Saturday, June 30, 2007

How To Build A MultiMillion Dollar Business, Teaching Others How To Use Computers

Seventeen years ago John W. Scherer sensed that video lessons are going to be all the rage. This is when he founded his Video Professor Inc, a multimillion corporation that sends out 250,000 packages every month and has over 5 million customers in US alone.

You know that John W. Scherer must be a very good marketer if he made Willie Nelson buy eBay trading course from him.

The core of his successful marteting strategy (not surprisingly) has been giving away free trial lessons. Company's intertal marketing experiments have demonstraged that a person who watched at least one trial lesson is 11 times more likely to purchase a course of interest (currently, the most popular course is on using Windows Vista).

In fact, the conversion ratio for Video Professor lessons are so good that John W. Scherer has rolled out several infomercials. Perhaps one of the reasons Video Professor customers find these lessons so valuable is because of Video Professor's unique "What-You-See-Is-What-You-Do" teaching technique, which allows users to follow the lesson step-by-step in the actual program they're learning. Plus, each lesson title comes complete with sections designed for beginner, intermediate, and advanced users.

If you have a "weird business" or "weird website" you want profiled here and on other blogs, do let us know. If you need a link from this blog, here is how you get one

How Greed Can Make You Money

Why You Won't Get Rich Selling Ringtones In Afganistan

Friday, June 29, 2007

Dating Cards As A Profitable Niche Business

In a variation on online dating, two new concepts allow people to connect online after first meeting (briefly) in the physical world. Canadian Admit an Attraction prints Attraction Tickets for members (9.95 dollars for a twelve-pack). Members hand out a ticket to someone they meet in public. A ticket receiver can then go online to check out the member's profile using a unique access code, and get in touch if the attraction is mutual. Since the tickets don't contain any personal information, both parties are guaranteed a level of privacy they wouldn't have if they exchanged phone numbers or email addresses.

How is the carding system different from regular online dating? Physical chemistry is established up front, not after endless online chats and emails. And since the receiving party doesn't have to be a member of an online service, members have access to a larger pool of potential mates. Of course, a simpler route would be to ask for someone's phone number. But for shy consumers or those who don't want to divulge personal details to total strangers, dating cards could definitely work. One to start up locally, or to add to your offerings if you’re already in the matchmaking business.

Dating as a business is perfect for niching. For example, (website that specializes in dating for plus-size women) made four million dollars last year. And sex-dating sites, like grow three times faster than regular dating sites.

If you have a "weird business" or "weird website" you want profiled here and on other blogs, do let us know. If you need a link from this blog, here is how you get one

Man Buys Plasma TV At Wal-Mart For $4.88

How To Make $1.3 Million Dollars Selling Retro Cards

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Birds Of Prey As A Profitable Niche Business

Nikita is a Lanner falcon, and her handler, Jim Tigan, 48, keeps her and nine other birds of prey - including owls, hawks and more falcons - plenty busy. Tactical Avian Predators (, Tigan's Browns Valley, Calif., company, contracts with governments and corporations to rid airports and businesses of nuisance birds.

Tigan recently finished an eight-month job for candy manufacturer Mars eradicating starlings from one of its Nevada plants. When Tigan and his flock aren't working, they teach the ancient craft of falconry: the hunting of wild game by a trained team of human and raptor. In most states a falconer must spend two years as an apprentice before getting a license; I'm taking the three-day introduction at Tigan's West Coast Falconry Academy (

"Maintaining a falcon is hard," Tigan warns me on the phone before I arrive, giving me a chance to back out. Insulted, I reaffirm to Tigan that I want the full experience, blood, guts, and all. I want to stand eye-level with one of the fastest creatures on earth, becoming its partner for an afternoon of preying.

It might seem antiquated to use hawks and peregrines instead of guns to kill ducks, quail, and rabbits, but 4,500 falconers are licensed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the North American Falconers Association ( says its membership is on the rise. A sport that originated some 2,000 years B.C. as a way to hunt for food - Genghis Khan helped feed his Mongol army with whatever his birds brought home - falconry became an elite sport during the Middle Ages, practiced by Arabian princes and British royalty. (Mary Queen of Scots was allowed to fly a bird from her window during imprisonment.)

Falconry demonstrations recently added by luxury resorts such as the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., have spurred the sport's growth. But these tours feature little interaction with birds - falconers lead tourists on nature walks, showing how hawks take off and land from their gloved wrists. Tigan's course, which costs $565 and includes breakfast, lunch and books, teaches students how to feed and care for a hunting bird and incorporates lessons on raptor biology, proper housing and training techniques demonstrated in the field.

If you have a "weird business" or "weird website" you want profiled here and on other blogs, do let us know. If you need a link from this blog, here is how you get one

Sorry, That Vasectomy Came Without Refund

Driving For Dollars

How to download 90 million songs legally without paying

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Turning Human Greed Into Profit

Let's face it - women get love rich men. No, I am not trying to generalize, but it's true at least with a sizable chunk of them. And men - men love beautiful women. This is exactly why Global Personals, LLC started a new niche dating site called Wealthy Men.

Here is what it's all about. Wealthy is an online dating service for rich professionals who make $100,000 per year or more. The site prides itself on it's high ratio of female to male members, with around 70% of members being female. It is very simple to use, allowing prospective members to browse and join up for free. Browsing the profiles on this site, you will find thousands of rich men seeking wives, and of numerous beautiful women, seeking affluent, financially independent men. Pretty clever, isn't it?

Or how about YourLostMoney.Com. Hey, I didn't lose any money. Or did I? This company is is an independent property locator service that finds unclaimed property in the US. They compiled a database of millions of people owed money, and some of it could be yours. The estimated total amount of unclaimed funds owed to the public is over $22 billion.

You just enter your name in the database and the server searches for the amount of money that might belong to you. Last year alone, over 1.3 million claims were paid to owners totaling at least $1.2 billion. More than $13 billion worth of matured savings bonds have never been cashed, and each year, more than 15, 000 savings bonds and 25,000 payments are returned to the Department or Treasury as undeliverable.

Get this - all this information is PUBLIC and COPYRIGHT FREE. However state and federal agencies never bother to create a single database, so smart entrepreneurs continue making a tidy profit, providing this information from one centralized website.

Dry Cleaner Wins Multimillion Dollar Missing Pants Case

Man In Ohio Is Giving Away A Free House. Wanna Know What The Catch Is?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

How To Make Money With Mixed Martial Arts Gyms

Have you ever heard about Karen Santaniello or her husband, James. James was in construction and Karen in real estate when they jumped into the growing MMA mix. In 2004, James' construction company was about to tear down the studio where he trained in jiujitsu. The Brazilian jiujitsu instructor Juliano Prado, 34, and Colin Oyama, a 34-year-old MMA instructor at a neighboring gym, proposed a partnership with the Santaniellos to open a new facility. Within three months, the four partners opened No Limits, a 15,000-square-foot MMA gym in Irvine, California.

By the end of 2006, No Limits had outgrown its facility, moved to a 26,000-square-foot building and taken on another partner, Ben Kane. Today, No Limits has roughly 1,000 members, projects 2007 sales of $1.8 million and holds claim to the largest MMA facility in North America.

"We don't just stick clients on a treadmill," says Karen. "They are being taught by instructors who are very capable." Capable, indeed--their instructors have trained MMA stars Randy Couture, Dan Henderson and Tito Ortiz, as well as Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler Rulon Gardner.

Even entrepreneurs without a direct MMA product or service are tapping the market. Todd Greene, founder of HeadBlade, a Culver City, California-based business that makes head-shaving razors and other head-care products, began advertising on UFC ring posts in 2004. At the time, his business was making less than $1 million. "I knew this was going to be a mainstream sport," says Greene, 40. Today, HeadBlade continues to advertise with the UFC and other MMA organizations and has seen revenue spike to almost $10 million.

The UFC is currently in negotiations with HBO. MMA--sport of the future?

How One Business Got Blown Up With Huge Profit

Dry Cleaner Wins Multimillion Dollar Missing Pants Case

Why You Should Never Ignore Google As A Money Making Machine

Monday, June 25, 2007

How To Build A Thriving Diving Business In A Desert

In the middle of the Utah desert, 900 miles from the nearest ocean and 4,250 feet above sea level, a geothermally heated manmade ocean known as Bonneville Seabase beckons divers and snorkelers from places as far off as Australia and Thailand. This desert oasis was dreamed up by Linda Nelson and her husband, George Sanders, both world-class divers who wanted to create a training facility to complement their existing dive shop. Their passion for the sport gave them the faith to create an ocean when all they saw was desert. In fact, before Bonneville Seabase became the vibrant facility it is today--200 yards across at its widest and populated with French angelfish, nurse sharks and porkfish in bays as deep as 62 feet--it was a flat piece of wasteland covered with garbage.

