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03 Dec, 2008

Shopping.com

Posted by: Nick the Greek In: Ecommerce

Introduction

Shopping.com, a subsidiary of Ebay, is a one-stop center for all your shopping needs. The site is beautifully laid-out with user-friendly navigation. Essentially, the site is designed to allow online customers to comparison shop with a click of their mouse. Another valuable feature on Shopping.com is the product reviews, which give customers straight feedback on the products they’re interested in from people that have purchased them. The site is one of the top ten ecommerce sites on the Internet. Taking a look around the site, it’s easy to see why. The site is loaded with every imaginable product with price quotes from dozens of reputable companies.

Features

The homepage provides the shopper with everything they’ll need for some online window shopping. A search feature is the quickest way to locate exactly what you’re looking for. If you prefer to check out the various products, they are organized into categories on the left side of the homepage. The middle of the homepage shows the shopper the “hottest” items on the site, with links that will quickly take you to the products.

Site speed is extremely quick and you are instantaneously taken from page to page. If you know what it is you’re looking for, you can be in and out of the site, with the product purchased, in five minutes.

Shopping.com also offers gift cards and a children’s section.

We took a look at sports equipment and were amazed by the selection. Searching “baseball bats” we found hundreds of bats being offered by dozens of stores. The shopper simply scrolls down to see the prices each store offers.

Tips and Tricks

The site index, located at the very bottom of the homepage, gives a complete one-page layout of all the products on the site, with quick links to each of them. It’s an easy alternative to the search feature that allows you to read through all the Shopping.com products.

Newbie Friendly Rating

Shopping.com is an attractively designed site that is extremely easy to use. Products are organized by category along the left side of the homepage and a search feature at the top of the page lets you find anything with one click. Once you find your product, it’s easy to compare prices among the brands. Navigating the site couldn’t be easier, it’s a new users dream site because it’s just that easy to use.

We give Shopping.com a Newbie Friendly Rating of 10.

03 Dec, 2008

Ebay.co.uk

Posted by: Nick the Greek In: Ecommerce

Introduction

EBay is an American company and an online auction and shopping website. It opened in U.K. in the year 1999 and is now the leading auction site. With eBay’s country specific sites, it is now possible to trade almost anything from any where regardless of the location. It is an online market for the world. EBay community has millions of users across the globe in around 25 countries. For eBay UK all transactions take place in British Pound. The fee structure on the UK site is different than the USA site.

 

Features

Almost anything can be put for auction if it is not illegal and against the law. There are thousands of items listed on eBay under various category heads like collectibles, computers, furnishing, home décor, jewelry, coins, mobiles, pottery, sporting goods, boats, cameras, vehicles and their parts. Big companies sell their latest products and services here.  EBay motors is the biggest automotive selling place where you can trade in anything from cars to motorcycles and used cars also. Many restricted items on eBay are firearms, alcohol, tobacco, drugs etc. there are seller tools on eBay like sell your item, turbo lister which can save your time and manage and track the status. There are eBay stores also where a seller can showcase his merchandise. There are three levels; basic store for those starting out on eBay; premium store for medium sized sellers and Anchor store for the high volume sellers.  EBay community has EBay blogs, discussion boards, chats, reviews to share your opinion with others. There general chat rooms and some are product specific chat rooms. EBay pulse gives the latest information and inform about the most popular items. EBay has a feedback forum which allows users to rate their experience after the transaction. Both buyers and sellers are expected to leave a feedback within sixty days of the transaction. Buyers give a rating to sellers which are called seller ratings. They are rated from 1 to 5, where 1 is lowest and 5 is the highest. The Power sellers are those which have a rating of 4.5 and above across categories for a period of twelve months. Their feature EBay for charity provides an option for sellers if they want to give away their proceeds to a charitable organization of their choice.

 

Tips     

While logging in and becoming a member choose a username which is nice to sound and people can easily remember it later. If you are a regular user, you can download eBay toolbar as it will save your time by keeping you updated about any auctions, present in your watchlist, which are going to send soon. Bid for only those items which you are intending to buy. Before bidding always do price comparisons check on other such sites. It is a good place to market fake goods. For a naïve person, it can be difficult to distinguish between genuine and fake. In case of doubt or if you have any query, ask the seller.  

 

Newbie friendly rating

It has become an online medium between buyers and sellers. It has had its shares of scams but that has not damaged its popularity. It is user friendly and eBay has a strong business model to sustain itself. Our rating has to be 10.

