Ooma-Obihai Hybrid

I have been experimenting with the following VOIP systems:

  • Magic Jack Go
  • Ooma
  • Obihai

Now I thought I would take some time to summarize things. I’ve been using Ooma for two years and I have used MagicJack and Obihai in the past. Now let’s look at the different systems and their pluses and minuses

MagicJack

The problem is that it comes with a cheap Ethernet cable and a cheap USB power charger. In order to have the MagicJack work and last longer, you need to replace these components with ones from places like Walmart, Target, Amazon, etc.

The MagicJack component is not recognized by my router, until after I plug it into my computer USB port and register it. Ooma and Obihai components can be registered, just by plugging them into the router.

They do not have a 911 service included and can’t tell you what the price would be for your area – in advance.

On the plus side, they do have a good Android and IOS app. And they have a B rating on the Better Business Bureau site.

Obihai

There’s really no down side here. You just need to register it with a vendor approved service provider. I did this with Ring To and Google Voice, on an Obihai 202 device. It’s also recommended to check each week for firmware updates. They are not automatically provided.

Ooma

The only downside is the higher hardware cost, as well as the F rating on the Better Business Bureau site.

The plus side is that the called are both compressed and encrypted. I have run this off a Linksys router, via the Comcast service. It works very well. But I don’t like to pay the higher cost for the primer service. So I have come up with the Ooma/Obihai 202 hybrid.

To use the hybrid, I needed to set up Obihai 202 with both Ring To and Google Voice. And Google Voice would also ring my Ooma device and cell phone – but not the Ring To number on Obihai. Otherwise, there might be a conflict on the Obihai side.

Ooma-Obihai hybrid

I gain the following advantages by using the hybrid

  • All lines are under Google Voice
  • There will be two separate lines. And in the second line, I can switch between Ring To and Google Voice
  • I can call anywhere in the US on all three systems and anywhere in Canada on Google Voice
  • There are Android apps for Ring To, Google Voice and Ooma
  • I have 911 service on Ooma, as well as Obihai
  • If one device goes out, I have a backup in place. And the cell phone will be a backup for the VoIP systems

Here’s what I lose with the new Hybrid

  • Name look-up on caller id
  • Some advance filtering that filters out junk calls. But I do have all numbers – including the Google Voice one – registered with the US federal do not call list.
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Some Ooma and Magic Jack Go issues and fixes

As you know from reading previous posts, I’ve been an Ooma user for 2 years. And I’ve been very happy with it. But due to hardware costs, I’m replacing it with:

  • Obihai 200 configured with Ring To and Google Voice
  • MagicJack Go as a backup.

This is in addition to my cell phone plan. But some issues have come up in testing and I’ll go over them and the solutions.

The first one was that MagicJack supplied cable. When I tried it, the MagicJack couldn’t register an Internet connection, when connected to the router. The solution was just to replace it with a standard Ethernet cable.

The next issue was the unit was getting warm. I did a Google search on “MagicJack getting hot” and found others had the issue. Then I came across this video on YouTube and looked into the comments section:

One viewer had this great comment:

“I will tell you from personal experience, separate the ac plug from the mj plus box it heats up less saving the ac plug from going out again, i separated mine with the jumper plug it comes with and now the box isn’t even half as hot what it used to be, think what happens is the ac plug and box both create a lot heat and put together its like a heat bomb ready go off, do the separation now and save later from replacing the ac adapter, this is why it goes bad.”

So there are two issues here and two solutions, based upon this video and my Google search.

  • The first is to buy a replacement power adapter that has the specs of five volts and one amp output. Or a universal one you can set to those variables. I found one for twelve dollars at Walmart, that was both a serge protector and a USB device charger. Just keep the original black one for warranty issues.
  • The second one is that MagicJack supplies an extension adapter for use, when you register the device via your computer USB port the first time. From my Google search, some folks are plugging this in between the charger and the MagicJack device. So I’ve followed this advice with the new USB device charger and the MagicJack device.

This did solve my heating issue with MagicJack.

