Owning a Tourism Business is awesome

27 Sep 2007

PamFax: Sending Faxes via Skype

PamFax: Sending Faxes via Skype

One aspect of the telephony domain that has been absent from the Skype ecosystem has been the ability to fax documents via Skype. Fundamentally, sending a fax is an asynchronous one-way activity that has "ridden" the phone network to transmit a document to a device that is able to decode the fax signal back into a readable paper document. Skype itself has traditionally allowed document exchange via the file transfer feature; however, it does not address the issue of sending a document to a destination without Skype access or sending "executed" documents in legal transactions. Even for those who have a fax machine in their home office, sending a fax while traveling can be a challenging (and usually somewhat expensive) experience.

PamConsult, publishers of the pioneering Skype Extra, Pamela, this week launched a beta version of their forthcoming fax utility, PamFax which will be available as a Skype Extra. PamFax makes faxing a document from any broadband-connected PC a relatively straight forward experience:

  • Designate the document to be sent
  • Enter the recipient information (multiple recipients allowed)
  • Select a cover page
  • Enter the cover page message
  • Select notification methods: Skype Chat, SMS and/or email
  • Pay for the fax
    • Option: Preview the fax

The fax is then sent, followed by receipt of the selected notifications in, say, a Skype Chat window, an email message and/or an SMS message.

During the process:

  • PamFax will only open if you have Skype running on your PC
  • You may designate the document to be sent in multiple ways
    • Browse for the document from the PamFax client
    • Select PamFax as a "SendTo" destination in the Windows Explorer right click menu
    • Select the PamFax button inserted into the MS Word or MS Excel toolbar
  • On the recipient information screen there is an option to view the destination location on Google Maps. Not terribly granular but it provides the location to within, say, a North American area code.
  • Payment is executed via deductions from your Skype Credts
  • When you select the "Pay and Send" button on the "Pay for the Fax" screen, you are sent to the Skype payment page in your web browser where, as would happen with any other e-commerce site, you are presented with an invoice, an option for inserting promotion codes and a "Buy Now" button.
  • If you do not have sufficient Skype Credits, you can navigate to the Skype Credits purchase page (requires your Skype login information) and buy Skype Credits through the same Skype transaction engine used to buy SkypeIn, SkypeOut and Skype Pro services. If linked to PayPal you will also have to login into your PayPal account.

PamFax is accompanied by your own individual PamFax Portal - a web-based utility that logs your faxes, stores your default settings (cover page, sender information, notification settings) and provides a rate table.

Rates vary by destination country and can run from €0.17 per page to most European and North American destinations to €1.28 per page to many Middle Eastern, African and South American countries and €1.59 to unlisted countries (confirm via the rate table). Prior to sending a fax and even approving payment, you are provided with the cost of the fax.

Having been a beta tester there are still a couple of features I would like to see in forthcoming versions:

  • acceptance of fax numbers from Microsoft Outlook
  • adding a fax number to a Skype user profile (which would probably require some coordination with Skype itself).
  • configure PamFax as a Windows printer driver option

In summary, after many years of fighting with WinFax and other PC telephony client installations and configurations, PamFax does provide a simple means to transmit faxes from your PC while on the road or any situation where the clarity and accuracy of document provided by a "direct to fax" process that bypasses scanning "fuzzies" is required.

Interesting to note is that, as for using actual Skype features, PamFax only uses Skype Chat for notifications and the Skype Extras Publishing Studio for both hosting the application, managing the digital rights licensing and providing the e-commerce engine.

Note: according to this FAQ, during the beta phase, PamFax is only available to Skype users outside Canada and USA.

Download PamFax beta

PamFax FAQ's.

17 Sep 2007

New Dive Show Announced for Pacific Northwest

First consumer dive show in the area in the last 25 years to take place in early May, 2008.

Northwest Dive News announces the establishment of a new consumer dive show in the Pacific Northwest. The show held on May 2, 3 & 4 at the new Convention Center in downtown Tacoma Washington. This event will be the first consumer dive show in this area in the last 25 years.

"We are very excited about this event and its beautiful venue," said show coordinator, Rick Stratton. Stratton is owner/publisher of Northwest Dive News and Northeast Dive News magazines. The Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center, the newest meeting location in the Pacific Northwest, has a 50,000 sq. ft. column-free exhibit hall. The attractive convention center is centrally located on the I-5 corridor; just 30 minutes south of Seattle.

Consumer dive shows like this one bring attention to our sport and provide access/opportunity for businesses to market their products directly to dive consumers, Stratton said. "Our area is well known for its excellent diving and diving community. We have needed an event like this for a long time."

He continues, "The dive community is a very small one. Every exhibitor is a share holder in the success of this event. We are asking all our exhibitors to market this event to their customers and associate companies."

The Pacific Northwest is well-known for its excellent diving and active diving community. The region has more than 200,000 certified divers; we expect the community to enthusiastically respond during the weekend. Divers will come from as far north as Alaska and as far south as California.

The dive show builds on the success of the NW Treasure Hunt, that has a large following of divers and exhibitors. According to Stratton “ We will build on that success and offer our exhibitors a well organized and well attended event.”

For more information about the NW Dive & Travel Expo held on May 2-4, 2008 in Tacoma, Wash.

Contact NW Dive News Magazine at 360-240-1874 or nwdiver@nwdivenews.com

14 Sep 2007

Google AdWords Keyword Tool

When designing an online campaign, we want the best possible info on keywords and our competitors.

And for those of us who use Google AdWords, there are few better sources of information than the Google AdWords Keyword Tool.

Just enter a keyword (or phrase) and choose from four possible data display types; the default mode shows the search volume and the state of the advertising competition.

