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Useful website picks

by Art Little

Transmission Digest Magazine
This article appeared in the September 2000 issue of Transmission Digest.

The variety of things I find on the internet never ceases to amaze me. However on the downside, I waste a lot of time browsing websites that either don't deliver or are just plain hard to navigate. This month I will try to save you some time and money by reviewing a few well designed, fun and useful websites that do deliver the goods and I will also show you a way to make some money on the internet.

Let's start by visiting my favorite business site, http://www.score.org/ . The Service Corps of Retired Executives is a nonprofit organization which provides small business counseling and training under a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). SCORE members are successful, retired business men and women who volunteer their time to assist aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners. There are SCORE chapters in every state. Free email counseling is the key feature of the site. On the home page click on "get email counseling". This is a section of the site that allows you to ask any business question you have and receive a free answer via email. Here's how it works. You type in your question and submit it. Next, you browse through a list of councilors and their credentials and pick one. Then you send the councilor your question.

I must admit I was a little skeptical when I first saw this and decided to test it out. I sent questions, that I already knew the answer to, to 4 different councilors. Within 48 hours I had received answers to each question I had sent and they were all correct answers! These retired executives can be a fast and cost effective way to help you in your everyday business and they are only an email away.

Now, let's have some fun. Ever wonder what happened to your high school sweetheart? Well, go register at http://classsmates.com and post a message on your high school message board. This website has the largest alumni directory on the internet with over 8.0 million students registered. Registration is painless and takes lees than five minuets. The registration is free and gives you access to your high school message board, information about upcoming reunions and who to contact. For 29.95 you get a monthly newsletter, you can post then and now pictures and add a link to your website. Another neat feature is their search engine that enables you to specifically search for your friends by name. Classmates.com will also send you an email every time a new classmate signs on. Great way to get in touch and stay in touch with old friends.

Now that you have contacted your old friends, you will want to call them. If they do not live locally, that could get expensive if it were not for http://www.dialpad.com. This website provides free long distance phone calls to anywhere in the U.S. That's right. Free long distance folks. Most websites I looked at offering free long distance require that the person you are trying to call be a member of the website also. They are calling computer to computer. What separates this site from the others is the ability to call anyone. Dialpad.com is the world's first free Java-based web-to-phone telephone service. So, you can call anyone you want. Your friends or business contacts don't have to have a computer or be a member of the website. Registration is simple and you can also sign up for free voice mail while you are there with their partner site http://www.evoice.com. When using this service I find the quality of the calls lacking in comparison to a regular telephone call. It sounds hollow at times and two people can not talk at the same time. In other words, you can't interrupt the person that is speaking. You have to wait until he finishes and then talk. But hey, it's free.

I will wrap this article up by explaining the inside track on how to buy a domain name and make money selling it. We've all heard about the people that bought the domain names of large corporate companies like ford.com, coke.com, ect. and then turned around and sold it for a fortune. This is not as ripe a market as it was a few years ago but, there is still money to be made if you know how to do it. The first thing a company does before they do anything else is establish a domain name for their future website. They do not want to build a website until they know the name is available and they own it. If you own the name they want, they buy it from you.

Here's what you do. If you have a name in mind you can go to http://www.register.com and conduct a search to find out if someone else has already claimed the name. On the home page, all you have to do is type in the domain name you want and click on the "Check it" button. They will conduct the search and tell you if the name is taken. If it is not taken you may purchase it on their site for $35.00 per year. If it is taken you can find out who owns it and try to buy it or use the tool they have called "Domain Fast Find" to help you find another one. Although they are going fast, my advice is to try and get a .com domain name and stay away from the .net names.

If you really want to get into this go to http://unclaimeddomains.com./ and register at their website. Each and every week, thousands of people have their valuable .com names repossessed because of non-payment of their domain registration fee. If InterNIC, the registration authority, doesn't receive payment by a certain date, they repossess the domain name and return it to the pool of available names. For 49.95 a year you will have access to the repossessed names as they become available.

Once you buy your domain names you need a place to sell them and there is no better place than the internet auctions. The best auctions are http://ebay.com and http://amazon.com . Go there and type in "domain names" at the search engine on the home page and see what I am talking about. Some names are selling for as much as $300,000.00.

Alright, now you know how to get fast, free answers to your business questions, find your old friends, get free long distance, and make money in the domain name speculation game. All, without ever leaving your desk. Ahh... life on the Net... ain't it great?

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