Category: technology

How Can We Start Digital Marketing ?

When people talk about the benefits of digital marketing and the prospects for success, I’m always inclined to think of some of the people I know who have completely transformed their lives.  Now I know if you start researching things like digital marketing or making money online that you’ll find a whole host of promotional stories.

You know the type, we’ve all read them –

“I was homeless and in debt but after starting the megarich program I became fabulously wealthy in just a few weeks.  Not only that I discovered that I only had to work ten minutes a day and the cheques kept rolling in.”

Now hopefully, nobody will believe this stuff but unfortunately many do.  It doesn’t take much to convince some people with these stories, after all we’re all desperate to believe it anyway.  If you’re desperate, optimistic, fed up or simply a little bit gullible it’s extremely tempting to risk a few bucks to buy into this dream.  In many ways it’s no worse than buying a few lottery tickets.  However it’s important to to remember these are sales pages and although there may be a small kernel of truth to the story, most of it will be hyperbole and exaggeration.

How Can We Start Digital Marketing

Yet promotional stuff like this is almost certainly the reason that most people fail in their efforts to change their lives and fail in digital marketing.  Which is a huge shame as there is huge potential there for most people to change their lives completely online.

How Can I Start Digital Marketing

Well first of all it’s best to remember that pretty much all the skills and knowledge are actually available online.  However the difficulty is that finding, using and making money from this knowledge is much, much harder. If you find someone you trust who can it explain, help and mentor you then your chances of success are much higher.

One of the main problems is that there’s so much, choice and potential it’s very difficult to actually get started. The phrase digital marketing in itself is quite confusing as it covers pretty much everything.  This makes it difficult to start and easy to waste time in procrastinating.  yet you won’t get started by reading endless posts or by drifting and watching the BBC or YouTube.

In reality though the majority of people start in a few ways – creating websites, videos or social accounts and making money from them either through advertising revenue or selling stuff.  I would estimate this covers 90% of people I know who make great livings from the internet.  Much of it can be deemed as digital marketing, yet if you met some of the most successful you’d never believe that they were ‘successful marketers’.

So let’s take probably the most popular initial option – building a blog or website and promoting some sort of product.  It can be literally all set up in a few minutes if you know what you’re doing, but if you have to learn from scratch it can take months or even longer.   Believing the wrong people or following the wrong advice can add to this learning curve and can lead to frustration and people giving up right at the beginning of the process.

However there are simple guides and people willing to help without wanting to sell you overpriced rubbish at every turn.  Here’s a marketer I trust demonstrating how easy it is to actually build your first web site –

That’s great, practical information on how to get started and it’s completely free. You can follow the video and create your very first affiliate site and start your journey in an afternoon.  It should be available every where but if you get blocked try using region free DNS servers to access it. What’s more apart from paying for some basics it doesn’t even cost very much at all to get started either.

However many people can take ages getting to that point and will often spend a small fortune on over hyped products in the process.  It’s really not necessary, and although there are products and information which can make your progress quicker you should be especially cautious before buying them.

Who Can Become a Successful Digital Marketer

This is actually fairly easy to answer because it’s virtually everyone.  In practice that’s not entirely true but as far as financial, intellectual or practical barriers there are very few.  The reason that the vast majority of people do fail is because it does take hard work, persistence and a somewhat resilient personality.  If you can become successful in self employed roles in the physical world though there’s little to stop you succeeding in the digital marketplace too.

We shouldn’t underestimate the numbers who do fail though as it’s certainly a huge proportion.  I’ve seen many estimates and of course it’s difficult to measure but I’d be surprised if it fell below 90% failure rate.  The majority of people who fail though are those who simply gave up before they succeeded.  It’s a statement that’s especially true in digital marketing as the potential is there for everyone.

Important points to remember though, are firstly it does take lots of time.  The days where you could start up and make a fortune in a week or so are long gone.  Although some video bloggers and people marketing on social networks can make money very quickly.   However although you can potentially create and promote hundreds of social network accounts very quickly using something like Jarvee  – the skills and knowledge needed can take a long time to develop.

