Friday, July 24, 2015

Alert: Bunnings Giftcard/OralB Testpanel - You have received a giftcard/Wanted: Oral B Tests

This morning I received a number of Bunnings GiftCard and OralB Testpanel emails. The emails were sent to email addresses harvested from the internet, some of which aren't visible but embedded in code.

The emails are certainly scams and you should delete them.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Alert: Google Adwords: Ads soon stopping - Money almost depleted.

I received this message this morning and thought is this a scam, or is it a legitimate message.

Here's the situation. I haven't used Google Adwords for advertising since 2013. All the campaigns were paused. The only advertising I did was as part of my testing and I didn't find Google Adwords worked for me. I spent more than the work I received. All campaigns were paused.

This morning I received this message and when I went into Google Adwords, there was a campaign that was running. I paused the campaign and again made sure all campaigns were paused.

I then checked my statement and I can see there's been no activity since the period 1/8/2013-31/8/2013 and there was closing balance of $0.00 Yet today there's activity.

This really doesn't make sense and is a concern. I'm always concerned there's a possibility of an error on Google's part and charges could be incurred. I've now deleted all campaigns and removed the expired credit card details. I still prefer to have access to the tools in Google Adwords as I find them useful, but if I find an issue, it will probably be best to delete the account. The real concern is I've seen others rack up quite substantial bills unexpectedly in other online services. That makes me wary of any online service where you provide a mechanism for them to receive payment.

If you get messages from Google Adwords you should check your account and make sure everything is as you expect it to be.

Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, July 13, 2015

As a small business, can you handle the comments you'll receive from the public on online forums?

The internet provides many open online forums and over time, the forums I've participated in and the sites where comments are enabled, I've noticed one thing. The comments can become quite vitriolic much more frequently than I see in our normal interactions in society. Just visit any media site and start reading the comments. The comments will generally start out fine but before long they will often become quite vitriolic.

In 2003-2006 in the open source forums I participated in, I noticed it was only a matter of time before people would leave as they end up being attacked by another. It just seems to be the way of open forums online.

The problem is as businesses we're now encouraged to be very public on social media and that creates an exposure that most of us may find hard to handle. Recently I decided to disable comments across all my public sites. Most comments are spam, the next group tend to be negative people having a go at you, and rarely, there's valuable feedback that can help others.

I found the following on the The Registrar site and thought it was worth sharing. In particular the final comment, "That's why you never read the comments, Ellen. Take it from us.".

As a business it is important to know whether or not you can handle the vitriol you'll receive from the general public on public online forums. Most people are decent, but there are a few who seem far more active on open forums that are quite vitriolic and can impact you or your business quite a bit. You need to think carefully whether or not such activity will benefit or harm your business.

I know one group I participate in, since there's such a large number of vocal vitriolic people, it actually makes me feel like the whole group consists of such people and I'd be hesitant to use any of the services from the group. One section of the group tarnishes the whole group. So even if you're a decent person, being part of such groups can affect your reputation and ability to gain business.

When participating in public online forums make sure you know the benefits and the costs to your business from your participation.

Kelvin Eldridge

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Alert: Referral spam sites,,,,

On the 22nd of June I wrote a post about the referral spam sites I was seeing in the stats. Referral spam is when you look at your stats and notice traffic coming from sites but there's really not actual visitor traffic coming from the sites. The sites have specifically targeted your site so you see their site and visit them. Being curious many people will check out the site they're seeing in their stats. They're using the stats to advertise their sites.

The sites in my stats today showing some traffic are:,,,,

If you see sites in your stats you're not sure of, keep in mind they may simply be spamming you. If sites are spamming you then I always suggest not using their services. Do you really want to give business to businesses using less honourable techniques to promote their businesses?

Sometimes curiosity will get to you. Not much you can do about that. Just be aware of why they are appearing in your stats.

Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Alasdair Wilkins lost 45 kg in weight by walking.

The headline to a story I read was "How Alasdair Wilkins lost 45kg just by walking".

The problem with this type of article is it is very misleading to people and then people wonder why they can't lose weight.

Here's the problem. This article emphasises walking only and quotes "Basically, I just went to the gym and I walked. On a treadmill, uphill, at a brisk pace, for about an hour every day — and I do mean every day". It is only down further in the article there's a one line sentence "Alasdair wrote that he didn’t adjust his diet — just ate smaller portions." He didn't adjust his diet. Yes he did. He dieted as well. That is what eating smaller portions is.

