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Five last articles
  • Building a Web Store on Shoestring Budget in less than Four Hours

  • Thursday, May 12, 2005
  • Effective Web Search with Google's "My Search History" Tool

  • Monday, April 25, 2005
  • Beware of Spyware

  • Thursday, April 7, 2005
  • How to Build a Business Website

  • Tuesday, March 22, 2005
  • Effective use of your online time

  • Saturday, March 5, 2005
    Your Daily Dose of .NET From India

    This is more like a Business Blog. Rusbiz.com is a B2B portal with features that cover a wide range of online business activities. As the CEO of Rusbiz.com, it is my obligation to be in touch with e-business related issues that concern Rusbiz members. I am planning to write about some of these topics over here. I hope that subjects that personally interest me will not go unattended either.
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    New MSN search engine: How good is it? Tuesday, November 23, 2004
    New MSN search engine: How good is it?

    If you have an online business or you just use Internet as one of your marketing tools, you know that how important are the search engines in your quest to get more targeted visitors to your website. The changes in search engine field can have unexpected outcome for your online endeavors. That’s why it is important to be well-informed on impending progress in this sphere.

    Microsoft has recently come out with the latest beta version of its much touted search engine. Supported by 5 billion indexed pages, it is poised to become one of the most powerful search engines in the market. Right now MSN is using Yahoo provided search results for queries done through its search page, which it’s planning to change somewhere in early next year with its own. You can check out the search engine at http://beta.search.msn.com .

    Google’s immense success and profitable business model enticed Microsoft and others to look into lucrative search engine market seriously. Amazon, for example, has recently launched its web search site A9.com. Today, Google carries out almost 50 percent of all searches on the Internet. Yahoo with 24 percent of the market share is trailing in a distant second place. MSN with 14 percent lags far behind from the competitors – a situation, which won’t be very easy to change.

    However, Microsoft has a long history of copying booming products; make their replicas some times, arguably, better then the originals, and clinch larger portion of the market shares. Microsoft has successfully done this to Borland’s dominance of programming languages in the early days. The list of victims continued with once utterly popular word processor –WordPerfect, market dominant spreadsheet – Lotus 1-2-3, Novell’s Netware and finally Netscape. Since 90 percents of all personal computers run on Windows, Microsoft gets an extra edge against its competitors, which it’s capable of exploiting very effectively.

    What is new in MSN search?

    This version of MSN search incorporated several interesting features, which other search engines are lacking at this moment.

    Direct answers to plain language factual searches

    Unlike Google or Yahoo, Askjeeves has better ability to find answers to direct plain language searches. MSN search has taken this one step further by adding Microsoft's Encarta reference tools to its features. Ask, what is the capital of Russia? You will get the right answer at the beginning of the result page. Questions like “What is the size of a Blue whale?” also brings in exact answer. No doubt, students will love this feature as it makes a lot easier for them to get specific answers to the questions related to facts and figures.

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    Near me

    Microsoft's new search engine includes a ''near me'' button that helps users find websites for a given location. In this release, this works only in United States.

    Once you press this button MSN search figures out where are you located using your computer’s IP address. However, this can be easily superseded by changing setting preferences. This is important if you are located in New York and looking for something near Boston.

    Search Builder

    In other search engines, if you would like to customize your search you have to use advance search options from a separate page. MSN search has made it a lot easier for average users by adding the ability of customization right on the search box.

    Once you click on the Search Builder from the link right underneath of the search box a drop down menu will open. Initially, the menu might look a little confusing; with little patience you will be able to use available great features easily.

    The tool “search terms” allows you to add Boolean search options. Site/ Domain tool is used for limiting a search to specific site or domain, or excluding them from your query. “Links to” tool helps you make your query within the sites linked to a specific site. Country/ region and language options are required to make geography or language specific searches.

    The best option from this group of features is the “Result Ranking”. This option allows you to refine searches and give you a better control over the search result by using a set of three bars. By sliding the bars up and down you choose whether you want to see more of exact match or approximate match, more popular or less popular, static or dynamic pages as search results. You can generate an impressive range of results for a single query thanks to this option. This could be very useful for some types of searches. For example: if you are looking for news based pages, you might prefer to choose more dynamic pages rather than static ones.

    Preference setting

    Most notable options on the setting page are “Safe Search” – ability to filter out sexually explicit images and texts, and ability to fix the number of results displayed from one particular site.


    Many reviewers claim that if you compare the search results with Google, MSN search engine “falls short” in relevancy. However, my results showed otherwise.

    I ran a search on the phrase “trade leads”. The results from both the search engines were very relevant. The only difference in MSN I noticed is our http://trade-leads.rusbiz.com managed to turn up on the first page. But, a search on the word “e-catalog” was brought better – more relevant – results on MSN then Google. This time too I was happy to see http://e-catalog.rusbiz.com on the first page of MSN search results.


    If you consider all the new features of MSN that Google does not have yet, its ability to cover natural language queries, quality level and relevance of results, ability to refine searches, there is no doubt that MSN search engine is as good as Google.

