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Rational Survey: It’s their thoughts, that count

Know your customers. Out of all the secrets to success this is perhaps the most important. It’s your customers that pay the bills. When all else fails they’re the ones that keep the lights on. In an economy where the going is sometimes tough, it’s your customers that will pull you through.

There’s so much more to the customer interaction than a simply exchange of goods and services. Sure watching the money come in is the bottom line, but the other bottom line is what your customers think. This nebulous, unmeasured gauge of your business often goes unmonitored. After all, how can one tell what their customers are thinking- especially in a day and age where we don’t often see them eye to eye. The obvious answer is to ask them. And so has sprung up an entire industry of questionnaire and survey solutions throughout the web. These come in many shapes and forms, each offering various features and benefits. Some are suited for market research. Others focus on customer feedback. Then you have the options to embed surveys on a website, or in a popup. Finding a solution that meets your exact criteria can be challenging. That is, until Rational Survey was launched. They’re a new online survey provider that provides the most versatile and dynamic solution available. You can do just about anything with it.

Rational Survey Home

Rational Survey decided that a full featured professional survey service was needed. Beyond providing all of the above features, it comes with a complete set of options. These include:

  • Facebook and Twitter integration so you can send your survey out to your friends and followers.
  • An easy to use questionnaire builder.
  • A sortable response grid. For anyone who’s sent out a survey, they’ll know this is very useful in interpreting the responses.
  • Ability to customize the questionnaire style.
  • Manage Responders. This allows you to upload and organize your study group participants ahead of time to run controlled studies.
  • Validate responses. This is the option to make the responder submit answers to each question before proceeding to the next page.
  • Custom skip logic. With this feature you can display select questions based upon previous responses.
  • SSL security.
  • Many more features.

Once you sign up for an account the process consists of three steps. Configure the survey, distribute it, and then analyze the results. By default a series of sample questions are provided to show the types of questions that are available. Amongst these include radio buttons often used to rate one’s experience, checkboxes for multiple selection, and open ended questions. The distribution options are conveniently available in a small icon toolbar. So if you’d like to get the survey embed script or popup script, just click on the icon and it brings it right up. Also available is the option to convert the survey to PDF for offline printing and distribution.

The results come in real time. Thus, you can see your participants’ responses as soon as they’re available. There are also graphs showing you the number of responses requested and ones that have been submitted. With the paid packages you can even make customized graphs. Once the data’s in you can begin to interpret and dissect it. It’s here that you can finally get a feel for what your customers are thinking.

Sample Survey

Rational Survey isn’t limited to customer satisfaction surveys. It can be used for market research, employee feedback, clinical research, educational quizzes, and any number of other survey related uses. There are multiple options for registration including the ever popular free option. The other plans are for $20 or $30/month which come with increasing numbers of surveys and features.

Knowing what people are thinking is important for building one’s business. Rational Survey provides a breakthrough solution that will help businesses monitor their users’ opinions. It makes creating surveys simple, easy, and fun.

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Eventz4kids: Find Fun Kids’ Activities in Your Area

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say something pretty controversial: parenting is very…time-consuming.

There I said it.

From what I can tell – and I’m not a parent, though I frequently play one on TV – parents are in constant motion:  from the moment the alarm goes off until they collapse into bed at night, it’s a series of car trips, soccer practices, violin lessons, and who knows what else.

And in the process – another crazy theory here – I surmise that over-worked parents sometimes miss out on really neat opportunities or activities for their kids.  For starters, they’re simply too busy.  But more importantly, there never seems to be a single, one-stop location where they can easily and quickly access all the cool activities in their area.

Until now.

Eventz4kids Home

Eventz4kidz is a site the lists kids’ activities such as classes, camps, sports, and much more based on your town.  It’s easy to use, very intuitive, and supports a local charity.  What’s not to love?  On the home page, you can click on a sample city – Boston, Chicago, San Diego, for example – and browse activities, or Subscribe to receive information about events in your city.  But first things first: I signed up.

I entered my basic information, and was prompted to select my city and surrounding metropolitan area.  You can enter whatever city you live in and subsequently edit the event at any time. Having lived in Washington, DC, I chose the nearby suburb of Arlington, VA.  Next, I had the opportunity to add an event.  I could choose from a pre-selected set of categories – arts and leisure, dance, music, etc. – add an event name and a URL.