There’s another thing I discovered and it proved to be interesting. I have access to Hoovers via the College of Dupage online library resources. I decided to look at MagicJack and Ooma on both Hoovers and the BBB (i.e. Better Business Bureau) sites.

In the Hoover research, Ooma appears to have much great annual sales then MagicJack. I think they also have more on site employees.

But in the BBB search, I found some interesting items. First of all, I thought that MagicJack would get a low rating. But they are a BBB accredited business. While they had a large number of complaints issued, they did resolve a lot of them – to the BBB site’s satisfaction. And they earned a B rating.

Ooma had far fewer complaints lodged against them. But they failed to provide a satisfactory resolution to many of them – according to BBB standards. And the BBB gave them an F rating.

Well, that did surprise me.

Steps for running your own cable or DSL modem instead of leasing

Steps for running your own cable or DSL modem instead of leasing

Amazon

Amazon (Photo credit: edgeplot)

Red Hat

First, let me digress at bit. I work on technical support for a worldwide health and wellness group I belong to. They do worldwide web conferences that is Java based. You get folks who can’t connect or have other technology issues – that’s where I came in.

The moderator talked about Ubuntu and I shared some experiences with it. They are good for the most part. But I mentioned using the OpenJDK and someone else mentioned Red Hat’s Iced Tea. A little research uncovered that Iced Tea is grown from OpenJDK.

I don’t get into “camps”, like Oracle JDK, OpenJDK, Iced Tea, etc. I’m more into what works. Many years ago, I followed a product called Jboss, which Wiki classifies as “a JavaBeans Open Source Software Application Server.” Then Red Hat acquired them. They still kept a community version and recently renamed the software to WildFly. I kind of like the new name.

Now here is a Ubuntu question.  Is it better to:

  • Stay with version 12.04, which promises long-term support for 5 years?

Or

  • Just upgrade to the latest production stable version and keep checking for software updates daily?

Cable modem

 

Amazon shipment

 

 

Today I have a Motorola modem with Comcast. I lease it and they recently raised the price to seven dollars a month. So I did a bit of research and recommend the following steps (i.e. substitute the same for DSL).

  • Contact your vendor (i.e. Cable, Time Warner, ATT, etc.) and see if they have a list of recommended or approved modems. For Comcast, this is found at My Device Info. They have a link to where to buy them at My New Modem by Infinity at . For the record, I settled on the Motorola SB6121. From the Comcast perspective, it has a 3 star (i.e. the highest) rating, along with D3 and Ipv6 support.
  • The recommended buy link is Amazon. Now we have another check. Out of about 1700 user ratings, it gets four out of five stars. Amazon gives a great discount (i.e. about one-third off retail), along with free super saver shipping, etc.
  • Who handles the Comcast modem firmware upgrades? Or you can substitute Time Warner, ATT, etc., for Comcast. I did ask this question on an online chat with Comcast. Comcast confirmed that they do the firmware upgrades. This is fine with me, as it’s one less technology chore I need to deal with.
  • Another thing to look into is insurance. Amazon has deals with a firm called Square Deal. I found it interesting for several reasons. If I look at their website, the Web of Trust plug-ins don’t flag them. As their website mentions, “Web of Trust (WOT) shows you which websites you can trust based on millions’ of users experiences, so you can enjoy your surfing 100%!” They do have 4.5 – 5 stars on Amazon, Google and Apple, based on user ratings. I also researched them on the Better Business Bureau. They turn out to be a BB accredited business, with an A+ rating. Since I am saving money via Amazon on price, shipping, etc., it pays to add the low-priced warranty.
  • If you don’t read the main reviews under the product description – shame on you. You might miss some great technology advice. In my case, someone mentioned that the number needed for Comcast comes from the box wrapping itself. In other words, the number is on the box – not the modem.
  • One last tip.  If you live in the US and this is a USPS Amazon shipment, register the Amazon tracking number with USPS track and confirm website.  You get an email notification of any shipment updates.  This is in addition to the Amazon tracking tab.