We know that if we choose wisely from the tool's list, we'll have essentially have a Google-approved campaign.

12 Sep 2007

Windows Live Webmaster Portal Beta

Excellent wee post/articl;e and discussion about this new tool. Definitely a good heads-up for us all out in the boonies to watch out for it:

Windows Live Webmaster Portal Beta

===========================
By: Lee Odden 2007-09-11

Earlier this year I participated in an online focus group where questions were asked about various webmaster and SEO tools. The session was run by a third party and I was able to get them...

...to admit it was for Microsoft. Tonight, like many others that showed interest, I received an invite to register from Nathan Buggia, Sr. Product Manager of the Live Search Webmaster Tools Team.

Similar to Googles Webmaster Tools (Vanessa Fox interview here) and Yahoos Site Explorer tools (Tim Mayer interview here), the services included in this Beta of Microsofts Windows Live Webmaster Portal appear to be split up into three categories:

Troubleshooting
  • Site crawling

  • Site Indexing

  • Robots.txt

  • Sitemaps

Sitemaps

  • Creation

  • Submission (upload, autodiscovery)

  • Ping

Stats

  • Top search terms for your domain

  • Top search terms for other domains

  • Top keywords on your site

  • Inbound links to your site

  • Inbound links to other sites

  • Outbound links from your site

  • Outbound links from other sites

  • Perceived site quality score

  • Number of pages indexed
===================================================

Excellent wee post/article and discussion about this new tool. Definitely a good heads-up for us all out in the boonies to watch out for it:

Windows Live Webmaster Portal Beta

Google Webmaster Central gets a new look

Webmaster Central gets a new look

Google has launched Webmaster Central back in August 2006, with a goal of creating a place for us to learn more about Google's crawling and indexing of websites, and to offer tools for submitting sitemaps and other content.

Google has also been working to roll out exciting new features for Webmaster Tools, like internal/external links data and the Message Center, over the past year.

Anyone who is NOT paying attention to these tools is simply silly. Google are happy to give you all the stats for what they see on your site and it's VITAL that Google ahs a good handle on all your pages.

Read about their new Webmaster Tools features here on the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog.

7 Sep 2007

Top 10 Reasons Prospects Leave a Landing Page

(Courtesy Atlas NetConversions)

Landing pages have long been considered an after thought when it comes to an online campaign. Many marketers rely solely on their outbound marketing to drive conversions and neglect the landing page altogether. In other words, many marketers think that the campaign does the bulk of the work and the landing page simply is a conversion receptacle. Not true!

Campaigns are built to drive traffic to the site. Some of that traffic may even be well-qualified depending on creative, placement and messaging. However, your landing page is the critical piece to the overall success of your campaign. Your landing page must convince, engage, and provide enough information to your prospect to stick around and hopefully sign-up or buy what you are selling them.

Atlas NetConversions has been collecting and analyzing the behavior of over 4 million web users on clients’ websites for over 5 years. With all that data, we have a pretty good idea of what works to convert customers and what doesn’t. A la David Letterman, here are Atlas NetConversions’…

Read the full 10 points (whoich are spot on!) here: Travel Team Consulting: Solutions

5 Sep 2007

Tourism Trends : Amazing Online Reservation Statistics

Tourism Trends byPhilip Caines,Vancouver, BC, Canada

Cool blog by Chris in Canada, on the sharp end of online reservations obviously...

Stuart

======================

Amazing Online Reservation Statistics

Recently I found an article that combined a number of interesting statistics relating to online reservations and sales through the Internet for the travel industry. These are really worth looking at:

Forrester Research:

  • In 2007, nearly 40 million U.S. households will book travel online, spending $86 billion Web travelers now make up 79% of the U.S. travel population and 55% of them buy leisure travel online.
  • High-income travelers, households with annual incomes of $100,000 or more a year, account for just 16% of the U.S. online leisure travel population – a market that represents 10.9 million households and spends $60 billion on leisure travel.
Read full post here: Tourism Trends

http://tourismtide.blogspot.com/2007/08/amazing-online-reservation-statistics.html

4 Sep 2007

SiteProNews: 10 Truths About Obtaining Better Google Rankings

10 Truths About Obtaining Better Google Rankings
By Kevin Gallagher (c) 2007

Introduction
I have read hundreds of articles telling me how to get better rankings in Google. Some of this advice was very good and some was not. Here you will find 10 truths about getting better rankings in Google that I personally have found to be true after years of research. So let's cut through the fat and get to the lean meat of the subject.

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE....

About The Author
Kevin Gallagher is the managing director of Umbrella a custom website design company in the Scottish Borders providing small business website design, website builder software and affordable company SEO services.

2 Sep 2007

Tips for Earning Money Through Blogging.

From Deborah Ng,

Your Guide to Web Logs.

If your blog's receiving good traffic, you might consider whether or not you'd like to be rewarded for your efforts. Many bloggers have discovered they can earn good money through their blogs. If this interests you, there are several programs available.

1. Content is King

First and foremost, you can encourage millions of people to visit your blog, but the numbers won't mean squat if you don't keep them coming back for more. You'll need to provide useful content. It's not enough to provide the same news as every other blogger in your niche topic. You'll have to come up with something new and unique and provide thought provoking analysis. Your blog has to say something and say it well.

2. Participate in Like-Minded Forums

Even if you're not a joiner, it pays to visit forums so the rest of the people in your niche group know about your blog. If your blog is about knitting, visit some knitting and craft forums. If your blog is about earthworms, visit earthworm, soil and gardening forums. You don't have to post a lot of "hey come visit my blog" type comments, but if you add a link to your blog in your signature, it will appear in every post. This is sure to bring in traffic.

Read the whole article at: http://weblogs.about.com/