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Posts Tagged ‘Online Trust’

News Roundup: Inc. Magazine & SmallBiz Technology Talking About KikScore

Monday, April 9th, 2012

We just wanted to send a special shout out to our friends at one of the best magazines around, Inc Magazine (see our previous post on our love for Inc. Magazine), and Ramon Ray’s SmallBiz Technology Blog.  Over the last few weeks, both of these great websites not only mentioned KikScore but used us as important data points for both How to Build a Website that Inspires Trust and also Managing Your Online Reputation and Taking Steps to Protect it.

The Inc. Magazine post discusses the important concept of making sure your business website conveys trust and credibility.  If you remember, we actually were the guest host for #SmallBizChat on that very topic last year so feel free to check out our presentation and tips that was rated one of the top 10 tweetchats of all of 2011. Thanks to Jon Gelberg for mentioning us in the article.  We really appreciate it.

The SmallBiz Technology article discusses the increasingly important issue of how do businesses manage their reputation in a comprehensive way from what is said on third party sites and then taking the best reputational information and making sure that makes it onto the small business’ website.  Just like so many of the great articles on Ramon Ray’s blog, the article discusses how there is a real need for a 360 degree solution for small businesses so they can collect and use reputational information from across the internet (Yelp, Google feedback, Facebook posts, Tweets etc) to get more business from their websites.  We are really honored to be mentioned as a product that helps deliver part of that 360 degree reputation management solution to small businesses.

Thanks to both of these great websites for covering and discussing KikScore.

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Posts Tagged ‘Online Trust’

“Putting Your Money baQ Where it Belongs”: A SmallBiz Interview with the CEO and CTO of paybaQ

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Today’s small business interview is with the founder and CEO of paybaQ, Brian J. Esposito, and the CTO, Peter Hermsen. You may remember Brian from his last interview with us when we talked about his Inc. 5000 company, AVEYOU Beauty Boutique . However, his enthusiastic entrepreneurial spirit inspired him to launch a new business, paybaQ, which focuses on helping people deal with their microloans online. Brian and Peter proudly gave us their business story and shared many tips that contribute towards the success and prosperity of small businesses.

Tell us about paybaQ and who you focus on serving?

BRIAN J. ESPOSITO: paybaQ was established in 2010 to fulfill a need: to address and solve the age old problem of personal undocumented microloans. The paybaQ platform allows users to document, arrange payment between two or more parties, and establish a positive personal Generosity Rating (Giver) & Responsibility Rating (Receiver). paybaQ’s purpose is to eliminate the awkwardness of borrowing or collecting personal microloans. Through our secure and simple system you will not only become more responsible, but possibly save a relationship from becoming spoiled.

“Money doesn’t have to be the root of all evil, it could grow into something good”.

Your paybaQ hub has everything you need to organize and monitor any transactions you perform with paybaQ.com.  Here, you can easily review account details and history, as well as view detailed reports on your transactions. You also have access to any reminders for transactions that have not yet been completed, and you can integrate your account with social network profiles to easily add contacts you may be lending or borrowing money from. No more wondering when you are going to be paid back; with paybaQ, you can set the terms of the microloan and easily remind the borrower(s) through email, text message, and/or through private messaging that monies are due. Lending and borrowing money has never been so hassle free. Although our top priority is creating more responsible individuals, privacy and security of our site and system is of the utmost importance.

Now you can do that all on the go with our iTunes app: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/paybaq-mobile/id454232420?mt=8.

How did you get started dealing with microloans online?

BE: This was an idea that I have had for a few years.  Especially when the financial crisis hit in 2008, I realized the timing was perfect to launch.  Money, family, friendship, and responsibilities are at rocky paths when it comes to lending or borrowing money for any reason.  Even when times are good these transactions could always have the tendency of going bad.  paybaQ’s system has all the necessary pieces in place to try and avoid those situations from happening.

What was one of the biggest challenges you faced and overcame in launching paybaQ?

BE: The biggest challenge was where to begin.  The paybaQ model has so many different pieces that it can branch off to.  During our initial meetings, brainstorming’s lead to hours of great ideas, but no real progress.  We finally figured out that we had to scale back all those additional concepts and get paybaQ off the ground and running on its core principles.

What tools would you recommend for small businesses in the online world?

