Disabling Boxtrapper: Part Deux

Posted by: Admin  :  Category: Web Hosting

Linux Cpanel shared hosting: 600 GB disk space, 6 TB bandwidth, free domain, unlimited databases and ftp accounts, web hosting cheap and pro at Hostony

Hello everyone!

Back in October of 2012 we let you know that we were disabling Boxtrapper due to its poor design, and the fact that it can make spamming worse in some cases rather than help put a stop to it.

Boxtrapper is a challenge-response mechanism to help control what email reaches your inbox. If you are not currently using Boxtrapper, you won’t be affected by the changes mentioned in this email.

Boxtrapper is a nice idea, but its implementation is not ideal in the real world, and it can be detrimental in shared hosting. This is because the challenge notifications can actually be used as backscatter spam. Backscatter leads to servers getting blacklisted, which is harmful for all customers on the server and prevents email you send from getting to the intended destination.

Recently, it’s come to our attention that, while Boxtrapper wasn’t available in SiteAdmin, it was still enabled on our servers. This means that clients that previously had it enabled were still able to utilize the Boxtrapper functionality on their sites.

Linux Cpanel shared hosting: 600 GB disk space, 6 TB bandwidth, free domain, unlimited databases and ftp accounts, web hosting cheap and pro at Hostony

Since we’ve identified and resolved the source of the issue we are planning on disabling Boxtrapper on any accounts that currently have the Boxtrapper feature enabled on their accounts across our fleet. This should have no impact on your existing emails, email accounts, or your ability to send and receive email. It requires no changes on your end. We’ll only be disabling the Boxtrapper feature, specifically.

Previously, less than 1% of our overall customer base made use of Boxtrapper. That remains true today, so we expect very few of our users to be affected by this change. However, if you do happen to be someone that utilizes Boxtrapper, please accept our apologies in advance for any inconvenience this may have caused. As mentioned before, Boxtrapper’s backscatter has been a leading cause of getting our shared servers blacklisted.

As always, should you have any questions or concerns about this change please don’t hesitate to contact our support!

The post Disabling Boxtrapper: Part Deux appeared first on Site5 Blog – Web Hosting Built For Designers & Developers + Their Clients.

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Linux Cpanel shared hosting: 600 GB disk space, 6 TB bandwidth, free domain, unlimited databases and ftp accounts, web hosting cheap and pro at Hostony

Disabling Boxtrapper: Part Deux

Posted by: Admin  :  Category: Web Hosting

Hello everyone!

Back in October of 2012 we let you know that we were disabling Boxtrapper due to its poor design, and the fact that it can make spamming worse in some cases rather than help put a stop to it.

Boxtrapper is a challenge-response mechanism to help control what email reaches your inbox. If you are not currently using Boxtrapper, you won’t be affected by the changes mentioned in this email.

Boxtrapper is a nice idea, but its implementation is not ideal in the real world, and it can be detrimental in shared hosting. This is because the challenge notifications can actually be used as backscatter spam. Backscatter leads to servers getting blacklisted, which is harmful for all customers on the server and prevents email you send from getting to the intended destination.

Recently, it’s come to our attention that, while Boxtrapper wasn’t available in SiteAdmin, it was still enabled on our servers. This means that clients that previously had it enabled were still able to utilize the Boxtrapper functionality on their sites.

Since we’ve identified and resolved the source of the issue we are planning on disabling Boxtrapper on any accounts that currently have the Boxtrapper feature enabled on their accounts across our fleet. This should have no impact on your existing emails, email accounts, or your ability to send and receive email. It requires no changes on your end. We’ll only be disabling the Boxtrapper feature, specifically.

Previously, less than 1% of our overall customer base made use of Boxtrapper. That remains true today, so we expect very few of our users to be affected by this change. However, if you do happen to be someone that utilizes Boxtrapper, please accept our apologies in advance for any inconvenience this may have caused. As mentioned before, Boxtrapper’s backscatter has been a leading cause of getting our shared servers blacklisted.

As always, should you have any questions or concerns about this change please don’t hesitate to contact our support!