Let's look at the maths behind what Alasdair Wilkins did. Alasdair initially weighed 285 pounds (129.5 kg). He walked for one hour per day for a year. That's 365 hours or 21,900 minutes. The Energy Exercise Calculator ( enables us to calculate how much energy we use for particular exercises given a weight and the time taken. However since Alasdair's weight changes over time so does the energy used. To help us estimate we'll use his average weight for the period which is 129.5 kg less half of 45 kg giving us 107 kg. We now enter 107 kg, a time of 21,900 minutes, select fast walking (7 km/h) and that gives us energy usage of  768.895 kJ. If we divide this by 33,000 (the energy equivalent of 1 kg of fat) we get an expected weight loss of around 23 kg.

That's roughly half the weight that Alasdair lost. How was the remaining weight lost? It was those smaller portions. Half of the weight loss was from exercise and half from dieting, even though Alasdair didn't think he was dieting.

If Alasdair had simply continued to eat at his usual level, which was more than his body needed, there's a good chance he may not have lost any weight at all. Only when his energy intake comes below what his body requires would we expect to see a reduction in weight. At roughly 2,000 kJs per day for fast walking, it is very easy to counter the exercise with food or drinks.

Alasdair's story is a great story and I think it is inspiring. It shows if you increase your exercise and reduce your energy intake you can achieve a massive result. Keep in mind Alasdair did this seven days a week. You can't expect the same result doing it just 2 or 3 days a week.

I've tested losing weight by dieting alone (this worked very well), exercise alone (this didn't work), so my next test will be to diet and exercise using an approach similar to Alasdair's by doing one hour of walking per day, along with a 2,000 kJ reduction in energy intake. I'll share the results on my site I provide links to all my weight-loss calculators on that page as well as on JustLocal.

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Alert: Incoming Fax. Incoming Fax Report and Internal Only

This morning I've received four emails with various email accounts with the subject "Incoming Fax". All have a zipped attachment, but the service I use to scan the attachments (which tests using up to 55 of the commonly used anti-virus programs),  shows none of the anti-virus programs most people use will detect any malware.

The body of the email contains something like the following.


Date/Time: Mon, 6 Jul 2015 14:01:59 -0800
Speed: 4945bps
Connection time: 06:07
Pages: 4
Resolution: Normal
Remote ID: 868-776-6359
Line number: 7
Description: Internal only

To download / view please download attached file


These emails and their attachments are very suspicious and if they do contain malware, at this point people are generally not protected. You should delete them immediately.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Update: This post has a published on time of 8:53 am. It's now 11:36 am and I've rechecked. Seven out of 55 anti-virus programs now identify the attachment as malware. The only popular anti-virus program to identify the malware now is McAfee. This isn't an endorsement of McAfee as the next malware may have a different order of the anti-virus software being updated. What is important to realise is we're now well into the normal morning for a typical office and the majority of users will not be protected. Their only defence is common sense. Do take care with emails. 

Monday, July 06, 2015

Catch Up Coffee has again moved out under its own domain (and now back to Mapz)

A while ago I created the Catch Up Coffee site to make it easier for myself and others to meet to catch up for a coffee, network and discuss business.

Over the years I'd found attending informal networking meetings like those run in conjunction with councils had no result. I even decided to join BNI as I thought a professional group may produce better results. Whilst I gave a lot of business to others, and received a lesser amount in return, after 8 months I'd made just $300 above costs and put in at least 5 hours a week. I've tried others networking groups in between, but really the cost at around $20-$25 each time adds up and gives very little return.

Now all us smaller businesses are in the same boat and we don't want to be wasting thousands of dollars a year networking. In addition going to networking groups that are all over Melbourne often means the likelihood of staying connect is quite remote.

Catch Up Coffee on the other hand is an approach where anyone can organise a group of local business people and the only cost need be a coffee. I like this approach and I find others like the approach as well. Now as to whether it generates any more business or not, the jury is still out on that one, but at least it's reduced the cost of connecting with others. I do know others who have attended the Catch Up Coffees I've organised have made connections and I've even referred a few people to those who attended.

A little while ago I decided to move Catch Up Coffee under the Mapz site. Google appears to give no value to domains that are redirected, so having the domain redirected is really a waste. I decided rather than let the domain go to waste that it would be better to use the domain and move the content out from under Mapz. In the end if really made no difference so I've decided to let the domain go and return to having the site under Mapz at

As I attend cafes, if I find there's some reason the venue isn't suitable  for a network meeting, then I remove the cafe from the map. For example one I removed because it was far too noisy, another because it was too cramped, very difficult to find, and the parking might have been an issue. As I check out additional cafes in the list, or find other suitable cafes, I'll adjust the list.

