Yahoo Services at their Best

I have not written in this blog for quite some time (because of work overload mostly) but this incident was too funny to keep it to myself.

A few years ago I registered a few .com domains with yahoo small business at a promotional rate of $4.95/year (or around that price anyway) . Last year (I don't remember exactly) when yahoo announced their regular prices I decided it was time to part from their services so I initiated the transfer process which was completed within a few days and all the domains were working properly on their new "registrar". It was obvious to me that the no other action was needed on my part. I was wrong ...

Last month I received a yahoo email that my one of my domains was suspended because I had failed to pay their $34.95 annual registration fee !!! Had they not noticed that the domains had been transfered elsewhere ? Of course they had the other domains completelly transfered out of their system. Wasn't this automated ? I initiated a transfer and part of that process was Yahoo Domains sending me an email to confirm that the transfer had my consent !!! (and wasn't fraudulent)

Anyway I went along and logged in my control panel in order to cancel the service but since they considered my billing obligations past due, no action was allowed - except I believe entering a new credit card number. Because of this I decide to send them an email explaining the situation so it can be resolved but this lead to a few emails back and forth in what appears to be a total miscommunication between me and the YAHOO email support . I will let you enjoy them ... still in doubt whether the responses were coming from a human being though ...


Original message



This is an automated notice. Replies to this address will not be received. If you have questions, please contact Yahoo! Customer Care. For your protection, Yahoo! will never ask you to provide your billing information via email.

Dear G Kontopoulos,

Your Yahoo! Domains account is past due and has been suspended. Although we have previously sent past-due notices, we have not yet received payment for your account.

Amount due: 34.95

Service period: 10/19/2008 00:00:00 to 10/18/2009 23:59:59

The Yahoo! ID associated with this account: xxxxxxxx

The domain name for this account: xxxxxxxxx.com

To update the payment information on file for your account:

1. Go to the Service Summary page at https://billing.yahoo.com to view a list of your active services. Services with past-due payments will be marked with a past-due alert.
2. Click the "update your payment method" link in the past-due alert.
3. To edit the payment method you are currently using to pay for your service, click "Edit." To switch to a new payment method, click the "Add a new payment method" link in the upper-right corner of the page. Be sure to click "Continue" to save your changes.
4. Once you have updated the payment information for your service, we will attempt to charge your payment method using the new information.
5. Verify that payment information has been updated for your service by confirming that the service is no longer in past-due status. When you return to https://billing.yahoo.com, you should see your service marked with the word Active.

To update payment information for additional services, return to the Service Summary page at https://billing.yahoo.com and repeat the steps above.

If the information on file in the billing center is valid, you may need to contact your credit card issuer or PayPal to correct the problem.

If you are having problems updating the information as instructed above, please visit our online help center or call our toll-free number at (866) 800-8092 between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. PST, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.

We appreciate your attention to this matter.

The Yahoo! Billing team

My response
I have been receiving emails about my domain registration
expiring and unpaid bills but xxxxxxx.com and any other domain that I
had with yahoo has been transfered to another register almost a year ago

I am trying to cancel the plan but it does not let me

Please correct this in your records


Please correct this in your records
Their response
Hello George,

Thank you for contacting Yahoo! Small Business Support.

As per our records we see that your domain xxxxxxx.com is still active
with Yahoo!, kindly cancel your domain online and if you are not able to
do it online kindly contact Yahoo! Customer Care Billing 1-866-562-7219
to force cancel the domain.

Please do not hesitate to reply if you need further assistance.

Regards,


Shankar
Yahoo! Small Business Support

For assistance with all Yahoo! services please visit:

http://help.yahoo.com/


My Response
This is the second support request

xxxxxxx.com was successfully transfered to
another account outside yahoo domains 1 year ago
(using the accepted transfer method all registrars use)
and yahoo had accepted the transfer
I thought it was obvious that the
yahoo domains will not bill me again about it ??

Please cancel the account for xxxxxxxx.com

I am trying to do it with the web interface
but it does not let me

The previous person instructed me to contact
customer service and I am (email support)
since I am neither in the US nor do I have time
to spend on the phone for something I consider trivial

Thanks

Their response

Hello,

Thank you for writing to Yahoo! Customer Support.

To better serve your needs we now provide care for billing related
concerns exclusively over the phone.

Please call us at 1-800-318-0870 Monday through Friday from 6AM to 6 PM
Pacific Standard Time, and a customer care representative will be happy
to assist you.

If you prefer to go online where you can view all billing, payment, and
credit card information, make payments, or update your services anytime
day or night, please go to


http:// billing.yahoo.com .
Thank you again for contacting Yahoo! Customer Care.

