NEO Coin on the Rise

One of the fastest growing cryptocurrencies of this moment goes by the name of NEO. It was formerly known as Antshares and aims to become the Ethereum of China. It is quite an ambitious goal, even though some major progress has been made already. All of this also reflects upon the NEO market cap, which has grown by leaps and bounds. With a strong value increase per individual token as well, things are looking very promising right now.

Altcoin traders are always looking for the next major investment. People who bought into NEO will be more than pleased with their decision. Especially when considering how the token’s value was less than US$2 just a few months ago. Fast forward to today, and the same token is worth just over US$50. It doesn’t happen all that often we see tokens increase in value by that much. Moreover, there is no real driving factor for this price increase either.

NEO Keeps Fueling its own Rocket
Do not be mistaken in thinking the NEO team isn’t doing anything, though. Instead, they are hard at work to make things happen. Chinese companies have also taken a liking to this blockchain project, by the look of things. Ethereum has never struggled to gain traction in China, though. However, it isn’t immutable, contrary to what most people would like to believe. The Ethereum blockchain has a precedent of being modified on demand and that can happen again at any given time.

Whether or not NEO can make an impact in this regard, remains to be seen.The project is firing on all cylinders right now as we speak. Moreover, the recent price increase has a lot of people excited right now. Then again, this also shows the majority of the price is a result of speculation and hype. Failure to deliver will send the price tumbling down pretty quickly, to say the least. For now, NEO holds the #5 spot in the rankings by market cap. That is quite significant, to say the least. It also brings some more competition to the table, which is never a bad idea.

The only potential downside is this accelerated growth. More specifically, NEO is growing pretty quickly, which can very well become its own undoing in the end. Anything rising in value in quickly will come down sooner or later. When that happens, things will look very bleak for NEO bagholders, to say the least. Then again, this may only be the beginning of what is yet to come. Cryptocurrency is a very strange market right now, to say the least.

Pros and Cons of Using Credit Cards Online

The immense profileration of internet in the modern world has seen its adoption fulfil the needs of a myriad of different industries. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the entire experience of shopping has been revolutionized into a virtual one available at the tip of your fingertips even on your mobile and tablet devices. A crucial component of this wonderful use of technology that has eliminated the exhausting and stressful aspects associated with shopping has been the use of online payment methods. Perhaps the most brilliant one of these payments methods has been the use of credit credits online. It has not only provided a way to comfortably buy a wide variety of products and services online but has just as well provided a platform for people all over the world to monetize their ideas. Never in the history of the world has there ever existed so many online businesses, a huge percentage of which receive payments online through credit cards. However, as with everything there are both benefits and drawbacks in using credit cards online and it is essential for customers and businesses alike to be aware of them so that they can make the best, informed decisions.

Pros of Using Credit Cards Online

The advantages of using credit cards online share a general theme of convenience and ease of accessibility.

Allows you to buy from a wider selection of products at lower costs from the comfort of any location, right from your personal bathroom to your dog park. With a working internet connection, you can use your credit card to order from pretty much anywhere in the world using the device of your choice.
Saves you from the trouble of waiting in queues, limited range of options, out of stock products and other problems associated with traditional shopping experiences.
Offers your built in fraud protection, as Federal laws give you the right to dispute charges and transactions you didn’t make. Maximum liability is upto $50 for unauthorized usage. For debit cards this goes up to $500.
Offers rewards programs and cash back opportunities that act as financial incentives for users to use them for a plethora of transactions such as buying groceries, paying electricty bills, booking movie tickets or even filling up gas in cars.
Provides a swift way to transfer funds within minutes using seamless and secure processors like Paypal which accept a wide range of payment gateways such as MasterCard and Visa to name a few.
Gives you a convenient way to make transactions in different countries without having to go through the effort of converting your money into the local currency.

Cons of Using Credit Cards Online

The disadvantages of using credit cards online share the general theme of a risk of getting ripped off.

