<![CDATA[A Life Lived Ridiculously - BLOG Consumer Affairs]]>Mon, 25 May 2015 22:07:58 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Sudocrem® - Like Triple Paste, but half the price]]>Fri, 17 Jun 2011 16:47:51 GMThttp://ridiculouslife.net/3/post/2011/06/sudocrem-like-triple-paste-but-half-the-price.htmlSudocrem® - Like Triple Paste®, but half the price

A lot of abuse takes place in America, where the greatest necessities like diaper cream, infant formula and gas relief medication are priced higher than is fair. In Europe, on the other hand, such necessities are not jacked up just because we can't live without them. This is why one mum is bringing Sudocrem® to America. And at fair UK prices too !!!

Mums, Dads and caregivers, you finally have the opportunity to take back your power, vote with your wallets and buy the FAIRLY priced diaper rash cream called Sudocrem®. Sudocrem® is the British version of TRIPLE PASTE®. Same amazing cream for preventing diaper rash, only more bang for your buck...


1) Cost

In USA Tripple Paste costs at least $1.46 per 1 oz (see Amazon.com)
In USA Boudreaux Butt Paste costs at least $0.92 per 1 oz (see Amazon.com)
In USA A&D zinc oxide costs at least $0.77 per 1 oz (see Amazon.com)
In the UK Sudocrem® costs at least $0.64 per 1 oz (see Amazon.co.uk)

That makes Sudocrem more than half the price of Triple Paste and lower than Boudreaux's Butt Paste and A&D zinc oxide.

2) Concentration of the active ingredient zinc oxide
Triple paste contains 12.8% zinc oxide,
Boudreaux's Butt Paste contains 16% zinc oxide 
A&D zinc oxide contains 10% zinc oxide
Sudocrem® contains 15.25% zinc oxide

                                To purchase Sudocrem® on ebay, just type in the search box:
                                             Sudocrem - World's Best Diaper Rash Cream
                                                                     Or click the LINK

Everywhere else on ebay (except here) you can purchase Sudocrem at the fair UK price, BUT because it will be shipping from abroad, you'll also be charged high shipping prices.This seller however stocks Sudocrem here in USA, and will therefore charge you local shipping of no more than $5.00 to ship any one sudocrem 250g jar anywhere in USA.

What is Sudocrem®?

Sudocrem Antiseptic Healing Cream was created almost 80 years ago and has been used by millions of mums, dads and healthcare professionals ever since to treat the sore skin caused by nappy rash. Sudocrem is manufactured in Ireland by Forest Tosara Ltd.

Unlike some nappy rash products on the market, Sudocrem Antiseptic Healing Cream is a licensed medicine, which means we’ve had to submit clinical data proving that Sudocrem is an effective and safe treatment.

Sudocrem is clinically proven to soothe, heal and protect your baby’s delicate skin and works in three ways:

* A water-repellent base forms a protective barrier, helping to stop any irritants (urine and feces) coming into contact with the skin.
* It both softens and soothes sore, inflamed skin.
* It has a weak local anaesthetic to help ease pain and irritation.

So what gives Sudocrem its healing properties? Here’s the science bit. Sudocrem contains:

* hypoallergenic lanolin, to help soothe and soften irritated skin.
* zinc oxide which reduces the loss of tissue fluid.
* benzyl benzoate and benzyl cinnamate which are ingredients of Balsam of Peru, recognized for its healing properties.
* benzyl alcohol, a weak local anaesthetic which eases pain and also acts as a disinfectant/antibacterial agent.

As a protective antiseptic cream, Sudocrem is, not just a diaper rash cream, but is also helpful in the treatment of other skin conditions:

* exc

* cuts and grazes
* sunburn
* minor burns
* acne
* bedsores

Anything in America that is sold at a 'fair price,' probably contains high fructose corn syrup or some other kind of cheap, radioactive waste.
Sudocrem, like Triple Paste, but cheaper, diaper rash, diaper rash cream, cheapest diaper rash cream
<![CDATA[Selling on Ebay versus selling on Amazon]]>Wed, 02 Mar 2011 00:38:12 GMThttp://ridiculouslife.net/3/post/2011/03/the-rudeness-of-arriving-early.htmlSelling on Ebay versus selling on Amazon

Ebay and Amazon are the two leading online retailers, selling everything from books to DVDs, technology, household goods and furniture. You can furnish every room in your home using just these two sites, without ever having to leave the comfort of your chair. 

Buyers and sellers alike flock to both sites. But are they equal, or is one better than the other?

From the buyer point of view, Amazon seems to posses the greater buyer confidence, due to ease of purchase, quick delivery times and less likelihood of meeting scammers on the site. A non-delivered item needs only be followed by a claim, whereupon Amazon investigates and the buyer gets a refund. 

