Google June 24, 2015

Does anybody else out there feel that Google ad-words is a complete rip off?

I’m seriously confused about how the system works…

Normally – the more you spend the better the service should be
Google – the more you spend…nothing much seems to happen

I feel I’ve been ripped off for years by these Search Engine Optimisation companies ….and despite spending £10’s of thousands of pounds…the company position is no better off than when I spend ££££pennies.

I have paid huge sums of money to companies that offer … ‘number one position on Google rankings’ only to be massively disappointed when some months later, and several thousands of pounds poorer…our Google ranking hasn’t changed…

These companies all seem to have the same marketing strategy, sending a particularly attractive pair of young hopefuls to do the initial ground work. It’s always a male and a female (cover all bases) and they are always ridiculously attractive with perfect teeth. They present detailed analysis of your business on an i-pad (the diamond and gold edition) and quite often don’t even bother to change the name of the company to the one to whom they are actually presenting…

They have page after page of detailed analytics that ‘Brian in data’ has produced showing how for a spend of £5K a month ….YOU can be NUMBER ONE. It’s always a round figure – never £4980.00 plus VAT or £5260.00 plus VAT…its always – £Exact figure – on a monthly retainer.

…and they always say …’of course it won’t happen overnight, you have to give us a couple of months to get things sorted.

These companies all rely on the fact that nobody can check what they are doing…and it’s all total bolloxs.

…and anyway,  whatever you do – Google then produces some algorithm called ‘Donkey Knob’ and everything changes again anyway.

It worries me that hard working successful companies are being targeted by these con artists and are being taken in by the flash smile, a glimpse of cleavage and a promise of eternal domination of the Google heap.

There should be a system where hard work gets your rewards?…and a system where lazy computer hackers don’t triumph over the labours of hard working office guys. Punching a few keyboards isn’t hard work …I’m sorry all you geeks out there – but hard work in business is about going out and selling your services then providing a quality product time and time again. It’s about providing the right service at the right price and then delivering the product…

There should be a system where the longer established companies should stand out as head and shoulders above a newly formed start-up company with little experience. Unfortunately in this day and age all you need is a good looking website and nobody can tell that you are actually trading from your back bedroom…..AND… Google isn’t helping.

So for companies wishing to find the best company that deals with Japanese Knotweed – I’m launching a new web search engine – it’s called – just go on there and you will find everything you need.


Mike C

Guardians of the Galaxy June 17, 2015

I recently presented at the Japanese Knotweed Solutions Ltd annual seminar (this year titled ‘The Root of All Evil’) and introduced a concept called ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’. Whilst many of you will be familiar with the recent blockbuster film of the same title starring Chris Pratt… the idea that I was presenting was a little more earth bound.

Who actually looks after our environment …(duuh …’The Environment Agency’ I hear you shout)….well yes… The Environment Agency…but who within the EA ?? ….and….are the EA not just completely bogged down with flooding issues (no pun intended)? ?

…and what about the cutbacks that the EA are going through? …’austerity measures’ will see cuts in the number of EA staff whilst flooding and other environment issues put increased strain on the remaining members of staff.

Where does the ENVIRONMENT  AGENCY actually sit on the Governments priorities? …Is it number 1?

Hmmmm… wouldn’t have thought so….?..DEFRA?…Natural England?

I think….maybe… when it comes down to it… the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ are actually …me and you – the ‘general public’ –  who maybe need to shout out a bit more about the services which we deem VITAL to the well-being of our country and its environment…?

I was recently told that the EA code of practice for managing Japanese Knotweed was going to be removed from the EA website – yet it is one of the most frequently searched documents on there? We are told that European Legislation will be introduced to allow ‘Species Control Orders’ to be issued against land owners who flout advice to manage their invasive species problems. This is to be policed by the Environment Agency…but…. without any additional funding??

I’m not qualified to talk about this and I will probably get a flurry of e-mails telling me that I’m making some basic errors in some of my comments….but all I ever hear about I the papers is immigration and FIFA and Top Gear . Millions and Millions of pounds are spent on our wonderful national health service that then treats immigrants to a free surgery or consultation. I know of one wealthy couple who live in Portugal for tax reasons but come home to have any operation or health advice that they need FOC….and don’t even start me on the homeless families being put up in prime London locations for thousands of pounds a week…

Put the following statements in the correct order :  Money – plug hole – down the – might as well  just put the

Maybe just maybe we should prioritise OUR COUNTRY first…and let’s start with the basics…the COUNTRYSIDE.

