Shoemoney digs Build A Niche Store

Build A Niche Store is a small eCommerce site builder that was recently reviewed by affiliate guru ShoeMoney. It’s not a shopping cart; it’s just an eBay affiliate program platform. It has a CMS built into it so you can add relevant content. The eBay feed is built in, but you can also add items from Amazon or any other vendor with whom you have an affiliate relationship. An interesting idea.

AlphaStore 2007

Other than the hard-to-parse name “Alpha Five Version 8,” the guys at Alpha Software have it going on. Take a look at their press release announcing the latest release and rebranding of their e-commerce offering, AlphaStore 2007. I like the fact that they did it with inventory integration in mind. The price point is quite attractive too.   I’m not a Windows guy, so I generally don’t pay a whole lot of attention to Windows carts; maybe this one will change my mind.

Success comes through hard work and persistence

My little book club was lucky enough to talk with Kristy Kiernan, author of the recent book group favorite, Catching Genius. I’ve always wondered about overnight sensation stories like hers, so we talked about her path to success. Turns out Catching Genius is not a first novel… or a second novel… or a third novel. She had to work hard and stay at it through repeated rejections. We’re glad she did. Here’s Kristy herself, talking about the journey:

I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was five, but I didn’t get down to seriously pursuing it until I was thirty. I was thirty-seven before I got my first novel, Catching Genius, published. Over those seven years I had several opportunities to go back to work full-time, but I turned them down, certain that success was just around the corner. After every rejection I would look around our finances to see what else could be cut, and I was slowly running out of possibilities, unless we wanted to stop showering altogether. When, just before I started writing Catching Genius (the fourth manuscript I wrote), we sold my car, I knew I was at the end of my chances and I made plans to re-enter the workplace full-time as soon as I completed it. But fate was with me, and the book sold within two weeks of going on submission. I don’t regret any of the sacrifices. Even if I never wind up taking the New York Times bestseller list by storm, I still know that I did everything I could do to achieve my dreams.

We’re excited to see Kristy’s book do well, and we look forward to the next one!

PS> An aspiring cartoonist was sending work samples to prospective buyers. He was turned down a number of times. One company’s rejection letter even advised him to “find an actual artist to do the drawing.” He shrugged it off and kept going until he got a yes. His name is Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, and he’s now one of the top selling cartoonists of all time. In business, “no” means “keep trying.”

Intuit buys Homestead

Yesterday, software vendor Intuit announced its planned acquisition of Homestead Technologies. Homestead is a hosted drag and drop website-building product.   For customers who do need e-commerce enabled sites, they offer Paypal Shopping cart as a bolt-on e-commerce solution, or StoreFront as an integrated solution. I’ll be interested to see what Intuit does with Homestead – will they retain folksy CEO and founder Justin Kitch, for example?

Gift Suggestion for Christmas 2007: Williamson School

Friday, the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) reported that industrialist Henry Rowan of the Inductotherm Group has provided a five million dollar challenge grant to the Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades.

Williamson is a very unusual school. Tuition is free and provided on the basis of need. Students are required to board at the school. Student life is highly structured, including daily chapel and work detail including assistance in food preparation and facility maintenance. Values and civic responsibility are taught in addition to technical skills. In the school’s own words:

The School’s core values are: Faith, Integrity, Diligence, Excellence, and Service.

Rowan himself is plainspoken about the benefits of the school:

“It seemed such a valuable contribution to the economy when you take fellows that might not be able to get a job on Wall Street but can make things and build things and do things.”

I am encouraging readers of this blog, clients of That Software Guy, and people who have benefited from the free software I have written to please consider donating to Williamson in support of this challenge grant. The gift of the dignity of labor to a young person who has nothing is the best gift possible for “the person who has everything.”

You can make your gift online using their web form.

If you prefer to mail a check, Williamson’s mailing address is:

Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades
Attn: John J. Schlesinger, Vice President of Institutional Advancement
106 S. New Middletown Rd., Media, PA 19063

MMM: Maximum Motivation

Well, it’s more like Monday Evening Motivation – I got back at noon today from running the Space Coast Half Marathon in Cocoa Beach and haven’t had time until now to get to this.

Take a look at these great motivational quotes from BNET’s Sales Machine. Maybe you won’t find something you want to tattoo on your arm, but I’m sure one or more are worthy of a Post-It™ note on your computer monitor or bathroom mirror. 🙂

The Credit Card Industry needs a Lerach Attack

Wall Street Journal Editorial page nemesis Bill Lerach may be headed to the slammer for his misdeeds – but that doesn’t mean we don’t still need aggressive class action lawsuits to rein in misbehaving corporations. Disagree? Check out the cover story of the Nov 12 issue of Business Week – it’s about credit card companies who are trying to collect debts that have already been canceled by bankruptcy courts. The article is called Prisoners of Debt (here’s the podcast on the story). Egregious doesn’t begin to describe the behavior of these people.

Of course, a separate but equal helping of scorn should be doled out to our esteemed Congress who could end this travesty in a heartbeat, if only they weren’t so bought and paid for by Mastercard and Visa. But who knows – perhaps as restitution, Fred Phelps will be required to demonstrate in Delaware carrying signs saying “God hates usury.” It could happen!

eFashionSolutions.com – way beyond hosted e-commerce

Retail Solutions Online recently posted an interesting PDF download called 12 Lessons Learned In Driving E-Commerce Success from eFashionSolutions.com.

eFashionSolutions.com is not just another hosted e-commerce provider – they do offer a robust hosted eCommerce platform specifically focused on the fashion and entertainment industries, but they differentiate by providing marketing and online branding services. According to their Media Strategist, Carrol Van Stone,

The eFS management team collectively has over 170 years of fashion and retail industry experience, offering its clients a wealth of market knowledge to assist them in developing effective and successful online eCommerce initiatives. eFS understands its clients’ business and, thus, is able to add value to a client’s brand both on- and off-line by providing marketing creativity and intellectual resources which a client can leverage to enhance brand awareness and market penetration. With leading brands and retailers such as DKNY, Judith Leiber, Oscar de la Renta, JLo by Jennifer Lopez, XOXO, Apple Bottoms, Baby Phat, Phat Farm, Rocawear, Dereon by Beyonce, Orange County Choppers, among many others, as well as partnerships with leading pure players such as Amazon, Billboard, and Google, eFS delivers a proven global eCommerce platform tailored especially for the needs of our industry.

Although their hosted service is optional, over 95% of their clients operate that way.

Their site gives you a portal into their ideas on presentation. I was impressed by the high degree of finish in their work.

If you’re in the fashion or entertainment business, eFashionSolutions is a player you should check out!