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Checking out software companies and writer scams

I thought I’ll share some answers I gave for Linkedin questions:

Writing about unethical products and/or companies

BBB

BBB (Photo credit: tom-b)

I took a course several years ago at the College of DuPage. It was called Business Ethics and fell under the domain of philosophy. One of the questions discussed was should you buy from Walmart, if they buy goods from foreign markets that might involve child labor? In this case, Walmart has no knowledge of these practices. Walmart hasn’t violated any US laws, or laws of other countries.

Personal ethics is shaped by either some form of theology or philosophy. The identities of the copywriters and marketers are usually protected, as I have stated before. As long as the clients they are working for are not violating any US, UK or other laws, whom am I to comment on personal philosophical and theological ethics?

In fact, one could argue in a world down economy, one might be engaging in ethical violations by NOT accepting work that could feed them and their families.

Checking out software companies

English: Three Chinese philosophers. Lao Tzu, ...

English: Three Chinese philosophers. Lao Tzu, Wen Wang, and Confucius. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First of all, it’s really nice to hear from someone who both enjoys great copywriters and great philosophers. In fact, there’s a good article on Socrates and copywriting I enjoy at Socrates on copywriting. As far as Aristotle goes, he’s extremely important. But one scholar said he’s as “dry as dust”. While I have Western philosophers I like (i.e. Plato, Aristotle, Kant), I also enjoy Eastern philosophers (i.e. Lao Tzu and Buddha).

If you look at my profile, I specialize in software. I have a passion for that topic and love writing about it. Take smartphones, for instance. I was there developing software for them at Motorola, before Google acquired that division.

And I love copywriters like Gary Bencivenga.

Now to the ethics question. I think you can eliminate ethical conflict in the business world, by a series of filters.

The first filter – the most important one – has the business violated any laws where they reside, or any country they do business in? If you don’t consider law as a factor, then what’s the difference between organized crime and business?

Secondly, I do a bit of checking on them. I have access to online versions of Reference USA and Hoover’s from the College of DuPage library. A library card is free for area residents and graduates – I’m both.

Detail of The School of Athens by Raffaello Sa...

Detail of The School of Athens by Raffaello Sanzio, 1509, showing Plato (left) and Aristotle (right) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Does the business have any complaints with the BBB (Better Business Bureau), which covers US and Canada? Does their website have complaints from the Web of Trust (Web of Trust)? So a poor rating from the Web of Trust and a grade of F from the BBB is not the client for me.

Say they are a start-up and haven’t done anything with the BBB, Hoovers or Web of Trustt yet. I’ll search the web to see if their software has any negative reviews or user complaints. I might even visit technical forums. And I would ask them for a business plan to review. They can even blot out any financial data. If it is a sound start-up, they would have a sound and solid business plan. And I’ll even sign any confidentiality agreements to review it. Should they hesitate, so will I.

Software is a relatively safe area, so my previous filters should weed out any ethical problems. As long as I don’t have any ethical dilemma to wrestle with, do they give a public persona that religious figures like Christ or Buddha, or philosophers like Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Lao Tzu and Confucius, would approve of? If I can’t imagine these figures approving their public persona – neither can I.

It gets back to the ethical dilemma question and the document Resolving an Ethical Dilemma at hResolving an ethical dilemna. They give some good guideposts for lay people. As long as a person is trying to be ethical among religious or philosophical lines, I can’t criticize them.

Is this job writing ad a scam?

English: Statue of Lao Tzu (Laozi) in Quanzhou...

English: Statue of Lao Tzu (Laozi) in Quanzhou 中文: 福建泉州老君岩 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I believe you mean Locus US jobs, right? I use a tool called Web of Trust at Web of Trust. They also have a download, as well as downloads for major browsers. For the record, this website gets a rating of very poor in the categories of trustworthiness, vendor reliability, privacy and child safety.

If they are in the US or Canada and you know the business name they operate under, see if they have any complaints at Better Business Bureau. Also have your local US reference librarian look them up. Are they in Hoovers, Dun and Bradstreet or Reference USA? If they like to hide the business name, then they have quite a bit more to hide. Can they dig up any dirt on them or determine their legitimacy by a search?

There are a couple other tools I would recommend. To check on shortened URLs, use Long URL. To check site for malware or viruses, use Total Virus. They run it though several commercial and freeware virus checkers and share results with you. If you search the site, there’s even a way to forward an email with attachments and let them check it for you. They will email back the report.

