E-Commerce And Affiliate Marketing

E-Commerce And Affiliate Marketing

The creation of the internet and the mass production
of computers in the late 80’s changed everyone’s
lives forever. Now, everyone has the potential to
be their own boss whether you are a stay home mom
or a manual laborer.

All you need to do is search on Google for business
opportunities and it will bring up more than you
could ever imagine. Even though you may think it’s
easy to make a living on the internet, it actually
requires a firm business plan and a lot of hard
work.

You can run an online business with your current
job, and your potential market is a lot bigger than
the average stores.

The first thing you’ll need to decide is the type
of business that’s right for you, then research
the market. The possible business choices open to
you are:
1. Affiliate programs
2. Adsense programs
3. Selling products

Affiliate programs will pay you a commission for
selling company products. You’ll have no contact
with the customer, as all you do is provide sales
leads to the company of whom you have to be an
affiliate for.

Adsense programs are where you take an existing
website you own of a particular subject then add
contexual adverts from Google’s adsense program.
When someone clicks on an advert you’ll receive a
few cents.

The final method is selling products. You’ll build
a website with a shopping cart then give as many
details as possible about the products. When
customers buy products, you’ll receive pay based
on what you sell and how many.

When it all comes down to it, you’ll need to set
up a business and web site to get the most from
E-Commerce or affiliate marketing. It’ll take a
lot of hard work and dedication – although it’ll
prove to be well worth it.

Creating The Unique Blog – Consider Photobucket

Creating The Unique Blog – Consider Photobucket

The blogging phenomenon continues to grow after it was initially introduced more than ten years ago. This online craze now includes the popular photography site Photobucket with their ever growing Photobucket Blog. The concept is a simple one – you can create a blog that is embedded with your favorite pictures. In addition, this site may contain pictures from your family vacation, a social gathering, formal functions, and can even include your marketing ventures.

While some may be quick to dismiss the possibility of using such a site for an online business presence, it can, in fact, bring a whole new set of specifically targeted customers to your web site. There is no need to resemble a “blogger tech geek” when using this personalized service and it’s target rich features. Combined with your seasoned marketing skills, it affords the internet business owner to take a much more relaxed focus to acquiring a new set of customers.

Countless thousands use the site’s photography services each day and their online community continues to grow and expand. Too, you can take the opportunity to post responses at various member blogs and provide backlinks to your web site. While other web site owners are concentrating on the well-known sites (and these services should be used too, of course), you can be one of the few who should summon this marketing power in order to propel your business to new heights.

Now you can see how this popular photography site can reach an entirely new audience and clientèle. Another advantage of using this service for your online business comes from knowing that you can attract a targeted audience of potential customers. For example, if your web site is dedicated to digital cameras, then your likelihood to attract members of Photobucket is certainly increased as compared to using a more traditional service like WordPress.

Having a unique internet presence with little to no competition benefits your web site and it is a sound business principle, but having an atypical blog design solution can only increase your ability to attract a growing customer base. By employing this method to your marketing schemes, your online business will continue to expand and prosper as you seek to gain new growth each day.

Ecommerce And The Power Of Belief

Ecommerce And The Power Of Belief

The Polar Express is a delightful children’s story that infuses the simplicity of a cultural Christmas with an element of faith. Children ride the fabled express in an effort to reclaim trust in something they no longer believe in – Santa Claus.

A pivotal point is evident at the end of the story when a little boy says, “I believe” after having steadfastly denied the existence of the jolly old elf. The magical world of childhood reopens for the boy and the children passengers he has shared his amazing adventures with and we are left with the very warm fuzzies the author hoped we would feel.

Whether by DVD or by book this story is shared each holiday season to the delight of children around the world.

I think this movie and/or storybook should be read/seen by everyone who decides to venture into the world of ecommerce. In turn this volume will likely be passed along to another generation as a valued edition to holiday stories.

Just like those who have lost the childlike spirit of Christmas it is possible (and even probable) for business owners to become a bit jaded in their view of a new business venture. If these entrepreneurs have been part of business startups in the past they will often treat business as, well, just business. They can lack the passion they need to infuse their startup with something more than tried, tested and proven methods.

Sometimes a business startup will only make sense in context of the heart that is evident in the personality stamp of passion.

Yes, business is about calculated risk, business models and executive foresight, but without passion the business may be more cookie cutter than maverick – more sterile than fun – more clinical and less adventure.

