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The Basics of Home Security

The Basics of Home Security

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Every homeowner needs to be active and aware of their home security concerns. With home invasions and break-ins on the rise, it is time to take some steps towards protecting your family and your valuable belongings. It would surprise most people to realize how simple it is for a burglar to break into their home. By following these simple steps, you can reduce the odds of coming home to discover your home has been broken into and your cherished valuables have been taken.

For a burglar, the three greatest enemies are noise, time, and light. If a burglar must make a lot of noise, take a lot of time, and work in a well-lit area to get into your home, chances are that he will not bother. In most cases, he will move onto an easier “mark”. These are things that work in the favor of homeowners. I always tell my clients that, in order to defeat the burglar, one must think like the burglar.

Take some time and “case” the exterior of your home for points of entry. Imagine yourself as a burglar. Where would you try to get in? Where are the security weaknesses? You could even conduct a little experiment, by locking your home and trying to break in. If you, honest citizen, can break into your home with relative ease you can be sure it will be no problem for an experienced thief to gain entry.

Doors and windows are the first places to check when assessing the security of a home or business. Make sure that your home is equipped with a hard wood or metal exterior door, that is at minimum 1 ¾” thick. The doorframe should be equally as strong. A peephole is much better than a simple door chain, as it will allow you to identify the person at your door without having to open it. And if there is one thing you spend a bit of money on, be sure it is a good quality deadbolt!

Windows are also extremely vulnerable, from a security standpoint. If you have an older home with double-hung windows, you can secure them by nailing the upper and lower panes together from the inside. As well, simple key locks can be added to windows for a reasonable price. If you have windows that are located at street level, consider adding an iron grate or grille for added protection. Balconies and fire escapes can also be security weaknesses, so consider purchasing one of those metal “accordion” gates.

There are a few other simple precautions you can take to secure your home. Try to establish a routine to ensure that your doors and windows are locked when you leave the house and when you go to bed each night. If you can afford it, you should also invest in a home security system. There are some incredibly advanced systems available on the market today, and these systems are very difficult to bypass. These simple steps could make the difference between being a victim of crime and being safe from harm. Think about it!

Famous Locksmiths

Famous Locksmiths

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If you aren’t familiar with any famous locksmiths, it’s no surprise. Many locksmiths prefer to keep a low profile except to gain a reputable business. There are famous locksmiths within the locksmith community who are well-known for their skills as lock pickers and dominate the hobby. But as for the famous locksmiths who take their profession more seriously, little is put in the public eye.

Schneider Locksmith of New York City is famous in their area of the states. But this is a famous company, not an individual. An individual of olden days who was famous for the locksmith skills was an Englishman named Robert Barron. He improved security of the lock itself with the invention in 1778 of the double tumbler lock. There was no modern day security, no electronic technology to help him. He used the impressive skills of his mind and hands to create his masterpiece of the era.

Another famous locksmith was Jeremiah Chubb. He patented a detector lock back in 1818. This particular lock had six levers and won him a monetary award as well as ongoing fame. Mr. Chubb was located in London.

Locks were made from wood long, long ago. They have amazed, confounded, and frustrated people over the years. They have made some people and companies rich (the inventors and manufacturers) and made others secure. No longer made from metal, these mechanical contraptions have come a long way over the years.

One famous locksmith known for other talents was Houdini. He was a magician who thrived on escape tactics. The escape tactics depend on locks of some form or fashion. Houdini was an expert lockpicker who captivated audiences with his skills.

The King of France, also known as Louis XVI, was a very famous locksmith. He was known for his reign as a bad king, but his passion was with locks. He had unusual and outstanding skills as a locksmith. This may not have won him any medals of love amongst his followers, but it did put him in history as a famous locksmith.

It used to be that one had to be an apprentice to learn to be a locksmith. Being an apprentice has great benefits, one of which is recommendation from the mentor. Passing on the trade can be as rewarding as learning it from a master of the trade.

One famous locksmith was Arthur C. Smith. He specialized in ship locks in the late 1800’s. Located in Wolverhampton, which is in the English West Midlands, Mr. Smith put his mark on the world.

