Monthly Archives: October 2008

5 Things DirecTV Does Not Want you to Know

Written by Master Blaster

5. Protection Plan

When your DirecTV equipment breaks down, you will have to pay about $80 for a service call, unless you shell out $5.99 per month for the protection plan. Instead you could wait until you have a problem, call to add the protection plan to your account (don’t mention you have a current problem), call back the next day to schedule a $5.99 service call.

4. Upgrades

If you have fulfilled your contract with DirecTV, call them every six months and ask for a free upgrade. You can get additional rooms, new equipment, HD receivers, and DVR receivers.

3. Retention

Ahhhh, retention the magical customer service department that can get almost anything done. The retention departments job is to keep you from canceling your account. Retention representatives get bonuses if they can get you to stick with DirecTV, so they are always willing to help.

The key is to pretend you are going to cancel your account. I have had to evoke the magic retention word a few times when dealing with regular customer service, and every time my problem was immediately fixed and a credit added to my bill. Just tell the regular customer service rep. that you have had enough and want to cancel your account. Once they transfer you, tell the retention agent what is going on, and they will do whatever they can to keep you. If they do call your bluff, just say you have to sleep on it and you will call back tomorrow to cancel.

2. Phone Lines

DirecTV receivers can not send pay-per-view billing information back to DirecTV unless the receiver is connected to a phone line. That means if you disconnect your receiver from the phone line, and order pay-per-view with the remote you will not be billed. Some receivers have safeguards to prevent or limit this.

1. Receivers are Untraceable

As long as you disconnect your receivers from a phone line, DirecTV has no idea where that receiver is geographically. That means one receiver could be at your house, one at Grandmas house across town, one at your best friends house, and one in your R.V. You would have to be handy enough to install a few satellite dishes that you bought on Ebay, and run some coax cable.

5 things they skipped in college orientation

Written by Jason

Five Things you learned in college that they never taught you in orientation.

College orientation can be exciting. You get a jist of how college life will be (a crash course if you will)…Thats why we decided to crank out a list dedicated to what they will not tell you.

5) Freshman 15

What they tell you

The campus cafeteria can be found at the end of Emerson Hall. We keep a large variety of assorted foods and the vending machines are open 24 hours.

What they should have told you

In 3 months you will be a fat ass. Lets face it, the cafeteria will never be open when you need it. This resorts in Hot Pockets and Red Bull from the vending machines while you’re pulling all nighters trying to cram. That combined with eating pizza and drinking beer every other night will soon leave you looking like Jared (before he found Subway).

4) Certain bars have college night

What they tell you

At times you can take advantage of coupons that we hand out to students. These coupons are good for discounts in various restaurant establishments across town.

What they should have told you

Once you find out which bars offer college night, you’ll soon become a regular. This leads to you spending time at bars (when you should be studying) because you think you’re saving money. Eating hotwings and slamming 2 dollar mixers lead to….(see #5)

3) You will live off of Top Ramen at least once

What they tell you

Financial aid forms can be found at the administration office. If you have any questions, feel free to ask a counselor.

What they should have told you

You’re in college, prepare to be broke. If you can’t afford a George Foreman Grill and a bunch of frozen chicken breasts, we suggest you head to Costco and buy Top Ramen in bulk.

2) STD’s

What they tell you


What they should have told you

1 in 4 people on campus has an STD (that is an actual stat taken from SDSU). Even if you do wear a condom, there is a good chance you will catch crabs. You can save a lot of money if you skip the prescription shampoo, and just shave your pubes.

1) WoW + Counterstrike = F

What they tell you

It is important to manage your time wisely. Making and maintaining a class schedule is your responsibilty. Taking too many credits at once can become overwhelming.

What they should have told you

Do not install World of Warcraft on your computer. Do not install Counterstrike on your computer. You will not be able to function in your 8am class if you’re bunny hopping and head shotting through CS servers all night. We understand you think that you will be able to go on a raid at 9pm and still get a good night sleep before your Trig class. The truth is: your preist will keep going link dead before he can give you ‘prayer of fortitude’. The Druid who was supposed to cast resist got impatient and logged off. By the time you found another druid, called in another preist with a decent connect, and finished your raid – it was 3am. We’ll see you at starbucks.