Perhaps that is one of the biggest difference between the heart of those who really “believe” in the entrepreneurial idea they are pursuing and those who simply act in response to acceptable numbers.

That’s not to say a more corporate approach won’t work, but the reason many small businesses hang in there is because the owner “believes” so much in the product or service that they will passionately pursue their belief even if it leads to a failed startup.

One approach can seem cold and calculating while the other is new territory with no map in sight. It may seem that knowing everything about what you’re doing is a better approach, but this approach takes the personal and makes it something much less.

I tend to believe that a more corporate approach only works when team building occurs. Where individuals with complimentary gifts can make the new startup personal. If this scenario happens the team can infuse their own passion into the most sterile startup.

Ecommerce is an arena that is perfect for exploration and discovery. It is a place where belief thrives and prospers. Ecommerce is a place for brave people to bring the faith of a child and imagine the impossible as possible and then proving the unbelievers wrong.

The Basics of Direct Email Marketing

The Basics of Direct Email Marketing

Marketing through email has become a very popular way of marketing today. With the advent of the Internet, technology has broadened the scope and ways of marketing.

Email

Email is short for electronic mail. This is one of the main reasons why people use the Internet. About two decades back, no one actually realized that electronic mail would become very useful and eventually be a focal point in relationships, both personal and business.

The whole email system lets people communicate with each other all the time. Early email marketers used the listings of email subscribers to be able to send their proposals and advertisements. However, not many people become amused with this fad. Sending unsolicited email or what we refer to as “spam” is a definite a “don’t” in email marketing.
This article tries to give tips on how to effectively use email for marketing and how to use it properly.

Email marketing can make or break your reputation as a marketer and the reputation of the product which you are promoting. Here are some of the ways on how to do email marketing:

-Integrate

Email marketing should be integrated into the whole marketing plan to promote a certain product effectively. Email marketing can be one of the ways and is not the only way to market a product. An array of marketing techniques should be employed by a marketer to be able to get around the market.

-Build relationships first

Getting into the email marketing bandwagon has its downsides, if it not done properly. People will get irritated if one floods a mailing list with advertisements which are not needed. In sending advertisements in e-groups or other such kinds of groups, one should be able to assess the general needs and concerns of the members before he actually plunge into a barrage of email marketing endeavors.

-Information

Email marketing, is most effective if it is part of a wider marketing scheme. Email is at its best if it is used to spread useful information for the target audience. The body of the email should contain pertinent and updated information about the product or the service. Just like in any form of marketing, email marketing should be planned and executed with care.

-Don’t send unsolicited email

One of the most irritating and agitating things about email is spam. If one is thinking about using spam mail to be able to market his product, he must give it a second thought. A lot of people hate unsolicited mail and usually won’t even open the message containing such messages. Spam will not only be a waste of time and effort from the part of the marketer, but will it will have an effect on the image of the product and the reputation of the marketer as well.

People avail of email services to be able to receive information and substantive mails from people whom they know or trust. The approach that an email marketing should be built in this line.

-Service

There’s an impression that direct email marketing is done by promoters to be able to escape from certain realities that come along with other forms of marketing. The fear of rejection is one of these harsh realities that are avoided by using email as a marketing medium. To be able to get the attention and more importantly, to be recognized seriously, an email marketer must be able to follow up quickly on the requests of his prospects. Service is the only thing that can improve the first impression towards direct email marketing.

-Permission

Spamming is not a good thing to do. It is also considered illegal in some states. However, when one asks permission from the receiver to send a marketing proposal through email, direct email marketing takes another step forward. A survey shows that people who were initially asked for permission to receive certain proposals were more interested to read the emails, as compared to the response towards unsolicited email.

Email is just one of the tools to be able to promote through the Internet, and by far, it is one of the most popular and most effective. There are a lot of unwritten rules towards doing direct email marketing but everything leads back to giving quality service to the prospects and clients.

Effective methods of doing business online!

Effective methods of doing business online!

