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December 9, 2012 AsktheBuilder Newsletter

This Special Edition of the AsktheBuilder.com newsletter is being sent on a Sunday because I've discovered over the years that many people love to shop online on Sunday.

I beg you to read the alert below before you do go online and shop. Please consider forwarding this email to any and all you know that shop online!

With a tight economy and limited budgets, I don't want you to risk wasting money on products that might not be the best value! I also have a tip below about dry steam mops.

As I'm writing this, I'm fortunate to be sitting next to the fireplace here at my house. It's a magical crystal clear Sunday morning here in New Hampshire. It's cool with a light west wind. A perfect morning for a cup of Ghiradelli Mocha Chocolate hot chocolate. Mmmmm good.... It's a tantalizing blend of coffee and chocolate. That's my favorite ice cream by the way - mocha chip.

My office is in a fourth bedroom in the basement that has a french door that allows me to see out to the lake. I just snapped the above photo. There's no ice on the lake - yet.

This room shares a see-through fireplace with a recreation room. What a treat to have a wood-burning fire going and get the occasional whiff of burning seasoned oak. It's going to be a great day!

 

SHOPPING AND SCROOGLED

This is really timely since we're in the heat of the Christmas shopping season. I don't know about you, but Kathy and I are really interested in saving money and getting the best value for what we do spend. Kathy does all of her shopping online.

More and more people shop online each year, so it's critical that you choose wisely when clicking. Remember that scene in the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade movie where the old knight told Harrison Ford after he drank from the nondescript Holy Grail, "You chose wisely."

Well, you need to choose wisely, That means the odds need to be stacked in your favor, not someone else's.

A little over two weeks ago, we were watching TV one night and this weird commercial got our attention. Actually it got Kathy's attention as I was starting to drift into the comatose state that overcomes me about 8:45 pm each night. Kathy backed up the DVR so we could watch it again.

It was an edgy commercial with a young couple in a kitchen. They talked about how Google is not being as transparent as possible with the search results on their Google Shopping platform. It appears the only companies that show up in the search results are ones that have paid to be there.

Do you use Google Shopping? Did you know that? I know I didn't suspect that to be the case.

The companies that pay the most to Google probably get the highest position in the rankings. This doesn't necessarily mean they're selling fantastic products. You have to keep that in mind.

I visited the Scroogled website to find out more. Here are some of the quotes I saw when I was there:

Google (2004) Founders IPO Letter: "we do not accept payment for [search results] or for inclusion or more frequent updating."

Google's 2004 SEC Filing: "Our search results will be objective and we will not accept payment for inclusion or ranking in them."

Google (2012) Google's 2012 SEC Disclosure: "After all, ads are just more answers to users' queries."

Google Commerce announces shopping results will be paid for and exclude merchants who don't participate.

So, the questions that come to my mind are: Has Google crossed the line in their regular search results?

Is Google putting search results up at the top of page one that make them the most money?

Something tells me they've either crossed that line or they're testing it now.

If you read the quotes of the founders of Google at the top of the pages of the Scroogled website, you'll start to wonder what their philosophy might be now.

Remember that line the day sergeant used to say at the beginning of each week's TV episode of Hill Street Blues? "Be careful out there."

Indeed. Be very careful with the information you get from websites at the top of Google's search results! They may not be in your best interests, but that of Google's voting and non-voting stockholders.

You can watch the commercial I saw at the Scroogled website. Here's a video player that plays the commercial we saw plus a few others that are fantastic.

There are other videos that will play. Wait till you see the Bing it On Challenge one. It features a young man who grabs random pedestrians on a street in San Francisco and challenges them to see which search engine they like best. It's a HOOT! I'm still laughing!

You can take the same challenge the guy took who had to run down that San Francisco street in his underwear because he LOST!

But you get to do it in the privacy of your own home in case you lose. The best part is you may win an all-expenses-paid trip to any city in the USA!!!

If I win, I'm going to Hawaii!

 

DRY STEAM COMMERCIAL

Speaking of television commercials, I've been seeing a regular commercial for a dry steam mop that "converts to a vacuum cleaner is two seconds".

I want to alert you to a simple fact that steam, hardwood floors and laminate wood floors do NOT play well together. The last thing you want to do is inject water vapor into a wood floor. That can cause it to swell.

Steam is steam. It's hot water vapor. How they get away with calling it dry steam is beyond me. That's an oxymoron.

You can do what you want at your house, but I can tell you that I'd NEVER use a steam machine of any type to clean any wood floor or any material that contained wood.

 

SPECIAL AMAZON SHOPPING LINK

I've had at least two subscribers ask me for a special AsktheBuilder.com Amazon link they can use to start their normal everyday shopping at Amazon.com.

If you use my affiliate link, it helps you. How? The ever-growing revenue I receive from the commissions are allowing me to grow AsktheBuilder.com. That means I can hire more people - even remote virtual employees - and they can help me do more tool and product reviews for you!

Here's all you have to do. It requires three Easy Steps!

Step One: CLICK HERE

Step Two: Immediately bookmark the page you land on.

Step Three: Rename the bookmark to HELP AsktheBuilder!

You can rename it anything you want.

Rumor has it one subscriber might call it Soft DIY T-shirt. :->

I'll have more news and tips next week. With Christmas bearing down on us, I'll do my best to keep it short and sweet.

THANK YOU for helping me grow AsktheBuilder.com.

I'd like to know what I can bring you for Christmas with respect to new videos and reviews.

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