Thursday, December 14, 2006

Spam Snail Mail: We Are Trying to Reach You with Good News

I got this post card in the mail today:

I'm putting the text here to make it easier for people who got this post card to find it:

The Front

6025 Sandy Springs Cir NE # 318
Atlanta, GA 30328-3863


Pin # 0650197417
45-26 2643-4

"We Have (Insert Smiley Face Here) Good News"

The Back
Dear John (Or whoever you are.)

We are trying to reach you with good news! It is real important that you call toll free 1-888-279-9221.


Call 12 noon to 8 pm EST
Monday thru Friday

The Scam:

From what I've read online there are a lot of these post cards going around with varying catch phrases including "we've been going nuts trying to contact you" with a picture of a couple nuts running around.

If they can get you to call, they try to sell you magazine subscriptions so you can enter a contest of some sort. From what I can tell these people aren't too malicious. But I wouldn't waste my time calling.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Ebay Pro Stores Review

Thinking about buying a new content management system for your E-commerce site? Is a customized solution too much or too complicated for you? Don't even know what a content management system is? Well, look no further because I'm going to tell you all you need to know.

Content Management Systems
Content Management Systems are web based software that allows web developers to publish and sell goods and services on the internet. There are litterally thousands of websites that profit from selling goods and services online, they range in size from small mom and pop hobby stores looking to make extra cash on auction sites like Ebay to the well known titans of E-commerce like Amazon. As a result, a whole new industry has sprung up to cater to their wants and needs.

Ebay Pro Stores
So how can Pro Stores help you successfully market an E-Commerce site? Well, I'll review the features and break them down right here. I'll simplify all the jargon and let you know if ProStores is right for you or just hype in a box.

The Review
There are 4 different levels to choose from, "ProStores Express", "ProStores Business", "ProStores Advanced", and "ProStores Enterprise". At time of publishing this article they cost $6.95, $29.95, $74.95, and $249.95 respectively.

The best thing about a ProStore is instant boost your profit margins will receive if you're using a 3rd party payment gateway because it only charges a .5% transaction fee. Chances are, your merchant account is taking anywhere from 5% - 10% of the purchase price on every sale you make! If you're doing a $1000 a month in sales or more, the money you save in transaction charages alone would more than pay for the cost of a Pro Store. Better yet, all transactions are SSL encrypted and billed in real time which means customer information is safe, secure and charged instantly.

ProStores is also an Ebay Company, which means your E-business will be backed by one of the top internet companies in the world, with offices worldwide from Japan to Germany. You'll have many resources at your disposal, including access to its extremely popular Ebay auction site. ProStores also provides a consulting service that pairs you with an E-commerce veteran who will review your goals and needs and set up a customized E-commerce solution that fits your business model and budget.

Domain name comes standard with every ProStore subscription (Except ProStores Express) allowing you to create a domain that includes your business name. They also have professional design services that have created numerous successful site designs including the popular ZStore.


  • Unfortunately, ProStores isn't the easiest content management system out there. While we like the ability to upload mass product feeds, it lacks a simple and intuitive interface to add a manage products.
  • Lacks 24 hour support for lower end customers.

  • ProStores's order processing really stands out. Real time credit card processing, inventory management, and customer processing still make it a great choice for any current or potential E-merchant
  • Use your own domain name
  • Quickbooks integration
  • Different subscription levels to suit your needs and budget

Final Analysis
Would I buy a ProStores system? Yes! Despite its drawbacks ProStores is a great choice because of its price. A custom system that includes all the features of the ProStores Express would cost at at least $1500 dollars! ProStores are also backed by Ebay, one of the most powerful companies on the internet today. It's a great solution for everyone from E-Commerce veterans to somebody who just started competing in the E-marketplace.

If you're still skeptical, try it for 30 days free!
Free trial

Monster Commerce Shopping Cart Review

Using Sitemaps to Get Listed

A sitemap is a directory of links to other pages on a website. There are essentially two types of sitemaps, one geared toward visitors and the other designed for search engine spiders. Both have very important and distinct functions for webmasters.

Sitemaps for SEO
Webmasters are faced with the challenge of getting pages spidered and ranked. That’s where sitemaps come in. Search Engines like Google use sitemaps to detect new web pages or content on a website. Actively maintaining a sitemap helps tell search engines which pages of your site have changed and where your new content is. Sitemaps are also a good way for new sites to get noticed quickly by major search engines.

Sitemap Programs for the Big Three

Sitemaps for Google
Google just came out with a new beta program called Google Sitemaps that allows webmasters to tell Google where their sitemap is located. In return for helping Google catalogue information on the internet, Google Sitemaps provides you with valuable data on how Google Bot views your site including pages that it is having trouble spidering, the keywords it sees as important on your site, and how often Google Bot is crawling your pages. You can sign up for one here.

To create a basic Sitemap for your site open up notepad, type or paste in the urls of the pages you want spidered, then save the file as a UT8-F encoded file then upload the file to your site and viola! You have a sitemap. Next, you need to sign up for a Google Sitemaps account and complete the simple verification procedure.

