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Internet


The social bookmarking website for finance fanatics, Tip’d, is adding several new features:

  • The Tip’d Socialtickers are pages that track any given stock ticker across a variety of social networking websites. The GOOG StockTicker page aggregates posts about Google from Twitter, Technorati, Delicious, and of course, Tip’d. The site displays a convenient stock price chart as well as links to Google’s stock pages on a variety of other financial websites like Yahoo Finance.
  • Tip’d Video Integration. When you submit stories that include video to Tip’d, if possible, the site will embed the video directly so you don’t have to leave Tip’d to enjoy the multimedia experience.
  • Tip’d Top 100. If you’re interested to see which websites receive the most Tip’d votes, take a look at the Tip’d Top 100. Consumerism Commentary is currently 54th on this list.
  • Top Tip’d Ambassadors. See which users are recruiting the most new members for the community.
  • The Tip’d Greatest Hits is a list of the all-time most popular articles submitted to Tip’d. Three of the top seven most popular articles of all time are stories about Tip’d itself.

If you enjoy an article here at Consumerism Commentary, I encourage you to share it with your friends or a wider community by using the links at the bottom of the article, including the “Add to Tip’d” link.

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Thanks very much to all the readers and contributors who have helped make Consumerism Commentary a complete community for the past five years. In the span of those five years, the “blogosphere” has exploded with thousands of new blogs that write about personal finance, the economy, budgeting, and every money-related topic you could possible conceive in your mind.

The problem now comes with finding the best of what’s out there. I have a number of suggestions.


Carnival of Personal Finance

The Carnival of Personal Finance is a weekly column, featured on a different host blog each Monday. Within the column is a select list of the week’s best articles, submitted by their authors and reviewed and screened by the host. The host also selects a few articles for “Editor’s Choice.” These five to ten articles are often great examples of the excellent writing found across the blogosphere. Note: The Carnival of Personal Finance was founded here at Consumerism Commentary.


pfblogs.org

pfblogs.org is an aggregator of over 1,000 personal finance blogs. This is a great way to keep your finger on the pulse of this niche in the blogosphere. Most importantly, pay special attention to the Friends of pfblogs.org; these bloggers take their writing seriously and work hard to produce the best content. You will find the popular listings on pfblogs.org the most useful. The most frequently-visited articles from the past 24 hours are presented in order of popularity. Note again: I created pfblogs.org.


Tip'd

If you like Digg for finding the best news and articles in general, take a look at Tip’d. Tip’d is like Digg, where news articles are submitted by anyone. For example, I saw an article on MSN Money Central about Henry Paulson, and I submitted this article even though I was not the author. Submitted articles that are enjoyed by others in the Tip’d community get promoted.

It’s easy to find articles you like with Tip’d. You can browse a number of categories, such as personal finance, economy, green, and real estate. These are the types of articles that wouldn’t always “succeed” on Digg, so creating a “social media” website specifically for personal finance is a good move.

The founders of Tip’d have extensive experience with social media and beneficent search-engine optimization. If any niche new website has the potential for success, it’s Tip’d.

Every article on Consumerism Commentary is followed by an option to “Add to Tip’d.” If you read something here that you like, click on this link to share the article with the Tip’d community.


Alltop

Alltop is an aggregator like pfblogs.org. With the Personal Finance page on Alltop, in one view you can see five latest articles from both mainstream finance news like The Motley Fool and Forbes as well as some of the top money-related blogs such as I Will Teach You to Be Rich, Get Rich Slowly, and Consumerism Commentary.


Google Blog Search’s business section contains the latest news from blogs as well as a search form to help you quickly find what you want from thousands of participating websites. Personal finance articles can be found in the business section. Google’s powerful search engine groups related stories across hundreds of blogs, giving you a quick idea of how many people are writing about any particular news item.


Technorati

Like Google Blog Search, Technorati offers a home page for business articles throughout the blogosphere, but with this portal, you can focus on finance articles more specifically. Technorati meshes in news from mainstream media with articles from the blogosphere. In terms of search capabilities, I prefer Google, but Technorati has unique features that let you measure the popularity of blogs and blog articles.


Have I neglected to include any other resources? Please free to let me know.

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PC Magazine recently published a list of their editors’ picks for the top 100 “undiscovered” websites. The list spans a variety of categories from reference to music to health. Consumerism Commentary readers are probably familiar with a few of these sites, particularly those in the “money” category. Here are some of the highlights throughout.

Hard to Find 800 Numbers: Some companies do a decent job of hiding their toll-free customer service numbers in an attempt to use e-mail (and possibly avoid complaints). Others gladly provide a long distance phone number to save money. This site lets you browse for your favorite companies to find those hidden toll-free numbers.

Cork’d: This site is billed as the “simple way to review and share wine.” I can never keep track of the wine I drink, so every time I go out, I have to guess at what I might like. Now, if there were only a device that would allow me to check reviews while at the restaurant…

Menupages: Speaking of dining out, this undiscovered website indexes menus for over 6,000 New York restaurants. This is a great way to decide where to eat rather than using other options, including visiting the restaurants’ individual websites, which may or may not include their own menus.

