Friday, November 30, 2007

Now I Am Getting Emails From The FBI! - Nigerian Scam Follow-up

Those Nigerian crooks are trying really hard to scam people! Today I received an email from someone impersonating the FBI telling me that it was safe for me to go ahead with my on-going contract with the Central Bank of Nigeria!

First, I never contacted the FBI, I came across their website when I was looking for information on the Nigerian Scam but I never sent them any email! I did forward the first email I received from the so-called "Central Bank of Nigeria" to Scamomatic, but after getting confirmation from their website that this was indeed a fraudulent email, I doubt very much that the FBI would personnally send me an email advising me to go ahead with the project!

OK, so I watch a lot of movies, read a lot of books, when I got an email mentionning "FBI", I got curious (how glamourous is that?) and I actually read the whole email! (I usually just see "NIGERIA", "Dear Friend", "Lotto", "Congratulations".... and I send the email to "spam") but this is all they will get from me, 2 minutes of my time reading an email. No mister, you will not get a cent from me!


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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Getting Organized In Order To Succeed

For the last few weeks, I have been trying to find ways to increase the traffic to this blog. I keep telling myself that I must find a daily routine from the time I switch on my computer until when the kids come into my room, hollow eyes, looking very hungry!

I decided that I must do the following each day:
- Find a great new blog and write a comment on it,
- Add it to my "Favourite Websites",
- Find a new Freebies website, add it to my "freebies" and if possible, add a comment on their blog,
- Submit my blog to one new blog directory,
- Try and write one blog post.

If I don't get side-tracked (that is my main problem, I waste a lot of time everyday just reading blogs and just following links), I might have time to write one article a day on Associated Content.

I started a diary and when I get an idea for an article, I just write it down (yes, with a pen, on real paper, like they used to do before computers started to rule the world!), I also write down everything I achieved during the day, it helps a lot and it gives me a starting point every day.

Today, I achieved about half of my goals, now I must go and feed my children!


P.S. Sorry if I offended some people with the reference to my kids, I would never favour my blog over them, that was just a JOKE! It was going around in my head since yesteday, I just had to write it!


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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Listed in Google!

Waow! I can't believe it, my blog is listed in Google!

I was feeling a bit depressed today when I checked my "how much is your website worth" gadget, as the value had dropped from $197 to $180 but I thought this was due to the fact that I hadn't written on it or added any links for 4 days.

Then I started writing posts every day and adding links to Freebie websites and this morning my blog's value had dropped to $175! This was a big disappointment for me so I decided to do something drastic (well not really, it's just something I should have done a long time ago): I added my blog in some Irish blog directories, since I am in Ireland.

I know these last submissions haven't got time to kick in yet but just by curiosity, I typed "Internet Junkie" in my Google toolbar and on the second page, at number 13 to be precise (13 is definitely a lucky number), there it was, as listed by BlogCatalog.

So submitting to blog directories does pay off, well I haven't seen any money yet but imagine the thrilling sensation of being listed in Google! (OK, now I sound like a total nutcase to anybody who has never tried to advertise a website, nevermind, I am happy!)


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Monday, November 26, 2007

Freebies Websites

Since we are so close to Christmas I thought it would be a good idea to provide my readers (wherever they are hiding) with links to sites where they (and I!) can get free stuff.

Unfortunately for me most of the freebies are only available to U.S. residents but if I search well I am sure I can find some that I can get in Ireland.

Watch this space because I will try to update it as often as possible (yes, I also have some shopping to do!). Make sure you keep an eye on my "Freebies" heading in the navigation bar.

Any comments are welcome, especially if you can share some sites that I don't know about. If you have received some freebies, I would appreciate your feedback on the products you have got.


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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Get Free Personalized Stationery With Vista Print

Freebies, Freebies, Freebies! Are you up for it?

When you sign up with Vista Print, you can design your own stationery, whether you have a business or just for fun, it's always nice to have personalized stationery and you can also use them as Christmas gifts!