French locksmiths were known for their artwork on their locks. Resembling fancy scrollwork, these locks were fashioned in the true French elaborate designs. The French liked beauty in many areas of their lives and their locks were not to be left out.

A famous American locksmith known for his bank locks was Linus Yale, Jr., of New York. James Sargent, also of New York, patented a time lock mechanism, which made him yet another important locksmith.

As you can tell, locksmiths are important all over the world and throughout history. They are an important breed of human in our society, and yet one of the most overlooked. Locksmiths are constantly put to the test and should be famous for their endurance!

Games for Locksmiths

Games for Locksmiths

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Being a locksmith is not necessarily a boring job. There is the limited interaction with the customers to keep a locksmith in touch with the human side of the business. The work gives the locksmith focus. The travel provides stimulation. The technological changes and education to keep up with the times provides mental growth. So, what about the fun? Even these mechanical minded members of our community like to have fun.

The challenge of picking locks is viewed as a game for some locksmiths. As they grow in their experience, they are able to take on more complicated tasks. It is said that a locksmith sees a lock as a puzzle.

A locksmith plays a part in the game called World of War Craft, unlocking boxes in the trade screen. A game called Crack the Code allows the locksmith to click on numbers and enter until the combination is correct. Cleaner Scrape is an online game featuring Bob the Locksmith. There’s also a Kensington Lock Picking online free flash game. Gridlock is another fun online game for lock pickers that offers three levels of difficulty to accommodate beginners to the more experienced.

A board game that relates to the locksmith trade is called Break the Safe. It’s a fairly new game created by Forrest-Puzan Creative. Players have to work as a team to find the keys, disarm the traps, and evade the guard dogs.

On a bigger scale, locksmiths can join in a Dutch Open lock-picking competition in the Dutch village of Sneek. This offers intellectual stimulation and fun for any locksmith or lock picker lucky enough to participate. Some of the world’s most accomplished lock pickers attend this event.

Another large event for lock pickers and locksmiths is held by the Locksport International. DEFCON 14 held workshops, talks, sales of tools, speed competitions, tool making, and demonstrations for the enjoyable event that welcomed amateurs as well as professionals.

A Lock Picking Pogoda will be held in Cleveland, Ohio in April of 2008 for locksmiths and lock picking enthusiasts. Featured will be your regular American locks, Chinese knock-offs, cabinet locks, and high security locks. Safe cracking is also on the agenda to present a challenge for those who are brave enough to give it a shot.

Locksmiths aren’t the only ones who enjoy the locksmith events, games, and clubs. There are people who enjoy learning about locks and how they work just for the fun of it. It can be gratifying to bust the secrets of the lock companies and manufacturers. This isn’t necessarily a bad idea. It provides a challenge to show these businesses where their vulnerabilities lie so that improvements can be made. People who learn how to pick locks are not just criminally-minded individuals.

Although this possibility does exist, it is only a part of the group of people interested in this trade.
Locksmiths do, of course, enjoy other activities besides lock picking games and events. Just as doctors want more fun than just playing the board game called Operation, the locksmiths are going to be unique individuals who will want more fun than just that which revolves around their craft.

Bank Locksmiths

Bank Locksmiths

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Bank locksmiths are not shade-tree locksmiths who learn their trade in the backyard and go on to work for themselves in a run-down building in a bad area of town.
A bank locksmith must learn their craft legitimately from an accredited institution and provide licensed, verified backgrounds with certification. Anyone entrusted with the security of public finances has to be spotless in their reputation and have impressive credentials to earn the bank business and support.

Vault and safe locksmiths have a challenging job that throws them in the face of temptation on a regular basis. Their iron will is of the utmost importance, as is maintaining and improving their education to keep up with technological advances.
A bank locksmith must know proper etiquette as well as proper procedures. They must also be able to explicitly trust their employees and business partners. Who they hire as help is just as important as who they work for.

The locksmiths who specialize in the banking field must have knowledge of safe deposit box services, timelock cleaning and service, combination changes, vault services, preventive maintenance of physical security products, emergency vault and safe opening, and obsolete door refurbishments as well as on-site key duplication.

