Work For Hire: Proper Attribution Vs. Blatant Content Theft

There...  Now It's Mine!

Kids, just because you say it’s yours does not make it so.

There’s a disturbingly large contingent of delusional people that feel that a consultant’s work is automatically “work for hire”.  These are the folks that feel they can buy an image for $5 and maintain exclusive rights or pay a web developer $100 and have a web site that is unique, professional, and functional.  What’s worse is that they assume that ownership of rights of use (think Creative Commons licenses) means full ownership – there’s a world of difference there, kids!

Personally, I feel the term work for hire is a dirty phrase.  The average client has tight budgets and can’t pay for full ownership and exclusivity yet the expectation is that a consultant or freelancer always offers their services as WFH.  This is simply not true, nor is it fair.  It’s bad business for all parties involved.

So, WTF is “work for hire”?

I’m no lawyer but I’ve dealt with lawyers and legal jargon enough to understand that there are explicit and implicit rules for establishing ownership to intellectual property or content of any sort.  “Work for hire” essentially means you work behind the scenes and maintain no rights.  When I do work as a ghostwriter, I get paid large sums up-front for the right to give up any credit.  This means I can’t make any claims to the work, not even on a resume, unless I keep it anonymous.  Ghostwriting is the exception to the rules stated herein and, unless you sign an NDA or NC contract that stipulates ownership explicitly, the rights to content and end products are shared as far as I’m concerned.  Am I wrong in thinking this?

Consulting is tricky because there are no real standards for billing rates but pretty much every client will try to underpay if they can get away with it.  This is understandable: everyone wants more profits and savings.  The typical assumption is that you do the work, then it’s theirs, and you move on until you’re needed again.  This is what I call “one and done” work – it’s a real grind and rarely worth the effort unless you’re desperate.  These days, I do not bother with work for hire projects because…

  • It rarely leads to referrals or future work (unless maybe I beg).
  • It is not very profitable, nor is it efficient use of time.
  • It pulls me away from things that create long-term value for my brand(s).

I appreciate the fact that everyone is looking for a deal and wants to maximize investments but no one wants to be an indentured servantProject parameters and boundaries must be set to protect all business interests and circumvent any squabbles.  I’m all for giving freebies and value-added services but I’m not going to work for peanuts and neither should you!

…And now for story/rant time with Yogizilla!

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An Internet Buffet – Satire, SEO, and SoMe

Hello and welcome to my brand-spanking-new weekly blog and social media round-up, tentatively branded as the Weekly Internet Buffet!

NOTE:  Due to my work over at Geeky Antics Network Global (GANG) and HorsePLAY! LIVE, I will not be continuining my weekly round-up..  At least for now!

20131025-150541.jpg

Special thanks to DonasDays on BlogSpot for the neat image and San Faryna for the blog soup idea!

This is similar to what I have done before with the previous #supportathon and comment brigade campaigns but with a greater focus on curation. I believe that the most successful, accomplished, and fulfilled marketers embrace and live out the 3Cs of online business and conversions (a’la CRO, networking, and lead nurturing). Consumer, Curator, and Collaborator (more on that at another time). The 3Cs remind us that wearing different hats is okay and, more importantly, they help us appreciate the value in all [content] marketing.

With this ongoing initiative, I hope to support lesser-known thought leaders and content marketers while curating some useful, if not fun, tidbits from around the Internet. Of course, this will make it much easier for me to keep up with all the sites I maintain. Everyone wins!

In this manner, I hope we can become collaborators and support each other in more meaningful, consistent ways. So, without further ado, here are my picks for the week!

