Thursday, December 25, 2008

Still Coding Through The Holidays

Today is Christmas 2008, but unlike many of my peers, I decided to go ahead and do a little work today. I spent some time creating the international versions of E-commerce For Everyone websites on one of our test domains. It was fun creating Amazon Associate websites for our French, German, Canadian and UK friends. I'm still working on the Japanese version (that one is gonna be a little tricky).

I had a revelation this week while working on the international versions of Amazon Associates. The first revelation is that it's not called Amazon Associates everywhere, it's actually called PartnerNet in Germany (that blew my mind for a minute, lol). Another revelation I had is that Babel has come a long way (your translations rock now). A third revelation is that even though it took me 20 minutes to do, I didn't need someone else who spoke Japanese to sign-up for the Japanese version of Amazon Associates.

I have to say that this month has been awesome for sales, I broke my monthly sales record too, so that is always encouraging. I'm even more excited now at the prospect of making lots of international revenue. I've primarily focused on the United States as my main source of sales, but if this recession has taught me anything, it's that I should diversify my already recession proof business. I'm excited by the prospect that internationally, there is still so much growth opportunity.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Office Depot Closing 112 Stores

It's been reported that Office Depot will be closing 112 stores. Although not filing for bankruptcy, it appears to be joining the ranks of Circuit City and CompUSA. Office Depot claims that the closing of underperforming stores is in alignment with it's strategic goals.

The move will allow Office Depot to reduce expenses and continue to be competitive in a changing market. New online competitors such as seek to grow their market share in the office supply space. Included in the store 112 store closings are 6 distribution facilities and 2,200 employees that will be added to the current high unemployment rate.

In my own opinion, Office Depot is going to have a tough time moving office chairs, desks and office supplies at an affordable price if they have to support the overhead of stores and facilities that are not profitable on their own. I'm sure the store locations were a good pick at the time, but things change from one minute to the next, and unfortunately, sometimes consolidation is a necessary evil for big companies to stay competitive.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I'm Considering Amazon Turk

It's my understanding that with Amazon Turk, you can put together an on demand work force to do various tasks. I'm considering using it as a marketing method. I figured that I might pay $1 for people to do a 5 or ten minute blog post.

There are plenty of places that offer pay per post, but it could be expensive. This experiment might be the start of a lot of cool new things. Potential the ability to outsource some tasks. I'll post my findings back here.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Recession Proofing Your Wallets With Amazon Associates

Want to be recession proof? Earning some extra income in these long recession days is a blessing to anyone who can get it. One of the easiest ways to earn a little extra money to pay the bills is simply to become a virtual merchant by selling products for Amazon. Earn a commission by generating sales for Amazon.

Amazon has a program called Amazon Associates. It will allow you to sell anything in their huge product catalog and earn a commission once an item ships. You might even find that the Amazon Associates program is better then your sales job. Work on your own hours, with no boss other then your own personal motivation. Work more, earn more.

Here's a very reasonable scenario of what the Amazon Associates program could do for you each month. I've attached a screen shot of my earnings for the first 11 days of the month. So far only $336.44, but that's more then enough for a car payment. With the remaining days of the month, I'll make enough to pay the electric ($150), water ($15), internet ($60), website ($30), marketing ($100), Savings ($200+ remainder of commissions). The beauty of the Amazon Associates program is that you can spend as little or as much time as you like, so while most of you won't quit your job just yet, you can work in your spare time from anywhere with internet access.

There are different ways that you can promote Amazon products like a blog or website. It's important to have a professionally designed website that is ready to attract online shoppers. Don't worry if you don't have technical or web design skills, there are lots of free scripts available and even some professional designers that make Amazon Associate e-commerce websites. E-commerce For Everyone is one of the few developers creating innovation solutions for Amazon Associates. While the recession has negatively affected many sectors of the economy, online shopping is one of the few sectors that has seen continued growth.

There is no question that in the near future online shopping will far exceed brick and mortar shopping carts. With broadband access being rolled out world wide at a break neck speed, savvy businesses will be ready to do business online in the global marketplace.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Testing Microsoft’s Writer beta

This is the first blog post I create using the new Microsoft Writer beta. The application seems to be very clean, and gives the user a nice blogging platform.

I haven’t used it with all of my blogs as yet, but I think it’ll work well. The cool part about this application is that they’ve decided to add plugins. I didn’t actually have a lot to say in this post more then I wanted to check out it’s capabilities, and formatting.

The program is still in beta, but even for a beta it seems rather solid. I used a similar blogging program called Elicit, unfortunately they went out of business and took the licensing server with it, so it eventually stopped working.

Another little nicety about the new Microsoft blog tool is that it has a built in updater, so I don’t have to manually check.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Review of 3:10 to Yuma

3:10 to Yuma is a great western starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. Crowe stars as a ruthless gangster who is wanted by the law. Bale stars as an ex-Union solder, now disabled, has been forced to become a deputy threw a series of circumstances, and is tasked to bring Crowe to the prison train leaving for Yuma at 3:10.

There is plenty of action and dialogue in the movie. You never felt bored at any point with this movie. In fact, there is lots of action and gun battles as Crowe's gang tries franticly to free their boss.

I'd recommend seeing this movie right away if you haven't seen it. My understanding is that this is a remake of an older movie.

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Looking At A Cheap All-In-One Printer, Scanner and Fax Machine

As a small start-up business, I find myself need to do the typically office administrative work like printing, making copies of documents, and every now and then sending out a fax.

I didn't want to spend too much money either, so I came across this multi-function unit. This one is the HP Deskjet F4280 All-in-One Printer, Scanner, Copier (CB656A). Looks like it prints some decent documents. I don't really need anything fancy because I'm not going to be printing any images from a digital camera or anything. The last time I went to the UPS store to print and fax some documents, it ended up costing me somewhere around the neighborhod of $30.
After realizing how much I spent on one trip to the UPS store, I realized that I could have purchased my own equipment if I made two more visits in the rest of the year. I figured already that I would need to print and fax, so I might see about getting a deal on this one. Another cool part about the device is that it can scan too, so that comes in handy for making copies of receipts or any other business documents, and then store them on a server. This particular one is less then $100, so I figure it's a good deal. You can buy one from Amazon too if you want free shipping.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Google Gmail Notifier Doesn't Recognize Google Chrome As A Browser

Every once in a while internet users will notice an incompatibility within Google's programs. Today, a user discovered that Google's Gmail Notifier is not compatible with Google Chrome.

I thought this pic was worth at least one laugh. I'm sure it won't take long for Google to fix the problem, but it would be good for all of their applications to be compatible.

Google is one of the few companies that doesn't get to make an honest mistake because they seem to be under such very strong public scrutiny.
One of the first things I noticed when I started using Google Chrome was that it was a very fast browser. One of the major things that it was clearly missing was the ability to add some kind of add-on or plugin. I'm sure future versions will carry the feature. Another thing I'd like to see resolved is the ability to login to my bank. Right now only Internet Explorer and FireFox are supported.