Saturday, July 28, 2018

Privacy: 5 Amazon obscure settings you should change now

Online Prviacy - 5 Amazon Settings To ChangeThe items we buy say a lot about our lifestyles, our finances, and our domestic lives. If you have an Amazon account, the amount of data that the retail giant collects is astonishing. Many people don’t know you get much more just free two-day shipping with a Prime account.

With these different areas collecting data about you, if you are trying to maintain some semblance of your privacy, you’ll definitely want to check these five not-so-obvious settings.

1. Remove your Amazon public profile

We don't often think of our "Amazon profile." However, that's precisely what it is. Your profile is created automatically, whether you want it or not, and it contains comments, ratings, public Wish Lists, biographical information, and other site interaction. This profile doesn't include your purchases or your browsing history, but it's very informative.

If you want to control what activity is visible on your public profile, do the following:

1. Put your cursor on the "Account & Lists," button and then click on "Your Account."

2. Scroll down to the "Ordering and shopping preferences" section. Click the "Profile" link, which is right above the social media preferences link.

3. Click on the link in the orange box to the right that says, "Edit your profile." Click the Edit privacy settings tab.

4. You can select or deselect items like Reviews, Questions, Who You Follow, Public Wish Lists, Baby Registry, and others. To simplify this, there's also a handy option to "Hide all activity on your profile," which turns everything off at once.

It’s sometimes hard to tell what other people can see. If you want a quick look at what information you're sharing publicly, click "View your profile as a visitor." You can tell at a glance if you're sharing anything you don't want to out in the public arena.

If your profile is showing your real name, or other biographical information you don't want, go back to the profile settings page and click the Edit profile tab. It’s located right next to the Edit Privacy settings tab.

You can edit or delete any information like your Bio, Occupation, Location, and more. You can even change the "public name" on your profile and post reviews anonymously.

2. Listen and delete your Alexa recordings

If you own an Amazon Echo, you probably know its strange secret: the device records a lot of what you say. On the upside, Echo uses this voice data to improve its functionality and obey your command.

Still asking Alexa only for the weather and music? Tap or click here for 21 Alexa commands you’ll use over and over. The downside: Echo doesn't store these recordings in the device itself but on Amazon's servers.

Many people don't realize you can review your voice log with the Alexa app on iOS and Android. The app allows you to scroll through your activity and listen to each recording.

It's a bit tedious, but it's possible to go back and listen to the very first command you've ever uttered to Alexa. There's nothing like hearing your two-year-younger child say "What's the weather?"

Whenever I check my settings, I am always surprised what Alexa saves that does not have the wake word in the snippet. Tap or click here for step-by-step instruction on how to listen and delete your Alexa recordings.

Keep in mind that Amazon warns, “Deleting voice recordings may degrade your Alexa experience.”

Related: You can enable Alexa to call 911. Tap or click here for the steps so that you or your family can ask Alexa to summon help when you need it.

3. Make your lists private

There are two main "lists" on Amazon, the Shopping List, and the Wish List. Many people use their Wish Lists for gift ideas, but we often use Wish Lists as a log of items we don't want to forget.

The trouble is, anyone in the world can find your Wish List by searching your name. Granted, if your name is “John Smith,” you may not be easy to pinpoint. But if strangers find out where you live, they may be able to deduce and identify your profile.

To check the privacy settings of your Amazon Lists:

1. Click on the "Accounts & Lists" drop-down box then select "Shopping List" or "Wish List."

2. Now on this "Your Lists" page, click on three dots (next to "Share List") then select "Manage List."

3. Here, you can change your list details like your list name, the name of the recipient, email, birthday and most of all, its privacy.

4. To change the list's privacy, simply click on and select "Private" on the drop-down box.

4. Stop Amazon from tracking your browsing

Like almost any search engine, Amazon also tracks all your browsing activity by default. The company saves your searches, including items you recently viewed and product categories you browsed. All of this information helps Amazon create targeted ads. Although your browsing history is hidden from the public, you may find this habit unsettling.

