The Pros and Cons of eBay

As effective as eBay is, it has its pro’s and con’s. In today’s world, people find e-commerce extremely helpful. With busy schedules and tons of work to accomplish in less than 24hrs, almost everyone prefers buying online. Hence eBay is extremely popular with the masses. Just the fact that one can buy stuff without moving a muscle is exhilarating. eBay is the most renowned online buying sites.

Like any other site or online buying site, eBay has its own advantages and disadvantages. One has should keep this in mind while ordering online.

Let us begin with the advantages:

It is nothing but a simple process and is extremely easy. Your shopping spree is always only a few clicks away.

eBay offers you a large variety of products to choose from.

eBay is fun and very entertaining. You have the most unusual items to choose from. The graphics are neat and extremely colorful. The weird listings and the quirky listings, you will find are quite entertaining as well. If you are interested in any sort of unusual product you can normally find it here.

eBay educates on the prices of various products in the market at the current time. You can learn the price of any product at any given time online. eBay lets you know what people are willing to pay for a given product in real time.

Surprisingly enough, eBay most often than not refunds their customers, should anything go wrong with the product. Most of the sellers have return policy’s that they follow. Be sure to check out the seller’s feedback to determine if they do what they say they are going to do in their listing.

Now let us look at reasons why eBay is not a very good option:

You cannot be sure of the quality of the product you are buying. Almost all sellers will claim that their product is in excellent condition, on delivery you will find that your product is not exactly in good condition; scratches cannot often be seen in pictures.

When you buy a product online, it is usually mailed to you. You cannot be guaranteed that the product will not get damaged when mailed. Very often, the delivery is extremely expensive and you spend a whole lot of money on it. Especially if you are in a different country from the buyer, you will need to pay international charges that are just all too expensive. Be sure to get the item insured by the seller when ever possible.

Buying online steals you of the time at the mall and the cups of coffee with your friends. Though buying on eBay is not time consuming, it isn’t as much fun as your time at the mall. Somehow at the mall, you bump into friends, get to see and touch the products you want and just enjoy an evening out, whereas you can’t do the same with eBay.

On the net, you can never be too careful of frauds. You almost have no idea what to expect. It calls for you to trust a perfect stranger. Always check the sellers feedback and ask questions to ensure that your sales transaction is fair for both parties.

When selling products for a profit on eBay it can be very difficult to find products that you can profit with unless you use a membership based company to find wholesale products like The North American Wholesale Co-op Association (nawca.org).

You will find that you get hooked onto it. Soon enough, you will be buying almost everything online.


Cleaning Business Profits, Earnings and Salaries – How Much Money Can You Make?

The cleaning business, while not the most glamorous of industries is neverless a fast growing multi-billion dollar business in the US and offers entrepreneurs unique opportunities to profit and earn a 'six figure' annual salary.

Let's examine the cleaning industry and look at how much money it is possible to earn and what it takes to get to the 'six figure' level.

How much Money can you make Cleaning?

Most small cleaning business owners who work at it full-time as sole operators in their first year are able to earn between $ 20,000 and $ 30,000. Once they are able to take on employee, build up some local reputation and get good systems in place then a $ 100,000 annual income is not unrealistic and much more is possible for those who put in the effort.

What separates the 'Six Figure' Operators from the Rest?

Here are ten factors to consider that typically separate the high income earners from the rest –

1) Different cleaning niche markets offer different opportunities. In some cities and states in can be easier to make it in the office cleaning sector and in other areas the carpet cleaning sector is more lucrative. It all depends on local demand and how many companies are catering to that demand.

2) Start building your brand right from the start and view it as your company's most valuable asset.

3) Develop and refine systems that make sure that your business runs smoothly. Constantly look into ways of increasing the productivity of your cleaning crews.

4) Realize the importance of having a great sales system. Focus your efforts on converting an increasing number of leads into customers.

5) Up-sell your clients with services related to cleaning, premium services or more frequent service.

6) To scale up to the 'six figure' level you must learn how to hire, train and organize teams of workers to do the cleaning while you focus on running the business.