Ebay had a record of buyers being scammed and never being able to recoup their funds when sellers (scammers) failed to deliver items. As such Ebay and PayPal teamed up to ensure that any payment transferred from buyer to seller’s PayPal account is not released for twenty one days, giving the buyer this length of time to raise the alarm if an item has failed to arrive.

But how do the Ebay and Amazon compare to one another from the seller’s point of view? Both sites have pros and cons that may or may not suit a seller. Below are some of the main advantages of each site over the other:

Pros of Ebay over Amazon
 Ebay offers two ways to sell, auctioning and a one off price. Amazon allows you to sell only at a single price. The upside of the auctioning option is that you may list your item at a low price that will entice buyers to place a bid. Bidding begets bidding and before you know it you may end up with a sell at or above your desired price for the item. Even if you end up selling for lower than you’d hoped, at least you’ll have sold the item in that one listing and won’t have to relist at a lower price, incurring fees for a second listing.

 Ebay’s fees are much kinder than Amazon’s. Ebay asks a listing fee of $0.75 to $1.50 per listing depending on how many of the listing features you use (such as additional photos), plus a final value fee that is about 9 percent of the sale price. 

Amazon deducts a fee of 6 to 25 percent of the sale price, a variable closing fee, and a per-item fee of $0.99. This is fine when you sell higher priced items, but you might pay as much a $2.94 to $3.20 for a second hand book that you sold for just a few cents. 

 Ebay allows you to track progress, whereas Amazon is an all or nothing experience. To elaborate, because of Ebay’s auctioning feature, not only do you get to see who is bidding on your item, but you also get to see who is watching your item. Frequently buyers on Ebay will bid during the very last few minutes of your listing. However, in the days leading up to the end of your listing, instead of leaving you with the discouraging impression that nothing’s happening, being privy to a watch list lets you know that there is interest in your item and that it may sell. 

With Amazon on the other hand, you experience long days, weeks even, of nothing, with no indication as to whether your item has aroused any interest. Until one day, out of the blue, you get that hallelujah message in your inbox telling you that your item has sold. Certainly the duration of the Amazon listings are longer (60 days), than the Ebay listings (3 to 10 days), but 60 days is a long time to wait on the edge of your seat with not the slightest hint as to whether or not anything will happen. 

 On Amazon everyone is permanently undercutting one another, creating an atmosphere of frustration and anger. Let’s say you list your DVD for $6.99, the next day you check your inventory only to find that someone else has listed theirs for $6.98. So you change your listing to $6.97, and a few hours later they’ve changed theirs to $6.96 etc.

With Ebay there is no such negative experience. Once your item is live, the site draws your focus to the bids and who is watching you. Everyone’s listings start off cheap, and once the bidding starts it’s no longer up to you, the seller, to dictate the price. Therefore, what others are doing with their identical item becomes irrelevant.

 You can sell ANYTHING on Ebay. On Amazon you may only sell what is listed in Amazon’s database. This is made more frustrating when you attempt to list that gorgeous six piece tea set, only to find that Amazon has a record of the four piece and the eight piece versions of the same set, but not the six piece. The only way you’d be able to list your item would be to first become a ProMerchant seller at Amazon, which includes a subscription fee of $39.99. 

On Ebay however, if it isn’t already in their database, then you are welcome to put it there right away, at no extra cost or delay.

Pros of Amazon over Ebay
 Amazon tells you how much you’ll be paid for shipping, whereas Ebay makes you do the calculations yourself. This is time consuming and complex and involves you having to weigh and measure the items at home. By the time you get to the post office to mail the items, you’ll most likely find that you either over or underestimated the delivery costs.

 With Amazon, ‘sold’ means ‘sold’. Once your item is declared sold, it means that the buyer has transferred the funds and payment has been processed. 

With Ebay, a winning bidder does not necessarily translate into a paying customer. ‘Sold’ on Ebay means that someone has offered you a price for your item. But then you have to request payment and wait until the bidder actually pays you. This makes room for changes of heart, thereby wasting you an entire listing, fees and all. So whilst Ebay and Paypal have worked hard to win buyer confidence, they urgently need to take steps to win seller confidence too.

Both websites have pros and cons, and, as a seller your personal preferences will draw you to one site over the other. 

Although Ebay has a longer list of pros, their great shortcoming is that they are still lacking in seller confidence. Buyers may bid all they want, but have no incentive to follow through with payment once they win. The seller may contact the buyer to seek payment, but waiting for the buyer to respond can be as frustrating as waiting for your stuff to ever sell on Amazon. 

Having said that, your smartest option may be to list your items on both sites, so as to expose yourself to the greatest number of people, and benefit from all the pros, whilst taking the sting out of the cons.

