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.
|Making Money with Affiliate Programs – Part III
Saturday, December 20, 2003
Whether you are a newbie to Internet or a proud owner of a website, affiliate
programs are great opportunities for you to make money online. It is an interesting
concept that allows affiliates to develop a source of income and the program owners
to sell their products more effectively.
As an affiliate your job is to drive traffics to the program owner’s site.
You get a commission from each sale made to a customer that originated from
your marketing efforts.
Once you become interested in making money through affiliate programs and do
some research you will come to know that there are many affiliates, who consistently
make thousands of dollars month after month.
James Martell, who also wrote a handbook on affiliate marketing, claims that
he makes over US$ 40K each month from his 30 over niche affiliate sites.
Phil Wiley lives in a remote area near Australia’s Great Barrier Reefs but
it does not create any barrier for him to make a comfortable living from his
Rosalind Gardner, author of the Super Affiliate Handbook, made over US $400,000
last year alone by promoting different affiliate programs.
There are numerous examples like these, but the question is do all affiliates
make that much of money? Is it truly possible to make your living by promoting
The truth is very few of thousands of affiliates are successful in making good
amount of money from affiliate marketing.
If you follow the tips stated below scrupulously your chance to become a super
affiliate will increase considerably.
Try the product first
Don’t just start promoting an affiliate program because they offer handsome
commission! Internet marketing is a complex and time consuming process! If you
decided to spend your valuable time and ingenious brain in promoting a product,
you better check out the product first. Try the product! As a consumer if you
feel that the money spent on the product is really worth it, then you probably
found a right affiliate program to market.
Sell products consistent to your website’s content
If the visitors are coming to your site and spending time, that means they
like the content of your pages. If you offer them something which is relevant
to this content, chances increase dramatically that they will check out that
Write ad articles and text ads for the product
Don’t use banners to promote your chosen affiliate programs! Our eyes are so
accustomed to see banners that in very rare case, nowadays, we click on a banner.
Use text ads instead! But don’t just use the generic ads supplied by the affiliate
program owner. Spend sometimes in creating the text ads. While writing the text
ads, think how you can relate the content of the page with the text of the ad.
Write articles about the subject matter of the affiliate product and use links
within the article. Studies show that the ad articles have good click through
response. You can submit these articles to other websites and create a viral
marketing process for your affiliate program.
Get a domain name for the affiliate program
If you are getting result from promoting an affiliate program and would like
to get more serious in marketing this particular program, get a domain name
for this program and use it to redirect to the link given by you affiliate program
owner. Here is why you should do this:
Many people don’t feel comfortable with the idea that you will get a share
from the sales made to them. A domain name convinces many of this type of people
that you are not merely promoting an affiliate program, rather you have something
to do with this product or better yet, some even might consider that you are
not making anything out of a sale.
Redirect a buyer to a page with relevant products
If you sell a product of your own from a website, once the buyer finishes the
purchasing process, i.e. charging credit card, redirect him immediately to a
page with products that compliment the product he or she has just purchased.
The idea here is to try to sell more products to the same buyer while he is
still in the buying mood.
Build mini sites for the niche products
One of the best approaches in promoting affiliate programs is to build mini
websites dedicated to these programs. Here are the steps you should take:
• Choose a market segment
• Choose niche products for this particular market segment
• Build a content rich mini website specifically oriented to this segment
• Promote related affiliate programs through this website
Use free materials, programs etc. to attract visitors
People love free stuffs! Especially, if there are values in them! Many affiliate
programs supply free materials like articles, e-books, programs, etc. in order
to help affiliates market their products. Use these materials sporadically to
lure customers. If you don’t get any worthy free materials from the program
owners, search for free relevant materials on the Internet. You will be amazed
to see quantity of free e-books, articles and other materials that you will
be able to dig out!
Create exit Pop-Up pages with specific and targeted offers
If the visitor of your site is leaving, why not showing him a page with highly
specific targeted product offers? Best idea is to create several pages with
highly targeted products for different pages. If the visitor browsed through
a certain page, that means the content of the page some how interested him.
If he decides to leave the site right after viewing this page, it definitely
makes sense to show him an exit pop-up page with products consistent to the
content of the page.
Build a directory of e-books, articles, and affiliate programs
Information is the number one reason why people spend time online. It’s not
always easy to create large amount of contents required to satisfy the need
of the visitors. Why not use materials created by others for this purpose? Besides,
you can also use those materials to promote affiliate programs of your choice.
You can add materials to your directory yourself and you can also ask visitors
to submit their materials in relevant categories.
Post Pay per click ad on the most successful affiliate program
If an affiliate program generates considerable revenue promote this particular
program more aggressively by posting pay per click ad for this program.
Overture and Google Adwords are the best options available for pay per click
Affiliate programs are great way of making money online! However, don’t expect
an overnight success! Like any other business, here also you require proper
planning and persistence. Most super affiliates confess that, in general, it
takes one to two years of hard work to become successful in this field. So do
your homework before jumping in!
|Making Money with Affiliate Programs – Part II
Tuesday, December 2, 2003
In this holiday season online shopping is hotter than ever! According to US Commerce
Department online sales continue to grow with a robust 25-27 percent this year
over 1992. Online holiday shopping at a rate of 10 percent is also considerably
outpacing the 5.7 percent growth of overall retail sales. Goldman Sachs predicts
23 percent of all gift-buying this holiday season will take place online!
So, if you don’t have a product of your own to sell online, how can you profit
from this exciting trend?
One of the finest ways of making money online is to promote other people’s
products or services by becoming their affiliates. Affiliate is a term used
for a website that drives traffic to another website in exchange for a predetermined
Thanks to the success of several affiliate programs in the early days of online
business, most merchant websites, today, use some kind of affiliate programs
to promote their sites and generate sales.
Considering the sheer numbers of affiliate programs available on the Internet,
you may feel overwhelmed. However, if you set some basic criteria, it would
be lot easier to find a good program that suits your need.
Free sign up
The affiliate program that you are planning to join must be absolutely free.
There are way too many good programs available for free, why should you pay
for one? Moreover, the programs that require payments to join are mostly multi
Level Marketing (MLM) programs. Although, there may be many good MLM programs
existing on the Internet, I don’t think it’s a viable option for an average
You deserve handsome compensation for all your hard work! No matter, how you
look into it, in most of the cases, promoting a product or service is not an
easy job. Since you are doing the uphill struggle of bringing the client to
the merchant’s door, your commission should be real good one. What is an acceptable
commission anyway? If you are promoting an information product, don’t go for
less than 50 percent. For more tangible products and services your bare minimum
commission should be 15 percent of the sale. If you are promoting monthly subscription,
choose a program that pays a portion of subscription fee as recurring commission
to you as long as the client referred by you stays subscribed.
Two-tier affiliate program
An affiliate program which pays certain percent as a commission from the sale
for bringing in a client and another if that client brings in other clients.
Two-tier affiliate programs are more preferable since once a client base is
built, it becomes a great source of residual income.
Quality affiliate tracking system
The merchant should have a very good and well-organized affiliate sales tracking
management software system. You have to be absolutely comfortable with the statistics
generated by the affiliate program. The program should show such important aspects
as repurchase, if any, by the client referred by you, your second tier affiliates,
activities by your second tier clients, etc.
If you do not feel comfortable with the tracking system provided by a merchant,
better stick to the merchants, who use third party affiliate managing system.
At least, you will know that a dishonest merchant won’t be able to defraud you.
Efficient customer support
You should feel satisfied with the service and support you get from your affiliate
program owner. A good program highly values its affiliates and gives priority
to its customer support system. As the clients that you are sending to the merchant
are primarily your site’s visitors, you should be extremely picky about the
quality of customer service the program renders. After all, your own site’s
reputation is also at stake here!
If you are planning to promote an affiliate program, you will need more materials
then mere banners. Unfortunately, even many high-end affiliate programs do not
carry enough promotional materials to satisfy the need of the affiliates. Promotional
material should include: contents to build mini-sites, various ad articles,
different kind of text links, product brochures or presentation, etc.
Commission payment policy
The affiliate program should have a sort of minimum payment policy, where you
can receive commissions if even you have made just one or two sales. A reasonable
amount is US $25. Less than that is not viable due to processing costs. Commission
should be paid each month. If you are located outside of US, see if the merchant
makes payment through Paypal or other similar services or not. For most of the
countries checks issued in other countries are not a good option.
If an affiliate program meets all these above mentioned criteria, you can consider
joining in this program. However, to get best result from your efforts, before
signing up, you should also consider the following rules:
You have to like the product you are promoting
Any salesman will confirm you that this is one of the fundamental rules of selling.
If you are selling a product or service you must have confidence in it. If you
like the product and will use it yourself gladly, you found a product to promote!
Don’t waste your time with a product that is not up to your taste!
Promote a product or service consistent to your website’s subject matter
If your site is all about soccer, you will be better off with products and service
related to soccer. If this same site promotes, for example: pesticides, no matter
how hard you try your success will be very limited! Before joining in any affiliate
program first you should identify who your visitors are, what do they like and
which products they will probably buy online. Once you know your niche market
it’s lot easier to find products or services for it.
Many webmasters think that in order to make money through affiliate programs,
all you have to do is to come up with a site and fill up the site with affiliate
links. Sooner all later people will click on them. Unfortunately this does not
work! Making money through affiliate programs is also a business and like any
business you have to have a proper business plan. Only a well prepared business
plan followed by its meticulous implementation can bring success to your affiliate
|Making Money with Affiliate Programs – Part I
Tuesday, November 18, 2003
you have a website and you are not involved in any of the thousands of affiliate
programs available on the Internet, you are loosing great opportunities to make
some extra income. As in the case of some top affiliate marketers this extra income
might even transform into thousands of dollars. Affiliate program is one of the
most effective methods of producing sales second only to direct mail. According
to Forrester Research, a marketing research company, in this year 21% of all online
sales will be generated from affiliate sites promoting affiliate products.
If you do your homework right, you too can earn handsomely from the correct
use of affiliate programs.
What is an affiliate program?
The concept of affiliate program is based on the age-old business practice
of referral service. This is quite common in many industries. An attorney, for
example, gets a certain percent of commission if he refers a client to another
Back in 1996 Amazon.com started the first widespread use of referral service
on the Internet. If a client comes to Amazon.com and buy a product using a link
provided by Amazon, from a website which signed affiliate partnership agreement,
that site receives 10 to 15% commission from the sale. The Amazon Affiliate
Program became so successful that it prompted others to follow the suit. Today,
affiliate programs became ubiquitous on the Internet making them one of the
primary methods of online marketing of products and services.
Affiliate Program can be defined as Internet marketing system where a company
allows and helps third party websites, called affiliates to post link and refer
clients in return for a predetermined flat-fee or percentage-based commission.
Benefits of affiliate programs
Affiliate Programs became so popular because as a partnership it’s a win-win
situation for both the program owner and the affiliates. Benefits for program
The primary reason for most of the companies to adopt an affiliate program is
the possibility of boosting sales. In fact, proper implementation of a quality
affiliate program is capable of increasing sales dramatically.
A successful affiliate program can easily become the largest traffic generator
for the company website. Many websites receive major portion of their visitors
from their affiliate links. To find suitable websites with required content
in order to run a banner or link campaign is time consuming and require large
resources; affiliate programs in comparison can resolve this issue often with
a far smaller investment.
Increase search engine ranking
Search engines, Google in particular, calculate link popularity as one of the
main factors in their ranking algorithm. Backward links from affiliate sites
certainly help improving this.
Thanks to its affiliate program Amazon.com banner links can be seen on numerous
websites. Popularity of Amazon.com among the newcomers to Internet proves that
Amazon.com was successful in creating its online brand name. No doubt, omnipresent
visibility of their logo on the affiliate sites definitely had a huge impact
on the brand recognition of the Amazon. Offline companies had to spend billions
of dollars of advertisement money to get similar results!
How about the affiliates? What are the benefits they get from an affiliate
No product or service to carry
Online business with your own product or service might be rewarding, but it
requires substantial investment from your part. With carefully chosen affiliate
programs you can have your online business without the requirement of having
your own products.
The investment is low as all you need is a website.
No need to have a merchant account
Since you don’t carry your own products or services you do not have to go through
the hassle of having a merchant account to cater your clients. Your affiliate
program owner will do everything. All you have to do is supply clients through
your designated link.
Possibility of residual income
• Many programs pay you a commission from the sales made to the customers generated
from affiliates, who have signed up as an affiliate following your link. This
kind of affiliate system is called 2-tier system.
• Visitor tracking system allows affiliate programs to pay you a commission
when same visitor from your website makes repeat purchase.
• Some affiliate programs that promote monthly or yearly subscription services
pay a commission each month as long as customer referred by you stays subscribed.
Complement you website with added products and services
If your site is dedicated to certain products or services, there must be other
stuffs that go well together with your own products. It’s a good idea to seek
out viable affiliate products of these items and promote through your site.
