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Ruben Corbo

Multivariate Testing for User Experience for Online Marketing College Majors

The window to grab the visitors attention on a website is approximately 7 seconds. Everything from the design of your site, to the call to actions and navigation must work harmoniously to grab the visitor’s attention and get them further down the conversion funnel. Internet marketers have become privy to this growing demand to appeal to an audience’s interests, and are employing multivariate testing on their websites in an effort to enhance the user experience. These tests are conducted to understand what the user likes, which in turn can be used to update the website in making sound business decisions.

How the Process Begins

To thrive in the ever-changing web landscape, a business owner must always be open to change and improvement in regards to their online marketing efforts. New trends and strategies for reaching your audience are always evolving, making the task of keeping up to date a necessity. Since your audience may or may not respond favorably to these changes, webmasters often do the testing on sites so the risk of an adverse reaction is limited. The two most common type of tests are a/b and multivariate, which are similar in concept but each have their advantages and disadvantages.

Why Choose Multivariate Testing?

Both forms of testing will give you great results, however, multivariate testing is quicker and generally more efficient for large scale website. Since more changes can be implemented after each test, it accelerates the optimization process and reduces the total time needed to come up with a better version of the website. If you have a large, enterprise website, this method is recommended. In fact, eBay and Amazon use it regularly to test what visitors are responding favorably to.

Guidelines for Running Multivariate Tests

As you’ll find, conducting multivariate tests is pretty straightforward. Below you’ll find a step-by-step guide to getting started.

Site Evaluation: Review your site in determining what needs to be improved. Consult with colleagues and friends to get a second opinion – they might have spotted something you missed. Surveys are another outlet to consider in receiving anonymous opinions that are most of the time truthful. 

Test Design: Group the elements that you have from the previous step into batches. Choose one of them to run your first test on, then work on designing the variations that you will be using for it.

Test Implementation: Gather up the versions of you site and start running the tests. You can do so easily with the use of software and tools, like Google’s Website Optimizer, which is available for free online. You can also employ the services of testing companies to run the tests for you.

Results and Analysis: Once you’ve completed the tests, gather the results and interpret the best solutions for implementation on your site. Based on your evaluation criteria, implement the design that satisfied requirements, such as an increase in clicks.

Site Deployment: Once you’ve determined which variation is the better version, it’s time to roll out the changes on your actual website and proceed to conducting your next multivariate test.

As you can see, multivariate testing is a simple way to ensure the design decisions you’ve chosen for your site are making a positive impression on your audience. Through these easy steps, you’ll begin to see where the design can be improved, allowing you to focus on a more enhanced user experience that ultimately leads to a much bigger bottom line for your business.

This is a guest article from Ruben Corbo, which writes for several different topics including music, internet marketing, and digital art technology. For more information on behavioral targeting you can go to Maxymiser and read their guide which provides a lot more in depth explanation on behavioral targeting as well as other web analytics aspects for your business.

Blog Design Optimization with A/B Testing

Those skilled in online marketing have been drawn to A/B testing in past couple of years. This website optimization practice allows you to pit two designs against each other in determining the best strategies in terms of marketing your product or service. You can test everything from landing pages, to sales emails and text copy in this process that increases the chance of receiving more subscriptions, sign-ups, and sales.

While it takes a slow and steady approach to begin to see the effects of a/b testing, in this article I’ll present some tips to keep in mind in maximizing the effectiveness of your blog and your bottom line.

Think Small

When engaging in an website optimization, it’s important to think small before you can reap big benefits. This applies to all aspects of your blog – from its navigation and sidebar, to offline efforts such as email marketing. One aspect to focus on specifically is your call to actions. Are people delving deeper into your blog through the various buttons on your site?

Your goal with a call to action is to make it sound warm and inviting in eliciting an immediate response from your viewer. These days, visitors to your site are more critical than ever, and don’t want to commit to something they don’t feel safe and secure about.
Always be running your call to actions through an a/b test to determine which words get people to try it the most often.

You may find “Sign up Now” or “30 Days Free” either sound like a big commitment or has the user focusing on the bill at the end. Alternative options may be:

Immediate Download
Watch Our Tutorial
Donate Today
Find Out More
Get a Free Quote Today
See It In Action
Limited Availability

These action phrases will inspire immediate response in the user’s mind, so be sure to test them out regularly.

Test Regularly

Test frequently to see a marked improvement in results. Results will range from no result, a negative result, or a positive result as the outcome of your tests. They key to reaching the results you’re looking for is to test regularly in achieving increased sales and/or conversions.

Once your blog is launched, be sure to test immediately. This will ensure you don’t lose conversions as a result of not having the website fully optimized.

When Am I Finished?

There’s a gray area in determining when to stop an a/b test. You don’t want to end too early and risk losing important information had you stuck it out. Testing too long could also mean the loss of sales had you switched to the new design element earlier. To determine how long to test, use a calculator like this one.

