Sunday, March 21, 2010

Are You Thinking of Getting Or Own A Dog or Puppy? If So Read Article Now

This is Georgie - Join Him On Facebook

Millions of people just love their pet dogs and many, like me, purchased their loving pet from a puppy store. Now that there are so many reports on almost every TV station and in the media about the many puppy mills used to supply these stores, we as a society have begun to look at other options to find our new addition to our families.

Some believe that finding a nice "Rescue Dog" is the only way to go. However, there are many that find this quite difficult to do. Rescue Dogs, may actually not be rescue dogs, but rather mixed breed dogs that so called Rescue operations find, take into their homes and then put them up for adoption. There is always some form of adoption fee associated with these so called rescue operations and they can range upwards of $300 or more. They claim that helps cover their costs, including the necessary shots or medical care some of these dogs require.

From my investigation, I have found this is not always the case and in fact, many of these so called rescue operations are actually businesses set up to sell dogs for profit. One estimate of one operation I checked into was alleged to make over $100,000 per year and that is indeed a nice business.  I even found one site that claims their is a Dog Mafia which is a crime syndicate in dog show circles. Another conspiracy theory or fact, I am not sure, but you can read about it and draw your own conclusions.

So where do you go to find a puppy and help the unwanted dog population find good homes. Well you can make sure you deal with a real non-profit rescue operation and not the many so called and unlicensed operations claiming they have rescue dogs for adoption. Local ASPCA and other organizations can usually steer you in the right direction. If you are looking for a specific breed you can check out the AKC's Breed Rescue Group listings.  There are a number of others and PetFinder has a lot of information on their website as well, including many helpful articles and videos with titles like:

Before You Adopt

Which also includes other videos like Preparing Your Home for a Puppy  and many others

Remember, that when you adopt a rescue dog, you do not have any information on their genetics, their dispositions, their health issues either current or future (genetics is important here) so their is always the risk that your little rescue dog may not be what you might have expected. Some ill tempered dogs are given to rescue operations by their owners that simply turn them in with the excuse that they are allergic to them or they are moving or some other reason, but seldom the truth.

Another way to find the dog you want could be going to a local breeder, which I personally believe is a good way to find the dog you want. You can usually visit their home, see how they are kept, their environment, meet their parents, see their papers (should be AKC registered and have the papers so you can register your puppy as well with the AKC). You can usually pick from the litter the one you want.

One of the new tools we can now use to determine our dogs genetics and breed is the new Dog DNA tests. The Chihuahua we purchased two years ago was sold as a purebred dog to us and the papers they gave us was from a dog wholesaler and the dog could not be registered with the AKC. Now purebred Chihuahua's are usually 6 pounds (read this full PDF on the breed here) or under. AKC will not allow you to show your Chi if he is over 6 pounds either. When our little Georgie bagan to grow and finally reached his full adult size, we realized there was something wrong when he tipped the scales at 13 pounds.

He also had a different head then the apple headed Chihuahuas and his markings were not typical of a Chihuahua. Everyone that would see our dog would say, wow he is so handsome, doesn't look like a Chi and is way too friendly and very calm. Doesn't bark like a Chi at everyone either.

We decided to have his DNA tested and purchased a dog DNA test on eBay from a company called BioPet Vet Lab. Easy to do the test, you get two swabs that go between the cheek and teeth of the dog for 10 seconds. You then do it from the other cheek and both go into the envelope to the lab for the test. Within 3 weeks the result comes back. In our case Georgie was a Level 2 Chihuahua which means he as between 34-74% Chihuahua in him and the rest was well, who knows.

We were able to get a full refund of $1,000 from the puppy store we purchased him from, of course I had to do a little arm twisting but after a few months, I received the refund.

So if you purchased your purebred dog and want to be sure you got what you paid for, get the test and you will have peace of mind. Now, even if you love your doggie and would never give him up, as with people, knowing your genetics is important in determining health issues now and in the future, so do it, just to know how to deal with your dog, train him or her and know what you have to do to keep him healthy.

A few things I have learned after my experience. Do check the internet and even the Better Business Bureau to see if the store or puppy place you intend on purchasing your puppy from has a good reputation. Don't let them tell you that they sell thousands of puppies (that is the tip off they buy from puppy mills) and the few complaints you see on the net or on the BBB web site is very small compared to what they sell. The truth is that most dog owners have no idea that they have been sold either a mixed breed or an unhealthy dog, mentally or physically, until now...we have DNA tests.

