Social Media Integration (so I don’t forget)

Finally getting some integration in my social media life. This post is to help me remember what I’ve done!!

I have an account on Facebook

 I can update my Facebook status via my Blackberry using the Facebook Blackberry software:

On Facebook I have the fb2twit application installed. This sends my Facebook Status updates to my Twitter account:

My account at Twitter is:

I have a TypePad blog (this blog):

On my blog I display my latest Facebook status, and my latest Tweets, using widgets – they’re installable via my Typepad admin pages.

Finally I have an account with TwitterFeed. TwitterFeed can grab RSS and other blog type feeds, and send them to yur Twitter account. I’ve got it grabbing:

– My blog feed
The collectZing corporate blog
My personal collectZing Member RSS feed (shows my activity on

OK, so this means that:

Anything I post on my blog etc winds up on Twitter. It then does a 180 turn as well and shows up on my blog in the sidebar.

As I update my Facebook status, it propagates up to Twitter, then to my blog sidebar.

Blimey, it’s a full time job this social media stuff.

Uptime comes standard – not

IBM has an ad in today’s Financial Review for special offers on some of their servers. I’m interested in a new web server, so paid attention. The ad is headed ‘uptime comes standard’.

There are two contact channels, a web address and a 1800 telephone number.  So I go to the web URL. It has a bunch of offers – but they are old ones expiring 31 March. Not the new ones – someone’s not updated with the latest to coincide with the print campaign.

So I ring the 1800 number. It’s answered with the usual canned voice, ‘all our operators are busy please hold’ then it goes click beep, and a voice says ‘there is no voice mail service please contact the main number for this location’ (or somesuch) and hangs up.

So instead I ring the 1800 number (different to above) on the web site. I get a voice mail saying I’ve rung the marketing response centre and pre sales department, please leave a message and they’ll respond within 3 business hours.

IBM’s servers may have uptime as standard, but their marketing and
sales systems just have downtime. Makes it pretty difficult to buy
anything from them….

When is lead generation underhanded?

We were box dropped with this DL flyer today at home:


Cool! A free home appraisal. Why not give it a go, so I pumped the URL into Firefox. I dutifully ‘click here’ on the home page and arrive at a form to fill out. Straightforward, name, email, phone and address of my house. But cynic that I am I click the Privacy link rather than the submit button. Hmmm, you have to read the policy most of the way down to find:

“By providing your personal information you consent to us and our sponsors and service providers using your personal information to provide you value added services. Based on your preference, this includes contacting you by telephone, mail or e-mail to discuss products and services. You also consent to us, our sponsors and service providers, offering you products and/or services which you may agree to purchase, and this extends to goods or services from us or any third party.”

OK, so by submitting the form I’m agreeing to be spammed by phone, email and mail, by homeguru and a whole bunch of other people (‘sponsors and service providers’) – none of whom are named. So how can I agree to that – I don’t know who they all are. How can I reasonably consent to something when I don’t know what it is?

Interestingly the How it Works page says:

“HomeGuru will search its database and match your requirements to property information and a qualified real estate professional in your local area.” Which kinda confirms that we’re going to get a call from a local real estate agent busting to help us sell our house. So clearly lead generating for the agent – presumably they’re paying for the referrals.

If you  dig all the way to the bottom of their terms of use page, in the absolutely last paragraph you find:

“HomeGuru has sourced and reproduced information published and compiled
by Australian Property Monitors Pty Ltd, ACN 061 438 006, ABN 42 061
438 006, PO Box 1300 (Suite 6, Level 2, 32A Oxford St) Darlinghurst
2010 NSW (Publisher).”

Suddenly everything makes sense. APM is a business that collates property sales information and sells, you guessed it, property valuation reports – they get a big run on the Fairfax sites. In fact their web site has Fairfax digital all over it.

Registrant    Australian Property Monitors
Registrant ID    OTHER 061 434 006
Eligibility Type    Other
Registrant ROID    C3001750-AR
Registrant Contact Name    Admin Contact Fairfax Digital
Registrant Email
Tech ID    2784822163
Tech Name    Tech Contact Fairfax Digital
Tech Email
Name Server
Name Server IP
Name Server
Name Server IP has something different:

Registrant HomeGuru Pty Ltd
Registrant ID ABN 59117524982
Eligibility Type Company
Registrant ROID C2220423-AR
Registrant Contact Name Nick Torpy
Registrant Email

So the HomeGuru site is produced by, a Sydney-based web dev company (APM is also Sydney based)

Conclusion. Either a) is a little enterprise that is essentially making  money by onselling APM reports and agent referrals. Or b) it’s actually APM with a little smoke and mirrors marketing – creating a new brand, spamming the letterboxes of the suburbs with a standard bait campaign – promise ’em a freebie (probably just a little subset of data from one of the normal paid reports) in return for building a mailing list.

