Getting Paid to Drive? It’s Too Good to Be True

road-people-street-smartphone
Image courtesy of Pexels.com

When you’re in between jobs or in need of some supplemental income, it’s hard to say no to the prospect of earning fast, easy money. But honest income generally doesn’t come without putting in some effort, so be cautious of any money-making opportunity that offers a high return for little to no work on your part. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

When Sue, a consumer from Lakewood, Wash., received the below email, she was excited at the idea of making money just by putting a company logo on her car. The email said she would be “paid to drive” $800 a week—more than a lot of people earn with a full-time job—just by wrapping her car with an advertisement.

From: Michael
To: Sue
Subject: Toms Job Position
Date: Tue, 12 May 2015 00:31:04 +0200
Greetings,
We are currently seeking to employ individual’s in the USA.
How would you like to make money by simply driving your car advertising for Hennessy, JOHNNIE WALKER, Pepsi, Coke, Apple Product or TOMS shoes.
How it works
Here’s the basic premise of the “paid to drive”
Concept: AUTO WRAP seeks people — regular citizens, professional drivers to go about their normal routine as they usually do, only with an advert for “AUTO WRAP” plastered on your car. The ads are typically vinyl decals, also known as “AUTO WRAP” that’s almost seem to be painted on the vehicle and which will cover any portion of your car’s exterior surface.
What does the company get out of this type of ad strategy? Lots of exposure and awareness. The AUTO WRAP tend to be colorful, eye-catching and attract lots of attention when you are stuck in traffic and people can’t avoid seeing the advert on your car alongside them. This program will last for 6 months and the minimum you can participate is 3 months.
We are offering $1,600 every 2 weeks and also an advance payment of $500, the logo will be placed on both doors or the hood of your car if you are interested.
No fee is required from you, “AUTO WRAP” will provide experts who will be responsible for placing and removal of the logo when your contract expires.
Kindly send me the required information’s below.
Please respond only if interested.
Michael
Promotional Manager
TOMS

When Sue responded to the email, she was asked for her personal information, including full name and address. She was then told a check would be mailed to her for an up-front payment and to cover the car-wrapping costs.

Fortunately at that point, Sue grew suspicious and reached out to BBB for guidance.

While there may be a handful of legitimate companies that pay you a bit of money to stick their logo on your personal vehicle, the unsolicited email Sue received is not how they go about hiring people.

What generally happens in this all-too-common scam is the victim will be sent a check for more money than was promised. He will be instructed to deposit the check in his account, wire a portion of it to someone else, and keep the rest. Little does he know the check is fake, and he becomes responsible for the bank’s losses after he’s wired real money to a fraudster. Scammers ask for money to be wired to them because it’s virtually untraceable, like handing someone a wad of cash.

Here are the warning signs of a car-wrapping scam:

  • You’re told all you have to do is sign up, and you’ll be selected. The truth is that the odds are against you. A legitimate company told Bankrate.com they have more than one million drivers in their database—and they’ve hired only 6,000 of them in the last six years.
  • You’re offered the job on the spot. A real company will want to talk to a candidate before hiring him; they won’t offer a job to someone without going through an interview first.
  • The company wants you to send them money. You should never pay up-front fees to receive employment. And no legitimate job would ever overpay an employee and ask him to wire the money elsewhere.
  • The company promises a free car. There is no such thing as a company that will give you a free car.
  • There are typos and bad grammar. If a job offer is truly coming from a well known brand such as TOMS or Pepsi, the email or letter won’t be riddled with mistakes and poor writing.
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How to Respond Positively to Negative Feedback

Reposted from my column in the Portland Business Tribune.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles | freedigitalphotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles | freedigitalphotos.net

If it hasn’t happened to you yet, you’re lucky—but at some point, your business will be criticized. The Internet is pretty much a free-for-all of customer reviews, complaints and commentary.

Business owners often struggle to find the right words to craft a decent response. And some just don’t respond at all, which can be a huge mistake. When it comes to negative feedback that’s posted online, keep in mind that how you handle it is visible to the world. Ignoring it won’t make it go away, and may even give off the perception that you don’t care about your customers.

If and when you do receive negative feedback, you can turn it into an opportunity to regain the trust and respect of that customer, and you could win over some new customers, as well.

