10 Steps To Landing A Job On The Internet

Caroline Levchuck

While newspapers and networking still play an important role in looking for work, the Internet is now a vital component in any job search.

According to a Gad Levanon, economist at the Conference Board, "The Internet has become the most popular method of job searching." A recent survey by the Conference Board, the world's leading business membership and research organization, revealed that the Internet isn't only being used by more job seekers -- it's being used for a variety of job search functions.

Read on for some ideas as to how you can make the most of the Web's potential in your next job search.

1. Post your resume online at Yahoo! HotJobs so recruiters can find you -- even when you're not actively searching for work.

2. Join an online networking community, such as the new Yahoo! Kickstart or LinkedIn, and connect with fellow alumni, colleagues, and recruiters.

3. Search the names of old friends and coworkers to reach out and expand your network.

4. Research major employers, using news outlets or sites like Yahoo! Finance.

5. Tap the power of industry blogs to find folks who are doing what you'd like to do for a living and ask for advice. You'd be surprised at how many people are willing to share their wisdom with an up and comer.

6. Streamline your efforts by saving job searches and signing up for email job alerts so you'll know about new postings on Yahoo! HotJobs immediately.

7. Start an online job-search support group, perhaps using Yahoo! Groups or a social networking site. Open it up to members of your network who are looking for work and share encouragement and insights as you seek out new opportunities.

8. Visit company websites for additional job postings and to learn about each organization's corporate culture. This will help you determine if you'd be a good fit and provide you with insights for any interviews.

9. Browse trade associations and professional groups online for insights and new connections.

10. Patrol message boards and discussion groups to connect with like-minded and in-the-know professionals. Many times job openings are not posted immediately and these people may have hot inside leads on new opportunities.

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Five Keys To A Productive Unemployment

Katherine Tom
Hate your job? Unemployment might not seem like an attractive alternative, but it comes with one major upside: more time. With the right game plan, you can take advantage of a temporary pause between jobs to reevaluate and rejuvenate your entire career.

Dean LaTourette, co-author of "Time Off! The Upside to Downtime," observes, "While it can be a scary time, most people who allow themselves a break find that getting laid off or quitting their job ends up being one of the best career moves they ever made."

1. Work Your Network

Sure, you're browsing the job listings every day and applying to positions as they come up. But imagine if you could multiply your efforts a hundredfold. Today's online networking sites not only make it a breeze to let your friends know you're looking for work, they also give you access to your friends' networks. That's an exponential increase in potential employment connections.

Make sure all of your online info is up-to-date and typo-free, re-activate resumes that you may have hidden when you found your last job, and let your friends and colleagues know that you're actively seeking employment.

2. Get an Internship or Volunteer

If you're considering a complete career change, working for free may be your best bet for gaining experience in your desired field. Well-established volunteer and internship programs often include formal training, which is basically like a free education in your new vocation. If you have technical skills or a consulting background, doing pro bono work can be a great way to build your portfolio while contributing to a good cause.

3. Go Back to School

In addition to traditional graduate schools, there are dozens of options for getting job-relevant training year-round. Most major universities offer extension courses for a variety of professional fields including marketing, graphic design, and computer programming. Media Bistro, another valuable resource, offers writing and media courses both online and in six cities across the U.S.

4. Explore Your Hobbies

Ever spent a spare moment at work wishing you could spend more time fishing, painting, cooking, or whatever your passion is? Well consider your wish granted. Unemployment can be a perfect time to explore your personal passions. At worst, you'll get to enjoy yourself, and at best you may find a way to make money doing what you love.

Michelle Goodman, author of the "Anti 9 to 5 Guide," points out that "even if you're not going for investment money, it's helpful to write down the basics of your business plan: how much it will take to break even, the cost of supplies, analysis of your competitors. Putting it on paper makes it hard to be in denial about finances."

5. Travel

Recently the Center for Economic and Policy Research released a report entitled "No Vacation Nation" which revealed that 1 in 4 American workers receive no paid vacation or holidays. Even those lucky employees who get paid time off receive up to 30 days fewer than their European counterparts. So take advantage of your time off and take a well-deserved vacation. If you sublet your apartment or home and choose a cheap destination, you could even end up saving money while you're away.

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How to Successfully Move From One Career To Another

Not all career changers move fluidly from job to job. Many seasoned professionals take a respite, perhaps to travel, write a book, or just contemplate what they really want to do next.

But even though you're between jobs and treading into unfamiliar territory, you still want to make sure you're never really out of the market. Whatever you do to occupy yourself can become a selling point on your next resume if you manage your time wisely.

Vance W. LaVelle, now 49, took a number of unexpected turns on her path toward switching from a career in banking to satellite radio. She chose to leave her job as chief marketing officer at PNC Bank in Pittsburgh after five years of commuting from her New York home. "I was feeling a pull, ready to do something new and different," she says.

LaVelle tried a number of different things in her 10 months of searching for a new gig. In the end, her pursuits during the transition "made her more attractive to employers than if she had just passed her resume around," says Hope Dlugozima, author of "Six Months Off: How to Plan, Negotiate, and Take the Break You Need Without Burning Bridges or Going Broke."

Using LaVelle's experience as a model, here's a playbook for how you might structure your own professional interregnum:

1. Imagine what you'd like to do if you had no constraints.

LaVelle started her transition period with a long to-do list of what she wanted to accomplish. But first, there were practical concerns. LaVelle launched her own marketing consulting firm to provide income and help her stay connected in her field while giving her the flexibility to branch out. Then she turned her attention to new opportunities she wanted to explore: As a dog lover, she thought it would be fun to try dog training. She was also interested in pursuing some board directorships and taking some classes. "It's O.K. to have that sophomore-in-college mindset," says Dlugozima, now vice-president of community and membership at WebMD.

2. Create an elevator pitch

What is this? It's a 30-second answer to the inevitable question, "What do you do?" It's how you describe your transition time to the world, and it gives potential business associates an easy way to remember you.

LaVelle didn't know whether she wanted to build a big consulting business, become a consultant with a larger firm, or go back into a corporate position. By telling people she was a marketing consultant, she had the elevator pitch she needed to network into new business situations. It's important to be honest. "If you intend to take some time off to do some exploration, don't be shy about telling people that," Dlugozima says.

3. Hit the phone and the email list.

An old boss of LaVelle's said to her: "Build relationships before you need them, and keep them strong because they are more important to you than what you know how to do." Such relationships launched LaVelle's consulting business. "With three phone calls to my professional network, I had more consulting work than I wanted," she recalls.

LaVelle also plugged into the conference circuit. After learning of a chief marketing officer summit taking place at Harvard University, she made a cold call to the sponsor and talked her way into a key speaking slot on the program. "Such visibility is invaluable," says Janice Reals Ellig, co-CEO of Chadick Ellig, a New York executive-search firm, and co-author of "Driving the Career Highway."

4. Just do it.

In between consulting assignments, LaVelle started checking things off her list. She attended OnBoard Bootcamp in New York, a program to help director candidates master the board selection process, took cooking and home-repair classes, and hosted a business-development event with the government of New Zealand for the America's Cup trials in Spain. "I tried to do all the things I couldn't do because I worked full-time," she says. One of her biggest fears was that she would lag behind on the technical side of her business. So she enrolled in a course to become proficient in new media trends, such as RSS feeds and blogging.

What intrigued her most was the chance to become a dog breeder and trainer. "Dogs are my passion," says LaVelle, who has room for one goldendoodle in her apartment. Through a contact she landed an informal apprenticeship with the chief of the canine unit of the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey, who allowed her to shadow him for the day. "He told me I'd fall in love with the dogs, and I'd never be able to let them go," says LaVelle. Realizing she would have serious separation issues convinced her she wasn't cut out for dog training.

LaVelle also pursued opportunities she didn't anticipate. In the fall of 2005 a fund-raising event she organized for her University of Alabama sorority along the Gulf Coast of Florida had to be evacuated when Hurricane Katrina hit. While the disaster unfolded, she had an idea. She knew the inner workings of filing insurance claims from her experience on an insurance company advisory board. Why not help homeowners navigate the insurance claim process, coordinate contractors, and negotiate with the local governments to get services? Within days, she had several homeowners willing to hire her. The only problem was that she was supposed to be living in New York with her husband, so she decided not to take the business. "It's O.K. to try new things, and then move in a different direction if things don't work out," advises Dlugozima.

5. Make a decision.

At some point, professionals in transition are apt to have all the information they need to move forward. Although she enjoyed consulting, LaVelle realized in the summer of 2006 that she wanted to go back to a corporate job. "I'm an operator," she says. "I like to get my hands dirty and do the work, vs. telling others how to do it," says LaVelle, who still might return to consulting some day.

Her robust network led her to two promising marketing positions based in New York. One, with General Electric, would have required a lot of travel. The other is the one she took, as senior vice-president for customer sales, service, and marketing at Sirius Satellite Radio. "I never thought I'd end up in the entertainment industry after nearly 20 years in financial services," says LaVelle. Coincidentally, Sirius is another name for the Dog Star. So on a psychic level, she says, her new job married her divergent interests.

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The Secret To Successful Non-Traditional Job Interviews

Doug White

The employment interview isn't what it used to be. While the vast majority of interviews are the standard face-to-face variety, technological advancements have made it possible for employers and applicants to connect quickly in other ways.

Some hiring managers conduct phone interviews during the early phases of candidate searches; others may request you meet via videoconference if you live far away. And, yes, certain companies even hold virtual job fairs.

Following are tips for success when participating in non-traditional job interviews.

