If you want, try using the button below.  I think it lets you call anyone in the US or Canada if you have a microphone and speakers.  If you know my phone number, you can try calling me :)

Small businesses can publish their own phone numbers next to their own buttons like this one, giving potential customers a mind numbingly easy way to call when they otherwise might be too lazy to pick up a phone.

I set this up using Google Voice's handy widget on a tip from Ryan.
This post is for bloggers and small businesses that want to make themselves more accessible than most and perhaps impress their readers.  To make this work, you will need
  • A Google Talk account (gChat within Gmail is fine)
  • A web publisher that allows you to insert custom HTML.  I have done what follows with Weebly and Wordpress, although I imagine Posterous and other publishers allow you to do so as well.
  1. Visit http://www.google.com/talk/service/badge/New (link opens new window) to generate your custom created code.  Copy it.
  2. Paste this into a web editor's "custom html" box.
  3. Enjoy instant accessibility

Just like that, you've got a Google Chat button that allows web visitors to instantly message you as a "Guest" without signing up for Google Chat or any other messenger.  As the poster, you will not know who your reader is since they have not logged in to any accounts.  Likewise, your reader will not know your email address.  The benefit here is inspiring potential customers or readers to reach out when they otherwise might not.

I recognize this technique is more advanced than some other postings but still consider it "intermediate" in that you only need to copy and paste code, not write your own.
UPDATE 10/4/2010: Feedback on this one is coming in fast and furious.  Thanks to Ryan U. for bringing this Google VOICE widget to my attention.
Click here for a tailor-made "starter bundle" of RSS feeds on technology, business, entrepreneurship (and one on the Chicago business scene).

This short post was inspired by a recent chat with a friend which made me realize that my original RSS feed article should have made starting with RSS feeds even easier.

I haven't used Zappos enough to give the service my seal of approval, although I really enjoyed reading CEO Tony Hsieh's Delivering Happiness earlier this summer and am happy to recommend the book.  Special thanks once again to Booth classmate The Vegan Republican for lending it to me!

When I saw this tweet from Booth Thinking about a new article by one of my favorite Booth professors, Chris Hsee, I thought it might be fun to tweet it at Tony, since I figured he would find it relevant.

I wouldn't expect someone with celebrity status like Tony to track their thousands or millions of mentions, but sure enough, he is on top of his stuff.  Tony re-tweeted the Hsee article, giving credit to me for finding it, to over 1.7 million followers.

For those who don't use Twitter but do use Facebook, this is similar to being tagged in a Facebook status post by a guy with 1.7 million friends.  One difference between Facebook and Twitter though, is that Twitter users are much more likely to re-post status messages of interest for all of their friends ("followers") to enjoy.  So if 150 of Tony's 1.7 million followers re-tweet the message with my name, and each has an average of 300 followers, and 50 of those re-tweet again, the message becomes "viral" and circulates widely across the internet.

For those who don't use Facebook, imagine the CEO of a billion dollar company emailed an article to almost two million people and thanked me personally for bringing it to his attention.

Given that some readers coming to my site today might be interested in Behavioral Economics as well as the Internet I am publishing my best paper from Professor Hsee's Managerial Decision Making course for anyone interested.  My paper relates "the twenty dollar bill auction" to the "escalation of commitment" phenomena and links them both to "entertainment shopping" websites like Swoopo.com, and is included below.  To this day I argue that if casinos and lotteries and online poker sites are regulated as gambling, Swoopo should be too.

File Size: 129 kb
File Type: pdf
Download File

The most common question I've gotten since launching Internauts has been: "how did you make your site?  Doesn't that take a lot of time, energy, and money?"  It took an hour or two to set up, the website hosting and design is free, and the adamstober.com domain will be $9 per year starting next year.  It was free this year since I was able to take advantage of a "first-year free" domain promotion.

If you are interested in setting up a simple website similar to this one, read on.

Consider Weebly, the service I am using here which provides the easiest drag-and-drop interface you can imagine--no programming experience necessary.  Other popular options to consider include Posterous, which might be better for sites that only have a blog since you just email them your content, or Blogger.  Since I wanted to have a homepage in addition to a blog, I like seeing the layout before it gets published, and I enjoy the flexibility of being one-click away from adding additional blogs to my homepage, I chose Weebly.

If you would like to customize your web address with a domain that does not include the "weebly" or "posterous" that is included by default, you could test domain availability on domai.nr which is particularly helpful for finding creative domains you would not have otherwise thought of.  This is a better approach than simply Googling your potential domain or entering it into your address bar for the reasons listed here.

Once you have found a domain you think could be worthwhile you will need to secure it at a registrar with a credit card.  While GoDaddy has marketed its way to being among the most well-known registrars out there, I have had phenomenal customer service from 1&1 and recommend using them instead since their recurring prices tend to be a bit lower as well and the offer different introductory promotions every month.

Assuming you use Weebly, you can follow the simple instructions listed on Weebly's site to point your web address visitors to your future site, regardless of who you used to register your domain.  Other build-your-own website services such as Posterous generally provide similar instructions in their FAQ.
If you don't want to sign up for Twitter, don't ignore their search, which might the best place to find information across brands, cities, and up-to-the-minute news.

If you're new to Twitter, congratulations.  I've found it incredibly helpful since I started in late 2009.  First up, new twitter user: go get Tweetdeck.  Or Hootsuite.  Right now.  The Twitter website is lacking some basic functionality that both of those do a lot better.

Next, a starter's guide to those funny signs floating in the tiny Twitter messages:
  • Putting @ before someone's name is like "tagging" someone on Facebook.  So starting a post with @adamstober would specifically address me, making me more likely to see your post, even if I don't follow you.  Saying "adamstober" without the @ means I'll probably miss the message.
  • Using the # "hashtags." flags something to be found more easily in searches.  A public post that says "it's nice in Boston" would be searchable if someone just happens to search for Boston.  On the other hand, "it's nice out #Boston" gets grouped into public posts that are specifically about Boston.
NOTE 8/23/2010: It looks like Weebly lost my original article so this is an abridged, updated version of that posting.

    Adam Stober

    Inspiring novice and intermediate internet users to enjoy the best free or inexpensive products and services all across the Internet


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