Domainating: Brands, Art & Content

artist/illustrator/designer/webmaster/copywriter/videographer/optimizer/promoter/ad-man

Math Counts South Dakota State Champions

Math Counts 2014 SD State Champion Team

My son, Max, placed fourth overall in the state Math Counts competition. He was the highest ranking 7th grader in the tournament and is pictured here as a part of the winning team from Patrick Henry Middle School in Sioux Falls.  Max is the second from the end on the right side.

Obviously, I am very proud of him and his team mates, he has worked very hard to get where he is. Sometimes, I think that Max works too hard, but I have to let him be who he wants to be, which is a big deal to me since I never was given the chance to do what I want to do.

Congratulations Max, on a great showing at the South Dakota state Math Counts competition. You have punched your ticket to the national competition in Orlando, Florida, at Disney World.

Max also took second place in a math competition for geometry at USD in Vermillion, SD this past Saturday (3/29/2014). Patrick Henry Middle School students did great representing Lincoln High School (where they have their math classes) at the event. Great job, Max!

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March 31, 2014 Posted by | Parenting, The Human Condition | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Rip-off an Artist?

I am so tired of the current state of society.  Humans no longer matter and we take a corporate attitude of greed and protect-your-own-ass because no one else will.

Actually, there are real people who will stand-up and fight together and stick-up for each other.  But that’s not the point.  The point is that it should have never gotten this bad.

I see this all the time.  I designed a website that not only exceeded the needs and specs of the client, but it does so well beyond any parameters, including my own.  As I am just a freelance artist, it’ll never win any awards (I can’t afford to enter the webbies, etc… I am not surviving on what I get paid now) and only the client’s customers will ever really see it.

Ever hear the phrase “Charge a Corporation Twice or more what you would anyone else for the same work.”?  It is so very true.  Although lulled into thinking I could work with these people, they broke the original contract.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have a contract in writing.  So *I* kept every promise and delivered an extremely search engine optimized, user friendly, interactive website  based on the MODx content management system/framework.  This is the most extreme I had ever gone with CSS, Sprites, Fly-out menus, minimal graphics, reduced graphic sizes, etc…

But in the long run I screwed myself because I didn’t have a written contract.  And it would have protected me, because these people were absolute abusers.

Now, let me tell you that I did bid low to get this job because I thought I would enjoy it, but I had no idea that anyone could be so rude, condescending, back-stabbing or ruthless.  Instead of treating me like a business partner with a humongous stake in  their online success, I was belittled and chastised as if a lowly underling employee.  I had never been treated with such disdain by a client, before.  The terms of the original contract agreement was breached on several occasions and the deceit I experienced was unconscionable.  It’s a surprise that I was able to complete the project at all.  And I had no recourse because the agreement was verbal and I trusted them.

But the project was finished, despite themselves.  Not only was it finished, it was done right (despite themselves): the way I wanted it done (which was well beyond what they had asked for).

But now I know why to charge 2 or 3 or more times the price for a corporate gig.  Either you are working for a committee, or you are working as a mere employee with absolutely no rights or benefits (like a slave).

The extra money covers the extra hassle of writing the contract, and in dealing with a committee or being treated like a peon.  And the contract protects you from getting the shaft, spiteful delays for meetings, etc…  Now I know.

I told them I would not work for a committee, that I would work with just 1 person in delivering them a site beyond what they expected. I did.  But not without giving in to allowing a second person in to the mix who berated me and crucified me to “corporate”, her bosses.

These employees have “corporate” on the brain because they are so scared of losing their jobs.  The girl they added to the communication chain was apparently the company bulldog.  And she thought she was right, no matter what the facts are.  In the end she twisted everything into lies, was dismissive and disruptive just to “show me” a thing or two, and delayed the whole design & development process, incredibly.

Today I was on the phone with her to reach the other party, the guy I actually get along with, in order to make the site live.  He’s gone for the day.  As I am talking to her, she grunts her displeasure with me and dismisses me by hanging up the phone without so much as a “Goodbye.”

Previously, I had always worked with the business owner and entrepreneurs such as myself where we were smart enough to understand and communicate with each other.  If only the masses could communicate, they could educate themselves.

Then, I run into this article on “Smart Planet” how artist’s should watch their own asses because it really is OK to steal someone else’s artwork!:  How a thief defends theft: http://www.smartplanet.com/technology/blog/thinking-tech/how-to-protect-your-copyrighted-images-on-the-web/3684/

I am so angry this guy works there, at “Smart Planet”.  He’s telling us to watermark our artwork if we dare to put it online?  And all we are doing is trying to give our best work.  He says we could disable the right-mouse on a web page?  That makes our visitors angry because that right mouse button does a whole helluva lot more than save images, it is a vital tool for any web user.  He says to make a robots.txt file to steer the search engine bots away from our images… I did that once.  Not only did my images no longer show-up in Google Images, but my graphic design rank plummeted, and some search engines (such as the wayback machine) showed my web pages with all the images blocked out with a gray window over them.  Heck, I said stay away from crawling there, not to not show them on my pages!

