Affiliate Marketing in 2020: FREE Guide for Beginners

A take on the Jio apps as alternatives to Chinese apps

To Indians who are suggesting or trying out Jio products as replacements for the banned Chinese ones, please read privacy policies of their apps. Just because they are from an Indian company does not make them secure and private automatically.
JioBrowser is not a better alternative to UC browser. This is their privacy policy - http://jep-asset.jio.com/jio/emailer-campaign/jiowebbrowser-policy.pdf. According to this, they can store your personal and non personal information and share them with third parties for ads and promotional services. The JioBrowser also stores all of your browsing history, downloads, permissions granted to sites, cache of the websites you visit and "Thumbnail-sized screenshots of pages that you visit most often" among other things. All of these can be used to "provide you with marketing communications and advertising" and "provide you with recommendation about services you may be interested in, based on your use of the Jio Browser"
Solution: Firefox, DuckDuckGo or Brave browser are simply far better when it comes to protecting your privacy. Open source and treating your browsing data with respect.
Similarly, JioMeet is not better than Zoom. It looks like a copy of Zoom in design https://twitter.com/shrinivassg/status/1278911557137649664. And here is their privacy policy - https://jiomeet.jio.com/privacy-policy/. JioMeet collects personal information about you ("name, age, gender, contact information, products and services you are interested in or require more information about") and can share it with affiliates to serve you ads and promotional services. There are many red flags in that policy. I just mentioned the most obvious ones.
https://www.financialexpress.com/industry/technology/jiomeet-users-heres-all-the-data-reliance-jio-will-collect-from-you-for-accessing-its-free-video-call-service/2012140/
Solution: Signal is the most secure and private option for personal video calling. Even apps like Duo, Whatsapp or Facetime which are developed by mega-corps are end to end encrypted. JioMeet doesn't say anything about end to end encryption. Zoom will begin allowing users to enable end-to-end encryption of calls. You can continue with Zoom or Google Meet for business requirements. They both have their flaws though. You can try something like Jitsi Meet as an open source solution https://meet.jit.si/
Next app on the list is JioSwitch (alternative to ShareIt/Xender). Here's their privacy policy - https://static.jiocloud.com/snw/android.html. It stores similar personal information (age, gender etc). It can also store your IP address, device ID, the IMEI, IMSI of your SIM etc. This "File Transfer" app may also collect "certain keywords and their counts from your SMS" in a way that does not identify you. 🤔(The app doesn't have the SMS permission on Android so this is not even possible, but it's there in their privacy policy 🤷)
Solution : TrebleShot is the best alternative to ShareIt (Free and open source) - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.genonbeta.TrebleShot&hl=en but you can try Files By Google or Easy Share as well
And last on today's list is JioChat - alternative to WeChat. The text messaging app that doesn't have end to end encryption in 2020. JioChat's design has some eerie similarities with WhatsApp. It's privacy policy can be found here - http://www.jiochat.com/condition/privacy.html. The app will collect same personal information as other Jio apps (name, gender, age, contact information etc). And sensitive personal information "will carry the meaning as may be defined by applicable laws from time to time". And the privacy policy states - "You accept the inherent security implications of providing unencrypted information over Internet"
Solution : There are countless better alternatives to this app - Signal, Telegram and WhatsApp being the most popular ones.
https://signal.org/install/
Don't install the app on your smartphone just because it's made in India. If it's developed by a for-profit privately run business, it should be analyzed in the same way we'd do with Google/Facebook/Microsoft etc. Support genuine Indian apps which also respect your privacy.
I wrote the original thread here - https://twitter.com/spianslabs/status/1280760716262207488
submitted by spians to india [link] [comments]

We are field staff at the SBA, ask us [almost] anything.

**Edit: I'm signing off for questions for the night folks. Thank you for your time and fantastic questions. I really appreciated it. **
Hi everyone,
My name is Noah and I work out of the San Francisco District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Our office has been working closely with business owners and doing our best to manage calls right now. The local offices are very small outreach teams and I spend most of my days right now talking directly with our local business owners about how the shelter-in-place orders are impacting folks.
Everything from cake shops and hairdressers to tech start-ups and manufacturers come through my (now virtual) door. That's actually normal, even during non-disaster situations! Regardless of industry and stage the uncertainty that folks share with me is universal. We're doing what we can to alleviate some of that, where we can but also be transparent and honest about our own limitations.
When working with business owners I work really hard to make it clear what's known and what's not known, as well as not provide answers that I can't answer. Sometimes I make mistakes.
Each morning our team gets incorporates new updates into our discussions as these programs are changing daily right now.
Here's what I can't do (unfortunately)
Pretty much all of these questions I'm going to refer to my government-assigned work-from-home Bureaucat Nina Zoobie Halloumi.
The moderators sent me a list of questions consolidated by the community. I'm joined today with a field representative for the Office of Disaster Assistance West Bill Koontz and another district representative in DC David Hincapie. All three of us are field staff, so that means that we work with the public regularly, but also that we're not policy makers.
We're going to start this off by doing our best to answer the questions consolidated yesterday:

Program Organization

* Which programs does SBA oversee and where can we get information about ALL of them, including the less known ones?

We release a national resource guide that provides an overview of all of our programs. That resource guide doesn't include the PPP or the EIDL advance, since these were just added a few weeks ago. There are ~20-30 programs for business owners through the SBA. They fit into 4 different areas:
Disaster Contracting Counseling Financing
Disaster Physical damage Loans 8(a) certification program - qualifying businesses to sole source contracts and more Small Business Development Centers 7(a) (with about 30 different flavors) - working capital loans
Economic Injury Women Owned Small Business Certification Women's Business Centers 504 - commercial real estate loans
PPP loan (new) Veteran Owned Small Business Certification Veteran's Business Development Centers Microloans
Economic Injury Advance (new) Surety Bonds SCORE mentoring SBIR seed grants for new products
HubZones Procurement Assistance Centers SBIC - equity/venture funding
Export assistance Centers

* What is the specific role of the SBA vs. the banks?

This is a complicated question. The short answer is that it depends on the program. For our larger lending programs, SBA operates essentially as an insurer for loans that are made in accordance with our policies (If a lender agrees to follow our guidelines for a business loan, we will "guarantee" it - meaning that we will pay for a portion of the losses should that loan go bad.) Borrowers pay a packaging fee for our normal guaranteed loans and these fees offset any of the losses in normal times, not taxpayer dollars.

* Why do the guidelines the SBA is implementing seem to be different from what was described in the law authorizing the programs?

At a high and very general level I can say that laws and procedures/rules are two different things. The latter will always be more specific and can't conflict with laws. For instance, the Small Business Act is a 300 page law. It rarely gets updated and needs an act of congress to do so. Our standard operating procedures, or rules for implementing for just one element of that act is a 500 page document that goes through a public rulemaking process where comments and feedback must be taken and responded to. It gets updated more often than the law.
The Bureaucat will answer most of the why questions, except where that reasoning was included in the interim rulemaking.

* Why did the SBA implement a $1k/employee cap in addition to the $10k cap? On what programs does the number of FTEs limit amounts?

[Bill]To ensure that the greatest number of applicants can receive assistance. The only other area where the number of FTEs may impact a business owners are where SBA size standards might make an applicant ineligible for our programs.

PPP/EIDL Specifics

Loan Organization

* How do EIDL/PPP loans work together or conflict?

  1. EIDL and PPP loans can't be used for the same expenses.
  2. EIDL advances (which are forgivable) will reduce the amount of forgiveness received under the PPP. This is to avoid duplication of benefits.
  3. Technically an EIDL can be rolled into a PPP. Further guidance may be coming out clarifying the process and conditions under which this can occur.
  4. EIDL loans are broader in what they can be used for. PPP loans are narrower. For that reason we generally suggest that payroll costs be paid with the PPP and other business needs (rent, utilities, inventory, etc) be covered with EIDL loan funds.

* What is the process flow for the loan/grant programs(apply, approved by SBA, apply at a bank...) or where can we see these flows?

The simple EIDL process flow is:
[Bill]The status of a specific application will be available to the applicant when processing of their EIDL is near completion. SBA will provide an email notification inviting the applicant to set up an account electronically. This account will enable applicants to check the status of their application, loan decision, loan amount, sign loan closing documents, schedule disbursement, etc. Again, we appreciate everyone’s patience while their applications are being processed.
We're not going to delve into the details on this because these processes are getting updated and changed constantly to work better. They also haven't been shared even with the field offices in many cases. Any information shared, even from the processing centers, would be out of date quickly or only represent a narrow perspective.
The PPP has a different process at every bank. It's different at every institution. From an SBA perspective it's a black box on both ends, except where we've made requirements in the application process (such as the information that an application has to collect. That's by design because SBA is not the one originating these loans.

* Does the SBA communicate directly with the businesses seeking these loans? How can we recognize legitimate attempts to communicate with us?

SBA won't contact a PPP borrower directly. If someone contacts you about a PPP loan and says they're from the SBA please report this to our Office of Inspector General. They released a special FAQ on Scams and Frauds earlier this month. If you haven't applied for an EIDL and you get contacted by someone from the SBA telling you about it you should suspect a scam or fraud as well. Once you've applied for EIDL, you may be contacted by an office of disaster assistance loan officer.

Loans and forgiveness

* Which loans get forgiveness, which loans are automatic, which require proof, how can we find the restrictions? What actual guarantees are there that loans will be forgiven if the rules are followed? Will the rules still be subject to change after the loans are made?'

Only PPP loans and EIDL advances get forgiveness. EIDL advance forgiveness is automatic. PPP forgiveness must be applied to and the details on that process have yet to be released. Questions about the future I'm delegating to the bureaucat

* Are there restrictions on how payrolls are paid for programs that require documentation of payment of payroll for forgiveness? (i.e. changing employee, emphasizing different operations, firing/hiring but attaining a particular payroll overall

This question would only apply to the PPP. The answer is yes, maybe and that the detailed rules on the forgiveness portion of the PPP has yet to be released. bureaucat

* How does forgiveness work if business conditions change like the company is forced into bankruptcy, employees refuse to return to work or the government orders the business to be shut down for more than 8 weeks?

  1. If you take the funds out and declare bankruptcy and don't get the forgiveness the PPP will act like any other federally funded loan.
  2. If employees don't return to work you may hire others to replace them or receive forgiveness proportionally to what you are able to spend on payroll costs (the details on how this is calculated have not yet been released). You can also return the funds that you weren't able to use. There are no pre-payment penalties for the PPP.
  3. PPP funds are expected to be paid towards payroll costs even if the business is shut down. There is no requirement that the business be in operation. Some business owners have taken the opportunity to find other work that can be done remotely for their employees, some are simply paying even though noone is working, some are having employees self-study/develop new skills. There are a lot of options here.

* Why are loans set up so PPP forgiveness only applies if EIDL is not used for payroll even after PPP is exhausted paying for payroll?

  1. They aren't? You can use EIDL for payroll costs, but you should document very clearly which funds (PPP or EIDL) are going towards which pay periods. Many business owners are just keeping the two totally separate to make for cleaner and easier bookkeeping.

* Why can the self-employed apply for 2.5 months of income but only 8 weeks is forgivable?

This was a decision by the administrator in consultation with the Treasury. Page 12 of the Interim Final Rule lays out the reasoning:

Obtaining approvals

* Why are different banks requiring different documentation between what financial companies require for documentation?

The short answer is because they have the discretion to do so. Every lender needs to exercise due diligence and make an effort to verify payroll costs. Among 5,000+ lenders you're going to see the full spectrum of approaches here.

* How much does creditworthiness or credit score matter for these loans?

PPP: Depends on the lender. EIDL: It is a factor.

* What happens if multiple applications (in good faith) are submitted to multiple lenders?

SBA's loan system should only allow for a single application to be submitted on behalf of a borrower. The first borrower to submit will lock-out all other submitters. I've dealt with a number of business owners who pursued this strategy. There are upsides and downsides.
edit: We've also encountered some situations where the above has not occurred and we're actively investigating this situation. If you are approved for two loans a borrower should notify their lender, only accept one, and should return the funds from one.

Loan status

* Where can businesses go to find their status with the SBA (i.e. confirmation numbers, status, etc)?

For the PPP, they need to go to their lender. We can only see if an approval exists. For the EIDL they need to go to the 1-800 number. ((800) 659-2955)

* Do you have any information about the order of EIDL grant processing?

[Bill]We are processing disaster loan applications and Advances on a first-come, first serve basis as fast as we can.

* If someone has an approval number but their bank does not act what options do they have besides waiting?

Banks were instructed that the expectation for PPP is that they disburse funds within 10 calendar days from approval.
EDIT: new guidance was released. The expectation remains 10 calendar days from approval. " Loans for which funds have not been disbursed because a borrower has not submitted required loan documentation within 20 calendar days of loan approval shall be cancelled by the lender" If a loan was approved prior to April 28th, the 10 day clock was reset to start on April 28th.

* Can SBA loan confirmation numbers be transferred away from lenders who are failing to fund in a timely way?

No.

* Do the confirmation numbers have a structure (region, number in line, etc)?

I'd advise against numerology. I'm not aware of a specific structure with much meaningful information and Application numbers are assigned as applications are received.

SBA Structure

* What are tiers 1, 2, and 3 on the SBA helpline and what questions can they each answer?