While the number varies from site to site, if you run a high-volume site, aim to have 70 conversions for one variant until you stop the test. Conversely, if you have a low-volume store with high-value items, it’s best to aim for 20 conversions. Exercise patience when dealing with the testing process, and go over every step to prevent inaccurate or unreliable results.

If you receive a much higher amount of traffic, it’s time to switch to multivariate testing, which allows you to test more than one element at a time.


In an increasingly saturated web, you need to employ as many techniques as possible to stand apart from the competition. A/B testing can be used to confirm that the design decisions you’ve made are successful, or re-evaluate what went wrong. 

A/B testing software, and Google’s Website Optimizer, a free service will make the process of a/b testing much easier. Follow the advice in this article to achieve the results you’re looking for.

Ruben Corbo is a freelance writer that writes about several different topics in the field of internet marketing, gaming, art, and music. For more information about topics relating to multivariate testing or anything that will help you convert your high traffic into online sales, go to http://www.maxymiser.com


Ways Behavioral Targeting Can Help Increase Online Sales

If you’re not familiar with behavioral targeting, it’s time to get aquainted with this powerful online marketing and website optimization technique. Most web developers aren’t familiar with the term themselves, so here’s the scoop.

It’s a possibility you’ve come into contact with behavioral targeting before on sites you frequent. It’s also not unheard of that many popular sites of top grossing businesses owe it to this novel technique.

What is Behavioral Targeting?

Behavior targeting is a term you should be familiar with as you develop your website. It’s a technique used by savvy marketers to increase their campaigns effectiveness and reception. Advertising campaigns regularly use it to capture and hold the interest of their designated audiences and generate more leads and sales.

The Magic of Behavioral Targeting – How It Works

To be adept at Behavioral Targeting one has to be skilled in understanding target markets and the interests in which they cater.

Two kinds of behavioral targeting coincide with two types of website content advertising. First is onsite behavioral targeting, and second is network behavioral marketing.

Onsite behavioral targeting is commonly used in sites that publish news and other similar updates. It taps directly into the browsing patterns and behavior of the user and analyzes his or her interests from this data.

The technique then uses this set of characteristics and patterns to display pre-programmed and relevant content to appeal to the site visitors – enabling them to dig deeper and stay longer.

Next is Network Behavior Marketing. Advertising companies typically use this type of marketing, since it taps directly into networking sites where potential customers are. Browsing history and behavior of the site visitors are also taken into account, allowing the visitor to see the type of product promotions that s/he is most likely interested in seeing and actually buying.

Increasing Conversion Rates with Behavioral Targeting

These two types of targeting are used in conjunction with each other to bring you the content and advertisements that you’re most likely interested in. First, the relevant content is brought by the programmed data, through onsite behavioral targeting.  On the other hand, the ads generated in the site itself as you browse is brought by network behavioral targeting.

Because of this relevant content the visitor is served, they’re more likely to stay on the site longer as well as delve deeper into it. The site is suddenly more useful to them because it caters to their interests.

How Does Behavioral Targeting Increase Sales?

Behavioral targeting increasing sales through simple means. Sites like eBay and Amazon encourage you to click around the products you find interesting, and then you’ll be directed to check out a list of recommended items based on your tastes. These lists have been created with the visitor in mind and have gone along way in working wonders for generating secondary on-site sales.

How Does Behavioral Targeting Increase Coverage?

Many online shoppers are happy to tell family and friends about their experiences using particular sites. By providing targeted, relevant content to visitors, online marketers may influence word-of-mouth among visitors who wish to share this positive experience with others. The result is more coverage of your site, which may lead to more sales.

This is a guest article from Ruben Corbo, which writes for several different topics including music, internet marketing, and digital art technology. For more information on behavioral targeting you can go to Maxymiser.com and read their guide which provides a lot more in depth explanation on behavioral targeting as well as other web analytics aspects for your business.

How to Save Money on your Web Traffic Purchase For Internet Marketing Students

Whether you own a national brick and mortar store chain or a single-page website that sells one product, you won’t make sales without visitors.  National chains spend thousands of dollars to increase the number of visitors they bring in, and while you might not spend as much, you should have the same goal for your website. Increasing traffic on your website should be one of your primary objectives, as visitors are the only way you’ll make sales. If you’re struggling to get visitors to your website, you should consider buying traffic. While the upfront cost might be intimidating, it is an investment that will pay for itself eventually. If the investment is still intimidating, there are several ways you can save money on your web traffic purchase so that the amount you need to invest is as low as possible.

