Heartbleed Could Affect Your WordPress Site

published on April 16, 2014

A critical OpenSSL vulnerability nicknamed “Heartbleed” was discovered recently and you need to know whether your information could be impacted. What is Heartbleed anyway?

What is Heartbleed

The Heartbleed Bug is a serious vulnerability in the popular OpenSSL cryptographic software library. This weakness allows stealing the information protected, under normal conditions, by the SSL/TLS encryption used to secure the Internet. SSL/TLS provides communication security and privacy over the Internet for applications such as web, email, instant messaging (IM) and some virtual private networks (VPNs). (source – Heartbleed.com)

Basic Things You Should Know About Heartbleed and OpenSSL

  • The Heartbleed bug allows anyone on the Internet to read the memory of the systems protected by the vulnerable versions of the OpenSSL software.
  • OpenSSL is a library that provides cryptographic functionality to applications such as secure web servers. Be sure to read the documentation of the application you want to use. The INSTALL file explains how to install this library. OpenSSL is based on the SSLeay library developed by Eric A. Young and Tim J. Hudson and the OpenSSL toolkit is licensed under an Apache-style licence which basically means that you are free to get and use it for commercial and non-commercial purposes.
  • The Heartbleed bug compromises the secret keys used to identify the service providers and to encrypt the traffic, the names and passwords of the users and the actual content.
  • The Heartbleed bug allows attackers to eavesdrop on communications, steal data directly from the services and users and to impersonate services and users.
  • The Heartbleed bug is not a design flaw in SSL/TLS protocol specification. It is an implementation problem, i.e. programming mistake in popular OpenSSL library that provides cryptographic services such as SSL/TLS to the applications and services.

Should You Be Concerned?

Encryption is the process of encoding messages or information in such a way that only authorized parties can read it. Encryption doesn’t prevent hacking but it reduces the likelihood that the hacker will be able to read the data that is encrypted. Encryption is used to protect secrets that may harm your privacy or security if they leak. This bug has compromised secrets in four categories:

  • The Heartbleed bug leaked primary key material – the crown jewels – the encryption keys themselves. Leaked secret keys allows the attacker to decrypt any past and future traffic to the protected services and to impersonate the service at will.
  • The Heartbleed bug leaked secondary key material – the user credentials (user names and passwords) used in the vulnerable services.
  • The Heartbleed bug leaked protected content – actual content like personal or financial details, private communication such as emails or instant messages, documents or anything seen worth protecting by encryption handled by the vulnerable services
  • The Heartbleed bug leaked collateral – Leaked collateral are other details that have been exposed to the attacker in the leaked memory content. These may contain technical details such as memory addresses and security measures such as canaries used to protect against overflow attacks. These have only contemporary value and will lose their value to the attacker when OpenSSL has been upgraded to a fixed version.

OpenSSL is the most popular open source cryptographic library and TLS (transport layer security) implementation used to encrypt traffic on the Internet. You may be directly or indirectly affected if your popular social site, your company’s site, commerce site, hobby site, site you install software from or even sites run by your government might be using vulnerable OpenSSL.

Users of OpenSSL versions 1.0.1 through 1.0.1f with the heartbeat extension enabled are affected. OpenSSL 1.0.1 through 1.0.1f (inclusive) are vulnerable

OpenSSL version 1.0.1g addresses the vulnerability, as well as OpenSSL instances compiled without the heartbeat extension.

What You Can Do

  • If you are not using OpenSSL on your servers (or are not hosted on one of our Shared hosting plans), you are not affected.
  • If you do use OpenSSL, identify which servers are running OpenSSL (versions 1.0.1 through 1.0.1f are affected).
  • Update to the latest patched version of the software (1.0.1g), or recompile OpenSSL without the heartbeat extension, if applicable.
  • Reissue any SSL certificates on affected web servers after moving to a patched version of OpenSSL.
  • Test your SSL installations. You can also test your site here: http://filippo.io/Heartbleed/
  • Revoke any certificates that were replaced. Please revoke AFTER the reissue has been completed and you have successfully installed it on your web server.
  • Consider resetting end-user passwords that may have been visible in a compromised server memory.

