Saturday, July 30, 2005
In response to this, I have created a blog for the purpose of chronicling political developments in the Philippines and you can find this at Pinoy Biz on Politics.
Pinoy Business & Life Stories will, henceforth, be devoted entirely to economic issues and articles for entrepreneurs.
I will also come out with a personal blog, which will relate stories about my personal life.
This is an attempt to instill some discipline in my writing.
Friday, July 29, 2005
In anycase, this echoes my sentiments towards the proposed Charter Change.
Roxas: It's the economy, stupid
by TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer, A5
July 29, 2005
IT'S THE economy, stupid.
Sen. Manuel "Mar" Roxas II yesterday added his voice to the growing opposition to the proposed constitutional ammendments, saying the government should instead focus on passing a new budget.
Roxas urged the Arroyo administration to initiated budget deliberation to allow Congress to adopt fiscal measures int he budget to respond to the needs of the 80 million Filipinos.
He stressed that the passage of a new budget was crucial to government efforts to sustain the gains of the tax reform measures passed by Congress last year.
If Congress focused its efforts on constitutional change preparatory to a shift to a federal-parliamentaryform of government, the country might slip back to its "critical fianncial situation" last year, the senator warned.
"In 2004, the country suffered an economic downturn until Congress passed the tax reform measures to rescue the ailing economy," he said.
When she delivered her State of the Nation Address last Monday, President Macapagal Arroyo made no mention of the budget.
Roxas also pointed to the need for the government to take a look at the country's fiscal situation, nothing that there were some indications that the economy was hurting from the current political crisis.
The prices of canned goods, such as sardines and milk, are expected to rise by 15 to 25 centavos as an offshoot of the increase of tin prices in the world market, he said. (Er, Senator Mar, hindi kaya may kinalaman din ang pagbubukas muli nang National Steel Corporation? Mangyaring humingi nang proteksyon ang mga nangangasiwa dito ngayon sa pamamagitan nang pagpataw nang karagdagang buwis sa pag-angkat nang tin? Oo nga pala, kayo ang isa sa mga nanguna at tumulong sa pagpapabukas nang National Steel Corporation diba? HOY! HOY! HOY!)
"The prices of canned goods, such as sardines and milk are heavily dependent on imported materials. Tin can accounts for an average of 27 percent of all canned products' price, but for sardines and meat products, it can go up to as high as 70 percent," the senator said.
If it would insist on amending the Constitution, the government should focus on the economic provisions, Sen. Ralph Recto said.
He said people "might now sway" (Diba?) to the tune of Charter Change (Diba?) if this were limited to political provisions.
"Juan de la Cruz would like to see a linkage between the state of the Constitution and the state of kaldero (pot). Will Charter Change put rice in my pot?" the senator said.
Recto suggested that trade, patrimony and investment issues should be the subject of debates on Charter change, instead of the form of government and term limits of elected officials. (Diba?)
Curiously, Sen. Recto's statement is similar to a statement made by Roxas before he ran for the Senate in 2004, where in he was looking towards Charter Change to introduce economic reforms. Oh! and by the way, Senator Roxas had been for Charter Change from the very onset of his senatorial aspirations, it was another "mantra" he prescribed for economic growth.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
I am done with writing about the politics of this land. I am through with writing about President Gloria, her State of the Nation Address, and the other controversies she is involved in. I believe others can tackle these issues better, though I really like sharing my opinions about Gloria and her follies to anybody who'd care to listen. It is in this sense that I am at time an empty tin can rolling down a rocky hill and unless I wear out whatever credibility I may have (which is not much, I suppose), I better just shut up about it for now.
So if you are looking for commentaries on the state of Philippine politics and other burning issues, please let me refer you to the blog of Joy De Los Reyes, Malaya's Editor in Chief. And if you are looking for interesting stories on tourist destinations in the Philippines, visit Jane Subang' s blog because she's a really good read and a native of Visayas, which happens to be where you can find some of the most beautiful beaches this side of the earth.
I am currently preparing a series of articles on small business loans or so called SME or Small and Medium Enterprise development loans.
When I was still working for Manuel "Mar" A. Roxas II at the time when he was still Secretary for Trade and Industry in 2003, SME development had been something like his "mantra" for economic development and he did push for SME development through SULONG or the SME Unified Lending Opportunities for National Growth. Later on, when I got hired by Luis P. Lorenzo Jr. when he was appointed as Presidential Adviser for Jobs Generation, I encountered the same "mantra" for economic development; but this time, it was being espoused as a means of generating 6 to 10 million jobs.
While I do believe that providing small and medium enterprises with all the help and support they need to thrive is a very good thing indeed, I am also given to certain doubts about the rosy numbers being reported as a way of describing the Arroyo Administration's accomplishments in this area. Perhaps I may be wrong about doubting government figures and while they can always be challenged, proving the figures to be wrong is not only a monumental undertaking -- it also serves no purpose. I suppose, I am content knowing what I know and letting the economic spindoctors spin their yarns.
Regardless of what I think about the government's reports on SME development, there are still a lot of loan programs in the private and public sector that needs to be mentioned in this blog.
After all, if you have decided to go into business, there is a possibility that you might be looking for sources of financing and the drive for SME development had actually made a number of loan facilities more accessible.
My role here is not to endorse one loan program or another but to show you where you can find information on these loan programs. I've been busy looking these things up on the internet and will save you the trouble of having to google them. Needless to say, the next post will contain links and brief descriptions on the websites/webpages that the links point to.
SO WATCH OUT FOR IT!
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
My concerns about the relevance of google ads to my postings has been answered! I don't know why I didn't notice it before, but thankfully I did just now.
The ads that appear when I access my blog through www.pinoybiz.blogspot.com appear irrelevant, but when I look at one post by clicking a particular post on the sidebar under "recent posts" the ads shown there appear to be more relevant.
Thanks Google!!! Sorry for doubting you.
(a short note on blogging as the ads on my page keep promoting blogging, I may as well jot down a few notes about blogging.)
I've been writing this blog for nearly a month now and happily, others have joined me in blogging out their experiences.
It'll be quite obvious that most of my posts are about blogging, earning money through blogs, current events, and occassional news commentaries. I am journalist by trade and not a techie, though at least two techies have visited my blog (Randy Morin and no less than the President of Feedburner dropped by to post a comment on one or two of my concerns).
Hah! Would you believe that, this blog community is really great and if only for the kindness of strangers at Blogspot as well as the entire blogging community, I'd delete my friendster account. (I wonder if friends circle is any better?)
As I had told Jane Subang earlier today through a text message or SMS, blogging makes me feel like a newspaper publisher and it really thrills me no end to find out that my visit counter has logged another 40 or more visits a day.
Yesterday was SONA day, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's 2nd State of the Nation Address, and for some reason I got dozens of visits because of yahoo searches. I kept turning up in searches for "President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo 2005 SONA" because I had posted a couple of commentaries on the SONA. The lesson here is that the probability of getting visits increases when you post something that is related to a big news item and SONA was huge here in the Philippines. The only problem I have is that it didn't produce a lot of click throughs, perhaps the ads weren't relevant. Oh well! Can someone please tell me how to get either higher paying ads or ads that are more relevant to my freshest posts?
I've been advised to write to the people at Google Adsense to request changes in the ads that keep showing up, but I wonder how it would turn out and how often I can ask them to change my ad preferences.
Oh, and by the way, I do have to credit Feedburner for a slight increase in the traffic I am getting. You better sign up with them if you want to get serious about blogging. Jane has promised to sign up after I told her about it. Others will follow too, I suppose.
Right now, I am not so much into blogging for money, but I am blogging as a journalist would chronicle ongoing news events of great importance.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
(While visiting other blogs, I had come upon an ad for credit repair and wondered what it could be. After googling around, I came by an article published in the US Federal Trade Commission website and thought reposting it in my blog would be of help to a lot of people.)
You see the advertisements in newspapers, on TV, and on the Internet. You hear them on the radio. You get fliers in the mail. You may even get calls from telemarketers offering credit repair services. They all make the same claims:
"Credit problems? No problem!”
“We can erase your bad credit — 100% guaranteed.”
“Create a new credit identity — legally.”
“We can remove bankruptcies, judgments, liens, and bad loans from your credit file forever!”
Do yourself a favor and save some money, too. Don’t believe these statements. Only time, a conscious effort, and a personal debt repayment plan will improve your credit report.
This brochure explains how you can improve your creditworthiness and gives legitimate resources for low or no-cost help.