How do you feel about the Apple/Samsung case?

While Apple won the initial ruling in the US, the case has a long way to go on appeals. And courts in Japan and Korea ruled in favor of Samsung. And I do have biases here. I’m a bigger fan of Android than IOS. But I’ll reserve judgment until all appeals and world court cases have been exhausted.

How about personal religious experience as a guidepost to ethics?

Excellent sharing. Personal religious experience is a good motivation factor for ethical actions. William James – the famous author and psychologist – studied this a century or two back in The Variety of Religious Experiences. Sometimes one has to be directed by conscience. This might lead some to object to war, embrace vegetarianism, etc.None of these things is wrong, in and of itself. But I have equal respect for those who want to fight and those who don’t – based upon conscience convictions. Philosophers try to lock us into frameworks and religion tries to lock us into isms. Not everything fits into a framework or ism.

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning.”– Albert Einstein

How do you determine if a writer is great?

So I watched Wendy’s commercial years ago. The one woman yells, “where’s the beef?”

Judgment Day: My Years with Ayn Rand

Judgment Day: My Years with Ayn Rand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Or I read Altas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

Or I’m admiring the long ads by Clayton Makepeace.

Then I say to myself – these are great.

Someone else may say these stink.

Where do I find the real answer?

Perhaps it’s in Stephen King’s book On Writing.

Or perhaps in historical and contemporary philosophers talking about philosophy of art.

Who’s to judge? I see Mr. X did name the contest winner. What criteria did he use?

All I know is this. A new book comes along. I find it interesting. I might want to read it. I go to Amazon and see how many people have rated it and what the average rating is. Then I read though the book description and see what other reviewers say about it.

If possible, I then check out a copy though my local US library – or the inner-library loan system.

The Amazon reviewers gave it collectively at least four out of five stars. I did like what I read from the library. Not sure if it is great or not. But something might be “close enough for all practical purposes.”

Or can we extend great to anything? Mike Royko was a good Chicago columnist and book writer. Some might say he was great. But did he consider Rolex a great watch? No. He thought a 40 dollar Timex performed the same functionality just as well.

Now Apple 5 is out. Many are waiting in long lines. Is this a great smartphone? I prefer my android system one. IOS doesn’t yet multitask – Android does. And it’s much cheaper in brands like Samsung.

I did like what Mr. Y said: “Copywriters are storytellers with an agenda”. Marketer Dan Kennedy said something similar when he said good story writing is essential to good copywriting.

And perhaps writers are limited to certain audiences. After all, how many adults read Dr. Seuss?

Academic and business blog posts

Here are some blog posts I recommend from academic and business acquaintances of mine

  • How to Reduce Your Child’s Stress before the Big Game Blog post
  • 10 iPhone Apps for Tracking Kids Vaccinations Blog post
  • How to Make Specialized First Aid Kits Blog post
  • How to Navigate an Airport with a Toddler in Tow Blog post
  • 10 Ways Nannies Can Prepare for Emergencies Blog post
  • 10 Red Flags Parents Should Watch for During a Nanny Interview Blog post
  • How to Set Up a Homework Station to Limit Distractions Blog post
  • How To Get Your Audience Involved With Pinterest Blog post
  • 30 Blogs for Stay-at-Home Dads Blog post
  • * 10 Risky Teen Behaviors You Should Be Aware Of Blog post
  • 5 Realities Of Beverly Hills Nannies Blog post
  • 30 Blogs for Tracking Kids’ Activities Blog post
  • 10 iPhone Apps for Keeping Track of Homework Blog post
  • How to Know if You Can Afford to Stay Home with the Kids Blog post
  • How To Handle Negative Feedback On Your Blog Blog post
  • 10 of the Best iPhone Apps for Creating To-Do Lists Blog post
  • How to Host a Kid-Friendly Afternoon Tea Blog post
  • Things to Consider About Archery for Elementary Schoolers Blog post
  • 30 Blogs that Boast the Best Family Vacation Ideas Blog post
  • How Young is Too Young for Your Child to Specialize in a Sport Blog post
  • How to Throw a Kids Halloween Party on a Shoestring Budget Blog post
  • * 10 Books that Provide Insight into Life as a Nanny Blog post
  • 9 Ways to Welcome Your New Live-In Nanny into Your Home Blog post
  • 10 iPhone Apps for Busy, Working Moms Blog post
  • 30 Blogs with the Best Childcare Tips Blog post
  • 10 Tips for Successful Nanny Sharing Blog post

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It’s easy to un-merge an ATT and Yahoo email – NOT!

