The Art of Buying Safely Online

Why do you want to buy online?

You would like to buy online because:

Convenience

  • You do not have to ride to the mall.
  • You do not have to drive around ten blocks to find a parking place.
  • You do not have to jostle around with the crowds in the mall.
  • You do not want anyone following your every move with a hawk’s eye.
  • You do not want some one to convince you into buying, something that you do not need.

Well, I think they are good enough reasons why you would like to get onto the net and go buy something online.

Standard Features of online malls
Most of them are visitor friendly. Let us look at one such Online eMall I came across.

Let us now see how these Online eMall websites are designed.  This is a generic website.  Of course you understand that this site does not exist and it is only for demonstration purposes I am mentioning it here.  Let us call it simply – Online eMall.

The customer-friendly Online eMall website is cleanly laid out. The website name is very clearly displayed on the home page.

A key feature of this Online eMall is, it  offers franchises.  Normally, the franchise’s name appears to your left, right beneath the Online eMall profile. Then you have the navigation bar that indicates the e-franchise home, orders tracking and a tab to invite friends to the site.

Then you see those small folder icons: The name of the folders indicate the contents and within brackets the number of items too. For example the first folder is Beauty and Personal Care and it is displaying 43. When you click on the folder, the column to it’s right displays all those items that fall under the “Beauty and Personal Care” category. Each item has a small picture of the product / service with pricing, availability and probable shipping time.

So, all the visitor has to do is click on the folder on the left, view items that appear on the right, add her choice to the shopping cart, fill the forms and pay, to have them delivered at her doorstep. But before she confirms the order, it is up to her to make doubly sure that she is ordering exactly what she expects.

When the shopping season approaches, the Online eMall  owners will update the site and announce really amazing products and services to it’s customers, at great prices.

Phishing
OK, so what makes you think it is safe to buy online? Haven’t you heard of those who collect your credit details and siphon off monies without you ever knowing about it?

Yes, I have heard about that and read about it too. But then there are always those elements around. All you have to do is take a few precautions and you are better off.

Now let’s see what those precautions are:

FAQ’s
Every online shopping mall would have a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) and a privacy policy. Read them both carefully and if you are convinced that it is a good site and is taking care of your interests go ahead and do your shopping.

Warranties and Guarantees
Check if the the site is offering warranties and or guarantees on the products and services they are offering before you make your purchase decision.

Postal Address
You must take care to see if the postal address of the site is given on the web site. If it is not there, then their intentions are in doubt and I advise you not to do business with them.

Cash
There may be occasions that the company or any individual you are buying from asks for cash, say no. Tell them that you would prefer to pay with your credit card. That way you are protecting yourself from avoidable fraudulant transactions.

Help and Support
There are genuine sellers and are helpful. They would be more than happy to help you with your doubts and queries that you might have. Some of these sites do have a live chat service where you get instant answers. Some of them have Feedback forms for their customers and they always write you back about your concerns.

Search and Research
Use the search engines to learn about the online shopping mall that you are trying to buy from. This would help you learn more about them and you can make a buying decision based on that.

Reviews
If there are reviews left by customers read them. It would give you a better insight about this online shopping mall and how they go about treating their customers.

Return Policy
You should also make sure what their Return Policy is, so that you know exactly what to expect.

RESOURCES
There is this excellent site that tells you how to protect yourself from online phishing scams. Please click here to visit the site.

Happy Shopping!

Note:
This article was first published elsewhere on August 6, 2009 and the site is no more available.  Hence I am posting it here again.

https://web.archive.org/web/20101123150210/http://rightword.blogsome.com

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Ever Heard of Solar Christmas Lights?

Ever Heard of Solar Christmas Lights?

This year Solar Christmas Lights are going to spread the message through out the world that festivals do contribute to making this world go green.   During the festive season Solar Christmas Lights with LEDs are expected to raise the awareness of people about green and clean energy.  Solar Christmas Lights with LEDs will also increase the focus on Solar power and hopefully technologies that are involved in harnessing the abundant Solar energy will get a boost.

What are LEDs ?

