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Mark Moore 2021-05-30
Chris Pratt in The Tomorrow War | Amazon Prime Video

So tonight is the finale for Mare of Easttown and there are so many threads that need to be tied up that I legitimately don’t know how they’ll answer all the open questions. I have a theory of who the killer is, and I don’t think it’s the same person who fathered Erin’s baby. Will Mare ever find happiness? It seems unlikely, I’m afraid. But maybe she’ll find answers or closure.

I realized that in this week’s trailer roundup that— in addition to a time-traveling theme— we have two movies that feature Sam Richardson, who played Richard Splett, arguably the best supporting character on the late great HBO show Veep. Please cast him in all the things, Hollywood, he’s hilarious.

The Tomorrow War

Chris Pratt is drafted into a war where he has...

Continue reading…

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Mark Moore 2021-03-11
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Sarah Everard

MPs have spoken out about “the menace of male violence against women” and “disgusting victim blaming” as the disappearance of Sarah Everard leaves the nation reeling. 

The International Women’s Day debate on Thursday saw figures from across the political spectrum voice anger and sadness, as well as frustration at enduring gender inequality.

On Wednesday Scotland Yard announced human remains had been found in Ashford, Kent, in the search for the 33-year-old and a Met Police officer has been arrested on suspicion of murder. 

Everard disappeared on March 3 in Clapham, south London, on her way home from a friend’s house.

This week thousands of women have been sharing their fear of male violence on social media. 

Conservative former minister Maria Miller, who opened the Commons debate, paid tribute to Everard, telling MPs: “Her abduction has sent shockwaves across the UK. Sarah did everything to avoid danger and, let’s be very clear, women are not the problem here.

“But for many women this news story will bring back memories of threatening situations they have found themselves in through no fault of their own; being sexually harassed on the streets, walking home from meeting friends, anonymous threats of physical violence on social media, sexually assaulted in plain sight in rush hour on public transport on the way to work.

“Many choose not to talk about this, choose not to report it for fear of not being believed or taken seriously – but the research shows these sorts of events are parts of women’s everyday life and that is why what happened to Sarah Everard feels so very close to home.”

Former minister Harriet Harman was the first to raise Everard’s case, as she criticised Met commissioner Cressida Dick.

She said: “Women will find no reassurance at all in the Metropolitan Commissioner’s statement that, and I quote: ‘It is extremely rare for a woman to be abducted off the street’.

“Women know abduction and murder is just the worst end of a spectrum of everyday male threat to women. When the police advise women don’t go out at night on their own, women ask why do they have to be subjected to an informal curfew?

“It is not women who are the problem here, it is men, and the criminal justice system fails women and lets men off the hook. Whether it is rape or whether it is domestic homicide, women are judged and blamed.” 

MPs fell silent as shadow domestic violence minister Jess Phillips read out the names of almost 120 women killed in the UK over the last 12 months where a man has been convicted or charged as the primary perpetrator.

She did not include Everard, whose death has not been confirmed. 

She told the Commons: “There has been much debate at what I would say at the end of the list. Her name rings out across all of our media.

“We have all prayed that the name of Sarah Everard would never be on any list.

“Let’s pray every day and work every day to make sure nobody’s name ends up on this list again.” 

Shadow domestic violence minister Jess Phillips

Ahead of reading out the list, Phillips told the Commons: “In this place, we count what we care about. We count the vaccines done, the number of people on benefits, we rule or oppose based on a count and we obsessively track that data. We love to count data of our own popularity.

“However, we don’t currently count dead women. No government study is done into the patterns every year of the data of victims of domestic abuse who are killed, die by suicide or die suddenly.

“Dead women is a thing we’ve all just accepted as part of our daily lives. Dead women is just one of those things.

“Killed women are not vanishingly rare. Killed women are common.” 

Labour MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy challenged the “disgusting victim shaming” following the disappearance of Everard, who lived in her constituency.

She told the Commons: “Sarah’s disappearance has left so many women feeling unsafe and with the theme of International Women’s Day, I choose to challenge the disgusting victim shaming that we have seen since Sarah’s disappearance.

“It should go without saying that victims of gender violence are not to blame. Sarah did nothing wrong, all she did was walk home.

“It should not be luck that sees us home safely at night, it should be our fundamental right to be respected by all.”

Tory MP and former minister Caroline Nokes

Caroline Nokes, Conservative chairwoman of the women and equalities committee, said there had been an outpouring of stories from women about how they seek to protect themselves when outside.

She said: “We all know the reality is you will not be attacked by a stranger but the fear is there, and the fear is real.”  

Speaking to the Commons People podcast, Caroline Nokes also shared her own fears over male violence, saying: “I think we all walk home with our keys, whether it’s getting into your car with your car keys primed at the ready or walking with your house key, literally in your fist with one key poking out so that if someone attacks me I can take their eye out.” 

She added: “And I do it literally walking over Westminster bridge when I leave parliament, when it’s dark.

“I get my keys out of my handbag so there is no delay getting in the front door of my flat, so that if somebody does attack me I at least have the chance to strike him back and then run like hell.

“And I go to work in my trainers and change into shoes sometimes when I’m there and go home again in my trainers because I can’t run in heels.” 

Nokes also revealed how she felt followed one evening at Southampton Parkway railway station.

She said: “It was late at night and it was dark and my car was on the seventh floor of the multi-storey car park.

“And a man followed me literally matching me step for step the whole way up those stairs.

“But when we got to floor six he just looked at me and said: ‘I’m not following you, my car’s just parked up here’.

“And it was the feeling of relief that he’d actually said that to me and I suddenly just felt reassured because I had gone up six flights of stairs being terrified that I was being followed to my car and what the hell do I do, and was my handbag heavy enough to clonk him round the head.

“So yeah, sure I can relate to every story that we’ve seen on social media and the horror that a youngish woman has gone missing on her usual walk home and then a week later you find that she’s been killed.

“We know that it’s rare... but it doesn’t mean that women’s perception that it might happen to them is not real.

“Of course it’s real and it leaves a whole range of us living in fear and that’s not right.”

Conservative former minister Andrea Leadsom told the Commons: “Today I feel pretty angry and sad. Angry that women walking home in the dark have to be scared of the person walking closely behind them.

“And saddened because for far too many women even getting home safely doesn’t mean they’re safe from harm. I say to all colleagues right across the House: let’s never let party politics get in the way of protecting women and girls.”

A number of male MPs also shared frustration. 

Conservative MP and Father of the House Peter Bottomley said: “We all need to change and I hope we can get to the stage where I don’t have to carry a whistle on my keys, and my daughters and granddaughters don’t have to either.

“People need to feel safe at work, when travelling and in their domestic circumstances. For that, we need to find a way of people having the patience and the courage to challenge behaviours in ourselves and others which make other people feel both threatened and to suffer violence – whether physical or mental or economic.”

Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin called for further action in increasing the number of female MPs.

Jenkin, who chairs the liaison committee, said: “I am the representative man that is here to take the punishment and the blame, and I do that, I don’t shirk from that responsibility because despite everything that’s been achieved for women’s rights, this debate proves that this is not a job that has been done, it is still very much a job to do.”

