Looking for the best Hawaii digital marketing agency

I fired a Hawaii marketing agency a couple of months ago. I was not a client. I’d been providing usability and SEO services to their clients since 2007. (Does that mean I quit?) I grew online business for a few of their big-name clients and received decent money for it. Everybody at the agency was polite and skilled. So why did I fire them? Throughout the six-year engagement they paid several hundred invoices, but rarely on time. I fired them because they regularly forced me to act as an accountant and a collections agent.

Glutton For Digital Media Agency Punishment

Hawaii Destination Marketing SEO and a Beach
I heart Hawaii !

A few weeks later I was approached by another Hawaii digital marketing outfit. I’m not hungry for work now, but with so much SEO and usability experience in the Hawaii destination and hospitality verticals, part of me wants to put that knowledge to good use. So when this new agency reached out to me, I engaged.

I insist on signing a mutual non-disclosure agreement with all clients. The NDA serves to protect any private information and ostensibly allows us to discuss anything without worry of public eyes and ears. After a month of wasting my time, this new agency today tells me, “We can’t sign this.” I tried to identify and fix the perceived problem, but after receiving a couple more obtuse emails, I eventually jabbed, “I take my clients’ privacy very seriously. If [Agency] doesn’t respect that, we’re obviously not a good match.” I sent a friendly “goodbye” note to his partner.

I assure you I won’t be communicating with them again unless we agree about privacy.

What I’ve learned:

  • Fool me once, shame on, um… how does that go, George Bush? Fire clients more quickly if/when they’re late with payments.
  • Don’t invest too much speculative time with clients until they agree to protect privacy.
  • I’d again like to help a Hawaii company or agency with search engine optimization and user experience.
  • I *still* don’t like time-wasters.
Dan Dreifort‘s current clients include: Product recommendation SaaS company, Plastic container manufacturer/retailer, Adjustable air-mattress retailer/manufacturer, Memory foam mattress manufacturer/retailer, Specialty shipping company, Brazilian jiu jitsu franchises, Tourist magazine, Childcare franchises, Acting school, Real estate brokers, Lawyer, Fence manufacturer/retailer, Online drug rehab center and a couple more. Dan is busy and can’t accept new work until January, 2014.

Kauai Bicycling

So I blew my back out over a year ago. (It’s an extruded disc if you want to get technical.) My greatest lament has been my inability to lead a “normal” physically active life. I went so far as to purchase a stationary recumbent bicycle. That worked for a while until my back inexplicably worsened. I’m in that unlucky slot – gaining weight, back too shot to live a normal life, but not bad enough for those usually (allegedly) moneygrubbing cut-happy neurosurgeons to cut me and fix things.

I’ve been to Hawaii several times. Once to Maui and many cherished stops on Oahu. I’m a total sucker for Hawaii. I’ve heard great things about both the Big Island and Kauai. The former – a crazy volcanic pit of lava-tastic adventure, the latter the relatively undeveloped home to the wettest place this side of that other really wet place. (Is it really the wettest in the world?)

When visiting Maui, I really wanted to bike down Haleakala. Two things prevented me from doing this. 1. I was recovering from knee surgery. (Is my connective tissue made of glass?! Didn’t they make a movie about me?) 2. You have to wake up before I usually go to sleep to enjoy tearing down a volcano on two skinny wheels. That one-two punch kept me from biking that day, and might’ve saved my life.

As I type this, I realize that the built in spell checker isn’t working for whatever reason. I was really impressed that I’d spelled “Haleakala” correctly. I don’t think I did. But you know what I mean. (Please contact me if you find spelling errors!)

So as much as the huge volcano isle is tempting, I’m considering Kauai for my next trip. I hear Kauai bicycling opportunities are amazing. I poked around and found a place that rents recumbent bikes, so I might give Kauai bicycling a shot. It’s an older island/volcano, so it’s not as steep and rugged as the Big Island or Maui’s Halewhatever it’s called.