Anything that exists on the internet has a potential to be hacked and exploited for fraud. There have been numerous instances of data theft where credit card information has been stolen and used to scam merchants and customers alike. Stolen credit card information is sold on the Dark Web black markets and is a huge industry.
The trade off for the increase in convenience is the additional, complex costs and fees that are involved with online credit card payments. Late payments, fines and hidden costs can all add up to a lot of extra expenditure.
For those will low impluse control, there is a dangerous risk of accumulating a huge amount of debt since one does not have to apply for a loan and can just get multiple credit cards and spend recklessly. This has resulted in many Americans living their lives in debt and going bankrupt.
Since credit cards make money easily available at your fingertips, it increases the desires of people to buy things they don’t really need and can’t afford. This promotes a culture of spending over saving and leads to an increase in consumerism and materialism which studies suggest lead to unhappiness in the long term.
You compromise your privacy every time you make an online credit card payment since it requires you to give up your name, your residential address as well as your phone number.

While it is evident that using credits cards for online payments does indeed offer a great deal of benefits, it is prudent to adopt a cautious approach when dealing with online stories that are lesser known since they might often turn out to be fraudulent in nature. Always use credit cards and not debit cards online since credit cards offer better protection and make you less liable in case of frauds. Never enter your credit card information on a public computer or use a public wifi to make such a transaction. Make sure the website’s url starts with an https:// rather than a http:// as the additional ‘s’ indicates that the site uses encryption that adds an additional layer of protection from hackers.

Social Media is Beneficial for Businesses

Social media has ushered in a new era of unprecedented adoption. Of the 3.5 billion internet users, there are understood to be over 2 billion active social media users. What was once just a platform to reconnect with old acquaintances and friends has slowly but surely evolved into a marketplace with the ability to provide innumerable benefits and tools to potentially take your business to the next level. What makes it even more exciting is that it has absolutely no barriers to entry. It’s no longer just a buzzword, but has instead turned into a modern day business requirement. Here’s a look at some of the advantages that social media provides for businesses.

Right off the bat, social media can generate incredible exposure to a company thereby increasing brand awareness and loyalty. These networks provide ways to share information exponentially, and every single post can reach a wide audience thereby increasing your visibility and potential to draw in more customers. A 2016 industry report from a research company found that over 97% of marketers engage in social media marketing. Global Web Index’s research studies report that in 2016, over 30% of internet users research products through social media channels and over 37% of them follow their favorite brands on social media networks. This has given popular social platforms the power of marketing giants, and in-turn given businesses an opportunity to increase their recognition and sales in a cost and time efficient manner. Another study reported that 53% of Americans who follow specific brands on social media end up being more loyal to them.
Social media provides a unique and invaluable ability to gain both customer as well as competitor insights in real time. Is it estimated that over 500 million Tweets, 5 billion Facebook likes and 100 million Instagram posts are created every single day. Access to this incredible wealth of information provides a doorway to understanding the mindset and desires of these users who are potential customers. Engaging in social media conversations, discussions and requesting feedback can only help you make smarter business decisions. It also doubles up as a strategic research tool that provides information about the latest trends in your industry and helps you monitor what competitors are doing in order to keep up with them or even stand out. These marketplace insights can then be used to target a demographic through advertising to create a higher rate of conversions.

Social media advertisements offer a cheap and convenient way to draw the attention of your target market to your business. Every content post, be it an image, a video, or a comment gives you the power to not just interact with your audience but also acts as an opportunity to convert leads. Every positive interaction works towards building a following and increases your chances of a getting a conversion. your opportunity of along with the ability to track the performance of these ads in real time. The best part about this is that you have the ability to track and measure how well these social ads perform, all in real time! Regular interaction through social media channels works well since it humanizes and personifies a brand, and people prefer doing business with other people rather than with companies. Studies from 2015 report that nearly 3 out 4 companies that sell through social media channels report a major increase in sales in a year. Social media has therefore eclipsed the results of traditional inbound and outbound marketing tools.

Social media interaction increases a business’ credibility, leaves a better impression and helps develop relationships with customers. This enriching customer experience has resulted in social media becoming the first point of contact for customer service, with fast response times and 24 hour support becoming key to their increasing financial returns. Replacing traditional email and phone call support with social media also has helped make businesses more accountable since social network like Yelp and Twitter can be used to voice customer satisfaction levels. You can immediately address complaints, apologize and rectify errors when need be thereby maintaining public trust in your business. The use of personalized human responses instead of automated responses also improves customer satisfaction and retention.