He continued: “We need a political settlement in which it’s impossible for decisions to be made which fail to recognise that while men and women are equal, we have very different life experiences, which means we need more women in the room when decisions are being formed.” 

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Mark Moore 2020-12-01
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Posted by Alex-T

Have you ever outsourced link building? How did you like the experience?

To be honest, mine was terrible. Allow me to share my story.

When I had a typical 9-to-5 job as a marketing director at SEMrush, we made a decision to get more links from the top resources in our segment. We ended up hiring an agency to help us build these links. The agency was charging us an outrageous $13K a month, but, unfortunately, the high price didn’t equal quality. They weren’t capable of writing anything meaningful, not to mention publishing their content on trustworthy industry blogs. What made things worse was the fact that I brought them on board.

Needless to say, we stopped working with this agency. We decided to give another one a try, thinking that this time luck would be on our side.

Well, we were wrong. Although the second agency charged us nearly three times less and promised premium quality work with superb links and stellar results, the outcome was disappointing, to say the least. We ended up getting links from irrelevant content published on sites that wrote about everything, from the ten best sex positions to the ultimate guide on cleaning your toilet.

As ridiculous as it may sound right now, back then, I didn’t feel amused. These two failed attempts at outsourcing link building left me convinced in two things: getting high-quality links is a job to be done internally, and outsourcing is simply pouring money down the drain.

Fast forward to now, and I can honestly tell you that my opinion on outsourcing has changed. Since these two unfortunate scenarios with outsourcing, I went from working for SEMrush to being a freelancer, and, when the amount of work started to grow, I launched my own link building agency, Digital Olimpus. As I gained more experience in this field, I started to realize why our attempts at outsourcing failed so miserably.

At that time, I didn’t know the ropes of link acquisition. We weren’t thinking ahead to establish strict requirements to prevent us from getting links from low-quality sites. Thus, as I went through trial and error, I gathered some unique insights about the pros and cons of link building outsourcing. Today, I’d like to share these insights with you so you can better understand which option is the right one for you — to hire an agency or an in-house link builder.

When is outsourcing the right choice for you?

Here’s my perspective as the owner of a link building agency.

The majority of our clients come to us because they don’t have the time or resources to set up a decent link building process by themselves. Most of the time, their current focus is shifted towards some other business goals, but they still understand the value of links and have some pages that are trying to rank well on Google.

Usually, our ideal client knows what kinds of pages they want to boost via links, and they understand how SEO works. In most cases, they have an SEO team that has a lack of resources to step into link building, so they’re looking for someone who could help them get some juicy links.

So, at the end of the day, our clients pay for our knowledge and experience. But there are also other reasons why companies may choose to outsource link building to an agency as opposed to hiring an in-house specialist.

1. If hiring an experienced link builder is too expensive

The first reason to outsource link building is in the recruitment costs.

According to Glassdoor, the average salary of a junior-level link builder is about 30-40K, while those who are extremely experienced will be looking for an estimated yearly salary around 100K USD. As for the hourly rate, the lowest would be $13, while more experienced link building specialists expect you to pay them as high as $16 an hour.

Besides salaries, you also need to consider other points. For example, your in-house link building specialist would also need content developed specifically for link building purposes, which should have its own separate budget. Apart from that, to do the job properly, they need to have access to backlink analysis tools, like Ahrefs (costs $99/month), SEMrush (also $99/month), Moz (starting $99/month), and Pitchbox (starting from $300/month). All in all, you’ll have to pay for these tools, which alone will cost around 6K a year.

To put a long story short, hiring an in-house link builder will cost you a pretty penny. Moreover, it might take you quite a while to find the in-house link builder you’re looking for. So, while you’re searching for one, you could give an agency a try to get your link building strategy started.

2. If you need to get links straight away

The biggest difference between hiring an in-house link builder vs. an agency is the speed of acquiring links. Usually, an agency already has a tried-and-tested link building strategy, while an in-house link builder still has to develop one.

In my opinion, this is the biggest reason why our clients are choosing our fellow link building agencies and us. We have a well-established process of building links, but most importantly – we’ve already developed meaningful relationships across particular industries and niches. So, in some cases, it doesn’t take us longer than a few minutes to secure a link.

However, if you decide to do link building by yourself, you shouldn’t expect instant results. On average, it takes 3-4 months to start getting at least 10-20 links every month. Besides, it might take you a while to find the right and meaningful way to connect with other sites, and to learn how to pitch your ideas properly.

I should say that, even for my agency, it’s always a big issue to open a new niche and start building a decent number of links per month. The first few months are resulting in 2-4 links, and that for sure can’t be described as a decent flow of links.

3. If you need help educating your team on how to build links the right way

The exchange of knowledge and experience is another reason to outsource link building. It’s definitely why I outsource some tasks, and work closely with those who have substantial expertise in the areas where I don’t feel as confident.

Paying for knowledge is an excellent way to spend money, especially if you lack time. For example, I understand how long it would take me to learn before I could do technical SEO myself, so I’d rather hire someone to help me with that instead. And, while we’re working together, I’ll take this opportunity to enhance my knowledge as well.

For this exact reason, we have a few contractors on our team who are working on other projects, but gladly share their unique strategies and approaches with us. It’s like a breath of fresh air – their experience gives us new perspectives on building high-quality links.

By the way, if you decide to hire an in-house link builder, it might take them quite some time to learn how to work with such contractors, while a link building agency would already have well-established relationships with them.

So, with all that said, try to perceive outsourcing as a learning opportunity. If you already have some experience in link building, you don’t necessarily need to ask an agency to educate you. Instead, you can follow their strategy if you see that it’s working. We have a few clients who follow this logic, as they do link building in-house while still being under our guidance. Sure, one day, they might start building links independently, but it feels nice that we paved that path for them.

4. If you want links that would take you ages to acquire by yourself

Again, it’s all about the connections and how well you can build relationships with them. If you don’t have a tight circle of partners, you can’t expect quick results from your link building efforts.

Usually, the best link building agencies already have a great network of partners. However, it’s still very important to double-check that an agency operates within your niche and has some meaningful connections.

But even if the agency hasn’t worked in your niche before, don’t give up on it just yet. Most likely, the agency might still be able to network faster due to existing relationships with partners and word-of-mouth power.

Still, even for an experienced agency, developing the network of connections in a new and unexplored field will take some time. We’re always very transparent when it comes to telling a client that we haven’t yet worked within their industry, but some clients are ready to wait. However, your needs might be different, so always bring up this question to avoid misunderstandings.

5. If you need to scale your current link building efforts

Sometimes brands realize that link building can be a good strategy for them, but they might not fully understand how to approach it, considering the specifics of their industry and niche. If this is your case, the agency will help you select the right angle and review your current link building needs objectively.

Another pain point that makes our clients ask for our help is building links to problematic targets. Some pages — commercial ones, for example — are hard to build links to in an organic way. In my recent blog post, I talked more on the topic of building links to commercial pages and a few examples of how it can be done. But if you struggle with acquiring links to some pages, you can outsource this task to an agency, which will find the right way to address these difficulties and tackle them.

