Saturday, January 1, 2011

My New Website

I have been working on my first new website in a few years. It revolves around something I am an "Authority" in, and that is Photo Retouching. It's located at and while it was originally just a personal portfolio, it quickly turned into very large website with video tutorials, sales and all kinds of stuff. I used Market Samauri to focus in on the keywords that I could use to break in with. I hired an SEO company, and the RSS feed is now on and iTunes. Pretty cool.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


While driving in my car today, i started recording some future blog posts and articles I plan on writing. I came home and went on eLance to find somone to type it all, so I have something concrete to work with someday.

While i did receive bids mostly under $10 per hour, or even under $5 per hour from India, I was floored by people charging $30 and even $50 per audio hour. Thats simply insane to me. I mean, if it was medical stuff, sure, I can see that. But it's all me complaining about Amazon... like usual. I'm sorry, I just could not beging to justify a cost of ten times as much. Crazy.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Adwords - Good Ads

The key to a good ad with high click-through rate focuses on the solution to the problem. Dare I even say, on an emoptional level. For example, I ran 2 ads as part of the same campaign, and I let Google choose which ads to display. They were both displayed about 14,000 times. However, the one that said "Unlock Codes" got 11 clicks and the one that said "How To Unlock" got a whopping 69 clicks.

Think about that for a second. I lost 58 customers because of the ad that was run for a few hours. If the other ad were run full time, I could have made more sales.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Google Adwords Editor

It may have come out a few years ago, but I just found the Google Adwords Editor. This is exactly what I needed for Adwords. Export to CSV, add a million Ad Groups and Keywords, insert and update. Beautiful. Reminds me of TurboLister for eBay.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

CraigsList customers

Do everyone a favor, do NOT call up a number on craigslist for someone selling something, and the the first words out of your mouth be "What's your last price?". My last price, is the price that's listed.... and I'm NOT going to sell it to you.... asshole.

Friday, October 8, 2010

It's been a while...

It has been a long time since my last post. this comes from being busy, but also junk comments and a complete lack of Google love.

On the personal side, I have been muddling through. Way too many doctor bills for the entire family. This completely eats away at any hard work and profits that I made throuyghout the month,

On the business front, I get trickling sales. Returns have been minimal. i have been trying to post comments to blog posts, but so far little results. I think I need to start writing some full articles, and post them on better websites. I did get someone the other day that ordered 3 phones, and said he would order more if the quality is good. Since the holiday went long for my regular supplier, I went with someone new just to get it out. I have been chatting with her the day after the sale, so I expect everything will be fine.

As for the big customer of last month, after I paid off the worst of my debit, then came the damaged items. He has 46 out of 445 that need repairs for one reason or another. After a few weeks of back and forth debate, I have decided to get a DHL account, ship the phones directly back to china for repairs, then have then sent back. The cost will be about $800. However, my direct customer, a middleman, has another customer, whose first order is around 4000 phones. Yes, 10 times the amount of the other guy. My profit margin is through the roof, and will pay off every debit I have have, a clean slate. They are all waiting so see how I handle this first order. So I do believe that at it's completion, the orders will then start freely flowing.

I fired my receptionist because she was not doing a good job. I hired another woman who was fantastic... then 2 weeks later was in a serious car accident. Her husband emailed me to let me know she had to quit. That sucked, she was awesome.Now, in a rush, I hired 2 other people who I dont think are all that great, but I will give them a chance.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Poor Customer Service

Dont you hate it, when you take the time to call a company, sit on hold, ask the person questions, and they are so incompetant, that you figure it out outself, and just hang up on them?

More Idiots.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


When you have a large quote you need to supply to a customer, do yourself the favour, and have someone else double check your numbers. There is likely to be a big assed mistake in there somewhere.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Dear Chinese Bloggers,



Dear Chinese Bloggers,

Please stop replying to my posts, advertising your crap. I just delete the your replies. You waste both our time.

Last PayPal Post

Last Post (I promise). They finally released the account,. so that I can acceess most of the money they have been holding hostage all month. The rest of it will be fully released in the next week or two. Stupid holding policy. Funny thing is, the holding is because the purchases were from eBay. My other paypal account still sells the exact same items, but there is no attachment to eBay. What a joke they are.

Did you know that the eBay CEO John Donahue has been dropping his stocks faster than Obama's Approval rating.

It's all messed up.

In future posts, there will be a lot more direct related postings, as I release the next version of the cell phone website, which will free up a ton of my time once it's all done. Then I can start inn on the marketing stuff, which should be really fun to watch sales increase.

Friday, July 23, 2010

PayPal Question

Can i file an Unpaid Item Strike against Paypal, who is STILL holding my money for several months now, and won't let me access the account?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

This week's business news

I made several changes to my webpages. It cost a small fortune to outsource it, but it was worth it.

My traffic has doubled, and more importantly, my bounce rate has dropped from 80%+ down to 33% and people are spending several minutes looking around, rather than 5 seconds and gone. This week, I have been in negotiations with a potential customer who wants a starting order that exceeds $100,000. He found me because no one else would return his calls. HA! I love my competition. They make this easy.

Paypal... Amazing

They have had me resend the same damn documents so many damn times, I have run out of space on their upload server. What an enormous time waster.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Marketing (and outsourcing) at Work

I noticed that someone responded to one of my earlier posts here:

Basically, they said some nice things, then in the 4th paragraph, started advertising thier own website. Why? Backlinks. Google will come along and see this post and backlink, and poof, boost in page ranking.

Likely, this was outsourced, to someone who used the Blogger's "Next Blog" button and they post one after another, changing some words here and there.

Personally, I think this is a waste of everyone's time and money. Thanks Google. Unfortunately, I have to start doing this too.

As for all the Chinese comments,same thing, all back links to garbage websites.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

PayPal Still Sucks

They still haven't lifted a finger to reinstate the account. They said it was illegible now. So, I am now making them 11" wide. Maybe they can see it now. Idiots.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Ebay Cancelation

Reasons for Canceling eBay Store Account:

1. Very little sales. this month, was 0.

2. They suspended my PayPal account, and won't release it, despite repeated confirmation that I am me.

3. I get WAY too many emails about how people are TRYING to buy, but get an error messone of one type or another.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Paypal Still Sucks

Not sure how many days I have been sending the same damn files to them. They are completely insane. I do no know what they hope to gain to from being this obstinate. My only guess is they collect more interest from held money?!?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Wachovia Rewards

I received mail about a new Wachovia Rewards program. Basically, sign up, then every $4 becomes a point. The points become gift cards. So, I dug around until I found the catch. It seems that there is a $12 year fee for joining. Unfortunately, based on my math, It's a loosing deal. Besides, like I care about a $25 gift card, when I also received 3 bounce letters in the mail, totaling $80 in fees? Please, I'm broke, not stupid.

PayPal Idiocy

I know they like to waste time. This is crazy. I have sent them JPG, PDF, and Fax. They still complain they can't read my files. They are idiots. I know it is just bullshit, but come on already. I need to get paid. This si why you pull out all your money, every day, and never sell on Amazon.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tenants Suck Too

I have been trying to evict my tenants for 2 months now. Today I went into court, and let them stay for another month free.

I know, I know. No one understands unless I explain it. If I let the court kick them out, then they would damage property on the way out, they wont pay the water bill (in my name), and I'll have to pay even more for the marshall, movers, and storage (according to town law). This is the short version since I dont have time to explain it all. But, leave it to say that it will cost me less to just leave them alone for 30 more days.

