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Hopefully by now, you all know that you are making public the posts, pictures, and videos you post on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube, even if you set the highest level on your privacy settings.

There is always the potential that a “friend”, stalker, disgruntled ex, or snoopy family member will pass on that embarrassing comment or photo to your boss, current spouse, or next door neighbor. In spite of knowing all this, people are still shooting private videos, and even if you are not famous, you still probably don’t want private videos being spread virally. Let’s face it, it’s really only fun to go viral if you get a recording contract from your video being seen millions of times, not so much if your video goes viral of you acting like an idiot after a night out drinking.

VidMe is a free service that allows you to ONLY share a video with consent from the owners. It is like having a safe deposit box for your videos that requires two keys to open. You may share one private video for free (multiples cost $ but they have package deals) with whomever you choose. You set the controls for who is allowed to see it, download, and share it, and the privacy controls includes privacy for the comments on it. When you post a video, the URL is masked, so no one can copy and paste it to forward, even from an email link you send.

So now you can make that tape for your private collection and it will stay private, unless of course you want the world to see you dancing in your underwear to “I Will Survive” with a hairbrush in your hand, if you don’t mind that being public, you must really be a survivor.

Some of the best things I have ever tried have been free, from samples of perfumes, to amuse-bouches (literally fun mouth = samples of food) that make me want more; people say that drug dealers always give away the first sample and you end up paying for the rest of your life. If that is true then free WiFi in airports will get us all hooked and we will never again go on a flight without paying for access to get online before we get on the plane.

Google is giving away free WiFi at 47 airports and on Virgin America flights until January 15, 2010, and they are giving even more by matching donations to any of three charities which appear on the browser page that you log into during this period.

Ebay is giving away free Wifi during Thanksgiving week on some Delta flights, and Yahoo is giving away free WiFi in Times Square (for an undetermined period of time).

It seems the common denominator in all the free WiFi is that you must fly somewhere this holiday season, so where are you going?

Some smart companies are combining old fashioned marketing with new social web applications to build their businesses, and when they offer great products or services, it is a win-win-win.

I learned about Corsets UK on Twitter because they are new to the social networking site and wanted to reward their new followers with a free corset. Although I don’t wear corsets everyday (who does?), I love how they look and for a special dress up occasion, I would happily tie one on (so to speak). They offer beautiful colors ranging from the sexy black and red to prim and virginal white, with a rainbow of colors in between, all in different styles; it’s hard to choose just one, and with their special promotion where you buy three but only pay for the two most expensive ones, you can indulge yourself. Prices range from £21-70 ($34-115 USD) and they offer steel boned regular size, waspies and full body styles, so you can order something that fits your waist (20″-38″) and your preference.

I also learned about Moonfruit on Twitter because they are giving away a MacBook a day for 10 days when their site is retweeted. I checked out what they offered since I had never heard of them before and I was so impressed by their FREE website builder that I built two! My website has been with Geocities for years, but Yahoo has announced that Geocities is shutting down at the end of this year. I was going to pay to move my site to a regular domain, so finding Moonfruit was fortuitous in many ways. Not only are there NO pop up ads or annoying banners, but the interface is smooth and easy to navigate on Macs (a problem with Geocities-I had to go to a PC to build or update anything). There are literally thousands of templates and customization options to choose from, and the whole thing is FREE. The only thing they ask is that you update your site at least once every six months (which you should do anyway). You can purchase additional bandwidth, mailboxes, and merchant services, but the basic service is all free.

Independence includes the ability to choose where you want to shop for goods and services, even if it means choosing the “old country”.

>Some smart companies are combining old fashioned marketing with new social web applications to build their businesses, and when they offer great products or services, it is a win-win-win.