7) Learn how to run successful advertising campaigns and learn about modern marketing methods such as networking, cross promotions with related businesses and 'word of mouth' marketing.

8) Value your customers. Treat them as individuals and frequently remind them how much you appreciate their business. Satisfied customers can lead to referrals, and acquiring customers through this method is free.

9) Have the right attitude. People sometimes stereotype cleaners in a negative way. There is nothing wrong with being a cleaner for a living but you should view yourself as a businessman or woman first and foremost.

10) Research and learn continuously. Educating yourself about the cleaning business and business management in general does not stop once you set up your company.

Could you start a successful cleaning business and earn over $ 100,000 a year?


SEO Services

Professional SEO services can lift your site above your competitors. According to SEO experts, they help business owners deliver their sites to top rank search engines. They ensure that the site has a unique setting that attracts Internet users. Search engine optimization experts apply the newest analytics service, which has a positive impact on a website. SEO companies are facing great competition in the SEO field. However, they introduce guaranteed SEO services to cope with the competition.

These SEO companies have a strategy requiring clients to pay the major search engines (including Google and Yahoo) for monthly website maintenance. However, the company has guaranteed SEO services, where clients do not pay maintenance for that month.

Google has remained top, since they have accurate methods and algorithms that deliver credible results to the searchers. However, Google has made it difficult for web developers to use optimization tricks in manipulating search engines. This is why SEO companies have the guaranteed SEO money refund.

SEO companies ensure that guaranteed SEO services include the Google’s webmaster guidelines. Webmaster guidelines boost website rank and search activity. The services clients get from SEO experts are like marathons. However, clients should be aware that SEO tricks can have a great impact on a website and damage it-which is why they have to use the legitimate SEO strategies in order to receive impressive results.

Although one may read a lot about the search engine ranking, no search engine optimization company can ensure that his or her site will get the first page in Google or Yahoo search engine results. Despite this, SEO companies have guaranteed SEO services and it is great when one signs with Google. The fact remains that SEO services assure clients that even if the site will not rank among the top search engines, the money will not be a waste because of the refund.

Many webmasters are confused when hiring a search engine optimization SEO expert. Although SEO experts are believed to save time and improve webmaster sites through SEO strategies, they can also frustrate webmasters. Thus, webmasters must investigate the pros and cons of SEO services. The major tasks of the SEO experts are:

– Ensure that the site is well reviewed in the content or structure

– Provide Search engine optimization SEO advice on website development like use of JavaScript and web hosting

– Develop website content using SEO services

– Provide online business improvement campaigns

– Target keyword research

– Offer SEO training

However, the webmasters can grasp search engine optimization SEO through websites. They will understand the benefits of hiring an SEO expert and what to expect from one.

It is clear that when webmasters hire a search engine optimization SEO expert, they stand a better chance of maximizing their SEO services. When they want to start a new site it is good to look for web developers who have web design talent. The web developer will ensure that a webmaster’s site reaches the top search engine ranking like Google or Yahoo. The web developer also assists in improving an existing site.

However, webmasters have to ask several questions about search engine optimization SEO including:

1. Do they have previous examples and testimonies from past clients?

2. Do they follow the guidelines from the Google webmaster?

3. Do they implement the SEO Internet marketing services to improve online business?

4. Do they have experience in the webmaster’s industry?

5. Do they have knowledge of the webmaster’s country/city?

6. Do they have experience in developing sites for international companies?

7. What are the best SEO techniques to implement on the webmaster’s site?

8. How long has the SEO expert been in web design?

9. Does the SEO expert have good communication skills when making changes on the client’s site?

Although the SEO experts provide great SEO services to their clients, there are a few who ruin the web design industry through their greed in marketing efforts and manipulate search engine rank. If search engine optimization SEO does not involve ethical practices, the site may have low visibility on Google or even be removed from the Google index.

SEO and social media marketing ensure that one’s site has the best SEO Internet marketing, which means that their company can remain competitive in the online market. All the individual has to do is transition in their online business.

SEO Internet marketing has major components, which develop the website traffic, and top search engine rankings. However, webmasters should be aware that these components are not easy to get. They must apply formulas and SEO strategies to produce effective results. There are many websites providing pertinent information about SEO and online marketing, and you can learn from them.