Helpful Resources regarding Heartbleed

It is wise to take all the necessary precautions but without allowing panic to come in. Learn all you can and act accordingly.


Social Tools For Better Blogging

published on April 8, 2014

Appealing to today’s readers means harnessing the power of social media. According to ShareThis, the amount of shared digital content increased ninefold from 2006 to 2011 globally, and is expected to grow exponentially. Use social media tools to your advantage and bring in the right readers at the right time.

Monitoring Your Online Presence

Free monitoring tools and specialized premium tools can help you understand and optimize your social media presence. A service like Brandwatch tracks mentions and conversations about your brand and competitors. Starting at $800/month, the service isn’t cheap, but the information can be used to improve customer service and marketing, like responding to an upset customer or discovering conversion opportunities.

If you’re a blogger, a free tool like Social Mention provides useful data like top keywords and hashtags found in queries. Furthermore, Tagboard tracks specific hashtags across the social networks and offers a basic account for individuals.

Attracting Subscribers, Followers and Fans

High quality, engaging content will always be the most effective and authentic method of earning traffic. If you are stuck for ideas, collaborate on copy and don’t just post for the sake of posting.

Sometimes great content is timely content. Comment and write about newsworthy topics and issues that matter to readers. Known as newsjacking for marketers, it’s just as effective for publishers. Find out what matters to your readers in the simplest of fashions — just ask. Polls and surveys will indicate what your audience looks like and how they act. Conversations through social media and comments will solidify authority on the given topic. For an ever deeper look, install Google analytics and an analytics service like Kissmetrics. Starting at $150/month, the service will track factors like:

  • Which traffic source or campaign people came from.
  • How many times they used a specific feature.
  • Which subscription plan they’re on or the last product category they purchased from.

Manage Your Social Platforms

Impeccable content and a proud online presence will do nothing if no one sees it. Social media management has turned into a career field and is big business for digital companies. Firms like Sprout Social and Hootsuite offer many of the tracking capabilities of other services but also offer automated posting and analysis. This is crucial for enterprise accounts, like payroll software company Intuit, that are active on social platforms like Twitter, Facebook and even YouTube.

Just as brands diversify their social sharing, bloggers should share their content across all platforms. Standards should include Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Other sites, like Pinterest, StumbleUpon and Reddit, should also be utilized often. Hootsuite automates five accounts for free and has an app directory for adding networks. However, bloggers should be careful of too much automation. The power of social is lost if you fail to engage with an interested reader in a timely fashion.

Get Mo-blog-ile

According to Kissmetrics, 51 percent of website visitors are more likely to do business with a company that has a mobile site. Just as businesses can expect more and more mobile visitors, bloggers also need to be prepared for a smartphone and tablet audience. A slow loading mobile blog can even be penalized by Google. The first step is to test your mobile website for compatibility. Google’s How to Go Mo offers multi-screen testing and analysis. Issues like too much scrolling, image sizing and load speed can all be discovered with proper testing. If you do notice issues, mobile website creation services like Dudamobile can help. A simpler solution is to use the plugin WPTouch for a mobile-friendly theme.


Best Contact Form Plugins That Help Deliver The Message

published on April 4, 2014

The Contact Us page is one of the most important pages on your website. Users and visitors need to know that they have an opportunity to contact you directly and in a more private setting. Here are some of the best Contact Form plugins you can add to your website to help make sure communications between you and your audience get delivered on time.

Contact Form 7 plugin

Contact Form 7 is one of the most popular contact forms around. With over 16 million downloads, this free plugin can manage multiple contact forms,the form and the mail contents is customizable with simple markup, and it supports Ajax-powered submitting, CAPTCHA, Akismet spam filtering etc.