If you prefer to get a little "Mutton" our new name for our Georgie (out little mutton), then by all means look for local listings in Craig's or the internet. Do not pay hundreds of dollars unless they can prove they have made sure and paid for all the vaccinations and shots he has required. Even a mutt has a mommy and daddy, so try to meet them and see if they are well adjusted calm and submissive, well behaved and healthy dogs.

Remember that a dog becomes a member of the family. They are the most loyal and loving of all pets and they will creep into your hearts and your beds fast.

You can now see many photos of Georgie on his Facebook Fan Page

There are also a number of videos of Georgie on YouTube As well

If you haven't been watching the Dog Whisperer with Ceasar Milan on the National Geographic Channel, this is a must before and after you own a dog.  We watched religiously when we first got Georgie and with his help was able to train Georgie to walk with us properly, to be housebroken, to be social and to be a well adjusted, calm and submissive pet. Visit the Dog Whisperers web site for more information as well and by all means, watch his show or rent his DVD's, I guarantee they will help you and enable your dog to have a wonderful life.

We love our Georgie and can't remember what life was like before he entered ours two years ago. I love to take him with me whenever I go to local stores that allow me to bring him. His favorites are Home Depot, Lowes and Kohl's because they allow me to put him in the shopping cart (I put a towel or blanket down in the cart first) and roll him around. He always gets lots of attention and this is how we got him to be as well balanced as he is now. You must socialize your dog and get him used to people and other dogs. His head goes from side to side and his tail wags when I tell him we are going in the car and to Home Depot. He has made many friends at the store and they all know Georgie, unfortunately, know one knows my name, but that is OK too.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Destination Weddings, Do You Give a Gift Too?

Over the years we have been invited to out of town or destination weddings. When we get those invitations and if the people getting married are close friends or relatives (even our older cousins kids) we try to make every effort to attend. When we get those invitations from some that are on the opposite coast and would be expensive to attend, we laugh and say to each other, I bet they invited us hoping we wouldn't come, we are going to fool them and show up.

You see we like the idea of getting away, joining friends and family at joyous events. We always try to give a nice gift when we attend the affairs and never think that our attendance at their wedding is an appropriate gift. Yet, recently my middle son was married. They decided to keep the wedding small and have it in a beautiful hotel in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

You can see the story with a nice video on my web site.

Now the reason for this posting on my blog...

I have gone out of my way over the years to help family and friends. When my son announced his engagement to the family, we noticed not one person either family or friend sent them a congratulations card, no phone calls and not one gift. We thought that since their wedding would only be months away, that most would make up for it at the wedding.

Now we have a number of friends that go back 30+ years. Some kept asking where they had registered, but even with the information no gifts. Because this son had a destination wedding in Jamaica, we understood that some friends and relatives could not attend. Some did, the ones that could afford to, but a number of them didn't give any wedding gift. OK, we understand that some could barely afford the trip, they are young girls that barely make a living, but still wanted to be their for their friend the bride. But what about our Long Island and New York wealthy family and friends that didn't give gifts? Not one of my brothers children or his wife gave them a wedding gift, even some long time friends no gifts, nada, nothing and remember, these people didn't give any engagement gifts either.

Leona & Her Maid of Honor Lucy
Old friends also let us down, no gifts, excuses like I lost his address, or I have been tied up and forgot. Months later, same stories, I will be getting them a gift. Someone even told me you have up to a year to give a wedding gift...who made up those rules Emily Post? You go to a party, you bring a gift, period. You get invited to someone's home for a party or a dinner, you walk in with something in your hands, bottle of wine, cakes, something for their home or children, but never empty handed. At least that is how we were trained when we were younger.

I am at least happy that a couple of our friends who couldn't attend had the good sense to send them gifts. Doesn't take much to pop a check in the mail with a card, right? We are not talking about big money, just something to say congratulations, we love you, hope you can buy a gift or make good use of the money or gift.

The thing that really hurts is that we have always been generous with our gifts for our friends and relatives children on birthdays, holidays, new baby's and other occasions. My son's are not kids anymore and in their thirties and we finally had an occasion to test the generosity of family and friends and they let us down.