Over all though, the two sites have worked over the years to iron out the kinks and flush out the scammers. Today both Ebay and Amazon are reliable platforms for selling goods and have enough customers and products worldwide as a testament to their success.
<![CDATA[Top scam money making websites]]>Thu, 02 Dec 2010 20:14:20 GMThttp://ridiculouslife.net/3/post/2010/12/pregnancy-weight-gain.htmlTop scam money making websites

In a climate where job loss is high, income low and bills don’t stop just because you got laid off or are taking time off to have kids, making money online can certainly seem like a life saver. The current trend in online get rich quick schemes comes in the form of websites that offer payment to complete surveys and offers, or to write product reviews. However, for various reasons, most of these sites turn out to be scams, using barely legal methods to extract personal information from the public, promising remuneration and failing to deliver. 

Some of the companies orchestrating these scams are even considered reputable, yet they freely get away with theft at no repercussion to themselves. Meantime the users whom they scam are left to wallow in their own impotence and frustration, with no way to defend themselves or to ever get redress. 

Below are details of some of the top websites that offer payment in exchange for work, and the methods they use to perpetrate their scam. 

CashCrate claims to pay users for signing up for offers, trying new products, completing surveys and getting cash back on purchases made at hundreds of online retailers.

CashCrate’s offers include registering for wardrobe makeover sweeps, signing up for auto insurance quotes and chances to win desirable prizes such as a year’s worth of diapers, airplane tickets, or thousands of dollars in gift cards from places like Target or Costco. 

All the user has to do is “fill out the form with valid information and participate.” What this really means is that the user will be asked to: 
1) provide an email address which will be sold to numerous third parties, thereby generating hundreds of spam messages to your inbox every day. 
2) fill out a form that needs to include a cell phone number. The moment the cell phone number is divulged, the user will receive text spam at a cost to the USER of $9.99. 
3) complete any two offers. These offers may seem free (such as a free trial to whiter teeth), but users will be asked to reveal credit card details in order to cover shipping and processing. Mostly this is a nominal fee of no more than one dollar, but the point is that CashCrate and its advertisers will acquire credit card information that may then be used in any one of a number of credit card scams.  

If all the steps are not fulfilled, user participation is considered incomplete and the account will not be credited.
 Furthermore there are no real surveys on CashCrate, just endless pages of offers, designed to confuse the user and extract as much personal information as possible. CashCrate is visibly a scam and a dangerous one at that. Stay well away!

Googling InboxDollars will bring up mixed reviews. As with Cashcrate, InboxDollars, which is owned by CotterWeb Enterprises, works using offers and surveys. The surveys are considered impossible to qualify for, as the survey companies are very specific in the demographics from whom they want information. 

With InboxDollars, users earn five dollars for joining and can cash out at thirty dollars. Other than offers, users also receive paid emails, which pay two cents just for clicking them, plus hundreds of addictive games, also with a cash payout. Many users have reported dedicatedly playing their favorite games for several weeks, before realizing that no money has been added to their account. Upon inquiring with the support center, users are typically told that InboxDollars is not responsible and that payment will happen if and when the game hosts ever confirm their having played. 

The offers aren’t any better, though they are more attractive, as many do not require credit card information in order to be considered complete. However, once an offer is completed InboxDollars closes the page, leaving no record of it having been completed. Many complaints have been submitted by users claiming to be owed credit on numerous offers on which they wasted valuable time and offered up their email for spam. Again, contacting the support center seems to be fruitless, and many are met with rude responses from scammers whose job is to absolve InboxDollars from all responsibility towards the user. 
Finally, of those who have made it to the thirty dollar payout threshold, many have complained that upon requesting their payment, InboxDollars mysteriously canceled their accounts and their money was lost. 
In conclusion, InboxDollars appears to be a scam, with its main aim to collect email address to sell to third parties, leaving the user with nothing but an inbox full of spam to show for their efforts. 

SnapDollars is basically the Canadian version of InboxDollars. The offers are identical; users get five dollars for joining, cash out is at thirty dollars and paid emails are sent every day. Users who have signed up for most of the offers on InboxDollars, will be unable to do the same on SnapDollars, as the advertisers already have the information and understandably don’t wish pay twice for the same account. So the message here is to choose either SnapDollars or InboxDollars, but there’s no need to sign up for both.  

As with InboxDollars, reviews of SnapDollars are mixed, with the negatives including complaints about bad customer service, compensation never received for completing offers, and difficulty in qualifying for surveys. One particularly worrisome complaint comes from users who claim that SnapDollars refuses allow them to cash out their thirty dollars until they first spend fifteen dollars on offers. Others complain that SnapDollars mysteriously loses their mailing address and then removes the cash out button from their page. Basically it seems, from the enormous number of complaints that SnapDollars will do anything to wriggle out of paying its users.

On the upside, if there can be an upside, SnapDollars lets its users know which offers are one hundred percent free, so that they’ll know in advance which offers can be completed  without ever being asked for credit card details.

In conclusion, the SnapDollars scam is identical to InboxDollars, with SnapDollars being just a little more imaginative in the excuses used to avoid paying users their dues.