Be polite
It’s natural to want to defend your business, your employees or your products and services, but resist the urge. The customer may be in the wrong, but saying so will not help your public image. Never place blame on the customer, and never respond in an emotional, accusatory manner. Instead, step back and take a breath. Consider how the customer feels, and think about what you’d want to hear if you were in his place. Maintain a professional, polite disposition, but be careful not to sound robotic—people want to see that you’re genuine and compassionate.

Keep it short
It’s usually best to keep your response brief. Acknowledge the customer’s feedback, and invite them to discuss it at length with you over the phone or at your place of business. Going into too much detail in your public response is akin to airing dirty laundry. Consider a simple “We’re so sorry you had that experience with our company. We invite you to call our customer service desk if you’d like to talk more about the specifics of the situation.” It can go a long way toward making the customer feel heard, encouraging a real dialog and showing others that you give proper attention to unhappy customers.

See it as a learning opportunity
When you’re feeling criticized or even attacked, it can be difficult to see the value behind someone’s not-so-pleasant feedback. However, consider this: There are companies that pay big money to survey real people for insight on how to better themselves, and you just got it for free! The comments your business receives online are a kind of customer research, and you can benefit from it. Make note of any suggestions or questions that are mentioned in the comments, and seriously consider whether you can use this feedback to better your business.

To quote Winston Churchill, “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”

Know when to walk away
You won’t be able to fix every problem and make everyone happy, and unfortunately, there are some people who derive pleasure from pushing your buttons. They don’t want your help; they just want to start an argument. On the Internet, this type of person is called a troll, and it is perfectly acceptable to ignore them.

How do you tell the difference between a real gripe and someone who just enjoys stirring the pot? Follow the steps above: Be polite, keep it short and try to find the value in the critique. If despite your best efforts they refuse to have a civil, productive discussion with you, it’s OK to let it go. Remember that everyone else will see how you handled the comments, and they’ll be impressed you kept your cool.

7 Ways to Research a Business Before Hiring Them

Image courtesy of Adamophoto | http://freerangestock.com/
Image courtesy of Adamophoto | freerangestock.com

Creating and launching a business website that looks completely legitimate takes about 30 minutes. But it takes less than five minutes for a consumer to get scammed by one of these rogue, “fly-by-night” websites that are here today and gone tomorrow—with your money.

Double-dealing “brick-and-mortar” businesses continue to exist as well, simply because most consumers aren’t sure how to begin researching a business before interacting with them.

Although the Internet harbors millions of scam artists who prey every day on unsuspecting consumers, the Web also provides portals through which anyone can perform a background check on virtually any business in the world.

7 Ways to Research a Business
  1. Search for a U.S. or Canadian business on Better Business Bureau’s website or call your local BBB. You’ll find a company’s rating (from A+ through F) along with a history of customer complaints. BBB also provides information about the services or products the business offers and whether government actions have ever been taken against the business. If the business is a BBB Accredited Business, that means the business has agreed to uphold BBB’s eight standards for trust.
  2. Contact your home or auto insurance agent for advice about directing to you dependable and professional businesses. Because insurance companies deal with a wide variety of commercial businesses, your agent may be able to help you discover whether a business is exceptional or substandard.
  3. Every U.S. business is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission, a government organization whose goal is to protect consumers from unfair trade practices and other unethical business activities. On the FTC website, you can search for news about a particular company relevant to your research. Likewise, the American Bar Association oversees law firms and attorneys, while the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission standardizes financial entities.
  4. Search local, county and state civil and criminal court records for litigation cases containing the company’s name. Businesses that own property or have filed bankruptcy in the past may be included in country or state tax records if there is a lien against their property. Federal district and bankruptcy courts may also shed further light on the reputation of the business. In addition to running the company’s name through a search portal, checking the names of owners, co-owners and employees may also turn up interesting information pertinent to your research.
  5. Request a business credit/background report from Experian, Equifax, Dun & Bradstreet or LexisNexis. You will be charged a fee per report, but these are highly reputable services that are known to maintain accurate information on most businesses operating in the U.S.
  6. Don’t forget to check social media sites for potentially compelling information. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter may offer insights from other customers who have used the company. However, beware of review sites such as Yelp—what reviewers say about a business may be fueled by reasons more personal than business-related, which offers nothing helpful to your research. Take what’s said on those review sites with a grain of salt.
  7. If you don’t have the time or desire to do a comprehensive background search on a business, you can always hire a private detective or professional background check company that specializes in accessing lesser known databases and performing on-site investigations.
About Better Business Bureau
  • BBB is one of the best places to begin researching a business because of its easily navigable interface and the wealth of information provided by its database. In addition, businesses that are accredited by BBB and display BBB’s seal on their website or advertisements are favored by consumers over non-accredited businesses. In fact, 74% of consumers prefer to do business with BBB Accredited Businesses, as stated in a Roper survey.
  • A BBB Accredited Business maintains adherence to stringent BBB standards that include consistently applying ethical business practices to all facets of the company, protecting customer privacy, using honest advertising strategies and remaining as transparent as possible to customers.