With all these dot com failures so rampant, you may question, is it still viable to consider an online venture? The truth is: while spectacular rise and fall of many dot com companies have been overly publicized, sales through Internet are still increasing by 20 – 25% each year. Even economic down turn of the recent years has not hampered this growth.
Consider this:
According to an annual study of Internet trends by marketing research firm Ipsos, almost two third of Internet users in the United States have by now purchased a product or service online. That’s a dramatic increase from only 36 percents of respondents in 2000. Studies show that more than 35.5 million U.S. Internet users made shopping trips to web shops during the week ending November 3, 2002, which is roughly 14 million more than almost the same time period in 2001.
While the hype over the new economy is maybe over, one thing is for sure that Internet has revolutionized the way we do business and positioned itself as one of the biggest and most unique sales channels. Many companies, finally, started to realize that their very existence may get jeopardized if they are slow in integrating Internet to their business model.
But the question still remains – is there any effective method of doing business online?
Below I have outlined some components crucial to any online venture. While these might not be the only vital components of web based business, understanding them correctly will significantly improve your chance of doing online business effectively.
Business Plan
Business plans are like road maps. Imagine, you ended up in a unfamiliar town and you have to find an address without a map! How would you feel? Definitely, you would have been much better off with a map of the locality! The same thing goes for business plan. Though, many successful ventures may have been started without the benefit of a formal business plan, a good business plan improves your chances of success and help you avoid many mistakes.
A recent AT&T study of successful entrepreneurs shows that businesses are more successful if they have a written business plan than the ones which don’t. With a written business plan you get a better picture of your planned venture. So, before starting you online venture, take some time and write down what are you planning to do.
Product or Service
If you are a brick and mortar company merely trying to expand sales of your products or services on the Internet your task is easier! You at least don’t have to mull over what to sell. But, what an entrepreneur who decided to start a new venture should sell on the Internet?
Actually, you can sell virtually any product or service through the Internet. You may say, “Wait a second, you can’t sell big ticket items over the net, right?” Wrong! The car and part industries alone forecast to generate US$ 274 billion in revenues from online trade by 2004. There are incidents of consumers buying corporate jets online!
If you are serious about starting an online business, finding a product or service that suits you should not be very difficult.
Knowledge base products like e-books, how-to-reports and hard to find information and data sell quite well on the Internet.
Drop-ship items are bountiful on the Internet.
Thanks to global reach of Internet finding manufacturer for any item that you plan to import to your country or export from your country became lot easier.
If you have expertise, online services similar to web design, travel arrangement etc. are also good sales.
Internet users are paying readily for various types of online contents. Global online content market will add up to 50 billion US$ in 2003. You can consider this too!
Website/ Web store
Since you customers take their decision, whether to do business with you or not based on what they see on your site, it is critical to have a professional-looking website with good related content.
You can choose your website according to your need from a vast range of choices. Starting from a completely free website you can shell out thousands of dollars for a decent e-commerce website. The choice is yours!
There are various quality portals that allow you to have products and services displayed on a single page web site for free. Many business to business portals provide with this kind of services. However, for real time transactions you will still need e-commerce web stores.
If you are not good at design or don’t want to spend a fortune on you web store, you should think about getting an e-commerce stores from web enablers like Yahoo, Bigstep, etc.
For a nominal monthly fee you can have the facilities required to run a full fledged electronic storefront and build it yourselves from easy to use templates.
If you go for this type of services, compare and see who has most of the features for lesser price. Some business to business portals along with your e-business web store will furnish you with necessary features to carry out over the Internet many important parts of buy and sale processes.
Shopping carts
The integral part of e-commerce sites, which allows you to accept product purchase orders for multiple products or services, is called a shopping cart.
The term “Shopping Cart”is taken from real life shopping terminology to help users understand the actions available to them. Like in a supermarket a user can add products to shopping cart, remove products from the cart or adjust the quantity of the products as per requirement before checking out and making payments.
While looking for shopping carts for your e-commerce store, you should consider the following aspects of a powerful and functional shopping cart:
Access to the shopping cart should be clearly visible. There should be several entry points to the cart.
Add, remove and adjust quantity of the product features should be prominent on the cart page.
The item name should have a link to the description of the product.
There should be a way of saving items for future purchases.
Shipping and other costs should be clearly stated before the check out process starts.
Order forms should be simple and clear.
All payment options should be explained clearly.
Ordering process should be done through secure server. You know you are on a secure server when the URL of your browser indicates “https:”. The s at the end of http stands for “secure”.
Merchant Account
90 percents of all online retail sales take place through credit card transactions. According to industry statistics, the average credit card sale is $40 versus just $9 for the average cash sale. To offer the credit card payment option to your online clients, you need to set up a merchant account-a bank authorized account established by your company to receive the proceeds of credit card purchases.
Even if you already accept credit cards for your offline transactions, that may not be enough. Although, you can take many precautions to reduce online credit card frauds, credit card companies still consider Internet transactions to be riskier than offline transactions. That’s why finding a right merchant account provider could be a little bit more complicated than you might think. Things could be even trickier if your business is located outside of the United States.
There are many middleman merchant account providers on the Internet. Do some comparison-shopping before you sign up with any of them as conditions that they offer vary significantly.
Although, it is definitely good to have a merchant account that does not mean you can’t sell products or services without having one! There are numerous other payment options available on the Internet. Most popular of them are paypal, e-gold, e-bullion, etc.
If you would like to have an effective online business, remember that old values still count. Proper planning, uncompromising customer service, integrity, hard work and persistence eventually will make your business successful.

