I will NOT Shop Amazon, I will support Small business

November 29, 2013

Refuse Amazon, Shop Small Business

HERE ARE JUST A FEW REASONS TO SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESS, WHETHER INTERNET OR BRICK & MORTAR SMALL BUSINESSES AND NOT AMAZON!

 
  • Small businesses that make the mistake to partner with Amazon give up ALL RIGHTS to their content, including pictures, to Amazon FOREVER!
    So even if a business realizes that teaming up with Amazon was not such a good idea, and they end their selling on Amazon, Amazon will retain and use their content and pictures to link to and sell other products.
    Often to products that are not even the same or of lesser quality!
  • Black Hat SEO practices employed by Amazon and allowed by Google that give Amazon unfair advantages over smaller competitors.

    Reference:

    https://cstrohmeyer.wordpress.com/2013/11/18/amazon-black-hat-seo-re-directs-for-google-hummingbird/

  • Amazon has supported and lobbied for the grossly anti-small business Internet Tax.
    EBay at least has understood how devastating this will be to small businesses and has lobbied to block this terrible piece of legislation that is thankfully been blocked in the US House of Representatives for now.
    Reference:
    http://www.myopinions-carl.com/2013/04/internet-sales-tax.html
  • Amazon’s Feedback System is highly manipulated and grossly inaccurate.
    Based on my profession of aquarium/pond products where by I have over 35 years of hands on experience, I have read many Amazon reviews where by an excellent or even top notch product were slammed, usually because Amazon sold the product with incomplete parts for proper use or simply improper use due to inadequate information on Amazon.

    I answer emails regularly form those who have unfortunately purchased incomplete items or not received correct information from an Amazon product similar to what I sell.
    Worse yet, I recently received an email from the most vile person you could ever believe accusing me of attempting to harm his family by a filter back up and subsequent water leak (& the potential electrical fire this could have caused), because he purchased an API/Rena HOB filter from Amazon without the correct pre-filter that WE SELL and recommend for proper operation of the filter.
    He was too cheap to purchase the correct filter from me and instead purchased the incomplete filter from Amazon and somehow this was my fault.

    On the other side of the coin, I often read positive reviews on Amazon for products that scientifically cannot perform the job that is inferred on the Amazon selling page.
    This is common with many Amazon UV Sterilizers that can only perform Clarification, not true sterilization.
    And even then these often break down in less than a year

    Here is just one reference of what really makes a true level one UV Sterilizer:
    *http://aquarium-digest.com/2009/10/26/uv-sterilization/

  • Many persons will go into Mom & Pop businesses such as that of a friend I know who operates a Lego Brick shop (Rebel Bricks) and then get the free help while shopping at Amazon for a better price.

    Reference:

    http://www.rebelbricks.com/

    These same types of persons do this in increasing numbers by reading my free articles online and then going to Amazon to purchase, often for an inferior product.
    My Stat software proves this too


Google Penguin Spam; Is Matt Cutts a Liar?

September 20, 2013

Google Penguin Search, Spam Fail, Matt CuttsGoogle continues to be a spam search engine, nothing like the Google of 2005 or earlier.

Matt Cutts and others at Google will claim that Adwords has nothing to do with organic listings, yet it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that that the evidence says otherwise.

 

Here are a couple of examples:

EXAMPLE 1
In the search query, “Aquarium UV Sterilizer Reviews”

The second result is this one from Amazon:
amazon.com/Green-Killing-Machine-Internal-Sterilizer/dp/B001KP9B2W

What is wrong with this result?

  1. There are only two very weak links for a forum coming in.

    No links of any authority as Google would describe, unlike better websites with REAL content, that unfortunately do not happen to be Amazon.com

    See this screen shot (click to enlarge)
    Amazon Spam SEO links

  2. Second, the link to Amazon is an embedded hyper link, just the sort I was told was a poor quality link according to my Google Webmaster Tools

    See this screen shot (click to enlarge)
    Amazon Spam SEO embedded hyper links

  3. Third; as a 35 year expert in the field, this is not even a review web page, rather it is a selling page for a piece of junk (Green Killing Machine) that is only a UV Clarifier, NOT A UV STERILIZER!!

    If Googles search engine was any good at discerning accurate content, they would know that this result is not a UV Sterilizer, nor even a review

EXAMPLE 2
In the search query, “Aquarium UV Sterilization”

The results are even worse

Since the term “UV Sterilization” is a process, a thinking person would expect an article/ web page dealing with this process, NOT a product.
YET Google displays nothing but products from the usual junk aquarium product seller suspects such as Amazon, Pet Mountain, etc., etc.

Unfortunately many of the best and most researched websites are missing completely from Google Search
One example of an brief but very accurate website with resources to more advanced information:
http://aquarium-digest.com/2009/10/26/uv-sterilization/

What do I suspect

What I suspect is that a manual removal was performed as one of the many articles of the process of UV Sterilization was plagiarized by about.com (it is well known in the professional aquarium keeping community)
Google apparently gave their spam buddies at about.com credit for content of this article.

Summary

It is obvious that about.com, Amazon, eBay, Pet Mountain, Dr. Fosters & Smith all get preferential treatment in Google search, as well as in Adwords as per cost per click.
Sadly none of these websites have ANY respect among the aquarium keeping professionals I know (myself included)

What do I think of Matt Cutts?
I think he is an intelligent person, therefore he knows full well that most everything out of his mouth is a lie.
He also should be ashamed of himself and his employer for all the small businesses and persons he has put out of work in this tough economy.
As well he has caused great harm to the aquarium & pond keeping community with the amount of spam that now poses as legitimate results for many queries about aquarium/pond care.

Maybe someday he will apologize to me and others instead of hiding behind his so-called Penguin updates.
I would love to be proven wrong by this man.

What is also troubling as I read more and more online as to how to appease Google in SEO, what comes up more and more is that the only way to succeed in Google search of late is to practice what is called “Black Hat SEO”.
I suspect that Amazon maybe doing just this.

For me, I have NEVER conducted my business since 1978 this way, as I have always placed honesty and integrity ahead of profits. So I am not about to now!

Hopefully either the Mainstream Media will do their job and report what type of business Google REALLY IS, not the darling they portray Google as.
OR Google will change their ways (not likely)
OR persons will switch to the many BETTER search engines such as Bing or DuckDuckGo.

References
Need further proof?
Please read these references

*http://www.apexpacific.com/blog/apex-internet-marketing-software/matt-cutts-is-a-liar
This article catches Google in a MAJOR fail as per spam software gaming Google. This is a MUST READ

*http://www.myopinions-carl.com/2009/07/google-lies-dishonesty.html
This article calls out the Google Dishonesty, Plagiarism, with Adsense, Adwords keyword bids, & more

*http://www.fish-as-pets.com/2012/05/google-is-evil-content-plagiarism.html
This article calls out Google for content Plagiarism, Aquarium Fish Searches. As well it calls Google as they are; EVIL!

*https://cstrohmeyer.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/google-search-seo-penguin-panda-matt-cutts/
My other recent article on this subject

*Is Amazon.com practicing Black Hat SEO?


FedEx Claims & Mishandling, Technical Support

May 25, 2011

 Fedex Claims Sucks, Customer Service Dishonest, mishandling, DHL, UPS

 
 

Updated 7/30/15

 

Update July 2015

We finally had enough of FedEx as our shipper for our Internet business.
We found out they were charging higher BASE rates, and most importantly their claims & billing department hit a new low for honesty and lack of integrity.

We had a sudden upsurge in breakage of the UV filters in late spring 2015 and other products we sell and ship via FedEx.

