Friday, November 30, 2007

Black Friday Arbitrage - Smoley Style

It's been a week since Black Friday, which means only 51 weeks before I can kill it again. So what is Black Friday arbitrage – Smoley Style? It involves finding a great deal, purchasing a product, and then reselling it at a higher price. O.K., so how is that different than the regular Black Friday bullshit? Here’s the twist:

  1. Do a Google search for Black Friday deals Monday or Tuesday of Thanksgiving week. By this time stores have usually leaked information about their Door Busters. For example, this year Toys-R-Us sold the Microsoft Zune 30 GB Digital Media Player (Brown)for $79.99. It normally retails for $200…but can be found on Amazon for about $140 - $150.

  2. After creating a list of products you might want to buy, identify local competitors who carry those products but who are not running Door Buster sales on those specific products. For example, in the case of the Zune, I visited two local Wal-Marts, as well as Staples and Office Max and discovered that both Wal-Marts and Staples had Brown Zunes in stock (two days before Thanksgiving).

  3. Identify when those stores open and plan on arriving about an hour later.

  4. Fight your way through the crowds and check to see if they still have the product in stock. If so, take as many as you want/can and then check out. During check-out, show them the competitor's ad and ask them to price match. Based on my experience, Wal-Mart, Staples, and Best Buy will price match competitors' Black Friday ads; however, Target will not.

  5. Keep what you want and sell the rest on Craigslist, Ebay, or Amazon.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Shoemoney's Friend Laura Martin Wins Party Like a Rockstar Contest

Shoemoney's Party Like A Rockstar contest is finally over. Thank God! Was it rigged? I think so, but I'll let you be the judge. By consensus, six judges arrived at three finalists. SEO Loser,, and Laura Martin (a friend of Shoe's who has been a guest on his podcast as well as a contestant on Who Wants to Be The Next Internet Millionaire - An internet reality show that Shoe has plugged on multiple occasions).

Anyway, once the finalists were announced, Shoemoney added a poll to his blog asking his readers to cast their vote for who they would like to see go to Las Vegas. Initially, the week-long poll was neck-and-neck between and Laura Martin. However, after a few days it became a race between and SEO Loser (with Laura Martin trailing by dozens of votes). This would remain the case until the final evening when one of Shoemoney's readers noted:

Comment by El-Chupa-Nebra 2007-11-18 00:11:46
Laura pulls 70+ votes in a few hours? Sus much? lol

The next morning Shoemoney squashed the contest and added the following disclaimer to the his blog post:

EDIT: Poll removed. (I think people thought the poll was the official contest so there was a lot of trying to game it or send whiney emails to me (which isn’t going to gain any points)). We more just wanted to hear the opinions of who people wanted to win. The judges will decide today and a post will be made tomorrow.

Shoemoney may have "wanted" to hear our opinions, but did he listen?!? Our opinions indicated that should be going to Las Vegas. Because it's Shoemoney's contest, he has the final decision. That's fine. The contest is subjective, we get it!

But why waste our time with a poll? After all, although "...people thought the poll was the official contest" it really didn't have any weight, right?!? Oh wait! According to the poll (that didn't count), Laura Martin was the last minute winner after a surge of 70+ votes (likely cast via anonymous proxies - or maybe Shoe just tweaked the results;-). Never mind the poll, it doesn't count. Yet, when the judges announced "their" decision earlier today, Laura Martin emerged as the winner.

Congratulations to Laura Martin! In Shoemoney's own words, "Success favors the prepared."

Friday, November 09, 2007

Shoemoney - Party Like A Rockstar Contest

Here are 6 reasons I should be the winner of Shoemoney's Party Like a Rockstar contest. Sign into Facebook to enjoy comments/thoughts from these industry leaders (PWNED!):

1) Shoemoney's Facebook

2) Dax's Facebook

3) Rebecca's Facebook

4) Neil's Facebook

5) Greg's Facebook

6) Dillsmack's Facebook

Feel free to leave your own comments on their sites too. See you in Vegas!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Shoemoney vs. John Chow RSS Contest - I Won

I never win anything - ever! Well, today my luck has finally changed. I received an email this afternoon stating that I had won two prizes. After receiving the email, I went to Shoemoney's site to see if he had posted anything yet. Sure enough, I made it into his blog post. Woo-who!!!

News Gator Winner - Terry Smoley
$99.95 - 1 “Sponsored Listing” - From
Site Sift Web Directory
$67 - 1 license of
Backup Platinum - From SoftLogica

Both prizes are very cool! I have settled on which site I'll submit to Site Sift and look forward to the bump I'll receive in organic rankings for having the additional directory listing!

