Archive for April, 2010

I’m In A Foreign Country And Need You To Send Money

Friday, April 30th, 2010

It's a scam. I'm not in a foreign country. Hey, I'll take any money you want to send!

But beware of these. I just got another last week. A client's email was hacked, and I got an email saying HELP, she was in a foreign country, she got mugged, and needed me to wire her money.

Clearly, if that happened to her, she is probably NOT thinking, "I will get Debbie from As Was to send me money." But your natural reaction is to think someone is in trouble and you have to help.

Just be careful of these. If you think something could be real, call the person. Are they really in some other country? Then somebody knows at what hotel they're staying. Call and ask to talk to them.

Never wire money to anybody. Period. Don't wire money to a stranger. Don't wire money to someone who claims to be eBay. If your friend really is in trouble and really needs money, then you will be wiring to your friend's American bank account with his or her name on it. And you would have spoken to your friend to get all of his or her banking details.

Just be very careful of this stuff. It plays on the heartstrings. Think before you act. Take a moment to be logical!


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Tungle Me! (Huh?)

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Thanks to Marlene at The Savvy Seller, I recently became aware of a new service called Tungle, which you can find at www.tungle.me.

The idea is that scheduling appointments with different people all using different calendar software (or none) can be annoying. Lots of back and forth emails about is this time good, what about this time, how's this time, etc… Tungle connects with Google, Outlook, and other calendars, and can then know when you are not available. You can also tell it when you tend to be available, like Monday through Friday, 8am to 4pm. And you can go into specific days and mark yourself out.

It also understands time marked as "free." I use my calendar a lot to remind myself of things. Like don't forget to pay this bill, or don't forget to send a follow-up email to that guy. If someone wanted to schedule a phone call during that time when I scheduled that reminder, sure I can talk then. I still want the calendar reminder to go off so I remember to do it, but I could still schedule something else there.

So let's say you've bought an hour of training time with me, and you want to schedule that. You could "Tungle Me" at tungle.me/dlev. I can also drop a widget somewhere, like you see in this post. Basically, you're then shown my calendar, but not what I'm doing when. Just when I have marked myself available… as in default available times minus times when my calendar says I'm busy.

I wish they had a tiny widget that could go in email signatures. If I drop this in, it's not exactly clear WHY it says I'm available or not available. It's reading my calendar to tell you if I should be free RIGHT THIS SECOND. Instead, I think the message should be more about clicking to schedule an appointment based on my live calendar… or something like that.

Once Tungle coordinates the appointment with the multiple parties, it adds it to my calendar. My calendar then syncs with Google calendar, which then syncs with my mobile phone and my Lightning calendar (part of Mozilla Thunderbird). The syncs go in all directions, so if I add something to my calendar in Lightning, it syncs to Google. Tungle picks it up, and shows I'm not available at that time.

I think it's worth a try! And if you want some consulting time with me, Tungle Me! :)



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eBay Sellers, “TIM” Will Tell You What Your Time Is Worth

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

http://www.bringtim.com

eBay sellers, go buy that. Especially you guys and gals with one-offs, estate sale finds, and collectibles. Because it would illustrate a point I've been trying to make to some of you for years.

You get an item. You photograph it. You describe it. Maybe you even had to research it to understand what you had! You listed it. You answered questions about it. You packed and shipped it. And maybe you had to deal with customer service… chasing them for money, a problem after you shipped, etc…

The "TIM" clock will let you put in an hourly rate of pay, and then run the clock to show you concretely what your time is "worth."

Some eBay sellers end up with $5 after a sale, and feel like they made good money. If TIM showed you that you spent 2 hours to make that $5, would you still feel like that were a success? Or would you feel like a hamster on a wheel?

TIM was designed to make business meetings go shorter so people didn't waste time. I think it would be GREAT for eBay sellers who may not understand what their time is really worth!


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Urgent Help Needed With Mozilla Thunderbird

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

I'm using Thunderbird for my email. I tried to move my profile yesterday so I could move it to another computer. I didn't delete anything… I only moved it around. But something really weird is happening, and I need help!

Please do not write me to use a different email application. That doesn't help me recover this mail. Right now, I need to recover this email.

Thunderbird doesn't see any of my Local Folders, where I archived important saved mail. When I go into Windows Explorer to look inside the Local Folders for that profile, it only shows me Trash and Unsent. When I use Win Explorer to search for a missing folder, such as one I called !TO DO (to remind me to do things!), I can see this:

Tbird1
So according to Windows Explorer, all of my mail and missing folders are there… but it sees them where they should be, inside the default profile. When I click on one of those and ask Explorer to open the containing folder, it goes to the Local Folders, and only shows me Trash and Unsent. When I try to open the !TO DO.mozmsgs folder, it shows me this:

Tbird2 

I have no idea how to get to this mail. Clearly, Explorer sees it there. When I search for email addresses, it sees individual mails. The data is somehow there. Thunderbird doesn't see it. And Windows Explorer only kind of sees it. When I try to grab these files and move them, I get a message saying they are no longer there.