One of the greatest advantages of social media is its ability to increase website traffic and search engine ranking. Businesses no longer have to rely on just people familiar with their brands since social media directs new visitors to their sites. Every content post is a new opportunity for a visitor, and high quality content promises greater inbound traffic and a higher lead-to-conversation rate. Since social media networks also possess the search features of search engines, businesses can open themselves up to a huge network of consumers all over the globe. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps you increase your business’ visibility and ranks you high on search engines like Google when users search for specific keywords. This is crucial since people rarely go beyond the first page of a Google search result. Active social media engagement helps signify a brand’s relevancy, legitimacy, and trustworthiness.
A strong influential social media presence can go a long way to increasing brand equity, value and authority. Regular interaction through digital social channels makes a business appear more credible and results in greater satisfaction among customers, who can build a strong image for the business by expressing their opinions and reviewing their positive experiences thereby promoting the business. Social media users who have a large following are dubbed ‘major influencers’ and have the ability to skyrocket the reach of any product or service by lending their credibility and worth to it through a simple post. Cristiano Ronaldo, the world’s most famous athlete, has the third highest followers on twitter and earns roughly about $400,000 per post from sponsors.

With the vast majority of businesses already adopting social media to further their goals, it is safe to say that any business without a social media presence stands to lose more with every passing second. It is easy to get started and can provide instant benefits at negligible costs. Both small as well as big businesses have started to realize how a positive social media presence can go a long way to attract new potential customers and stay relevant in the marketplace. This is especially critical now more than ever in the face of the rapidly increasing number of people who prefer utilizing their mobile devices and social media accounts for their shopping experiences.

Successful Online Social Media Profile

Elements Of A Successful Online Social Media Profile

Social media is something that everyone, for business or personal reasons, should make full use of. Because so many people are now using it, it provides a fantastic opportunity to connect with a large number of people and to build a positive online reputation. In addition, it can help to increase the ranking of one’s website on the search engines. Essentially, each social media account is a visual representation of your brand or who you are and an opportunity to make a first impression. Since you never get a second chance to make a good first impression, you have to get it right the first time. Below are the key elements you should focus on, whether it is on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, or any other social media platform.

1. Your Name and Username

Your name and username on social media are two different things and they are both important. Your name will show up in your URL and will count towards your ranking, but is not necessarily what people look for when they are searching. On social media, people usually don’t search by URL, they search for a particular keyword in the platform’s search box. Type in “Apple” in Twitter, for instance, and the top results you will see on your screen will not be related to the Apple brand. Thus, it is vital to think about how your customers or followers search for what you represent to make sure your username is appropriate.

2. Your Profile Picture

It appears that the profile picture is a complex issue because experts can’t agree on what it should include. Some say the brand logo is what matters, whereas others say a photograph of a person works better. In a way, it depends on who you are. Going back to the Apple example, it makes sense to use the logo, rather than a photograph of a random Apple employee. If, on the other hand, you are a blogger, then a personal picture is definitely the way forward. Of particular importance is that you use the same picture on all your social media platforms, and that you save the picture with your own name, which helps with your search engine ranking.

3. Your Links

Not every social media platform will allow you to link to a website. If they do, go ahead and use it to your advantage. Facebook allows you to put it under your profile picture, YouTube lets you put it on your channel page. Always center your link and place it in an easy to read font, so that it is visually attractive and can easily be noticed. If you can, use analytics so that you can see which social media channels send the most traffic to your website.

4. Your Bio

All social media networks allow you to write a couple of sentences that describe who you are. This is a great opportunity for you to think about a description of yourself in just one or two sentences, with the right keywords. Whenever you do anything online, you have to think about keywords. Share what makes you or your company great and try to use the same description across your different channels.

As part of your bio, you may also be able to indicate some of your interests. For instance, on Facebook, you can add your favorite books, movies, sports teams, and so on. This is something to take advantage of, because it will help attract people with similar interests. And even if you are a business, you should take advantage of this too, because it shows you endorse others and they may just do the same in return.

5. Your Cover or Background

Certain social media channels, like Twitter and YouTube, allow you to customize your background. Others, like Facebook, allow you to change your cover or header. Again, you must use this to your advantage, so choose your cover or background carefully so that it represents who you are, or your brand, if you are a business.