Bank locksmiths must know alarm systems. They must know fire alarms as well as intruder alarms. Bank alarm systems must be complicated in order to be effective. They involve knowledge of power sources, programming, testing, operating, and possible malfunctions.

Taking care of the needs of a bank may also involve opening, rebuilding, painting, moving and installing safes. An apprentice must be willing to cooperate in many areas and be able to work without constant supervision while being trained. The apprentice must have concern for safety and be comfortable with working in small spaces.

A bank locksmith must have solid mechanical mathematical ability, good personal presentation, good communication skills on paper and in person or on the phone, and a desire to stay educated with new security equipment developments.

Some banking stores have locksmiths on staff. These locksmiths also service ATMs. Since being introduced in the late 1960s, ATM machines have made incredible progress and have become a valuable asset to our society. They gave the locksmith yet another challenge to learn and continue to provide another part of the job’s security.

The way a bank locksmith dresses is important to their success and credibility. Bank employees need to feel secure with this person they entrust to their safety and not embarrassed to do business with him/her. Locksmiths who conduct themselves with class and sophistication will gain more respect and help people feel more comfortable in their presence. One way to do this is to dress in a way that shows respect for oneself.

If you are just starting out as a locksmith, consider your personal image. If you can afford to invest in some sort of uniform, you will present a more positive image. It will also help people learn to recognize you easier when they learn to associate your clothing with your business image. You will, in a big sense, be advertising yourself.

Government Locksmiths

Government Locksmiths

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Government locksmiths become licensed under the Security Industry Protection Act.
Three important institutions associated with government locksmiths are Master Locksmiths of America, Associated Locksmiths of America, and British Locksmiths Institute.

One of the important aspects of the government locksmith’s job is discretion. With a country’s security at risk, any government office must be serviced only by the most trustworthy of locksmiths. The locksmith must know more than just their doors and windows; they must also know security systems, safe locks, telephone keys, drawer locks, and vehicle locks.
High priority is important for the items the government locks protect as well as for the people the locks protect and the paperwork. Any business must protect its important paperwork and investments, but government business takes on an upper level of importance.

A government locksmith is not just needed to pick locks and provide extra keys. Government locksmiths must be top experts in their field in both customer privacy and the actual work provided. The safety of these high profile clients and what they stand for, weapons, money, records, and personal items is high priority.

It is not only the government of a country that is important; it is also the government of local and state that is a concern to a government locksmith. Any level of government must be treated with special care. If the wrong things happen with local government it can have a domino effect upon other government bodies. Anytime someone can wreak havoc with documents, forms, equipment, public safety, and privileged information, the locksmith is called to upgrade security.
A locksmith for a security service provider can earn as much as $66,000 per year in California. They must have knowledge of the latest and best quality equipment and techniques to service their clients and build the best reputation for themselves.

A government locksmith must have electronic and computer skills that are updated. Their knowledge of lock and keys are not all they have to practice. They must also understand thumb print and retinal scanners, pin pads, and electronic swipe cards among other things.

Because passwords are considered a security hole, retinal scanners have taken on more importance. Retinal scanners are a form of biometric identification. They bypass passwords to move into a more complicated means of identity and security. For a retinal scanner, there is an enrollment process that captures the sample. The sample is stored in a template to be used for future authentication comparison. The template is matched against data, such as a user name or PIN.

Retinal scanning provides high accuracy, but it still meets some user resistance because of the misconception that a laser is shot into the eye. Focus on a given point is significant for accuracy, which can cause a small problem for someone with eyesight handicaps.

Other high technology advances for locksmiths to learn in a high profile field like government work are: voice recognition, iris scanning, signature verification, and facial recognition. So, as you can see, a locksmith who specializes in government work can be much more than just a lock picker and key maker.

How to Protect your Digital Products from being Stolen.

How to Protect your Digital Products from being Stolen.

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So you are a business owner now and your selling top of the line digital information products direct from your very own website. You invested thousands in the right products, hundreds in a server with a lot of bandwidth, your customers are flowing but your bandwidth is too high for the amount of customers that your getting! Suddenly your host stops all access to your site as you have reached your bandwidth limit and you must pay for more. Sound familiar? This is my story…..