Stan Faryna is an old friend and I always admire his passion and poetic expression. Each of his pieces always seem to balance philosohical, philanthropic, and practical perspectives. In this continuation of the long-running Social Media DOHs series, Stan revisits favorite themes in value and self-promotion. His creative style will have you quite contemplative and perhaps introspective, too.

http://stanfaryna.wordpress.com/2013/08/22/self-promotion-value-and-other-social-media-dohs/#more-5274

Tim Haverford at NISM (National Institute for Social Media) Online shares five simple reasons why every professional should invest more time in their online presence. Truth be told, I usually skip list-based posts but this is a solid, concise article. For me, the main take-away here is protecting your brand. If you don’t build up your online reputation, someone else will.. And that also leaves your intellectual property at great risk!

http://nismonline.org/five-important-reasons-why-professionals-should-invest-more-time-in-their-online-presence/

Twitter IPO speculation has been quite pervasive in the last month or so and with good reason. No other social network has the global reach, cultural adaptability, and accessibility that Twitter does. My pal Christian Hollingsworth compares Twitter with Facebook and, clearly, we see his social media preference. I am with him, too!

What will the Twitter IPO bring or take away? It is really anyone’s guess. I just hope they have a sustainable revenue model in place. My concern is that Twitter will start to scale back features and kick third-party supporters in the balls, much like Facebook did when they went public…

http://smartboydesigns.com/speculation-surrounds-twitters-ipo/

Obligatory SEO-related content? Absolutely!

The next three links revolve around Google Hummingbird for the most part. First off, SearchEngineWatch (that’s right: not Moz) explains what “Not Provided” means in Google Analytics.. And how we, as small businesses and solopreneurs, can brace ourselves and adapt better.

http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2298881/What-Not-Provided-Google-Hummingbird-Mean-for-Small-Business-SEO

Queries/keywords Not Provided? No problem!

Note the evolution of SEO in just five years or so, as visually represented there. The HubSpot “Evolution of SEO” infographic is fantastic. In fact, if you struggle getting clients to see the value in your SEO services, this is a great tool. We see that a variety in content and creativity have more value now than ever before.

SEW reinforces what many of us veteran SEOs already knew and have advised for close to a decade: breadth of content is the key. This means casting a wider net while listening and measuring more. See what works for you and try new things. In short, keep content fresh and don’t force/spam niche or specializations just to rank up. Yes, that means you can’t just produce lists every day, though those have their place.

http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/what-programmatic-marketing-is-all-about-and-why-it-matters.html

Speaking of breadth of content, SEP sure has a wide variety of content. I trust the Search Engine People.. And Ruud Hein is also quite awesome and entertaining! I appreciate that they tackle all facets and tangent issues in SEO and Inbound Marketing. The above link will make a little sense of new marketing buzz words. WTF is programmatic marketing, anyway?

Back to this Not Provided business, KISSmetrics provides three great work-arounds for uncovering queries/sources which revolve around user behaviors, CPC/SEM, landing pages, and less traditional SEO tactics. Clearly, we can’t rely on Google or even Bing for our analytics and webmaster tools, so here are some ways we can be more self-sufficient and aware of how our content really performs.

http://blog.kissmetrics.com/unlock-keyword-not-provided/

“Recognize your influence. Recognize timing. Be intentional with your words.”

This powerful quote comes from former Navy enlistee and present-day Qualatech team leader/trainer, Matt Law. The next link goes to his article, which digs deeper into what leadership really means.. As well as the power our words really have!

Qualatech is an IT firm that seems to be very principle-driven.. In this article, they put the technical and tactical stuff aside to get to the root of what makes organizations thrive. While IT as a whole is struggling, this a Washington DC consulting firm thrives. My good friend James St. John pointed me to this article but I can see why Qualatech has thrived in what is a very saturated and underappreciated industry: they recognize the importance of true leadership, not mere management, and empowering others

http://www.qualatech.com/the-fishing-trip-that-started-qualatech

I love the narrative element here. A simple fishing trip becomes a life-changing event. The Navy Lieutenant could have easily served his own purposes and tell Matt to re-enlist but, instead, he tells him he has a greater purpose. Certainly, anyone that started an IT firm and stuck with it before the dot-com flops of the late nineties can tell you that was the way to go.