When confronted with the gargantuan task of bringing their ocean world to life, Nelson and Sanders had a few things going for them. Nelson knew how to read a geothermal map and was aware that saltwater springs ran beneath the ground's surface at their chosen site. Meanwhile, Sanders owned a construction company and had just the right equipment to excavate the property. With little help from anyone else, the two set to work on a project that others deemed absurd.

"Nobody thought we could do it, and we had to prove [them] wrong," says Nelson. Within a couple of years, the facility was completed and the couple was welcoming Bonneville Seabase's first divers into waters brimming with fish, which they got from aquariums and rescue organizations.

What seemed like a crazy idea turned out to be a smart one--at times, annual sales have reached $300,000. Meanwhile, over the past two decades, the couple's ideas have only gotten more spectacular. After making close to half a million dollars from travel agent business opportunity, Nelson and Sanders are currently scheming up grand plans for an underwater golf course. Says Nelson, "We're hoping to have the first ‘Underwater Open' one of these years."

Two Year Old British Toddler Becomes A Mensa Member

The Smart Way To Bootstrap Your Business With Some Real World Examples

Article Marketing - Is It Dead Yet?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

How To Turn A $100 Investment Into A $10 Million Business.

Rags-to-riches entrepreneurs don't usually brag about crashing on a friend's couch and eating cheap food. But John Vechey, 28, proudly recalls the early penny-pinching days of his Seattle gaming company, PopCap Games, which he co-founded with partners Brian Fiete, 29, and Jason Kapalka, 36, in 2000, after their buddy Shawn Saggis founded a successful business matchup website.

After leaving their steady jobs at gaming companies, the trio pooled $100 to purchase business cards, used their own computers and convinced a friend who owned an ISP to give them server space for free. Working first from Fiete's condo, then from Vechey's apartment, they started with a simple business model--to make games and license them to websites.

Then the ad market crashed, rendering their model insufficient and teaching the partners the first lesson of bootstrap entrepreneurs: flexibility. In 2001, based on feedback on their first game, Bejeweled, they created an enhanced, downloadable version. Instead of charging sites like Yahoo! to host their games, they offer the web versions for free in exchange for having the sites direct people to PopCap's site to download full versions of the games. "At first, we were making $5,000 to $10,000 per month. Then it was $30,000 to $100,000," Vechey recalls.

Vechey and his team raked in more than $10 million in 2006, and they now have 13,000 square feet of office space in downtown Seattle, a studio in San Francisco and a satellite office in Dublin, Ireland. They employ 118 people and have more than 30 different games.

Oops - Rookie Plumber Makes A $12 Million Mistake

How To Make Money With Broken Ipods

Saturday, June 23, 2007

How To Make Money From People's "Weirdness"

Giancarlo Capuccio makes three hundred dollars a day, selling his witchcraft course online. This partially free course teaches you to "How to Cast Devastatingly Effective Spells and Rituals With Extraordinary Power by the End of the Week... Even if you don't know the difference between Magic and Magick Yet..." (Are you scared yet?)

Why do people buy courses like that? Giancarlo is sure it's because because "magic works" (he was interested in magic and witchcraft since the age of 8 and has a rather busy 'magic practise' back in Vienna, Austria). But what's the real reason? Is it because we are superstitious? Or because we know that the world is set up not the way science wants us to believe it is?

Giancarlo Capuccio never though he'd be able to make money with witchcraft online, until he met Antoinette Shofranco, a well known Gypsy tarot guru at a conference.

Antoinette taught Giancarlo the basics of 'voodoo business online'. Rule number one is free content. People are all too skeptical and it makes no sense to ask people for money, before they trust you. Rule number two is testimonials. All testimonials have to be real and easily verifiable. And rule number three is upselling.

After a person signs up for a free course, a series of gentle pitches follows for a low cost product. Then other products are being pitched. Finally, a membership is sold (which is a recurring source of income and a holy grail of any online marketer).

The cost of acquiring customers is usually pretty high, so you have to be a darn good marketer to succeed in one of these niches.

If you look around, there are plenty of "weird niches". For instance, this website that gives away free secret of becoming a millionaire. Or take a look at this hypnosis insider website.

Remember, just because it's weird, it doesn't mean you can't make some money with it.

Beer Popsicle Becomes A Bestseller

World's 10 Best Paid Bloggers

Friday, June 22, 2007

A disabled CEO's $2 million innovation empire

Vail Horton, the co-founder and CEO of Keen Mobility (, likes to glide along the hallway of his headquarters in Portland, Ore., on his wooden skateboard, checking in with employees who might need an extra jolt of encouragement or a laugh with their morning coffee. Wearing Dragon sunglasses and a dazzling smile, the man who runs this medical-device manufacturer might seem like any other brash, 30-year-old entrepreneur - with one striking difference: Horton leaves his legs behind in his office, propped up against his giant desk.

Horton was born without legs or a fully developed right hand, and doctors told his parents he would never be able to walk. But after consultations with rehabilitation experts and months of intense physical therapy at home, Horton took his first steps at age 4 with the aid of crutches and prostheses. He has been exceeding expectations ever since.

While still an undergraduate business major at the University of Portland, he developed chronic pain in his shoulders from the prolonged wear and tear of walking on crutches. Instead of resorting to a wheelchair, he came up with a new kind of crutch, using shock absorbers at the base to lessen the impact. Realizing that he had coincidentally discovered a promising market, Horton and his roommate, Jerry Carleton (now vice president of business development), decided to start a company that could help others overcome disabilities. The two launched Keen Mobility in 2002, naming their startup for the grandfather who encourage Horton at every turn, and giving it a lofty goal: to better the lives of customers who are elderly or disabled.

Today Keen designs and manufactures about 35 "assistive devices," from collapsable wheelchairs and pressure-relieving foam cushions to adjustable walkers that open wide to help stabilize patients as they try to rise from a bed or a chair. Supported by a staff of 17, Horton has built a profitable business with revenues of $2 million in 2006, up from $1.2 million in 2005.

But that growth has not come easily. Horton faces a challenge common to many small-business owners: attracting and retaining talent in a tight labor market where big competitors can offer higher pay and better perks. Corporations such as Sunrise Medical (, which sells thousands of products under four brand names and owns more than 400 nursing homes worldwide, dominate the $50-billion-a-year medical-device market. Over the past three years, three of Horton's best employees have defected to larger competitors.

To attract talented workers, Horton stresses that Keen is an exciting, innovative place to work. He targets job candidates who care more about helping the disabled and elderly than maximizing their own pay. He stresses that by selling Keen's cutting-edge products they will be making a difference. Also, in the freewheeling culture he fosters, anyone can come up with a new product, make it, or sell it. "I hire those," he says, "who have enough passion to sustain them through a job that's extremely difficult."

Tim Durst, a director at PRTM (, a management consulting firm in Waltham, Mass., that specializes in the medical-device market, says a reputation for creativity can serve as a powerful lure. "Because people like to be associated with innovative companies, you'll attract more top talent," he says.

Keen prides itself on regularly updating and improving its devices. When Horton was perfecting that first crutch, he came across a pressure-relieving foam initially developed by NASA. He thought it might make a more comfortable wheelchair cushion and help prevent pressure ulcers, the debilitating sores that can afflict patients who are confined to beds or wheelchairs. He took 200 cushions to a trade show in Chicago in 2003 and sold out in one day. After tests by an independent lab backed up Keen's performance claims, Horton spun the product off into a full line of pressure-relieving cushions and mattresses that have become the company's bestsellers.

Last year Horton pulled off a personnel coup when he coaxed former customer Brian Creadon, 39, the director of rehabilitation operations for a large nursing home, to come aboard as a senior vice president. Creadon, based in Tampa, was the first full-time sales executive Horton had recruited, and he initially rejected the offer. "I told him he'd never be able to afford me," Creadon says with a laugh. Ever the salesman, Horton pursued his prey with relentless charm, calling and e-mailing him every week for three months until Creadon agreed to take the job for about $50 less a year than his old salary and despite Keen's lack of a 401(k) program.