23 Most Incredible Photoshop Tutorials

Written by Brian

Paired with yesterday’s 24 Perfect Vectors, I wanted to list off some incredible Photoshop tutorials I’ve found on the web that will help you utilize those resources. I’ve done my best to select a wide variety of tutorials from web graphics, to photo enhancement, to just plain incredible.

Remember, its not about the destination, instead its all about the journey. Don’t neglect a tutorial because you aren’t interested in the final product. Instead, follow each one, step by step. I can personally attest that the knowledge you will gain about the various tools and functions that are available for you to use in Photoshop will be much more beneficial than the final image.


The Ultimate Wood Texture Tutorial

Hot Chick On A Muscle Car

How To Create A Stunning Vista Inspired Menu

Badass Bling Effect In Photoshop

Create A Slick Black iMac In Photoshop

Glass Ball Tutorial

Create A Spectacular Flaming Meteor Effect On Text

Creating Smoke

Making A Print Ready Business Card Using Only Photoshop

Slow Shutter Text Effect

Creating A Mac Type Background In Photoshop

Exploding Planet

The Pen Tool

Awesome Underwater Scenery

Draw A Macbook Air Ad From Scratch

3D Tentacles

Gritty HDR

Add Texture To Improve Artwork

Ornate Lettering Process

Abstract Reflective Bubbles

Making Grunge Brushes

Realistic Water

Create An iPod Shuffle

The following has been funded by Training Connection

Have you thought about getting professional Photoshop training on your next trip? Our Photoshop training Chicago classes are filling up quick, so be sure to signup for a package deal today!

28 Free File Storage Hosting Websites

Written by MoiN

If you’re looking for a free File hosting service and can’t decide, I’ve compiled a list of 28 “working” Free file storage hosting websites. Each of these websites has it’s con’s and pro’s. Some are offering more file size limits, some aren’t. It’s for you to decide which one you want to go for 🙂


FileSavr gives you 10 GB upload size limit and requires you to sign up before you use their services.


FileDropper is another great file hosting service. It offers you 5 GB file limit and they claim to be the fastest as well.


Built on Adobe® AIR technology, you can now drag and drop files directly from your desktop, hard drive, or USB device directly into your Xdrive account. Gives you 5GB of free online storage!


ADrive provides 50 GB of Free Online Storage Space with features like Cloud Storage, Upload & Store Files, Access Files Anywhere, Share Files, Edit Documents Online, Remote File Transfer and a Desktop Backup Client. is the simplest way to share files online, gives you 100 MB of free space. Gives you the ability to upload those files by phone, email, web, widget or fax and then share them with whoever you want.


ShareSend has a very simple interface, all you have to do is, go to their site, click Browse and upload your file! And that’s it! 100MB file size limit.


FileFactory lets you host files up to 300MB for free. Again, there is no registration required and no software to download.


Uploadz offers free unlimited file hosting through their very simple and easy to use website interface.


This website doesn’t even have a logo to go with. Simple Browse, Reset and Upload button.


YouConvertIt focuses more on converting your media files (Documents, Images, Audio, Video & Archives) to a huge number of formats and gives you access to send those files to anyone you like.


neeBiT is a photo, video, sound, flash and document sharing service that lets you easily upload, download and share your media for free. The maximum file size that you can upload is

For Images, 5 MB
For SWF, 15 MB
For Videos, 125 MB
For Text Files, 10 MB
For Audio Files, 20 MB

And requires you to sign up.


UpMyFiles need a sign up before you begin uploading file and the max size that you can upload for a file is 25 MB. is another cool service that lets you upload your documents and media files. Give you 1 GB of free space for free if you sign up with their basic Lite plan.


FileDen is also a free file hosting and online storage web facility. It gives you 1 GB of file storage space, A 50mb maximum file size limit and 5 GB of monthly bandwith.


DropSend is a fast, simple and secure to use website. Gives you 250 MB of free space if you sign up for their basic plan.