The Phone Interview

Minimize distractions. Conduct the call from a quiet, private setting. You won't impress hiring managers if they hear loud pets, honking horns, or your clicking keyboard in the background. If possible, use a landline (which is often more reliable than cellular phones), and disable the call-waiting function.

Speak up. Because the interviewer can't read your facial reactions or body language, verbalize your thoughts. After the hiring manager completes a thought, say something like, "Yes, that aspect of the job sounds appealing" to keep the discussion moving. Speak with confidence and enthusiasm.

Have supplies handy. Keep your resume and cover letter at arm's length, as well as any company research you've collected. You also might prepare a bulleted list of speaking points or questions. Make sure a pen and pad are nearby for taking notes.

The Videoconference Interview

Mock it up. It's intimidating to be interviewed on camera. Calm jittery nerves by doing a trial run with a friend or family member. Record the mock interview and study areas where you can improve. Did you look at the camera, or did your eyes dart nervously around the room? Did you exhibit good posture or slouch? Rehearsing will help ensure you're polished at showtime.

Beware of busy backgrounds. Most video interviews are conducted at a videoconference site, your recruiter's workplace or an employer's satellite office. Wherever you are, remain the focal point by clearing the table of clutter. If you do the interview from home, choose a professional-looking, well-lit setting. In addition, make sure your computer's webcam and microphone are working properly a day in advance.

Dress to impress. Dress as nicely as you would for an on-site visit. And don't assume you'll only be visible from the shoulders up. More than a few jacket-clad candidates have unexpectedly been seated at see-through glass tables or stood up to reveal fashion faux pas such as jeans or shorts.

The Virtual Interview

Wear appropriate avatar apparel. An avatar is a computer-generated icon you create to represent yourself online. If you attend a virtual job fair on Second Life, a popular online community, for instance, your avatar should look professional. You don't necessarily need to don a virtual suit for an "in-world" corporate recruiting event, but don't show up as a flashy nightclub-goer, space alien, or vampire.

Message with care. When communicating via instant message on Second Life, focus on accuracy, not speed. Hiring managers will likely forgive a typo or two, but making a series of grammatical goofs will cause them to question your writing skills and attention to detail. Take a moment to proofread your message and steer clear of emoticons and cyber slang.

No matter what the meeting format, always send a thank-you note to those with whom you interview. Even when communicating with a hiring manager using high-tech tools, a traditional handwritten letter of appreciation will be well received.

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The Central Bank of Nigeria Issues New Global Depository Receipts' Guidelines

Moses Obajemu

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued new guidelines to regulate the issuance of Global Depository Receipts (GDRs) by banks selling their shares to international investors.

The new regulatory framework mandates banks selling GDRs to furnish the apex bank with the details of the beneficial investors on a copy of the Certificate of Capital Importation issued in favour of such banks. This is contained in a December 3, 2007 CBN circular sent to banks entitled: "Global Depository Receipts (GDRs) and Certificate of Capital Importation (CCI) Issuance", signed by the Director of Trade and Exchange, Mrs Omolara Akanji.

A Global Depository Receipt is typically a dollar-denominated instrument issued in international financial markets through a registered depository bank. They are negotiable bank certificates, issued by the depository bank which represent ownership of certain equity securities (the underlying shares) that are issued and tradeable in the local market. The GDRs are exchanged with the underlying shares at a pre-determined ratio (for example, 50 shares to 1 GDR), and are mostly used for capital raising by companies from emerging markets to access investors in international markets.

The banking watchdog explained that the release of the guidelines became necessary in view of the resort of banks to GDRs with the principal aim of raising capital and selling shares, and the need to align the new development with the requirements of CCI issuance to foreign investors as well as build their confidence in the GDRs. "Certificate of capital importation shall continue to be issued in respect of foreign exchange inflow for loans, investment purposes and or capital, subject to existing guidelines as specified in the Foreign Exchange Manual.

"Where the foreign exchange inflow is in respect of GDR, a master CCI should be issued in favour of the Depository Bank (DB) to the tune of the foreign exchange inflow," the CBN directed. Upon issuance of the master CCI, the CBN said the receiving bank/Authorised Dealer should furnish it with a copy with the details of the beneficial investors to the GDR endorsed at the back of the master CCI. The apex bank directed that where any portion of the GDR is cancelled offshore by the investor, the depository bank shall inform the custodian/sub-custodian of the cancellation and provide the latter with the necessary documentary evidence of same.

"The depository's nominee custodian shall have valid CCI covering the number of shares withdrawn from the GDR and also effect a "markdown" of the CCI from the master CCI. "With the valid CCI covering the number of shares withdrawn from the GDR, the direct non-resident equity investor can trade with the underlying shares in the local market. The investor shall also be entitled to repatriate funds outside Nigeria," the circular said.

The CBN directed all authorised dealers to ensure compliance with the provisions of the circular, while those with subsisting approvals should also be guided accordingly. On the repatriation of funds outside Nigeria by the foreign investors, the circular on the guidelines on utilisation of CCI in the Forex Manual and/or relevant circulars on same shall apply. In addition, a duly completed form A, letter or evidence of conversion from GDRs to shares and confirmed by the depository and the nominee custodian; documentary evidence of cancellation of the GDR from the depository; letter from the direct non-resident equity investor, stating relevant details to the Authorised Dealer via his broker, requesting for repatriation of sales proceeds, shall also apply.

The CBN also directed that photocopy of the original CCI, and sale contract note or evidence of sale of shares from a Nigerian broker, be included for repatriation of funds processing.

Among Nigerian banks that have successfully raised dollar denominated capital via GDR issue ate Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Access Bank Plc, and FCMB Plc. Those currently exploring the method include Fidelity Bank Plc, and Afribank Plc.

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Gaitame.Com Co Opts For Imperva's SecureSphere® Web Application Firewall

Imperva, the leader in application data security and compliance, today announced that Gaitame.Com Co., Ltd., a leading Japanese online foreign exchange (FX) trading company has deployed the SecureSphere® Web Application Firewall (WAF) to protect its web-based service delivery platform from application attacks including cross-site scripting and SQL injection. Gaitame.Com selected SecureSphere over competing products based on its 10X performance advantage, ability to be deployed with zero network changes, and Dynamic Profiling which automates policy management and enforcement.

Gaitame.Com specializes in on-line services for individual investors. Its online trading platform deals with twelve currency pairs and provides users with real-time information on the world's exchange markets as well as transaction services. Most web services offered at Gaitame.Com require data input by users and communicate directly with databases, which make them a potential target for cross-site scripting and SQL injection attacks.

Although Gaitame.Com regularly conducts third-party vulnerability assessments of its web applications, correcting problems is a time consuming process that requires code-level rewrites. SecureSphere provides continuous protection and maintains business continuity for Gaitame.Com applications, until any discovered vulnerabilities can be eliminated.

“In Foreign Exchange transactions, slow application response times translate into financial losses for users. As a result, performance was a key selection criteria for choosing a Web Application Firewall,” said Kazuyoshi Hirose, IT infrastructure manager for Gaitame.Com Co., Ltd. “SecureSphere met our performance requirements, was easy to deploy, and did not impose any changes to our existing network configuration. We are very impressed with its Dynamic Profiling capability, which operates without human intervention and eliminates management and maintenance burdens associated with competing products we evaluated.”

“Foreign Exchange trading is one of the most demanding application environments for any technology, and especially for an in-line attack protection device like a Web Application Firewall,” said Michael Lyu, vice president of Asia Pacific sales for Imperva. “Gaitame.Com’s selection of Imperva reinforces what over 350 leading global organizations have found – that SecureSphere delivers unmatched scalability, performance and ease of use required to support the most demanding business applications on the Internet.”

About SecureSphere

The award-winning Imperva SecureSphere® products deliver practical solutions to protect sensitive data in the databases, Web applications, and Web services that support business critical systems. SecureSphere assesses, monitors, and audits all access to an organization’s databases, and tracks and controls user activity through Web applications and Web services. With SecureSphere, organizations have an automated, proven means to achieve and document regulatory compliance. SecureSphere uniquely saves time and IT resources by operating transparently with no changes to existing infrastructure and dynamically, requiring no manual tuning.

About Gaitame.Com

Established in 2002, Gaitame.Com Co. LTD is the leading retail online foreign exchange marginal trading company in Japan. The Company specializes in on-line services for individual investors. Gaitame.Com deals with twelve currency pairs and provides users with real-time information on the world's exchange markets as well as transaction services. For more information, visit: http://www.gaitame.com/

About Imperva

Imperva is the leader in application data security and compliance. Leading enterprise and government organizations worldwide rely on Imperva to prevent data theft and abuse, and ensure data integrity. The company’s SecureSphere products provide data governance and protection solutions that monitor, audit and secure business applications and databases. For more information, visit www.imperva.com.

Imperva and SecureSphere are trademarks of Imperva, Inc. All other brand or product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

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Top 10 Tips For A Successful Online Job Search

Caroline Levchuck,

While newspapers and networking still play an important role in looking for work, the Internet is now a vital component in any job search.

According to a Gad Levanon, economist at the Conference Board, "The Internet has become the most popular method of job searching." A recent survey by the Conference Board, the world's leading business membership and research organization, revealed that the Internet isn't only being used by more job seekers -- it's being used for a variety of job search functions.

Read on for some ideas as to how you can make the most of the Web's potential in your next job search.

1. Post your resume online at Yahoo! HotJobs so recruiters can find you -- even when you're not actively searching for work.

2. Join an online networking community, such as the new Yahoo! Kickstart or LinkedIn, and connect with fellow alumni, colleagues, and recruiters.