Other Things to Consider

The above are the five key elements of a successful online social media profile, but they focus mostly on the appearance of your social media profile. There are other elements to take into account as well. For instance, your privacy settings are also very important. You must make sure that any information you want others to share is set to public, but that others aren’t able to access or change other elements of your pages.

Another key element is that you actually use that particular social media platform. Having a Facebook page, Twitter account, or YouTube channel is a start, but it is not enough. People expect you to use those channels to socialize. You can do that, first of all, by engaging with and talking to friends and followers, rather than simply collecting them. Secondly, you may join various industry-relevant groups and participate in discussions there. Last but not least, you must ensure that any content you share is relevant and something that people find useful.

How To Dominate Your Online Reputation

Your Online Reputation – Have you ever Googled your own name? If not, do it now, because other people could be Googling your name, and they will base their opinion of you on what they find. One recent study showed just how important this actually is.

“More than a quarter of Americans, including more than one in three Millennials, now believe that they are more likely to make a first impression online than at a party.”

And this is important not just in terms of building new friendships. Around 80% of employers state that they Google prospective employees before deciding whether or not to offer them a job. As such, it is vital that you have a positive online reputation. So how do you do that?

1. Know Your Standing – Your Online Reputation

First of all, you need to know what your online presence is. Only once you have that knowledge can you make positive changes. Don’t just Google yourself, but do also check Bing and Yahoo.

2. Take Over Social Properties and Domains

Start to create a brand for yourself. Set up internet pages with URLs that contain your name. All these pages and social media sites need to show you in a positive light. If you are a business, make sure you have a press page and an awards page as well.

3. Know Your Goals and Limitations

Building a positive online presence takes time and you have to be realistic about that. You need to make sure that the goals you set for yourself are achievable in terms of time. For instance, if you are hoping for a new job, then creating a positive LinkedIn account is more important than writing a blog. If, on the other hand, you want to create a business, then a blog and a Facebook page should be your priorities.

Do also make sure that you develop your Unique Value Proposition (UVP).

“Also known as a unique selling proposition (USP), your UVP is a clear statement that describes the benefit of your offer, how you solve your customer’s needs and what distinguishes you from the competition.”

Make sure that your UVP is visible across all your pages. And don’t think that a UVP is only for businesses. It is equally important for individuals, as it is a way to tell the world who you are and what you stand for.

4. Develop a Social Media and Content Strategy – Your Online Reputation

Now that you know what you want and what you can do, it is time to start thinking strategically. Start by thinking about what is already out there about you (remember point 1) and think about what you want to change. Also think about what you want them to know about you (your UVP) and how you can get that message across.

To do that properly, you need to think about who you are trying to reach. A prospective employer, for instance, is likely to look you up on LinkedIn and on Facebook. A prospective customer if you own a restaurant, for example, is more likely to look on TripAdvisor or Yelp. You must learn how to promote yourself, where to promote yourself, and when to promote yourself.

5. Create a Schedule and Stick to It – Your Online Reputation

Once you have your strategy in place, you can create an action plan of what to do and when. It is vital that you stick to that. You cannot have an action plan that says “create a blog post when I have time”. This goes back to point 3 about knowing your goals and limitations. And do also factor in time to review your action plan to see if you are meeting your goals.

Online Reputation – When Suddenly, What People Say Matters

Online Reputation: Most of us are taught from a young age that we shouldn’t care about what other people say about us. What matters is only the opinion of those closest to us, and if someone has a problem, it is theirs to deal with. In fact, that idea is a key element of positive thinkers and postulate gurus the world over.

“What other people think about you is none of your business. It’s their business. Wasting your time thinking about what they are thinking about you serves nothing. Seeking approval is a waste of your time and energy. It will only bring you suffering.”

This is an idea that resonates with many people. It feels liberating and it frees people from worry. All that really matters, according to this school of thought, is your own opinion about yourself. Unfortunately, in the world we live in today, other people’s opinions are actually incredibly important.

Why Reputation Matters – Online Reputation

Your reputation is hugely important, whether you are an individual or a business. And a reputation is, very simply put, the sum total of everybody else’s opinion about you. What you need to hope for is that an overwhelming majority of people see you in a positive light. However, this may not always be the case.

