The Free Means Free! Initiative
I am a firm believer in the Free Means Free! Initiative. Maybe it comes from my upbringing. I was raised on the Louis L’Amour stories. He was one of the great writers of the Western genre. You may have watched many of more than thirty movies based on his stories. He wrote of himself, “When I write about a spring, that spring is there, and the water is good to drink.” Having drank from some of those springs, I know this is true. He wrote of time when the value of your word was paramount.
In many ways, the Internet of today is a lot like the Wild West of early America. With few real watchdogs, many people believe they are free to do as they please. They don’t realize the power of reputation. It may not always be easy to determine who you are dealing with but it should be. Why would you want to do business with someone when you don’t know if they are as good as their word?
That is one of the reasons that I like conducting much of my online efforts through IBO Toolbox. With the online profile and regular interaction, it is fairly easy to determine for yourself who is real and who is all “smoke and mirrors.”
The Free Means Free! Initiative is about standing up for ourselves and our promises. Whether they are implied or direct, we are responsible for making sure that our promises are worth the pixels that are presenting them.
Those involved in the Free Means Free! Initiative are making a point of being clear in their promises. If I say that it is “Free” then that is what I mean. In today’s world, there are many levels of free. That is understandable. But, “free” should not be a cover word for, “until you get the bill.”
Many of the worst offenders use terms like, “Free Video”, where you watch for forty-five minutes only to discover that this 99.99 value can be yours for only 29.99. This is WRONG!
It has gotten to the point where every time we hear the word “Free” we are wondering where the catch is.
The Free Means Free! Initiative is about making it clear what we are really offering. Let me give you a few examples.
The *Free GIMP, GNU Image Manipulation Program, is a *Free tool available from http://www.GIMP.org that will allow you to create some amazing graphics. It is the only Graphics tool that I use. It costs Nothing to download, there are no fees to use it. The only thing they want is to include their name in the Comment attached to the creation of images. I think that is Fair.
*Free Means Free!
Another good *Free resource is IBO Toolbox. There are no sign-up fees, no upgrades, and no “levels”. It is a *Free tool that I have been using for nearly a year with spending a penny. Now, before someone brings it up, let me tell you that there is a way to spend money at IBO Toolbox. You can purchase extra advertising. That’s it.
*Free Means Free!
My point is that there truly are *Free Opportunities and Tools all across the internet. You need to examine each carefully but when you find people supporting the Free Means Free! Initiative, you have a good chance at finding offers that are real.
*Free Means Free!
I have no problem with marketers who make their offers clear. One of the simplest is “buy on get one free”. This is quite clear. We know that we will have to spend a little money to get whatever it is that we are after.
A “free trial offer” lets us know that we can expect to have pay after a given period of time. It is important to read the fine print.
Some services offer “limited services for free”. As long as they make it clear from the beginning, I don’t have a problem with that. Sometimes the free service is all that you need until it becomes an economically responsible decision to upgrade.
I utilize several advertising tools that are free to use. There are some significant advantages to upgrading but they are perfectly useable in their free modes.
As Internet Marketers, we need to take responsibility for our offers. We should only use the term “Free” when that is the right term. If there is clarification required, we should make it clear. Like the Wild West, our honor is only as good as our word.
If you believe as I do, please feel free to Join the Free Means Free! Initiative by leaving your comment below.
Nove-Noga: Branding with IBO Toolbox
I started my own website after spending nearly two months searching online for a viable and honorable way to make money online. I knew a few things. Maybe, just enough to get me into trouble.
I was tired of clicking on supposed “Job” ads to find that they only wanted to teach me how to make money online instead of getting me a job. It is not that I object to their information. I objected to the misdirection.
I determined that I wanted my own website. I wanted a place of my own where I could make presentations of products and Ideas that I found valuable. I also knew that I wanted to create it from the ground up so that I would know what was on the site and what it was doing.
I had become aware that the popular wisdom requires that the name of the website be directly related to the goal or opportunity. Perhaps in my case I should have chosen something like “FinallyRealWorkForRealPeople.com” or “GetARealJobHere.com” as my domain.
I was thinking of all the domains with such similar names and the competition they implied. Besides, I wanted my site to be more than just a place to find good work opportunities. In my mind, I could see it expanding to solve many kinds of problems.
In my search for work opportunities I came across a number of selections that were more focused on how to turn a skill into an income. I decided to drop those into a separate HowTo section. The interesting offerings for solar energy, wind power and more I could place into a section for Alternative Ways and Means. And then, there were possibilities that were simply interesting. On the first encounter with one of these, I thought, “My! My! How Interesting?”
Given the diversity of my interests, I became even more convinced that I wanted to create my own site. I needed a name that was fairly short. I did not think that anyone would want to go to the trouble to find a site named, “TheGreatestIdeasIhaveEverSeenWhileIsearchedTheInternet.com”
I chose the domain “Nove-Noga” based on a family motto and phrase. Nove-Noga is short for Nothing Ventured – Nothing Gained. It rhymes with Nova, as in exploding star. So, it is pronounced NOva-NOga. The great news was that a search for the term showed relatively few entries before it began to diverge into meaningless drivel. Even more important, the domain was available.