3. Search the names of old friends and coworkers to reach out and expand your network.

4. Research major employers, using news outlets or sites like Yahoo! Finance.

5. Tap the power of industry blogs to find folks who are doing what you'd like to do for a living and ask for advice. You'd be surprised at how many people are willing to share their wisdom with an up and comer.

6. Streamline your efforts by saving job searches and signing up for email job alerts so you'll know about new postings on Yahoo! HotJobs immediately.

7. Start an online job-search support group, perhaps using Yahoo! Groups or a social networking site. Open it up to members of your network who are looking for work and share encouragement and insights as you seek out new opportunities.

8. Visit company websites for additional job postings and to learn about each organization's corporate culture. This will help you determine if you'd be a good fit and provide you with insights for any interviews.

9. Browse trade associations and professional groups online for insights and new connections.

10. Patrol message boards and discussion groups to connect with like-minded and in-the-know professionals. Many times job openings are not posted immediately and these people may have hot inside leads on new opportunities.

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What To Say When Negotiating A Pay Rise

Margaret Steen,

Whether you're asking a potential employer for more money or your current boss for a raise, talking about money is awkward, especially when you are searching for the best way to phrase your request.

"Money is very tightly tied to our self-esteem," says Meryl Runion, author of "PowerPhrases." Asking for more money means saying you think you're worth more -- and risking hearing that someone else disagrees. "If somebody tells you, 'No, I don't think you are worth that much,' it's almost like saying you're not that valuable as a person."

A little practice can help you find the right words to make these requests -- and respond to the answer you get. Runion and other experts offer the following tips for two common scenarios.

Scenario 1: Getting a Raise

* Asking your current boss for a raise: The key is to ask in a way that shows you've done your research. Try saying, "I've been evaluating my own performance and what you've told me about my performance, and I would like to talk with you about increasing my salary," suggests Marcia Stein, a human resources consultant who recently published a book about recruiting.

This approach alerts your boss that you have analyzed your contributions and are not simply asking for a raise because you want more money. And by asking for a time to talk, rather than simply stating the raise you want, you give your boss time to prepare.

* If the boss says no: Despite your preparation, it may turn out that your boss isn't able or willing to pay you more. Try to find out the reason -- is there a companywide freeze on raises, or does your boss not agree that you deserve more? Stein suggests showing your interest in improving your performance by saying, "What would you recommend that I do so I can be one of the top performers on your team?"

Scenario 2: Negotiating a Higher Salary

* Negotiating a higher salary with a new employer: If you're offered a job but were hoping for more money, the key is to make the request in a positive way, says Lori Itani, an independent staffing consultant who focuses on high-tech companies and hears candidates' responses to offers. "If they're telling me that they really like the company, they really like the position, the manager and the team, and they'd really like to have this work, that's a good thing to say."

Itani suggests a way to phrase the request: "I'd really like to come on board, but I need some more help with relocation." If your goal is a higher starting salary, finish the sentence with, "but I need a little more in salary to justify the move from my current company to yours."

* If the employer says no: Even when you ask politely, it may turn out that the employer isn't willing to increase the offer. In that case, assuming you still want the job, your goal is to find out the possibilities for future raises -- while emphasizing that you intend to work hard. Runion suggests saying, "If I can prove my value, what are the possibilities for future raises?"

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Dont Let The Holidays Daze You

Roberta Chinsky Matuson,

On the third Thursday of every November, many employees unofficially begin their holiday hiatus, and it's hard for many of us to resist workday dashes to the mall. However, year-end holiday bonuses are right around the corner, and they are based on a full year of company earnings. Why risk a year's worth of performance and bonus pay for a few days of holiday mania?

Follow the five tips below for keeping your focus on the job during the holidays.

Plan for Down Time

You know it's going to happen, so why not plan for it? It's not uncommon for companies to restrict the number of employees eligible to take vacation at the same time. If you are one of those people who celebrate the holidays in a big way, then sign up for time off during the holidays as soon as the vacation schedule hits your desk.

Suggest a New Employee Benefit

Employers are constantly looking for ways to improve their benefit packages without spending a lot of money. Suggest to your employer that they offer all employees one two-hour lunch during the holiday season. If you need to, remind them most employees are taking the time anyway. This new benefit will be well received by employees and will allow the company to cut down on unexpected absences or tardiness.

Resist Taking on New Projects

By the time the end of the year rolls around, most people are giving all they have just to finish what's already on their plate. Adding a new project to an already full plate can easily send you over the edge. Hold off on starting new initiatives until after the first of the year. You will return from your hiatus refreshed and ready to go.

Don't Skip the Gym

Seasonal stress comes with the territory. Customers expect deadlines to be met, even when they are out of the office preparing for the holidays. You can kick back a bit, but this is not the time to go into slow motion. Maintaining your regular workout routine can help keep your energy level up and your weight gain down.

Shift Outside Commitments

Is your December calendar filled with social events while your January calendar remains empty? Are you spending hours in traffic trying to keep all of your social commitments? How about a new tradition? Shift a few gatherings to January and February so you can avoid constantly leaving work early during the end-of-year crunch.

Now that you know how to stay on task during the holidays you can relax knowing that you've done all you can to preserve your performance and year-end bonus!

Roberta Chinsky Matuson is the president of Human Resource Solutions (yourhrexperts.com) and has been helping companies align their people assets with their business goals. She is considered an expert in generational workforce issues. You can reach her at Roberta@yourhrexperts.com.

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Wal-Mart Set To Finally Buy-Up Seiyu

David Dolan and Nathan Layne

In an effort to consolidate its ownership, Wal-Mart Stores Inc will spend up to 100 billion yen ($878 million) to buy out minority shareholders in Japanese supermarket unit Seiyu Ltd in an effort to turn around the money-losing chain.

The world's largest retailer has invested more than $1 billion in Seiyu since 2002, but has yet to see anything more than temporary upswings in sales amid tough competition with rivals such as Aeon Co.

Seiyu is headed for its sixth straight annual loss in 2007, which had led to speculation that Wal-Mart would either need to invest more in the unit or that it would pull out of Japan, as it did from South Korea and Germany last year.

"We have not necessarily provided as strong a value as our customers would like," Ed Kolodzieski, Seiyu's chief executive, told a news conference.

The buyout will put an end to rumors Wal-Mart may abandon Japan, making it easier to do business with local suppliers and lenders, Kolodzieski said.

"From a business partner and supplier standpoint, they too should also see this as very positive news, for Seiyu now has the full-backing of Wal-Mart," he said.

Wal-Mart, which currently owns 50.9 percent of Seiyu, said it would offer 140 yen per Seiyu common share in a tender offer from Tuesday through December 4. The offer price marks a 61 percent premium to Friday's closing share price of 87 yen.

Trade of Seiyu's shares was suspended by the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Monday, following reports of the buyout.

"It really does give (Wal-Mart) the opportunity to do whatever they want to do with Seiyu," said Roy Larke, editor of Japan Consuming, an industry newsletter.

"They still don't have a major share of the market but they do own the number three retailer in the country. They have a much solider base than they ever had in Korea and therefore something to build on," Larke said.


For the year to December 31 2007, the company has forecast a net loss of 10.4 billion yen.

However, there may be signs of progress: same-store sales showed their first annual rise in 15 years in 2006, although they still fell short of the company's target.

Seiyu's Kolodzieski said there were no plans to shut down any of the supermarket's nearly 400 outlets in Japan and that it was looking to accelerate its renovation of existing stores.

Last month, Seiyu said it would offer early retirement to 450 of its employees, or about 7 percent of its work force. In 2004 the company eliminated about 1,600 jobs.

Cracking Japan's retail market, the world's second-largest, has proved a challenge for foreign companies, due to fickle shoppers and tough competition.

In recent years France's Carrefour and Britain's Alliance Boots have both pulled out of the market.

Shares of Seiyu have lost three-quarters of their value since the end of 2002, the year when Wal-Mart first bought into the supermarket.

During the same period, the Tokyo stock exchange index of retail stocks has gained about 25 percent.

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War On Amazon.com's 1-Click Online Shopping Patent

Stephen Hutcheon

Amazon.com, one of the world's largest online retailers, is on the brink of losing one of its most coveted patents. And it knows who to blame: a New Zealander called Peter Calveley.

The 36-year-old from Auckland has waged a solo campaign against Amazon and its army of lawyers since 2004 over the retailer's claim to its famous 1-Click patent, a process that enables online shoppers to buy goods with the single click of a mouse button.

In response to Calveley's request to re-examine the intellectual property, the US Patents and Trademarks Office (USPTO) has just handed down a decision rejecting all but five of Amazon's 26 claims to the patent.

The Patent Office agreed with Calveley's claim that processes similar to the 1-Click solution had been documented before the Amazon patent was lodged in 1997.

Eight of Amazon's 26 intellectual property claims were dismissed because of a Newsweek magazine article entitled The End of Money?. It was published in 1995 - two years before the 1-Click patent was lodged.

The article described a process where someone could click a button to pay for "an annotated bibliography of every article ever written about Sandra Bullock" and download the file.

The decision came after a 17 month-long investigation by the USPTO into US Patent number 5,960,411, described as a "method and system for placing a purchase order via a communications network". Jeff Bezos, Amazon's founder and its current CEO, is listed as one of the four inventors.

Calveley has not been officially informed about the adjudication because the letter from the USPTO has yet to reach his post office box. But the decision has been posted on the USPTO site and the actor and choreographer was tipped off when he noticed a surge in traffic to his blog.

"They [Amazon] deserved to get slapped a bit around the head," Calveley said in a telephone interview after learning about the decision.

He said that challenging patent holders could become a "new and fun sport", indicating he had several other targets in the crosshairs.

Amazon has two months to lodge an appeal with the USPTO and can opt to take its fight to the civil courts.