Solar Christmas Lights are made of LED’s (Light Emitting Diodes) that consume much less energy than your traditional tungsten filament or CFL light.  They are more efficient compared to the traditional lights that need color filters.

How do they work?

A light sensor when triggered by sun light, activates the solar cells on a controller board, which in turn charge a  battery.  The energy charged battery powers the Solar Christmas Light LEDs.  A bright Sun produces about 1000 watts of energy for each square meter of the earth.  Solar Christmas lights burn brightly for almost up to fifteen hours after a full charge.

Solar Christmas Tree at Rockfeller Center, New York

Energy Efficient

Solar Christmas Lights with LEDs are energy efficient lights with distinctive look.  They are cost efficient and last longer.  Solar Christmas Lights with LEDs do not burn out but fade out over a period of time.  Besides a single bulb fading out in a string does not affect the other LEDs.  The energy savings made compared to the traditional lights is quite substantial.

Lasts Long

Solar Christmas Lights with LEDs work for almost ten years.  This is almost twice the time of the incandescent bulb.

Safe

Solar Christmas Lights with LEDs are safer too. Since they do not generate much heat they are safer to hang on the Christmas trees.   Solar Christmas Lights with LEDs come in durable and sturdy plastic cases and do not break easily.  Hence they are comparatively safer and are less risky especially when children and pets are around.

337 words

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3 Simple Tips To Win Paying Jobs on oDESK

As a professional freelance writer who is interested in building an online freelance writing career, there were times when I used to quite often visit oDesk.  The frequent visits were to check for openings and apply for almost all the potential jobs.  And then I used to get messages like this:

“Hello Anil,

You have not been selected for the job opening ‘ Ghost Writer‘.
* Reason candidacy was ended: Job Opening Expired
from oDesk.(Emphasis mine).The undeniable underlining hope was that it would take me closer to a successful freelance writing career.  I was yet to learn the tricks of the freelancing trade.  I did not know then that I was wasting my time and effort applying for some of those ‘freelance content writing openings’ that were very clearly saying ‘DO NOT APPLY’.  Surprised?  Don’t be.

The signs were all there.  The thing was I did not know how to read all those signs then.  I do not claim to be any wiser now.  But then I think I am better off from where I began working on oDesk, having spent more than 50 productive oDesk hours (you can check my oDesk history) and made some pretty decent money with freelance writing.  It included, website content writing, product descriptions (more about it in future), press release news, ghost writing for employment related blogs, some Internet research apart from other jobs.

Those little known ways that helped me, didn’t they?  So I would like to share them with you so you too can save some time.  You can invest that time in improving your chances of quickly finding ‘paying jobs’ and make some more money.

The First Tip
I subscribed to “Job alerts” a feature that you will find under your ‘My Profile” tab.  Half the clutter is out.

I get my job alerts into my inbox.  The jobs of my choice walk into my ‘inbox’.The Second Tip
When I visit the job posting on oDesk, the first thing even before I read the job posting is, check to see if the ‘buyer‘ is ‘oDesk Verified” for ‘Payment’

If the buyer is not ‘verified’ then you need to think twice before applying.  Is this buyer really serious about the job?  IMHO, I do not think this buyer is either professional or serious.  Out goes this from the list.The Third Tip
I check the ‘Buyer Facts’.  If this buyer became a member and posted this job the same day, this buyer too is ‘out‘.

The reason?  Well, I think this buyer doesn’t need my attention because, this buyer is not willing to tell me how she is going to pay me and when she is going to pay me, if at all she is going to pay me.So, there you have a buyer, who is not “oDesk payment verified” and the ‘oDesk Buyer Facts’ has nothing to tell you, so what would you do?

You love the gig and want to ‘do’ it.  Go ahead.  Be my guest. You can always give this gig a try and may be you will be introducing a great buyer to all of us here at oDesk.

Bonus:
The bonus is you can avoid all those “Candidacy Ended“, “project was canceled“, “Project expired” messages and unnecessary disappointments that keep crawling into your in box.
* With thanks to Brian Clark, the Copyblogger.
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