BE: Small business should be required a specific set of tools to protect themselves, their families, and more importantly their employees and customers.  In the online world these tools should include SSL Security, Privacy Policies, Hacker Proof Services Monitors, PCI Compliance, Review/Feedback Services, and additional items that can be added to your site to increase trust and credibility.  There are only a handful of companies that have earned instant trust in the consumer world; for the rest of us, it will be a constant uphill battle to convert potential customers into actual customers.  That all begins with how you treat your current customer base and how your image and brand are perceived in the consumers eyes.

Security is of growing importance to all small businesses for a number of reasons. What are the most challenging issues at your company with respect to security?

PETER HERMSEN: Providing timely access to data by members while deterring unauthorized access.  We recognize the challenges faced by the commerce community with respect to security and privacy.  No matter what you do to secure your data, someone will try to figure out a way to crack it.  That’s why we partner with Authorize.net.  With them as a partner, we don’t have to worry about keeping any credit card information on our site.  We only maintain a balance of loan tokens, which have no value to anyone with the exception that they allow users to register loans.  In fact, we give the first 5 credits for free.

Based on your expertise, what two or three things do you think small businesses should be doing concerning online marketing?

BE: It’s very important to stay fresh and relevant.  I always say the minute you stop doing something, your competitor hasn’t.  Keeping this in your mind at all times will fuel you to keep striving for greatness.  Being the biggest is not important, but being the best is.  It is also important to understand marketing and its results.  Very few things are an instant success.  You have to keep with it.  Of course this is within reason.  You can’t keep pouring good money after bad.  Every business has different expectations and needs.  With ours, due to our position we are happy gaining a customer a day, but of course that does not apply to everyone.

If you had to pick two lessons that you’ve learned from launching and maintaining your business, what would they be?

PH: Launching a business and developing the software are definitely different things.  From the development side, the business waits (patiently) while development carries on.  Now that we’ve launched, we’re just learning about maintaining.  There are hurdles which must be crossed as you transition to a production site.  We made it past them, but have definitely learned that no matter what, you always have to plan on software taking longer than anticipated.  Also, when working in a new financial venture, you find that potential financial partners enter with good intentions; then, when they don’t fully understand your premise, withdraw gracefully.  Unfortunately, the development team engages with creating software to support partners, and have to start over when a new partner is introduced.  Unfortunately, there aren’t any standards. Google Checkout, PayPal, Yahoo, private payment gateways; all of them are different.

BE: I’ve learned to not give up on a vision or dream.  I’ve learned even your closest friends and even sometimes family members will try to deflate you. I haven’t figured out if these are malice words or if they are just trying to protect you from failure.  Failure is great, failure is better than anything you can learn in school or from a book.  Some of the greatest lessons and creations were born from failure at some point.

How do the folks at paybaQ let loose after a busy day working?

Due to our partnership with The Hearst Corporation for the rights to use Wimpy from Popeye, we like to let loose on Tuesdays for Hamburger night.  We will travel around our area in search for the greatest hamburger.  When paybaQ really takes off we may increase our distance a bit.  “I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a Hamburger Today:” © King Features Syndicate, Inc.  Hearst Holdings Inc.

Do you have any parting thoughts for our readers and the small business community?

The small business community is an elite group.  We are made up of people who took a risk and went after our passions.  Everything in life has ups and downs.  It is important to find a balance so you can save on the ups to get you through the downs.  Unless you are a 1-person operation your actions and decisions can have great affects.  Remember you have employees, vendors, suppliers, and customers that may depend on you.  This is a great amount of responsibility you have taken on, and you should be proud.  Our group will continue to be the backbone of our economy and we must prove to the world that we deserve that role.

Thanks to both Brian Esposito and Peter Hermsen from paybaQ for a great interview! If you have any questions or comments for them, feel free to write them below.

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Posts Tagged ‘Online Trust’

#SmallBizChat Highlights – Tips on How to Make Your SmallBiz Website Look Trustworthy & Credible

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Tonight we were honored to have been the guest on the #SmallBizChat! We would like to thank everyone for participating and sharing their opinions  on the chat and would like to especially give a special thanks to Tai Goodwin and Melinda Emerson for providing us with this great opportunity. Hope you all enjoyed the chat and benefited from learning all about how to make your small business trustworthy online! To find out more information about online trust and the KikScore solution, check out our presentation regarding the topic by clicking the link below:

After reading about the importance of trust seals, we would like to offer you a 90 day free trial at KikScore. When signing up  with KikScore, use the promotional code SMALLBIZCHAT to start the free trial and publicly demonstrate your trust on your homepage!