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SharePoint 2013 Hosting Tips – How to Choose the Right Web Part for SharePoint 2013

Posted by: Admin  :  Category: Web Hosting

The SharePoint 2013 gallery contains more than 80 Web Parts, as well as List View Web Parts created for any Library or List-based apps that you've made. In addition, your company may create custom Web Parts or purchase them from third-party vendors.
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Email Marketing Tips — Part 3: What Will People Actually Read?

Posted by: Admin  :  Category: Web Hosting

In this series of articles, we’ll explore the best tips to run successful email marketing tips. Email marketing, despite all the options available in an evolving digital world, is still the most personal and effective way to market services… if it’s done right.

In the first article in this series, we looked at list building. Without it, you can have the greatest content in the world but no one to read it. In the last article, we outlined creating great content to get people to expect and open your emails. When you have a large list of people who opt-in to receive your email marketing, you must give them content that will keep them opening those emails so your business will continue to sell your products and services. However, even with great content, there can be too much and readers will become confused or too little and recipients will feel your emails aren’t worth their time and effort.

What is “Just Enough” in an Email?

Firstly, the frequency at which emails are sent can be key to losing subscribers, or at least their attention. I receive several daily emails and while I’m interested in the products and content these emails contain, on heavy email days, when I’m just clicking the delete button based on email subjects and senders, I often delete some of the daily messages just because I’m in overload despite whatever discount or products they’re offering.

Studies have found that more than 50 percent of people who unsubscribe from email lists do so because they were getting too many emails. Furthermore, 22 percent of consumers said they stopped purchasing products from a company altogether because they were receiving too many emails or they were receiving emails that were irrelevant to them.

Man in despair buried head in computer keyboard

The easy answer to delivery overload is to ask your subscribers how often they wish to receive mailings. With a simple pulldown menu, people can decide between daily, weekly or monthly mailings and you can tailor three different mailings to contain the right amount of content for each. It’s important to also allow subscribers to adjust their settings to receive more or less as time goes on.

Secondly, as long as you are asking prospective customers to choose delivery options, why not ask them what they’d like to receive? Do they want tips on using your products? Do they want discount coupons? Do they want to know when you are having a sale or new merchandise for sale? It’s easy to create specific email content to please two or three specific groups of recipients and it assures you of keeping subscribers.

You will also want to ask subscribers to add you to their email contact list. Even with the best email clients, messages can end up in a spam folder from time to time. As many mass email services charge per email, any undelivered messages cost you money. A deliverable bounce rate of up to 1 percent to 2 percent is normal, but if it exceeds that amount, you will need to take some time to clean up your email list and find out where the problems lie. Most email services, such as Constant Contact (although this is not a recommendation of that service) offer certain tracking services as well as easy to use opt-out options which will make list management easy.

Get the Picture?

There is debate about including images in email marketing. Naturally, if you are selling products, you must show the product, however, you don’t need a large image. A small thumbnail is enough to get interested readers to click on a link to see more on your web site. Most objections are to superfluous images of smiling families and other stock images that people feel “humanizes” the emails. The addition of images for the sake of adding pictures will lengthen your email content and possibly frighten away readers who think they don’t have time to make it through the entire email. When people say, “I’ll come back to this later” they tend, more often than not, to never find the time to come back and after a few days, they will delete the message as it sinks lower on their delivery list in their email pane.

Using images in email that is not a specific product, creates a dead space that has little or no sales value, so maximizing the code behind those images is critical. Make sure that all of your images are actually links to your landing page or the targeted place on your website. This way, your potential image dead space can still drive traffic to a specific destination.

Business man in center of blue target

Think, before adding an image, “does this sell anything?” “Will a link help sell my service or product?” If the answer is “no!” then leave it out. This isn’t to say that a picture of you or you and your staff isn’t important. It sells your brand and humanizes your business and marketing materials. Showing the front of your business does the same thing and it adds to visual recognition if email recipients say to themselves, “I pass by this place all the time.” It then makes you convenient in the recipient’s mind.

Is It Worth a Thousand Words?

What about the amount of copy in your emails? Are you using copy to draw attention to something on your web site or is the copy a lesson, tip or trick to establish your expertise in your industry?