If one’s business does not have SEO Internet marketing strategies, he or she will need help from SEO experts. They will have to find SEO expert websites, who will help the business owner’s site have many customers in online marketing. The obligation of SEO experts is to create exposure to businesses. They focus on SEO Internet marketing goals and provide top search engine rank like Google and Yahoo. However, to accomplish all this, web developers use SEO custom services, which have long-lasting SEO Google rank.

SEO companies ensure that your site has all the SEO Internet marketing such as business improvement, localized product sales, high quality online generation and the rest. Webmasters are guaranteed to remain competitive in the online business if they stick with SEO experts. They will have all they need to ensure business success.

Business owners who do have a business website lose massive amounts of money from online marketing. They should know that SEO Internet marketing mandates a business website, since it is a necessary online marketing tool. A website or blog is same as news ads, letterheads, or the yellow pages. However, the website must be user-friendly and just as advertisement is important, the SEO website is the same.

It is true that 44% of small businesses do not have a website or blog. They are unable to reach 73% of Internet users each day. If your company has a website, customers can research the latest products the business owner’s company offers. SEO Internet marketing can help any company through their site to sell products. All businesses should have their own website, including companies using websites provided by insurance.


What Are 1-877 Numbers?

Want to know more about 877 numbers? The biggest misconception about 1-877 numbers is that if you call the same number with 1-800, you will get the same company. However this is not the case at all. Toll free numbers with different area codes are for totally separate businesses.

What is so confusing sometimes is when various companies choose the same vanity number, but with different prefixes including 866, 877, 800 or 888. You may call an attorney in your city, but if you dial the wrong prefix, you can get a totally different person across the country.

Like their 800 cousins, 877 numbers are completely free for the customer to dial. Along with that they provide many benefits to the end user, like ease of use, affordability and sense of professionalism.

Let's back up a bit to find out more on these friendly digits. Toll free numbers actually date back as early as the 1960s, but their purpose was wide different than today's. The toll free number was initially created as a way to cut back on using phone operators. The process was also created to offer customers more options rather than collect calling.

Along with that, they were normally controlled by the major phone companies. It was not until the 1990s that the FCC helped consumers have more leverage in this area and keep them 800 numbers even if they changed phone services.

Later, 800 numbers associated with vanity phrases became widely popular. This newfound recognition fostered the need for more 800 prefixes. That's when additional area codes like 877 (circa 1998) came on the scene.

As businesses and the global economy grew, the need for more area codes was never as urgent. What's more, longer vanity characters were in demand too. The newer toll free prefixes such as 866 and 877 became highlyought for their wide-ranging and longer vanity selections.

Some of the digits in the area codes can be swapped for alphabetical letters, while standard 800 numbers can not. For example, with an 877 or 866 area code you can have the vanity number 1-US-RENOVATIONS.

Vanity numbers even with the 1-877 toll free prefix appeal to marketers. First of all, they offer more vanity options, which become etched in consumers' minds more so than numeric value phone numbers. Plus, like any toll free number, they are easier to call, have branding benefits, and can increase response rates.

A toll free number with an 877 area code is yours forever. Even if you move, you can still keep the same exact number. The same holds true for the other prefixes too. In the old days, a business that moved commonly lost customers.

Even today, communicating your new information proves challenging. You can send out as many "we moved" reminders or emails and still get missed calls. E-mail can get snatched by spam filters and anything that even resembles "junk mail" in your regular mailbox usually gets tossed. So classically, people have viewed 800 numbers as an asset.

All in all, today an 877 number is like any other toll free line, but you can get more vanity choices.


Benefits of Bing and Yahoo Pay Per Click

With today’s very competitive online marketing, it is important that a business creates a strong marketing effort to build qualified traffic to their website. Pay per click marketing is one great way of advertising on the Internet. It can bring a steady flow of traffic that can result to potential leads and new sales. Over the years, it has been proven profitable, especially if the business is targeting a segment of audience. Adding Bing and Yahoo to your Google pay per click marketing is worth considering.