Next, I could enter the age range for the event as well as the type of event (e.g. prenatal, child care, indoors, or outdoors.)  Add the event date, cost, and opt for a Featured Listing (at a $10 cost – with $1 being donated to charity), and you’re all set.

Of course, adding events is just part of the fun.  The other part is checking out events for your kids in your area.  Let’s take the Ft. Lauderdale/Palm Beach area, for example.  What you’ll see is essentially a kids’ calendar; simply click on an Event Category or Event Type box on the left, and the page will automatically load to show related activities.  I also like the other options on the left, which let you adjust your preferences on a sliding scale – for some strange reasons it reminds me of Bing’s Travel tools. Very intuitive, very easy.

Eventz4kids Calendar

Regarding the charitable donations, Eventz4kids will donate $1 for every featured event sold on their website to a local children´s charity; for the year 2011, Eventz4Kids selected the Make-A-Wish foundation as its featured charity.  Very cool.

All in all, Eventz4Kids fills a void in the market that has been suspiciously un-filled (if that’s a word) for a long time.  I mean, think about it: we use the Internet for everything.  And while kids’ activities aren’t analogous to, say, buying airplane tickets, there are still platforms out there that support entertainment options.  Sites like Fandango come to mind – a site where you can purchase tickets to an event.

But when it comes to a comprehensive list of kids’ events focused on your home town, the options are surprisingly limited.  And Eventz4Kids neatly addresses this demand, efficiently, simply, and effectively.  It’s also a great marketing platform for teachers, artists, musicians, and any other individual who offers kids’ activities in their communities.  A win-win!

It’s almost like this site could only have been created by…a parent.  And when you read about how the site came to be, everything neatly falls into place.  The founder, Rachel Cohen, wanted to build a site to “concentrate events on a calendar to find activities quickly for the busy family.”

Well, according to this non-parent – who frequently plays one on TV – she succeeded!

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TicketsBuy: Comparison ticket shopping

One thing many people love is going out to a show or sporting event. I have one friend who’s so into them that she owns a pair of those old style theater binoculars in the event she doesn’t get very good seats. She brags about seeing (the same play) in various towns. Or then there’s always the discussion of who played the Phantom, or whether this Christine Daaé was as good as the last one. These musical aficionados enjoy knowing everything there is to discover about the performances.

Of course they’re also familiar with another aspect of the theater attendance- ticket prices. The cost of going to a show can be fairly expensive. To those that haven’t inherited vast sums of money from a distant uncle, it can be a large ticket item in one’s budget. Rather than foregoing attendance to these cultural events, now there’s a way to make sure you get the best ticket price possible. TicketsBuy is a comparison shopping site for events throughout the entertainment and sporting industry. With it you can ensure you’re buying cheapest tickets prices available.

TicketsBuy Home

At its core, TicketsBuy is a meta search engine. It gathers data about events from the organizations commissioned to sell tickets for them. It then returns the results in an easy to read list accompanied by a map of the available seating. The entries are designated by section, row, and provider. It also lists the price per seat. By clicking on the entry it brings up the exact reason why it’s beneficial to use TicketsBuy to find tickets for upcoming events. It shows you the bottom line. That is, it shows you the price offered by the various ticket distributors. These vendors include TicketsNow, TicketNetwork, and VividSeats. There’s also the Direct-to-Sellers option which sells them via their network which is often the cheapest option.

The search tool, which is on the home page, can be used to search by zip code, venue, or event. So if you’re looking for ideas then you can type in the location of where you’re looking. This would be particularly helpful if you’re planning a vacation somewhere and would like see what shows are coming up at that time. In other cases you may know the venue, such as if you know you’d like to watch the San Francisco Giants play at AT&T park, you can type that in. Searching on event is helpful if you heard that your favorite musician is coming to town and you just want to know where they’re playing.

Once you find the event you’re interested it brings up the aforementioned results page. It has a series of filters you can use to hone in on exactly the seats you’re interested in. You can filter on Quantity of adjacent seats, minimum and maximum value of ticket prices, and ticket sources. Let’s say you prefer purchasing tickets from a particular vendor. You can search on those tickets first to see what’s available. It’s easy to adjust the filter later once you find the seats you’re looking for so you can browse through the other vendors. There’s also the exact seats option. Many events are sold only by section and row, but if you’d like to only view seating where you can be sure of the seat number, you can filter based upon this.

