ShoppingAds Payment hits a Snag

ShoppingAds is a popular monetization method that I've recommended before here at the Monetizer blog. They offer banner style images and text links which direct people to eBay auctions. Should someone purchase the item, you profit with a nice commission. The minimum amount to be earned is $50 before payout.

The Monetizer had surpassed that $50 mark and was on schedule to receive my first payment from the company on January 26th, 2009. Lo and behold upon logging in on Monday, ShoppingAds had the following note covering my account area:

All currently accrued monthly earnings are pending.
Unfortunately for reasons beyond our control,
they may be disqualified at any time by our affiliate advertising partner before the next payout date.

To receive payment your traffic must follow the following guidelines:
* No adult content, your website/blog can not have adult content or themes.
* No forcing ANY clicks what so ever, any computer program or forced website popups (and so on) forcing your web visitors to receive a ShoppingAds click when they visit one of your webpages is strictly prohibited.
* No homemade eBay or ShoppingAds banners or graphics of any kind for your links, you must run a ShoppingAds banner generated from the website "get ads" page or valid ShoppingAds link that contains the words "on eBay" in the visible link text.
* We must be able to see your incoming referrer information, if you are running ads in an environment which obscures where your clicks are coming from, we'll need you to contact us with the URLs where your ShoppingAds are being displayed.
* Absolutely no posting of links or ads to 3rd party websites!
You must be the owner of the website where you are displaying ads.
I.E. posting links to "craigslist" pages, "woot.com" forums, etc.
or any other forums/blogs (and so on) that you are not the website owner of is prohibited.
* You may not display ShoppingAds links as an advertiser through a 3rd party ad network.
I.E. signing up for "adbrite" and buying your ShoppingAds links out for different website publishers to display.
* You may only have ONE ShoppingAds account.
If the same one publisher is caught running ads on more than one ShoppingAds signup all related accounts will be removed from the program.

If you do not follow the above guidelines our affiliate partner may remove your account and not pay for your traffic, therefore you can not receive your earnings.

Our staff here at ShoppingAds will work hard to make sure that your traffic is accounted for and will be considered valid for payment.

Contact us right away if you have any questions about how your blog or site may be disqualified.
(include the URL where ShoppingAds are running as well)

Thank you and we appreciate you for being a publisher!

Ok no problems there, but it's funny how bill collectors will all but knock down our doors with a battering ram if a payment isn't on time. The "unfortunately for reasons beyond our control" part doesn't sit well with me. Things do happen, but that language right there is very similar to Google's policy of just yanking an account without paying up, with no explanation. It's disappointing in the regard that people can honestly run ShoppingAds on their blog or website, and then be declined a payment which may have taken several months to acrrue. Of course I have a few more days to go to see if they pay up and will post the results.

In the meantime, a lesson learned is to tread with caution when using affiliate programs or moneymakers. As I blogged once before each program has specific rules to be familiar with, and "fine print". Some pay once every few months, some every other week, etc. Clickbank has an interesting payment policy based on how many different credit card and check or Paypal orders you've received. You can see in the text block above many of ShoppingAds rules and restrictions for accounts. Another thing to consider is the fact that while you may be self-employed blogging or running niche sites, having just one or a couple programs running really controls your finances. If they choose to not pay you or just flat go out of business, you could find your income source greatly diminished or gone.

I recommend if you have a decent traffic site to choose eBay partner Network if your site qualifies. They offer a payout every few weeks for a minimum of just $5. New eBay signups can earn you up to $25. Many bloggers and marketers are keen on building niche sites using eBay's Partner Network as it can provide some nice passive income if done properly.

Here's to your success!


Free Money + Free Audiobook!

stephen covey 7 habits of highly effective people Extra, extra hear all about it...You may have heard about the recent class action lawsuit which allowed customers to line up for blocks at department stores and get free cosmetics. That lawsuit is still going on and customers can claim their cosmetic goods up until Monday. Well now there's another lawsuit settlement involving Bank of America and several other banks. The lawsuit applies to anyone who was a member of BOA or several other banks named, who had a debit card with their account and payed a late/overdraft fee within 5 days of it being assessed. This had to occur in the time period of December 6, 2000 to December 31, 2007 for you to be eligible.

