Archive for September, 2007

Two Web Businesses You Should Consider Buying

WootAgent and NorthXEast LogoThere are two businesses up for sale that seem like pretty decent bargains, and you should consider buying them.

1) The first is WootAgent. I wrote about WootAgent back in March when I wrote about Woot! in general. WootAgent is a simple tool that will track Woots for you. This is especially useful in a WootOff when new products are offered once the previous has sold out. A little display pops up in your taskbar to show you what’s new. As of writing this, WootAgent has close to 16,000 users. They are selling everything around the $2,000 mark (Auctioning off starting at $2,000). You can find full details of what you get in this PDF file, and to make an offer e-mail wootagent@gmail.com. $2,000 seems inexpensive, and I don’t think it would be too hard to make your money back.

2) The second is the blog, NorthXEast. This is a great blog that gets a ton of traffic, has good content, a great design, and many backlinks. You can read more details about the sale, and why it’s being sold here. The site is up at the Sitepoint Marketplace and is at $5,700 at the time of writing, with 7 days left. I think this is a great purchase, and the site can also make its money back easily with the right owner.

I’ll be interested to see how much both of these end up getting sold for.

More Blogger Workspaces

I had originally made a post trying to get bloggers to show their workspaces off. We got a few responses (including my own office if you want to see), but Darren Rowse did the same thing and has quite a bit more :)

There are a few pretty cool ones, but nothing stood out as insane to me. Check them out, and let me know which ones you like the best.

Changing My Posting Schedule

Over the past months that I’ve been blogging, I’ve been doing my very best to have a new post every single weekday. With the new design in the works, I’m going to be adjusting my posting schedule to anywhere from 2-5+ posts a week. I’ve been working and dealing with a lot of things in the background, and I’m excited for the future of this blog.

I figured that I would give a heads up on the new schedule so that you guys don’t think that I’m just getting lazy and not posting as much.

Expect Some Major Home Price Drops Over The Next Couple Years

According to an article published by CNN Money, there will be some major price drops throughout the next couple years in the majority of the nation. Declines are expected to exceed 10 percent in 86 of the 379 largest housing markets. And 290 of the cities will experience price drops of 1 percent or more.

This is great news for me, somebody that has been semi-house hunting, but still renting. I unfortunately graduated from college at the wrong time, and came into a crazily-priced housing market in which I can’t afford anything…especially here in Northern Virginia. The townhouse I live in when I moved in was priced over $500,000, and the owner had purchased it just a few years earlier for around $300,000. I knew a housing bubble was about to burst as there is no way these prices could be sustained. Now with foreclosures on the ride, prices are coming down…and hard.

CNN Money has a list of top top 100 locations that are expected to get hit the worst, my area is number 35 with an expected 11.5% drop by Q4 of 2009. ? I’m going to make this prediction now, but I think it’s going to be a lot more than 11.5%. We’ll see in a couple of years when I refer back to this post :)? Here’s a list of the top 10:

  1. Stockton, CA – 25% by Q4 2008
  2. Palm Bay/Melbourne/Titusville, FL – 24.9% by Q4 2008
  3. Sarasota/Bradenton/Venice, FL- 24.8% by Q3 2008
  4. Reno/Sparks, NV – 22.4% by Q1 2009
  5. Modesto, CA – 22.3% by Q3 2008
  6. Detroit/Livonia/Dearborn, MI – 21.3% by Q1 2009
  7. Fresno, CA – 20% by Q1 2009
  8. Oxnard/Thousand Oaks/Ventura, CA – 19.2% by Q3 2008
  9. Sacramento/Arden/Arcade/Roseville, CA – 19.1% by Q4 2008
  10. Las Vegas/Paradise, NV – 18.7% by Q4 2008

As you can see, the west coast is going to be hit pretty hard. If you’re a potential buyer, what do you think about all this?? At one point do you think you can feel safe about actually buying?? The dates given above are rock bottom price estimates, so according to that, you should buy around that time in those areas. Do you agree?? As a home owner, have you been feeling the hit on this?? I’d especially like to hear from people that are real estate investors that got caught up in the wrong time.

First Press Release For Tri Megatech

Press releases are a potentially powerful tool for any business that wants some media attention. We did a press release for SmashMyViper.com back in the day and got in a couple newspapers, a couple radio interviews, and a magazine interview. It’s now time for us to do one for my IT business, Tri Megatech.

The key to a successful press release is in both the writing, as well as the distribution. For my IT business, we won’t be using any distribution lists like PRWeb because we only want to target very local media, and that can be done manually. When writing the release, it’s important to have a good angle, something that an editor will want to write about. Give them the story.