An Amazon spokesperson told the CNET technology news website that the company expected to file a response to the USPTO decision by the deadline of December 9.

The process works for subsequent purchases after a shopper has already input their credit card details.By expediting the process, the shopper is less to bail out of a transaction.

Critics argued that Amazon used its monopoly over what some claimed was a simple process unworthy of being patented to stifle competition.

In 1999, less than a month after the patent was approved, Amazon sued one of its major competitors, barnesandnoble.com, for using a similar process on its website. The company was forced to stop using it after losing the court case. Amazon now licences the process to many websites.

Calveley, who has no formal legal training, launched his crusade against Amazon after he used the site to order a book called Presenting Digital Cash in September 2004. He paid the extra few dollars to have the delivery fast-tracked by a courier company.

When the book failed to turn up, a frustrated Calveley vented his frustration in a post on his blog. "GRRRR!!!," he wrote on October 4, 2004.

Assuming the book had been lost in transit, he ordered another copy of the book. And while he was waiting for that to arrive, the first one turned up.

Ironically, the books were ordered not directly from Amazon but through one of the retailer's affiliate booksellers. And Calveley, who says he was only "mildly annoyed" by the stuff up, accepts that the delay was probably more the fault of the courier company than of Amazon.

Nevertheless, he decided to target Amazon. "OK, time for some UTU for the annoyingly slow book delivery," he wrote in his blog in November 2004, using the Maori word for revenge.

After trawling the US records, Calveley found another patent describing an "online secure financial transaction system" which had been lodged in 1996 - a year before Amazon's.

He also found references to a so-called DigiCash payment method in which a click on a website payment link would trigger a server to send a payment request to the customer. That also pre-dated the Amazon patent.

With the help of donations from readers of his blog, Calveley was able to cobble together the $US2520 fee the Patent Office office charges to re-open patent examinations.

In May 2006, the USPTO informed Calveley that his request for a re-examination had been granted after an initial investigation raised "substantial new question of patentability of claims".

Over the course of the past year, Calveley says Amazon was obliged to send him copies of documents presented to the USPTO to support its case. He now has some 65kg of paperwork stored at his home.

This is not the first time Calveley has made headlines. In 2003 he launched a one-man campaign to get his name included on the credits of Peter Jackson's Lord of Rings movies for his work as a motion capture artist.

Jackson's digital effects operation Weta Studios filmed Calveley and about a dozen other actors, using their movements as the basis for the computer-generated orcs and elves.

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How To Move Forward When Job Promotion Is Denied

Caroline Levchuck

There are few things worse than pursuing a promotion only to be passed over for it. Whatever the reason, it could take you a while to get over the shock or humiliation you're feeling and to adjust to having a new supervisor, if that's the case.

Follow these three steps to help you move on after you didn't get to move up.

1. Be gracious.

New York career coach Deborah Brown-Volkman advises, "Be great! You have to be great and professional when this happens." Even if a much-loathed coworker receives a promotion you'd coveted, extend congratulations to her. Also, offer sincere assurances that you're going to be the same team player you've always been.

Doing your best to support all of your colleagues will only help your professional reputation. A stalwart attitude will deflect any passing pity people may be tempted to feel for you.

2. Get answers.

Brown-Volkman counsels her clients, "When you're trying to find out what happened, first look inward. Many times people know why they didn't get a promotion."

After your emotions have settled, set up a meeting with the powers that be to discover why you didn't win the promotion. Brown-Volkman, author of numerous books including "Coach Yourself to a New Career," says, "People don't like to tell other people the cold hard truth, so you have to give them permission to tell the truth." She suggests assuring your supervisor and colleagues that there won't be any consequences for being honest. "Tell them, 'This is just for me.'"

Bring questions to your meeting so you can learn how to overcome any professional shortcomings or lack of specific skills. Ask for suggestions as to how you can better improve your performance. Request specific situations that made your superiors doubt your ability to handle the new position. Try to get your employers to help subsidize some professional development courses that might improve your performance on the job.

And then, says Brown-Volkman, "Start making changes."

3. Make your move.

After you learn why you didn't get a promotion, you may come to understand that you're not perceived as management material and even the best in-office public relations campaign would be futile. To climb to the next notch, you may need to move on to a new employer.

"If you've given it your best shot and it's going nowhere, it may be that you're just not a fit for that organization," says Brown-Volkman. "Find a place where you do fit."

Employees who have worked for only one company often face a similar predicament. Diversifying your employment experience is a plus, and Brown-Volkman firmly believes that other companies will value your talents.

"People get stuck in failure," she states. "But you didn't fail. It was a learning experience."

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How To Be Clever And Cautious During Job Interview

Tom Musbach

Well-meaning job seekers sometimes get too creative when making their cases to potential employers, such as the candidate who said he was "allergic to unemployment."

The contrived allergy and other wacky pitches were revealed by hiring executives in a recent survey by Accountemps, a large staffing service for financial professionals.

Creativity Can Backfire

The group of 150 senior executives offered several other examples of candidates going too far in their attempts to stand out:

* "One candidate said that we should hire him because he would be a great addition to our softball team."
* "A candidate sang all her responses to interview questions."
* "One individual said we had nice benefits, which was good because he going to need to take a lot of leave in the next year."
* "An applicant once told me she wanted the position because she wanted to get away from dealing with people."

The statements above reflect poor approaches to an interview question that is very common: "Why should I hire you?" Career experts offer several alternatives that can help job candidates respond more successfully.

Break It Down

Richard Phillips, founder of Advantage Career Solutions in Palo Alto, California, suggests a three-step approach that flows from the job description:

1. Begin your answer by listing the top three to five requirements of the job as you understand them, based on your research and what you've learned in the interview
2. Summarize how your skills and experience will enable you to make a significant impact in those areas.
3. Finish by stating your interest in the organization. Keep it short and sweet.

Tailor Your Story

Joe Turner, who wrote "Job Secrets Unlocked!" and runs jobchangesecrets.com, suggests that you prepare your best "story" to answer the question by showing how you will go the "extra mile."

"Here is where you recant that story of exactly how you worked 60-hour weeks, acquired new skills, or whatever it took to distinguish yourself and meet the challenge head-on to successfully make the sale, save the project, rescue a client, or whatever it was," he says.

"If you can monetize (put a dollar value on) the end result, your story will only be that much more dramatic. Since no other candidate can duplicate your own personal story here, you'll make a memorable impression."

Run With Your Ideas

During the process of researching the employer and preparing for the interview, think of what you might do if you had the position, advises Carla-Krystin Andrade, author of "Kick Start Your Job Search."

"Perhaps you have an idea for a new feature for their product or a new process that is relevant to the position," she says. "This is the perfect time to tell them about this idea and show them how you would bring value to the position if they hired you."

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Working For A Funny Boss

Tom Musbach,

When you think of the ideal boss, actress Carol Burnett and late-night TV host David Letterman probably don't come to mind. But those two celebrities have a quality that most workers say is essential to being a good boss: a sense of humor.

When asked in a recent poll how important it is for a manager to have a sense of humor, 65% of workers answered "very important," while 32% answered "somewhat important." The survey, conducted by staffing firm Robert Half International, also revealed that most of the workers (87%) rated their managers as having good senses of humor.

Max Messmer, chairman and chief executive of RHI, said the survey underscores that humor can make a boss seem more approachable, but it's not a license to be a clown.

"To be taken seriously, supervisors must balance their desire to keep the mood light with the need to accomplish business objectives, inspire great performance, and maintain professionalism," Messmer said.

Is Your Boss Funny?

You may not know whether your boss has a good sense of humor. "In this case, it's best to let your manager set the tone for humor," says Liz Bywater, president of Bywater Consulting Group, a Philadelphia-area firm focused on organization performance.

"It's OK to 'test drive' using some humor to see how it's received," she adds. "Just do so cautiously at the beginning. Take a mental note of your manager's response and let that be your guide."

"Definitely stay away from sarcasm or any statements that might be offensive or potentially viewed as criticism," advises Debra Mandel, a psychologist and author of "Your Boss Is Not Your Mother." She continues, "Some managers take the workplace too seriously, but it's not an employee's job to loosen them up -- unless of course the employee doesn't mind the view from the unemployment line."

Humoring the Boss

What if you don't think your boss is very funny?

"Humoring a not-so-funny boss is OK," says Bywater. "Think of it as being kind and sensitive to the feelings of another human being. Don't, however, humor a boss who has gone over the line from funny to offensive."

Manage the Punch Lines

For bosses who want to flex their humor muscles more, Bywater suggests the following guidelines:

* Do not make jokes about anyone's physical appearance.
* Do not attempt humor that could be construed as sexist or racist, even if it's not intended as such.
* If you've got a direct report who is particularly sensitive or has no sense of humor, it's best to play it straight.

Having a good sense of humor at work helps everyone, Mandel concludes.

"Both bosses and employees need to stay on track and be productive, but everything doesn't have to be heavyweight," she says. "Sometimes it's good to just have a big belly laugh, especially when things go wrong, and look forward to the next day to get back on track."

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How To Handle Workplace Gossips

Heather Boerner

Getting ahead at work may hinge on resisting the urge to spread the latest news about your coworkers.

"You may think gossip is harmless, but you might just be shooting yourself in the foot as far as your credibility goes," said Rachel Weingarten, author of "Career and Corporate Cool: How to Look, Dress and Act the Part at Every Stage of Your Career." She continues, "Let your work speak for itself. You don't need to be the one making yourself look better by talking down someone else."