The lawsuit if settled as planned could pay you up to $78. You must submit your claim by May 2009. If you qualify, simply fill out the online claim form or mail it in. Funny enough, MSN.com which reported on the story said these lawsuits may become the new way of passive income...hmmm. There's another one here for up to $35 if you bought a copy of the popular Grand Theft Auto San Andreas video game and were offended by "virtual sex"!

Today there's also a great freebie deal going on at Audible.com. The website which sells audio books is giving away a free download of Stephen Covey's popular title, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People"! This book can help us all in the New Year to perform closer to our potentials. It's free so give it a try, download it to your iPod or make a CD and play it on your commute to work! Please note you will need to sign up for a free audible.com account (requires full name, email, password) and also download a very small audible installer to get your audiobook.

Synopsis of the audiobook which is 3 hours 24 minutes in length:

What are the habits all successful people share? In this audio presentation, Stephen R. Covey answers that question and teaches you how to make the Seven Habits a part of your life. Each audio system is designed to help you create an empowering center of correct paradigms from which you can effectively solve problems, maximize opportunities, and continually learn and integrate principles of effectiveness in an upward spiral of growth.

Follow this link to get your free download. Enjoy!


Check Your Free Credit Report!

I recently received a letter from BNY Mellon Shareowner Services, a company I've used for Dividend Reinvestment Plans or DRIPS's as they're called in the Wall Street world. The letter alerted me to the fact that some backup data tapes had been lost during a transfer to an off-site storage facility. These tapes contained some of my personal data such as name, address and Social Security #. While Mellon claimed they did not believe my data would be accessed or misused (not sure how they determined this), they extended the offer to all those impacted to receive 3 free months of a credit-monitoring service. This would safeguard people from potential identity theft, by allowing them to monitor the credit reporting agency's data on them, just in case you started seeing strange credit card charges for thousands of dollars from a strip joint that you didn't make...ok, bad example but you catch my drift...

One of the biggest concepts in becoming wealthy or "getting ahead" is not only knowing where your money is coming from, but also knowing where it's going to. That means the tedious task of figuring out all your monthly bills/expenses and other "money-takers", so you know exactly what sort of spending you're doing. Another thing we all neglect to do thinking we're all good, is checking out or credit report on a regular basis. Some avoid them out of shear terror, while others just assume everything is going alright. Your credit is a big deal though especially with the recent mortgage foreclosure and bank scrutiny against loans. Financial pundit Suze Orman says you'll need an even better credit score than before to even be considered for a new home loan. And as you can see from my brief tale above, identity theft is definitely a big thing to watch for these days. There's all sorts of Paypal, eBay, banking and credit card scams and phishing going on online. Also when data's lost or your social security number is taken, that can spell potential trouble. We've all seen the commercials about the guy who has to work in a seaside fish restaurant because his identity was stolen. He recommends in his catchy tune that you get your free credit report. According to the letter I receieved from BNY Mellon, you can check your report free of charge once every 12 months.

To get yourself a free copy of your credit report simply visit http://www.annualcreditreport.com. Check it out, see the good, the bad and possibly the ugly. It will take about 7 years to fix some of the worst mistakes such as late payments made to credit cards, but you can get a good idea of how you rank credit-wise and insure that nothing malicious is going on behind your back.


Entrecard Forum, Approvals & Top Droppers

Yep, in case you forgot about it, the Entrecard website and blog advertising universe still exists! A few days ago they released a monumental announcement via email that they have opened up a new forum per the request of members. This forum will be more like other forums you're accustomed to, and will allow post signatures (hint hint - a new place to link build). Hopefully the new forums will allow great discussions amongst the blogging community and a place to link exchange.

Another announcement Entrecard made is regarding blog submission and approval. From now on they become stricter in terms of which blogs they allow, because they're using a manual approval process. There's also a "quality control" procedure going on to check the current blogs which are using Entrecard.

"Top Droppers Day" which will be a new Entrecard holiday on January 31st. That Saturday you can participate in the holiday by doing either of the following:

1.) Write a post thanking your top droppers! From your Entrecard Statistics page you can see a list of the 10 bloggers who have dropped their card for you the most times in the last 30 days. Writing a post thanking them, linking to them, and writing a nice compliment about their blog is a great way to reward them for being loyal visitors.

