Unfortunately a lot of small local businesses are suffering due to the internet revolution.
This is due to the huge volume of consumers, who are turning to their various online devices; before making decisions concerning purchases of products and services.
As a web developer I am aware of the problems facing both consumers and businesses, when dealing with the internet.
Most small businesses today realize that they need an internet presence, to remain competitive. What most small business owners don’t realize is what having an “internet” presence entails.
More importantly, most small business owners are not even aware of the underhanded tactics, used by their competitors, to ruin their reputations online.
Let me relate a true example without naming names.
A local business owner who has been operating in our area for over twenty years, with a really good, word of mouth reputation, was approached by an Online Yellow Pages representative, to place an advert. The business owner agreed and subscribed for $2000 per year. Subsequently a few months after the advert was placed he did a search online for his business name; expecting to find the yellow pages advert. Instead the top search result was a very damming and false review on the yelp.com site. As the business owner had not made a listing on the Yelp directory he got in touch with Yelp and asked them how come his business was listed there and requested the listing to be removed. Yelp informed the business owner that if the business was listed in the yellow pages anybody could create a listing of that business on Yelp. They also refused to remove the listing and the damming review, stating that they were the bastion for free speech on the internet.
The business owner told me the story when I visited his shop and he was visibly very upset. I decided to visit the yelp site and put up a decent review, as did five other people. All our reviews are hidden with a link under the bad review that reads; “6 other reviews that are not currently recommended “
In other words this business owner paid $2000 to promote his business with Online Yellow Pages and ended up with the worst type of exposure.
You can also get bad reviews on “Google My Business Listing” created by your opposition. Remedies are not as simple as you may think. For solutions there is an excellent article on Moz on how to Delete Google My Business Listings
Billion Dollar Bully is an investigative documentary that examines allegations against Yelp regarding extortion, review manipulation, and review fabrication.
Another trap for small business owners concerns the creation of websites for their business.
It is relatively easy to convince a business owner to have a website built for around $1200 and I firmly believe that a good website is a great asset for any business. However, business owners are rarely informed by website developers of the ongoing maintenance, content management, email, customer support and promotional costs involved. A really nice website is of very little use to your business if it is not highly visible in search results. This means that your website has to be “Search Engine Optimized” commonly known as “SEO”. Unless you, or one of your employees has SEO skills the costs to optimize your site are ongoing and can be prohibitive.
Then there is Facebook, linkedin, Twitter, Piterest, Google+ and YouTube. All these sites are major players for getting your business exposed online. However they all have a major drawback for local businesses – “getting lost in the crowd”.
For instance if you do a search on Google for “holiday fun activities 4221” the top result is for Mikode.net [see image below] Facebook isn’t on the first page even though there is a facebook page dedicated to the topic from the Pines Shopping Center .
If you did a search for “Pines Shopping Center” then the Facebook page would be the top result.
So the point I’m trying to make here is that “Brand Names” promoted on sites like Facebook will usually top the search results. However meaningful search terms combined with localities will bring you to Mikode.net.
Let me give you an example of “meaningful search terms” and how useful this is for a local business.
Imagine you live in Sydney NSW and have booked a holiday in the 4221 area of the Gold Coast in QLD., for your kids school holidays. You decide to do a search online for some fun activities to entertain your kids during the holiday.
You are not going to do a search for “The Pines Shopping Centre” because you don’t even know it exists. Naturally you would do a search for something like “holiday fun activities 4221” or “holiday fun activities in Elanora QLD” [most people add the post code to define a locality when searching online nowadays, because it’s shorter].
Even though the Pines Shopping Centre isn’t mentioned in the description of the Mikode link in the image above; that page leads to an article about the Pines Shopping Centre and the school holiday fun activities they provide. Therefore the businesses in the Pines Shopping Centre in Elanora got more exposure through Mikode.net than from their Facebook page.
Please don’t misunderstand me here, I’m not saying you should not use Facebook or the other sites mentioned above, they can help you a lot, used the right way in combination with Mikode.net community networks, ensuring you don’t get lost in the crowd.
Here is another example you can check out for yourself.
If you do a search on Google for oils aint oils 4221 you will note that there are over 2 billion results for that search term.
Mikode.net holds the first 13 positions for that term. In other words the whole first page and the three top results on the second page of Google’s search results. This should demonstrate to any savvy local business owner the huge benefits of joining the local community network at Mikode.net.
The Mikode community network takes care of the ongoing maintenance, content management, email, customer support, hosting and promotional costs whilst giving the local business owner the opportunity for maximum online exposure.
The monthly $5 fee for membership
stops anonymous spam commenting and reviewing on the site. Unlike the situation described above with Yelp, people who make false statements and attempt to ruin deserved good reputations can be held accountable.
The fee also stops businesses hiring someone to open multiple fictitious accounts for the purpose of giving hundreds of glowing reviews, designed to mislead consumers.
Most consumers aren’t aware that “Facebook Likes”, and reviews on a plethora of online free sites can be bought from outsource sites such as fiverr.com here are some examples and see video further down the page;
The people advertising to do these jobs for $5 are using robots to do this work.
The fee at Mikode stops these false accounts from being created by robots.
Also all comments at Mikode are manually moderated. All utilities can be set to private or public.
We take the security of our members seriously. Mikode.net is hosted on a secure dedicated server.
This website stores passwords with a One-way Encrypted Hash, using only a “hashed” version of your password for future comparison. This means that your plain text password is not stored anywhere, and therefore cannot be stolen and/or shared through this website. Only an encrypted “hash” is known, with no way to decode the actual value of the password itself (e.g. a One-way Encrypted Hash). This One-way Encrypted Hash allows the site to verify a cryptographic hash algorithm, and if the hash value generated from your entry ( during an attempt to log in ) matches the One-way Encrypted Hash stored in the password database, you are permitted access. The One-way Encrypted Hash value is created by applying a hash function (using cryptographic methodologies) to a string consisting of the submitted password, and another value known as a Salt. The Salt is unique to this site, and it prevents attackers from easily building a list of One-way Encrypted Hash values for common passwords.
The Mikode Community Network brings together the local business and the local consumers in a safe environment. Where relationships can be formed via groups, forums, wall postings and community notice boards.
Forming genuine relationships with local consumers on Mikode is very different from the many fake account functions on Facebook [see the video below].
Get A local community site set up for Your local community on Mikode
If your local community site is not already set up within the Mikode network make an application to have one built for your local community – Mikode will build manage and host your local community site for free.
We have instructions on how to use the many utilities on this site at the FAQ’s if you have questions not answered in the FAQ’s use the comments section below or our Support Desk.
If you have a business website and are targeting local customers check out this good article about Local SEO