The True Scope of New Media

Have you ever thought about it? How deep have you looked into this question? What did you find?

I’ve thought about this for quite a while. This is actually one of the reasons I first started blogging and podcasting 4+ years ago. I looked into it and I saw the uncharted territory, the vast size, and was instantly pulled in. I’m an explorer by nature, curious as all get out, and always manage to find a new angle to look at something. Just ask the disassembled electronics scattered around my room when I was 10. That was fun.

New Media offers something that nothing else does. A chance to be yourself and get noticed, no more hoops to jump through. The opportunity to explore your passion to your hearts content and get lost if you want to. And the chance to truly make a living, and then some, off of doing what you love. 😉

Are you with me? What are your thoughts?

The Difference Between Rockstars And Masters

Do you truly know the difference between a rockstar and a master? What are you shooting for? What are you aspiring to become? Do you want to become a legend for future generation or a “flash in the pan” for this generation? Do you know how to get there?

Justin Bieber may be a rockstar for this generation, but Beethoven is master for all time. Fred may be the biggest rockstar ever to crash through the rankings on Youtube and become an overnight sensation, but the Three Stooges have him beat in the long run. It isn’t about being popular. It isn’t about showing off to the world. To truly become a master you must sacrifice your life to the calling. You must give something so spectacularly amazing to the world that shines bright enough to become your legacy.

Why Ebay And Paypal Should Be Avoided AT ALL COSTS!

What I am about to tell you is a true story. All the information has been documented on my end and is verifiable with my lawyer.

How it all started

It was a typical day in the office. I was digging through my usual clutter of information when a dropshipping website fell into my lap. Being an entrepreneur, I looked into it. I had tested the idea out before, but it didn’t pan out (some Nigerian scammer tried to buy it and pay nothing). I thought I could try it out again and see what became of it, perhaps the whole Nigerian scammer picture was out of the issue now that Ebay had “toughened” security.

I signed up, found a product to list on Ebay and put up the auction. Everything went on as normal.

Things are looking up

People started visiting the auction I had listed, and began bidding. The price started rising and I felt confident that it would go well. That’s when I should’ve cut off the auction. I didn’t listen to my gut.

The price eventually landed to within $50 of the retail price of the product I was selling, then the auction ended. The auction sold and soon after I noticed the payment in my paypal account. At this point, I was running around with joy because nothing was going wrong! It was a good day in my book, little did I know of the doom hanging on the horizon.

After The Sale

The payment was pending in my account until Paypal had notification of my shipping number. Ok, no problem I thought. I went through the checkout process with the dropshipping company and eagerly awaited the shipping number they would send me. The auction sold on a Friday, so I expected at least a couple days until they could supply me with the number. I contacted the buyer so that they were aware of this as well.

Paypal Saves The Day

Sunday. Two days after the auction. Doom struck, but not from who you may expect. I was going about my usual day when I noticed an email from Paypal. The email said,

A review of recent transactions indicates that you might have received a
payment that the PayPal account holder did not authorize.

We recommend that you not ship the item until our investigation is
complete. If you’ve already shipped the item, please log in and let us know
where you shipped it.

We have placed a temporary hold on the funds until we complete our
investigation.

I contacted Paypal regarding this, but they gave me the run around. Within a day my account was closed via an “executive decision” by Paypal because I was too much of a “risk” for them. Too much of a risk?!?! HEY PAYPAL, I’VE BEEN A LOYAL CUSTOMER SINCE YOU FIRST CAME OUT!!! You wanna talk about betrayal, this was it. Great job Paypal, save me from absolutely nothing.

Oh, here’s the kicker, the dropshipping order was mixed in with my Paypal account too, so I was out of MY OWN MONEY, they were holding that money as well. I was able to refund the buyer of the item and notify them that I wasn’t able to send them the item as Paypal had closed my account for no reason. The buyer understood and agreed with me, so we were fine on that end. Paypal on the other end? Things were just about to get a whole lot hotter.

The Bubble Pops

Ok, so Paypal saw something they didn’t like, fine by me. Closing my account and refunding the buyer? I guess it was ok. Not being able to use Paypal ever again for any of my payments? That hurt. Not being able to run my online business and get money for work I’ve done? That burned. Almost literally. Paypal holding onto MY MONEY for no reason whatsoever??! That was the kicker that did them in.