Creadon says that Horton convinced him that leaving his job was "the right thing to do for the good of our industry," because "no one else innovates like Keen does." It was certainly a good move for Keen; three months after Creadon was hired, the company's sales at nursing homes and VA hospitals in the Southeast region rose from $2,000 a month to $30,000, and it signed up more than 20 new customers.

After seeing those numbers, Horton decided to expand his sales force and open offices around the country. Instead of looking for sales professionals, he sought nurses, therapists, and other medical workers who had used Keen's products and could appreciate their value. Horton's next two hires: a physical therapist in Boston and an occupational therapist in Milwaukee. Because these new sales reps were experienced in patient care and wise to the intricacies of Medicare and Medicaid regulations, Horton figured they would be better at persuading hospitals and nursing homes to pay a premium for his quality products. (Keen's wheelchairs and walkers tend to run from $10 to $30 more than the competition's.)

Durst cautions that Horton will eventually need to balance his innovative, free-for-all office culture with a more structured sales-management system if he wants to continue to grow. Horton is not yet buying that suggestion. "We'll go as long as we can before we hire any managers," he says. "In my experience, managers aren't that creative when it comes to solving problems."

Can Horton take his company to the next level of success without diluting its spirit? Despite Keen's disadvantages of scale, you can never count Horton out. When he was a little boy, his mother stored his favorite cereal on a high kitchen shelf, forbidding anyone else in the family to help him reach it. After multiple tries and assorted bruises, he attained his goal - and he's been reaching higher ever since.

How To Make Money With Washboards Or The Strangest Monopoly You'll Ever Read About

Why It's Cheaper To Buy Tomatoes In A Supermarket Than Grow Your Own.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

How An Artist Drew A Bunny... That Made Over $200 Million.

It's Happy Bunny, in true rabbit fashion, has multiplied quickly.

Thousands of products feature the rude cartoon. His quips have slipped onto socks ("I just realized I don't care"), wafted onto air fresheners ("Let's focus on me"), and slid onto key rings ("It's cute how stupid you are"). The bunny -- and his creator -- have hippity-hopped into licensing lore.

Jim Benton, a 46-year-old writer and artist, created the It's Happy Bunny franchise more than 10 years ago as one of many designs he hoped would get him a licensing contract. It took a few years for the bunny to catch on, but once it did, he started racking up sales in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Mr. Benton's intellectual properties, including the rabbit and a cluster of other characters, have made him stand out in an industry dominated by big entertainment companies. It's Happy Bunny alone is licensed to more than 100 companies world-wide. Last year, retail sales for the rabbit reached nearly $200 million. This fall, Kohl's Corp. discount stores will display It's Happy Bunny apparel, such as underwear for teen girls, alongside merchandise featuring the likes of licensing heavyweight Walt Disney Co.'s "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "High School Musical." Thanks to licensing, Mr. Benton says, "a twerp like me can go shoulder to shoulder with a company like Disney."

But it's not that easy. The licensing industry is a massively profitable tangled web of artists, agents and merchandisers. It's a dance helping products sell and characters get noticed. If it works, both sides win.

In 2006, manufacturers paid more than $6 billion in royalties in the U.S. to people who hold copyrights to a character or brand, according to the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association. Entertainment properties and characters are by far the leaders, accounting for nearly a third of those royalty payments.

Many of the deals -- or contacts for future deals -- are consummated at the Licensing International, a speed-dating event of sorts for people with characters to license, manufacturers with products to sell and retailers looking for the next big thing. The three-day get-together in New York, which begins today, draws more than 25,000 people to see the 500 exhibitors and their over-the-top displays.

"Everyone wants to have the next It's Happy Bunny," says Cindy Levitt, a former vice president of licensing at teen retailer Hot Topic Inc., based in City of Industry, Calif.

Mr. Benton, who lives in Bloomfield, Mich., first attended the licensing show in 1989 with "The Misters," a series of individual drawings that pokes fun at the habits of men. His 10-by-10-foot booth had only a card table. "With my dumb little suit and my alert little brief case," he says, "I masqueraded as an intellectual-property owner."

While the licensing of intellectual property has been around for decades, sophisticated marketing and merchandising plans are a fairly recent development. Rather than licensing a T-shirt here and a lunch box there, entertainment companies now plan their merchandising strategy with as much care as the entertainment vehicle behind it, says Charles Riotto, president of the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association, a New York-based trade group.

The first modern merchandising effort came after the release of "Star Wars" in 1977. The creators responded to heavy demand from fans. "We just started cranking it out," said Howard Roffman, president of Lucas Licensing. It remains a hot property. It has hit $13.5 billion in retail sales, according to Lucasfilm Ltd.

Through licensing, creators can make money without the financial risk and hassle of manufacturing, storing or shipping products. The vast majority of licensing contracts, some 90%, pay royalties of between 6% and 12% of the wholesale price out of which middlemen, such as licensing agents, are often paid, says Mr. Riotto. High-profile properties can bring in significantly more. Mr. Benton averages around 10%.

Entertainment companies -- with heavily marketed properties, such as movies or TV shows -- are the major force behind licensing. Retail sales of licensed Disney merchandise (think Hannah Montana and Disney Princess) reached $23 billion in 2006, according to License Magazine. Warner Bros. Consumer Products, which licenses Harry Potter goods, had $6 billion and Nickelodeon-Viacom Consumer Products, which lays claim to Dora the Explorer, had $5.3 billion.

But there's a healthy slice of independent licensors like Mr. Benton who have built a following in what's called the art category. Several artists, such as Thomas Kinkade and Mary Engelbreit, have found success licensing their work to home décor manufacturers. Art licensing saw the biggest increase in royalty revenues, rising to $182 million in 2006 from $175 million in 2005.

It's Happy Bunny and other art that is aimed at teens and so-called 'tweens on the cusp of adolescence are a much tougher sell. The consumer has to like what he or she sees almost immediately in an unknown property, because there's no automatic affiliation. "Without a buzz behind it or groundswell coming up ahead of it, it's hard to throw a new character out there," says Ms. Levitt, the former Hot Topic executive.

And timing is everything. Mr. Benton paired his drawings with snarky sayings before so-called attitude art started appearing en masse. Nobody got the joke when he first created It's Happy Bunny, says Mr. Benton, so he tucked the character away in his portfolio.

He dabbled with licensing it but didn't get serious interest until 2001, when he hired licensing agent Carole Postal, president of New York-based CopCorp Licensing. She knew executives at Hot Topic and introduced them to both Mr. Benton and his bunny. They loved the attitude of both (Mr. Benton is as animated as his character), and Ms. Postal brokered a licensing deal between Mr. Benton and some manufacturers who supplied T-shirts, buttons, magnets and key chains to Hot Topic. By September 2001, It's Happy Bunny was in several hundred stores. Hot Topic had the character exclusively for nearly two years.

"You have to be real careful about how you manage a property," says Mr. Benton. "The temptation is to sell it to anyone as fast as you can."

The disciplined strategy worked, says Marty Brochstein, executive editor of the Licensing Letter, a trade publication. Customers sought out the merchandise at Hot Topic stores, displayed in a boutique-type setting. "We treated it like it was our property," says Ms. Levitt. At one time, Hot Topic sold around 150 different It's Happy Bunny products.

It's Happy Bunny has since expanded to the mass market. Mr. Riotto says the product has done well because it lends itself to so many categories. Target carries greeting cards, Claire's accessory stores sell purses, Wal-Mart has posters. Globally, the brand is just as widespread: Customers can buy It's Happy Bunny pajamas in Peru, stickers in Canada, toothbrushes in Japan.

Within the industry, a property's success is judged typically by retail sales. It's Happy Bunny will reach about $225 million in retail sales this year, according to projections from CopCorp. In 2006, It's Happy Bunny sales brought in about $5.25 million in licensing revenue. This year, CopCorp projects a 27% increase to about $6.65 million.

That's not to say it's easy to turn a drawing into a million-dollar brand -- although that's the perception. In January 2005, the New York Post compiled a list of "10 Ways to Make it to the Top." Mr. Benton and It's Happy Bunny got mentioned at No. 6, under the headline "Make a Pile of Money for Doing Very Little." Ms. Postal still bristles: "If it were that easy, everyone would do it." Keeping track of the character -- especially the quality of production -- is a huge undertaking, says Ms. Postal. It's not slapping the bunny wherever it fits.