Most users aren’t going to read the full text of your email, especially if paragraphs are too long. They’re going to scan it for key points that are of interest to them (which is why they approved receiving your emails in the first place). Keep your text short by sticking to very small paragraphs of no more than three sentences or use bullet points for maximum focus and use font bolding and even additional colors to highlight words or phrases that you know will be important to your readers. There is a great chance that too much text will get your email deleted if the reader thinks there is too much to read, and it creates more risk for triggering spam filters, which is why sometimes approved emails end up going into your spam folder.

Test Before You Send!

The biggest pet peeves of an email recipient are:

  • Your auto-personalizer misspells their name.
  • Typos in your email.
  • The promises of the subject line are not included in the email.

Naturally, you should have your email proofread by several people as it’s impossible to proof your own material and one other person may not catch a subtle typo or misspelling.

It’s a good practice, once the material is proofed, to send a copy to several private emails (that have different email browsers) to see how the email comes through. Do all the embedded images show up? Does the text flow as it was entered? Are the links working properly? It’s an important step when dealing with digital distribution.

The subject line is important to test because of spam filters. They say that a subject line should be written like a press release; the first five words are the most important information. With an email subject line, you may not get more than five to eight words to get the reader to open that email. Part of testing what will be the best subject line, after initial testing, is to do an A/B test. Create two emails with two different subject lines and do a small test mailing to a control group of 10 percent of your email list and then look at the stats for the open rate. Go with the one that has the better results!

Online business deal

It’s incredibly easy to break your email list into two parts and simply send a separate email subject line to each and see which one gets a high open rate. Of course, there are other variables such as the time and date of the send. With time and further testing, you can determine when your customers prefer to receive and open your emails. Keep in mind that you are not the only one send emails (opted-in or unwanted) and the receipt of your email fights with others on heavy mailing days.

Know the CAN-SPAM Act!

Like any law, it takes some extensive reading and understanding to comply with the CAN-SPAM Act. If you want to run successful email marketing, it’s just one of the things you must know. The bulk mailing services have built in safeguards for most of the needed factors but as you are ultimately responsible for your mailings and non-compliance can bring expensive financial tolls, it’s something you should know.

Wikipedia has a simple explanation but it’s the actual law you should know.

Email Templates

One thing to consider is email templates that have responsive design. With more and more people using their mobile phones and tablets, rather than their desktop or laptop PCs, you should find an email service that has templates that are responsive to the device the reader is using. If your message is not responsive, the reader will ignore it.

If you’re forced to use a fixed-width template, it’s suggested you don’t go any larger than 550-600 pixels wide. Mobile users will have to scroll to read it but the size is still manageable.

In the next article on email marketing, we’ll look at email template options and effective design.

Images ©GL Stock Images

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Web Hosting Geeks’ Blog

Email Marketing Tips – Part 2: Creating Content

Posted by: Admin  :  Category: Web Hosting

In this series of articles, we’ll explore the best tips to run successful email marketing tips. Email marketing, despite all the options available in an evolving digital world, is still the most personal and effective way to market services… if it’s done right.

In the last article, we looked at list building. Without it, you can have the greatest content in the world but no one to read it. When you have a large list of people who opt-in to receive your email marketing, you must give them content that will keep them opening those emails so your business will continue to sell your products and services. So, what is the best content?

The Four Keys of Content

Online business deal

For selling products, the best formula, in order of importance, is:

  • Reward
  • Information
  • Humanization
  • Entertainment

Naturally, Rewards are a major factor in why people will open your emails. Coupons, discounts and upcoming sales available only to subscribers, are the driving content people want.

Some of my personal favorites are from Hobbytron.com, which sold me a radio-controlled helicopter for my kids. I now receive a daily email with a subject line of “50% off…” or some huge figure that leads me to open it to see what else I might buy my kids. Barnes and Noble booksellers, Bed Bath and Beyond and several other large retailers also send emails with the promise of large discounts and private sales. The discounts are large, the pictures of products are large and the approach is one of acknowledging my worth to them as a customer.