In certain aspects of life, it is actually not advisable to go through life maintaining that the opinion of other people doesn’t matter. This can be very damaging to your life, not necessarily in terms of your personal feelings of self-worth, but rather in terms of your future prospects. Because those are the prospects where other people will judge you, based on anything they can find out about you, i.e. your reputation.

The Importance of Reputation Management

Reputation management must start by understanding the importance of online reviews. The most recent 2016 Local Consumer Review Survey highlights this:

“84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. 90% of consumers read less than 10 reviews before forming an opinion about a business. 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more.”

What the above tells you is that public opinion may not change the way you see yourself, but it will certainly change the way other people see you. That is why your online reputation is so important, and why you should work hard at maintaining it.

How Your Reputation Can Get Damaged – Online Reputation

The ways in which your reputation can get damaged are vast and varied. Some of them may be more surprising than others. They include:

You are not responding to negative criticism. People understand that not everybody can be happy all the time. However, people do not understand why you can’t respond professionally and with courtesy.
Slander and libel coming from disgruntled employees, ex-partners, online bullies, or trolls
Not having an online presence

The last item is something few people realize can be bad for their reputation. This is perhaps because technological developments have gone so quickly, that it seems hard to keep up. It seems like only yesterday that the majority of businesses didn’t even have a website or, if they did, it wasn’t interactive. It took almost no time for it to go from that, to people expecting that they can conduct all of their business with you through the power of the smartphone while they are traveling through an area thousands of miles away from you. If you do not have a strong online presence, customers will distrust you and feel you may have something to hide. Losing trust is the worst thing that can happen between a business and its customers.

Just How Important Is Your Positive Reputation?

Positive Reputation: The best way to look at your reputation is as if it is your shadow: you simply cannot get away from it. However, unlike a shadow, a reputation can actually hurt you, so it is very important that you understand what it is, and how you can improve it. There have been numerous studies about the importance of online reputation, and you simply cannot get away from it anymore.

The Importance of a Positive Reputation

When we think of reputation, we tend to think about individuals (also known as “street cred”) and businesses. However, it actually affects everything, even sports! This was demonstrated by a 2014 study by Braden King and Jerry Kim, from Northwestern University and Columbia University, respectively.

“This paper tests the assumption that actors’ status biases evaluators’ judgments made about those actors’ quality. Using unique data from Major League Baseball umpires’ evaluation of pitch quality, which allow us to observe the difference in a pitch’s objective quality and in its perceived quality as judged by the umpire, we show that umpires are more likely to over-recognize quality in high status pitchers and underrecognize quality in low status pitchers.”

What this demonstrates is that reputation affects every aspect of life, and that it often does so subconsciously. The umpires in the above study, for instance, genuinely believed that they made the right calls. Yet it seemed that they did still favor those players with better reputation.

Different Factors Influence Reputation & Positive Reputation

The next thing to consider is that there are many different factors that will influence reputation. One important factor is the factor of association, something that has been an issue since biblical times: someone’s reputation would be determined by who their parents were. This still happens today, in fact. Often, parents will not like their children having certain friends because of the parents of the latter, for instance. There is a huge variety of factors that can influence your reputation, both personally and professionally.

“Typically, in the workplace we care how key individual performers, managers, executives, change agents and management’s favorites behave. If you are under the microscope, every misstep will be magnified and discussed.”

Reputation Concerns

There is another issue as well, which is the one about how concerned you need to be about our reputation. It is about finding a balance. Presuming that you are a solid company or individual, with nothing to be ashamed of, you may come across as slightly suspect if you engage in an aggressive reputation management campaign. Interestingly, this is also something that has been with us since the beginning of times, and perhaps best worded by philosopher Marcus Aurelius:

“I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinion of himself than on the opinion of others. If then a god or a wise teacher should present himself to a man and bid him to think of nothing and to design nothing which he would not express as soon as he conceived it, he could not endure it even for a single day. So much more respect have we to what our neighbors shall think of us than to what we shall think of ourselves.”

So does your reputation really matter?

Absolutely. Countless pieces of research have demonstrated this, in fact. But you also need to be careful about not overdoing it, and making people suspicious about your motives. It is a complex field to navigate, particularly when you understand just how important it actually is. This is why it is also best to leave reputation management to the professionals.