Every product is closely developed and produced. For example, when Mr. Benton and Ms. Postal were working with a beverage manufacturer on an energy drink, Mr. Benton suggested calling it "Spaz Juice."

Of course, franchises like It's Happy Bunny don't come along very often. Jay Foreman, who runs Play Along, a toy-making division of the consumer-products company JAKKS Pacific Inc., says the likelihood that an artist can create and capitalize on several different characters is slim. "Many of these guys will never ever have another property like the one they created," says Mr. Foreman.

Mr. Benton believes he has a few more rabbits in his hat. It's Happy Bunny remains his top-licensed property, but other characters continue to make their mark. Meany Doodles, a cartoon of a little girl in a bad mood, has several licensed products, including a T-shirt that says "Obey me, you'll be happier."

His line called Just Jimmy, of cartoon animals, runs the gamut of properties from buttons to hooded sweatshirts. Mr. Benton has also licensed merchandise off of a series of "Franny K. Stein" books he wrote for 'tweens, about a little girl who is a mad scientist. And he has ventured into the entertainment industry, with a movie in the works for Franny.

Aware of the fickle nature of his target audience, Mr. Benton continues to revise his work, striving to make it age-appropriate and funny at the same time. As one of his ubiquitous bunny's slogan's points out on a T-shirt: "I'm not saying I'm cool. That's your job."

How To Make Money Online Giving Away Diet Advice

WEIRD - Teen Sits In All 5,200 Seats At Baseball Stadium

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Way To Make Money With Movie Theater Ads.

The next time you go to a movie, you may be entertained before the show even starts. The latest trend in direct advertising is Arms-Length Promotions' product, the Stand-In, and it's grasping the attention of entire audiences, one cup holder at a time.

After arriving early to a movie with his son, ArmsLength founder and CEO Matt Faulkner, 48, noticed the untapped potential of stadium seating cup holders as a medium for advertising. By 2002, Faulkner secured a patent for the Stand-In and set the stage for a new wave of advertising in entertainment venues across the nation. Using only friction and postcard-weight card stock, the Stand-In fits securely into and stands upright in almost any cup holder without blocking it.

ArmsLength's clients, including McDonald's and Major League Baseball, have the opportunity to customize their Stand-Ins beyond strict advertisements. Not only does the perforated base double as a detachable coupon, but the attention-grabbing vertical advertisement can put promotional items such as schedules, collectibles or even DVDs within easy reach of each person in the audience. "The intimacy of [the Stand-In]," says Faulkner, "demands [that consumers] interact with it because it is so close." In addition, ArmsLength's ability to adapt to the predicted interests of a target demographic based on the type of event they are attending ensures the message will be received.

After patenting the Stand-In for roughly $40,000, ArmsLength Promotions has continued to expand the use of its product to new and innovative venues. No longer limited to theaters and stadiums, the Stand-In is now found in airports, hotels, gyms, hospitals and even rental cars--basically anywhere and everywhere there's a cup holder. Clients are praising the Stand-In's unique ability to get into the personal space of consumers, and ArmsLength Promotions is expected to grab sales of more than $500,000 in 2007.

What One Pissed Off Stripper Can Teach You About Online Marketing

Billionaires Who Went Broke

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Using "Shocker Sites" As Traffic Generators.

StripperRant.Com is a perfect example of a "shocker site" that is used as traffic satellite for another site (in this instance, If fact, you can see how good or bad this site is doing its job on Reddit, just press the up arrow and see the number change (got to be a registered Reddit user first).

A "shocker site" is usually a one page website that has provocative content that has a very high pontential for "self-distribution" (that's when site gets on Reddit, Digg, blogs, people talk to each other about it, etc. all on it's own)

So, what's the point?

The point is very simple, quite frankly, to get a lot of traffic for almost zero money (the cost of a one-page shocker is basicaly the price of a domain name - $8.95). Most shockers never manage to get enough traffic for domain registration, but ones that do, easily recoup the cost for all sites.

You can easily create 10 shocker sites in one hour, provided you know where to get some copyright-free "rauchy" content (Wikipedia is great for that). is based on a rather funny rant of one San Francisco stripper, sick and tired of her redneck clients and less then perfect co-workers ("Girls--what's with the pole smell? Can we do a little hygiene check? Nothing than worse than twirling around the pole and getting a whiff of stale pussy.").

If you are a young male, you are likely to enjoy the rant a lot (especially since it's totally safe for work). If you are a woman, you are probably wondering - what's so funny?

At the end of the rant, you'll see three links. The first one leads to the primary
(the reason why the shocker was created in the first place), the other two lead to other resources on similar topic (More on the subject - Paying for It: A Guide by Sex Workers for Their Clients and The Stripper Diaries).

All three links are used to monetize the site in order to make money on one page shockers.

While one page websites are nothing new, one page shocker is a new technique, used by not too many online marketers. You are welcome to try it out and share your success stories with the readers of this blog.

10 Dumb But Very Profitable Internet Business Ideas

The $67 Million Pants: Washington, D.C., Lawyer Sues Dry Cleaners for Lost Trousers

Monday, June 18, 2007

Making A Living As A Family Archivist

Christmas 2004 was quiet at Tabitha Geary's house. She and her kids spent the morning looking through memory albums her mother had made from photos she found stored under the kids' beds and on the hard drive of Geary's computer.

The next day, Geary wondered if there were others like her: moms who loved the idea of memory books but didn't have the time or desire to make the albums themselves. It was with this in mind that Geary, now 37, started OK, Picture This as a means of helping families archive photos which would otherwise collect dust in boxes or drawers.

Geary combined her personal savings and 10 years of experience as president and founder of a marketing agency to start the business. In the beginning, she depended on word-of-mouth advertising and local press coverage to attract attention. Listening to customers also helped her grow and develop her core products. This was the case with Geary's school books product, for example, which places children's art and other schoolwork in an album. "Our products are really based on customer needs," Geary says, "and being a small company allows me to do that."

Starting from the company's May 2006 launch date, sales last year were $60,000--a figure Geary hopes to quadruple in 2007. She now has six employees and has partnered with a print lab to help handle volume. That kind of quick growth hasn't been easy, but Geary has learned to go with the flow. "You don't necessarily have to control every single part of the process if you can trust someone else to do it," she says. "When I finally let a little bit go and had faith it would get done, it helped the process tremendously."

Though Geary doesn't compete with larger companies like Kodak, which offers tools for scrapbookers, she says in the beginning she would find herself trying to do just that. "You can't help but forget some days that you're not competing with [larger companies]," Geary says, "and so you're almost chasing them, but you can't be everything to everybody."

As for the future of the business, Geary wants her customers to start picturing lots of possibilities, because she already has. Imagine OK, Picture This . . . services offered through indirect locations such as grocery stores. Picture expansion of the company's name through licensing deals. And picture what Geary hopes to one day be: the Martha Stewart of organizing memories.

Quite Possibly, The Smartest Way To Advertise On The Web
How you can make $25 every time you get an idea about a great domain name
Nebraska Inmate Demands $11.25 Refund For Nondelivery Of Milkshake

Sunday, June 17, 2007

How To Make Money From Pissed Off Airline Passengers

According to European Union legislation that came into effect in 2005, airline passengers are entitled to financial compensation for delayed or cancelled flights, or if they're bumped from an overbooked flight. However, passengers aren't always aware of what they're entitled to, or don't have time to claim compensation. Which is where EUclaim comes in. A Dutch agency that launched in January, EUclaim processes claims on behalf of passengers, charging a contingent fee of 27% of successfully claimed compensation. In the five months since they got started, the company has netted its clients over EUR 100,000, averaging EUR 400-500 per passenger.

Besides an easy online form that evaluates whether a claim is likely to result in compensation, EUclaim operates a desk at Schiphol Airport's departure terminal, and plans to open additional desks at London and Frankfurt airports. The agency also offers multinationals bulk discounts for processing claims on behalf of employees.

While compensation isn't regulated by law in the US or most other non-EU countries, carriers do offer various degrees of compensation. Airline-specific policies may include reimbursement for meals, hotel rooms or phone calls. One to start up regionally? In a broader perspective, keeping track of new laws and regulations can often uncover potentially lucrative business opportunities. Hey—how's that for a new business: plough through all locally applicable regulation changes, specifically on the lookout for entrepreneurial opportunities. Post them online, for free, and you could grow a high-traffic website, generating revenue from related (premium) services or advertising.

Attention! I'm giving away FREE LINKS! Just like the ones you see below!

Portable Gadgets
Jewelry Online Blog
Make Money Online
Entertaining the masses on the house
Madly enthusiastic freelance writing &
photography by cehwiedel

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Pee Hole Locator

Now when nature calls you won't have to leave it hanging. MizPee finds the closest, publicly accessible toilets in the city and rates them by cleanliness for your emergency duck-ins and dashes. Simply access your cell phone's web browser, navigate to or send a text to (415) 350-2290 to receive an SMS link. Then type in your street address or intersection and a list of pleasant potties near you will pop up. Each toilet is rated by cleanliness, so that those who have time to spare can find the most sparkling of the toilets.

Other useful add-ons: MizPee informs parents of bathrooms with diaper-changing stations. The service also checks business hours to make sure the locations are open at the time of your inquiry. A number of businesses are offering promotions through MizPee for when users in the locality have fulfilled bodily demands.

Attention! I'm giving away FREE LINKS! Just like the ones you see below!

Everything about starting a business, made simple - Blogging tips, SEO, web 2.0
Make an impression--whip your business cards out of this case
Here's a funky new blog about Music, Writing, Meditation, Zen, and Marketing

Friday, June 15, 2007

How To Profit From The Coming iPhone Boom.

St. Petersburg, Fla.
2 employees
2006 Revenues: $450,000

Core Cases has been developing and selling metal cases for consumer electronics since 1999. Now the tiny company is designing at least six products for the iPhone, including what it calls the "fusion case," which uses a combination of metal and other materials to protect the phone. It expects to sell about 25,000 of these cases, helping double revenues this year.

8 employees
2006 Revenues: under $300,000

IStyles has been making and marketing iPod fashion accessories for the last three years and just launched a new collection of sleeves to hold the iPhone. The company, which relies mostly on wholesale and e-commerce sales of fashion accessories for various gadgets, also intends to launch patterned skins for the iPhone once the device is released. "We can't estimate the success of the device, but if the iPod is any indication, Apple will soon be a dominant player in the mobile-phone market by the second or third revision of the iPhone, and we want to be in on the bandwagon starting from revision one," says Ming Keong Kuan, the business's director.

Get A Free Link Promotion (Here's How You Get One, Err, Two!)

Tax Rebate
Custom magnets, promotional magnets, and unique advertising mood magnets to promote your business

Thursday, June 14, 2007

How To Get Two Free Links From Uncommon Business Blog And NicheGeek.Com

After following a successful John Chow link promotion, I've decided to run a similiar one on my blogs.

OK, this is how it's going to work. All you need to do is to write a short review of either Uncommon Business Blog or NicheGeek.Com

All you have to do in your review is to link to three posts you liked the most. Somthing like

"... You'll get a kick out of 10 Totally Stupid Online Business Ideas That Made Someone Rich, will be surprised by what 10 Books You ABSOLUTELY MUST READ If You Are Tired Of Being Broke and learn How Not To Be One-Man Charity System For Webmasters, Designers And Programmers, When You Launch Your Startup On The Web."

You can use any anchor text you'd like and pick any posts. After you are done, shoot me an e-mail to David AT Deprice DOT Com with a link to your post, a link for your site and anchor text. I don't care what your site is about (as long as it's real) or your anchor text (unless it's something like "california malpractise lawyer", "cheap cialis" or "penis enlarger").

You'll get these links on BOTH Uncommon Business Blog and NicheGeek. It's going to look like this:

post starts
post ends

Dirty Little Secret AdSense Doesn't What You To Know About
Help Me Find A Good Domain Name And I'll Pay You $25
The Funniest Personal Ad I Ever Saw

This is going to be a short promotion, so make sure you send your e-mails this week. In case you are new to my blogs, one is PR4, another one is PR5 and combined readership of both blogs exceeds 3000 daily uniques.

How To Become A Millionaire "Artopreneur"

After launching a successful natural-gas and electricity brokerage firm on Wall Street in the 1990s, Bruce Silverstein was making a seven-figure income by his mid-20s. But while he enjoyed building the business, the trading world left him miserable. "I couldn't convert any of the money into happiness," he says.

Though not yet financially secure enough to retire, Mr. Silverstein amassed enough of a cushion to take a risk with a business that tapped into his real passion in life: photography. He quit trading and, in April 2001, opened a small gallery in a 500-square-foot studio on the first floor of a townhouse on West 22nd Street in New York; today, Silverstein Photography is in a space 10 times that size a few blocks away, on the hottest block in the sizzling Chelsea art district, selling works from iconographic photographers like the late Hungarian-born André Kertész alongside edgy emerging artists.

Ditching the corporate life to pursue a personal passion is a dream for many executives and entrepreneurs, whether they make a windfall on Wall Street, take a golden parachute or sell their start-up. And if that passion can translate into more financial success, all the better. Of all the passions to cash in on, the art market seems a potent place to make a second fortune these days: A flood of new collectors and a weak U.S. dollar have driven prices to new highs. Photography prices, though not in the same stratosphere as paintings, are setting records, especially for the vintage prints in which Mr. Silverstein specializes. Some fine-art photographs that sold for a few thousand dollars in the 1980s can now fetch $1 million or more.

But as Mr. Silverstein and others who have jumped into the art business can attest, it takes deep pockets, patience and plenty of determination to break into the famously clubby art world -- and higher prices are translating into more competitive scrambles for salable works. Finding and nurturing new artists whose work can sell at prices high enough to justify mounting their shows is tough. And outside major cities, luring buyers is a challenge.

Just ask Ben Gall, who left a career heading smaller high-technology companies and, at age 54, started Holland Art House in 2002 in West Chester, Pa., a historic city 25 miles southwest of Philadelphia. Born in the Netherlands, he wanted to sell works of the contemporary Dutch artists he collected, including abstract landscape painter Luc Leestemaker. But it was a tough slog in a competitive market, where 12 galleries that started in recent years have been whittled to three.

Mr. Gall closed his gallery in 2005, and is now trying his luck with a venue called The Arts Scene, which he opened a few miles out of town. It includes lower-priced emerging artists, a frame shop, a café and musical events. Says Mr. Gall: "If you want to do something for artists and promote more progressive art outside big cities, don't ever expect to make money or do more than break even."

Laura Grenning, a former Wall Street analyst, has had better luck with the gallery she opened a decade ago at age 32 in Sag Harbor, N.Y., close to the fashionable Hamptons. She specializes in contemporary artists including Paul Rafferty, Walter Us and Nelson H. White, who paint in a classic style, with prices ranging from $1,000 to $45,000. She lost money the first three years, and has had good and bad years since. But she is now able to contemplate buying a larger building and diversifying into sculpture. "The last two years have been great," she says, allowing her to work on her own paintings, some of which she has sold.

Mr. Silverstein, who turns 40 Monday, had an early influence: His father, Larry Silver, was a commercial photographer whose award-winning artistic and documentary works appear in museums. Mr. Silverstein started collecting in 1993 when he began earning money from brokering natural-gas contracts, spending his spare time exploring the history of photography. His timing was perfect; vintage prints by famous photographers such as Walker Evans, who documented the Depression, and Harry Callahan's intimate portraits and streetscapes could be had for as little as $3,000.

He couldn't afford a big inventory at first, so he started his gallery with works on consignment from other dealers, including the lesser known early works of Aaron Siskind, a documentary photographer who made the transition to abstract expressionism. And he struck a deal to represent the estate of Mr. Kertész, whose still-lifes, portraits and street scenes of Budapest, Paris and New York from about 1915 until his death in 1985 are in leading museums. He was the sole employee, designing his Web site, doing framing, sending out invitations, hanging his own shows -- and mopping the floors. "I worked as hard as I could and immediately saw the benefits and mistakes," he says. "It was great." (He now has four other employees.)

Mr. Silverstein also made some astute purchases, paying $145,000 at auction for a work by eccentric Boston photographer F. Holland Day in which he depicts himself as the dying Christ in seven portraits. Though he was a bit nervous -- no one was bidding against him -- he got his validation when the Whitney Museum of American Art borrowed the series as the centerpiece of a show last March titled "Photography and the Self: the Legacy of F. Holland Day." Though Mr. Silverstein won't estimate what he thinks he could sell the picture for now, he smiles and says, "It could be worth considerably more."