There were plenty of lame excuses he gave, but they were all just excuses.  But it was interesting to see the criminal mind at work, how he could so effortlessly come up with any excuse and act as if it was actually a convincing argument.  Hey, fella, the reason Murdock gets away with it is because he owns Fox, not because it’s right, true or factual.

Listen, you self-centered “dogs” out there who don’t give a crap about anyone but yourself, it isn’t me or another artist that is “going to get you and bring you down”, it’s your own criminal activity and stupidity!

We artists are trying to give you are very damn best as a matter of pride in ourselves and our work.  And you treat us like we aren’t worth the same as you, that we are under you, your class, your level of achievement?  You rip us off for no good reason and excuse it as if we could do anything about it?

Where has morality gone?  What has happened to our ethics, and why do we dismiss them in order to make a point on TV or in a blog?  We used to be civil to each other.  Corporate America is NOT a good thing.  It seems to embrace ignorance.  But no one is fooled by Sarah Palin.  Being dumb is just plain dumb, no matter the excuse.

April 9, 2010 Posted by | Brands, Government/Politics, Graphic Design, Internet, Media, Social Communities, The Human Condition, Web Design & Development, Website Optimization | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Do You Need Like-Minded People to Follow on Twitter?

Are you looking for some like minded people to follow on Twitter?  If so, you may have been following people that your friends have been following, trusting their judgment.  But this has not worked out well for me.  Often it works very well, but there are the few trouble makers with a crappy mouth that I do not like my son to see.  Since TweetDeck is updating at regular intervals automatically, this is a big problem.

But recently Twitter has introduced “lists”.  Lists allow you to categorize other twitterers (or “tweople”) into lists.  In my case, I have categorized a whole mess of people into quite a few lists.  This should allow some of you who are designers to follow other designers, and etc.

A list of my current lists, with links to them, follows:

@Domainating/authors
@Domainating/entrepreneurs
@Domainating/marketers
@Domainating/artists
@Domainating/sports
@Domainating/tools
@Domainating/directories
@Domainating/siouxfalls
@Domainating/seoers
@Domainating/resources
@Domainating/southdakota
@Domainating/developers
@Domainating/designers
@Domainating/domainers

Hopefully that’s a good place to start, anyway. I actually spent quite a bit of time building those lists. I hope you can enjoy a few of them.

These lists are meant to allow others an easy means to follow other like-minded professionals, but you don’t have to actually follow each member, individually.  From what I understand, Twitter allows you to follow each individual list, making it much easier to add everyone listed there.

However, remember that you don’t have to follow anyone in order to put them in your own list, either.  That is, I started a list of designers and added all the known/recognized graphic and web designers to it.  But I didn’t actually follow the guys who’s Twitter posts (“tweets”) weren’t in English.  I still want them in my list in case I need someone who speaks Polish better than I (or some other language), so that I have easy access to them should I need to contract a freelancer on a project.

I do suggest that you follow like-minded people, though.  For instance, if you don’t know anything about domain names, and don’t especially want to, don’t go through the list of Domainers.  You’ll only get a bunch of info you don’t really want to know, such as domain name news, domain names offered for sale, or maybe something like how to use Google AdSense to monetize your website.  Professional websites don’t show Google AdWords advertisements, after all.

Happy Tweeting!

December 9, 2009 Posted by | Computing, Media, Social Communities, social media | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Soo-Foo.com Sold

I finally received my $600.0o check from Network Solutions’ Certified Offer Service for the sale of Soo-Foo.com, yesterday.  I had been awaiting this payment for quite some time and the whole transaction was mired with delays.  I am certainly glad to have finally received this payment, although I now know to charge more per sale if I ever get a an offer through this service ever again.  Although NetSol offered me $600.00 and paid me exactly $600.00 for Soo-Foo.com, this sale was well over a month in the making and once the transfer of the domain name had been completed and verified, it still took over 10 days for them to process the payment, issue a check and for me to receive it.  Heck, I had it transferred over to NetSol within 5 days.

The main problem is that NetSol only looks after itself, not its customers.  They use every trick in the book in order to screw their clients.  Once the transfer is complete and verified, the payment is authorized for processing.  Except even then, once the transfer has been completed and verified by Friday, the payment isn’t actually issued until the checks are printed the following week, on Thursday.  Talk about a racket, NetSol has purposely structured everything in order to give everyone else the shaft.  Obviously no one gets their check until next week, so NetSol is sitting on this payment an unusually long time before the funds are ever deducted from their bank account.

Every other domain name broker or sales service is paying the seller immediately upon a successful transfer verification through PayPal or the user’s set payment method.  That means that I would be paid on the very same day, anywhere else.  It just shows what an evil attitude NetSol uses in conducting business.  They really have no sense of fairplay at all.