Kiva: This microlending site has been mentioned quite a bit by other financial blogs. Kiva provides a mechanism to provide small loans to needy entrepreneurs all over the world, improving the lives and communities of people who will likely be very appreciative.

Rentometer: I discovered Rentometer in March and found it to be an interesting way to determine whether you’re getting a good deal on rent. At the time, my rent was on the low side for my area. I’d like to see how my new apartment compares, but the site is not responding at the moment.

Trulia: If you’re planning to make a real-estate-related move, Trulia should be one of the websites you check first. It has financial information as well as details about school districts and communities. Right on the front page, I can see that Trenton, New Jersey has made the top 5 in median listing price increases.

Topix: Here is a powerful news and blog aggregator that can organize listings by location or, as one would imagine, by topic. Some pages, like the one for Princeton, New Jersey are edited by humans, but when no human has been assigned, Topix’ intelligent robots take care of the job.

The Bargainist: For those who like to make their purchasing decision based on what’s on sale, The Bargainist provides a nearly-constant feed of coupons and deals. The only deal that stood out to me is the 40% of a CD at Borders. Even with that discount, you can find much better deals on music online.

Do My Stuff: Why do something yourself if you can pay someone else to do it for you? This site lets individuals and companies bid on your mundane and annoying tasks.

Yapta: After seeing this site featured, I joined Yapta immediately. I entered the confirmation code for my upcoming flight to California and will now allow Yapta to track my route’s prices. If the tickets become available for a lower amount of money between now and my flight, Yapta will inform me how to receive a refund for the difference. The likelihood of my holiday travel suddenly becoming available for less money is low; the flights are sold out now.

Remember the Milk: If you’re highly organized, unlike myself, you may enjoy making lists. You can tie your to-dos listed on Remember the Milk into your email or SMS (text messaging system) to allow you to be reminded of your tasks any where. Become a slave to a list — you know you want to.

Those are some of the “undiscovered” websites I found interesting or possibly useful for Consumerism Commentary readers. There are lots more — 89, to be precise — with commentary in the PC Magazine feature.

Top 100 Undiscovered Web Sites [PC Magazine]

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Yesterday I received an email apparently from eBay, informing that my account was used for malicious purposes, and I should change my password post-haste. I’m very skeptical of emails apparently from eBay. Normally I delete them without thinking. But this email managed to catch my attention. Here’s a portion of the text:

It appears your account was accessed by an unauthorized third party and used to send unsolicited emails to other community members, including email offers to sell items outside of eBay. It does not appear that your account was used to list or bid on any items. Additionally, the email address on your account may have been tampered with, which is why you may not have received any emails about this activity.

At this time we have taken several steps to secure your eBay account. Rest assured that your credit card and banking information is safe on the eBay site. This information is kept encrypted on a secure server and cannot be viewed by anyone.

eBay account hackedClick on the screenshot to see that the email is authentic looking. I’ve removed all the naughty bits to protect my identity. To check the email’s authenticity, I tried to log into eBay in a new browser window — not by clicking on any links in the email.

I was unable to log in, as the email explained further. eBay had changed my password after it detected malicious activity. I reset my password after verifying my identity and logged in. In my message inbox was the same email I received externally. Apparently, my account had been used to send “questions” to the hosts of a variety of auctions pointing them to some external website. I checked my sent messages folder within eBay, and I saw 25 messages sent on July 2 to a number of other eBay users.

The account was not used to bid on any items, so I didn’t have to worry about that. I did go through and change all of my passwords as the message from eBay suggested. I’m not happy with this situation, and after being conditioned that all email appearing to be from eBay is most likely spam or someone trying to trick me into entering my password somewhere, I could easily have overlooked this warning.

There are several ways my password could have been used by a hacker. There’s the slight possibility I clicked on one of those fake eBay emails. I find that really hard to believe as I am very careful about such things. One of my computers may have a keylogging program installed on it. My home computer is protected by AVG, which has never discovered any malicious programs running, so either that’s not the answer, or AVG Anti-Virus Free has failed.

Most likely, the password was guessed through software designed to do such hacking. I could have chosen a stronger password to use.

If there’s anything to take away from my experience, it’s that not every email from eBay is fake, strong passwords aren’t strong enough, and even rarely-used accounts with unimpressive stats are targets.