Your visitors will love this and this will help building loyalty among your
Have new contents for your site
many affiliate programs supply you with valuable marketing materials. Some of
these materials can be nice addition to your site content bringing further value
to your website.
Various Affiliate programs
There are two ways of running an affiliate program:
• The company owns and handles the program itself, using certain software.
• The company uses third party administered affiliate programs.
The reasons why many companies prefer to hand over management of their affiliate
programs include technical aspects, cost factor and human factors.
– Companies do not have to spend money on developing, running and updating
– Proven technology allows companies to concentrate on their job of selling
their products and services.
– Many prospective affiliates prefer third party managed programs, because they
rightfully ponder, in this case the program owners have less chance to cheat
Find below a list of some leading third party affiliate program administrators:
However, this does not mean that you should avoid company run affiliate programs.
On the contrary, some of the most successful and best affiliate programs are
run by the owners.
If you find an affiliate program that suits your requirement and you feel that
the company is a reputable one, by any means you should give it a try!
|Promote your website – Part IV
Monday, November 3, 2003
Promote your website using Newsgroups
present there are over 3.3 billion pages indexed by Google, and that definitely
does not cover the entire Internet. With so many competitors around, you sure
have to use every conceivable method available to promote your website. Newsgroups
can be very powerful tools in your web promotion endeavor if you use them actively.
What is a Newsgroup?
A newsgroup is a message board on the Internet where users come to discuss
topics of mutual interest. Each newsgroup is dedicated to a particular subject
of interest and consists of messages posted by participants. You can find several
ongoing discussions surrounding various topics within a single newsgroup. These
topics are call threads. As a user you can start a thread, post messages to
a thread and make responds to other postings.
Before the Internet era, the way you know it now, back in eighties and early
nineties people used to connect to electronic bulletin boards (bbs) through
modems and post text messages for others to read and answer. Usenet Newsgroups
was started as a collection of these bulletin boards. Along with the Internet,
Newsgroups have also started to grow rapidly. Thanks to the Interface introduced
by Deja News in 1995 use of Newsgroups became simple and convenient, which also
gave enough impetus to this growth.
Today, Usenet discussion forums or Newsgroups indexed by Google comprise over
800 million messages, which is around a terabyte of information! It is calculated
that over 10 million people have regular access to Newsgroups!
Each newsgroup is formed with a certain purpose. This is described in its charter
at the time it is started. Normally every Newsgroup has its own single subject.
However there could be many Newsgroups dedicated to one subject.
There are tens of thousands of newsgroups on every subject you can possibly
imagine. The subjects in Newsgroups are hierarchically structured. Some of them
are moderated, means somebody controls the postings, most don’t.
How to use Newsgroups?
Since there are so many newsgroups, whatever your interest is you will most
likely find a newsgroup which will suit you. Although, most email readers have
built-in features to subscribe Newsgroups the most convenient way to read newsgroups
today is to use “Google Search”. Once you are on the search page of the Google,
Click on the Groups from the menu. This will take you to Groups search page
with a directory of Newsgroups under the headline ‘Post and read comments in
Usenet discussion forums’. The most common subdirectories for businesses are
located in alt, biz and misc. For example: If you are in import and export business
you might try alt.business.imort-export, which has several groups within it.
Run a search using a keyword related to your online business that you would
like to promote from the groups search page of Google. The result will appear
chronologically, the most recent one being at the top. Check out the most relevant
Newsgroups from the results. If your search produces a very big list of results,
try the advanced search option. Try reducing the time frame of postings. By
default Google searches within all messages posted from 1981.
For really worthwhile information I’ll suggest to use moderated groups. Most
Newsgroups which are not moderated easily fill up with spam and you really have
to wade through them to find something interesting.
Did you notice that Google has a new paid service under the name “Google Answers”?
For a fee Google nominated researchers will get answers to your hard to find
questions. The service is located at http://answers.google.com. If you go through
the questions that are already asked, you will be amazed to see that by searching
newsgroups you will find answers to many of them without paying a dime. Newsgroups
are indeed a gold mine of information!
Benefits of using Newsgroups
As an online business you can rip varieties of benefits from effective use
Establish yourself as an expert of your chosen field
People will prefer doing business with you if they know that you are an expert
in your field. Post important and relevant information in your chosen Newsgroup,
answer to the questions posted. Very soon, people from the Newsgroup will start
considering you as an expert and you will be amazed to see quantity of new visitors
checking out your site.
Conduct market survey
Newsgroups can be a great source of marketing information. By asking questions
in relevant Newsgroups you can find a way of figuring out what people think
about your product, your website, etc. Get new clients
There are Newsgroups, which are formed with the sole purpose of various announcements
and promotions. Prudent use of these Newsgroups along with your relevant Newsgroups
will definitely increase your site traffic and get new clients.
Promote your site
In relevant groups you can post announcement about your site launch, press releases,
product information, etc. Participation in the discussions in your subject matter
with your signature file, which should include your website address, will help
getting new visitors and increase the quantity of backward links to your website.
Get answers to your questions
You can’t be an expert in every thing! Often, you will need answers to various
questions. Ask them in relevant Newsgroups along with your signature file. Not
only you will have answers to your questions, along with this you will also
promote your site.
Newsgroups can be a great place to find like-minded friends and partners.
Posting do’s and don’ts
You have to be very careful with what you post in a Newsgroup. Before making
your first post, go through the FAQ and posting rules of the Newsgroup and read
some of the postings. You want to position yourself as an expert not an idiot!
Some Newsgroups users are pretty aggressive. If they feel that you are spamming
their precious Newsgroup you will be flamed in no time.
Here are some basic rules:
• Don't post commercials, advertisements or press releases; unless the newsgroup
specifically mentions that it endorses these things.
• While posting a respond, stick to the original topic.
• Quote only the portion of the message you are responding not the whole message.
• Don’t cross post. This means, do not post same messages in several relevant
• Never post unrelated messages to Newsgroups. This is considered as spamming!
• While posting a message be specific and concise in the subject line.
• Post your signature file with each and every message. This is important for
your web promotion!
• Check your spelling and grammar before posting a message.
The idea is to make valuable contribution to the Newsgroups and by doing so
at the same time promote your online business. Ask questions that you perceive
useful to you and others. Post responds to messages, which are informative,
thought-provoking and of high quality. Soon you will build credibility among
your fellow Newsgroup members and start receiving a flow of loyal customers.
|Grow your business using B2B emarketplace – Part III
Wednesday, October 15, 2003
Increase Company Productivity
years of hard work, finally your business started to pick up. You are selling
more products then ever! You have lined up a good number of suppliers and buyers.
Things have never been better than now. Except one thing! With rising sales your
overhead and supply chain expenses are also sky-rocketing. Your profit margin
is no longer the same as it used to be! You feel that you are in a limbo! How
to increase productivity? How to cut costs without giving up sales? Sounds familiar
to you? Well, your company is not alone! According to IDC, a research firm, while
interviewed, overwhelming majority of the company executives claimed that their
biggest concern is declining profit margins.
Companies, in order to stay competitive, must find solutions to increase efficiency
in business operations and control costs. Is there a solution to this ubiquitous
Remember Dorothy from the children classic “Wizard of the Oz”? She had to go
through numerous obstacles in her quest to find a way to get back to Kansas,
her home. Only to find out that the silver shoes that she was wearing from the
very first day since the cyclone brought her to the Land of Oz could have taken
her back home, all she had to do was to knock the heels together three times
and command the shoes to carry her wherever she wished to go.
Similar to this story, solutions to these corporate problems are widely available
right under your nose, only you as a company executive have to overcome the
fear of new technologies and adopt them to your own good.
B2B exchanges or emarketplaces are capable of solving many key problems that
corporations are facing today. Emarketplaces can provide immense opportunities
to automate supply chain process, increase operational efficiency, reduce overhead
costs and expand market at a minimal cost.
Using emarketplace effectively
Two primary factors of company productivity are Revenue Increase and Cost Cutting.
Both are achievable if a company seriously decides to incorporate emarketplace
features in all aspects of business operations. That means if as a company you
want to reap all the benefits of emarketplaces, you have to commit yourself
Become a member
Once you find an emarketplace that suits your requirement, the first thing
what you have to do is to register and become a member. Most emarketplaces have
different membership packages. Although, to check out the emarketplace – whether
it is viable for your business or not – you might start with the free membership
package, but once you are satisfied with your selection, to use the emarketplace
to your advantage you should choose the package with most features and functions.
Integrate your products to e-catalog
If you are a supplier, this is a very important step to take. Unless you have
thousands of products to sell, this should not be a difficult task. All emarketplaces
use either a form or wizard-based, not-so-complex and user-friendly product
adding tool. Since e-catalogs that emarketplaces use are industry standard,
once you aggregated you products, same information you will be able to use in
other e-catalogs, emarketplaces and even in your own website. Apart from your
own buyers other prospective customers from the emarketplace community are able
to view your products in the e-catalog, which in turn will bring you new contacts
Create products for sale offers
You should create sales offer of your primary products that you carry most
of the time and post them on the emarketplace. Many emarketplaces have options
to sell products with different procedures. You can make offer to sell access
inventories through dynamic market, also called auction, you can make hot offers
with time limit, etc.
This is an extra sales channel in the beginning, which might grow into your
Involve your buyers and sellers
If you would like to use an emarketplace most effectively, you have to get
your suppliers and buyers on board too. Supply chain management solution that
usually comes with an emarketplace allows you to reduce operational costs significantly.
• Encourage your buyers to send request for quote for a product through the
inbuilt system of the emarketplace.
• Make strict rules within your company to send all quotes exclusively through
• Ask your buyers to send Purchase Orders to your company via emarketplace.
• Bill all your clients using invoicing system of the emarketplace.
• Manage shipping and handling though emarketplaces.
• Convince your suppliers to use the same emarketplace so that even as a buyer
you can get the benefits of a B2B exchange.
Complete adoption of an emarketplace will help a company gain numerous benefits.
The following figures taken from various research notes emphasize the importance
of e-marketplace in today’s business world. Thanks to emarketplace, companies
can reduce purchase order processing cost from US $75 to less than US $10.
• By automating sales and customer support processes companies can lower overhead
costs up to 25 – 30% easily.
• Companies also can reduce more than five percent of their maintenance, repair
and operation by incorporating e-business solutions, which are integral parts
of any emarketplace.
• Business process automation using B2B emarketplace helps companies decreasing
of document errors from 20 percent to less than one percent.
• B2B Emarketplace solutions are great opportunities
The famous inventor Thomas Edison once told, “Opportunity is missed by most
people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Company executives
are by no means afraid of hard work, but unfortunately many of them have colossal
fear of high technology and because of this reluctant to explore new Internet-based
technologies to their advantage. If you are one of them, be assured that knowledge
required to adopt emarketplace to your business and manage it properly is easy
to learn and implement.
|Grow your business using B2B emarketplace – Part II
Wednesday, October 1, 2003
Selecting the right emarketplace
IT spending has been staying flat for the last several years, corporate spending
in e-business is gaining significant ground and at present surpasses 20 percent
of overall IT budget. This means, more and more businesses are undertaking ecommerce
initiatives, and as a result increasing sales, streamlining business processes
and dramatically boosting productivity.
Most experts agree that average business, which is slow in adopting e-business
applications, risks loosing its competitive edge to their more progressive rivals.
Emarketplaces provide with a great opportunity for small to medium size companies
to test online business for a minimal risk. This is due to the factor that the
e-business applications that come along with an emarketplace membership package
are prohibitively expensive to develop in-house by most companies, and require
large professional workforce to operate. As an example: product content development
with required attributes, suitable for e-business, itself might feel like a
daunting task for most offline companies.
So, as a company, what should be your first step in starting e-business through
Naturally, out of hundreds of emarketplaces available today, you have to find
one that matches all your requirements.
Choosing right kind of emarketplace
In best case scenario, if yours is a large enough company, you should build
your private emarketplace with all the necessary features specific to your business.
The potential of having your own emarketplace is amazing!
• Ecommerce will add value to your existing business transactions
• Your present suppliers will be able to post most updated information on their
products via e-catalog and their storefront
• You can build community from your present buyers and supplier, or invite members
on the Internet
• Real time marketplace will allow you to take quick buying and selling decision
• Both buyers and sellers can contact you through Instant Messaging System
• Your entire supply chain process can be managed from one place
• You can issue real time purchase tenders with either limited access only to
your community members or open to public
• Sell your stock lots through online auction
• Brand you emarketplace and establish your company as a serious online player
within your Industry
However, as I mentioned earlier, if you are not a very big company, you will
probably be better off with a membership in an established emarketplace. If
you are a manufacturer, wholesaler or a buyer of certain industry specific products
or services, your best choice would be a vertical emarketplace that caters specially
your industry. For example: if you buy or sell fish, you should look for an
emarketplace that deals with this product only. Another thing that you should
keep in mind is how geographically limited your business is. If you buy and
sell fish within the locality of your state or region, if available, get an
emarketplace that works in your region.