TicketsBuy Seating

Let’s say you’re researching a show and have a number of seats that seem good. For this, TicketsBuy has a favorites mechanism. Just click on the star and it’s added to your favorites. Once you’ve selected all the tickets you might be interested in, click on the favorites tab. Here they’ll all be listed so you make a final decision. All favorites are handled internally so there are no accounts to register for.

TicketsBuy is a great way to get tickets. Be them sporting events, concert tickets, plays, or musicals, it helps you ensure you’re getting the best price possible. The easy to use search engine along with readily sorted tickets allows you to quickly find the tickets you want. With TicketsBuy, you can go to the same event, for less.

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Kiwili: Business Management for the Pros

There are many aspects to running a business. You have clients to keep track of, projects to monitor and complete, and of course invoices to send out and collect on. This process typically begins with a spreadsheet and loose collections of documents. When most people go into business they do so because they’re experts in their particular field. They may or may not be particularly adept at managing all the documents and processes that comprise their business.

Truth be told, in software oriented crowds business management is sometimes looked down upon. Technically minded folks tend to think of it as easy and pedantic. To that end, there is some truth the redundancy of basic business processes. There’s really not that much creativity involved, nor problem solving either. Keeping track of administrative tasks is just one of those chores you have to do.

Kiwili Home

But that perspective is only half the story. In fact there can be many problem solving opportunities in managing one’s business. Let’s say you have a client that you forgot to invoice for $2000 because your paperwork was disorganized. Or what about the time when you lost track of the client’s agreement that the design should consist of four screens, not eight. These types of problems are only all too common for those that don’t pay close attention to their business communications. The benefit to organizing your business quickly becomes clear as soon as these scenarios occur.

Fortunately, there are many options for managing staff and clients. Each offer various options and some are easier to implement than others. Today we discovered a site that’s designed for client and project based businesses- Kiwili.

Kiwili is a business management solution that is both well thought out and easy to use. It’s a simple and easy app that allows you to track all your clients, projects, staff, and invoicing through the same interface. It’s a client based system. What this means is to get started you add clients to the system. You are able to add all the contact and billing information so it is stored in one central place. After you’ve added a client then you can send them an estimate for the project you’re proposing. Once created this can be sent online or converted to a PDF. When it’s time to invoice them you can readily create invoices as well. It also allows you to track expenses, assigning them to specific projects.

So let’s say you send a client an estimate and they accept the work. Now you can create the project. The project view carries over all the estimates, invoices, and expenses, on top of including the project management steps. These include adding tasks, and team members to the project. Tasks are high level benchmarks for the project. For instance the first task might be to prepare three alternate homepage designs. Next you can create steps. These are calendar based items that keep the project on track.

Kiwili dashboard

As the project progresses and tasks are accomplished eventually it’s time to close out the project. In my own client management experience there’s an art to getting a client to agree that the project is in fact complete. This is greatly facilitated by outlining exactly what tasks were accomplished, demonstrating that they were delivered as described and on schedule. The organization provided by Kiwili makes it easy to send detailed statements to demonstrate this. From there you can send out the final invoices and collect. Kiwili’s online invoicing system is integrated with Paypal so you can readily accept payments.

Managing one’s business can be a tedious and mundane process. Doing so has many benefits though. From knowing who to invoice, when, and for how much, to keeping track of the day to day activities of a project, Kiwili will help you manage it all. The client based nature of their service makes it easy to see the history with the client and track all aspects of the project. With Kiwili, managing your business is easy so you can focus on the more pressing parts of your business.

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TagNow.me: Tag, you’re it!

When I was a kid we used to love playing tag. It’s a simple game where one person chases everyone else. If they tag someone then the person who’s tagged then chases the others until they catch someone. And so it goes, kids run around the park or playground having a good time. I’m not sure when this game lost its luster. I’m thinking it was around the age of 10 years old or so that we graduated to better games. My next favorite game was when you tried to trip each other. Kind of like a play fight, but only until the person fell. These are all just normal for kids and everyone always bounced up just fine.

As we get older the games take different forms. Certainly there’s a degree of name calling that takes place. This can be both positive and negative. I recall nicknames I’ve had that were very complimentary. Or then there have been a few that I tried to disassociate myself from. Certainly names can carry a lot of weight in how we’re perceived and how we feel about ourselves.