Everyday, companies nationwide appeal to consumers with poor credit histories. They promise, for a fee, to clean up your credit report so you can get a car loan, a home mortgage, insurance, or even a job. The truth is, they can’t deliver. After you pay them hundreds or thousands of dollars in fees, these companies do nothing to improve your credit report; most simply vanish with your money.
The Warning Signs
If you decide to respond to a credit repair offer, look for these tell-tale signs of a scam:
companies that want you to pay for credit repair services before they provide any services.
companies that do not tell you your legal rights and what you can do for yourself for free.
companies that recommend that you not contact a credit reporting company directly.
companies that suggest that you try to invent a “new” credit identity – and then, a new credit report – by applying for an Employer Identification Number to use instead of your Social Security number.
companies that advise you to dispute all information in your credit report or take any action that seems illegal, like creating a new credit identity. If you follow illegal advice and commit fraud, you may be subject to prosecution.
Under the Credit Repair Organizations Act, credit repair companies cannot require you to pay until they have completed the services they have promised.
No one can legally remove accurate and timely negative information from a credit report. The law allows you to ask for an investigation of information in your file that you dispute as inaccurate or incomplete. There is no charge for this. Everything a credit repair clinic can do for you legally, you can do for yourself at little or no cost. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA):
You’re entitled to a free report if a company takes adverse action against you, like denying your application for credit, insurance, or employment, and you ask for your report within 60 days of receiving notice of the action. The notice will give you the name, address, and phone number of the consumer reporting company. You’re also entitled to one free report a year if you’re unemployed and plan to look for a job within 60 days; if you’re on welfare; or if your report is inaccurate because of fraud, including identity theft.
Each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – is required to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. The companies are rolling this out across the country during a nine-month period. By September 2005, consumers from coast to coast will have access to a free annual credit report if they ask for it. For details, see Your Access to Free Credit Reports at ftc.gov/credit.
Otherwise, a consumer reporting company may charge you up to $9.50 for another copy of your report within a 12-month period.
You can dispute mistakes or outdated items for free. Under the FCRA, both the consumer reporting company and the information provider (that is, the person, company, or organization that provides information about you to a consumer reporting company) are responsible for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information in your report. To take advantage of all your rights under this law, contact the consumer reporting company and the information provider.
Tell the consumer reporting company, in writing, what information you think is inaccurate. Include copies (NOT originals) of documents that support your position. In addition to providing your complete name and address, your letter should clearly identify each item in your report you dispute, state the facts and explain why you dispute the information, and request that it be removed or corrected. You may want to enclose a copy of your report with the items in question circled. Your letter may look something like the one on page 6. Send your letter by certified mail, “return receipt requested,” so you can document what the consumer reporting company received. Keep copies of your dispute letter and enclosures.
Consumer reporting companies must investigate the items in question – usually within 30 days – unless they consider your dispute frivolous. They also must forward all the relevant data you provide about the inaccuracy to the organization that provided the information. After the information provider receives notice of a dispute from the consumer reporting company, it must investigate, review the relevant information, and report the results back to the consumer reporting company. If the information provider finds the disputed information is inaccurate, it must notify all three nationwide consumer reporting companies so they can correct the information in your file.
When the investigation is complete, the consumer reporting company must give you the results in writing and a free copy of your report if the dispute results in a change. If an item is changed or deleted, the consumer reporting company cannot put the disputed information back in your file unless the information provider verifies that it is accurate and complete. The consumer reporting company also must send you written notice that includes the name, address, and phone number of the information provider.
If you request, the consumer reporting company must send notices of any correction to anyone who received your report in the past six months. You can have a corrected copy of your report sent to anyone who received a copy during the past two years for employment purposes.
If an investigation doesn’t resolve your dispute with the consumer reporting company, you can ask that a statement of the dispute be included in your file and in future reports. You also can ask the consumer reporting company to provide your statement to anyone who received a copy of your report in the recent past. You can expect to pay a fee for this service.
Tell the creditor or other information provider, in writing, that you dispute an item. Be sure to include copies (NOT originals) of documents that support your position. Many providers specify an address for disputes. If the provider reports the item to a consumer reporting company, it must include a notice of your dispute. And if you are correct – that is, if the information is found to be inaccurate – the information provider may not report it again.
For more information, see How to Dispute Credit Report Errors at ftc.gov/credit.
Reporting Accurate Negative Information
When negative information in your report is accurate, only the passage of time can assure its removal. A consumer reporting company can report most accurate negative information for seven years and bankruptcy information for 10 years. Information about an unpaid judgment against you can be reported for seven years or until the statute of limitations runs out, whichever is longer. There is no time limit on reporting: information about criminal convictions; information reported in response to your application for a job that pays more than $75,000 a year; and information reported because you’ve applied for more than $150,000 worth of credit or life insurance. There is a standard method for calculating the seven-year reporting period. Generally, the period runs from the date that the event took place.
For more information, see Building a Better Credit Report at ftc.gov/credit.
The Credit Repair Organizations Act
By law, credit repair organizations must give you a copy of the “Consumer Credit File Rights Under State and Federal Law” before you sign a contract. They also must give you a written contract that spells out your rights and obligations. Read these documents before you sign anything. The law contains specific protections for you. For example, a credit repair company cannot:
make false claims about their services
charge you until they have completed the promised services
perform any services until they have your signature on a written contract and have completed a three-day waiting period. During this time, you can cancel the contract without paying any fees
Your contract must specify:
the payment terms for services, including their total cost
a detailed description of the services to be performed
how long it will take to achieve the results
any guarantees they offer
the company’s name and business address
Have You Been Victimized?
Many states have laws regulating credit repair companies. State law enforcement officials may be helpful if you’ve lost money to credit repair scams.
If you’ve had a problem with a credit repair company, don’t be embarrassed to report it. While you may fear that contacting the government will only make your problems worse, remember that laws are in place to protect you. Contact your local consumer affairs office or your state Attorney General (AGs). Many AGs have toll-free consumer hotlines. Check the Blue Pages of your telephone directory for the phone number or check www.naag.org for a list of state Attorneys General.
Need Help? Don’t Despair
Just because you have a poor credit report doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get credit. Creditors set their own credit-granting standards and not all of them look at your credit history the same way. Some may look only at more recent years to evaluate you for credit, and they may grant credit if your bill-paying history has improved. It may be worthwhile to contact creditors informally to discuss their credit standards.
If you’re not disciplined enough to create a workable budget and stick to it, work out a repayment plan with your creditors, or keep track of mounting bills, consider contacting a credit counseling organization. Many credit counseling organizations are nonprofit and work with you to solve your financial problems. But not all are reputable. For example, just because an organization says it’s “nonprofit,” there’s no guarantee that its services are free, affordable, or even legitimate. In fact, some credit counseling organizations charge high fees, or hide their fees by pressuring consumers to make “voluntary” contributions that only cause more debt.
Most credit counselors offer services through local offices, the Internet, or on the telephone. If possible, find an organization that offers in-person counseling. Many universities, military bases, credit unions, housing authorities, and branches of the U.S. Cooperative Extension Service operate nonprofit credit counseling programs. Your financial institution, local consumer protection agency, and friends and family also may be good sources of information and referrals.
Reputable credit counseling organizations can advise you on managing your money and debts, help you develop a budget, and offer free educational materials and workshops. Their counselors are certified and trained in the areas of consumer credit, money and debt management, and budgeting. Counselors discuss your entire financial situation with you, and help you develop a personalized plan to solve your money problems. An initial counseling session typically lasts an hour, with an offer of follow-up sessions.
For more information, see Knee Deep in Debt and Fiscal Fitness: Choosing a Credit Counselor at ftc.gov/credit.
Even if you don’t have a poor credit history, some financial advisors and consumer advocates suggest you review your credit report periodically because the information it contains affects whether you can get a loan or insurance – and how much you will have to pay for it.
to make sure the information is accurate, complete, and up-to-date before you apply for a loan for a major purchase like a house or car, buy insurance, or apply for a job.
to help guard against identity theft. That’s when someone uses your personal information – like your name, your Social Security number, or your credit card number – to commit fraud. Identity thieves may use your information to open a new credit card account in your name. Then, when they don’t pay the bills, the delinquent account is reported on your credit report. Inaccurate information like that could affect your ability to get credit, insurance, or even a job.
Sample Dispute Letter
Your City, State, Zip Code
Name of Company
City, State, Zip Code
Dear Sir or Madam:
I am writing to dispute the following information in my file. The items I dispute also are encircled on the attached copy of the report I received.