Information is always an important sales technique. It includes analytics of products the consumer may already have or has been considering purchasing. Likewise, updates on products, new or old, is information people desire. Information such as upcoming available products or the discontinuation of something popular, but still in demand will drive customers who have procrastinated in making a purchase. Upcoming events your business is holding will also provide insider information to those who choose to receive and open your emails.

When you connect with your customer through emails and the language is friendly, inviting, and simple, you are humanizing a method of communication many see as impersonal. Your content must be well written and speak TO the recipient and not AT them. This is why your email marketing must also entertain. A sense of humor (perhaps not for selling coffins or other dire need merchandise) will endear you to customers. 69% of customers that leave a business do so because they feel the company is indifferent to them as customers. Not that they receive poor service or the products are shoddy, but because they feel they don’t matter in the eyes of the company. They feel they are solely a wallet, handing over money and not a valued customer. Not a person.

But How Do You Entertain Readers?

Acrobatic man with a computer

Entertainment, which is important for selling products, as well as services, must grab the reader and show them your human side. People prefer buying from other people. This is why even big retailers stress customer service and why a bad experience with customer service often sours a consumer on a particular brand or seller.

An example of entertaining content was a series of opening paragraphs I wrote for a company that puts together enewsletters for car dealers across the country. They were humorous and led into the content of a particular season or service being offered in that issue/email.

Here are a few of my favorite intros:

It was one tough winter! Spring has sprung and it’s time to check under the hood for damaged tubing, fluid levels and to investigate any odd clicking, groaning or squeaks…and when you get back from the doctor, let us check out your auto for the same problems!

In this healthy issue:

When I was a kid, my uncle bought a great big, new sedan and he was so protective of it, my cousin and I weren’t even allowed to look at it. My cousin was a huge James Bond fan so he decided to use my uncle’s label maker to put labels on all the dashboard instruments like, “oil slick,” “machine guns” and “ejector seat.” Back then, those labels didn’t come off. My uncle was furious but he had the coolest spy car, driving to the military school he put my cousin in.

Top secret… in this issue:

I gave my son his first driving lesson the other day. I was concerned because he generally has trouble paying attention. After giving him a twenty minute speech on safety and paying attention on the road and to other drivers, he says, “in this video game, you can get to the next level by pushing the left and right button at the same time and…” He went on for twenty minutes. For public safety, I’m buying him a bus pass.

Speaking of safety, in this issue:

Don’t you hate when people pull into a parking space but the rear part of their car sticks into the spot next to it? There’s a company that makes realistic, fake-parking tickets with nasty comments you can check off and leave on their windshield. The next best thing to subjecting them to police brutality!

I’ve included a link below. Less pranky, in this issue:

If you’re like me, a car is an important part of your life. When autos were first mass-produced, some people bought a car instead of a bathtub. They said “you can’t go into town on a Saturday night in a bathtub!”

Today, if you own a convertible, you can do both. Let’s “come clean” with some tips for your car. In this issue:

Brrr! Have you noticed this winter has been tough on our cars, with all of the corrosive road salts and battery draining, freezing temperatures? Mother Nature should be charged with “a-salt and battery!”

Your car is the victim and we’re the fix-it police. Here are some tips for your car maintenance, so “chill” and read on! In this issue:

Who will win the upcoming Oscars? Well, at our place, your car is the STAR…without the paparazzi up-skirt shots and horrid tabloid headlines! Here’s some Oscar-winning tips for the thing that has a huge “roll” in your life. The envelope, please. And, in this issue:

I think it was either Ben Franklin or some guy from Texaco that said, “oily” to bed and “oily” to rise means you’re the first in line for the best deal on our oil change…or you need a better brand of soap! If we’re “oil” aboard, let’s slide on over to this month’s car tips. In this issue:

The ongoing assignments to keep writing these intros shows that customers enjoyed the humor and the company that markets them to car dealerships has orders for more. This means they are working, helping sales for new cars, oil changes, and other service work dealers need to bolster their business.