Unfortunately my oldest brother died at an early age, I am sure if he were alive his entire family would have done the right thing. I suppose I have to get into the Me, Me, Me mode now and stop being generous with gifts and favors, since it would only be one sided. I feel especially bad for my son, who said to me,

Dad, I don't know how to put it, I guess the word is disappointed in my family.
Now here is the topper... his cousin who is an extremely wealthy bachelor living in an eight million dollar penthouse apartment he purchased a few years ago in New York, has a successful financial business let him down as well. All three of my son's worked for this cousin when he started his business and this son helped him on a number of occasions with his web site and other situations. We all thought that he would come to the wedding, but unfortunately he was out of the country. This cousins way of congratulating my son on his upcoming nuptials was a note posted on my son's Facebook account, "Way to go Cuz" No cards, no phone calls, no gifts, no show at the wedding.

The kicker on this cousin was that he hosted my other son's bachelor party in his apartment only a few months earlier. He also attended that son's wedding held in New York City and gave a very generous gift as did the rest of the family, but when it came to my other son, who is the most family oriented of all three of them and possibly because he now lives in Florida, none of that side of the family and many of our friends, simply ignored him.

Shame on all of them and a word of advice to anyone reading this blog. If you can afford to attend a destination or out of town wedding, be sure you give a gift too. Your attendance at their wedding is not in place of a gift. Out of town weddings or destination weddings cost as much or much more then local weddings. My son paid almost $400 per person for those that did attend his wedding. The cost of a local wedding would have been much less. The people that did come had a wonderful 3 or 4 day vacation in the Caribbean and it only cost them about $250 per day per couple plus air fare. It was a 5 star hotel and it was all inclusive. They ate as much as they wanted, they drank until they couldn't see straight and they enjoyed all the entertainment in the evenings at the hotel. Yes, they all had a great time and a wonderful vacation and enjoyed the company of their family and friends.

Here is why we are so dissappointed... Aside from the financials, how do you think a wedding couple feels when their friends and relatives don't even acknowledge this happy occasion and come to a wedding without a gift.

I know my son was surprised, disappointed and a bit ashamed when he only wanted to prove to his bride how wonderful and generous his family and friends were. We are getting tired of making excuses for their poor behavior. Being wealthy is no excuse for poor manners.

My list of friends and family keep getting smaller....


I received a call from my sister in law some months later and just asked her the reason no one in the family gave my son a gift. She was shocked and told me that her daughter had told her she would be included in the gift she was giving.  Of course she never gave a gift, so my sister in law was in shock when she heard it.

She called her daughter who confirmed no gift was given with apparently no sane reason other then my son never sent them a gift when their third child was adopted.  My sister in law then called her son, who couldn't attend the wedding and he also thought he was included on a "family gift" and when he found out none was given, sent my son a beautiful set of dishes that was on the bridal registry.

My advice to my sister in law and to anyone that is going to be included on a family gift, is don't unless you know for sure that gift was given and you chipped in for the gift.  People can be very strange and simply taking a free ride on someone else's gift in my mind is not a thoughtful and appreciated as much as the thought and care that goes into you giving your own gift and sending your own card with a personal message inside.

Never Do Business With Friends!

Yesterday I lost a friend and who was my dentist as well. No he didn't die, but to me it is the same since I will no longer speak to him for what he did to me.

Here is some back information and history with him and his wife.

A couple of years ago his wife asked me to help her out with a video project she wanted to do for one of her client companies. They were paying and she needed a videographer and someone to help her work out some concepts. We did the project and had some rough spots because the original concept for the video wasn't strong enough to work in a video.

She had a second idea that we also shot at the same time, one that would become a YouTube video that was actually a commercial for her client. The first idea didn't pan out but the second video, a short 4 minute one did and has now received over 100,000 views on YouTube.

I had fun working with her and she had a creative mind and was very easy to work with. I ended getting paid more then expected and she couldn't thank me enough. Working with her was a pleasure.

A few weeks ago my friend the dentist (her husband) came to me and told me he wanted to hire me to help him relaunch his dental web site. The one he had was well, old and horrible and looked like a high school kid did it ten years ago. He said, Len, I don't want this to come between our friendship so lets figure out the costs so we are both on the same page. This is business.