Image representing Yahoo! as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

It’s easy to un-merge an ATT and Yahoo email – NOT!

But first – some good articles from friends of mine:

The ATT and Yahoo problem

Here’s the scenario.  Several years ago, I used to have DSL service with ATT.  Eventually I dropped them for Comcast.  But I had an old email from Flash Dot Net and this was acquired by ATT, which is how I got ATT to be my Internet service provider.  But they also merged this email ID with one from Yahoo.

No problem, right?  If I want to now un-merge them, I just need to contact Yahoo or ATT – or so I thought.

on ATT towards Durham city

on ATT towards Durham city (Photo credit: sleepyneko)

Initial ATT tech support experience

My first phone call was to someone from ATT tech support in India.  I explained the problem but he didn’t appear to be very technically knowledgeable.  He wanted me to contact Yahoo for resolving the problem.  I protested – said I would contact Yahoo – but complained I would escalate things if I’m referred back to ATT.

Next to Yahoo

So I did a search for a yahoo phone number on Google.  I finally found a number.  If I call Yahoo at 866-562-7219 and hit option 1, I am referred back to an ATT number.

Sounds like Catch 22.

Back to ATT

Well, I called that number.  I explained the problem to the ATT person, gave my old telephone number associated with the account and gave them my two email account names.

This person tried the procedure ATT recommended them to do – without success.  Then they contacted another department, who was supposed to handle these un-merge requests.  They tried but didn’t know how to proceed.

Now what them recommended seemed absurd.  I was supposed to send an email to their abuse center.  I asked what to say in the email subject header and body.  This email was sent several days ago.  All I got was an automated response.  No further email communication was sent to me.

ATT hackers-wozniak and steve jobs

ATT hackers-wozniak and steve jobs (Photo credit: orangeek)

On to the BBB

Then I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau against ATT.  I was reviewed by the BBB headquarters and sent to the headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia (USA).  Some secretary did call me.  She mentioned it was forwarded to a manager in their Internet service division.  I waited to see how they resolve – or not resolve – my BBB complaint.

Here’s what is communicated from the BBB to me:

“*** We are waiting for the business to respond. They have until April 25, 2012 to respond to this complaint.”

Summary

AT and T name was brought by a combination of Southern and Illinois Bell merged telephone companies.  In my experience with the new ATT and Comcast, I prefer Comcast by a long shot.  Not that they are perfect.  But I can at least get things done.

I live in a Condo complex.  Comcast will automatically work on inside wide problems.  ATT will charge you – unless you have an inside wire maintenance plan.

Since the BBB complaint was issued, I had heard from a female ATT worker.  My complaint was assigned to someone that was able to drop the Flash dot Net account.  I was then able to reactivate the Yahoo account – minus Flash Dot Net. It should not have been necessary to file a BBB complaint.

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Testing Clearwire Wireless Internet against Comcast and looking at Sage Telecom

English: Looking west at CLEAR shop on a cloud...

Image via Wikipedia

Sage Telecom and Clearwire Wireless Internet

This week, I decided to look at Sage Telecom and Clear Wireless Internet as alternatives to AT&T phone and Comcast Internet respectively. I have friends who use Clear and Sage, so it is worth exploring. You can find out more about Clearwire in the Wiki article at Wiki on Clearwire.

Clear Wireless Internet

Time Warner and Comcast Cable contributions

In an article entitled Can 4G wireless take on traditional broadband? at Can 4G wireless take on traditional broadband?, we find this:

Time Warner Cable and Comcast have each contributed billions of dollars to Clearwire to help the company complete its network. As part of the deal, they are reselling the 4G service as an add-on to their existing broadband customers.”