Pay per click campaign is based on keyword selection specifically designed to revolve around search terms that are relevant for the site. They are normally the ads that show up at the top and right corner of a search page. Generally, search engines do not charge when displaying these ads, but when a visitor clicks on the ad or the link which lands back to the business’ site, only then, is the advertiser charged.

All throughout the pay per click marketing world, Google is leading all other search engines with their 67% market share. However, what most advertisers do not realize is that with the growing amount of traffic on Google, also comes a number of competitors, still making it hard to hit on search result targets.

So, what is the alternative? Over the last couple of years, Bing and Yahoo pay per click have emerged as Google’s number one competitor. Although, Yahoo’s market share only comes up to 11.6% and Bing’s to 16.7%. When combined, they total of over 30% and this can still make a dent with Google’s share. And for any advertisers who overlooks these numbers could be ignoring a large population of potential customers.

Other advantages of Bing and Yahoo pay per click, include:

  • Pay per click with Bing and Yahoo does not cost as much as with Google. – Many advertisers say that taking Google as their host for paid search is a complete campaign suicide, mainly because of their high costs. Relevant keywords being bid with Bing and Yahoo do not cost as much as $2 to $5 per click as with Google. For instance, one of the most expensive keywords in Google includes “insurance,” “loans,” “mortgage,” “trading,” which usually ranges from $30 to $50 per click. So, if you run a business about loans and need to bid on “house loans” keyword, a business can pay as much as $3500 a month for that particular keyword alone with Google. However, Bing and Yahoo give much more reasonable prices. They have the lowest cost per click, even with the most expensive keywords in AdWords that normally ranges from $0.10 to $2, but still lands in the first pages. More so, they offer long-tail keywords of four or more words, but still at a very reasonable price bid.
  • Bing and Yahoo have demographic advantages. – Although recently, Bing removed their feature to target ads by gender and age as they say they improve it to become more accurate. Bing and Yahoo still have a statistical advantage because 58% of their users are women, and their audiences are from an age group of 35-45 and 55-64, which are definite age groups that can afford to buy as much in the Internet. Furthermore, this is probably because Bing is owned by Microsoft, and they normally put default web browsers that come with the computer a user has bought, not unless of course, if they are tech savvy and knows how to change web search engines in their computers.
  • Bing and Yahoo allow their users to import campaigns from Google – most advertisers admit that they are always having a hard time running separate campaigns in Google, and with Bing and Yahoo as they do their best to update each. Now, AdCenter with Bing and Yahoo allows users to import their campaign from AdWords with Google, without even exporting a single file. This is perfect for advertisers who do not want to spend time editing, exporting, and re-uploading spreadsheets from one account to another.
  • Bing and Yahoo pay per click does not run on Internet Explorer alone – Recently, many adCenter users of Bing and Yahoo requested to expand their service outside Internet Explorer. Now, pay per click may also be run through Mac and Chrome users, including all other web browsers.
  • Bing and Yahoo for mobile – paid search through Bing and Yahoo is made easy as they launched Bing on mobile devices through WAP or GPRS connections. Not only will users enjoy “Find My Location,” applications, as well as driving directions and maps, but they will also be able to search for new information through their smart phones, and this means that pay per click campaigns will reach a much wider audience.
  • Bing and Yahoo have representatives to talk to for free, 24/7. – Microsoft has dedicated customer representatives who are specifically assigned to help Bing and Yahoo AdCenter users, even those that are starting with their Bing and Yahoo ads. They have a range of topics that they can help with, from starting up, to billing, managing campaigns, editorial questions, and campaign reports. In fact, they are even open to suggestions and comments, which is the main reason why Microsoft brought about the freedom for users to use their Bing pay per click campaign on other web browsers. More so, these representatives are always active in social media, so it could be easy to reach them in Twitter or Facebook.
  • Cross-Platform Analytic Reports – With Bing and Yahoo’s adCenter report, it becomes easy for users to compare keyword performance for their pay per click campaign with other search engines, so that they can make the most of their budget.
  • Potentially Better Return of Investments – any pay per click campaign is useless if it does not get positive results. Numerous advertisers have vouched that adCenter pay per click campaigns through Bing and Yahoo drove more traffic than keywords run with AdWords of Google, which significantly gives a better return on investment.