Starting And Maintaining A Blog

Starting And Maintaining A Blog

As the online business industry grows and matures, marketers are continually seeking out new sources of internet traffic and the tools to succeed. Blogging was introduced to the web in the late 1990s and it has become a staple of the online marketing industry. Most web site owners now incorporate a blog design solution as a part of their business establishment and utilize it as a tool for obtaining targeted traffic. If you’re new to blogging and/or new to online marketing, this avenue of generating visitors to your web site should be an essential element of your business plan.

Blogging is much easier than you may realize. The first step involves choosing a site to host your blog. WordPress, Blogger, and 360 Blog Yahoo are widely used by the marketing industry and each one is highly recommended in the blogging community. Blogs are simple to use and very easy to maintain. Daily updates generally require no more than a few sentences each day. However, blog topics can be rather lengthy if the occasion dictates a sizable and extensive entry. Make a habit of updating your blog on a daily basis and keep the topics interesting, entertaining, informative, and use some humor when the situation arises.

The physical appearance of your blog should be attractive, yet very neutral. Do not use gaudy colors or templates that make the text difficult to read. A light color for the background is recommended and the text should be darker in color. Additional features such as pictures, video clips, audio clips, and banners need to be strategically placed and easy to access. If your blog is going to include Google Adsense, be sure to follow Google’s suggestions for placement and plan accordingly.

Be sure to allow for comments on your blog. This blogging business tip should not be ignored. Comments are made by visitors and visitors can become paying customers. As the blog gains in popularity, the opportunity to acquire more visitors and customers constantly increases.

As a new blogger, the aforementioned tips can enhance your blog design solution and it will allow for an increase in business and a growing customer base. As the blog grows and flourishes, so will your loyalty from enthusiastic customers.

The Network Marketing Niche

The Network Marketing Niche

Many people dream about going into business for themselves. They wish to quit the rat race of the 9 to 5 scene and strike out on their own. If you are a people person, then you may want to consider the advantage of going into network marketing. Network marketing is all about people helping people both with building a business and selling your products or services.

Network marketing is a business that you can start on a shoestring, and with a lot of hard work you can achieve financial and personal freedom. You will no longer have to answer to a boss at a regular job because now you are your own boss! If more than 13 million of the people in the United States are working in the field of networking marketing then something has to be going right. Just know that there will always be scams out there especially if you are fishing on the Internet! You have to do your homework and recognize which network marketing companies are legitimate. Also, a big difference can be made in how you choose to market your own network marketing business.

Network marketing is also commonly known as multi-level marketing or MLM. You have probably all heard of that at one time or another. Let us take a look at exactly what network marketing is. Network marketing usually offers consumable products and services to people that are used in a short period of time. As stated before, you can get involved in networking marketing at a very low price. It also helps you build residual income. Network marketing involves more people than ordinary direct sales companies, and it helps to leverage other people’s time. Network marketing is not just another “get-rich-quick” scheme. In times past if a person wanted to carve out their niche in network marketing they used to have to beat their “warm market” to death! Today, with the use of modern technology, is is not that way at all. The world is your entire market thanks to the Internet. You can also use such tools as conference calling, and now that Skype has come onto the scene it has opened many new vistas of opportunities! The crux of network marketing is still sharing the opportunity as well as your products and services with as many individuals as possible. Forget snail mail and mailing out postcards to introduce people to your network marketing business. Now e-mail is readily available and you can reach thousands in an instant! There is no better time than the present to begin your career in network marketing.

The key word of network marketing is leverage. You can make the most of your time and your money by introducing people to your business opportunity and making a small percentage off of their efforts. A network marketing business should be easily duplicatable. This is what will ensure your success. The people that you have brought into your business can learn from your success and copy it.

As can be seen, a networking marketing business can be very profitable. However, it takes dedication and hard work in the beginning. If you put your whole efffort into your home business, then you will soon reap your rewards!