Yesterday I ordered €74.43 worth of stuff for free. Of course I had to pay for postage but that is still a huge saving compared to what I would have to pay otherwise.

Here is what I ordered (remember this was all for free!):
- 1 white T-shirt, personalized with caricatures of my family members (I think my sister will love it!),
- 250 business cards with my website's URL but you can design them for your own needs,
- 140 return address labels (with my own designed caricatures),
- 25 business cards magnets (well, my kids love all sorts of magnets),
- 10 sheets of A4 letterheads,
- 2 different sets of 10 personalized note cards with enveloppes,
- 1 sticky note pad,
- 1 rubber stamp with black ink,
- 1 note pad (handy for the babysitter).

That is all I was able to put in my shopping basket, but I could also have got free Christmas cards (I never send any, do you?), a free photo calendar (with my own photos) and Vista Print regularly sends me emails when they have special offers. I think I will use them again, I had great fun designing all the items anyway!

If you want to avail of the Freebies too, join Vista Print, I am sure you will love it too!

P.S. Just so that there is no misunderstanding, I get €1 anytime I refer someone to Vista Print.


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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Don't Get Caught In The Credit Card Trap

It is almost Christmas and some (or should I say most?) of us are relying on our credit card to help us get through it.

Of course you already know all the tricks to avoid paying too much interest on your credit card but you may need a reminder:

1- Only put small amounts on your credit card so that you can pay the balance in full next month and not pay any interest (easier said than done).

2- If you can, switch credit card companies, transfer your outstanding balance on your new card and you will pay no interest for a specified period (typically 6 or 9 months).

3- Use your savings account to repay your outstanding balance (interest on credit card balances range from 9% to 19% whereas a savings account will only give you between 3% and 5% interest: do the maths!)

I had never paid too much attention before today at how the interest is being charged on credit card balances:

If you balance is paid in full each month, no worries, no interest is charged (I am only talking about purchases, cash withdrawals are different).

If you only pay part of your balance, interest on the full purchase amount is charged until the balance is fully paid, on top of the interest on the reduced outstanding amount. What does this mean in plain English?
If you spend €1000 in December 2007 and you decide to repay €200 each month for 5 months, you will pay interest on €1000 until May 2008!

"La morale de cette histoire": have a good Christmas but don't overspend, remember there is going to be another Christmas next year!

Who is going to have the best Christmas? Banks! Now, here is how they can afford to give away free calendars (I think I'll take a few ones for the kids!)


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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Little Buttons

Phew! I spent most of yesterday trying to add those little buttons that you can now see at the bottom of each of my posts.

It started by a visit to the StumbleUpon website: after I signed up in another effort to promote my website, my blog and my articles, I tried to follow the website's instructions on how to integrate the famous button to my blog so I went and edited my template's HTML but I just could not find the tag they were talking about!

So I searched the web and after a lot of trial I error I finally found a post called How to Share your Blog in Blogger Site.

I am sharing this link here because this seem to be a problem a lot of bloggers come accross. I am not a computer geek but I managed to follow the instructions as you can see (look down!).

So now, feel free to share my blog!


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Friday, November 16, 2007

How Much Is Your Website Worth?

I don't seem to be doing too much these days, I like to tell myself that I am learning, but in fact I am really reading a few interesting blogs.

Working on the outbound/inbound links thingy, this morning I came accross an interesting blog, actually it is something similar to what I would like this blog to be like, also from a girl (sorry guys!).

This is where I found the link for the Website Value Checker (it also works for blogs), I just had to get it! On the same website, I also found the Cynical Magic 8 Ball: I had a lot a fun with it, not quite the answers I wanted to see, especially when I asked "Will I be rich soon?" but probably what I should have expected!


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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Promotion

So much time spent trying to promote everything, from this blog to my articles and my website!

I could easily write one good article per day but what good would that do if nobody reads them? So, for the moment I will spend some time promoting my stuff. Once I have used up all the channels I can think of and worked out my own advertising routine (which could take a while), I can write again.