2.) Drop!! Because so many people in Entrecard are participating in Top Dropper Day this month, the chances that bloggers will link to you increases dramatically. Dropping is a great way to earn credits and drive traffic to your blog, and this month it's going to help you get links from other bloggers too. So drop frequently and often for the greatest rewards!

I'll be the first to admit Entrecard started out as a fun tool to use but it's sort of taken a back burner at times to other blogging tasks. It's a great tool for those just starting up a blog though, and also a fantastic place to network and find out tips from other bloggers. If you're just getting into blogging head over to Entrecard.com to get yourself a free account.

2009 Inauguration Ticket Ceremony!

Today marks a great day in American history with the official inauguration of Barack Obama, our 44th president and first ever African-American president. The inauguration ceremony itself was a grand affair in Washington, DC with everyone from John Kerry to the Clintons, Bushes and Carters coming to see Obama officially take office. And there were "common folk" spectators on hand as well as there were 240,000 free tickets given out to lucky individuals and families. They estimated that many more than that number attended the event.

While inauguration tickets were free that didn't prevent many entrepreneurial-minded individuals from scalping theirs. eBay and StubHub were outlawed from allowing sales of the inauguration tickets. According to WashingtonTimes.com:

Inauguration-related tickets have become such a hot commodity that people have gone to the Web to buy and sell them.

However, the Internet sites eBay and StubHub have decided not to help broker tickets at the request of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat and chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. Mrs. Feinstein introduced legislation, passed by the Senate Tuesday, to make scalping of inauguration tickets a criminal offense. Passage by the House before the inauguration is uncertain.

Interestingly, this eBay auction here was for an offical Obama inauguration T-Shirt plus 2 "free" tickets to the swearing-in ceremony. The shirt sold for $699. So technically that person made the smart sale, side-stepping the scalping concept. See the completed auction here.

Not only were inauguration tickets a hot seller but so were any other event nearby the inauguration such as a Jay-Z concert on 1/19 and a Gala ball featuring singer Rihanna. There were even inauguration invite letters and subway tickets which pictured Obama selling on eBay.

Check out the numerous eBay listings here

Read more about the 2009 inauguration tickets at WashingtonTimes.com.


Circuity City Officially Closing!

An ailing economy strikes again, and this time levels one of the most well-known names in electronics retailers. Circuit City officially announced on Friday that they will be shutting down all stores, and in the process liquidating all merchandise in those stores. There's approximately 34, 000 employees for the retail stores across the United States, all of whom will soon be jobless. There's a 60 day notice for all employees losing jobs and anyone dismissed earlier receives pay and benefits for that 2 months. The retail chain cites the bleak economy and challenges to their business as reasons they will need to liquidate all store items in order to pay creditors. Hopes for emerging from Chapter 11 Bankruptcy have been squashed for the company which has existed for 60 years.

As for the liquidation sales, those start at many stores on Saturday, January 17, 2009. If you've been mulling over getting a new piece of electronics such as a Blu-Ray DVD player, LCD HDTV or new laptop, this just may be your opportunity. The Circuit City website reveals no details of any of the clearance deals, so you'll need to stop in and check out your local stores. CircuitCIty.com has more details, in fact that's all it has now, a page of text discussing the store's closing.

See all the details about Circuit City's closing here.


Study the Best & Replicate Success

Many personal development gurus including Anthony Robbins recommend the idea of studying those who are successful in what you want to achieve, then modeling their habits, traits and mindsets. As far as the make money online realm goes, two of the most successful bloggers are John Chow (Johnchow.com) and Darren Rowse (Problogger.net). John Chow recently layed out the plan for how to get your blog business to really take off in 2009.

Here's the major points John makes:

- Get a domain and Wordpress blog
- Brand yourself
- Post frequently and regularly
- Use Twitter
- Build a mailing list

Some people will quickly say "The Monetizer uses Blogspot". Correct friends, but 2009 will be my year to move one of my blogs onto a hosted domain. I believe this alone can take a blog to that next level, and I regret not doing it sooner with another blog I run. Opposing viewpoints correctly claim that one can make money using free Blogspot blogs as well, but if you want a blog that not only makes money but can also be sold for a hefty sum one day, getting a domain is key.

