Bob and Joy Schwabach
 

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October 2006, Week 3

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TAKING A FLYER

         According to Pew Research, 22 percent of all adults have sold things online, but most of them just post a notice in plain text, no pictures. We came across a great way to correct that, with professional looking sales flyers generated for free by vFlyer.com.

   As a test we submitted information and pricing on a minivan we own but had no intention of selling. A flyer was created in a few seconds and it looked as good as a car company ad in a glossy magazine. We could have posted this to several online marketplaces with a single click at the vFlyer Web site. But if wevFlyer wanted to post it to the two major online markets, eBay and Craig's List, we had to copy the HTML code and paste it into those sites. Actually, this turned out to be a simple cut and paste operation, with vFlyer showing us what to do.

    The flyers can also be e-mailed or printed. If you think people on a particular e-mail list would be interested in what you have to sell or trade, the flyer can be automatically inserted into each message. vFlyer also provides a report on how many "views" your flyer got. Later they're going to offer resume flyers for job seekers.

   The creation process was interesting, because we had to go through a check list for any of the most commonly posted products, and that list covered a lot of things people often forget. For example, if we wanted to sell a computer, the checklist asked if it had a floppy drive, if it wrote to DVDs as well as CDs, and so on. No matter what you're selling, you can have up to 25 pictures in the flyer, very useful for real estate or collections of items.

   A natural question is, how do they, the vFlyer people, make money off a free service? The answer is ancillary ads. In other words, they add a paid advertisement to your flyer, and the subject of that ad will be related to yours, but not competitive with it. For example, if you're selling a car, they might add a clickable box for insurance or accessories.

    All in all, this is a remarkable service and we were impressed.

Getting Snippy

   Just when we thought we couldn't take another look at an online service for sharing photos and stuff, we went and took one more look.

    It was a good thing, too, because we discovered the joys of "eSnips.com." esnipsActually, it was Joy who discovered the joys. And sharing photos turned out to be the least you could do with eSnips.

    This is a free service that lets you scissor your way through the World Wide Web, snipping the parts you like as you go. So far this is very similar to ClipMarks.com, which we wrote about in January. However, eSnips goes well beyond. You can save your clippings back to the web, upload movies, music, presentations and files, or record audio and video.

    If you become a member of eSnips, which is free, a special Web site is created to hold your uploads. This can be private or public. If it's public, you can upload almost anything, and it is available to browsers. Enter a keyword search and this will take you to sites that contain those hits. Some are surprisingly large. When we entered "Mark Twain," we got some of his complete novels. We also found current best sellers posted to eSnips; it's open range out there.

   You can upload one gigabyte of your own files to eSnips.com and keep it private. Or, you can keep just some of it private, separating the material into folders, and making some folders locked and some not. You can email friends viewing rights to restricted folders. You can even introduce your folders with a personal video.

    There's an eSnips marketplace, where you can post things for sale to all visitors or just to those you put on a restricted list. How does eSnips make money? They don't just yet, but they say they plan to post ads down the road and offer other services. Meanwhile, it's a very nice site and we have no reason to think it won't continue that way.

 Internuts

·  WiredBerries.com: A new Web site for women who are interested in sports, fitness, food and related concerns for a healthy life, like relationships, musicWired Berries and meditation. "WiredBerries Radio" has author interviews. Music downloads promised for later.

 ·  MyBrainTrainer.com: Offers free tests of your mental quickness. You can find out how well you're doing compared to others in your age group who have taken the same test. We can't help but feel that people who go here and take the tests probably already know they are above average, which is going to skew the curve higher. Hey, bring 'em on.

 Books

    "Google-pedia: the Ultimate Google Resource," by Michael Miller; $30 from QuePublishing.com.

    Google is much more than a search engine, but most people don't know how to access the other features. This is a big, big book and it will show you theGooglepediaropes. Get high altitude photos of almost any urban area and have Google label the roads. Have Google show the names and locations of the restaurants. Add driving directions. Read and respond to blogs; create your own blog. And on into the night.


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