Thanks again!

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Posts Tagged ‘Online Trust’

Top 5 Reasons to Join KikScore on Next Wednesday’s #SmallBizChat

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Gone are the days where interviews had to be conducted face to face, person to person. With the evolution of technology and now social media sites, Twitter has become the perfect setting to conduct an interview. In fact, Melinda Emerson has taken advantage of this and hosts a popular weekly #SmallBizChat to create a network for emerging small businesses to both teach and inspire one other. TaiGoodwin, the founder of Launch While Working, is another host of the #SmallBizChat (and you may remember her from our interview with her earlier this summer, which can be found here). The topics vary every week, all matters in regards to small businesses and the challenges they face. This helps and strengthens the small business community, aiming to prevent future small business failures. What makes these interviews different from your traditional one on one interview is that both the participants and guests can type in their answers to questions from the host, allowing for an interactive interview.

Next Wednesday, July 27th, our own Raj Malik has the honor of representing KikScore on the #SmallBizChat at 8:00 PM. He will be discussing online trust with Melinda Emerson, enlightening the small business community on How to Make Your Business Look Credible and Trustworthy Online. This #SmallBizChat is one that should not be missed. Here are the Top 5 reasons to attend next week’s SmallBiz Chat with KikScore!

1.  By participating in the chat, you have the chance to introduce yourself and promote your brand to both KikScore and the small business community.

2.  The statistics regarding online trust are shocking and detrimental to all small businesses, as many customers choose bigger, more popular brands as opposed to lesser-known small businesses. Therefore, it is important that you learn how to make your business look trustworthy and reliable to potential customers.

3.  Get fast knowledge and rapid responses to your online trust-related questions and comments.

4.  It’s more fun and valuable to be a part of an interview than just reading or watching someone else’s. Take part and be active!

5.  Honestly, you’re going to be on your computer and most likely Twitter anyway, so you might as well join the #SmallBizChat.

So if you have a rising startup or small business, or are just an ambitious entrepreneur, or just want to learn more about small businesses and online trust, take part in next Wednesday’s #SmallBizChat with KikScore! I will see you there, or I will see you on another time!

Here is more information regarding the chat and how to enter.

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Posts Tagged ‘Online Trust’

KikScore’s Online Trust Seal & Confidence Badge for SmallBiz Featured in Business Insider & SmallBiz Technology

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011



We usually try our best to keep this blog about the adventures, challenges and stories of small business and startups and providing tips for the community.  Today, however, is an exception and we wanted to pass along our special thanks to some folks and make our readers aware of KikScore being in the news yesterday.  Our friends including Ramon Ray and Joseph Mutitjo at the fantastic  SmallBiz Technology blog did a feature post covering KikScore and one of our great customers, paybaQ.  That article was picked up at Business Insider as well too so yesterday was a two for one news special for us.

So in case you missed the articles yesterday here is the SmallBizTechnology titled Dealing With Shopping Cart Abandonment Issues? Customers Unsure That They Can Trust Your Business? Consider Trust Seal Provider KikScore.  Also here is the article from Business Insider’s coverage of KikScore.

Lastly, as I mentioned in my comment to the Business Insider article.  If you are a small business or a blogger and would like to try out KikScore for FREE for 60 days, please leave a comment here, send us a tweet to @KikScore on Twitter or post a comment on the KikScore’s Facebook Fan Page.

Special thanks to Ramon and Joseph for taking the time to cover KikScore.  And as always thanks to the community and our fabulous customers for continuing to support and use KikScore!



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Posts Tagged ‘Online Trust’

Shocking Results in Recent OTA Findings: Should YOU Feel Safe on the Internet?

Friday, May 27th, 2011

As cybercriminals become more advanced and efficient, all businesses must recognize and prepare for the imminent threats of online hackers. The issue of cyber-attacks has made its way to the Senate, debating the amount of power the president should have in dealing with cybercrimes (Full story here).