Branding is very important as we all know. It's what sets you apart from the rest, giving you a distinct look, feel and presence online. My brand is the adorable green moneymaking man, The Monetizer. Some call him "shifty-eyed" or may view him as greedy, but all in all he works for the good of money. 2009 is a great time to evaluate your blog or website's brand concept. Logos can be cheaply purchased by freelancers these days.

Here at the Monetizer blog I will admit there's times when I'm positing several entries a week, and times when my other blogs have exhausted my energy. I'm going to make a goal in 2009 to post much more regularly with at least 3-5 entries per week here. If you've got just one blog there's really no excuse not to be posting 3 times a week, if not daily. This can help you get discovered by search engines and gain new subscribers.

I don't currently use a mailing list but definitely see the advantages in having them for your blog or website. If you were to use your feedburner account to email all your RSS subscribers "Hey buy this cool moneymaking product", you'd quickly find your RSS count diminishing. A mailing list allows you to send out newsletters highlighting blog posts, insider tips and of course affiliate or commission-based products to people who opted in to the mailing list.

The Monetizer uses Twitter but not like others use it, and that may change in 2009. Many twitterers use the program to gain a massive following, but also to propose questions, network and find out about news, deals, websites and events. Many businesses are jumping on the bandwagon, such as Amazon.com which posts its latest MP3 album deals and more on Twitter. For bloggers, there's also a great program available that automatically will post your blog links to Twitter as they publish. This way anyone following you can click the link and arrive to the post. John Chow and others have even suggested that Twitter may become the new RSS.

Of course debates run rampant amongst bloggers as to the value of using Twitter or how often you should post, but it doesn't get much more simple or logical than what John suggests. He's been able to take his blog from $0 to over $30,000 a month, and that track record speaks volumes in itself. A few other things that John Chow has done to achieve success: networking, paid reviews, media spots such as TV & magazines, and last but not least, eating and taking pics of his meals. Follow in Mr. Chow's footsteps with your blog and you just might find similar or greater success. Just like someone can always "build the better mousetrap", it's still possible to build a better "make money online" blog. Here's to your success!


Free Copy of Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan!

Last week Oprah Winfrey had a week full of shows to help everyone get in gear for 2009. Included were important topics ranging from your health to spirituality to our favorite topic here, MONEY. Appearing on the show about personal finances was none other than financial guru and author, Suze Orman. As a gift to all Oprah viewers (and even non-viewers), Oprah & Suze currently have a free download of Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan for free until midnight this coming January 15th (Thursday).

The book is chock full of great financial advice especially now that we're facing some tough economic times. While Suze Orman does tend to stay on the conservative side with her money advice, I noticed some gems of advice regarding credit card debt, saving and investing while browsing the free PDF download of her book. Suze tells the younger population specifically that if they won't need their investment money for 10+ years, that they should be 80-100% invested in stocks. Suze believes that younger people can buy many stocks on the cheap right now (after doing homework) and profit greatly several years forward. After all the stock market won't be down forever, just as it wasn't down forever in the Great Depression. I couldn't agree more. If you're not investing during these times, you're doing yourself a disservice and will be kicking yourself 5, 10 or 20 years from now.

Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan is a 227 page PDF download offered for free right now via Oprah.com. It's ten chapters deep, featuring specific Q&A style paragraphs covering the essentials such as getting out of debt, saving, investing, paying for college and more. Suze's book offers solid advice to help people get on the right track for a healthier financial picture in 2009 and beyond.

Download Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan (PDF) here.


4 Books to Jumpstart You in 2009!

One of the best investments you can make in yourself is to continually learn through reading. That doesn't just mean reading blogs online, but even old-fashioned page-by-page books as well. There's some classic financial, business, entrepreneurial and "get rich" style titles out there as well as, dare I say it, self-improvement. Everyone can improve, so to think that genre is only for people with a thick psychiatric file folder is a huge misconception.

For this blog entry, I wanted to provide you 4 books in particular I've enjoyed that can help you along on your way towards more success in 2009. They provide positive insights into how our minds work and how to "re-wire" our thinking so that we can become more motivated and successful! While they may contain several overlapping principles amongst them, you can definitely jumpstart yourself in this new year by picking up any or all of these titles!