Panda Research.com
PandaResearch has nothing to offer anyone who is not interested in divulging their credit card information. The surveys range from one to five dollars, which is more generous than the fifty cents offered by Cashcrate and InboxDollars, but every one of these surveys is attached to a free trial offer that must be completed with credit card details.  

Panda Research also offers paid emails which pay two cents just for clicking on them, but it might not be worth joining just for that, as their cash out threshold is one hundred dollars. On the upside, it won’t take long to figure out that Panda Research is a waste of time, as users will not even be able to begin a survey without first signing up for a free offer using a credit card.

Before users can even begin completing paid surveys, GlobalTestMarket requires completion of a “profile survey,” which is made up of ten detailed surveys with questions ranging from household income, to travel choices, to auto insurance, to detailed information about every piece of technology in the home and workplace, to career, purchases and interests. Once users have divulged everything there is to divulge about themselves and every item that has ever come within a ten mile radius of them, they are deemed ready to begin the surveys.   

Users typically complain that, upon completion of their “profile survey,” they are subsequently unable to qualify for any of the paid surveys. GlobalTestMarket emails a paid survey everyday, however upon answering a couple of questions, users are immediately told that they did not qualify. It seems that many users have never qualified for surveys, and why would they when they have already given up so much information for free?

GlobalTestMarket is a scam that extracts all the information it needs using the “profile survey,” and users will never qualify for a paid survey. There are no real paid surveys on this site, do not waste your time.

Mommytalksurveys targets new mothers, claiming, “Shared experiences between you and your baby are the most rewarding. Now earn cash rewards for sharing your opinions with us.” Earnings for most of the listed surveys range from one to three dollars, and cash out is at twenty five dollars. 

But there is a catch. Just as with GlobalTestMarket, users have complained that following a ten minute pre-survey using questions closely related to the actual survey, they have been unable to qualify for the actual survey. It is now thought that there are no paid surveys on the site, as the pre-surveys provide all the necessary information required by the client company.

Based on reviews like this, it is recommended that no one wastes their time signing up to Mommytalksurveys.  

MyPoints offers the opportunity to earn points for doing what you already do online: shopping, reading emails, playing games, searching the web, taking surveys, and more. Users can then covert those points to gift cards for stores and restaurants of their choosing. 

However, upon reading the fine print, users will learn that no gift cards will be dispensed until they sign up for at least one “sponsored offer.” And of course these “sponsored offers” require credit card details. Again, as it is not advisable to divulge credit card  information, it is not worth joining MyPoints.

There have also been a number of complaints about MyPoints mysteriously closing user accounts as soon as a payout is requested. Based on the volume and consistency of negative reviews alone, it seems reasonable to say  that MyPoints is a scam.

MySurvey, which is owned by the consumer research company, Taylor Nelson Sofres, pays users to participate in consumer research surveys conducted by various participating companies. There is also a referral system that allows users to earn when they recruit new users to the site. 

MySurvey.com actually pays in points, which can then be traded for cash, with one thousand points equaling ten dollars. Ten dollars is the minimum cash out amount. 

Referring new users wins a user one hundred and fifty points ($1.50) for each person who qualifies and actively takes surveys.

The reviews for MySurvey mainly consist of users complaining that the payout per completed survey has dropped drastically from seventy five points ($0.75) to just ten to thirty points ($0.10 to $0.30), regardless that some of their surveys can last up to forty five minutes. This certainly places MySurvey in the slave-labor category.

ReviewStream allows users to earn money by writing reviews about anything they desire, including homes appliances, toys, companies, hotels, politics, cities, stores on your street, or even your neighbor’s pets. ReviewStream will pay $2.50 per accepted review. Many join ReviewStream, reasoning that as they already review for Yelp, they might as well get paid for it instead.

Well that’s not quite how it works. Reviews first have to be approved, and when they are not approved users will never learn why. Instead users are directed to a page that states, in capital letters, “Your review is not valuable, we are not interested in it.” After much searching on line, you’ll uncover testimonials from previous users revealing that this is ReviewStream’s way of refusing any reviews that fall under two hundred and fifty words. This may be the case, but nowhere on the site does ReviewStream state that reviews are subject to a minimum number of words. 

Reviews may also be partially approved, in a system called “bulk reviews”, whereby users get paid “the bulk rate” of one fifth of the going rate (fifty cents) for a review that is considered mediocre, but not bad enough to dump entirely. ReviewStream encourages users to include personal opinions in their reviews, but what eventually leads them to accept, partially accept or totally reject a review remains a mystery. 

The cash out threshold is fifty dollars and many reviewers complain that, since most reviews are only accepted at the bulk rate of fifty cents, they may have to write up to one hundred reviews before reaching that cash out. Many users have also complained about not being paid and being met with unusually aggressive responses from staff when attempting to chase up their dues.

The other complaint is that although ReviewStream claims to respond to submissions within seventy two hours, they will more often than not take considerably longer before letting users know whether they plan to accept or reject their work.