Yesterday I spent some time on Facebook, posted all my articles on my page, joined a few groups, wrote a few messages, because I have to participate as much as I can to make myself known on the different networks. The aim is to get people to check my Facebook profile, where they will see my posted items (=articles) and hopefully click on some of the links. Also, I can join in some interesting conversations or just have a ball posting in the most ridiculous dicussion boards!

When I know exactly what I am doing, I will write some more detailed posts on how to advertise on different channels, so keep watching this space!


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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Promoting Day Turned Into Dossing Day

I tried to get my Potty Training articles' links posted to as many parenting forums as I could yesterday. As a result, I discovered that most forums don't accept links (at least not from new members), this is considered as spamming, and I spent laborious hours (well at least 2) reading posting guidelines. My links were savagely removed from 1 website but at least I managed to post on the parenting forum I have been using for a year. Conclusion: this is not the best way of promoting my articles.

I ended up reading very interesting information about using inbound and outbound links to improve the ranking of websites, which I need to study in more detail. I also came accross "how to turn $6 to $600". This is like the chain letters I used to get as a kid to write postcards to different people but this one works using PayPal and sending $1 to 6 email addresses. Even though it has been featured on Oprah, I smelled a rat. I need to find out for myself what does Paypal think about this.

I also wrote a review of a dvd I saw recently, at this stage I have 4 of these saved on Word, I am trying to think of the best place to publish them. Maybe I will go for Associated Content when I find out how to increase my article page views.

So, O.K, I didn't make any money yet, but I am learning every day, so it's not all bad!


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Monday, November 12, 2007

Busy Day

Last week, I wrote 3 articles on potty training on Associated Content.

Now the hard part is getting people to read them, so today, I will be haunting parenting forums so I can post my links. I will make $1.50 for every 1000 page views, so having 3 articles each specialized in one aspect of potty training, the people who read one are bound to check out the other 2, since it doesn't cost them anything and they will be on the site already. This means that I (only!) need to attract 223 people to earn $1!

Those of you who have young children might be interested in reading these:

How to Successfully Potty Train Your Child

Prepare Yourself and Your Child for the Potty Training Challenge

How to Successfully Potty Train Your Child

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a busy day ahead of me!


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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Before Joining a Review Website, Read This

I spent the last few days visiting some "get paid to review" websites.

Some of them I liked, some of them I doubted and others I dismissed straight away.

I invested a lot of my precious time in this (not scientific) study, so I decided to write a detailed article on Associated Content about making money writing reviews. You are welcome to read it by clicking on the title below:

A Review of Get Paid to Review Websites.


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Thursday, November 8, 2007

Spedia

A few weeks ago, I spent a bit of time checking out some "Get paid to surf" websites. I already wrote a post about Agloco, so now I will talk about Spedia.

Sign up is free as well so I joined them. I entered all my details on their website, clicked the link on my confirmation email (you know how it goes) and then I started downloading the toolbar. When I had 99% of the toolbar downloaded, my antivirus programme beeped (yes, it does that) and indicated me that there was a virus threat of some kind so I stopped and tried again 5 or 6 times during the day but still with the same result. I sent an email to the Spedia support department but my email came back with a message from Postmaster (whatever that is) informing me that my message could not be delivered so I gave up.

I tried again a week later and the same thing happened but this time (after running my antivirus programme), I went back on the site and started to explore. The website claims that you can make money not only by surfing, but also by joining their advertisers programmes, reading emails, referring people and playing games.

Most of the programmes to join are only open to U.S. residents. There was one online casino but in order to get Spedia points I would have had to make a deposit and I did not want to do that so I passed and tried the free games.

I started playing Solitaire against other online players and instantly got addicted: I just had to win. I had a bit of fun for about one hour (yeah, I know, I could have used the time better, but this was on a Sunday) but when I went to check how many Spedia points I had got, I was informed that the points system was down and that I should try later. I tried to check this again a few more times during the week but it was still unavailable. Somehow I don't think I will be earning any money with Spedia.