When outsourcing isn’t your best option

As someone who went through an unpleasant experience with outsourcing, I should say that you really have to know what you need when hiring an agency. This might be the first and most crucial reason not to outsource link building – you should know what to expect.

However, there are also other situations when outsourcing link building will be a waste of time and money. Let’s take a look.

1. You’re looking for digital PR and consider it link building

Over the years, I’ve met a lot of potential clients who ask for articles on leading sites in their industry just for the sake of having their brand mentioned by a popular resource. While getting links from such websites would be good for your brand image, this is a task for PR.

Here’s the thing: Links acquired from such resources are usually very weak from an SEO standpoint. Besides, there are cases when guest contributors sell links from these sites. In one of them, a well-known writer who worked for Forbes and Entrepreneur sold links under the radar, which is forbidden by Google’s guidelines.

As a result, links to such websites rarely bring any benefit, because they don’t carry the SEO value we are usually looking for.

From an SEO standpoint, the best links come from websites that are not involved in such suspicious activities. In addition, don’t be quick to trust influencers, since they often sell links on their websites as well.

Instead, try to find a website that doesn’t have guest posts. Google typically favors guest posting, while pushing the websites which are only used for link building to the bottom of search results.

2. You don’t have a solid SEO strategy and you just want to build some links

Many clients don’t understand that link building and SEO are interconnected. When it comes to link building, you need to remember that the results only come if you make links to the right pages from an SEO standpoint.

What does that mean? Such pages should target the right keywords relevant to your business, and that don’t have an insane level of competition. Also, content that is allocated on those pages should match user intent.

Just for context, it takes 10 times more time to get a page with commercial intent to the top of Google results, especially if the top 10 have informational intent.

Ideally, you should understand how many links you need in order to close the current link gap; otherwise, it might take ages for your page to rank well on Google. By analyzing what kind of links your rivals have already built, you can set up the right requirements for your link building agency.

3. You have very strict requirements and an agency can’t hit that mark

Sometimes, clients underestimate their link building needs. But other times, their expectations can be way too high, and it turns into a real problem. Let me give you some examples.

Once, we had a client that wanted us to implement a whole new link building approach just for his campaign. Everything should have gone great, except he forgot to tell us that he would need a unique approach, and what we were capable of providing at that time wasn’t what he was interested in.

Naturally, our partnership ended on that note. We decided to return the funds to this client and move forward. Now we do an in-depth interview with every client to give them a very detailed overview of our link building approach and our capabilities.

The same problem can occur in a few other cases:

  • You want links that will be allocated only in particular content. Ask the agency if it gets links through guest blogging. If not, this is not the best option for you.
  • You have a list of sites from which you want to get links. Contrary to what you might expect, link building isn’t an exact science, and it’s hard to predict or guarantee that a link will be secured on a particular site.
  • You want links only on pages that have already built a solid number of links and are already ranking well on Google. That’s a smart strategy, but it should only be done internally, since getting a link on such a page might take ages.

So, as I mentioned before, ask the agency about its capabilities before you outsource link building. It would be fair for both sides if you and the agency have clear expectations of the final result.

4. You expect to receive referral traffic from links that an agency will be building for you

Unfortunately, there’s minimal chance that referral traffic will come. Digital marketing experts confirm that there’s a very slim chance that even guest blogging on leading sites will bring you a solid flow of referral visitors.

Nowadays, steady referral traffic only comes through sources of organic traffic. A good example is this article with a list of SEO tools by Brian Dean that receives over 7K organic visitors per month:

Certainly, tools listed in Brian’s post are all getting some traffic, too, as those visitors are browsing through them and would love to learn more about them.

In general, we rarely see that our clients are getting referral traffic. Getting a good link is one scenario, but getting a good link that will send referral traffic is a whole other story.

In my opinion, building the links that will most likely send you a solid flow of referral visitors requires an analysis of current sources of referral traffic to your competitors and industry leaders. Then, you must try to understand the reason behind this traffic, whether it’s an active audience, being featured in a newsletter, etc. But the entire process differs from the link building strategy we usually follow.

5. You’re too busy to communicate your feedback to the agency

If you expect the link building agency to deliver the results you expect, communication is key. Outsourcing is not about delegating the task and forgetting about it. It’s about close collaboration.

With that said, be prepared to have to go on a number of calls with an agency just to figure out the link building strategy you will follow, not to mention other related meetings that will occur in the process. It is especially important if your link building needs are very specific.

So, let me reiterate – ongoing communication is crucial for building juicy, high-quality links. If you don’t have time to talk with the agency and articulate your needs and expectations properly, outsourcing link building is not the right option for you.

6. You don’t have a sufficient budget

If you are planning to hire an agency to outsource link building, you should evaluate your financial situation first, because it will cost you a fair amount of money.

To give you some context, we only take long-term contracts starting from $10K because one-time partnerships don’t help bring permanent link building results. In general, the entire process of building links should be ongoing, and your website should continuously show a rising link growth graph:

So, no matter how hard you try, the lack of a systematic approach to link building means no tangible results, and the client won’t get any profit from these links. That’s what made me understand that single-time link building is a waste of time and money.

What’s the verdict?

All in all, I should say that hiring a link building agency is worth every penny, as long as it has the experience you’re looking for, of course. Just from the rational standpoint, it’s much harder and more cost-intensive to do link building by yourself, especially if you have little knowledge of it.

There are also other perks of outsourcing link building. First and foremost, when you’re hiring an agency to build links, you’re paying for the speed of acquiring links. An agency already has all the connections to get links faster, in addition to a well-established process of building links in general.

Nevertheless, evaluate your needs first. Outsourcing might not be the best option for you if you are more interested in PR, not link building. You might also want to check what the agency can offer, as your requirements might not fit its profile. And, of course, outsourcing is not an option if you don’t have time to communicate with an agency or you have insufficient funds for such partnership.

However, in general, if you ask me now if outsourcing is worth it, I would say yes, but only if you are committed. Remember, outsourcing link building to an agency shouldn’t be a one-time occasion. If you want ongoing results, you need to commit to a long-term, close cooperation.


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Mark Moore 2020-09-05
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For about $63, you can flush your TP habit for good.
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Mark Moore 2021-05-21
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It’s hard enough to talk about your feelings to a person; Jo Aggarwal, the founder and CEO of Wysa, is hoping you’ll find it easier to confide in a robot. Or, put more specifically, “emotionally intelligent” artificial intelligence. Wysa is an AI-powered mental health app designed by Touchkin eServices, Aggarwal’s company that currently maintains headquarters […]
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Mark Moore 2021-01-14
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Stanford researcher Michael Kosinski, the PhD behind the infamous “Gaydar” AI, is back with another phrenology-adjacent (his team swears it’s not phrenology) bit of pseudo-scientific ridiculousness. This time, they’ve published a paper indicating that a simple facial recognition algorithm can tell a person’s political affiliation. First things first: The paper is called “Facial recognition technology can expose political orientation from naturalistic facial images.” You can read it here. Here’s a bit from the abstract: Ubiquitous facial recognition technology can expose individuals’ political orientation, as faces of liberals and conservatives consistently differ. Second things second: These are demonstrably false statements. Before…

This story continues at The Next Web
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Mark Moore 2020-10-24
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Want to get higher click-through rates, drive more targeted organic traffic, and improve conversions? Then avoid making these big meta description mistakes.