Consider the Damage

Sure, gossip can be almost too enticing to keep to ignore -- but consider these consequences:

* You lose your reputation. "My reputation is my business," said Weingarten. "If someone says something bad about me, or I become known as a gossip, that could affect my entire career."
* Coworkers avoid you. "If people view you as a gossip, they may stop sharing information with you," said April Callis, president of Gossip Stoppers, a program designed to create positive workplaces. "Then instead of being the one with all the power and information, you're out of the loop because no one trusts you."
* Your work suffers. The negativity spread by gossip makes people hate their jobs. "They miss work, they get less done while they're there, and they feel unappreciated," says Callis. Suddenly, you're not giving your best, and your boss may notice.

There's a better way to deal with water cooler talk. First, and perhaps most obvious: Keep the information to yourself.

It's one thing to learn the office scoop -- it's another to share it. Even asking someone else at work to verify what you've just heard counts as gossip, said Callis. If it's something criminal, tell your boss. If not, let it drop.

Resist the Urge

Next, teach your coworkers not to gossip with you. Use these techniques:

* Replace gossip. Sometimes gossip is the only thing you have in common with coworkers, said Weingarten. So find something to replace it. Do you both knit? Are you both sports fans? If you must gossip, do it about movie stars or soap operas, she said. Just leave the office out of it.
* Set a timer. If a coworker or employee comes to you determined to gossip, set a timer for five minutes, and let the person spew. When the time's up, so is the gossip. You don't have to respond, said Callis. You can just listen.
* Write it down. When a coworker runs to your desk with the latest juicy gossip, get out a pad and pen. Writing down the facts serves two purposes: It shows the gossip that everything she says is being documented. And it helps you focus on facts instead of feelings.

What you may find is that you and those around you feel happier as they gossip less, says Callis.

"When I walk into a positive workplace, people are engaged and they feel valued," she says. "They stay."

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Allegations About Millionaire Factory's Financies On The Spotlight

Nick Mathiason

In Australia, Macquarie Bank is known as the "millionaires factory" for good reason. In the past 10 years, it has come from nowhere to become one of the world's most aggressive buyers of airports, toll roads, energy firms and utilities. If an asset has a reliable cash flow, Macquarie, it seems, has pounced.

In so doing, the Sydney-based bank has left better-known institutions trailing in the dash to seize valuable prizes.

The rewards for being a "diversified financial services company", as Macquarie likes to style itself, are immense. Allan Moss, its bookish chief executive, is Australia's highest paid businessman with a $38.4 million package.

But as interest rates rose last year, and world credit markets seized up this summer, Macquarie was put in the uncomfortable position of being subject to speculation.

This boils down to fears that its ambitious growth is unsustainable.

With its hard-to-fathom structure placed under the spotlight, the talk has been that potential financial problems could rebound not just on Macquarie shareholders, but also citizens from dozens of countries which have key public services supplied by Macquarie.

In Britain, for example, this includes Thames Water, which Macquarie acquired from German firm RWE last year for £8 billion ($21 billion); the London Underground; Bristol airport; and the M6 toll road in the Midlands.

Thames Water faces fines of up £12.5 million from industry regulator Ofwat for misreporting poor processes that led to customers receiving unsatisfactory services.

Last week speculation about Macquarie turned up a notch after the publication of an eight-page report in the influential Fortune magazine. The author was Bethany McLean, the journalist who first spotted that Enron, rather than being a stock market darling, was instead a fraudulent web of off-balance sheet structures that was heading for the rocks.

Although there is no suggestion that Macquarie has behaved fraudulently, McLean's report made a number of allegations about the bank's finances. The most serious of these were that:

* Macquarie overpaid for assets to trigger performance fees.

* It is impossible to calculate independently how much debt the bank is exposed to.

* Though the practice is not illegal, the bank borrows money to pay dividends to shareholders on the assumption of future growth.

* The majority of deals on which Macquarie advises involve another Macquarie entity with a number of separate Macquarie funds holding the same asset.

To the bank the report made uncomfortable reading, but insiders say many of the claims have been aired before and can be rebutted. In a statement, Allan Moss said: "The sorts of comments to which you refer have been made, but they have been made by people who have not taken the trouble to study Macquarie Bank closely.

"They are not views that have been adopted by serious investors or serious analysts. Our view is that it is well understood that we have a very robust business model."

Macquarie believes that rather than being secretive, the fact that many of its funds are publicly quoted makes it more transparent than many of its rivals. Reacting to criticism that the aggressive financing model leads to excessive charges in some of its airports - like Sydney - and toll roads, the company says this scenario does not represent the way it runs its other airports.

Though concern is rising about Macquarie, it is nevertheless linked to many big infrastructure deals currently available.

When Royal Bank of Scotland last week signalled its intention to sell its €4 billion ($7 billion) Angel train leasing firm, Macquarie was understood to be interested.

And it has been widely rumoured that it is set to team up with US bank JP Morgan in the £4 billion bid battle for Southern Water. JP Morgan Asset Management's infrastructure investment fund has been in advanced talks to submit a joint offer with Macquarie and other smaller funds, according to well-placed sources.

The bank refuses to comment on any of these possible deals, which could consolidate its position as one of the country's most important businesses.

As a signal that the company is broadening into new areas, it recently signed a deal with troubled Wembley stadium building firm Multiplex worth £339.5 million to develop three hospitals in the UK.

The pair will build a 612-bed acute hospital, a 102-bed mental health unit and a 34-bed integrated care centre in Peterborough. The project is being worked through a special purpose entity called Progress Health, 30 per cent owned by Multiplex UK and 70 per cent by Macquarie Bank.

But the firm is in the business of selling. Two weeks ago, Australia's Victorian Funds Management and Canada's Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan bought a combined 48.25 per cent stake in Birmingham International Airport for £420 million.

The two funds bought the stake from Macquarie Airports and Ireland's Dublin Airport Authority.

As the firm ratchets up its activity throughout the world, questions about whether its finance structure is sustainable may increase as uncertainty in credit markets continue, whether the company likes it or not.

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Auckland Airport Deal Collapse, DAE's Chief Exec Resigns

Liam Dann

Kjeld Binger, chief executive of Dubai Aerospace (DAE) Airports, has resigned just weeks after his company pulled the plug on its $2.5 billion bid for Auckland Airport.

The charismatic Dane was the public face of the Dubai bid which ran into trouble after a public backlash about foreign ownership of the airport.

Despite the political difficulties the bid faced, Binger remained confident about the chances of success until a sudden backdown on August 31.

There has been speculation that the decision to pull the bid was made over Binger's head - by DAE's wealthy owners, the al-Maktoum family, who were upset at comments made by senior New Zealand politicians.

Trade Minister Phil Goff expressed his personal opposition to the sale and local body politicians such as Manukau mayor Barry Curtis were even more outspoken.

The bids needed support from Auckland City and Manukau City Councils, which between them hold just over 23 per cent of the airport.

Despite the withdrawal of the DAE offer, Auckland Airport is subject to a similar ownership proposal from Canada Pension Plan.

The Canadian Government-owned fund plans to buy a minority stake as opposed to DAE's offer which would have seen it take a 50.1 per cent stake.

DAE has said Binger departed amicably to pursue new endeavours but that it has no further comment.

He could not be reached yesterday for comment.

Binger - previously a highly successful executive with Copenhagen Airport - joined DAE only in January.

He brought across nine executives to DAE Airports from Copenhagen Airports and was to have led a US$4 billion spend-up on airports around the globe.

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Taking A Closer Look At Foreclosure

A situation where a loan is recovered, given on a defaulted property either by selling the property or by taking possession on it, is known as foreclosure.

If you are facing foreclosure, filing for bankruptcy will delay the process. However, this is only a temporary delay as until the mortgage is either refinanced reinstated, or the house is sold, the auction is bound to happen sooner or later. Filing for bankruptcy will not indefinitely delay or prevent the foreclosure of your house, but it will certainly delay the process to a very large extent.

Since your mortgage is on your home, filing for bankruptcy does not guarantee that your house will not undergo a forced sale. If you have income after filing for bankruptcy, you can arrange for your debts to be paid off in a certain fixed period of time. Under chapter 13 bankruptcy you can make up for all the times that you defaulted on your repayments, but the problem is that if you default under this program, your lender can legally facilitate the foreclosure of your home. On the other hand, chapter 7 bankruptcy is the stage where you can be forced to sell your assets to pay for your liabilities, and all the home equity will go to your lender.

Since these are huge steps, never be forced to file for bankruptcy and discuss your options with a reliable and recommended bankruptcy counselor. Also, beware of scams such as ones which tell you that you will receive a certified copy of your deed if you pay a certain amount of money. Your local deed recorder or county will give you a certified copy of your deed for about ten dollars, while scammers will ask you for much more money than is fair. You should consider a home equity line of credit when debating between the same and a fixed rate mortgage, as the line of credit is much more flexible. It is easy to get and no closing costs are involved. Unless you write a check to use the money, you are not charged for it.

Then after you have paid it off, you can decide whether you want a new first mortgage. If an elderly citizen passes away without a will, a local probate court will decide who will inherit the deceased’s assets. The surviving family members will be seen in a specific order with regard to who is considered first as entitled to the inheritance. A will can be prepared for as low as a hundred or a couple of hundred dollars and will ensure after your death that your assets and money will go to the individuals you want them to go to.

If someone remarries, their new spouse’s name is not required on the mortgage loan papers. However, the spouse who legally owns the house can sign and record a quitclaim deed, thus giving the other spouse part of the interest in the house. Joint tenancy has many advantages, two of which include equal rights to joint tenants and the avoidance of probate if one of the joint tenants dies. The title can even be put into a revocable living trust.