Totally different story, if you carry large number of products from different
industries; for you a horizontal marketplace that cater a range of industries
is a better choice. If you are an international trader involved in import or
export, you should select a global emarketplace, which has members from the
countries you deal with.
Features that are must
A good emarketplace amasses various features in order to facilitate smooth
transactions of business deals. However, there are some key attributes that
are absolutely necessary for any emarketplace to become successful; and as a
prospective member you should look for these features and characteristics while
choosing an emarketplace for yourself.
Product catalog based on an industry-standard classification system
While it might not look so important from the surface; to have accurate, well-defined
and timely-updated product content is extremely crucial for any online business.
Since you have to integrate your product catalog to the aggregated electronic
catalog of the emarketplace, which could be a very complex task, you should
make sure that the classification system that they have is widely used online;
and if necessary you can use same product content with other emarketplaces or
e-procurement applications. The best option, as I believe, is based on The Universal
Standard Products and Services Classification (UNSPSC), which is a global coding
system that classifies products and services. This categorization scheme covers
the broadest collection of industries and commodities available today, and designed
to facilitate e-commerce transactions by providing geography-independent common
Product search capability within the marketplace and e-catalog
Members of the emarketplace should be able to locate any product or service,
whether in the auctions, marketplaces, or in the catalog with ease. Advanced
search function should allow finding required items using precise query.
Supply chain process, i.e. request for quote, quotation, purchase order, billing
Efficient supply chain management is the number one strategic priority for many
businesses. In 2001, Cisco System alone had to write off US $2.5 billion in
excess inventories due to poor management of its numerous outsourcing contractors.
E-marketplaces can help streamlining your supply chain process if the required
features are embedded in their system.
Directory of members
Usually most emarketplaces incorporate a searchable directory of their members.
The members get an added opportunity of creating new business relations and
increasing sales thanks to this feature.
Product content adding and editing interface
In order to make product content adding and maintaining easier for sellers,
the marketplace must have an uncomplicated tool. The tool could be a wizard-based
combination of simple forms. To integrate larger catalogs speedily and efficiently
the emarketplace should have XML based interface.
Ability to promote products and services
The process of posting an offer for sale of a product or a service on the marketplace
should be simple and easy but sophisticated enough to create dynamic offer,
offer with time limit, variable pricing based on quantity, etc.
Apart from the above mentioned functionalities that facilitate conducting e-business,
other key characteristics of a quality e-marketplace should include:
Simplicity – An emarketplace should be easy to learn and use.
Large Community – The quantity of members should be big enough, so that new
participants can expand their business.
Flexibility – Emarketplace functions should be flexible enough
to modify or add with new features when necessary.
Neutrality – The emarketplace should be an unbiased venue for
both sellers and buyers. No member should have any privilege at the expense
of others. Providing an open and transparent market for all the participants
is an important constituent of the value proposition of an emarketplace.
Cost of doing business through e-marketplace
In general, thanks to the large member base, e-marketplaces charge a reasonable
subscription fee if you would like to participate in it. Many emarketplaces
also charge a nominal fee for each trade made using their facilities. Other
costs involved, that you should consider, are internal workforce needed to handle
business via emarketplace, catalog integration and maintaining, etc. In any
case, the cost of doing business through emarketplaces is negligible for most
businesses compare to the gains they make.
Get your partners involved
If you just build a corporate website and don’t spend required time and money
to promote, it won’t bring any business. Same goes for emarketplace! Mere participation
in an emarketplace also will not produce any significant benefit if you don’t
convince your existing buyers and suppliers to work with you through your chosen
|Grow your business using B2B Emarketplace - Part I.
Monday, September 15, 2003
you are a small to medium size company and selling or planning to sell products
and services over the Net and still did not try out emarketplaces, you are simply
loosing a great opportunity!
Research firm eMarketer predicts that worldwide B2B ecommerce revenues will
surpass US$ 1.4 trillion by the end of 2003. In the United States alone revenues
will total US$ 721 billion. By 2004, the US B2B ecommerce revenues are expected
to reach US$ 1.01 trillion and studies show that a significant portion of these
transactions will be conducted through emarketplaces.
What is an Emarketplace?
In a broader sense, business to business emarketplace is an online platform
where buyers and sellers come to communicate, collaborate and make business
transactions. Emarketplace caters a large number of participant companies as
a community. The main objective of an emarketplace is to create a venue, filled
with features that allow members to efficiently conduct significant portion
of business processes on the Net. Emarketplaces are also known as B2B exchanges.
Types of Emarketplaces
There are varieties of emarketplaces available on the Internet to suit your
company's specific need.
Public: These emarketplaces are open to all companies. Virtually,
anybody can become a member and conduct business through these marketplaces.
Private: Membership is restricted and owners of the marketplace
decide according to which criteria they will select participants. For example:
a large trading company can have its own emarketplace limited to its buyers
or suppliers only.
Horizontal: If the emarketplace works with a large numbers
of products and services from different industries, it is called a horizontal
Vertical: Industry specific emarketplaces are called vertical
markets. An emarketplace, working solely with suppliers and buyers of cars is
an example of this kind of marketplace.
Can your company benefit from an Emarketplace?
Whether you are primarily a buyer or a supplier, participation in emarketplace
can generate enormous benefits to your company - both in cost savings and productivity
Benefits that you can have as a buyer
Automate the purchasing procedure
Emarketplaces allow you to send request for quotes to a prospective supplier,
receive quotes, send purchase orders and receive invoices within the marketplace
system. You can virtually consolidate all your procurement processes in one
single place. This process of automation brings significant efficiency to you
and saves your transaction processing cost. According to Aberdeen Group, a research
company, thanks to B2B procurement systems, businesses can reduce these processing
costs up to 70%.
Comparison shopping at its best
Since you can see all the suppliers of a particular product, that you are planning
to buy, in one place, it is easy for you to see which one among the suppliers
suits you best in terms of quality, delivery time, geographical location, costs
Reduce sourcing time cycle
Most emarketplaces allow you to select multiple offers from different suppliers
and create purchase orders in one shot and send. Since you handle all your procurement
related correspondence from a consolidated working page, you can see right away
answers to requests for quote, invoices, etc. This helps you react instantly
and reduce you time in document processing.
You can receive valuable feedbacks from other fellow buyers, receive industry-related
information, build new partnerships and use the networking ability of a community.
Real time access to current product information
Current information of a product is vital for an accurate buying decision. 24
hours access to supplier's catalog helps you getting most up-to-date information
any time you need it.
Control rogue spending
Consolidated and automated procurement and approval method stops maverick buying
in a company.
Benefit that you can have as a seller
New sales channel
By becoming a member of an emarketplace, you open a low cost, highly functional
and easy-to-use sales channel for your company. You expose your company to a
new targeted audience that otherwise would have been untapped to you.
Low customer acquisition cost
Your mere presence in the emarketplace might bring you new customers. Since
the buyers come to emarketplace themselves your cost of getting customers through
this channel is relatively low in comparison to other traditional channels.
Improve customer service
Ability to have constant interaction through the emarketplace allows you to
serve your customers better. You can track the whole ordering process from payment
to delivery and bring greater efficiency in customer service.
Efficient information sharing method
When needed, you can instantly update your catalog and inform your customers
about changes. Whether you are launching a new product or having a web seminar,
through emarketplace you can share the information more efficiently.
Reduce supply chain cost
According to eMarketer, automated supply chain process through emarketplaces
can reduce your overhead costs 20% to 40%.
You may ask, if participation in an emarketplace is so beneficial, why companies
are not flocking to emarketplaces.
The slower adoption can be blamed on various inadvertent factors:
Many companies had fall short to generate significant sales from their own websites
and look at emarketplaces with a dose of skepticism. But as studies show ecommerce
endeavors fail, mainly, due to lack of proper planning and marketing, as many
site managers take the attitude that build-it-and- they- will-come.
• Many conservative suppliers claim that their business depends on close relationship
with local buyers. In reality, you can also get access to local untapped market
through emarketplaces. Another aspect - you can bring efficiency to your business
by co-adopting an emarketplace along with your buyers.
• Many elderly executives are not very tech-savvy and afraid of adopting new
technologies considering them too complex. In reality, e-business is virtual
implementation of real life business processes and not very difficult to embrace.
• Fear of price shopping by buyers is another factor, why suppliers are reluctant
to use emarketplaces. The ability of emarketplace to emphasize all characteristics
of the product in product content and demonstrate buyer-specific pricing should
eliminate this fear.
• Many, mistakenly, consider that participation cost in emarketplace is very
high and will hurt their bottom line. The expenses related to emarketplace membership
are, usually, a mere fraction of what you can save from the use of its different
What to look in an Emarketplace?
As an online venue, where participants expect to conduct substantial part of
their business processes, emarketplace has a large range of useful features:
• Product catalog based on an industry-standard classification system
• Product search capability within the marketplace and e-catalog
• Buyers and sellers search capabilities
• Supply chain process, i.e. request for quote, quotation, purchase order, billing
• Directory of members
• Shipment tracking
• Simple system of adding and editing products
• Simple offer posting system
• Ability to promote products with special offers, sales, and discount
Apart from these, some emarketplaces boast other interesting features like
auction and reverse auction, new product listing notification, business forum,
XML interface, Internal messaging system. Naturally, implementation of these
features may vary significantly emarketplace to emarketplace.
Where to look for Emarketplace?
The best place to find an extensive list of emarketplaces is the B2B directory
The open directory project DMOZ has a good list of emarketplaces. However,
not all listings in both of these places are, in reality, emarketplaces. Some
of them are simple trade boards. This list is located at http://dmoz.org/Business/E-Commerce/Marketplaces/
Yahoo! directory is not organized well enough to locate emarketplaces. They
are scattered under the subcategories: Vertical marketplace builders, Trade
directories and even Trade.
Forbes magazine has a quality list of many B2B companies including some emarketplaces.
You will find the list at: http://www.forbes.com/bow/b2b/main.jhtml
To be continued in next issue: Selecting the right Emarketplace.
|How to get rid of new Sobig.F virus?
Saturday, August 30, 2003
you know, this time the virus under the name Sobig.F has wreaked quite havoc!
No doubt, many of us have suffered from this recent virus outbreak.
According to an online poll conducted by CNN – 32% of respondents were infected
with this malicious virus. At the pick, each of every 17 emails contained sobig.F!
Internet service provider AOL says it scanned 40.5 million emails and found
the virus in more than half of them. Sobig accounted for 98 percent of all viruses
found in these emails.
What is Sobig.F virus?
This is a worm type of virus. Which means it is an executable program that
installs enhancement to your Windows operating system. The ‘F” implies that
it is the sixth of the family of Sobig viruses. The first one was launched in
the beginning of this year. The latest attack was started on August 19.
According to some experts, Sobig.F was first posted to a porn Usenet group
and spread from there. It is timed to deactivate itself on September 10. The
pre-built deactivation mechanism itself is a worrisome factor. Most experts
think this means there are more to come!
How it works?
Sobig.F comes along with an e-mail with subject headers like Your details,
Thank you!, Re: Thank you!, Re: Details, Re: Re: My details, Re: Approved, Re:
Your application, Re: Wicked screensaver or Re: That movie. The body of the
message is quite short and usually contains either "See the attached file
for details" or "Please see the attached file for details."
Once the file is opened, Sobig.F resends itself using a built-in mailing program
to e-mail addresses from the infected computer. As a sender’s address it shows
one of the e-mails randomly selected from the computer's address book.
The worm was also supposed to attempt to retrieve an URL from a predetermined
list of 20 master servers on a certain date and time. The content of that URL
was to be downloaded and executed on the infected machines. Luckily those servers
were identified right away and shut down.
How to protect yourself against it?
If your computer is infected or you have doubts, first thing you should do
is – to check and clean up your computer from this virus. Although, it is set
to deactivate on September 10, which means it will no longer multiply itself,
however, left untouched, it might attempt to update itself, once the newer version
of the virus comes out.
1. If you do not have latest version of anti-viruses installed, go to the Symantec’s
2. Down load the Sobig.F removal tool for free of charge.
3. Install and run it by strictly following the steps described on the page.
Download the latest security patches for your version of Windows and install
If you are using Microsoft Outlook, follow the steps below to stop them appearing
in your inbox:
• Open Outlook
• Click on “Tools” from main menu
• Choose Rules Wizard from the drop down menu
• On the page “Apply changes to this folder:” Click on “New”
• Select “Start creating a rule from Templates”
• Choose “Move messages based on content”
• Click on “specific words” link from the box at the bottom
• A small window will appear, add each and every phrase scrupulously from the
Re: Re: My details
Re: Your application
Re: Wicked screensaver
Re: That movie
• Once finished click on “OK” to close the window.