I asked a few questions about what he had in mind and we looked at some dental web sites and saw some of those horrid dental sites that were produced by companies like and others and after pointing out how all these web based dental sites looked exactly the same, decided that they really were only puff sites that looked pretty but really didn't have content personalized for the individual dentists.  Although the dentists would have some of the ability to change the content, in many cases we noticed they simply used the canned stuff offered by the template company.  We decided that we should look at other options on the net, find some dental sites we really liked and see if we could create one that we could be proud of.

I pointed out that these web based website companies are basically meant for dentists or doctors that have no knowledge of the web and wanted a no brainer. For many these sites are ideal because they all look identical (see their sample sites), are web based and all a dentist needs to do is go to their web site, login to his account, select the theme or skin for the site and then choose pages he wants on his site. He then fills in the copy in the boxes on the form, selects the color of his font, size, style and it flows into the finished pages from their database. All of these sites use the same basic templates and the text simple flows into the predefined boxes of spaces on those pages. You can see a sample of one of their sites here.  It is like purchasing a book and having them engrave your name as the author in the book.  I don't know, I am from the old school and have always done my own original work.

You can see that this particular sample site has a black theme. It is just one of their showcase sites, that means one of their best sites. But what you don't realize is that they have worked on this site to make it look as good as it possibly can with their system. But what happens when a dentist with no artistic talent or understanding of working with typography goes in and picks the wrong size font or selects bold on body copy, or simply selects their default text? Well you end up with a page that looks more like this one on my ex-friends site:

Not being a custom site, and feeding the copy from a database means they are basically text sites, a few paragraphs on each page and if you look at one site or the next from the company, they all look the same. Now the problem with these sites is that they are what they are. Low cost, template driven sites that don't allow the owner the freedom to be creative or deviate from the template.

Now to be fair, some of their skins or themes look good and they do allow the Dentist or Doctor the ability to switch the "skins" or "themes" when ever they want to so they can experiment and find one that suits their taste.

I noticed my ex, found a nicer template then the black one and frankly, it looks quite good, although it lacks the ability to introduce your own images, graphics, etc. on these pages and you can't deviate in any way from their template form.  Almost all of the pages are strictly text, which I find a bit boring and in some cases either hard to read or lacking any substance.  I know some believe that on a web site, you need to keep it concise and in most cases this is true.

I don't believe in using premade templates all with the same text (on every dentists site)  and all of them looking exactly the same with the exception of the color scheme of skins. Yes, you have the ability to use your own copy on many of these pages, but if you want their premade ones like their FAQ's, FYI, or many others, they come complete with the text in place.  For him, I am sure this was a good decision, but as they say hindsight is always 20/20.  Meaning if I knew what I do now, I would have told him to simply go there and deal with them and not with me.

Now templates can be quite effective and are a handy and inexpensive way to create a site.  You can either purchase the template as we did and customize it or if you don't have that ability, you can purchase one like the Prosites templates or even the ones sold by Intuit or many other companies on the web that are premade.

I am not knocking any of these companies and my son owns a company that produces very high end sites with very complex back end capability for the Hedge Fund community.  Anyone that purchases one of their sites has full control over every function of that site and it is done in a simple and easy to use admin. He deals with companies and the sites are all SEC compliant sites.  Their client company can update their performance figures each month and on the fly the site will create a PDF document with the results, charts, graphs, etc.

Their sites are so complex in terms of what they can do that it would cost $100,000 plus to create a site similar to the ones they offer for a fraction of that number.  It took them years to develop all the programming that goes into these sites and looking at how clean they are and understanding the complex things they do is truly a marvel.  I am a very proud dad. You can visit his web site construction company and see samples of their sites here. Once there you will see samples of sites, logo creation and even a link to see a demo site, but this is only available to registered site visitors.

So again, I understand this business model, but that is not the reason for this blog post.  It is all about trying to help a friend and being disappointed in the way they have dealt with you.

In the case of ProSites, they offer, template sites at a cost of $2,000 start up and $55 per month to host the site. They deal with dentists and doctors, a group of individuals that are not noted for their creative abilities, a group that usually has the money to spend and some seem to be smarter then the rest of us (so they think). Please note, I am simply generalizing in my depiction here, but from my experience, many I have met fit this pattern.