Similarly, in accordance with the looming threat of online fraud and cybercrime, the Online Trust Alliance (OTA) released their annual Online Safety Honor Roll and Scorecard two weeks ago, revealing the many insecurities of the internet. Their findings were very surprising, making me question my privacy and safety on the internet. Two of the most shocking discoveries include:

  • Only 26% of the top websites and government agencies evaluated by the OTA were recognized for their adoption of the best, most efficient technologies to help protect users’ privacy and identity. This means that 74% of the top websites used by millions of people have not implemented safe measures that protect against malicious emails and rogue websites. Organizations that made the Honor Roll enacted email authentication processes, Extended Validation SSL Certificates, and testing for malware and known site vulnerabilities. More than 500 million emails originated from the organizations lacking efficient online security measures. These facts demonstrate that we are not protected on the majority of sites we visit and are members of, and therefore we must consider reevaluating websites before giving them any of our personal information.
  • Social media, e-commerce, and financial services ranked higher in securing their sites than government agencies.  About 27% of the FDIC 100 and 24% of the Fortune 500 qualified for the Honor Roll, though only 12% of government agencies made the list. It doesn’t make me feel particularly safe that government agencies’ websites are some of the most vulnerable to cybercrime attacks. The government and its various agencies should be the ones protecting us, enacting the proper online security protocols and trying to set an example, not being most susceptible to malware.

This report is extremely important for both e-commerce shoppers and small businesses. Online shoppers must realize the dangers of registering on sites that may be unsafe and prone to cyber-attacks and abuse. Therefore, they will seek out websites that have the proper preventative online security measures, and will most likely buy from the large, reputable online websites. This will in turn hurt small businesses that lack a reputation in online safety, and are trying to flourish in e-commerce.  This makes it even more important that for small businesses to succeed that they clearly demonstrate to the public their record of trustworthiness and reliability so potential customers are ensured that the small business they’re dealing with can be trusted.

The OTA’s full 2011 Online Safety Honor Roll and Scorecard can be found here: https://otalliance.org/news/releases/2011scorecard.html.

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Posts Tagged ‘Online Trust’

Two Worlds Clashed and Delivered this Awesome Margarita Machine

Friday, March 18th, 2011

In one of the classic Seinfeld episodes, George Costanza doesn’t want his girlfriend to become chummy with his friends…as his worlds would collide and all would be lost.  Well, recently during some shopping tasks the online and offline shopping worlds have collided and I couldn’t be more excited. 

I could bore you with a story about how we saved some money on a recent home renovation purchase, but let’s get down to the brass tacks – thanks to the colliding worlds, I scored a very nice Jimmy Buffet Margaretville Fiji Series margarita machine. 

This baby does it all, margaritas, daiquiris, pina coladas and smoothies (who the hell cares about smoothies, but it is a feature, so I thought I’d mention it).  I’ve been coveting this beverage maker for a while – but it’s been a bit price prohibitive.  Something like $350 for a fancy blender that shaves ices didn’t seem like a prudent use of savings.

Then the world collision occurred…thanks to the ole’ iPad.  My wife was at a retail store and saw the gleaming beauty on the shelf…but with the same outrageous price.  However, she found it the store’s online store for $199.  Suddenly, margaritas at the dojomike household were flowing.

Let’s go over a few rules with this device:

  1.  Measure the amount of alcohol:  When you’re at home making margaritas, it’s easy to wing it.  Ok, that’s fine with the first pitcher.  But pitcher number two, your ability to wing it becomes clouded.
  2. Adding fruit improves the taste, but the alcohol level remains the same.
  3. The theory of the “ice will water down the alcohol” doesn’t work.

Now go out there let your worlds collide.  And while you’re out there, can you pick me up some lime juice?

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Posts Tagged ‘Online Trust’

What our Business Blog is Learning from Charlie Sheen

Friday, March 11th, 2011

We’re a small group at KikScore and I’ll be the first to say that writing a blog post at the end of the day sometimes isn’t the first thing on my mind.  But every week we put out new content and (Raj) works the Tweet machine thingy every day.  We research topics, think of fun entries and find funny photos to associate with our content.

All of this has lead to a steadily growing readership and followers.  We’ve found integration partners and new customers.  Heck, the blog has been called out by the New York Times.  But let’s be honest.  Charlie Sheen got 1 million followers in 25 hours, and over 74,000 people want to be his intern.  Charlie Sheen is killing us in the use of Social Media.  His torpedoes of truth have hit our hull and unless we change course, we’ll sink.  We surrender, Charlie.  We’re now learning from your lead:

1.  Blog Drunk or Otherwise Be Wildly Entertaining:  I haven’t missed a single blog steam of Charlie’s.  Is it because I’m mad at CBS or the producers of Two and a Half Men?  No.  I hate all CBS comedies and that stupid show in particular.  Look, it’s a nerd and his fat son living with a swinging bachelor.  Hee-larious.  No.  The reason I watch is because I love seeing how irrational Charlie acts.  It’s a new car wreck each night. 

