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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Crude closes at $66 a Barrel a 16-month Low. Why is Gas at the Pump Still High?

I see the price per barrel of oil dropping daily yet the price at the pump seems to stay the same. Every time I fill up my car I ask myself what's up with gas prices not going down? In downtown Seattle gas is still going for $3.53 at the 76 Station on 351 Broad St N & Denny Way and $3.39 at the Shell on 1500 Broadway Ave E & E Pike St. Why does it take so long for the gas price to drop yet if there's a hurricane developing in the gulf the price at the pump jumps overnight?

I'm been doing some research that surprisinglyis contradicting my perception regarding the correlation between prices at the pump and price per barrel. In Seattle since we have such a high tax on fuel the numbers might be skewed so they don't accurately reflect a decline in gas prices at the pump. Here's a list of all US States and total taxes on gas http://www.seattlegasprices.com/tax_info.aspx. Washington State is one of the highest, check out your state's total taxes on fuel. The price you pay at the pump, is based on the projected supply and demand months out.

The WTRG.com http://www.wtrg.com/daily/oilandgasspot.html has a very useful graph that maps the relationship of crude vs. gas prices. This number of course will vary by region. There seems to be a direct correlation between price per barrel and price at the pump even though sometimes it feels otherwise. Here’s another graph out of the UK demonstrating the correlation http://www.whatprice.co.uk/petrol-prices/petrol-oil.html.

Another surprising fact about oil companies I discovered is that after taxes the big oil companies with their so called "windfall profits" only keep a fraction of their initial profit. http://seekingalpha.com/article/63131-exxon-s-2007-tax-bill-30-billion For example in 2006 Exxon Mobile had $39.5 billion in profits, but had a tax bill of 28 billion. Leaving a 2006 profit of 11.5 billion. Walmart to give you a comparison posted a profit of 11.23 billion http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500/snapshots/1551.html. In 2007 Exxon Mobil had a profit of 40.6 billion and a total tax bill of 30 billion. Total profits for 2007 were 10.6.

Don’t get me wrong 11.5 and 10.6 billion is a ton of money, but perception of a totally corrupt oil market doesn’t always equal reality. I withhold judgment at this point… where there’s billions of dollars there’s got to be some corruption and/or manipulation. There’s no don’t that the market/price for crude oil is controlled just look at OPEC who called an emergency meeting this past Friday spooked by the 50% decline in the price per barrel from $147. The 13-nation group might cut production by millions of barrels in order to get a price spike. Iran is looking for a price of $100 a barrel, and Venezuela at $80-$90 (http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5iTKFqY44EEha_Fb9CRDMjU692BWgD93VLFI00).” They have to be careful though not to further fan the flames of a global recession with the help of high energy prices. Doing this will decrease demand even further thus lowering the price per barrel even more.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bidz.com 10th Anniversay Sale

On Wednesday, Oct 15th, Bidz.com customers will receive a $25 discount off all jewelry, watches, and sunglasses purchases. Bidz.com is giving this $25 discount to commemorate their 10th Anniversay. Use promo code HAPPY10.

Using Twitter to increase your Blog's Traffic and Interaction

Using Twitter to increase your Blog's Traffic and Interaction

It’s interesting to note how some people get into blogging. One particular person I know of got into it just by clicking links to blog posts on Twitter. Some Twitter members link to blogs that are so well done and the followers can’t help but be envious and be encouraged to blog. Is it safe to assume that most of the people on twitter are bloggers? Not really. Some are simply there to connect with relatives abroad, find out who’s friends with who and to promote their blogs. The fun part is getting followers. Yes, this is fun for me, but maybe not to some. See, most people feel compelled to follow you when you follow them first, and doing that over and over with really interesting people can be gratifying.

How do you fast track interaction on your blog through Twitter?

I’ve seen it done time and time again, and those who use their Twitter space wisely can enjoy the benefits of getting more blog subscribers, and more comments. I view each twit as bait; a colorful lure that invites people to explore more, ask more and follow more. Do you have a strong opinion about the economic crisis or the political standing of a presidential candidate? Simply telling your community that you have posted your thoughts about a hot topic on your blog will make them come running to read.

Comments can be ego fodder to some, and blog boost to some. It doesn’t matter whether you are a seasoned blogger or a new one, the feeling that comes after you see someone comment on a post is indescribable. The thing is, comments mean interaction. It also increases the relevance of a post. Comments mean that people have read your post and would like to put in their two cents. Remember that Twitter communities are expanding and your friends could be following the friends of the people in your community. Everyone’s getting to know everyone else, and because there is a character limit to every twit, your first words must be interesting enough for people to get curious and follow the link provided. If they disagree too strongly to your views, they won’t be able to expound more about why they disagree via Twitter so they go to your blog to reply there.