My friend and I talked about these sites and decided we could probably purchase a nicer stand alone template web site from a company that designs template sites for dentists and other professions. Although it would require a webmaster to put it together, we felt it would be far better then anything the other sites could offer and would look custom.

 If Prosites sells thousands of this single template site with various skins of themes, anyone going to one of their sites would realize that it is a standard template using the same before and after photos and videos on all these sites. As a patient, I think I deserve to see the dentists actual work and read his descriptions of his services and his talents, not a canned site that only has his name on the top of the page.

My friend, asked what it might cost to go in this direction. I said over the phone, that if we did a simple 8 page site, using a custom template, and a few head shots of his staff, it might cost around $1,000, but until I saw the template it was only a guess. A simple template site that I only needed to flow some copy into would only take a couple of hours per page then the time to shoot and process the images and incorporate then into the site and maybe it would take 20-25 hours tops.

 It would still come in at half of what ProSites would charge and he would own his site, not rent one. If he ever wanted to change his hosting company he could do so. At Prosites, you can't, you are married to them at $55 per month, every month and over 5 years that actual cost of your template site would be around $5,000.

My dentist friend agreed that some of the nice templates we could purchase for as little as $64 was a good idea and after narrowing it down to three that we all liked selected one.  We got the site in both a static XHTML version with style sheets (CSS) and a flash driven version. This would give us the option to use either version or even combine some of the flash with the static pages.

As I began to work on the project, my friend continued to add things he wanted and from an 8-10 page site, it was looking like a 20 page site with lots of extra's including custom titles that had to be created in Photoshop, stock photos that we could use and reading the copy from other dental sites that would give us some direction in what we would like to include on this site. The consultation and time spent before actually starting the real work took over 15 hours.

Once I began to work on the site, I found it was harder then I thought because all the page layouts had to be followed exactly as the template and style sheets dictated. Now this is not his fault, it was mine, so I chalked up the extra time I had to spend understanding their code as part of my education.  Anyone working on these template sites will find it a challenge because you need to figure out how their CSS or style sheet works.

As I tried to modify the amount of text on a column, it would throw off the entire layout of the page. So it took longer to overcome these obstacles. I also found out that, since I didn't create the site, I had no idea what some of the styles actually did or looked like on a page. So looking at a style in the style sheet that said, col 1 or col 2 didn't mean anything to me and was hard to work with.

I spent a total of 40-50 hours working on this site, late into the night and one day my friend came down to actually sit with me and go over what he wanted. We went in and changed the art work I did for the Heading and sub head banners, we looked at each template page to see which ones we wanted to use for each section. We decided what the main pages would be, I suggested we link to a blog that he could go to and update each week as others do. We spent 5 or 6 hours that day and I was to meet him the next day again since his offices were closed to basically get the additional copy we needed for these pages and hopefully get the bulk of the site wrapped up.

He thanked me on Monday and understood why it had taken so much time to get the site to where it was already and said hopefully on Tuesday we could get most of the site finished. I worked on cleaning it up, creating the additional form he wanted on the site and at around midnight, I finally decided I was ready for the next day and could simply insert the copy needed to finish most of the job.

Please look at the website I created for him now, remember it was never completed, so you are only looking at a work-in-progress.  You can also view the original template with the flash banners and original template pages here.

Now during this process I kept reminding him to keep focused on what we needed on the site. Not to expand it out with pages of copy that would not be necessary. After all anyone that wants details on how to fight cavities, can find it on thousands of web sites and doesn't really need to go to the local dentists web site.

 He thought that the $1,000 fee, that was a rough estimate on my part, included all the work I was doing. He said it also included shooting his 13 person staff, exterior shots of his office, group shots, cleaning them up, resizing them and inserting them on the site. Wow, what a deal that would be, don't you think?  Even so, I was willing to do it, after all he was my friend and their is nothing I won't do for a friend.

After a few days of conversation and work on this project, I told him I would send a written proposal just to confirm my understanding and what the job included and this would be what I called Phase One of the project. I could see that if I didn't have him focus on what he really needed it would become a huge monster of a site.