2.  Stick to a Theme:  Mr. Sheen is not waxing poetic about politics or international relations.  He has a very narrow focus…”Charlie Sheen” [read in strangely intense voice].  He owns that topic and lives in every nuance.  Just like the blog Calculated Risk owns Macro Economics, Charlie owns the effects of massive amounts of money and drugs on a coddled, half-wit celebrity.

3.  Less is more:  If Charlie sent constant updates about what was on his iPod right now, I would stop following him on Twitter.  No.  Charlie gives a random “Du-uh” and something odd about “Trolls” and “Warlocks” (by his usage I’m assuming Trolls are bad and Warlocks are good) and the readers eat it up. 

4.  It Doesn’t Hurt to Seem Completely Unstable:  Not a lot of analysis here.  Just stating the obvious.

 So look for KikScore to do some wildly erratic things in upcoming posts and then bask in a wave of undeserved or logical attention.  We’re counting on you, America.

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Posts Tagged ‘Online Trust’

My Diet Pepsi Could Give Me a Heart Attack or Stroke: When Your Product Gets a Little Bad Press

Friday, February 11th, 2011

Part of my morning routine is having Morning Joe on in the morning.  It’s a great mix of politics, policy, news and pop culture (this isn’t what this post is about, but if you can check out the show).  I was expecting to hear another news update on Egypt, the deficit, or a freak snow storm in Georgia (it’s a great show, but pretty predictable).

As I’m brushing my teeth, I hear Misha (Joe’s sidekick) talk about a recent study on how people who drink at least one diet soda each day double their risk for heart attack or stroke.  Not good.  I hammer down about 5-8 cans of Diet Pepsi or Diet Mountain Dew each day.  Math is not a strong suit, but by my calculations, I should be going through my 10th heart attack right about now.

With that news, I left my hotel room (I’m traveling, I’m not in a fight with my wife) and dedicated myself to making a change.  Herbal teas.  Spring water.  Fruit juices.  I’m going to be a new man.  By 11:00am (4 hours since hearing the study), I was opening my first of 3 Diet Pepsis.

Why did I change my tune?  Was the well articulated response from the beverage industry?  Did they put out a list of counter-arguments to the findings (i.e. that people that drink diet soda or more likely to be overweight and thus more likely to have a health problem)?  Nope.  Partly it’s because I have a problem and I love my morning soda.  But the other reason was the more I thought about the study, the more it kept raising the brand in my mind.  Diet Pepsi is bad for me… Diet Pepsi is bad for me….mmmm Diet Pepsi.

So keep this in mind when your product gets written up or criticized in a blog or something…there definitely will be loss of revenue, but to your die-hard customers, it will just be a reminder that they need another Diet Pepsi.

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Posts Tagged ‘Online Trust’

KikScore Presentation: Security for Small and Medium Businesses: Top Trends That Matter Now

Monday, November 22nd, 2010
Security for Small and Medium Businesses: Top Trends That Matter Now

View more presentations from KikScore.
Mike and I were invited to speak at the Focus.com Interactive Summit on All Things Small and Medium Business on October 28, 2010.  We covered previously the great list of topics and speakers (ourselves excluded of course, we are just humble Midwestern fellas!), that were included during the presentation.
Mike gets credit for putting together a great slide deck that somehow was able to weave in security trends for small and medium businesses conveyed through pictures from AwkwardFamilyPhoto.com.  To hear our presentation (and the other great ones), the recordings of those presentations are at the Focus.com site.  You just need to sign up and you can access the on demand recordings.
In our presentation on security for small and medium businesses, we covered:
1. Tips to use to protect your business from data compromises;
2. Ways to make sure your employees are using good security practices;
3. New trends in phishing that impact businesses;
4. Best practices for password, system and account security for your business and employees;
5. Tips on protecting your systems, sensitive information and computers from intruders and hackers;
6. And much more.
So please take a listen. We promise you will learn something and also get a chuckle or two from our presentation.  Also special thanks to the great Focus.com crew for inviting us to speak.
We would love to know what you think about the presentation so please let us know.

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