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Bill Gates Still The Richest Man In The World

Microsoft founder Bill Gates is the richest person in America for the 14th year in a row, followed by investor Warren Buffett, according to Forbes magazine's latest list of the wealthiest Americans.

The pair's fortunes each grew by $6 billion in the past year, Forbes said today, with Gates' fortune $59 billion and Buffett $52 billion.

Buffett has pledged 85 per cent of his net worth to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and family charities.

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson ($28 billion), head of Las Vegas Sands Corp, and software tycoon Larry Ellison ($26 billion), chief executive of Oracle Corp, remain at No 3 and No 4 on the 25th annual ranking of 400 rich Americans, which now requires a minimum net worth of $1.3 billion for inclusion.

"The collective net worth of those listed on the 400 this year rose $290 billion to $1.54 trillion," Forbes said. "Despite market jitters, nearly half of the 45 new members come from hedge fund and private equity investments."

For the first time since 1989 there are no members of the Walton family, descendants of Wal-Mart Stores Inc founder Sam Walton, in the top 10. Four members - Jim, Christy, Robson and Alice - slipped to 12th and 15th place.

The Waltons were displaced by Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who came in at No 5 with fortunes of $18.5 billion, and brothers Charles and David Koch, who run Koch Industries, the world's second largest private company, and are each valued at $17 billion, earning them 9th place.

Investor Kirk Kerkorian was the biggest gainer on the list, his fortune rising by more than $9 billion in the past year to $18 billion. He debuted in the top 10 at No 7 - up from No 26 last year.

Michael Dell, chief executive of Dell Inc, the world's second-largest PC maker, was No 8 on the list with a fortune of $17.2 billion.

Of the top 400 richest Americans, Forbes said 270 were entirely self-made, 74 inherited their wealth and 39 are women. There were 82 American billionaires who did not make the list.

The youngest member, and new to the list, is 33-year-old hedge fund manager John Arnold, who came in at No 317 with a $1.5 billion wealth, while the oldest is 98-year-old John Simplot, valued at $3.6 billion and No 214 on the list.

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3 Stretegies To By-The-Number-Stock-Picking

Harry Domash

Stock picking is a situation in which an analyst or investor uses a systematic form of analysis to conclude that a particular stock will make a good investment and, therefore, should be added to his or her portfolio. The position can be either long or short and will depend on the analyst or investor's outlook for the particular stock's price.

Martin Zweig's no-nonsense approach made him a legend in the financial services industry. We duplicate his disciplined strategy and come up with 18 stocks. Unless you're a longtime investor, Martin Zweig is probably the most famous guru that you've never heard of. He doesn't get much attention these days. Although his name still appears on several mutual funds, he discontinued his Zweig Forecast newsletter several years ago. That's too bad, because the newsletter was ranked No. 1 for risk-adjusted returns over the 15 years that it was monitored by Hulbert Financial Digest.

But Zweig, who has a Ph.D. in finance, is well-known to market professionals for his disciplined approach to the market. He has examined the relationship betweenstock market action and just about every conceivable economic or market indicator. In fact, he's credited with inventing the put/call ratio market-sentiment indicator.

Zweig described the results of much of his research in his best-selling book, "Martin Zweig's Winning on Wall Street."

Much of the book covers Zweig's market-timing indicators, but he also details how he picks individual stocks. By all accounts, those strategies are worth your attention. According to Street Stories Market Wizards Index, Zweig's top-rated stocks returned 25%, on average, over the 19-year period from May 1976 to March 1995.

Zweig on stocks
As with the market in general, when it comes to picking individual stocks, Zweig goes strictly by the numbers. As he puts it, "I don't get involved in the product being produced. If a company can show nice consistent earnings, I don't care if it makes broomsticks or computer parts." Zweig doesn't spend much time examining financial statements or meeting with management. Instead, he focuses on three main criteria to pinpoint potential winners:

* A history of consistently strong sales and earnings growth

* A reasonable price

* Strong price action relative to the market

Zweig also pays close attention to insider trading. He eliminates candidates with significant insider selling and gives preference to stocks with insider buying. He avoids stocks that have recently disappointed the market and frowns on companies carrying high debt.

Zweig doesn't try to catch a stock at its low. Instead, he wants to see a stock prove itself by "performing well" relative to the market before he jumps in. Says Zweig, "buying on strength gives you an edge. You must pay a premium, but you increase the probability of being right."

I'll explain more as I describe my screen for finding stocks meeting Zweig's criteria. Let's start with sales and earnings growth, arguably Zweig's most important criteria.
Long-term growth
Zweig doesn't look for hot initial public offerings (IPOs) or instant wonders. He insists on a history of consistent growth in both sales and earnings going back four or five years. He considers 15% annual growth acceptable, but he seems to prefer higher. In his book, he gives numerous examples of stocks with 30% to 50% historical growth rates.

In my screen, I specified a 15% minimum for both 5-year average annual revenue (sales) and 5-year annual EPS growth. But I'm sure that Zweig wouldn't mind if you increased those minimums if you get too many hits.

* Screening Parameter: (5-year) Annual EPS Growth Rate >= 15%

* Screening Parameter: 5-Year Revenue Growth >= 15%

Recent growth
Zweig looks for consistent or accelerating growth. The most recent quarter's year-over-year EPS growth rate should be in the same ballpark as the long-term rate and, in the best case, higher. However, he's not dogmatic and is willing to cut the stock a little slack depending on conditions.

I required the most recent quarter's year-over-year EPS growth to be at least 75% of the long-term growth rate. However, I'm sure Zweig would want you to check further if the recent growth rate was near that minimum.

* Screening Parameter: EPS Growth Qtr vs. Qtr >= 0.75* (5-year) Annual EPS Growth

Revenue growth vs. EPS growth
While they won't track every quarter, Zweig wants to see stocks with revenue and EPS long-term growth rates in the same ballpark. Revenues growing faster than earnings signal declining profit margins, which often indicates that the company is cutting prices to ward off increasing competition. Conversely, earnings growth without corresponding revenue growth also spells trouble. It means that the earnings growth is coming more from cost-cutting than organic growth. If that's the case, eventually, the company will run out of places to cut costs, and earnings growth will slow.

I insured that the long-term revenue and EPS growth rates reasonably tracked each other by requiring each to be at least 75% of the other.

* Screening Parameter: (5-year) Annual EPS Growth Rate >= 0.75*5-Year Revenue Growth

* Screening Parameter: 5-Year Revenue Growth + 0.75* (5-year) Annual EPS Growth Rate

Maximum valuation
Zweig avoids overpriced stocks. He uses P/E to measure valuation, but his definition of overvalued depends on the market. In his examples, Zweig accepts fast-growing companies with P/Es as much as 50% higher than the overall market. Based on those examples, I use the S&P 500 average P/E to represent the market and reject stocks trading with P/Es more than 50% above the S&P.

* Screening Parameter: P/E Ratio: Current <= 1.5*S&P 500 Average P/E Ratio: Current Minimum valuation In Zweig's view, a stock's P/E can be too low as well as too high. He says that very low P/Es signal problems and generally means that investors are abandoning ship. But he doesn't spend much time worrying about the reasons. He says he's looking for "stable and reasonable growth," and he sees little chance of finding such stocks in the low P/E arena. In his book, Zweig advised shunning stocks with P/Es below 5. Since his maximum P/E varies with the market, I took liberties with his definition and used that same criterion for the minimum P/E. When he wrote the book, a 5 P/E equated to roughly 40% of the market average, which translates to 7 or so in the current market. If you want to be a Zweig purist, change the minimum P/E to a fixed value of 5. * Screening Parameter: P/E Ratio: Current >= 0.4*S&P 5000 Average P/E Ratio Current

Strong price action
Zweig wants to put the odds in his favor by homing in on stocks that are already showing strong price action relative to the market. He avoids stocks near their lows or in a clear downtrend. He prefers stocks that are "acting better than the market," but will accept stocks "acting at least as well as the market."

Relative strength measures a stock's performance compared to the overall market over a specified timeframe. Zweig didn't mention any particular timeframe, but, from his descriptions, I guessed that six months would work. A 50 relative strength indicates a stock performing about even with the market, so I used that as my minimum. Try increasing the minimum to 55 or 60 if you get too many hits.

* Screening Parameter: 6-month Relative Strength >= 50

Insider trading
Zweig prefers stocks with insider buying and, at the very least, minimal insider selling. For him, one insider selling is no big deal, but seven or eight insiders selling is bad. MSN Money's stock screener doesn't offer a parameter for number of insiders buying or selling.

I approximated Zweig's requirement by eliminating stocks where the number of shares sold by insiders exceeded the number bought.

* Screening Parameter: Net Insider Transactions >= 0

Zweig says it's best to avoid companies with high debt, because companies with high fixed costs will suffer more in a downturn.

Zweig doesn't define high and low debt specifically, and acceptable debt levels vary by industry. Since Zweig isn't adamant about low debt, I simply ruled out companies with debt/equity ratios higher than their industry average.

* Screening Parameter: Debt to Equity Ratio <= Industry Average Debt to Equity Ratio No bad surprises Zweig avoids stocks that have recently disappointed the market by reporting earnings below forecasts. He says that "academic studies have shown conclusively that when earnings are significantly below expectations, such stocks, on average, will underperform the market over the next one to two quarters." With that in mind, I screened out stocks with recent negative earnings surprises. * Screening Parameter: Recent Qtr Surprise % >= 0

My screen turned up 18 stocks in a wide variety of industries. It included everything from software makers and banks to oil and gas equipment suppliers to insurance brokers. You name it! There were five banks or savings & loans, but that was the only industry with multiple names.