Some Tips for Organizing Your Enewsletter

My World

  • Have a table of contents. Reading your email newsletter should be a pleasant experience. Hyperlink titles to content so readers won’t have to scan and scroll to find a piece of content that interests them.
  • If your article is long (known as “text overload”), just have a paragraph or two and hyperlink the remaining content to your website/blog where the full article can be read. Make sure you also include an opt-in call to action for anyone who stumbles upon the content through other avenues, such as a search engine.
  • Your call to action has to have clear instructions and proper links. Do not leave readers wondering and frustrated – they will just click off your email/site.
  • Your enewsletter should include your logo, contact information and website link. People will save issues that have some special information they believe thy will need later.
  • Preserve consistency. This keeps your enewsletters recognized, expected, and more importantly, kept in the inbox or a folder set up for your company.
  • Have a share function on every article so people can place it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, Digg and Reddit. Let readers do your outbound marketing for you and watch the subscriptions grow.
  • Show the product! Pictures are worth a thousand words and people relate to images more than words.
  • Use a professional content provider if you can. They specialize in wording that will speak to the consumer. If you decide to do it yourself, at least hire a proofreader or pass it by several different people to read it for mistakes. A typo or misspelling  (although too any people these days won’t notice) can hurt your brand and reputation.
  • Great content can be recycled! If an article did well with shares and hits, use it again at a later date for new readers and be sure to link back to the original issue so they can read other past tips and content. Don’t be afraid of creating a “best of issue” with past content (MAD Magazine has stayed alive for decades doing issues of previous content).
  • Case studies make for great content and will improve your SEO. If a client will allow you to write about their experience with your service or product, it humanizes your business and legitimizes your ability to deal with consumers.
  • Ask the readers what they want to see. A forum such as this also humanizes your content and gives readers a feeling they matter and you want to listen to them. When I have writer’s block, I post a question on my Twitter account, asking followers what they would like to see. I always receive numerous requests and suggestions.

“More horror stories” is the number one request from my followers when I ask them for feedback on what I should cover in articles. The fact is, this humanizes you even more in the eyes of readers and past mistakes, written in a kind and gentle way, becomes a lesson people appreciate. When it comes to entertaining readers, it’s always a good bet to laugh at yourself!

Images ©GL Stock Images

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Web Hosting Geeks’ Blog

Email Marketing Tips – Part 1: List Building

Posted by: Admin  :  Category: Web Hosting

In this series of articles, we’ll explore the best tips to run successful email marketing tips. Email marketing, despite all the options available in an evolving digital world, is still the most personal and effective way to market services… if it’s done right.

I was enamored by one of the first email marketing pieces I received. It was simple text, as they all were way back when, and was entertaining and informative. There were only three small points to it, so it took no more time at all to read, but the thoughts it provoked stayed with me until the next issue would arrive a week later.

It was from a small design studio and it was called “The Hip-O-Meter.” The three entries were fun facts and spotlights on interesting and unique designed objects, books or products and went by “hip,” “hipper,” and “hippest.” It closed with a small paragraph, hawking the advantages of using the small studio’s services and the number of subscribers who received the email newsletter. I saw it go from just over 100 to over 4,000 within a few months.

This inspired me to do the same for the corporation I was with. Meant for my department, it included images, links and animated gifs with 10-12 entries per weekly newsletter. The department had about 100 people in it but in a matter of months, the subscriber list within the company had the newsletter going out to every department and the worldwide distribution was received by over 25,000 employees.

These days, I look forward to certain emails. My car dealer always sends discount coupons, Fab.com has lots of things I want (but can’t afford), Bed Bath and Beyond sends discount notices and so on with a few favorite retailers and service companies. That’s why I don’t unsubscribe from their mailing lists.

So, how would a business or sole-proprietorship make use of email marketing? Most importantly, how would these entities build a list of people who WANT to receive their emails?

List Building

business woman working on computer

Start With “The Hook”

“The Hook,” as it’s known in sales, is something that will grab the attention of a target customer and is a call-to-action to get them to willingly give you their contact information. An email marketing program that offers discount coupons, tips or information not readily available to customers, is a good hook to get people to sign up and open your emails.