Finally, looking at their Whois records, it appears that ReviewStream is hiding their real address by using a US proxy to register under a US address. Yet a brief email exchange with the ReviewStream staff and their poor grasp of the English language, will raise the question, where in the world is this site really based?

In conclusion, ReviewStream does not inspire trust, their business practices are questionable and user complaints are practically viral on the internet.

Constant Content 
Constant content is touted as a high quality site for serious writers. You may write about anything you please, so long as it contains useful information, is not written in the first person, and expresses no personal opinions. To guarantee greater success, you are welcome to pick a title from a list of requested titles. You may also name your price per article, and some of the requested titles are priced anywhere between twenty dollars and two hundred dollars depending on the number of words. 

Knowing that Constant Content accepts only the very best and most thoroughly researched writing, users toil late into the night, researching the story and minding their grammar. And then they submit. And then they are rejected. 

Many users complain of articles being rejected for reasons including a missing comma, a misspelled word, a minor grammar adjustment, citing of references, use of words like ‘may be’ which apparently indicate opinion, and many more. Of course grammar needs to be perfect and guidelines need to be followed, but it seems, based on the following evidence, that Constant Content is looking for reasons to reject. 

Firstly the rejection email with the explanation about the missing comma requires more effort on the part of the editor than simply inserting the comma and accepting the article. Users may certainly resubmit the article, though no more than three times according to the rules. Then it is banished forever.

What raises the most suspicion though, is that, instead of informing users of all the errors in the first rejection, Constant Content will sniff at the missing comma in rejection number one, complain about the use of ‘may be’ in rejection number two, and finally highlight a misspelled word in rejection number three. The question therefore is why did the editors not list all the errors in the first rejection, thereby maximizing the chance of accepting the article? 

Constant content doesn't want the work, and will never accept the articles. Or more 
specifically, constant content wants informative and well researched articles, but doesn't want to credit the user for it. Don't be surprised if you later find your hard work published in some reputable site or paper, slightly modified and under someone else's name. That's right, constant content's mission is information theft. They lure users to do the research, reject it based on unreasonable expectations, and then sell it quietly, claiming all the booty for themselves.

Google Adsense
Google Adsense is one of the biggest money making opportunities advertised on the net, yet it now turns out that it may also be a total scam. The cash out threshold is one hundred dollars, and a rumor is circulating that Google terminates accounts just before they reach their cash out threshold, claiming invalid clicks, and then refusing to respond to the user’s pleas. This is extremely unsettling, as Google is a huge, reputable company and the last place where most of people would expect to be scammed.

It is not uncommon for subscribers to link their Google Adsense accounts to all manner of online publishing websites such as Helium, Hubpages, Triond, Xomba, RateItAll and many more. In spite of this it is nearly impossible to make a significant income just by relying on others to click on the ads. 

However, knowing that your efforts will never bear fruit, it is probably for the best that your content rarely generates income. Still, this is the most disturbing of all the scams, as Google is strong and reputable and has no need to steal from desperate individuals.

Let’s start by stating the obvious; if it sounds too good to be true, then it is too good to be true. Many online money making sites lead you to believe that you will get rich quickly in exchange for minimum work. However this is never the case, and most websites sell your email to spammers, resort to multiple ways to avoid paying you, pay very low rates, or simply rob you after they have accessed and sold your credit card details to other companies. 

The most popular credit card scam
 involves acquiring your credit card details, supposedly for a small shipping charge, but buried in the fine print is authorization for negative option subscriptions. Negative option subscriptions are when a merchant subscribes you to receive goods that you never requested. It is then up to you to decline these goods, otherwise it is assumed that you have agreed to purchase the goods and your card is charged. The other common credit card scam is when you are enticed to sign up for free trials using your credit card. In this case the companies are counting on you to forget to cancel the card when the free trial period is up. And if you do remember to cancel, then you’ll be made to jump through hoops before the cancellation is complete. Finally there is the risk of credit card information being stolen by individuals masquerading as companies, in a scam known as phishing. Then you have no choice but to cancel your card immediately, as your account will simply be drained by thieves. 

The other key scam to avoid is being asked for you cell phone number. 
Do not, under any circumstances provide this information, unless you are prepared to throw money out of the window. At first you might think the worst that can happen is you'll receive some text spam. What actually happens is that you receive text spam at a cost to you of around $9.99, as demonstrated by the example phone bill below. Of course you won't know any of this until AFTER you have provided the information or received your phone bill at the end of the month. 