1) Think and Grow Rich! by Napoleon Hill - This book is considered the blueprint of most other success books that have been written, and also the blueprint for your own personal path towards riches (monetary or other). Hill studied the attitudes, traits, habits and skill sets of the most successful people he could find. From his findings he produced a fascinating book with recollections throughout US history telling how those individuals achieved sucess, and how you can translate that to your own success. This book includes everything from discussions of American History, to how to conquer your six internal ghosts of fear. If this book doesn't get you inspired with its nuggets of wisdom, nothing will!

2) Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Ecker - Ecker admits in the intro to this book that what he presents are merely truths about how the rich become rich, and why the poor stay poor. It's definitely an interesting read and gives you all sorts of great advice about how to plan, create and maintain a rich financial future. One of the things that separates the rich from the poor is that the rich manage money well while the poor mismanage money well. A great suggestion Ecker gives is to create separate accounts for necessity spending, luxury spending and investment spending, as well as the idea of dropping loose change into separate pots daily to help you learn to manage your money well.

3) The Success Principles by Jack Canfield - Canfield is famous for being one of the authors behind Chicken Soup for the Soul, which made him filthy rich. In this book, Canfield seems to have summed up many of his predecessors from the success genre, which makes the book extremely valuable. He'll teach you exactly how to go from where you are at this point in your life to where you really want to be by examining your life, goals, dreams and desires. It's a lengthy book, but you'll find that Canfield can propel you to set goals, motivate yourself and become the successful person you've always wanted to be.

4) Maximum Achievement by Brian Tracy - Brian Tracy presents tips that other successful people have harnessed to achieve their maximum potentials. He also presents a look at how we turn out based upon our parents' attitudes and roles and how they've shaped us. It's a book which relies heavily on the "mind over matter" theory, like most success books do. Tracy discusses ways to focus on your goals, ignore negatives or overcome them, and even ways to handle personal relationships such as those with your parents, spouse or children. Tracy's book also encourages the reader to actively participate in the included steps and guarantees more success to those who keep with them. A riveting read that will put you in the positive frame of mind for achieving at your maximum success level.

So what are you waiting for? Pick up copies of the above and get started. Even better, find any of the titles at your local library and get a free investment in your own growth and future! The New Year is still young, so there's no better time than right now! Here's to your success!


Win an eBay Gift Card from Vitamin eBay!

John Paul writes the eBay themed blog "Vitamin eBay" which covers the world of eBay selling as well as other interesting tidbits related to the auction site. John's a current eBay Powerseller (www,asapsellsit.com) and right now is offering a $25 eBay gift card in a New Year's contest he's running for the next week. Entry simply requires heading over to the contest post at Vitamin eBay and leaving your email in the comments.

You can gain bonus entries by doing any of the following:

-Post the giveaway on Twitter.
-Post the giveaway on your blog.
-Post the giveaway on a group or forum discussion board.
-Post the giveaway anywhere that someone other than yourself might see it. (keep it clean)

The winner of the $25 eBay gift card will be chosen in a week from today, so get on it folks! $25 on eBay is a nice extra for many people these days. It could provide you with a special gift to pamper yourself in these tougher economic times or allow you to resell the gift card for a small cash bonus!

Make sure to refer to the official Vitamin eBay contest post for full details. Good luck to all who enter!


A New Year, A New Computer!

HP Pavilion a6600z Desktop PC With 2009 starting to sink in it was time to improve my productivity and that starts with the personal computer here at home. These days just about anything and everything can be designed, ordered or performed via the computer. You do everything from writing your blog, building websites, do your taxes, watch movies, stream music to your stereo or even order a pizza using your PC. And as always, speed in computing is of the essence. Right now Hewlett Packard is running a great special of $289 for a newly built computer (HP Pavilion a6600z AMD Dual Core 2.3GHz Desktop PC), with free shipping, and The Monetizer just couldn't resist it.