• Click on the link “specified” at the same box
• Open a new folder by clicking on the “New” button under the name “Virus Spam”
• Click on “OK”
• Click on “Finish”
• From now on all emails with the above mentioned phrases and attachments will
be moved to the “Virus Spam” folder.
• All you have to do is delete the emails, which will appear there.
A few more cautions:
Don’t open any executable attachment in an email, unless you are hundred percent
sure that this is a legitimate file that you have been expecting. Install an
anti-virus program and update it on time, at the end, this might be the best
possible solution to protect our computers from these ugly online creatures!
|How to sell your products online?
Wednesday, August 20, 2003
is gaining pace! Research firm eMarketer predicts that 2003 will see online sales
reaching US $58.2 billion excluding travel. According to Forrester Research, another
reputable research company, business to consumer e-commerce will hit US $230 billion
by the year 2008. While offline retail sales are staggering and will continue
to do so in near term, online retail sales will show a hefty 19 percent consecutive
year over year growth! And by the same year, two third of all US households will
buy some kind of products and services online. In 2003 alone 97 million consumers
will make some kind of purchases through the Internet. If you are selling products
and services offline, you should seriously consider hopping on to the e-commerce
bandwagon, or risk loosing significant portion of your business to your more proactive
Is it difficult to start selling products or services online?
May be, in the beginning of Internet era, this was a daunting task, but today,
with proper planning it is fairly easy.
• Choose the products or services that are viable to sell over the Internet
• Build an online presence
• Create an online product catalog
• Choose payment methods
Select products or services to sell
Although, some products are easier to sell online, contrary to popular believe,
most of the products and services are, actually, marketable on the Internet.
At present, books, electronics, information and travel related products are
selling better online. But, that does not mean that there is no room for other
products or services. As a matter of fact, you can sell just about anything
over the Internet! It depends more on the market segment you choose, and how
good you are in marketing. As you know, traditional items that you can get in
nearest grocery store were not doing very well on the Internet. However, that
is going to change very soon! According to Forrester Research many of today’s
slow categories are poised to significant growth as oppose to early online sales
leaders like travel and electronics, which will experience market maturity and
slower growth. Prediction is:
Food and beverage category will grow at a rate of 49 percent, reaching $18.2
billion by 2007. The home products category will grow by 42 percent over five
years, from $7.3 billion in 2002 to $42.0 billion in 2007. Flowers, cards, and
gifts will grow by 41 percent, from $951 million in 2002 to $5.3 billion in
That’s not all! By the year 2008, today’s best selling product – books will
have a mere 3 percent share of total business to consumer online sales.
So, if your products and services can generate offline sales there should not
be any problem in selling these items online.
Build online presence
You can choose to build an e-commerce website either yourself by hiring required
experts, i.e. web programmers or by appointing a website developing company
to do the job for you. In both of the cases, you have to be prepared to spend
a significant amount of money. E-commerce site is a very broad terminology!
Depending on you demand, it can cost you from a modest US $800 to any where
over a million US dollar! That’s not all! You have to be prepared to spare considerable
time on it, as well. Writing the technical scope, choosing the appropriate design
for your site and creating proper content for your site will take a lot of your
time. And there is no guarantee that you will do everything right!
That’s why, if you are new to e-commerce and do not want to spend a fortune
in your first endeavor, you should think about making your online presence by
choosing one of the available, on the Internet, Web Store services. There are
enormous advantages of using these services:
You can build one for a fraction of the cost, needed to create an e-commerce
You can choose the design of your web store from numerous available templates.
Simple editor allows you creating your web store all by yourself.
You can be up and running within days.
You can choose a merchant account from the one offered by the service provider.
There are many Web Store service providers on the Internet like Yahoo! Store,
Bigstep, Rusbiz, etc. Compare and choose the one, which best suits your requirement.
As an added advantage, some of the Web Store service providers will integrate
your store with a shopping mall or e-marketplace free of charge. This will instantly
expose your web store to a large targeted prospective customer audience.
Create an online catalog
If you sell only one or couple of products and do not add products or services
often, you don’t require an online catalog. However, if you have a product line
of over 10 products and you constantly add or change products, you should consider
a web store with the facility of an online product catalog. This feature of
a web store service allows rapid developing and maintaining of you electronic
catalog without spending large sums on creating one by yourself.
Look for a web store service provider who offers wizard or form base product
adding method to the electronic catalog and use some kind of standard product
classification codes. At later stage, if you choose to sell products through
e-marketplaces, this will allow you to integrate your products to e-marketplaces
and make sales offers with ease.
Choose a payment method
If you are planning to sell ebooks, reports, whitepapers etc. I would suggest
you to consider using clickbank’s
marketplace. That way, you don’t have to worry
about getting a credit card merchant account.
Around 90 percent of all sales transaction occur online are by credit card
payments. To accept credit card payment over the Internet, you must first have
a merchant account. A merchant account allows a vendor to process credit card
transactions. If you built a web store online with one of the web store service
providers, you will see that they offer gateways to one or several merchant
account providers and have partnership with them. In general, you get a better
deal with them. However, as charges vary significantly from one merchant account
provider to another, make sure you shop around before committing yourself to
Promote you site
To sell your products through your site, you must draw traffic. There are number
of ways of promoting your site on the Internet. This includes:
• Search engine submissions
• Adding your site to different online directories
• Opt-in email campaign
• Link exchange
• Banner and link ads
In you effort to promote your site, you should combine as many offline and
online promotional methods you can come up with. The more traffic you can generate
the better chance you have of selling more products from your Web Store.
|Lottery Scam, what it is and how to avoid it?
Thursday, July 31, 2003
scams and frauds are on the rise! The quantity of scam emails with various fraud
schemes any email account receives today is simply overwhelming! There is this
infamous Nigerian 419 scam, which is by far the most widely circulated one. I
wrote about it in one of our ezine articles not long ago. You can read about it
here! And there are many other scams like Lottery, Letter of Credit, money transfer,
black money conversion, real estate, fraudulent order and the list goes on and
on. Looking at my daily doze of scam letters, looks like, the lottery scam seams
to be gaining popularity among the con artists. This scam is similar to other
forward fee schemes, where the goal of the con artist is to persuade an unsuspected
victim to send an advance payment for some dubious offers that the swindlers never
plan to fulfill.
Email Lottery Scam
The subject of the emails from an unknown source to you will, probably show,
something similar to, “Congratulation! You have own a lottery”. With minor variations
the text in most of these letters is virtually identical.
The letter, usually, claims to be issued by a Lottery Company based in some
countries like The Netherlands, Switzerland, England, Canada or the USA.
And then it says that you are one of many people randomly chosen from all over
the world to participate in a lottery of a very large sum. You along with some
others have won this lottery. You will be asked to contact them immediately
to claim your prize money. Most certainly, the letter will also warn you to
keep this as a secret and will specify that the offer has a time limit.
If you contact them after receiving this letter; there are number of variation
how the thugs will try to swindle you. They are quite imaginative and sometimes
very innovative in their endeavors.
In general the idea is – you have to pay a fee before the lottery company can
release the amount to you. The pretexts are, usually, an investigation company
has to make sure that you are the right person who won the lottery, as a foreigner
you have to pay a tax before you can get your prize and there is a processing
and handling fee that has to be paid before hand, etc.
Don’t think that these dubious offers are only sent by emails. People received
them by regular mails, by direct phone calls and even by SMS.
Phone Call Lottery Scam
One fine morning you may receive a call from a person, claiming to be a lawyer
from a prestigious law farm, and will tell you that you have won a foreign lottery;
that a processing fee is due before the prize money can be released to you.
The seniors are most likely to be the victims of these telemarketers. If you
are located in the USA, most likely, the person will introduce himself as a
Canadian lawyer and will inform you as if you have won a Canadian Provincial
Lottery Scam by SMS
You may even receive a SMS message advising that you have won a foreign lottery.
You will be instructed to log onto a website and enter a login and password,
which would be provided to you in the message. The site will have the same look
and feel of a legitimate lottery site, but in fact, it is a copy site created
by the scammers. The URL address will have a very minor, virtually, unnoticeable
difference. Once you log in and see for yourself that you have really own the
lottery, you will be asked to forward a gaming tax of US $100 to US $500 before
you claim your prize.
How to identify these scams and avoid being conned?
The number one motto that you should follow is – if it is too good to be true,
then probably, it is indeed too good to be true! There is no way you can win
a lottery, in what you have never participated!
The followings are the signs of probable scam offers, you will be better off
if you avoid them scrupulously:
- Any offer, where you have to send cash upfront to redeem you prize.
- Any offer of a substantial percentage of a large sum of money to be transferred
into your account, in return for your "discretion" or "confidentiality";
- Requests for signed and stamped, blank letterhead or invoices, or for bank
- Requests for payment in advance of transfer taxes or other fees;
- Statements that your name was provided to the soliciting party either by
someone you do not know or by "a very reliable contact;"
- Unsolicited calls asking if you would like to be in a "Lottery pool";
- Mail notifying you that you have already won a substantial sum of money.
|What to sell on the Internet?
Tuesday, July 15, 2003
The phenomenal growth of ecommerce lures more and more people to dream about
starting an online business. The question that bothers many and restrains them
from realizing their dream is what to sell on the Internet. If you have spent
sometime on the Internet trying to figure out what product or service you should
choose to sell online, you must have noticed that people are selling every conceivable
product and service over the Internet. Contrary to popular belief, even big
ticket items are also selling on the Internet very well. But, nevertheless,
it is not very easy for a newbie to find a product rather quickly and start
If you are having difficulty in finding a good tangible product to market on
the Internet or afraid to manage all the hassles of shipping and handling you
may seriously consider selling information online.
According to data, most people browse through the Internet in search of some
sorts of information that they require. Survey conducted by Neilsen Media Research
shows that Books and Information Category tops the highest selling product and
service on the Internet with a significant margin in comparison to other categories.
This makes information a natural product for sale on the Internet. Information
sells online in the formats of e-books, articles, reports, data, whitepapers
etc. If you have expertise in any specific field, you may consider selling your
ideas in one of the mentioned format.
Check out Clickbank’s marketplace to get a good idea what people are selling.
You will be truly amazed by the scope of ideas!
Although, information is the most sought after product on the Internet; that
does not mean it is an easy-to-sell product. For one thing – there are tons
of free information available on the Internet, and the second is people on the
Internet are not very willing to pay for information. This is the reason why
you have to be very careful in choosing the right product to market online.
People will buy your information product, if it is:
• A particular knowledge that they crave
• It makes their life easier, i.e. saves time
• It teaches them some subject that they would like to learn.
Which are the products that fall in these categories?
Expert advises, tips and ideas in a niche field:
Body building tips, dieting secrets, dating ideas, stock trading secrets, Internet
marketing ideas are examples of this category.
Businesses spend fortunes to have a better understanding of specific trends.
If you have enough expertise to predict a trend of a specific field, i.e. high
technology, stock market, Internet, etc., you may have a comfortable living
by selling newsletter and whitepapers. The hard part is – you have to prove
that you are really an expert in this field.
Thanks to Internet, more and more people are willing to learn different subjects
from the comfort of their work and home. If you have enough knowledge of a particular
subject, create an online course and market it through Internet.
Surveys and data:
Business bases on various marketing, demographic, sales and other data. You
may collect those data from various sources and by conducting your own online
surveys. This also requires enough knowledge of a specific business field and
Research and Analysis:
People are often ready to pay for research and analysis information of their
fields because, in general, this saves their own time. That’s why subscription
based stocks and other research websites are thriving on the Internet.
There are number of other reasons why you should consider selling information
on the Internet.
Millions of people from all over the world are browsing through the Internet
in any given time. Your information product can be exposed to a very large number
of prospective buyers in no time.
Easy to develop
Information products like reports and e-books are fairly easy to create. All
you need is – the knowledge of the field, a little determination and enough
time to spend on it.
Low cost and low over head
You can create and market a report for less than US $100. You can take advantage
of numbers of free marketing tools available on the Internet. You can even keep
your overhead low by doing things all by yourself.
You can start part time
This is one business you can start from shoestring and spending only couple
of hours a day. You can keep your job until you feel comfortable with the earning
you generate through your online endeavor.
Conduct business from anywhere
The best thing about this business is you can do it from anywhere. You are
no longer confined to a specific geographical region. While developing your
information product keep in mind the following aspects:
• Does this product satisfy a need or does it solve a problem?
• Is their enough value in it?
• Is it a better product than others available on the Internet?
• Is this product easy to market to your chosen market segment?
The last question is very important as the sheer size of Internet makes it
virtually impossible to focus on it as a whole. You must segment your market
as clearly and as specifically as possible to become a successful Internet marketer.