In return, i can show the property to rent or sell, they will mow the lawn and keep the place clean. And did I mention the $600+ I will save in eviction costs?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Paypal are such assholes

I just thought you should know. After 2 years without complaint, and 150+ ebay feedback, they suspend my account and make me jump though hoops to prove who I am. I sent license and utility bill. They say the PDF's are blank. I say they are idiots. So I sent them again as JPGs. The truth of the matter is, it's a stall tactic. I'm not really sure the point, but I do know I have played this game before with them. They make stuff up, then make you send in more proof of this or that. That is why you should ALWAYS have multiple PayPal accounts laying around for just such an occasion.

Since the account, attached to PayPal is suspended (money can go in, but not out) this is the primary reason to pull out your money as SOON AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE. You never know what they are going to do. Remember, PAYPAL IS NOT A BANK, THEY ARE A MEMBERSHIP. They can do whatever they want. Remember that.

I would not care so much, if I knew this was about real proof, or real security. All it is, is a group of monkeys that push the green button for a few food pellets. Think I am making that up? Read these:


There is a lot that can be said about being in business for 6 months, as opposed to 3 years. I remember having to either spend several hundred at the office supply store, or I was forced into several trips per week because I kept thinking of something else I needed. Stickies, batteries, a phone, printers, pens, etc. Then it became computer Sticky program because I was tired of the clutter, and the cost. Batteries became rechargable, printers and pens became refil cartridges.

From the stackable letter trays, to the rolodesk, it was a constant startup cost. I dont have that anymore. Thankfully, because it was taking hudreds per month out of profits.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I have officially concluded, from a seller prospective, any Chinese import websites like are a waste of time and energy for anyone but the Chinese. Basically, if the Chinese are selling on there, and I am buying from them anyway, people shopping there for wholesale bargains are not interested in my raised prices.

Now, this was common sense when nI started the project, but I was thinking that I have completely different hours from the regular sellers, so that would give me an edge, and it did. I received several inquiries over the past several months. The problem, is it all goes back to dollars and cents. Besides, all I ever really got from there was Chinese sellers trying to sell me their own crap, even though I was clearly selling the same damn thing.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Driver Wizard

I work on many different computers. A few times a month, people come to me asking about reinstalling Windows, or neededing to upgrade to Windows 7. This has continually brought with it pain and agony trying to find the most recent Dell driver for a soundcard that just wont work.

I looked for a solution. I came across a program called Driver Wizard. In short, for $30, you install it, it finds all your drivers, and you can go back to your life.

At first it seemed like a silly thing to pay for, since it just finds free stuff for you, but I gotta tell you, the amount of time it saved was well worth it. In my case, I wont ever have to go find random drivers all year (yeah). I was so excited, I went around installing it on all my own computers. It updated driver that I know I would never bother doing on my own.


Today, I would like to blog about companies like Basically, you pay them a fee, and then you get entered into their referral system. They take out Ads on google, google sends the visitor to yext, and yext sends them to you. Yext fee is $30 per phone call. So while it sounds like a good idea (even at $30, it is still a solid sale), all they ever sent me was crap broken laptops that I could not fix for under $250 in parts alone (that no one would pay). I just thought you should know.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ebay Sales

My bill arrived for the month. Which made me look back. I made an estimated profit of $160.00 and the bill was for $140.00. Even if we streach it out, what did I make? $50.00? What theives,

Friday, May 14, 2010

TMobile Even More Plus

After I became completely fed up with AT$T Prepaid Sim charging me $1.00 per day, $0.10 per minute, and charging even more for using my own WiFi router, I went down to T-Mobile and got an Even More Plus account. It came with 1000 minutes, unlimted text and web, and I paid an extra $5.00 for Backberry email support.

Side Note: Sprint Blackberry emails came in once every 20 minutes or so. It was terrible. They blamed my email server for denying them access. T-Mobile, however, alerts me to new emails like 10 seconds after it is received by the server. Amazingly awesome.

I received a text message telliung me that I had $5.00 available in my flexpay account. This caused me confusion. I wanted to know what it was talking about, for professional reasons more than anything else, so I called in to ask about it. They explained what it was for, and that when I don't actually use it (as I won't), it will just disappear. This bothered me, as I paid an extra $5.00 to use this service, and I will never use it. Sure wish I had an option. Also wish it was explained before I got some random text message about it.

The lesson here, is be clear, and explain to your customers what they can expect. If you don't, you are just asking for more time, and trouble, in the future.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

How to change your IP Address

Someone had asked how they can manually change their IP address. That's easy. I fyou look at the bottom of your router, it will have a MAC Address. This is the factory default identifier of the router. If you log into the router, and look around, you will likely find a place to change the default. Go ahead, make something up. Numbers and letters. Turn off your modem and router. For best practice, disconnect the cable/dsl line as well, and leave it for a few minutes to flush out the modem's memory. If you restart, you will see that you have a new address. Even better, if you change it back, your old IP address may come back. Neat, huh?


They have several products at Staples. On the boxes, they look like great products. My official take on the 900 Check Refills, Bookkeeper 2010, and that other thing I bought, is that it is crap. All of it. Don't buy it, any of it. I would tell you why, but then, that would be a further investment of my time. I wonder if they will let me retun the checks? The box is opened and sheets used....

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Google Base Lessons

I have been off Google Base for the past month now, and my visitors have plumetted. Because I have had few visitors, my Organic rankings have dropped. These 2 are definately tied together, for obvious reasons.

I was off Google Base for 2 reasons. One, was that I was rebuilding much of my website, so not point in being online. The other, even more important, is that I could not get my stuff listed. Here were the 2 causes, and solutions.

Problem: Google said I had not claimed my website domain, even though I swore I did... over and over again.

Solution: Verifying and Claiming are 2 different things. You need to Verify from Webmaster Tools, then Claim it from Google Base. When done properly, your Google Base Settings - General - Website URL will be checked as Verified and Claimed.

Problem: It kept saying Invalid Attribute for my Payment_Accepted option.

Solution: The wording in Google's help file, is not entirely clear. Do not add any spaces between the comas. Like cash,mastercard,visa,discover is correct. My real problem, seemed to be in Excel, however. I save as Tab Delimited, but the damn thing would put quotes around just that block of text. I could not see it from excel, but once I opened in a text editor, I could see them.

Once I made the 2 changes above, it accepted my feed without complaint.

PrePay Sim Cards

I needed to use a Prepaid card while I am between phone numbers. So, I put an ATT Sim card into my Blackberry 8320. It worked Fine, and connected to my WiFi. I used the internet, on what I thought was my free Local connectrion. When I made a phone call, it said I had no money left, because it sucked it up.

I called ATT, Complained, and they gave me most of my money back.

Lesson learned: Diable WiFi when using a prepaid Sim. When using the WiFi, disable the Sim.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Toshiba Support

Need to have a laptop fixed. I sent it to a local repair place. Toshiba sent a bad motherboard to replace the bad motherboard with. They would not send another one. Need to send laptop to toshiba themselves for repair. Would not give me a shipping label via email, so I need to pay for shipping just to get this unit out the door.

Guy who I spoke with at Toshiba was "trying" to be helpful, but ultimately made things hard and made me repeat myself several times. Dumb support is not better than no support. Please note this.

Friday, April 16, 2010


I am going to be expanding to business clients, so the higher priced phones will definitely be updated and added, just to have them listed. I think, though, I will have the website itself have them listed as a "call us to purchase" type of option.