Note also that Network Solutions uses the very same contract for every single one of its customers.  The same contract covers domain name sales of any type, and is extended to be overly and dramatically long to cover the specifics of each and every domain name extension, and all other legal speak, as well.  It also covers its web hosting, design services, along with anything and everything else it could ever thing of selling or taking commissions on.  The contract itself is a breach of contract by its very design as a way to buck the first law of business, because it fails to constitute any attempt to do business fairly by any stretch of the imagination.  NetSol’s conglomerated contract is unrealistic to any consumer, or anyone else that NetSol does business with, and is purposely meant to create confusion and make the reader give-up on making sense of the crap.

Obviously, NetSol hasn’t changed.  It’s this crappy “holier-than-thou” corporate law attitude with virtually no support  and complete lack of social responsibility that made me become my own domain name registrar at Domain Hostmaster.  Unlike NetSol, we take pride in delivering extremely low prices and offering full customer tech support on any issue.  But NetSol continues doing whatever they want on the mere basis that they control the registry, which of course is their primary business (and probably why NetSol so flagrantly abuses its human customer relationships).

I am sure that the buyer was happy, as whoever it was messed-up in the first attempt to purchase the domain at the agreed upon price after the first month was up and hadn’t sent the required FAX that NetSol’s Certified Offer Service was looking for, and I did not quibble about the price once they re-initiated a contract for sale after the previous offer and contract had expired.

I have made a mistake, though.  I deleted the sales listing for Soo-Foo.com from my Sedo account.  I should have just set it as ‘not for sale’ because the new owner still hasn’t changed the name servers for the domain.  That means that any PPC funds the domain produces using the old name servers set for Sedo will be lost to me since I can not add the domain name again as I won’t be able to be verified as the owner.

The new owner might be able to recover those funds if he/she signs-up at Sedo, though.  But probably won’t if he/she/they wouldn’t even bother trying to purchase the name through Sedo, originally.  Or maybe the buyer hasn’t actually taken possession of the name yet and it is still sitting in NetSol’s escrow account.  That would figure.

Despite NetSol’s attempt to treat anyone as badly as possible in order to leverage all advantages to itself, the sale of Soo-Foo.com did go through and I am happy with the outcome.  But I am not happy with the process as noted above, but that isn’t even the full story.  After acknowledging the successful transfer of the domain name to their transfer holding account in one email, the Certified Offer Service sent another email indicating that the transfer was unsuccessful and the sale was stopped.  This was obviously a hick-up in their system programming, but it is truly an enormous problem.  Why the heck can’t this giant corporate player get simple domain name transfer monitoring programmed correctly?

To top that off, upon receiving the first email saying that the transfer to their specified holding account was verified early in the day on Friday, that second email indicating that the transfer had failed and therefore the sale halted came late in the day on Friday and I did not see it until after the close of business.  Of course I wrote back, strongly objecting to their apparent failure to fulfill their contract of sale and threatening legal action if they did not complete the transaction.  And of course, since it was the weekend I did not expect a reply until the next week.  But I didn’t even get that reply on the following Monday.  It was late on Tuesday before I heard an apology for their mistake.  I can’t believe how unprofessional they are.

Thank God I have setup Domain Hostmaster, because as a Domainer I require great honest support available 24/7 at the kinds of competitive prices that anyone can afford along with all those free extras I include in every package.  And yes, I am my own best customer.  😉

By the way, what does “Soo-Foo” mean, you may ask?  That is the nickname for the city of Sioux Falls (pronounced Soo Fahls), where I live.  So I did have some designs on that domain name, myself.  Luckily, I have a couple of other options for local area branding solutions that are still in my possession.  😀

November 10, 2009 Posted by | Brands, Domain Names, Internet, Sales | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

twidrops: twitter backdrops & website backgrounds

I am happy to announce that I have finally gotten twidrops online.

Although only a small collection of twitter backdrops and themes are live, I think that anyone who checks it out should be happy with the quality of what is available there.  I started with some photographs that I took at the 2009 Sioux Falls Air Show on July 25th. So there are at least 3 shots of the Blue Angels on the site as I write this.

The twidrops site also offers a default theme allowing you to upload your chosen twidrop and simply plug-in the suggested color codes to produce a handsome looking twitter profile right away.

I also have about 20 repeating psychedelic pattern tiles available on the website, so far.

I am still working on the twitter backdrop design tutorial, but it is quite far along and is online now in the blog.

More will come, I am scanning my image files for some other backdrops and background tiles right now.  Now that I have a little online I want to add some other files to add some variety and diversity.

Be sure to stop by twidrops (twitter backdrops & website/blog backgrounds) to check it out!

twitter is a social blogging platform where you share bits of information 140 characters at a time.  If you would like to follow me on twitter, I am Domainating (of course).

Thanks for reading!
-Doug Peters

August 4, 2009 Posted by | Brands, Graphic Design, Internet, Web Design & Development | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment