Archive for October, 2007

QVC Website Exploit Used To Scam $412,000 Worth Of Product

A woman by the name of Quantina Moore-Perry utilized an exploit on QVC’s website to scam them out of over $400,000 worth of product before getting caught. The site flaw was pretty simple, Quantina would order things like handbags, jewelry, and electronics, but then cancel the order right away. She would then get credit for the item, but the flaw caused the items to still be delivered to her. She ordered over 1,800 items like this, and would resell them for profit on places like eBay.

QVC found the error when two of the people on eBay bought items from Quantina that came in unopened QVC boxes and tipped QVC off. Quantina pleaded guilty and agreed to forfeit the $400k+ that she made.

This is a great reminder for those of us doing online transactions to ensure that security is a top priority.

Upgraded To WordPress 2.3.1

Not too long ago WordPress released their 2.3 version of their blogging software. This update brought a few new goodies, including tagging capabilities. I wanted to ensure there were no issues upgrading so I waited it out a little bit. Now, a 2.3.1 version was released that includes over 20 security/bug fixes. That’s just what I wanted, and I felt now was a good time to upgrade finally :)

You may have noticed the blog down for a few minutes earlier today. Upgrading was being done, and now I’m up on the latest and greatest WordPress version. Everything migrated over smoothly, and I recommend upgrading yours if you haven’t done so.

Update: As I posted this, I of course got a database error!? A quick search in the community and I found out that my Google Sitemaps Generator plugin (Version 2.7.1) was not compatible, and needed to be upgraded to the 3.0 version. I quickly did that, and everything seems to work great!

Hopefully UPS Doesn’t Do This To Your Boxes Too

Our full-time head tech for Tri Megatech, Brian sent over a picture of the box UPS dropped off…and I couldn’t help but just laugh:

UPS box in the rain

I realize that UPS put the plant on top of the plastic bag to try and stop the rain from penetrating the box, but first impression looks like he was hiding it under the plant lol!? Unfortunately the slight effort did not work too well, the box was soaked:

UPS box in the rain

Luckily, the contents were dry, but it’s pretty ridiculous that it was left outside like this. We don’t want to have a bad relationship with our UPS guy, so we’re not going to complain, especially because the contents were ok. Consider it a first and second strike.

Do you have any funny/horrendous similar stories with packages that were delivered to you?

One Product Ideas: The Anti-Ticket Donut

I’ve written about one product ideas before, and how I love them. If I find anything that I really like, I will share them with you guys. The latest one is the Anti-Ticket Donut. The anti-ticket donut is a gag gift for those that want to hopefully make that police officer that pulled you over for doing 80 in a 55 laugh it off. Present him with either a chocolate or rainbow sprinkled anti-ticket donut:

Rainblow sprinkle donut

Chocolate donut

If it does its job, hopefully you’ll get out of a ticket for a mere $8.75 + shipping. While tasty looking, don’t try and eat one of the donuts as they are fake. The products are produced in the USA, and apparently 75% of the purchases so far have been from police officers themselves. I wonder how many have been sold?

Deal: Free Redbox DVD Rental

So last week I decided to head over to my local Blockbuster to rent a movie. I checked their website, which stated the store closed at 12am…I arrived at about 11:02pm, just to find that the store actually closes at 11pm. Great. I head over to the next closest Blockbuster, hoping that it closes at 12…no luck. Then I remember the Giant grocery store next to it has one of those Redbox things, the DVD rental for $1 box. I never did it before, but hey, Giant is open, so lets give it a shot.

I go to the box, swipe a credit card, enter my e-mail address, and pick my movie. Wow, that was easy. So now I’m a huge Redbox fan, they just need to get one closer to my house.

So in my e-mail today I get a coupon for a free movie rental if you use the coupon code “FREE2“. You simply enter the code when you’re at the “redbox”. The only thing I don’t know is if it would work for anybody, or if it is specifically linked to my e-mail account. So I found a page on Redbox.com which you can just enter your e-mail and get a free rental. Maybe the FREE2 code will just work for you (let me know if it does), but otherwise, play it safe and just sign up for the free rental :)

On top of this, they are also having a promotion this month where every Monday you can get a free rental. Just go to the same above page and enter your cell, they will text you the code.

Update: More codes were just posted on Fat Wallet that you can try as well!