Gravity Forms

Gravity Forms is a premium contact form plugin that gives you the flexibility and ease of creating forms that are responsive to the needs and goals of your website. This plugin features: a built in Form Builder that allows you to build and design WordPress forms with options to define specific fields in your forms and easily embed them into your website. You can create multi page forms, define and configure form settings, limit the number of forms that can be created, create advanced forms with specific filters and parameters, set a start and end date to the validity of the forms, create order forms, and even build forms that create WordPress posts on your site.

Jetpack Contact Form

Jetpack is a powerful plugin once available only to WordPress.com users but can now be taken advantage of by self-hosted WordPress sites using the cloud power of WordPress.com. Jetpack includes with it a simple and easy to use Contact Form builder using the familiar WordPress interface. You can customize the contact form, add, edit, and reorder the form fields, receive an email notification for each contact form response, and for Akismet users you can have every form submission be checked for spam.

Ninja Kick Sidebar Contact Form Premium Plugin

Ninja Kick Sidebar Contact Form Plugin adds a WordPress contact form with content push animation effect and clean design on every page of your site. The Contact Form is responsive to screen size changes and works well on mobile devices and reacts to swipe gestures. The plugin uses modern CSS3 transitions with a fallback to older JS animations if browser lacks support. Key features include: User-friendly Settings page, option to hide label and trigger form opening from any element on page (menu button, link, image), sleek fly-out animation effect, client-side form validation and form AJAX submission, always-visible floating contact button, and human test option to prevent spam.

Contact Form Clean and Simple

Contact Form Clean and Simple is a straightforward, clean and simple AJAX contact form with Google reCAPTCHA, Twitter Bootstrap markup and Akismet spam filtering. A standard set of input boxes are provided: Email Address, Name, Message and a big ‘Send Message’ button. All input entered by the user is then stripped back – to minimize the likelihood of any malicious user’s attempt to inject a script into your website. If the Akismet plugin is activated all form data will be scanned for spam. reCAPTCHA can also be activated to avoid your form being abused by bots.

WP-CRM – Customer Relations Management for WordPress

WP-CRM Plugin for WordPress is intended to significantly improve user management, easily create contact forms, and keep track of incoming shortcode form messages. This plugin allows you to organize your users using custom attributes, find them using filters, and keep track of correspondence. The premium version allows you to to send newsletters to users, or user groups and also to synchronize email management. You can create your own forms with custom data fields of your choice, send messages, collect all kinds of custom data which can be filtered for easy contact analysis. These forms can also create users with the user role you want to assign


Moving to WordPress?

published on April 2, 2014

Many website owners start off as casual bloggers, typically on a free platform, and usually not expecting any life-changing thing to happen to their websites. However, life in cyber space is full of surprises and no one can really predict which site will be the next big thing. Some, are fortunate enough to find their match audience and experience reasonable success. This could mean that the free platform might not be enough to contain and sustain the increased volume of traffic and content. Migrating to a more robust and dynamic platform could be the solution.

But what about all the historical content that’s been created? Or what about a test or a private staging site you use for you or a client? If you are moving from a free platform, another WordPress site or any other platform and migrating to a self-hosted WordPresswebsite, here are some tools to help you make the transition as less hairy as possible.

All-in-One WP Migration

All-in-One WP Migration allows you to export your database, media files, plugins, and themes. You can apply unlimited find and replace operations on your database and the plugin will also fix any serialization problems that occur during find/replace operations. It is also the first plugin to offer true mobile experience on WordPress versions 3.3 and up. Features include: multisite compatible, works on Windows OS and IIS.

WP Migrate DB

WP Migrate DB exports your database as a MySQL data dump (much like phpMyAdmin), does a find and replace on URLs and file paths, then allows you to save it to your computer. It is perfect for developers who need to update their local install with fresh data from the production site, or copy their locally developed site to a staging or production server. It also takes into account serialized data (both arrays and objects) and updates the string length values. You can select the tables you want to migrate, pull production db down and replace local db, push local db up and replace production / staging db, enjoy unlimited find & replaces (free is limited to 2), Multisite support, Video walk throughs and how-tos.