[Bill] Our customer call center has not provided ODA field office staff members any information about Tiers 1, 2 or 3. As with any operation, there are supervisors in the call center with oversight responsibility and more authority than others.

* Within the SBA, what is the role of the ODA (Office of Disaster Assistance)? What sub-organizations should we be aware of relating to this pandemic?

[Bill] The Office of Disaster Assistance's mission is to provide low interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners, and renters to repair or replace real estate, personal property, machinery & equipment, inventory and business assets that have been damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster. ODA has their own field offices, but not sub-organizations.

* Does the SBA outsource operations? Which ones and to whom?

[Bill]Normally, no. For the COVID19 response, SBA’s ODA established a public/private relationship with an unnamed outside vendor to process COVID19 loans.

Communication

* How can we best recognize solicitation attempts by financial firms without proper affiliation to the SBA or access to the programs?

There are a few resources: 1. Check the Find a Lender tool if they have a physical location near you 2. Ask your local SBA district office 3. See if their name showed up on this list of institutions that made loans in Phase 1.
This can be legitimately difficult overall though because there are sometimes intermediaries that authorized lenders will allow to package loan applications for them. If a website has a "banking partners" section on their website they're usually an intermediary or a packager. You can do detective work using tools put out by the Treasury. A regulated bank will always have that information in the footer of their website with a number that you can independently verify at their regulator's website. For intermediaries, you just have to go off of reviews online.

* Customer service reps have been giving out unhelpful or confusing information. What processes are being put in place to make sure they can give us the accurate information we need?

[Bill]Our field office staff are sharing any reports we receive of unhelpful or confusing comments made by employees in SBA’s call centers. SBA will release any customer service representative who is unable to properly perform their job.

* Outside of SBA.gov, what are the routes the SBA uses to talk to us? Where can we see a daily or weekly briefing?

Folks can sign up for national updates here, or also sign up directly for smaller, more specific email distribution lists here. You can also view our events page, where local offices and our non-profit partners are holding hundreds of webinars on a variety of topics every month.

* How can we see the total amount of loans made?

Check our Freedom of Information page. New reports and data get published there.

* What communications should small businesses expect as they go through the process, including about errors, denials, progress or acceptance? (Might be integrated with another question)

[Bill] The status of individual applications will be available to the applicant when processing of their EIDL is near completion. SBA will provide an email notification inviting the applicant to set up an account electronically. This account will enable applicants to check the status of their application, loan decision, loan amount, sign loan closing documents, schedule disbursement, etc. Again, we appreciate everyone’s patience while their applications are being processed. Regarding files that are suspended or delayed due to errors or denials, our field office staff have not yet been informed how files in this category are being handled or when to expect resolutions.

Public Relations

* What does the SBA think of the job they have been doing so far?

bureaucat
That's a response I'll leave to our national press release. SBA isn't one thing.

* Which businesses or industries does the SBA think need help most? Does size (smaller than "small") matter?

SBA exists to help all small businesses. Some industries are much more represented than others (there are just more food service and construction firms than clog manufacturers out there.)
The federal definitions of "small" are often contentious, but the SBA definitions are often pointed to as more comprehensive definitions because we make an attempt to create a different definition for every single industry. You can use this tool or look at the table at the bottom of this page. The standards are designed to be broadly inclusive and for most of our programs are not the sole item used to determine eligibility.
My experience is that for our regular lending and counselling programs, business owners usually grow out of them before they become ineligible(they hire their own consultants or find they can get better terms than an SBA loan.) I don't work as much on the contracting side of things, but I think the size standards are more frequently needing to be evaluated in those programs.

* What are the most common questions you have been answering?

Additional questions

* Are there limitations on funding foreign owned but otherwise US companies built into the programs?

For the PPP technically the program can accept these applications so long as the business is a US operated business. It is overall more difficult to document and submit these in a way that is acceptable to SBA systems though. A lender has to be willing to slow down and work closely with the borrower and SBA to get it submitted. For all of the other SBA programs, a business needs to be majority owned by a US citizen or legal permanent resident to qualify.

* Some applications made 3/29 and 3/30 seem to be stuck in credit pull. Is there any plan for these? (Might be integrated with another question)

[Bill]We in the field offices have not yet been informed specifically how these files will be handled, or when. Any business that applied for a Coronavirus (COVID-19) SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) prior to the release of SBA’s new streamlined application the week ending March 29, must reapply using SBA’s streamlined online application (in SBA’s new loan processing system) available at www.sba.gov. If a business doesn’t have an application number or received one that begins with a “2”, they must reapply under SBA’s new processing system. SBA is presently contacting everyone who applied through the old system, and asking them to reapply at https://covid19relief.sba.gov/ when applications re-open. If a business owner has an application or conformation number that begins with a “3”, they don’t need to do anything – their application is in process in the new system.
submitted by Noah_SBA to smallbusiness [link] [comments]

Mr. Nakamoto Dundee laments that his infamy has made it difficult for him to avoid getting kicked out of PhD programs; he used to find them so easy, he could plagiarise ornithology graphs in IT theses to his heart's content, nowadays when he plagiarises hundreds of people whistleblow on him.

Months ago Dundee copied and pasted an entire paper from a dead Italian Computer Scientist, and did so while boasting of his affiliation with a University in Paris known by the acronym CNAM. Whistleblowers informed Craig's supervisors at CNAM of the academic fraud that one of their PhD candidates had just perpetrated, and were told they were going to investigate the matter, and that they took plagiarism very seriously.
Well, flash-forward to Craig's March 16th deposition testimony where he laments about the toll being a public figure has taken on his academic studies:
This does not say I did not tried to muddy the water around Bitcoin's origin. You are adding implied words that are not implied. There is no statement saying "I did all I could do to muddy the waters concerning the creation of Bitcoin". It saddens me. My right to privacy and right to know about people talking about my life it was people basically hacking my wife's server, my children's servers. I didn't want people to know where I lived, where I worked, where I studied. Right now I have just had to drop one of my PhDs. The reason, not because I cannot study it, not because I'm not doing well, but because that had probably around 100 complaints that Craig Wright is doing two degrees simultaneously. I was allowed to, I went through everything in the board, and again, I have had a call to go before the Dean to justify why I should be able to keep doing this and not get kicked out. I have dropped one of my PhDs because people call up and complain to the Dean endlessly saying "it is not right that Craig is enrolled in two different degrees, he is going to cheat by doing two different things". My argument was I am doing law and mathematics. There is no overlap between mathematics and law. Yet, I am still having to justify myself. Yes, I hid my address, I hid where I was, I tried to hide, I tried to let no one know where my company was based, I tried to ensure that no one knew anything about my family. I tried to stay as hidden as I could and yet people still attack me. The one thing that I love more than anything else which is studying is has been taken from me because people that I won't even go into -- yes, I did, but that does not say I muddied the waters around Bitcoin, so do not try and twist things.
[Vel Freedman]: Let us just agree to disagree on what the implication of that sentence is.
[Dundee]: No, I do not agree to disagree
My emphasis added.
submitted by Zectro to Buttcoin [link] [comments]

How I started a Virtual Receptionist Remote Call Center that got successfully acquired after 5 years