03 Dec, 2008

Addthis.com

Posted by: Nick the Greek In: Uncategorized

Introduction:

Addthis.com is one of those very many social networking or sites built around social networking or sharing site.  This particular site deals with social bookmarkings and sharing them.  Addthis.com is nothing but a too or a button which you can use to subscribe to a particular blog or blog post or anything or any sites for that matter.

 

This site or tool was born out of the need for a single tool or button to access all or the famous social bookmarking or sharing sites.  This came as a boon for the blog owners and site owners so that it saved them a lot of space on their page as this button occupies very little space and can hold as many social bookmarking sites for everyone’s needs.  This also made the life easier for the readers who find it hard to bookmark a particular blog or site of their interest to their favorite social bookmarking or social news sharing sites from a single point console and Addthis.com made it possible.

 

Within a short span of one year Addthis has become the number one social bookmarking and sharing button or site.

 

Features:

One important feature with Addthis is that you get to choose any social bookmarking site that you like and they have them in their button, so that you can use any one of them and proceed.  It is easy to use and bookmark and share.  It helps in promoting ones blog or website from their perspective.  From the webmaster’s perspective this helps in increasing ranking or popularity of their blogs or sites.  Apart from helping in bookmarking and sharing, Addthis.com has the option of giving the detailed statistics for both the webmasters and the end users.  It is very easy to install and use.

 

The best part of Addthis.com is that using this you can easily add any page found on the net to your favorite site sharing or bookmarking sites like Digg, del.icio.us, MySpace, Facebook, Google Bookmarks, Yahoo Buzz, etc.

 

Tips & Tricks:

For the webmasters you can easily install them by customizing it according to your needs and add them to your blog or website with just a push of a button.  For others you can just look for this button and choose the bookmarking site that you use and proceed.  If you want to have an extensive collection of sites and blogs to subscribe or bookmark to use the most popular ones as you can easily bookmark them through Addthis in a single click, else you will have to proceed to a new page and search for the bookmarking site and then proceed, this will save some extra time for you.  Sometimes you will also not find the bookmarking site that you use, here and hence making it tougher for you to use Addthis.

 

Newbie Friendly Rating:

Since Addthis has made life easier for both the webmasters and the readers together by removing a lot of clutter and saving time and space, Addthis.com can be offered a rating of 9 out of 10.

02 Dec, 2008

Ultimate-guitar.com

Posted by: Nick the Greek In: Informational

Introduction

Ultimate-guitar.com is the guitar enthusiast’s dream Website. The site was the brainchild of Russian student Eugeny Naidenov and contains over 20,000 guitar tabs. The site claims to be the fastest-growing guitar enthusiast’s page on the net. Upon loading the homepage, the user is greeted with a dark page literally filled with links containing tabs, the latest rock news, musician interviews, music reviews and guest columns. The site is a bit overwhelming to the beginner in that it is loaded with options. To unlock all the features of the site, users will need to complete a simple free registration.

Features

The first thing you notice on Ultimate-guitar is the sheer volume of guitar tabulations. The tabs are arranged in alphabetical order, but due to the huge number, it takes a few minutes to find your artist. We checked out Eric Clapton and found well over 600 tabs for “Slow Hand” alone. Dozens or versions of his popular hit “Layla” were readily available. The site seems to have almost every song by every artist covered.

The articles section contains some great writing on guitar advice and the music scene in general. We were amazed at the quality of the writing in the section – this is a terrific feature of the website. New articles are posted everyday and users spend time in the forums talking about them.

The forums are fantasic. Dozens of topics are in play and there’s even a songwriting and lyrics forum where users can participate in a songwriting tournament. One forum – guitar basics – contains helpful playing instructions from seasoned artists to the newest guitarists among us.

Tips & Tricks

Since the site is flooded with information, we’d suggest checking out the site map at the very bottom of the page. Clicking on that gives the user a less intimidating list format of where everything is located on the site. When looking for a band or individual artist, use the search bar at the top of the homepage. Clicking through the vast library manually is far too time-consuming.

Music lovers will want to check out the news section. It’s packed with up-to-the-minute rumors and hard news from around the music world.

Newbie Friendly Rating

Ultimate-guitar can be a bit congested with information and somewhat confusing to the new user. Additionally, the site is filled with pop-up ads which become annoying quickly.  Many sites wouldn’t be worth the aggravation, but Ultimate-guitar certainly is. It might not be an overly friendly site, but we must recommend it based purely on its vast wealth of content. Overall, we’ll give Ultimate-guitar.com a Newbie Friendly Rating of 5.