I learned about Corsets UK on Twitter because they are new to the social networking site and wanted to reward their new followers with a free corset. Although I don’t wear corsets everyday (who does?), I love how they look and for a special dress up occasion, I would happily tie one on (so to speak). They offer beautiful colors ranging from the sexy black and red to prim and virginal white, with a rainbow of colors in between, all in different styles; it’s hard to choose just one, and with their special promotion where you buy three but only pay for the two most expensive ones, you can indulge yourself. Prices range from £21-70 ($34-115 USD) and they offer steel boned regular size, waspies and full body styles, so you can order something that fits your waist (20″-38″) and your preference.

I also learned about Moonfruit on Twitter because they are giving away a MacBook a day for 10 days when their site is retweeted. I checked out what they offered since I had never heard of them before and I was so impressed by their FREE website builder that I built two! My website has been with Geocities for years, but Yahoo has announced that Geocities is shutting down at the end of this year. I was going to pay to move my site to a regular domain, so finding Moonfruit was fortuitous in many ways. Not only are there NO pop up ads or annoying banners, but the interface is smooth and easy to navigate on Macs (a problem with Geocities-I had to go to a PC to build or update anything). There are literally thousands of templates and customization options to choose from, and the whole thing is FREE. The only thing they ask is that you update your site at least once every six months (which you should do anyway). You can purchase additional bandwidth, mailboxes, and merchant services, but the basic service is all free.

Independence includes the ability to choose where you want to shop for goods and services, even if it means choosing the “old country”.

If you use Google regularly, but have a CRT monitor, try Eco Smart Search which is the “green” Google, using a black backdrop to help your screen save some energy (it also appeals to those who prefer a dark background for aesthetic reasons).

If you want a new way to search for all relevant results on one page (pictures, web links, video) try leapfish. It’s a nice smooth way to hunt for several types of searches at once without having to switch tabs. The displayed items all refresh when you type in words so it is intuitive as well, filtering as you type in your search parameters.

If you are looking for a person, my favorite site (that is free) is 123people. The best test is to type in your own name and see the results. They claim their results are the most up to date, so test it to see if your latest blog post is listed (mine was!).

And finally for those who are so into the new web 2.0 that they have multiple facebook, myspace, blogger and aol accounts to cross reference, Flock is a great Mozilla (aka Firefox) based browser that helps you coordinate everything on one page. The easy installation will import all your favorites and once you are set up you can literally drag and drop photos or URLs to any of your friends in email, photobucket or onto your facebook update or blog pages. This is truly the browser for the multi tasker.

>If you use Google regularly, but have a CRT monitor, try Eco Smart Search which is the “green” Google, using a black backdrop to help your screen save some energy (it also appeals to those who prefer a dark background for aesthetic reasons).

If you want a new way to search for all relevant results on one page (pictures, web links, video) try leapfish. It’s a nice smooth way to hunt for several types of searches at once without having to switch tabs. The displayed items all refresh when you type in words so it is intuitive as well, filtering as you type in your search parameters.

If you are looking for a person, my favorite site (that is free) is 123people. The best test is to type in your own name and see the results. They claim their results are the most up to date, so test it to see if your latest blog post is listed (mine was!).

And finally for those who are so into the new web 2.0 that they have multiple facebook, myspace, blogger and aol accounts to cross reference, Flock is a great Mozilla (aka Firefox) based browser that helps you coordinate everything on one page. The easy installation will import all your favorites and once you are set up you can literally drag and drop photos or URLs to any of your friends in email, photobucket or onto your facebook update or blog pages. This is truly the browser for the multi tasker.

Every once in awhile my beloved Mac laptop needs to go to my computer doctor, or my DSL line goes out, or I need to do something on a PC (yes, I am bi computer literate). When any of the above arises, I go to Giga Bite to fulfill my online needs. Their prices are about HALF of what Kinko‘s charges, and if you use their wireless or wired connection, the price goes to to about 25% of what the big chain charges, and they are open until midnight most nights (1 AM on weekends).