DivShare claims to be one of the best, of them all. Gives you 5 GB of free space and a 10 GB monthly download limit. With over 872,327 members, 4.0 million files online, it’s a must try.


4Shared is another free online storage where you can upload, access, share your music, video, photos with over 5 GB of free space.


Badongo is a FREE file hosting site that enables you to upload an unlimited amount of files, photos, video and music, to send to friends, family and colleagues. You can upload a file up to 1GB at one time, giving you daily download limit of 12GB.


With Fileqube, you can store up to 2GB free for remote file access. Gives you the ability to upload multiple files at once.


MediaFire is another smashing, free file hosting service. Features include, Unlimited storage, Up to 100MB per file, Unlimited uploads, Unlimited downloads, Unlimited bandwidth, Image galleries, No sign up required and no software is needed.


MegaUpload comes in mind when it comes to online storage. It gives you unlimited space and a 1GB file size limit. A must try website.


Everyone has heard of RapidShare! It’s a amazing file storage website, doesn’t require any registration of any kind (If you are using the free utility) – and you can upload a file size up to 200 MB.


FastFreeUpload also runs on a very simple interface. All you have to do is, select your file and press upload, Receive download-link and share it !! Gives you 100 MB file size limit.


With Upload drive, you can upload a file size up to 450MB. Nice interface and easy to use.


2big2send gives you 1 GB of space, 100 MB of storage, 1 GB/month bandwidth, 1 GB Maximum upload size and 5 days before file expiry.


BlazeUpload offers free file hosting, Blazing speeds, truly percise progress bar, file and folder management, ajax slideshow, tags and lots more! Gives you the ability to upload 10 files at once with a 100MB file size limit.


Dropbox is just great. It’s the easiest way to share and store your files online. I would highly recommend that you take their online tour for more information.


DsFileShare is another free file hosting service. Gives you up to 1GB Free Disk Space, 1GB per File and there is no sign up needed.

Users Recommendations:

Windows Live Mesh Tech

78 Ways For Your Small Business to Save Money

Written by insidecrm

These easy tips will keep your finances secure during the current downturn.

With the economy struggling, every business is trying to cut costs to make ends meet. Small businesses, which have fewer resources, especially feel the burn.

Not to fear. We’ve come up with a mega-list of ways to trim the fat off your enterprise so you don’t become a casualty of the latest economic downturn.


  1. Go greenEnergy-efficient technology will save you money over the life span of your computers, phone systems and other tech tools. There are often tax benefits to green technology, too. Not to mention it’ll help out the environment.
  2. Switch to open-source software. An open-source solution isn’t the scary, “You’re on your own!” proposition that larger software providers lead you to believe. Open-source software costs a fraction of the price as commercial products while still offering all, if not more, of the features.
  3. Consider a smaller ISP. If you don’t have a big-business budget, smaller ISPs offer good value for their cost. Check out The List to compare prices.
  4. Check out VoIP. VOIP is basically a phone service that uses the Internet. Many small businesses are opting for this cheaper alternative that can save them up to 60% over their traditional telecom costs. 
  5. Get a cheaper business phone service. Try a hosted PBX system, like Virtual PBX. Unlike a standard PBX, there is no hardware or software to buy or maintain, so costs start low and stay low.
  6. Switch from a merchant account to an online payment service like Paypal. Say goodbye to statement fees and monthly fees. These services, however, do have a higher “per transaction” cost, so do some number crunching to see if making a switch will really save you money.
  7. Reduce the number of phone lines. You could accomplish this simply by configuring office PCs to send and receive faxes. The Windows XP operating system and Small Business Server both make it easy to set up fax services.
  8. Look for cheap or free web hosting. Check out this list of free Web space or read the reviews of hosts at Web Hosting Unleashed to see which providers have saved businesses money.
  9. Buy recycled printer cartridges. Printer ink is one of the most expensive liquids on the planet. Much of it is margin, so find low-cost sources.
  10. Reassess your phone plan. Even if you don’t switch to VoIP, you can get service for cents per minute depending on your call volume.
  11. Eliminate unnecessary lighting. Install motion detectors to control lighting in frequently unoccupied areas, such as restrooms and copy rooms.
  12. Turn off equipment when it’s not being used. This can reduce energy consumption by 25 percent; turning off the computers at the end of the day can save an additional 50 percent.
  13. Lighten up. Dark walls require more power to produce the same amount of light.If possible, repaint your walls or lighten up your office space with wall hangings to reduce the amount of energy you use.
  14. Time yourself. Install timers on outdoor lighting systems so they only operate from dusk to dawn.
  15. If appropriate, use laptop computers. These portable computing machines consume 90 percent less energy than standard desktop computers.
  16. Stop paying for software.  Visit sites like to try hundreds of software products for free through trial downloads, freeware and limited versions. Also check manufacturers’ Web sites for free trial downloads.
  17. Do it online. Do all of your sales calls need to be in person? Internet-based technologies like Web conferencing and tools like Microsoft Office Live Meeting let you make online presentations to customers.
  18. Share printers. If you purchase and maintain multiple printers at your office, you could save money by setting up a network that allows employees to share devices. Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 is an easy-to-use and easy-to-operate server solution that allows you to share printers and create a more secure and productive computing environment.
  19. Overhead

