One of the most frustrating aspects of Internet Marketing is born in the WHOSITS database. This database, owned by Google, lets anyone see the information submitted when a small business owners purchases a domain name.
Unfortunately, anyone can gain access to the information. Most small business owners learn this within hours of buying a domain. The first calls come from internet marketing companies that promise to get their clients at the top of the search engines for a paltry $20 – $100 a month. Of course, what they don’t tell the prospective client is they use black hat SEO tactics which usually lead to the site being banned – forever.
The next set of calls come from telemarketers selling everything from magazines, to loans, to business opportunities. It is frustrating.
Filling in Forms
There are several ways to remain anonymous on the web. The most popular method is to use a bogus business name that leads to a PO box in a ‘mailing center.’ This way, the fraudsters are frustrated by the ‘ghost.’ And, if lucky, the business owner may entice the fraudster to use the information resulting in legal retribution.
There is also no reason to enter your real information into forms. Remaining vague, or using the wrong prefix before your name, can protect your identity.
Save Your Password
Everyone knows what spyware is. Few people know that it can tap into the ‘save your information’ services on your PC. Many people use the ‘fill form’ tools in Windows and in their computer browser. Spyware comes in, collects this data, and then sends it to fraudsters.
Never include any information in these boxes. Another way the PC collects sensitive data is the drop down box that asks “Do you want to save this password.” Always select no.
Any website that is linked to the internet needs a firewall, spyware cleaner, malware cleaner, and virus scan. AVG has a free virus scan that many businesses swear is the best in the world. It not only removes viruses, worms, and trogans, but also can remove malware.
Yahoo has a nifty little spyware remover on their browser tool bar. This tool, in conjunction with lavasoft’s spyware remover has offered many businesses almost 100% protection.
Windows comes complete with a firewall. However, many business owners shut this down and use ZoneAlarm.
These tools will protect most PCs from phishing attacks and spyware that roves the net looking for small business owners who must include their information on the web.
Many small businesses must include their address, and contact information on their website. However, saving the information in a gif image makes it invisible to spyware and hackers.
Encrypting the email or leaving a space is another way to protect email addresses. Many small business owners are starting to show their email addresses like this: smallbusinessowner @mydomainname.com
Notice the space – this makes the email addy invisible to spyware. However, users can copy and paste the link into their browser.
Instead of posting the email at all, why not consider adding a form to the website. Most forms can be set to automatically email the owner the moment the form is submitted – but the information remains invisible to hackers.
One last tip: Change passwords once every two to three months.