‘Opinion’ Category

A Lesson From “The Twilight Zone”

January 1st, 2010

We were watching  “The Twilight Zone” marathon on Sify and saw the stopwatch episode (“A Kind of Stopwatch”) — where Patrick Thomas McNulty gets a most unusual stopwatch that can freeze time. What struck us was the scene — the black and white  office life of the early 1960s. All of the employees — each at his or her desk — each doing seemingly monotonous, repetitive tasks — only to be interrupted by the favor of a breakfast cart, with coffee and a coffee cake. The protagonist, McNulty, is the oddball — in a world where oddballs do not fit in. In his narration, Rod Serling calls McNulty “the biggest bore on Earth.” He fills the office suggestion box with all kinds of ideas — oddball ideas — that have no place in this world (but could perhaps be a fantastic product for an internet store, a half-century later). It’s like this episode is a parable (or fable) in which the stopwatch is the key to escaping this black and white world. Only the story was written by someone from this world, so the stopwatch becomes immoral (McNulty uses it to rob a bank).

But this is what really struck us: Human beings are still doing the same damn thing a half century later — the same habits, the same lifestyle patterns. Of course we have and use the our technology — the internet, email, etc  — but we use it in ways that essentially reinforce obsolete routines. For example, we all get in our cars to sit on the highway during rush hour, to go to and from offices — back and forth, nine to five. We spend hours at our desks and hours in meetings. When we should be harnassing our ideas and dreams, like so many McNultys, using current technology to build internet businesses instead of filling suggestion boxes.

(original content by Rich Dog Millionaire.com)

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New FTC Guidelines for Bloggers, Others

December 1st, 2009

Today — December 1 —  new Federal Trade Commission guidelines for endorsements and testimonials went into effect — guidelines that apply to bloggers and others who endorse products and get paid for it, ie through affiliate links.  The guidelines are broad but it’s basically all about disclosure and being honest. While officially you should seek your own counsel, here is a link that lists a variety of reactions and opinions to the guidelines. Our opinion — and it’s just an non-legal opinion of course — is that if you practice disclosure and you’re honest about why you are recommending a product, you won’t be a target.  See our Disclosure Statement in our “About” Page.

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The Fight For Control of the Internet — It Could Change Everything

December 1st, 2009

Net neutrality. If you don’t know what it is, you should, because some corporations are trying that take it away from you. The Internet is an open platform right now — whether you are AT&T or a one-person internet store operating out of a bedroom, you have equal access to the world wide web. As Justine Bateman explains rather well, corporations HATE this. They — AT&T, Comcast, Time/Warner Cable, Verizon — hate it so much that they have 500 lobbyists in Washington (there’s only 535 members of Congress, so that’s about one lobbyist per member) and they have spent so far over $75 million “to convince lawmakers to restrict your unfettered Internet access.” As Bateman writes:

“They don’t like that they can’t tell you what to watch.

They don’t like that they can’t control the information you are accessing.

They don’t like that with just a couple of bucks, you can build a website or a platform or a web-series that can garner the size of audience that only they used to command.

They don’t like that they can’t get a cut of all of it.”

They want to remove free and equal enterprise from the internet. Not only would it affect your business — or business aspirations — it will change everything, just as the internet itself has changed everything. Call your representative; “save the internet.”

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Craigslist Under “Scrutiny” — Again

April 25th, 2009

Once again, Craigslist is under attack — or as this press report says, under “scrutiny” — following the murder of a woman who advertised erotic services on Craigslist in Boston. As Reuters reports, “Legal experts say growing scrutiny of Craigslist by authorities could lead to big changes at the 14-year-old online bazaar that generates more than 20 billion page views per month in 50 countries with a staff of just 28 people.”

Reuters continues: “Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who led a probe into (AIG’s) controversial $165 million in bonuses, this week called on Craigslist to block ads for escort services that promote prostitution.”

Julissa Brisman, a 26-year-old masseuse, “was bashed in the head and shot three times… A Boston University medical student who answered her Craigslist ad, is charged with the murder.