Use your existing customers

Not only are your existing customers the biggest base for your email list, they are also the strongest force to share your emails with their friends (the digital equivalent of word-of-mouth advertising). If you do not have access to their emails through the other information you might have as part of your business dealings with them, it’s time to start gathering their email addresses.

Online business deal

When you service a new customer, be sure to ask for their email contact information but for existing customers, either use a phone call method (as they are familiar with your business, tell them you are updating your clint information). This is also a good way to remind customers/clients about your company if you have not seen them in a while.

Put an ad on your own site, for your own business

An eye-catching ad on your site’s sidebar or in with your content, advertising your email coupons and such will get people to opt-in (willingly elect to receive your emails). While you’re collecting opt-ins for emails, you should also collect Twitter names as well as encouraging people to follow you on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or any other social media channels your business uses.

The more content tied to that ad (the click-thru should go to the advertised offer and have other services/products for sale listed as well. Use the hook to sell as well as gather information. Check out OptimizePress as a great tool for converting click-thrus to customers.

You might also want to consider a Lightbox Pop-up to your site, instead of an add. Unfortunately, many browsers have a pop-up blocker, so it’s a crap shoot on how well it may work for you.

Encourage People to Send Your Content to Others

Use share buttons to get viewers of your blog/site to share content on their own social media channels with a button or request to opt-in to your emails. For example, if your site has a blurb about a sale or new product, make it sharable so it can go viral.

Handshake pixel cursor tech friendly user shake hands

Use LinkedIn Contacts

If you spend a good amount of time making connections on LinkedIn, why not download their cards and add them to your email list? As long as you give them an opt-out option, there will be no problem with spamming.

You can also participate in appropriate LinkedIn groups as well as use your status update function to drive like-minded prospects to your email opt-in sign up page.

Guest Blogging

There’s at least a thousand blogs for every type of business, so use your knowledge to write (or hire a ghost writer) to post interesting content on assorted blogs to peek the interest of prospective clients and drive them to your opt-in page. Top blogs reach millions of readers, so why not grab some attention for yourself?

Buying lists

Don’t! Also, never, ever sell your list.

Are You Spamming?

When people opt-in, they are giving you permission to send them your emails (purchased lists are not opt-ins and can be VERY dangerous!). With LinkedIn, every email I receive starts by explaining that I am connected with the sender. Okay, that makes me feel a bit more at ease but the content is what usually upsets me. It’s hard sell, multi-level marketing pitches and I consider MLM to be scams. The important thing is that I do open it when the subject line includes, “connection on LinkedIn.” The problem is when there is no option to opt-out.

Deal with opt-out request QUICKLY! One of the strengths of an email marketing service is that opt-outs are automatically deleted. If you are doing it yourself and someone gets three or more emails after opting-out, you may face a spam charge. Spam laws are harsh and can bankrupt your business. Be familiar with them before you do your first mailing.

Check Out Email Services

In preparation to start your email marketing, start shopping for email services. Maybe you’ve heard of Constant Contact and while the mention of them is not a recommendation, there are many companies that offer different services for different prices. Be careful about Googling “email marketing services” as some sites have their own “top ten reviews” with their company at the top. Check out this site. Keep in mind you want a service that will allow you to upload vcards for ease of setting up your list. You may have over a thousand connections on LinkedIn and can download one vcard file but you should be able to upload that file effectively and correctly.

Next time: Creating winning content for your email marketing.

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Images ©GL Stock Images

Web Hosting Geeks’ Blog

Politics of Memes: Memevertising Part I

Posted by: Admin  :  Category: Web Hosting

Eastwooding empty chairs, Women in binders,  now Horses and bayonets, “ermahgerd!” where is the chubby bubble girl  and why do bronies even exist?  Didn’t South Park already make the point?  Tebowing and cat breading are deadly. There are only three approved memes:  Peace signs, bunny ears and fake… well you know.

Obviously not.

The question today is, can you use memes for profit?  Or is it safe to use memes to sell a product or even advance a political campaign?  In other words, is memevertising a good idea? Yes! But recognize the South Park warning: memes can be dangerous since, like all humor, they can backfire terribly if you do not know your audience or, worse, if you are an arrogant memetard who thinks he’s memeing but is just embarrassing himself and flagrantly insulting others.  Know your meme.