  20. Reduce your variable expenses. Variable expenses change depending on your consumption of a good or service. They can add up, so see where you can regulate or scrap spending all together.
  21. Do house cleaning on your weekly unneeded expenses. If you’re spending $50 a week on pizza for the office, you might want to consider brown bagging it.
  22. Get a freelancer. Don’t let Larry in accounting eat up your electricity as he checks his fantasy football league stats. Hire freelancers, consultants or contractors to work for you from home.
  23. Keep a close watch on energy consumption. Set your thermostats to a lower temperature, turn off all appliances when they’re not in-use and encourage staff to shut down their computers when they’re out of the office.
  24. Sublet office space.You’ll always need to pay rent, regardless of the economy. But try to avoid any additional bills and contracts that will come with having your own office. Subletting is a great way to accomplish this.
  25. Keep it in the family. Got kids? Hire them! You’ll get cheap help, your kid will learn responsibility and you may get some tax breaks, too.
  26. Hire college students or interns for credit. An internship program is a win-win situation for your business. You get bright, young and ambitious employees to do your dirty work for little or no pay.
  27. Office Items and Office Space

  28. Take advantage of member rewards. Maximize your rewards points by double-dipping on programs for many of your office and electronics purchases. You can get points from your credit card provider as well as stores like Best Buy.
  29. Plan shipping or mailings. You can schedule your shipping, mailings or deliveries to take advantage of bulk transactions.
  30. Don’t pay retail. Get purchase orders at trade shows, buy wholesale or even check out the local offerings on Craigslist to save big bucks on office essentials.
  31. Eliminate unnecessary paper waste. Implement paper-reducing strategies such as double-sided printing and reusing paper. You’ll save some trees, too!
  32. Barter. Thought the days of trade were over? Think again. You can now exchange countless number of goods and services online on sites like
  33. Free form it. Don’t waste time and resources finding writers to produce forms for your business. Search online for free forms you can download and print. specifically has ones for small businesses.
  34. Buy used equipment. One person’s trash is another guy’s treasure, right? Sites like sell used computer equipment and copiers.
  35. Check out going-out-of-business sales. You’re business isn’t going to tank because you’re reading this article. But other companies are bound to fail during this recession. Update your business’s digs by capitalizing on the misfortune of others.
  36. Get creative and recycle.Refurbish old treasures with ideas from sites like Suite
  37. Opt for industrial space over commercial office space. True, you won’t be in the trendiest neighborhood in town, but you’ll save a wad of cash each month.
  38. Clean up your mailing list. The U.S. Postal Service will clean up your mailing list for free, correcting addresses, noting incomplete addresses and adding ZIP+4 numbers so you’ll be eligible for bar-code discounts.
  39. Use online coupons. Scour the Internet for coupons and promotion codes hardware, software and electronic equipment.