Redbox at your Stop & Shop – 4 free codes

10/15-10/24/07 – REDBOX5

10/25-10/31/07 – REDBOX6

11/01-11/07/07 – REDBOX7

11/08-11/14/07 – REDBOX8

Also a code that is good for one rental is BREAKROOM exp? You get it when you sign up for their emails.

Another one to try for your first rental is DVDONME (got this in today’s email but there is no exp)

How Google Analytics Can Be Dramatically Improved

Back in May Google released a major redesign to it’s Analytics software. I think the new version is a big improvement, and I love a lot of the new functionalities. When it first came out, one of my main gripes was that you couldn’t click through to external referral sources. This was fixed about a month after release. Now I’ve had much time to play around with Google Analytics, and I have one more major gripe about it. I don’t like how you can really only look at data on a daily basis. For example, if I look at the past year of data for pageviews on this blog, my chart looks like this:

Google analytics pageviews one year

In this instance, I want the option to see my data in a month to month comparison. The way it is done now, I can essentially see the data in a day-to-day format. We can see here that there is one huge disadvantage to looking at the past years data in the daily format. In April I had a huge spike in traffic, and it’s a big enough spike that the chart is pretty much useless to look at…Especially with the thick line that is used. Luckily, if I really needed the data in the format I want, Google allows you to export it, which I can then import into Excel and run the reports I really need. It shouldn’t be this way though. I feel like Google can make some fairly simple adjustments to make this much nicer:

  1. They can allow adjustment of the thickness of the line in the chart. The thicker line is great when looking at a chart for the past months data, but any sort of spike can cause the chart to be unreadable.
  2. They can allow for zooming capabilities. Maybe I only want to x-axis to have a smaller range because I know about the spikes.
  3. They can add a few shortcuts like they use in Google Finance for common timeframes, and adjust the chart style accordingly. In Google Finance a 1 day financial chart looks this (Note: I’m using the stock charts for Adobe (ADBE) as an example):

Adobe 1 day stock chart

Google offers their “zoom” shortcuts on the top left of the cart:

Zoom shortcuts in Google Finance

When you change the chart to 1 month for example, the chart zooms out, but also smooths out the lines:

Adobe 1 month stock chart

On top of smoothing out the lines, it also changed the y-axis to daily vs. hourly. Changing the zoom to 1-year does the same thing, but the y-axis changes to monthly. It makes for a much cleaner and readable chart. As a side note, Adobe has been doing great over the past month, glad I picked up some stock back at 38!

Given that information, daily data over the course of a long period of time can be useful, so Google shouldn’t get rid of it…but they should add more options. Another feature from Google Finance that I like is the way that the timeline functionality works:

Google Finance timeline

I really like how it’s available underneath the chart for easy access at any time. Google Analytics has a timeline feature as well, but it’s more of a pain to use when the idea behind it is for quick data viewing. To utilize the timelie feature in Analytics you have to expand down the date tab, click the tab for timeline, and then move the box to the date range you want. On top of that, it only shows you about 3 months at a time, so if you want to use it to see the past year of data, you have to scroll it over for 9 months of data…it’s just a pain.

Google Analytics timeline

I think if Google can do a mixture of Google Finance and Google Analytics to re-do their Analytics chart system, they could dramatically improve the interface and usability of Analytics. Don’t get me wrong, Google Analytics is an awesome tool, but I think these improvements can make it so much better.

Do you find this frustrating you just as much? Are there any other major improvements that you think Google can do?? If you feel the frustrations like I do, please Digg this article so that more people will know and Google can do something about it.

New Category: Dave’s Favorite Deals

As you saw in my last post, I have a new category featuring my favorite deals that I end up finding. I will only post the best stuff that I end up finding, so you probably won’t find too many posts in here. I know there are a lot of sites out there like SlickDeals and Fat Wallet, but I will only weed out the awesome deals which are ones that I would consider jumping on. If you find something awesome, feel free to contact me and let me know.

If you didn’t see the first deal, check out the normally $82+ priced Targus laptop backpack for $7 shipped. I thought this was a great deal as Targus makes some excellent products. As my buddy Eric pointed out, it’s a perfect bag to have when riding the motorcycle around, when you need to carry your laptop.

Nice Targus Backpack For $6.99-$16.99

Buy.com has a great deal on a very nice Targus backpack made to carry a 15.4″ laptop. The lowest price on the bag from Pricegrabber is $81, but Buy.com has it for $16.99 with free shipping. You can also get $10 off if you use Google Checkout and are a new customer, bringing the deal down to $6.99 shipped!