This item (identify item(s) disputed by name of source, such as creditors or tax court, and identify type of item, such as credit account, judgment, etc.) is (inaccurate or incomplete) because (describe what is inaccurate or incomplete and why). I am requesting that the item be deleted (or request another specific change) to correct the information.
Enclosed are copies of (use this sentence if applicable and describe any enclosed documentation, such as payment records, court documents) supporting my position. Please investigate this (these) matter(s) and (delete or correct) the disputed item(s) as soon as possible.
Enclosures: (List what you are enclosing)
The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit www.ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
(Short news commentary on the tail of a massive news media coverage of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s much anticipated 2nd State of the Nation Address. I am at GMT+8, it is July 26 here and the day after SONA.)
Manila, Philippines – President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s second State of the Nation Address (SONA) finally unraveled yesterday, ending a period of speculation about what she would say before both House of the Congress in the midst of calls for her resignation triggered by shocking allegations of her family’s involvement in protecting big time Jueteng (an illegal numbers game) operators and boiling controversy surrounding an alleged taped conversation which purportedly revealed her hand in rigging the 2004 National Elections with the aid of Election Official Garcillano.
Both controversial developments had caused some to declare the presence of a political crisis, with one side advocating a change in leadership and the other side defending the status quo.
Unlike past SONA’s where the Philippine President, as mandated by the 1987 Constitution, would formally transmit to the Houses of Congress a report on the accomplishments of his/her administration along with plans/programs and the following year’s proposed budget, this year much of the speculation centered around whether or not she would even acknowledge the controversies surrounding her administration.
Previous SONA’s (especially those during the term of former President Fidel Ramos) were patently boring and dry affairs. This year’s SONA had the makings of a blockbuster movie, the continuing drama of a middle aged woman’s desperate bid to maintain her hold on power as her enemies mount plot after plot to unseat her.
The reason I said this is because I had observed that as President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo made her way to the rostrum at the head of the cavernous hall of Congress, thunderous and triumphant music surged and welled up as simultaneous applause erupted and roared from the gallery as if on cue. She projected a weary kind of solemnity, a sense of threadbare grimness that one gets from the old pictures of Japanese stragglers emerging from the boondocks after decades of hiding.
Her eyes were sunk, her cheekbones a bit drawn, and her voice droned like a one note sonata as she emphasized a need for a change in the system of government while touching briefly on the accomplishments of her administration.
On the ear of my favorite newspaper today, an article says that President Arroyo’s 23 minute speech was interrupted by 5 standing ovations and was applauded 33 times – suggesting it had been a success of a sort.
And I wondered why.
At some time after the opening of her SONA speech and the beginning of a passage where she had mentioned the need to shift to a parliamentary form of government as a means of addressing problems of the present presidential system, I had drifted off somewhere else. I saw her lips move and heard her voice, but could not bring myself to understand anything she was saying. Soon, I had found myself drowning in an elegant river of words and banging against boulders of sharp rage which had somehow gotten dredged up by the turbulence of my worried thoughts about an aimless future.
Right now, I realize something so basic that it escaped me. In any attempt to say something meaningful, one’s words should have the power to evoke any kind of connection between the speaker and the listener’s mental reservoir of experiences. That power to evoke a connection is at times highly dependent on the relevance of what is being said to the audience’s interests and in this way, creates real meaning.
Her talk of changing systems of government and a move for federalism was a brazen play for political support from local government units by way of stroking their inflated self-image as competent leaders and spreading wide open the funky but well lubricated possibility for them to Lord it over in the provinces and cities, after gaining executive and legislative powers.
Her talk of her administration’s major accomplishments is an anemic and tepid discussion of intangibles. I’d call them a house haunted with phantom accomplishments dressed up in the flesh of statistics culled from the ephemeral fields of genetically modified data that had been sown in a seed of convenient assumptions and nurtured with a broth of formulas that enhanced and ensured it bore the fruit of politically favorable results – never mind if it was inedible or potentially lethal.
In plain and simple words, all I heard was pure gerbil gibberish, worthy only of being stuck up somebody’s ass and being expelled with catastrophic force, enough to knock the Earth out of orbit.
Her speech makes up for a fine show for the nearly 20 million adult Filipinos (about ¼ of the Filipino population) do not have jobs and are wondering, how on the hell they are going to put food on the table tomorrow.
Saturday, July 23, 2005
I had an impression that a lot of people are wondering what Gloria Macagal Arroyo will say and do on her second State of the Nation Address as a "re-elected" President.
Can we expect another gimmick? Oh, like the three boys from Payatas that figuratively floated paper boats laden with their fondest wishes on the Pasig River in the hopes that the President would somehow fish the boats out of the polluted river and upon reading about their wishes, grant them.
Can we expect more rosy reports on the accomplishments of her Administration? In the Executive Summary of the technical report of her 2004 SONA, Arroyo had even outlined a ten point agenda in the form of an acronym which I cannot forget: BEAT THE ODDS.
What the acronym spells out is "achieving a Balanced budget by collecting the right revenues and spending right; providing Education for all children of school-age; implementing full Automation of the electoral process; building Transportation and digital infrastructure to link the entire nation; Terminating hostilities through a just conclusion of the peace process; Healing the wounds of EDSA 1, 2 and 3; providing Electricity and water for all barangays; offering Opportunities for livelihood and the creation of six to 10 million jobs; Decongesting Metro Manila through railway and road projects and the establishment of new government centers; and, Developing Subic and Clark into the most competitive international service and logistics center in Southeast Asia" (Lifted directly from http://www.gov.ph/sona/default.asp)
On Balancing the budget, I guess Arroyo could be given a passing mark. But we have to remember that the definition of "balanced" gets twisted around a bit. For ordinary people, a balanced budget means there is neither surplus nor deficit.
If there is a surplus, some people could say that the Arroyo simply set the budget too high and drove the revenue collection agencies to snatch up all the money it can from the people, only to tell them later that it wasn't needed. It may seem great to have a budget surplus, but the little knowledge I have of economics and public administration says that it only means the government might have only burdened the people. IN ANYCASE, it is unlikely that there will be a surplus with the much ballyhooed E-VAT snagged at the Supreme Court and unable to produce additional revenues that will most likely fund this year's national budget that came in a few billion pesos shy of ONE TRILLION.
If there is a deficit, then the most likely charge would be the old faithful "THE GOVERNMENT SPENT TOO MUCH AND LOST A LOT THROUGH CORRUPTION!!"
Education. Arroyo's success on the front of public education, which is free education from elementary to highschool, is not measured is measured in logistics and not in the quality of the minds it produces. They're still making a big deal about having increased the number of classrooms, teachers, textbooks, and all. But a high percentage of any public highschool graduate will have the reading and math skills of an elementary level student; don't even ask me about the general knowledge they hold in their heads or how much science they understand.
There are exceptions out there, most of them graduate from Philippine Science High School or Manila Science High School. The rest of the exceptions come few and far between, being on average about less than two or three percent of the population of public highschools.
Automating the electoral process is still very much a matter of the COMELEC getting the machines it purchased for last year's election actually and not virtually ONLINE. Last time I heard, these machines where collecting dust in warehouses somewhere. Why it was mostly unused in the 2004 election beats me.
Transportation. Referring to public transportation which should assume there is a public transportation system in place, but there isn't. Whatever semblance of a public transportation system the Philippines has is pretty much the Metro Rail Transit, Light Rail Transit, and the Mega Tren; seaports; and a new international airport (NAIA3) which for one reason or another has remained closed. I won't even go into detail about the North Luzon and South Luzon train projects.
Let me talk about the Megatren and the MRT, both systems are bogging down. The Megatren slows down, stops and breaks down almost everytime it rains. The MRT is always late, because of one technical breakdown or another.
Terminating hostilities through a just conclusion of the peace process. A few days ago, the Reds have declared that they were not negotiating with the Arroyo government anymore, but that seems par for the course (such talks have been ongoing since the late 80's and nothing has come of it). What this says to me is that the Philippine communists are saying two things: one, Gloria Arroyo has no power to negotiate anything because her administration is crumbling, and two, they no longer recognize her government -- which had been their position from the start, anyway. Peace talks don't stop the killings and attacks, that the only truth there.
Healing the wounds of EDSA. Okay, first she inflicts a gaping wound on the nation's soul and then scurries over with a band-aid in hand. And if recent events are any indication of her success, I doubt she'll stay in power long enough to say she failed. Cory Aquino has asked for her resignation, along with other so called "Moral" leaders.
