I have launched a new site called GettingTheWin.com. It is all about tips to save money, being frugal, avoiding fees, finding free stuff, reducing bills, and everything else you need to know to have more money at the end of the month. I am writing all the articles myself but will eventually ask people to guest post on the blog. I am very proud of the site so far even though it is very new. Please check it out and let me know what you think.
Archive for the ‘Cool Websites’ Category
Someone on the WickedFire forums pointed out that Google’s Keyword External tool now had actual search volume data. Before all it had was a green bar, which didn’t give any useful information. Now it gives the actual number of searches per month (estimate), which is exponentially more valuable. Take a look:
This is definitely one of my favorite keyword/research tools and is listed in the research section of my Internet Business Guide. If you haven’t used this tool yet I highly suggest taking a look. You can get everything from keyword suggestions to CPC prices and now relatively accurate search volume.
I am a huge fan of Google Maps. I use it almost every day for everything from finding a place to eat to checking traffic before I head home. I even use it on my iPhone on a daily basis.
Today, right before I left work, I went to check the traffic reports and noticed a very cool upgrade to their traffic system. Normally they only have red, yellow, and green to signal volume of traffic. Now they have added another indicator: red and black. Whenever traffic is between 0-15mph it is signaled by a red and black line. This is great news.
Sometimes when I would check traffic reports and it would say red (which was 0-30mph before) I would sometimes risk taking the freeway. Now with red and black I can really tell if it’s closer to 30mph or more like a parking lot. Here’s what it looks like (yes, this is what LA usually looks like):
I just finished this site’s redesign a few days ago, and figured now would be a good time to throw up a quick post about it. I had been looking for a new theme for IBD for a few weeks now, and I finally came across one that I liked. There were a few common elements that I wanted to keep from the old design, and some new elements which I really wanted for the new design.
- Header Image – One element from the previous design that I wanted to keep was the header image. I absolutely loved displaying a beautiful picture of Santa Cruz, Ca at the top of my blog, sort of as a goal for myself (and others) to want to live in a place like that through making money online. The new design allows for a header image, but I decided to use a different image I took a few years ago. The picture is still of Santa Cruz, but it is one of the beautiful valleys rather than the beach. Do you like the image?
- 125×125 Buttons – One of the main reasons for wanting to change my blog design was that I desperately wanted to accommodate for 125×125 ad buttons. You see these buttons on most business/money making blogs, and there’s a simple reason for that: they work! When someone clicks on one of my buttons and signs up, I get a referral commission. Now I get to display these buttons to everyone who comes to my site.
- Easier to Contact Me – Something I really appreciate when visiting other people’s blogs is the ability to easily find/contact the webmaster. With the new design it is now very easy (and obvious) where and how to contact me. I have used visuals to draw reader’s eyes towards that section, so hopefully more people will feel free to contact me. I listed Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, and LinkedIn.
- RSS Readership – Another thing I wanted to improve with this blog is the RSS readership. On the old design I only had a small RSS button, that no one seemed to see. Now I have a great big RSS button that probably everyone will see:).
- Wider Margins – Lastly, I wanted my blog to have wider margins to allow for more content. I really think the new blog design looks much better, and is easier to use.
These are all very important features to me to have on my blog. Although it took me weeks to find a decent theme to hack up and make my own, it was definitely worth the wait. When you decide to redesign your own blog, you should make a list of features that are most important to you before you start looking for a theme. There are enough WordPress themes out there where you don’t have to sacrifice any feature for another. If you need help finding the right theme for your needs, feel free to contact me.
It has been well over one and a half years, and I am still dealing with this situation with DirecTV. Here’s the story:
When I moved into my new apartment a little less than 2 years ago, I had purchased an LCD TV from Best Buy for my living room. With this TV came a DirecTV HD receiver for free, as a gift from Best Buy for buying the TV. The previous owner of my apartment also had DirecTV, so the satellite dish was already in place. So now I had everything I need to get TV setup.
I called DirecTV and signed up for 2 years with their HD package. Shortly after signing up, they informed me that my satellite dish was too old to receive HD signals and they would have to come in and upgrade my system. I had no problems with that and asked when they would be able to come in. Since I live in Los Angeles, they were so busy that they could not even give me a appointment date (even months down the line) and told me to call back in 2 weeks to setup an appointment.
2 weeks later I called back and after speaking with very rude customer service people, they basically said I need to continue waiting and they couldn’t even give me a date when they would be able to come install a new dish. Keep in mind that I was actually paying for the HD channels that I was not receiving. I continued to wait, getting more annoyed, and after 2 months of waiting and them telling me they were not even able to give me a solid appointment date, I decided I had enough.
I called customer support and asked to cancel my contract. DirecTV has an early cancellation fee of $250, which I was aware of. I figured I would be able to convince them to drop the fee because they did not hold up their end of the contract, and I was paying for HD channels even though I was not receiving them.
I was finally able to convince them to drop the fee, but the catch was they wanted me to send the receiver (the one that Best Buy gave me for free) back to them. I had asked why since I presumed I owned the receiver, but DirecTV told me they actually owned my received (yes, the one Best Buy gave me) and they were just loaning it to me.
At that point I didn’t really care about the receiver so I sent it back to them assuming the $250 fee would be dropped. I have the lady’s name and employee number from DirecTV who told me that the fee would be dropped if I sent the receiver back.
After confirming the fee had been dropped, about 3 months later I received a bill for the $250 early cancellation fee AND another $200 fee for the receiver. Obviously, I was angry beyond belief. I called and argued for hours with them and they confirmed receipt of the receiver, so they dropped that charge. However, they said it is not their policy to drop the $250 early cancellation fee. I had told them what their employee had told me, and they actually confirmed she had said that and told me it was a mistake and I still needed to pay.