Once you finished developing your product, initially, try selling your product
through a marketplace similar to Clickbank. This will allow you to setup your
online business fairly quick. You will not need a merchant account of your own
and you can build your affiliate program with an ease.
|Promote Your Website - Part III Link Popularity
Monday, June 30, 2003
What is link popularity?
The quantity of links in different websites pointing
to your sites is called link popularity of your website.
The more popular is your site the more links you get
from other websites and vice versa.
Why is it so important?
Links from high traffic websites furnish you with constant
stream of visitors. Other website marketing efforts
i.e. email marketing, might give good influx of visitors
while the campaign lasts but the quantity diminishes
once the campaign is over. Links are a different story!
Once a link is installed, it might start bringing a
steady flow of visitors all the time, depending on the
website where the link was placed.
Link popularity is also crucial to search engine ranking
of your website. Search engines, especially Google,
claim that link popularity is one of the key factors
that they consider in their search algorithm while indexing
a website. What would be the rank of a website in a
search result depend on its link popularity in a very
So, how can you conduct an effective link popularity
development campaign and build traffic for your website?
Content is the king
Prior to start a link popularity campaign, you should
seriously question yourself, what would be the reason
for the other sites to post a link pointing to your
website? Most high traffic sites are quite picky about
putting links, and won’t do it without any apparent
If your site boasts quality content that the visitors
of other sites might find valuable, chances are there
that those sites would be interested in posting a link
of your site on their relevant web pages. High quality
content that gets updated regularly will definitely
help you getting more links and subsequently more visitors.
If even you are just a web store, you can still add
much sought-after content to your site, such as, detail
product information, articles related to the specific
products, comparison tables, etc.
If it is really difficult to get relevant content for
your website, try getting a valuable tool that might
be interesting for visitors and incorporate it to your
website. You must have noticed that free search engine
submission forms are common on Search Engine Optimization
sites. Giveaways like e-books, white papers, articles
and other freebies are also good for creating interest
to a website.
Submit website to various directories
When your new website is up and running, first thing
you should do is to submit your site to many search
directories such as, Yahoo!, DMOZ etc. available on
the Internet. Not only, this will help you get quality
backward links to your site, this is also the fastest
method for your site to get crawled by search engines
spiders and get indexed by them.
Don’t underestimate the value of the many regional
and industry specific directories. Try submitting your
site as many as possible relevant local directories.
Examples of these directories are municipal business
directory, local chamber of commerce directory etc.
If you are a seller of, for example, metal related products;
get your site enlisted in as many metal industry associated
directories as you can manage.
Get reciprocal links
Since backward links are so important, building link
popularity by exchanging links with other websites should
be a priority in your online marketing effort.
Which are the websites that you should consider to get
backward links to your website? Your objective should
be – not just having any backward link from any
site, the sites that you are getting reciprocal link
has to be relevant to the content of your website as
well. First of all, if you get a link from a website
which has nothing in common with your site, you, most
probably, will not receive any traffic from that site.
The second and most important issue is – the search
engines, while calculating your website’s rank
in a specific keyword search result, consider, mainly,
the backward links which are relevant to your site.
Search engine Google uses a unique Page rank system
to determine how relevant your website is. Your site's
Page Rank depends on backward links to your site. However,
if the page from where your website gets the backward
link has more outbound links then incoming ones, the
value of this link gets reduced. A link to your site
will have the biggest impact on your Page rank:
• If the page itself has a good page rank.
• There are very few outbound links from the page.
To check out your site's Page rank, download the Google
Toolbar from http://toolbar.google.com/
and install. After that, go to your website. On the
tool bar, you will see the rank of your index page in
a scale of 0 to 10. The rating is considered good if
it is five or more.
Make sure, while exchanging links you select the websites
that have page rank no less than yours.
How to find the websites that you should swap links
The easiest way is to check out the backward links
to the website of your most prominent Internet based
competitor or industry leader of your field. Other
option is to run a search based on the most relevant
keywords to your website and check out backward links
to the first ten websites.
In the search box of Google,
link: and then the URL of the site to view all the
sites that have backward links to this site. Visit
these sites to find the best one to exchange links
and then contact them with a nice email.
I will also suggest you to check out the number of
visitors the site receives before offering a link
swap. The tool that will help you figuring out the
quantity of traffic a site gets, you can download
by clicking on the button “Free Tool Bar”.
This is also a very good tool to analyze web traffic.
The tool also shows which other similar sites people
tend to visit alongside with the site that you are
If a site gets significantly less visitors than
yours, what is the point of having a link form that
While looking for websites to swap links, don’t
forget about your partners, suppliers and buyers.
These sites are capable of bringing major traffic
and are indeed relevant to your site’s subject
Your link popularity campaign should also include
the following methods. However, mind it, these techniques
require tedious work from your side.
Issue Press Releases
Press releases are a good way of exposing your website
to mass and increase your link popularity. Whenever
you are coming up with a new product or service, overhauling
your website, adding new elements to your site or conducting
a seminar, etc. you should issue a press release. It
is also a very cost effective method of getting publicity
for your site. To broadcast your press release you can
use one of the free media release sites: http://www.prweb.com
If you are dedicated to popularize your website, you
must have substantial knowledge of the subject related
to your website. Why not, write articles on your subjects
of expertise and circulate them on the Internet and
post on your website? Apart from this will add good
content to your website, if other websites and newsletters
publish your articles, you will get free publicity
and increase your link popularity.
Build an Affiliate Program
If you sell a product or service through your website,
you should seriously consider developing an affiliate
program for your site. An affiliate program is when
a visitor from your affiliate’s site comes to
your site using the link that you provided to the
affiliate and buy something; the affiliate will get
a commission from you. The affiliate program can expand
your business substantially. Since your affiliates
require posting your links on their sites, this increases
your link popularity as well.
Participate in Discussion Groups and Forums
This is also a great way of increasing your link popularity.
There are literally thousands of discussion groups
and forums on every conceivable subject on the Internet.
You should actively participate in some of them, those
which are most relevant to your area of expertise.
The signature along with your website address that
you post there while asking a question or answering
to a question also boosts your link popularity.
Link Exchange Programs
You can also participate one of the link swap programs
available on the Internet. Unfortunately, most of
the automated link exchange offers that you receive
through them are random and irrelevant to your site.
But, however, I would suggest you to give them a try,
as chances are there that you still might receive
some good offers. You can also actively search for
sites to swap links in their directories.
Development of link popularity is an on going process.
You have to work on this constantly. But, the outcome
that you might achieve from your endeavor also could
|Promote Your Website - Part II Search Tools
Friday, June 20, 2003
Many companies after spending a substantial amount
of money on the development of their websites
assume that once the website is published on the
Internet, people will flock onto it and, therefore,
do not take website promotion as seriously as
the development part of it. Today, with millions
of websites around, no matter how great your website
is, if you don’t promote it effectively,
you will not get the visibility that your site
Effective promotion of a website starts with submission
of the site to various search tools available
on the Internet. There are two different types
of search tools – search engines and directories.
Search engines index their listings based on the
information retrieved by their spiders that crawl
through the Internet following links constantly
looking for new websites. The directory listings
are compiled by human editors from the URLs submitted
to the directory. If your website is listed in
the directories you can be sure that the spiders
of different search engines sooner or later will
index your site. That’s why you should start
submitting your website first from search directories.
Among all the search directories available on
the Internet, Yahoo!
are the most important ones.
Directory Project or DMOZ
is the second largest human compiled search directory
on the Internet after Yahoo!
Open Directory Project
is a huge web directory of Internet resources.
All submission to the directory is evaluated by
volunteer editors. There is no fee to be paid
to get an inclusion in the directory. As a human
edited directory it might take more than a month
to get your site evaluated. Once you are listed
in the DMOZ,
within two weeks to two months your website will
start appearing on search engines like AOL Search,
and a number of regional search engines. At present
around 354 different search engines and portals
use data from Open Directory Project.
This is one of the main reasons why you must consider
submitting your website to DMOZ.
Submitting your site to directories is a bit trickier
then submitting to search engines.
rules are common for almost all directories:
sure you follow these rules while adding your
website in DMOZ.
This will improve your chance to get your website
accepted and reduce the processing time.
is by far the number one destination for Internet
surfers. Although the search results for Yahoo!
is provided by Google,
many people still prefer to browse through Yahoo!
directory to find whatever they are looking for.
This makes an inclusion to Yahoo!
directory quite valuable for ecommerce sites.
presently charges yearly fee of US $299 for each
web site submitted. The fee is nonrefundable,
which means if for some reasons Yahoo!
declines to add your website in its directory
you will not get your money back! The only thing
guarantees is that the editors will look at your
submission within seven days and send you an answer.
you consider submitting your site to Yahoo!?
It all depends on the kind of business you are
in. Some sites receive an overwhelming number
of traffic from Yahoo!,
others hardly receive anybody. My suggestion:
list your website in Yahoo!
directory for a year and see the outcome. If
you feel comfortable with the result you are
receiving – continue. If the result is
not satisfactory you can always cancel their
service after one year.
Although it is the third largest directory on
the Internet as a search portal LookSmart
is not that popular. However, it provides directory
listings to MSN
search, About.com, Infospace, Inktomi
and others. It is probably still the best way
to get high ranking in MSN
is a fee based service. You pay US $49 submission
fee for the site review by their editors and 15
Cents for each click through. Pay per click minimum
monthly payment is US $15.
noncommercial sites LookSmart
has a partner directory named “Zeal”.
Zeal is a community directory for Internet surfers.
To submit a site to Zeal you first have to become
a member by passing a quiz test. The reason
I am mentioning Zeal here is – you can
actually submit noncommercial portion of your
site to Zeal and receive an appearance in all
of the places that LookSmart
listings show up, without paying a pay-per-click
small but notable directories that you should
consider are joeAnt,
Don’t expect large traffics from these directories;
however, they will help enhance your link popularity.
Link popularity is a concept which means- how
many sites have links pointed towards your website.
Link popularity is important because your website’s
rank in the search results depends on it in a
engines use special programs to crawl the Internet
and index web pages. These robot programs are
called “Bot” or “Spider”.
Spiders crawl up the Internet using links. That’s
why it is so important to have back links to your
website. When you make a search, the search engines
show you the results that are retrieved from the
servers, where all the indexed web pages are cached.
Only when you click on a link from the search
result you see the real web page.
most important search engines are Google,
doubt that Google
is the best search engine available on the Internet
today. According to Google,
they have indexed over 3.5 billion pages up to
now! More Internet surfers are prone to use Google
because it has great search enhancing functions,
and you can always expect relevant and quality
can submit your link using Google’s Add
URL page located at http://www.google.com/addURL.html.
However, if you have links pointing towards
your site on other websites, you can be sure
that Google’s spider, Googlebot will eventually
come and index you site. Contrary to popular
believe once your site is indexed, there is
not need to resubmit your pages to Google,
even if you updated the pages. If, although
it is not necessary, you submit your website
submit only the index page, it will find the
rest of the pages using the links anyway.
started to loose grounds to other search engines
in a big way. Submitting to Altavista
is fairly simple! From the home page click on
the “Submit a Site” located at the
bottom of the page. There are two choices for
you: either you can choose the “Basic Submit”
service, which is free or for an immediate inclusion,
you can choose the “Express Inclusion”
prevent automatic submission of URLs, on the
submission page Altavista
added submission code that has to be inserted
manually along with the URL. The Express Inclusion
service costs US $39 for the first URL for six
search engine is becoming quite popular lately.
It has a very large database. AllTheWeb
has very sophisticated search functions like searches
for pages linked to a given page, searches within
URLs or page titles, and searches limited by page
size. It provides search results and technology
Submission to AllTheWeb is quite easy. Use the
following link page to submit your URL: http://www.alltheweb.com/add_URL.php
If you need an express inclusion, you have to
use “Lycos InSite“ service of Terra-Lycos.
The rate is US $35 for a full year inclusion.
you care about Teoma,
a much hyped search engine, which is actually
an additional search engine of Ask Jeeves, you
can use its paid inclusion program located at
It charges US $30 per year for first URL and
US $18 for additional each.
may not heard about Inktomi,
but many popular search engines use the results
such as AOL,
Overture to name a few. For secondary search
result even MSN
uses it! Yahoo!
recently bought Inktomi.
Which means that very soon even Yahoo!
might give priority to the search results
coming from it. Inktomi
provides a paid inclusion service. Inktomi
sells its inclusion service exclusively through
its reseller partners. You can find them over
The fee is US $39 per URL for a year and US$25
for subsequent URLs.
|Promote Your Website through Search Engines Part I
Friday, May 30, 2003
After spending substantial time and efforts the big day came when you finally
published your website on the Internet. You are now ready to show your website
to the world. But, with over a billion pages vying for traffic how do you make
people visiting your site?
Web promotion is an on going process. There are many methods of promoting websites,
but, the first and foremost step that you have to take to generate traffic for
your website is to submit your site to major search engines and directories.
