June 7th, 2013


I came up with the beginnings of a sales letter...

You don't know me...
But I know your darkest, most revolting, most embarrassing secret.

You're doing it in your blog...
You're doing it in your email newsletters...
and I'm pretty certain you're doing it on your website.

In fact, I'm willing to bet you money that you're doing it right now, right while you're reading this very letter...

...and you didn't think that anyone else even knew!

But it's really not your fault.

Your parents probably did this, (or at least they thought about it), and I'm guessing you learned it from them. Or possibly, behind closed doors, you found out how to do it from a close friend. Or maybe, just maybe, you learned about how to do it from an ebook... written by one of those "Internet Marketing Gurus". {shudder}

What is it? What is this filthy habit that you picked up, long ago, and are continuing to do, to this very day?

I'll tell you.

Come closer; I have to whisper.

You... are giving away traffic... your most prized asset: your audience, your readers, your customers and potential customers.

You do it every time you add a link, a web address, to your online materials. You discover and discuss a new site on your blog, and point your readers there so that they can see it, too. Your newsletter mentions something that happened in today's news, so of course you give the article's web address.

And guess, just guess, what your readers do when they see that link?

I understand. You may have thought that you had to do this.

After all, a lot of your friends do it, including the really successful ones who make all that money. So it's only natural that you felt it was OK to send your readers to some other website, and just trusted that they would come back... eventually. :-(

And of course you were really hoping (praying?) that when all those people shared a great idea on Facebook and Twitter, on Google+ and email, that they would share your original blog post, rather than the actual web address of the article you discussed.

Yep. I hear you.

Well, I have the solution... and it's not what you think!

Yeah, you may have that sneaky URL cloaker, or a link shortening service, or perhaps that fancy new redirection script you installed on your site. You're thinking right about now that you have it all covered... that you don't need anything new.

Except that you do.

Y'see, at the end of the day, your audience's attention is still focused on that other person's website, and not yours. It's only natural that if you thought that it merited attention, so will they, and they are really going to want to share it with their friends.

So what can you do?

How are you going to arrange things so that when they share an article, it's a page that's actually under your control, with your opinion, your content, and most importantly, your opt-in email list subscription form? How will you get your readership to share a page and encourage their friends to subscribe to your list?

Let me introduce the AboutTh.is Pro service.

AboutTh.is lets you place a small stamp on top of almost any web page in the world, which lets people play a recording of your voice, giving your opinion about that particular page. Thus, the name: AboutTh.is.

In addition, the AboutTh.is Pro service presents your opt-in form (from any autoresponder or email list management software), so that you can continue to expand your own list from people who listen to your voice and agree (or disagree) with your opinion. (And if you don't have an autoresponder yet, I've got you covered; I'll show you how to "cheat" until you're ready to get one.)

Furthermore, when people share the page, it'll be a short URL (website address) that's under your control, so you will be the one that benefits from the sharing, because you are offering your audio content. (Google loves fresh content!)

Naturally there are buttons to make it easy for them to share. That's what social media is all about.

And of course, AboutTh.is will do all the heavy lifting for you in the background, managing all of the geeky technical mumbo-jumbo, so you don't ever have to lift a finger. That's what service is all about.

So, are you going to be one of the millions who just give away their traffic every day? Or are you going to be the one of the intelligent few who is going to arm themselves with a hyper-charged magnet that keeps existing readers and attracts new ones?

Sign up for the AboutTh.is Pro service... now!

"Everyone should just calm down...." -- Harry Reid

In 2006, former AT&T technician Mark Klein described in federal court papers how a "splitter" device in San Francisco siphoned millions of Americans' Internet traffic to the NSA. That probably included data sent to or from AT&T Internet subscribers, such as emails and the websites they visited.
-- What you should know about NSA phone data program

I've actually seen one of these devices with my own eyes, at note.com's server colocation facility in Conshohocken. It was placed right at the point where the physical communication lines came into the building, so that it could tap all inbound and outbound traffic for thousands of servers. I was very tempted on several occasions to accidentally spill coffee into the rather large device, but knew that doing so would result in a quick one-way trip to prison, not to mention disrupt all of said traffic.

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada played down the significance of the revelation.

"Everyone should just calm down and understand that this isn't anything that's brand new," he said. "This is a program that's been in effect for seven years, as I recall. It's a program that has worked to prevent not all terrorism but certainly the vast, vast majority. Now is the program perfect? Of course not."

But privacy advocates said the scope of the program was indefensible.

"This confirms our worst fears," said Alexander Abdo, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union's National Security Project. "If the government can track who we call," he said, "the right to privacy has not just been compromised — it has been defeated."
-- Monumental phone-records monitoring is laid bare

Microsoft was the first to participate in the program, reports The Guardian:
It was followed by Yahoo in 2008; Google, Facebook and PalTalk in 2009; YouTube in 2010; Skype and AOL in 2011; and finally Apple, which joined the program in 2012. The program is continuing to expand, with other providers due to come online.

PRISM allegedly involves data collection by the FBI, the fruits of which are then relayed to the NSA. If the report is true, the surveillance scandal will have crossed from simple metadata and envelope surveillance into the realm of wiretapping, which by definition involves the collection of actual content.
-- Google, Facebook and Apple Are All Giving Your Actual Data to the Feds

A Google spokesman said the company does not have "a 'back door'" for the government to access user data.

"Google cares deeply about the security of our users' data. We disclose user data to government in accordance with the law, and we review all such requests carefully," a spokesman said in a statement. "From time to time, people allege that we have created a government 'back door' into our systems, but Google does not have a 'back door' for the government to access private user data."

Microsoft, Facebook and Yahoo also denied participating in a broad program to collect data.
-- Internet Companies Deny Offering Government Access to Customer Data