Privacy? What Privacy?!
May 15, 2000

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Reaching Great Minds Online
May 15, 2000 Issue #44
Mike Valentine, Editor,

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=> Feature article: Privacy? What Privacy?
=> Our Guest Column: Search Engine Positioning
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Privacy Concerns Online Increasing Daily!
by Mike Banks Valentine

A major issue for small to medium sized business online is PRIVACY
if they collect information from visitors to their site. New laws are
being passed that require site operators to maintain the privacy of
surfers that provide personal information to site owners. A law
recently came into effect called the Children's Online Privacy
Protection Act (COPPA) that can lead to fines of $15,000 for
non-compliance PER VIOLATION. Sites that collect information from
children under 13 are required by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
to get "verifiable parental permission" before collecting ANY
information from kids.

The approach adopted recently by many online businesses doing the
CYA dance to avoid hefty fines imposed by the FTC for COPPA
compliance violations is to "lock-out" children under 13 from all

Online privacy and safety for children is advanced significantly by
COPPA, but because there are few obvious solutions to the
protection of data collected online (witness DoubleClick debacle
recently) massive "free" services (like Hotmail) find themselves
facing fines for sharing information with third party advertisers
about children.

So far, the answer has been to "dump the kids" from those online
services that don't cater specifically to children. Those small
businesses that count on kids for major portions of their audience,
like game sites and homework services could quickly be put out of
business by the law.

If your online business gathers any information from children under
13 and you want to stay on top of the news, I'm sure you will find
this site a valuable resource.

And it's not just children you should be concerned about. Privacy laws
are being considered for adults as well. The following is a quote from
today's Internet World News 5/15/2000

"The 40-member Advisory Committee on Online Access and Security
was directed to give advice to the Federal Trade Commission on how
Web sites should handle personal data collected about consumers.
The committee, which held four public meetings this year, released its
final report Monday. The FTC, which appointed the advisory panel, will
report to Congress this month on whether laws are needed to regulate
online privacy. At that time, the FTC will also present official findings
from its most recent survey of privacy policies at commercial Web
sites." --Kathleen Murphy

You can find out more about this issue by going to

and subscribing to their newsletter and review the site and the
news links provided. A solution to new privacy laws for small
business is discussed at the site also.


Mike Banks Valentine operates WebSite101 Short Course, Small
Business Internet Tutorial

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Is Search Engine Positioning Dead?
(The Truth May Surprise You!)

by Michael Buck

One of the trendiest takes on Internet marketing these days
seems to be this notion that securing top search engine
rankings "no longer works." Where it started, I have no idea.
But rarely does a week go by when I do not see one or more
Internet marketing "experts" claiming that search engine
positioning is largely a waste of time and should not be a
primary focus of web site owners.

Well,as the saying goes, "there are two sides to every story."

But this article is not about my side, or your side, or
anyone else's side. Let's forget about my opinion and other
"experts" opinions and stick to the indisputable facts, as
reported by highly credible 3rd party sources:

=> According to a Forrester Research Media Field Study,
getting a loyal audience in the first place is best done
by Search Engine Placement.

=> According to a GVU Users Survey, 84.8% of Internet
users use Search Engines to find websites.

=> In a study released by ActivMedia Research in September
1999, Search Engine Positioning was ranked as the #1
website promotional method used by eCommerce sites.

=> And look what I just found in the April 2000 issue of Target
Marketing Magazine.(Source:IMT

"Top Ways Websites are Discovered"

Banner ads: 1%

Targeted email: 1.2

TV spots: 1.4%

"By accident": 2.1%

Magazine ads: 4.4%

Word-of-mouth: 20%

Random Surfing: 20%

Search Engines: 46%

You have now seen the numbers and know that search engine
promotion is very much alive and kicking. Now I will take it a
step further. Let us examine the *quality* of prospects coming
to your web site through search engines as opposed to other
advertising mediums.

Every time your potential customers use the search engines,
they qualify themselves as *hot prospects* by conducting
searches on keywords that are directly related to your product
or service. Their choice of keywords is proof that they have a
genuine interest in what you offer. These people spend their
valuable time exploring the search engines for your type of
product or service.

Think about that.

They did not stumble upon one of your ads, or wander past a
hyperlink to your site. And they did not get a banner ad thrown
in their face. They made the *decision* to actively search the
keywords that brought them to YOUR website. And when they
get there, they are ready and willing to do business with you.
At the very least, they are seriously considering it!

But merely getting your website "indexed" or listed in the
search engines is not enough. In order to get any significant
traffic from the search engines, your website must be listed
within the top 30 search results (preferably the top 20).

Very rarely will anyone look beyond the first 30 results
returned from a search. This makes perfect sense because the
most relevant sites are always listed at the top. So if your
prospect does not find what they want within the first 20 to
30 listings, they will simply do a new search.

If your site falls anywhere below the 30th listing, you do not
stand a chance against anyone in the TOP-20. Hence, it
should be your goal to achieve Top 20 positions.

So how do you get your website listed in the top 20?

1) You can attempt to gain these Top 20 rankings yourself.
However, this can easily become a full time job. (I think
this is why so many marketers advise against focusing
on search engine positioning.)

2) You can hire a reputable company who can achieve AND
maintain your Top 20 rankings for you (be sure they
guarantee their service and have verifiable clients
that currently have multiple Top 20 rankings).

3) You can do nothing at all. But as you have seen from the
third party statistics I referenced above, search engine
positioning is something you cannot afford to ignore.

Whichever choice you make, I hope that your eyes have been
opened to the tremendous profit potential that exists with top
search engine placement.

---------------- About the author -----------------

Michael Buck is a marketing consultant & Director of Marketing
for To find out more about top
search engine placement and how you can attract targeted traffic
with multiple Top 20 rankings - visit
You may also call Mike at (310) 798-0467.

Copyright 2000




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  June 9, 2001