In particular is the TMC UV Sterilizer. As a little background these have been shipped by common carrier from the UK to Los Angeles then to our Grants Pass OR location via UPS for 10 years now without one breakage even though only packed in a box with no other packing material (1000s have now arrived here via this method).
We test each unit for defects and then repack with added bubble wrap in the product box, added bubble wrap around the product box, followed by a shipping box.
What is even more noteworthy is that just the other day while taking new pictures, we accidentally dropped one of these UV Filters from a table 4 feet to the concrete floor, without any box or any other protection and THERE WAS NO BREAKAGE!!!

So when FedEx manages to break this item, we know that SEVERE abuse has occurred by one of their disrespectful gorillas.
But this is not my complaint as bad apples happen in any business, the problem is when their RUDE Claims department refuses to honor a claim, mind you all we asked for was the cost to cover parts to fix the item, not the full replacement cost which frankly they should pay when time and our customers satisfaction is considered!

We finally gave up on their claims department since we decided to switch to UPS due to this constant problem of breakage, but we did dispute their billing department to pay the delivery fee.
Once again, the dishonesty of FedEx came shining through with the Billing claiming they honored their side of the contract by delivering the package.
SORRY FEDEX, DELIVERING A BROKEN ITEM DUE TO SEVERE MISHANDLING VOIDS THE CONTRACT, WE DO NOT OWE ANYTHING!

If you are even considering using FedEx, PLEASE RECONSIDER!!
Their lack of integrity is unfathomable and not worth anyone’s time!


ORIGINAL POST:

We had a Monday in early May of 2011 where at least 5 packages were damaged. We resolved 3 of these on our own (at our cost both in time and product repair cost), in fact one of these had the box severely damaged yet the product was in usable condition, so the customer told us he was “good” with it.
This resulted in us only filing claims on two packages that also had declared value placed on them. I should point out that we have shipped literally over 1000 of these UV Sterilizers and even more noteworthy on the particular UV Sterilizer in question, we un-box and the re-box with layers of bubble wrap, THEN another couple of layers of bubble wrap outside the main box before adding another box over this.
This particular UV Sterilizer is shipped to us form the UK with only the outer cardboard box and to this date only one has arrived broken.

Further UV Sterilizer Reference:
http://www.uv-sterilizer-directory.com/

However attempting to get FedEx to honor this claim, you would think WE committed murder with every excuse being used and disinformation, and lying the standard of the day. I once had a car accident that was my fault and I was treated vastly better than this, yet this was clearly FedEx mishandling.
If FedEx had any integrity in their claims department, they would fire half the staff to start with, then also look into how much a business ships versus their claims percentage. FedEx would quickly realize that we make only 2-3 claims (usually low dollar) versus $40,000 plus in shipping (up to this point it comes to .005 in dollar value of claims versus shipping expenditures with FedEx)

Another silly aspect of FedEx claims is why bother placing declared value on an item if FedEx is going to find every excuse to not pay for their own mishandling. Just on this one UV Sterilizer alone we have paid about $1500 in these fees (not all the sterilizers or other products that we add declared value), this is well above all claims for every item ever shipped and damaged by FedEx in 6 years of using their services. This logic of FedEx’s claims department is just incredible IMO!

Here is a list of Reasons FedEx lacks any integrity/honesty in their claims department:

  1. Asking for information then changing the rules and asking for more but then only when contacted by the FedEx customer. Providing a completely different answer depending upon who you speak with. Basically; LYING!!
  2. (Similar to above) Lack of communication/ability to contact the FedEx customer when further information is necessary.
    Even when contacted few calls are ever returned, even from upper management!
  3. Looking for any loop hole to disqualify a claim (Basically; no integrity!!)
  4. Ignoring the statistical facts
  5. Ignoring Customer Shipping History (come on FedEx; .005% claims versus amount spent with FedEx certainly shows our ability to pack well, especially considering 70% of our shipments are fragile)
  6. Treating customers that have spent Thousands of $$ like criminals
  7. The scam that is declared value

Further;
I will also point out in dealing with FedEx’ Technical department, while not as dishonest, they are rather condescending with little interest in providing the businesses such as ours what would improve our business efficiency (such as a usable and reasonably sized Address book and ability to cross use this between our employee sub accounts).
There is more, but I will leave it at that as we have come to learn to deal with this aspect of FedEx shipping and could “live with it” if it were not for the extreme lack of integrity of their claims department especially Debbie (beside being clearly in the wrong line of work, she cannot accept any responsibility for hers or her companies actions).

