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One of the rising work at home scams nowadays is what is called "repackaging or reshipping scams."The modus operandi works like this: you may receive an unsolicited email or see a post on Craigslist or a job board telling you that you can get paid for acting as a middleman where your job is to accept goods and send them to a given address. Or you will sell items they will supply on eBay and will accept payment for them. These criminals are often based in the former Soviet bloc countries, with many coming from Russia.Sounds easy right? More so when you hear that you can get paid around $20-$40
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for every package processed and sent!Alas, many are finding that these are but scams. Worse, there have been reports that some people get jailed for it. MSNBC.com reports that a man was nearly jailed for this "job" because he was accepting goods apparently purchased with stolen credit cards.In one case, a woman was sued for selling a Russian antique jewelry box on eBay because the item never arrived after the buyer sent her several thousands of dollars for the winning bid. The middleman said that she wired the money to her Russian bosses after receiving word that the item will be sent as soon as the money is received. But no antique jewelry box came, and the Russian who hired her through a job board posting disappeared. Unfortunately for the middleman, the buyer went after her. She accepted the job because she was in desperate need of cash, and was not expecting that the "job" will end up in court.Read the warning issued by the United States Postal Service about this reshipping scamRemember the cardinal rule: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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You often hear of the advice that you need to "engage your customers." Engaged customers are more loyal, and more likely to recommend you to others.But how exactly do you "engage the customer," especially online where you don't get a chance to personally talk to the customer and present your products unlike traditional retailing? Get out of the mentality that all you need to sell is to write the features and descriptions of your products. You need to communicate to them why your brand is different from your competitors.Understand your customers by knowing what is important to them, the languag
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e they use to communicate , their lifestyle, and what they respond to.Show what the customers can buy, and explain why they should buy them.Use testimonials, stories and photos of customers who have used your products.Offer additional content in your website that will provide context to the use of your products (e.g. recipes that can be cooked using your kitchen utensil products)I discussed in LearningfromBigBoys.com one of the best examples of the use of experiential marketing on the Web today, that by the outdoor clothing company Patagonia.com. For more information and tips on how to engage the customer, read the article "Building Customer Engagement."

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YouTube, MySpace, Flickr, Digg, Wikipedia are but some of the collaboration-focused websites that have changed the Internet. Called Web 2.0, these sites include social networking, social bookmarking, social tagging, wikis, among others.The question now is: how can you tap these Web 2.0 websites to boost traffic of your site and increase your reach? Here are six suggestions:1. Make a list of Web 2.0 sites you want to tap. Depending on the type of content you have, prioritize sites that you think would work well for your content. Use Seth Godin's Web 2.0 Traffic Watch List http://www.statsaholic
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.com/sethgodin to determine which sites may be able to give you a bang for your buck.If you have videos, for example, YouTube and similar video sharing sites will work best. If you like to engage in community building, make a profile in MySpace or Facebook.2. Know what you can get from the site. It is important to clarify your expectations right from the beginning. You may post your site URL in Yahoo Answers in the hope that you get a pagerank boost, but YA places a rel=nofollow tag on URLs so there's no gain in terms of linking. But if you provide great responses and relevant URLs, active participation in YA can give a huge traffic boost to your website.Or Stumbleupon, where the value lies not from the SEO standpoint but from the huge number of Stumblers who happen to stumble upon your site and like it, and spread your site to others.3. Understand the type of content suitable for the particular Web 2.0 site. Web 2.0 sites are not equally; and as such, each one has a different criteria. Check first if your content is suitable for that website. For example, Wikipedia favors more research, academic and non-profit websites compared to commercial ad-heavy websites.4. Study the type of content that works well for that Web 2.0 site. Before creating your MySpace profile, check out other profiles especially in your sector. Be sure to read the program policies to know what you can do, and what you cannot do (e.g. can you hard sell your business on the site?). Or look at Digg.com and analyze which content gets "digged" the most compared to others.5. Create content worthy to be talked about and linked. I am a firm believer that everything starts with content. Even if you spend 10 hours a day submitting your content to these Web 2.0 sites but if your content is crap, no one will bother to link or visit your submissions or profiles created. Create content that is very informative, unique or witty, so that others will want to link to you freely and share your content in social bookmarking or social community websites. In Digg, for example, countdown types of articles (top 30 list, top 10 tips, etc) works very well.6. Make your website easy to share. Use tools that will make it easy to share your content and post it in Web 2.0 sites. My personal favorites are:AddThis http://www.addthis.com = very easy to customize, and gives you almost real time statistics on what pages on your site have been shared and where the contents have been postedClearspring http://www.clearspring.com/ = a little harder to customize but their widget gives a nice look, though the stats are a little delayed

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The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) is sponsoring a video contest for small businesses where you create a 30-second clip that answers the question “Why does small business work for America ?” and submit the video to NFIB.Videos will be reviewed and entries will be posted on the NFIB YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/NFIBContest where viewers can rate them. A panel of judges will use those ratings to select semifinalists and an overall winner, who will receive a $5,000 cash award and a trip for two to Washington, D.C., including a stay at the Grand Hyatt Hotel for
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the 2008 National Small Business Summit June 8 – 11.Entries will be accepted up to May 15. If interested, you can read the details of the “Small Business Works for America ” contest at http://www.nfib.com/object/IO_36708.html

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