Also, as an FYI, a future plan will be to lease out this database of phones and images, so that I can make some money back on it. You see how much trouble it was to create? Anyone would be crazy to bother doing it themselves,

After I recently updated the server, my website has been completely broken. I needed to hire a programmer to fix the worst of it. I am hiring another programmer to fix the next wave of problems, like the SSL security will not work with Virtual Hosting anymore. And today I hope to get through the last of the visual updates... the website has looked partly beige like always, and now partly like the new blue waves and steel. Has not looked right at all.

I am going through a major growth spurt for all my businesses. The phones are about to reach a business customer base with newspaper based advertising. I fixed 4 computers last week. I have been picking up retouching work from eLance, and I am also going to start getting more local recognition from photographers I think too. Maybe I should send out postcards to local photographers?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ebay Sales

eBay sales sucked this month. Not for lack of trying, it's just that I received many emails from people telling me that Paypal would not let them pay. Nice. Really nice. Luckily, I just made a sale from there, so at least my fees for the month are covered.

Bonanzle First Sale

Three weeks, and I made my first sale with Bonanzle. Overall, the traffic is abysmal. Not sure if I made the sale because I signed up for their pay servicees, or despite them.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Social Side Effect

Unexpected thing happened when I signed up with Shopzilla last month. They are attach to BizRate I guess. Bizrate is attached to dozens of smaller sites. I also signed up with Facebook, linked in, twitter, etc. Apparently, when I just did a search for my company name, I am now all but dominating the top 100 search. I would say, half the stuff on there ultimately points back to my own website. Some of this stuff we intentionally planted, but much of it are residuals. For example, coupon websites all read from each other's databases.

To completely dominate in a search with 34 million pages, is no small feat, I assure you.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Waiving the Bounce Fee

In one week, my wife and myself had 6 bounce fees from our bank.

Hey, don't look at me like that. You know how it is. One penny off, and they start bouncing everything. In my case, I blame my Merchant Provider helping themselves to my money without warning of pending chargebacks (which are bullshit unto themselves).

Anyway, I digress. So, I go to Wachovia, tell them I want out of the Bounce Fee program... don't pay it and charge me extra for that wonderful service, just deny the transaction. So, the woman said no problem, blah blah blah, she chnages it and we leave. So, here I am like 2 weeks later, and I have another bullshit $35.00 fee. I call up to find out what happened. On my side, I put extra money for my eBay fees into the wrong account (yeah, I know, my bad). The issue here is that they didn't pay ebay, but they charged me a $35.00 fee anyway! Fucking banks, and companies, always out to screw you anyway they can.


I needed another telephone line, so I signed up with Vonage which currently has a $14.99 special going on. While the price is right, and customer service3 picked right up, I was needed to speak with 3 people, who did not resolver either of my issues within the first 10 minutes of becomeing a customer.

Issue #1: I noticed I also have to pay an extra $2.00 per month for 911 service. Despite the fact that I said I do not want it, and do not need it, they said it was government, and could not be waved. I said it was just an extra fax line with no phone attached. Didn;t matter, still cost extra $24/yr for no reason.

Issue #2: I realized that they billed my credit card right away, and will bill my credit card again in 4 weeks, however I can't do anything with the service, since they will not ship the Phone Adapter for 2-3 more days, plus the weekend, plus shipping time. Basically, I am paying for a week to a week and a half for services that are not being rendered. I was told, too bad, I should have read the fine print on page 5, where they pointed that out.

Nice. So, I told her I would post about it on my blog, and to have a nice day.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

SMTP Relay Server

I have had spotty on/off good/bad service from Comcast's built in relay server for years now. They finally broke what I had going on here, so I could not longer send my email out. After some searching, I found companies that will allow me to use them for relaying my email. The cost is quite affordable. I finally decided on where I picked the 150 emails a day plan for a whole 1.99/mo. They actually had it less for a full year, but I wosn't sure if it was going to be worthe it or not. However, I CAN say that I no longer need to worry about my internet providers garbage anymore trying to restrict me running a business from a residential service.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Staples is Annoying

They keep sending me coupons for $25 off in Store purchases, and $25 off Online Purchases, when you spend $75 or more. My Problem is, The Local Store does not have everything I want, and the Online store doesn't have everything I want. The fact that the Copy/Print department does not count for the $75 or more, is just further insult to injury. In fact, I was at the copy/print counter, and told that my copy/print coupon, was only for stuff they need to print somewhere else. (?!?!)

I absolutely HATE that slogan "Easy". Using their services is NEVER easy. After this recent round of purchases, they have officially fallen onto my "Bad Business" list.

Business Cards

I would like to start by saying that I have been a professional printer for more than 20 years. So, I know a good, quality business card when I see it.

As I am changing the look of my company, it was time for new business cards. It was a toss up between Staples and VistaPrint. I guess Staples was having a 25% off sale, so I went with them. On the up side, submission online was quick and easy. They even had it ready by morning.

When I picked it up, I thought the paper was as thin (about 180gsm/45lb.), the blacks looked weak, color was dull (too much red added to the blues) and the glossy paper (cost extra) was barely noticeable. They cost $0.10 cents each for 500. I genuinely felt the proof paper I usually print on at home looked so much better, even without the glossy.

The only up side to paying $50, was that I did not have to waste my time cutting them out. Next time I will make sure to get the better quality (thick and glossy), even if it cost a little more.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Another Poor Experience

I clicked on a PPC link I saw somewhere. It was for and I had trouble with using the website. The wbesite is supposed to sell boxes. However, by default, it brings me to the custom page, where box prices jump from $0.34 cents, to over $7.00. So, I clicked on the Live Chat link. Read the poor customer service, and poor employee responsibilities that followed....