01 Dec, 2008

Openoffice.org

Posted by: Nick the Greek In: Informational

Introduction:

Openoffice.org is a business network site wherein one can outsource projects as well as seek projects. It is an international office suite which can be run on any operating system platforms. It is highly sponsored by the Sun Microsystems who maintains the code of projects online. Some of the other contributors are RedFlag, Novell, RedHat, IBM and Google. This software was founded in Germany in mid 1980’s and later was acquired by Sun Microsystems in 1999 who further released it in year 2000. This site is governed by the Community Council who is responsible to solve any conflicts and disputes and provides a forum for authenticating the issues related to the projects.

Features:

All the projects are widely distributed in any of the 3 categories – Accepted Projects, Native – Lang and Incubator. Accepted projects are the ones who have voting rights and incorporate the well being of the communities. There are technical as well as non-technical projects under this category. The in-house native languages projects fall under this category. Incubator are the community sponsored projects, usually has experimental and small term projects. One need not register on this site to get information on the ongoing and new projects posted; however one can subscribe to the mailing lists and can get this information on a regular basis. If you have your own site it let you link to the openoffice.org site thus making it accessible to different community members. To get more information related to this site one can check the useful links available on it.

Tips & Tricks:

The titled tabs make it easier to browse what you are actually looking for.  One can browse the projects category wise or even project lead wise. Most of the projects displayed on this site are hard core technical ones and require good programming ability. One can download the software by selecting the different themes and clip arts available as per your like. To keep you updated with the recent events on Openoffice.com, one can check the News tab and avail all the details. It is very simple to register on this site and ne can save the project details or the pages browsed in their personal folder. There is a dedicated community available if there are any issues related to the project you are working on so that you can report abuse and or any discrimination. One can also make use of the different supports like training, communities, books to further enhance your growth ability on the Openoffice.org

Newbie Friendly Rating:

Though it is a very innovative and aggressive platform available for the techies, the site overall looks plain and crafted only with words. It does not have graphical interface which could have made operating more interesting. With so many business networking sites available online, there is nothing outstanding or exceptional about this site. The only fact which can come handy is that one can find each and every kind of technical project on this site. Openoffice.org can be given a rating of 6 on 10.

01 Dec, 2008

Bebo.com

Posted by: Nick the Greek In: Social Network

Introduction-

This is the most popular online social networking site in UK, New Zealand and Ireland. It allows users to share photos and videos, listen to music and staying connected. Launched in the year 2005, it is also very popular in USA. It s number three in popularity there just after myspace and facebook. This year in March, bebo was acquired by AOL. There are plans to expand bebo in various other languages like German and French, after the Polish version was launched recently. Not many know but bebo is an acronym for “Blog Early, Blog Often”

 

Features

Users can register for free at this site. Their profile may be public or private depending on the user’s preference. The customized background of the profile page is called Skin. Users can post blogs, connect with friends and stay connected to college friends. After registering you can share videos and photos, upload music and music albums. On the home menu, users can see who the recent visitors on his page were. They can see their friend’s updated pages in terms of any new videos or photos.  Bebo music, originally called bebo bands, permits bands to create profile and provides them a platform to showcase their music. It has the band member list, and their songs which can be clubbed together into albums. These songs may be added to any user’s playlist also.  Just last year, Bebo Authors was launched. Here authors can upload their chapters and get them evaluated. Books are not displayed on the profile page like bands. Groups were added to pages lately. Members have an option to choose and join a group which they relate to. These groups may be educational or just general.  

Bebo mobile allows the users to make changes in their profiles through heir mobile phones, upload photos using MMS and receive texts. Bebo nation has a virtual map and it allows the users to buy a ‘land’, in other words, pixels and they can put their picture or any other image of their choice on that area. If any other user clicks on that picture, he can visit your profile. The cost of a 10×10 pixel is $0.10!

Further there are a number of applications like ‘who likes you’ and MindJolt games for the users to join in.

                

Tips

It is imperative to choose a privacy option as soon as you begin because by default the ‘public’ option is saved. Bebo has three privacy options; public, private and fully private. Public profiles can be seen by anyone, private ones are accessible to friends and contacts. Fully private option limits the viewing to your direct friends only as these profiles are not part of any group. Bebo also allows the users to set the photos as private so that nobody can copy it. Bebo account is not for young children that are below thirteen years of age. Have only one bebo account as remembering passwords for many will be difficult and there are more chances of hacking.

 

Newbie friendly rating

With rivals like facebook, MySpace, tagged, bebo has still made a place for itself and the future looks brighter. Bebo gets our newbie rating of 9 on 10. as navigating through the site is a little difficult.