Certainly sites exist that can earn you money, but it will never be very much. Any site that pays a decent salary will require hard work and a certain amount of personal abuse. Take Demand Media for example. There is no doubt that they pay. But most users are unable to sustain a writing career with them, as, at fifteen dollars an article they require well researched content with titles such as, ‘The Fuel Pump Location in a Mercedes C280,’ ‘The Driver Compaq Lite on the LTR482 Will Not Write,’ and ‘How to Hook Up a Tiller to a GX335.’ Unless you are a mechanic, electrician, plumber, computer engineer, or rocket scientist, writing for Demand Media will require at least an entire day of research and referencing. Fifteen dollars per article may sound good, but fifteen dollars for an entire day’s worth of hard work with no guarantee of acceptance at the end, doesn’t compute quite so well. Furthermore the internet is littered with complaints of the contemptuous and dismissive manner of Demand Media editors towards their writers. As such writers rarely stick with Demand Media for long.

So before registering with a “money-making” site, bare in mind the following: Firstly, in Google search, type the site’s name followed by the word ‘scam’ or ‘review.’ This will take you to blogs and forums filled with the opinions of previous and current users of that site. If the opinions are consistently negative, assume that the site is a scam. Secondly if anyone requests your credit card details or worse still, your social security number, immediately close that page and walk away, they are most likely trapping you into a credit card scam, as detailed above. And finally be smart. If you wish to try out a site, open a new email account for all the spam you’ll receive and keep your expectations low. None of these sites will make you rich or be a suitable replacement for your regular job. 

New sites, such as those mentioned in this article are being born every day. There doesn’t appear to be any effective regulation to prevent them, so it is up to you to be vigilant and be aware that many websites that promise to pay, are in fact scams.
scam money making websites, OCD, sociopath
<![CDATA[Getting ripped off at Rooms by Zoya B]]>Thu, 02 Dec 2010 19:02:03 GMThttp://ridiculouslife.net/3/post/2010/12/pregnant-in-a-world-with-no-real-men.htmlGetting ripped off at Rooms by Zoya B

Beautiful furniture for baby, but not cheap. At those prices, I had hoped for a certain level of customer service. Well guess what? As soon as I handed over my money for the bulk of the stuff (crib, changing table, rocking chair), the trouble began:

FIRSTLY, Zoya B needed to send someone to measure our window for curtains. The person rescheduled twice, before finally showing up.
Then we waited three weeks for an estimate. When the estimate came in, I almost gave birth there and then. For one window, the cost would be $4061.

Several days earlier, we had dressed all the other windows in our apartment (a total of five windows) for a grand total of $3414 for all five windows.
So when I called to see whether that really was the cost, I was informed, by an assistant, that Zoya B works exclusively with one woman who charges high prices for making curtains. But if I wanted I could buy the fabric at 10% discount and get someone else to make the curtains. Well thanks for nothing, I don’t fancy building my curtains piecemeal. So I went elsewhere to get a full curtain service at a much more reasonable price.

SECONDLYwe made the mistake of accepting that the delivery charges for all the purchased items would be quoted to us at a later date. Word to the wise, if someone refuses to give you delivery estimates at the time of purchase, there is a reason for that. They plan to bend you over and rob you. So, for a delivery of less than 3 miles from their warehouse to our home, we were charged $571. To add insult to injury, it was not sent in one invoice. After receiving two invoices totaling $463, I emailed to say, please, is this the last of the invoices? I was told, yes. Then two days later, another invoice for $108 dropped into my inbox, with a note saying, sorry, we forgot to include this invoice for delivery of the rocking chair.

When we protested this, we were told that we were welcome to collect the items ourselves. So we hired a van and went to their loading dock. The whole experience cost $50.

We have purchased beds, a couch and other large pieces of furniture from stores all over Manhattan and never have delivery charges been so high. Zoya B’s assistant banged on about how delivery men make their living out of delivering things and that someone has to pay them. Well guess what, I have never had this expense with any other shops. The amount we spent to make our nursery using Zoya B, had me thinking that delivery would be somewhat factored in the cost.

IN CONCLUSION, at no point during any of this, did Zoya B herself bother to communicate with us. We copied her into emails and told her assistants that we expected to hear from her. But she remained absent. 

There is an element of greed here that is unacceptable. Zoya B’s furniture is pricey and takes 10-12 weeks to be delivered. She knows that by the time she sends those delivery invoices, I am 9 months pregnant with no time to go elsewhere. That’s when she swoops in and takes that last stab of extra cash.

The whole customer service experience has been disgusting. No word from Zoya B, very delayed responses from one of her assistants, and non-stop pathetic excuses from the other assistant. No attempt was made to make the customer happy. Every attempt was made to screw the customer.

My advice is stay away from Zoya B. Sure her stuff is nicer than most, but the baby won’t care either way. Remember that all baby products must meet all the relevant safety standards, and that is what counts more than anything else. Go to Buy Buy Baby for instance and you’ll get your stuff instantly and with minimal delivery charges. Less stress, more civilized.
Zoya B, OCD, sociopath
<![CDATA[Akam Associates went above and beyond]]>Thu, 02 Dec 2010 18:56:59 GMThttp://ridiculouslife.net/3/post/2010/12/breaking-the-cycle-of-parenting-with-food.htmlAkam Associates went above and beyond to solve a problem that wasn't even theirs to solve

One of the employees of our building conned us by offering to do a paint job that he was unqualified to do and that he never completed, but because he is a union employee who conned us outside of his union working hours, there was effectively nothing anyone could do to discipline this man or to convince him to return our money. 