WordPress Duplicator

WordPress Duplicator gives WordPress administrators the ability to migrate, copy or clone a site from one location to another. The plugin also serves as a simple backup utility. The Duplicator supports both serialized and base64 serialized string replacement. This tool is great for pulling a production site down onto your local machine for testing and validation. It also works great for developing locally and then pushing up to a production server for a first time site release. Requires above average technical knowledge and not recommended for WordPress beginners.

WordPress Move

WordPress Move is a migration assistant for WordPress that is capable of changing the domain name in use and/or migrating your installation to another server either as is or based on your choices. You can use WordPress Move to transfer your database or create backups of your installation.

Site Push

SitePush is a WordPress plugin that allows you to have multiple versions of your WordPress site, so you can edit, develop, test without any risk to your main, live site. It’s great for developers, designers and editors or anyone who wants to be able to test changes to a site before it is visible to the world. You can easily easily move content between sites, test new themes and plugins – all in a private staging site, and you can also test and easily push new code on to a live site.


Must Have Features in Choosing a WordPress Theme for your Website

published on April 1, 2014

WordPress theme trends come and go. Some popular features a while back have faded away while others went mainstream and have become basic and essential features integral to a WordPress theme. A lot of the WordPress themes in the marketplace today are feature-packed and sometimes it gets overwhelming to choose the perfect one. Website owners need to be able to sort through long menu of features, pull out those that are relevant to their own specific website needs and goals, just to make sure they don’t get an over bloated and slow-loading website. Here are some basic features to look for in selecting a WordPress theme to fit your website needs.

Flexibility and Ease of Use

User experience is a key factor in web design. WordPress themes must be flexible enough to adapt to the user’s needs and provide way for customization to be simple and easy. A popular feature nowadays is the drag and drop feature where layouts can be configured and reconfigured by simply dragging and dropping elements into specific areas. WordPress themes that include this feature already have a fan base as it makes customization convenient and friendly even for WordPress beginners.

Responsive (On or Off feature)

The emergence of mobile platforms in internet usage makes its users a population that shouldn’t be ignored. A lot of people think that mobile might eventually displace desktop as the dominant platform for internet access. In light of this, website owners need to consider WordPress themes that are 100% responsive enabling content to be presented efficiently on smartphones, tablets, and other mobile or handheld devices. Themes that include features such as menus especially designed for mobile devices, responsive sliders, and responsive images are also a plus factor. Some also prefer that they have control over whether they want the responsive feature turned on or off which means that WordPress themes that have this option will appeal to this type of web user.

Search Engine Optimization

It would be a pity for a site with amazing content to be left to obscurity because search engines can’t find it. According to Joost de Valk, creator of the popular SEO plugin Yoast,

“Out of the box, WordPress is a pretty well optimized system, and does a far better job at allowing every single page to be indexed than every other CMS I have used. But there are a few things you should do to make it a lot easier still to work with.”

WordPress themes that are built according to best code practices and are integrated with sound SEO measures will do well as far as search engine visibility and ranking are concerned.

Multi Media Handling Capabilities

Gone are the days where people are merely content reading stuff on the web. Today’s generation of internet users seek more interactive and media heavy content. Website users tend to lean towards WordPress themes that are flexible enough to handle all types of media formats (audio, video, images, etc). Support for self-hosted videos, Youtube, Vimeo and SoundCloud, and other third party multi media content hosts is always a plus as internet users today.

Animations, Parallax, Sliders, etc.

Some people detest sliders and other visual eye candy. Some don’t even think that it helps a site at all while some consider these visual effects necessary features in a website. When people get to your site, you want to ensure that they get enough interest to go through your content. The use of all these visual effects can go from cheesy to spectacular depending on how it is presented. Today’s media bombarded user can benefit from well-thought of and creative visual presentations that feed both the eyes and the mind.

Translation or Multi Lingual Ready

WordPress already powers more than 21% of the Internet and will continue to increase even as of this writing. This means that more non-English speaking users will be thrown in the mix of users and will need themes that can be translated into their own languages and with RTL (right to left provision). This segment of WordPress users will be more attracted to themes that are easier to adapt to their local audiences.