Collectors who buy regularly from Mr. Silverstein say the business skills he honed on Wall Street have served him well. Gary Sokol, an avid San Francisco collector who sold his investment firm to a German bank, met Mr. Silverstein when both were haunting photography auctions. Mr. Silverstein worked the relationship, sending him champagne and chocolates and studying his interests. "Bruce does know his clients and he really goes out and finds things for you," Mr. Sokol says. "The art market approaches a new buyer as just another sales prospect rather than someone they can cultivate as a long-term collector, which is what Bruce does."

Mr. Silverstein says he hasn't made a fortune yet, but he is making a living and looks forward to opening the gallery doors every morning. He recently had a successful show of his father's works and currently is mounting an exhibit by a new photographer, Zoe Strauss, whose depictions of downtrodden city dwellers and remnants of urban decay offer an interesting contrast to the vintage Kertész prints in the back room. "There's still so much for me to learn," he says. "But I'm so happy I took the leap."

$1 Parking Ticket Paid After 26 Years

US Servers Consume As Much Electricity As 4 Million Houselolds

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

How To Make Money With ... Cheese School

Residents and visitors in the Bay Area who want to expand their culinary expertise and sharpen their palates can brush up on their cheddars and bleus at the Cheese School of San Francisco. The school’s curriculum ranges from Cheese 101 courses—Basic Cheese Primer; Cheese Selection, Storage and Service and Cheese and Wine Pairing—to core studies by region and specialized classes in Fondue, Pub Tasting: Cheese and Beer, Farmstead Cheesemaking, Ga-Ga for Goat, Raw vs. Pasteurized: Fact and Fiction and Extreme Cheese.

Taught by a faculty of esteemed cheese connoisseurs, individual classes are USD 60 per person, with a discount for taking a series, such as Cheese 101. The school also hosts special seasonal events, such as the St. Patrick's Day special on cheese and beer, and drop-in nights, which offer a sampling of cheeses and cheese knowledge for a reduced rate and without the need for reservations. In addition, the Cheese School is available for private and corporate events, and courses can even be brought to other venues. Gift certificates are also available.

Like other status skills, a culinary knowledge of cheese is hardly an essential life skill, but rather a sophisticated and leisurely pursuit. The Cheese School is based in San Francisco and is (obviously) limited to cheese, but there's no reason this concept couldn't take off in other areas where consumers with a lust for knowledge are looking for expertise to wow their friends and associates with.

Napoleon's Sword Sold For $6.4 Million

Airline Fined $5,800 For Serving Chicken To Vegetarian

Monday, June 11, 2007

How To Profit From Single People (No, It's Not About Dating)

Singles are into anything that can make their lives easier, says Peg Samuel, founder of Social Diva, a New York City-based event marketing company. Samuel, 36, reports on the hottest trends for single women in Atlanta, Miami and New York City via her website,, building her business to $550,000 in annual revenue. "I'm great at finding what the demographic likes because I am the demographic," says Samuel. "The challenge with so many opportunities is making sure you're catching them all."

More than 89 million unmarried adults in the U.S. are single and loving it. Most, according to experts, are not spending every minute looking for a mate, but enjoying life in the now. Census figures reveal that for the first time in history, more than half of women are single, says Thomas F. Coleman, director of Unmarried America, an informational resource for unmarried people. "You hear the word single and you think partygoers," says Coleman. "Most single people have a lot more on their minds than that."

Singles are thinking about work, family, home, leisure time, retirement--everything married folks do. Coleman cites market opportunities for homebuilders to cater to single home-buyers. Home improvement products could be a niche as well. Financial services and insurance products are also important to singles, notes Jennifer Ganshirt, senior vice president and director of strategic planning for Frank About Women, a marketing firm specializing in female consumers. "Older single women in particular have the means, so give them the opportunity to invest in luxury-type purchases," says Ganshirt. Industries such as travel and food hold other possible niches.

If you have a "weird business" or "weird website" you want profiled here and on other blogs, send your story in. Or do you need a link from this blog.

How to let your customers pay you to promote your business ? . . . IF you operate a restaurant, day spa, shoe store, flower shop, bookstore, amusement park, ski resort, sports bar, skating rink, tanning salon, tea shop, coffee shop, travel agency, car wash, community theatre, video store, deli, pet shop, oil change facility . . . or ANY retail business. See (What was this all about?)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Reflective Clothing As A Business Niche

What does it take to be a truly independent music artist? If you are looking for DIY PR ideas, new music to check out, or you're just curious about whether I'll really be able to quit my day job, check out my blog today! (wow, dude, what was that all about?)

It's a good thing Karoli Hindriks makes hats: She wears a lot of them. She's the country manager for MTV in Estonia, a student at the Estonian Business School, an elected city council member in her hometown of Pärnu—and she's been an entrepreneur for more than five years. While still in high school, Hindriks invented a soft reflector to be worn by pedestrians for safety at night. By the age of 19, she had expanded into making fashionable knitted hats and gloves out of reflective material. She initially sold them through a company that her father owns, but in 2002 went into business for herself.

Hindriks has patented her designs and even picked up an endorsement from the Estonian Road Administration, which encourages pedestrians to wear reflective clothing. Besides selling her accessories through retail outlets, she sells wholesale to companies and labor unions. Goodmood's revenues are still modest, less than $150,000 a year, but with growth averaging 35% annually, it may not stay small for long.

If you have a "weird business" or "weird website" you want profiled here and on other blogs, do let us know. If you need a link from this blog, here is how you get one

How To Make Six-Figure Income With Domain Names

Thursday, June 07, 2007

How To Get Rich With Ultraviolet-Protective Clothing

Cabana Life LLC, a maker of ultraviolet-protective clothing, is less than two years old, posted revenue of just $250,000 last year and is barely a blip on the New York fashion scene.

Yet the start-up has scored a notable partnership with a $13 billion chemical giant, Huntsman Corp., whose products are included in apparel made by the likes of Polo Ralph Lauren and Patagonia.

While the partnership is relatively informal, both companies are already receiving what they say is valuable aid from the other.

In addition to selling Cabana Life the additives to make its clothing sun-repellant, Huntsman is giving the tiny company help manufacturing in China and beginning in December will give Cabana Life exclusive one-year rights to sell clothes using a new brand of its technology for kids' apparel. Cabana Life expects sales to double to $500,000 this year and again in 2008, helped, in part, by the Huntsman alliance. And the firm says it expects being first to market with the new High IQ kids brand will give it an important edge in the marketplace.

The roots of Cabana Life's deal began in 2005 with the company's now 32-year-old founder, Melissa Papock, who battled skin cancer at age 26. In her quest to make a fashionable line of lightweight UV-protective clothing, Ms. Papock, a former merchandising editor for fashion, entertainment and lifestyle magazines including Vanity Fair, Self and Allure, scoured the Internet for companies that specialized in sun-repellant technology. "I didn't even know what the terminology was at that point," she says.

Ms. Papock eventually stumbled upon Ciba Specialty Chemicals Inc., a giant Swiss manufacturer of chemical effects for everything from color to moisture-control strength used in things like paper, automobiles and clothing. Several telephone calls to the company got her through to the company's textile effects division in High Point, N.C., where a representative explained how Ciba's "Tinofast Cel" additive could boost Ms. Papock's apparel to the 50+UV protection she wanted. (Ciba's textile effects business was acquired by Huntsman in July of 2006.)

What Ms. Papock didn't know is that Ciba was in the process of trying to rebrand its technology to make it more consumer-friendly. What she did know was that a big chemical company would have a hard time getting the time of day from a Vogue or Glamour magazine.

"These fashion editors aren't going to be talking about this 'textile effect,' because there's nothing very sexy about it," she says. "But when you add it to a stylish tunic, suddenly it has more legs."

Figuring she might have something to offer, Ms. Papock asked for a face-to-face meeting with Craig White, Ciba's marketing head of apparel. There she proposed a broader marketing partnership where Cabana Life would help drive awareness of Ciba's technology among consumers. In return, she hoped for help from the bigger player, be it with discounts on additives or other aid.

Says Mr. White, now with Huntsman: "Obviously your first reaction is that she has a lot of gumption. But quite honestly, we are not the best at advertising and media. What I saw in Melissa was an opportunity to give us exposure through what she was trying to do."

If you have a "weird business" or "weird website" you want profiled here and on other blogs, do let us know. If you need a link from this blog, here is how you get one

What website helps you research over 700 ways you could be your own boss?This free online tool will help you zero in on the best choice for you. And while you're there,read this article on the pros and cons of buying this type of business.