Even with the 67% market share of Google, if combined with costly prices for their pay per click campaign, and with their other seemingly flaws, Bing and Yahoo still strike as a better alternative to Google, and as they make a dent to Google’s ad campaign, soon more and more advertisers will realize the benefits and power of what Bing and Yahoo can offer with the increase of their sales and rapid growth of their business.

Additional Resources


Rise In Online Delivery Amidst Heavy Rains

The January rains kept people indoors and the high street surprisingly lacklustre, though nothing stopped shopaholics from getting what they want.

The weather affects nobody anymore, especially their shopping habits, as people can shop anytime anywhere these days so long as they have their desktop computer, mobile phone, or other devices to hand.

And with a range of apps designed for mobile shopping, consumers can easily obtain their needs (and wants) with just a couple of clicks, without having to worry if the weather agrees to it.

A clear proof is the spike in delivery volumes for online orders since 2013 during the first month of the year. The total parcels delivered increased to 20.6% compared to the same period in the previous year, says IMRG MetaPack UK Delivery Index.

That only validates the value consumers get from online shops and their increasing trust in e-tailers.

Keeping trust and loyalty

IMRG’s data also revealed that the amount of parcels arriving on time increased to 90% in the month of January from 85% in December 2017. Still, it remains lower than 93% which was recorded in January 2017.

Aside from new orders, the report said product returns following strong sales during the holiday season contributed to the growth. To ensure their customers would retain confidence in them, online sellers delivered replacements of returned goods to the best of their ability and resources.

Andrew Starkey, head of e-logistics at IMRG, has this to say:

“Online sales revenue growth was also strong in January, up 13.9%, so it was a strong start to the year for online retail overall in spite of the ongoing economic uncertainty.”

To ensure they get the parcels delivered to their customers’ doorsteps on time, e-tailers used a wide range of strategies; some employed click and collect while others had their items fulfilled by Amazon’s FBA.

And as expected, they did not fail.

Gaining from in-store losses

It may be wrong to celebrate another’s suffering, but anyone involved in business has accepted the fact that one man’s failure could be another man’s success.

A lot of retailers lost a great deal in profits resulting from the low footfall and sales at bricks-and-mortar shops, but this translated into massive gains for online businesses.

Although the weather would be a convenient excuse that no one can argue with, recent studies have shown that eCommerce is growing faster than expected.

IMRG’s report only proves that online sellers have got off on the right foot this year and the eCommerce market remains buoyant, says Maria Dahlqvist Canton, global marketing director at MetaPack.

Considering that the beginning of the year is usually slow for eCommerce companies, it’s refreshing to hear encouraging reports like this.

Perhaps if they covered more ground or made their offerings available in more channels, the high street won’t have a hard time keeping up with their cyber counterparts.

So, how did you take advantage of the wet weather?


Uses and Advantages of Product Placement

Product placement marketing is becoming extremely popular today because it offers many advantages to all parties involved. Branded entertainment promotions have helped many companies to significantly improve their bottom line, especially when linked to movies with a high success rate. The information below will highlight some of the uses and advantages of product placement.

First, let take a look at exactly what is branded entertainment.

Branded entertainment, sometimes referred to as product placement marketing, is a strategy that is used to infuse branded products into various forms of entertainment. Basically, brands would offer monetary consideration to or pay for producers of films, television shows, web videos, video games and other forms of entertainment to include their products in entertainment presentations.

The emergence of movie product placement strategy has coincided with the diminishing interests in the traditional advertising mediums. Many companies discovered that consumers were not paying attention to traditional advertising media, so product placement was incorporated in their marketing strategy to reach a wider audience. Marketers reinvented their strategies and started to place advertisements in popular movies and television shows to capture consumer’s attention.

Uses and Advantages of Product Placement

When marketers started to use branded entertainment strategies, increasingly more companies were seen promoting their products in popular movies and television shows. These advertisements can be seen in popular films such as James Bond featuring Omega watches; Mission Impossible featuring Apple Macs; Men In Black promoting Ray Ban glasses and many popular television shows such as The Apprentice, Top Chef, Project Runaway and American Idol.