 Custom work on a template site, custom graphics, copy creation, forms that had to be tied into his hosting companies system and so much more and all for $1,000. So with a written proposal, we would both know what was included and he would end up with a great custom site that he could add onto in the future.  Side note, we continued to work on this project and he never signed off on the proposal or even mentioned it after I had sent it to him.

I have been working on my own sites and some for friends for about 14 years now.  I am the president of International Press Association and my job every day is to write articles for our site, publish reviews, edit our members works and create the new sections of pages of the site that I built years ago. I also do lots of research before writing articles, understand how to optimize my site for search engines and have years of sales and marketing experience. I worked for years with programmers and designers on this site and we also have a fully functional admin section that feeds into a database and makes many of the functions of the site work properly.

Now remember, I told you my son owns a website production company  and employes a staff of graphic designers and programmers to work on these sites, so I know what I am doing, but my friend, the dentist still would not take my advice. If I was smarter, I would have stopped the project before too much time was spent and told him that we differ in our opinions and that he might be happier doing it himself with a company like Prosites, but I didn't.

Every suggestion I would make he would disagree with. New logo design from the one he had 14 years ago, shot down. New tag line that makes sense, shot down. The necessary information on the site, copy that made sense, shot down. How to make the site search engine friendly, shot down. I realized I wasn't working with his wife who is a creative professional but rather a dentist with his own ideas of what looks nice and a person that simply resisted change.

He wanted to be hands on, even asked me if he could do the web pages himself. I explained that learning HTML or going through the learning phase of a simpler web edit program would probably not be worth his time. Even sites built by Intuit that would cost $1,000 or more for a custom site, requires some knowledge and they offer an hour of training, but even these sites have their limits.

Now here is why I no longer consider this man a friend and pulled out from this job...He actually fired me...but didn't have the guts to tell me, I had to find out myself.

On the Tuesday we were going to meet again, he called and told me he was looking into Prosites again just to get some idea of what they offered. After all my site was $1,000 including photography and there sites are $2,000 plus $55 per month, with nothing custom and no photography. I told him if he decided to kill our project and go with them his cost would now be $3,000 plus the monthly because I still expected to be paid for the work I did.

Tuesday, he never showed up for our meeting at my place. He made an excuse that he hadn't done all the needed copy yet. On Wednesday he was busy shopping with his wife. I reminded him when we spoke, that if he stopped the project and only wanted me to shoot the photos, it would be a half day and the cost would be $500 and if he didn't like my work on the site, I would forgo those fees, even though I spent 40+ hours and hours of consultation and planning with him before actually starting on the site. I spent hours explaining how the internet works and did extensive research looking at tons of other dental sites and grabbing ideas from the best of them.

Later on Wednesday I had an auto accident, I was at a stop light and someone didn't realize that me and the 4 cars in front of me at the light were stopped and rammed me from behind. I sent an email to my friend, to ask him where we were on this project and advised him that I had an accident. Not once did he respond to me regarding my accident, but he told me he was playing on the Prosite free trail site, they give you a 30 day free trial to see how their system works, and never mentioned he already decided to kill my site and go with them. I can only assume he wasn't even reading my emails by then and only working on his web site on Prosite.

Still no emails on Thursday from the dentist and I decided to take another look at the site I was working on and discovered it was now gone from the net. I knew that this meant, he had started the process to move his domain over to Prosites. I couldn't login to his original account now it was gone from his previous hosting company, but I did login to his Prosites account to see he had chosen their black theme for his site that looked more like wedding photographers site with photos of smiling bride and groom. The pages are so difficult to read, pages are clunky and there is nothing custom about the site. Each page is simply a page of text, and in many cases the same copy on every dentists site that uses Prosites.

Certainly it is easier to use their pages then spend the time to do your own. Prosites FAQ's address the issue of their popular templates showing up all over town. They claim that although there are many thousands of the exact sites out there, the chances of two dentists in the same town having their sites is small.

 Can you imagine spending $2,000 for a web site that has been sold to thousands upon thousands of dentists all over the country? Wouldn't any smart dentist ask himself, is that what I really want to show my patients. A web site with the same text, photos, FAQ's and videos as so many others?  Maybe it is just me, but I suppose for many, that is exactly what they want to do.