I suggest to others don't wait for me to organise a Catch Up Coffee in your area. Just grab a contact you'd like to catch up with and then invite others. At worst you still get to catch up with one person, but equally, you may find others who would also like to connect.

Kelvin Eldridge
Helping local businesses to connect.

Prices can vary quite a lot for a simply petrol siphon.

I purchased the following siphon the other day to drain some liquid from a fish tank. The irony is I wanted to buy it from Supercheap Auto previous Friday, but arrived one minute to 8pm after being at the shopping centre. Never thought they'd have different hours so decided to wait another day.

The price at Supercheap Auto was $6.99

I decided to check the internet over the weekend and found the same item at BCF for $4.99. When I was on the road I was near a BCF so dropped in. Next door was an Autobarn so decided to check the price there and found the price was $9.96. This isn't a plug for BCF as one of the items I'd noticed in Autobarn for $3.99 was $7.99 in BCF. But it does show quite a price variance from $4.99 to $9.96.

This really is also a reminder that just because a business has cheap in their name, doesn't make it so. You really do need to shop around. Although at the same time do keep in mind driving around costs money too and researching on the internet takes time. I was once at the local Bunnings store and they'd run out of the length of curtain wire I wanted and only had the more expensive longer length. I was about to go to the another Bunnings store but first decided to do a quick check of the fuel cost using my web app the Petrol Cost Calculator ( I quickly realised the cost of petrol alone (let alone the wear and tear on the car) would have exceeded the extra cost of buying the longer length curtain wire, so I went back into the store and made the purchase. I found this was a very useful and enlightening lesson.

You really do have to shop around to make sure you're getting a good price, but you also need to keep in mind travel and time costs if you make a specific trip. I built JustLocal to make it easier for people to shop locally, but also with the belief that people shouldn't have to pay more to support local. Sometimes however it's important to not just look at the straight out price, but also consider any other costs you may incur from shopping around.

As a side note I found this particular siphon wasn't very good. The secondary tube is not much longer than the main tube and I believe this resulted in the siphon not working as it should. Quite frustrating really.

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Alert: Spam from Gerry Pencer, Priya and

We all receive spam every day.

This one from Gerry Pencer.

Hi Team,

 Hope you are doing well.

We went through your website and got to know few key points, which needs your attention on priority to transform your SEO efforts.

From Pencer Priya.


Hope this email finds you well.

I am Priya Ray, SEO-Consultant.

I went through your website “”checked it for a few keywords on Google. Unfortunately, it was not ranking on any of those. It was not ranking on any of the search engines as per the keywords pertaining to your domain.

From .

Good morning,

I’m , a professional writer and best-selling author.

I am a regular Huffington Post contributor with one of my blogs generating 8.2k Facebook Likes and over 5k re-tweets on Twitter. I’ve also been published in The Age, The Business Woman Media, Rare Birds, Women in Focus, Blog Society and so on.

What I found particularly interesting pattern is how each of these used Hotmail or Gmail accounts to send their spam. You would think if they're promoting a business they'd use a business email address.

The best thing you can do with spam is hit the delete key. If a business is using spam to promote themselves that's not a business I'd want to to deal with. If you want to go the extra step report the spam to the email service provider. You'll find information on reporting spam on their sites.

Kelvin Eldridge

Google to reduce the amount of accidental clicks on ads.

When using the mobile phone I've clicked on a lot of ads over time. The problem is I've never once wanted to click on the ads on my mobile device. Perhaps you've done it too.

The problem for me it's an annoyance in terms of user experience, but the bigger problem I think is for the advertiser. Clicking on ads can cost them real money and if sites are placing ads where they're more easily accidentally clicked for the site to generate income, the ads probably aren't going to convert for the advertiser. If this article is correct, then up to 50% of ads are being clicked on accidentally and that's a huge cost to businesses for no return.

I do place ads on my pages for revenue generation, but only text ads which means the links need to be clicked meaning it is more difficult to accidentally click on an ad. Image based ads however mean you can click anywhere in the ad and that makes it much easier to click on an ad accidentally.

When visiting sites such as news sites I often see those ads that that pop up on the mobile taking up the full screen. Quite often I click on the small X in the corner to find I'm now thrown across to a page advertising something I never wanted to visit, which of course means quickly closing the page.

For businesses this is one more thing to think about when buying online ad space. So far I've not found paying for clicks to be worthwhile, but the mileage for others may be vary. I do place ads on my pages for revenue generation, but only text ads, which means the links need to be clicked making it more difficult to accidentally click on an ad. Image based ads however mean you can click anywhere in the ad making to accidentally click.

Kelvin Eldridge
Single click access to local businesses.