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US Federal Reserve Cuts Key Interest Rates By Half

Information gradually streaming in reveals that following popular speculations that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates at the conclusion of its policy meeting, currently underway, the federal reserve cut the target on a key short-term interest rate by a half of a percentage point, from 5.25% to 4.75%, further acknowledgment from the central bank that the mortgage meltdown plaguing Wall Street and Main Street could have a negative impact on the economy

The cut to the federal funds rate, the first since June 2003, was widely anticipated by investors and followed a surprise cut to the Fed's discount rate on Aug. 17. The only question was whether the Fed would lower the federal funds rate by 25 basis points or 50 basis points. (There are 100 basis points in a full percentage point.)

The federal funds rate, an overnight lending rate that banks charge each other, is important since it influences the amount of interest consumers must pay for various types of debt, such as credit cards, home equity lines of credit and auto loans. The rate cut should help some beleaguered home borrowers who are set to see monthly payments on adjustable rate mortgages rise later this year.

In its statement, the Fed said that "the tightening of credit conditions has the potential to intensify the housing correction and to restrain economic growth more generally" and that the rate cut "is intended to help forestall some of the adverse effects on the broader economy that might otherwise arise from the disruptions in financial markets and to promote moderate growth over time."

The Fed also cut its largely symbolic discount rate by a half of a percentage point to 5.25 percent. The central bank lowered the discount rate for the first time in four years, which is what banks pay to borrow directly from the Federal Reserve, by 50 basis points on Aug. 17

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How To Plan For A Mid-Career Change

The key to making a mid-career transition is to understand that you don't have to do it in one big step. By taking a number of small steps, you'll get where you want your professional life to be without causing an income gap or wreaking havoc on your personal life.

The Starting Points
Here are some sound ways you can approach a big career transition.

Hollywood gifts!

Explore your network. It may be that you respect your company, and a new line of work within it would provide the change you crave. If you like the way you and your fellow employees are treated, that's a primary asset you're not guaranteed to get elsewhere.

Volunteering to improve on the way things are done -- even outside of your current position -- is often said to be the surest route to promotion. You may be unduly busy for a time, but having a goal you're working towards can provide you a lot of energy.

Go forth and conquer. If your current job is sapping your enthusiasm for life, then quitting outright may seem like the only choice. And it can be the right choice, provided that you A) are in a position to get by in the short term without a steady income, and B) can use your connections to explore your desired line of work.

Expand your own expertise. Your current job requires its own refined knowledge and core skills. One approach is to seek work in an industry where these can be put to use. Identify the strengths your experience gives you, write a resume that speaks to these traits in a broader context, and explore fields where your skills can be put to good use.

Go to school and learn. Gaining entrance to a new line of work often requires a higher degree or certificate. Whether you want to become an engineer, investor, nurse or chef, earning a degree is the premium means of gaining a foothold in your desired industry. Fortunately, in today's internet savvy world, all manner of degrees are available from reputable online colleges and universities.

The Education Advantage

One enormous advantage of studying online is that you can build your own class and study schedule, so that you don't have to worry about commuting to campus, and allowing you to keep your current job.

Many online schools offer degree programs that let you work at an accelerated rate -- many online business programs, for instance, let you earn your MBA in as little as 10 months. If you're searching for a truly fresh start in a line of work with lots of upward mobility, then take the time to explore. Discover if the degree you need is available online and look at potential schools. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Whatever challenges your path to a new career may hold, there are resources available to help you meet them. Don't hold back -- think actively about what's best for you. Get started toward your future today.

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Keep Facebook Outside Office Hours???

Facebook is shaping up as every boss's nightmare as the social networking website urges its members to hook up with workmates online.
That means millions of corporate dollars could be lost as workers manage their online social life via Facebook, rather than being productive in front of the screen.
Facebook is advertised as a social utility that connects people with friends and others who "work, study and live around them" - although many seem to be doing less work.
Originally a photo-sharing network, Facebook users can now invite others into their personal sites to chat and share information.
An anonymous Facebook user summed up the growing trend: "Of course everyone checks Facebook at work, duh! I don't have neither internet nor a TV at home because I like doing more useful things with my time when I'm off work," the blogger wrote.
And the Facebook explosion has good reason for bosses to stop the onslaught of online chatting at work.
In just two days this month, 7,000 people joined Facebook, as they chat with a network of mates - often daily, sometimes hourly.
Internet filtering specialist, SurfControl, estimates the Facebook craze could cost businesses more than $5 billion a year.
According to SurfControl figures, if just one employee spent an hour a day on Facebook, it could cost their business $6,200 a year.
With 800,000 businesses in Australia, these figures translate to $5 billion a year.
"On July 29 there were 195,000 members of Facebook's Australia network. Just over a week later, this number had grown to over 224,000," SurfControl spokesman Dr Richard Cullen said.
"There are Facebook groups dedicated to slacking off at work - some of them are specific to employees of a single company."
Dr Cullen said employers were now resorting to blocking internet use.
"Some employers are blocking the sites, while others have embraced the new, global networking capability and are setting down times when it's acceptable to Facebook," Dr Cullen said.
"If appropriate filters are in place, employees are able to use sites like Facebook and Myspace in their downtime without putting the network at risk."
Australian Industry Group Victorian director Tim Piper said employers had the choice to restrict internet use.
Mr Piper said the group would not endorse a push to block internet use at work.
"It's up to each employer to deal with it in a manner that's appropriate for their staff," Mr Piper said.
Mr Piper said preventing access to troublesome sites could save hours of unproductive behaviour.

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Mattel Recalls Over 9 Million Toys Due To Lead, Paint......

Mattel, the world’s largest toy company, today announced its second major recall in a month of defective toys that were made in China.
The company, in a statement issued from its American headquarters, said it was recalling a total of 436,000 toys marketed in the United States and elsewhere that had “impermissible levels of lead.” The toy is a die-cast vehicle featuring the Sarge character from the movie “Cars.”
In addition, the company said it was expanding a recall of toys that have small, powerful magnets that could come loose and be ingested by children.
The latest recalls are another major embarrassment for Mattel. Mattel has a reputation for being one of the most conscientious toy makers and is known for having sophisticated inspection and testing systems at many of its China facilities to guard against flawed, defective or tainted products.
But the latest recall could feed growing international worries about the quality and safety of consumer products made in China.
It would follow a series of other recalls by manufacturers this year involving a wide range of products from contaminated pet food ingredients to defective tires to tainted Chinese-made toothpaste.
Mattel began an advertising campaign today in an effort to reassure consumers about its commitment to product safety. It ran full-page ads in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today that featured a letter from Bob Eckert, the chief executive.
“Nothing is more important than the safety of our children,” the letter begins.
“Our long record of safety at Mattel is why we’re one of the most trusted names with parents,” it says. “And I am confident that the actions we are taking now will maintain that trust.”
Earlier this month, Mattel recalled over one million toys, including Sesame Street and Dora the Explorer products made by its Fisher-Price unit because they were contaminated with excessive levels of lead paint, which if ingested could pose health hazards to children.
Mattel said Lee Der Industrial, a contract manufacturer based in southern China, was responsible for producing the toys that contained excessive levels of lead paint in the initial recall.
Mattel stopped accepting goods from the contractor, and last week the Chinese government revoked Lee Der’s export license.
In a further twist, the Chinese authorities confirmed that one of the owners of the company apparently committed suicide.
The owner, Zhang Shuhong, apparently killed himself last Saturday by hanging himself in a factory warehouse in the city of Foshan, according to a report in China’s state-controlled media.
A spokesman for the Guangdong Public Security Bureau in southern China today confirmed that the police were investigating the apparent suicide.
Xiao Bindong, a spokesman for the bureau, said: “It is now confirmed that Mr. Zhang Shuhong committed suicide on the afternoon of August 11.”
China, however, insists the vast majority of its exports are safe and of high quality. Many international toy industry officials also say that while the recalls are serious, the problem with defective toys made in China is being grossly exaggerated.
“There are something like 30,000 different toy products on sale at any one time,” says Ian J. Anderson, the Asia Pacific director at SGS, a consumer testing company that works with Mattel and other toy makers in China. “How many items have been recalled lately? Anyone can have something go awry. It’s difficult to stay on top of everything.”
But United States congressmen and consumer product safety officials from the European Union have expressed growing concern in recent months over the number of defective and tainted products coming from China, which makes most of the world’s toys.
Last month, a pair of senators from the United States even proposed new legislation that sought to ban imported children’s products from China unless they were first certified as safe.
Responding to such criticism, the Chinese government says it is now stepping up its inspection of toys and other products and that it is cracking down on companies that act illegally.
In revoking the export license of Lee Der Industrial, which made the tainted Mattel toys, Chinese regulators said they found the company had used a “fake lead-free” paint pigment that came from the company’s paint supplier.
At the time of the recall, Mattel officials said the Lee Der facility had testing equipment on site that should have detected lead paint, and that the company had been a reliable supplier for at least 15 years.
Mattel has not yet explained what went wrong. But Monday, the company issued a brief statement saying the company was saddened to hear about the death of the Lee Der official.
The recalls, however, underscore the problems facing toy makers and other companies doing business in China. China has become a manufacturing powerhouse by depending on cheap labor and savvy cost cutting measures.
But sometimes, under pressure to cut costs or win contracts, Chinese manufacturers have cut corners, experts here say, and chosen to use cheap and illegal substitutes.
In June, for instance, another major toy company, the RC2 Corporation of Illinois, recalled 1.5 million popular Thomas & Friends wooden toy railway sets because for at least two years they were being coated with excessive levels of lead paint, even though the manufacturers were aware of restrictions on lead paint, RC2 officials later said.
In case after case involving Chinese made products that were recalled this year, there has been evidence that many Chinese manufacturers intentionally added cheap or illegal substances to save money.
While lead paint has long been restricted from being used in toys made for sale in the United States, Europe and even China, it remains much cheaper than lead-free paint. Companies here say lead paint is sometimes preferred because it offers richer colors, is easier to apply and easier to dry. And so some companies continued to blend it into paint supplies, according to toy consultants.
High levels of lead have also been found in Chinese made jewelry and trinkets, posing serious health hazards, according to American officials.