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Really Inexpensive DSL Service From AT&T

by Luke Landes

I’m willing to bet that if you’re reading this website, you are connected to the Internet at a speed faster than a dial-up connection. Perhaps you’re reading from work on a T-3 or you’re reading from home on a cable or DSL connection. Perhaps you’re at school and you’re sharing your college’s OC-12. If that’s ... Continue reading this article…

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Wall Street Journal: Managing Money in Public

by Luke Landes

My former boss at the company I currently work for knows that I have a side interest that involves personal finance and the web. Obviously, I do not supply too many details to him as I prefer to maintain some level of anonymity on Consumerism Commentary, considering the personal information I’ve been posting since 2003. ... Continue reading this article…

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Spending More Money on the Internet

by Luke Landes

Here are five reasons according to Forrester Research people spend 15 percent more on the average online transaction compared to a traditional transaction from a brick-and-mortar store. You don’t have time to think. Once you have items in your cart, retailers want to move you through the checkout line before you can reconsider. If you’ve already ... Continue reading this article…

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My DreamHost Account Was Hacked

by Luke Landes

I received an email from the DreamHost abuse team — DreamHost is the company that provides the web services for this website, pfblogs.org to an extent, the MoneyBlogNetwork and its forums, and a number of others. They made me aware that my web space was being accessed by a computer user in Romania. The user ... Continue reading this article…

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The Virtual Reality Economy of Second Life

by Luke Landes

I heard on the radio this evening that Reuters is opening a “bureau” to cover news in the virtual world — an online role-playing game — called Second Life. This world is so immense and detailed, it allows the “players” to participate in any activity they could in the real world. You can open businesses, ... Continue reading this article…

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GoDaddy Coupon Codes for Domain Registration

by Luke Landes

It was time for me to renew one of my domain names, and I found these coupon codes for GoDaddy. Feel free to use them and share. Coupon code: CHRIS1 for 10 percent off any order (added 9/29/2006) Coupon code: CHRIS2 for $5 off any order $30 or more (added 9/29/2006) Coupon code: CHRIS3 for $6.95 ... Continue reading this article…

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Financial Health Day on Gather

by Luke Landes

Tomorrow, September 28, 2006, is Financial Health Day on Gather. Gather is a social networking and community website that is based around informative articles written by the community members on an incredibly wide variety of topics. Here are some sample personal finance-related articles that will be featured tomorrow: * Pay the Real Estate Property Tax ... Continue reading this article…

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DreamHost Back in the Game, Here’s $20 For You

by Luke Landes

I’ve been hosting my websites through DreamHost since December 1999. The last several months have been very rocky as the “little hosting company” with its humble beginnings as the New Dream Network has expanded exponentially. They’ve just performed a major upgrade on their infrastructure, and now all my websites seem to be running well. For ... Continue reading this article…

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Find a Financial Advisor Online

by Luke Landes

Some readers of financial blogs keep coming back for the free “advice.” There are some better ways to get in touch with financial advisement online, and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance has a few suggestions for finding a real advisor through the internet. * The Alliance of Cambridge Advisors is a network of 75 advisors in 25 ... Continue reading this article…

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No More Promotional Price for Comcast High-Speed Internet

by Luke Landes

At the beginning of the month, I mentioned I had been getting 12 Mbps cable internet for $29.99 a month. Download speeds average between 10 and 12 Mbps. The promotion has elapsed and I’m now being charged $52.95, the normal price for the “ultra-fast” 8 Mbps connection. Lately, I’ve been feeling the pain of my ... Continue reading this article…

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AOL Leaks Users’ Search Histories

by Luke Landes

AOL, your favorite company to hate and mine because they single-handedly destroyed the internet while saving the internet, leaked their users’ search history. They plugged the leak but not before the database was replicated. The CNET article contains some disturbing search requests, but it gets worse. At the moment, you can search the replicated database ... Continue reading this article…

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How Much Ya Bench? Compare Your Internet Speed and Price!

by Luke Landes

Here are my internet access speed statistics from home. That’s almost 12 Mbps for downloading and 702 kbps for uploading. I pay $29.99 through Comcast Online in central New Jersey, which I think was the promotional rate for their 6 Mbps. Somehow due to the customer service representative’s confusion, they gave me the the fast ... Continue reading this article…

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Special Website For The Under 30 Crowd

by Luke Landes

The Under 30 Honor Roll is a network of bloggers who are and write for twenty-somethings (and younger) with a focus on personal finance. They’re doing a great job of building a subcommunity, and have message boards as well. This is where all the “kids” will be hanging out… at least the “cool” ones. Check ... Continue reading this article…

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Flexo’s “Get Away From BlogSpot” Project

by Luke Landes

I have a deal for my personal finance blogging friends. Blogger was a great piece of software several years ago, bringing “pushbutton publishing to the people.” When they added BlogSpot, it only enhanced the value of the software. But let’s face it, BlogSpot is not that stable despite being hosted by Google, and many people ... Continue reading this article…

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Renewed Web Hosting With DreamHost

by Luke Landes

DreamHost, the company that provides servers for this website and an increasing number of others I host, has done me wrong a number of times, but now that they upgraded my system from a Pentium III to a dual Xeon, things have been smooth. My hosting plan of choice is their “Code Monster” plan, for ... Continue reading this article…

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All Web Sites Are The Same?

by Luke Landes

David Kirkpatrick from Fortune Magazine stipulates that all websites are the same; they all have the ability to deliver content (text, audio, and video), to facilitate communication between its users, and to allow users to share their own content. This is the case, regardless of whether the site is supporting a television network, a magazine ... Continue reading this article…

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