In the Sphere: Photographs, Anti-Viruses, and Moving Back

Published on Dec 31, 2010   //  In the Sphere

Before you start counting down the final seconds of 2010, you might want to take a brief tour of the blogosphere to ease your mind and educate your soul. Here are some great posts from the preceding week.

Lisa Bettany offers us a glimpse into her creative process by de-constructing a recent photograph she took of the San Francisco Bay Bridge rainbow. Yes, there was some definite post-processing involved, but it made for a much more dramatic effect than the RAW image that came out of her camera.

Justin Germino, who you may know better as Dragon Blogger, is helping you stay safe in 2011. He lists off five of the best free antivirus programs available for Windows-based computers. Among them are Avast, Avira, and Panda. You will want to keep your Internet activities as safe as possible and you don’t have to break the bank to do it.

Darren Barefoot is recognizing that many designers are stuck in the past and that they need to get with the times. He noticed a very “jaggy” or “low res” banner running across the width of a nearby building, for example, and there is definitely a better way to do it.

Raul Pacheco makes his way around the Internet as Hummingbird604 and he is very well known in the Vancouver social media scene. Even so, he is trying to learn how to embark on the digital disconnect for the holidays. It’s hard to pull yourself away from Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail, but Raul says he’s been about 80% successful.

Consumerism Commentary is recognizing an emerging trend among college graduates and young professionals: they’re moving back in with their parents. The economy is still struggling to rectify itself and finding a good-paying job simply isn’t as easy as it may have been in the past. There are pros and cons to moving back, of course, and it will ultimately come down to an individual decision.

And on that note, we bid adieu to 2010 and welcome 2011 with open arms. Happy new year!

Marketing 101: Free Gifts Pay for Themselves

Published on Dec 30, 2010   //  Marketing Tips

There’s a common misconception out there that if you give away something for free, you’re losing money. After all, you’re giving away a product that may have otherwise been sold. You could have registered a sale and reaped the profits that would have resulted from that sale. However, you have to think long term about your business strategy. If a company is giving away something for free, there’s a reason.

Think about the many pharmacies and drug stores, for instance, that give away the free blood meters for people with diabetes. This sounds like a great deal, since the people with diabetes need to test their blood sugar regularly. However, the reader is actually the cheapest part of the equation. When they give away the blood sugar meter, what they’re really doing is setting you up to buy the testing strips. That’s where they really make the money.

The exact same concept can apply to inkjet printers, especially at the consumer level. More and more, you’re finding all sorts of multifunction printers for remarkably low prices. Why? Because the printer companies can make a lot more profit from selling you the ink cartridges. This is even better, because the cartridges are specific to each make and model. They’re setting you up to buy more of their products.

More recently, you’re seeing a reduction in price (so while not free, they’re certainly discounted) in the coffee brewing systems from Tassimo, Keurig, and so on. Each of these systems use specific “discs” or “cups,” and it is here that the companies are able to make the biggest profit. With these examples in mind, you may be able to devise a marketing strategy for your own company. Give a little and get a lot in return.

WordPress Wednesday: Printable Gift Certificates

Published on Dec 29, 2010   //  WordPress

Do you use WordPress for your business? Do you offer services locally or sell physical products in a brick-and-mortar store? If so, you may be interested in the WordPress Printable Gift Certificates plug-in.

By installing and activating this plug-in on your WordPress-based site, you are able to sell gift certificates on your site that are then payable by the customer via PayPal. The great thing about the plug-in is, when the payment has been received and confirmed, it is able to produce a “printable” gift certificate that can then be redeemed in store.

The way that it manages this is by generating a unique QR code that is then printed on the gift certificate itself. Using your smartphone, you can scan the QR code and check the validity and amount for the gift certificate when the customer arrives in your store. Upon redemption, you can go into the administration panel on your WordPress site and mark the GC as being redeemed.

Go to Suburban Media, the developers of the WP Printable Gift Certificates plugin, for more information about how it works. The free download link can be found there as well.

Announcing the New BlueFur Affiliate Program!

Published on Dec 29, 2010   //  BlueFur News

Are you looking for a way to earn cash after the holidays? BlueFur is here to help with our new affiliate program! Starting today, you could earn up to $100 per person you send to BlueFur for their hosting needs.

All you need to do is copy and paste your special affiliate link or affiliate banner into your website’s design. The rest of the process is taken care of automatically.

Exactly how much money can you make? Here are our payout levels depending on how many people you send to BlueFur per month.

  • If you refer 1 to 5 accounts in a month, you will receive $40.00 for every referral (including your first 1).
  • If you refer 5 to 15 accounts in a month, you will receive $75.00 for every referral (including your first 5).
  • If you refer 15 or more accounts in a month, you will receive $100.00 for every referral (including your first 15).

Want to learn more? Check out the BlueFur Affiliate Program page for more details and to sign up:

http://www.bluefur.com/affiliates/

We hope you enjoy this new reward for both BlueFur fans and customers alike. Have questions? Need more details? Contact us at affiliates@bluefur.com and we will be happy to work with you one on one to get your affiliate links and banners set up.

Business 101: Ideas into Action

Published on Dec 28, 2010   //  Business Topics

Last week, Zac Johnson published a post on his blog that is definitely worth revisiting. In short, he hears all the time about people saying, “That was my idea.” These people encounter successful business models or products, and then claim that the original idea was theirs.

The original idea may have been theirs, but they never put that idea into action. They never investigated how viable such an idea would be in the marketplace. They never explored its possibilities. They never developed the idea into something tangible in real. In short, they left the idea as exactly that: only an idea.

When it comes to running a successful business, both online and offline, you have to take some chances and some calculated risks. If you think you have a clever idea for a new product or service, invest in the idea and see where it can take you. In the grand scheme of things, the cost of that research and hiring some outsourcers is fairly minimal compared to the potential for having a real winner on your hands.

Don’t allow yourself to hear about something fantastic in the marketplace, only to think to yourself that it was your idea all along. Seize the opportunity, put in the effort, and turn that idea into an actionable plan. Otherwise, you’ll always be feeling like you missed out.

Great Gadgets: Canon PowerShot D10

Published on Dec 27, 2010   //  Gadgets

Great Gadgets: Canon PowerShot D10

Are you planning a trip somewhere with sunnier climes? Maybe somewhere with a beach and umbrella drinks? Even if you’re stuck in a wet and wonderful winter wonderland, you want a camera that can take a little bit of abuse. For that, you can take a look at the Canon PowerShot D10 waterproof camera.

This digital camera is completely waterproof to depths as high as 33 feet and it is cold resistant from 14 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Worried about dropping it on the concrete? Don’t be! The Canon D10 is also shockproof up to four feet, surviving the elements with the best of them.

Since it is a Canon, you can also trust that the PowerShot D10 comes with some fantastic picture quality too. The 12.1-megapixel CCD combines with Canon’s signature DIGIC 4 Image Processor and evolved face detection technology to produce some world class photographs. Intimidated by all the settings? Just choose the Smart AUTO mode and let the camera take care of the details. There’s 3x optical zoom and optical image stabilization too.

The Canon PowerShot D10 waterproof digital camera can be found on Amazon.ca for less than $300. This is over 30% cheaper than the regular list price for this terrific camera!

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