Blogging

Why I Won't Ever Shop At Best Buy Again

Panic set in this morning as I began to work with my friend Mel on an online project. As we were beginning, my laptop died. It seemed to be an issue with the power cord so we decided to go to Best Buy and pick one up while I had access to a computer store. (I was visiting Mel in the Big City for the weekend.)

I was shocked to see that the charger I needed for my computer cost $150. Since my computer is a tool they use everyday (and I'm apparently not smart enough to just have an extra power cord), I bit the bullet. Spending that money stressed me out but it had to happen.

To make sure that I had the solution in hand before driving over an hour away from the store, I visited some friends and plugged the new charger into the computer. It charged, we socialized. As I got ready to go I noticed that where the power cord made contact with the computer, there had been some melting. Oh, and I couldn't pull the cord out of the computer.

I bought the whole thing back to Best Buy in hopes that they could help me out. The customer service agent commiserated with me about the uselessness of the power cord and took my computer out back behind the partition where the geeks hide out, probably discussing ridiculous customers like myself.

The customer service agent came back with the solution; basically they did not have what I needed in stock. So they refunded me $120.

When asked what happened to the other $30, they told me that I had to return the computer game I also purchased before they could give me my money back. (Full disclosure I do not play computer games and do not even own a gaming system of any kind.) I explained to the customer service person that I hadn't bought the item. I did offer to get my friend Mel on the phone who as a witness could vouch for my story. Sure, if I would have examined the receipt I would've seen that charge but since I thought the product cost $150 to begin with, the amount matched my expectation.

They talked to the cashier, who apparently remembers me buying a computer game (!?!). By this point, I was frustrated that my computer may be broken due to melting faulty power cord in addition to being furious about essentially being called a liar.

Tomorrow, I'm going to call the store and ask to speak to a manager. In the meantime, I thought I would take my complaint to the blogosphere. Has this ever happened to anyone else? Is there any way that this transaction could be the cashier scamming me?

Apparently in this world, the old adage the customer is always right is no longer true. I was happy that I didn't get mean to customer service but upset to know that nicely walking away may have cost me $30. For the moment, Best Buy has not heard the last of me and I will never buy one of their products again. And it's too bad for them; I was going to buy a new computer after Christmas.

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Maine Blog Network Update

While work on my hat project has slowed due to a lack of Internet, work on the Maine Blog Network moves forward.

I'm finding new blogs all the time, which is great (if you are a Maine-based blogger, please e-mail or comment on this blog post so that I can include you!).

What I’ve found in talking to a more tech savvy person about my idea that one piece of technology that the project needs doesn't exactly exist…yet. I'm in talks with a few programmers to try to narrow down a price to develop the component I need. One person has told me it will take a week (!) to develop.

At this point, I'm waiting for project estimates to come in. So keep those blog suggestions coming and I'll continue working on my end. I'm starting to get really excited about this!

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Blogher Affiliate Advertising

Welcome to my week-long women's series. It's no secret that one issue that I'm passionate about is female empowerment. I used to answer a domestic violence hotline, coach cheerleading, lead a girls technology club in my local middle school, and met with a monthly girls book club. I'm currently on the board of our county's domestic violence program and doing some writing for the Maine Women's Fund. My point is it's certainly been a common thread in my life no matter where I am or what I'm doing.

So this week, it's about the ladies, and of course money (as usual). Enjoy!

You often hear people talking about making money while blogging. It's interesting because when I tell people that I make money off my blog, they are confused as to how I do it. When I say that one way to make money off of a blog is advertising, they half expect to go home, set up a blog, and begin making money immediately. Like many professions, blogging doesn't start to pay off until after you do it awhile.

Logo-blogher I have found a way to jump start the money making process a little: affiliate advertising.

Blogher is a community of female bloggers (or bloggers who write for a female audience). They not only offer a forum for female bloggers to interact but also have found a way to have their members generate advertising revenue on their websites without any work on their part (well, besides writing a blog anyway).

Your blog must meet certain criteria to be considered: blog content, posting frequency, potential audience, age of the blog, and other factors determine your acceptance. After your blog meets the criteria, there is a contract agreement to be signed. (The reason I'm saying this is that you're entering into a contract with the company when you set up something like this, so it's important to know what you're signing.)