Electricity costs too damned much in this country and I don't care if even the remotest barangay can turn on an electric light bulb. If you asked me, they're better off without an electric bill which they can't pay for anyway because they are too damned poor! So what is the use of having electricity in every baranggay.
Opportunities for livelihood and the creation of six to 10 million jobs. After firing Cito Lorenzo, who was supposed to be in-charge of "coordinating and monitoring" the job generation program as the head of the hastily created Office of the Presidential Adviser for Jobs Generation and assigning the job to Roberto Tiglao -- who will most likely delegate it to someone elese -- what can we expect her to say? Well, she'll say that they had succeeded in generating hundreds of thousands of jobs, but is there anyway to verify this information? I've seen how they collect the data for the job generation statistics and let me say, they are nothing more than statistics -- numbers, just numbers, derived from assumptions and produced by formulas. Numbers don't lie, but they don't live and breath either.
The SWS recently came out with survey results indicating that 20 percent of the Philippine's adult population was jobless. Of course unemployment figures from the Arroyo administration will most likely be lower, all thanks to an inappropriate definition of employement. Currently, the DOLE is saying that employment is any activity that creates an income, irregardless of whether it can actually support a person's minimum basic needs and whether that person has an income for most of the year. This definition is used in countries and states with a strong welfare system, where the unemployed are given welfare money or subsidies to sustain them while they are without work. It would naturally be in the interest of welfare states (such as the UK, parts of the United States, Australia, Canada and other countries) to reduce the number of unemployed by using a definition as stated above. Used in the Philippine Context, that means beggars in the streets (there are thousands of them) and other such people are actually EMPLOYED. I could shovel horseshit in Binondo the whole day for P5.00 and still call myself employed.
Decongesting Metro Manila is still a lofty ambition, people will still flock to Metro Manila because they're practically eating dirt in the provinces.
Developing Subic and Clark. FedEx is going bye-bye come 2007. Other multinational companies are leaving. Hmmmm! If ever Subic and Clark gets developed as it should, guess which provinces benefit the most? Pampanga, I suppose.
Well, this is as much as I can say about Gloria's SONA. I may be wrong in certain aspects of my assessment. Feel free to disagree with me.
(My wife's special report on the State of the Nation Address will appear here as an entry in my blog. What's different about this piece is that it won't burden the viewer with more interviews with poor (illiterate) people mouthing stuff like "we are poorer now and enduring so much more hardships because of Gloria". She had selected interviews with the so called Silent Majority (no not Linggoy Alcuaz), hardworking people who are out there just trying to make the best out of what opportunities they have but are having a hell of a time doing so in the midst of this political noise. It will be translated from the original tagalog script and will contain a number of anecdotes.)
I've recently signed up this blog with Feedburner.
I am a bit apprehensive as there are some horrid tales of Google Adsense police shutting down accounts that have used RSS services.
If this works well for me, I'd suggest you to follow my lead. Give it a few weeks and the results should be in.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
I have tried but consistently failed to influence the ads that keep showing up on my blog. I tried writing about cameras and some techie stuff, but keep getting ads promoting "earn from home" and "make $20 per click".
Personally, I think these things are great ideas, if they really work. But I haven't tried any of them and so can't really say if they do.
Lately, I've been reading up on freebie link/traffic exchange programs (bravenet.com for one). I pored through Google's policy pages to see if they had anything against such programs and the most I found was a caution against its use because some programs farm out your e-mail address. I really wouldn't mind receiving junk e-mail if only it would guarantee hits of more than a hundred a day or perhaps, a thousand a day.
I've also read up on other ways of increasing your traffic and the means that are most endorsed involve the obvious: writing articles which people will really find useful, writing news articles with really useful new information, and other stuff which involves tinkering with your metafiles. I've tried them but really, there is no sure way to control the results. The best tack I guess is just to make your blog as well written as possible and hope more people will keep logging on.
I usually buy expensive techno-gadgets around Christmas time and this year I plan to buy a digital camera as a present for myself, a reward as it were for being a good boy. Hehehe!
If you want to know what I am considering to buy, here's the list:
Pentax Optio 750Z has 7 megapixels, 5x optical zoom, 1.8 inch LCD screen. Priced around Php40,000
Canon EOS 20D has 8 megapixels, 5fps shooting rate, 9 point auto-focusing system, and ofcourse, you can change lenses. Priced around Php85,000.
Casio Exilim P700 has 7.2 megapixels, 4x optical zoom. Don't know the price yet.
Nikon D70 has 6.1 megapixels, 3 fps shooting rate, comes with a AF-S DX Zoom Nikkor 18-70mm lens and is compatible with DX, D, and G-Type Nikkor lenses. Worth about Php72,000.
What am I going to do with it?
Well, for starters, I plan to start offering my services as a photographer and on the side, I might even join a few digital photo contents. My wife has been telling me that I really have an eye for photography, plus the fact that she needs really good pictures to make oil paintings out of.
The prices are quite difficult to manage though, especially that I am considering to buy a professional camera and not one of those compact generic taiwan made knock offs.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Here's a strange fact about the Philippines, for a country with about two thirds of its 80 million people living in varying degrees of poverty, there are around 10 million cellphones -- that's almost 1 out of every 8 people here.
Even informal settlers (aka squatters, shanty people) have cellphones. And this says something, people in the Philippines can survive with one meal a day but can't survive a day without texting their cellphone buddies.
It is a thriving business here.
You've got your Nokia, Motorola, Siemens, and a host of other brands. Almost any brand at all can be bought, not at a fancy cell phone shop or cellphone service provider, but at simple ordinary KIOSKS in year round bazaars -- like the one in Greenhills, San Juan, Manila. And they are invariably a few hundred pesos cheaper than if you were to buy your phone from a cellphone service provider, but you have to watch out though and make sure they give exactly what you are paying for.
Personally, I am a Nokia fan. I bought my Nokia 6600 last year and I am planning on trading up (yes, in the Philippines, cell phones can be traded up for newer models). I am having a hard time picking between the Nokia 7710, Nokia 6630, and the Nokia 9300. All are pretty good models and as with all Nokia phones, they are all pretty easy to use.
Oh, here's a few more tid bits about text messaging here in the Philippines:
The letter 'K', abbreviation for OK or affirmative, gets sent approximately 12,000,000 times a day. At Php1.00 per message, that is Php 12,000,000 earned by just one cellphone service provider in a day... Divide that number by 56 or 55, and you get the equivalent in US dollars (that should be around $218,000 a day).
How's that for a key word??? Huh! Think about it.
Here are some techniques which I have read about, tried, and found to have some perceptible results (a 200% to 300% jump in my daily hitrate and more or less the same effect on my Google Adsense stats).
Submit your URL to Yahoo and Google. These, of course, are free services so getting listed with these search engines are mostly a matter of luck. Paid services may offer more assurances, but who wants to spend that much money? Really?!
Do this by clicking on these links:
Inrease your page ranking. A simple tip from web programmers and web designers is to make your title, your web page description, and your content more consistent with a single topic. That means, if your title says "Business", your description should carry the same word or related words, and your entries should also carry the same or related words.
Fiddle around with your metafile keywords. There is a simple html hack made for blogger.com templates, find it near the bottom of the page of http://www.pinoyblogger.com/ . Honestly, I have yet to conclude whether this has a substantial effect on my hitrates or not, but used in combination with other efforts to promote your blog, it will not hurt much to try it.
On deciding what key words to use, you can try logging on to http://www.digitalpoint.com/tools/suggestion/ and using their FREE keyword tool, you can see just how many people search for certain words. The higher the number of people searching, the better the keyword.
However, a word of caution, words like "sex", "porn", "girls", and others may have a high number of searches but using them as key words may trigger the Google crawlers to ban your blog or website from their service.
More importantly, this is no guarantee that you'll increase your hit rate or your google adsense statistics substantially. You have to do this in tandem with efforts to increase your page ranking with search engines . To get optimum results, after selecting a key word with a high number of searchers, try searching it one google or yahoo... The closer the ration is to 1:1, the better.... For example, if your keyword of choice has 100,000 searches made for it a day and Google lists around 1,000,000... you may have a 1 in 10 chance of getting clicked through the search engine... This is so far, just a theory of mine.... Test it out, see if it works for you as it has for me....
Oh, and by the way, don't pay for services that promise to get you high hitrates and thousands of dollars through Adsense. Not until you have figured out how they do it and have a reasonable assurance that it will not get you banned from Google Adsense. Otherwise, you may just end up wasting a whole lot of money.