It looks like "get paid to surf" programmes are not all they claim to be. I don't expect any money from them so I will keep up with the writing instead.


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Sunday, November 4, 2007

Headless Chicken

I need structure. At the moment I am going around like a headless chicken, looking for ways to increase traffic to my blog. I seem to be spending more time signing up on new websites than anything else.

Well, I did write one article yesterday on Helium. I will need to write about this website again but tonight I am just too tired.

I am also working on a potty-training article which is taking a lot out of me. It looks more like a novel so far so I might just split it in two. I need this article to be perfect as I want to make lots of happy Mammies and Daddies but I have a lot of editing to do.

On the positive side, I had some comments on this blog so someone must be reading and this is to say Thank you.


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Friday, November 2, 2007

Beware of Fake PayPal Emails

I don't like to be taken advantage of and this almost happened when I opened an email seemingly coming from PayPal. I found it a bit strange at first to get an email from PayPal on my new email address (which I never use with them) but this message looked like a genuine PayPal email, it had the logo and was even signed from someone with a PayPal email ID.


The email in question informed me that they had noticed some suspicious activity on my PayPal account. I was worried that someone may have been using my PayPal account without my authorisation so I clicked on the link provided in the email in order to verify my identity, as I was being advised to. The email also said that if I did not act in the next 72 hours, my PayPal account would be cancelled.


I clicked on the link (which started with https://www.paypal.com/*) and was taken to what looked exactly like the real PayPal website, where I had to enter my user name and password (which is usual when you log in to the PayPal site) but when I went to verify my identity, which was really a form requesting all my details, I did not see the security symbol (which should look like a lock) anywhere on the page.


This detail prompted me to open a new page and type the PayPal website address in my browser. Once on the website I noticed that not only the security symbol was present but also the browser area where you can see the page's URL address is always green in the real PayPal website. After finding the PayPal security center, I forwarded the suspicious email to spoof@paypal.com and they confirmed that this was a phishing email. Fortunately, I had also remembered to change my PayPal password right after I noticed that there was something not right on the fake website.


If you think you have been targeted by a phishing email please report it. There are a lot of websites where you can do this so I won't list them all but you can search Google or Yahoo for "report phishing". If you just want to learn more about phishing email, you can take PayPal's Fight Phishing Challenge at https://www.paypal.com/fightphishing.



*Please do not access PayPal through any email or website link (including this one), if you want to visit PayPal's website, type in http://www.paypal.com/ in your browser.


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Suspicious Emails Alert

During the last week, I received 5 suspicious emails:
- the Nigerian scam (or 419 scam), which I have already mentionned,
- the UK Lottery Online Organization informing me that my email address has won $4.6M,
- an email from Matroc Technical Ceramics Company Ltd offering me a job as a representative/payment agent to help them recover money owed to them,
- a "Notification for Cash Aid" email from a so-called Italian Foundation (why would a charity organization offer me $1,000,000.00? Don't they have anything better to do with the money like giving it to some italian orphanage or something?),
- an email from Powerball Online Promotion Programmes telling me that my email address has won £1.5.
All those messages asked me to send an email to some agent whose email address (in some case telephone number) was written on the email.

While I had my doubts about the legitimacy of the offers, I might have been slightly less suspicious if I had only received one email, but 5! My email address must be on some list that is being sold on the net with the title "Prospective Suckers".

I wanted to make sure that I was not passing on any interesting opportunities so I searched the Internet and found the Scamomatic website, which has a great feature: I clicked on the following question: "is that email a scam?" and was asked to copy and paste the suspicious emails in the corresponding fields. I was not surprised to see that these were indeed fraudulent emails. I am very lucky I found this website: not only do they tell you whether an email is genuine or fake, but they also give you a list of things to watch out for when you get an offer by email.

If you receive an email offering them money, please don't get sucked in, visit Scamomatic. There is a phrase that could be their motto: "If it seems too good to be true, it probably isn't!" and I agree with this.


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