He had paid them the $2,000 for the entry fee, had transferred the domain to Prosites and not once called or emailed me that he had made the decision to do so and abandon the one I had worked on. I am not sure if I was insulted, hurt, frustrated or disappointed
but I am sure it was all of these things.

So after discovery of my friend deception, I sent him this email.

I see you have made your decision to go with Prosites, I think based on what I have observed, for you, this is probably the best decision, unfortunately you made that choice after I invested over 40 hours on the other site and all the hours of consultations we had. We looked at Prosites originally and you chose to go in another direction, but once you realized the complexity of the project and potential additional costs to keep adding to the base site, you decided to cancel the project that you hired me to do even though we both agreed to it and it is almost completed now.

I have to tell you, I am very disappointed in you and the way you have gone about this entire deal. I went way out of my way to help you because of our friendship and spent many hour rushing to get this done for you because you kept asking me to do so. You sat with me last Monday and I thought you were satisfied with the project and our progress and understood the hours of time I had invested. By Tuesday when we were going to meet again you had already signed onto Prosites and decided it suited your purposes and then you Back Peddled on me, not the other way around.

They say it is not wise to do business with friends and I now understand the wisdom in that saying. As a friend, I considered you one of my best, but frankly, you have now shown me another side, that frankly I don't like. You could have been more honest with me. I see you already began the process to move your domain over to Prosites without saying a word to me about your final decision.

I looked at the site and see you have completed what you feel you may need on this site and that is fine if you are satisfied with it the way it is.

I will not have anything further to do with this project or frankly you as a friend or as my dentist. This was a sneaky and underhanded move and I am frankly disgusted with what you did to me.

Have a great life and don't even bother to contact me again.

He called me Friday afternoon when he received my email.
Hi Len, he said, I got your email. I asked him if he read it, he said no he just saw the subject line. I advised him to read it and if he still wanted to talk he could call me.

We hung up and I never heard from him again....

Here is the definition of what Buyers Remorse means. In this case, I feel my dentist, after making the commitment to me suffered from Buyers Remorse and has now backed out of our original deal.

Buyer's remorse is the term given to the feeling a person often gets after making a large purchase. Although excited at the time of the purchase, once they've spent a lot of money, many people feel a deep regret and concern that they made the wrong decision, referred to as buyer's remorse.

So that is the long story and the reason I decided to post it because it confirms my belief that you just can't do business with friends or in many cases family either. When you are going to do business with a friend, even if you both state this is a business deal and you don't want it to effect your friendship, it will.

If you are providing the service, you will never charge as much as you would to a stranger and as a friend will go the extra mile to do more, and work harder on the project. Unfortunately, the party that hired you, will never appreciate your efforts because they feel it is expected that you should work for less and give them more. In many cases like mine, they may not respect or listen to the advice you have given them, because you are their friend.

This was one of the most frustrating situations I have experienced in awhile and one that has hopefully taught me a valuable lesson. I have written this to one, get it off my chest and two to warn others not to do the same as I have done.


I just received this message from the CEO of Prosites and wanted to respond, but unfortunately deleted his comment in error, so here it is as it should have appeared:


As an expert in website design, surely you must know you cannot copy and paste text from other sites and call it your own.

The statory fines for copyright infringement can run as high as $150,000 per violation, so I recommend you pull down that website before we contact our attorney.

Your rant perfectly illustrates an important point -- many doctors don't mind having a website that saves them money by avoiding the cost of creating a fully custom site. Our sites are very easy to use, and thus our doctors (who according to you "are not known for their creative abilities") have little problem making any changes they wish to their ProSites website. This again, saves them a lot of money. They can even change their entire website design anytime they want, free of charge (you on the other hand, would have to charge them for a brand new website).

Our website look great, and that's why we are so popular. You're just sour that your friend chose a website solution that is affordable, easy to use, and wasn't created by YOU.


Lance McCollough
Founder & CEO
Prosites, Inc.


My response to Mr. McCollough


With respect to copyright violations, the text you claim to be your copyrighted text should be specifically pointed out to me so it can be replaced with other "dummy text". The site under construction which was never published and is only files on our server and not listed anywhere other then in this blog was just that dummy text that would have been replaced by the dentist with his own. Anyone looking at this site in progress can see this and the story also confirms this.