Check Review and Coupon Sites for Discounts Before You Buy Web Traffic

As with any other purchase you can make online, there are countless websites that offer coupons and discounts for web traffic sales. To save money on your traffic purchase, be diligent about checking these sites and finding discounts. Review sites might also offer discounts when traffic retailers offer promotions on them. By checking these sites, you can find a low price without compromising the quality of the website traffic that you buy. You can purchase a large package at the price of a small one by searching for discounts. Many web traffic offerings group visitors by the thousands, and you can cut the cost per thousand in half if you find the right discount.

Subscribe to Traffic Company Social Media Pages for Sale Notifications

For the same reason people follow companies such as Macy’s or Starbuck’s on Facebook and Twitter, you should follow a web traffic company. Social media sites are essentially free marketing for these chains, but they also provide value to their followers. By staying updated through their social media sites, you’ll be the first to know about any discounts or sales promotions that the business is offering. In some cases, these discounts are exclusive to Twitter or Facebook followers. Most sales promotions are time-sensitive, so you’ll miss out if you find out about them too late. Promotional notifications will show up right in your Facebook or Twitter feed, so it will be almost impossible to miss them on a day-to-day basis. In addition to sales and discounts, you might even gain valuable advice about optimizing your traffic by following such companies on their social media outlets. When you’re researching web traffic retailers that you might do business with, check their website for links to their social media sites. Even if you don’t choose to buy their services, follow them anyway in case they offer any new options in the future.

Take Advantage of Free Trials and First Time Savings

To garner new customers, many web traffic retailers offer discounts and savings to people who are just using their services for the first time. Some even offer free trials to prove what their service can do for your website. Even if you already use a web traffic provider, take advantage of a free trial from another company if you see that one is available. Even temporary traffic could boost sales and get your website higher up on a list of search results so the free trial will help in that way. Using first-time savings offers will also give you a good idea of the quality a new service might provide. If you’re unhappy with your current provider, trying a new one will give you the opportunity to improve the quality of the traffic you pay for. Similarly, if you don’t like the service provided in the free trial, you’re not bound to continue with that company.

Get Web Traffic from a Reputable Company with Reasonable Prices

In addition to looking for discounts and savings, you should also make sure the web traffic retailer you choose is reputable. If you choose one that provides low-quality traffic, you’re wasting your money. Your goal should be to find a traffic retailer that provides targeted traffic. Quality traffic is equal parts quantity and quality. For example, imagine you are trying to sell women’s perfume on your website, and your traffic is made up only of male visitors. While the occasional male might make a purchase, you’d be much better off with mostly female visitors. Some web traffic retailers don’t pay any mind to such targeting and they only promise a large number. You’ll be saving money by finding a reputable service that promises quality.
You should also spend a good deal of time researching which prices are reasonable for the amount of traffic you’re looking to buy. The price could fluctuate depending on demand, so don’t purchase the first package you find. Compare prices and determine the average rate for your desired amount of traffic.

Make a Practical Investment

Though you might want to save money on your initial purchase, keep in mind that a high investment will yield better results. The more money you spend on traffic, the higher quality it will be and the more sales you will make. By making a low initial investment, you might not achieve the results you were hoping for, so some of your money will have been wasted. Making a high initial investment is actually a way for your business to save money in the long run, because your dollar will go farther.
Making the decision to purchase website traffic for your site might seem intimidating at first, as there are countless services available around the Internet with varying price points. However, with the right approach, you can save money on your web traffic purchases, which will give you an even bigger return on your investment. Quality should be one of your main concerns when you’re shopping around for a traffic service. High quality traffic can be expensive, which is why you want to find a way to pay for high quality at a low price.

Mobile Madness


This summer it is too hot in most of the country to do anything outdoors, making it the perfect time get organized for college in the fall. Sit down in some nice cool air conditioning with an iced coffee and get to work. What needs to be done won’t wait and it will make your life much easier in a few months. It’s time to get organized, get focused and get prepared for college.

Smart Phones Make Smart Students

Most university bound students already have a smart phone. Those that don’t need to borrow, beg or work their way into one. This is without a doubt the #1 weapon for college success.

Miraculously everything needed to make the first year at university better is held within this little box. The best news yet it that it is easy, fun, and inexpensive to put a smart phone to work for college prep. 

Task It Baby
Task management applications are easy to use and you can cheaply download one onto your smart phone. Some of the best ones are free. Look for an application that will sync across all your devices. Some task management applications even allow collaboration in real time on projects with other students. For students with an iPhone here are three applications made just for you:

Student Time Tracker

For university students carrying Android phones such as an HTC, here are three tremendous task tools to keep everything organized at college:


Applications that work across almost all platforms include both Remember the Milk and Wunderlist. It’s hard to get things done if you don’t know what you are doing!

