Sunday, 27 May 2007

Bloggers getting Fired!

Makes Me Glad I'm Self Employed!
Here's a story I found on Bloggers getting into trouble for blogging from their Employers!

More than a third of UK bloggers risk the sack by posting derogatory or damaging details about their workplace, boss or colleagues, a survey claims.

Human resources company Croner, which commissioned the study, warned that such bloggers could be sacked from their job for gross misconduct.

Croner surveyed 2,000 people who keep a personal internet blog or diary and 39% said that they made harmful comments.

Bloggers should consider the potential impact of all postings, Croner said.

'False security'

Gillian Dowling, technical consultant at Croner, said the situation was similar to the widespread introduction of e-mail in the 1990s.

She said bloggers had to take care that they were not lulled into "a false sense of security" by the informality and ease of posting their thoughts and opinions.

"If there is a negative impact on the organisation's corporate image which is so serious that it breaches the implied term of mutual trust and confidence, the employee could be dismissed for gross misconduct," said Ms Dowling.

"The blog could also be evidence of other conduct issues or reveal workplace discrimination or bullying."

Ms Dowling added that bloggers could also get sacked for revealing confidential secrets or sensitive financial data.

"Employers need to ensure that they carefully consider the impact of blogging on their organisation and take appropriate steps to minimise any potential risk," she said.

The study was conducted for Croner by internet research group YouGov.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Amazon Unbox - Video Download On Demand!


Amazon have launched the download on demand on .com, You can now download the newest titles to rent or own from

Awesome! Saves having to drive/walk/queue at Blockbusters just to find the film you want is out of stock!

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Why Intel Sucks!

Intel have often been criticised for dubious working practices. They were one of the first chip makers, in 1999, to build a chip with a digital identifier, known as a processor serial number, to every new Pentium III chip and threatened to remove the anonymity of web surfing and internet transactions.

Recently they have been colluding with IBM to build Copy Protection into Hard Drives as well as Chips.

But what takes the biscuit is their aggressive attack on the Not-For-Profit organisation One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) undercutting their $100 laptop project designed to make technology affordable and accessible in the developing world. To do this they launched a rival laptop aimed at the same market aiming to undercut OLPC and put them out of business! Obviously once they have achieved this they will then either cease to produce these cheap laptops or raise the price of them. Is this moral? Is this a responsible business practice?
Tell Intel where to stick it and avoid their products!

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Recycling Books!

There's some weird and wacky suggestions of what to do with books apart from read them on the web. Here are a few of them! Any additions to this more than welcome!

Make a Book Shelf from Books!

Classy Book Shelves from books!

Make Designer Purses & Clutch Bags!

Sit on them!

Destroy them in the name of Art!

Make Lamps from books!

More Bookshelves!

Many Thanks to Jayne & Jim for these fantastic Ideas!

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Buy It Now with Google Checkout

Over the weekend I got a little distracted from my main task of working on my Amazon aStore Tutorial. I was asked what other payment methods I used by an eBay customer who was having problems with using paypal to pay for an item he'd won on eBay. Until this point I'd relied on paypal, though not happily due to their high proportion of fees.

This enquiry prompted me to look at alternatives to paypal, in particular the recently launched Google Checkout. Well, as a google account holder I found it a breeze to set up compared with paypal and the big advantage they are currently promoting it with NO FEES UNTIL 2008! I'm not sure whether this offer will run for long, as it may just be an incentive to people to sign up and once they have the targetted take up they may then withdraw the offer I suspect, whilst of course honouring the offer to those who have already taken it up! The other thing Google are doing to promote this rival to paypal is working with some big retailers to offer £10 off orders of over £30!

I had a play with the buy it now buttons on my googlepages site, and found it quite easy to add buttons, so am just waiting to see if my customers find their way here to buy stuff that I have cheaper than on amazon & ebay as I don't have fees to pay!

Lastly, Apologies to those that were expecting me to be providing instructions on importing/ exporting category lists for aStores, I did some work on this and it wasn't quite so straightforward as I thought it would be. I'll try and spend some time working this out during the week, and will update here when it's live.

Thursday, 10 May 2007


Had to shift my tutorial website to a different URL as I found out today that there was a rule about putting astores under URL's with the word amazon before the .com bit! I suppose it's to stop people trying to get higher search engine results from having amazon in the URL, just wish I'd know that before setting up the previous one and spamming plugging the link everywhere!
You can find the new one herea with slightly improved site mapping & indexing

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Creating Text Links in an Amazon aStore

Creating Text links is very useful and surprisingly easy using the aStore edit/create options.

To get a text link you need to select from your astore tool bar- >build links>build text links> Then choose one of the three options shown -

Link to Favorite Destination, whether it's Top Selling Books, Top Selling Horror DVD's, Top Selling Indie Music

Links to Search Results, Bruce Willis DVD's, Wilbur Smith Books or Harry Potter related items!

Link to Any Page at - Seller Profile, Leave Feedback Link, basically any page that isn't actually a product or search page

Then Get the HTML, click the highlight button, copy and paste into the web page, blog, wherever, making sure you are pasting it using a html edit mode.

Monday, 7 May 2007

How To Build an Amazon aStore

I'm currently working on a website to create a step-by-step guide on how to build an Amazon aStore. Any feedback on this would be gratefully recieved.


After signing up for your amazon associates/affliates account this is the first step in creating your own aStore.

The first category can be named using the custom title field. You then add products either by selecting an Amazon category. In this example the main category I have chosen is Music. This will then show the top selling items from Amazons music category. You could create a search filter for this Though it may be better to select a search filter under subcategories.

You can then choose a number of subcategories under the main category, by either using a search filter, adding items individually or using the provided sub categories to auto fill.

Be aware that this first category does not collapse when viewing other categories, so you may want to keep the number of subcategories under this limited.

You also have the ability to add text to the top of each category and subcategory by filling the box at the bottom.


You can also change the look of your aStore, very handy for matching the colour scheme of your blog, website, etc

You can select different theme's and colours for all apsoect of the aStore here, including fonts.

One thing I should flag here is that this is where you "Name" Your store, this is easily done by filling in the space for it at the bottom of the page. I have seen many aStores that still display "My Associate Store"


On the next screen you will see a number of options to add and position widgets on your aStore

The sidebar can be selected to show on the left or right of the page. If you select no widgets for the home page it will just show your categories and a search box.

Personally I don't like the Listmania options, though you may find them useful

the options for to show similair items, accessories and reviews I do find useful.


Getting your link!

You have 3 options here. The easiest is just to select the standalone site, which will display your aStore and you can use the link to it in emails, Blogs, etc.

The most popular use is for using "iFrames", this is a way of integrating the aStore into almost any website, web blog or similair. You just need to tick the iframes button, hit 'Highlight HTML' and copy. Then paste the code as HTML in any web presence that allows the input of HTML.

The final option of publishing to Frames is for the more experienced web master.

I will cover how to add individual items in the next tutorial.

Amazon aStore's - easy to create and very adaptable

Amazon aStores rock and are so easy to build! They also have a lot of adaptability, you can just use the little amazon search button in your blog, add a link to a specific product, create a number of different banners, on various sizes, fill these by setting a particular search term. It’s amazing!

The Tracking is also pretty good too, as well as being a reputable online business the commission starting at 5% is OK too!

As you can set up 99 different tracking id’s the potential is pretty unlimited too!
I’ve created a little website giving tips on setting up an aStore and some examples of what you can do with one.

I used Google pages to create this aStore Tutorial.

How to build your own aStore (Link updated)