Online businesses are sooo easy to set up, making money is the hard part. Online criminals dont know that part yet but what they do know is how to get hold of your products that YOU paid for for nothing! How? By stealing them from right under your nose direct from your server.

Online serveys conducted show that around 40% of digital products are stolen or bootleg copies. Pirates and theives know the detailed ways in which to get to that copy of your ebook and make it work for them, sometimes outselling you completely even if you are the sole resale rights holder!

So how can you stop this from happening to you?
Protect your products with digital security.
Disguise your download links
Set your links to expire or only activate with your customers details.
Place them in a secure members area so if they are found they cannot be accessed.

Now all of these have various strengths and weaknesses and some I just refunse to use as I feel that downgrade your site’s look and appeal.
Lets take disguising your download links – this is the single best way of stopping theft of your products direct from your website. There are tons of scripts around online that can handle this task and many of they very well, but what happens after the sale when the report is passed around or the customer asks for a refund?

Set your links to expire or to your customers email address, or placing them into a secure members area. These again do well at hiding the products but do nothing about securing them after the sale has gone through.

So the only real option is to offer some sort of digital protection for the products. There are various systems around online that offer this servie for a monthly subscription but are you sure that your products warrant it?
I have seen people paying $30 a month to protect a $4 ebook from being stolen or used elsewhere, that to me is not practical.
But if you hold an inventory of hundreds of good quality ebooks and software that you are not offering with resale rights then maybe digital protection is what you need.

The digital locking systems that I have seen get you signed up as a paying member to use their software. Once signed up you can download the locking software and lock a file at a time. You place the details of the file into the site and then direct customers to the link that the site creates for you. Once your customer pays they see the link to the locking software site and click it.

The customer is taken to a page that requests their details in exchange for their personal unlocking code and then they are passed to the download or thankyou page on your server. Once downloaded the file is opened and imediatly a request appears from the locked file for a password. If the password is correct the file talks to the locking site and varifies it and then unlocks the file. If the password is incorrect the user is refused access.

Now comes the sweet part to these softwares, if you give a customer a refund then you can actually remotly lock their product again or delete their lisence alltogether. The software I have seen works on an IP tracking basis which means that all IP addresses that access the product are logged in the locking sites database for the seller to see and act on.
Lets say that the seller sells an item to ‘Joe’, ‘Joe’ passes the file on to ‘Pete’ without permission who then sends it to ‘Fred’ ‘Paul’ and ‘William’. All of their IP addresses are logged and the seller can see that the file had been accessed x amount of times by 5 seperate IP addresses and closes the code down for ‘Joe’ who gets an automated email explaining that his code is now invalid and that to reactivate it he must contact the seller for advice…. Ahhhh the theif now has to contact you and ask why he is in trouble.

These systems are very very powerfull and put the seller back in charge of their products instead of the thieves.
To see such a system please take a visit to www.e-protect.co.uk

The Lock Companies Behind Locksmiths

The Lock Companies Behind Locksmiths

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Be it directly or indirectly, locksmiths deal with all sorts of companies in their line of work.
Some big names for these companies are: Yale, Master Lock, Kwikset, Medeco, Schlage, Sentry, Olympus, Weiser, and American Lock USA.

Yale created and patented the first compact cylinder pin lock in 1845. They’re well-known as lock manufacturers and distributors. But they are only one of many who have made an important name for themselves. All locksmiths are acquainted with the Yale brand as well as the ones that follow.

Weiser Locks offer fashionable doorwear. Their locks have been featured in films and used in the homes of Hollywood stars. They made a touchpad electronic deadbolt which allows temporary access for service personnel and babysitters. Locksmiths buy kits to rekey Weiser Locks when it is necessary.

Locks are used in many areas of our lives. We use them for bicycle locks, gun cabinets, safes, mailboxes, patio doors, furniture, lockers, and tool sheds. There is a high probability that there is something in every area of a home that has a lock of some type on it.

Locksmiths have to learn the different tricks to the many brands as well as some of their background. The Master Lock brand are most likely used in some way in every household in America. Master Locks are known well by locksmiths. They are used in homes, businesses, schools, and many industries.