College Cash Heads

Now, not in September, is the time to get the money situation organized with your parents and with the bank. Getting a student loan and financial aid? Don’t expect your money to come in on time or in full. Too often there is a hold up with student loans and financial aid that just adds extra stress exactly when you don’t need it- your first quarter or semester at college. Prepare in advance just in case by setting up a bank account with the school’s credit union. A bank account at your parents’ bank can also work well. Credit unions typically have better rates and fewer fees than banks. Check and compare rates and fees before choosing. In addition, make sure to establish direct deposit electronically with your parents’ account just in case you need it. Most banks and credit unions now have mobile applications available for your smart phone. Secure your phone with a password and through advanced security settings.

Decorating Apps and Sites to get Just the Right College Décor

Heading for college means making a life of your own outside of your parent’s home. This is going to be your personal space and you have the ability to decorate it anyway you want to. Decorating might not seem like an important thing but your dorm room is an extension of your own personal style and it will often make a first impression on people in your dorm. How and whether a student decorates is up to them. Luckily, there are several online sites that are filled with DIY decorating ideas, college dorm room supplies and tips for saving money your first year in college.

Some key things to know about college dorm living include:

1.  This is a communal environment. Noise and light are often an issue. At the top of every student list should be eyeshades, earplugs, noise reducing headphones, a small lamp for studying, a bath caddy and thongs for the shower room. Throw in a bottle of Aspirin, Tylenol and Tums for good measure.

2.  Dorm room beds are longer than standard single beds. Specially designed X-long dorm room bedding is available in cute, reasonable coordinated packages from online college bedding sites like Our Campus Market.

3.  Most students share a dorm room with another student. Try to determine as quickly as possible if you are compatible with the other student or not. If it seems like the human cockroach from hell has turned up instead of a roommate be prepared to go to the Resident Assistant (RA) as quickly as possible. No matter what do not give up in the quest to get rid of the gargoyle. Your stuff, time, sanity and grades are at stake!

Better yet try to hook up with other students from your area now. Look for someone headed to the same university and get to know him or her through online social networking sites. Then ask to share a room and put a request in with the university.

Don’t necessarily pick your best friend to be your roommate. Cousins, brothers and sisters, the rabbi’s daughter that you have known since you were three- these are all roommate non-options. Part of the college experience is meeting new people. A roommate is an opportunity to establish new relationships and broaden your horizons. However, meeting the roommate online and then in person before living with them will help to ensure that you both like each other and will mutually benefit from the relationship.

Organizational Obsessions

Despite popular lore Organizational systems aren’t just for engineering geeks and pen fanatics. Dorm rooms are small. Putting things away isn’t really optional; if you don’t put it away you will be stepping over it. Using organizational boxes, storage systems and closet organizers helps students put things away and it clears the mind. Having a level of control over your living space is psychologically important. College classes are stressful and the competition for everything from the best burgers in the cafeteria to boy/girl friends is a nightmare. In college the dorm room is one of the few things students control. Results are both quick and satisfying.

Again online shopping via the Internet is a great way to acquire decorating ideas and items to meet any budget. Sites like Pinterest are filled with fun college decorating ideas and links to organizational items and decorating sites.

Emotional Emptiness? There’s an App for that!

Many college students leave college every year not because they can’t hack it academically but because they are lonely and sad. This is a time when hormones are hopelessly out of control and yet supportive family and friends are far away. The stress of difficult classes, a few relationships gone wrong and it’s easy to get homesick, emotionally overwhelmed and feeling hopeless. Luckily students can prevent much of the emotional trauma right now using online preparation.

Start networking with Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumbler and the social site for your future college. Hook up with other students, professors and RAs. Students that currently attend the same college and those who are on their way to the same university next year are a great place to start new friendships. Searching and introducing yourself now while there is very little to do will translate into easy new friendships in the fall and quiet possibly an outstanding roommate option for next year.

From the current students ask as many questions as possible. Find out which classes to take and which teachers are the coolest. Ask about dorms, food, showers, weather, transportation, social scenes, gyms and the best places to buy used books. The more information you have before heading off to college the better. Answers to these and a thousand other questions are just a finger tap and a recharged battery away. Why learn it all when you get there? You can learn about these things at your leisure now while making new friends. It is a win win situation.

Using a smart phone and a little ingenuity can turn the dog days of summer into a bright future in the fall. Next year will be easier and a whole lot more fun. Every successful team out there uses preparation and planning to make their best plays. Why not do the same?