Hi all, I'm Donald Spann.
So, back in early 2015, my former partner wrote a post on how we started our company, and it was a very popular post, but it was deleted. After being on a podcast a few days ago that was fun, I figured it would be nice to let reddit know our story again
I'm here to essentially re-write it, 5 years later. I’ve been a redditor for almost 10 years now so I’ll write some quick disclaimers...
Disclaimers:* I'm going to shy away from numbers overall, but this business generated a FT income, and I'll leave it at that.* This will be long, and possibly boring at times, but the nuggets are in the details!
* I will name the name of the company but I will not link it. I also don’t own it anymore, so it will merely benefit the new owner. Also, yes the new owner was ok with me writing this post.You will learn:
  1. What virtual receptionist companies are
  2. Why virtual receptionist companies are a great fit for most small businesses
  3. How to start a virtual receptionist companyThis post is not going to be some sexy brag post---but a legitimate post on how you can build a simple, awesome business that changed my life for the better.
ONWARDS!Background:
...so when you think about it, a LOT, perhaps most businesses need their calls answered.
But very few businesses are a good fit for the typical "call answering" options they typically go with.
They typically include:
  1. Hiring an employee or receptionist in-house to answer calls as their principal role (among other things)The problem: Most small businesses can't financially justify a FT employee just to answer the phone.However, the opportunity cost of NOT answering the phone can be high as well, and oftentimes business owners either can't be available all the time, or might be otherwise engaged in another activity while the phone rings. This causes them to lose out on potential business.Examples: Someone who has a FT job while running their part-time business. A solo law firm that gets calls while the attorney is in court. A painter in the middle of painting a wall when the phone rings.What usually ends up happening is the biz owner just deals with the financial hit, and they kick and punch (metaphorically) until they can hopefully build revenue enough to actually justify it.
  2. Hiring a traditional answering serviceThe problem: While the phone is getting answered for cheap, the quality of service provided isn't high enough to win potential clients over.I would say that this option is a decent fit for a lot of businesses as a minimum---but answering and taking messages for every caller can only be so helpful. Most of the time people are calling a business for the first time (the most important callers) they are in the research phase, and they are trying to decide whether THIS business is worth their time and money.Oftentimes, if the call takers (agents) take a message without answering necessary questions, that business won't necessarily get written off, but the prospect isn't won, either. They know that someone might get back to them (maybe not) and they will likely call competitors until they get the answers they're looking for.
  3. Hiring a Virtual AssistantThe problem: VAs are meant to be task-based---not purely phone answer-ers.Unless they are doing outbound telemarketing (which most of them do NOT want to do,) a VA isn't best utilized for inbound calls.If you hire a VA in the US, you are paying as much as an employee, without the same level of commitment. If you hire outside of the US (or your business’ country, wherever you are) you run the risk of cultural/language lost-in-translation scenarios.It's not terrible, but it's certainly not ideal.
So what does a business do? They typically go with one of these three options, and usually end up with some level of satisfaction, but for whatever reason, small businesses under 1 million in revenue (~90% of businesses according to NAICS Association) usually have some type of issue with each option.
I myself had this same problem back in October 2014, when I was looking for call answering options for my cleaning company, which was around ~$150k/ARR at the time.
So I looked into some options, didn't love any of them, but during my extensive research I learned about Virtual Receptionist companies.Virtual Receptionist companies were perfect for us for the following reasons:They were mostly US-based agentsThey were a fraction of the cost of in-house employees or VAs (especially US VAs)The agents were enthusiastic and actually helpful (making a good impression for our business)So, being an entrepreneurial person, I realized sometime during my research that maybe I could reverse engineer one of these companies and make it work?
At the time, outside of one job where I was taking calls selling dish network services for a few months, I had NO experience or knowledge about call centers or how to build one.
So I talked to a few business friends to partner with---the second guy I talked to was in after one convo.
Again, this was late October, 2014.
We set a launch date of Jan 1, 2015, and got to work.
Fortunately, my partner (got bought out by me second year) and I indeed got it done and launched on Jan 1, 2015, FOR VERY LITTLE MONEY, and we were profitable after two months in business.This is how we did it:(Note: some of the things I’ll recommend here as vendors, etc were not our original solutions--but what we eventually migrated to--I’ll post those to help eliminate trial and error for you guys)
Step 1: Figuring out what we’re going to offer:Simply put, what we wanted to do was to provide what we were looking for specifically as business owners. We knew that our specific problem was a shared problem, so we wanted to be the ones to solve it.
So off the top, we knew that we wanted a service that could:
This was relatively easy to figure out, as we just took what we liked from the services we looked into, and focused on that.We didn’t try to reinvent any wheels here, which is perhaps the most important nugget.In addition, we didn’t have much money.
So we knew we couldn’t shell out for an office, or all kinds of equipment associated with that, so we knew we needed our agents to be able to work remotely.
I’ll talk more about this later, but this not only saved costs, but gave us a competitive advantage in MOST ways (there are a few cons)
Step 2: Figuring out who we were going to market to:
So at the time my partner and I were both cleaning company owners in different markets. We started around the same time, we knew the business, and we knew other people in the community.
As many of you redditors know about /entrepreneurridealong, both of our businesses were born out of that sub back in 2013/early 2014.
Because of this, we knew that people like us had the same problem. They needed a way to get their calls answered.
So we focused our initial marketing on cleaning companies.
Step 3: Branding/Value PropositionSo, I am NOT a developer, but I did have some experience building wordpress websites for other companies.We needed a name, so I spent about 20 minutes with my partner thinking of names that sounded industry-specific and fun. We also wanted something that rolled off the tongue pretty easily. We ALSO wanted a name with a domain URL of the exact same name that was available.Eventually we settled on the name Vicky Virtual ReceptionistsOur original premise was that we were a virtual receptionist company by cleaning company owners for cleaning company owners. We would focus our marketing efforts around this simple premise.But we needed a simple statement that would appeal to our audience---something that immediately captures your attention as soon as you hit our website.
“No More Missed Business Calls”
BOOM. Done.
Great value prop, instant engagement.
Logo: As I’ve done with many companies, I like to keep logos clean AF and simple (because many iconic brands keep it simple and sexy)
Examples: Mercedes, Sony, Fedex, Nike, etc
I’m not a designer, but I have a decent eye and no budget, so I eventually figured out a style that works wonders every time.
Pick a color, pick a font, write out all or part of your company name, and enclose it in a thick rectangle.
Here’s what’s Vicky Virtual’s looked like: https://imgur.com/Awxwuwh
I’ve used this format for many businesses and it works (and gets compliments) every time.What I DO NOT do is use expensive logo designers like 99designs. This might work for you (and for certain industries, like fashion, I would maybe recommend it) but I find it unnecessary for this.
Website: I built the site myself using wordpress. I spent A LOT of time getting the site the way I wanted it, and watched YouTube videos to figure out stuff I didn’t know, like how to get a certain design element or whatever. My partner was writing up content marketing posts, so I had a bit more time to work on/prioritize this.
A lot of people don’t like to put THAT much value on their website, with the whole “done is better than perfect” philosophy.On MOST things, I wholeheartedly agree.
When it comes to branding, however, you need a site that converts. This doesn’t mean, most beautiful---but it most certainly means spending TIME to get the details right.
If you don’t have the time to do this yourself, there are many resources for getting a website done nowadays, at any sized budget.
My only recommendation is seeing the portfolio, verifying that it’s their work, verifying a timeline, and getting some type of verifiable testimonial before committing to a website developedesigner.
As far as putting the website together, I used a premium thing called “Jupiter (now Jupiter X)” found at https://themeforest.net/item/jupiter-multipurpose-responsive-theme/5177775
Price for it is $59 (not an affiliate link.) There is a learning curve, but learning your way around a WP theme builder is one of the best skills you can have.
Our pricing: I kept this simple and matched the pricing of one of our competitors at the time. I knew from my research that each agent could handle 15-20 clients at $250-$300/month in revenue per client, and that if I paid an agent $1,600/month for $3,750+/month in revenue---I could probably make those numbers work.We went with three plans:$99/month for 75 minutes
$199/month for 180 minutes
$299/month for 300 minutes
And with per minute overage charges for businesses that went over...and custom plans I would work out for businesses that needed more than 300 mins/month
Step 4: Call Answering Software
Call center software, or contact center software, can get ridiculously complex, and frankly, I’m just not going to go over it all in this post...but there are a few nutshell things to ABSOLUTELY STICK TO.
  1. It must be reliable AF. Emphasis on RELIABLE AF.
  2. It should have solid reporting on all the metrics you need
  3. It needs to be within your budget
Now for those of you that are starting off, there is a pretty clear inexpensive (in this category) initial option that works well, and that’s Dialpad
Dialpad costs $75/agent/month, and it does everything you need for your Virtual Receptionist company.
What I WILL cover here is the reliability issue.
So most cloud softwares (in any industry really) sit on cloud based servers like AWS. In the phone (telecom) space, there are a BUNCH of platforms, with 10s of millions in investments, sitting on something called Twilio, which sits on AWS, and is a pretty intuitive, API heavy platform.
For those of you that know a bit, Twilio to telecom is like Stripe to payment processors, or Square to POS, or Shopify to ecommerce.
The PROBLEM is that Virtual Receptionist companies are meant to make our clients feel like they have an in-house employee, without the costs, without the sick days, and without the vacation time.
This means that the above all else, the only thing that really matters is that you don’t miss calls.
Sparing you the details---if the software doesn’t sit on their OWN physical data centers...the reliability will NOT be high enough.
I’ve used 6 different phone vendors in 5 years, and did serious demos and research on 50+ of them over the years (and we’re talking initial and secondary calls, testing...the works…)
Dialpad sits on their own data centers, and all of the major old school players that stuck around do as well.
For contrast, we used a service like Talkdesk (with a few different businesses) and would somehow lose up to 10-15%+ of calls for reasons I stopped trying to figure out.
Talkdesk recently raised 100mm at a 1bn valuation and it was almost unusable, because it wasn’t sitting on good enough infrastructure (built on Twilio.)
Rule of thumb is---if you miss more than 8-10% of calls, your customers will notice, and it will negatively impact them and your company. With a great software, we maintained 2-5% (some calls WILL be missed because of solicitors, wrong numbers, etc)
Ok, so with all that said, we used several vendors, and the recommended vendors to date would be:Dialpad (low cost relatively, great platform but limited. $150/agent/month all-in after other a la carte costs like phone numbers and such. No initiation fee.)
Five9 (around $250/agent/month all-in which isn’t that bad, high upfront initiation fee of ~$2,500+)
Step 5: Hiring Receptionists
So we initially tried to keep this simple, and again, we had a small budget, but we needed two people.
So we hired:My partner’s sister fresh out of high schoolMy friend’s semi-retired mom.
We paid them $10/hour to start, hired them as 1099 contractors (strong recommendation you switch to W2 ASAP after starting your business) and they agreed to be paid their first month’s paycheck at the end of the first month. This limited our upfront cash investment.
In terms of the schedule, we set coverage hours of:
8AM-8PM Eastern Time, Mon-Fri
These times covered all 4 major US time zones from 8-5PM
One agent would start 8am and work until 5pm, and the other would show up at 11am and work until 8pm, each with a one hour lunch break.
This allowed their schedules to overlap during the busiest period for any virtual receptionist company---lunch.
The tip here is to make sure you hire RELIABLE AF agents so you don’t end up on the phone yourself, or without coverage.
Step 6: Pre-Launch Marketing
Again, we stuck to the group we knew--cleaning company owners. We simply reached out to them, built an email list, saved them in Mailchimp, and sent a few pre-launch announcement emails building up to our launch.
There was nothing complicated about this---we had roughly 30 people on the list at launch, we sent a total of 2 pre-launch emails talking about what step in the process we were at, and one email on launch day, and ended up with 7 signups day 1.
Step 7: After launch marketing
I knew that we needed to get to about 20 clients in order to break even, and again, low budget, so I decided to hop on the phone and make cold calls.
I focused on cleaning companies and was able to get us mostly to our goal after about 3 weeks of calls, not making that many calls per day.
The nugget here is that it took me roughly 80 calls to land one sign-up. Half of sign-ups went through our 7 day free trial and became clients.
How I would do a call: I would call the company and ask how they’re currently getting their calls handled.
Based on what they said, I would cater my pitch to how we could help them.
Fact is, most businesses don’t know what Virtual Receptionists are (see above) but once they wrap their head around it---it’s a pretty obvious move for them.
Just play the numbers.
So...that’s it!
There’s some other things we figured out to get to where we finished, but we launched a simple company, under a simple premise, and we learned as we went along.
Also, we started off targeting cleaning company owners, but through our content marketing efforts (blogging and guest blogging under the Virtual Receptionist keyword is $$$), other businesses in different industries started finding us.
We eventually ended up taking calls for over 30 different types of companies.
We used slack for communication with the team
We used gsuite for emails
We used solve360 CRM to keep track of clients
Hope this helps!
I do want to leave with one final, general nugget that most people don’t seem to know:
Starting a Business IS NOT A PIPEDREAM.
50% of businesses with employees last at least 5 years!
30% make it 15 years!
A ridiculous amount of people talk about how 95% of businesses fail.
They’re all wrong.
These surprising statistics are taken directly from The Small Business Administration.
Once you focus on simple ideas that WORK, you can start normal businesses with confidence.
My dream was to start a business. I’ve started 11 incorporated businesses in the last 8 years, and 6 of them have hit at least 10k/month in revenue. So with that, I’ve been fortunate enough where my last job ever was in 2011.This company was the biggest.
Thanks for reading!
If you have any questions, please leave a comment or PM me!
EDIT: TURNING IN FOR THE NIGHT BUT WILL ANSWER ALL QUESTIONS IN THE MORNING!
submitted by SpadoCochi to Entrepreneur [link] [comments]

