Archive for September, 2007

Vonage Refer-A-Friend Doesn’t

Friday, September 28th, 2007

I use Vonage. I like Vonage. I use Refer-A-Friend to try to tell pals about the service. When you use it (supposedly) and you friend signs up, you both get some free months. Sounds good to me!

I have sent out 4 Refer-A-Friend emails. NONE of my friends ever got these emails. I have sent two of these emails to addresses that I control, addresses with no spam filter. Addresses I created just to see if the email would come through.

The email never came to my first referral. The email came to my second referral 4 days later. She had already signed up, so I don’t get the credit for that.

I complained to Vonage because I wanted credit for two of my friends signing up. They won’t give me the credit because those people never clicked on the link in the email. Well, they never clicked on the link because they never got the email before they wanted to sign up. No, it wasn’t caught in a spam filter.

All Vonage has to do, especially if I’m complaining to them, is look at the day and time I put them into my account as referred friends. Then look at when my friends signed up… both signed up later that day as they wanted Vonage but were tired of waiting for the email. I referred friends. They signed up. I should get credit.

That bothers me. Either have the programme or don’t, but don’t pretend that you have the programme.


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27 Sep: Live Call-In Internet Radio Show

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

Today is our live call-in talk radio show from 11am – 11:15am west coast USA time!

Using Blogs to Get the Word Out
How blogging can improve your eBay sales. Call in to have your questions answered.

www.blogtalkradio.com/aswas to listen or find out what number to call to join in!


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Where Dreams Come True

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

I spent last Friday (just last Friday) at Walt Disney World meeting with the convention sales staff about my upcoming conference. A bunch of things around Disney say, "Where dreams come true." I’m here to say that they really do.

In general, and at Disney. I’m very excited about the conference. It really was a dream and passion for me to hold a certain type of conference that is really not being held in my industry. And every time I go to Disney for vacation, I have a fantastic time full of great memories. It is a magical place. I’m not sure how they do it, but they do it consistently.

Whether or not you are a Disney World fan, you should go there just to see how they pay attention to customer service. What do they do and who do they hire so that people have nothing but the best time? You could certainly learn some things you may want to try for your business.


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Advertising an Inferior Product

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

I saw a commercial 2 nights ago for Ask.com. Their ads stink. First, they were about algorithms, but they never really showed how your search results were going to be better than Google or Yahoo. They claimed that you’d preview the page in a tiny window, but that’s really just a visual of how the site lays out. It’s not like you were previewing intense content, at least not from how it looked on the commercials.

Now, their ads are taking shots at how plain Google’s website is, and they’re saying you COULD be searching "like this." They then click a few things, and the website gets a huge background image, like a computer desktop.

Is that really what our online searching was missing? A big picture of a flower behind what we’re doing? That’s like picking a car based on the colour you can get on your license plate frame.

It reminded me of what Seth Godin said about the Microsoft Zune. If your product isn’t an iPod killer, then who is going to buy something that is or is perceived as inferior? Ask.com, I ask you the same thing. If your product isn’t better, what are you doing?


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NBC News All Day

Monday, September 24th, 2007

Our NBC station has switched to a new programming format I just don’t understand.

5am-7am: Tucson Today, our pre-Today Show local news. Very little happens here, so very often, they are repeating the SAME news every half hour. Just reading the same things again, showing the same interview clips, etc…

7am-11am: The Today Show will now be FOUR hours long. News-er-tainment for half the day.

11am: ?

12pm: Half hour news. I’m sure very little will have happened since the news did their segment during the last hour of The Today Show.

12:30pm: Judge Alex

1pm: Law and Order rerun

2pm: Days of Our LIves

3pm: Dr Phil (at his regular time!)

4pm: News. Yes, they’ve made the 5pm news into the 4pm news. They’re promising that it’ll be full of news and other great information like money tips, parenting tips, and what I guess we can call lifestyle stuff. So it’s Tucson Today at 4pm.

I’m not sure what NBC is thinking, but if I want news and news-er-tainment all day, I can watch CNN, MSNBC, and a few other channels. Is this really what people want to watch during the day? Who is home during the day? Stay-at-home parents, students, and unemployed people mostly I guess. They want more news? I’d think they’d want more fluffy "don’t have to think about it" content like game shows, soap operas, court shows, and Dr Phil stuff.

??


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Arby’s Toasted Subs

Friday, September 21st, 2007

Everybody wants to be first to the marketplace. Some people are OK with not being first, feeling that they have a better product, and can get that across to consumers.

Quizno’s was first,with their focus on "toasted" sub sandwiches. They seem to have been successful, and Quizno’s are everywhere.

Then Subway felt they had to get into it, and put some sort of heating machines into their locations.

Then panini presses and grills got more popular. You can buy them anywhere, and toast your own damn sandwich at home.

My supermarket will do paninis while I wait. I’m sure some delis will.

So is there any room left in this market? Were people at a loss for where to get a "toasted" sandwich? I’m going to say no, but here’s Arby’s anyway, pushing their "toasted subs." Hey, you’re a few years too late. You are known for roast beef, and you missed the whole boutique sandwich thing.