These features listed here may or may not be on the top of your list. If you do have some suggestions, feel free to leave us a comment and tell us why you think so. We’d love to hear from you.


Top 5 BuddyPress Themes April 2014

published on March 30, 2014

BuddyPress ready themes enable you to create your own special social network centered around your website and content. This means that visitors can register as members and connect and network with other members who are part of your specific niche community. This is especially useful in creating and growing a social network where members share common interests. Here’s a rundown of the top 5 themes that have BuddyPress integrated into them.

WPLMS

WPLMS Premium WordPress Theme is a learning management solution for WordPress. It is designed to deliver and manage educational content for an online audience. WPLMS enables you to create and sell courses as single items, as subscriptions or as a combination of both. You can embed videos and other multimedia content into your courses, create your own question bank with multiple choice, single answer or essay type questions including quiz timers, timelines and auto submit with WPMLS’s built-in quiz and test capabilities. WPLMS includes an instructor dashboard allowing you to check submissions of students as well as your own course content. The theme also has a progress page for users to track progress and l badges and certificates earned and attained. This theme uses BuddyPress for collaboration and discussion with other learners.

Kleo

Kleo Premium WordPress Theme is a multipurpose theme designed to meet various requirements of most websites.This BuddyPress and bbPress ready theme gives you great flexibility to create a membership site with complete ease. Powered by the popular visual composer plugin, Kleo enables you to simply drag and drop elements into a single page. Kleo enables managing content according to membership level. The theme gives you the ability to restrict content according the type of membership one has. Kleo comes with key features such as an awesome option panel, shortcodes and templates for easy customization, 700+ Fontello icons, WPML ready, and so much more.

Xphoria

Xphoria Premium WordPress Theme showcases what BuddyPress and bbPress plugins are capable of doing. Xphoria gives you the ability to create display forums turning your site into a big social network exchange. Visitors can join groups, post messages, make connections and the like. Conversations are displayed in a neat tiled fashion showing the number of posts under each thumbnail. Groups are displayed on the homepage and may be viewed according to popularity, alphabetical order, activity or date created while each group has a separate page displaying member info and conversations. Essentially, a social network in a box, Xphoria can hel you build a social network for your company, school, sports team or niche community.

Plexus

Plexus Premium WordPress Theme is a multisite theme created especially for enabling your site to host a blog network within WordPress. This theme is fully integrated with BuddyPress and bbPress giving the social networking power fitting for a blog network. It comes with specific network settings that give you control over what blog admins can do with it. Aside from BuddyPress and bbPress full integration, the theme also includes: Visual Composer plugin for that drag and drop convenience in customization, Layer Slider plugin to create a responsive slider with hundreds of transitions, site wide widgets that display content across the blog networks, and so much more.

Klein

Klein Premium WordPress Theme is a powerful community theme that gives you the utmost power to maximize social networking. At the heart of this theme is the Gears core framework that enables you to integrate other plugins easily. This innovative WordPress theme was built to support BuddyPress, bbPress, and WooCommerce. It is ideal for a website that interacts with a lot of users. Members can create profiles, send messages, add connections, or simply share what’s happening. It also allows members to collaborate through forums or sell any products you require. Key features include: Visual Composer plugin for drag and drop layouts, paid membership pro features to manage subscription packages, supports Woocommerce to set up a vibrant private online ecosystem, etc. This theme works well with BuddyPress plugins such as Events Manage and Album Plus, extending the power of your site’s network.