I snapped. At that time, I was in Oklahoma City for some TESOL training for a trip I would be taking to Taiwan within the month. My life virtually came to a halt and this problem needed to be fixed immediately.

I called Paypal up and tried to fix it on my own. Paypal’s response to my plea? “You’re too much of a risk.” “We don’t know what is going on” (when I verbaitum explained my side of the story). “That money in your account is not your money, we have to hold on to it in case there are “any refunds” (whatever the heck that means).” “We can’t change anything, that’s our policy.”

Then I brought in the big guns. I brought my parents into this and we spent the next hour on the phone with a “manager” of Paypal customer service. It got heated pretty fast. Paypal did the classic balking maneuver and hid behind their “policies etched into marble”. This was gross what Paypal was doing to an honest person with an honest problem and we would not stand for it. The call ended as follows,

Us: This is the last straw, I have done nothing wrong. Since you seem to be incapable of anything remotely close to customer service and there is no one we can talk to directly to solve this problem, we are going to take legal action. I am going to call my lawyer as soon as this call ends. See you in court.

Them: …[click]…

Us: [Hung up and dialed the lawyer]

I also brought my bank into this whole problem and reported the charge on my account as fraud. My bank went to work immediately. From talking to the bank, we heard of some other horror stories like ours with Paypal as well.

The Aftermath

We searched online for some answers while awaiting a response from our lawyer, who was going to look into some cases for us, and found some websites (About Paypal). The stories we read made us realize we weren’t alone, Paypal had screwed thousands of normal, honest, hard-working people as well. This wasn’t the first time and most definitely wouldn’t be the last of Paypal’s stunts. Read some here. Here are some more stories.

Luckily our bank pulled through on us and we got the money back into our account within the week. How did Paypal respond to a big bank sitting on them? Here’s their email response:

You recently attempted to transfer funds from your bank account to your PayPal account.

Your bank declined the funds transfer on Jul. 23, 2010.

While this transaction had already been identified as unauthorized, the payment process was already underway and could not be stopped. If you have any questions about why this transfer was declined, please contact your bank.

Classic. Turn tail and run away like the wimps you are. Pretend there is nothing wrong and that the “bank” was the problem. Also notice how the “payment was underway and could not be stopped” when I had repeatedly hammered them about returning MY MONEY back to me until I pulled my bank into this situation.

What I’ve Learned

Don’t ever, EVER trust Paypal (or eBay for that matter). Everything that I had linked in my Paypal account has been deleted. They will never have access to any of my financial information or accounts. They have betrayed my trust for the last time. I am done with Paypal forever. If they want to see me ever again, it will be in the courtroom in front of a judge. Paypal has a stinking dung heap worth of sins to atone for, I’m just one of their many horror stories. I may just be the spear that pricks the armor and unleashes the flood, but so be it. Paypal needs to be held responsible for this until they have atoned for what they have done. Get this, according to Paypal policies,

We can close your account at any time and for any reason whatsoever.

Whatever money you have in your account when we close it is ours.

We can hold that money for up to six months and there is nothing you can do about it.

Any access to your financial accounts is permanent, and we can charge it at anytime.

Think I’m lying? Go check the policies for yourself. Wanna get scared out of your freaking mind about how much power they wield over you? Go ahead and read the policies and listen to the stories. After you return to your body, I can guarantee you will disconnect everything from Paypal and run to the hills. That is my hope after telling you my tale.

Want to know the even scarier part? Paypal is responsible for 70% if not 80% of all sales on the internet.

For Paypal

Paypal, if you are even listening and if you even CARE, know this. You have betrayed my trust and thousands of others as well. Your efforts to quell the “Nigerian scammers” isn’t working. It is hitting loyal customers and evangelists who have had accounts with you for years.

Because of that, I will NEVER. EVER. EVER. use, recommend, or listen to anything you have to say for the rest of your miserable existence as a company.

Your customer service is the worst I’ve ever had.

Communication between departments is a failure.

