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How to Opt Out of Google’s New Endorsement Ads

google logoYou may have already heard that Google will be rolling out their new “Endorsement Ads” starting November 11th.  Basically, unless you opt out, Google has the right to use your image or photo, name, and any product reviews you have posted through Google+.  These will be able to be included in ads that Google then sells to businesses.  So let’s say you purchase an app for your Droid-based phone in the Google play store.  You friend then searches for apps to use on their phone and your face pops up in a sponsored result stating “Your friend Joe bought the such and such app” along with your smiling face.

Maybe that’s not such a big deal to you.  Maybe you have already resigned yourself to the fact that NOTHING you do online is really private anymore.  Fine.

But think about this. Google is making money with that endorsement, wait, YOUR endorsement.  Google is charging the seller of that such and such app for that ad that features you. And what do you get for the use of your image and information? Nothing.

If this bothers you, you can opt out of being included in these endorsement ads. (Interesting how the default is to be included, isn’t it?)

Here’s how to opt out of Google’s Endorsement Ads.

1) Go to the Google home page.

2) Click on the bell shaped button in the upper right hand corner also known as the “notifications” button.

google bell


3)  A drop down list of notifications should appear and one should be “New Terms of Service”

google terms of service notification











4) Click on the “TOS” notification and then click the blue button that says “Learn More”.

Google learn more button














5)  Next, a Terms of Service page will open which will explain all about the new update starting November 11th.  On this page, you will find the link to the Shared Endorsement Setting. Click it.


google shared endorsement setting


6) You will land on another page explaining the shared endorsement policies. You will need to scroll down to the bottom of the page. You will see a box that will already be checked giving Google permission to use your picture, name, and information in their ads. YOU NEED TO UNCHECK THE BOX AND CLICK SAVE.

Google Opt out of shared endorsements


Win a free ticket to the Blended Conference! #giveaway #BlendedConf

blended logoI’ve been wanting to get out to Arizona for years, so when the opportunity popped up to speak at Blended, I jumped on it!  (I love when I can combine business with a little fun, don’t you?)  Blended will be held in Tempe, Arizona (and I was recently schooled that it is pronounced “Temp-ee” not “Temp-eh” just in case you were wondering) at the  DoubleTree by Hilton on September 28th.

Blended started off a few years ago as a food blogging conference but has since grown to cover all aspects of blogging and business ownership in general.  I will be speaking about the steps you need to take to create a solid foundation for your business.

You can score a free ticket to attend Blended (conference pass only – sorry, the plane ticket and lodging are up to you) right here!!

Attend a Blogging Conference Without Leaving Your House with The Blog Workshop Conference #TBW

The Blog Workshop speakersI am a HUGE fan of blogging conferences.  Each time I attend one, I learn something new that I can take back, apply, and use to grow my blog and my business.  I also find myself hugely inspired by conferences.  I come up with great ideas and can’t wait to implement everything I’ve learned.  If I had my choice, I would attend every blog conference out there!  So why don’t I?

Easy – cost!  There is the cost of getting to the conference – either by driving or flying.  There are the associated costs of hotel rooms, meals, and those little incidentals that creep up on you. And there is the cost of taking time off of work, arranging childcare – all that fun stuff!

So what if I told you that I will be attending a blogging conference where I don’t have to worry about ANY of that stuff. Yep – no plane flight, no hotel bill, and no childcare for LJ.  Plus, I don’t have to take anytime off of work.  Doesn’t this sound too good to be true?  It’s not!

The Blog Workshop Conference is an online conference just for bloggers like you and I.  You can attend from the comfort of your own home (or Starbucks, if you prefer!).  And because they know that so many of us have day jobs too, the schedule is set up so that you can attend outside of work hours.  Best of all, no travel costs AND the ticket is super affordable!

And this online conference has all of the topics and speakers you would expect if you were going to a conference on location!  Just checkout the agenda:

Conference Agenda Chart

I’m sure you want to go grab your ticket right away, so here’s the information: You can register for a ticket to The Blog Workshop Online Conference right here!!

What?? You aren’t convinced yet?? I can’t imagine that, but just in case, here’s a video with more information:


I hope I’ll see you at the conference!  This post was written in partnership with The Blog Workshop and does contain affiliate links.

5 Reasons Why You Are Not Getting Pitched By PR

Reasons PR is not pitching your blog.I’ve always considered Wisconsin Mommy a PR friendly blog.  I did my best to make it clear that I love to work with brands and (hopefully) made it easy for them to work with me.  Since taking a part time position with a locally based, international clothing company, I have learned a LOT.  Sitting on the brand side of the computer and doing a fair amount of searching out the right bloggers for a specific campaign and then pitching them has given me a whole new appreciation for how this whole dance works.  It’s also given me a LOT of opinions on what bloggers are doing that might be keeping PR from pitching them – without even realizing it.  Here are the top five I have come across (so far).