Secondly it’s the work ethic, and this shouldn’t be underestimated.  I normally focus on affiliate sites which promote technology products.   Currently I’d expect to work on a site for at least a year before I’d expect it to generate a reasonable income.  That’s a huge amount of unpaid work that had to be done before a return is realized.  Of course, it’s much easier if you know that your work will eventually be rewarded but it’s tough first time to keep going which is why most don’t.

We’ve all come across fabulous websites which look completely abandoned.  That’s because of the huge effort involved in maintaining, updating will eventually take it’s toll especially when they’re not generating any income.  A successful website which does generate income however is much easier to throw time and resources into!

Start with an Interest

Whether you choose to develop a web site, social accounts or create a killer YouTube channel then there’s one thing you should definitely consider.  Make sure that the topic or product you promote is something you’re interested in because otherwise you’ll be unlikely to succeed.

If you have a real interest in a subject then creating content will be much, much easier.  Some of the most successful websites and channels on the internet where started as hobby/interest sites.  I can think of many niches which are dominated by sites which were started this way with no budget just the enthusiasm of the creator.

You can decide that you’re going to be aggressive and create twenty Instagram channels to sell a certain product.  Or perhaps that you’re going to make a fortune reselling concert tickets using proxies on Ticketmaster.  However whatever format you choose, you’re going to have to become an expert in that specific area. This is whole lot easier if you have an interest in it too, whichi can see you through those early non-profit making weeks!

The beauty of the digital economy is that to some extent it’s pretty much open to anyone.  You don’t need a degree, you don’t need lots of cash and it doesn’t really matter where you’re from or what your background is.  Admittedly if you’re really poor with technology things might take you a little longer although many really successful marketers online are truly hopeless with technology  (but they just pay people to fix stuff).  Also there are certain challenges if you’re based in certain countries where it’s harder to get access to payment processors like PayPal.

Yet these are just all minor hurdles which you can be certain people have crossed successfully before.  So if you’re considering a career or want to change from the traditional 9-5 model that traps so many of us – then try out digital marketing. It’s not that hard to get started and it certainly doesn’t require huge financial investment.   You can succeed and join those of us who choose where to work and what time we get up in the morning!!

 

Residential IP Provider

We talk a lot about proxies in this blog, how to use them to stay secure, protecting our anonymity and really important stuff like being able to watch the BBC on our holidays.    In truth, as far as watching online media sites go proxies are very little use anymore because they’re very easy to detect.   If you want to watch a multimedia site online then you’re normally going to need a VPN as they are much more difficult to detect.

There is another side of the blocking war technology, which doesn’t involve the type of server you’re connecting to but rather the IP address it is assigned.  You see there’s another crucial distinction as far as the network address you use on these servers – commercial or residential.  Virtually all IP addresses that the ordinary individual can get access to falls under these two categories.   So it’s worth just briefly clarifying what we mean by these:

  • Commercial IP Addresses – these are assigned to public and private companies and commercial datacentres.  Indeed 99% of proxy and VPN services are hosted in commercial datacentres which is why they’re allocated commercial addresses.
  • Residential IP Addresses – if you simply connect to the internet through your ISP like most people, then you’ll have a residential address.  These are only allocated to home users via their normal internet connections whether they’re broadband, cable or even dial up.

It seems a minor difference, after all they’re both just standard IP addresses but the distinction is becoming more crucial.   In 2016 Netflix became the first ‘media giant’ to restrict access to their content based on the classification of your IP address.  It’s been used before in smaller organisations and in other sectors but this was a major shift in region locking.  If you sat on a company network and wanted to watch Netflix using your computer you’d be blocked, didn’t even matter if you owned the company!