Sitemaps for Yahoo!
Yahoo! provides a program similar to Google Sitemaps they call Site Explorer. Follow this URL to join this program.

MSN Sitemaps
Unfortunately, MSN does not offer a sitemap program yet.

Sitemaps for Visitors
Sitemaps can be used to help visitors access information on your site and allows webmasters more flexibility with site design. You can use a sitemap to maintain a simplistic home page that limits its links to important and new web pages pages or provide a comprehensive directory of all pages on your site.

A good example of a sitemap geared for visitors can be found here at SEO Chat. Notice there are two columns, the left column points to a sitemap on a specific subject which contains links to all the articles on their site related to that subject. The column on the right lists links to pages on their forums that deal with specific topics such as PageRank and Site Reviews.

Ecommerce sites typically make a directory of all their products to help potential customers find the products they want. ThinkGeek has a good Ecommerce sitemap. It lists and organizes all the products it sells, which helps consumers find the products they need.

When making your sitemaps remember they are used to organize the information on your site for visitors and search engines. A good sitemap will help visitors and spiders quickly and easily find information on your website. Don’t hesitate to make multiple sitemaps with different purposes such as a sitemap for visitors and a sitemap that is compatible with Google Sitemaps. An well designed and effective sitemap will help propel you to the top of search engine listings and keep visitors coming back to your site.

John Bravo
Commerce Solutions

The Phrase "Uber" On Notice

I'm sick and tired of the phrase Uber, particularly when I hear it on TV or read it on the internet. So Uber, you're on notice!

Fake Morgan Webb My Space Accounts On Notice

Did you know that Morgan has a My Space where she keeps a blog and blogs about really cool things like QuickTime and bad grammer? She recently blogged about the fake Morgan Webbs out there pretending to be her! She hates it! So Fake Morgan Webb My Space Users, you're on notice! (They're probably all guys.)

Fake Morgan Webb User

The Real Morgan Webb is much more articulate than the typical My Space user.

Wiivenge - Reggie Fils-Aime On Notice

Yet another target for my unbridled rage!....and Exclamation PointS!!!!!!!!!!!!
Reggie Fils-aime, Nintendo's go to American PR guy has promised a lot. By a lot I mean a lot of Wii units available at launch.

Sadly, Reggie has broken his promise. Because I was lulled into a false sense of security over the past 6 months by promises of bountiful Wii stocks I slept in this morning. I was "seduced in to deception [his] last post were lies and not truths. [I am] fooled like a duck. A cupcake is on [my] face." As a result of this deception, I have failed to acquire a Wii pre-order contract with a major video game distribution corporation.

From what I hear there were only about 10 units available per store at launch. So Reggie, you're officially on notice! (Until you provide me with a console for purchase at launch and if you give me one for free you go on the wall on heroes! If you give me a console and 10 controller components, you will be a permanent hero and have your name highlighted in platinum text.

Ne faites pas confiance aux
Reggie Fils-Aime!
Reggie Fils-Aime: Non!

Chitika Malls On Notice

That's it Chitika Mall! I've had it with you and your elitist bloganistas. Because you have rejected my application for joining your affiliate program, I'm putting you on notice!

Take this Chitika Malls, now go stand in the corner until you think you're ready to come off notice!

Spammers On Notice

Spammers are really ticking me off today. So take this spammers!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

It's Science

There are hundreds of other science articles I've read since high school and they all used to amaze me. I would sit at my computer and think "wow, I didn't even see that comming." Well science, I've finally reached the point where I'm not surprised about much anymore. With talk about virtual immortality, traveling to mars, and playing god in the scientific community I'm not phased by much. Even if I woke up tommorow and heard we cured cancer I wouldn't be surprised. Here is a list of things that would surprise me:

I'll be surprised when they say we can...

send manned space craft to the nearest solar system and back within a typical human's lifespan.

Okay science, I keep hearing about going to the moon, mars, and checking out planets in our solar system. I'm not going to be surprised when we do it because I know we can. What I'm unsure of is our ability to travel outside of our Solar System. It seems as though we're stuck here in this dump with only ONE planet hospitable to human life. We don't even have a nice view! The ort cloud and Kuiper Belt? Pfff, please. Let me know when I can buy a ticket out of here.

mass produce light sabers with a cost just under $150.

Look guys, it's time we got light sabers. I really don't care how you do it. I don't care if they don't hum and only come in green. I need a light saber. I don't even care about the technology behind it, use plasma, high energy laser kept in place by powerful magnets, I don't care. They're just so darn cool!

Time Travel.

I don't really expect you to get this one down in my lifetime. I know we can theoretically move forward in time (E=MC2), but how do we move back? There's a lot of things I want to see and do, most of which involve changing the future. (I have no issues about changing the future.)


I figure this one will come way after faster than light travel and after I'm long gone. Though it would be nice to instantly transport anywhere instantly.

I guess that's it. If something DOES surprise me, I'll let you all know.