Kwikset manufactures residential door locks and door hardware. Deadbolts, door knobs, keyless entry locks, door levers, handlesets, and pocket door hardware are their specialties. Any locksmith in America can operate Kwikset brand products because they’re popular. Keyless entry presented a learning experience for locksmiths worldwide.

Sentry locks are well known locks, too. Their line of safes is widely used and are great products for protecting valuables. The products are especially valuable in cases where fire, burglary, or natural disaster has caused keys to be lost, forgotten, or damaged.

Because burglars often use forced entry to steal from residences, a locksmith must know how to repair the damage done. This can include replacing the hardware that was damaged. If a locksmith doesn’t sell the brand the customer prefers, they must know where to find the right brand and how to install it or at least know of a reliable or more improved substitute.
Besides working with the brand names in their businesses, locksmiths can also find employment with lock manufacturing companies. Companies such as Sentry offer excellent benefits and perks to their employees. Some of these include dry cleaning services, on-site fitness centers, pre-paid legal services, and discounted insurance rates.

American Lock manufactures locks for outdoor security and industrial security as well as many different types of padlocks. There are important items that must remain outdoors that often need to be locked for security purposes. Industrial security requires industrial locks.

Besides the regular types of locks that are attached to outdoor equipment, there is also the equipment that has built-in locks. Lawnmowers, power boats, four wheelers, and other items that people invest in and need keys to use. Locksmiths can be called for these items as well, to keep from damaging the ignitions when a key is lost. So, the locksmiths must also be acquainted with the brands of locks used in outdoor equipment.

Home Security Tips

Home Security Tips

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There are few things more important to people than the security and protection of their homes and families.
When it comes to securing your family you don’t always get a second chance. Lives can change forever in only a split second. Take the time now to take make sure your family is safe and secure in your home in the future.

There are several simple low cost things you can do to make your home more secure from robbery and theft and give your family peace of mind.

Home Security Tip #1

Install adequate lighting outside every entry way. You can pick up motion sensor activated lights at most department and hardware stores for under $20.00. These can be set to cover a fairly large spread. It is recommended that you install lights outside every doorway to the house. If there is a side of the house that tends to be very dark it might be a good idea to install a light there as well to prevent concealment in the shadows.

Home Security Tip #2

If you have a privacy fence around your property this can give the feeling of security but this is not necessarily the case. Security fences can actually provide a safe opportunity for a thief to work his way into your home. Once inside the perimeter of the fence the thief can work on entry to your home without being seen by neighbors or people passing by. Install motioned sensor controlled security lights outside within the fenced area. If there is a gate to the fenced in area make sure if has a secure locking mechanism.

Home Security Tip #3

Install deadbolt locks on every door leading to the outside. The types of locks which have a key in the door knob will not successfully secure a door against a thief or criminal.

Home Security Tip #4

Criminals are less likely to enter through a window because of the noise that breaking glass tends to make. Nevertheless, keep all windows locked at all times. One of the best ways to secure your windows is with glazing. Glazing protects windows against breakage.

Home Security Tip #5

A home security alarm system, which is monitored 24 hours per day, can provide peace of mind around the clock. Alarm systems are always on duty and never sleep. If you shop around you can often find specials which include free equipment and installation in exchange for a two or three year commitment. If you decide to have an alarm system installed go with a company with a solid history that you can count on. Be sure to test your system on a regular basis. Monitored alarm systems will also sometimes reduce your yearly homeowners insurance premiums. This savings alone might pay for the alarm system.

By taking these simple steps you can decrease your chances of being the victim of a crime while providing your family with a greater sense of security.

Locksmiths in Texas

Locksmiths in Texas

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Texas Locksmiths Association provides education with training classes, scholarship funds for the children of members, continuing education, annual conferences, and trade shows. It’s one of the prestigious associations for locksmiths and can be very beneficial to personal and professional growth.

Board members for the TLA do not get paid for their services. Their dedication speaks volumes. They can provide a speaker to talk with groups, use personal expense money, and put a lot of time and effort into member growth and interests of locksmiths and public awareness.

A woman locksmith in Texas can be hard to find. Even though women can earn more by being in a job that is in a male dominated field, not many women seem to be interested in this type of career choice. A woman could also earn more by going into the locksmith business for herself. The field is open to women and it could prove to be a good choice for a second income.