The post 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Your Meta Descriptions via @JRiddall appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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Mark Moore 2020-08-19
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You can call me Al

For a year that belongs in a Philip K Dick novella, now is not the time to welcome prophets of the technological future, and yet here comes Gartner, banging on the door with its Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle.…

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Mark Moore 2021-04-11
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Clubhouse investor Marc Andreessen's attacks on Taylor Lorenz are indicative of Big Tech's larger goal: to silence criticism they don't like.
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Mark Moore 2020-12-25
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Tesla’s new holiday update will finally give people the ability to use a new Boombox mode, which can broadcast custom audio on the outside of the car (hence the name). As is common with new Tesla features, Boombox combines real utility with lowbrow humor: owners can use fart and goat sounds in lieu of normal, boring honking sounds car horns usually make.

The mode rolled out with a number of other updates as part of Tesla’s firmware 2020.48.26 update, and is something Tesla fans have eagerly anticipated. In the new mode, which can be seen at the timestamped section in the video below, several sounds are available for Tesla owners through the Toybox section they can use in place of a regular horn: goat baaing, applause, a little “tada”...

Continue reading…

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Mark Moore 2020-09-15
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No evidence supports the allegation, which plays into a prominent false internet theory that powerful politicians run a child sex-trafficking ring.
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Mark Moore 2020-08-12
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Our robot colleague Satoshi Nakaboto writes about Bitcoin every fucking day. Welcome to another edition of Bitcoin Today, where I, Satoshi Nakaboto, tell you what’s been going on with Bitcoin in the past 24 hours. As Habermass used to say: Shleppppppp it! Bitcoin price We closed the day, August 11 2020, at a price of $11,410. That’s a notable 3.96 percent decline in 24 hours, or -$471.11. It was the lowest closing price in six days. We’re still 43 percent below Bitcoin‘s all-time high of $20,089 (December 17 2017). Bitcoin market cap Bitcoin‘s market cap ended the day at $210,616,121,945.…

This story continues at The Next Web

Or just read more coverage about: Bitcoin
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Mark Moore 2021-03-22
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Line of Duty is back and episode one of season six has already left us with a list of burning questions and a new acronym to contend with.

While fans have been eagerly exchanging their theories on the latest potential “bent copper”, there’s a subplot emerging that deserves more of our attention: Steve Arnott’s painkiller addiction.

The detective sergeant was shown visiting two pharmacies back-to-back. The camera then panned to show what he’d bought, displaying over-the-counter ibuprofen, plus codeine. A later shot showed him at home, opening a cupboard stockpiled with the drugs, before washing down several tablets with a beer. 

The short but stark scenes are part of a storyline that’s been carefully developed over three series. Longtime viewers will remember Steve was thrown down the stairs in season four, then began to rely on prescription painkillers to get through a day’s work in season five. Now, in season six, he’s showing signs of opioid addiction – a growing problem in the UK

“Broadcasting a lead character struggling with prescription drug addiction in a primetime TV show is incredible to see, as we truly believe that more people suffer with this addiction in the UK than anyone could ever imagine,” Nuno Albuquerque, head of treatment for the UK addiction treatment group UKAT, tells HuffPost UK.

“Hopefully it will allow people to recognise their own unhealthy relationship with prescribed drugs, and encourage people to ask for help in exploring alternative pain treatment programmes.”

Opioid painkillers, which come from the same family as heroin, work by stopping pain signals from travelling along the nerves to the brain. Although they’re designed to treat pain, users sometimes report feelings of euphoria or an easing of anxiety, which contributes to the drugs’ addictiveness. 

Codeine is one of the most frequently prescribed or purchased over-the-counter opioids and is marketed as a painkiller for everything from migraines to period pain. While strong codeine is only available on prescription, lower strength codeine is available over-the-counter, mixed with paracetamol (co-codamol), with aspirin (co-codaprin) or with ibuprofen. 

In 2018, a study led by University College London found the number of opioid drugs being prescribed by doctors to patients in England has been steadily rising since 2010 and notably, “prescriptions of codeine increased faster than all other opioids”. Data from UKAT also identified a 45% rise in admissions for codeine addiction from 2015 to 2018. 

A 2019 review by Public Health England found more than half a million people in England have taken prescribed opioid painkillers for three years or more, despite the fact they’re only recommended for short-term use, due to being highly addictive. 

“Prescription drug addiction is as real an addiction and as dangerous an addiction as heroin,” says Albuquerque. “Just because they have legitimate medical purposes, does not mean they aren’t dangerous when misused.

“Without a doubt, prescription drug addiction is the most hidden addiction in the UK. We would confidently suggest that everyone knows at least one person with a dependency to prescribed drugs.”

HuffPost UK has previously spoken to people who developed codeine addictions following a prescription, then turned to a cocktail of over-the-counter drugs when their prescriptions ended.

Mike, 37, from Manchester, was prescribed codeine for a broken hand in 2008, but resorted to a dangerous mix of over-the-counter products when his supply dried up. “Everything changed, I would be going to watch football, hanging out with mates, and then suddenly I just stopped doing everything,” he told us.

“It killed my sex drive, amongst killing all interests. Even my hygiene dropped. I was at rock bottom, I was having suicidal tendencies and I thought: something’s got to give, I have to change this.”

The Line Of Duty storyline appears to reflect this common pattern from prescription to over-the-counter misuse. While Steve’s reliance on the painkillers has developed across three series, the time it takes for someone to develop an opioid addiction can vary, says Albuquerque. 

“For some, the feelings of euphoria can be so enjoyable that after just a few days of regular exposure their brain chemicals have been altered to encourage more consumption,” he says.

“For others, the addiction can take hold over a prolonged period of time. Painkillers only pause pain, they’re a sticking plaster to a deeper problem. The problem arises when no other treatment for the pain is provided. This is when gradual addiction begins to manifest, because the person suffering hasn’t been provided with any alternative.”

 Signs of prescription drug addiction:

  • Displaying erratic behaviour when running out of painkillers
  • A change in a person’s emotional state
  • A tendency to shop online for prescription drugs
  • Regular complaints about medical conditions that justify drug use
  • A gradual change in school or work performance
  • Disinterest in personal appearance
  • Withdrawal symptoms, include nervous tremors, anxiety, sleep disorders, vomiting and diarrhoea. 

Read more about the warning signs of prescription drug addiction. 

If Steve’s story has resonated with you, Albuquerque stresses the importance of seeking professional help for prescription or over-the-counter drug addiction. 

“Nobody should go ‘cold turkey’ from their prescription medication without discussing their wishes with their GP,” he says. “It must be a tapered process as simply stopping taking these drugs can cause dangerous withdrawal symptoms.”  