For most of the sites search engines are the primary source of first time visitors.
How important are the search engines? Data show that more than 80% of Internet
users find the sites they’re looking for through search engines. Over 57% of
Internet users search the Internet everyday. Up to 450 Million searches take
place in a day and most interestingly, 55% of all Internet purchases originate
at a search engine.
Before you start submitting your website to the search engines, you have to
understand that you want your prospective audience to find you when they search
for a site similar to you using specific keywords. Now, you know that when a
person runs a query on a search engine for a website, usually he looks no further
then first three pages of relevant results. You have to figure out a way how
to get within those three pages. Better even if you can get yourself within
top ten search results. Considering that a query usually delivers millions of
pages — this is not an easy task!
As the search engines want to deliver most relevant pages at the top, they
use highly sophisticated and complex algorithms to rank websites. But the main
aspects, that they consider in order to optimize your ranking position, are
your targeted keywords, relevancy of the site contents and value of the links
that are pointing to your site.
Target the wrong keywords and either you don’t get any visitor or you get the
visitors that you really don’t need. How can you figure out which are the right
keywords for you?
If you are confused about the words that you should target to get the best
result, start your search from one of your successful competitors’ website.
Check the source codes of the Index page of the website. It should not be difficult
for you to figure out what are the keywords that they are targeting. Since a
broad keyword like computer, textile etc. generates millions of search results,
you have to try to find words as specific and as segmented as possible.
For example: if you are a textile company that sells fabrics and one of the
best selling items of yours is jeans fabrics let’s see what should be your targeted
keyword. A query on Google shows that the word “fabric” brings 5,640,000 results.
Way too much for you to even try get at the top! The next search of “jeans fabric”
gets 148,000 results. Still a lot! If stonewashed jeans fabric is one of the
items that you sell, let’s see what we get from a query on it. Just 602 results!
Well, this is a number you can deal with! Now if you use a few proper optimization
mechanisms, chances are there that in no times you may get yourself on the first
ten of this search result.
If you know the broad keywords that you should target but don’t have any idea
how to make it more specific, use this little tool from Overture to show you
what queries people make relevant to this keyword. Click
here for the tool.
Place keywords in right locations
For search engines the page title is the most important part of the page. Make
sure that you use your targeted keyword over there. For the previous example
your title may look like: ‘Supplier of Quality Stonewashed Jeans Fabric’.
Use your keywords in different forms in Meta tags and Description. Use singular
and plural variations of the words. Since search engines also look at the content
of your page, try using keywords in your headlines and don’t forget to mention
them in the first paragraph of the page.
But do not over do it! If the search engines feel that you are over using a
word to lift your ranking, they may consider it as spamming, and block your
website from their listing.
Content is the king
According to research, the primary reason for people to be on the Internet
is information. People want information, quality information, lots of it and
in most of the cases for free! This is the reason why the search engine spiders
are created to look for good, relevant textual contents. If you are looking
for a top position on a specific search, your website must have quality relevant
If yours is a website that only sells product or services, you may ask, how
can you possibly have enough content? Apart from detail description of the products
or services that you provide, you should also emphasize on the benefits of the
products. If you have related to your products articles, whitepapers etc. you
must post them on your site as well. It’s important to post quality information
related to your products or services as this also position your website as a
knowledgeable leader in your respective industry and create interest among your
audience to revisit the site.
Try renewing information on your site on a regular interval. This, as well,
will increase repeat visits from people and the search engine spiders.
Submission to search engines
Once you are ready to submit your site to search engines, all you have to do
is to go to the relevant search engine site, fill up the form there and submit.
You can do it manually for each search engine separately or you can use programs
to do it automatically. If you miss a search engine, you don’t have to worry
about it much, as the search engine spiders or “Bots”, as they are also called,
constantly look for new websites to index. However, it’s a good idea to submit
to the major search engines and directories regularly. You should also resubmit
your website to the search engines in order to expedite the process of indexing
after each significant change you made to the site.
|Web Store - Why Do You Need One?
Thursday, May 15, 2003
Internet has opened a new era of business opportunities. Each day, thousands of
new consumers are joining the Internet. More and more companies are adopting Internet
as their primary sales and distribution channel. According to Forrester Research
-The survey of 130 U.S. companies indicates consumers spent $76 billion shopping
on-line in 2002. This represents a 48 percent increase over 2001, and projections
for 2003 come close to $100 billion, representing 4.5 percent of total retail
sales. As a business you probably understand that in order to stay competitive
you must integrate ecommerce to your present business strategy. A little research
will show you that there is an extensive array of technology and solutions for
enterprise and web store building available in the market. You also perceive that
ecommerce sites can cost you from a mere couple of hundred bucks to hundreds of
thousand of dollars. How to choose something from so many options that will exactly
fit your present need?
Although, this might look like a daunting task, a little preparation will definitely
help you taking the right decision in your quest for an appropriate ecommerce
solution. To understand your requirement better and create a proper ecommerce
strategy, you have to ask yourself a number of questions. Below I jotted down
some of the questions that, hopefully, will spur your imagination.
- What should be the look of my web store?
- Do I need a database for my product catalog?
- How should the purchase order generate on my web store?
- Do I need to handle different pricing system for dealers, wholesalers and end
- How do I bill my customers?
- How easy can I make my web store to navigate?
- How many search options should we have?
- Can I show my customers a product comparison table?
- What should be my merchant account gateway system?
- Finally, how much should I invest to build my web store?
If building an ecommerce site from scratch feels too overwhelming to you and
you are a small business, my suggestion is - to build a web store with one of
the providers similar to Yahoo, Bigstep, Rusbiz etc. The web stores that you
can build directly on the Internet have all the necessary features like shopping
cart, product catalog and payment gateway as any regular ecommerce site. In
most of the cases, you construct web store online from templates and easy-to-use
editor and you hardly need to know html or other script languages.
The benefits of using a web store that you can build online are enormous.
Quick to build: If you have all the materials handy, you can build a web store
within a day.
Easy in use: You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to build a fully functional
ecommerce site. Step by step procedures of making pages from templates allow
anybody to create a professionally looking web store in no time.
Affordable: Although, some of the providers charge commissions on your sales,
as Yahoo does, in most of the cases your expenses are less than US$ 100 a month
to have a good web store.
The only disadvantage you have with this kind of web stores is you might not
be able to give the customized look and feel to the site as you intend to. Then
again, once you start generating enough sales through your web store, if you
must, you can always build an ecommerce site by hiring web design companies.
If you are still hesitant in starting online business using web stores I would
suggest you to read the following eventual benefits that you may have from ecommerce.
Increase your sales & profits
If you are a brick and mortar company, online commerce will definitely increase
your sales and with it profits.
Enhance your company image
Today, even small companies understand the importance of having a website. Planned,
sophisticated and professional website creates positive image of the company
and help building brand name.
Reduce costs and save money
If required features are available on the website practically all business
processes are possible to carry out on the Internet, which allows you to reduce
overhead costs, costs incurred due to documentary mistakes, document processing
Improve customer service
Frequently Asked Questions pages, forums, Internal Messaging Service, chat
lines, etc. all these features help you effectively running your customer service.
Become a global player
Thanks to the reach of Internet you are no longer confined to a certain geographical
boundary any more. You can sell products to any place of the world 24 hours
a day. Add sales channels
By joining e-marketplaces and B2B exchanges you can significantly increase the
number of sales channels available to you.
Reduce supply chain cycle
If you automate supply chain processes through Internet, you will be able to
shorten the entire cycle from months to days. You will be even able to eliminate
certain phases of your supply chain process.
Market products and services
There are numerous ways of getting traffics on your site and popularize your
products. In fact, you can get more people in your web store than it is physically
possible to accommodate in a bricks-and-mortar shop.
Compete with large companies
On the Internet you may successfully compete with the behemoths of your industry
and even curve market shares out of them.
Low start-up costs
Normally, starting a brick and mortar business requires significant cost involvement.
On the Internet - opposite is true! To start a business online you hardly need
any major investment.
No entry barrier
As you know, many businesses in real world are tightly controlled by certain
groups. On the internet there is no such barrier! Anybody can start any business
of his choice.
No need to close existing sales channels
By adopting Internet as a sales channel you do not loose anything as your web
store only complements existing sales conduit.
If you are new to ecommerce world, I would advise you to go slow! First create
a plan with long term and short term objectives. Try implementing your plan
gradually. Make sure that you do not spend too much money on your initial ecommerce
project. Remember! Over 80 percent of all software projects do not finish in
time within the budget; and do not work as planned!
|Six components of a good e-commerce site
Wednesday, April 30, 2003
Many of your competitors are already doing business through the Internet. You
read that yearly growth rate of e-commerce is over 25 percent. E-commerce segment
for the businesses that sells to other businesses or B2B, as it is called, is
escalating even in a better pace. Naturally, at one point, you too decide that
you need to have a piece of this action! But, what are the main characteristics
of a good e-commerce site that you must consider even before you build one?
A small research will show that there are numerous choices for you to make your
business presence online. In fact, you can be overwhelmed with all the possibilities
that are available on the Internet to build an e-commerce website.
However, it is important to plan your website before even shop around for tools
to build your site. There are some basic components that all e-commerce sites
include, such as product or service description pages, a shopping cart - so
that buyers can select and keep items from your product list till they generate
a purchase order or an invoice, a payment mechanism – so that buyers can pay
for your products online or offline. But, you also need to pay attention to
the following crucial aspects:
Buyers take their decision whether to buy a product from your site or not depending
on the information that you provide. That’s why the product should have a clear
and high-quality picture, short and detailed specifications. If necessary add
attachments of diagrams, sketches, video etc. along with the product specification.
Write clearly and prominently all sales terms and after sales supports terms,
If you have many products, it is better to use an industry standard classification
system to categorize your products. The goal is to have all the information
related to the product available on the website, so that the customer can take
a positive buying decision instantly.
Different Ordering Methods
The ultimate goal of your e-commerce site is to make sales. Many people still
don’t feel comfortable to make payments through online transactions. You would
be better off if you include ordering processes by fax, telephone and ordinary
mail. In fact, to have a telephone number for customer support and order is
a must for any e-commerce site as it gives buyers some extra feelings of security.
That way they know that they can always talk to a live person if anything goes
Different Payment Methods
Although credit cards are by far the most acceptable means of payments on the
Internet, you should definitely consider other methods as well. For small payments,
Paypal is becoming increasingly a popular mode. All e-commerce sites should
integrate this to their payment methods. More options include: Electronic checks,
e-bullion, Offline bank transfer etc.
Shopping Cart with Tax Calculation
In your search for shopping carts look for the ones, which have different tax
calculation mechanisms inbuilt. If you are located in a province or state where
your regional tax gets calculated on top of the federal or vice versa, your
shopping cart should have the ability to calculate them correctly.
As money back guarantees are becoming increasingly common on online sales you
should consider prominently posting your money back guarantee on you website.
Be sure to make your money back guarantee generous! Customers are becoming pickier
on this issue. For example if you sell knowledge base products like e-books,
reports etc. make your hundred percent guarantees at least of two months. For
tangible products, after sales warrantees should be also considerably generous.
Customers should feel completely secured to buy at your website.
the information that they are relaying to you. You must clearly explain them
what you plan to do with the various information that you collect from your
If your website collects sensitive information from your customers, you should
use security systems like SSL (Secure Socket Layer). This guarantees that the
data provided by your customer will not fall into the hand of a malicious hacker
while transferring from his computer to the web server. This also will reassure
your customers that you are truly concerned about the security of their personal
and sensitive information.
Once you know how to handle all the above mentioned aspects, go ahead and look
for a great tool to build your dream e-commerce website and make money online!
|Conducting Business through B2B E-marketplaces
Tuesday, April 15, 2003
Businesses, which are still sitting on sidelines and not doing business on
the Internet, should think seriously about their position! If you are one of
them, chances are there, that you have to pay dearly for your indecision as
you might lose significant market share to your more proactive competitors in
a very short period of time.
Apart from the fact that e-commerce is growing at the rate of more than 25
percent a year, the use of online features can bring efficiency to virtually
every aspect of business process, be it supply chain management or customer
But, how can you build an e-commerce business and take advantages of all these
great possibilities? After all, you are pretty sure that anything to do with
new technology is complicated, time-consuming, and expensive.
Believe it or not, this is just a misconception that most business owners have
about the Internet technology. The truth is – in order to run a business online
and reap profits, like any new effort, you need to do a little homework, have
patience and determination, and get going.
Take the following steps seriously and in no time you will be able to embrace
fascinating world of online business.
Take your products online
Getting your product online does not simply mean - having a nice picture and
a product narration to go with it. Effective use of the Internet is based on
standards. Standards, as you know, are created to facilitate common use of a
technology. If you ever imported or exported a product or service, or if you
registered your product with some kind of authorities ever; you certainly know
that each product falls under certain subcategory according to the classification
system that you encountered. Internet is the same thing. Since the emergence
of Internet, several classification systems have been developed.