Sidebar: This article also makes a strong case for the power of storytelling and the influence the right words have.. And y’all know how passionate I am about such topics!

Today, Qualatech is a muliti-million-dollar operation and they continue to grow while others close doors and venture into more viable fields. I absolutely love this inspirational story. Thanks for sharing, James and Matt!

http://osakabentures.com/2013/10/startup-founders-who-give-back-in-listly/

There’s a quickie from another friend and collaborator of mine, Saul Fleischman. If you are looking to network with other startups and collaborate, add your name into the peer support list[ly] cited there. As Guy Kawasaki would say, it’s better to share a bigger pie than to desperately hold onto a tiny little slice. Saul is a big fan of give-and-take/reciprocation. He is also based out of Japan, which may be more convenient for those of us not in the Americas. Saul is as authentic as they come so, if you seek honesty and objectivity, he is your man!

…and now for something completely different…

http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-satire.htm

Satire and irony may be two of the most misunderstood literary devices out there so, when my son asked for help with his lit project, I thought it would be prudent to make sure I explained things properly. WiseGeek is one of those sites I enjoy when I feel like brushing up on my knowledge, or just reminding myself that I am a geek, above all. This is an informative read, even if you do not consider yourself a writer.

Did you know there are three main types of satire (and apparently a fourth and fifth kind)?

These describe the tone and style of the satire, rather than the subject matter. Interestingly enough, all I could think of was political satire at first.. I am now informed!

Hope you all enjoyed this week’s picks!

If I missed your submissions, feel free to post on our SEO Facebook group or email me.

Google EVIL Panda Algorithm Update: Even Greater Urgency For Us Little Guys

UberGizmo recently posted an awesome article about the terrible Google Panda Algorithm Update (thanks to Brinked.com site owner, Will H, for sharing). To say the least, this article was not a good birthday present for me. April 19th 2011 could very well mark a turning point for all of the Internet.
 
The news about Google’s search engine changes comes with some revelations I’ve gathered over the past few years, especially recently. Several sources indicate that around 70 to 99% of (search engine) traffic goes to 1 to 5% of the web sites out there. Whatever the actual numbers are, the lesson remains the same: us little guys are in a real hard place. The minds behind Triberr, a service which helps like-minded people promote their Internet “things”, say that this is a shame because some of the best content can be found outside of “the top”, which I agree with wholeheartedly!

The problem here is that the Google (EVIL) Panda Algorithm Update essentially rewards technically-savvy web sites that lack creativity, heart, and innovation. As UberGizmo so effectively illustrated, someone can take original content, not even crediting the source, and out-rank the originator. WTF?

Google EVIL Panda

Is Google the big bad bear now?

 

I already had plans to ramp-up my creative efforts and create greater urgency for my fellow writers, marketers, and entrepreneurs but now we REALLY have to motivate! With these new rules in play, what can small businesses, bloggers, and innovators do? I have a few ideas… Continue reading

Business Analysis: AT&T Offers 1000 Free Rollover Minutes To Loyal Customers

I know the main question many of you fellow AT&T customers have is probably this: is the Free 1000 Rollover Minutes legit or a scam?  The simple answer is: yes, AT&T *IS* giving away 1000 free rollover minutes..  To select loyal customers, that is.  Initially, the belief was that this offer was only being extended to AT&T iPhone customers yet I’ve found reports that Blackberry, Inspire, and other smartphone users have gotten it as well.  I decided to see what a AT&T Customer Service Representative (his name was Solomon, in case you were curious) had to say about it.  Here’s what he told me (or at least what the script told him to say):

Currently, we are only offering the free rollover minutes to loyal AT&T customers.  If you did not receive a text message with the offer, requests will be processed on a case by case basis.

He then went on to add that, if I got the confirmation stating that I would receive my free 1000 rollover minutes in 4-6 weeks, then I qualified.  There seems to be a few discrepancies here, especially since he said it may take 6-8 weeks.  I imagine the demand is rising rapidly, especially since this offer only popped up on the interwebz around Saturday, February 12th 2011.