Ecommerce: Mashups And Future Site Function

Ecommerce: Mashups And Future Site Function

What comes to your mind when you hear the term ‘Mashups”? It is likely whatever comes to mind will not come close to the actual thought process behind the term unless, of course, you are already familiar with the concept.

The term ‘mashups’ has been used in both music and software applications. The term generally means mixing two separate media applications into something entirely new. In the world of music that means a new song that might feature Aretha Franklin and Metallica. In the world of software, however, this can often mean a greater degree of function in which two successful software applications work together to create a greater output of information and usability than either could on their own.

In the fall of 2006 both IBM and Google have expressed interest in mashups for online applications. Google is finding users performing mashups of their map program that makes customized locations for websites possible. The addition of IBM’s interest may allow mashups to go mainstream.

What this ultimately means for ecommerce may be unclear, but the possibilities are impressive. Mashups may allow for greater interaction with your site software applications and allow you to perform tasks on your website much more quickly. It also has the potential to allow your visitors to speed through checkout procedures.

This may sound like espionage or possibly the work of a reforming hacker, but what may have started with those ideas in mind is now finding a listening ear with some of the Internet’s most significant players.

Marc Bennioff of Salesforce.com refers to mashups when he said, “”Soon everything will just be a service, business e-mail or your PBX, all your business apps. It’s already affected us in our homes and now these multi-tenanted services are going to pervade your business. It’s not just one idea; it’s not just one provider.”

Long-term, the idea of ecommerce mashups has the potential of streamlining the various applications found on your site. They will have the potential of allowing your visitors to do more within your website than they may have ever thought possible.

The co-mingling of successful software applications is a taboo that is being broken in the business world. The end result may provide a universally enjoyable online shopping experience.

The three keys to a successful mashup include presentation, functionality and data. Some mashups are only compatible in one area. For instance the use of a second software application may enhance presentation, but do little to improve the function or data connections of the ‘new’ combined software.

Chances are pretty good you will hear more about mashups in business applications in the coming month. While there is still much to learn, the ramifications for ecommerce are promising.

Nation Branding and Place Marketing – VII. Marketing Implementation, Evaluation, and Control

VII. Marketing Implementation, Evaluation, and Control

How can a country (region, state, city, municipality, or other polity) judge the efficacy of its attempts to brand or re-brand itself and, consequently, to attract customers (investors, tourism operators, bankers, traders, and so on)?

Marketing is not a controlled process in an insulated lab. It is prone to mishaps, last minute changes, conceptual shifts, political upheavals, the volatility of markets, and, in short, to the vagaries of human nature and natural disasters. Some marketing efforts are known to have backfired. Others have yielded lukewarm results. Marketing requires constant fine tuning and adjustments to reflect and respond to the kaleidoscopic environment of our times.

But maximum benefits (under the circumstances) are guaranteed if the client (the country, for instance) implements a rigorous Marketing Implementation, Evaluation, and Control (MIEV) plan.

The first task is to set realistic quantitative and qualitative interim and final targets for the marketing program – and then to constantly measure its actual performance and compare it to the hoped for outcomes. Even nation branding and place marketing require detailed projections of expenditures vs. income (budget and pr-forma financial statements) for monitoring purposes.

The five modules of MIEV are:

1. Annual plan control

This document includes all the government’s managerial objectives and (numerical) goals. It is actually a breakdown of the aforementioned pro-forma financial statements into monthly and quarterly figures of “sales” (in terms of foreign direct investment, income from tourism, trade figures, etc.) and profitability.
It comprises at least five performance gauging tools:

I. Sales analysis (comparing sales targets to actual sales and accounting for discrepancies).

II. Market-share analysis (comparing the country’s “sales” with those of its competitors). The country should also compare its own sales to the total sales in the global market and to sales within its “market segment” (neighboring countries, countries which share its political ambience, same-size countries, etc.).

III. Expense-to-sales analysis demonstrates the range of costs – both explicit and hidden (implicit) – of achieving the country’s sales goals.

IV. Financial analysis calculates various performance ratios such as profits to sales (profit margin), sales to assets (asset turnover), profits to assets (return on assets), assets to worth (financial leverage), and, finally, profits to worth (return on net worth of infrastructure).

V. Customer satisfaction is the ultimate indicator of tracking goal achievement. The country should actively seek, facilitate, and encourage feedback, both positive and negative by creating friendly and ubiquitous complaint and suggestion systems. Frequent satisfaction and customer loyalty surveys should form an integral part of any marketing drive.