Further information and 24/7 confidential support with prescription drug addiction can be found on UKAT’s website. For mental health support, see a list of charity websites and helplines below. 

Useful websites and helplines

Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393.

Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill).

CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably) offer a helpline open 5pm-midnight, 365 days a year, on 0800 58 58 58, and a webchat service.

The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email [email protected]

Rethink Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0808 801 0525 (Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on rethink.org.

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Mark Moore 2020-11-25
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The first part of our look at the state of CRM.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.
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Mark Moore 2020-09-09
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Commentary: It took almost five years for the Apple Watch to win me over.
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Mark Moore 2020-07-15
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From sequels to reboots, here are all the games we hope to see on Microsoft's new Xbox Series X at some point.
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Mark Moore 2021-05-30
Chris Pratt in The Tomorrow War | Amazon Prime Video

So tonight is the finale for Mare of Easttown and there are so many threads that need to be tied up that I legitimately don’t know how they’ll answer all the open questions. I have a theory of who the killer is, and I don’t think it’s the same person who fathered Erin’s baby. Will Mare ever find happiness? It seems unlikely, I’m afraid. But maybe she’ll find answers or closure.

I realized that in this week’s trailer roundup that— in addition to a time-traveling theme— we have two movies that feature Sam Richardson, who played Richard Splett, arguably the best supporting character on the late great HBO show Veep. Please cast him in all the things, Hollywood, he’s hilarious.

The Tomorrow War

Chris Pratt is drafted into a war where he has...

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Mark Moore 2021-04-11
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Clubhouse investor Marc Andreessen's attacks on Taylor Lorenz are indicative of Big Tech's larger goal: to silence criticism they don't like.
Mark Moore 2021-03-11
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Sarah Everard

MPs have spoken out about “the menace of male violence against women” and “disgusting victim blaming” as the disappearance of Sarah Everard leaves the nation reeling. 

The International Women’s Day debate on Thursday saw figures from across the political spectrum voice anger and sadness, as well as frustration at enduring gender inequality.

On Wednesday Scotland Yard announced human remains had been found in Ashford, Kent, in the search for the 33-year-old and a Met Police officer has been arrested on suspicion of murder. 

Everard disappeared on March 3 in Clapham, south London, on her way home from a friend’s house.

This week thousands of women have been sharing their fear of male violence on social media. 

Conservative former minister Maria Miller, who opened the Commons debate, paid tribute to Everard, telling MPs: “Her abduction has sent shockwaves across the UK. Sarah did everything to avoid danger and, let’s be very clear, women are not the problem here.

“But for many women this news story will bring back memories of threatening situations they have found themselves in through no fault of their own; being sexually harassed on the streets, walking home from meeting friends, anonymous threats of physical violence on social media, sexually assaulted in plain sight in rush hour on public transport on the way to work.

“Many choose not to talk about this, choose not to report it for fear of not being believed or taken seriously – but the research shows these sorts of events are parts of women’s everyday life and that is why what happened to Sarah Everard feels so very close to home.”

Former minister Harriet Harman was the first to raise Everard’s case, as she criticised Met commissioner Cressida Dick.

She said: “Women will find no reassurance at all in the Metropolitan Commissioner’s statement that, and I quote: ‘It is extremely rare for a woman to be abducted off the street’.

“Women know abduction and murder is just the worst end of a spectrum of everyday male threat to women. When the police advise women don’t go out at night on their own, women ask why do they have to be subjected to an informal curfew?

“It is not women who are the problem here, it is men, and the criminal justice system fails women and lets men off the hook. Whether it is rape or whether it is domestic homicide, women are judged and blamed.” 

MPs fell silent as shadow domestic violence minister Jess Phillips read out the names of almost 120 women killed in the UK over the last 12 months where a man has been convicted or charged as the primary perpetrator.

She did not include Everard, whose death has not been confirmed. 

She told the Commons: “There has been much debate at what I would say at the end of the list. Her name rings out across all of our media.

“We have all prayed that the name of Sarah Everard would never be on any list.

“Let’s pray every day and work every day to make sure nobody’s name ends up on this list again.” 

Shadow domestic violence minister Jess Phillips

Ahead of reading out the list, Phillips told the Commons: “In this place, we count what we care about. We count the vaccines done, the number of people on benefits, we rule or oppose based on a count and we obsessively track that data. We love to count data of our own popularity.

“However, we don’t currently count dead women. No government study is done into the patterns every year of the data of victims of domestic abuse who are killed, die by suicide or die suddenly.

“Dead women is a thing we’ve all just accepted as part of our daily lives. Dead women is just one of those things.

“Killed women are not vanishingly rare. Killed women are common.” 

Labour MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy challenged the “disgusting victim shaming” following the disappearance of Everard, who lived in her constituency.

She told the Commons: “Sarah’s disappearance has left so many women feeling unsafe and with the theme of International Women’s Day, I choose to challenge the disgusting victim shaming that we have seen since Sarah’s disappearance.

“It should go without saying that victims of gender violence are not to blame. Sarah did nothing wrong, all she did was walk home.

“It should not be luck that sees us home safely at night, it should be our fundamental right to be respected by all.”

Tory MP and former minister Caroline Nokes

Caroline Nokes, Conservative chairwoman of the women and equalities committee, said there had been an outpouring of stories from women about how they seek to protect themselves when outside.

She said: “We all know the reality is you will not be attacked by a stranger but the fear is there, and the fear is real.”  

Speaking to the Commons People podcast, Caroline Nokes also shared her own fears over male violence, saying: “I think we all walk home with our keys, whether it’s getting into your car with your car keys primed at the ready or walking with your house key, literally in your fist with one key poking out so that if someone attacks me I can take their eye out.” 

She added: “And I do it literally walking over Westminster bridge when I leave parliament, when it’s dark.

“I get my keys out of my handbag so there is no delay getting in the front door of my flat, so that if somebody does attack me I at least have the chance to strike him back and then run like hell.

“And I go to work in my trainers and change into shoes sometimes when I’m there and go home again in my trainers because I can’t run in heels.” 

Nokes also revealed how she felt followed one evening at Southampton Parkway railway station.

She said: “It was late at night and it was dark and my car was on the seventh floor of the multi-storey car park.

“And a man followed me literally matching me step for step the whole way up those stairs.

“But when we got to floor six he just looked at me and said: ‘I’m not following you, my car’s just parked up here’.

“And it was the feeling of relief that he’d actually said that to me and I suddenly just felt reassured because I had gone up six flights of stairs being terrified that I was being followed to my car and what the hell do I do, and was my handbag heavy enough to clonk him round the head.

“So yeah, sure I can relate to every story that we’ve seen on social media and the horror that a youngish woman has gone missing on her usual walk home and then a week later you find that she’s been killed.

“We know that it’s rare... but it doesn’t mean that women’s perception that it might happen to them is not real.

“Of course it’s real and it leaves a whole range of us living in fear and that’s not right.”

Conservative former minister Andrea Leadsom told the Commons: “Today I feel pretty angry and sad. Angry that women walking home in the dark have to be scared of the person walking closely behind them.