I pleaded with my condo board to help me to find a resolution, but this fell on horribly deaf ears. I pleaded with Akam, the mangers of our building, stressing how demoralizing it was to have to move into my new home and see my con artist in the hallways every day. Well Akam heard me. They showed themselves to be compassionate and understanding. Although there was little they could do (they had no power to fire the con artist or to force him to return the money, as he was protected by his union), they nonetheless joined me in my plight. Akam kindly positioned themselves as a go between and successfully helped me to negotiate a return of the money from the con artist. 

If Akam manages your building, then you can consider yourself to be one of the more fortunate residents of New York City. 

To all at AKAM I would like to say THANK YOU VERY MUCH for handling this situation with skill, sensitivity and professionalism, and most of all for going above and beyond to help me get redress from the con artist who remains employed by my condo board.

To the rest of the world, I say: 
1) always choose Akam Associates to manage your condo, you will lead a very satisfied life. 
2) if you can help it in life, avoid hiring union employees. Everyone knows that unions exist purely to protect society's lazy and inept at the high expense of everyone else. 

Happy house hunting !!
<![CDATA[The best and worst websites for writers and bloggers]]>Thu, 02 Dec 2010 18:52:23 GMThttp://ridiculouslife.net/3/post/2010/12/pregnancy-hormones-and-madness.htmlThe best and worst websites for writers and bloggers

As a writer or blogger, you might join a community to network, learn, promote your work, publish your content, and even make a spot of money on the side. 

If this is your motivation, then, you’ll have figured out two things by now: Firstly, you are not alone. There is an offensively large number of aspiring writers out there, ranging from talented to deserve to be shot. Secondly, many websites exist that claim to make your dreams come true.

In order to save you months of scouring the web only to be met with disappointment and wasted effort, below is a description of some of the best and worst online communities for writers and bloggers...

The Good: Hubpages
Instant gratification with hits the moment you publish. An active community and obviously an enormous database. Whatever your field of interest, someone is interested in hearing about it. Clearly the reputation of Hubpages is so excellent that everyone is keen to read, comment, follow, encourage and share. With Hubpages, not only will you drive traffic to your own website, but you may even make some money with Google Ads too. 

Make Hubpages your FIRST port of call. Do not leave it until last, especially as Hubpages does not accept duplications. If you've already tossed your great ideas all over the internet, then forget about bringing them to Hubpages. 

The Good: Triond
Triond commands a network of websites, and will publish your content on the site that best suits your topic and target audience, thereby earning you maximum readership. Triond’s network includes websites with topics ranging from poetry and literature, to business, sports, travel, health and wellness, and many more. 

Plus, as soon as your work is approved and published, it generates revenue from two sources: page views and the display and contextual advertising that appears on the pages of your work. Triond shares with you 50% of the revenue generated by your content.

The Good: BlogCatalog
This is a great site if you can ever get the webmaster to approve your blog, which is hit or miss, depending on whether he’s busy scratching is belly button. In spite of the bone idle webmaster, BlogCatalog deserves a huge thumbs up, thanks to the active, responsive and impressively well informed community. This is a mine of useful information for writers, with everything from how to promote your website or blog to how to make money online. Don't be shy about asking questions, everyone is keen to share their extensive knowledge here.

The Good and Bad: Facebook 
If you want to catch up with old school friends from when you were five, then Facebook is for you. But if you plan to network, build a community and promote your work, then good luck to you. 

Facebook limits the number of friends you can make (5000 total), the speed at which you may request those friends, the number of pages you can like, how many groups you can join and how many blogs you can follow. There are probably more limits not listed here, but what is clear is that Facebook does not want you doing your own networking. And why should it, when it has an expensive advertising package to offer you instead? Facebook is driven by greed, so if you have a book to promote or a blog to share, then by all means post it on Facebook, but don't expect much.

Having said that Facebook has a huge upside, a weakness in their armor, you might say, called NetworkedBlogs. On the surface it’s just another place to post and link to your website or blog. But there is more to NetworkedBlogs. Visit their discussion forum, where everyone is literally begging one another to ‘follow me and I’ll follow you.’ Yes it’s an orgy of button pressing, but it also exposes your writing to hundreds, possibly thousands of eyes. The ‘Like’ or ‘Follow’ button is today’s measure of success, with the power to promote your website and get you better rankings on Google. NetworkedBlogs gets you those ‘Likes’.