As of such, the branded entertainment strategy became a magic potion for marketers. Due to the major success of advertising in movies and TV shows, the marketers move on to the next level and started to use web videos, video games, music videos and other entertainment mediums.

Product placement marketing offers several advantages to manufacturers, producers and movie stars. From the perspective of the marketers, it provided companies with an opportunity to be associated with famous actors and to use movie footage and stills to conveniently advertise other products. As it pertains to the producers and actors, they earned substantial amount in fees as well as the chance to endorse brands in various film festivals.

Musicians also benefit from branded entertainment in their music videos and lyrics. Most artists use the earnings from these deals to offset the overall cost of producing their music videos.

The marketers are also using the Internet to incorporate product placements in songs that music fans would get from YouTube. In this case, the main advantage is that brands would develop higher retention rates in people’s minds whenever the artists perform at shows and concerts.

Overall, product placement and branded entertainment strategies have proven to be extremely effective as more consumers are linking certain products to the names of famous actors and singers. For this strategy to work, the brands must be featured prominently whilst making subtly appearance in movies, television shows, web videos or video games.


Massage Candles – Massage Practice Profits

Massage candles are just now starting to gain visibility in the marketplace. Still relatively unknown by many people, a massage therapy practice is the ideal place to introduce your clients to this new type of candle. And because massage oil candles typically have a generous mark-up potential, they can also provide a lucrative, incremental stream of revenue and profits to your practice.

Demonstrating massage candles and incorporating them into your massage therapy practice is the best way to get your customers excited, buying, and adding to your bottom line. Because of their ingredients, massage candles have a very low melting point, just slightly above body temperature.

Melting at just 101 – 102 degrees, massage candles are warm, not hot. However, unless someone has actually tried a massage candle, they tend to be skeptical of the candle's ability to burn cooler than a traditional candle and to deliver moisturizing benefits to the skin. Once a client has experienced the candle for themselves, they are far more likely to appreciate their use and the results they bring.

The ideal way to introduce massage candles to your clients is to use them as a massage oil alternative when actually giving a massage. When you use them in your own professional setting, massage oil candles immediately have credibility with your clients, adding to the likelihood that they will purchase them for personal use.

Another alternative is to simply have a massage candle available for demonstration at your reception desk. Offering each client a quick demonstration on the back of a hand can be an easy and effective way to demonstrate both how the product feels going on and how it absorbs within minutes, leaving skin silky and soft.

Need specific ideas to stimulate sales and increase practice profits? Here are several techniques for introducing and promoting massage candles to your clients.

– Offer clients a hand or foot massage using the massage candle instead of traditional massage oil. Some massage therapists offer this service at an up-charge to account for the retail selling price of the candle and then send the unused portion of the massage candle home with the client. Not only does this move a candle from your inventory, but it encourages personal use of the candle and increases the likelihood of a repeat sale.

– Use the massage candle during your massage session and then offer your client an incentive for buying a candle for personal use. Incentives may include a discount off the regular retail price if purchased today, or sometimes a "buy two / get one at half price" type of offer.

– Or, simply use the candle in your massage therapy session, promote its benefits, and let your enthusiasm for the product encourage purchase of a candle for personal use without an incentive attached.

– Finally, some therapists have had great success using a massage candle as an incentive to encourage the purchase of a higher dollar value gift certificate or multiple session package. For example, you may offer a massage candle as a gift when a gift certificate or massage package of $ 150 or more is purchased. This is an especially attractive offer to promote higher ticket certificates and massage packages during the holidays, for Valentine's Day, for Mother's Day, and similar occasions.

There are many ways to incorporate massage oil candles into your practice to help drive your revenue upward. Involve your staff and encourage them to suggest ideas to stimulate massage candle sales. Get excited, use your imagination, put ideas into action, and enjoy your new found profits!