Regards,



Yahoo! Customer Care
For assistance with all Yahoo! services please visit:
http://help.yahoo.com/


MY FINAL RESPONSE

You people just don't read the email

well I am considering this issue FINISHED

here is our previous conversations
Please don't contact me again about THIS !!!

TNX - not as good as advertised

I have talked about TNX before in what it seemed like a praise of them. Its been six months already since I first tried them out and I have used them extensively all this period and I have drawn some conclusions which I would like to share with you guys.

The system in theory is pretty effective but in practice it has many pitfalls. First of all for those that don't know TNX let me just say its an easy way to get one way backlinks to your site. Of course there is a price to pay for this. You create your ad campaign, you choose what types of sites you want it appearing on and then you can potentially get thousands of backlinks withing days. So far so good.

In my experiments with TNX this my conclusions:

Not clear backlink benefits

I have tried to get links from relevant sites (chose themes/categories specific to my site's theme) in order to get the maximum benefit. After trying it for 6 months its still not clear to me if there were ANY benefits with ANY of the ad campaigns that I did. I am not drawing a definite conclusion here since this was not a controlled experiment and I was actually trying to get cheap links from PR0 pages. Thus, other people might have actually got good results with TNX and high PR links.

Google can probably detect irrelevant links

I have also tried selling links through this system. I tried this with one site on which I had it on for about 2 months. The links that were appearing on the ad spaces were more often than not irrelevant (not same category as my site). Google probably took notice of those links and penalized my site with PR drop from 4 to 0. But that had also a snowball effect on the money that I was getting for each link sold on the site. PR4 links were worth more than the PR0 links. Thus I decided to stop selling links using TNX. Another side effect of this drop was the unwillingness of other webmasters of exchanging links with me (because of the PR0).
If the system would not allow links to irrelevant sites than this probably would have been avoided and maybe this is something that the developers of TNX should take into consideration for their next update.

You could be charged for links dropped

I recently was doing a back check on some of the links that I "gained" 3 months ago and discovered that most of them were reported "by the system" as "NOT FOUND". After a brief discussion with the support of TNX I realized that EVERYONE has to manually visit each campaign and DELETE the links that are reported "NOT FOUND". Here is the part of the relevant discussion.


Why am I being charged for links

Date: 2008-06-27 23:39:17
Name: Giorgos Kontopoulos

Message:

that don't exist !!!
This is ridiculous

I just checked today for the first time and

most of the links Even your system concludes "not found"

Almost 90% of the links are "NOT FOUND"

EVEN when I go and check and there are no links there !!

What I conclude is that for 3 months now I am paying
for NON existent links

I demand this issue be resolved,
And I demand half of the link sales (at least)
to be credited back to my account

I am seriously thinking of refunding the money
and leaving from this network

Seriously disappointed
Giorgos Kontopoulos

Date: 2008-06-28 03:59:24
Name: Alex

Message:

Dear Giorgos,

You are more than welcome to delete any link that has a "Not found"
status and get a full refund of points spent to cover its cost.
It does not matter when the link is deleted, as long as it has a
"Not found"status, you are entitled to a full refund of your points.

>>I am seriously thinking of refunding the money and leaving from
this network

I think you just need to ask more questions so you have better
understanding of the TNX network. In case you decide to get a
refund and leave, please re-open this ticket.

Regards,
Alex.


This is clearly something that the system ought to be able to do on its own. It would be a full time job otherwise if one had anything more than 1000 links with TNX, and had to continuously check if the links that were acquired automatically HAD to be CHECKED manually for their EXISTENCE.




Those are the major reasons that have convinced me that TNX was no more for me.

Have you guys had any experience with TNX ? What did you think of the system ?? Any successes ?

Earn money as a freelance link builder

It is probably apparent to most of us by now that link building is an essential part of improving your search engine position and consequently the traffic search engines send to a site. There are numerous free link building techniques but one of the most beneficial is link exchanges. You find sites that are relevant to your site's theme/subject and exchange links with them. Those links have the potential of sending targeted traffic but are also valued by the search engines (including Google) more than other links because of their relevancy factor.

Link exchanges are time consuming.
A successful link exchange includes finding a relevant site to your theme making the necessary contact with the site's owner or webmaster (usually via email) and communicating the willingness for an exchange and then placing the actual link and making sure that the relevant site places a link to your site. Not all contacts result in link exchanges because not all site owners understand or care for the benefits of such exchanges. Thus the process become

Why Link exchange freelancers ?
There are lots of SEO companies and web consultants that offer link exchanges as part of their SEO services. They either have personnel specializing in link exchanges or they outsource some or all link exchanges to freelance link builders. If you have not thought about it before, anyone can become a link builder and do link exchanges.