“And saddened because for far too many women even getting home safely doesn’t mean they’re safe from harm. I say to all colleagues right across the House: let’s never let party politics get in the way of protecting women and girls.”

A number of male MPs also shared frustration. 

Conservative MP and Father of the House Peter Bottomley said: “We all need to change and I hope we can get to the stage where I don’t have to carry a whistle on my keys, and my daughters and granddaughters don’t have to either.

“People need to feel safe at work, when travelling and in their domestic circumstances. For that, we need to find a way of people having the patience and the courage to challenge behaviours in ourselves and others which make other people feel both threatened and to suffer violence – whether physical or mental or economic.”

Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin called for further action in increasing the number of female MPs.

Jenkin, who chairs the liaison committee, said: “I am the representative man that is here to take the punishment and the blame, and I do that, I don’t shirk from that responsibility because despite everything that’s been achieved for women’s rights, this debate proves that this is not a job that has been done, it is still very much a job to do.”

He continued: “We need a political settlement in which it’s impossible for decisions to be made which fail to recognise that while men and women are equal, we have very different life experiences, which means we need more women in the room when decisions are being formed.” 

Mark Moore 2020-12-25
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Tesla’s new holiday update will finally give people the ability to use a new Boombox mode, which can broadcast custom audio on the outside of the car (hence the name). As is common with new Tesla features, Boombox combines real utility with lowbrow humor: owners can use fart and goat sounds in lieu of normal, boring honking sounds car horns usually make.

The mode rolled out with a number of other updates as part of Tesla’s firmware 2020.48.26 update, and is something Tesla fans have eagerly anticipated. In the new mode, which can be seen at the timestamped section in the video below, several sounds are available for Tesla owners through the Toybox section they can use in place of a regular horn: goat baaing, applause, a little “tada”...

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Mark Moore 2020-12-01
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Posted by Alex-T

Have you ever outsourced link building? How did you like the experience?

To be honest, mine was terrible. Allow me to share my story.

When I had a typical 9-to-5 job as a marketing director at SEMrush, we made a decision to get more links from the top resources in our segment. We ended up hiring an agency to help us build these links. The agency was charging us an outrageous $13K a month, but, unfortunately, the high price didn’t equal quality. They weren’t capable of writing anything meaningful, not to mention publishing their content on trustworthy industry blogs. What made things worse was the fact that I brought them on board.

Needless to say, we stopped working with this agency. We decided to give another one a try, thinking that this time luck would be on our side.

Well, we were wrong. Although the second agency charged us nearly three times less and promised premium quality work with superb links and stellar results, the outcome was disappointing, to say the least. We ended up getting links from irrelevant content published on sites that wrote about everything, from the ten best sex positions to the ultimate guide on cleaning your toilet.

As ridiculous as it may sound right now, back then, I didn’t feel amused. These two failed attempts at outsourcing link building left me convinced in two things: getting high-quality links is a job to be done internally, and outsourcing is simply pouring money down the drain.

Fast forward to now, and I can honestly tell you that my opinion on outsourcing has changed. Since these two unfortunate scenarios with outsourcing, I went from working for SEMrush to being a freelancer, and, when the amount of work started to grow, I launched my own link building agency, Digital Olimpus. As I gained more experience in this field, I started to realize why our attempts at outsourcing failed so miserably.

At that time, I didn’t know the ropes of link acquisition. We weren’t thinking ahead to establish strict requirements to prevent us from getting links from low-quality sites. Thus, as I went through trial and error, I gathered some unique insights about the pros and cons of link building outsourcing. Today, I’d like to share these insights with you so you can better understand which option is the right one for you — to hire an agency or an in-house link builder.

When is outsourcing the right choice for you?

Here’s my perspective as the owner of a link building agency.

The majority of our clients come to us because they don’t have the time or resources to set up a decent link building process by themselves. Most of the time, their current focus is shifted towards some other business goals, but they still understand the value of links and have some pages that are trying to rank well on Google.

Usually, our ideal client knows what kinds of pages they want to boost via links, and they understand how SEO works. In most cases, they have an SEO team that has a lack of resources to step into link building, so they’re looking for someone who could help them get some juicy links.

So, at the end of the day, our clients pay for our knowledge and experience. But there are also other reasons why companies may choose to outsource link building to an agency as opposed to hiring an in-house specialist.

1. If hiring an experienced link builder is too expensive

The first reason to outsource link building is in the recruitment costs.

According to Glassdoor, the average salary of a junior-level link builder is about 30-40K, while those who are extremely experienced will be looking for an estimated yearly salary around 100K USD. As for the hourly rate, the lowest would be $13, while more experienced link building specialists expect you to pay them as high as $16 an hour.

Besides salaries, you also need to consider other points. For example, your in-house link building specialist would also need content developed specifically for link building purposes, which should have its own separate budget. Apart from that, to do the job properly, they need to have access to backlink analysis tools, like Ahrefs (costs $99/month), SEMrush (also $99/month), Moz (starting $99/month), and Pitchbox (starting from $300/month). All in all, you’ll have to pay for these tools, which alone will cost around 6K a year.

To put a long story short, hiring an in-house link builder will cost you a pretty penny. Moreover, it might take you quite a while to find the in-house link builder you’re looking for. So, while you’re searching for one, you could give an agency a try to get your link building strategy started.

2. If you need to get links straight away

The biggest difference between hiring an in-house link builder vs. an agency is the speed of acquiring links. Usually, an agency already has a tried-and-tested link building strategy, while an in-house link builder still has to develop one.

In my opinion, this is the biggest reason why our clients are choosing our fellow link building agencies and us. We have a well-established process of building links, but most importantly – we’ve already developed meaningful relationships across particular industries and niches. So, in some cases, it doesn’t take us longer than a few minutes to secure a link.

However, if you decide to do link building by yourself, you shouldn’t expect instant results. On average, it takes 3-4 months to start getting at least 10-20 links every month. Besides, it might take you a while to find the right and meaningful way to connect with other sites, and to learn how to pitch your ideas properly.

I should say that, even for my agency, it’s always a big issue to open a new niche and start building a decent number of links per month. The first few months are resulting in 2-4 links, and that for sure can’t be described as a decent flow of links.

3. If you need help educating your team on how to build links the right way

The exchange of knowledge and experience is another reason to outsource link building. It’s definitely why I outsource some tasks, and work closely with those who have substantial expertise in the areas where I don’t feel as confident.

Paying for knowledge is an excellent way to spend money, especially if you lack time. For example, I understand how long it would take me to learn before I could do technical SEO myself, so I’d rather hire someone to help me with that instead. And, while we’re working together, I’ll take this opportunity to enhance my knowledge as well.

For this exact reason, we have a few contractors on our team who are working on other projects, but gladly share their unique strategies and approaches with us. It’s like a breath of fresh air – their experience gives us new perspectives on building high-quality links.

By the way, if you decide to hire an in-house link builder, it might take them quite some time to learn how to work with such contractors, while a link building agency would already have well-established relationships with them.