Chris: Hello, how can I help?
you: I selected 25 10x6x6 boxes. Your system says they cost $7.00+ each. Hmm... for laughs, I added a printed logo, and the price jumped to $34.00+ each. Now, given that I can buy the same box at for $0.34 cents each, and a stick on a label for another $0.03 cents... who actually buys your products? Clearly, I am missing something....
Chris: Yes, your missing everything.....
Chris: Do we have that size on our "Stock Box" page for the same price as ULINE??
Chris: Probably....
Chris: Do we have the same stock sizes as uline?? Probably not....
Chris: Do we have as many stocks sizes available as ULINE?? No
Chris: Does Uline make CUSTOM BOXES??? NO.
Chris: It clear that your size is a "Stock Box"
Chris: Not a custom box
you: But at a price jump of over $600 for 2 color, clearly, out of my league. I was really just looking for some boxes.
Chris: Yes, do you have any idea how much it cost for printing plates??
you: Worked in printing for 20 years. Yes, I know.
Chris: Great!
you: I thought it would be off a big digital press or something.
Chris: then you should know that flexo printing plates cost in the ballpark of $400-600 PER COLOR
you: Would cost less to buy a big rubber stamp.
you: Yeah, I know.
Chris: that's wjhat flexo plates are, big rubber stamps.
Chris: Rubber molds....
you: Well, I mean literally, a rubber stamp. Cost like $40 or so for a 4x4.
you: So, I assume you customers order large quantities, not 25....
Chris: Yes, you VERY correct on that.
Chris: Most people don't do custom printing on that small of a qty... WE do have the option to do it.
Chris: Clearly, it's going to cost a lot higher then pulling a bundle of "Pre-Made" boxes off the shelf!
you: Even your "bundle of boxes" cost just under $200. That was made me click the help button.
Chris: What??
you: Yeah, even standard 8x8x8 cost $190. Now I feel bad you had to pay for the click to get me onto your site.
Chris: CS-002 4 x 4 x 4 a bundle of 25 boxes cost $4.75??
Chris: are you on the "Custom Page"???
you: Not on the link I am at. says $182.00
Chris: You REALLY neeed to look at our "STOCK BOX" page
you: I dont know, I guess. I just clicked on the PPC link and this is where I went
you: I click home, and it still takes me to the custom page
Chris: we sell 8 x 8 x 8 for $0.36/ea
Chris: DO you see a blue Tab that reads Stock BOXs??
you: that makes sense. You should see what your PPC thing is doing, because it seems to be a waste of mone sending people to take page.
you: Yes, I see it now.
Chris: OK!!!
you: Honestly, as a random customer, I am barely looking at it.
Chris: That's where you need to be looking!
Chris: A random customer should know the difference (if buying boxes) between what "standard" means and what "custom" means....
you: But I didn't realize I needed to make extra steps to get, where the link should have taken me.
you: I added the boxes I wanted, then added my zip code, and all my items disappeared from the cart.
Chris: maybe your should exit the browser then enter again and start over.
you: I think the "enter" key may be mapped to the remove button.... perhaps.
you: yeah, it is
you: when I type in the zip, and hit enter, it clears the cart
Chris: there is a drop down feild underneth the zip code are to choose method of transit it, are you doing that?
you: doesn't matter. point is, your website is in need of some serious redesign. You can upset, assuming that I am an idiot. And that's fine. But, assuming that I am, the site should be redesigned to make a sale from an idiot.
you: I just licked a link, and wanted to buy some boxes.
you: the fact that I am still here, not able to easily, means you are loosing customers.
you: How many others just gave up and went away.
Chris: you would be the 1st.
Chris: We get RAVE's eveyday about how easy our site is.
Chris: to navigate.
Chris: all the options
Chris: We have a stady gowth of 30% every year for the last 4 years.
Chris: We must be doing something right??
you: But... I just went to uline, typed in 8x8x8, the boxes came up, I gave my zip, and I am ready to checkout.... and they cost less.
Chris: Maybe you just need to go to your local UPS store and pull someting off the shelf?
you: Just think of the growth it could be if you listened to the one customer who was the idiot...
Chris: Then why search for a new vendor?
you: I just wanted to look at your boxes from the link I saw on a website.
Chris: OK, now you know who do go through if you need "Custom Boxes". meaning a size that uline doesn't carry, or if you want custom printed logos.
Chris: ULine is great to use if all you need is 25 stock boxes.
Chris: Everyone, everywhere can do that.
Chris: Thank you for your time.
Chris: Have a good day!

This is not about the price of the boxes Chris, this is about your company is paying for a link that goes to page that does not meet the customer needs, then has a serious problem with checking out. Rather than understanding that, and bringing it to a supervisors attention, Chris gets all upset at me. Chris, I am glad you are not on my payroll.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

PPC Final Thoughts

I have officially established that Pay Per Click advertising on Google and Yahoo, and other Product Search engines like Shopzilla, Bizrate, Pricegrabber, etc are a complete waste of money. For the past 2 weeks, I put about $150-$200 spread out across 5 or 6 different websites like that and discovered them to be nothing but garbage.

I would guess that only about 75% of the clicks they say I had, actually made it to my website... the rest just disappeared without any trace, except for the promise by these companies that the people were real.

Of all the hundreds and hundreds of clicks that I supposedly had, I made "0" sales. I make a ton more money from CraigsList. Despite eBay's outrageous fees, at least they brought in several sales.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

PPC Conclusion

PPC is a waste of money. I thought this a year and a half ago, and now I am positive. All it did was cost me a ton of money. It doesn't seem to matter which service I tried, they all sent me worthless traffic.


It is now like 2 weeks, and STILL has not added me to their search engine. Not that it much matters. I am going to try and cancel the whole thing.


Shopzilla's records say they sent me 165 visitors, but my logs only show 20. This is the same kind of garbage that was doing to me. Charging me for people who do not make it to my site, for whatever reason. Just as bad, it appears that 8 of the 20 that made it, were for non-USA countries, so they mean nothing to me anyway.

The Find

I had signed up with a few weeks ago. I had trouble with their search engine, where it listed all my items with wrong addresses, so the links did not work. However, they seems to have fixed it. They did not send me any traffic yet, that I can see. So they are just as useful as all the pay-per-click sites. At least they are free.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Last night I signed up with and misspelled my email address, so I could not sign in. So, I emailed the site managers. By morning, they had corrected the problem, and activated my account. It is so refreshing to get immediate results.


Shopzilla took 5 days to list my items. In the 1st 24 hours, they sent me an amazing 3 visitors. Of course, my logs do not show that traffic. Nice.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


After many, many years of juggling work, business, and family, today my son finally started preschool! Despite the whole "Proud Dad" thing, this also means I get an extra 6 hours a day, 3 days a week that I did not have before, that I can now spend on my business.

Like, this morning, I have already gotten lots of junk cleared off my desk. I also plan on using this new found time to start exercising daily. Not that I am the fattest guy in the world, I definately feel old and out of shape (but wait, round is still a shape, right?)


I signed up with which is a website analytics company. Same thing as Google Analytics, but much more useful. Personally, I have never found Google's to be perticularly good. I mean, the stats always seemed remedial. Now, even though GetClicky is free, I opted for the pay version at $9.95/mo, at least for now, to get better idea of who is coming and going. For example, Google says that very few people come to this blog. While that may be true, GteClicky points out that I get RSS Feed subscribers that Google never mentioned before. Also, I can now see what people are actually doing whne they get to my websites, mainly my store, which is very important to me.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Find

I sent an email to letting them know that all the links to my products on their website are wrong. At some point today, I found that they corrected the feed. I now have one product listed as good, and one listed as bad. No worries.... noone is coming to my website from over there anyway.

Yahoo Search

After spending time today trying to get a refund from Yahoo, I get an email tonight telling me that I have been kicked off their service or Violating the terms of service. WTF? was the second to let my items go live (Amazon was the first). I was sent a personal email letting me know that the account was approved, and that I has entered the wrong intomation into a field, so tht it would display my name incorrectly. I was happy that someone took the time to notice, and tell me.

It is now several hours after I went live, and I have noticed a few things.

1. After I made the change, it was not reflected on live site, so everyone continues to see the company name wrong.

2. Someone used a keyword that technically shows my products, but in actuality, has nothing to do with my products. So basically, I am displaying for searches that my products will not work for. I just paid them $.75 for a dead click.

3. They gave me a phone number, that gets dropped into a voicemail / automated phone hell. The calls go nowhere.

4. It says I can change my bidding on a per item basis, but I can only see a category level change.

5. All my products are the same, but the system seems to have recategorized them into different groupings. Not sure why.

6. They say they sent 9 customers to me, but Google Analytics say they only sent 3. Hmm... Even worse, Become says they sent me a visitor since I last refreshed the window, but I am sitting here looking at my website live, and I saw no customer come in. Could they be skimming off the top? I will definitely confirm this, and let you know.

**UPDATE** - Yeah, I just refreshed the window, and it said I have another visitor ($.80) but no one came to the website.

So far, when my $25.00 expires, I will likely not renew. However, they did send 9 visitors in about 6 hours. However, I dominate in the search, as I have little competition. The bottom line seems to be, if they can get me a sale for $25.00, then I make money. If they can't, then it's not worth it.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Search Engine Analysis

I have started to push my products via Shopping Search Engines. I have done a little and there over the years, but I never did an actual analysis by signing up for several at once, and see how the experience is. Over the next few days, I will be documenting my results.

