Ignore Letters from Domain Registry of America

One of our clients just received and responded to a letter from Domain Registry of America that said “your domain is about to expire, send money.”

If you get a letter like this, tear it up. Domain Registry of America and a few other firms try to get you to switch your domain name to them so that they can charge you a lot more than you’re paying right now.

Luckily, the organization that manages the universe of domain names, ICANN, set up a rule that, to switch domains from company A to company B, you have to get an authorization code from company A. Our client was asked for this code, asked us to find it, and we said, “Whoa! Are you sure this is what you want to do?” stopping the scam in its tracks.

Another form of protection is to “lock” your domain name. Unless you or your administrator/webmaster unlock the domain name, it ain’t going nowhere.

Here’s more information on the practice, which is called “domain slamming”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domain_name_scams

 

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Sites for artists and photographers trying to sell and protect their images

Here are three sites recommended at last night’s Websites 101 workshop:

Maggie Rose suggested Morguefiles.com as a source for free photos for comps and design projects. From the site: “The term ‘morgue file’ is popular in the newspaper business to describe the file that holds past issues flats. Although the term has been used by illustrators, comic book artist, designers and teachers as well. The purpose of this site is to provide free image reference material for use in all creative pursuits.”

Steven Wakeman recommended Digimarc.com as a way to protect your images online. From the site: “Digimarc® for Images allows you to embed imperceptible, persistent digital watermarks into your images to communicate ownership and other information—wherever the images travel across the Internet.” If someone “borrows” your image, Digimarc catches it and sends you an email immediately. Protection for up to 2,000 images costs $99 a year.

He also suggested looking into SmugMug.com, which lets you set up a portfolio and sell images. The system has extensive image protection features as well, including a “right-click protect”–readers can’t right-click on images and copy them to their own computers.

Addendum:

Victor looked for more photo-friendly platforms after one of the members of the October 2013 class asked about free sites. Here is what he found:

http://www.photoshelter.com/

Joan mentioned this one. Oddly enough, the footer information on their home page is actually out of focus due to a shadow around the text. On purpose? A joke? I wonder… Free 14 day trial, e-commerce, responsive, social media tools, SEO, between $10 and $50 per month.

http://www.bigblackbag.com/

Free 14 day trial, e-commerce, responsive, social media tools, SEO, between $9 and $30 per month.

http://www.pixpa.com/

Free 15 day trial, e-commerce, responsive, social media tools, seo, no pricing info without sending info.

https://www.clickbooq.com/

Free 14 day trial, $29 per moth or $288 per year, all of the above but no e-commerce.

http://www.zenfolio.com/

Free trial (doesn’t say for how long), $30 per year for simple photo storage, $120 for pro package, which seems to include all of the above.

These are just the tip of the iceberg. There are quite a few packages available out there. It seems that there has been a large increase in the number of photographers since the dawn of the digital camera age.

How Secure are Free Websites?

Protecting Your Relationship with Weebly

Here’s a section from the Weebly.com Privacy Policy that describes their approach to security. Note that their SSL encryption only protects you in your relationship with Weebly.

Confidentiality and Security

No data transmissions over the Internet can be guaranteed to be 100% secure. Consequently, we cannot ensure or warrant the security of any information you transmit to us and you do so at your own risk. Once we receive your transmission, we make efforts to ensure security on our systems.

  • We use physical, electronic, and procedural safeguards to protect personal information about you.
  • Your account information is password-protected. Additionally, your account’s password is stored using a salted, variable work factor, one-way hash algorithm.
  • In certain areas, Weebly uses industry-standard SSL-encryption to protect data transmissions. However, please note that this is not a guarantee that such information may not be accessed, disclosed, altered or destroyed by breach of such firewalls and secure server software.

Protect Your Customers’ Information

If you collect credit-card information, you want very strong security protections. The easiest way to secure your shopping cart is to contract with platforms like  Network Solutions, Amazon Webstore, Google Checkout, Shopify, and so on, with the security options already built in. Weebly’s shopping cart uses PayPal, which has  strong security options, to manage all financial transactions.

You can set up a simple store (a few items with fixed prices) using PayPal directly. See Meals on Wheels of Staten Island’s donation page for examples of PayPal buttons.

If you collect personal information (medical records, for example), consider buying SSL encryption. Network Solutions offers a variety of options. See http://www.networksolutions.com/SSL-certificates/index.jsp for their information.

Other large hosting companies offer SSL certificates as well. If your host doesn’t, you might want to change hosts.

Protect Yourself against Spam

If you want to prevent spammers from sending garbage forms, use a CAPTCHA. See Meals on Wheels of Staten Island’s volunteer application page for an example.