Checklist for the Keen-eyed Satellite TV Subscriber

 Satellite TV being touted as one of the best avenues for high quality viewing experience doesn’t mean that services offered by providers will all have the same caliber. There is a myriad of factors that you should consider when picking out a satellite company. And knowing the checklist by heart can give your money its utmost value.
Take time to check and asses your needs before looking for providers. In the same vein, it is imperative to review the background of the companies and see whether their offerings can satisfy your demands.
With the tight competition subtly binding the providers in an unspoken battle to outsell each other, providers have formulated packages that can be attractive to their targeted consumers. You can take advantage of the large discounts and good deals from these promotions.
Note that the cost of the products depends on the number of channels chosen. It is therefore better to choose among the pre-set packages that are priced according to different budget sizes. Expect the process to fluctuate from time to time as a result of the competition.
But the quality of the services shouldn’t be masked by cheap costs. Not because the price tag is light, doesn’t mean you should jump into signing up in the subscription form without observing the quality of the product.
Scrutinize the channels included in the packages. There may be a hundreds of them, but not finding your favourite channel from the bunch is a sure waste of money. It helps you describe the specific services you are looking for, and let the company whip out a package that’s perfect for you.
Customer Support
Sattelite TV is not exactly easy to troubleshoot. A slight dislocation of the dish often calls for the assistance of a technician. As such, you should look for a provider with impeccable customer support and ever-available help line.
At some point, you may need to get more services other than those you initially availed. The company then should also be able to provide your needs and address your concerns. The promptness of the provider in attending to their clients should be among the items that are on top of your checklist.
Feedback and Reviews
The most genuine information about a provider comes from reviews authored by current and past subscribers. The Internet has a wide range of forums that contains recommendations (and warnings) from customers. Dawdle around these sites to get have a heads up on the company’s performance.
Better yet, inquire from your trusted acquaintances and relatives. Referrals are probably the best way to land the best choice. When the service provider gets the “seal of approval” from reliable sources, there’s no reason for you not to give it a go.
Look before you leap is an old adage that applies best to the selection of satellite companies. Remember to keep a keen eye and avoid subscribing in haste. It is always wise to ensure that you are getting your money’s worth.

This is a guest article by Ruben Corbo, a freelance writer for technology, travel, and music production topics. When he’s not writing or making music, he’s enjoying a good post-apocalyptic novel or playing RTS Strategy online game. Ruben’s writing resume includes websites like Latino Satellite where you can get the best SIM only deals as well as other websites that help you save on your tech purchases.

Understanding How Product Recommendation Engines Work and What It Can Do for You

Even if it’s your first time to dab with Internet marketing, you will need just a couple of minutes to become familiar with what a search engine is – read: Google – and how it impacts your site or blog. But if you’ve come across the term “product recommendation engine” then this may get you scratching your head because you probably have no idea what it is and how it works. One thing you can be sure of, though: it’s something you are likely to have already encountered in the past. You just didn’t know it.

What Is a Product Recommendation Engine?

Most shopping websites, regardless as to whether they are auction based like eBay or are just one sprawling marketplace like Amazon, tend to prominently feature a list of recommended products on their homepages. These lists are the results of their product recommendation engine.

They work by taking into user preferences or your preferences for that matter and then correlate it with the products and services available on the site. Needless to say, product recommendation engines naturally enjoy access to the entire product and service database of the website. Information is filtered with your preferences in mind and, afterwards, the product search engine comes up with a list of products and services that it considers likely to appeal to you.

Predictions made by product recommendation engines are not only based on the description of the product and service but also on whatever information it can obtain from your own social environment and previous web history.

How Does a Product Recommendation Engine Work?

They typically utilize three types of approaches to come up with the most accurate results for a website’s potential customers.

Collaborative Filtering

With this approach, a product recommendation engine first gains access to a pool of users and collects data based on their behavior online, their activities, and their preferences. All the information collected is then filtered and submitted to a platform which categorizes them into products that a group of users may like or dislike.
When you visit the site, the first thing it will do is to determine which group of users you belong to. From there, it will provide recommendations on the assumption that your tastes are similar to users it had studied in the past.

Content-based filtering

With this type of approach, product recommendation engines use complex algorithms so that only activities, browsing history, and preferences attributed to you alone are considered. This approach will be increasingly effective the more time you spend browsing the site. But the product recommendation engine will have nothing or little to base its recommendations on during the first few times you visit the site. During those instances, the results provided by these engines are likely to be not as accurate as you would desire it to be.

Hybrid Recommender Systems

Finally, there’s the hybrid recommender system. Many consider this as the best approach because it combines the two aforementioned strategies. Because the web behavior, activities, and preferences of similar users as well as those attributed to the actual target customer are both considered, the product search engine has more information to work with. Consequently, that means having a better chance of improving the accuracy and validity of its predictions.

You can come up with a variety of predictions or recommended products when installing a product recommendation engine in your own shopping website. A good example of how broad its work can be would be Amazon, which utilizes its own product recommendation engine to come up with different types of recommendations such as “Related Items” or “Items to Consider”. A list of “previously viewed items” is even included.