Google Base Feed - I've been using this one for years, because it is free. It's slow as dirt to get listed, there is no rhyme or reason to where your items get placed (sometimes I am in top 10, sometimes I am nowhere to be seen at all). From long time experience, I can say that it drives me 20-90 people per day. This is fine for Free, but I feel I need to do better. Much of the traffic is lookers anyway, only good for brand recognition. - Took about 45 minutes to sign up, setup the customized feed, and pay them the $50 to start. It says I need to wait 24 hours to process the feed. - Took about 45 minutes to sign up, setup the customized feed, and pay them the $50 to start. It says I need to wait 24 hours to process the feed. - Took about 45 minutes to sign up, setup the customized feed, and pay them the $50 to start. The real problem with them, is it says 3-5 days to wait for setup to be done. Given that they are pulling in all the Yahoo people right now, I assume this will be 4+ days before I get any results from them. - Took about 45 minutes to sign up, setup the customized feed, and pay them nothing to start. Not only was this refreshing, but so was the lack of PPC on the system. It was a flat rate of Free for a basic setup with limited items, or $145/mo. for all site items listed. I am looking to speak with them before signing up for anything, but based on what I see, as long as they can deliver traffic, this could be the best option.

Bing Cashback - This is the only website of this group that required State and Federal Tax ID's. This is because their system is for USA sellers only. The service, once accepted, is free to be part of. However, the cashback part means that after 60 days (or so) they will withdraw a percentage of the sale, that You decide, and give it to the buyer. So basically, they will list you on the search for free as a cashback particitent, you decide of you want to give back 1%, 5%, or 10% (completely your choice), and if you make the sale and there are no returns or whatever, then you agree to pay the customer that amount in 2 months. The money gets put into the customers Bing account, which gets saved until they request the payout. After supplying the information requested, I need to wait to be allowed to join in and be given a service representative. I'm not quite sure yet where Microsoft is making their money just yet, but I am sure it's in there somewhere. - Even though I've had a rough history with Amazon, I figured business is business, so I signed up for their own search thing. Please note, this is not to be a seller with them, simply a generic PPC that happens on their system.

Their signup was by far the easiest, and fastest. There was no Up front fee, which is the only reason I chose to try them. It would be billed after the fact. They were also the only ones to accept the Google feed I already had.

Sadly, of the 660ish items I uploaded to them, they denied everything but 20 or so Bluetooth headsets. The reason, was that the category was closed. Sure would have been nice if the system told me that up front, instead of saying it was A-OK for me to list in Technology and Cell Phones. Once again, Amazon lied to get me in the door, and then left me with nothing in the end.

I decided to pull off the 20 items it did accept for 2 reasons. one was that my prices were considerably higher than the same items already listed on Amazon (one of the main reasons I won't sell on there again), and the other reason was that the system had it listed in the wrong categories (it put some bluetooth in office supplies,others went into sporting goods, etc).

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Yahoo Product Search

I took the time, about an hour, to sign up with Yahoo's Product Shopping Search Compare Engine. I signed up, collected a feed the way they wanted it, uploaded it, paid the $50 to start, and then when I was finally finished, I was greeted by a big red Alert box telling me that Yahoo Product Search would be shut down in 4 days. I would now need to sign up with

Nice. Really fucking nice.

Monday, March 1, 2010


I have added my Computer Repair Company to Google's ScamWords and DAMN that's expensive. I need to keep a tight watch on it for the next day to make sure I don't overkill. It is currently setup for my immediate area, and only a straight google search. But, despite all our hard work a few months back, I show up as #2 of Google Maps for a town that I am not even in. In my own town, I am #9 on page 2. WTF?? I couldn't find it anywhere else.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New eBay Fees

eBay is the only company I know that regularly comes out with WORSE pricing, and advertises like it's a good thing! What cost me $35 today, will cost me $65.00 in 2 months. Nice.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Charge Backs

I disputed 2 Credit Card chargebacks. Tht was a waste of 2.5 hours of my life that I will never get back. No wonder companies just don't bother to fight it. what a waste of time.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Lost Sales

I have aquired about $12,000 woth of sales this week that I can't fulfil because I can't find a suppier who has the items I need. What a major suck.

Friday, February 5, 2010

New Website Down

The new website is now down, and I pu the old on back online. The problems were many. The worst of it, that I failed to understand the full extent of, was that by uploading my item database fresh, all my old links that had long since been on search engines, were now dead. Even worse, Google could not see the pages on my new site. It would work fine for browsers, but whatever SEO program I installed, created a deadly mess. Needless to say, after weeks of trying to get everything to play well together, I gave up.

I now need to start over, completely from scratch. I just need to be more careful about the link names.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I think I have come to the conclusion that brings me into contact with 2 types people. The ones who want to buy, but will only pay minimal. Even a lousy $10 markup seems to scare people away. The other people it attracts, are other vendors trying to sell me the same items, that I myself, am selling.

I guess it is OK as another outlet, and way to promote my brand. I mean, it's already setup, and free. However, the thought of paying them $2000/yr to get even more of this type of nonsense is absurd.

No wonder eBay wanted to buy them. As we have already discussed, the only people making any money on eBay, is eBay.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Social Media

I was watching a video about how Social Media (twitter, facebook, blogs) have taken over the internet. I have also heard from another parent, how they bought a phone for their teenager, and she is never talking on the phone, but always text messaging. It appears that I have reached a point in my life, that has always worried me. When I was younger I listened to new music, kept up to date with movies, pop culture, and all things computer related. I was always at the cutting edge of the digital age. From a 300 baud modem on local DDials and Bulliten Board Systems through the internet, coding web pages, running my own servers etc, etc...

This whole Social Media scares me. I know nothing about it. I mean, I know what it is. I get the concept. I just... don't get it. Is it because I am too old? I am Generation X. This whole Generation Y ... hell, they even have Generation Z now. My 2 year old has a computer and ipod. He even gets "Yo Gabba Gabba" On Demand. He can even get Porn On Demand once he can learn to read.

I opened a Facebook and Twitter account. No intent on using them yet, but I was told I need to claim my brand name before someone else does. Makes sense. I guess we need to go out and piss on every virtual tree we can find, just to mark our territory. How silly, really.

So, I had opened the Twitter account, made a test "Tweet" and considered that project done for now. But then, a few days later I logged on for one reason or another, and saw that I had a follow. Yup, my very first follower.... WHY?!?!? Who cares about me and my pointless account? Hell, how did they even find me? I have no desire to follow them. (You can follow me at but I don't think I am really that interesting)

I have enough noise in my life without adding extra Digital Noise into the mix. Don't these kids have anything better to do than tweet about whats for breakfast? Then again, am i just not getting it? Or, is it that I got it all 20 years ago, and I just don't care to do it all again (refer back to the ddial and bulliten board mentioned above). Same as with Comic Books and video games. Been there, done that 25 years ago. In fact, I came across a Top 10 list of most anticipated games of 2010. Would you believe that 8 of them were sequels to games that came out like 2-3 years ago? Just like movies, I really don't care, I just saw that.

I think i digressed about 5 paragraphs ago. Sorry about that. I just started writing, and figured I would vent, then throw it up on my blog. Thus doing the exact opposite of what this whole topic is about. Ah well. Whatever.

P.S. I had Clusters Cereal and Nestle's Hot Chocolate for breakfast. I'm sure you would care... if you were age 12-24.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Dear Comcast...