Here's how to stop Amazon from tracking your browsing activity:

1. Log in to your account at

2. On the upper menu, click on "Your Browsing History."

3. On the next page, click on the "Manage history" drop-down arrow.

4. Toggle "Turn Browsing History on/off" to Off

Note: You can also clear your entire browsing history here by clicking the "Remove all items" button

Meanwhile, you can also turn off personalized ads, which many customers find eerie and exasperating. Here's how to turn off targeted ads on your browser:

1. Go to "Your Account" page.

2. Under "Email alerts, messages, and ads," click "Advertising preferences"

3. On this page, select "Do Not Personalize Ads from Amazon for this Internet Browser"

4. Hit "Submit"

5. Set a PIN on Alexa purchases

“Alexa, order more shampoo.” It’s convenient to purchase items from Amazon Echo using only your voice.

But I'd rather turn off my Echo's Voice Purchasing option altogether and use Amazon's app or website to shop. This process is much more direct and secure, and you reduce the odds of making a mistake.

To turn it off:

1. Open your Alexa app.

2. Tap Settings and scroll down.

3. Tap Voice Purchasing and toggle "Purchase by voice" to Off.

If you still want the convenience (and the sci-fi vibe) of Echo voice purchasing, you should set up a PIN code to avoid unauthorized purchases.

To set it up:

1. Go to the same Voice Purchasing settings page on your Alexa app.

2. Toggle "Purchase by voice" to On.

3. Toggle "Voice code" to On as well.

4. This will prompt you to enter your 4-digit PIN code.

Once you have a Voice Code configured, the 4-digit code has to be spoken out to complete a purchase on your Echo.

Of course, anyone can listen in and reuse your code. A voice-purchasing PIN adds a veneer of security, but it's hardly foolproof. As I said, I'd rather have Voice Purchasing set to off entirely.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call my national radio show and click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet or computer. From buying advice to digital life issues, click here for my free podcasts.

Copyright 2018, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Online Business: Three Free Tools From Google In 2018

Online Business: Three Free Tools From Google In 2018
With these three, free, tools you are upgrading your website technology and online marketing to easily receive important benefits: 1) producing robust organic listings in search engine results; 2) using the most advanced security; and 3) taking advantage of an easy marketing tool .... in the busiest search engine in your community and the world.

 #1 Data Structure Information - Search Engine Tool
Adding this tool provides explicit clues to search bots about how to classify and categorize the meaning of your page in the Google mother lode.  Google uses structured data that it finds on the web to understand the content of the page, as well as to gather information about your business services - features and benefits.  This is a top-shelf SEO (search engine optimization) tool.

This is an introduction to this search engine tool:

#2  Google My Business Profile - Marketing Tool
Google has offered the free local business directory for a few years now. Two months ago they released a new version of this digital marketing tool that allows for new information about your business. This revised profile format includes multiple, comprehensive search engine tags that describe your business.  The caveat to use this tool is you must receive mail at a street address used in your profile.

One new important piece of this update, your profile can display videos. Videos marketing is the red hot trend and every business needs videos about your features and benefits.

#3 Spam Catcher - Security Tool
Hopefully, your website is designed with a contact form page that lets your site visitors send you a secure message. This is an contact form excellent technology versus the old way of just posting an email address on your web page.  Plus, it gives your website a professional characteristic. 

The best, and free, technology available is Google reCaptcha. This service protects your site from spam and abuse. It uses advanced risk analysis techniques to tell humans and bots apart.

You can read more about this security tool upgrade here:

To receive technology assistance to complete these updates,  contact us today.

NewsletterTune your Digital Intelligence 

Online Marketing Tips 10 Content Marketing Facts (video)

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

SEO: 3 Steps To Buying SEO

# Step To Know Before Purchasing SEO Services In 2018
What Is The #1 Goal of Any SEO Effort?

We always hear about SEO will get us more website visitors, but what is the best measurable result of SEO dollars?