  40. Word-of-mouth marketing works. Use your associates to get referrals.
  41. Create an e-newsletter. It’s much cheaper to market to previously acquired customers than creating new direct-marketing collateral. 
  42. Use YouTube. YouTube is a great free way for you to get the word out on your business.
  43. Place an ad on local television stations. If you’re not into YouTube, or want to reach additional audiences, local shows are amazingly easy venue to access. Advertising rates for local TV stations are much more negotiable than what you’d expect.
  44. Communicate on online forums and message boards. You’ll interact with potential clients and customers — for free.
  45. Start a blog. You can advertise, review your offerings and give free tips as often as you’d like without worrying about running up your budget.
  46. Use email. Similar to the newsletter, email marketing campaigns will let you interact with specific customers about new products that might interest them.
  47. Get to know your neighbor businesses. They might be up for splitting local advertising and promotion costs, such as sidewalk sales and mailing lists.
  48. Get your clients to advertise for you. Ask them to write a testimonial on your Web site or tell their colleagues about your products or services. 
  49. Be a guest speaker. Speak at a community meeting or teach a business course to reach new potential customers.
  50. Join trade associations. You’ll get industry-specific information, advice, sales opportunities and other member benefits.
  51. Prune your mailing list. Direct Marketing Association offers this checklist of cost-cutting ideas. Eliminate nonresponders and marginal prospects; print “Address Correction Requested” on your mail; investigate comingling your mail with that of other small businesses to take advantage of discounts available to large mailers; and stockpile mail to build up larger volumes. 
  52. Be an early bird. Send mail early in the day, and you can usually expect to get one- to two-day delivery for the price of a first-class stamp.
  53. Shop around for an overnight courier. Overnight delivery rates for the major couriers are competitive; however, if you’re willing to wait a few hours — or even an extra day — you could save.
  54. Piggyback your advertising. Include advertising material in mailings such as invoices and sneak announcements or coupons into newsletters and other promotional fliers.
  55. Insurance and Finances

  56. Re-evaluate your insurance coverage and policy costs. Ask your provider about an umbrella policy, which can be cheaper.
  57. Consider a four-day work week. Who’s going to object to a three-day weekend?
  58. Bank on an early deposit. Make bank deposits early in the day so you get credit (and start earning interest) that day.
  59. Consider outsourcing your HR, benefits and payroll to an external provider. Handing over administrative responsibilities to another company will save you time and money.
  60. Order your checks from a printing company. Printing companies often charge less than banks.
  61. Consider raising your deductibles. Assess your risk against cash flow benefits by reviewing your insurance deductibles.
  62. Ask about cash management or sweep accounts. Visit’s Small Business account search for a comparison of corporate checking accounts.
  63. Take a stand on property taxes. If your business is new in the neighborhood, you may be at a higher tax rate than those who have been there longer. “Go to city hall to determine what your neighbors are paying, and use this to negotiate a better rate,” advised Pete Collins of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. “Expanding businesses can often negotiate with community authorities, who want them to stay in town rather than move and take jobs elsewhere.”
  64. Check up on your medical insurance. Before choosing a medical insurance carrier, ask for information on past claims and the loss ratio of paid claims to premiums.
  65. Consider a PEO (Professional Employer Organization). PEOs take over the administrative and legal responsibilities of managing your employees, effectively becoming “employers of record.” This translates into lower HR costs, better benefits packages and reduced legal liability for your company.
  66. Try to bargin. The professionals with whom you work regularly are often amenable to bargaining, thanks to the rapport you’ve developed with them. Ask your insurance agent, accountant or attorney how you can cut back on their costs. You’d be surprised at their suggestions on ways to cut your premiums, reduce billable hours or avoid huge retainers. You might also barter your services as a substitute for payment.
  67. Time your payments. Ask suppliers if they give discounts for early payment. If not, it’s to your advantage to pay your bills — including utilities, taxes and suppliers — as late as possible without incurring a fee.
  68. Seek at least three bids on everything. Even mundane purchases merit shopping around. If you quote a competitor’s lower price, a supplier or vendor will often match that price to win your business.
  69. Commission your sales force. Overhead, salaries, incentives, training costs, fringe benefits and expenses add up when you’re hiring your own sales representatives. Contracting independent manufacturers’ sales reps, paid on commission only, is less expensive and often equally effective.
  70. Form a buying alliance. Join with another business or a trade association for bulk purchasing discounts.
  71. Don’t overlook crucial tax deductions. In addition to being able to deduct a portion of your rent or mortgage interest and utilities as business expenses, you can also deduct a percentage of various home-maintenance expenses, along with a portion of the cost of services such as house cleaning and lawn care. Check out the IRS (Internal Revenue Service)’s Web site, or check with a knowledgeable tax adviser for more information.
  72. Save by association. When looking for insurance, check with your trade association. Many associations offer competitive group insurance.
  73. Temp it out. Rather than paying for employees who sit idle when business is slow, consider hiring temporary employees to handle surges in activity. 
  74. Get the best business credit-card deal. Whether it’s cash back or travel rewards, the right business credit card can yield big dividends.