So basically I had sent them the box, was told I would not be charged, and they had changed their mind. I refused to pay and asked what I could do to appeal this fee. They gave me the address of their appeals department (they would not give me a number, nor let me contact them in any other way except a letter). They were also not allowed to dispute the charge over the phone, only through the appeals department. DirecTV told me while the appeal was in process, they would not send my debt to a creditor.
So I wrote the letter and waited since I had no other way of contacting the appeals department. About 1 month later I started receiving calls from creditors every single day of the week. I called DirecTV and they would not give me any answer as to why I am receiving calls. I ignored the calls for 9 months.
About 14 months after this whole thing started, I finally received a letter from DirecTV saying their fee was justified, and it said nothing else. Since then I have gotten calls from 3 credit companies, and all of them say this has gone on my credit report. My credit has been severely lowered and this is really starting to affect my life.
To this day, I am still receiving calls from creditors, and I just don’t know what to do. I could just go ahead and pay the $250 fee, but I am a bit stubborn and I feel violated. So, I request the help of the only place I can think of, the Internet. If anyone has any suggestions on how to stop this, or take legal action, it would be greatly appreciated. The last thing I want to do is pay the $250 after sending them MY property (the receiver) and them promising nothing would be charged. I am sick of receiving calls, and my credit is being ruined (I have never had a credit problem before this). I have a bunch of people’s names and employee numbers who I talked to, if anyone needs it to help me.
PS…after cancelling DirecTV, I signedup with DishNetwork, who came out the VERY NEXT DAY to install HD TV and I have never had a problem with them since.
I was just adding a couple entries into Google Calender and found something that I believe is an April Fool’s joke. There is now a button when adding an event that says “I’m Feeling Lucky.” This is just like the button on the Google.com homepage.
I don’t remember ever seeing this button there before, so immediately I thought “April Fools” and clicked the button. Clicking “I’m Feeling Lucky” entered an event into my calender. Here are some examples of the “lucky” events added:
All of the events were dates with famous people. Not Google’s best prank, but funny none-the-less.
I decided to finally setup my Google Reader for all the websites I read on a regular basis. These websites give me ideas every single day on how to make money online and improve my search engine optimization. Here is a quick list of the sites I read, which can also be found at my Google Reader Page, which also has a RSS Feed that only shows articles of my chosing.
- Tech Crunch
- John Chow
- Matt Cutts
- Search Engine Journal
- Search Engine Land
- SEO Pedia
- SEO Moz
These are just some of the good ones. I have many feeds about SEO, but not as many about Internet business as I would like. If anyone has suggestions for good Internet business blogs or any marketing, or SEO blogs please send them my way! For now just check these out.
I am a huge Meebo user and first thing this morning I noticed a significant addition to the main screen. A new feature called “rooms” has been implemented. Basically what a room is, is a place where people can come and chat about a particular subject. Anyone can create a room. Not more than 5 minutes after noticing this new feature, my boss emailed the marketing team asking them to build a room for our company to promote our websites. This is a great idea to get in early, because Meebo is the first and only web-based chat application that I know of. Here is what it looks like:
It is just a small visual addition at the bottom of the meebo browser window. I am not sure how well chat rooms will do in general because not a whole lot of people use them. It kind of reminds me of old school AOL chat rooms. Anyways check it out and let me know what everyone thinks.
I know I have been lazy about posting this month, it’s just been a hectic time for me right now. We have finally launched Juicefeed 2.0 (Celebrity Gossip) and I personally think it looks great! Brandon (the programmer) has been working very hard on getting everything up and running and has done a great job.
There are many new features on Juice2.0. We have taken out the numbered pages and replaced them with a much simpler system. Every day all the posts are put on one page, and if you want to see previous days you can just click on the calender and see all the news from that day. This is a much simpler format that our previous pagination format. Another new addition to Juice is many more feeds. We are now taking content from about 10 different celebrity gossip news sources. There are now dozens of stories per day to feed your every gossip desire. We have also added friends links and changed the ads around so that more content is viewable above the fold. The most noticeable change still has to be the background. It is no longer plain gray, we have added a new pink striped background to attract the female audience.
We are always looking for suggestions for Juicefeed. There are many more features that we have thought about and will probably add eventually, but for now I think the site looks great. We will be adding more filtering options and more customization options. Eventually I would like to move to writing our own content, or having our users write their own content. Please let me know if anyone has suggestions, they are very appreciated.
I have been working on a site lately with some of my buddies: Juicefeed.com. The idea behind the site is simple, it’s a celebrity blog aggregator (not sure if that is a real word) that feeds from many different gossip news sources. I came up with the idea after watching the surfing habits of one of my close friends.
Obsessive Habits Means $$$ for Me
The first thing she would do when she got home from work was check each of her gossip blogs, which totaled to about 7 or 8 different sites she checked. She is not unique in this sense. Everyone who is into celebrity gossip obsessively keeps up with the news relating to their favorite celebrities. This is where the idea popped into my head. Instead of checking a bunch of different sites, there could be one site that aggregates all the news feeds from the different celeb gossip sites. And this is what my site does.
More Than Just News
One thing I am trying to avoid with Juicefeed is only making it a news feed. There are a million news feeds out there and even more news aggregate sites. Eventually we are going to start rolling out features that give the site more of a community feeling. Things like voting, users, and ways to write your own dialog are just some of the ideas being thrown around. The point is we need to make it more than just a news feed.
I really do think Juicefeed will be successful. It is a great looking site and is a simple idea. I have never marketed a site like this, so it will be a challenge. I am going to do all my normal publicizing techniques but I think I need to do something special to get this site off the ground. If anyone has any ideas they would be much appreciated. So check out the site when you get a chance. Now for a shameless SEO link plug: Juicefeed – Celebrity Gossip.