Let's talk.

A few days ago, I said Comcast sucks because of multiple poor experiences. I followed up with more problems they have with general customer service. See the comment someone at comcast wrote after my last post.

It appears, that they have a special department to go in, and for lack of a better word, apologize. Sorry, but that seems kinda pointless to me. They should take the money spent on consumer retention, and spend it on fixing the reasons people left in the first place.

Many of the reasons I would leave are:
1. Poor phone support
2. Poor signal
3. Technicians who shrug at why I get a pixelated screen
4. High prices because the ONE (and only) channel I need, Nick Jr., is 3 tiers up.
5. If I drop the cable, the cost internet either goes up, or gets slower.
5. Instead of making the internet faster for $40/mo make it slower for $20/mo

The many reasons I stay are:
1. The big trees block out satellites
2. No other cable companies

So much for competition, eh?

New Website Features

So, I have spent 50+ hours doing a complete rebuild of my Cell Phone website. On the front end, it looks pretty much the same. On the back end, it is night and day. Some of the flashy new features are a one page checkout, fixed SSL (see last post), fixed LightBox, better sitemap, randomized page header (logo), cross selling, full SEO support.

I'm really excited about it. I had trouble with getting a blog/articles to work properly (odd, since the old site had it working just fine) so that will come in the next update.

New Website is Online

With the complete rewrite of the Portable-Fun website, I accidentally made an amazing discovery. I was rebuilding and testing it on a standard domain. Once I was ready to make the site live, and made the change, I needed to enable SSL secure checkout. That is when I bumped into all kinds of problems, and I realized what has been happening to all my "lost" sales!

In short, an updated Firefox browser would run fine from start to end, so i never noticed a problem. However, everyone using ANY version Microsoft's Internet Explorer, or any other odd browser like Opera, Safari or Marathon was having all kinds of problems.

For example, depending on the browser and version, people would fill out all their information (Name, address, etc) only to later get an SSL warning about how they should not proceed! I noticed this because the new checkout process is different, so the warning showed up right away.

Other people had another problem with cookies. It would have the item in the cart right up to the switch over to SSL, and then the cart would magically be emptied! Since the new chat software lets me watch what people are doing, I have seen this time and again, but had no idea that the website, or SSL, was to blame.

Now, I don't know if this, and the whole website redesign, is going to really improve the overall sales. But, i do feel so much better, in knowing why I was actually loosing so many customers, and was able to fix the problem.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Comcast Sucks Pt. 2

I hate to harp on this, but there is a very fundamental marketing lesson to be learned here. You see, yesterday I was complaining about the service, and my repeated phone calls back to back because of my inability to get the department that i want.

After scheduling a Tech to come out on Friday, I get a call saying they were coming out today and not tomorrow. So, once again, I am calling them again about the same problem (just with a new spin on it). Oh, and as I have mentioned yesterday too.... they changed the menuing system again. I went from validation direct to customer service. This should be how it always is... well, almost. After I validated myself, the person came on asking me the same information all over again.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Local vs. National

It constantly amazes me how much hand holding local customers need. It's like, Internet customers fix their own problems. Local customers that I happen to meet, call me up over every friggin' problem. "This manual sucks", "I can't find the menu", or "It burst into flames".

Blah, blah, blah...

Internet people may call me up for something not working right. I tell them to ship it back (at their cost) and I rarely ever hear from them again. Amazing how they find someone more capable than them to fix their problems, before spending the $7.00 shipping.

Comcast Sucks

I hate Comcast. Whenever I have a problem (weekly) it always involves multiple phone calls. Mostly, because the automated system sucks huge balls. It hangs up on me, changes the menu prompts weekly (it seems).

When the phone answers, it is Shaquile O'Neil and Ben Stein greeting me. It is supposed to make me feel safer, and better for calling or something. All it has done, is extend my hate out to them. Each... and every time.... I need to call back and hear them.

Oh, any do i always call? Refresh signal mostly. My cable card always drops the signal. It has been over 3 years of constant problems with those damn cable cards. No one from the tech side likes them.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

ATT Phone System

I had to call ATT. The automated system sucked. I told it that I wanted to cancel a phone line. So, it said "Please hold" and then hung up on me. Nice.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I just can't win

How can I make money when I don't have any money?!? I hate banks, and their fucking fees. Oh, and customers suck too. Bekow is a letter to one such moron.

Backstory: They placed an order in the morning. Later in the evening, they wanted to cancel. I explained I was going charge a $15 fee because of the money I was going to loose from the charge and the refund. Below is the letter that I needed to send them, because there was nothing else I could do:

I said you could have a refund, but this morning I wake up and see that you went to your credit card company and did a charge back. This means they take the amount directly out of my bank account. As a result of this action, I loose money on the original order, I loose money on the refund AND I now received a $35 bounce fee because I did not have an extra $175 sitting the account. So your daughter's "Oh, I don't want it anymore" cost me and my family about $50 that we don't have. I would really like to thank you for that.

Friday, January 8, 2010

What is taking so long?

I found that 3 things were really getting in my way of making all my ideas for busines growth happen.

1. Constant phone calls from salesmen, new customers, old customers, and people who can't actually read a freaking craigslist ad.

SOLUTION: I had hired a receptionist about 2 months ago.Amazing. Best money I spend all month. Now I only call back who I want to call back. She has also been trained on how to weed out the people who can't read, and not bother me with those.

2. Billing, tracking, accounting.

SOLUTION: Creating a do-it-all database in MS Access 2010. Also, promoting the receptionist to data entry. This will happen within the month.

3. Being a Daddy.

SOLUTION: I've come up with several solutions to this problem, but most end with jail time. I'm still working on this one....

Social Sites

In an attempt to give the impression I actually know what I am doing, I created a Twitter and FaceBook account for my company. I then threw a little marketing mojo at it, and created sub-domains that point to the pages. So, instead of www. going to my main site, doing twitter. or facebook. will send you over to those pages instead. Additionally, I linked the accounts and cross referenced all the pages/sites. Not only so people could find the connection, but mostly for Google Bots. While there is no actual content at this point, just getting it all setup is a positive first step to crush my competition.

Oh, and I also told my part time boss I wanted less hours. Going into work 3 days a week was really getting in the way of making real money. So I lowered it to 2 days, and announced to my wife that the extra day will be dedicated to my own business, in my office, don't bother me.

Paypal = Fraud

Since arguing with Paypal is like arguing with an elephant, I figured I would just post my complaint here.

Someone bought from ebay $150 item from me. I used their debit card to withdraw $140 that night. They later withdrew $17.50 from my account as that STUPID security deposit they hold on all my transaction for that account. You know, the one attached to my 100% positive feedback ebay account?

Since I only keep enough money in the account to cover active transactions, I get a bank bounce fee.

I hate that company more than words.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


FedEx is wasting my time. Couriers are wasting my time. Customers are wasting my time. Supplier is wasting my time. It seems the only person not pissing me off, is me! So, call me self centered or whatever, It's not my fault I provide everyone else the correct information to do their job, only to have them fuck it up. If it's not the guy on the left, its the guy on the right. I swear, I have no idea how any of my products make it to the customer on time, and in working order.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Inventory and Customer Databases

I have spent many hours looking around, and testing various databases. From main stream overpriced ones like Act! and Filemaker, to various no named crazy expensive specialty ones. In the end, the best one I found was Microsoft Access. I have a long list of reasons why I chose it.