Tagnow.me Home

Now there’s a way to give people a name online. TagNow.me is a site that let’s you give tags to people, and to receive them as well. It’s a fun way to pass along compliments, and maybe tease someone as well.

The way it works is simple. You can navigate to someone’s page and assign a tag to them. They in turn can do the same for you as well. Over time you’ll develop a list of tags that you’ve assigned and have been assigned to you. It creates a fun montage depicting who you are, and what you think of those around you.

Each person’s profile consists of all the tags assigned to them and the people that tagged them. Here you can see who they’re tagging and who’s tagging them. There’s also a feed, which is the compilation of activity in their account.

Now, perhaps people may not want to accept tags from anyone who wishes to do so. For this TagNow.me provides the protected mode. This is the default mode which means you can accept or reject all tags before they’re assigned to you. Most people will choose this setting, but we’ll note that it is kind of fun to allow everyone to tag you. It makes it more real. You can toggle this setting at any time.

Tagnow.me Profile

TagNow.me also has a feature that we think all social sites should begin to emulate. They assign you a custom URL that gives you instant log in access. So you can bookmark that URL and never have to type in the username/password again. It’s a small convenience that goes a long way. It’s always great when sites do something unique, that isn’t commonly implemented. On top of a neat tagging service, TagNow.me has helped contribute to changing the normal login paradigm.

Tagging people with names is fun. Before too long your friends can create a word picture of who you are, and more importantly, what they think of you. These small tokens create a picture of a person that wouldn’t otherwise be seen. People can have profiles in larger social networks but it’s difficult to get a clear picture of who someone is. TagNow.me gives you the clearest and most succinct picture possible with a collection of tags. Some people will do it for fun, or just for a game. Whatever the reason, TagNow.me is a fun new way to interact and share with the people you know.

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Spoolite: International Mood Thermometer

We all go through various phases. Sometimes we feel happy, sad, or angry or mad. There are days we welcome and embrace the world, and days we would just as well let it pass us by. Our Facebook or Twitter statuses tend to reflect this with a steady stream of our mood updates pouring in throughout the day. It’s a way to stay connected to the world around you.

Our current following of friends on various social networks connects us to just that- our circle of friends. But there’s a whole world out there to discover. Some of them will be thinking the same things as us. And some will be doing similar things. Is there a way to tell what people are thinking elsewhere in the world? Perhaps some clever geolocation app exists to gauge the worldwide mood. Or, you can just use Spoolite.

Spoolite Home

Spoolite is a new way to monitor the mood, activities, and interests of the entire world. It displays pinpointed maps along with graphs of how people around the world are feeling, what they’re doing, or things they’re interested in. For instance, as of this writing most people in the world are feeling hungry. Second behind that most are feeling in love (queue romantic music). To contribute to the world mood monitor you simply type in your mood, set your reason why, and then share it with the world. Once shared it will let you know where other people are who share the same feeling as you.

In my testing I typed in the only thing that came to mind- Awesome. I set the reason as the fact that it’s finally not raining. Now people all around the world are able to see that there’s someone in San Francisco who’s feeling awesome. If someone clicks on it they can indicate if they like my particular mood. Come on, what’s not to like about someone who’s doing awesome.

Once you set your mood you can also set your activity. Here you can indicate what you’re doing, where, and with who. It also allows you to indicate when you’re doing it as well. In the same way that you can track moods, so you can also track activities around the world as well. Each has a separate page with a map indicating where people have set their moods or activities.

Rounding things out, Spoolite let’s you share a number of other items including web pages, images, songs, videos, movies, places, products, and events. These allow you to easily reference content from around the web that you’d like to share. These are displayed on their own page where you can see what is being shared around the world.

The final page is your lifeline. Here you can see all your activity, including things you’ve shared, and items you’ve indicated that you like. It also has my personal favorite feature- the mood graph. This is a simple graph that indicates your mood over time. If you have too many ups and downs, perhaps it’s time for a change.

Spoolite World

Now most people are probably thinking, OK, that’s great, but what next? It’s important to note that Spoolite isn’t a social network in the traditional sense. You don’t formally meet other users and get a chance to know them. In lieu of this, it’s integrated with Twitter and Facebook. So every time you make an update you can share it with your own social circles as well. This gives you the ability to share your updates with the world and your friends all at the same time.

Spoolite is a unique website that does something no other site does. It gauges the mood, activities, and interests of the entire world. It uses Google Maps to show where various moods are reflected, and uses Google Translation to bridge the communication gap. I must say, it was fun finding out that there’s another person in the world who’s also doing Awesome. That person is in Perth, Australia which Spoolite noted is 9161 km away from me.

Spoolite brings the world together, giving you a sense of shared experience and commonality with others around the world. It seems a shame that you can’t readily meet them, but then, perhaps it’s better that way. I like Australia just a little bit more right now, and I’m sure that person thinks a little better of San Francisco as well. It’s hard not too. This crossing the language and distance gap, in a world that is too often divided, is the driving force behind Spoolite. It’s a fun way to share your thoughts with the world. And it’s helps you come up with some creative and thoughtful status updates for traditional social networks as well.

Increasing the risk of a third world wide conflict, Spoolite has left their guard as international mood monitor. Run for the hills, fend for your lives.

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CycleVIN: Knowing your bike

There are few things more intoxicating than riding a motorcycle. The freedom that comes with being out with the elements. Feeling the road beneath you. Leaning into turns and revving the throttle just a bit. The ability to take off if you see a driver that irritates you. The women that look on, wanting to be on back- riding a bike gets in your blood and once it’s there, you can’t get it out. And you don’t want to. It makes you feel alive.

The exhilaration actually starts before you even have a bike. It begins when you’re buying one. Those who are just one handshake, a few signatures, and a couple thousand dollars away from owning their new bike, can only see the twisty roads ahead. It’s hard to think straight when it’s all right there in front of you. I remember my last bike. I sold it to new rider who came to take a look at it. The bike had been out in the rain, the windshield was off center, rust was creeping, and it was starting to show its age. He inspected every square inch of that thing. All the while I was wondering what egregious flaw he was going to point out and begin haggling. There would be no haggling that day, as the enchantment of the motorcycle had taken over. Slowly he stood up and announced, “Welp, I see nothing wrong with it.” Then he paid me my money and road off.

CycleVIN Home

The allure of a new bike has taken in many riders. Its captivating spell makes you dizzy with euphoria. Make no mistake, this euphoria is better than any drug and riding a bike does not disappoint. But when purchasing a motorcycle, one is best to keep their wits about them. Providing a cure from the charms of a new motorcycle, is CycleVIN.

CycleVIN allows people to purchase a motorcycle VIN check for used motorcycles. These motorcycle history reports give buyers the insight they need into a motorcycle’s history so they can know what you’re riding before you get out on the road.

Let’s face it. Despite the rush of riding a motorcycle, it’s inherently dangerous. You need to know what your bike has been through and what condition it’s in, in order to protect your safety. Although the community of riders generally watches out for their own, sometimes sellers won’t be forthcoming with the storied history of a bike. Or in other cases maybe they just don’t know. It’s entirely possible they could have been drawn in by the same magnetism as everyone else when buying their bike. CycleVIN can add some reason to the otherwise romantic experience of buying a motorcycle.

Using CycleVIN is simple. Enter the VIN number of the bike, pay the $25 fee, and await the report. The report includes all the pertinent data on the history of the bike. This includes where and when it was titled, any maintenance that was reported, the manufacturer’s specs, all accidents, and then salvage and auction history. It’s like a carfax for motorcycles.

CycleVIN Sample Report

The biggest issue with CycleVIN is the same as the with guy who bought my bike. As soon as you discover a flaw, your mind starts rationalizing why it’s not that big of a deal. For this, you’re on your own. CycleVIN will give you the facts, so you can make an informed decision on your motorcycle purchase. With it, you can be sure you’ll be safe on the road, while you breath in the rush of fresh air and miles of highway ahead.

* Note, my bike was in great mechanical shape. It just had a few battle scars from good use.

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PostalShout: Email your snail mail

I did something today that I haven’t done in quite a while. I walked outside the house, wandered around a little bit, and then placed a letter in one of those blue mail boxes you’ll find on the street. For those who don’t remember what I’m talking about, they look like this. As you’ll note in the article, these collection boxes for our postal mail are fading into the past. One day we’ll only find them in historic museums and Hollywood movie sets.

Most of us have come to appreciate the convenience of communicating online. Be it emails or paying bills, we don’t often need to go through the arduous process of sending letters in the mail. This involves typing up a document, printing it out, folding it and stuffing it in an envelope, placing a stamp on it, and then ensuring it finds its way to the outgoing mail. There are many steps of this process that can go wrong, not to mention it’s tedious and decidedly slow in comparison to the technological alternatives.