After years of trying to enforce Netflix users to stick to the locale they were based in, they finally decided that only those who originated from a residential IP provider would have access.  This worked big time, indeed compared to the years of blocking proxies, checking for concurrent connections and trying to detect VPNs it was incredibly effective.  The reason was simple all the circumvention tools like proxies and VPNs had one thing in common, they all had commercial IP addresses assigned from the datacentres where there servers sat.

People Suddenly Need a Residential IP Provider

There was some collateral damage, but basically it made Netflix only accessible from home connections.  More importantly users could not use VPNs and proxies to switch to a better version of Netflix, the US version has more than double the content of many regions.

In fact what Netflix was doing wasn’t that original, in other areas commercial websites have been using this classification for years. Anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of programming can use incoming IP address information to determine both the region and classification of the IP address. Using the classification is an easy way to ensure all the inbound connections are from legitimate residential users.  They can also determine specific countries and regions from the IP address to – all crucial information if you’re running any sort of e-commerce site too!

Most online resources and commercial sites are directed at home based customers which is why having a residential IP address is crucial, residential traffic has certain characteristics.  Normally that’s fine but there are also many situations where you need more than one address and that’s extremely difficult to do.  For example people involved in online marketing or research need the ability to process numerous requests from social media sites, advertisers, search engines and even online retailers.  Unfortunately if you try and do this from a single solitary internet connection and address you’ll get blocked pretty quickly.

residential IP provider

Whether it’s the classification, origin or more likely the fact it’s being used for repeated requests – it’s pretty simple to get blocked by a web site nowadays.

People who use marketing and research tools will get blocked very quickly for example as the multiple requests are logged. Even posting stuff to social media using applications can have this effect very quickly too.

Others use tools in order to buy multiple copies of items or place lots of adverts. Again if you are stuck using your single default, residential IP address you’ll get an IP ban very quickly.  the more requests you or the application makes then the quicker it will happen.   Even something like a residential VPN won’t help because although the actual connection is encrypted, the mere fact that multiple concurrent connections are established from the same IP is easy to detect.

For example there are lots of people who use software to buy multiple items in order to sell them later.  There are computer programs designed to do this for you, making multiple requests and placing lots of items in shopping baskets automatically.

They are usually found in sectors which have limited or restricted availability like designer trainers/sneakers, concert and sporting tickets and similar items.  When items like these are sold online then the restrictions are normally enforced by the classification and location of the IP address.

Let’s consider buying concerts for a very popular rock band, the tickets always sell out extremely quickly.  How do you ensure that people don’t buy extra tickets to sell online at inflated prices?  Well imagine you’re sitting there looking at the requests come in for a Dallas based concert and you see hundreds of requests from IP addresses originating from New Delhi? These obviously don’t look like legitimate requests from fans and the website will almost certainly block or restrict access from these addresses.

There is a workaround method that can be used and is implemented very profitably by people online – they hide their locations by using home based IP addresses originating in ‘non-suspicious’ locations.  However to do this you need to buy residential IPs which are bought from a residential IP provider.  These are normally bought by buying access to dedicated residential proxies which have home based addresses assigned to them.

Some of these networks are extensive and extremely sophisticated indeed they need to be to fool the websites involved.  The most advanced are called residential backconnect proxies, which are much more than simply standard static residential proxies.   They are networks consisting of thousands of residential IP addresses all linked together through single backconnect proxy gateways.  These are much more difficult to detect as they offer the ability to rotate IP addresses automatically and also the referrer data that is sent from individual connections.   Any sort of automated bot which buys, researches or posts will need access to rotating residential proxies in order to function with any volume.

These networks are of course extremely difficult and expensive to set up, primarily because getting access to residential IP addresses is very difficult.  Many have taken years to set up, it’s not that hard to learn how to make residential proxies but it’s much,much harder to set one up!  It’s worth remembering this before you go searching to buy residential proxies, they are much more expensive to run than normal one.  Which is why the people running automated tools like ‘sneaker bots’ or ‘ticket bots’ are always searching for reliable sources, you’ll even see them referred to as residential sneaker proxies as they’re often used with these bots to buy lots of sneakers from large online retailers like Nike, Adidas and Footlocker.