A Quick Guide to Debt Relief

Being buried in debt is everybody’s worst nightmare, but there is hope in a number of methods for debt relief. You can either deal with debts on your own in a slow and orderly manner or you can elicit the help of certain agencies that can help provide you with much needed debt relief to enable you to avoid eventual ruin. One of the best methods of debt relief begins with very easy steps, and here are just some of the few things you can do to help relieve yourself of debt or to avoid it in the first place:

Debt Relief – How Prevention is Better than Woe

The best debt relief that you can ever provide for yourself is the initial avoidance of excessive spending. Not only does this help you steer clear of the debtors path in the first place, but it also provides you with a very wide margin of chance that will make paying any outstanding debts easier by keeping whatever debts that may come at a bare minimum.

While emergencies and wants can’t be avoided, keeping your credits manageable will help you pay your debts faster, and with less strain than usual. Keeping track of how you spend your money and what you spend it on is one of the key ingredients to success if you’re looking to keep your debts at a manageable rate.

Saving for rainy days, as the saying goes, helps too as this gives you backup in the event that the worst happens. If you’ve gone well beyond this stage and are in the throes of a big debt that needs to be paid, there are other methods of debt relief that you can undertake.

Slow and Steady Pays the Debt

If you have an outstanding debt that is already well beyond your means to pay, don’t balk. To provide some degree of debt relief, reevaluate your current budget and your major sources of income and devote a significant portion of that into slowly paying the debt little by little. It is ill-advised that you try to pay it all in one go, as this will leave you destitute.

Paying up your debt by installment leaves you with more than enough money to purchase your needs and a little of your wants while still enabling you to live up to the responsibilities that you have over your creditors.

While the process is a slow one, it is a sure way to get something done without having to let your accountable balances sit and become more unmanageable due to interests. Although not  all creditors will allow this method of payment, you can usually vouch for such an approach via a representative or via agencies.

Debt Settlement as Deft Relief

When a debt goes too out of hand for you to be able to pay it with your current means, instead of opting to call in for bankruptcy, which can ruin your reputation in a latter date, you can also opt to procure the services of certain agencies that specialize in debt settlement.

Debt settlement is the last call for debt relief as it enables you to pay a mere fraction of the original debt that you owe. While this may seem like an easy way out, you should consider the possible ramifications that this may cause to your records, and should only be considered as a last resort when all things have been tried to no avail, but debt relief from Consolidated Credit could be one option for you.

The Story of Coffee

Coffee falls into the stomach … ideas begin to move, things remembered arrive at full gallop … the shafts of wit start up like sharp-shooters, similies arise, the paper is covered with ink … – Honoré de Balzac

That first cup of morning coffee.  Is there a better way to start your day?  Or to relax with friends after a good meal?

Coffee comes from a tropical evergreen shrub.  The bean like seeds are roasted and ground to produce the drink of the same name.  Most coffee drinkers know what they like, but know little about how the steaming hot brew got from the far off mountains of exotic countries to their coffee maker.

Legend says that the story of coffee began in the year 850 in the Ethiopia highlands.  A goat herder named Kaldi was watching his goats and noticed that they became more active, dashing around the fields, and not wanting to sleep at night. Thinking that this may have been a reaction to something they had eaten, Kaldi followed them.

Kaldi found that the goats had been eating red berries from a shrub.  So he tried them himself and soon was frolicking with the goats.

Legends have a way of evolving so either Kaldi told a local monk about the beans, or a monk walked by and saw Kaldi frolicking among the goats.  However the monk found the beans, he shared them with his brothers and after consuming them they found divine inspiration.  Not only that, the coffee helped them stay awake through long hours of prayer.

The story of Kaldi may be just a legend.  But it bears elements of truth.  Coffee did in fact come from Ethiopia and still grows wild there.

But it wasn’t until the year 1100 when coffee made it to the Arabian Peninsula that the real story of coffee began.

The Arabs were the first people to cultivate coffee.  Their climate was conducive to the growing of the plant. Coffee was being grown in the Yemeni district of Arabia by the fifteenth century and was known in Persia, Egypt, Syria and Turkey by the sixteenth century.

Did coffee become popular among the Arabs because Muslims are forbidden to drink alcohol?  Various sources comment that many Arabs enjoyed the “exhilarating” effects of coffee.  It seemed to fit the Muslim lifestyle of praying five times a day and keeping them awake through those times.

Whether the story of Kaldi and the monastery is true, it is apparent religion played a role in the popularity of coffee.

Coffee houses or qahveh khaneh became popular in Arabia and coffee soon became the Arab’s social drink of choice.  But the coffee houses weren’t just about the strong, black drink they also enjoyed music, conversation, and chess and kept current on the news of the day.

Thousands of pilgrims visited the holy city of Mecca each year from around the world.  Word of the “wine of Araby” as coffee was sometimes called began to spread beyond Arabia.  As Islam and the Arab Empire spread, so did the love of coffee.  Arab merchants traded coffee as often as they could.  But the Arabians closely guarded their coffee production.