PostalShout Home

The situation still arises, as did for me today, where you need to put a letter in the mail. After rummaging through your desk to locate an envelope, and then find a stamp that has the required postage, you might just be able to send it. Let’s face it- there’s got to be an easier way. And there is. It’s called PostalShout. PostalShout is a new service that streamlines the snail mail process. You can use their system to send letters online by simply sending an email.

The way it works is pretty intuitive. Really, the internet should have thought of this a long time ago. You type up your letter in your favorite word processor- say MS Word or Open Office. Then you send it as an attachment to a specific email address at PostalShout. From there they will print and send your letter.

Now some people may be wondering how PostalShout knows where to address the letter to, and what to set as the return address. This is handled by utilizing the templates on PostalShout’s website. They provide ready to use snail mail templates for Word 2003, 2007, and Open Office. These have sections clearly designated for all the aforementioned categories. Once you fill it out, just send it off and you’re done. You can also send them via their online interface as well. The letters go out each day around 11AM EST. So let’s imagine you have a particularly lazy secretary who doesn’t send the mail out until later in the week since she’s talking to her boyfriend all day and playing solitaire. PostalShout will bypass her completely and get the letter on its way with minimal effort.

There are a few helpful features to ensure everything lines up with the sending of the letter. The first is they check all addresses if sent within the US. If there’s an issue they won’t send it and contact you instead to provide a valid address. Next is that they notify you as soon as the letter is sent. If you’re anything like me you don’t feel like your letter is safe until it’s in the blue postal box or in the hands of a mail carrier. PostalShout knows the minor amount of anxiety we all experience with letter sending, and lets us know right away when the letter is off. Since the PostalShout folks were already well on their way with a great letter mailing service, they decided to go the full distance. They built an API so developers can integrate it with their own programs.

The service is pay as you go, with single page letters costing from 81 to 101 cents. (Some suggest that the penny will also go the way of postal mail. We include the reference here for historical purposes.) The time it costs people to handle letters internally could much better be spent on other things. Currently they’re offering a free trial, for people to test the system and send some free letters!

Sending letters by mail may never completely go away. There will always be occasions where we need to put a physical piece of paper into someone’s hand. PostalShout makes it as easy as sending an email. The solution can be used by individuals or businesses of any size. With their service just about anyone can send letters online.

PostalShout went from B to C, to B to B. That is, it’s not a service that your everyday Jane would use anymore. Their new service is called PostalMethods, which is just about the least sexy site name one could think of. (Unless they’re talking about the antics of crazy people.) In any case, congrats on making the transition to a more successful business model.

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GroupeeLove: All you need is love

It’s no secret that people like romance. The desire to connect with someone and have a relationship is ingrained into almost all of us. For some this is an easy endeavor. They find someone they like, and that person likes them, and they pair off. For many this process takes multiple twists and turns. The initial excitement of meeting someone new wears off quickly or slowly, leading to a disappointing end. Love isn’t always easy to find.

In this technological age people have turned to the internet to expand their pool of potential mates. These internet free for alls are widely known for being awkward and inherently superficial. Many sites have attempted to bridge the connection gap between romantic partners and ease the introductions of couples. Some base it upon personality matching, others upon good looks, and still others skip the relationship entirely and focus on the intimacy. In all cases, relationships are most likely successful when based upon common interests.

GroupeeLove Home

Now there’s a single site to find a date online where you can meet up with people based upon the things you have in common. The site- GroupeeLove, is a free online dating site that groups people together based upon their interests. It’s a fun way to get to know new people in a relaxed environment.

The way it works is you can create or join groups based upon interest. Some of the groups currently are dog lovers or people from New York. There’s no limit to how many groups you can be a part of. Once you join a group you can meet the people or take part in the discussion. The discussion is a comment board where group members can contribute. The fact that guys and girls are able to interact it is actually my favorite part of the site. It makes for a more realistic social environment. Conventional dating sites generally try to only connect those people that might be interested in dating. GroupeeLove provides an environment where you can meet, but are also able to make new friends too. Likely it will lend itself to people being more genuine.

