I’ve never bought anything from Etsy before, but after browsing through the site for the first time ever, I think I’m going to give it a try. I’ve found some pretty cute necklaces and pendants at very reasonable prices, and will likely be placing an order very soon. I’ll be sure to post a full review of the product and seller after I make my purchase!
When you Google someone’s name, a bunch of the results that come back are from companies that perform deeper background checks for a fee. Depending on the service, prices begin at about $9.95 and give you a lot of information gleaned from public records, including addresses (current and past), known relatives, phone numbers, marriage/divorce records, liens, lawsuits, and other judgments.
But what about the times when you just need a middle ground? In other words, when you want more info than you can get just from Google, but don’t need as much as a full background check would provide? And what if you needed this kind of info for a bunch of people, like if you’re planning a school or family reunion? That’s where the Intelius People Search 24-Hour Pass can help.
What you do is go to Intelius (formerly known as US Search) and register for free on the site. Then you purchase a 24-hour pass, which currently costs $19.95. After that, you just search for whomever you want (by first name, middle initial, last name, and city/state, if known) and view the instant results. It used to be called an “unlimited” people search, but they’ve changed it a bit. Now you get 1001 “credits”, and have to apply 1 credit to each report you view. Still, I can’t envision a scenario where the average person would be able to burn through 1001 credits in just 24 hours, so that part is pretty much negligible.
Now, the big question: Is the Intelius data reliable? I would say yes and no to this. I ran some test searches on people (relatives, mostly) whose address and phone information I already knew. In cases where the person had been living at the same address for a number of years, the Intelius information was correct. If the person had recently (within a year) moved, the data was usually not up to speed — even though Intelius says the databases are refreshed daily. Also, in many cases, the phone numbers listed were NOT accurate, no matter how long the person had been at that number. That’s probably not Intelius’ fault, but still… it’s something to bear in mind if you’re trying to locate a hard-to-find person.
One thing I’d like to see in the future is an easy way to print the search results. I didn’t notice a “print” option anywhere, which meant that I was stuck taking screencaps of all the results. Sure, if there’s just one or two past addresses in a person’s history you could simply write the info down. But for people that move frequently and have 10 addresses listed? Forget it!
Overall, I think $19.95 is a reasonable price to pay if you have multiple addresses and phone numbers to look up. I recommend preparing a comprehensive list before you make your purchase and get on the clock so you don’t waste any of your 24 hours. But really, even if you searched for every person you know, it probably wouldn’t take more than 3-4 hours. Twenty-four hours and 1001 credits is plenty!
A couple weeks ago, I wrote that I was trying out FitOrbit, a site that gives you access to a personal trainer for customized meal plans and workouts. The site had a 30-day trial period for those joining up on three- or six-month plans, so I figured I had nothing to lose.
Well, I ended up cancelling my FitOrbit membership after just one week. Initially I was excited about the kind of workouts and meals my trainer would come up with, especially since I had to fill out a detailed “lifestyle questionnaire” about my diet and exercise habits. But that excitement quickly faded when I received back a plan that seemed canned and impersonal. When I wrote to my trainer that the meal plan wasn’t providing me with enough calories to fuel my daily 10k runs, he answered that it was up to me to supplement the meals and snacks he suggested.
I didn’t care for that response at all. Isn’t the whole point of PAYING for a personal trainer on the site to get a meal plan tailored to MY needs? If I was able to figure this stuff out on my own, then I wouldn’t need to pay someone else to do it in the first place, would I?
After that, I decided to ask for a refund. I sent two emails to FitOrbit’s customer support address, but received no answer after 72 hours — which is absolutely unacceptable in this day and age. I then called them (using the phone number that appeared on my credit card bill) and received a full refund without hassle.
Anyway, my recommendation is to just use Spark People or MyFitnessPal or any number of other free fitness websites. Yes, it takes a little more work on your part, but at least you’ll save $60 a month.
I hate going to the post office, but sometimes find it unavoidable when I have to mail a physical letter, card, or package that requires stamps. I’d heard about Stamps.com years and years ago, but figured that kind of thing was mostly for businesses or eBay power sellers. However, not wanting to go to the post office at this time of year, I decided to give Stamps.com a try.