How can Windows Explorer see a 6MB file and then say it's not there? This is REALLY strange. No, I do not have a backup. I only started using Thunderbird a month ago, and this was my first attempt at backing up.

I hope somebody can tell me how to revive this. It seems to be so close, and I can't get to it. I do not want to lose a month of archived important emails!

Thanks.


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Why A Carls Jr Commercial Sends You To Their Facebook Page

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

I recently saw another Carls Jr commercial (Hardees for you east coast people). I am used to their web address being on the last screen. But this time, I noticed something that struck me.

They wanted you to go to www.Facebook.com/CarlsJr

If you can control your web traffic, why send them to a website that's not yours? I haven't asked them, but I started asking myself… why would you do that?

I think the main reasons would be the interactivity and how many times you can "touch" someone. If I go to your website, I poke around a bit. I may look at some food or info. I leave, and I have no reason to come back. You have no way to get in touch with me.

If I send you to a Facebook business page that you can "like" (formerly known as "become a fan"), now we're connected. You can write on the wall, and others can respond, making it a community. People feel connected by something (burgers!).

And when Carls Jr has something to say, it's in your news feed on Facebook. As long as you don't unlike my biz page or hide me, you might actually see future messages I have for you. I have a willing, opt-in audience.

And that audience knows how to share what they like. First, when you "like" my page, your friends will see in their news feed that you like the Carls Jr page. They might go there. So this can quickly ripple out. Second, if you see something you think is really fun or cool, you're likely to hit that SHARE button, and pass it to your group of friends.

And what does this cost Carls Jr? Whatever the person who posts and interacts gets paid.

Someone from Carls Jr PR department will be speaking at our upcoming RocketPlace conference about how they use social media… what works for them, what they don't bother with, and hopefully what results they saw from putting their Facebook URL in ads!

Learn more about our conference and register now! Attend both days live and totally online (no travel) for under $50.

PS: Just saw a commercial for Marshalls. It linked to their Facebook page. Get ready for this to become the norm… for a while.


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How Your eBay Designer Can Hurt Your Search Placement

Monday, April 26th, 2010

eBay is tougher than ever. They crack down on more rules than they used to. And they're organising search results partially by item relevance, partially by your seller reputation, and partially by whether or not you, as a seller, are compliant with eBay policies.

That means if you break eBay rules, it goes on the old permanent record. It used to get you a slap on the wrist. Now, breaking the rules COULD get you pushed lower in search results. It's hard to spiral back up from that. Also, your competitors can't wait to catch you breaking the rules so they can turn you in! Your items come down, and you are scrambling to fix whatever it was. So play by the rules!

One thing that amazes me is that amount of eBay listing templates (and eBay Stores) that have broken rules in them. That means that when you hire someone to do design for your eBay items, you are not just hoping for something "nice." You should also be hoping that this person or company really knows eBay rules, and will keep you out of trouble. Because if your designer puts something in your listings that is against eBay rules, guess who gets in trouble. Not the designer!

Here is a great example. I saw an eBay item last week where the template was pushing people to sign up for this seller's email mailing list. That may sound fine, but that's against eBay rules. On eBay, you can only push people to sign up for your eBay Store mailing list… no outside mailing lists (like Constant Contact, Mad Mimi, etc…). So a design company that works that into your template could be hurting your business when eBay starts removing your items for breaking rules.

Same is true for putting in URLs and live chat. Against the rules. Same with displaying contact information in the design of your eBay Store. Yes, really. And let's not forget the famous Site Interference rule, which we've known about since eBay created it in 2004… as in there is no excuse for someone claiming to be eBay experts to not know about this rule. When eBay cracked down on that in January 2009, one design company claiming to be the best in the world had 1600 non-compliant Stores they had to fix. But they told their customers there was nothing wrong with their Stores, so they could pay to "upgrade" them or just uninstall them. Super ugh.

eBay's keyword spamming rule is another that so-called eBay experts often break. Here are some examples of what you CAN'T do that I see so-called professional eBay designers doing:

  • Drop down menus. Unless you do special coding around them or build them in Flash, eBay can see every word in a drop down menu. It's indexed for Title and Description searches. And that's why it's keyword spamming.
  • Paragraphs in your listing or template summarising what you tend to sell. You might have a paragraph listing all the types of items you often have, or maybe it's a list of brand names you often have. This is against eBay rules. You can write this info, but it has to be in a graphic so the words aren't indexed for the Title and Description search.

And this is without me mentioning the bad ideas designers put in… things that can actually hurt your sales! I'm just talking about non-compliant things that can get you flagged in eBay's system as a rule-breaker.

How do you find a design company that will take proper care of you? Well, I only know that we will. I don't know of any others that are creating compliant designs. Our contract even says that if anything we do is found to be non-compliant (based on rules that existed when we built it), we will fix it ASAP for free. I don't even know of another eBay-related design or consulting company that gives you a contract, let alone a promise like that.