Someone on Obama’s campaign staff is a ninja master memer and If Obama wins this election it will be in part because his campaign has consistently managed memes better than the Romney campaign. Immediately after Clint Eastwood addressed the empty chair, Obama tweeted the back of a very large full chair with him in it and that helped drive the Eastwooding meme against the Republicans ever after.

Team Barack knows when they are releasing the memes. Horses and bayonets became a meme against Team Mitt only minutes after Obama used the phrase. Team Mit, on the other hand, never seems prepared and has faced the Zerg Rush every time….”Kekeke”. (As a Republican, I really do hate Zerglings!) Team Barack has used memes intentionally to attack the ignorant in front of their faces… behind their backs.  It works because a meme is a secret handshake shared by millions. Team Mitt has been the oblivious kids at the dinner table as adults used r-rated innuendos over their heads.  “Unicorns are just horses with bayonets.”  Right. Obama speaks fluently to groups Romney scarcely knows exist. The point here is that memes are serious business–world-leader-election business–and it would be wise to learn something about them.

Now, imagine if your product became the most interesting product in the world  by hooking into a meme or, even better, because you created an effective meme. This idea is not new, it just works much faster now. The Smothers Brothers did it with their skit “Share a Little Tea with Goldie.”

“She was this housewifey, hippie-looking girl. Well, her name referred to pot [Kona gold]. She would always say, “Hi(gh),” and just giggle. One time she said, “It’s time for spring cleaning, ladies. Send me all those old roaches and sweep them up.” She would just laugh like she was stoned.”   I remember the episode vividly.  I knew exactly what it meant, but my parents had no idea at all what it meant. None.  “Roach” was a meme they didn’t understand. Suddenly I was smarter than my parents. I was in a club they didn’t even know existed.

So let’s figure out what a meme is.  Then next time, why they work and how to exploit the hell out them, which would be the best meme of all:  a meme about memes, a  meta-meme.Horses and Bayonets

The word “meme” comes from “gene” to suggest that memories and behaviors are reproduced culturally like physical traits are reproduced genetically.  It was Dawkins’ attempt in “The Selfish Gene” to account for why biological evolution doesn’t extinguish cultural rituals that are not genetically beneficial.  In a word, weird unhelpful behaviour can be inherited through language and not genes.

Internet memes are ideas that reproduce wildly because people share them. They also mutate. So an internet meme is an internet artifact that reproduces very fast, changes and yet is distinct from other sorts of viral events. Their distinguishing trait is that Internet memes are rooted in parody, satire, comedy and humor. (I think there is a secret troll in every memer.)  Still, memes can be deadly serious.  Autocrats despise satirists. Ask Salman Rushdie.

Internet meming is a variety of insider humor that creates bonds within groups. Woody Allen and Chris Rock use this kind of humor. They make fun of their own heritage in a way only people of that heritage can. This also lets people without their heritage in on the joke, sort of a complimentary pass to Jewish and Black humor.  Similarly, when a large woman jokes about large women, it can be funny both to large and thin women because it creates bonds between all women who understand intimately the meaning of being a large woman. Women understand the implications of the forbidden three letter word in a way men do not and this creates a group bond.

If a man jokes about “fat” women, though– FAIL!  Now the joke breaks bonds between people.  It pits large women against thin women and all women against men and even men with large wives against men with thin wives. But audience is everything. If a man tells a “fat” lady joke in front of men suddenly it can work because it creates a bond between a group of men who likely understand intimately the dangers men face by using the “F” word in front of women. FAT; OMG!

Memes work quite like this too.  Memes solidify groups by creating uninitiated outsiders.  We insiders know what the meme means and you outsiders don’t.  Even though we may be poking fun at ourselves, it still creates a tighter bond between all of us in the know. We know the code, you don’t.  Here is an example of a trending meme and an insider joke, check it out.  This is where we will begin our next installment on memvertising:

“Nice Legs, Daisy Dukes makes a man go… I’m gonna love and tolerate you.”

meta-meme philosoraptor

This is a meta meme.

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