Five Benefits of Good Corporate Image

“Bad publicity is still publicity.” Such statement is one of the most common yet dangerous cliches ever. Isn’t it better to be remembered because of good deeds rather than controversial scandals? The greatest heroes and leaders of histories are immortalized because of their significant contributions. On the other hands, those that have been a scourge to humanity are eternally condemned.

This principle also applies to companies or business organizations. More than anything else, corporate image or reputation is one thing that should be taken good care of. A tainted reputation can cripple even the most well-known establishments. Redeeming one’s image is far by more costly than losing a good deal. Once your reputation is ruined, your business is in high risks of crumbling into pieces. There are several reasons that justify the importance of corporate image or reputation.

A good corporate image or reputation is an efficient marketing and promotional tool – Consumers will always remember an outstanding service. Likewise, they never forgive and forget mediocre works as well. Clients spend their hard-earned money on products and services that they avail. If your company is known for good performances, you have a higher tendency of attracting more customers. The best part of it is that you don’t have to spend a considerable amount of time convincing them. Your previous clients will be your unofficial spokespersons. You don’t have to spend too much on employing the services of advertising agencies. In addition to that, it is a given fact that consumers prefer to patronize service providers which have already established their names in their respective industries.

Credibility and integrity comes with a good name – Don’t forget that your reputation is your identity . It articulates the culture of your organization. It is hard to be credible when nobody believes in you. Relatively, it is also difficult to prove integrity when your clients talk negatively about your company’s services. Instead of recommending and promoting your business, you soon find your customers spreading warnings and bad reviews.

Corporate image or reputation establishes trust, confidence, loyalty and superb client relationships – The most respectable names in the industry did not reach the zenith of success if they did not protect their reputation. It should be noted that achieving untainted corporate image is not just about avoiding scandals and controversies. It is more of meeting the expectations of their clients. In order to build a good image, excellence and perfection must be continuously observed. As for the client’s part, a good image provides a strong sense of security. They are assured that they would get good results once they use the services or products launched and offered by a reputable company.

Company image is instrumental in increasing your business opportunities – Corporate reputation is like a magnet. It does not only attract customers. It also catches the attention of interested investors and business partners. Who would dare to invest in a company known for management conflicts and workforce issues? Establishing a good image generates tons of possibilities for business growth and expansion.

A good image can stand the test of time – In this highly competitive market, consumers will always look for alternatives. However, a well-established reputation lessens the worries of switching to other service providers. Clients would continue to patronize your products even if it is more expensive. It is because they are aware that the company can efficiently deliver their needs and demands.

It has been always said that “first impressions last.” Make a memorable impression. Value your company’s reputation and its name will continue to resonate for the rest of time.


Digital Signatures and Suppress-Replay Attacks

Digital signatures are seen as the most important development in public-key cryptography. Sun Developer Network states, “A digital signature is a string of bits that is computed from some data (the data being “signed”) and the private key of an entity. The signature can be used to verify that the data came from the entity and was not modified in transit” (The Java Tutorial, n.d.). Digital signatures should have the properties of author verification, verification of the date and time of the signature, authenticate the contents at the time of the signature, as well as be verifiable by a third party in order to resolve disputes. Based on these properties, there are several requirements for a digital signature. The first of these requirements is that the signature must be a bit pattern that depends on the message being signed. The next requirement is declared in order to prevent forgery and denial. It states that the signature must use some information that is unique to the sender. The third requirement is that it must be fairly easy to generate the digital signature. Being relatively easy to recognize and verify the digital signature is another requirement. The fifth requirement states that it must be computationally infeasible to forge a digital signature, either by constructing a new message for an existing digital signature or by constructing a fraudulent digital signature for a given message. The last requirement is that it must be practical to store a copy of the digital signature. Many approaches for the implementation of digital signatures have been proposed, and they fall into the direct and arbitrated digital signature approaches (Stallings, 2003).