So we feel it's time to shoot for quality over price. Expertise. Personal attention. A truly unique design that doesn't look like anything we've done for other clients. It's your branding and marketing. It's your eBay business. Choose wisely!


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Arizona Bill 1070: What Will It Do?

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

AZ bill 1070 is now evidently law. People on both sides are on fire. The intention was to crack down on illegal immigrants, especially those who are criminals. Those for the bill say this is great because we have to do more about illegal immigrants and crime. Those are who against it say this is one step closer to Nazi Germany since the law gives the police the power to ask anybody to produce proof of immigration status. It also looks like it'll welcome racial profiling since the police may NOT detain a white guy with curly orange hair… even if he's an illegal Irishman. He's not who they're looking for.

Yes I want to see less crime. I'd like to see no crime! I'd like to see our immigration issue improved. But there is one thing that stands out to me about this law.

It's unlikely to change the behaviour of the bad people.

Let's say you're really mad. You want to kill someone. And you've reached the point where you're putting your morals aside, and you feel ready to kill someone. You may NOT kill someone when you realise that upon being caught, you could spend life in jail or be put to death. The law and the threat of punishment are there to keep you from doing what you shouldn't do.

What in this law would keep illegal immigrants from sneaking in? Where is the threat of something really bad happening that you'd want to not have happen to you? 

If I am a Mexican gang member and drug dealer, what in this law would make me change my plans and not cross the border? Nothing.

Australia is evidently considering a law that would mean 3 years of automatic jail time if an adult is caught posing as a child in an online community in order to connect with minors. Think the 56 yr old dude telling teen girls he's actually a school mate of theirs, and please friend him on Facebook. The idea of having a law like that is so that if you are a scary dude thinking of doing this, you will think twice because you won't be able to plea down to no jail. You will get SOME jail at least.

When I look at this AZ law, I just don't see what in it is going to make people do something different. I do NOT want to debate crime and illegal immigrants. I do not want to debate racial profiling. I know this is a hot topic, but I am boiling this law down to the most basic point: it doesn't seem to actually DO anything (good). I just don't see what in it would make people NOT do something they were planning to do (illegally).


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Census Form Questions

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

I'm confused. I keep seeing census form commercials on TV. They keep showing forms with lots of questions. I just saw one where a guy reminds gay, lesbian, and transgendered people to fill out their census forms. The camera shows a census form asking what is the relationship between person 1 and person 2 in the household.

My census didn't ask that.

For person 1, mine asked name, gender, age, ethnicity, how many people are living in the house, and I think that was it. The form didn't ask me how people are related. The form didn't ask me anything about what people do or all the things I thought it asks!

Does anybody know why I'd get a special bland form with nearly zero questions?


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Understanding Compound Subjects

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Grammar lesson today since I am hearing this one messed up even in TV commercials and in pop song lyrics. Which means most of you are probably messing this up.

Just saw a commercial that had a sentence that went something like, "Getting auto insurance fast and saving money is easy……….."

"Is" is the wrong word there. "Getting auto insurance" plus "saving money" means the subject of your sentence has two things going on. That means the right verb is plural… "are."

You say, "She goes to the store." But when you say, "She and he," it's GO, like "they go" because it's plural. You don't say, "She and he goes to the store." But using a singular verb for a subject with more than one person or thing would be the same!

This is NOT true for subjects with "or." In that case, you match the verb to the person or thing closest to the verb.

"Candy or pizzas are great to eat."  "Pizzas or candy is great to eat."

Try it! It's fun and easy. Easy and fun are what it is. :)


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As Was Anniversary: 21 April 1995

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Today is the anniversary of my company, As Was. We specialise in branding, marketing, design, strategy, and consulting for eBay and online sellers… as well as other businesses wanting a professional and unique online presence.

I started that on 21 April 1995, which means today is the start of our 16th year in business. Longer than many companies stay in biz nowadays… especially without changing owners many times or reorganising under some sort of bankruptcy. Some companies have changed names so when you Google them, you can't find old complaints. Nope, not us. Same owner, same name. No complaints. :)

I really started the business in June 2001, when I wanted a company name under which to do some consulting I was doing in college (and getting paid to do). I did some music projects, and I was making really unique jewellery… until my attorney father told me my jewellery breached trademarks. Buzz kill.

I really started the business in 1976, when I was 4, and decided my life dreams were to be a mommy to a puppy, and to run my own company. From then on, anybody who played with me played "Company." I didn't play house or with baby dolls. I didn't play teacher or librarian. I played CEO, and I had lots of stuffed animal dogs.

The idea for the name came in 1974, when I was 2. I saw a crazy cartoon on the Electric Company where a shady guy sells a nice guy a car with an "As Is" sign on it. Luckily, someone has it on YouTube.

So here's to As Was. A company making small and large companies more efficient, happier, stronger, more competitive, and remarkable… for the last 15 years. We couldn't still be doing this if we didn't get it really right just about all the time. Come check out what we can do for you!


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