If you think long term and would like to use same catalog with multiple e-marketplaces,
you should adopt one of the prevailing classification system in the Internet.
The best online catalog classification available from my point of view is UNSPSC.
For one thing, many prominent e-marketplaces adopted this particular system,
which allows you to post your products on multiple e-procurement systems and
How do you do this? I would suggest you to become a member of one of the e-marketplaces,
where you can aggregate your products using some kind of simple wizards or forms.
E-marketplaces based on Commerce One’s the largest B2B e-marketplace enabler,
have this facility.
Our own Rusbiz e-catalog system, which is also based on UNSPSC, also allows
you to integrate your products using a very simple but sophisticated form. If
you do not have time to do it by your own, you can use the service of a B2B
exchange. Rusbiz also provides with similar service.
Get an online presence
What should be your next step once you have all your products transformed into
e-catalog? Naturally, you need to have an online presence to sell the products.
There are number of options how to do this.
Become a member of an e-marketplace
This could be a large geography oriented fairly large horizontal market or
a vertical e-marketplace specific to your industry. The membership fees are
in most of the cases not so expensive. But many of them charge some percentage
on your transactions, usually, from 1 to 3 percent. If you expect big sales
volume, you may think this might not be the best choice for you. However, if
you get new customers, thanks to your mere presence in an e-marketplace, the
percentage that you have to pay on the transaction you should consider as customer
acquiring cost. Under any circumstances, it is good to become a member of at
least one e-marketplace as you -automatically get exposed to thousands of new
Build a website
There are several ways you can construct an e-commerce site to your need.
You can build a website in house by employing developers or you can hire a
web development company to do this for you. The advantage is you can have a
website with the look, feel and functionality according to your given specification.
However, both of these methods could be way costly for a small business. Average
cost of building an e-commerce website runs starting from US$ 600 plus hosting
and maintenance charges for a miniscule site with limited features to several
hundred thousand US Dollars for a powerful e-commerce website.
Another option that you have as a small business is to build an e-commerce
site from prefabricated templates. While this is affordable and easy, you considerably
lose flexibility and customization possibilities in comparison to building a
site from scratch.
Build a web store
All these above mentioned cases do not allow you to have the potentials and
advantages that come with an e-business website integrated with a B2B exchange.
Which means, whether you are a business to consumer company with occasional
sales to businesses or you are a pure play B2B company, a Web Store merged into
an e-marketplace is what you need.
A web store from a B2B exchange gives you the best of both worlds. You are
having a professional e-commerce site which incorporates all the features that
an e-marketplace has to offer. And you build a site from simple and easy to
For a detailed information about the features that come with a web store and
benefits that you can get from them, follow this link:
|E-marketplace - Facts and Fictions
Sunday, March 30, 2003
Not long ago, industry pundits were touting B2B marketplaces or exchanges as
Internet era panacea for productivity and cost-cutting problems of corporate
world. Buoyed by excessive investor interest and driven by a desire to cash
in on the enormous dot-com valuations of late 90s, marketplaces were sprouting
like autumn mushrooms. With the collapse of stock market, it did not take much
time for burgeoning B2B marketplaces to come to a screeching halt!
When in 2001 high profile marketplaces like Chemdex, a life science marketplace
started to tumble down, and most of the marketplaces started to show sign of
disappointing growth rate, it became clear that something is wrong with the
prevailing business model of b2b e-marketplaces.
Optimists claim nothing is wrong with B2B e-marketplaces, as a new technology,
it is merely going through the normal evolutionary stages. Others feel that
business processes are way too complex an issue, substantially based on human
behavior and intricate relationships; and this complexity will prevent wide
spread implementation of online supply chain mechanisms through B2B exchanges.
But, the truth is probably somewhere in between! There is no doubt that any
business, irrelevant to its size, is able to create some sorts of value if they
use B2B marketplace effectively. As far as B2B E-commerce is concerned, most
agree, that eventually businesses have to do significant part of their transactions
online. The only thing is - it might take a bit more time for widespread adoption,
than initially expected.
Slow implementation of B2B e-marketplaces is a natural consequence of some
inadvertent stumbling blocks.
1. The investment in B2B sector started to dry up at the end of 2001 as unrealistic
expectations of many investors and funds did not materialize. As a result of
this, many exchanges were forced to close down; and much needed transformation
in the technology process slowed down in existing ones due to liquidity challenges.
2. Many early marketplaces were built in a hurry to exploit prevailing at that
time budding stock market. For these marketplaces, value creation for the participants
was not a priority. By the time they realized that members need something more
than comparison shopping and product display ability, it was a bit too late
for quite a few of them.
3. Contrary to popular believe, buyers did not start flocking on to the e-marketplaces
as expected. As it became clear, buyers require real incentives in order to
go through the complex process of online dealing. In most cases, in order to
get integrated to an e-marketplace, buyers are ready to learn, hire professionals,
and invest on technology if they know that most of their offline suppliers are
available on a particular exchange. But, until then, they prefer to refrain
from changing their way of doing business.
4. There are number of reasons why suppliers don't expedite the process either.
They are mainly scared of comparison shopping and brand dilution. Complexity
of back end office integration and product catalog conversion also creates major
impediment in mass adoption of e-marketplaces within the supplier community.
Suppliers with websites, who previously had disappointing e-commerce experience,
are also quite skeptical about the benefits that they might achieve from exchanges.
5. Many exchanges' revenue depends on the percentage-based transaction fee,
imposed upon the participants. Some companies consider that these fees will
reduce their net profit margin, especially, in a down market. This is another
cause, why many are not very keen to participate in e-marketplaces.
All these conditions are maybe right and, probably mass scale adoption of e-marketplaces
won't take place another several years. However, don't think that companies
should relax. As some industries are more advanced in their adoption of B2B
technology, companies should constantly check where they stand. If their competitors
are already practicing e-business actively; or many of their suppliers are by
now on some sorts of exchanges, this is the right time for these companies to
consider their online business approach seriously.
The sooner companies understand the benefits that they can reap from B2B exchanges
the better it would be for them. For suppliers e-marketplaces offer benefits
like liquidity improvement, cost savings, better inventory management, demand
forecasting, dynamic pricing etc. Buyers benefits include: cost reduction, real-time
purchase, best available price and many others. Research indicates that companies,
thanks to B2B exchanges, can gain remarkable cost reductions: 20 to 40 percent
of overhead expenses, 5 to 15 percent of buying cost, Purchase Order processing
cost from US$ 75 to just US$ 6-8; and decrease of document errors from 20 percent
to less than one percent.
Apart from these benefits, early adoption of B2B marketplaces also has great
implications for companies. Early birds get considerable information advantage
over their competitors; have enough time to learn from trial and error and participate
in setting the rules for the exchanges as opposed to - forced to abide by the
rules as it would be the case for late-comers.
Whatever approach the companies decide to take in their quest of B2B technology,
one thing is for sure that the e-marketplaces are here to stay. Over time, they
will definitely evolve and their business models will also change, however,
there is no doubt that a major portion of e-business will transact through e-marketplaces
in near future.
Monday, March 10, 2003
|| Dear members,
We decided to dedicate this issue of our Newsletter to some of the burgeoning
Internet scams that you are encountering lately in a massive scale, especially,
the Nigerian scam.
Almost everyday you probably get a number of various scam emails. Since the
quantity of such emails are increasing constantly and the con artists even register
with Rusbiz portal and use our internal messaging system for their malevolence
purposes, we have outlined here one of the most popular scams under the name
of Nigerian Scam and what this is all about.
If you have suggestions and ideas regarding similar internet scams and you
would like to share with other members, feel free to write us.
Enjoy the great spring out there!
Although this scam has its root from Nigeria dated a decade back, nowadays,
you receive similar scam letters from many African countries, notably, Nigeria,
Benin, Togo and even South Africa.
The subject lines of these emails are pretty similar. Something like: Business
relationship, Urgent Assistance needed, Soliciting for your assistance, A cry
for help etc. Most of the emails from this scam begin in the same way. Here
are two excerpts from most recent emails that we received:
"I am Engr Moses Ekpen a director in the budget and planning department
of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources (FMPNR), I had a
seven man Tenders Board Committee in charge of contract award and Payment approvals.
I came to know of you in my search for a reliable and reputable person to handle
a very confidential transaction, which involves the transfer of a huge sum of
money to a foreign account."
"I am Mrs. Mariam Abacha, the widow of Gen. Sani Abacha, The Late Nigerian
Military Head of State. You were introduced to me through the Chamber of Commerce.
I am presently in distress and under House arrest while my son Mohammed is undergoing
trial in Lagos and Abuja. He is presently detained in prison custody. The government
has frozen all the family account and auctioned all our properties.
To save the family from total bankruptcy I have managed to ship to Europe and
Asia through a Shipping company, the sum of US20, 000,000.00 respectively kept
by my late husband."
The essence of these emails are also basically the same – the person although
does not know you, thanks to your business reputation, has decided to contact
you with a very confidential proposal to transfer a mind boggling amount of
money from his country to any foreign land.
There could be numerous stories but the bottom line is they require your help
to transfer the amount. For your service they will promise you something from
10 to 40% of the whole amount. There would be a telephone no or an email address
to contact the person.
You may wonder how they swindle people.
There are various ways that the crooks rip off their victims. Some of the most
commons ones of them are described below:
They will ask you to open a bank account under their name. On their second
step, they will ask you to deposit a sum of say US$ 10000 to that account, explaining
if the account does not have any decent amount, the officials those who are
responsible for transferring the promised millions of dollars would become suspicious
and won’t authorize the transaction. Once you deposited the asked sum, they
simply withdraw it and disappear. Usually they choose a bank where they might
have some connections. So you, after losing your money, do not get any help
from the bank either.
They will ask you to send some merchandize or gifts for the officials they
need to bribe in order to make the transactions of the assumed millions of dollars
smoothly. Naturally, you never hear from them once you sent the requested gifts
to their address.
We even heard stories like this one: A man was persuaded to come to Nigeria
to look after the transaction by himself. Over there he was kept hostage until
he shifted all his liquid assets to the thugs.
Looking at the increasing quantity of scam emails that we receive, this only
convinces that many fall for this seemingly simple trap. According to FBI these
swindlers have defrauded millions of dollars from gullible people.
There could be other variations of this scam, next time you read an email that
feels suspicious, just delete it! There are other ways of making money!
Some words of cautions! Although most of these scams originate from African
countries, please do not generalize and consider that all companies form these
countries are bad. As usual a few people are responsible for tarnishing the
reputation of a country.
|Effective methods of doing business online!
Monday, March 10, 2003
With all these dot com failures so rampant, you may question, is it still viable
to consider an online venture? The truth is: while spectacular rise and fall
of many dot com companies have been overly publicized, sales through Internet
are still increasing by 20 – 25% each year. Even economic down turn of the recent
years has not hampered this growth.
According to an annual study of Internet trends by marketing research firm
Ipsos, almost two third of Internet users in the United States have by now purchased
a product or service online. That’s a dramatic increase from only 36 percents
of respondents in 2000. Studies show that more than 35.5 million U.S. Internet
users made shopping trips to web shops during the week ending November 3, 2002,
which is roughly 14 million more than almost the same time period in 2001.
While the hype over the new economy is maybe over, one thing is for sure that
Internet has revolutionized the way we do business and positioned itself as
one of the biggest and most unique sales channels. Many companies, finally,
started to realize that their very existence may get jeopardized if they are
slow in integrating Internet to their business model.
But the question still remains - is there any effective method of doing business
Below I have outlined some components crucial to any online venture. While
these might not be the only vital components of web based business, understanding
them correctly will significantly improve your chance of doing online business
Business plans are like road maps. Imagine, you ended up in a unfamiliar town
and you have to find an address without a map! How would you feel? Definitely,
you would have been much better off with a map of the locality! The same thing
goes for business plan. Though, many successful ventures may have been started
without the benefit of a formal business plan, a good business plan improves
your chances of success and help you avoid many mistakes.
A recent AT&T study of successful entrepreneurs shows that businesses are
more successful if they have a written business plan than the ones which don’t.
With a written business plan you get a better picture of your planned venture.
So, before starting you online venture, take some time and write down what are
you planning to do.
Product or Service
If you are a brick and mortar company merely trying to expand sales of your
products or services on the Internet your task is easier! You at least don’t
have to mull over what to sell. But, what an entrepreneur who decided to start
a new venture should sell on the Internet?
Actually, you can sell virtually any product or service through the Internet.
You may say, "Wait a second, you can’t sell big ticket items over the net,
right?" Wrong! The car and part industries alone forecast to generate US$
274 billion in revenues from online trade by 2004. There are incidents of consumers
buying corporate jets online!