The first goal os any SEO effort is creating sustainable organic listings on the first page of search results (FPSR).

Today, in 2018, Google/Bing have made great strides to display local businesses on search results pages to improve local results. Those local results are produced at the whims of algorithms. Being an organic results on the first page of search results (FPSR), using proper SEO techniques, is a highly sought after achievement and considered a marketing success.

For example, the Google Local Business maps and the Bing Local Business maps display local business results at top of FPSR. But, we know that those maps do not show all local businesses today, And, Google/Bing continues to make efforts to improve those local business results.

On a national basis, when searching for a product or service, the websites that have the optimized SEO are the ones displayed on the FPSR. Time will tell if Google introduces algorithms to manage those search results.

Three Steps Of Purchasing SEO

There are three steps in the SEO life cycle. Each of these steps integrate the keywords and key phrases discovered by qualified SEO research.

In this step is the designing and producing the content, creating the platform of your business reputation, and each content piece must be SEO'd with proper techniques. This content comprises several types of media. For example, website pages, graphic images, videos, and podcasts to name a few.

The focus in this phase relates to the engine algorithms regarding data structure. For example, the architecture of a website, the naming of files, meta tags, adding keywords to a video and so forth.

When you have the content completed and the technical aspects installed, you are ready to publish your material. Search engine algorithms consider many variables, one of which is the frequency at which content is published. For example, it is a well known fact that Youtube channels who publish consistent new videos will be displayed more often on the "referring" section in pages of videos being viewed. Successful YouTubers have stated 3 videos a week is optimum. I have seen results with publishing one video a week.

Always remember, SEO does not happen over night. Depending on the SEO goal, results can takes months to appear. Overall, the foundation of seeing success in SEO is finding the right chemistry in you business marketing of these three phases.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

GMAIL USERS BEWARE Developers Read Your Email Reports An Investigation

GMAIL USERS BEWARE Developers Read Your Email Reports An InvestigationYour private emails are being read by third-party Gmail app developers, an investigation into data privacy has revealed.

Developers behind a number of popular online services designed to work with Gmail trawl through private messages sent and received from your email address, it claims.

It is common practice for some of these third-party app creators to instruct employees to read personal emails.

One app, which is designed to help users manage their Gmail inbox, lets employees read 'thousands' of emails, the Wall Street Journal investigation found.

According to experts, this 'dirty secret' is now common practice among some firms.

The revelation comes just a few months after it was revealed political data firm Cambridge Analytica had siphoned private data from third-party apps on Facebook.

According to the investigation into Gmail, the hugely-successful Google email client allows third-party developers to scan the inbox of anyone who installs their app.

These apps can provide additional functionality to the Gmail inbox, like the ability to compare prices from different online retailers, or quickly unsubscribe from any marketing emails sent to your address.

The Wall Street Journal report was based on the testimonies of more than two dozen employees of companies who create services around Gmail – the most popular email service in the world, with 1.2 active monthly users.

One company involved in this practice is New York-based firm Return Path, which helps marketers drive revenue through email.

Last year, Return Path employees trawled through 8,000 personal emails as part of an effort to train the company's software, according to anonymous sources.

Employees at Mountain View-based Edison Software also reviewed the emails of hundreds of thousands of users while building a new feature for their mobile app, which is designed to help people organise their emails.

Neither company asked users for permission to read users' messages but say the practice is covered by user agreements.

'Some people might consider that to be a dirty secret,' Thede Loder, the former technology officer at eDataSource, which provides competitive intelligence for email marketing, told the Wall Street Journal.

However, he said this type of behaviour was now 'common practice'.

The question of data privacy has been an increasingly important issue since Facebook's Cambridge Analytica controversy.

The social network allowed third-party apps to request permission to access users' data, as well as data of all their Facebook friends.

This enabled developers to mine the private information of 87 million Facebook users, when only 270,000 people had used the service and granted permission.

Almost anyone can build an app that connects to Gmail accounts using an application programming interface (API).

(C) Daily Mail