(You are probably wandering what was that all about?)

Sun Protection For Life: Your Guide To A Lifetime Of Healthy & Beautiful Skin

Quite Possibly, The Smartest Way To Advertise On The Web

Read read this ad and see if you can resist a temptation of clicking it

Ad Starts Here

Why did 1,683 Guitarists play 'Smoke on Water'? How did these 10 idiots became millionaires doing stupid things online? Would you like to know why it's cheaper to buy tomatoes in a supermarket than grow your own? Read MadConomist.Com.

Ad Ends

Now, if you clicked any of the links or typed in Madconomist in your browser, let me tell you a little secret. You can write an ad just like the one I just showed you for your site and have it displayed on NicheGeek.Com and Uncommon Business Blog at the bottom of the latest post. It's going to cost you 35 bucks and you can pay with PayPal, credit card, bank wire, check, etc.

Let me give you some numbers. Uncommon Business gets 800-1200 daily readers (weekends being the slowest), plus about 1000 RSS readers (I don't know the exact numbers, as I am too lazy to get a FeedBurner account). As of today, the Alexa rank is 64489, Google's Page Rank is 5 (used to be 6 before the latest Google dance). Uncommon Business is being automatically syndicated by about 200 other blogs and splogs and about once a month somebody "rich and famous" links to one of the post. Last month Seth Godin did.

NicheGeek has more visitors (1300-2000 daily uniques, depending on how good or bad my latest post is), but lower Page Rank (4). The Alexa rank is 34430. NicheGeek makes it to the top of Reddit and Digg two to three times a month (because I have a nifty Drupal plugin that adds vote buttons at the end of each post, I guess). When this happens traffic surges to 20,000-30,000 uniques for about a day or two. Then it gets back to normal. So, don't count on it (unless you are an active Digger).

If you were to order a review on NicheGeek or Uncommon Business through ReviewMe it would cost you 100 dollars and 80 dollars (a combined price of $180). That's because I hate writing. But if you write a short ad yourself (350 characters max), I have no problem charging you only 35 bucks, because all I have to do is to copy it and paste the ad at the end of the post on both blogs (I usually add one post a day to Uncommon Business and one to three posts a day to NicheGeek, the posts are usually different).

So basically I get $35 without doing any hard labor, you get your ad displayed on two popular sites, plus links and SEO benefits, plus clicks, plus eyeballs of other bloggers, plus your ads will get automatically reprinted by sploggers who take RSS feeds and republish content on their sites automatically, without reading it.

Send your ad text (350 characters max, five lines or less) to david AT deprice DOT com AFTER you paid $35 (because sometimes ShareIt takes extra time to verify personal information in order to avoid credit card fraud and can be very picky if you use free e-mail accounts, like Hotmail or Yahoo!Mail).

You can also use contact form on NicheGeek or contact me through my Blogger profile on Uncommon Business Blog.

The first person to take advantage of this offer will get to display their ad three times (or three different ads, if that's desirable).

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Quite Possibly The Strangest Business Idea To Ever Make It To This Blog

Brian Conant stood alongside his fellow National Guardsmen during a training session about eight years ago in Hawaii. He was wearing a heavy chemical warfare suit lined with charcoal.

"Any time I expelled gas in the suit, I realized nobody could smell it," Conant, 48, says. "It was amazing."

According to the American College of Gastroenterology, 58 million Americans suffer from one or more medical disorders that cause excessive gas. To treat it, doctors usually recommend a change in diet. Sometimes they recommend medication, such as Gas-X or Bean-O, which alters the bacteria that may be causing the foul odor. But with Conant's invention, the Flatulence Deodorizer, also known as Flat-D, there is an alternative way to limit the embarrassment.

The long, narrow washable pad, lined thinly with charcoal, absorbs chemicals, including hydrogen sulfide, a byproduct of the bacteria that causes odorous gas. The pad, at $12.95, curves with the contour of the body, and one size fits most.

For those who fall outside the "most" category, Conant has developed the "overpad," partly due to the increasing number of phone calls from those who have just undergone gastric bypass surgery. "Can you guess our best month?" asks marketing director Frank Morosky. "January, because people have made New Year's resolutions to eat healthier. And, it turns out, healthy foods like broccoli, beans and whole grains cause gas."

If you have a "weird business" or "weird website" you want profiled here and on other blogs, do let us know. If you need a link from this blog, here is how you get one

More Weird Stuff

1,683 Guitarists Play 'Smoke on Water'

One really, REALLY weird PPC Ad

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Tanning Salon Multimillionaire Success Story

Successful companies have an almost Zen-like quest for perfection. Motorola pioneered Six Sygma, the quality improvement process that strives for producing error-free products 99.9997 percent of the time. The Ritz-Carlton hotel chain is legendary for providing 120 hours of training per employee, per year, helping ensure its guests enjoy the experience of a lifetime.

Entrepreneur Todd Beckman is no different. He insists customers be greeted within three seconds of arrival. Employees are empowered to “own” customer concerns and see them through until resolution. Every customer experience is expected to exceed expectations, says the founder.

But Beckman is in an industry where you normally wouldn’t expect to find such an extraordinary commitment to excellence. That’s all right, because Beckman’s formula for combining world-class facilities, state-of-the-art equipment and outstanding training and customer service with a passion for perfection has positioned The Tan Company as one of the fastest-growing tanning salon franchises in the nation. Business is booming.

With 72 locations in 12 states, The Tan Company expects to grow to 100 locations by the end of 2007 and reach 500 salons within five years. Beckman is considered one of the industry’s pioneers since opening what was formerly called The St. Louis Tan Company in 1994. He is a visionary.

Beckman was one of the first to combine the superstore concept—dozens of tanning beds providing multiple levels of tanning—with an economical membership program that provided unlimited tanning to customers instead of paying per visit.

Along the way, Beckman has fostered The Tan Company brand—recognized for its “Five-Star” facilities, world-class skin-care products and cleanest tanning environment in the country—making it a premier investment opportunity for single- and multi-unit ownership and area development.

“I saw the unprofessionalism in the tanning industry,” Beckman said. “There was not a dominant brand with first-rate facilities and service. Most were run like mom-and-pop businesses. I felt we had a unique idea.”

Beckman got his first job bussing tables when he was 13. His parents, Ed and Gay Beckman, owned several hair salons in the St. Louis area. Todd opened his franchised hair salon in 1984 when he was only 18.

Two years later, Beckman put four tanning beds in the back of his salon. They were immensely popular. It convinced Beckman to buy a small tanning salon in suburban St. Louis in 1994 that had sales of $65,000 in its first year under previous ownership. Beckman’s St. Louis Tan Company—with its innovative membershipprogram—had sales of $57,000 in its first month alone.

Even with two locations, customers were sometimes waiting 90 minutes for a tanning bed. Nine months later, Beckman opened his first superstore in Maryland Heights, Mo., with 30 tanning beds providing multiple levels oftanning. “We’ve been building off it ever since,” Beckman said.

The St. Louis Tan Company grew to 15 locations by 2000. With growing demand for the superstore concept and ever-increasing customer traffic, Beckman decided to franchise his business model and expand outside the St. Louis area in 2001 as The Tan Company. Today, superstores with 20-plus beds and five levels of tanning account for 90 percent of The Tan Co. locations.

“It took someone with an entrepreneur’s attitude like Todd to see the potential in building a brand when there were so many others entering the industry who only wanted to open a small salon,” said Todd Layton, vice president of franchise operations. “Unless you were willing to make a commitment to be the best, as Todd did, it wasn’t going to work.”

Beckman’s business prowess has caught the attention of others, namely Dave “Lags” Lageschulte, who became the first franchisee of the popular Hooters restaurant chain in 1983. Along with his partners, Lageschulte developed Hooters restaurants throughout South Florida and became one of the chain’s most successful franchisees. He is co-owner of the world’s first Hooters Casino Hotel that opened in Las Vegas in February 2006.

In January 2006, Lageschulte purchased a 50 percent ownership stake in The Tan Co., as well as area development rights to Georgia, Virginia, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina. His first location opened in Athens, Ga.

Lageschulte’s involvement not only gives The Tan Co. the financial backing that makes it one of the strongest companies in its industry, but also an expertise in franchising and branding that is invaluable to the company’sfuture growth.