01 Dec, 2008

Tripadvisor.com

Posted by: Nick the Greek In: Informational

Introduction

Tripadvisor.com is a site dedicated to providing travel tips and advice to people preparing for trips all over the world. The site consists of online database of information and opinions from fellow travelers. Tripadvisor prides itself on providing “unscripted and honest conversation between travelers.” The site delivers by providing users with advice, opinions and helpful information to meet all their travel needs.

Features

The site layout is simple. A search bar at the top of the homepage allows the user a place to direct any general inquiries concerning their travel objectives and needs. The central feature of the homepage is the “Plan the Perfect Trip” box in the middle of the page. The box prompts the user to select one of six trip categories: hotels, flights, restaurants, things to do, cruises and forums. For an example, we checked out hotels for a trip to Buffalo, New York assuming we were heading for a football game. Ten hotels popped up, complete with Tripadvisor rankings, rates and user reviews. With one click, a user can obtain the current rates and contact information for the hotel they are considering.

The “things to do” section is another great feature of Tripadvisor. After typing in your destination, you’ll find an array of links to the most popular activities in the city you are reviewing. Travelers with children will certainly want to consider this feature to determine how “kid friendly” a city is. Overall, the site is very simple to use, even for the computer novice. Homepage use is self-explanatory and well constructed. Subsequent pages are very similar to the homepage with the exception of additional advertisements.

Tips & Tricks

One feature that is a must-see is the user forums. The forums are divided up by country and state or province. In the New York forum, users can be found discussing topics like the best pizza in New York City to the best ticket deals for Broadway tickets.

If you have a travel question, check out the “ask a question” feature under the “quick links” at the bottom left of the homepage.

Newbie Friendly Rating

The site navigates easily, but frequent pop-up ads are quite annoying. The other drawback to the site is an overload of information. Tripadvisor is filled with links to the point that the user is almost overwhelmed with information splashed all over the page. On the other hand, the wealth and quality of feedback from fellow travelers is invaluable. Users can learn about other people’s experiences firsthand and get helpful information that will make their trip more enjoyable. Tripadvisor does exactly what it promises and earns an overall Newbie Friendly Rating of 8.

01 Dec, 2008

MySpace.com

Posted by: Nick the Greek In: Social Network

Introduction:

MySpace is one of the two biggest social networking sites. In MySpace a user creates a profile in order to become part of the social network. Through that profile the user can add friends, customize the profile, and stay connected with friends through comments, status updates, bulletins, etc. Since its founding in 2003 by Tom Anderson, MySpace has become extremely popular with teenagers and adults from all over the world. It is currently available in 15 languages and attracts 230,000 new accounts per day.

Features:

One of the great features of MySpace is the ability of the user to connect with old friends, current friends, and even make new friends. In MySpace this process is made very easy. There are lots of criteria in which you can base your search for friends on. Also, apart from people, you can also search for bands, movies, etc. MySpace revolves about what’s new every day, not only does it let you socialize with your friends, but also lets you interact with new movies and bands.

Now, a reason why MySpace’s popularity grew quickly is because you are able to customize your profile however you like in order to fit your personality. Yup, you can change the background, upload pictures and videos, add your favorite song to your profile, etc. You can do all of that whenever you want, as many times as you like. Best of all, it is not hard. After you sign up for MySpace you will be able to edit your information, and it is all very clear and easy to do.

Most importantly though, in my opinion, is how MySpace keeps you connected with the rest of the world. With MySpace you post your status (what you are currently doing), you can subscribe to a friend and receive updates on his/her activities, send bulletins which all of your friends will be able to see, MySpace also recently enabled an instant messenger system to chat with your friends if they are online at the same time, too, you can get text alerts to your cell phone, use the blog, forums, messages, etc…etc…The reality is that MySpace is full of cool features and the administration of MySpace works each day to continue improving the site.

Tips and Tricks:

In MySpace, the only part in which you need to know some tricks is when you customize your profile. MySpace does have certain features to allow you to customize your profile; however, they do not have all the layouts that you see while searching through your friends’ profiles. What they do is they search the web for layouts and then put the code of the layout in their profile. Don’t worry; it is all very easy, just continue reading. A good way to finding a good layout is by going to Google, and, for example if you like Coldplay, type “MySpace Coldplay layouts.” Most likely you will get tons of results. Search through them and see which one you like. After you decide on a layout all you have to do is copy and paste. Each layout has its own HTML code, and in order to put the layout in your profile you need to copy the whole code, go to the edit section of your profile, go to the “about me” section, paste the code and click save. That’s all! It is as simple as that. Now you got yourself a nice looking MySpace profile.

Newbie Friendly Rating:

Given MySpace’s user friendly interface, it’s easiness to sign up, and great ability to continuously keep you connected with what’s going on around you, it earns a rating of 9 out of 10. MySpace is very popular, and even though its opponent Facebook has grown very popular, too, MySpace continues to grow even more each day by providing a free, high-quality social network to millions all over the world.