A little poking around brings up this YouTube video.
Ahha, homeguru is a lead generator for real estate agents. Presumably
an agent pays for the marketing campaign in their area and receives a
database of everyone who responds.

My problem with all this is that it’s bordering on sneaky. The print brochure makes no mention of APM, or a paid property report. It has headlines like ‘Your free online property report awaits!’.

The web site is the same. The registration form makes no mention that by signing up you’re giving permission for a whole bunch of nameless businesses to contact you. Well, you would know, if you clicked through to the privacy statement and read every paragraph carefully all the way down.

And finally, if this is actually an APM ‘front’, why not just be up front and say so instead of hiding behind mirrors.

Interestingly, if you Google homeguru you get an AdWords ad:
Accurate, Up-to-Date Sales Data,
Rent Returns, Growth, Title Search

MYRP is a Queensland based business doing the same as APM – collating property sales data and selling it as valuation reports etc. One would have presumed they are a competitor to APM. So, do they own homeguru (and are buying data from APM) or are they doing a naughty and buying the names of competitors on AdWords?

Scammed at last

Outstanding! After all these years online I’m finally being targeted by those dreadful Nigerians, they’re trying to scam me on an eBay auction. (Disclaimer: I need to be careful not tarnish Nigerians as a people, my parents lived and worked there for several years, and my big brother was born in Nigeria).

I had a cleanout of the cupboard the other weekend and came up with a box of computer bits and pieces, so I’ve been selling them on eBay. Today I listed an O2 Atom PDA phone. Bought it a year or so ago while in between Blackberries, but wasn’t my cup of tea, so stashed the box in cupboard.

Imagine my excitement when eBay notified me this evening someone had clicked the Buy it Now within hours. Yay, money in the bank. The successful bidder is sandracollins0022222222. Their profile says Queensland (I listed the item only for Australia).

Then comes a message from sandracollins0022222222:

"Dear Seller,
I am interested in paying for this item so i will want to know its present condition and also i will and paypal or Bank deposit are most Preferable and okay by me I am sending the item to my One and lovely Husband in Nigeria as a gift kindly rapped it well.I don’t mind if i will pay you for the shipping cost to Lagos Nigeria,so i would like you to get back to me with the shipping cost because i want you to ship it to him in Nigeria immediately please kindly get back to me with the total cost including the shipping cost plus insurance cost, So i can transfer the funds into your account now And i will also be offering the Additional Amount of $50 the Shipping Cost so as to get the Item shipped fast to him in Lagos,Nigeria I Await for your Urgent Response asap.
Thanks Again."

And another:

"Here is the shipping address where you will be sending the phone to:
Name: Adetayo Olayinka
Address: 40D, Ayilara Street
         Off Ojuelegba road
Get back to me as soon as possible to know the total cost altogether including the shipping cost as well.

Hmmmm, my excitement has abated. Me smell a rat. I checked out the eBay forums and quickly found many people who’ve sold to someone like this, they receive an email from PayPal confirming payment, so they ship the item off to Nigeria. The payment confirmation, of course, turns out to be fake. Goodbye phone.

Closer inspection of the buyer’s profile shows it was registered today, and has no other transactions, and no feedback ratings.

I’ve sent a note into eBay asking for help.

Having seen some many of those ubiquitous Nigerian scam emails go past and resisted the temptation to grab a 25% share of some deceased oil minister’s zillion dollar estate, I  finally I reckon I’ve struck lucky!

Once in a while I’ve wondered about having a go at the 419ers. One of my favourite sites is 419 Eater where some seriously talented, and funny, dudes try scamming the scammers – often with completely unexpected and hilarious results. Including getting one scammer to read the whole of the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to an audio file, and others to make a short film of, wait for it, the Dead Parrot Sketch. The latter surely will have you rolling on the floor in pain. Ah Nigeria, so many scammers, so much hilarity.

On a more sober note, I should probably just note that unfortunately many people have been taken in by these scams, and have lost money – and in some terribly sad instances, been physically harmed. It’s not always a laughing matter.

In the meantime I’ll wait on eBay and see about relisting my phone.


eBay to their credit responded within hours. They cancelled the account of the scammer, cancelled the bid, and refunded my listing fees. I relisted the phone and it sold after a few days to a real person paying real money. So all ended well.

Facebook Marketing Tips

We’ve just added a page of marketing ideas on our Facebook Ticket Seller application. It’s designed to give people selling tickets via the application some thoughts on how to promote their event to the Facebook audience. It’s deliberately been kept simple, to make sure newbies can use it, but hopefully there’s some thoughts in there was well for more advanced users.

State Government needs more bandwidth

Just went to, the train/tram/bus timetabling system, to check a train time for this afternoon, to be confronted with the following message. Ooops, the Government must be on pre-pay and has run out of bandwidth.

Bandwidth Limit Exceeded

The server is temporarily unable to service your
request due to the site owner reaching his/her
bandwidth limit. Please try again later.

Apache/1.3.37 Server at Port 80