What Hoovers Said

Next I went online to my College of DuPage library Hoovers reference. I found out they were founded in 2003, make about half a billion in net profit and Sprint Nextel is their parent company.  Here’s one thing that Hoovers said that causes me some concern:

“Rapidly growing Clearwire has never been profitable, and it expects to continuing losing money in the immediate future as it builds out its network to expand business. ”

Better Business Bureau rating

I did ask about their BBB rating on the BBB website and found it was A+.

My trip to Best Buy and Verizon

The Clear website told me I could buy their service at Best Buy. This would give me a chance to see it in action. But the sales staff at Best Buy told me they didn’t have a demo. They wanted to show and sell me a Verizon broadband card wireless solution. They showed me all the good stuff with none of the bad. Let’s do a bit more digging.

Next I stopped at a Verizon store. This was a pleasant experience. The sales person asked me questions about my Internet habits. He told me about the 9 or 10 gigabytes limit for this solution. Guess what? Nobody at Best Buy brought this point up. Perhaps this is why Verizon rates high on the JD Powers customer satisfaction rating.

So here is what Clear is offering:

  • Unlimited data
  • No long term contract
  • A 15 day trial period
Comcast and NBC logos.

Image via Wikipedia

The final selling point

In It’s Clear, I Hate Comcast – Comcast vs Clear at Comcast vs Clearwire , the author makes these points:

  • “ I did check out their website prior to calling just to verify I had coverage. You can check Clear’s coverage here. I would suggest that you zoom in close to your residence and be sure to click on the ‘Towers’ option to see how close in proximity their wireless transmission towers are to you.”
  • “I am a little over one mile from my Clear wireless tower and regularly receive three out of five green lights on my wireless modem.”

The negatives

In the earlier article, the author says this: “I will admit that both the download and upload speed are not as fast as they were with my Comcast account, but they are not terribly slower either (nothing that bothers me).”

Sorry Charlie (i.e. reference to Charlie Tuna). I also live about a mile from a Clear cell tower. I did test the speeds of both Comcast and Clear using Speed Test at Speed Test. For Comcast, I had ping of 14, download speed of 24.70 megabytes per second and an upload speed of 4.19 megabytes per second. But for Clear, the download speed was 9.10 megabytes per second and upload speed of 1.03 Megabytes per second. This means the Comcast download speed was about 6 times faster and their upload speed was about 4 times faster. These tests were conducted within 10 minutes of each other.

Then there is the problem of the Linksys modem. It works OK with no changes for a Motorola cable modem connected to Comcast. I can’t get the Clear modem to work with my router – only through a direct computer connection. The forums tell me the router should connect with no problem – even Clear tech support is referenced in the forums.

comcast

Image by sekimura via Flickr

Based upon these points, I canceled immediately. Now I might look at their mobile option for an individual PC in the future. It would be great for going to places without a WiFi option. Comcast:

  • Costs the same as Clear after their initial price reduction period is over (i.e. that is for my particular installation).
  • Their support is 24/7.
  • They offer a 30 day trial period vs the Clear 15 day one.
  • They throw in a free Norton security suite for each computer (i.e. AT and T does something similar)
  • Is Clearwire using offshore support?  The two times I called support I got one person with an Indian background and one with a Greek background.

My advice

Run tests with 2 computers, if you look at Clearwire for your home service.  Hook up one with Clearwire and another with an area service that offers a trial period, like Time Warner, Comcast, AA and T, etc.  Run several Speed tests to see how they compare.

Sage Telecom Logo

Image via Wikipedia

Sage Telecom

These guys make me mad. You can find out more about them in the Wiki article at Wiki on Sage Telecom.  I saw an option for service for around 30 dollars. I went through the order process. When I got almost to the end, it said my estimated bill is about 50 dollars. What? I called Sage and they tried to tell me about taxes, etc. AT&T doesn’t add $20 worth of fees in taxes, etc., to my bill. On the plus side, they do get an A+ rating with the BBB.