Zoom Terms And Conditions

IMPORTANT, READ CAREFULLY : YOUR USE OF AND ACCESS TO THE WEBSITE AND PRODUCTS AND SERVICES AND ASSOCIATED SOFTWARE (COLLECTIVELY, THE "SERVICES") OF ZOOM VIDEO COMMUNICATIONS, INC. AND ITS AFFILIATES ("ZOOM") IS CONDITIONED UPON YOUR COMPLIANCE WITH AND ACCEPTANCE OF THESE TERMS, WHICH INCLUDE YOUR AGREEMENT TO ARBITRATE CLAIMS. PLEASE REVIEW THOROUGHLY BEFORE ACCEPTING.
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    5. Limitations on Use.You may not reproduce, resell, or distribute the Services or any reports or data generated by the Services for any purpose unless You have been specifically permitted to do so under a separate agreement with Zoom. You may not offer or enable any third parties to use the Services purchased by You, display on any website or otherwise publish the Services or any Content obtained from a Service (other than Content created by You) or otherwise generate income from the Services or use the Services for the development, production or marketing of a service or product substantially similar to the Services.
  4. RESPONSIBILITY FOR END USERS. You are responsible for the activities of all End Users who access or use the Services through your account and you agree to ensure that any such End User will comply with the terms of this Agreement and any Zoom policies. Zoom assumes no responsibility or liability for violations. If You become aware of any violation of this Agreement in connection with use of the Services by any person, please contact Zoom at [email protected]. Zoom may investigate any complaints and violations that come to its attention and may take any (or no) action that it believes is appropriate, including, but not limited to issuing warnings, removing the content or terminating accounts and/or User profiles. Under no circumstances will Zoom be liable in any way for any data or other content viewed while using the Services, including, but not limited to, any errors or omissions in any such data or content, or any loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of the use of, access to, or denial of access to any data or content.
  5. ZOOM OBLIGATIONS FOR CONTENT. Zoom will maintain reasonable physical and technical safeguards to prevent unauthorized disclosure of or access to Content, in accordance with industry standards. Zoom will notify You if it becomes aware of unauthorized access to Content. Zoom will not access, view or process Content except (a) as provided for in this Agreement and in Zoom’s Privacy Policy; (b) as authorized or instructed by You, (c) as required to perform its obligations under this Agreement; or (d) as required by Law. Zoom has no other obligations with respect to Content.
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  7. INTENDED USE; RESTRICTION ON USE BY CHILDREN. The Services are intended for business use. You may choose to use the Services for other purposes, subject to the terms and limitations of this Agreement. Zoom is not intended for use by individuals under the age of 16, unless it is through a School Subscriber (as that term is defined in Exhibit A) using Zoom for Education (K-12). Individuals under the age of 16 may not create accounts or use the Services except as described herein.
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  18. AGREEMENT TO ARBITRATE; WAIVER OF CLASS ACTION. If You are located in the United States, You agree to resolve disputes only on an individual basis, through arbitration pursuant to the provisions of Exhibit B. The parties expressly waive any right to bring any action, lawsuit, or proceeding as a class or collective action, private attorney general action, or any other proceeding in which any party acts or proposes to act in a representative capacity.
  19. PRIVACY AND OTHER POLICIES.Use of the Services is also subject to Zoom's Privacy Policy, a link to which is located at the footer on Zoom's website. The Privacy Policy, and all policies noticed at www.zoom.us/legal are incorporated into this Agreement by this reference. Furthermore, if Your Use of the Services requires Zoom to process any personally identifiable information (“PII” or “Personal Data”) Zoom shall do so at all times in compliance with our Zoom Global Data Processing Addendum https://zoom.us/docs/doc/Zoom_GLOBAL_DPA.pdf is incorporated in these Terms of Service. Additionally, You understand and agree that Zoom may contact You via e-mail or otherwise with information relevant to Your use of the Services, regardless of whether You have opted out of receiving marketing communications or notices.
  20. MISCELLANEOUS
20.1 Choice of Law and Forum. This Agreement shall be governed by and construed under the laws of the State of California, U.S.A., as applied to agreements entered into and to be performed in California by California residents. Except as provided in Exhibit B, the Parties consent to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of the state courts located in and serving Santa Clara County, California and the federal courts in the Northern District of California.
20.2 Waiver and Severability. Failure by either Party to exercise any of its rights under, or to enforce any provision of, this Agreement will not be deemed a waiver or forfeiture of such rights or ability to enforce such provision. If any provision of this Agreement is held by a court of competent jurisdiction to be illegal, invalid or unenforceable, that provision will be amended to achieve as nearly as possible the same economic effect of the original provision and the remainder of this Agreement will remain in full force and effect.
20.3 General Provisions. This Agreement embodies the entire understanding and agreement between the Parties respecting the subject matter of this Agreement and supersedes any and all prior understandings and agreements between the Parties respecting such subject matter, except that if You or Your company have executed a separate written agreement or you have signed an order form referencing a separate agreement governing your use of the Services, then such agreement shall control to the extent that any provision of this Agreement conflicts with the terms of such agreement. Zoom may elect to change or supplement the terms of this Agreement from time to time at its sole discretion. Zoom will exercise commercially reasonable business efforts to provide notice to You of any material changes to this Agreement. Within ten (10) business days of posting changes to this Agreement (or ten (10) business days from the date of notice, if such is provided), they will be binding on You. If You do not agree with the changes, You should discontinue using the Services. If You continue using the Services after such ten-business-day period, You will be deemed to have accepted the changes to the terms of this Agreement. In order to participate in certain Services, You may be notified that You are required to download software and/or agree to additional terms and conditions. Unless expressly set forth in such additional terms and conditions, those additional terms are hereby incorporated into this Agreement. This Agreement has been prepared in the English Language and such version shall be controlling in all respects and any non-English version of this Agreement is solely for accommodation purposes.
Master Subscription Agreement: Exhibit A
Services Description
This Exhibit A to the Zoom Terms of Service (“TOS”) describes the Services that may be ordered on an Order Form, or provided by Zoom, and sets forth further Service-specific terms and conditions that may apply to Zoom’s provision and Customer’s use of the Services. Capitalized terms not defined herein shall have the meanings assigned to them in the TOS.
  1. Definitions. For purposes of this Service Description, the following definitions will apply:
Host” means an individual who is an identified employee, contractor, or agent of Customer to whom Customer assigns the right to host Meetings. A Host may hold an unlimited number of Meetings, but only one Meeting at a time. A Host subscription may not be shared or used by anyone other than the individual assigned to be a Host.
Meeting” means a Zoom Video meeting.
Participant” means an individual, other than the Host, who accesses or uses the Services, with or without the permission and knowledge of the Host.
Zoom Documentation” means this Exhibit, the Zoom website (www.zoom.us) and any additional description of the Services which may be incorporated into this Agreement.
Zoom Meeting Services” means the various video conferencing, web conferencing, webinar, meeting room, screensharing and other collaborative services offered by Zoom Video that Customer may order on an Order Form.
Zoom Phone Services” means voice connectivity services, including, but not limited to, interconnected VoIP services, provisioning of direct dial numbers, and related services offered by Zoom Voice Communications, Inc. (“Zoom Voice”) that Customer may order on an Order Form.
  1. Zoom Meeting Services. Zoom Meeting Services enable Hosts to schedule and start Meetings and to allow Participants to join Meetings for the purpose of collaborating using voice, video, and screensharing functionality. Every meeting will have one Host. Chat features allow for out-of-session one-on-one or group collaboration. Further features, functionality, and solutions are described at www.zoom.us.
  2. Zoom for Education (K-12). Zoom for Education (K-12) allows schools and educators to use Zoom Meeting Services for educational purposes. Zoom maintains policies and procedures designed to comply with applicable requirements of student privacy laws including, without limitation, GDPR and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and applicable state laws (the “Privacy Laws”). The Privacy Laws may provide students or their parents with certain rights in their personal information. If you are a parent or student and you have questions about the Privacy Laws or your related rights, please contact your school administration. Zoom will not use any student data for marketing or advertising purposes, or any other commercial purpose, except to provide Services to our School Subscribers. If you are a “School Subscriber” — typically meaning a school or school district administrator or a teacher — you represent and warrant that you have been duly authorized by your school or school district to create an account, use the Services, and to agree to these contract terms. You further agree to use your account solely for educational purposes and solely for the benefit of your school or school district and its students. If you are a School Subscriber subject to U.S. or similar law, you consent, for yourself and your school or school district, to Zoom’s collection, use and sharing of personal information of End Users including those who are children under the age of 13 in accordance with Zoom’s K-12 Schools & Districts Privacy Policy and You instruct Zoom to process the personal data of End Users in accordance with such policy. If you are a School Subscriber subject to GDPR or similar law, you determine the legal basis, means and purposes for processing the data, and instruct Zoom to process personal information of End Users, including those who are children under the age 16, in accordance with Zoom’s K-12 Schools & Districts Privacy Policy.
  3. Zoom Phone Services. The following sets forth the further terms and conditions that apply to the Zoom Phone Services.
    1. Definitions: For purposes of the Zoom Phone Services, the following definitions apply:
Device” means the device assigned to a virtual extension or individual digital line set up within an account or by Zoom at Customer’s direction or request.
Phone Host” means the individual assigned to a number which enables use of the Zoom Phone Service. A Phone Host is a “Host” for purposes of the definition of End User
Zoom Phone Calling Plan” means the pricing structure that enables Phone Hosts and End Users to access the PSTN. Calling plans may be “Metered” or “Unlimited” as defined on the Order Form.
Zoom Phone Commitment” means the minimum monthly bundle of minutes that a Zoom Phone Metered Calling Plan Customer commits to use in connection with Zoom Phone Services.
  1. Telecommunications Provider. Zoom Voice is the telecommunications provider of Zoom Phone Services and sets the terms, conditions and rates for Zoom Phone Services.
  2. Description of Services. Zoom Phone Services are cloud-based phone services that use voice over internet protocol (VoIP) to provide Customer with the following services and functionalities (as selected by Customer on an Order Form):
    1. Zoom Phone Service. Zoom Phone Service is a cloud-based phone service that allows two-way voice calling and private branch exchange (PBX) functionality, and a feature set as described on the zoom.us website.
    2. Public Switched Telephone Network Communications (PSTN) Access. Phone Hosts and End Users can be enabled to make and receive calls to the PSTN and be assigned a direct inward dialing phone number (DID) via a Zoom Phone Calling Plan.
    3. Bring Your Own Carrier (BYOC). BYOC allows customers to use the telecommunications provider of their choice to provide PSTN access and inward DID numbers. Zoom provides BYOC customers with software that enables On Net Access and access to a range of Zoom call management features and functions. BYOC enables customers to (i) have PSTN capability in regions where Zoom does not offer PSTN Access; (ii) maintain relationships with currently deployed carriers; and/or (iii) configure deployments for flexibility and redundancy. Customer must ensure that its carrier provides all regulated telecommunications services and is responsible for telecommunications regulatory compliance
    4. Additional Zoom Phone Services. Additional functionality such as enabling common area phones, and additional Toll Free and DID phone numbers may be purchased as described on the Order Form.
  3. Billing and Invoicing. Zoom will bill Customer on behalf of Zoom Voice based on the Charges set forth on the Order Form. Charges based on usage, or overage amounts that exceed the Zoom Phone Commitment, will be billed in arrears, the month following the month a Charge is incurred. No adjustment will be made, or credit or refund given, for usage that is less than the Zoom Phone Commitment.
    1. On Net Access. On Net capability will be provisioned by default for all Zoom Meeting Services. Phone Hosts may access and use On Net services at no charge for so long as the underlying license to the Zoom Meeting Service remains active.
    2. Taxes. Customer acknowledges and agrees that Zoom Phone Services are subject to certain Taxes and Fees (including, but not limited to, assessments for universal service) that are not applicable to Zoom Meeting Services. Accordingly, Zoom shall invoice Customer for Taxes and Fees associated with the Charges.
  4. Reasonable Use and Right to Review. Zoom Voice offers unlimited and metered Phone Calling Plans. These plans are subject to this Zoom Voice Communications, Inc. Reasonable Use Policy. Zoom Phone Calling Plans are for normal and reasonable business use; unreasonable use is prohibited. Use of Zoom Phone may qualify as unreasonable if Customer (a) engages in business activities that involve continual, uninterrupted, or consistently excessive use of Zoom Phone Services, (b) makes any misrepresentations to Zoom Voice that materially affect volume or type of use of Zoom Phone Services, (c) engages in fraudulent or illegal use of Zoom Phone Services, including any activity that violates telemarketing laws or regulations, or (d) uses Zoom Phone Services in any manner that harms Zoom Voice’s network or facilities or interferes with the use of the service by other Customers. Use that is inconsistent with the types and levels of usage by typical business customers on the same plan may be used as an indicator of abnormal or unreasonable use, including but not limited to abnormal call lengths; abnormal call frequency; abnormal call duration; abnormal calling patterns that indicate an attempt to evade enforcement of this Zoom Voice Communications, Inc. Reasonable Use Policy. Zoom reserves the right to review Customer use to determine if it is consistent with this Zoom Voice Communications, Inc. Reasonable Use Policy. In the event Zoom Voice determines that You may be engaging in unreasonable use, Zoom Voice will determine the appropriate remedy and will take action to remedy any unreasonable use, including, at its sole discretion, discussing the use with You, moving You to an appropriate Zoom Phone Calling Plan, terminating certain Hosts, and/or otherwise modifying, suspending or terminating Your Zoom Phone services.
  5. Termination of Zoom Meeting Services. Access to Zoom Phone Services requires a corresponding license to Zoom Meeting Services. In the event that the Zoom Meeting Service license is terminated, the equivalent access to Zoom Phone Services will also be terminated. At such time, Customer will be billed for any incurred usage charges, and will not be credited for any pre-paid amounts toward the Zoom Phone Commitment.
  6. Zoom Voice Policies. Customer acknowledges and agrees that the Zoom Voice Communications, Inc. policies found at https://zoom.us/legal apply to Customer’s use of Zoom Phone Services.
  7. Zoom Emergency Calling (E911) Customer Obligations. Customer acknowledges and agrees that Customer has read and understood Zoom Voice Communications, Inc.’s Emergency Calling or 911 Customer Notification, found at www.zoom.us/legal, which sets forth specific limitations of Zoom Phone’s emergency calling capabilities and Customer’s obligations with respect to its End Users. Such obligations include, but are not limited to:
    1. ensuring that all Phone Hosts receive Zoom Voice’s Emergency Calling or 911 Customer Notification;
    2. ensuring that all assigned phone numbers are registered for emergency calling purposes through the E911 link within Customer’s account, and that all registration information remains accurate and up to date; and
    3. distributing warning stickers or other appropriate labels warning End Users that emergency service may be limited or not available and instructing Phone Hosts to place such stickers on or near the Devices and other equipment used in conjunction with Zoom Phone Services.
submitted by ooga_b00ga to copypasta [link] [comments]

[Megathread] XMG APEX 15 with AMD Ryzen Desktop CPU

Hi guys,
This is it.
Following the reporting from CES from LinusTechTips (The CRAZY laptop manufacturer you've never heard of...) and Jarrod’s Tech (12 CPU Cores In A Laptop!?), we are happy to announce the launch of our new XMG APEX 15.
Content:

Reviews

All reviews so far:
(to be continued)

Related threads

This is a list of on-going, updated threads:

Introduction

AMD has been on the rise with Desktop CPUs that are able to beat some of Intel’s models in terms of raw multi-threaded computing power for a similar or even a smaller price. At the same time, Intel has been struggling with meeting the market demands, having switched too many fabs to a troublesome 10nm process, falling behind on delivering the quantity of 14nm chips including bestsellers like i7-9750H in Q4 2019. For us OEMs, this often resulted in longer lead-times, more complicated logistics (pulling material from multiple sources) and stretches of time where some of our most demanded laptops were not in stock. With the current COVID-19 crisis, we expect the supply to continue to be tight in 2020. So – we’ll have to diversify our sourcing.
With appropriate timing, we welcome the fact that AMD is committed to supporting not only the biggest of manufacturers but also smaller Local OEMs like us through our ODM partners in Taiwan.
We recently released the brand new SCHENKER VIA 15 with AMD Picasso CPU (AMD Ryzen 5 3500U) - a nice, well-rounded package with an ultra-light Magnesium Chassis, a huge 91Wh battery for All Day Battery Life and a respectable I/O port distribution including Full-Size HDMI, multiple USB-A ports and the good old RJ45 Ethernet Port. We rounded it off by exposing nearly every AMD expert option in the BIOS, giving seasoned users something to play around with.
Today we launch a fully-fledged, affordable gaming laptop with a full-sized, standard AM4-Socket which will house Desktop CPUs up to the 12-core CPU named AMD Ryzen 9 3900, rated at 65W TDP. This multi-threading behemoth of a laptop has been developed by our friends in Taiwan with whom our company shares a partnership going back 25 years. While our ODMs are making their own decisions in R&D, their product strategy is heavily influenced by the feedback and proposals of their customers. Through their key partners in various regions (like XMG in Europe and Eluktronics in the U.S.) they actively listen to the community and always strife to take further suggestions for upgrades and fine-tuning into account, despite some often very tight release schedules.
The XMG APEX 15 is based on the NH57AF1 barebone. The NH series has been around for a while already and has been built in a variety of segments, from pure CPU-driven workstations with Intel Graphics (SCHENKER WORK 15 and WORK 17) up to mid-range gaming laptops with i7-9750H and RTX 2060 Max-P. Therefore, the NH series is already tried and proven with a mature manufacturing process, without any 1st gen hiccups. Now it was time for an upgrade.
With the upcoming re-release of NH series with AMD Desktop CPU, our ODM and XMG will again make their mark in the PC/Laptop industry by being the first to build a gaming laptop with AMD AM4 Socket and RTX graphics.
Building such a gaming laptop has multiple advantages:
This thread will now cover specs and FAQ for XMG APEX 15. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below.

Sweet pictures from outside and inside

Check out these sweet pictures:
(Outside pictures are 3D renders. Inside 1 & 2 from Engineering Sample. 3 to 4 from Mass Production unit, production month April 2020.)

