have never seen so many toys, clothes, etc. in my life.

bags of toys

warehouse

If you are considering a generous deed during the holidays to participate in, this is a great organization that I would highly recommend. It is a well recognized organization and the volunteer staff are very helpful. After the positive experience we had this year, I know that we will continue on with the “Salvation Army Angel Tree” for years to come.

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Pubcon Follow Up

This year’s Pubcon was unique due to it being the same week as SES Chicago. While the show was still a decent turnout, there is no doubt it was a lot smaller than it would have been had SES not scheduled a show in Chicago. Regardless of that small side note, we couldn’t have been happier with the results. We were able to see and talk to a lot of existing customers and lined up several new clients.

Much like the SES San Jose show, the link buying session grew the biggest buzz of all sessions. Unfortunately we were busy at our booth and missed the fun, but evidently the presence of someone in the crowd caused lack luster presentations and a complete fart and fall down moment.

A couple off topic trip thoughts, American Airlines absolutely sucks at ever arriving or departing on time and rolled up bath towels can make great pillows on the bathroom floor. Go Vegas!

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Stop By Our Booth At Pubcon in Vegas

LinkWorth will have a booth at the big Vegas Pubcon show next week (Dec 5th & 6th expo hall dates). Pubcon is always a great show to attend for the following reasons:

  • It’s in Vegas
  • It’s reasonably priced
  • LinkWorth will be there
  • Did I mention it’s in Vegas?
  • We’ll pay to get our logo tattoo’d on you (Ask Dave & Matt!)
  • Gambling, Live Shows, Great Hotels
  • Pubcon has a great turn out
  • And the obvious reason, VEGAS!

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10 coupons worth 25% off: “li-62825”
Unlimited 10% off coupons: “li-37610”

Obviously the 25% will be first come first serve. We hope to see everyone there. Please try to stop by and say “Hey”.

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