The direct digital signature involves only communication between the source and destination parties, and the arbitrated digital signature schemes include the use of an arbitrator. The direct digital signature is created by encrypting the entire message or a hash code of the message with the sender’s private key. Further confidentiality can be provided by encrypting the message in its entirety and adding signature using either the receiver’s public key or a secret key shared between the sender and receiver. One weakness in the direct signature scheme is that a sender can later deny having sent a message. Another weakness is the threat of a private key being stole and sending a message using the signature. Both weaknesses are the primary reason for the arbitrated digital signature scheme. In arbitrated scheme, a sender’s message must first go through an arbiter that runs a series of tests to check the origin and content before it is sent to the receiver. Because the arbiter plays such a crucial role, the sender and receiver must have a significant amount of trust in this arbitrator. This trust in the arbiter ensures the sender that no one can forge his signature and assures the receiver that the sender cannot disown his signature (Stallings, 2003).

The issue of replay attacks is a main concern when dealing with mutual authentication when both parties are confirming the other’s identity and exchanging session keys. The primary issues with mutual authentication lies in the key exchange: confidentiality and timelines. Timelines are susceptible to replay attacks that disrupt operations by presenting parties with messages that appear genuine but are not. One type of replay attack is suppress-reply attack that can occur in the Denning protocol. The Denning protocol uses a timestamps to increase security. The issue here revolves around the reliance on clocks that are synchronized throughout the network. It is stated, “…that the distributed clocks can become unsynchronized as a result of sabotage on or faults in the clocks or the synchronization mechanism” (Stallings, 2003 p. 387). Li Gong states, “…the recipient remains vulnerable to accepting the message as a current one, even after the sender has detected its clock error and resynchronized the clock, unless the postdated message has meanwhile been somehow invalidated,” which is unlikely. If the clock of the sender is ahead of the receivers and the message is intercepted, the opponent can replay the message when the timestamp becomes current. This type of attack is known as suppress-replay attack.

In order to address the concern of suppress-replay attack, an improved protocol was presented. Here are the detailed steps.

1. “A initiates the authentication exchange by generating a nonce, Na, and sending that plus its identifier to B in plaintext. This nonce will be returned to A in an encrypted message that includes the session key, assuring A of its timelines.

2. B alerts the KDC that a session key is needed. Its message to the KDC includes its identifier and a nonce, Nb. This nonce will be returned to B in an encrypted message that includes the session key, assuring B of its timeliness. B’s message to the KDC also includes a block encrypted with the secret key shared by B and the KDC. This block is used to instruct the KDC to issue credentials to A; the block specifies the intended recipient of the credentials, a suggested expiration time for the credentials, and the nonce received from A.

3. The KDC passes on to A B’s nonce and a block encrypted with the secret key by A for subsequent authentications, as will be seen. The KDC also sends A a block encrypted with the secret key shared by A and the KDC. This block verifies that B has received A’s initial message (IDB) and that this is a timely message and not a replay (Na), and it provides A with a session key (KS) and the time limit on its use (Tb).

4. A transmits the ticket to B, together with the B’s nonce, the latter encrypted with the session key. The ticket provides B with the secret key that is used to decrypt EKS[Nb] to recover the nonce. The fact that B’s nonce is encrypted with the session key authenticates that the message came from A and is not a replay” (Stallings, 2003 pgs. 387-388).

This protocol is not vulnerable to suppress-replay attacks due to the fact that the nonces the recipient will choose in the future are unpredictable to the sender (Gong, n.d.).

In conclusion, digital signatures are seen as the most important development in public-key cryptography and include direct and arbitrated digital signature approaches. The direct digital signature involves only communication between the source and destination parties, and the arbitrated digital signature schemes include the use of an arbitrator. Suppress-replay attacks can occur if the clock of the sender is ahead of the receivers and the message is intercepted. This allows the opponent to replay the message when the timestamp becomes current. This issue is overcome by the implementation of a protocol that uses timestamps that do not require synchronized clocks because the receiver B checks only self-generated timestamps (Stallings, 2003).

Works Cited

Gong, Li (n.d.). A Security Risk of Depending on Synchronized Clocks. ORA Corporation and Cornell University. Retrieved November 5, 2005, from https://portal.acm.org

Stallings, William. (2003). Cryptography and Network Security: Principles and Practices. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.

The Java Tutorial (n.d.). Sun Developer Network. Retrieved November 5, 2005, from http://java.sun.com/docs/books/tutorial/index.html