Here's the rundown of the HP's tech specs:

Operating system: Genuine Windows Vista Home Basic with Service Pack 1 (32-bit)
Processor: AMD Sempron(TM) LE1300 (2.3GHz)
Memory: 2GB DDR2-800MHz dual channel SDRAM (2x1024)
Graphics card: Integrated NVIDIA GeForce 6150 SE [VGA]
Hard drive: 250GB 7200 rpm SATA 3Gb/s hard drive
Networking: Ethernet Modem
DVD/CD drive: LightScribe 16X max. DVD+/-R/RW SuperMulti drive
Front Ports: 15-in-1 memory card reader, 2 USB, audio
Sound Card: Integrated 5.1 channel sound with front audio ports
Software: Microsoft(R) Works 9.0
Security software:No additional security software
Speakers: No speakers
Keyboard & Mouse: HP keyboard & HP optical mouse

I'm highly anticipating the HP's arrival in a week or so, since the new machine will have Windows Vista as its Operating System. I've heard good and bad, but have personally never used Vista, since XP works just fine for me and upgrading was a bit costly. Now I'll get to learn the new OS, and add that to my resume. I'm also slightly interested in seeing how fast it is compared to the Dell I have currently which has just 1 gigabyte memory and a slower processor.

As for the extras, I chose the 15 in 1 card reader which will be built into the front of the computer. It's got 2 USB ports on front, and I'm assuming a few on back. Software's another story. Since there was no included Virus protection, I purchased Kaspersky Internet Security 2009 from Amazon.com. I did thorough research on Internet security suites (anti-virus + anti-spyware + firewall) and discovered Kaspersky ranked 2nd to Norton on Amazon. It's also a top choice among online PC review sites. After reading reviews, the package seems to provide a great deal of security and doesn't tie up alot of your computer's resources (memory). Kaspersky was only $34.99 while others run as much as $50-60. It even includes a very cool "Virtual Keyobard" feature which allows you to enter personal data into that to encrypt it and prevent those cyber thiefs from getting it.

Another consideration is finding some software for photo editing and word processing. I recommend to anyone who wants to save some money and not get sucked into buying a $300 version of MS Office, to download OpenOffice.org. It includes spreadsheet (Excel compatible), word processing (Word compatible) and several other nifty office-style programs, for Free. Another bonus is that it allows you to create PDF's which can be helpful to those who design e-books. As for digital photos, I will install Google Picasa which is a very nice free photo editing, printing and online uploading tool full of cool features. Why spend big bucks for these sorts of programs when they are available for free and work very well? As for printing I'll use the all-in-one Canon Pixma MX310 printer which is very nice for under $100.

Overall, I'm looking forward to the new HP's arrival. It has a build date of January 7, 2009, and should be here shortly after that. With 2009 just underway, I look forward to this new "toy" because I believe it can make 2009 an even better, more enjoyable, moneymaking experience! I'll provide an update on my experiences once the machine is officially up and running.

(If you're interested in the deal, I found the HP a6600z at dealspl.us via the link below. You'll need to enter a coupon code at the final stage of the order to slash about $30 off the total).

HP Pavilion a6600z CTO Desktop PC


One Bad Customer Service Story

If you're running a business one of the most important mantras is "the customer is always right" or "customer service should be first and foremost". For some reason Blockbuster.com does not seem to adhere to this ideology and it can wind up hurting them. Case in point, a recent deal I spotted on a deal website for a hard-to-find Nintendo Wii video game. The game retails for over $50 in stores, but was sold out anywhere you'd look in the "real world". Blockbuster.com offers a nice Holiday special on the game, just $38 plus shipping. Great deal right?

Well the problem with this deal and the Blockbuster site is that from the moment I placed the order online there was no indication given of the item status. My order status was "In Progress" and remained that way for several days. Confused by this I sent a simple email to customer service. It was the holiday season after all so I was expecting a bit of a backup or delay in shipping. Add to this the fact that the particular game was sold out in stores.

My email was responded to and a customer service rep claims that my credit card was being validated to make sure of no fraudulent activity. The customer service rep also added I should "kindly wait up to 2 weeks for the item to ship". Very interesting, and very fishy. I send another email saying "No thank you, I won't wait two weeks, please cancel the order at once".

A day or so later I receive an email response by a different customer service rep apologizing for the delay and saying he will cancel the order. Unfortunately, this was not done and the order continued to read "In progress" on my Blockbuster.com account. Let me add that my card was charged for the $44 since the start of this story. So to sum it up, card charged, no product shipped, no status given, and lousy customer service.