The Department of Public Safety in Texas sets high standards for their locksmiths. They will only hire locksmiths who have been licensed by the DPS. As part of the Private Security Act, locksmith services performed in Texas require a locksmith to have a criminal history fingerprint check. The DPS offers a list of licensed locksmiths for people to verify their legitimacy. A locksmith operating in the state of Texas without a license is committing a misdemeanor. This carries a jail term of one year and/or a fine up to $4000.

A locksmith company is considered a Class B fee on the DPS price list. The registration costs $412. A sole proprietor must submit an assumed name certificate along with an owner registration fee of $55. Other items that must be submitted are the application form, two fingerprint cards, a $25 FBI fingerprint fee, verification of experience, proof of liability insurance, a copy of Level One Certificate for the manager, and completion of a manager qualification exam administered by the Private Security Board.

A Texas locksmith can join any one of several different associations to add to their credibility and increase public trust in their skills. There is the Associated Locksmiths of North Texas, the Greater Houston Locksmiths Association, the Locksmith Association of San Antonio, the Metroplex Locksmith Association, and the Arkansas-Louisiana-Texas Locksmiths Association.

Locksmiths in Texas do have the red tape to go through to become legitimate, but this process helps discourage those who aren’t truly dedicated and truly dependable and trustworthy. Besides what has already been mentioned, the locksmith must also be licensed, bonded, and insured. Loyal customers and those who are willing to spread the good word about your business are worth the investment. Every little thing you do to enhance your business and your image will add up to a long-term of success, especially if it is the big accounts you are working towards securing. Image on paperwork as well as your office image and the personal image you present are important to your success.

Learning customer relations is an important step towards your success as well. Knowing how to manage unruly personalities, someone in a panic who has locked a child in a car, or even how to perform CPR are also essential choices. These things help whether you are a locksmith in Texas or in another part of the world!

Connecting the Virtual World to Locksmiths

Connecting the Virtual World to Locksmiths

Key making 101
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Besides being a form of advertisement for locksmiths, the virtual world is also a source of connecting to others in the business.
It is a place to connect with customers and a place to shop for ideas. The locksmiths can check on laws, find out about advancements in their field of work, and learn tricks of the trade online.

The virtual world is a great place for the locksmiths to buy supplies without having to travel to stores and shops or order through physical catalogues. This saves them money that can be spent in other ways to enhance the quality of their businesses. They can save time choosing what items to put in their shops to sell, which brands, compare prices, and check feedback on possible brands or equipment.

The locksmiths can also use the virtual world to explore competition in their field. They can learn from other locksmiths, pass on information of their own, and explore other parts of the world for places to do business.

The virtual world also allows the locksmith a way to build a positive image for the profession as well as his/her own business. If they have a comment section, a suggestion section, or games on their own web site, it can help connect them to their customers and potential customers. Building interest in their businesses is one way the locksmiths must practice public relations.

The internet allows the locksmiths to pay their bills for their businesses. It can save them time and effort to set up online banking and bill paying. The post office also allows postage to be bought online now, which is another way the locksmiths can save money in their business.

There are online games for locksmiths to enjoy that relate to their profession. This gives them a fun release for their tensions and will exercise their mental skills at the same time. There are also virtual museums where the locksmiths can keep in touch with the history of their craft and the tools and hardware of the craft. There is also the information gained online about the upcoming conferences, events, and associations that may be of interest.

The businesses that make the tools for locksmithing are also important for the craftsman to understand what they sell. They should know all they can about the products, brands, and manufacturers of their equipment and the hardware they use in residences and businesses. This is especially important should there be a malfunction or a recall on any security systems or tools.

Should further education be a necessity, there are many schools that have websites providing information on courses such as keyless entry, lock picking, and much more that a locksmith would need to keep up-to-date on their skills.

The locksmith may want to consider putting a product information section on his/her web site. A question and answer section may be helpful as well. Sometimes it is necessary to give something away to get more back from potential and existing customers. Taking an interest in the customers and business associates should take place on the internet as well as in the real world.