Regrettably, most acceptable systems of national accounts sorely lack the ability to cope with place marketing and nation branding campaigns. Intangibles such as enhanced reputation or investor satisfaction are excluded. There is no clear definition as to what constitute the assets of a country, its “sales”, or its “profits”.
2. Profitability control

There is no point in squandering scarce resources on marketing efforts that guarantee nothing except name recognition. Sales, profits, and expenditures should count prominently in any evaluation (and re-evaluation) of on-going campaigns. The country needs to get rid of prejudices, biases, and misconceptions and clearly identify what products and consumer groups yield the most profits (have the highest relative earnings-capacity). Money, time, and manpower should be allocated to cater to the needs and desires of these top-earners.

3. Efficiency control

The global picture is important. An overview of the marketing and sales efforts and their relative success (or failure) is crucial. But a micro-level analysis is indispensable. What is the sales force doing, where, and how well? What are the localized reactions to the advertising, sales promotion, and distribution drives? Are there appreciable differences between the reactions of various market niches and consumer types?

4. Strategic control

The complement of efficiency control is strategic control. It weighs the overall and long-term marketing plan in view of the country’s basic data: its organization, institutions, strengths, weaknesses, and market opportunities. It is recommended to compare the country’s self-assessment (marketing-effectiveness rating review) with an analysis prepared by an objective third party.
The marketing-effectiveness rating review incorporates privileged information such as input and feedback from the country’s “customers” (investors, tourist operators, traders, bankers, etc.), internal reports regarding the adequacy and efficiency of the country’s marketing information, operations, strengths, strategies, and integration (of various marketing, branding, and sales tactics).

5. Marketing audit

The marketing audit is, in some respects, the raw material for the strategic control. Its role is to periodically make sure that the marketing plan emphasizes the country’s strengths in ways that are compatible with shifting market sentiments, current events, fashions, preferences, needs, and priorities of relevant market players. This helps to identify marketing opportunities and new or potential markets.

The Encyclopedia Britannica (2005 edition) describes the marketing audit thus:

“… (I)t covers all aspects of the marketing climate (unlike a functional audit, which analyzes one marketing activity), looking at both macro-environment factors (demographic, economic, ecological, technological, political, and cultural) and micro- or task-environment factors (markets, customers, competitors, distributors, dealers, suppliers, facilitators, and publics). The audit includes analyses of the company’s marketing strategy, marketing organization, marketing systems, and marketing productivity. It must be systematic in order to provide concrete conclusions based on these analyses. To ensure objectivity, a marketing audit is best done by a person, department, or organization that is independent of the company or marketing program. Marketing audits should be done not only when the value of a company’s current marketing plan is in question; they must be done periodically in order to isolate and solve problems before they arise.”

Images, Hotlinking And Bandwidth Theft

Images, Hotlinking And Bandwidth Theft

The internet is a powerful tool and internet users should use it responsibility. Internet etiquette refers to the standards for proper behavior on the Internet. Hotlinking to images is a violation of Internet etiquette.

The majority of image hotlinking comes from blogs, discussion forums, and websites like MySpace and Stumbleupon. As a long time Internet user, I can tell you that image hotlinking has always been a major concern. While it’s questionable on whether or not hotlinking is copyright infringement, it is a theft issue.

Hotlinking, also known as bandwidth theft is direct linking to a web site’s files. When you link to an image on someone else’s server instead of saving the image to your computer and uploading it to your blog you are stealing that websites bandwidth.

Most websites have a limited amount of data transfer (or bandwidth) allowed. If they go over this limit, it costs them extra. Stealing bandwidth therefore unnecessarily increases the cost of hosting. Also, with many hosts limiting the amount of bandwidth a site can use monthly, their site could be shut down for exceeding bandwidth quota.

Though it is the webmaster’s responsibility to prevent the unauthorized remote loading of images from their site by uploading an .htaccess file to their server, anyone hotlinking is doing something that truly is unethical. As a webmaster, hotlinking is certainly not something that I appreciate.

If you wish to republish an image, the proper thing to do is to save the image to your computer and upload it to your blog or a free image host. Make sure that you obtain permission from the original author before you upload it and before publication to your blog takes place.

The solution for webmasters dealing with hotlinking is to use an .htaccess file. It’s very simple to implement and it works beautifully!

If you are using WordPress, there is a hotlink protection plugin that you can install which fights bandwidth theft.

A word to the wise, please don’t hotlink. Hotlinking is definitely not proper Internet etiquette.