Specifications

Some key features of XMG APEX 15

Variations / Factory Options

Our ODM is building this laptop with different variations and some other features will depend on the brand.
Chassis-Design: Our ODM is offering this chassis in 4 different variations.
The features, mechanical engineering and mainboard layout are identical on each one of these – the chassis is purely about cosmetics and haptics. We picked the NH57 variation because it’s the only one where the LCD lid is made from metal. You can really feel the difference – it’s a much more quality / high-end feeling. NH55 was a close contender but it was covered in a semi-glossy IMR coating which is a bit too prone to collect fingerprints – it looks more matte on the pictures than in real-life.
Overall, the NH57 is the best choice, even though it costs a couple of dollars more in production.
Fingerprint-Reader: the F/P Reader is situated in the top left corner of the touchpad when you order XMG APEX 15. Other brands might not offer this convenient feature.
TPM: the ODM usually offers the mainboard with either dedicated TPM (dTPM) or with a Firmware TPM implementation (fTPM). In Intel, the fTPM is called Intel PTT. AMD does not seem to have a specific marketing name for their own fTPM solution. Regardless, we are building XMG APEX 15 with dedicated TPM 2.0 from Infineon.
Keyboard Layouts: our ODM has their own unique keyboard design – love it or hate it. We at XMG make our own keyboard layouts and our layout for this model will differ from the ODM standard. The keyboard in this model is the same as in previous XMG PRO so the layouts have already been drawn for over 20 keyboard languages for the pan-European market.
RAM: AMD Ryzen can go up to 3200MHz, but the modules need to be able to support this spec natively. The NH series does not support XMP memory profiles. In our FAQ we will keep a list of memory modules that are guaranteed to give you the 3200MHz memory speed. For price-sensitive buyers, we also offer a 2666MHz budget option. According to our tests, the performance gap between is about 5% on Ryzen 5 3600 but only 2% on Ryzen 9 3900.
LCD: the NH series is available with 3 different panel specs: 60Hz with either 45% or 72% NTSC Gamut and the 144Hz top spec, likewise with 72% NTSC. We are committed to build all XMG APEX 15 with the best available LCD panel. More info on LCD panels are in the FAQ below.
BIOS: our ODM’s standard BIOS usually only comes with a minimal amount of options and features. We have worked with our ODM to extend those options to deliver as many expert tuning options as reasonably possible. This includes various Undervolting options. This fully unlocked expert BIOS is not released for public yet (read more). At the same time, XMG APEX 15 can also be tweaked with ZenStates.
Brand: we offer a fully debranded option where your laptop will remain completely blank with no printing and no laser-etching on any of the surfaces. Our brand will only remain on the rating label and in the BIOS boot logo. On top of that, all XMG and SCHENKER models are delivered without any stickers (Intel, AMD, NVIDIA, HDMI etc.) on the palm rest area. Where possible, the stickers will be put into the shipping package for your personal usage.

XMG APEX 15: Clocks, Benchmarks and Temperatures

We currently offer 4 different CPUs in XMG APEX 15. Please refer to the following overviews.

Summary:
CPU TDP CB 15 Single CB 15 Multi
AMD Ryzen 5 3600 65 191 1586
AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 65 197 2012
AMD Ryzen 9 3900 65 196 2882
AMD Ryzen 9 3950X 65 (Eco Mode) 195 3301

Performance-Profile:
Profile PPT (88W) TDC (60A) EDC (90A) CPU Temp Target
Power Saving 32 30 45 81°C
Quiet 45 35 50 81°C
Entertainment 65 40 60 81°C
Performance 88 60 90 81°C
(as of BIOS 1.07.04RTR3)
Full benchmark sheet including clock speeds and temperatures:
Click here!

FAQ

Q: Which RAM modules should I use to upgrade my XMG APEX 15?
A: Over the last few years, DDR4 RAM speeds beyond 2666MHz were achieved by using XMP: Extreme Memory Profiles. In 2020, this will change. XMG APEX 15 is our first high-end model that does not support XMP. This will also apply to every subsequent model released with next-gen Intel H series CPUs.
At launch, most RAM modules that are advertised with 3200MHz (or more) were not able to run at 3200MHz in this machine. They would clock down to their highest JEDEC profile, which is usually 2666MHz. In order to hit the 3200MHz speed, you used RAM modules that can already achieve this clock speed on JEDEC profiles. This required new RAM modules that are coming out now in 2020.

RAM compatibility list

Our current official list:
RAM SKU Capacity (GB) Speed CL
Kingston ValueRAM KVR26S19S8/8 8 DDR4-2666 CL19
Samsung M471A1K43CB1-CTD 8 DDR4-2666 CL19
Crucial CT8G4SFS832A 8 DDR4-3200 CL22
Samsung M471A2K43CB1-CTD 16 DDR4-2666 CL19
Kingston ValueRAM KVR26S19D8/16 16 DDR4-2666 CL19
Crucial CT16G4SFD832A 16 DDR4-3200 CL22
Samsung M471A2K43DB1-CWE 16 DDR4-3200 CL22
Samsung M471A4G43MB1-CTD 32 DDR4-2666 CL19
Samsung M471A4G43AB1-CWE 32 DDR4-3200 CL22
Generally speaking, all DDR4-2666 modules with CL19 and all DDR4-3200 modules with CL22 are working out of the box. This is not surprising.
Modules with lower latency can be made to run with custom BIOS settings, but we haven't done much to investigate actual performance benefits.
It is possible to run faster (non-JEDEC) RAM with lower latency by tweaking certain DRAM settings in Ryzen Master, we haven't been able to do much of our own testing on this topic yet.

Q: What do I need to know about the 16-core AMD Ryzen 9 3950X, running at 65W?
A: AMD Ryzen 9 3950X is originally specified as a CPU with a TDP of 105W. Running it at only 65W does indeed limit its performance potential. Thanks to the law of diminishing returns, the loss is not linear: even though you cut the power by about 40%, the multi-threaded performance is only down by about 19% and single-core performance by only 10%.
The 65W TDP-limit is achieved through BIOS settings and cannot be altered. In Performance profile, the power consumption of the CPU goes up to 88W (PPT). According to our tests, the 3950X has a slightly increased heat development compared to the 3900 (without X). With a simultaneous 100% load on the CPU and GPU (e.g. Furmark + Prime), the permanently maintained GPU performance in thermal saturation drops by at least 3%. Depending on the condition of the cooling system (dust, aging of the thermal grease), this discrepancy might slightly increase over time.
This will hardly make any difference in everyday life or in gaming - it will probably only affect those professional application scenarios in which a 100% CPU load is accompanied by 100% CUDA/OpenCL processing. In this situation, the advantage of the additional CPU performance seems to outweigh the minor loss in GPU boost.
At 65W, the AMD Ryzen 9 3950X beats the 65W 12-core CPU AMD Ryzen 9 3900 by a margin of about 15% in multi-threaded benchmarks. Single-threaded benchmarks remain at the same level between these two. So if you can afford the premium price and if you want the fastest CPU money can buy in a system of this size, the AMD Ryzen 9 3950X is a very good choice.
This is similar to running the CPU in what most desktop mainboards call “Eco-Mode”.

Q: Can I upgrade to next-gen AMD Ryzen 4000 series later?
A: AMD Ryzen 4000 series has been announced on CES 2020, but only for the mobile U and H series. The Desktop series is currently unannounced and is only rumoured to be released in October 2020 – although with the COVID-19 situation, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple of delays before that.
At any rate, it’s already been confirmed that AM4 socket and B450 chipset will be compatible with some (if not all) future Ryzen 4000 SKUs. As you might know from Desktop mainboards, the B450 chipset was not meant to be run with the 105W tier SKUs, but the 65W SKUs all run perfectly fine. We expect this to repeat with Ryzen 4000.
/edit: May 7, 2020: A recent AMD community update shed a different light on this assumption. See "Update on B450 Support" at the bottom of this post.

Q: How easy is it to service and upgrade XMG APEX 15?
A: All components are accessible via a service cover. To open this cover you will need to remove only 5 screws. A complete disassembly instruction can be found in the Service Manual [Download PDF]. It also contains instructions for removing the thermal components and replacing the CPU. Please note that the thermal components (incl. thermal paste) should only be removed and reassembled by trained and experienced personnel. If the procedure is not carried out properly, you will risk to void your warranty. If you would like to have your CPU upgraded by our qualified personnel, please contact us by e-mail at [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]).

Q: What is different about those new NVIDIA RTX "Refresh" cards?
A: The "Refresh" cards were silently released by NVIDIA on April 2, 2020, relatively unnoticed by the public. They officially have the same name as their predecessors (e.g. RTX 2060, RTX 2070), but are a general overhaul.
Name Codename
RTX 2060 N18E-G1
RTX 2070 N18E-G2
RTX 2060 (Refresh) N18E-G1-B
RTX 2070 (Refresh) N18E-G1R
The biggest innovation of the refresh cards is the change to low voltage GDDR6. Thereby the graphics memory consumes less energy, thus producing less waste heat. Thus, within the same TGP limit, more energy can be put on the graphics chip (the GPU), which increases performance. The refresh cards therefore exceed their non-refresh predecessors by significant margins for the same power consumption. A better yield in chip production may also play a role here, but these things are usually not confirmed officially by NVIDIA.
The RTX 2070 (Refresh) keeps the 115W TGP of its predecessor, but is still faster than its predecessor due to the higher energy efficiency in the graphics memory.
The RTX 2060 (Refresh) has new TGP gradations in addition to the higher energy efficiency. The predecessor was specified with 80W by default. For the RTX 2060 (Refresh) NVIDIA now offers VBIOS versions with TGP-limit of up to 115W. Every manufacturer may use a different TGP level on this card without changing the name of the card. The XMG APEX 15 uses the RTX 2060 (Refresh) with up to 115W TGP. This means that RTX 2060 and RTX 2070 in XMG APEX 15 can use the same thermal components without compromise.
Our tests show that the new boost clock rates released under NDA by NVIDIA for the Refresh cards are even surpassed by our laptops. The first public benchmarks of the new refresh cards are expected to be released on April 15.

Q: Which LCD panels are going to be available in XMG APEX 15?
A: Due to logistical reasons, we can't always use exactly the same panel in every config and batch. But all the panels that we use will be very similar in spec. For the first couple of batches, we are following this panel plan:
The values are very close to each other. There is certain tolerance, so some values might be different on individual units in some upcoming press reviews. On paper, some values for the panel in the RTX 2060 model are slightly better, while the RTX 2070 model seems to have slightly better contrast by having a lower black point. Both panels are top of their line for a FHD 144Hz panel.
In case the panel plan changes with future batches, we will update the FAQ accordingly.

Q: Do you have any plans to release this laptop with AMD Radeon Graphics?
A: We currently don’t have any plans to support dedicated AMD graphics in this chassis. The NVIDIA options still deliver a great performance/watt ratio and they are mature and easy to work with, with mature drivers and lots of support from NVIDIA in Taiwan and Germany. We’ll never know what happens in the future, but an XMG laptop with dedicated AMD graphics is highly unlikely to hit the market in 2020.

Q: Will you offer XMG APEX 15 with other NVIDIA GPUs?
A: At launch, XMG APEX 15 is offered with RTX 2060 and RTX 2070 and supports up to 115W TGP on the GPU. Upgrades toward RTX 2070 SUPER and RTX 2080 are not planed.
Our ODM offers a downgrade to GTX 1660 Ti, but we decided not to carry that option because the price gap between GTX 1660 Ti and RTX 2060 has become relatively small and NVIDIA is going to push RTX features like DLSS 2.0 even more in 2020.

Q: Can I run this laptop with a smaller power supply?
A: XMG APEX 15 requires a 230W power adaptor to provide full performance. If you max out CPU and GPU with furmark and prime, the 230W adapter will be fully utilized. The laptop requires a power supply with 19~19.5V and a barrel plug with 5.5/2.5mm diameter and 10mm length.
With those specs, we do have a number of compatible power supplies with as little as 120W that are compatible. In theory, 120W are more than enough for charging the laptop and for browsing/web/media. Even a full CPU stress test could easily be handled with 120W. But as soon as you put any serious load on the dedicated GPU, you will run into a bottleneck. The system will then take additional power from the battery which won’t last forever.
Long story short: if you want to use an undersized power supply, don’t put any heavy load on the GPU.

Q: Is it possible to extend the battery life by switching to integrated graphics?
A: No. The AMD Desktop CPUs don’t have any integrated graphic components. The NVIDIA GPU in XMG APEX 15 is always on. In our tests, the system is showing an Idle Power Consumption of 36~47W on Windows Desktop – measured at the wall wocket. It might be possible to slightly reduce this value with Undervolting – but not by a large margin.
Make no mistake: XMG APEX 15 is a pure desktop replacement and is not meant to be used on-battery for long periods of time.

Q: When will we see press reviews of XMG APEX 15?
A: Our number of review samples is unfortunately constrained by the COVID-19 situation. Most samples are expected to ship before the end of April. The first review is published on the YouTube channel of der8auer: INSANE: 16 Core AMD Desktop CPU in a NOTEBOOK. Ah yea and I added some Liquid Nitrogen

Buy now

XMG APEX 15 on bestware.com

Your feedback

We’re excited to launch XMG APEX 15 today and we’re looking forward to the feedback from press reviews and the community.
Some questions to our community
Thank you for reading and feel free to spread the news. We are looking forward to your feedback!