How does Blogher work? What happens is your blog is packaged with other blogs and sold to potential advertisers. In Blogher's case, they have a lot of big name advertisers, many national brands you would recognize. Point is, these companies are not interested in the relatively small amount of traffic I generate on my blog but are interested in the amount of traffic thousands of bloggers collectively generate. Power in numbers.

Blogher does the legwork out of finding the advertisers and keeping them current and Blogher members provide a sort of bulletin board space for them to use on their blogs. They take a large cut for this work but my reasoning is that the space wasn't making any money for me anyway so I have nothing to lose. Plus it makes me look a little bit legitimate to have advertising on my site.

To be honest I haven't talked about this before because I wasn't sure how legitimate this was. Then last month came a check in the mail for $35. $35 in four months is not a lot of money but it does pay for my hosting and then some. As my blog gets more traffic, I have the potential to earn more money.

The important thing to mention about Blogher is you can say what kind of advertisements you do not want on your site. I find Google Adwords and programs like it can generate some pretty random advertising that you may not necessarily agree with on your blog. But with Blogher, you can rule out types of companies or specific companies that you don't want to be associated with and to me that's pretty cool. And the other bloggers I have connected with thorough BlogHer have been a great resource to me.

Networking and making money? Now that's what I call a win-win.

While Blogher is not accepting new affiliates right now, they say on their site to stay tuned.

www.blogher.com

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Don’t You Hate It When…

So I wrote a blog last night (and by wrote, I mean dictated to my new voice recognition software…amazing!) and was ready to post. My first post from my new apartment, which I was quite excited about.

The town I now live in (Bar Harbor) apparently has a free Wi-Fi network and since I'm right in the middle of it all, I figured it would work. As I went to connect to the internet, I saw no evidence of this network. Oh come on!

At 10 pm (and about 30 degrees outside), I didn't have the energy to put on warm clothes and drive around looking for a signal.

Just had to vent my frustration, and my annoyance of probably having to pony up for internet services.

Look for the post later tonight, when I'll probably go to my friend's house to mooch of her internet while I figure out the local hotspots. Have a good day!

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Don't You Hate It When…

So I wrote a blog last night (and by wrote, I mean dictated to my new voice recognition software…amazing!) and was ready to post. My first post from my new apartment, which I was quite excited about.

The town I now live in (Bar Harbor) apparently has a free Wi-Fi network and since I'm right in the middle of it all, I figured it would work. As I went to connect to the internet, I saw no evidence of this network. Oh come on!

At 10 pm (and about 30 degrees outside), I didn't have the energy to put on warm clothes and drive around looking for a signal.

Just had to vent my frustration, and my annoyance of probably having to pony up for internet services.

Look for the post later tonight, when I'll probably go to my friend's house to mooch of her internet while I figure out the local hotspots. Have a good day!

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Ergonomics and Blogging

Well I did what I thought was a fabulous audio podcast from the road today but of course it's not uploading so I'm coming to you in my usual written format.

I flew back east yesterday (into the cold, yikes!) and spent the day driving to my hometown of Fort Kent for the weekend to celebrate my grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary tomorrow. Needless to say, a lot of traveling.

I got to thinking today about my wrists. Mainly driving long distances tweaks my wrists similar to blogging so I have to wear my guards when I drive as well (people who pass me must think I'm a total punk!).

I've learned a few other things on this trip about ergonomics from my friends who have had similar issues and I thought I'd share.

1) Try braces. You already know about mine. Here are some pictures of me with my skater-looking blog braces here and here. I got mine at Rite Aid for about $20 each and they have more then paid for themselves. ($40 for both wrists)

2) Get voice recognition software. Frugal Fergie had a review of Dragon NaturallySpeaking software recently. My friend Sarah's fiancee Jeremy is a blogger who is currently traveling across the country. This software is allowing him to blog on the road while he's driving. I'm definitely investing! ($200)

3) Get a seperate keyboard for your laptop. My friends both do this and along with a wireless mouse, this is an ergonomic and inexpensive way to turn your laptop into a desktop computer. Bonus is that you can make your laptop sit higher, making the screen more ergonomically correct as well. ($30)

So throwing a little money at this carpal tunnel problem may help me even more. If you have any tips that make your computer use more comfortable, do share!

Another great article: How to Avoid the Physical Hazards of Blogging from Problogger

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.
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