This is what makes our Britain ‘Great’.

Let’s have a few more Mr Grumpy from Glossop letters complaining about Japanese  knotweed everywhere. Let’s make more of a fuss about litter, lets issue fines to a few people ££££….maybe re-introduce the ‘stocks’ at Mc Donalds restaurants – so that anybody chucking a Big Mac on the floor gets 48 hours being pelted with rotten fruit (it might even improve their diet)…

Let’s make a fuss and shout about looking after the people that look after our ENVIRONMENT – and let’s make more people aspire to being in these jobs that matter.

How about the EA get better pay, more job security and some kick ass uniforms with dark shades….maybe like Men in Black??

Let’s make it COOL to look after the Environment!


Mike C

JKSL on ITV’s Tonight Programme June 11, 2015

JKSL’s Mike Clough speaks to Alex Beresford about Japanese Knotweed.

Reasons to be cheerful…part 1 June 10, 2015

It can get a little depressing writing about the problems that we all have with Invasive Alien Species…so how about some good news for a change? There are positive factors about alien species – you just have to think a little outside the box. If you look closely there are only about 20 or so plants which provide the staple ingredients for our diet – thus these 20 plants are the major contributors to world food supply – without which much of the world population would starve. 

These plants are often grown far from their places of origin and are thus – ‘alien species’ – but these are not ‘invasive alien species’ but rather ‘alien species’ that have been purposefully transported and moulded through selection.  These plants have developed through years and years of selection and now fit the local conditions in the most productive manner providing high yield food crops which suit the farmer in his quest for maximum return for every acre that they plant.
Alien species abound in our parks and gardens providing feature plants in some of our most famous of landscapes. The Victorian gardeners thought they were ‘masters of the universe’ and brought plants from all over the world to grace their estates and parklands. Landscape Architects have used exotic species within planting schemes for years – with many plants being used in so called habitat or wildlife gardens being exotic and alien.

The recently released ‘field Guide to Invasive Plants and Animals in Britain’ lists various exotic trees and shrubs which are now considered to be potentially problematic. As a Landscape Architect I used nearly all of them in my early planting schemes….! …but please don’t think it was just me…these were plants that were recommended as being either ‘hardy’, ‘ornamental’….or just plain ‘available and cheap’! Many of the plants that we Landscape Architects used 30 years ago were used because they could be grown easily on a commercial basis – and were reliable in terms of rapid growth and establishment….not unlike Japanese Knotweed!

This year at the Chelsea flower show there has been a call for the use of native plants to be used rather than exotic ‘alien’ species – some of the gardens have contained nothing but ‘alien plants’ which, whilst interesting – do not encourage the typical British gardener to plant indigenous species. It is easy to forget what is …and isn’t ‘native’, Sycamore for example is a non-native invasive species – yet if one were to fell/eradicate all of the sycamore trees in the UK …this would leave some major holes in our landscape?

What about the new pests and diseases that we have to contend with? If Ash die back decimates our native Ash trees (as it is forecast to do)…. then should we looking at an ‘alien’ ash species sourced from Europe that may be able to withstand the virus?
Would you rather have no trees..? or ‘Alien trees’ that will survive????

When I was younger I always used to think everything was black and white – I made quick decisions based on a simplistic view of the world. As I have got older I realise that most situations are more about ‘shades of grey’ ….rather than yes or no …it is about multiple variables and realising that not everybody thinks in the same way.

Some people advocate accepting ‘invasive non-native species’ as part of the ‘natural order’ – and believe that we should accept a change in our habitat as invasive species spread. Others point to the associated loss of bio-diversity which they consider vital to the longevity of the planet.
I can see both points of view and in certain cases will sit on both sides of the fence.

In and around Swansea and South Wales I consider the growth of Japanese Knotweed to be so extensive that I don’t believe that current methodologies will ever get on top of the plants extensive growth….so…maybe just maybe…. we should accept this?

Other areas where Invasive plants are just beginning to establish should (I believe) be where we spend our time and effort in trying to preserve the natural order.
From what I understand – the newly introduced ‘Species Control Orders’ seem to take a similar line, plants that are well established will NOT be getting served notice to remove …whilst NEW arrivals will be hit hard and fast and removed….

The message in this blog has got a little confused – but the key point that I’m trying to get across is that it’s not all ‘bad news’….things do change – and it is natural for our environment to evolve. Some changes should perhaps be accepted and even welcomed – whilst others should be challenged and actions taken …

There are some interesting decisions to be made.

Mike C