In fact Debbie kept attempting to call this a UV Bulb when it is more better defined as a UV Filter that has a bulb inside it, this was her dishonest attempt to use legal fine print to get out of paying a claim that was clearly the fault of FedEx. This attempt to mislabel this product was ludicrous and the same as attempting to get out of paying for a damaged laptop computer based on LCD “lights” and similar that are part of the computer.

UVC Bulb Reference:
http://www.uvreplacmentbulbs.com/

Updated 9/30/11
In another case a package with lights and an aluminum reflector, FedEx dropped something heavy on this box, crushing the neck of this reflector.
The dishonest claims person never made any attempt to contact us with any questions (which is typical) & denied the claim based on e a picture where the customer attempted to put together the shipping box, leaving the bubble wrap to the side (which she lied about as we and others looking at this picture could clearly see).
This FedEx employee cited paper as the reason for denial, ignoring the stated fact that this box had bubble wrap and layers of card board over this neck. She also ignored the fact that we have shipped literally 100s this way (and so does our distributor, MINUS the bubble wrap!!).

Her manager had the condescending audacity to state we should contact a department at FedEx to learn how to correctly pack.
WHAT? In fact I and our shipping manager have been working in shipping together for over 8 years, including a couple years at Candy Factory where we listened to this same lame story from another FedEx employee.
In that case in 2004, we stopped using paper as a spacer and instead substituted styro peanuts as was suggested in this recent case. The result you might ask? The candy shifted much more resulted in this high end candy looking very scuffed and resulting in many un-salable boxes. In the end we went back to paper.
This is not to say we do not use styro peanuts as these are great for single light bulbs which we wrap in bubble surrounded by peanuts and whip 100s per month with only very rare breakages, but with larger items we have found using bubble wrap around the items, followed by cardboard dividers and paper to fill the gaps and finally extra layers of cardboard works quite well, but to FedEx this is a way to deny a claim which is ludicrous at best and dishonest at worst

In summary; as I noted FedEx has a lot to offer a small business that needs reliable reasonably priced shipping, as well our account manager (Trevor) is awesome (& hopefully if any reader either has a FedEx account or is getting one is lucky enough to have a good FedEx representative).
I will also point out another positive is Sharon at the Atlanta CAT (CAT stands for Customer Advocacy Team if I am correct); was VERY polite and understanding, so my hats off to her too.

However if you use FedEx as a shipper or are thinking of using FedEx and your items are even remotely fragile (assuming you package very well too I might add), I would recommend taking a step back and re-considering the cost of the time to package (the item I referred to we spend almost 40 minutes re-packaging, only for FedEx to make every attempt to not take responsibility for their poor handling in this incident), the cost of your time in dealing with FedEx (we have lost over 8 man hours from this one bad day of shipping by FedEx), and simply the aggravation of dealing with persons with absolutely no integrity to do the “right thing”.


Aquarium Keeping Resources

August 3, 2010
Here are a few of my friends Aquarium (& Pond) keeping Resource websites:
 
This website from a friend contains a very popular articles with 100s of hits per day (a lot for the narrow spectrum of high end aquatic lighting):
 
This includes this resource: Unique Aquarium Information Articles where this friend also links to many of my articles
 
This is the most accurate guide anywhere on the internet for finding the correct top notch replacement for UV-C Bulb to fit your UV Device
 


My Aquatic Forums, Directories

July 25, 2010