1. It was the only one that could actually look like my original vision.
2. It was one of the few that could have a customer database, an inventory database, and an order tracking database... all in one. this will allow each customer to be tied to various items and orders.
3. It could work like an Excel database for tracking, and a simple to read form for customer extended information, both at the same time.
4. It already came with MS Office, so to me, it was free.
5. There is a Freely downloaded Beta copy of Office 2010 free for everybody until October 2010.
6. The 2010 version, once built, will work through a web browser, so my assistants can access it too.

The only real downside, was that it is a whole new language to program it to do what i wanted. So, this involves either paying a coder $300-400 on to do it for me, or (like I usually prefer) spend a few hours learning how to do it myself.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

What to Sell?

I strongly recommend items with low return rates. For example pots and pans. I also suggest items without many parts and accessories that can break. For example, headphones can arrive not working. By contrast, a quality chess set that may have dozens of peices, is unlikely to arrive broken. Personally, after selling board games for 2 years, I never had a single missing peice, or dissatified customer. The real problem there was mcuh time spent on inventory, and low sales.

Something like a game or application on CD will likely arrive without scratches, but a game console itself is just begging for problems.

Choose wisely.

People Piss Me Off

I'm not sure who upset me more, employees who lead to expensive mistakes, or customers who are pains in the ass.

I think the customers who are pains in the ass.

Please note: customers that annoying on the front end of the sale, will likely be annoying on the back end of the sale. If the sale ever does start heading south, due to the customers fault, just give the money back (if needed) and walk away.

I had someone who wanted to buy a phone, buy was being a bit overbearing before the sale. I tried to justify it in my mind, and went ahead and ordered him a new phone based on his request. I took a deposit (always get a cash deposit to get them financially involved), and ordered the phone. 2 days ago he picked it up. At that time, he started whining about it not "Being New". I told him he was buying a phone off CraigsList from someone's driveway. The phone works, don't bust my balls about minor flaws. He agrees, pays and leaves.

2 days later (today) he calls up saying the phone works fine, but they want a new one. This guy just pissed me off, and out came my dark side, that would otherwise get me fired. Since I could not remember exactly what I said to him, and I knew he was going to be a jerk, I just told him I would refund it. When he got here, I handed him his money back, took the phone and walked away, all of 3 seconds. I don't think I really needed to say anything else.

Since I prefer to correct future situations when something goes wrong, I made up a small sign that people will see during purchase:

Our Refund Policy: Please Choose Carefully. We don't give refunds if you simply change your mind or make a wrong decision. You can choose between an exchange ot credit where goods are faulty, wrongfully described, different from a sample shown to you or don't do what they are supposed to do.

I have a similar one on my website, because people would be all "oh, I dont like it, it's too thick". Well, too bad. That's why I don't sell on i would spend more money on dumb shit like that,

Here is the thing, while I do belive a customer should have the right to exchange or refund, the reality is that when it cost someone small like me money to aquire the goods on your behalf, refunds and exchanges cost me over $100 each time, and that really adds up fast. that is why no cell phone place will do that kind of thing. It's also why stores like Circut City are not with us anymore. Dumb customers drive businesses out of business.

I took a huge hit earlier this month due to one problem or another. It simply needs to stop. No more nice guy.

Friday, December 25, 2009 is not Nissan?

I was looking for a car, went to and was shocked to see Nissan Computers instead. I followed the threads about Nissan Motors assault on the domain name and I really must applaud the stand taken by Mr. Nissan to hold onto his family name from the corporate machine. Go take a look, then follow the link about the court case. It was quite amazing what the guy had to fight through. Glad he won the case. I hate corporate anything....

Thursday, December 24, 2009

How Will I become rich?

I think, in the end, it comes down to trial, and error. I had evaluated what I tried, and how it worked, then kept what worked, and dropped what didn't. At the very least, seeking alternatives.

It should be fairly obvious that I have not posted in a month because I have been totally slammed with Christmas orders (and Christmas Fraud). So, business comes first.

About a month ago I hired a receptionist for $30 per week. I don't get that many calls, but sometimes they are sales, but mostly they are people I dont want to talk to anyway. Like, she saved me from the screaming customer because of a shipping error days before Christmas. It was fixed, and she has her present, but only after she called up swearing. That call alone was worth the $30 to avoid.

I also dropped my old supplier. They pissed me off for the last time. The new one isn't perfect, but so much better than before.

In the end, this month was likely the busiest I ever had from single sale customers. A little annoying, but a necessary evil.

Into the next few months, I have a few tricks up my sleve that I expect will make a huge difference, as they are deviations, yet compliments, to what I already have going on.

For webstore owners, I recommend LiveZilla for a chat program. It's amazing free software. So much so, I can even watch people's screen as they are browsing my website. Really neat stuff.

Anyway, gotta run. Enjoy the holiday. Let's do something different next year. It will be fun.

First Data Merchant Services

Abssolutely sucks. Always have, always will. Slow deposits into my account, getting information is like pulling teeth, and you need to be a year of problem/solution ninja-like experience to figure out their LinkPoint software when something isn't quite right. Terrible, just terrible.

What prompted me to post about it? I was out and needed a phone authorization on a credit card, which I got. I came home, went to process the actual transaction (which I would not have known about, if I did not happen to know it), and I need the actual credit card information. Call First Data, and they have no clue for 5-7 days what that information was. Nice....

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Holiday Sales

While my traffic has gone up, the sales still a small fraction of what I had hoped it would be, I feel terrible for anyone trying to do this stuff in a down encony. On the up side, when this economy recovers, this is going to be so much easier, and profitable, to do.


Partnerships are so important to a successful venture. As I look back at the first 2 years of my business, I realized I partneres with so many bad people/businesses just to make a dollar, or to say that I do business with them. I don't think I do business with any of the companies I started with anymore.

So, I guess my point is, while I understand the need to do what has to be done to get ahead, but if you feel something is out of place, or you are being taken advantage of, then you need to put the stop to the association before it you more thaqn it helps.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Credit Card Fraud

I have been assualted this holiday season with credit card faud. Most likely, from the same individual.

They are not doing one, and hoping it gets through. They submit 20 orders at once, using the same information, and think that it will be getting through. It is painfully obvious.

The real issue I have with it, is that no one cares. I most recently called my merchant services fraud department. He said he didn;t care, and that I should call each of the credit card companies directly myself. i explained I was not going to take 15-20 minutes per card just to let them know. It's not my responsibility.

So, once again, I know of like 10 compromised card numbers, and nothing well happen to thye people doing this.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hired Staff

I have hired a copy writer and 2 designers on an as-needed basis. I am hoping the 2 designers can breath some life into my effective, but admittedly dull, website. Why 2 designers? Because they both have different styles that I felt could blend together into something. Each has their own strengths that I would like to play off of. Since I am a designer myself (then why hire out?!?! Time.) I am not worried about the varying styles creating a mess.

I will also have the designers spend some time on invoices, envelopes, stationary, etc.Because remember, everything you do, is marketing.

In my case tonight, I wrote a letter (with the help of the writer) to a customer who's first order was $12,000, followed by another $2,000 order. So, I wanted to send a thank you letter to him for his business. I realized I did not have stationary, or an envelope to put the letter into. I felt a little generic and disinterested, as I printed them out.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Best Shipping Practices

For small items, Use PayPal to send First Class.

When possible, use USPS Priority, because it is often cheaper than the rest.

UPS is a joke. Seriously. The online label creation sucks, and the billing sucks too. Not to mention the fact those crooks still owe me like $150 that I will never see again.