1) You do not have an easy way for me to email you.

This is first for a reason – it’s a BIG one! I work part time and most of my campaigns have hard deadlines I need to honor.  If I need to spend more than 2 minutes searching for your email address, I am going to move on.  Don’t hide it in your “about me” write up, don’t use a contact form –  have a big ole EMAIL ME button or link, please.  (About contact forms – I often will be reaching out to multiple blogs with one email and I need to add your email to the list and simply don’t have the time to fill out 50 contact forms.) At the very least, have contact me or email me as a menu heading.  I understand that spam is a pain, I do. Feel free to put your email in the name (at) whateverdomain (dot) com format. I’ll figure it out, honest.

2) You have light text on a black background.

Just don’t. It hurts the eyes of most people and rarely looks good. (Yes, a select few can pull it off, but that’s probably not you. Really.) I am also going to expand this to include animated headers that blink, flash, or otherwise trigger my migraines and loud music or video that starts playing as soon as I open your home page.  Luckily surfing blogs is part of my job, so I don’t get into trouble when your favorite Kenny Chesney song starts blaring out of my speakers, but some of your readers might be secretly surfing at work. Shhh – don’t rat them out!

3) Your blog is a cluttered mess.

Okay, I know that was kind of harsh – I’m sorry. But if I have to search through distracting backgrounds, haphazardly placed ads, and floating pop-ups to try and find your content, I am probably going to move on pretty quickly (as will many of your potential readers).  I would love to attach some screen shots on this one, but I won’t.

4) All of your review posts are copied press releases and you don’t add any of your voice to the reviews.

When a brand offers you a review, it’s because they want you to share their product in a way that they can’t.  You have a unique perspective and that’s what brands are looking for.  Oh, and please include your own pictures. I know PR always offers “high res photos”, but we love to see you using the products in your real life situations.

5) You are all over Facebook and/or Twitter blasting other companies you have worked with.

I know this one is going to hit a nerve with some people. Yes, most of you are right when you complain about how you have been treated by brands or PR.  No, PR should not renege on the promises they make you when you begin working together.  However, decide early on if  that method of revenge is worth what it may cost you in lost opportunities and then craft a policy for yourself and stick to it.  You may feel better, but it rarely results in the targeted PR/brand saying “Gosh, you’re right! Let us give you all the things you are asking for!”.

If you are looking for a way to vent your frustration, try finding a marketing or PR contact at the actual company. You may find that the PR person is making changes without the brand’s knowledge.  If that is the case, you may get better resolution with the brand itself, especially if you present it as “I don’t know if you realize this is going on, but I’d hate for your company’s reputation to suffer because of it..” You may get resolution or you may find out that the brand itself is behind the behavior. In that case, make a mental note not to work with that brand again and move on.

Okay, I know a lot of you guys also represent brands and search out blogs to work with. What did I leave off the list? Feel free to leave a comment with your biggest turnoffs when searching for blogs to work with.

Brands and Social Media

I think I have developed a new pet peeve. I should probably just add it to my list of many, right?  So what could possible be bugging me enough that I actually sat down and wrote about it?

It’s brands that don’t keep up with their Facebook pages and/or Twitter accounts.

I know, talk about your first world problems! Sure, in the big scheme of things, it’s not up there with major issues like hunger or falling off of the fiscal cliff.  But it does make me wonder, if you’re not going to keep up with your social media pages, why put them up to start with?

I’m guessing a lot of brands get talked into the fact that they need to have a social media presence by some over zealous social media consultant (watch out out for those – they are a shady bunch!! LOL) who neglected to mention that designing and publishing a Facebook page is NOT the end of the story.  You also have to keep an eye on the page, interact with those who have sought you out there, and answer any questions or concerns they might have. And, NO, deleting negative comments does not count as interacting!

I reached out (as a customer, not a blogger) to two different companies via Facebook and Twitter recently and heard nothing but crickets in both cases.  I scrolled back quite a ways on one of the brand’s Facebook page and noticed they hadn’t answered any comments or questions for most of November.  Wow.  I couldn’t help but contrast with the social media team at my work who respond within a day at the most and often almost immediately. (Not that I’m biased or anything…okay, maybe a little, but they really are an amazing bunch!)

So here is my unsolicited advice: Brands, don’t bother with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or any other social media if you are not going to use some resources to keep up with it. If you have limited resources, pick one platform and concentrate on it.  It’s better to have no Facebook page than one that is neglected.

What’s your biggest social media pet peeve when it comes to brands?