  75. Shop for discounted fares online. Scour popular travel Internet sites for specials on major air carriers. Don’t forget about regional and budget airlines, however
  76. Get your rental car through a discount broker. Companies like Rent-A-Wreck of America offer reduced rates as compared to mainstream rental-car businesses.
  77. Sharing is saving. Employees should share hotel rooms and rental cars as much as possible when traveling together.
  78. Go dutch. On the executive end of the spectrum, many private jet legs are empty or can be split with other business travelers.
  79. Don’t eat where you sleep. Hotel restaurants are usually more expensive than other nearby options.

    Think Outside the Box

  80. Get an “executive suite.” You don’t have to run your office full-time from an executive suite to benefit from its services. Many home-based entrepreneurs find executive suites meet a range of needs, including access to a private mailbox and a receptionist to answer or forward calls to your home office.
  81. Don’t scrimp on disaster-recovery planning. It’s cheaper to bend than break.

This is just a start, but these tips will definitely help your business make ends meet during the economic crunch. What steps are you taking to cut costs and save money in your small business? Leave your tips in the comments box below.

10 More Ways to Change the World Through Social Media

Written by Max Gladwell

Blogging, social news, peer-to-peer philanthropy, microblogging, social networking, wikis, video sharing, and more. These are the new agents of change.

Back in May, we penned the original 10 Ways to Change the World Through Social Media. Though most of those first 10 are still relevant, the pace of innovation and advancement on the social web means many more have emerged in the past five months that deserve attention. These are the tools and resources that individuals, corporations, and nonprofits alike can use to communicate, create, and connect on the social web…for social change.

1. Blog It Out: When the die is cast on social media and final judgments are made, blogging will reign supreme as the single greatest force in Web 2.0. Whereas social networking is broad and shallow, blogging is deep and focused. That’s the power behind Blog Action Day, which takes place this Wednesday, October 15th, 2008. It’s a day when bloggers the world over draw attention to a single issue and (hopefully) inspire action. This year’s topic is poverty. And given the current financial crisis, it would seem many bloggers have gotten a head start.

2. Twitter Green Events: In the first 10 Ways, we wrote about the Twitter greenstream, a tagging mechanism that organizes and aggregates Twitter messages (Tweets) about doing green things. What’s evolved since then is the widespread use of unique Twitter tags at events. Most recently, we covered West Coast Green by tagging our Tweets with #wcg08. This helps people at the event to find and meet up with fellow Twitter folk. It also enables those who aren’t attending the event to follow what’s going on and what’s being said in real time. There are a couple ways to do this. One is to follow through Twitter Search (formerly Summize), where you can track keywords and tags. Another is to send a Tweet as follows: “track word: [insert keyword]”. And then you’ll start receiving all Tweets with that tag or keyword directly into your feed.