So, with all that said, try to perceive outsourcing as a learning opportunity. If you already have some experience in link building, you don’t necessarily need to ask an agency to educate you. Instead, you can follow their strategy if you see that it’s working. We have a few clients who follow this logic, as they do link building in-house while still being under our guidance. Sure, one day, they might start building links independently, but it feels nice that we paved that path for them.

4. If you want links that would take you ages to acquire by yourself

Again, it’s all about the connections and how well you can build relationships with them. If you don’t have a tight circle of partners, you can’t expect quick results from your link building efforts.

Usually, the best link building agencies already have a great network of partners. However, it’s still very important to double-check that an agency operates within your niche and has some meaningful connections.

But even if the agency hasn’t worked in your niche before, don’t give up on it just yet. Most likely, the agency might still be able to network faster due to existing relationships with partners and word-of-mouth power.

Still, even for an experienced agency, developing the network of connections in a new and unexplored field will take some time. We’re always very transparent when it comes to telling a client that we haven’t yet worked within their industry, but some clients are ready to wait. However, your needs might be different, so always bring up this question to avoid misunderstandings.

5. If you need to scale your current link building efforts

Sometimes brands realize that link building can be a good strategy for them, but they might not fully understand how to approach it, considering the specifics of their industry and niche. If this is your case, the agency will help you select the right angle and review your current link building needs objectively.

Another pain point that makes our clients ask for our help is building links to problematic targets. Some pages — commercial ones, for example — are hard to build links to in an organic way. In my recent blog post, I talked more on the topic of building links to commercial pages and a few examples of how it can be done. But if you struggle with acquiring links to some pages, you can outsource this task to an agency, which will find the right way to address these difficulties and tackle them.

When outsourcing isn’t your best option

As someone who went through an unpleasant experience with outsourcing, I should say that you really have to know what you need when hiring an agency. This might be the first and most crucial reason not to outsource link building – you should know what to expect.

However, there are also other situations when outsourcing link building will be a waste of time and money. Let’s take a look.

1. You’re looking for digital PR and consider it link building

Over the years, I’ve met a lot of potential clients who ask for articles on leading sites in their industry just for the sake of having their brand mentioned by a popular resource. While getting links from such websites would be good for your brand image, this is a task for PR.

Here’s the thing: Links acquired from such resources are usually very weak from an SEO standpoint. Besides, there are cases when guest contributors sell links from these sites. In one of them, a well-known writer who worked for Forbes and Entrepreneur sold links under the radar, which is forbidden by Google’s guidelines.

As a result, links to such websites rarely bring any benefit, because they don’t carry the SEO value we are usually looking for.

From an SEO standpoint, the best links come from websites that are not involved in such suspicious activities. In addition, don’t be quick to trust influencers, since they often sell links on their websites as well.

Instead, try to find a website that doesn’t have guest posts. Google typically favors guest posting, while pushing the websites which are only used for link building to the bottom of search results.

2. You don’t have a solid SEO strategy and you just want to build some links

Many clients don’t understand that link building and SEO are interconnected. When it comes to link building, you need to remember that the results only come if you make links to the right pages from an SEO standpoint.

What does that mean? Such pages should target the right keywords relevant to your business, and that don’t have an insane level of competition. Also, content that is allocated on those pages should match user intent.

Just for context, it takes 10 times more time to get a page with commercial intent to the top of Google results, especially if the top 10 have informational intent.

Ideally, you should understand how many links you need in order to close the current link gap; otherwise, it might take ages for your page to rank well on Google. By analyzing what kind of links your rivals have already built, you can set up the right requirements for your link building agency.

3. You have very strict requirements and an agency can’t hit that mark

Sometimes, clients underestimate their link building needs. But other times, their expectations can be way too high, and it turns into a real problem. Let me give you some examples.

Once, we had a client that wanted us to implement a whole new link building approach just for his campaign. Everything should have gone great, except he forgot to tell us that he would need a unique approach, and what we were capable of providing at that time wasn’t what he was interested in.

Naturally, our partnership ended on that note. We decided to return the funds to this client and move forward. Now we do an in-depth interview with every client to give them a very detailed overview of our link building approach and our capabilities.

The same problem can occur in a few other cases:

  • You want links that will be allocated only in particular content. Ask the agency if it gets links through guest blogging. If not, this is not the best option for you.
  • You have a list of sites from which you want to get links. Contrary to what you might expect, link building isn’t an exact science, and it’s hard to predict or guarantee that a link will be secured on a particular site.
  • You want links only on pages that have already built a solid number of links and are already ranking well on Google. That’s a smart strategy, but it should only be done internally, since getting a link on such a page might take ages.

So, as I mentioned before, ask the agency about its capabilities before you outsource link building. It would be fair for both sides if you and the agency have clear expectations of the final result.

4. You expect to receive referral traffic from links that an agency will be building for you

Unfortunately, there’s minimal chance that referral traffic will come. Digital marketing experts confirm that there’s a very slim chance that even guest blogging on leading sites will bring you a solid flow of referral visitors.

Nowadays, steady referral traffic only comes through sources of organic traffic. A good example is this article with a list of SEO tools by Brian Dean that receives over 7K organic visitors per month:

Certainly, tools listed in Brian’s post are all getting some traffic, too, as those visitors are browsing through them and would love to learn more about them.

In general, we rarely see that our clients are getting referral traffic. Getting a good link is one scenario, but getting a good link that will send referral traffic is a whole other story.

In my opinion, building the links that will most likely send you a solid flow of referral visitors requires an analysis of current sources of referral traffic to your competitors and industry leaders. Then, you must try to understand the reason behind this traffic, whether it’s an active audience, being featured in a newsletter, etc. But the entire process differs from the link building strategy we usually follow.

5. You’re too busy to communicate your feedback to the agency

If you expect the link building agency to deliver the results you expect, communication is key. Outsourcing is not about delegating the task and forgetting about it. It’s about close collaboration.

With that said, be prepared to have to go on a number of calls with an agency just to figure out the link building strategy you will follow, not to mention other related meetings that will occur in the process. It is especially important if your link building needs are very specific.

So, let me reiterate – ongoing communication is crucial for building juicy, high-quality links. If you don’t have time to talk with the agency and articulate your needs and expectations properly, outsourcing link building is not the right option for you.

6. You don’t have a sufficient budget

If you are planning to hire an agency to outsource link building, you should evaluate your financial situation first, because it will cost you a fair amount of money.

To give you some context, we only take long-term contracts starting from $10K because one-time partnerships don’t help bring permanent link building results. In general, the entire process of building links should be ongoing, and your website should continuously show a rising link growth graph:

So, no matter how hard you try, the lack of a systematic approach to link building means no tangible results, and the client won’t get any profit from these links. That’s what made me understand that single-time link building is a waste of time and money.

What’s the verdict?

All in all, I should say that hiring a link building agency is worth every penny, as long as it has the experience you’re looking for, of course. Just from the rational standpoint, it’s much harder and more cost-intensive to do link building by yourself, especially if you have little knowledge of it.