Hiding behind your “policies” is a failed excuse at showing that you care. Your policies are only for the good of your employees and board of directors, ensuring that you get “your” money.

If you truly CARED about your customers, you would move heaven and earth to make sure they have what they need and do everything in your power to rectify their problem, even if that means going outside of your bounds *ahem* policies *ahem*.

But because of that, I will not be satisfied until every single brick of your pathetic excuse of a company is torn down, examined, and BURNED.

I will see you in court.

What About You?

How should you respond to this relentless hammering of a company?

If I were you, and had half a brain to take action, I would close my account with Paypal immediately and look for someone else to use.

I’d also leave a comment thanking the author who wrote this article for enduring hellfire for no reason and for telling his story for the world to hear.

Finally, I’d share this article with my friends and encourage them to do the same.

#108: Its all about Mindset, Stop wasting Marketing dollars, and Geekbrief.tv’s Last Show

2 weeks already?! Wow, time flies.

Finances: Its all about Mindset

Some Takeaway Notes…

What can I leverage?
Scarcity vs. Abundance

Business: Stop wasting Marketing dollars

Some Takeaway Notes…

Which works better, shotgun or rifle?

The traditional way of marketing is broken. A twelve year -old running a lemonade stand has a better ROI than a traditional media ad.

Links:

Pepsi to drop Super Bowl Ads for Social Media?

Technology: GeekBrief.tv’s Last Show

Geekbrief.tv #780
http://calilewis.me
http://nealcampbell.com

But wait! There is a new show coming out:
http://geekbeat.tv

Other companies I’ve said goodbye to:

RadioTail Ripple
Podcast Peer Awards
Podango

Comments? Leave them below or call toll-free 1-866-867-2860.

#107 Stop Spending Money, Promotion Techniques from the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and The IPad

In the Basement Edition!

No more dorm rooms for me, I’m heading to Taiwan in August!

Enjoy this episode, feel free to leave comments!

Links Mentioned:

http://danijohnson.com
http://createafanpage.com
http://taylormarek.com/social-media-inner-circle/
http://taylormarek.com/premium

Finances: Stop Spending Money!

Here are a couple tips:
1. Stop Buying Junk.
2. Tithe the first 10% of your “job”.

Business: Promotion Techniques from the 2010 FIFA World Cup

Pepsi to drop Super Bowl Ads for Social Media?

Some Takeaway Ideas:
1. Facebook App Game – Top Facebook Game
2. Branding social networking games
3. Branding Youtube and other select websites

Technology: The IPad

The Apple iPad. Greatest thing since iSlicedBread?

Can you Run your Business with only an IPad?

http://www.paulsipad.com/

What Is Your Glitch?

Everyone has one. It is what defines us from each other. Some call it gifts, some call it talents, others call it passion, but I call it a glitch.

Why a glitch? Well, partly because I am a geek and I like tech terms. ;P

The other reason is because of the information/technology age. Think about it this way. Computers and electronics are made and sold on a daily basis. Some of them turn out to be lemons and some of them never seem to have any problems. The typical computer, however, usually has some glitch that no one can explain and no one else seems to get. I once had a computer that gave me at least ten blue screens a day if I was lucky. I never really found out what the problem was until it completely crashed and I had to take it in for repairs. I still don’t entirely know, but I have a feeling it had something to do with the video card, motherboard, and the power supply.

I have a completely new computer now (and its a beast of a machine), but I’ve run into quite a new problem. About six months ago Vista Aero decided to disable itself. I also have games that freeze at random times and it seems I don’t quite get all the power out of the video card I have. The problem with my new computer is the video card, that is its glitch. I guess in a way this “glitch” separates this computer I am currently typing this post on from the rest of them.

I don’t mean this in a negative way at all, but the same idea applies to people. Each and every one of us has a glitch of some kind. Something that sets us apart. Something that marks who we are. Something that The Designer put into us that He could work through.

What is your glitch? What sets you apart from the rest of us? Embrace it. Don’t let anyone try to “fix it” or tell you otherwise.