Not Your Usual WordPress Themes Roundup

published on March 27, 2014

Multipurpose WordPress Themes are great for creating all types of websites but sometimes it’s more convenient and it saves a lot of time to use a ready-made theme that’s specific to your website requirements. Here are a few WordPress themes that are more than just your usual WordPress theme designs. Check them out:

Joglo – Woocommerce Real Estate Theme

Joglo Premium WordPress Theme is a modern real estate theme especially built for the real estate business. This WooCommerce enabled premium theme makes it easy to run an online realty company that can handle transactions like offering property for sale or home/apartment renting service. It has a sleek and dynamic design packed with features and functions like: Advanced Search where customers can easily browse any property filtered according to price, location, type or some other category or tag; Agents page listing agents names, description, and contact information; Responsive and custom layout; Property page with a contact form; and, Property detail page with map

Advocator: Professional Nonprofit Organizations

Advocator Premium WordPress Theme is primarily designed for non-profit, charity, organization, or advocacy related websites that aim to be interactive with their audience. This theme boasts of professional level accessibility and performance having been built using the Foundation 5 framework by Zurb. Key features include: audience can engage with you on mobile devices with ease, you can accept donations seamlessly, you can add Events for your organization, you can collect emails using Mailchimp, and if you’re a developer, you can customize super fast and efficiently.

Frisieur – WordPress Theme for Hairdressers

Frisieur Premium WordPress Theme is a fully responsive theme designed for hairdressers, hair salons, stylists, makeup artists, and similar professionals you need to set appointments with. This theme includes features and functions like: Working Appointment form, Approximate time with timepicker (compatible with two time types), Opening hours table, Google Map with geolocalization, and Working Contact Form, – elements necessary to booking clients online.

Pump – Responsive Wedding & Multi-purpose Theme

Pump Premium WordPress Theme is a Wedding Event & Multipurpose WordPress Theme all rolled into one. This super simple and yet fully functional responsive theme has endless possibilities not only for Weddings and events but even for business, corporate, or portfolio applications. This theme can grow with its users and convert into something else and adjust as the couple’s needs and interests evolve. It is also WooCommerce, BuddyPress, bbPress, and WPML ready.

WooCommerce Supermarket Theme – GoMarket

Woocommerce GoMarket Premium WordPress is a complete shopping solution for eCommerce owners. This theme includes 6 pre-designed stores making it easy to set up the store of your dreams. It features a
combination of Vertical Menu and Main Mega Menu to help customers navigate through the site easily.


Opt In Plugins for WordPress

published on March 21, 2014

Placing a strategic call to action on your website such as subscribe, register, download, purchase, etc. can make a difference in your conversion statistics. Make it easy for your audience to perform the CTAs you want them to with these opt in plugins for WordPress.

Magic Action Box

Magic Action Box is an easy to use but powerful lead generation plugin that lets you create a focused and high converting feature box in minutes. It let’s you display professional looking opt-in forms and feature boxes in your WordPress site. This plugin makes it easy to create powerful calls to actions and helps users to focus on one thing while presenting the CTAs in sleek professional looking action boxes without the need of a designer. This plugin also integrates with Gravity Forms to build complex, powerful and beautiful contact forms in just minutes.

OptinSkin

OptinSkin allows you to add eye-catching opt-in forms and social share boxes to your blog easily. One great feature of this plugin is the ability to split-test all the elements of your opt-in form (buttons, color, text, covers, images, etc. to find out which one visitors respond to the most. Another feature worth noting is the the Fade feature which allows the form to fade into your content – a great way to address ad blindness. This plugin also works with all major email marketing services and easily integrates with any of them. You also have the option to earn through your opt-in box by enabling an (optional) affiliate link. OptinSkin can be used on multiple websites you own without purchasing additinal copies.

Email Pickup

Email Pickup allow you create simple and powerful landing pages with email capture form. This is handy when you promote your products, for “Coming soon” pages, and for creating multiple subscribers lists for your newsletters. You can easily add forms to pages and posts using a special button or using a shortcode. This plugin also integrates with INinbox.

WangGuard

WangGuard protects your registration page against sploggers, spam users and unwanted users from gaining access to your website’s resources without the use of complicated captcha. This plugin cleans your database from unwanted users from within the Users panel. This plugin protects the standard WordPress, WordPress Multisite, BuddyPress and bbPress 2.0 registration forms. WangGuard is fully compatible with Standard WordPress (non-multisite), WordPress MU, WordPress Multisite, BuddyPress (multisite and non-multisite), bbPress 2.0, and plugins like WooCommerce.