Each user is assigned a profile. Some highlights include what you think is a perfect match and what you think is a deal breaker. These are perhaps the most telling entries. So, let’s say you don’t want a woman who makes it her goal to become an expert in all your shortcomings (why do they do that??). Here’s a good place to indicate your aversion to a constant stream of criticism. Or if your perfect match is the daughter of a Saudi Prince, but really down to earth, then you can put that as well.

GroupeeLove Profile

So all this is neat, but at the end of the day you’d like to meet someone new, right? If you don’t immediately find someone in the groups you’ve joined, you can use their search utility. Besides offering an inviting platform for people to meet, GroupeeLove built the most robust search engine we’ve seen to date. You can adjust your criteria based upon anything from age range, preference, ethnicity, and whether they’re a dog or cat person. It has a dizzying amount of options so you can be as selective as you’d like. Once you find someone that seems interesting you can send them a message and begin corresponding. From there, you can take the first steps of what may be a life long journey together.

Finding an online date can be challenging. It’s hard to size up people simply based upon an online profile and a few messages. GroupeeLove makes it easy to find out who people are based upon what they’re interested in. This gives you more insight than any number of quizzes or personality sorters. At the end of the day, the groups they join represent how they spend their time. This makes GroupeeLove a friendly and easy way to find a date online.

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DonationTo: The Joy of Receiving

Everyone likes to make money. It’s why we go to work. Many have taken to the internet to make a living. When it comes to making money online, there are many options. These include advertising, selling products, selling services, and forwarding those emails to your friends to secure a portion of a lost Arabian sultan’s fortune. Although the results from email forwarding may be suspect, the other tried and true methods work. Given a little bit of business and technical savvy you can begin to generate income from your online efforts.

There’s another age old method for making money that’s worked throughout the ages. Ask for it. As a coworker of mine once commented in regards to salary negotiations, you won’t get what you don’t ask for. This is most certainly true in business transactions. The question remains though, will people respond to your request for money and impart it to you? To this, results may vary, but the aforementioned pearls of wisdom stand. By given them the opportunity to give, you have now opened the door to the possibility that they will.

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The next question becomes, how best to open such a door? One method is to simply stick a PayPal donation button on your site. This is whence the term begware was born, which now defines an entire category of software. Oftentimes when asking for money it’s helpful to provide more information about the cause. Or to let them know in a formal way that you value their effort. In this spirit DonationTo was founded. It’s a new site that lets anyone create a donation page from which they can begin reaching out to supporters and accepting donations for their cause. It is an ideal solution for political fundraising, churches, schools, or even marathon runners. One recent example is DonationTo was used to help raise support for Pilar Kuhn (singer) and Duke Guillaume (Saxophone & Band Leader). These two artists are using the funds raised to create an album, (more details here).

DonationTo is easy to use. First you register, then you configure a donation page, indicate and confirm your PayPal address, and voilà, you can start accepting donations. The donation page is given a custom URL at your choosing, and also a title and description. From there you can upload a logo and background image to personalize your donation page with a beautiful and modern look, example here. Optionally, you can establish a donation goal with a target date. Whether you set up a target fundraising goal or not, the running tally of donations is displayed right on the page. This is actually my favorite part. It gives people an opportunity to feel involved. Rather than arbitrarily transferring funds that will somehow filter over to your bank account, they can see exactly how much they helped.

(Note, the above video references the ability to receive your earnings by check. All donations are now sent solely by Paypal.)

We would be remiss to review such as site without giving it a test run. For this, we created our very own SlapStart donation page (since removed…). We have to warn you, the effects of clicking on that link may compel you to mindlessly part with piles of cash. Deeds to houses, Corvettes, or just about anything other than a cardboard box, can be transferred separately.

As you watch the deluge of donations come in you may notice that 5% is taken off the top (not counting PayPal fees). This is the nominal service fee for such an influx of funding. Let’s say your DonationTo page is so enticing that you begin receiving large amounts of money. The 5% fee will begin to add up. In this situation you can upgrade to the monthly plan, which is just $7/month to process all the donations you like. So when you start to get in the $100-$150 range you’ll save money by upgrading. In some cases you’ll want to retain 100% of the money donated, so you’ll start out with that plan.

Fundraising can be a challenging and daunting event. DonationTo makes the fundraising process simple, creative and fun. DonationTo helps you create a beautiful modern donation page that can easily be shared with anyone in the world to help bring awareness to any cause.