01 Dec, 2008

Popularscreensavers.com

Posted by: Nick the Greek In: Uncategorized

Introduction

Popularscreensavers.com offers users a toolbar download that gains them access to what they call “a world of fun.” The homepage has a large blue box on the left side prompting users to click to begin the installation. Once installed, the user has an organized set of hundreds of unique screensavers for their PC.

Features

The product download takes about two minutes to complete and the site “congratulates” you upon successful completion. A yellow button appears asking users to click to finish the installation process. Users are then required to submit a working email address. A series of somewhat annoying promotional offers appear and the user can either accept the offers (and junk email) or click a button to bypass the solicitations.

The toolbar then automatically appears on your screen. It features five components: a “mywebsearch,” smiley central, cursor mania, myfuncards and the screensavers.

The search is a standard search engine, with a user-friendly typing box and quick results.

Smiley central offers thousands of smileys in a pop-up box that is organized by categories on the left side. My Fun Cards is a general card personalizing application. Cursor mania is similar to the smiley feature in that it gives you a multitude of alternative cursors to use in lieu of the standard arrow cursor on most PCs.

The toolbar simply allows quick access to the main web page. Using the main page provides a more in-depth using experience and is quite friendly to navigate.

Tips & Tricks

The screensavers site is user-friendly. The most useful tip for the beginning use is to utilize the gray topic tabs at the top of the homepage. For example, one of the categories is “holidays,” which takes the user to a list of all the popular holidays. A click on Christmas shows the user more than a dozen attractive Christmas scenes, including some very nice wintry tree pictures. The photos are high-quality and of sharp resolution. A button at the top of the screen prompts the user to download the entire collection of Christmas screensavers. The site also features a FAQ section and a user guide at the very bottom of the home page. A simple click takes the user to 45 questions and answers provided by the webmasters.

Newbie Friendly Rating

Popularscreensavers.com is an exceedingly newbie-friendly site. The site is easy to read and well-organized. Any problems that arise are easily answered by the FAQ section at the bottom of the page. It’s hard to believe any problems would crop up because the site is just that easy.

Overall, we’d give Popularscreensavers.com a Newbie Friendly Rating of 9.

27 Nov, 2008

Google.com

Posted by: Nick the Greek In: Web Search Engine

Introduction: Founded in 1995 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google is the web’s most used web search engine; it receives hundreds of millions of queries each day. Its purpose is to aid people in finding what they are looking for in the web as accurately and quickly as possible. To do this, it uses a system, called “PageRank,” to rank web pages and determine which web pages most closely match the search criteria. It then provides the user with all the results found in order of the importance established by the PageRank system. Overall, Google Inc., which owns the Google search engine, offers a wide variety of services, such as Google Maps, Gmail, etc; however, this guide will only refer to the search engine.

Features: Google’s most important feature is it accurateness and speed in finding and delivering results to a search. When compared to other web search engines, Google is one of the fastest and most accurate search engines; which is why it is so widely used. There are several other features though. One of the features Google provides is a definition link for every word in the search. For example, if you search “red cars” there will be a link for red and a link for cars. If you click the link, the link will take you to its definition. Furthermore, Google has an integrated calculator. If you search a mathematical problem, such as “55+2” for example, the search engine will provide you with the result of the problem. Google also contains other similar features that work in the same way, which include a unit and currency converter. With Google you can also search images, news, maps, and much more.

Tips and Tricks: The key to use Google is to use the right keywords when searching. You want to make sure you only use the most important words when searching for something and exclude unnecessary words. That means you need to be specific, but not too specific. For example, when searching for the difference of plasma and LCD TVs, you want to come up with the least amount of search words that most strongly convey what you are looking for; in this case a good search criteria would be “plasma vs. LCD.” It is as easy as that. If your results are not coming out so nicely you can also do an “advanced search.” Click on advanced search and you will have several options to make your search even more specific, therefore getting more accurate results. Furthermore, you can accommodate Google to your needs by changing your preferences in the preference page. You can change language, safety filter, number of results per page, etc. Another feature of Google is its “I’m Feeling Lucky” feature. This feature allows a user to skip the results page and go directly to the first result listed by Google; making the search even easier and faster.

Newbie Friendly Rating: Google is fast and effective. Its searches, most of the time, provide the most accurate listings that you are going to find in the web. Not only that, it has several features which make the overall service very satisfying. In addition, it is extremely user-friendly and easy to use. Given all of these, Google has got a rating of 10 out of 10.