A call was finally placed to Blockbuster.com's customer service. After a long wait (the main reason I try to resolve issues online rather than by phone), I spoke to a rep who explained that the video game was on order from a third party vendor. If I wanted to wait just 5-7 business days they might be getting the game in at that time and could fulfill my order. But here's the kicker: I was also informed that Blockbuster was going to allow 30 days to see if the item arrived in stock. If it didn't arrive they would refund anyone's money who placed an order for the game. If you ask me that's terrible service for several reasons:

1) Blockbuster is keeping customers in the dark about the online order status. At least indicate on the product page that the item is on backorder and may take up to a month to ship. This is one thing I love about Amazon.com, as they let you know the time frame any item may take to arrive.

Deceptive customer service? Each email response I received was from a different rep who seemed unfamiliar with the issue. The original rep claimed my order was delayed due to credit card validation, not the fact they didn't have the product, which is akin to lying.

2) Blockbuster is taking money before shipping anything. As mentioned, my card was charged, yet there's nothing to show for that charge. To add fuel to the fire, I placed the order from my Paypal credit/debit card. So the funds were basically taken away from my account and wouldn't be returned to me for 30 days. These days money is money, but with online transactions the average customer wants to know what's going on with theirs.

As you can see my friends, this is one messed-up online business model! We live in a real-time online business world as sad as it may be for some, but that convenience should include improved customer service at the click of a mouse. The online retail experience allows us to find the product we need quickly and order it securely, with confidence we will have it in a reasonable time frame. Amazon.com has the online sales model right, Blockbuster.com seems to be slightly shady with their practice. If they plan to survive and thrive online, Blockbuster needs to provide better order status info, better customer service resolution including real-time online help. Otherwise they may find themselves confronted by a slew of never helpful BBB complaints.


Resolutions & Goals for 2009

Greetings and Happy New Year to all readers!

It's a New Year 2009, and that means many people are making those ever so popular "New Year's Resolutions". The term "resolution" gets used so nonchalantly as each New Year arrives because resolutions seem to be just mere statements people make such as "I plan to get in better shape" or "I'm going to make more money" or "I resolve to eat better". The problem with these is that they are vague, general statements that are non-commitment type plans. They're something people blurt out as part of holiday tradition but they don't become a strong part of people's daily routines for the coming year.

The Monetizer says don't make any resolutions for 2009. Goals are the way to go my friends. Vow today to set yourself one big goal, or write down 3-10 goals you'd like to achieve in the coming year. And that is step 1 of your goal-achieving process, write them down. Keep that list handy and keep yourself committed to the goals on that sheet of paper. Maybe even make several copies for yourself so you're constantly reminded of the goals you want to achieve in this brand new year.

Also consider making those goals as specific as you can. Saying "I want to lose more weight this year" could let you off easy if you lose 2 pounds. Write down "I'd like to lose 30-50 lbs" to make it more specific and give yourself something to keep to. Or use a goal such as "To increase my online income to $1000 a month", etc. Another helpful concept is the time-old tradition of announcing those goals. But announce them to people who will help you stick to them :)

Some of my 2009 Goals include increasing my Adsense income (one of last year's goals which I succeeded nicely in), improving my health even more through better diet & exercise, increasing my eBay business sales through specific niches, buying a domain & hosting for one or more of my blogs, and incorporating one or all of my online businesses. That might be the biggest of the goals, incorporation of a business. Right now with down economic times it seems necessary to find ways to write our own paychecks, so that we control our own financial well-being, rather than the government doing so. Entrepreneurs are really what drive this great nation as they provide helpful new products and services, and create jobs for the nation. I have specifics for each of the above goals which I can't go into great detail on. I've also jotted down my goals and will carefully craft better statements to hold myself to.

2008 was considered overall a bleak, painful year financially and many people may call it one of their least favorite years in recent times. Remember that a high degree of optimism is what helps people overcome adversity and succeed. That doesn't mean don't take a concerned or cautious approach to these tough circumstances but instead find the silver linings. As I mentioned in a previous post, down times can definitely hit everyone hard, but it's in these times we need to find moneymaking opportunities for 2009. Now more than ever people can begin to find those opportunities and stick to their goals for 2009 to make it one great year!

3 Moneymaking Opportunities for 2009

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