Taking the time to research a business before hiring them may save you a lot of money, stress and time lost pursuing a potentially lost cause.

For Safe Travels, Take Precautions to Avoid Scams

Image courtesy of fito | freerangestock.com
Image courtesy of fito | freerangestock.com

‘Tis the season for summer vacations! Whether traveling in your home state, throughout the U.S. or to a foreign country, taking precautions and knowing about potential scams could save you from a ruined vacation.

Book Online Securely

When booking travel arrangements and hotels online, it is safer to go to a company’s official website or call them directly. Do not click on online ads or links from emails. If using travel search engines, be wary of sites that offer prices significantly lower than other sites. If you choose to book through a third-party booking company, follow up directly with the hotel, airline or rental car company. You don’t want to find out after you arrive at a destination that the reservations were never made!

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URL security

Make sure you have a secure connection before entering your personal or financial information; the web address or URL should start with “https” and show a lock icon.

Always pay with a credit card when booking vacations, and make sure you receive confirmation in writing. In the event that something goes awry with your vacation, you may be able to file a chargeback with your credit card company. If you are asked to wire money for a rental, that’s a big red flag that the deal is probably not legitimate. Never wire money to someone you do not personally know and trust.

Do Your Research

BBB has seen numerous reports of vacationers arriving at their destination only to find that the rental doesn’t exist or does not resemble the photos online. Use trusted websites, ask friends for referrals or use a travel agent to ensure you’re going to get what you pay for.

Be skeptical about vacation packages that are offered online, by email or on the phone. If a cruise or resort price sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Victims are often saddled with hundreds or even thousands of dollars in additional “fees,” or the accommodations may be totally inadequate.

Also watch out for promises of “free” airline tickets—there’s always a catch. Victims are often lured with promises of free plane tickets to attend a seminar, which usually involves spending thousands of dollars to buy into a vacation club. Those tickets turn out to be only vouchers with fees that often cost more than a regularly priced plane ticket. And the vacation club? If you did buy in, you might find there are many barriers to actually booking a vacation unless you upgrade your membership or pay additional fees.

Travel Safely

Remember to notify your credit card companies before you leave, especially if you are traveling to foreign countries. There aren’t many things more frustrating and inconvenient than having your credit card declined while traveling because the company thinks it’s being used fraudulently.

During travel and once you arrive at your destination, surf cautiously on public Wi-Fi networks (e.g. hotels, airports, coffee shops, libraries). Avoid file sharing and financial transactions, and disconnect when not in use. Be wary of hotel lobby computers available for guests. Identity thieves have been known to add keyloggers onto public computers that track passwords. Believe it or not, your smartphone’s 3G or 4G may be more secure.

While staying in a hotel, carefully scrutinize any menus that are slipped under your door. Fraudsters sometimes use phony menus to trick a guest into calling them to order food, and the consumer ends up giving his credit card information to identity thieves. And of course, no food will be delivered.

Beware of fake front desk phone calls, especially late at night. A scammer pretending to be hotel staff will claim there was a problem with your credit card, and ask you to confirm your card details over the phone. Don’t do it! Personally check with the front desk in the morning to correct any billing issues.

At the end of your hotel stay, check your final bill. Watch for fees that you didn’t incur, such as minibar purchases or TV on-demand movie rentals.


Be vigilant and careful when planning your vacation, and then go and have a wonderful time!