Photo Credits: Michelle Jones UK

How I Made My First $100 Online

“It was a dark and stormy night. The wind was whipping the trees into a frenzy of leaves and branches which crashed into the side of the building I was staying in. My mind was screaming for it to be over, but I knew it hadn’t even started. I braced my inner self for the impending doom approaching the building, knowing I would also have to fight myself if my mind broke. I would either come out victorious or die fighting to my last breath. Walking to the door, I opened it. The wind blew through my hair, powerful and threatening enough to knock me over. Rain splashed against my face as I resolutely crossed the threshold and walked out into the storm, seeking the silence beyond.”

Not exactly the introduction you expected to read about right? You probably were expecting me to say something along the lines of “I hacked Facebook and got some massive dough, let me show you my insider secrets!”

No, I am not that kind of person. Nor do I expect to be. I am the kind of guy who provides you with some solid information you can use. I am the kind of guy who wants to document my journey online. I am the kind of guy who wants to give you something of value.

To that end, and in response to the unexpected introduction you just read, here is what I have up to this point.

That introduction is basically what my mind was going through at the time before I started making solid money online. Using allegory is as close as I can come to explaining my predicament at the time without giving away private information.

How did I do it? How did I make my first $100 online?

1. I searched for an Urgent Need

I thought to myself, “What do people need help with? How can I help them?” My thoughts stumbled across Facebook Fan Pages. The more I thought about it, the more I uncovered that I knew alot about Fan Pages that I could teach people and that this was something big enough for companies to have. 400 million targeted potential customers in one place with dirt cheap access to all of them and companies just flirting around the issue? I knew I had to do something.

2. I provided customers with the exact solution

I figured many businesses knew about Fan Pages, but had no idea how to create/maintain/promote one. I also knew of other companies who just jumped in without looking and stepped in a couple problem areas that could have been avoided if they had guidance.

3. I Planned In Advance

Not everything was planned out, but most of it was. I cannot stress this enough when starting out online. You need to have some key aspects planned out, such as name, upsell flow, content, offer, and price, before you start “officially working on it”.

4. I Started Free

When I started putting the wheels into action, people already started coming in, but I wasn’t even finished! I was still in the midst of making my skeleton, which was barely operating at this point, yet people were coming in. I knew at that moment that my idea had paid off and continued with renewed vigor.

5. I Strategically Positioned myself to take advantage of all the Free Traffic/Exposure

In the name, where it was located, and how I started, I strategically positioned everything to take advantage of all the free traffic out there on Facebook. I never spent a penny advertising, they all came to me. This particular step required some thinking on my end to make sure this idea worked, the rest came in all by itself naturally.

6. I converted from Free To Paid

I left the free option open for about two weeks, then shutdown the free offer I had going. I stuck a price tag on it and stuck it back on the shelf. I expected traffic to drop, which it did, but people still came and purchased based on the pricing structure I had planned out beforehand. I even made a cold sale over the phone, which left me energized for at least a week! (Gotta thank Wells Fargo for all that sales training when I was a teller) 😉

7. I Upsold to a Premium Option

Yup, contained within my plan to get their foot in the door was the first small purchase and the subsequent value I added in the content I provided. I wanted to provide them with enough value that they would be happy and clamor for more. Some did, and I gave it to them. They are extremely happy, know exactly what to do, and are all fired up to handle what they have.

What do I do?

I Create Fan Pages.

What do you do?

Can you Run your Business with only an IPad?

That is the question my mentor, Paul Colligan, posed to us recently over Twitter:

Can I run my business for 30 days with nothing but an IPad?

What do you think? Can Paul do it?

I am personally interested in this challenge. Owing to the fact that the IPad is more of a content consumption device than anything else, this will be an interesting twist. I am curious Paul if you, being a content creator extraordinaire, will be able to pull it off with the apps available for the device. I know all the apps are there for you to use, but this will get interesting when you want to do video, take pictures, record your voice, and such. How will that work into your New Media Content Creation Model?

The interesting feature about the IPad, which I foreshadowed in my first post (The Apple iPad. Greatest thing since iSlicedBread?), is that Apple is purposely marketing this as a “content consumption device”. This device, as confused as you may be at this point, is for the content consumer not the content creator. Does anyone besides me and Paul notice this subtle shift?

If you want to keep tabs on what Paul is up to with this challenge and if it actually works, visit:

http://www.paulsipad.com/