3. Contribute to a Green Wiki: We’ve written about Creative Citizen and Huddler Green Home, both of which offer wiki platforms where you can learn about green products and solutions as well as contributing to them. The latest player in this space is none other than Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. Wikia Green is part of the for-profit network of “wiki communities on any topic people are passionate about.” We’re clearly passionate about green and green blogging. As of this writing, there are 714 articles, and it’s received coverage from top tech blogs Mashable and CNET, as well as the usual suspects: The Daily Green, EcoGeek, and La Marguerite.

4. Help an Entrepreneur: is a world leader in “peer-to-peer philanthropy” where first-world citizens can assist developing-world entrepreneurs through small “micro loans”. The credit card company Advanta recently partnered with Kiva on the Kiva B4B (business for business) credit card, where loans originated from one’s card are matched by Advanta up to $200 per month. In fact, we just loaned $50 to Bahodur Malikov of Tajikistan to expand his footwear business, which means that he’ll actually receive $100 of the $750 he needs (his loan is now fully funded). The thrust of the Kiva B4B credit card and its online community is to give entrepreneurs (like us) a simple and affordable way to support fellow entrepreneurs and do something good. Disclosure: Kiva B4B is a Max Gladwell sponsor.

5. Network With Us: Max Gladwell is the nexus of social media and green living. Beyond the central blog, we have several networks where social-media-minded greenies can network together: Facebook Profile, Facebook Page, Facebook Blog, Facebook Group, Twitter, Ning, MySpace, Flickr, Technorati, and FriendFeed to name a few. You can join these green conversations wherever they are and follow them wherever they go.

6. CauseCast Yourself: Debuting at this year’s TechCruch50, CauseCast is the latest entry into the social-action platform space, where members can connect on important issues and support those corresponding causes. According to the company, “Causecast empowers people who want to make change. [It’s] a platform where media, philanthropy, social networking, entertainment and education converge to serve a greater purpose.” The platform features its own social network with a news section and a cause-related widget that you can embed on your blog or social networking profile. Cause categories include animals, arts, community, environment, health, human rights, and youth.

7. Be a Citizen Journalist: iReport and Current pioneered the citizen journalism trend by giving everyday folks like us a platform for reporting stories that wouldn’t otherwise make the evening news. More recently, YouTube launched its Citizen News Channel/Vlog. All it takes is a Flip video camera to join the likes of Anderson Cooper and Christine Amanpour. Though it hasn’t gained a ton of traction so far, Citizen News does have potential.

8. Check Your Headlines: Really Simple Syndication (RSS) has revolutionized how we track and access information on the web, but for many it’s just not simple enough. That’s why we have AllTop. This aggregation of high-quality blog feeds enables anyone, including avid RSS users, to scan the most important headlines from the blogosphere on a single page. Think of it as a magazine rack of blogs. Organized by topic, you can see all the change in world every morning by checking,, and Take action accordingly.

9. Vote for Green Content: The first Top 10 featured, which is Treehugger‘s answer to the wildly popular social news site. These enable users to vote for good content, make it popular, and give it the attention it deserves. This is the democratic web. Since then, EcoURLs launched as a new eco-oriented social news site, but it also has a unique approach. In addition to just voting stories up and down, users can push that content to the major social news and bookmarking services: Digg, Reddit, Buzz, StumbleUpon, and It’s still gaining traction, but this could become the hub for all of the social web’s green news.

10. Belly Up to the Bar: The wildcard entry on this list is the brand new Greenbar Toolbar. It’s essentially a stripped-down version of the Flock Eco Browser for both Firefox and Internet Explorer. According to the company, it gives you access to the “best [green] blogs, websites, feeds, gadgets, resources and more” and “features embedded Twitter, a built in email system, Google search, and a pop-up blocker.” Facebook integration and select RSS feeds are also included.

15 Tools for Monitoring a Website’s Popularity

Written by Jacob Gube

As a web designer or developer building a site, it’s helpful to first scout similar websites (i.e. the competition) to help you make design and development decisions. Knowing what websites work and which ones tank can give you insights and inspiration on what design elements, website features, and website content is effective.

To help you in your analysis, here are 15 top-notch, free, and simple web tools to help you learn more about a particular website.

1. Yahoo! Site Explorer

Yahoo! Site Explorer - screen shot.