Last note: On Really Simple Syndication or RSS I do not know if this is a safe or unsafe method, but getting a robot to produce entries on your blog is bordering on the fraudulent. It might be effective (as attested to by some) in driving internet traffic to your blog, but it may be doing so in a dishonest way and you know, honesty is always the best policy. Right?
Over the past few days, I’ve been trying to make my blog more searchable in the hopes of increasing the number of page impressions and ad click thoughs.
While fiddling with key words in my blog template’s metafile over the past few days has yielded has increased the number of page impressions, click throughs has not substantially increased.
Wondering about this, I took a look at the content of the google ads on my blog and correlated the days when high click throughs occurred with the degree of relevance the google ads had with my blog entries. What I discovered was that, the more relevant the ads were to my blog entry, the higher the click throughs were. The less relevant they were, the less number of click throughs I got.
The problem with this is that, there are many days when the ads aren’t at all relevant to the blog entries and there is virtually no way to control what google ads will show (they change after a certain number of page impressions), making me thing that it is just too random to be relevant all the time.
One thing that seems necessary at this point is to confine the topics of my blog entries to a narrower topic range. This is either to fit the current google ads or in some way, influence the google ads that do show up.
Also, I have to note that my blog emanates from a specific geographical location, Mountainview California. I wonder if writing on topics which would more or less interest people in California make any difference.
A lot of E-zine articles on search engine optimization strategies have so far suggested this method.
Monday, July 18, 2005
I know, Christmas is still quite a few months away but I already know what gadget I'm going to buy for myself this year: A digital camera!
I haven't decided on the brand but I've narrowed down the list to a couple of brands such as Kodak, Sony, and NIkon.
Chances are, cameras under the 5 megapixel range will definitely drop in price as newer models are introduced later in the year. However, unlike cellphones, prices of digital cameras don't drop substantially within a few months. More than electronic technology, some bank on lense technology to hold on to a price range. It takes about a year or more before prices drop by more than 30%. In fact, there are cameras being sold in the Philippines in the 2 to 3 megapixel range which have stayed above the Php10,000 range (Kodak and Sony, for example).
However, there are almost unknown brands coming in from Taiwan that boast of packing oodles of features and megapixels higher than 6.0 going for less than Php15,000. But that really doesn't get me frothing at the mouth, especially after learning that a number of these cameras had low quality lenses and that their quality was somewhat inconsistent.
The reason why getting a digital camera this year is that I'd really like to share pictures of various places in the Philippines.
Telling you about it through my writings just aren't good enough. I'd like to show you my favorite food places in China Town (Binondo, Manila), my favorite bars (The other office, Big Sky, and other haunts), the faces of famous Filipinos I know personally, and aaah! West Grove, the very posh subdivision developed by Ayala Land in Sta Rosa, Laguna.)
(I'll be writing more about digital cameras in the next few entries, a break as it were from my usual topics.)
I am an absolute nut when it comes to free stuff and finding them on the internet is a cinch.
Games, ringtones, software, graphic art, and loads of other stuff can be had for zip.
According to Overture and Word Tracker, between 100,000 and 165,000 queries a day are made for free stuff:
Word Tracker Overture
free porn 100,825.0 /day free mp3 165,247.1 /day
free games 29,044.0 /day free 107,500.0 /day
And that's just for the United States of America.
Mind blowing isn't it?
Saturday, July 16, 2005
I've recently come across a website faulting Google Adsense for a number of things. On top of what appears to be a litany of complaints are allegations that Google Adsense and Google have arbitrarily witheld payment on a number of accounts, citing disputed invalid click throughs (owners of websites clicking on the google ads on their pages, robots clicking on google ads, etcetera) as the culprit. Read about it at http://russellbeattie.com/notebook.1004557.html
The articles and series of comments/reactions have come from website owners who had received notification from Google that their Adsense checks were cancelled and that meant losing anywhere from a few hundred dollars to as much as a thousand dollars. Getting hit where it really hurts (our bankbooks and wallets) can really get one steaming mad and this was pretty evident in the webpage.
Perhaps the article would appear more credible and objective if the owner of the site had written with more restraint and refrained from using cuss words against one of the people who had played Devil's Advocate in a posted reaction.
I have a number of other misgivings about the article, mostly stemming from the fact that the friend who had sent me the link which brought me to this particular webpage is the kind of person who invariably finds mud puddles at the end of any rainbow (and would probably find a cigarette butt at the foot of the burning bush or spot a typo in the stone tablets of the ten commandments). (Hi Laurence Dacanay, my golden goat!)
Not that I have any reason to doubt that Google either can or has in fact witheld payment on a number of accounts because of allegedly invalid clicks. It is a safeguard against those who either have tried or are bent on trying to earn money through Google Adsense using fraudulent means.
What I do tend to disbelieve is that Google would do so in order to cheat people out of money that was fairly and legally earned. If that were the case, more and more people would most probably stop subscribing to Adsense -- there are other affiliate programs out there.
Furthermore, any kind of safeguard and any system used to police the users of Google Adsense will have certain weaknesses, flaws, and drawbacks. These things are often a balancing act between keeping Google Adsense users happy and making certain Google doesn't get cheated out of revenue.
And believe it or not, there are people out there (possibly tens of thousands) that are trying to make money by finding ways to exploit certain soft spots in the Google Adsense system. Would it benefit Google Adsense users if Google decides to cancel the Adsense program because it had suffered substantial losses due to fraudulent click throughs? I am betting that a lot more people would lose rather than gain from this development.
I haven't closed my mind to the possibility that there are instances where Google may have been unfair in a bid to protect its interests. I have only read one webpage on it and if you care to point out a number of others which you find, just drop me a link on the comments section of this entry.
At most, after ignoring the very emotional tone of the two dozen or so people who wrote that negative tirade against Google and Google Adsense, this was enough to bring a number of things to my attention: I shouldn't click on my own ads and you shouldn't too.
Out of curiousity, I've clicked on my ads before and I am wondering if it'll have any effect. If my Adsense cash gets witheld, I will probably have a number of good ideas why and I'll happily write it off to experience. So, for the mean time, let's get blogging!
Friday, July 15, 2005
I've been visiting a couple of websites trying to find out about the business of driving traffic towards this blog but still stay within the parameters of Google Adsense.
Believe me, there are some bloggers who say it is a business (not a hobby) and there are actually websites that propose the use of blogs as a business tool -- calling it a business blog.
Then there is this interesting article by a Filipino columnist, Tony Lopez, entitled "A Blogging Offensive" and here, he basically points out instances where blogs were used as a means to pressure collossal corporations (he cited Microsoft, among others) into acting on customer complaints. Lopez had even went so far as to suggest that it might be possible to use blogs to exert similar pressure on Filipino companies. If you want to read more on that article its at http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2005/may/13
(Just reconnect the link above, it's so long it is interfering with my layout.)
Well, Mr. Lopez, if what you say holds true, president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo should be vacating Malacanang some time soon as there are hundreds of blogs coming out with countless entries on her alleged involvement in election fraud (Hello Garci). Then again, that may be hoping for too much.
I made a Google Search using the words "Filipino", "Philippine", "pinoy" and "blogs". Depending on a number of combinations and varying search parameters, the number of blogs closely or remotely associated to the word "Filipino", "Pinoy", and "Philippine" number only in the thousands. So, I am left wondering how many of these blogs tackle political topics and if these blogs can really exert the needed pressure.
It's not enough to blog a cause, effort must be exerted to get people to read the blog. Then again, this is assuming that the cause oriented blog is actually well written and moving.
Two blogs that are really worth reading through is Philippine Commentaries at http://philippinecommentaries.blogspot.com/ and Sunshine Philippines at http://sunshinephilippines.blogspot.com
Thursday, July 14, 2005
I've recently gotten around to actually surfing the internet to find out about Sensecash and other systems which promise to boost your earnings from Google Adsense and other affiliate programs.
The ads are all interesting to read through and even without divulging how they do it, they already give a few hints as to how it is done. I wish I could find out but I don't have a Visa or Master credit card or a Paypal account, if I had just one of these things I surely would gladly pay my way to learn how to make my blog earn more dough. Honestly, I really think it would be worth the look. After all, blogging has become somewhat of a passion and it wouldn't hurt to find out if there really is a way to make more money out of it.