The best thing to do, it setup a business account with FedEx. Ask to speak with a Sales Representative about special pricing. When he calls you back, talk up a storm about how you use UPS and USPS right now, but would prefer to use them instead. Unfortunately, the prices are higher than what you already pay, so you really need a discount to start with, so that you can justify the transition. If you do it right, they will low ball everyone else, and you can use them for everything. The billing is automatic, and the shipping label creation is a breeze.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Posting On Yellow Page Websites

I've mentioned this before, but it needs repeating. In 3 months:

Number of Calls From Customers: 2

Number of Calls from Salesmen: 893

Friday, October 23, 2009


I went on their website and found a free webinar I could sign up for, to get a personalized walk through. Thinking that they actually cared, I signed up. Instead, I got some bullshit email from a $7.50/hr salesman. I need to reply. With all this hard work I have been doing to learn about marketing and getting customers, I had no choice. The following is my reply:

I am still waiting for that "Free Webinar" that I signed up for several days ago. You know, the one that would have helped me decide if your product was right for my business. But, yeah, generic SPAM that says "Buy My Product" works just as well too. I especially like that part that says "Dear John," then nothing else. Again, compelling, and competent. I can't wait to buy now....

I never did hear back from him.

Western Union Sucks Too

So, I had lost my Bank Card, so I needed to order a new one. I had thought that $1000 would be a nice low value to send through Western Union.... Nope. They asked me a million questions, ran a credit check, and left me feeling quite violated. I told the operator that I send thousands of dollars through their system every week, and just because I needed to use a different card, this completely ruined any level of privacy I could have had. Gawd, i hate using them sometimes.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I posed on CraigsList for a blog/advertising/copywriter. I said the following:

I am in need of someone, preferably in the New Haven area, that is willing to come to my office and write articles, product descriptions and advertisements about Cell Phones. After you have become familiar with the products and style, you would no longer need to come to my office. This is less about being technical writing, more about creative writing about a technical product. If you have an interest, send some short samples with hourly desired wage. The days and times are semi flexible, but I prefer evenings for a few hours each, starting at 8pm. This would be regular, ongoing work.

10 people replied so far, and NOT ONE could follow my direction. I was so appauled at the garbage I was being sent, I started emailing them back pointing out why their email sucked. I'm sorry, but I expected SO much more from writers. The designers followed direction better than the writers did. Even the person that said they followed details didn';t do what i asked. Amazing.

What a mess

It is incredibly difficult to run a business when you have no money. It seems that all the friggin' time, my personal money is used to buy phones, and money from phones is used to pay all my bills. It gets terribly confusing, and I am not in the situation yet that allows me to separate my business from my personal finances. I all just seems to come rushing in at me in waves. I know I am making plenty of money, but it is so hard to keep track of.

For example, I had a small profit pile of $120. But, I need some ofice supplies and whatnot. So, I take the money to Staples and buy $100 worth of stuff. This puts $20 in my pocket, $100 to staples, and I wait on $33 in rebates. My wife then runs over a screw, blows the tire, and copntinues to drive not noticing she is ruining the tire. So the $20 of profits, and $113 of business money, is now used to buy her a new tire. Now, my next wave of profits, needs to be used to pay for her tire until she has the money to pay me, and the business back.

Are you confused yet? I sure am....

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Quicken 2010

I used Microsoft Money. But since microsoft has stopped making the product, I decided to jump to Quicken, now that they inlcuded a fully supported importation of data. I have ound Quicken 2010 to be terribly buggy, where it will crash randomly. Apparently, my 5 accounts at one bank seem to make it self destruct. At one point, I told it to do something, and even knowing full well it was about to destory all my business data, would not let me escape from the command. I just watched it destory hours of work while I banged on the escape key.

I had watched a video where someone at Quicken said "It is so easy to use our software. I can bring your entire financial data up to date, in the same time it takes to go for ice cream.

Wow, that some long trip. I've been at this shit for hours now.

TV to Watch

If I failed to mention it yet, go to which is a website that hosts 6 or 7 weekly shows about starting and running your own business. It is only about a month old, so there isn't a ton of content yet, but there are a few hours worth of shows to watch.

Next Book

The next big book you should start reading is Chet Holmes - The Ultimate Sales Machine. Unless you are reading one of the other books I have suggested, you should stop what your doing, and go get this one. Worth every penny and then some. Sometimes it feels like it gets a little repetitive and does not move off the topic, but then starts shooting off information, ideas, and concepts at a pace faster than I can mentally grasp. I am listening to the audiobook in my car (like usual) and I find that I keep pausing it, so that I can think about what was just said, and what I can do to implement the idea for my own business. Great, great stuff. This is one of those super long, amazing, stop what your doing and change course, type of books. It is 11(!!!) Cd's and could have easily been 5 or 6 seprate books all dealing with different aspects of your business. But, the fact that it only cost you a few dollars, and will give a lifetime of information is another one of those great finds.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

More eBay B.S.

I just confirmed something I had noticed before. If I say a Buy It Now winner must pay right away, that does NOT count if they make an offer that is accepted. Well, now I gotta chanse this person down for the payment. Another waste of my energies.

Seriously. I am collecting all this information as things to NOT do anymore.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

While looking into setting up, they want almost $400 fo like 10 items. Damn, and I thought ebay was off their rocker. is at least 50 for free. Of course, then they want the big bucks to go over that. Oh well. I will keep trying. At some point, I will find somnething that is actually worth the cost of entry.


Apparently ExtortionPal is holding onto 10% of ALL my transactions. Even books... why the fuck are they holding onto a reserve for books?!? Apparently, come december, I am going to be sent a whole mess of ebay money. What a waste of my energies. I am lucky if I make 10% profit after eBay fees, and now they are holding onto that too. Seriously, I've got to get away from all these large online venues for services. Amazon, eBay, PayPal, iOffer, Google... they are all nothing but automated systems designed to stop me from making an honest living. I swear, I would have less troubles if I sold crack on the corner.

Cancelling iOffer

Apparently, my account was suspended because I sell generic phones tyhat look like brand phones. Oh, for the love of god....

So I look up how to cancel the account and get my held money back. It saiys to click the cancel button... of course the button is not actually linked to anything. Fucking Nice. Further waste of my time and energies...

Friday, October 9, 2009

iOffer Sucks

One of my items was removed because it looks like a Sony phone. Whatever.

I owe then $2.50 from a sale that the buyer backed out of. Since they have really shitty cancellation policy, (ie: I can't do it) they suspended my account until I paid it. Oh, for christ sake.... they make like they are the bee all end all.... 2 months later, all I have had are people asking me to ship to various european countries. What a waste of time they are.

I know that any of the other sites are just as obnxious and wasteful of my time. I just wish my own website had a bit more traffic. I need to get down and dirty with the advertising again. I've noticed that the traffic has slowed since I haven't made a video in about a month. Good to know.

Friday, October 2, 2009

PayPal can officially Go Fuck Thelselves

"PayPal is temporarily holding in reserve 10.00% of the value of all your transactions on Oct. 2, 2009. The funds will be available to you in 60days."

Dear Paypal,
I am trying to run a business. Holding 10% for 60 days, on TOP of the 10% Ebay and Paypal already extorted from the sale in Fees, Will put me out of business. If I, and all other sellers go out of business, you will not make anymore fees. This is why I stopping selling on Amazon, because of a stunt like this..

As a not-so-valued customer of 8+ years, I will no longer accept your form of currency for my products. I will also proudly display your logo with a big red X through it. Paypal, Go fuck yourself.
Web Statistics Online Marketing