Their system is prepaid like a phone card, they give you a code for the time you buy which you use to log in. The codes have no expiration date, so the more time you buy the less expensive the rate. Even at the minimum of 15 minutes or 60 minutes with your own laptop, the price is only $3. I paid $8 for 120 minutes to use on their computers, which all have 17″ screens and T1 speeds. Their PCs have an entire suite of software you might want from Photoshop to Excel, and you can use their other services, like faxing and scanning, for only $1 a page.

There is a small counter of snacks and beverages if you find yourself staying awhile. They used to have a hookah, but I haven’t seen it for awhile, so maybe they are concentrating on people coming in to use the computers instead of being there to smoke and hang out. The desk stations are semi private with towers between each, so only people walking behind you can see your screen.

These days what was private is now public in an instant on YouTube, TMZ, or Homeland Security’s database, so use your discretion on what you want to work on or surf to in a public internet cafe; do you really want the world to know about your addiction to purses?

>Every once in awhile my beloved Mac laptop needs to go to my computer doctor, or my DSL line goes out, or I need to do something on a PC (yes, I am bi computer literate). When any of the above arises, I go to Giga Bite to fulfill my online needs. Their prices are about HALF of what Kinko‘s charges, and if you use their wireless or wired connection, the price goes to to about 25% of what the big chain charges, and they are open until midnight most nights (1 AM on weekends).

Their system is prepaid like a phone card, they give you a code for the time you buy which you use to log in. The codes have no expiration date, so the more time you buy the less expensive the rate. Even at the minimum of 15 minutes or 60 minutes with your own laptop, the price is only $3. I paid $8 for 120 minutes to use on their computers, which all have 17″ screens and T1 speeds. Their PCs have an entire suite of software you might want from Photoshop to Excel, and you can use their other services, like faxing and scanning, for only $1 a page.

There is a small counter of snacks and beverages if you find yourself staying awhile. They used to have a hookah, but I haven’t seen it for awhile, so maybe they are concentrating on people coming in to use the computers instead of being there to smoke and hang out. The desk stations are semi private with towers between each, so only people walking behind you can see your screen.

These days what was private is now public in an instant on YouTube, TMZ, or Homeland Security’s database, so use your discretion on what you want to work on or surf to in a public internet cafe; do you really want the world to know about your addiction to purses?

>By now almost everyone is online and has at least one email account, but there are still some of us who don’t have our own website or domain name. Sometimes waiting is good; prices and services have never been lower or better than some of the packages offered today. With so much competition these days for hosting services, companies are making their money on your continued business, so even if you pay less per month, they still make money if you stay with them (and you will tend to stay where the monthly rates are low).

The best deal I have found is at 1 and 1 which offers a starter plan with domain name, 10 GB, an FTP account (you may want this later), 600 IMAP & POP3 supported email accounts with 2 GB of space, firewall protection, marketing discounts with the major online ad services, and spam filter for only $3.99 per month. Yes, that is less that $4 per month to have your own website (my first website cost me $50 per month and that was a discounted price!).

Ok, so now with email and a website, what if you want to start a business and accept credit cards? I researched credit card services and found many had a bait and switch sales team who would say anything to get you to sign up, even if the fine print of the contract had nothing to do with their actual fees. I am so glad I chose Advanced Merchant Services. Their rates may be a little higher, but 0.20% is a very small price to pay for sales representatives who return calls within a day. Their monthly minimum fees are also the lowest I found, at $23 versus the $50 at almost every other merchant card service. The most expensive rate is for telephone approvals and even that rate is a reasonable 3.79% versus over 4% at other institutions. If you are only going to be using your merchant account online with secure checkout or with physical card swipes the rate plummets to around 2%. Ask for Dan Robbins if you want your own merchant account and tell him Elaine referred you (Dan apologized once for taking more than 24 hours to respond to an email I sent him-all the more incredible since I live on the West Coast and the company is based on the East Coast).

Now that you have the tools, use them to build whatever business you love!

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