Randy (a fellow blogger from Canada) was nice enough to give me some encouragement after I had gotten some heavy flak after telling a couple of my friends here in the Philippines. The biggest thing here is friendster (that is, of course, apart from pornsites, chatrooms, and online gaming) and the bad thing about this is that, for a country with a lot of poor people, you can find internet shops filled to bursting with snotty nosed kids trading in cash for internet time. That's good money coming out of poor people's pockets and flowing into the internet cafe operator's cash register. It's really a weird situation.
During hard times, Filipinos -- it seems -- are more likely to buy (or in some cases steal) things that will temporarily get provide them a sense of escape.
But, then again, there are some enterprising people who actually use friendster and chatrooms in quite a clever way... There are girls and boys who put on a "show" (baring their bodies to a webcam) for prepaid cellphone credits; there are cyber pimps (would you believe it) that stake out chatrooms to offer girls (and sometimes your drug of choice), meetings are arranged discreetly and payment is strictly in cash; and there are, of course, legitimate businessmen who hawk everything from cellphones to Multi-Level Marketing businesses (I have to admit, I was among many who tried doing MLM on the internet).
Hawking hard goods on the internet, to say the least, was an exercise in futility... Sure, I got a lot of inquiries and one of them turned out to be an absolute wacko.
While trying to get prospects for an MLM business deal, a woman who introduced herself as a doctor had asked to set an early evening meeting at an expensive restaurant at a new and very posh mall. She said she would be coming with a few friends who had also read my posts on an online classifieds bulletin board. So, after talking to her on the phone and ending up thinking that she was an okay prospect, I agreed to meet her.
I came 30 minutes early, as it is my habit to do on such occassions. Thinking I had time to kill, I ordered my favorite dark lager beer (priced 5 times higher than if I had bought it at the grocery) and a serving of broiled mussels (priced 10 times higher than if I had jumped into Manila Bay to pry them off the breakwater rock piles). About 5 minutes to our appointment, I received a frantic call on my cellphone from the Doctor telling me she was just outside the restaurant and that if I wanted to have a meeting with her, it would have to be at another place because her estranged husband was stalking her. It raised my eyebrow, but seeing her through the restaurant's glass door and noting that she really did look distressed, I readily agreed.
After settling my bill and meeting the doctor at the door, we walked quietly for a couple of meters and before I knew it, we were sitting face to face in a dark bar. Her face was barely visible in the glow of the scented tea candle flickering on the badly scratched table between us, but I could see that it had lost the distressed look I had seen earlier. We ordered things to drink and a plate of some grilled seafood (which was mostly green bellpeppers plus a hint or two of what seemed like calamares and fishballs).
Then, just a second before I could say my first word, she got up, screamed half a dozen invectives (unprintables) and ran out the door.
I took my time finishing my beer under the glaring gaze of the other patrons in the bar, somehow my balls had jumped from their sack and up into my throat.
I have, since, quit trying to get my prospects from internet forums -- it's simply much too much of a risk to my health.
So, in that respect, blogging under Google Adsense's affiliate program makes for a better source of extra income.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
How to create a blog that earns money (part two)
The most basic requirement for creating a blog with blogger.com and registering it with Google Adsense is an e-mail address. If you don’t have one, get one – make sure it is your very own.
These instructions have been written assuming that you are using Microsoft XP with an Internet Explorer.
Step One: Registering with blogger.com and creating your blog.
Click this link or cut and paste it on your browser: http://www.blogger.com/start
After clicking this link, you should be seeing the homepage of blogger.com, it has a set of instructions on how to create your blog. Just follow these instructions.
After following the instructions and setting up your blogger.com account, you will find yourself on the ‘dashboard’ page. Click “Create Blog” and follow the instructions.
Once your blog has been created, it will show up on your dashboard, click it and you will be brought to the “editing” page… on one of the tabs, you will see “View Blog”… you should click that… After clicking that, your blog will appear, look at the “address bar” of your browser and it will be displaying the URL (uniform resource locator) such as http://pinoybiz.blogspot.com/, you should right click on this and left click “copy”
Step Two: Registering with Google Adsense
Open a new window
Type this in the address bar or just click it: www.google.com/adsense and click GO...
You will be brought to the Google Adsense home page, click “Sign Up” and follow instructions.
You will eventually be brought to a page requiring you to fill in details such as your name, address, etcetera… fill those up properly… when you reach the page that asks for your URL address, right click on the empty data field and left click paste…
Fill up the rest of the required data fields as appropriate.
Google Adsense will then tell you to confirm your application by clicking on a link sent to your e-mail, so go to your e-mail account, open it up and then look for the e-mail from google ad sense, open that up and click the link they sent you.
It will take 24 to 28 hours for google adsense to approve your account.
Step Three: Pasting Ad Codes to your blog template.
Open two Internet Explorer Windows, one should be for Google Adsense and the other should be for blogger.com... this is something you have to do in order to facilitate the cut and paste process.
Log in to Google Adsense and blogger.com
In the Google Adsense window, navigate to the page AD SETTINGS. Here you will find headings like: AD TYPE, AD LAYOUT, COLOUR PALETTES, ALTERNATE URL, ETCETERA... sa pinakababa makikita mo ang Ad Sense Code mo, ito ang kina-cut and paste... (as you may have already found out)... Anyway, make the proper selection of the kind of ad you want to cut and paste (the options are strictly for the dimensions of the ad. Kung bilang header and footer nang blog entree, choose dimensions that are no bigger than 254 pixels wide and 90 pixels long kasi mami-misalign ang layout mo. For the sidebar -- ito iyong space under your profile, choose the skyscraper)
Once you've made your selections (using the options sa AD SETTINGS) go to the bottom of the page, click at the ad code, and right click copy...
Sa DASHBOARD naman nang blogger mo, click on the title of your blog and then go to template. Makikita mo ang template nang blog mo and it is shown in HTML code... The first few paragraphs show you the page properties which give instructions for the look of the webpage (background colors, dimensions of the mainpage, sidebars, etcetera)... Near the middle hanapin mo ang part which says: HEAD
This is the beginning where all the copy goes into, such as the copy for the header, blog, sidebars, etcetera...
If you want to put an ad sa head nang blog entree, to appear only on the header of the top most or most recent entry, put your ad code after the line that says:
If you want to put an ad sa footer nang blog entree, to appear only on the footer of the topmost or most recent entree, put your code before the line that says:
If you want to put an ad sa side bar (where your profile appears), choose an ad that is narrow and long (90 to 120 in width, if you get something wider than this, misaligned na ang layout mo)... and the best part to put it is just below your the heading ARCHIVES... so you have to paste it below the line that says "sidebar"
Then, after you have made changes to the template of your blog, you have to SAVE the contents and then PUBLISH or REPUBLISH the entire blog... para lumabas ang changes...
Google Adsense policies state that you should not post more than three ads... Itong mga instructions ko approximate the so called Hot Zones based on the google adsense tips...
I've told a lot of friends about blogger.com and Google Adsense, actually raving about it to them and telling them how great it is. But then, an old friend had to say something about it that dampened my enthuasiasm a bit, but at the same time (and this is more important) clued me in to the fact that I need to at least strive for some objectivity.
So, what you have here is a mind-setting piece, something to consider before going whole hog into putting your efforts in blogging with blogger.com and earning money through Google Adsense.
I’ve probably written this more than once by now but I am by no means an authority on the matter of Blogs or on the matter of making money through the internet.
So, feel free to stop reading this entry and switch to another website or blog – please don’t let me waste your time.
As for those of you who really want to find out what this is all about, let me begin by telling you about the few things that I do know about internet based income earning schemes.
You’ve all probably received e-mail with subject headings such as “Make money from the internet”, “free cash on the internet”, and others. If you haven’t, let me tell you that there are such schemes being hawked electronically either via e-mail or via postings on electronic bulletin boards, forums, and newsgroups
These internet income earning schemes come and go like rashes. I can only guess that there are thousands of these schemes being proliferated through the internet and I’ve tried only two of a type which I figured was easy enough to do apart from having the highest probability of paying up.
I failed to earn money from the internet income generating schemes I tried, not because the schemes I entered were merely hoaxes meant to create internet traffic for a number of websites but because they simply required too much time and effort to do. After all, what I am after is just an extra source of income, not a full time occupation.
To give you the short version of the story of one particular internet income generating project, let me tell you about the case of a website reviewer. This internet income generating scheme is free for joining (meaning you don’t have to pay a single cent to register and start earning), it offered a number of “jobs” which paid varying fees set depending on the type of job, and on top of that, offered a referral reward for people who successfully get other people to join in the scheme.