Why Every Small Business Should Use Google My Business

Small business owners know that marketing online is important. For many of them, this means setting up a few social media accounts and a website. But if you really want to reach your customers, you’ve got to go where they are: Google.

googlemybusinessAlmost 70% of online searches are conducted via Google, and one out of every five of those searches is regarding a business or place. That’s where Google My Business comes in. It’s a service that allows the physical location of your business to be found on Google Maps, letting customers track you down more easily. If you don’t have your business listed on Google My Business, you need to put this on the top of your “to do” list immediately. It’s one of the best things you can do to expand your customer base.

What Are the Benefits of Google My Business?

It’s the New Yellow Pages
Gone are the days when people reached for a phone book if they needed a specific service. Google My Business serves as the Yellow Pages today, especially for local businesses. Even if you don’t have a website, customers can search for your category (e.g. plumber, bakery, or photographer) and see a list of local businesses in that field.

You’re Easier to Find
When your business is listed with Google Maps, your exact address and location is given to customers. They don’t have to wade through the “contact us” section of a website or click through your Facebook profile to find out where you are. If customers are searching using their mobile device, Google Maps includes GPS navigation, providing turn-by-turn directions to your door.

It’s Free Advertising
What’s the only thing better than advertising for a small business? Free advertising! And that’s what you’re getting with Google My Business. Even if your small business does have a budget for advertising, it’s likely not large. Take advantage of everything you can, and advertise to customers in your area for no charge.

How to Sign Up and Have Your Business Listed on Google My Business

Making your business visible on Google My Business is simple. To start, you’ll need to have an account with Google or you’ll need to set one up. Once you’re signed in, go to google.com/mybusiness. Agree to some basic terms and conditions, and you’ll be taken to a form that lets you plug in basic information about your business such as name, phone number and category. You will need to actually verify that you have a place of business, but this is easily done by phone, text or through the mail. As a safeguard against scammers, no information you add here will be visible until you’ve actually verified your business.

Tips for How to Properly Use Google My Business

Now that you’ve signed up, here are a few tips to make sure you get the most out of your listing.

Use Keywords
Filling out the keywords and category section of your profile may be the most important step. Write a product description or a description of your business that’s appealing and describes what you do. However, don’t overdo it on the keywords, as that could actually cause your ranking to decrease dramatically.

Utilize Images and Videos
A business that is listed on Google My Business is allowed to add up to 10 images and five videos for no charge. Again, this is free advertising, so make the most of it! Include pictures of the outside of your establishment so visitors know exactly what they’re looking for when trying to find you.

Create a Google My Business Page for Every Location
If your business has multiple locations, creating one overall Google My Business listing isn’t going to do the job. Have a different listing for each location with its specific address and phone number. If your business serves multiple cities, create a single page and list those multiple cities in your description.

Encourage Customer Reviews
If you have satisfied customers, ask them to share their experiences and rate your services on Google My Business. It seems simple, but a better rating truly will attract more customers in a big way. Make sure you have genuine reviews, though. If you have reviews that Google thinks aren’t authentic, or it appears that you’re simply soliciting reviews for a higher rating, your listing could actually be pushed down.

How My Dream Wedding Gown Turned into a Nightmare

Image courtesy of Rosen Georgiev | FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Rosen Georgiev | FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I love to save money. So when it came time to buy my wedding dress, I was determined to get the deal of a lifetime.

My quest took me to the Internet where I dutifully typed in the designer and style number of the gown of my dreams. Immediately tons of search results filled my screen with prices that were incredibly cheap. All of a sudden, my $3,000 gown could be mine for a mere $400. Done! I entered my credit card information, name and address and hit the “Buy” button. The website warned me that it would take up to a month before my dress arrived. No problem—I’d placed the order well in advance, so I figured I had plenty of time.

Three months later, I was still waiting for my gown.

Panicked, I started emailing the company, asking when I would receive my dress. No response. I called and got the runaround—not to mention the language barrier that comes with buying from an online retailer overseas.

Then, by some miracle, the dress finally arrived at my doorstep. But my relief quickly vanished when I saw that the gown was stuffed into a dingy bag barely bigger than a freezer bag and smelled like a musty basement. Inside I found a cheap, counterfeit dress that looked nothing like the pictures of the gown I had seen online. The material was flimsy, the sewing was poorly done and it didn’t fit.

Sadly, it was too late for me to get another dress, and of course no one returned my calls when I tried to get a refund.

Learn from my mistake. Get your gown from a trusted bridal shop—or if you order online, do your research first and read reviews. I wish I had known back then that BBB has a list of Accredited Businesses specifically in the wedding industry. That would’ve saved me a lot of trouble and heartache.