If you are serious about starting an online business, finding a product or
service that suits you should not be very difficult.
Knowledge base products like e-books, how-to-reports and hard to find information
and data sell quite well on the Internet.
Drop-ship items are bountiful on the Internet.
Thanks to global reach of Internet finding manufacturer for any item that you
plan to import to your country or export from your country became lot easier.
If you have expertise, online services similar to web design, travel arrangement
etc. are also good sales.
Internet users are paying readily for various types of online contents. Global
online content market will add up to 50 billion US$ in 2003. You can consider
Website/ Web store
Since you customers take their decision, whether to do business with you or
not based on what they see on your site, it is critical to have a professional-looking
website with good related content.
You can choose your website according to your need from a vast range of choices.
Starting from a completely free website you can shell out thousands of dollars
for a decent e-commerce website. The choice is yours!
There are various quality portals that allow you to have products and services
displayed on a single page web site for free. Many business to business portals
provide with this kind of services. However, for real time transactions you
will still need e-commerce web stores.
If you are not good at design or don’t want to spend a fortune on you web store,
you should think about getting an e-commerce stores from web enablers like Yahoo,
For a nominal monthly fee you can have the facilities required to run a full
fledged electronic storefront and build it yourselves from easy to use templates.
If you go for this type of services, compare and see who has most of the features
for lesser price. Some business to business portals along with your e-business
web store will furnish you with necessary features to carry out over the Internet
many important parts of buy and sale processes.
The integral part of e-commerce sites, which allows you to accept product purchase
orders for multiple products or services, is called a shopping cart.
The term "Shopping Cart"is taken from real life shopping terminology
to help users understand the actions available to them. Like in a supermarket
a user can add products to shopping cart, remove products from the cart or adjust
the quantity of the products as per requirement before checking out and making
While looking for shopping carts for your e-commerce store, you should consider
the following aspects of a powerful and functional shopping cart:
Access to the shopping cart should be clearly visible. There should be several
entry points to the cart.
Add, remove and adjust quantity of the product features should be prominent
on the cart page.
The item name should have a link to the description of the product.
There should be a way of saving items for future purchases.
Shipping and other costs should be clearly stated before the check out process
Order forms should be simple and clear.
All payment options should be explained clearly.
Ordering process should be done through secure server. You know you are on a
secure server when the URL of your browser indicates "https:". The
s at the end of http stands for "secure".
90 percents of all online retail sales take place through credit card transactions.
According to industry statistics, the average credit card sale is $40 versus
just $9 for the average cash sale. To offer the credit card payment option to
your online clients, you need to set up a merchant account-a bank authorized
account established by your company to receive the proceeds of credit card purchases.
Even if you already accept credit cards for your offline transactions, that
may not be enough. Although, you can take many precautions to reduce online
credit card frauds, credit card companies still consider Internet transactions
to be riskier than offline transactions. That’s why finding a right merchant
account provider could be a little bit more complicated than you might think.
Things could be even trickier if your business is located outside of the United
There are many middleman merchant account providers on the Internet. Do some
comparison-shopping before you sign up with any of them as conditions that they
offer vary significantly.
Although, it is definitely good to have a merchant account that does not mean
you can’t sell products or services without having one! There are numerous other
payment options available on the Internet. Most popular of them are paypal,
e-gold, e-bullion, etc.
If you would like to have an effective online business, remember that old values
still count. Proper planning, uncompromising customer service, integrity, hard
work and persistence eventually will make your business successful.
|E-marketplaces from Seller's Perspective
Monday, January 20, 2003
What is an E-marketplace anyway?
E-marketplace is a business to business web based venue, where buyers and sellers
meet online, generate business leads and conduct business transactions. The
e-marketplace features are tailored in a manner so that a large numbers of buyers
and suppliers can be serviced as a community. A participant of an E-marketplace
can be a buyer, a seller or both. Unlike an E-distribution portal which is oriented
to assist suppliers selling their products or an E-procurement system which
is focused on buyers solely, an E-marketplace is a platform which caters buyers
and sellers equally. As a participant of an E-marketplace you are able to explore
buying and selling opportunities, make sales offers and buy products and services,
add products and services to aggregated e-catalog and use numerous other value
E-marketplaces are tremendously beneficial to all businesses that decide to
participate in them. However, the potential benefits that a company can accrue
from an E-marketplace are directly proportional to the factor — how heavily
the company uses the offered features of that E-marketplace. Naturally, a company
that makes e-marketplace as its primary sales channel and integrates its sales
resources to supply chain solutions of the E-marketplace avail more in sales
and administrative overhead cost savings, reduced paper work, better customer
service, reduced product distribution costs and online sales growth than a seasonal
user of the e-marketplace.
A committed participant of an E-marketplace can benefit from and improve two
primary factors of company productivity: Revenue Growth and Cost Savings.
Expand Customer Base
A seller, once registered with an E-marketplace, gets immediate access to a
large community of prospective buyers of his products or services.
Revenue Increase from Existing Clients
Existing clients get faster and easier access to product information, quicker
response to their requests, get better customer support and buy products online.
Revenue Increase from Value Added Services
Once an E-marketplace is set as primary sales channel, freed resources can be
used to create more value added services for clients. Some of the services that
the E-marketplace offers also can be utilized to generate more value.
Order Processing Cost
The supply chain solutions of E-marketplace allow sellers to reduce order processing
cost significantly. Studies show that cost of processing a purchase order can
be reduced from US$ 70 down to US$ 6 only.
Sales and support costs
By automating sales and customer support processes companies can reduce over
head costs over 25-30% easily.
Inventory keeping costs
Clearer visibility and forecasting ability allow companies considerably reduce
inventory keeping costs.
Most executives agree that primary reason why they feel that the companies
should participate in E-marketplace is its ability to streamline supply chain
mechanism. Many inherent inefficiencies of supply chain process can be eliminated
thanks to integrated to e-marketplaces supply chain solutions.
What sellers have to do in order to participate in E-marketplaces and reap
numerous benefits that it can provide?
As most of the administrative and operational tasks are done automatically
by the e-marketplaces, participation in them is not a difficult process.
These are the basic steps that a seller must take to participate in an E-marketplace:
Registration might be an easy job of filling up a form. It is much better to
take some initial preparations before doing this.
Choose a good login name: your login can be used by the E-marketplace
to give you subdomain name, i.e. login.e-marketplace_name.com.
Profile: A well-written profile increases company image.
Logo: your logo helps you brand your company.
Add your products or services to E-catalog
Most E-marketplaces furnish with easy to use forms or wizards for sellers to
add their products to E-catalog. As the product and service classification used
in the E-catalogs often is an industry standard, it is important to spend some
times to find the perfect subcategories for your products or services. If you
have any doubt contact the customer support of the E-marketplace. Fill up as
many given fields are there for a product as you can. The more information buyer
gets right away the faster his buying decision would be.
Most sophisticated E-marketplaces have various sales platforms apart from the
E-catalog inclusion. Make general sales offers, time sensitive offers (hot offers
– with offer expiry dates) and auction offers of your products and services.
Determine the terms and methods of price, payment and shipment.
Decide how you will handle portions of the supply chain that you have to do
Although, most of the supply chain process can be done online, not all e-marketplace
offer a complete end to end solution. You also have to figure out what part
of your back office can be integrated to the E-marketplace.
|Fighting Spam - III
Wednesday, January 1, 2003
|| You can use reverse DNS lookup tool to find out, who is the owner of this DNS.
http://www.zoneedit.com/lookup.html has a convenient tool to do this. Another great site is http://www.Samspade.org, where you will find most of the tools needed to fight spammers.
Often novice affiliates in their effort to promote merchant site start spamming, if you feel that the site that you got onto is a serious site, send a complain to abuse@site?s domain. If abuse is not a valid email address, try postmaster or webmaster. The whois tool will help you finding the owner of the site and contact email address as well.
Most of the legitimate online business do not support spamming, and will probably close down the rogue affiliates account with them.
If this does not help, and you still continue receiving same spam contact the host or upstream provider of that site and make a complaint. This most certainly will bring result. No Internet Service Provider wants to host a site that promotes itself with spamming.
Finding who to complain using the mail header
The problem with the header nowadays is almost everything what you will see over there can be forged, except the first line where you can see from which mail server this mail was delivered to your mail server. Sending a complaint to them may help but considering, in most of the cases, these servers belong to large providers; and usually they are overwhelmed with the number of complaints they receive a day. They are more concerned about the junk mails, where their server was used as source rather than a relay center.
The forging of traces in the email header is called ?spoofing?. Email spoofing is the practice of concealing the email senders' identity with that of a third party in order to make the email more desirable to open and to obfuscate the ability to trace the sender.
You may try to dig out who is behind the spam by checking the header thoroughly, but most probably stumble on a unsuspecting person, whose computer was used to spew out this spam over the Internet. How the spammers do this?
The spammers use open relays to send large amount of spam via third party SMTP email server. The relay feature is a part of all SMTP-based servers, which means that most modern e-mail servers, if the relay service is not turned off, are vulnerable to misuse.
Spammers periodically scan the Internet for unsecured relays or Proxy servers, and use them for their malicious work.
Spammers even use viruses to compromise a computer so that they can send spam through it.
Sobig.E, a worm virus, was opening up proxy server channels and with that, if a spammer knows that a machine is infected, he could get in and use that machine to send out spam. Windows-based systems infected by mprox, another virus, also provide spammers with an open relay or proxy server, which can be used to send junk mails.
Wednesday, January 1, 2003
|| While simply deleting and filtering your emails at the gate might be a way of
handling the problem, this does nothing to stop the spammer; and cost you and
your company extra bandwidth expenses.
One of the ways of fighting spam is to complain about it to the right administrator,
who can do some thing about it.
If you are willing to make a complaint, but do not want to spend the time to
find out for a particular spam email which would be the right authority to lodge
complain, use spamcop.net or other similar anti-spam sites. These sites, once
receive a report from you will send an email on your behalf to the appropriate
If you would like to do it by yourself follow these steps:
View the spam with full header
First get the full header of the spam email. In Outlook XP you do it by going
to “View” from the main menu and clicking on “Options”. For other mail programs
if you are not sure how to view an email with full header consult this page:
Check out the body of the spam
Often the message in the email will invite you to visit a website or there would
be an email address to contact the spammer. If this is the case, go to the site
and see if the content of the site corresponds to the message that you received.
If it does, you found the perpetrator easily. Next - find who is the host or
ISP (Internet Service Provider) of this site by tracking the route to the site.
In Windows Command Prompt, which probably you will find in All Programs, then
Accessories menu. Use tracert command with the name of the site. Example: tracert
If tracert command is unavailable go to the following site: http://www.traceroute.org,
over there you will find a handful of web addresses categorized by country,
which provide the traceroute service.
The URL right before the site’s url at the end of the query is called the upstream
provider of the site. They are probably the appropriate abuse contacts to complain
to. Tracert will most likely show the urls in IP addresses.
To be continued...
Wednesday, January 1, 2003
If you are a resident of California, you must have heard the new anti-spam law that the Golden State is planning to enact. According to this law the Internet providers, the state attorney general and spam recipients may sue spammers and the promoter of the products or services who use deceptive information in the subject line of an email, enclose invalid reply addresses or try to cover up tracking path. The limit for civil judgments against spammers is $1,000 per message or $1 million per incident.
In UK a similar law will go effective from December 11. Companies that practice sending unsolicited emails could be fined up to GBP 5000.
No doubt, that spam is a huge problem! According to studies, due to spam this year US companies alone will lose more than US $10 Billion in lost productivity. However, state regulations solely will hardly be able to solve this problem. Average Internet users like and me also have to take some decisive steps to curve down this rising nuisance.
If you are overwhelmed with growing numbers of spam that you receive each day; and tired of scrupulously deleting them off, below I jot down some methods of fighting back, hopefully that will help some of us.
1. Use inbuilt filter that comes with your mailing program.Use inbuilt filter that comes with your mailing program
2. Complain to Internet Service Provider of the Spammer.
3. Trace down the real account of the spammer and block it.
Make a list of all the words that are common in the spam emails, i.e. Viagra, Nigeria, etc.
If use Microsoft Outlook as your mailing program, do the followings:
A small window will appear, add each and every phrase meticulously from the list you created earlier.
- Open Outlook
- Click on “Tools” from man menu
- Choose Rules Wizard from the drop down menu
- On the page “Apply changes to this folder:” Click on “New”
- Select “Start creating a rule from Templates”
- Choose “Move messages based on content”
- Click on “ specific words” link from the box at the bottom
- Once finished click on “OK” to close the window.
- Click on the link “specified” at the same box
- Open a new folder by clicking on the “New” button under the name “Spam emails”
- Click on “OK”
- Click on “Finish” From now on all emails that contain words from your list will be moved to the “Spam emails” folder.
- All you have to do is time to time delete the emails, which appear there.
To be continued …..