Now I don’t like Vonage and I wrote many articles about my experience. But they had an option where you clicked on the advertised price and it gave you an accurate estimate of your final bill – including an itemized breakdown – all before you start the sign up process. It’s in their start-up cost calculator off their main website.  Sage reminds me of MagicJack Plus, where they don’t show the product price on their website. Here’s the Vonage estimated charges on their world plan – far less than the approximately 20 dollar fees from Sage Telecom:

Estimated Monthly Service Charge
(after 3 month promotional period)
Monthly Service Charge $25.99
County 911 Fee $0.50
Emergency 911 and Information Services Fee $1.99
Federal Program Fee $3.33
Regulatory, Compliance and Intellectual Property Fee $1.99
Sales Tax

 

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Marketing America – is it an oasis for a down and out economy?

Public Domain Image of Mary Baker Eddy

Image via Wikipedia

Time for a change

It’s time for a change. But will Marketing America (Marketing America) really do it for me?

Why do I need a change?

Perhaps I’m been persuaded from reading metaphysical philosophers, like Mary Baker Eddy, Emmet Fox, Joel Goldsmith and Joseph Murphy.

Or maybe it’s from watching and reading health and prosperity messages from Joel Osteen, Larry Ollison (Larry Ollison) and the recent copywriter/marketing convert – Ray Edwards.

Off to learn Entrepreneur bootstrapping

Then I’m off to take this free entrepreneur bootstrapping course, held at a local technology campus. Now I’ve had entrepreneur and business courses from SCORE and various small business development centers.

Not everyone agrees with bootstrapping. Take Bonita, for example. She’s an MBA who heads the Harper College small business development center. She has her own Internet and coaching business and recently wrote an article entitled Bootstrapping is for beginners.

There’s also a Wiki article on bootstrapping at Wiki on Bootstrapping. It defines it as, “Bootstrapping in business is to start a business without external help/capital. Start-ups that bootstrap their business fund development of their company through internal cash flow and are cautious with their expenses.”  So perhaps Bonita and Fred just differ in their definitions of bootstrapping. After all, isn’t Fred acting as a coach by teaching this free course?

Enter Fred and Ethel Mertz

But this course is different. I’ll call this person Fred and his wife Ethel. We will call their last name Mertz. But their real identities will remain hidden. Don’t get the wrong impression here!  I like Fred and Ethel and still consider them good friends – although the oriental wife impresses me more.

Fred is a multimillionaire, who succeeded in starting many successful companies. It kind of reminds me of Michael Masterson (Michael Masterson), the multimillionaire business person and copywriter, who started AWAI.

Amway

Image via Wikipedia

Makes sense to take a free course with Fred. But neither Fred nor Michael impresses me with their money. If I saw signs of them emulating Bill Gates or Warren Buffet, I’ll have more respect for their charitable aspirations. Maybe I just don’t know.

White Background

But Fred tried to sell me on this Marketing America stuff. At first, I’m throw back to the past, when a neighbor takes me to an Amway meeting. The hosts put on this song and dance about making all this money.

Yet later, I noticed this neighbor buying Amway products. Guess what? It’s a way to make a quota.

So Fred and Ethel give me a sales pitch, trying to invite me to a meeting. Fred mentions he’s just helping his wife with residual income, if he dies.

Caring for family comes first

Sounds well and good. But I have an elderly mom I care for. If something can’t be treated by a regular physician, I look for a homeopathic, Bach flower, or Chinese herbal solution. I’ve had years of experience with classical homeopathic medicine.

Now I like to study a bit more. I know Marketing American probably passes tests from the Better Business Bureau, Web of Trust, Hoover’s, Dun and Bradstreet, etc. So there’s no sense in looking there.

Joel Osteen at Lakewood Church, Houston, Texas

Image via Wikipedia

Nor do I look at negative reports. More often than not, they’re just trying to sell you their product instead.

Third party Marketing America Reviews

What I look for is third-party, independent reviews. Let’s check a few:

You can read these articles for yourself. Or you can Google them by typing “Marketing America Reviews.”   Market America Reviews – READ THIS NOW! says, “The marketing model for Market America, also referred to as the unfranchise business model, is entirely based on word of mouth or person to person selling.”