There’s only two or there of these with large enough residential networks to make most of these bots and tools work properly.  Here’s one of the oldest and most respected networks – they’re called Storm Proxies.   They’re unique in that they’re the only ones who actually own the hardware and addresses (the registrations) unlike their competitors.  Indeed many of the other providers have little direct control over their residential IP address inventory, e.g. Illuminati who’s network consists of piggybacking off the connections of a free VPN called Hola.

It’s definitely the fastest, safest and best residential IP provider and you can try out their proxies here

Storm

Check out their residential proxy trial which you can test for 48 hours and get your money refunded if they don’t work for you.

Hey Look, That’s Suspicious. Hide IP all Internet Traffic

One very important aspect of privacy that is usually overlooked is that of discretion.  If you want to remain private, then it’s important not to stand out – in IT circles it’s often called security by obscurity.   I remember once having to investigate unauthorized use of a database system by an employee.   The scenario was that this particular application could be used to look up all sorts of personal details about people however this was strictly  forbidden.

When I started to investigate, it took about 2 minutes from looking at the logs to identifying the culprit.  The logs were huge, but all access was identified by the user access name in one column.  The usernames were all in a long format like this –  user/2347643-1964 all except one whose username was Bob21 (slightly changed to protect the stupid), and it stood out a mile.  The user had created his own account and used it to look up details of a love rival, but had failed to keep to the same username format as everyone else.   It yelled – check me out, very loudly indeed – he was discovered and subsequently lost his job.

hide vpn traffic

The point is that it’s all very well having a super secure and encrypted connection, however if this is too obvious you run the risk of making yourself a target and inviting investigation.  This is particularly relevant in using a proxy or VPN or proxy to hide yourself online.  Sure they work and a properly configured VPN over port 80 does keep you very secure, however if anyone looks at the logs the VPN user can stand out.

The reason is that in standard ISP logs a normal web user will have a variety of internet requests to all sorts of different web servers and IP addresses.  The VPN user will have all those hidden and will interact with the single IP address of the VPN server.  This stands out, the same IP addresses being connected almost permanently and no requests made to anywhere else.  The IP address is either a fascinating web site or more likely a proxy or VPN – it’s also simple to search and filter for this sort of behaviour.

Fortunately it is possible to hide VPN traffic by using certain highly secure VPN services which can be made almost invisible too with a few carefully configured options.   Here’s an example of those settings that you can configure in Identity Cloaker.

Basically you need to ensure that you rotate the IP address you access periodically – so that a variety of addresses appear. This suggest normal web browsing rather than a single encrypted connection which can help to hide openvpn traffic too. Other options are to allow the cloaking of different applications, so that some requests go direct to the site whilst others are redirected through the VPN tunnel.

After all if you’re streaming video from a recognised site, do you need encryption? Is it a secret?  You might already run openvpn over https too, and by making this sort of behaviour accessible and readable you control what aspects of your online activity is private and which isn’t.   These are simple tricks but extremely useful if you’re serious about tying to hide VPN traffic properly.

It’s not that difficult if you have these options in your VPN service to melt back into the crowd. However it makes a huge difference to the level of privacy you enjoy. A little obscurity is an essential element in keeping yourself safe online, any security adviser knows all too well that you should avoid making yourself into a target.

 

How to Unlock More Movies on Netflix

One of the problems with Netflix is it’s just too big! Much is made of of it’s super clever algorithm which is designed to guide you to your favorite shows, however the reality is that most of us will never come across thousands of the shows and movies stored on there. Most of the versions of Netflix are the same but the US version has even more content with some estimates suggesting tens of thousands more films and TV shows. Here’s how to unlock more movies on Netflix using a simple hack.

So how can we browse all these films more easily, well some clever chap has discovered a way to break out of Netflix’s suggested movies mode and dive straight into specific categories.

