Thursday, July 19, 2012

IE Tab/Internet Explorer Tab Chrome Extension Review

I've been using the IE tab extension for sites that are only formatted to be compatible with IE/FireFox and this particular one is to display web pages within chrome. I don't come across very many sites that have pages where it's necessary but it's good to know that I have the possibility there if I need it and don't need to go searching around while I'm in the middle of something just to read this 1 page or whatever. The only places it's been used by myself is on those consumer opinion surveys. No problems with the actual survey sites themselves but some of their customers business site uses a questionnaire that is not compatible with the chrome browser.

IE Tab has a few options that I think are important to the success of an extension such as this one that has been "A top 10 extension since 2009" which is stated under IT TAB if you look in your settings->tools->extensions->.

  • Auto URL's-automatically uses your IE Tab which is obviously important so your not having to click on the little icon every time the sites you want to use for commonly are used.
  • Auto URL Exceptions-These takes precedence over the Auto URL. Even if you have the same site matching on both lists, anything that is an exception will not trigger the IE Tab
  • Your able to choose which IE to use but by default it will emulates whatever IE exists on your computer.
General options for how to open pop ups, do you want a search box and lastly do you want link enhancement are also available if you choose to opt in.

Overall I think the extension works great for what it's used for. It's been around long enough that it's dependable and trustworthy, you don't have to worry about hundreds of bugs and reporting a bunch of problems etc etc. 

The one thing that I have a problem with is the link enhancement. Personally, I had no idea what it was to begin with and it stayed checked for months that way. There is one of those little question mark circles above it where you can click and your brought to a page that explains everything. 

Basically, link enhancement is where affiliate ad code is added to any link that does not have it already. By doing this the creators are part of a larger group of people who share in revenue profits for any items purchased. It's done blindly so it's not your information at risk that bothers me particularly. I understand that ppl need money to work, especially on projects that are free(free as far as money however, obviously there are other gains by the creation of a great product).  Name recognition, added value to future products etc. Also, it's not as though a person is able to write the code and then just be done with it because of the constant evolution of browsers and technology they are constantly developing updates and tweaking things which take time and as they always say..."time is money". 

I don't think this developer was doing anything malicious and in the explanation page it actually says that it's a common practice but maybe that's what bothers me the most...if it's a common practice and the majority are doing it then how is it I'm just hearing about it now for the first time. So, I have been working my butt off trying to make sure I write quality and helpful posts and if I don't take the time to put an affiliate link from google, amazon, or wherever else BANG now anyone who happens to click on my post and ends up seeing something they like either in an ad or even something I talk about someone else is actually getting paid...and I'm not seeing even a penny of it? 

Just doesn't make sense to me. I do want to say that I never would have been able to really get into this right now if not for the fact that IE Tab options give a link where that full page is dedicated to an explanation that is both very clear and thorough. Again, all in all, no I don't think its a huge deal but I'm just the kind of person who was brought up to be honest, sometimes maybe even a little to honest to a fault but there are always grey areas.

I'd really love to hear what you guys think about all of this? Did you know this was happening and I was just in the dark or is this something that is just recently coming to light? Feel free to leave comments, they are always appreciated and responded to!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Google Trusted Site

Link to apply to become a trusted store
Google Trusted Stores Customer Support Link
Google merchant eligibility requirements link

The GOOGLE TRUSTED STORE BADGE SHOULD BE LOOKED AT AS ONE OF THOSE AWARDS YOU SEE WHEN YOU WALK IN YOUR LOCAL BANK. It's the type of thing that should just give customers that little bit of added comfort when dealing with strangers. It's stressful to deal with people that we don't know. It's common. It's stressful to part with your hard earned money. It's common. Now put those 2 together and guess what? I'm not a professional psychologist, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, and I bet, it's STRESSFUL....sites doing the right things in the first place, will have no problem getting their badge without stressing it. (come on, now that's funny right there!)