Let’s also look at what Market America Reviews says:

  • People have reportedly complained about too much socialization and that too often without need, just for the need of business promotion. Many people have complained that relatives and friends often feel burdened, if they have to reject the request to join this business. This is definitely against the growth of this business model and so it can saturate after some time.
  • People who’re not too much into socialization, may end up failing in this business.
  • Every month, one has to buy products worth some BV. In case, an individual fails to sell them, he may end up losing money.
  • After friends and relatives, people find it not very easy to approach to others and the business halts.
  • Many have complained that people at top are only able to make money.

Keep this is mind as we also look at one entitled “A 3rd Party Review Of Market America From Someone Who Didn’t Join”. Here’s a note I sent to Fred.

What I said to Fred

“I will be asking ‘informed’ questions to you. In an article at A 3rd Party Review Of Market America From Someone Who Didn’t Join , it say’s this:”

“At the end of the day, your success will depend on what you do, your ability to sponsor new people, sell products and build a productive organization. And to do all that, you need to be able to generate leads every day. If you can’t generate leads, there is no way you will be able to build a sizable business. So, if you want to succeed with your Market America business, it’s critical that you learn how to become a professional marketer so you can generate 25-50+ leads a day for your business.”

“I would like your commentary on this sentence: ‘So, if you want to succeed with your Market America business, it’s critical that you learn how to become a professional marketer so you can generate 25-50+ leads a day for your business.'”

What Clayton Makepeace and Joe Sugarman said

I shared this email to a client in London, who is a good Internet marketer. Here’s what he said: “It’s basically lead generation.”

One thing I have learned from marketer and copywriter Clayton Makepeace, is that you need to handle objections up front, in your sales copy. Multimillionaire, copywriter, marketer and entrepreneur Joe Sugarman (Joe Sugarman) also said that.

I was hoping to have a dialogue on objections with Fred. Looks like he’s not up to it. I’ll still attend the monthly bootstrapping meetings. But I definitely have second thoughts about Marketing America. Will he really help me, if it’s not in his best interest? And he started out as a sales rep for a big computer company – became #1.

Perhaps Fred wants prospects to just pay the $1200 “admission fee”… have no idea what lies “beyond the veil” – like I do?

Now Fred could have said something like this: “Yes, it’s true you need to generate leads each day.  But not the number given in the article.  And we train and help you by…”.  He could have said something like this – but he didn’t.

Another thing missing is the use of current marketing methods, as the article Marketing America Reviews – get your questions answered.  It says, “it seems to be a recurring theme that most companies in the network marketing industry are very much behind the eight ball when it comes to being able to equip their independent business owners and distributors with the most progressive marketing and training strategies that exist today. Things like pay-per-click marketing, search engine optimization, social media, direct response marketing, personal branding, etc.”

See what’s happening here?  Fred is an expert in person-to-person selling –  he will do well.  I’m knowledgeable about SEO, social media, direct response marketing, etc. – but I can’t use this knowledge.  Of course, Fred will always come out ahead.

Parting question for Fred

Let me leave Fred with a parting question. I like Fred and Ethel – they’re nice people.  They also believe in nutrition and holistic health.  Now here’s my question:

Suppose someone you know has cancer.  Suppose there existed what others considered saints or holy people, who could cure the cancer.  Suppose they belonged to various religious traditions.  What would you rather have?

  • Access to doctors and hospitals, who for a large amount of money, will tell you your disease is incurable?
  • Or access to how you might really be cured?

What’s more important at that time – large sums of money or spiritual knowledge? And if spiritual knowledge can heal “incurable” diseases, can’t it also address other issues (i.e. financial problems)?

The language these saints would use is silence.  Silence is also the language of God.  Silence is also the language I normally reserve on this topic (i.e. if such things exist).  Their help is not for sale – they don’t respond to money.

I know rich people (i.e. yourself), people who know famous people (i.e. tour cook for Rolling Stones), smart people (world renown Harvard genetic modeling professor and researcher) – yet I prefer the company of spiritual (i.e. non-existent?) holy people and ordinary folks.