It turns out that you can go straight to thousands of pre-defined categories on Netflix just by using the correct URL. For instance, here’s a few.

Classic Comedies – http://www.netflix.com/browse/genre/31694
Music Documentaries – http://www.netflix.com/browse/genre/90361
Sports Dramas – http://www.netflix.com/browse/genre/7243

You can access them by modifying the end number of the URL and you’ll be directed straight to that category if you’re logged into Netflix. There are in fact 76,000 different categories some of them extremely specific – for instance there’s a category of ‘Witty Movies by Woody Allen’.

Fortunately someone has produced an incredible list of all 76000 categories which you can find on this link. Just have a browse and you’re bound to find a few categories of interest that you’ve never found.

What’s more if you switch to another version of Netflix then these categories still work but you’ll see different movies and shows depending on which country. SO for example you could use one the Netflix VPNs such as this and switch countries before clicking the URL and see loads more. That means you can go directly to very specific genres under each country variant armed with this list and a Netflix working VPN.

It’s definitely worth trying and of course the Netflix algorithm will pick up on your choices after you watch and rate them to update your standard auto-generated menu’s too.

Innovative Cyber Criminals Hack Austrian Hotel

One of the main reasons that in the past cyber crime was never too much of an issue, was the fact that many of the people who were capable of performing the attacks were not that good at the criminal side of it.   Hopeless geeks would steal stuff nobody wanted and then get picked up when they tried extorting money.   This is changing now in a big way as cyber gangs across the world start working with organised crime and becoming much more effective.

Luxury Hotels Targeted by Hackers

One of the current hot cyber crimes is ransomware, getting access to a system and denying access to the data or applications themselves.  A popular method is for viruses to encrypt important data and destroying it unless a payment is made.   It does work occasionally but only on badly configured and poorly defended systems – any half decent disaster recovery system will make such attacks ineffective.

However the latest targets of slightly modified attacks are big hotel chains.  Hotels have long been a target for technological crime, often because there’s a mix of wealthy people using mobile devices and poor levels of IT support and administration.   Previous targets have been hijacking Hotel Wifi systems or infecting lobby computers to steal usernames and passwords.   The latest twist however is to target a much more practical application, the hackers are taking over the hotels keycard systems.  The application which controls, registers and deregisters the room control cards – effectively controlling access to guests rooms – locking them in or out at will.   These are often also linked directly to reservation systems which can also cause havoc for any hotel.

There have been many rumours of these attacks taking place, however one hotel has decided to admit that they were attacked and decided to pay the ransom.  The hotel is a luxurious four star place in Austria called the Romantic Seehotel Jaegerwirt set alongside a beautiful Alpine lake.   Like many modern hotels they have a sophisticated IT system which controls all the key cards.   When the system was compromised none of the keys worked and nobody could open any of the room doors – customers were either locked in or out of their room.

Imagine the chaos that would cause the hotel management, especially on the opening weekend of their busy Winter season.  Then the demand came, a relatively modest request for 1500 EUR paid in Bitcoins in order to restore their key card system and access to the reservation application.  As the manager pointed out, the police and insurance are of little help when you have 180 guests locked out of their rooms.  The manager decided that paying the demand was quicker and cheaper than any other alternative.  There are two crucial aspects to this case, the modest request and the fact that when it was paid the hackers kept their word and restored the system.   These factors are crucial to convincing  victims that ‘paying up’ is the sensible option it in fact the best business decision in the circumstances.

Cyber crime is moving into a new and more dangerous phase than the amateuristic attacks we have seen in the past.   More and more of our world and systems are accessible online, the IoT (Internet of Things) is bringing vulnerabilities into our world that previously didn’t exist and criminals are using these avenues to run their businesses.  The hotel has interestedly identified an upgrade that will prevent these attacks in the future, their next refurbishments will replace the keycards with ordinary keys which were originally used by the hotel when it opened over a hundred years ago.