Counterfeit gowns are just one of the many areas engaged couples need to beware of as they’re planning for their big day. You can read all about the latest wedding scams and how to avoid them here.

What stresses you out the most when it comes to planning your wedding? Take our Facebook poll!

Using the BBB Accreditation Review Extension in Google AdWords

Word of mouth has always been one of the most potent forms of advertising. Ever since businesses have been around, what customers thought of the service or product affected other people’s decisions. That’s never been more true than in today’s digital world. It’s been estimated that 88% of people now seek out online reviews when making a purchasing decision, and that they trust those reviews with the same confidence as they would the recommendation of a close friend.

adwords-logoIt’s an undeniable trend, and it’s important for you as a business to capitalize on it. That’s why Google jumped on board a few years ago and started allowing for the inclusion of third-party reviews in ads placed with their Google AdWords system. These reviews, which can only come from what Google calls “reputable sources,” can either be a direct quote or an overall summary of a review. Of course, you will need direct permission from the source to include their review in your ad. The only caveat here is that reviews from sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor aren’t considered a “reliable” because anyone can post them at any time. To use a review in an extension like this, it must be from an established magazine, newspaper or website.

One of the most trusted business review organizations around is Better Business Bureau, so it makes sense that they are one of the leading partners in this program with Google. With the BBB rating extension, you can incorporate your verified rating directly into your Google ad. The extension adds text such as “A+ Accredited Business with Better Business Bureau,” letting potential customers know that you’re a reputable organization.

googleadwords

These review extensions give an advertisement a much higher click-through rate for several reasons. For one, they let the customer know they’ve found a business they can trust. In addition, a review-enabled ad gets better placement in online search because it simply contains more information. In fact, it’s guaranteed to be one of the top three spots.

Here’s how to set up your Google AdWords account to highlight your BBB Accreditation.

  1. Find the review you want to use. Google does consider a BBB rating a “reputable” site, so it’s a great place to start.
  2. Enable the option on your Google AdWords account. To do this, click on the “ad extension tab” that can be found at the top of the specific campaign you’re working on, and then click on “review extension option.” A box will pop up that contains reviews you already have, or a blank box with the option to add text.
  3. When you click on the blank box, you’ll have the choice of whether this is an exact quote or a summary of a review. You have a little less than 70 characters to use to describe your accreditation and the source.
  4. Fill out the “source URL” portion so Google can check the validity of the review. At this point, you can also choose what specific times (if any) you’d like your ad to be shown.

If you do decide to add this extension, here a few tips:

  • Don’t waste valuable space repeating your business name. That information is already just a line or two above.
  • Make sure you include an appropriate follow-through link to your rating so people can find even more positive reviews.
  • Don’t include specific years in your ad, as these can quickly look outdated.
  • Stay on top of your rating frequently. There are actually things you can do to improve your rating, such as providing BBB with your business’ background information and responding promptly to any complaints.

As a business owner, you know that online perception is important to the success of your business. You can try to tell people how great your business is, but it just sounds more believable when that information is coming from a third party. Adding your BBB Accreditation status and rating provides one more layer of trust and confidence—and gives the customer one more reason to click on your ad.

7 Tips for Writing Good Online Reviews [Infographic]

7-Tips-Infographic

Go to bbb.org to write a customer review today!

What the BBB and Porch.com Partnership Means for You

bbb-porch_landingpage_headerThe best way to search business reputations just got a little bit better! On February 11, 2015, Better Business Bureau announced a partnership with Porch.com, cementing an innovative partnership intended to provide consumers with the opportunity to make more accurate, researched decisions when searching for the right home improvement professional. With convenient access to customer reviews and consumer ratings all in one opportune location, it’s easier than ever for homeowners to make the best possible choice for their home.

BBB is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1912 as a way to develop marketplace trust by providing a forum for individuals to supply company recommendations, seek conflict resolution and resolve issues with community businesses. With a solid reputation for legitimacy, BBB serves as a trustworthy way for consumers to confront problems and for companies to develop a strong reputation, offering dozens of location-specific services in metro areas all across the United States and Canada. In addition, BBB acts as an intermediary for more than four million companies, settling disputes and fostering strong relationships while maintaining one of the largest databases of reviews and complaint records in the world. In 2014, the BBB system contained more than 165 million Business Reviews, serving a strong and reliable marketplace resource. In order to boost credibility, businesses have the ability to support the BBB by becoming an Accredited Business, providing an additional level of certification and approval.