Europeans started hearing about this amazing dark drink from the East.  By the 17th century coffee had made its way to Europe and by mid-century had gained in popularity.  But coffee was not without its detractors in Europe who referred to the beverage as the “bitter invention of Satan.”  The local clergy of Venice condemned coffee in 1615.  Pope Clement VIII was asked to intervene.  But to make an informed decision he tried coffee and reportedly found it so enticing that he gave Papal approval saying “This devil’s drink is so delicious…we should cheat the devil by baptizing it.”

Even with the controversy in major cities across Europe coffee houses were springing up and becoming major centers for communication and socializing.  “Penny universities” spring up in England where a cup of coffee and stimulating conversation could be had for the price of a penny.  By the middle of the 17th century there were over 300 coffee houses in London alone.  Edward Lloyd’s Coffee House is what is known today as Lloyd’s of London.

In the New World, tea was the preferred drink.  After all the majority of settlers were British.  But in 1733 the Boston Tea Party changed that and Americans developed a fondness for coffee.  In fact the Boston Tea Party was planned in the Green Dragon, a coffee house. The Continental Congress named coffee the national drink.   James Mason invented the coffee percolator in 1865.

Coffee houses were gathering places for revolutionaries like John Adams, George Washington and Paul Revered.  The first reading of the Declaration of Independence was outside the Merchant’s Coffee House in Philadelphia.  Washington was later inaugurated as President at a New York City coffee house.  What was once the Tontine Coffee House evolved into what is now the New York Stock Exchange.

The Arabs tried to maintain their monopoly on the production of coffee, but the persistent Dutch managed to acquire some seedlings in the latter part of the 17th century.  They tried to plant them in India, but failed.  They were later successful in Batavia and on the Island of Java in present day Indonesia.  Before long the Dutch had developed a productive trade in coffee expanding the cultivation to Sumatra and Celebes.

The Dutch could have exclusively maintained the only coffee trade outside of Arabia, but in 1714 the Mayor of Amsterdam presented King Louis XIV of France with a young coffee plant.  It was planted in the Royal Botanical Garden in Paris.  A young naval officer named Gabriel Mathieu Desclieux obtained a seedling from the King’s plant in 1723.  Surviving a perilous voyage enduring weather, sabotage and a pirate attack, Desclieux was successful in transporting the young plant to Martinique.  The seedling thrived and over the next fifty years was the source of over 18 million coffee trees on the island of Martinique.  These trees later spread to the Caribbean and Central and South America.

Legend has it that romance brought coffee to Brazil from French Guiana.  Captain-Lieutenant Francisco de Mello Palheta wanted to bring the beans to Brazil, but the French Guidanan governor was not willing to share.  But apparently the French Governor’s wife became enamored with de Mello and presented him with a parting gift of flowers.  Inside the flowers were hidden enough coffee beans to begin what is now a billion-dollar industry in Brazil.   The plants grew quickly in Brazil’s favorable climate.

While coffee is grown all over the world, not every climate is suitable for coffee.  The best coffee beans are produced when grown in tropical climates and at high altitudes.  The area 25 degrees North and 30 degrees South of the equator tends to be the best growing area for coffee.

Different methods for cultivating coffee produce differences in coffee taste.

Kona coffee has a nice, medium body and is grown in Hawaii.  The volcanic conditions and the warm, tropical climate make Hawaii an ideal climate for producing coffee. 

Mexico is one of the largest coffee-producing countries.  The Mexican coffee grown in the Vera Cruz, Oaxaca and Chiapas regions of Mexico has a strong, sharp taste.

In Central America, Costa Rican coffee is known to have a “perfect balance” where the country has a reputation for growing wet processed arabicas.  Guatemalan coffee is known for its distinctive, rich flavor.

In South America, Columbia is probably the best known producer of coffee.  Columbia produces coffee with a mild flavor and well-balanced acidity.  But Brazil is the largest coffee producing nation in the world, outpacing Mexico.  Most Brazilian coffees are medium-bodied with low acidity and are grown in a climate perfecto for producing Arabica and robusta coffee.

Back to Africa and the land of Kaldi, coffee trees still grow all over the country of Ethiopia.  Regions in Ethiopia where coffee is grown are Sidamo, Harer or Kaffa.  These coffees are generally bold and full-bodied.  Kenya also is a well-known producer of coffee where coffee is grown at the base of Mount Kenya.  This coffee has a full body and a sharp, fruity acidity.  The Ivory Coast is the world’s largest producer of robusta coffee which is best for dark roasts and espresso.

Many Indonesian islands such as Sumatra or Sulawesi have coffees named for them.  In fact, the Indonesian Island of Java gives us that very term.  These coffees are rich, full-bodied and have a mild acidity.

Coffee is still grown in the Arabian Peninsula where the drink first gained in popularity.  Coffee from this area and countries such as Yemen has a deep, rich taste.  Coffee is grown today in much the same way it has been since the year 1100.