Our angle is that the cost of employees in MD are one of the top three highest concerns for for independently owned businesses. By taking advantage of our managed IT services, a small-mid sized business can save a ton of money. When the average IT specialist will cost a company $71,000, it can cost them a lot of money when they may not need all the services. My company offers service contracts to provide IT needs when needed for much less. Check out the press release and let me know what you think:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Local Businesses are Saving Big by Outsourcing Their IT Needs to Tri Megatech

Maryland??s Tri Megatech (www.trimegatech.com) is saving local small businesses money by allowing them to outsource their information technology (IT) needs with technology experts available on-call to clients, and professionals available to work on-site.

Odenton, MD ?? Month Day, 2007 ?? A 2005 report on Maryland small business conditions issued by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) showed that Maryland entrepreneurs rated employee costs in the top three business problems they faced. Tri Megatech (www.trimegatech.com) is an area IT company offering businesses in the Baltimore ?? Washington metropolitan area a way to save money on human resources expenses by letting them outsource their technology needs to on-call specialists.

??Many small businesses don??t need full-time IT specialists on the payroll,?? says Tri Megatech??s David Pitlyuk. ??Some small business owners don??t know how much money they can save by outsourcing their IT needs to companies like Tri Megatech. We consult with clients on technology issues and offer on-site solutions. Just as an example of how cost-effective IT outsourcing can be for small businesses, one of our clients currently has us serve as their on-call IT department for approximately $1000 ?? 2000 per month. To hire a single full-time specialist, they could easily spend $50,000 per year on salary alone.?

According to Salary.com, the total average cost for a business to hire a general IT specialist in the Baltimore area is just over $71,000 per year (with that total cost including an average $49,000 base salary plus the average bonus, pay during time off, 401K contributions, disability, social security, healthcare, and pension).

Tri Megatech employs specialists to address a variety of information technology needs for small business owners, including offering networking and computer repair services, and maintenance agreements. Tri Megatech professionals are available to work on-site in a client??s office, while allowing small business owners to save a lot of money by only paying for the IT assistance they need, without any of the extra expenses of hiring a full-time employee who may not have a diverse enough skill set to handle all of the company??s technical needs on their own.

About Tri Megatech

Tri Megatech is an IT company offering a wide spectrum of computer technology support services to home and small business customers in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area. The company, based in Odenton, Maryland, provides technical expertise on-site with services ranging from wireless network setups to computer repair and maintenance issues.

For additional information about Tri Megatech or how small businesses can save money by outsourcing their IT needs, please visit www.trimegatech.com, or contact David Pitlyuk at ###-###-####.

Starting A New Web Project: TweakMag

I’m pretty excited, I’ve hopefully found what I call my “Dillsmack”. For those who don’t know who Dillsmack is, his real name is David Dellanave, and he has been the other half of projects with Shoemoney (Jeremy Shoemaker) such as AuctionAds. Not having somebody like this at my disposal has always been a big problem of mine in my opinion. While I feel that I can design and market well, when it comes to true programming, it doesn’t stick. I could outsource various projects, but I want somebody I can trust that I could feel comfortable giving up a portion of the business so they have the same sort of drive I have for it to succeed. With that said, I’d like to welcome “Mubs” to the team.

With this in mind, we’ve quickly took on our first project, TweakMag:

Tweak Mag Launching Soon

As you can see from the launching soon graphic, the site will be one that specifically targets modifying (“tweaking”) the new Magento eCommerce platform. Magento doesn’t even have a version that should be used in production yet, but there is a ton of hype surrounding the new open source product. We want take advantage of this at an early stage in order to build a strong audience before the real following comes…at least that’s what we’re counting on!

The Process

I’ve personally run into a lot of personal issues and concerns about eCommerce platforms (and blogged about it here), so I started to closely follow the Magento development. I quickly realized that this would be the answer to a lot of problems I had, and I wanted to somehow utilize this early “hunch”. I came up with a concept for providing information on modifying the software, but there was some specific things I wanted to do that I knew weren’t going to work exactly the way I wanted unless I brought in a developer. At this point I ended up finding Mubs (Thanks Travis!), and I ran the idea by him. He thought it was a good one as well, and wanted to be a part of the project.

At this point we decided to get on the phone and brainstorm what was possible to have on the site, then weed out what was not needed, and then prioritize what was left over. Since we are counting on the site being successful due to early hype, it’s important for us to launch quickly. From the list of six content features we wanted to put on the site, we cut this down in half to three for the launch.

Aside from the timing benefit, we cut down a lot of the features for now just because there isn’t a ton of modifying going on just yet. Magento (aka Varien) is in an aggressive timeline for development, so especially at this stage, there is a lot of changing in the code. People are still modifying though, and it’s a great sign for the potential success of TweakMag!

Monetization

We plan on monetizing in a few ways. Obviously we’ll have your standard ads, probably starting off with something like Google AdSense and Text-Link-Ads. We also have some great ideas using some affiliate/referral programs, but integrating it into important content that users will like. This is the best method, and hopefully the most effective…especially when new users start doing some research as Magento continues its development.