My biggest concern is riding a recumbent bike that actually has wheels. The last and only time I tried to ride one was in the 1980s in Put-in Bay, Ohio, coincidentally also an island. (But not a volcano.) Recumbent bikes were a new (to me) thing, but I was pretty young, so plenty was new to me. They were billed as “the Ferrari of bicycles”. The guy tooling around on one might’ve been the same guy who was renting them to Marks like me. Regardless, the younger and ostensibly more agile me couldn’t grok it. I spent a few minutes trying to get going… but couldn’t. No sale. Bad Mark!

Maybe it’s something that comes with age. I’ve since seen plenty of oldsters riding them. Perhaps it’s one of those necessity things.  “My damn back’s broken. This thing is my only option to not gain fifty pounds. I’ll fight it like Calvin fought his bike if I have to.” Kinda like that?

We’ll see. I doubt I’ll be biking here in Kauai. Doesn’t sound like a good Kauai biking trail.

Perils of Volunteering (trying to)


You know it’s a rough economy when you can’t even get a job that doesn’t pay.

I applied to volunteer at the local Red Cross chapter. They told me to get a background check at mybackgroundcheck.com. I went there, paid the $15 to get the volunteer check. Then filled out their application packet and tried to arrange my 20 minute interview. Turns out there’s a special, free, “Red Cross” version of the background check I needed to do. I expressed to the local volunteer coordinator that they might want to change their instructions to prevent potential volunteers from wasting time and money.  After receiving several looping errors when submitting the form, my pristine background check finally made it to them on the day of my interview.

I did the interview, and while I’ll not divulge (any more) gripey complaints, I’ll say that I was interviewing them as much that they were me. I got the rejection letter a few days later and emailed them to ask if my extruded disc had anything to do with it, and if I’d be able to volunteer after I get that fixed. Their response:

“After conferring with our Exec. Director, [REDACTED], it was decided that “your skills and interests don’t match our current needs”.  Your physical limitations were not a factor in our decision.  We will keep your contact info. on file. Best wishes in your future endeavors. We have no doubt that you will be a great volunteer for another local organization, if that is your choice.”

Part of me wanted to ask them… On exactly which “skills and interests” should I be focusing, should I decide to yearn to be a better Red Cross candidate? Man, I swore no more griping… damn. But seriously, if the Athens Ohio Red Cross chapter is so well staffed that they’re turning away college educated, self made, Red Cross certified babysitting expert, almost able-bodied volunteers, then good for them. I just find it hard to believe that they couldn’t benefit from my skills, effort and time.

My last volunteer effort (in 2008) was teaching English to Chinese immigrants.  My students all worked at my favorite restaurant (sushi!) I made a flier (or is it flyer?)  offering free English lessons. I came to their shop at 11 PM one night a week for a few months. We all had a good time and learned things. Alas, they work seven days per week, usually more than a dozen hours a day, 364 days/year. Eventually classes became a yet another burden in their busy lives. Or maybe they were picking up more than enough English from their days and nights interacting with customers and an hour or two a night of watching late, late TV.

Or maybe they fired me because nobody wants me to work for free.

I’m beginning to think that people will only let me work if I allow them to pay me. It’s a paranoid thought that makes *some* sense in the marketing world. (I.e. people value things more when they pay. Give it away and people don’t think it’s “worth” as much.) So I’m turning away good paying work in my fields, but can’t find a good volunteer gig.

I considered writing a letter to my local paper about getting turned down by the Red Cross, but then realized it might open a flood gate of “Hey, come volunteer for us!” requests. And for other, more obvious reasons… I didn’t write that letter. (Is writing this blog any different?) (A little, I think.) So my buddy Roman at a great Athens Ohio marketing joint has an idea for a charity effort. I think I might help him with his vision.

In closing, I love what the Red Cross does for the world: Disaster relief, community education and blood drives to support the vampire mafia. And I’d decided to turn them down. (Far from impressed with their budget handling.) They just didn’t give me the chance. Maybe they knew my interests better than I did. Oh, and apparently that time I was busted smoking pot in 1994 is no longer on my record. Or maybe, just maybe, society no longer thinks it’s a big deal for college students to toke the wacky weed. Even Obama did that. That makes me almost presidential. But Michael Phelps… that hairy potter can go to hell.

Dan Dreifort volunteers for Death With Dignity National Center and donates time locally to get out the vote for San Diego’s 2020 campaign finance reform measure.