Update on B450 Support for Renoir, Cezanne and Vermeer

(May 23, 2020)
This just in: AMD Reverses Course, Will Enable Zen 3 and Ryzen 4000 Support on B450 and X470 Motherboards [Tom's Hardware]
Considering the number of AMD's course corrections, the technical limitations of a 16MB SPI chip and after having discussed this issue with our ODM since, we will not give any guarantees on Renoir, Cezanne and Vermeer as long as we don't have CPU samples and a Beta release of AMD's BIOS. This statement is neither a confirmation nor a denial on Renoir (ZEN 2 APU) and ZEN 3 support on XMG APEX 15. While we would like to support CPU upgrades on APEX 15, we will have to wait and see until we can actually get our hands on the goods and start testing.
Further insights (before this update) have been shared in this post.
// Tom
submitted by XMG_gg to XMG_gg [link] [comments]

6 Ways Your Employer Can Contribute to Your Financial Wellness - SoFi Blog

Latest from the SoFi Blog
by SoFi
July 17, 2020 at 12:36PM
To help employees gain better control over their finances, more and more employers are offering financial wellness benefits as part of their compensation packages. The number of employers that offer financial wellness programs through the workplace is expected to nearly double within the next few years, according to research from Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company .
So, while employers continue to implement financial wellness programs, what does this mean for you? In this post, we’ll define financial wellness and the important role it plays in the workplace as well as breakdown some of the benefits you can expect to see from employers and how to use them to your advantage.
We’ve also added some suggestions submitted by our Twitter followers participating in SoFi’s #MoneyMonday sweepstakes prompt “What additional benefit would you like your employer to offer?”

What is Financial Wellness?

Financial wellness is balancing your current financial well-being and tackling daily tasks while preparing for a secure financial future. This includes addressing behaviors that promote positive financial decision-making as well as identifying those that might negatively impact an employee’s financial situation.
Since financial goals and priorities will change throughout an employee’s life, it’s important to grasp the concept of money management and to adapt when goals and objectives change.

Employers Have a Big Impact on Financial Wellness

Finances touch every aspect of employees’ financial lives. Employees who are more in control of their finances may be more productive and focused in the workplace.
Employers who understand the importance of financial wellness can provide personal workplace benefits, tips for improving your financial health, and offer access to guidance that will help improve employees’ financial lives at large.

Financial Wellness Benefits Offerings

Employers offer a variety of benefits that help employees’ financial lives in a myriad of ways. Here are some of the benefits offerings you may encounter as part of a financial wellness program in the workplace.

A 401(k) Match

The most popular benefit our Twitter followers said they’d like to see offered by their employer was some sort of 401k benefit.
“DEFINITELY a 401k match program !!!” – Cliff P.
“I would love employer matches on 401K contributions!” – Carey C.
According to the IRS , “A 401k is a feature of a qualified defined contribution plan that allows employees to contribute a portion of their wages to individual accounts.”
Essentially, employees and employers can contribute to a retirement savings account sponsored by the employer.
Although 401(k) plans make it simple for employees to start saving for retirement, some companies will match contributions up to a certain amount to give employees an extra retirement-savings boost.
A 401(k) or similar employer-sponsored retirement plan can be a powerful resource for building a secure retirement—and an employer match can add a substantial amount to an employee’s nest egg.”
For example, if your employer matches your contributions dollar-for-dollar up to three percent of your salary, your savings may double if you take full advantage. Assuming the investment in the account doesn’t increase, if you set aside $42,000 by the time you retire, you will have set aside $84,000. The extra $42,000 is essentially free money.

Financial Planning Education

Financial planning education is one of the top financial well-being initiatives that many companies offer. From helping employees select the right investments for their 401(k)s to providing a platform to help employees manage their day-to-day expenses, companies may offer a wide range of tools, resources, and services to help employees manage their money.
While receiving a 401(k) match or additional financial support is great, it may not be as useful as gaining the knowledge of how to manage your money. Taking advantage of a financial planning education benefit may help you navigate your finances for years to come.
Here’s what some of our Twitter followers suggested they’d like to see added to their benefits package:
“Financial wellness classes for all employees.” – Patrice
“Seminars on retirement plans.” – Karen B.

Funds for Emergencies

For employees who need to pay for emergency expenses such as damages due to a car accident or home repair, employers may offer employee relief or compassion funds. Some employers are matching contributions to an employee’s personal account, offering payroll advances, and short-term loans that can be repaid through payroll deduction.
Offering these programs may make it less likely for employees to tap into their retirement savings if they have cash reserves or assistance accessible. Therefore, employees can shift their focus to long-term savings and retirement planning.
Here’s one idea from a follower on Twitter:
“Right now a good benefit would be unemployment insurance through the workplace so we could fund our own emergencies…” – Billy

Healthcare Savings Accounts

Overall healthcare costs — including all private and public spending — are anticipated to rise by an average of 5.5 percent per year over the next decade — growing from $3.5 trillion in 2017 to $6 trillion by 2027 .
As healthcare costs continue to rise, many employees may feel the financial weight of affording medical expenses. While many employees may not consider healthcare a financial wellness benefit, employers who offer support can ease the financial burden of healthcare costs now and in the future.
Some employers offer a Health Savings Account (HSA) in conjunction with high-deductible health insurance plans. An HSA is a tax-advantaged account that helps employees prepare to pay for healthcare costs such as doctors’ visits or prescriptions. HSAs have several other benefits including:
• Pre-tax contributions, potential gains, and withdrawals can be used for qualified medical expenses and are exempt from taxation.
• The unused balance car carries over into the next year.
• Fund in HSA accounts can be invested which may provide long-term growth potential to afford future healthcare costs.
• The funds in the account never expire and will pass to a beneficiary upon the account holder’s passing.
While employers are not required to offer a high-deductible health insurance plan in conjunction with an HSA, many employers do offer this benefit. If your employer does, it’s wise to explore how an HSA may be beneficial to your financial wellness.

Caregiving Assistance

Nearly half of employees perform some type of caregiving activities.
That’s why Twitter follower Maddy claims she’d love to see a “daycare/preschool assistant” added to her employer’s benefit package.
Caregiving tasks such as taking someone to a medical appointment, buying groceries, preparing meals, or paying bills can take a financial toll on many employees. Caregiving can also impact productivity and workplace performance.
Therefore, employers who offer caregiving benefits may lessen the financial and time demands that caregiving requires. Some benefits may include:
• Sick days or paid leave to care for a loved one
• Flexible schedule to accommodate caregiving needs
• Work from home flexibility
So, whether you’re caring for a child or an aging parent, ask your employer about the benefits they offer to help with your caregiving needs.

Student Loan Repayment

The latest student loan debt statistics for 2020 show how serious the student loan debt crisis has become for borrowers across all demographics and age groups. There are 45 million borrowers who collectively owe nearly $1.6 trillion in student loan debt in the U.S. Student loan debt is now the second highest consumer debt category – behind only mortgage debt – and higher than both credit cards and auto loans.
With so many Americans paying off student debt, some employers are offering an employer student loan repayment program to help with repayment. From increasing compensation to account for current debt payments or matching payments up to a certain amount, employers are implementing strategies that are helping their employees eliminate their debt.
Here’s what one of our followers on Twitter had to say:
“One benefit my employer could offer is a percentage each month towards my student loans. Fingers crossed it happens in the near future!” – Betty
If you’re repaying your student loans and your employer offers a student loan repayment benefit, it can really help with the most burdensome student loan payments.

Other Offerings

If your company doesn’t offer some sort of financial wellness benefit, they may provide other incentives such as annual raise opportunities, referral bonuses, or professional development training.
If your options are limited, you may want to speak with your employer to determine if they are willing to offer any of these benefits to improve your financial well-being.

Taking Advantage of Financial Wellness Benefit at Work

Whether you’re looking for a new job or you have worked in your position for years, it’s important to understand all benefits an employer offers. Sometimes even if you have worked at an organization for years, you might not be aware of all of the financial wellness benefits available.
Taking full advantage of all benefits offered may help improve your financial well-being and future financial security.
But, keep in mind, your employer’s financial wellness benefits may not be the only solution available. In the instance your employer doesn’t offer help repaying your student loans, you may want to consider student loan refinancing as a way to deal with student loan debt.
Student loan refinancing is when you consolidate your student loans with a private lender and receive new rates and terms. While the exact process can vary by lender, the general idea is that a borrower consolidates their existing student loan debt with a new loan, and qualifying borrowers might be able to secure a lower interest rate. It is important to note that if you do choose to refinance your federal student loans, you forfeit your ability to qualify for federal benefits.
Borrowers interested in refinancing their student loans may want to consider SoFi. You can check your rates in just two minutes.
Learn More
SoFi Student Loan Refinance
IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO REFINANCE FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS PLEASE BE AWARE OF RECENT LEGISLATIVE CHANGES THAT HAVE SUSPENDED ALL FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN PAYMENTS AND WAIVED INTEREST CHARGES ON FEDERALLY HELD LOANS UNTIL THE END OF SEPTEMBER DUE TO COVID-19. PLEASE CAREFULLY CONSIDER THESE CHANGES BEFORE REFINANCING FEDERALLY HELD LOANS WITH SOFI, SINCE IN DOING SO YOU WILL NO LONGER QUALIFY FOR THE FEDERAL LOAN PAYMENT SUSPENSION, INTEREST WAIVER, OR ANY OTHER CURRENT OR FUTURE BENEFITS APPLICABLE TO FEDERAL LOANS. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income-Driven Repayment plans, including Income-Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.
SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636. For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.
Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
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6,000 Word guide on Local biz SEO + list of 2,190 websites that accept guest blog posts + 800 SEO terms mapped out on a HUGE infographic, + other SEO templates.

Reddit Intro
This is an intermediate SEO guide. It's not super vague, but I'm also not trying to go into great detail on the more advanced techniques used for highly competitive keywords. The only thing really missing here is more information on Silos and the super basic shit you can find LITERALLY anywhere.
My goal with this guide was to provide SEO guidance for any local business as it grows and evolves. For example, you don't need a full-blown SEO strategy when you've been in business for 4 days--you can, however, benefit from having a GMB listing or single-page website.
If you want basic stuff:
Ahrefs blog post on local SEO
Moz Local SEO checklist
How is it laid out?
It starts with the most important stuff someone should be doing right from the start. Then it grows and expands with the needs of the business. It also tells you the exact pages you need to link to and where you should put the keywords to "optimize" them.
Quick note:
For the most part, any SEO optimization that is not located in this guide can easily be done through the Yoast SEO plugins. They don't give the greatest advice, but it's better than paying someone $1,300/mo to do everything Yoast tells them to do.

Intro

This is the ultimate guide to building and ranking a website. We don’t just want a website to rank though, we want to turn it into a lean, mean, lead-generating machine. My personal philosophy around business and marketing is to pick the low hanging fruit first. I start every effort as close to the sale as possible and build processes to take advantage of as many sales as I can as I move further away from the sale. What I mean, is that I always try to focus on the smallest efforts with the biggest results.
I have a feeling this is still going to confuse a lot of people. Let me give you an example: my cabinet painting company’s content.
Most people in the small business space are focusing on writing how-to guides because they think this makes them seem like an “authority” in their industry, I create case-studies. I take before and after pictures and write little stories about the projects. When someone is looking for a how-to guide, they’re looking to do it themselves. That’s not the type of traffic I want to bring to my website. That type of traffic isn’t going to convert for months--maybe even years!
Someone looking to see if you’re the right fit, on the other hand, they’re going to be looking for proof that you can do what they’re looking for. They want to see that you’re in the trenches providing the services that they’re wanting to eventually purchase. They want proof. This is why I write little case-studies about our projects and not “how to paint cabinet guides”. This isn’t the only reason I do this either. Think about it. How often do you go to a small business website to read a how-to guide? Never. You always big the big, well-known, brands with huge nationally/internationally ranking websites that you could never compete against.
So, why in the world would you want to spend time and effort making something that no one will read? That’s the question every business owner should be asking themselves. Now, I don’t want to say that it’s a totally useless effort. I’m mostly just pointing out that it shouldn’t be your main focus until the time comes when you need to make that type of content. Always start with the sale, and move backward to create a process that helps turn traffic into sales.
Now, let the fun begin.

Content

Intro

I break all content into 3 different types: conversion, engagement, and trust. Conversion content, focuses on the immediate goal of turning visitors into sales. Engagement content focuses on drawing the customer in--to read more, click more, and dive deeper into the website. Trust content focuses on showing that you’re a credible resource of information, products, and services.
Content is a huge part of your SEO as well as your ability to turn traffic into sales. Now, the problem is that these 3 content types all interweave between themselves to support and improve each other’s ability to convert website visitors. Many businesses become confused and unsure about where their priorities are when it comes to website content. They read lots of guides online, but most of those guides cater to affiliate marketers or bigger companies that have a much bigger audience.
SEO will bring traffic to your website, but it’s not an automatic sales machine. People don’t just instantly buy whatever you tell them to buy at the drop of a hat. You need to create processes that gently lead them down the path that you would like them to take. This path consists of several different stages, but those stages aren’t definite. Some people move to one stage at one moment in their decision-making process, then move right back to the very beginning.
This part of the guide will go over those processes that help convert traffic. However you will find that throughout the entire guide I will be explaining how to bring traffic to the website so it gets converted.