I joined with the intent of participating with the lowest level jobs and that was to do website reviews as well as getting others to join in the scheme. The other jobs required E-Bay registration and a credit card account, which to me presented a steep barrier to entry.
At first, it did not occur to me how difficult it would be to earn enough money to make it worth my time.
I am a fairly fast reader and I can write about any topic, producing several copy proofed pages in less than 15 minutes.
Making website reviews would be a walk in the park.
I figured I could write more than 20 reviews (each with a length of 9 sentences) within 45 minutes or less, depending on the speed of my internet connection and the topics involved – some need researching, especially when they are tied up with a certain locality or country.
The website reviews paid .15 US cents per approved website review, so, in my mind I figured this would give me about $3.00 a day. If I did it twice a day, this could earn me some $6.00 a day.
All together not a bad deal, considering the Philippine Peso/Dollar exchange rate was around Php55.00 to a dollar. That would net me around Php330 for less than two hours work and that’s a good deal, especially in a country where the minimum daily wage in its largest city is only around Php250 to Php300 or a little under $6.00 a day.
But here’s the hitch, the website review scheme only gave out a maximum of 3 jobs a day. Moreover, the website reviews could only pay out earnings when they reached $20.00 and this would be remitted through either Paypal or IKOBO. Remitting through either payment systems would mean a transaction fee would be deducted from my pay. In the case of IKOBO (which services people outside the US), the initial transaction fee would entail a deduction of $5.00 to cover the cost of shipping my IKOBO card and an additional $2.00 or $3.00 as a transaction charge.
Under this set-up, it would take me 133 days to earn $20.00 and this would result in a net pay (gross pay minus expenses) of $12.00 to $13.00 which is, of course, simple not my kind of deal.
In short, I stopped after writing my 14th website review and quit referring people to their website.
Now, I am telling you about this for two reasons:
One reason is to warn you about the realities of some of the schemes that may be out there. I wouldn’t blame you if you turned up your nose on so-called ‘Free Internet earning schemes’, they’re free all right… but earning is another matter all together.
The second reason is to lead you to entertaining the right mindset when it comes to these “Free Internet earning schemes” and that is, you shouldn’t expect too much from it in terms of actual money. Well, at least, not at first.
As for blogger.com and Google Adsense, both websites/pages explain the earning scheme adequately. (This earning scheme has been referred to as an “affiliate program”)
But the simpler version of the explanations they’ve offered is this:
Every time somebody visits your blog and clicks on an ad, you earn a few cents.
The amount paid out varies and I think this has something to do with the ratio of page impressions to clicks. However, this explanation is not at all consistent in a case where I had earned more from 100 page impressions/visits and less than 10 ad clicks – with a ratio of 10:1 or 10%, compared to 2 page impressions/visits and 1 ad click – with a ratio of 2:1 or 50%. May be I am reading this wrong.
What is clear to me, however, is that you earn more money as more people visit your website and a high number of those visiting click on your ads. The ideal ratio would be 1:1 or one visit resulting in 1 ad click, but perhaps even a ration of 4:1 or even 8:1 would not be all that bad.
Google Adsense, however, cautions that it is against their policy for people to make arrangements with other people to arrange visits to their website for the purpose of clicking their ads – then again, how would they know?
One critic, and I forget where I read his article, says that affiliate programs such as the one offered by Google Adsense and blogger.com shouldn’t be thought of as a means to make a living – in short, don’t try to make it into your bread and butter. The critic goes on to say that the rules of the system have been crafted in such a way so as to discourage its use as a main source of income. He even goes on to demonstrate that only page impressions and ad clicks in the magnitude of tens of thousands would be sufficient to generate an income of more than $100 a month – an amount which he figures would be worth the trouble.
The critic also pointed out, that as a means of helping defray the cost and as an incentive to bloggers, the affiliate program may not prove itself so readily as a source of substantial revenue. But, he ended his piece by saying that as with all endeavors, the final results are still up to the person engaging in this pursuit and there are rewards for those who make the best out of opportunities that come their way.
So, at this point, you may be wondering what my stand on all this is.
My stand is this, if you are already into blogging and would blog away for free anyway, registering for an affiliate program won’t hurt you and at most can even bring you a windfall at some time in the future – but only if you work hard at coming up with content that proves useful or interesting to other people.
The plus side to blogging with blogger.com under the Google Adsense affiliate program is that unlike other internet earning schemes:
- it doesn’t require too much time or work to do and in fact, it is something you can attend to when you feel like it
- you can leave it alone for a while and still earn something
- you can hold off payment until such time that the amount of money accrued to your Google Adsense account is large enough to buy you something you really like.
My next entry will be a step by step guide on how to register with blogger.com and how to register with Google Adsense.
Over the past couple of days, I have been telling my friends through text messages, online forums and newsgroups to join www.blogger.com then register their blogs to Google Adsense www.google.com/adsense/ to earn some money from blogging.
Perhaps I had been overly enthuasiastic as I am with most good news I come by and two of my friends have asked me if I had already earned money from Google Adsense or if I knew of somebody who did.
All I could honestly tell them was that I hadn't earned anything yet or knew of anyone who did, but this does not necessarily mean Google Adsense is a hoax or a scam. I appealed for a bit of fairness and patience on their parts as I had only recently started this thing with Google Adsense. Rather than point out the non-sequitur, I explained that if they visited my blog they would be helping me prove or disprove the claims made by Google Adsense. Trying is the best way to find out, especially in this case where they don't have to shell out any money in the process.
It occurs to me the Google Adsense and Blogger may be using this earning arrangement to promote their services, e.g., to drive up traffic to their websites and in so doing, drive up their revenue. In the process, they may actually be earning more from your efforts (perhaps to cover the cost of putting up the service and earn some profit) and if that is okay with you, then it might as well be a fair arrangement. There is nothing wrong with that but only as long as they actually pay up when people actually perform what is required to earn money from them.
As with all human endeavors, there are detractors and I had stumbled upon a website that did say something against "affiliate programs" such as Google Adsense. In essence, they said that affiliate programs are no good as a main source of revenue as it requires you to build up traffic in the tens of thousands in order to earn something like $100 or more a month. Now, getting internet traffic in that volume for a blog is not at all impossible as reading up on top bloggers in the blogger.com dashboard will suggest it is. However, one must really think up of and post content that will create that traffic. Give people a reason to read your blog and give them a reason to tell others about it so more people will visit your blog.
The way I see it is, if you are already blogging and already have a following, getting into an affiliate program won't do you any harm and might just bag you a windfall. If you aren't a blogger yet but are part of a newsgroup or forum, getting a blog with an affiliate program may do you some good as it has the possibility of earning you some money for your troubles in the process of nurturing your contacts with other people.
Well, it's really your choice and my advise, as with all my other advise, is well intentioned. I do not foresee any risks as far as this deal is concerned, all it requires is your time and a few spare brain cells you haven't killed yet.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
There are a few people that I have learned to admire over the years and there are even fewer people whom I regard as a mentor in one fashion or another.
One such person is Flor Malong. There are a lot of titles to describe what he has done over the past 40 years, titles like Merchandising Manager, TV Director, Media and Marketing Consultant, entrepreneur, trader, and others.
In recent years, he had gone into all sorts of businesses to augment his income as a freelance TV Director and On-Cam host of a number of TV shows. It was easy for him to make money off deals such as promoting a product or service, reaping commissions from the sale of the items he was endorsing.
About two years ago, he had stumbled upon a business deal that initially had him realizing net profits of 20% a month.
The business had to do with the highly discounted prepaid cellphone cards.
These cellphone cards were a means by which call and text messaging credits could be loaded to prepaid cellphone accounts. Normally, this would sell for denominations of P100 to P1,000 and the business deal that Flor stumbled upon allowed him to buy cards at 20% to 30% below the usual retail costs of the prepaid cellphone cards.
Anyway, after making some money out of the business (which was conducted strictly on a Cash on Delivery basis), friends inquired on how they could also get into the business he was in.
Flor explained the risks and how much it would cost them. His friends studied it and decided to get into the action with him. Soon enough, because of their pooled investments, they were able to make more money. This lasted for a number of cycles of buying and selling the prepaid cellphone cards.... Then the unthinkable happened...
After handing over more than P3,000,000 in cash for the purchase of several boxes of prepaid cellphone cards, the seller who recieved the cash bade leave saying that she had to go to the comfort room as she had certain bowel movement problems... It was a bit unusual but Flor, thinking he was after all in the woman's office and that there was nowhere else she could go, casually let her leave the room they were in with the cash.