Porch, the home network, enables homeowners to make smart home improvement decisions by giving them the information they need to find the right professionals, get inspiration and manage their home. Founded by CEO and Chairman Matt Ehrlichman in 2013, Porch’s database of more than 3.2 million professionals also serves as the in-store resource for all 1,700 Lowe’s stores. The Porch App, a first of its kind app, gives homeowners direct access to a personal Porch Concierge to help find the best professionals for their home.

For small business owners and sole proprietors, Internet reputation can be extremely valuable. With the popularity of review sites, consumers rarely contact a business without spending a few minutes reading reviews and comparing similar companies. Companies with a strong and positive web presence are more likely to gain customers and do more business, making consistent, quality reviews important. By creating a partnership between one of the most reliable web sources for trustworthy reviews and ratings, Porch has the potential to become the No. 1 resource for homeowners.

The newly-forged partnership between Porch and BBB is adding a much-needed level of reliability to an already popular interface. Users of Porch are now able to see relevant BBB ratings and reviews without any additional effort in order to make the best possible decisions. Under the rating section on each contractor’s page, BBB information is available for easy access. Homeowners can quickly see a contractor’s BBB rating, Accredited Business credential and disclaimer information in order to make an informed decision with minimal effort. If a contractor is not accredited or has no ratings, this information is also included. According to the partnership terms, new information will be made available every 24 hours, ensuring that Porch users have round-the-clock access to accurate, timely information about area professionals.

Example of BBB Accredited Business in Porch.com search results
Example of BBB Accredited Business profile on Porch.com
Example of BBB Accredited Business profile on Porch.com

While BBB ratings will be available for easy access on the Porch site, the partnership will not have any effect on BBB reviews, maintaining the organization’s credibility and marketplace reliability. BBB does not provide any confidential information to partners and serves simply as a source for legitimate and trusted industry reviews. Businesses will be unable to edit or remove BBB information, ensuring that Porch users have access to dependable and unaltered information.

When two industry leaders merge, the end result is almost always beneficial for all parties involved. With the union between Better Business Bureau and Porch, homeowners can now choose contractors with the utmost confidence. Providing easy, convenient access to thousands of business reviews, certifications and ratings, consumers now have access to up-to-date, trustworthy information in order to ensure a successful pairing for families, individuals and craftsmen alike. From construction to-do-it yourself home improvement projects, each and every job is guaranteed to be a surefire success.

bbb-porch_landingpage_qa_link

Link Bait: The New Deceptive Advertising

© Pazo | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images
© Pazo | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

“Link baiting” is an Internet marketing tactic that is used to drive web traffic. Sometimes called “click baiting,” sensational headlines, “breaking” exclusives, popular celebrity names, numbered lists, infographics and controversy—to name a few—are the hook used to pique curiosities and compel people to click. The ultimate goal is to increase inbound links and boost search engine ranking—increasing the likelihood of showing up on the first page of Google search results, for example.

Currently, there’s a major de-bait—see what I did there?—within the marketing community about the validity of click baiting and I have to admit that I’m inclined to agree: Sensational headlines for sensational content and “breaking” exclusives for proprietary new articles are great, because that information probably can’t be found on other websites and deserves the exposure—yes, the fact that information is available other places matters because it often defines the difference between inspirational/exceptional/novel work that creates value for readers, and plain old average content.

Businesses should take notice: Link baiting can be extremely effective and completely harmless when used correctly and responsibly, allowing businesses to attract views and users to easily locate webpages they find relevant and interesting. A well-crafted title that accurately represents its content is what honest and ethical businesses should strive for and what users expect.

However, sleazy companies on the Internet understand the effectiveness of link baiting and often use this technique to trick users into visiting websites that they would otherwise never see. Many of the offenders are relatively benign, leading to low-relevance, off-topic pages full of flashy advertisements for weight loss pills and work-from-home opportunities, but on the worse end of the spectrum, link bait titles lead to dangerous foreign websites that host malware and harvest information for phishing.

Remember, think before you click!

Have you come across sketchy link bait? Share it in the comments.