MSN Redemption

It took a great deal of persistence by way of multiple emails, but MSN finally provided a response that satisfactorily explains why many of my sites suddenly fell of the face of the earth.

Thank you for contacting Live Search technical support. We understand that
you are having a problem right now with your site < a) not being indexed in
Live Search or b) not being found in Live Search when looking for it using key

We are aware of this problem, and it is not affecting
your site alone. We discovered an error in the programming that submits
URL's to our search engine and we are in the process of fixing it. In the
next few days you will be to go to the site
and submit your URL again. We will process the site through our anti-spam
and content filters and include the site and rank it appropriately. The
entire process should take about 2 weeks to complete, but may take longer
depending on the number of pages in your domain, the content, how the page was
written, and other factors.

We thank you for your patience while we
resolve this issue, and invite you to contact us again if your site is still not
indexed in our results after 2 weeks. You can check if your site is
indexed by going to, and typing
"site:" into the search bar. You don't need quotes, and
you should replace with the name of your site or URL that you
are checking.

Thanks again for contacting Live Search support.

Thank you MSN! I look forward to the seeing my traffic levels return to normal.

Monday, October 08, 2007

MSN Live's New Algo Should Be Named Site Sniper

MSN Live is anything but subtle when it comes to algorithmic tweaking (a.k.a., site sniping). About two weeks ago I noticed they bumped one of my new sites from their index. I figured it was a short-term "adjustment" and would correct itself. It never did. Early last week they erased one of my large sites - a site that has been indexed for nearly a year and that dominated positions 1 - 5 for several keywords.

After they sniped my large site, I contacted them using their email form. I received an automated response stating:

"Occasionally, a website may disappear from search results as we change our website-ranking algorithms. In some cases, search results may change considerably as we test new algorithms. If the placement of your web site changes you should check back in two weeks. It can take a couple of weeks for changes to stabilize...We may remove a website from the index if the website was reported as spam. If you think your site may have been mistakenly marked as spam, please reply to this message."

Following their advice, I replied to their automated message with a brief email stating, "I think my site(s) were mistakenly marked as spam and removed."

The next day I received a response from Arlene with Live Search Technical Support stating, "I want to let you know that your inquiry is quite isolated and unique. I will be forwarding this case to our product specialists, who will then engage additional resources to further investigate this matter."

Three days later I received a response from James with Microsoft Global Escalations stating, "I have been assigned to help you with your issue, and my records indicate that the issue you are experiencing is with Live Search and indexing of your page...We are aware of this issue and are diligently working to resolve this. Please check back in 48hrs."

Although I initially thought I was the only target, it appears others have been sniped as well.

I'll provide a follow-up once I've been re-indexed.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Unique Blog Designs - Or Broken Blog Designs?

Today I was listening to the first of two podcasts in which John Chow hosted the Shoemoney Show. One of his guests was Nate Whitehill from Unique Blog Designs. Nate is known for redesigning both Chow and Shoemoney's blogs. Although his work is unquestionably great, I was a bit shocked to discover that many of his designs render horribly in IE6 (see pics below). Based on stats from my own sites, the majority of my visitors are still using IE6. Given the $750 price tag Nate charges for a new skin, I would expect the design to be cross-browser compatible.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


I've been looking for a new hosting provider. I currently have it narrowed down to GoDaddy and HostMonster, but think HostMonster might be the better deal (see below). Let me know which one you would pick.

Host Unlimited Domains On 1 Hosting Account

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Bullet for My Valentine

Bullet for My Valentine fricken rocks!!! I bought their cd this afternoon titled The Poison.It is easily the best CD I've purchased in a very long time.

I first discovered Bullet for My Valentine yesterday while surfing YouTube. Check 'em out!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Smoley, IRB Approval, Data Collection, ASP.NET

It's been too long since my last post. Hmmm...that's beginning to sound like this site's mantra. Things have been during the holidays...a sick child...IRB "exemption" granted from my employer...a sick Child...thesis data collection...Skype...and so the story goes.

I got a new ASP book in November, but haven't had time to delve into it. It's ASP.NET 2.0 Unleashedby Stephen Walther. It might become more of a reference book rather than a cover-to-cover read, being it's 1963 pages. Nonetheless, the first time I cracked it open I learned something new (i.e., cross-page postbacks).

Anyway, that's it for now. My New Year's resolution (albeit almost a month late), will be to blog at least once a week.