Meanwhile, some authorities, including Mr. Blumenthal above, is suggesting some of the blame lies with Craigslist. We say this: 99.99999999999% of those who have used Craigslist do not commit crimes. The murderer in this case must be punished to the full extent of the law. But, once again, certain segments of society want to assign some blame to others. By Mr Blumenthal’s logic, we should also blame the car company who made the car that the murderer used to get to the murder scene. Maybe we should blame the hotel for providing the scene. Who else can we blame?

We get worried whenever anybody wants to restrict or censor  the internet. We do not need a nanny-state prohibiting us from going down a dark alley, or telling us we’ve had too many cookies. Also, Blumenthal, like others before him, are using this opportunity to legislate “the oldest profession.” He will fail, like the others before him. We just wish he would separate the crime of murder from basic freedoms, and the existence of the internet.

(review by www.richdogmillionaire.com)

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The Mathematics of Internet Gurus

April 16th, 2009

As you know, we have purchased and reviewed many internet business ebooks and related materials. Naturally, we are on a lot of email lists. It’s a good way to stay up on what’s being hawked out there, even if it floods our inbox. But as we get these emails, with their clever (or irritating) subject matters, we are always reminded of the mathematics involved. To wit, if you — or your “good buddy” — really are making $25,786 per month with your “fantastic, unbelievable product,” why the hell are you telling us about it? Why don’t you take your great idea for yourself and multiply it? Eh??  Or is it possible — could we perhaps assume — that you are making most of your money telling us about it — selling it to us. Forgive us if we hesitate to send you our $99 even “If this deal won’t last!”

To be sure, there is some valuable material out there, as we have written about. But even with some of the good stuff we wish: If only this guy had spent as much time writing the actual material as he did with the sales pitch for it.

(original content by www.richdogmillionaire.com)

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“FCC Studies Goal of National Affordable, Fast Internet”

April 8th, 2009
As USA Today reports: “The Federal Communications Commission Wednesday begins work on a national broadband plan, with the goal of ensuring that all consumers have access to services that are fast and affordable.” Story here.
This is essential infrastructure for any nation today. A good comparison is the United States’ interstate highway system, which was authorized in 1956. Imagine us today without interstate highways or freeways, trying to cross the country on an endless number of unorganized and independent roads. Do you know the #1-ranked country with broadband penetration ? Bermuda. The U.S. is #19, Japan #22. Check it out in this  amazing video. MySpace has 200 million registered users — if it was a country, it would be the 5th largest in the world (between Indonesia and Brazil).

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Associated Press Says: Get Permission — Or Else

April 7th, 2009

Associated Press is trying to put the proverbial horse back in the barn, as they try to rein in search engines like Google and news aggregators like Drudge from linking to, or  otherwise using,  AP content without compensation.

As the New York Times reports: “The A.P. will “work with portals and other partners who legally license our content” and will “seek legal and legislative remedies against those who don’t,” the A.P. chairman, William Dean Singleton, said…  “We can no longer stand by and watch others walk off with our work under misguided legal theories.”

A while ago, Jon Stewart had a newspaperman on his show (we forget who he was). But anyway, this guy was proposing a new model in which consumers paid for online content. Stewart humored him and then said, ya know, if you really wanted to do something effective, figure out a way to make newspaper ink addictive. To Stewart’s point, these guys are pretty clueless. You cannot turn back the clock and attempt to apply outdated and insufficient policies to the new world in which we live. Bottomline, you cannot monetize your business — internet or other — through simple force, regulation, and threat.

Everyday, little Rich Dog Millionaire finds our content on other sites, many — if not most — automated. Do we get get all huffy and try to chase them down? Or are we trying to build our business in this new world? Sorry Mr. Singleton, AP will not survive as a company if this is your game plan.