What can you expect ?
What is expected of you is to have a good command of the English language (preferred language of communication) and be able to write an enticing sentence and get relevant sites to exchange links with you. Having some experience on why and how linking works will help a great deal to find the relevant sites or you could otherwise be exchanging links with sites that google would not find valuable and the companies are not willing to pay for. Most SEO companies will have a minimum requirement of the potential link partner's site to have at least PageRank of 2 on homepage and that the page where the link is to be placed to be crawled at least once a month (can be determined by the Cache date of the page).

3 way link exchanges
Most clients needing SEO services will not be willing to place links on their sites and essentially they want 1 way links. Most SEO companies overcome this limitation by offering links to potential link exchanging sites from their directories. This essentially makes the whole process a 3 way link exchange. A link building freelancer will have access to those directories and place the links there; links to the sites that have confirmed willingness to exchange links that is.

How much can you earn ?
Different companies are charging their clients different prices depending on their experience and niche of client, but anywhere from $0.50 - $10 is probably about right per successful relevant link. The closest the theme/subject to the client's site, the better the PR of the homepage or the link page or the better the crawl rate of the link page can drive the price to the high end of the range.

Its sounds easy !!!
And it is in theory but if you are not at ease with searching for relevant/similar sites or sending lots of email communications and receiving only a fraction of answers it can make this an overwhelming task.

If you are looking for ways to make a buck, hope you find this useful.


PS1.
I am also in need of a link building freelancer/partner
I am also offering web and seo services to my clients and I am in need of someone willing to take over this part of link building. My customer's list does not allow me to offer too much money per link for this service but, I am willing to work with an inexperienced person and teach him the ins and outs of successful link exchanging. Only requirement is that this person has a good command of the English language. Serious offers please send me an email (I am sure you can find it here or on geoland.org) or post here and I will be notified of the post.

PS2.
I know its been some time since the last time I wrote something for this blog but I usually do write about stuff that I find interesting and I didn't find any recently.

TNX.net text link ads

TNX is a new text link ads broker/network that has been gaining momentum lately. On the surface it looks like most of the text link systems but deep inside its quite different.

Any website owner with at least some pages with higher PR than 0 can register as a publisher. Upon registering you should include the TNX code into your site's template and let the system crawl your pages (which could take up to a week) and then you are ready to sell text links. TNX does not serve sitewide links. Instead each page can have up to 4 unique links from advertisers.

Advantages over other similar systems

  • Individual page links are sold and this means more money for the publisher and greater text link benefit for the advertiser.
  • The advertisers select pages based on their theme/subject and value of PR and not based on the actual URL. The system does not allow the advertisers to know the actual site that their links are placed on and this helps prevent fraud (i.e. google paid links reporting etc)
  • The publisher has the opportunity to approve or disapprove advertisers on each and every page (up to 4 links per page)
  • The advertisers have at their disposal a wizard that can help them easily create many different text links with slightly different anchor texts.
  • There is a referral program in place that can help a user earn more money.
  • As of 01/04/2008 there are 39 125 Registerd Users with a daily growth of +0.28%, and there are 31 201 403 text link ads sold so far
If you are a website owner interested to know how much you could be making there is an income calculator on their homepage. You can enter your websites URL and a rough estimate of your pages PR and get your site's maximum revenue from selling TNX text ads.

If you are an advertiser you can try the system for free. Register here and get your free 5000 TNX points by posting on this thread.

GamerClix ads review

I have been experimenting lately with different sources of revenue for my online games site and I have come to install the GamerClix ads above each individual game (i.e. above pac man).

The system is very flexible and easy in setting up and running. Anyone who has used adsense in the past would find it a breeze to work with. You can use the system's "code wizard" to choose from a variety of standard industry ad formats and change the colors to match your site style and end up with the javascript code that you can "copy and paste" into your html template. This makes it a perfect candidate for an adsense alternative but, not quite. GamerClix is still in its infancy. Not too many advertisers have signed up and as a consequence the same ads are shown over and over. On top of that I have experienced that the few clicks that my ads received have resulted in no revenue which is quite puzzling but, its only been a week that the ads are running so I am willing to give it one more week to see how it goes.

In my opinion the only disadvantage is the luck of advertisers. The GamerClix team should probably set an affiliate program (which is lucking right now) in place and entice the users to refer others to the system in order to get a critical mass of active advertisers and publishers.