The Tan Co.’s corporate team is literally hands-on when it imparts the importance of brand building to its franchisees. Four members of the corporate staff are involved as owners of 30 of The Tan Co.’s 72 locations.

The Tan Co. offers two salon models: a small store with 12 beds and the superstore featuring 20-plus beds. Both concepts offer five levels of tanning and Mystic Tan sunless tanning.

The initial investment is between $250,000 and $500,000 depending on the model. Small salons average 1,400 square feet in size while the superstores can reach 2,800 square feet. Beckman has commitments from area developers for more than 60 locations.

“In many ways, the tanning industry is still in the mom-and-pop stage,” Beckman said. “Becoming a Tan Co. franchisee means getting involved with a company that is going to be nationally known in the next five years. It’s similar to becoming a McDonald’s franchisee when it had only 70 restaurants.”

With more than two decades of industry experience, Beckman says it is fitting that The Tan Co. is on the fastest growth pace in the company’s history.

“Franchisees are investing in our system,” Beckman said. “Anybody can buy a tanning bed and put it in a store. But we have been perfecting this system for 20 years. It’s an impeccable system that works if you follow it. Now we want to take the best system in the industry and turn it into a nationally known brand.”

If you have a "weird business" or "weird website" you want profiled here and on other blogs, do let us know. If you need a link from this blog, here is how you get one

10,000 Dollar Fine For Bra-Stripping Contest

Beyond Beauty: Cosmetology Business Information and Resources

Monday, June 04, 2007

Free iPod For eBay Users

Just a quick post for those not aware of the latest promotion. Apparently, eBay is giving away iPods for their new clients. As far as I know the offer is exclusively available to US, Canada and UK. So if you are planning to buy anything on eBay any time soon, you'll appreciate this 'heads up'.

How A Student Made Three Million Dollars With A Free CliffNotes Website.

Sam Yagan's first successful business idea came to him in the middle of an all-nighter during his senior year at Harvard. His paper on Hamlet was due the next day, and he was kicking himself for not buying the CliffsNotes version of the play before the bookstore closed. "Why can't a student get a study guide at midnight?" he asked himself, and SparkNotes was born.

The series of free online study guides acquired by Barnes & Noble in 2001 for $3.55 million. At Stanford Business School, a different question, "Why can't online dating be free?" led him to his latest project, OkCupid.

His advice for would-be entrepreneurs: Instead of spending a lot of time waiting for a great business idea to suddenly materialize, get out in the world and ask questions. "If you look at things with a quizzical approach, you're going to uncover a lot of opportunities. A lot of times the answers you come up with are going to be wrong, but if you keep asking questions, eventually you'll hit on the little thing that's not quite right, and go from there."

Man Scarfs More Than 59 Hot Dogs In 12 Minutes

Why You Should Get In Touch With Your "Inner Lazy Ass"

Sunday, June 03, 2007

How To Make A Million Dollars From Accidental Invention

ToddlerCoddler is a specially designed cushion that keeps toddlers' heads from slumping in their car seats. Initially developed for her own kids by Susan Dunk, a friend prodded her to develop the product for market. She and her husband left their first trade show in 2003 with orders for 119 units.

"My mother and I sewed," Susan recalls. "My father, father-in-law and husband stuffed them. My 3-year-old put the labels on. My son knew how to run a tape gun at 4 years old."

They were long days, but manageable. However, when independent retailers started showing interest, she realized she needed help and began looking for a manufacturer to take over production. Her company has now developed several different products and had close to $1 million in sales in 2006. If orders come in from retail giants such as Costco and Target, as expected, that number should jump considerably in 2007.

Duley knew he needed help from the start and sent out 35 bid proposals--15 in the U.S. and 20 overseas to facilities he found online in China, India and South America. While he initially wanted to work with a U.S. manufacturer, that proved to be more difficult than he anticipated. "Every single American company either didn't respond or backed out on the due date," Duley says. "Every international company provided quotes in a timely fashion and suggested ideas to make the manufacturing process more efficient."

Artist Unveils $98M Diamond Skull

How Midlife Crisis Helped Spark A New Business

Saturday, June 02, 2007

How To Make A Living Picking Glass On Beaches

It's Sunday morning, and Louise Rogers is in her usual weekend pose: eyes downcast, strolling meditatively along the beach. She paws at a ribbon of gravel near the low-tide mark and picks up a milky aqua-colored lump the size of a matchbook. She brushes off the sand and issues her verdict: "Coca-Cola bottle. Before 1970."

Rogers, 53, has been collecting sea glass since the age of 6. She logs several miles each Sunday beachcombing New England's coastline with her husband and business partner, Ben. They founded Rogers Gallery, a custom framing and fine art store in Mattapoisett, Mass., in 1978. Seven years ago they added Surroundings, an adjacent home-furnishings and interior-design center. The two ( generated a combined $3 million in sales last year.

When Rogers spies a new shard on a beach, she guesses its age and origin by looking at surface wear and crack patterns. She often finds glass on beaches where town dumps existed centuries ago. Also fruitful are locations hit by violent storms, such as coastal areas flattened by the hurricane of 1938, which leveled Rogers's grandmother's Mattapoisett house. Any Depression glass or patterned china she finds in these areas were probably blown into the sea by that legendary storm.

Even after tossing back any chipped glass that isn't fully weathered, Rogers has amassed a collection of more than a million fragments, sorted by color and housed in dozens of bureau drawers throughout her living and dining rooms. She removes one drawer from a mahogany chest and sets it on the dining room table. It is home to her most prized oddities. In one corner are matching bits of worn Canton china (1785 to 1895), hand-decorated with a blue and white scene. (China and pottery from the sea are also desirable to collectors.) Next to them is one cobalt-blue sea glass swizzle stick, probably from a restaurant in New Bedford, Mass., the city where she found it. (She located a similar one intact at an antique store.)

Rogers picks up her oldest specimens, two intact bottlenecks made of black glass. One, a bottle collector has told her, is from a snout-nosed gin bottle dating to the late 1700s. "People walk past black glass. They think it's just a rock, but it's extremely rare," she says. Next, she rotates a cat's-eye marble between her fingertips. It's from the 1950s, judging by its surface, which is lopsided and etched from exposure to sand and saltwater.

Uncommon colors such as orange and red are her Holy Grail. She also favors glass embossed with identifiable patterns or labels, such as the word "Hood" from the Charlestown, Mass., dairy's milk bottles. All sea glass is becoming less common as more glass is recycled and plastic bottles become the norm.

While sea glass is widely available for purchase - a turquoise piece fetched more than $250 on eBay - Rogers prefers finding her own. Vacations to shoreline destinations feed her collection. Last year she traveled to Peaks Island in Maine's Casco Bay, where she found a china doll's arm. "My first body part!" she says.

She may have countless pounds of glass, but it's clear Rogers enjoys most the thrill of the hunt. "I love beach-combing for the same reason that I love finding new items for the stores," she says. "I love the surprise."

If you have a "weird business" or "weird website" you want profiled here and on other blogs, do let us know. If you need a link from this blog, here is how you get one

How To Make Six-Figure Income With Domain Names

Friday, June 01, 2007

LegalMatch.Com - How To Make Money Bringing Laywers And Clients Together

When Michael Gutman was tired of paying 25 thousand dollars each year for a full page Yellow Pages ad, he thought that there must be an easier way to generate clients.

However, the traditional lead-generation techniques didn't seem to work. People just did not want to call a 1 800 number and leave their contact information.

So he created a LegalMatch system. Anyone can present a case (by answering some simple questions about their legal situation) for free on the LegalMatch Web site without revealing their identity.

Immediately after you present your case, instant e-mail notifications are sent to lawyers in the specific practice area and geographic location you selected. Lawyers then review your case information and where you need legal help, but are not shown your identity until you select an attorney and agree to provide this information. When a match is made, LegalMatch charges an attorney, but the service is ablolutely free to clients.

The best part of LegalMatch system is its feedback mechanism. When presented with a list of available lawyers in the area, one can see how good or bad a particular lawyer is (or rather how happy or unhappy lawyer's past clients were with the service).

LegalMatch has grown into a multimillion dollar business just on this simple idea. And that's an excellent result, no matter how critical of a judge you are.

If you have a "weird business" or "weird website" you want profiled here and on other blogs, do let us know. If you need a link from this blog, here is how you get one

Man Arrested On His 28th DWI Charge ... Pleads NOT GUILTY.

Why You Should Get In Touch With Your "Inner Lazy Ass"