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Josh, Scott, or Kevin (Now David) “Make Bank, Green, Dough” — An Investigative Update

April 5th, 2009

We’ve been reporting about this site — or rotation of sites (here, here, here, here) — that has been ranked high on Alexa. A few days ago, they were ranked in the top 10 for traffic, and now they seem to be dropping (APR 6 UPDATE: Back in the top 10 on Monday). Go here for our reporting — but basically, it looked like someone was using at least four different websites/domains to pitch some kind of Google Adsense nonsense. Each site used the same picture of a $5,000 check dated October 25, 2008. Each site tells you about their girlfriend/wife. Each site charged a “shipping fee,” which may have been their profit center.

UPDATE: And NOW a new guy, “David.” By coincidence, a friend of ours saw an ad placed in the toolbar of his Yahoo mail account. It was a text ad that said, “I Got Fired, Now I’m Rich.” Out of curiousity, he clicked on it and was sent to David’s Quick Cash. Same story, same $5,000 check dated on October 25; he even has the same black Range Rover as “Scott” does.

(original content from http://www.richdogmillionaire.com/)

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Is it Still April Fool’s Day? This Guy’s URL is Ranked #8 on Alexa (Update #2)

April 3rd, 2009

As we write this, the following website is ranked #8 on the Alexa’s Hottest URLs: It’s called Josh Made Cash. We did some research., if you go here, you find a suspiciously similar site, called Scott’s Money Blog. Both sites suggest you can make over $5000/month for posting links to Google. It sounds like some kind of Adsense nonsense. Josh offers it to you for $1.99 shipping (what are you shipping us, exactly?). Scott charges $2.95 shipping. Maybe it’s because one guy lives in San Francisco and the other lives in Los Angeles. This has our scam antenna up, obviously. We’re reporting on it because they are getting so many hits — and we guess we’re contributing to that… Anyway, if anybody knows what the deal is, drop us a line.

UPDATE: A guy named Kevin has gotten into the game. Josh, Scott, and Kevin each have very similar stories, they each tell you about their girlfriend/wife, and they each have a picture on their respective site, showing you a check each one got for exactly $5000, all dated on October 25, 2008 — what a hell of a day that must have been! Gosh guys (or guy), we all believe you so much lol. Someone seems to be alternating URLs… BTW, “Kevin” lives in San Jose, CA and charges a straight-up $1.00 for shipping. “They” have dropped to #9… NEW UPDATE TIMED AT 11:41 PST… down to #15… I’m melting… I’m melting..

We did an Alexa comparison analysis on the three sites. It looks like “Scott” started first, around mid-March. “Kevin” was next, around Mar 25th, and now “Josh”, who started around Mar 30/April 1st — which kinda fits the title of this story. … Another “Kevin” site was apparently added to the rotation on Saturday (Apr 4), Kevin Makes Dough (although the title says Kevin Makes Green). On this version, they try some audio.

BTW, this is a good time to mention our recent post, about “How people are making money by telling people how to make money” —  Naked Elephant in the Room.

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Thinking Outside the Box: You Can Babysit… Or You Can Do This…

April 1st, 2009

We are a big fan of  thinking outside the box. For example — you can make money by babysitting…OR……….In his book, “Internet Riches” (reviewed here), Scott Fox writes about a college-age babysitter who launched a million-dollar business, www.sittercity.com — a matchmaking site that hooks up parents and babysitters. Today, Sittercity has over 150,000 registered babysitters and caregivers. Have you heard of www.angieslist.com? Started in 1995 by Angie Hicks and Bill Oesterle. Local contractors and businesses are reviewed and scored by consumers; and consumers pay an annual fee for access to the reviews. One of our friends is a member: “It paid for itself when I found a great plumber in my first search.” Now Angie’ s List has 400 employees and an estimated $14 million in revenue. (BTW, they also sell advertising to contractors with a rating of “B or higher.” ) So: What do you do, what do you know, and how can you leverage that onto the internet?

Quick thought: This post is really a followup to our gripe:  Making Money on the Internet: The Big Naked Elephant in the Room.

(original content by www.richdogmillionaire.com)

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