I initiated the domain “Nove-Noga” and began the process to make my own working website. After two months of studying vigorously at W3 Schools and using that information to create my new website, I was able to find only one or two entries when I searched “Nove-Noga”
I had a little more success with a couple of the advertising sites I was using. Still I was not creating the kind of “Brand” footprint that I was looking for. A few extracurricular activities were starting to show up. There was an entry from Instructables.com and an entry from a Yahoo question that I posted.
Then I happened across a link to IBO Toolbox. Have you seen this yet? This site is simply amazing. Created for Independent Business Owners, IBO Toolbox is a free forum for business persons to present their blogs in the form of Press Releases.
The information and exchange of Ideas at IBO Toolbox reminds me of my first year at college. It is a little like taking a drink from a fire hose. You are encouraged to create a new press release (blog) at least every other day. By interaction with other members you become more visible yourself. I became very involved with my day to day efforts and was not really paying much attention to my search results.
I started searching “Nove-Noga” again about a month after I joined IBO Toolbox. Much to my delight, I was visible. Better than that, I was showing a significant web presence. My fellow IBO members, known as Associates, include many with years of successful internet business ventures. From them I was learning the techniques necessary to
generate targeted placement of my latest press release. But, much of the credit goes to
IBO Toolbox itself. The tools and activities at IBO Toolbox were generating more references every day.
I suddenly realized that it was working. By using the tools provided by IBO to create a Brand for myself, I was able to steadily increase my exposure via the search engines. Our Press Releases are echoed to HomeBizBlogs and NetworkedBlogs. Associates are encouraged to comment and to share to the Social Media sites. Through our use of Tools and Association, IBO becomes a powerhouse for self-promotion.
For proof of my assertion, Search for “Nove-Noga” on yahoo or Google. You will see many of the following sites.
Nove-Noga: Nothing Ventured – Nothing Gained http://www.Nove-Noga.com/
Nove-Noga: How To Do That Job http://www.Nove-Noga.com/HowTo.html
Nove-Noga: Alternate Ways and Means http://www.Nove-Noga.com/Altmeans.html
Nove-Noga: My! My! Isn’t That Interesting http://www.Nove-Noga.com/MyMy.html
Nove-Noga: Work Opportunities http://www.Nove-Noga.com/Work.html
I would be interested in knowing how the same searches come out on other search engines. Thank you for your time and attention.
The next step in building my personal Brand is to launch my Brand even further into the Social Media skies.
Are you prepared for the next disaster? According to the FEMA site http://www.fema.gov/ there were sixteen Active Disaster states, as of the first day of september, the most recent being Mississippi and Louisiana.
The website http://www.ready.gov/natural-disasters has a pictorial presentation of fourteen types of natural disaster. In the United States, we have experienced at least seven of these in the last few months. Have you prepared for the next disaster? Some are concerned that the current events are mere forerunners of disaster to come. I have been hearing rumblings about the Mayan calendar and the possible end-of-the-world in late 2012. When I think back, it seems like predictions of this sort have been occurring since the beginning of time. Today, we just have more ways to propagate these worries.
How can we strike a balance between proper preparation and the extreme? I would suggest that you first, do nothing that would not make sense under normal circumstances. Attempt to make a rational decision based on the best available information.
Even if the disaster never occurs, some forms of preparation may make perfect sense. Some believe that any form of major disaster, as postulated around the Mayan calendar, would result in disruption of our primary food supply lines. Others have concerns that recent drought, fire and flood may have similar effects. Now, you could simply move yourself and loved ones out to the country where you could grow your own food, or you might consider a small greenhouse that could be added to your home or built upon your property. You might find yourself healthier and happier just for the effort.
Other modern concerns revolve around the rising price of gasoline and other fuels. Personally, I gave up my last contract because I could no longer afford to pay the fuel bill. Did you know it was possible to convert a gasoline powered car to run off electricity? Of course then one would have to worry about the batteries and the electricity necessary to charge them. Fortunately there have been several advances in technologies over the last several years that can help reduce the costs and problems.
Another modern concern is the rising cost of electricity. Did you know that it is possible to generate your own electricity and that, in certain areas; you can have the electric companies buy back any extra electricity that you may produce?
“Where am I going with this?” You may ask? Well, thank you for asking. The Alternate Ways and Means section is devoted to these and other problems. The banner for the greenhouse business of one of our IBO Toolbox Associates is on this page. There are also banners for home electricity generation, gas to electric car conversion and a couple of other subjects you should discover for yourself. Yes, I know that some people consider banners to be a primitive technology but, I like them. Until I can achieve the next level of programming, this will just have to do.
At Nove-Noga, I will continue to expand on my efforts to locate worthwhile work opportunities and the ways and means to solve some of our modern problems. It is all based on a simple philosophy, “Nothing Ventured – Nothing Gained.”