Keep Updated

Stay tuned, we’re trying to launch as quick as possible!? If you want an e-mail when we launch, enter it in the form on TweakMag.com. I have a couple other ideas for projects with Mubs, so I hope this is the first of many successful ventures with him.

A Great New Social Media Tool

The guys from 97th Floor have come up with an awesome extension for Firefox that I’m sure many of you will find useful. They call it Social Media for Firefox. This simple tool goes on the bottom of your browser window, and will automatically show you the number of Diggs, Reddits, Stumble Upons, and Del.icio.us’s the page you are on has gotten.

Social media icons

You can set this to automatically update as you browse through websites, or you can manually update to ensure the numbers you’re looking at are accurate. On top of this, you can click any of the icons in order to submit that page to one of those social media sites. Talk about easy!

Another cool feature is the extension actually adds a box next to each story on the social media sites that show you how many votes it has on the other sites:

Examples

 

This is a simple little plugin that I thought was pretty cool, and amazing piece of linkbait for 97th Floor. If you have the capability of developing something like this, start getting creative.

Dining At Chima

Last weekend I went out to dinner at a restaurant by the name of Chima (pronounced she-ma). It’s a Brazilian steakhouse, if you’ve ever had this style before it’s a very unique dining experience. Each person gets a small disc, one side is black, while the other side is orange. There are 12 different meats that are being served by Gauchos (Brazilian cowboys), and as long as your disc is flipped on the orange side they will come to you and offer you meat.

Gaucho serving food at Chima

Here’s a list of the different type of meats they offer (on top of a buffet salad bar):

  • Top sirloin
  • Leg of lamb
  • Filet mignon
  • Parmesan crused pork loin
  • Sirloin
  • Rack of lamb
  • Flank steak
  • Chicken wrapped in hardwoods smoked bacon
  • Beef ribs
  • Pork sausages
  • Salmon
  • Sword fish
  • Shrimp

The meat is all very high quality, and tastes very good. You can eat an unlimited amount, here’s my first plate:

My first plate at Chima

The restaurant has a very modern theme, which I love. I wish I took more pictures, but to get an idea, I took one of the glass they have in the middle of the room with I believe Cirque Del Sol projected on it. Since it’s frosted glass, it displays on both sides for a very cool effect:

Glass screen at Chima

There are a variety of different restaurants in this area that offer the same style of dining. The ones I can think of are Malibu Grill, Fogo De Chao, and Texas De Brazil. From what I’ve heard Chima and Fogo De Chao are the top notch versions of the restaurants (With Fogo De Chao being the best). Our dinner was about $50 a head, our total bill with 5 people was around $400 as we all got deserts and drinks as well. It was definitely worth the experience, and the food was excellent, especially if you like meat.

Here’s a picture of a Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder parked outside of the restaurant to give you an idea of the type of customers that eat here:

Lamborghini Gallardo at Chima

Now The Volleyball Championships

Yesterday I had a post that my kickball team had won our championship game. On Monday my volleyball team was in the championships. The team we were playing was the only team we had lost against, so this was going to be a good match. The league is co-ed, so each team requires at least two girls to play.

In the first game we ended up winning by a decent amount, the score was like 15-10 or something along those lines. The second game we were losing 10-14 at one point (15 is a win) , but ended up coming back and winning 18-16 (win by two). We almost had to call off the second game because right in the middle the sky just opened up and started pouring. Luckily it didn’t last very long. The series is best of 3, so we ended up winning the championship. So this season of sports I’m 2 for 2 in championship wins!? Here’s a few pics from the match:

You can see me closest to the camera waiting for the ball to come over. The guy closest to the net is one of my best friends Jason who I’ve mentioned on this blog before as the guy who makes some nice side-cash on Craigslist.

Vollyball championships

Here I am trying to make a save, Alex is there for backup just in case I screw up:

Vollyball championships

The other team is about to do a nasty spike onto our side:

Vollyball championships

Jason gets some major air going for the block (which he missed)

Vollyball championships

Hopefully next year we’ll by defending our championship. Now that kickball and volleyball are over, I’ll finally have a little extra much needed free-time.

Kickball Champs!

I play in both a kickball and a volleyball league, and the kickball league just finished. We ended up winning the championship! I haven’t played kickball since I was in middle school, but it’s a blast to play. To find a league near you, there is something called WAKA (World Adult Kickball Association) which organizes kickball leagues all over. You can find more information at Kickball.com.

The championship game was a best of 3 series, and we won the first two games. The first game we won 3-0. The second game went into overtime, and we ended up winning 1-0. The celebration was a bit more than expected with free-flowing champagne, drinking out of the trophy, a big speech, and the ice drop on the coach…I would have never thought all that for a kickball game lol.

Here’s our team with yours truly looking to the left:

Kickball champions

Our captain, David drinking out of trophy:

Kickball champions

The champagne shake:

Kickball champions

Dropping the ice on our captain!

Kickball champions