Email Newsletter

Email Newsletter plugin gives you the option to send HTML Mails/Newsletters to registered users, commenters, subscribers, and users who contact you. This plugin gives you several options to: setup an email subscription box, send a newsletter to subscribers, add an unsubscribe link in the newsletter, export or import email addresses, send an auto email to new subscribers, and receive admin email notification for every new subscriber who joins.

Hybrid Connect

Hybrid Connect is a powerful plugin that allows you to create and customize your own opt-in form, display it strategically on your website (sidebar, footer, widget, slide-in, squeeze page, pop up forms, video, etc.), and improve your conversions by testing the elements in your opt-in form to produce the best results. Hybrid Connect is easy to use and requires absolutely no technical knowledge or coding skills. Hybrid Connect also features the easiest and most highly customizable opt-in form builder – the Hybrid Connect form builder – to help you create opt-in forms that match your website’s style without any coding knowledge required. This plugin also supports all major auto responder services.


3 Marketing Lessons the Sochi 2014 Olympics Can Teach You

published on March 19, 2014

Ambush marketing occurs when companies take advantage of major events to advertise their products without paying a sponsorship fee, as BrandonGaille.com explains. At the Sochi 2014 Olympics, this advertising strategy was a reoccurring trend. Before you decide if ambush marketing is for you, keep in mind that the usage of it is not condoned. Consider instead how you can use this tactic as inspiration when planning more ethical ways to advertise your company.

Zippo

Who could forget this ambush marketing fiasco? When the torch was blown out by the wind during the Olympics Torch Relay, Zippo conveniently came to the rescue and relit the torch with one of its own lighters. According to Marketing Week, the lighter company made headlines with this carefully planned stroke of luck that was used to improve brand recognition. Zippo managed to stay in the minds of viewers by choosing the olympic’s highlight event to make an appearance.

The Good Guy Way

Being at the right place at the right time could do wonders for your company’s visibility. You can take advantage of this slim possibility by upping your chances. Attend trade show events, get involved with your community, or partner with a charitable organization. Finally, when an opportunity comes by to increase your brand’s awareness, snatch it, but in a respectful way!

Subway

The promoter of “eating fresh” just couldn’t resist the temptation of ambush marketing. Subway’s 30-second plan consisted of a TV ad, Torah Bright and some heavy Sochi Olympic Games association, according to Business Week. Had they been an official sponsor, no one would have blinked an eye. Unfortunately for Subway, mentioning the Olympics in advertising campaigns is a major faux pas if you haven’t paid for the privilege. Sports Business Daily explains, Subway’s deliberate strategy probably came as an unwelcome surprise to McDonald’s, who paid close to $200 million for an eight-year, four Olympics sponsorship deal.

The Good Guy Way

Create associations without stepping on competitor’s toes. As a business owner you’re probably familiar with how the usage of color can influence your brand image. Take this knowledge a step further and make a connection with consumers through their feelings. A word to the wise, be careful not to overdo it with the sadness. You want your viewer to get emotionally attached to you and buy your product without crying his or her eyes out at the sight of your logo.

Starbucks

The well known Starbucks-branded cups began appearing at the Games after a Starbucks was installed in an NBC facility. It is unclear if Starbucks meant this to be an ambush, nevertheless, official sponsors weren’t too thrilled about seeing the green mermaid logo among the crowds. Non-sponsors aren’t allowed to represent their brand at the Sochi Olympics, but since the Starbucks facility was in the Olympics media center, this made it difficult to accuse Starbucks of playing the ambush marketing card.

The Good Guy Way

There’s a reason why restaurant owners choose to be located inside businesses like malls and other major retail outlets. Having an established clientele through another unrelated business is a major convenience for companies that are just starting out. Even if you don’t own a restaurant, you can creatively place your brand in high traffic areas. Banner stands and displays can be easy to strategically place. This should guarantee views by the highest number of people possible. A successful display will encourage impulse sales and customer curiosity.