Site explorer allows you to inspect certain aspects of a URL. The “Inlinks” feature shows you details about web pages that link back to the particular URL you are exploring. Site Explorer gives you some insights on how popular a website is based on how many web pages are linking to it.

2. Compete

Compete - screen shot.

Compete is a web-based analytics tools that allows you to compare the traffic statistics and trends of up to three websites. It gives you an estimate of how many unique visitors and page impressions a website gets and how fast a website is growing in popularity (called Growth Velocity).

3. Quantcast

Quantcast - screen shot.

Quantcast is another popular site traffic measuring tool. Quantcast allows publishers to “Quantify” their website – a process in which you place a script in your web pages so that they can measure your traffic statistics directly. With that said – sites that aren’t quantified may not have accurate/complete data and many people aren’t comfortable about placing third-party scripts on their websites.

4. Alexa

Alexa - screen shot.

Started in 1996, Alexa is the most popular traffic ranking service today. It tracks traffic statistics of websites and provides a numerical rank based on the data that they collect. You can find a website’s Page Views and Reach (the % of internet users that have visited the website).

5. Feed Compare

Feed Compare - screen shot.

An effective way to determine a website’s popularity is by tracking its RSS feed subscriber trends. If a website uses FeedBurner – the leading provider of RSS feeds services – you can use Feed Compare to see trends in subscribership from websites and compare growth/decline of subscribers for up to 4 feeds at one time.

6. - screen shot. is a tool that can help determine how popular a URL is based on web services and statistics such as Alexa, Technorati, Delicious bookmarks, number of subscribers, and more. It’s a one page tool that gives you a quick overview of how popular a website is. even gives you the option to post a widget on your site to display your popularity.

7. socialmeter

socialmeter - screen shot.

socialmeter is a web tool that scans how popular a web page is throughout major social websites such as Digg, Stumbleupon, and Delicious. It gives you a “socialmeter score” which is currently just a summation of the results found (useful for comparing social media website popularity of different websites).

8. TweetVolume

TweetVolume - screen shot.

Another way of monitoring a website’s popularity is to see if people on Twitter are talking about it. TweetVolume allows you to search key words and phrases (i.e. – a website’s name, URL, author name, etc.) to see how many tweets have mentioned your search terms.

9. Quarkbase

Quarkbase - screen shot.

Quarkbase is a comprehensive web tool that presents a myriad of information about a website. Quarkbase has a “Social Popularity” tab that shows you information about a website’s popularity among social media sites like Digg, Stumbleupon, and Delicious.

10. BlogPulse Profiles

BlogPulse Profiles - screen shot.

If you’re interested in finding data about a specific blog or blogger, The BlogPulse Profiles tool is a simple web application that provides a blog’s rank, how often it’s cited in other blogs, and other information such as how many posts are published each month and blogs that are similar to it.

11. Technorati Blogging Central

Technorati Blogging Central - screen shot.,

Technorati is the leading blog search engine. Technorati’s Blogger Central allows you to see the ranks of a particular blog to gauge its popularity among the 128 million+ blogs in the world. You can find the Top 100 blogs in Blogger Central. Technorati determines a blog’s rank by the number of reactions (links that go to the blog) it has.

12. - screen shot. is a simple tool that tells you how many visitors a website receives per day.

13. Cubestat

Cubestat - screen shot.

Cubestat is another simple web tool that provides you with a host of information about a website’s popularity daily page views. What’s unique about Cubestat is that it estimates a website’s monetary value (in U.S. dollars) – the more expensive the website is, the more popular it is.

14. dnScoop

dnScoop - screen shot.

dnScoop attempts to estimate the value of a website based on factors such as links pointing to the domain, popularity of the domain, page rank, traffic, and more.

15. WebsiteOutlook

WebsiteOutlook - screen shot.

WebsiteOutlook allows you to determine a website’s popularity based on its estimated value, daily page views, and revenue.

What’s your method of measurement?

How do you measure a website’s popularity? Are there tools and web services that should be on this list? Share it with us in the comments!