    Drop-shipping - a great way of making money online Friday, November 5, 2004
    Drop-shipping —  a great way of making money online

    Using the Internet to sell products and services to ever increasing number of net users is a good way to start your own business. If you are not taking advantage of this great opportunity you are just missing the boat! Consider this: e-commerce, contrary to popular believe, is thriving and increasing at a double digit growth rate. According to Jupiter Research, Online sales during this holiday season in United States are expected to reach $21.6 billion, a 19 percent increase over the same period last year. Jupiter also predicts in the report that 86 million U.S. residents will make holiday purchases online this year compared to 73 million last year, which is an 18 percent increase.

    No doubt that this is the right time to get into online business.  Building a website for selling products or services is no longer that difficult. You can make your own website by using available sophisticated but easy-to-learn-and-use programs like Macromedia Dreamweaver, Microsoft Frontpage, Adobe Go live, etc. There also exist various online web store builders similar to Rusbiz.com, which allow you to create powerful web stores using simple editors and numerous templates. You can also setup a store with E-bay and sell products through it. Finally, you can hire professional web designers to develop your website. So, the important question is not how to get online, but what to sell on the Internet?

    In one of my articles – What to sell on the Internet? – I wrote about selling information products. Although this is an interesting concept, you might think that this is not your cup of tea; and you still prefer to work with some tangible products. In ideal scenario, probably, you want to sell a product of your choice but don’t want to carry your own stock and don’t want to handle the shipping. Is there a way of doing this? Yes, there is! It’s called “Drop-shipping”.

    What is drop-shipping?

    When a manufacturer, wholesaler, distributor or importer, after receiving an order from their retailers, individually pack and deliver the product to the customer of the retailer with retailers address as shipper, this selling technique is called drop-shipping.

    The advantages of drop-shipping include:

    • You do not have any inventory. So, there is no stock carrying expense involved.
    • You pay for the item only when it is sold and you got paid from your customer. You don’t need to invest money in buying the product.
    • You can sell just one item at a time. No minimum quantity required.
    • Your drop-shipper will supply you with necessary product image and specification. You don’t have to spend money on creating your own.
    • You fix your own selling price of the product. Convenient, when you know your niche market well.
    • You can offer various products on your web store from multiple suppliers.

    Select a product to sell

    Once you decided to go with drop-shipping you need to find products to sell and find drop-shipping suppliers for those products. According to the same report from Jupiter following are the most favorite categories for online shoppers: Books – by far the most popular category, after that comes clothing and shoes, music, toys, video tapes and DVDs, gift certificates, consumer electronics, accessories, videogames, bed and related items, and bath items.  You should also consider that this year, total Internet sales of consumer electronics are expected to rise 32 percent to $7.5 billion, making it the fastest growing group among all retail sales categories online.

    The market research wizard developed by Worldwide Brand Inc. is a great tool, which shows in a probability scale whether it is worthy trying to sell your selected product online or not.
    You can find it over here.

    Locate drop-shipping companies

    After selecting the product the next step is to find a reliable drop-shipper for it. This might not be an easy task! The things that you should look into a drop-shipper are the followings:

    1. A reputable supplier with drop-shipping experience
    2. Ready to ship one item at a time
    3. Do not ask for any membership payment
    4. Will use your name as shipper
    5. Will enclose blank invoice or invoice from you
    6. On the packaging there will be no indication that they are the supplier.

    You might think that the easiest way of finding a drop-shipper is just to buy one of the numerous lists on the Internet for sale. I won’t recommend you to use them for number of reasons. Often, these lists are outdated or carry wrong information. Even if you find the companies through the lists, since many people use these lists, you get into fierce competition for market share not even starting to sell.

    Use the following approach instead:

    Online search

    The first step is, naturally, to use the search engines. Using various combinations of the keywords of your product with words: manufacturer, wholesaler, drop-shipper, dealer, see if you can find the original source of the product.

    If several online retailers are already selling this product, do some detective works! Check out the sites thoroughly. May be, you can find a clue, which will help you track down the supplier.

    If it is an imported product go to the sites like Alibaba, ecplaza, Rusbiz, trade-india. Locate the manufacturer and get in touch with them to find who you should contact in your country to retail sell their products. If the product is manufactured in North America, the best source to find them is Thomas register.

    Trade exhibitions

    You should definitely attend the trade shows related to your category of products. This is an easy way to find a number of suppliers, who might be willing to work with you. 

    Trade magazines

    Trade journals and publications are also a good resource for finding suppliers of your products. Although, you might have to go through a sizable quantity of them before you stumble on the right supplier.


    Drop-shipping has some inherent drawbacks too. The biggest of them is you have to totally rely on the drop-shipper to fulfill your order and get the product to your customer on time. The others are: you don’t have any control over the price or availability of the product. However, a good drop-shipper cares for his reputation since his business depends on retailers like you. That’s why you have to be very careful in choosing the right drop-shipper.

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