You first have to register an account on the site. After that, you get access to a program that downloads to your desktop. The program allows you to sync mail contacts to make it easier to input destination addresses later, but I didn’t bother with all that. It’s from this program that you also print up the postage labels you need, either by using a plug-in USB scale (that you purchase from Stamps.com) or by weighing and measuring the envelope/package on your own. International postage rates are available, too. And by signing up, I received a $5.00 credit towards free postage, which I’ve already used up.
I haven’t played around with the program a whole bunch yet, but I did print out one label. The process was very straightforward and definitely much more convenient than going to the PO and dealing with traffic, lines, and grumpy employees. Some trips to the post office will still be unavoidable — like if I suddenly want to start selling and shipping slipper tubs to people — but I think using Stamps.com will eliminate 90% of my in-person dealings there.
If I had to pick one thing I don’t like about Stamps.com, it’s the emails they keep sending to remind me to take advantage of different special offers. I’ve unsubscribed already, but I just think it’s obnoxious when companies automatically enroll you in these mailing lists and newsletters. How many people actually want this kind of junk mail??? It should be opt-in, IMO, not opt-out.
Anyway, I’m glad I signed up for this in time to mail out my Christmas cards!
I have been monetizing my websites for a few years now, and although I make more than enough to cover my hosting and domain fees, I’m always looking to increase profits. I think one thing that might help is using better tools to keep track of what’s happening on my site. For example, I need to know how people arrived here, what links they’re clicking during their visit, how long they’re staying, etc. so I can place relevant links and ads that will generate commissions.
There are probably free products that do what I’m asking, but I want something more powerful — like the dashboard scorecard from InetSoft.com. Only I would want the product tailored to monetizing websites like mine instead of keeping track of a sales force.
Do any of you have any recommendations?
I know most bloggers are anal about checking their stats, but I have been extremely lax in that area lately. I really need to get on the ball, though, because one of my goals for the new year is to improve my traffic. To get started, I thought it would be helpful to review the most popular search terms that bring readers to my pages. That can help me key in on content that readers are most interested in, which should then make it more enticing for people to keep coming back.
Anyway, here are a handful (not in any kind of order though):
- People are very interested in cutco knives cost.
- They also want to know where to buy ferrero rocher raffaello chocolates.
- The stranger than fiction watch is still a hit, even though the movie is a couple years old already.
- Readers are also looking for cheap hotels new orleans, but they won’t find that info on my site. I’ve written about cheap hotels and New Orleans separately, but for some reason, people are still finding this site when searching for all those terms together.
- And finally, bed bath and beyond bankruptcy is still a hot topic even though it was Linens ‘N’ Things that went out of business.
Ok, now I’ve got to figure out how to SEO my site based on what people are searching for. Any ideas?
I was looking through my blog stats today to see what kinds of terms people are searching for. I don’t often write posts for the sole purpose of gaining traffic, but I still think it’s important to know what my readers are after.
The top search here at Chronic Consumer remains “bed bank beyond bankruptcy“, which was a big story back in April, and I guess continues to be a hot topic.
Other big draws include “monster energy hoody” (another post that was written a long time ago), “josh beckett pedroia necklace” (this is for Phiten necklaces, which received a lot of coverage during the baseball playoffs), Mac memory (regarding the new MacBook Pro that was announced), and “asso soap” (for all those acne sufferers out there).
I’m surprised that I have gotten so much mileage out of a few of the posts I’ve mentioned, especially since I don’t write for the search engines and don’t do any meta tags, keyword stuffing, or anything like that. Heck, I probably couldn’t have gotten the 28,000+ views I’ve had for my Bed, Bath & Beyond post if I had sat down and really tried to do it!
Blogging is a strange business, that’s for sure!
I’m trying to plan for a family vacation to be taken in either February or April of next year. Yes, I know it’s pretty early to start making arrangements, but sometimes there are good deals to be had when booking so far in advance.
But one question I wanted to pose to you out there is: What are your favorite discount travel websites? Where do you go for the lowest prices on airfare, the cheapest hotel deals, and the best rental car rates? I’ve pretty much tried all the big sites that are advertised on TV, but actually haven’t had much luck with them, as their rates for the places I want to go to are not much cheaper at all.
Are there any good sites out there that consistently get you the lowest rates and biggest discounts available? If so, please let me in on the secret!