AT&T Security Guard

Hey, every business needs a gatekeeper.. Why NOT a big, bald guy?

I suppose that is the sort of beat-around-the-bush response you can expect from any CSR (Customer Service Rep in vanilla speak).  You can see the value in having AT&T limit how many people go on to tell their friends.  Quite frankly, I was surprised there was no mention of the free rollover minutes loyalty offer on their web site, prerecorded messages, or even the official AT&T Facebook page.  That said, I have a feeling that they’re going to approve everyone automatically but they’re going to position the offer as a perk for “loyal customers”.  At this point, they’re probably trying to control call volume while not creating any more buzz about this whole thing than there needs to be.

Why is AT&T offering this now?  Why do the loyal customers matter at this point?  For jaded AT&T customers, the Verizon iPhone news, as announced on the magical date of 1/11/11, presents a way out but there’s more to it…

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Security Reality Check: Malware, Grayware, and Other Ugly Computer Software

In today’s media and society as a whole, scare tactics run rampant, often causing preemptive reactions and paranoia.  The culture of fear that results can be scarier than the actual threats propagating them but, in the case of computers, there are very real threats to come to terms with.  The face is often obscure and it goes by many names so I’m here to give you a little PC Security & Contingency Planning 101 course.

Malware: A family of critters that can make your day a bad one for computing.

Ewww.. Get it off my puter, plz!

First, let’s get a few things straight: any device that has access to software is at risk.  If such device has Internet access, there’s even greater risk.  You run a risk if you partake in certain activities as well.  What risk?  The risk of compromising your computer’s security.

Security compromises in the computer world manifest themselves in many ways.  There is a wide array of methods for attackers to infiltrate your computers by way of intrusive software programs/applications.  Here are a few symptoms that may hint to possible computer adulteration:

  1. Random performance spikes that cause system unresponsiveness or sporadic slowdown.
  2. Dynamic web content that seems to know a little TOO much about you.
  3. Sudden inaccessibility of known-working web sites.
  4. Overall sluggish system performance, regardless of what you are doing on your computer.
  5. Weird e-mail messages from names that sound foreign or just look like gibberish.
  6. Unexpected pop-ups, desktop icons, and extra stuff appearing.
  7. Your computer does not boot up properly or at all.
  8. Specific programs become unavailable or crash, often including security and diagnostics software.
  9. Memory randomly leaks during long computing sessions, no matter how little you multitask.
  10. Familiar screens suddenly look a bit “off” but you can’t quite pin-point why…

Certainly, there are many other tell-tale signs of foul play but these are amongst some of the most common things I’ve seen first-hand.  The key thing here is to note that malicious software works differently depending what you have.  You can have multiple infections at once or you may just be due for a computer overhaul and/or reformat.  Be wary: some issues are due to lack of ongoing housekeeping and others are caused by unwanted programs.  It’s hard to tell which is which, but that’s why you have tech-savvy friends and tech consultants (hopefully).

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*** CONSUMER ALERT: Avoid ACACIA Augusta Public Auto Auction ***

As always, I have a ton of ideas and posts lined up but so little time to do so.  This matter, however, is quite urgent as I start to shift my focus a bit to local issues such as safest neighborhoods, good eats, best deals, and miscellaneous points of interest.  We all know that buying a car can be the best investment one can ever make.  Some of us have learned the hard way that owning a car can also spell unending debt (automobile money pit, anyone?) if you’re not careful.  Avoid buying lemon cars by reading this quick guide!

If you want to be fruit, go to the Augusta Auto Auction; otherwise, go elsewhere to buy a good vehicle.

...What was that about life handing you lemons? o_O

Now, I live in the CSRA (Central Savannah Rivera Area) on the Georgia side.  I know a lot of my main readers are back on the West coast or Northeast but you may want to read on anyway, especially if you’re searching for a car now or in the near future.  This blog entry is about the crooks that want your money and how to read between the lines when making buying decisions.

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