There are also other perks of outsourcing link building. First and foremost, when you’re hiring an agency to build links, you’re paying for the speed of acquiring links. An agency already has all the connections to get links faster, in addition to a well-established process of building links in general.

Nevertheless, evaluate your needs first. Outsourcing might not be the best option for you if you are more interested in PR, not link building. You might also want to check what the agency can offer, as your requirements might not fit its profile. And, of course, outsourcing is not an option if you don’t have time to communicate with an agency or you have insufficient funds for such partnership.

However, in general, if you ask me now if outsourcing is worth it, I would say yes, but only if you are committed. Remember, outsourcing link building to an agency shouldn’t be a one-time occasion. If you want ongoing results, you need to commit to a long-term, close cooperation.


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Mark Moore 2020-09-15
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No evidence supports the allegation, which plays into a prominent false internet theory that powerful politicians run a child sex-trafficking ring.
Mark Moore 2020-09-05
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For about $63, you can flush your TP habit for good.
Mark Moore 2020-08-12
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Our robot colleague Satoshi Nakaboto writes about Bitcoin every fucking day. Welcome to another edition of Bitcoin Today, where I, Satoshi Nakaboto, tell you what’s been going on with Bitcoin in the past 24 hours. As Habermass used to say: Shleppppppp it! Bitcoin price We closed the day, August 11 2020, at a price of $11,410. That’s a notable 3.96 percent decline in 24 hours, or -$471.11. It was the lowest closing price in six days. We’re still 43 percent below Bitcoin‘s all-time high of $20,089 (December 17 2017). Bitcoin market cap Bitcoin‘s market cap ended the day at $210,616,121,945.…

This story continues at The Next Web

Or just read more coverage about: Bitcoin
Mark Moore 2021-05-21
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It’s hard enough to talk about your feelings to a person; Jo Aggarwal, the founder and CEO of Wysa, is hoping you’ll find it easier to confide in a robot. Or, put more specifically, “emotionally intelligent” artificial intelligence. Wysa is an AI-powered mental health app designed by Touchkin eServices, Aggarwal’s company that currently maintains headquarters […]
Mark Moore 2021-03-22
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Line of Duty is back and episode one of season six has already left us with a list of burning questions and a new acronym to contend with.

While fans have been eagerly exchanging their theories on the latest potential “bent copper”, there’s a subplot emerging that deserves more of our attention: Steve Arnott’s painkiller addiction.

The detective sergeant was shown visiting two pharmacies back-to-back. The camera then panned to show what he’d bought, displaying over-the-counter ibuprofen, plus codeine. A later shot showed him at home, opening a cupboard stockpiled with the drugs, before washing down several tablets with a beer. 

The short but stark scenes are part of a storyline that’s been carefully developed over three series. Longtime viewers will remember Steve was thrown down the stairs in season four, then began to rely on prescription painkillers to get through a day’s work in season five. Now, in season six, he’s showing signs of opioid addiction – a growing problem in the UK

“Broadcasting a lead character struggling with prescription drug addiction in a primetime TV show is incredible to see, as we truly believe that more people suffer with this addiction in the UK than anyone could ever imagine,” Nuno Albuquerque, head of treatment for the UK addiction treatment group UKAT, tells HuffPost UK.

“Hopefully it will allow people to recognise their own unhealthy relationship with prescribed drugs, and encourage people to ask for help in exploring alternative pain treatment programmes.”

Opioid painkillers, which come from the same family as heroin, work by stopping pain signals from travelling along the nerves to the brain. Although they’re designed to treat pain, users sometimes report feelings of euphoria or an easing of anxiety, which contributes to the drugs’ addictiveness. 

Codeine is one of the most frequently prescribed or purchased over-the-counter opioids and is marketed as a painkiller for everything from migraines to period pain. While strong codeine is only available on prescription, lower strength codeine is available over-the-counter, mixed with paracetamol (co-codamol), with aspirin (co-codaprin) or with ibuprofen. 

In 2018, a study led by University College London found the number of opioid drugs being prescribed by doctors to patients in England has been steadily rising since 2010 and notably, “prescriptions of codeine increased faster than all other opioids”. Data from UKAT also identified a 45% rise in admissions for codeine addiction from 2015 to 2018. 

A 2019 review by Public Health England found more than half a million people in England have taken prescribed opioid painkillers for three years or more, despite the fact they’re only recommended for short-term use, due to being highly addictive. 

“Prescription drug addiction is as real an addiction and as dangerous an addiction as heroin,” says Albuquerque. “Just because they have legitimate medical purposes, does not mean they aren’t dangerous when misused.

“Without a doubt, prescription drug addiction is the most hidden addiction in the UK. We would confidently suggest that everyone knows at least one person with a dependency to prescribed drugs.”

HuffPost UK has previously spoken to people who developed codeine addictions following a prescription, then turned to a cocktail of over-the-counter drugs when their prescriptions ended.

Mike, 37, from Manchester, was prescribed codeine for a broken hand in 2008, but resorted to a dangerous mix of over-the-counter products when his supply dried up. “Everything changed, I would be going to watch football, hanging out with mates, and then suddenly I just stopped doing everything,” he told us.

“It killed my sex drive, amongst killing all interests. Even my hygiene dropped. I was at rock bottom, I was having suicidal tendencies and I thought: something’s got to give, I have to change this.”

The Line Of Duty storyline appears to reflect this common pattern from prescription to over-the-counter misuse. While Steve’s reliance on the painkillers has developed across three series, the time it takes for someone to develop an opioid addiction can vary, says Albuquerque. 

“For some, the feelings of euphoria can be so enjoyable that after just a few days of regular exposure their brain chemicals have been altered to encourage more consumption,” he says.

“For others, the addiction can take hold over a prolonged period of time. Painkillers only pause pain, they’re a sticking plaster to a deeper problem. The problem arises when no other treatment for the pain is provided. This is when gradual addiction begins to manifest, because the person suffering hasn’t been provided with any alternative.”

 Signs of prescription drug addiction:

  • Displaying erratic behaviour when running out of painkillers
  • A change in a person’s emotional state
  • A tendency to shop online for prescription drugs
  • Regular complaints about medical conditions that justify drug use
  • A gradual change in school or work performance
  • Disinterest in personal appearance
  • Withdrawal symptoms, include nervous tremors, anxiety, sleep disorders, vomiting and diarrhoea. 

Read more about the warning signs of prescription drug addiction. 

If Steve’s story has resonated with you, Albuquerque stresses the importance of seeking professional help for prescription or over-the-counter drug addiction. 

“Nobody should go ‘cold turkey’ from their prescription medication without discussing their wishes with their GP,” he says. “It must be a tapered process as simply stopping taking these drugs can cause dangerous withdrawal symptoms.”  

Further information and 24/7 confidential support with prescription drug addiction can be found on UKAT’s website. For mental health support, see a list of charity websites and helplines below. 

Useful websites and helplines

Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393.

Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill).

CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably) offer a helpline open 5pm-midnight, 365 days a year, on 0800 58 58 58, and a webchat service.

The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email [email protected]

Rethink Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0808 801 0525 (Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on rethink.org.

Mark Moore 2021-01-14
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