Thirty minutes later, the woman had not yet come back with the cellphone cards... After going out of the woman's office and asking other people in the same office where the woman went, he realized that the woman had already gone... Fleeing with the cash.
Flor was in deep trouble and upon informing his friends of the terrible misfortune, he soon found himself being threatened with law suits.
Although he was certain that he was in the clear as far as legalities were concerned, he made a promise to his friends that he would replace what they had lost in the deal if only to preserve their friendship and beyond that, his good name.
So he sold his prized imported European cars (a Volvo and a BMW), 3 condo units where he had hoped to relocate his office in, and several other assets that he owned. With the sales proceeds, he paid off most of the money his friends had lost. He still owed his friends more than P1,000,0000... but he promised to pay the balance bit by bit.... He has kept to this promise to this day, regardless of having to live on much less than he was accustomed to.
Times are hard and money is getting harder and harder to come by as there are fewer and fewer TV Directing jobs or projects coming out... But the man is doing everything he can to repay all his debts.
Its easy to talk about keeping one's honor and protecting one's good name until you find yourself having to endure what this guy is going through these days.
This is why I regard him as my mentor, because what he is doing right now is something everyone should learn from....
Monday, July 11, 2005
A British friend had recently e-mailed me, telling me he was on his way to the Philippines and asked me if I could show him around.
Great! You can count on me. I e-mailed him back.
In the course of the next couple of days he kepted on hinting that he wanted to visit the REAL Philippines and of course, by REAL I had thought he wanted to see life in the rural areas.
So, when he finally arrived and got settled into his hotel, I took him on a couple of short trips. We went to the usual places (by usual, I mean places where most foreign tourists end up going whether they want to or not)... I took my Brit friend to Subic, Tagaytay, Baguio, Puerto Galera, and a host of other places in Luzon (one of three largest islands in the Philippine Archipelago).
I grew a bit concerned because as the days wore on, he seemed more and more fidgetty, more bored. I kept asking him what the matter was, but he kept on insisting -- in that very cool British accent -- that things were quite all right.
Of course, that kind of response only got me more concerned and I kept on asking. It was on his last week in the Philippines that he finally relented and told me that he wanted to see 'Grand Inihaw'... I had to grab at the back of a chair inside his hotel room to keep myself from rolling on the floor with laughter.
Grand Inihaw! Is probably one of the seediest strip joints in Metro Manila, next only to Takusa, Kulasisi, and Amihan (formerly named Grand Bingwit, if I remember correctly).
Imagine, travelling all the way from the UK just to drink beer and watch a bunch of Filipinas (some of them are actually quite homely) strut their stuff on a rickety stage.
Not wanting to disappoint the guy (who had been my classmate when I was in elementary here in the Philippines), I took him to Grand Inihaw which is at Welcome Rotunda which marks the boundary between Manila and Quezon City along Espana boulevard.
I had my misgivings about it. It makes me feel sort of disappointed that my country is quite well known for its stripjoints, brothels, and prostitutes.
Upon entering the place, my British friend picked a table with a wide view of the darkened recesses of the strip joint. After a few beers, he asked me to get hold of one of the so called Floor Managers (the older women who usually act as go betweens for customers who may want to get a girl to sit with them at the table).
So, the floor manager and my friend talk for a while. Expecting that some girl would later come to our table, I freed up a seat.
But instead of the usual scantily clad dancer, a much older woman took the seat beside my friend. I swear, the woman was old enough to be my friend's mother.
I was quite surprised at the sudden familiarity they had with one another. Holding hands, embracing one another -- but not in an amorous kind of way. They looked like two dear old friends meeting after so many years of being apart.
Seeing that I was a third wheel, I bade my leave.
The next day, my British friend called me to tell me that he really appreciated what I had done.
I brushed it off, saying that was the least I could do for him and so on.
Then in a stern, serious voice he said, "Really, I have to thank you. Without your help, I wouldn't have found my way to Grand Inihaw and locate my mother. She had left me and my father a few years after we went back home to the UK. I'm staying for a while to get her papers processed and I am taking her back home with me, it's my father's dying wish."
I never get tired of telling this one story.
The real website pinoybizonline.com will be up and running within a couple of days.
The content is shaping up nicely and so are the great services.
If you are wondering about how it will function, click on this link to find out.
This is a precursor, as it were, of the real thing.
Good luck and God Bless!
I am tired of the way things are happening in my country.
I live in a third world archipelago near the equator South of China and as much as I try to say good things about it (and there are a lot of good things about this country), I can't help but clam up everytime somebody tells me things are only bound to get worse.
What is tragic is that I haven't given up yet. Not by a long shot.
I suppose the root of the problem begins with my countrymen and the leaders they choose to follow.
My countrymen are some of the hardest working, highly skilled, and best educated bunch of people you can ever find. And it is only too bad that they allow themselves to be treated in such a despicable way.
Sunday, July 10, 2005
The events on July 8 didn't precipitate the downfall of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Well, not yet, I suppose.
More and more calls for her resignation have come in.
The Liberal Party, which had been part of Gloria's political coalition, has bolted out but not without ranklings from its other leaders. LP President, Senator Franklin Drilon had led calls for Gloria's resignation (when only a few days ago had accompanied the President during her visit to Iloilo and rallied local executives saying that in Iloilo she would find all the support she needed.) The Liberal Party Chairman, Manila Mayor Lito Atienza, had drubbed Drilon's ouster call saying that thousands of Liberal Party members had not been consulted about and much less agreed to call for the President's resignation.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer today runs a front page article (below fold) saying that Drilon had infact been behind the so called Malacanang Palace Coup -- referring to the resignation of ten of Gloria's cabinet officials led by Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima.
This goes deeper as Purisma was said to have confided with Drilon, on a number of occasions, matters regarding the administration. In anycase, as you would recall in an earlier post, I had pointed out that Sen. Mar Roxas had infact named Purisima as his replacement in the Department of Trade and Industry (the first appointment Purisima had before eventually being re-appointed to the Department of Finance). Both Roxas and Drilon are members of LP, both reputably have strong ties with the Ilonggos (people from Iloilo, long considered to be a major "voting block").
Also in the frontpage of the Philippine Daily Inquirer is an article with the headline (sic) "FVR factor makes GMA hang(s) tough" which apparently makes a big deal about the "timely' visit of former President Fidel V. Ramos to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on July 8 -- the day when the so called Hyatt Ten made public their calls for Arroyo's resignation. It is not know exactly how former President Ramos can assure Gloria of her continued hold on the Presidency, but it can be speculated that Ramos could still rally the military to stay with Gloria -- a crucial factor as evidenced in the January 2001 uprising where then AFP ChiefAngelo Reyes (now DILG Secretary) withdrew support from Estrada and forced the former President to vacate (literally) Malacanang Palace.
Friday, July 08, 2005
Political tensions are still on the rise, with the future leadership of the Philippines being a subject of much speculation and political uncertainties being everyman's staple -- along with inflation and unemployment.
My wife, who is a reporter for ABC5 here in the Philippines, just texted me that 10 cabinet members had asked President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to resign. Radio reports have named a number of them, including DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman, Budget Secretary Emilia Boncodin, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, and Trade Secretary Juan Santos. Others include Education Secretary Butch Abad, Guillermo Parayno of BIR. This follows the earlier resignation of Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap.
In a statement read by Finance Secretary Purisima (former head of SGV), in a statement read before the Press at the Hyatt Hotel along Roxas Boulevard, in essence, called for Arroyo's resignation, that her continued stay in the office shunted economic development and debilitated the economy, it called for Vice President Noli De Castro to assume office -- as mandated in the 1987 Philippine Constitution.
At around 8:00 PM July 7 (last night), President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo had announced that she had asked all her cabinet members to quit. This fueled speculations that Arroyo had made this announcment to pre-empt a formal press conference by 10 cabinet members to announce their resignation today July 8, where the cabinet members would also make public their calls for the President's resignation.
Just now, a radio news report based on a undisclosed source says that the Cabinet Members clarified that their resignation was not a courtesy resignation. They said that they were fired.
Police and military have been placed on full alert.
Former 2004 Presidential Candidate Brother Eddie Villanueva had just a few days ago, that based on a very reliable source in Malacanang, President Arroyo would announce her resignation on Monday (July 11). This is supposedly to coincide with the Catholic Bishop's and Businessmen's Conference's call for the President to resign.
MORE TO FOLLOW