My overall synopsis of what stores need to be able to show they do on a high percentage of orders:
  1. Ship items ordered within the time-frame specified and agreed to at time order was placed.
  2. Low average time for products to ship
  3. Customer problems resolved quickly and without additional escalation 
  4. Low number of customers needing assistance in the first place

From what I can see, becoming a "trusted store" isn't anything that is complicated, extremely difficult, unfair at all with the application process. I do think that using broad teams such as "high percentage" instead of using a steadfast 90% cut-off has it's positives and negatives regardless. I'll explain.

Small business and new businesses who are already at a disadvantage in the marketplace can be punished unfairly using either of these examples in certain situations. Store A, who is new, started off today with 100% customer satisfaction in every category, but only has 2 sales. A new customer makes a purchase but is unhappy with the color he wanted being sold out but picked another and ordered anyways. When it arrived he didn't like the other color at all so he called store A to complain and ask for the return policy information because he wants store to send the original color he wanted. After the obvious apology and explanation the customer is still unsatisfied and decides he is going to file a complaint with google even though this seller has done NOTHING wrong. The seller has also offered a full refund upon receipt of the product but customer refuses.  Customer leaves negative comments, falsely claiming that wrong product was sent to him, leaves 0 for scores and now refuses contact. Store A now has a total of 3 sales completed and a satisfaction rate of 67%....Certainly not a score I would find acceptable to be eligible for the Trusted Seller Program under current guidelines. Store A loses the Trusted Seller tag and status and must remove his badge from his website. 

Now, when a seller is looking for products and sees Store A and Store X have them both for the same price but Store X has 100% satisfaction and is a "trusted seller". It's a no brainer, why would I buy from Store A? 

All in all, in a matter of days, 1 sale, 1 customer, 0 mistakes=the loss of his hard earned status as a trusted seller and the loss of future sales which is unable to be quantified exactly but it's an obvious next step and a probable outcome.

Using the other type of requirement actually has the same outcome here since store A obviously isn't near the 90% threshold. Store A would have to earn himself another 7 customers that have 100% satisfaction and be willing to report that to google before he will be able to attain that 90% minimum. 

If we go back to the stated requirements google has chosen to use as of today, I believe another 2 positive 100% satisfactory sales would earn him back his badge if I was being objective. The thing is that the wording is making the minimum requirement subjective, and that's going to cause problems. It could cause A LOT of problems down the line if the mighty arbitrator of the Badge isn't very very careful about who's in and who's out. It shouldn't be a popularity contest, should have nothing to do with your previous relationship or lack there of, with google, it's partners or affiliates. 

It's bad enough we basically have pay to play going on in everything from sports leagues, law firms, medical clinics, and even court rooms, let's get it right from the start on this one and be as transparent and open as possible with the customers AND the merchants, we are in invested in making this system work effectively and efficiently. Let's make it happen.

Safe House Movie Review

On the front cover of the DVD for Safe House it says "An adrenaline rush from start to finish" -Greg Katzman, may be the understatement of the decade. Aside from the opening scene that has young CIA agent, Matt Weston(Ryan Reynolds)  eating a parting lunch with his beautiful girlfriend which will unfortunately be the last happy moment they share together...and the last time that Matt Weston could be called anything but a Veteran CIA operative.

The movie looked like something that i'd def be interested in based on the story-line along with leading actor Denzel Washington playing a once again incredibly complex character and NAILS IT. I really think this is one of his best jobs. It's just amazing how Washington adapts from Drug Kingpin, CIA Rogue Operative, Bodyguard, Corrupt Police Officer, EX Soldier and more while seamlessly changing demeanor's as though a normal man would switch jackets.

Safe House has instantly moved into one of my All-Time movie favorites Top 10 list, possibly even Top 5. I'm going to have to sit down and see if I dare shift anything out of my top shelf. Suspenseful, gripping, fast moving, unpredictable, heart stopping are words i'd say fit perfectly. For now i'm going to say it will most likely be somewhere around 8 or 9 for me but I reserve judgement until it settles in.

Joshua's 10 star movie grading gives Safe House a more then solid 8.5