Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Disabled by the Facebook virus

I was recently disabled by Facebook. No reason given and no way to contact them except through their Q&A, then email.

I followed the instructions, but was informed I had a fake account and was permanently barred with no appeal.

Because I don’t take “no” for an answer, I immediately opened another Facebook account with a different email address, a placeholder account. (I later learned this is typical of teenagers: one for friends, another for family.)

The situation was frustrating, annoying and time-consuming. Was someone targeting me? Or, worse, was someone trying to steal my identity?

A few days later, I learned of the virus that targeted women—and asked them to send a copy of a government-issued I.D. to prove who they were to a “Facebook” customer support site.

Even though I got my account back, I couldn’t help questioning what was going on. How many women had given vital information about themselves to a hacker, an identity thief or worse?

Executives at Facebook said only a “small percentage” of its 500 million users were targeted, but even one percent could have been 5 million women.

Don’t get me wrong. I love connecting with the real world through the virtual one. Because I created a network of bird guides worldwide through Facebook, I not only enjoy stunning photographs daily, I know where my next big bird-watching trip will be.

Even before this latest virus, Facebook and other gargantuan social networking sites were becoming the domain of spammers, viruses and malware.

Now we have a virus that disables accounts and asks for personal identification. As far as I know, there has been no explanation of who received the identification papers. Facebook or someone else?

Ironically enough, Facebook executives announced they were creating a platform for email, etc. on the same day they had to admit there was a virus. Given the timing, perhaps Facebook itself was the target.

Being disabled from virtual friends for a few days was bad enough and cut off from the Dell Richards Publicity page for a few hours was unnerving.

But being cut off from email by a virus—with no way to phone customer support and get it fixed immediately—is my worst nightmare.

For more information, contact Dell Richards Publicity at 916. 455.4790 or visit our website at

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

EEGs tell us if ads work or not

We were familiar with EEGs (electro- encephalographs) from public relations for a clinic that used quantitative EEGs to diagnose attention deficit disorders in children.

It was fascinating for us to hear that companies now are using a similar technology to check their advertising.

The technology still is not accepted by insurance companies—even though qEEGs can successfully diagnose various mental illnesses.

But cost doesn’t hold back businesses when EEGs can be used to make sure money spent on advertising gets the biggest bang for the buck.

Asking people questions in a qualitative focus group is notoriously dicey.

The target audience has to be determined in advance and the right people found to bring in.

Even then, people are loath to hurt feelings or be too different from the group to be completely honest.

Researchers also have to be careful not to sway the discussion or allow people with the strongest opinions to railroad others.

With computerization, people watch ads while their eye movements are tracked by means of 64 sensors attached to a cap they wear.

Pulses on a line graph show varying responses to the three most important sales points: attention, emotional response and memory retention.

Companies claim they can pinpoint sections that work—or don’t—without even asking the person what they thought.

For more information, please call us at 916. 455.4790 or contact us at our website:

Monday, September 27, 2010

Qualify leads so you don't have to make good as often

Clients rarely tell others they’re satisfied, but they tell the world they’re not.

That’s why making good is essential if a client is dissatisfied.

Whenever we’ve had to make good, it hurts.

Especially if we did what we said we’d do.

We’ve discovered that, generally, if we had qualified the client better, we usually wouldn’t have had to make good.

We know the profile of the company that fits best with us.

With very few exceptions, when we take a client who doesn’t fit that profile, especially one who can’t really afford a public relations firm, we’re more likely to run into problems.

We’re firm believers in giving back to the community by doing pro bono PR.

When it comes to profit, stick to your parameters. That way, you won’t have to make good as often when you’ve done excellent work.

For more information, please call us at 916. 455.4790 or visit our website at

Thursday, August 26, 2010

How to listen as a sales tool

In the 1950’s, they used to say to catch a man, you had to be a good listener. “Ask questions and he’ll think you’re a wonderful conversationalist.”

That advice has fallen by the wayside in the marriage market, but it’s still good advice in sales.

So much so, a business coach of ours used to say “…the art of sales is the same as courtship.”

In order to find out if you have enough in common to create a working relationship, you have to ask relevant questions, listen to the answers and ask careful follow-up questions.

In sales, the questions relate to the need and elicit information targeted to service or product you’re offering. Ask about past experiences, present use, immediate plans and future goals.

Find out what they expect and what the budget is.

In other words, see if you can deliver what they need, want and expect at a cost they’re able to pay.

Today, when the art of dialogue is all but dead in any situation, creating a useful conversation is an important sales tool.

For more information, please call us at 916. 455.4790 or visit our website at