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Business/Finance
The Blog Experimenter, as he calls himself, is a "30-something guy living in the midwest United States." His experiment is to create a blog, put Google Ads on it, and see how much money he can make off the venture. Except he's really created two blogs. The first one is 'the money blog', which is the blog that is the subject of the experiment. The second is the 'blog money experiment', on which he chronicles his efforts to make money with the google-ad-driven 'money blog'. He doesn't tell you what the url of the money blog is, or what subject it covers. And from what he says, it doesn't appear to be attracting much of a following. His 'blog money experiment' blog, on the other hand, is attracting a big readership. So the question is: is there really a 'money blog', or is the 'blog money experiment' blog really the 'money blog'? (and how often can I fit the word 'blog' in a sentence?) I suspect that even if he does have a google-ad site somewhere, he knew from the start that the blog about creating a money-making blog would be the real attention-getter. So his plan is to slowly monetize the 'blog money experiment' blog. And sure enough, he has recently introduced Amazon affiliate links to it.
Categories: Business/Finance, Websites
Posted by Alex on Fri Mar 04, 2005
Comments (26)
image An interview with Hiroshi Yamauchi, former president of Nintendo, has been doing the rounds. It's supposedly published in the February issue of Wired. The interview is quite colorful, to say the least. For instance, at one point Yamauchi claims that during a meeting with Microsoft's Steve Ballmer he said to him, 'hey, Ballmer, why don't you suck my tiny yellow balls.' This was his response to Microsoft's offer to buy Nintendo. The quotation is offered up in bold letters in the sidebar, so there's no chance you'll miss it. There's also some other equally outrageous stuff. Is any of it real? No. It's a fake interview and a fake Wired magazine mock-up. Digit magazine has an article debunking it.
Update: Inquirer.net apparently thought the article was real.
Update 2: According to this article, Nintendo has officially confirmed that the interview is a hoax.
Categories: Business/Finance, Technology
Posted by Alex on Fri Jan 07, 2005
Comments (4)
A coin dropped into a Salvation Army kettle last week in Naperville has made headlines. It was a $400 gold coin wrapped in a $1 million bill (the $1 million bill was fake). This brings up the mystery of just who's behind this tradition of dropping gold coins into Salvation Army kettles. Apparently the tradition dates back to 1982, when a gold coin was dropped into a kettle in a Chicago suburb. Gold coins have shown up in kettles in many states ever since then. Some think the coins are donated by people who benefitted from the charity in the past. But others suspect it may all be a publicity stunt engineered by the Salvation Army itself. After all, news reports about the gold coins always seem to encourage more donations. I suppose it's a hoax for a good cause, if it is a hoax.
Categories: Business/Finance
Posted by Alex on Wed Dec 22, 2004
Comments (33)
How much would you pay for a one-page pdf file discussing the delayed launch of Sony's PlayStation Portable in North America? What about $750. That's the price it's going for on Amazon. But maybe it's worth it, because it has received quite a few five-star reviews. For instance, D.C. McKinney says that it's "Definately a good read and well worth the price of admission! This gem of a find is a must for anyone with even the slightest bit of interest in delays in the world of Sony Electronics." (for some reason I suspect that some of the reviews are tongue-in-cheek). But if you do download the pamphlet and enjoy it, then you might want to check out its sequel, the one-page analysis of Sony's October 27 PlayStation Portable Japan launch announcement. This is selling for only $1500.
Categories: Business/Finance, Literature/Language
Posted by Alex on Tue Dec 14, 2004
Comments (10)
Numerous bad loans to a polygamist sect that believes the end of the world is nigh has caused the 99-year-old Bank of Ephraim in Utah to go under. The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (a small Mormon sect a small splinter sect of the Mormon church, unaffiliated with the main church) was spending money like the end of the world was around the corner... because they thought the end of the world actually was around the corner. And happily funding this spending spree was the Bank of Ephraim. They approved loans for one bizarre project after another: a watermelon farm that didn't grow watermelons, a construction company that made a loss on everything it sold (materials, labor). The bank liked giving loans to the end-of-world sect because the end-of-worlders readily agreed to outrageously high interest rates (Why not? If the world ends tomorrow you don't have to pay it back). I'm trying to imagine how the interview to assess credit worthiness might have gone:
-'So you're a member of a sect whose members have sworn an oath to borrow as much money as possible before the world ends and all financial markets collapse. Is that right?'
-'That's right.'
-'Sounds good. You're approved.'
I like the understatement of Utah Banking Supervisor Jim Thomas who simply notes that the bank got in too deep with sect members who "didn't have much to lose".
Categories: Business/Finance, Future/Time, Religion
Posted by Alex on Wed Dec 08, 2004
Comments (5)
When customers of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce tried to withdraw cash from the bank's ATM, instead of money they received "colorful bills used as incentives at Canadian Tire Corp. hardware stores." So what do you do if an ATM gives you funny money instead of real bills? An article in the Charlotte Observer (requires obnoxious registration) gives this advice: "Don't walk or drive away from the teller window without checking the money first... Once you leave the teller, fake bills are your responsibility. If you're at an ATM, go into the bank and ask for a replacement... If the bank's closed, you're likely out of luck." Of course, if you do find yourself stuck with fake cash you could always try using it to buy pizza and soda at a school cafeteria, as these students did.
Categories: Business/Finance
Posted by Alex on Sun Dec 05, 2004
Comments (16)
The hoaxing of the BBC has now been all over the news. In case you haven't heard, on Friday the BBC broadcast an interview with a man claiming to be a representative of Dow Chemical, Jude Finisterra (is the guy's last name supposed to mean 'the end of the world'?). During the interview the man said that Dow had decided to accept full responsibility for the chemical disaster that killed thousands of people in Bhopal twenty years ago, and in addition it would pay $12 billion in compensation to the victims. The BBC broadcast the interview twice, causing Dow's stock value to promptly drop. Later that same day it became clear that the man wasn't a representative of Dow, and the BBC apologized for falling for a hoax. Though it tried to duck responsibility somewhat by claiming that it was the victim of an 'elaborate deception'. Was the deception really that elaborate? According to this NY Times article, the BBC was actually the one to make first contact with the hoaxers via a website that 'appeared to be Dow Chemical's web site'. So they fell for a hoax website. That's not that elaborate a deception. The man they interviewed was reportedly (in reality) Andy Bichlbaum of the Yes Men (a movie about them is currently in theatres).
Categories: Business/Finance, Journalism
Posted by Alex on Sat Dec 04, 2004
Comments (0)
According to this press release from Career Builder, over one-third of U.S. workers take fake sickies (sick days when they're not really sick). Personally I think that number is too low. The real number should be closer to 90 or 100 percent, because I don't know anyone who hasn't taken a fake sick day at some point. But then again, maybe all my friends and family members are slackers. The same press release also offers the 15 most bizarre reasons that people have offered for taking a sick day:

  • "I was sprayed by a skunk."

  • "I tripped over my dog and was knocked unconscious."

  • "My bus broke down and was held up by robbers."

  • "I was arrested as a result of mistaken identity."

  • "I forgot to come back to work after lunch."

  • "I couldn't find my shoes."

  • "I hurt myself bowling."

  • "I was spit on by a venomous snake."

  • "I totaled my wife's jeep in a collision with a cow."

  • "A hitman was looking for me."

  • "My curlers burned my hair and I had to go to the hairdresser."

  • "I eloped."

  • "My cat unplugged my alarm clock."

  • "I had to be there for my husband's grand jury trial."

  • "I had to ship my grandmother's bones to India." (note: she had passed away 20 years ago)


Categories: Business/Finance, Health/Medicine
Posted by Alex on Wed Oct 20, 2004
Comments (11)
A British Real Estate Agency has been fined for placing phony 'sold' signs up outside the houses of its own employees. It's not quite clear to me what they gained by doing this. I assume it made them look like they were doing more business than they actually were. Still, it's odd to think that as you drive around a neighborhood and see all those 'for sale' and 'sold' signs, that the signs might bear no relationship to reality at all.
Categories: Business/Finance, Places
Posted by Alex on Wed Aug 04, 2004
Comments (3)
I recently joined Netflix, and I'm enjoying it so far. It makes sense to rent dvds via the web (though scratched dvds are a real headache). But when I came across Bag, Borrow, or Steal, which delivers a constant stream of designer handbags to your door, I thought it was a joke. It's obviously not, which just goes to show how out of touch I am with the world of fashion. I also was a bit skeptical about the Blacksocks service. Blacksocks describes itself as the "inventor of the revolutionary sockscription." At first I thought subscribers were meant to send back their used socks before they got another new pair (which is why I couldn't believe it was real). Then I realized it's more like a 'sock-of-the-month' club. That actually makes a lot of sense for people like me who are constantly losing socks. (via Red Ferret)
Categories: Business/Finance
Posted by Alex on Mon Aug 02, 2004
Comments (8)
Why would anyone counterfeit money if the cost of making the counterfeits was more than the money itself? That's the question Japanese police are puzzling over. Since profit can't be a motive "police suspect a techno-maniac is involved." Well, either that or a really stupid criminal.
Categories: Business/Finance
Posted by Alex on Tue Jul 27, 2004
Comments (0)
Either this is a bizarre new scam, or the Times of India has fallen for a tall tale. It claims that the hot new trend among programmers is to outsource their own jobs to India. As the article explains: "Says a programmer on Slashdot.org who outsourced his job: 'About a year ago I hired a developer in India to do my job. I pay him $12,000 out of the $67,000 I get. He's happy to have the work. I'm happy that I have to work only 90 minutes a day just supervising the code. My employer thinks I'm telecommuting. Now I'm considering getting a second job and doing the same thing.'" Sounds like a great scheme... unless your boss finds out you're just a middleman and decides to cut you out of the loop. I'm suspicious that this practice is really as prevalent as the Times of India implies. (via Common Sense Technology)
Categories: Business/Finance, Technology
Posted by Alex on Tue Jul 13, 2004
Comments (2)
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