There are spammers on twitter, like everywhere else, but the beauty of it is that oen can simply delete a spammer from a list. You can spam all you want, but if you have no friends, no one will see it.

Building curiosity as well as community is the best thing about Twitter for me. There’s just so much wit that you can inject in one or two sentences, but those who manage to keep people rapt and tuned in to their twits have the power to invite anyone to their blogs, affiliate programs and company sites. The representatives of companies can even increase brand awareness by simply describing in frequent twits what’s so unique about their product. Again, the ability to avoid turning off spam-sensitive people comes into play. If you build a reputation of sending useful, non-spam information, or extremely entertaining one-liners, you could be the most popular Twitterati in your growing community.

Placing Ads on Your Sidebar (Affiliate ads, Banner Exchanges)

Placing Ads on Your Sidebar (Affiliate ads, Banner Exchanges)

The concept of earning from a blog has been discussed several ways and a multitude of times all over the net. This money goal revolves around the concept of selling things where there are people who are passing by, and right now, blogs as windows to people’s lives and thoughts are popular. However, there are some people who still do not want to place advertisements on their blogs. Here are some of the reasons that I learned by talking to other bloggers who keep their blogs ad-free.

“Only my friends and family visit anyway” – Of course, with a personal blog, you don’t expect much traffic from other sources, initially. However, as you post more and more, you will see that with or without search engine optimization, your blog will attract people who are looking for the topics you talk about. Unless you keep your blog private by placing a password on all your posts, the search engine robots will continue to visit your blog and send traffic from relevant sources.

“It clutters up my blog and divert attention from my stories” – This is the most common reason why other people won’t place ads. They are really building an online diary and they don’t expect to earn from it. They could also be feeling guilt about making money off their visitors. If you don’t want to place ads that could bring you cash, you can simply put your favorite charity’s banner on your blog to help you out. Perhaps a friend has an offline business that he wants to promote? You can create a small banner for him and paste it on your blog. The beauty of web 2.0 is that you meet so many people online and opportunities to help out aren’t scarce.

“I don’t know how” - You’d be surprised at the number of webmasters who are too proud to ask for help regarding their blog modification. Wordpress could be tricky to navigate if you don’t use plugins and if you don’t want to explore the other features of your admin panel, particularly the widgets section. Basic knowledge of HTML is not difficult to acquire. Just remember to copy your php codes to a notepad before experimenting so that you can easily revert back to the original when you break something.

To those who want to monetize their blogs but don’t know how, here are a few tips:

1. Join an affiliate network and choose the products that you want to promote – You can be sure that your favorite brand will have a banner that will fit your sidebar perfectly. They will give you an HTML code to place on your sidebar. The effortless way to do this is to add a text widget on your admin panel’s widget section (for Wordpress users) and paste the HTML code on the text box (right below the spot for the title).

Use a Google Adsense Plugin for Wordpress – Plugins like AdsenseDeluxe and MightyAdsense will make your Wordpress blog advertisement placement easy. These usually require you to simply input your adsense code and the plugin creates ads for you for putting on your sidebar of post body.

Virus on my official blog at CashSherpa.com

Hey everyone! I'm sorry to report my official blog CashSherpa.com has a virus that as of now I'm not able to get rid of. For now I'm back to posting on this blog 9malls.blogspot.com. I'm working with my hosting company and Wordpress to resolve this virus. Here's some more information on the virus.. if you have any information or have been infected with the virus PLEASE let me know how to get rid of it.

The virus injects malicious javascript code into the default.aspx page causing a redirect to http://reddii.ru/traffic/sploit1/ and sometimes causing a redirect to a PDF file on http://reddii.ru/traffic/sploit1/.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Microsoft Live is Now Rewarding You to Search, GetSearchPerks.com

I absolutely love this new scheme set up by Microsoft. I now get rewards just for using their search engine Live.com or MSN. May be I’m a sucker for free stuff. What have the other search engines gave you lately? There is a 500 point sign up bonus and a maximum of 25 points per day. Some of the prizes include free music downloads (525), sports game (750), T-Shirt (1100), 1000 airline miles (1800), cook book (3400), XBox360 controller (5500). Sign up for Search Perks at GetSearchPerks.com. Hurry this is limited to the first 1,000,000 sign ups.