It reminds me of when I heard Seth Godin speak. He talked about the Microsoft Zune media player… almost like why bother releasing it when it’s not an iPod killer. What market share can you hope to gain when you’re not the first to market AND your product would generally be considered not as good as the leader (or a group of leaders)?


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Thank You, Monster.com!

Thursday, September 20th, 2007

We hired! Welcome Michelle (and welcome Erika from our July hiring). I’m sure we’ll be hiring again soon. But how did we do it this time? Reading resumes on Monster.

I was finding that people who were finding our job posting and reading it all decided they were perfect for the job… even if they lacked half of the skills I said were musts. So I decided to pay for a 2-week national resume search on Monster without posting my job. I would look at resumes, and see who I thought were a match.

I ended up emailing around 35 people about the job. Some ended up not knowing enough Photoshop or HTML. Some ended up not knowing enough English (we do copy writing for clients, so a fluent and native command of English is a must). Some didn’t want to leave their current job. A bunch work for eBay right now. Some of them were interested in the job. Some currently work for other eBay Certified Providers right now. Some work for big PowerSellers.

Most never wrote me back. Their loss. :)

I ultimately offered the job to Michelle and one other person. They were both fantastic in so many ways, and we are so busy that I was ready to hire both. The other person didn’t want to make a change just yet, so maybe we’ll have him on board at some point.

So welcome Michelle as our new Account Manager. Thank you, Monster.com. I found some really good people, and I would use Monster again. Now everybody go to Monster and update your resume please.

Actually, another thing to note about Monster is that they mark your resume by when you posted it. So if you first put your resume in Monster a year ago, even if you updated it yesterday, it’s considered to be a resume that was submitted a year ago. People like me have to tell Monster to search all resumes no matter when they were submitted. But the default on that search is 1 month I think, so people who JUST put their resumes into Monster have an edge I guess.


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Yes, I Agree With Me

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

I got another email asking me to take a survey about an experience I had on a website. This is a website I visit around once a year to take a certification exam. So I clicked on the link to fill out the survey.

All of my answers from August 2006 were already filled out in the survey. Radio buttons selected. Textareas had paragraphs in them. I took a look, and realised I still felt the same way about the exam. It still had the same highs and lows. So I just submitted the survey as it was.

I still feel the same way, but man it was weird to try to take a survey and find that it was pre-filled out by the August 2006 version of you. But I agreed with me.


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Concentrated Laundry Detergent

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

It looks like many of the major brands are getting into the concentrated liquid laundry detergent thing. The commercial claims that because they concentrated the liquid, it’s coming in a small bottle, which is using less plastic, so it’s better for the environment.

If you really want to use less plastic and save the environment, you’ll concentrate the liquid a little bit more and put more back into a bigger bottle. That way, I’m buying a bigger bottle less often and throwing something away less often. If you sell me a smaller bottle of anything I like, I’ll buy it again and again, and I’ll be throwing away that empty bottle more often.

I remember the days of buying the HUGE jugs of laundry detergent. Concentrate it even more, put that in the jugs, and charge me appropriately. I think that might be better for the environment. I’ll throw away something larger, but less often.


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Bad Advice From a Cop

Monday, September 17th, 2007

I’m walking my dog past the playground at my apartment complex at night. We meet a couple with their cat, trying to harness train him. A very large man comes up on a bicycle, tells us he’s a security guard, and he has to know who’s around here at night. He was wearing what could be a security guard outfit, but I could get something that looks like that anywhere.

I asked him for his ID, which evidently surprised everybody. Evidently these other two people were ready to tell him their names and where they lived without knowing who he is. He got his ID out of his wallet, and showed me an ID… but it looked like anybody could have made this ID, and he had his thumb over most of the information.

I didn’t like this.

I told him to tell the front office he met Rita the Dog from building 22. He wrote that down. The other people gave their first names and apartment number. I saw my friends pull in, and went to talk to them. Safety in numbers.

I didn’t like this. Something wasn’t right. As I walked home, I saw the guy riding around on his bike. When pup and I got home, I called the police. I explained what I saw and my experience. They sent a cop car to find the guy.

The cop found him, and then found me. The cop introduced me to Hugh, and said he knew Hugh and the security company for which he works. He said since my apartment complex hiring this company, crimes here have gone way down. There are crimes here? Evidently they mostly happen while I sleep, and are mostly due to the friends and guests that residents allow over. OK?!???!

I explained to the cop that I felt Hugh had been suspicious. He was OK with asking for my identity but getting nothing really helpful from me. Hugh said that people don’t legally have to tell him anything, so he doesn’t push. I told the officer that Hugh had put his thumb over his ID information when he showed it to me. The cop suggested that I should have asked him to move his thumb. I said, "I’m from NY. If someone is acting suspiciously, you don’t engage in conversation with them. You get away to somewhere safe. I’m not armed and my dog is friendly. I just wanted to go away." The cop says, "You’re not in NY."

So I SHOULD engage in conversation and boss around a guy I think is suspicious? I should have stuck around to engage with a guy 9" taller than I am and twice my weight? No thanks. I know I did the right thing by going somewhere safe, even if Hugh turned out to be the good guy.

F that cop. If anybody ever acts suspicious around me, I’m not going to interrogate them. I’m going to get the hell out of there and call the police.


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