Google My Business

GMB comes first

Your Google My Business listing is the single most important web asset that you can own as a small business owner. This should always come first. Before you have a website, before you advertise, before ANYTHING. Why? Because it contains all of the most important content elements in a 3rd party system (more trustworthy) AND it brings visitors to your business.
I would say that the biggest reason for getting this set up first though, is because you want to start getting reviews as quickly as possible. Your reviews are a huge part of being able to convert traffic into sales. Typically anyone that finds you through online advertising via Facebook or Google ads, will go look at your reviews and website before contacting you. I call this the background check. People want to feel like they’re making the right decision. They don’t want a bad experience and they don’t want to be scammed.
It’s also probably one of the single most important factors in local business SEO. Without your GMB listing, it will be very difficult--dare I say--impossible to rank without it. I guess it’s not impossible, but it would really fucking stupid not to have it.
There’s already plenty of guides out there on how to set up your Google my business listing, so I’m not going to go into very much detail on the basics. What I will say, is that you need a cheap option for reminding people to give you a review. SMS (texting) has been proven to have an increased ability to get people to write reviews. The problem with this is that a lot of review or public relations software services that provide text reminders cost a lot of fucking money. Instead of paying $400/mo on Podio or Birdeye, use Hopfu.

Home Page

Home page comes second

EVERY business needs a homepage, and you can get away with a lot more than most marketers are willing to admit--with a single-page website. So don’t ever think it’s an all-or-nothing type of situation. This simply isn’t true.
This also doesn’t mean that you should forever have a single-page website. As you start growing, so should the number of pages on your website. If you don’t have the time or money to build a formal website, just stick to this. I would say that it’s good to have a website though. You shouldn’t try and skimp on this. If you want to be seen as credible and charge higher prices than your competitors, a website will go a long way in making this happen.
Here is everything you should have on your website to not only improve your ability to convert traffic but to start a good foundation for your SEO efforts.
Here’s a list of everything you need. Below you will find descriptions.
-Condensed information
-Core offer
-Small contact form
-Sticky phone #
-Clear USP
-Logos/badges
-Real images
-No more than 3 reviews
-3 step process
Use this image for reference:
What is condensed information?
What do I mean by this? I mean that you should really only have blocks of text with no more than 100 words. Brief descriptions or explanations of anything that’s important for people to know. People have short attention spans and despite what everyone says, content length does not dictate a website’s ability to rank on Google. Context is key in ranking and too much content CAN destroy your ability to rank for the specific keywords you’re trying to rank. Not only that, but no one fucking cares and won’t read any of it. Remember the goal is to convert--not just have people visit your website. If you create small bite size chunks of information, then people are more likely to actually read the information. If they’re reading, then they’re engaging. If they’re engaging, they’re more likely to convert. Keep it stupid fucking simple. Make sure you have condensed information about the services you offer on this page.
-100 word chunks of information.
-Have a hierarchical tag (H2 or H3) on top of the information chunk with a topical keyword.
-If you have more than 1 page, link to the other pages that the info chunks talk about.
-1 link per information chunk.
-Copywriting is not an informational chunk.
What is a Core offer?
Your core offer is the offer someone accepts right before a sale. If you’re a smaller business, keep it to this. As your business and website grow, you can add a supplementary offer for anyone that isn’t quite ready to take the leap on your core offer. For most service businesses, your core offer is consultation/assessment/audit/etc. For a product based business, this is a “visit us”, or a “see our products” page, if they can make purchases online.
-Offer closest to the sale. Ie. Estimate, consultation, visit us, etc.
-If a bigger website/business, then create an offer for traffic that isn’t ready for the core offer. Ie. ebook, newsletter sign up, etc.
What is a sticky phone #?
A sticky phone number is a sticky bar that has your phone number on it. A sticky bar is a very small banner that follows the user as they scroll up or down on a website. Phone calls are proven to sell (literally--it’s been proven) 1000% better than forms. So getting phone calls should always be top of mind. It’s even better if you have a cute little picture of yourself next to the phone number with your name. This makes them feel more comfortable by thinking they know who they’re calling when they dial that number. Also, local phone numbers are TWICE as likely to convert than 800 numbers. It also goes without saying that you should make your phone numbers clickable on mobile. This is done with a tel:123-456-7890 link.
-Sticky bar with phone #.
-Put a cute little picture of yourself with your name next to the phone number.
-Local phone numbers convert better.
-Make your phone numbers clickable on mobile.
What is a small contact form?
For the love of all things holy, quit making your contact form super fucking difficult to fill out. You don’t need people’s zip codes, street addresses, blood types, or their mother’s maiden name. If you’re using Neuro-linguistic programming or compliance psychology to improve your conversion rate with a multi-step form, then you can start with a less threatening ask and end with their contact information. Compliance psychology has seen increased conversions of up to 76%, this however does not mean that your small business will benefit that much. The idea behind compliance psychology is if you can get someone to take small actions, they’re increasingly more likely to take big actions. If you want a multi-step form, you can use Leadformly or Jotform.
-Keep it super fucking simple. Name, number, email--nothing else.
-You can increase conversions with multi-step form with less threatening questions to qualify traffic before you get to the core ask (contact info).
What is a unique selling point (USP)?
You should always try and have a unique selling point, but when you’re a small business that isn’t making innovative wakes in your industry--this can be pretty fucking difficult. You can usually find a unique selling point by learning about your target audience. You can read good/bad reviews and learn what your target audience likes/dislikes, then take it to the fucking extreme. Do they complain about a project taking too long? Offer the “Holy hell done in just one hour” package. A company by the name WOW-1-day painting did this. Not everyone is that creative or capable of creating a unique selling point though. So what do you do if you’re one the unlucky majority? Just clearly state what you do or how you benefit others. Best place to do this is the headline.
-Can you come up with a usp? Put it in the headline.
-Not sure if you can? Read reviews of likes/dislikes, then take it to the fucking extreme.
-Least creative person in existence? Benefit or “We do X” in your headline.
What are Logos/badges?
Logos and badges are used for social proof. Social proof is used to build trust and credibility. It shows people you’re trusted by other people and companies, so you should be worthy of your traffic’s trust. The more credible your logos and badges, the better. Use Facebook and Google reviews over Homeadvisor’s, because they’re more credible. However, if you have a Homeadvisor or Upcity badge that shows how awesome you are, then use that too. If you’re a business to business company, then use the companies you’ve worked with. If you’re not solely business to business but offer commercial services, then add the logos of the businesses that you’ve helped on your commercial service page.
-Review badges/logos for social proof.
-Use awards/badges when you can.
-The more credible, the more betterer.
Why shouldn’t you use stock images?
Don’t sacrifice your looks for your ability to convert. Stock images do not promote trust, in fact they do quite the opposite--ESPECIALLY for local businesses. You want to be real and tangible, not fake and unreal. There’s often this saying that many marketers use, “ugly websites convert”. It’s true to a certain point. Huge businesses have nice looking websites and they convert really fucking well. There shouldn’t be any question that a good looking website can convert. BUT they can look good and still be real/tangible. If you want stock images, go hire a photographer and take real photos of yourself and your store. If not, do the best you can to make it look good and still use real photos. Real photos might look ugly, but they convert.
-You want to instill trust. Stock images instill distrust.
-You can still have a good looking website with real photos.
-Ugly real photos will still convert better than good looking stock images.
Why only 3 reviews?
Because people don’t trust narcissists. The more you talk yourself up, the less people will believe you. It’s well known that businesses buy fake reviews. The better it makes you sound, the less people are going to believe it because they think it’s fake. Use clear and concise reviews that preferably talk about your unique selling points or the benefits that you offer people. If you’re advertising, it’s even better if you can get reviews that specifically talk about your core offer. Also, use real people images, not that fake stock image shit. That’s the biggest way to turn people off after having read your awesome review.
-Less is more.
-The more it’s tailored to your audience or offer, the better.
-DON’T USE STOCK IMAGES
What is a 3 step process?
3 step process, uses iconography to explain your process moving forward. The less mystery that people have to experience the more comfortable they feel taking action. If you have a 3 step process for your core offer or for your service, the better people will feel about taking you up on the offer or buying your service. This follows Miller’s law. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but less is more. Keep the steps concise.
Internal linking in this order:
-link to each core service page
-link to each service area/location page
-link to your blog
-link to pricing
-link to link to about us
Keyword in Title:
Not applicable.
Keyword in link:
Not applicable.
Yoast:
You’ll want to get the Yoast SEO for everything else I’m about to tell you to do.
Keyword in SEO title:
This is what appears on Google when someone searches for a keyword and sees your page in the results. Can’t think of a good SEO title? “{Arizona or Descriptor} {Service} | {Company name}”
Keyword in Meta Description:
This is the description that shows up in search results under your SEO title. Keep the keyword to the left as possible. Can’t think of a good description? “Looking for a {service} in {State}? {Unique selling points/benefits}”
-Your service process, ordering process, core offer process, etc.
-Less mystery = more confidence
-More confidence = higher conversion.

Product or service pages

Product or service pages come 3rd.

As your company grows and expands, you need to grow your website. Product or service pages are normally for engagement content. They answer many of the questions that your website traffic has about, well, your products or services. This is not true for any e-commerce businesses, but this guide isn’t for e-commerce--it’s for local businesses. Again, this is why so many business owners get confused. There’s so much information out there for e-commerce and affiliate marketing, but nothing for the local biz.
Your product or service pages should be organized under a /services/ or /products/ parent page. If you don’t know how to do this--Google it. You also shouldn’t have any more than 3-4 core services. Too many times do I see local businesses put every single possible service in the navigation and that’s literally the dumbest thing you can do. There’s a little something called decision fatigue. This is why landing pages don’t have navigation and they only have one offer, instead of many offers. It’s also why salesmen limit the amount of options they give you by saying things like, “are you available this afternoon or evening?”.
It works.
It also works for SEO. Too many stupid supplementary services confuses Google and can causes it to choose the wrong things to rank. Instead, you should have supplementary services under their closest related core service. What exactly do I mean by this? Okay let’s do an example. Let’s say you’re a painter. If you’re doing it wrong, your service pages will look like this:
Services
-Door painting
-Interior painting
-Face painting
-Murals
-Wall painting
-Metal trim painting
-kitchen painting
-Fence painting
Your URLs for sake of explanation will look like this: Website.com/services/face-painting
Instead of doing that, do this:
Services
-Interior painting (h1)
--Doors (h2)
--Kitchens (h2)
--Indoor Murals (h2)
-Exterior painting (h1)
--Fence (h2)
--Metal trim (h2)
The reason this works is it adds more context to your core services and helps Google to understand what you offer. It’s also better for the customer experience. You can add small descriptions for each supplementary service with before and after pictures. You can also compare and contrast the supplementary services, level offers (good, better, best qualities), FAQs, etc.
Your /Services/ parent page should have descriptions of your core services, FAQs, and all the other important stuff that your customers need to know.
Your product and services pages are also a really good opportunity to add some story-telling and branding to your website for added kick of conversion probability. Give people an inside look of your shop and show pictures of you performing the services or making the products.
Internal linking
-link to pricing
-link to portfolio
Keyword in Title:
Just the service/product.
Keyword in link:
Just the service/product.
Yoast:
You’ll want to get the Yoast SEO for everything else I’m about to tell you to do.
Keyword in SEO title:
This is what appears on Google when someone searches for a keyword and sees your page in the results. Can’t think of a good SEO title? “{Descriptor ie. Affordable/cheap/professional} {Service} | {Company name}”
Keyword in Meta Description:
This is the description that shows up in search results under your SEO title. Keep the keyword to the left as possible. Can’t think of a good description? “Looking for a {Descriptor} {Service}? {Unique selling points/benefits}”
Takeaways
-AGAIN keep everything simple.
-Less is more.
-Write content that helps them make a decision. FAQs, Comparisons, Before/Afters, case studies, etc...
-Nothing shady with a clear ulterior motive like, “why you need to hire a X”. That’s fucking stupid and no one believes you.
-Link to relevant information. Pricing, portfolios, and service areas/locations are relevant to your product or service.

Service area/location pages

Service area/location pages are 4th

This is when you start doing SEO. Going to keep this super simple. Do NOT put your service area/location pages under a parent page, unless you’re in multiple states/countries.
Just do this: website.com/city/
Don’t be a trasy wanna-be SEO expert and use: website.com/service-in-city/
Content:
Typically these are going to be like your homepage, but they need to double down on material that converts. These pages SHOULD be attracting people that are the most likely to convert, therefore, you should treat them as such.
-Core CTA
-USP
-Before/After
-Real photos of real people
-Skimmable service points (that link to service pages)
-Logos/badges
-3 step process
-3 reviews
The big thing here is you should try and tailor everything to that specific city as much as possible. Use pictures you took in that city, use advertising copy that relates to that city’s audience more than others, etc…
A lot of people think the content can’t be the same between the city pages. That’s a fucking lie. You can just switch out the city and you’re good. Not recommended, but it’s not going to kill your SEO. In fact, all of my city pages have the same exact meta description, content, anchor-text, keywords, etc-- and they’re all on the first page. I even changed things up on 2 pages, just to see if there would be a difference. NOPE. No difference in ranking AT ALL. In fact, there’s a lot of myths in SEO and I’ll cover some of them later.
Internal linking:
-Service pages
Keyword in Title:
Service + city name or city name + service.
Keyword in link:
Just the city name.
Yoast:
You’ll want to get the Yoast SEO for everything else I’m about to tell you to do.
Keyword in SEO title:
This is what appears on Google when someone searches for a keyword and sees your page in the results. Can’t think of a good SEO title? “{City} {Servicer ie. house painter} | {Company name}”
Keyword in Meta Description:
This is the description that shows up in search results under your SEO title. Keep the keyword to the left as possible. Can’t think of a good description? “Looking for a {servicer} in {city}? {Unique selling points/benefits}”

About Us page

About Us comes fifth.

