In a world of personalized ads, here’s how to resist the come-ons — and come out on top

To get an idea of how smart marketers have become, spend a few minutes online. Just hint that you might be interested in a product by doing a search or browsing a big site like Amazon.com. It’s enough to trigger a never-ending cascade of ads that seems to follow you around, no matter where you go. Read more “In a world of personalized ads, here’s how to resist the come-ons — and come out on top”

Twitter has a secret about you

This week’s top story was Janice Hough’s first-person account about the power of social media.
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Have companies stopped listening to us online?

If you haven’t seen the stories about the “miracle” of social media — particularly Twitter — and how real-time social media platforms can lead to superior customer service, you won’t have to look far. Or wait long.
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Google Plus says my name is not allowed — now what?

Stanislaw Tokarski / Shutterstock.com
Stanislaw Tokarski / Shutterstock.com
Google Plus doesn’t like David Books’ name. And now it’s stopped listening to his requests for a social media account. Is there anything he can do to get the company’s attention?

Question: Could you possibly help me with an issue that continually keeps popping up for me. Because of my name — Books — I keep getting denied the right to set up an account with Google Plus, Google’s social network.

I have used Google’s email service for years under my legal name, but when I tried to set up a Google Plus account, I was denied because of my name violating their name policy. I sent a copy of my driver’s license, but was still denied.

There is no way to appeal the denial. I might have a better chance if I could send Google my Facebook credentials, but I have the same problem there. I can’t establish a Facebook account because of (you guessed it) my last name.
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3 reasons social media matters more than you think

Alexandr/Shutterstock
Alexandr/Shutterstock

It’s true, social media fatigue is starting to set in across the Internet.

Consumers say they’re tired of receiving useless information through the latest and greatest social network and wary of giving up their personal data. A recent Pew survey, for example, says as much as 38 percent of Facebook users plan to use the service less this year.

But here’s one good reason you shouldn’t delete your Facebook or Twitter account yet: Companies are paying close attention to what you say.

Closer than you can imagine.
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Surrounded by impostors, what’s a consumer to do?

Odua/Shutterstock
Odua/Shutterstock
You’re surrounded by fakes. The clothes you wear could be fake. The money you use? Not real, maybe. Even your “friends” on social media are sometimes fake.

What’s a consumer to do?

We’ve had a lively conversation about authenticity during the last two weeks, dissecting the problem of counterfeit electronics and phone cards. But as it turns out, the problem runs much deeper.

Fakes are everywhere.
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How to find your adoring travel blogging audience (and keep it)

Editor’s note: This is part five of my series on becoming a successful travel blogger. Here’s the first one, the second one, the third one and the fourth one. I’ll have the final installment tomorrow.

You’re missing a key ingredient to your super-successful travel blog: your audience.

Notice that I said “your” audience. Not “an” audience or “the” audience. When you become a travel blogger, you will make a deep connection with your users that goes beyond anything you had in old media. These aren’t simply readers, viewers or listeners; they are members of your extended family.
Read more “How to find your adoring travel blogging audience (and keep it)”