The first espresso machine was made in France in 1822.  Dr. Ernest Illy invented the first automatic espresso machine in 1933.  Italian Achilles Gaggia created the modern-day espresso machine in 1946, creating a high pressure machine by using a spring powered lever system.  The Faema Company produced the first pump driven espresso machine in 1960.

German housewife Melitta Bentz wanted a way to brew a perfect cup of coffee without the bitterness that came from over brewing.  She experimented with many different materials, but found her son’s blotter paper used for school was the best option.  She cut a round piece of blotting paper and put it in a metal cup creating the first coffee filter.  She patented the coffee filter and filter paper in 1908 and she and her husband Hugo formed the Melitta Bentz Company.  The company patented the filter bag in 1937 and vacuum packing in 1962.

Instant coffee came along in 1901 when Japanese American chemist Satori Kato invented the just-add-hot water method.  The first mass produced instant coffee was invented by English chemist George Constant Washington in 1906.  Living in Guatemala at the time, Washington created “Red E Coffee” which was first marketed in 1908.  Freeze-dried coffee was invented in 1938.

Depending on the geography of the region were coffee is being produced, the harvest months for coffee can vary.  The climate and altitude affect the maturing of the berries and can vary greatly based on the region.

Where low-cost labor is available, ripe coffee beans are either plucked by hand or picked with small rakes.  Sometimes they’re brought down with polls.  The pole system is quicker, but not as careful and necessitates additional cleaning of the berries.  Some harvesting can be done with automated machines in the regions where the terrain will allow.

A coffee plant needs to reach five years in maturity before it can consistently be expected to yield a sufficient amount of beans. 

Coffee is actually a very delicate product and the beans must be extracted within a few days after they are harvested.  This prevents fermentation.

Seeds are removed in one of two ways:

The dry method is used mostly in Brazil and Western Africa.  Berries are continuously stirred to expose them to the sun’s rays for some 15 to 20 days.  As an alternative, coffee can be put in drying rooms and dried by the heat of a burner.

The wet method is more demanding as well as more expensive.  Used mostly in Central America, Mexico, Columbia, Kenya and Tanzania the berries are cleaned, pulp is removed, the seeds are fermented and peeled and then processed to give a glossy appearance to the beans.

From here, with either method beans are put in sacks and stored in special control rooms before being shipped out for packaging and sale on the market.

The coffee industry employs more than 20 million people worldwide.  Over 400 billion cups are consumed on an annual basis.  Petroleum is the only worldwide commodity that outranks coffee in terms of worldwide trade.  In Brazil alone, over five million people are employed in the coffee production industry. 

The sales of premium specialty coffees in the United States have reached the multi-billion dollar level and are increasing annually.

Undz New Project Will Bring Back Local Jobs, Business Majors Pay Attention

Undz underwear brand launch their new women underwear collection this summer.

Undz underwear brand launched their new women’s underwear collection this summer.

Undz.org the mens underwear brand from Canada will launch a women underwear collection this summer. The company that sold a record 250, 000 men’s underwear in their first year online, will now offer the same crazy good quality underwear for women as they do for men. The collection will be full of colored and high quality garments for only $10. The underwear will be like a Brazilian cut boxer with a large waistband perfect for a winter evening in bed. Undz CEO Bertrand Dore told us that the company is working on another project that will be available this fall. The women’s collection available this summer will be sponsored by a celebrity that will be unveiled later in May. Undz men’s underwear collection will always be available, and tons of models will also arrive this summer.

On a bigger note, it is said that Undz’s new project will give local workers some apparel jobs back, and that is great news considering the unfortunate events going on lately in the apparel industry. MADE IN HERE is the project that has the goal in mind to bring back 50 workers in the apparel business. The CEO of Undz Betrand Dore admitted that most of the merchandising was produced in Asia and will continue to do that but having a certain portion of that back in the local area.

You can read more about this on Diadelreciclaje which is also a great Business and Marketing blog for you College students to check out, because it’s not got some pretty informative stuff.

It’s not every often you hear news about CEO’s not only admitting their faults but also willing to give opportunity to those at home. I don’t personally believe the economy is as bad as it used to be 5 years, ago and I see a drastic improved, but it’s these forward step taking business leaders that really give the rest of us faith that more companies will bring back to their local area. It’s not always the fault of business leaders to outsource their productions or other tasks, but a lot of start-up companies in the beginning find it to be a necessity to outsource their tasks in order to bring a larger increase in ROI. Imagine if you had only a certain amount of money to invest in a business and needed the profits to keep growing you business in the beginning, what would you do?

Hopefully business majors could learn from this and take a great example from Betrand Dore in order to give back to their home country after bringing years of great service and products to us. The future of our country in terms of employee very much relies on you, especially if you’re producing mens underwear.