Your About Us page really only supplements everything that we’ve covered up until this point. If you have all the other stuff and don’t have this page, you’ll do just fine. The same goes for only having another page’s preceding page if you’re a smaller business. Again, as the business grows, then you should add more to improve your ability to convert. The bigger you are, the more the smaller nuance stuff is going to matter. The smaller you are, the less effect it will have.
Your about us should have the following:
-Our team with pics and bios
-Credentials with PDF link to your proof of license, insurance, and/or certifications. No one does this, they just say they have it--this will set you apart.
-Company story (what inspired you to run the business)
-Company Mission (why you continue to run the business)
Why is About Us important?
The about us section is important because of a little psychological phenomenon called familiarity or tribalism. People who feel like they know you, tend to like or approve of you. They’re less likely to discredit you, which is why so many parents have a hard time believing their kids turned into criminals. If they’re less likely to try and discredit you and they like you, they will buy from you. Especially if you have some kick ass content on your About page.
I’d quickly like to address hypocrisy
Don’t be a fucking hypocrite when you’re writing your mission statement. If you aren’t about customer service, serving people, making the world better--don’t lie about it. It’s only going to hurt your brand. If you’re really that much of an asshole that this stuff doesn’t actually apply to you, then spin it differently--just be honest.
Easy to follow framework for a mission statement
A lot of people know this idea, but haven’t read the book. This is Simon Sinek’s company mission framework. Start with why (your core moral/value). Next, explain how you benefit your customers. Finally, end with what you do.
Here’s an example:
I believe most content sucks ass and I want to change that. I’m not a great writer, but I can still do this by going into great detail AND explaining why you should do the things I’m telling you to do. Above all else, I’m just a badass content marketer.
How to write your business’ story?
If you want to go all out, then do this: start with your hero (you) going on a journey, that finds a guide, faces a big decision, then triumphs over evil by doing good. You don’t necessarily need to do this, but it definitely won’t hurt if you do.
Here’s an example:
I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but didn’t have the confidence to really go through with it (relatable hero on a journey). One day came across an opportunity like no other--my friend was selling his business (the guide)! I bought it from him in hopes of getting my feet wet in the business world. It was a steep learning curve to say the least and I faced a lot of adversity like quitting my job without a single dollar in my savings account (big decision). In the end, despite all my obstacles, I’m here today. The owner of a wonderful business that I can call my own.
It’s even better if you can really make pain palpable.
Why you should use your real credentials
Don’t just say you’re licensed, bonded, and insured. Whip it out and slam it on the table. Show them that you actually are. Not a lot of people will even look at this stuff, but anyone that does will be impressed. You’re different, you’re real, you have nothing to hide. With proof comes confidence and with confidence comes spending. Upload the PDFs to your websites media storage, then link from the about us page to your certificates and licenses.
Internal linking:
-Link to contact page
Keyword in Title:
Not applicable.
Keyword in link:
Not applicable.
Yoast:
You’ll want to get the Yoast SEO for everything else I’m about to tell you to do.
Keyword in SEO title: Not applicable
This is what appears on Google when someone searches for a keyword and sees your page in the results. Can’t think of a good SEO title? “About Us | {Company name}”
Keyword in Meta Description:
This is the description that shows up in search results under your SEO title. Keep the keyword to the left as possible. Can’t think of a good description? “Hear about our story, read our mission statement, and see what makes us a credible business.”
Takeaways
-Keep it real.
-Keep it short, but take them for a wild ride.
-Start with your why, explain how you benefit the customer, end with your what.
-Tell your story like a fucking boss.

Blog

Blog comes last

Your blog is for SEO. However, you can also use it for case studies and other content that affects SEO less, but converts more. You should definitely focus on the content that converts more when you’re first starting out. As you’re building your business and expanding your reach, maxing out your other marketing channels and moving into the SEO space, then you can start building other content that builds your topic relevance. No one is going to write your how-to guides if you’re a local business. Even if you’re a B2B business like a web designer or whatever, what ends up happening is you attract business owners that want to do everything themselves or will let you do all the hard work, then fire you.
Silo-ing
The architecture of your website is super important for bigger businesses, but as a small business owner, you probably hear how imperative it is for you to do the same. The thing is that the more information your website has, the more you need to put into files and categorize it in order for Google to make a quick understanding of what your website is all about. The smaller the website and the more niche it is, the less important this becomes. However, we’re still going to go over proper silo-ing.
The silo set up
The smaller the business, the smaller the silo--which is good for you! First, you’re going to make categories out of your core products or services. Then, you want to make subcategories with your supplemental services and other related topics. You should have at least 5 posts for every category or sub-category, so make it count.
Example:
Smaller Site example:
Category: /Interior-painting/
Blog Post: /kitchen-painting-guide/
Link: website.com/interior-painting/kitchen-painting-guide/
Bigger Site example:
Category: /Residential-painting/
Subcategory: /Interio
Blog Post: /kitchen-painting-guide/
link: website.com/residential-painting/interiokitchen-painting-guide/
Don’t do this:
Category: /guides/
Sub-category: /how-to/
Why shouldn’t I do that??
You don’t want to use words that are too broad and aren’t immediately relevant to your main category topics. Having the main category as a random, not immediately relevant, the keyword will throw Google for a curveball and tank your rankings. Basically any main category you make tells google that your website is about that category. So if you have Interior painting and exterior painting categories, that tells Google that you have a local painting business. If your main category is "guides", then that tells Google that your website is about guides. But which guides? How to make margaritas? How to make guides?
It's better if you have the main category as /painting/ then have /guides/ as a subcategory, but it's even better to use a word that's more relevant to the topic such as interior painting or exterior painting.
If you’re an affiliate website, then you would turn a page into a category page and add it to your head navigation. For example: /monitors/gaming/best-gaming-monitors-review
Physical silo
When you separate words into folders /like/this/ it's called a physical silo. It's not enough to just tag your posts with categories. You need to put them into folders by going in and adding the categories into the perma-link.
Internal linking:
-Link categories to subcategories
-Link subcategories to individual blog posts.
-Link where applicable.
Keyword in Title:
Not applicable.
Keyword in link:
Not applicable.
Yoast:
You’ll want to get the Yoast SEO for everything else I’m about to tell you to do.
Keyword in SEO title:
This is what appears on Google when someone searches for a keyword and sees your page in the results. Can’t think of a good SEO title? “Blog | {Company name}”
Keyword in Meta Description:
This is the description that shows up in search results under your SEO title. Keep the keyword to the left as possible. Can’t think of a good description? “Looking for helpful guides? We have everything you need here to learn about {service}.”

Link building

Content isn’t king, link building is.
Backlinks have the single biggest effect on your SEO ranking. 99% of technical SEO I just spelled out for you. Backlink building is just as simple and will create 80% of your results in SEO.
This is what appears on Google when someone searches for a keyword and sees your page in the results. Can’t think of a good SEO title? “Looking for a X in Y?
Download SEO Edge to keep track of your rankings in real time. This app will do a literal google search for your keywords and let you know exactly where you stand.

Dispelling a few SEO myths right of the bat

SEO is full of myths. I think this is because people watch like 3 youtube videos and become experts in their fields. It really is that bad. The other reason for this is people who are actually pretty good at what they do--affiliate marketers/black hat SEOs. Black hatters are people who try to manipulate Google to try and rank with little to no effort. Google is always trying to get rid of them, so black hatters come up with all kinds of ridiculous rules that they think apply to SEO.
Speed optimization
It's seriously not as important as all these nerds make it seem. Divi theme is notoriously hated by SEOs because it's slow. Jokes on them, because websites built with Divi still out-rank them. One of the world's biggest advertising agencies, Strawberry Frog, uses it--as well as many other large companies. Just cache your page with WP Rocket and optimize images with Imagify.
That's literally like 99% of speed optimization. The other stuff doesn't do anything. Google only uses your 'time to first paint' as the only speed metric used in its algorithm. I've literally halved my speed and waited a couple of months of not touching NO INCREASE IN RANKING.
Natural/Diversity
The word ‘natural’ is one of the most overused terms in SEO. So is ‘diversity’. Google is a series of algorithms. It’s not some human closely looking for ‘natural’ links. It would need a really sophisticated algorithm to determine what is and isn’t natural. The hilarious thing is, what most SEO’s call ‘natural’ is a million miles from what naturally really is.
Anchor Text
For starters, diversity is not natural. Neither are exact anchors, LSI anchors and certainly not anchors like “click here”. Legitimate sites have an overwhelming number of brand anchors, followed by url, with a few lsi mixed in. When have you ever been reading a blog post, and you see a link to an external site as “click here”? Or “visit this”? “Click here” is a CTA on sales pages. Not an anchor for external pages.
The only time you’ll see diversity, is where there’s been SEOs at work.
Natural Link Profile
The next thing is, there is NO such thing as “a natural link profile”. What’s natural for a news site, is not natural for a local plumbing business, or a forum, or a blog. So saying you need comments, and nofollow this and that to diversify and look natural is gross over-thinking.
Every type of site is different. Natural links for blogs will include comments. Although these aren’t “natural”, as such, they’re “natural” in that the blog owner isn’t trying to get backlinks by commenting, but rather build their brand.
Basically, there is no overall “natural” link profile. The closest thing you’ll find to natural is that most big sites have 50 to 90% brand/url anchors. Usually brand is the dominant one, but sometimes url.
Google would have to build some sort of topic/site based link profile heuristics and try to determine what’s natural for say “blogs about insurance”, and “forums about insurance”, then “insurance companies”. Then the problem is how does it get the seed lists for all those categories? What if it starts with seeds that had SEOs working on them?
Any SEOs want to argue with me? Argue with Ahrefs instead.
How Google REALLY Works
People grossly over-complicate SEO and what Google is capable of. In a small test environment some interesting things can be achieved, but to roll out such sophisticated algorithms worldwide on their index would be chaos. Look at how much trouble they had with penguin and panda. It’s taken them years to improve, and panda/penguin aren’t that complex.
Google only looks for simple triggers. 1000 new backlinks a day on a fresh site? 80% exact anchors? Penalized.. Extreme cases of things.
The SEO industry is full of hogwash. While the SEOs who spread this ideology have no hidden agendas, they’ve been brainwashed by the industry into thinking all this crap needs to be done. It doesn’t. It’s all crap.

What DOES Work (the only backlinks you need)

Want to know what works? Contextual do-follow backlinks from relevant, powerful pages. You could build 100’s of links, all contextual do-follow, 100% do-follow, no comments, no social, no directory, no article marketing, none of that shit. You’ll rank.
As for anchors. Exact match keywords aren’t needed. Why? Contextual backlinks. Context. Google knows what the page is about. Want to rank for “best hamster wheels”? Do a brand link from an article entitled “Best Hamster Wheels”. I’ve tested this. I’ve seen jumps from page 9 to page 3 from 1 brand link from an expired site. Which keyword went up the most? The one in the title of the article with the brand link.
Want to rank on google? Just create contextual do-follow brand links from articles targeted to the keywords you want to rank for.
The other thing you’ll need as a small business are local listings/citations. You can get these from websites like bright local or Yext.
The truth is. If everyone knew this then all the SEO sellers providing big complicated services with a billion tiers and supreme ultimate diversification would go out of business.
Ranking is simple, but it’s not easy.
These are all Google drive links:
List of US business listings
List of niche business listings
Citations workbook
Google Stack template
2,000+ guest post opportunities
800 SEO terms all mapped out
Content Pillatopic cluster template for more advance SEOs
Reddit posts:
My Reddit post on finding guest posts
Shameless Plug: I recently started a Google ads/Facebook ads agency working with small to mid-size businesses. Prices are very cheap and negotiable at the moment. I will also do some industries free. Just send me a PM.
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Affiliates Law and Legal Definition. Affiliates fall into two categories. For corporate law and taxes, when a company is under the same umbrella as another company, whether as a member or subordinate, that company is deemed an affiliate. Two companies may fall under one umbrella if an affiliate is less than 50 percent owned by the parent company. Affiliate marketing is the practice of promoting the products or services of another person or company in exchange for a commission on the resulting sale. Affiliate marketers join affiliate programs, find reputable affiliate products to promote, and then share those products with their audiences. 2.1 Per Affiliate Agreements the Company agrees to provide the pertinent information to set up banners, links, logos and other company information on the Referral Partner’s website. 2.2 The Company has the right to cancel this agreement if the Company name, logo, or other Company material is displayed in an unacceptable manner. Application for waiver by foreign company: Nil: PDF: Word: 115: 576: Annual Return of Foreign Company: Form 80A: PDF: Word: 116: 578(1) Notice by Foreign Company of Cessation of Business: Form 90: PDF: Word (updated as at 13/12/2017) 117: 578(3) Notice by Agent of Foreign Company of Liquidator or Dissolution of Company: Form 91: PDF: Word: 118 regulators are not familiar with the legal consequences of opera ting affiliate company. So to curb problems presented to interests allied with affiliate company organizational structure such as creditors; judicial actions under the existing legal framework and legislative reform of the subject under consideration is recommended.

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