For more on the power of the Like button, refer to these articles: 

Why the Button War? Because Content is Social Currency [10 Links] 
Facebook has transformed the “Like” button into “currency for brands.
Facebook Like Button Gets Ads

And it gets sweeter. As everyone on NetworkedBlogs’ discussion forum is looking for ways to propagate their work, if you happen to have a referral link to another blog or website-promoting site, then you can earn Google Adsense revenue just by sharing that information on the NetworkedBlogs discussion forum. 

It’s a win-win situation. Well perhaps not so much for Facebook, so you might want to keep this under your hat, lest they pull the plug on this one ‘flaw’ in their greedy master plan for world domination.

The Good and Bad: Writer's Digest 
Great community, fun people sharing a common cause (to become published writers), but not so self absorbed as to be unable to hold a forum conversation. You’ll enjoy great interactions, tips, advice and a general feeling of warmth here. 

The major downside to Writer’s Digest is their aggressive advertising. Writer’s Digest is not merely a forum for aspiring writers, but a company that sells writing related tools, such as conferences, books and webinars. The community frequently complains in the discussion forums about the aggressive advertising, but Writer’s Digest is deaf to the suggestions that their hard-sell advertising is more off-putting than effective.

The Bad: Xomba
Tiny community, you'll get a couple of initial responses to your articles at first and then it will all die down. As for driving traffic to your own website or blog, if no one's checking it out, then no one's around to click on your links. And forget about ever trying to make money from your articles. Xomba isn't even listed in Wikipedia. 

The Bad: Zimbio
Unless your sole interest in life is to write about celebrities, don't waste your time. Enough said.

The bad: Squidoo
What a phenomenal waste of time! Firstly Squidoo claims to be “home to millions of pages of the best content, advice and recommendations online.” That can only be a lie, as only a site that screens can claim to be “the best.” On Squidoo anyone can publish anything. One recurring complaint is that, of all the communities, Squidoo generates the least hits. You are even supposed to be able to make Adsense revenue here, but that won’t happen if your readership is zero.

The bad: Scribd
Scribd claims to be “the world’s largest social reading and publishing company.” But it is unclear why. Your content appears like a JPeg image of a word document, it’s not even attractive to look at. Here too, there is no gatekeeper, absolutely anyone who can switch on a computer, can publish content to this site.

The Bad: Yelp
You give, they take. Yes, I know that yelp is a review site, but with millions of subscribers and no limits to how many friends you can acquire, Yelp is also an excellent source of eyes and ears, and a great place to show off your writing. If the readers like your style they will often tell you, and they might even click on your links. But here’s the rub: in your reviews and even in your Yelp profile, you may not link to ANYTHING, lest god forbid, it might be self promoting.

To quote the tight-fisted jerks at Yelp: I'm writing to let you know that your account was flagged by the Yelp community, and our Support team has determined that there are promotional aspects to your account which currently violate our Terms of Service. Personal accounts cannot be used to promote another business, website or blog. As such, we'd greatly appreciate it if you could amend your profile headline, so that it no longer promotes your blog by Thursday 16th Sept '10, otherwise we may have to close your account. 

Then close it, you mean bastards, there's only one of me, only 24 hours in a day and right now I don't have time to waste, writing reviews for you and getting nothing in return.

The Bad: Twitter
Everyone’s heard the same song; if you have a website or blog, you must open a Twitter account. What good this does is unclear, though, as mentioned earlier, getting followers is crucial to your credibility as a writer. 

The only way to really describe the Twitter experience is to imagine millions of individuals taking turns to run into a room, yell out a sentence and then run out again. No one is interested in what anyone else has to say. Sure you can get followers, but they aren’t following you out of interest, they merely want you to follow them, and unlike Facebook’s NetworkedBlogs, you’ll gain nothing more from this pointless interchange.

In conclusion
Many online communities exist that promise overnight success and enhanced readership, but the reality is that no one website has the power to make you famous, not while they are making every one else famous at the same time. Even if you do well using these sites, it takes years of hard work and persistence.

Manage your expectations. Every site has its own agenda, so just get what you can out of it, but don’t assume that it holds the key to your dreams. It does not.

Meantime sign up to Google Adsense. Do this before joining any online communities and publishing your work, then as soon as you get your Adsense ID, you’ll be ready to not just enhance your readership, but also earn revenue on the side. Again this does not happen overnight. Think about it; if it’s hard to get people to read your content, imagine how much harder it will be to get them to click on your ads. Keep your day jobs people, the whole Adsense business is a fun cherry on the cake, but you will most likely earn in cents, not dollars and it certainly won’t pay the rent.

Most importantly, always remember to include backlinks to your own website, whether in your profile, in the discussion forum or within your published content. Don’t spam though. Engage the community. However do not even bother to sign up to any website or community that does not allow you to post links. Life is too short!

Happy writing everyone, and don't let anyone stop you from pursuing your dreams.
blog, blogging, weblog, best and worst blogs, OCD, sociopath
Your time is precious, do not allow 
someone else to squander it