Targus 15.4 Monogram Backpack in Slate with burgundy lining

Targus 15.4 Monogram Backpack in Slate with burgundy lining

Do Strive To Be Rich

Back in my days of owning SLCentral.com, there were a few bigger sites out there that did similar content. One of those went by the name of SysOpt.com, and was run by Scott Wainner. I had communicated with Scott a couple of times while he was an owner of the site (not sure if he remembers me). His site ended up being bought out, and he made a good amount of money in the process. Now Scott still works in the web business, and he recently launched a blog where he discusses making money online.

He recently made a post entitled ??Don??t Strive To Be Rich?? that made some good points about the type of goals you should really have to be successful. At the time of writing this, pretty much all of the comments to the article were in agreeance with Scott, and I am surprised that I am one of the only ones that didn??t quite see eye-to-eye. I got to writing a comment on the blog, but it started getting a bit long, and I thought it would be a great topic to discuss here on my blog instead.

Scott basically talks about the average vision people see when it comes to making money online??big houses, fast cars, etc. He found himself doing the same thing, after selling his sites to EarthWeb, Inc he did things like moving from his $700/month apartment to a $5,000/month rental house on teach bay. Then the dot com crash came, and he lost a lot of what he had made, which also gave him a much better understanding of how money should be spent and what is really important to him.

He felt that the payout he received for SysOpt was ??just nuts and disproportional to what he had built??, but now feels that the internet businesses he has are solid companies that that deserve to make what they make. He feels that this life lesson allowed him to ??feel sad?? for people striving to be rich, striving for big houses, striving for fast cars, etc because ultimately these things will not make them feel happy. Part of that reasoning was because people always strive to get something better than what they have??buy a 3-series, you??ll want a 5-series, buy a 2,000 sq/ft house, you??ll want a 3,000 sq/ft house. This is a natural mindset that we will always want more.

That part of the article was the part where I was thinking to myself that I don??t exactly agree with Scott. I agree that spending money that is out of proportion to what you have and what you make is not smart. I don’t agree that you shouldn’t have goals of ??material?? things like expensive cars and bigger houses. Many times the action of striving for the next step up is one of the sole things that can help you ??succeed?? that much faster. You could manage to live in a cheaper apartment, or drive a crappier car, but I’m sure you chose something more manageable but still nice to you. If that level meets your personal goals of happiness, that’s great, but I think we’re all different in that aspect.

I can tell you from personal experience, if I can proportionately afford to have a Lamborghini in my garage, I would be happier. But I am also a huge car fanatic. I also do agree with the statement about always wanting the next level up, and never really being truly satisfied, but I don’t think there is anything wrong with having goals of better things than what you have, as long as you are smart about “upgrading”.

I think there should be two types of goals. Your main life goals, for example being able to work from home and spending more time with your family, and then a perk goal, for example driving that 5-series instead of the 3. Both types of goals are important to have as they are the main reasons why people work hard for themselves and try to be successful.

What are your opinions about having material things as a priority goal? Do you tend to agree with Scott, or do you think that material things will make you happy?

Make Money Using The Revver WordPress Plugin

Revver is a site like YouTube where you can upload and share videos online. The main difference is that they allow you to make money on the videos you upload based on views. They give video owners 40% of their ad revenue. You can even make 20% of the ad revenue by just sharing other people’s videos.

Revver revenue split

This provides a great opportunity for people to make money, on top of a great reason for people to promote and grow Revver.

To better help grow themselves, Revver created their own WordPress plugin that essentially creates a personalized video sharing solution made easy. You simply install the plugin and you have some awesome features at your fingertips:

  • You can post videos by simply putting in their video ID
  • The entire Revver library is available through your admin. This means you can find and post videos with just a couple clicks
  • You can see exactly how much you’ve made through the WordPress admin
  • When your readers create an account on your blog, one is automatically made through Revver, so they can post video responses directly through your blog
  • All video responses moderation are done through your WordPress admin

This is an awesome all-in-one solution for anybody that is especially interested in having a blog to create and share their own videos. It makes things easy for site owners, and it makes it a no-brainer decision to go with Revver. That is why this is an ingenious idea for Revver to promote growth of their network. I would love to see YouTube/Google Videos do something like this, but without a revenue share platform, it may not be as popular.