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Rush Hour 3 Hits No. 1 in The US Box Office

Rush Hour 3, the latest installment of the franchise started in 1998, has won the first place in the North American box-office charts over the weekend.

According to an estimation released on Sunday by the studio New Line Cinema the movie had three-day ticket sales of 50.3 million dollars.

Rush Hour 3 is faithful to its formula, but this time Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, respectively Chief Inspector Lee and Detective James Carter, are in France, tracing an international Chinese mob boss. The action is still breath-taking and dynamic, as usual: assassination attempts, a kidnap, car chases, shootings in a night club, a fight on the Eiffel Tower and so forth.

Rush Hour 3 bumped the espionage action sequel The Bourne Ultimatum starring Matt Damon into second place. After debuting last weekend in first place, the third instalment of screen adaptations from novelist Robert Ludlum grossed 33.7 million dollars from Friday- Sunday.

But “Rush Hour 3” did not so good compared to the previous installment “Rush Hour 2”, released six years ago. In the opening week end in 2001, “Rush Hour 2” took in $67.4 million

"The Simpsons Movie", the adventures of America’s most dysfunctional family, slipped to the third place, with revenue of 11.1 million dollars in its third week-end in cinemas.

“Stardust”, the romantic fantasy movie based on Neil Gaiman’s fantasy novel and directed Matthew Vaughn, despite its impressive cast (Michelle Pfeifer, Robert de Niro, Charlie Cox, Peter O’Toole, Claire Danes and Sienna Miller) has debuted on the fourth place, with 9 million dollars in revenue.

“Hairspray”, the film adaptation of the famous Broadway musical, with John Travolta dancing in high heels, collected $6.4 million in its sixth week. “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” brought in $5.9 million. In the eighth place was “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” with $5.4 mill followed by Catherine Zeta-Jones’ romantic comedy ”No Reservations” at $3.9 million.

The week-end’s other new release, “Daddy Day Camp”, a sequel to “Daddy Day Care” starring Cuba Gooding Jr., ranked 10th with $3.3 million.

1. "Rush Hour 3," 50.3 million.

2. "The Bourne Ultimatum," $33.7 million.

3. "The Simpsons Movie," $11.1 million.

4. "Stardust," $9 million.

5. "Underdog," $6.5 million.

6. "Hairspray," $6.4 million.

7. "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry," $5.9 million.

8. "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," $5.4 million.

9. "No Reservations," $3.9 million.

10. "Daddy Day Camp," which opened Wednesday, $3.3 million.

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DirecTV, Buying Back $1 Billion Worth Of Its Share

DirecTV Group Inc. , the largest U.S. satellite television operator, said on Thursday quarterly net income fell slightly on higher costs related to its premium services.

DirecTV, which rivals EchoStar Communications Corp. and competes with cable TV providers, also said its board authorized the repurchase of up to $1 billion in shares.

DirecTV, expected to come under the control of Liberty Media Corp. this year, said net income was $448 million, down from $459 million a year earlier.

On a per-share basis, profit was 37 cents, including 1 cent from discontinued operations, against 36 cents last year.

DirecTV said income from continuing operations was $431 million, or 36 cents a share.

Analysts were looking for income of $443 million, or 36 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

It said that costs for adding and upgrading subscribers were higher than the prior year as more customers added high definition and digital video recorder services.

Revenue rose to $4.14 billion from $3.52 billion a year earlier as its subscriber numbers grew, benefiting from a sharp rise in HD and DVR customers.

The increase in customer demand for advanced services also contributed to the higher gross additions of 900,000 and net U.S. subscriber additions of 128,000 in the quarter, DirecTV said.

However, some analysts were looking for additions in the range of 130,000 to 150,000.

Liberty is due to exchange a stake in Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. for a close to 40 percent controlling stake in DirecTV in a deal expected to close by the end of the year.

Shares of DirecTV fell more than 2 percent in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange after some disappointment with the net subscriber additions number. But shares recovered, last trading up 7 cents at $22 in New York Stock Exchange trading.

Rival EchoStar is due to report quarterly results on Friday.

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10 Tips For Turning Affiliate Programs Into Goal Mines

We’ve now looked at a number of popular affiliate programs for bloggers and today I’d like to finish off this series by giving a few tips that should help bloggers get the best results out of any affiliate program that they choose to run with.

1. Consider your Audience
It almost goes without saying - but it’s worth putting yourself in your readers shoes and consider what they might be looking for as they surf by your blog. Are they shopping for specific products? Might they be looking for related products or accessories? What would trigger them to purchase? Start with your reader in mind rather than the product. If you take this approach you could end up doing your reader a favor as well as making a few dollars on the side.
2. Genuine Recommendations and personal endorsements always work best
There are literally hundreds of thousands of products and services for you to choose from to recommend to your blog’s readers but making money from them is not as simple as randomly adding links to them from your blog. Your blog’s readers come back to your blog day after day because something about you resonates with them - they have at least some level of trust and respect for you and perhaps the quickest way to destroy this is to recommend that they buy something that you don’t fully believe will benefit them.
The best results I’ve had from affiliate programs are where I give an open and honest appraisal of the product - including both it’s strengths and weaknesses. The most successful affiliate program I’m involved with here at ProBlogger is Joel Comm’s e-book which I reviewed here. If you read the review you’ll see that I not only tell readers who I believe the book is for but I also mention those it is NOT for. In a sense I critique it. On a surface level one might think that this wasn’t a wise move and that I should have given a glowing review - however the sales that I’ve had through the program have proven otherwise. People want to know what they are buying first and even if they know a product has limitations they will buy it if it meets their particular need.
3. Link to Quality Products
We all like to make sure we’re buying the best products money can buy - your readers are no different to this and are more likely to make a purchase if you’ve found them the best product for them. Choose products and companies with good reputations and quality sales pages. There is nothing worse than giving a glowing review of a product only to send your reader to a page that looks cheap and nasty.
4. Contextual Deep Links work Best
When I started using the Amazon Associate Program I naively thought that all I had to do was put an Amazon banner ad (that linked to Amazon’s front page) at the top of my blog. I thought that my readers would see it and surf over to Amazon and buy up big - thereby making me a rich man. Nothing could have been further from reality - I was deluding myself.
I always says to bloggers that I’m consulting with that they should learn something from contextual advertising when it comes to affiliate programs. The secret of contextual ads like Adsense is that a reader is reading a post on a particular topic on your blog and when they see an advertisement for that same product they are more likely to click it than if they saw an ad for something else. The same is true for affiliate programs. A banner to a general page on every page on your site won’t be anywhere near as effective as multiple links throughout your blog that advertiser products that are relevant for readers reading particular parts of your blog.
So if you’re writing a blog about MP3 players and have a review for a particular product - the most effectively affiliate program that you could link to from within the content of that page would be one that links directly to a page selling that specific model of MP3 player. This is how I use the Amazon program today. It is more work than contextual advertising because you’re not just putting one piece of code into a template but rather need to place individual links on many pages - but I find that it’s been worth the effort.
5. Consider positioning of links
One of the things I go on and on about with Adsense optimization is the positioning of ads. I tell bloggers to position their ads in the hotspots on pages (like the top of a left hand side bar - or inside content - or at the end of posts above comments etc). The same principles are true for affiliate advertising.
6. Traffic levels are Important
While it’s not the only factor - traffic levels are obviously key when it comes to making money from almost any online activity. The more people that see your well placed, relevant and well designed affiliate links the more likely it is that one of them will make a purchase. So don’t just work on your links - work on building a readership. Not only this, consider how you might direct traffic on your blog toward pages where they are more likely to see your affiliate links.
7. Diversifywithout Clutter
Don’t put all your affiliate efforts into one basket. There are plenty of products out there to link to so there is no need to just work on one. At the same time you shouldn’t clutter your blog up with too many affiliate program links. If you do so you run the risk of diluting the effectiveness of your links and could disillusion your readership.
8. Be Transparent
Don’t try to fool your readers into clicking links that could make you money. While it may not always feasible to label all affiliate links I think some attempt should be made to let people know what type of link they are clicking on. I also think consistency is important with this so readers of your blog know what to expect. For example here at ProBlogger usually put a note beside or under affiliate links to simply let readers know that that is what they are. On my Digital Camera Blog I don’t do this because of the large number of such links make it clear by the text around the link that clicking on it will take them to some sort of shop or information where a purchase is possible (ie a link my say ‘buy the XXX product’ or ‘get the latest product on XXX’.
9. Combine with other Revenue Streams
Affiliate programs and advertising programs are not mutually exclusive things. I’ve come across a few people recently who have said they don’t want to do affiliate linking because it will take the focus off their Adsense ads. While there is potential for one to take the focus off the other - there is also real potential for both to work hand in hand as different readers will respond to different approaches. You should consider the impact that your affiliate links have on other revenue streams - but don’t let one stop the other.
10. Track results
Most affiliate programs have at least some type of tracking or statistics package which will allow you to watch which links are effective. Some of these packages are better than others but most will at least allow you to see what is selling and what isn’t. Watching your results can help you plan future affiliate efforts. Keep track of what positions for links work well, which products sell, what wording around links works well etc and use the information that you collect as you work plan future affiliate strategies.

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