I am very aware of copyright law and have been a journalist and president of IPA for 20 years, so your threats mean nothing to me. If you point out the specific lines and text I have no problem replacing them.

As far as your comments about your company and its mission, I have no personal ill will to you and your product, other then my statements of fact about how they work, the cost, and the overall appearance, which is my right to state my opinion of your product vs. a custom web site. If you visit the IPA web site you will see this is what I do for a living, I write reviews of products and services and we are supported by some of the largest companies in the software and photographic industry including Adobe, Nikon, RCL and many other companies.

Now as far as sour grapes go, apparently you never bothered to read or you didn't understand this post. It wasn't about your company specifically, it was about doing a favor for a friend and how it backfired. I do not create web sites for anyone other then my own or work on IPA. If you read the copy, you would see my son owns a major company called Hedgeco Networks with offices in both West Palm Beach, Florida and New York City. His company produces beautiful web sites for the Hedge Fund industry and offers many other support services to this market. They also own their own brokerage firm. That said, I did my friend a favor and was creating a custom site as a gift. The thousand dollars was simply a very low fee so that this would be a business arrangement and not a favor.

As you can see, it didn't turn out that way. Now for those dentists that don't have a friend in the business nor the ability to do it themselves, well Prosites is probably a good choice, but given the option of a well made site, with original copy (not lifted copy from your sites or anyone elses) the choice should be clear.

In this case, he contracted me to do the job and after completing about 80% of the job, without any thought to me or how I would feel, decided to sign up with Prosites. Frankly, I wouldn't have minded from the start if that is what he wanted to do. But you have to admit, that after he hired me to do his site, sitting with me for two days working on it, getting educated by me and then without any conversation with me that he was going to pull the plug, did so.

Now it is not sour grapes, I am relieved I am off the hook, but how would you feel if someone did this to you, a friend who you were trying to help? Screw the money, I wouldn't even ask him for any at this point even though I wasted a week of my time. I bill $200 per hour for consulting, I couldn't break even on this job if he paid me $4,000.

Enough said, if you want to send me an email with the copy you claim is your copyrighted copy I will remove it from the "Dummy, Under Construction Web Site"

By the way, this blog and illustration was meant for educational and instruction and as such would fall under the webs fair use doctrine regarding copyrighted materials. I also provided the appropriate links to your web site as well. I am a journalist and this would be covered under the Fair Use Doctrine. If you are not familiar with this doctrine, please read below and follow the link for further information.

Fair use is a doctrine in United States copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders, such as for commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching or scholarship. It provides for the legal, non-licensed citation or incorporation of copyrighted material in another author's work under a four-factor balancing test. The term "fair use" originated in the United States. A similar principle, fair dealing, exists in some other common law jurisdictions. Civil law jurisdictions have other limitations and exceptions to copyright.

Did you ever fire a friend or family member? I have!

Over the years I helped family members out with resumes they needed, letters to companies and lots of photographic assignments and generally they were pleased with my help and the results of my efforts. Some family members or friends however never realized the time and effort that went into those FAVORS and never bothered to show their appreciation.

Now appreciation to me doesn't mean buying me an expensive gift or thanking me over and over again, but it does mean a heartfelt Thank You, a simple statement like this one would suffice:
I know you took the time to help me and truly appreciate your effort and if you ever need anything from me, please don't hesitate to ask

At one time, years ago, I had to send my brother a letter to explain why I could no longer be the one in the family to write letters for everyone or do their resumes. You see it all came about after I was asked to work on a bogus resume for my niece who wanted to apply for a job, but didn't know how to put a resume together. The call came from my sister-in-law and she stressed it had to be written fast because the resume had to be sent out the next day.

My niece never asked for the favor, but her mom did knowing I was the family writer and also worked for and owned an employment agency for a number of years. To make this a shorter story, I spent 4 hours working on this resume that had very little substance and many exaggerations of truth and I was happy with the results.

I had to overnight mail this to them because years ago there was no internet. I then waited, waited and waited many days to hear if she got the job or at least to find out if the resume arrived in time, but nothing. No calls to thank me, no comments about the great job I did and no thank you. I finally decided to call my sister-in-law to ask how it went. She told me in a matter of fact way that they never used the resume because my niece decided she didn't want to apply for that position.

Still no thank you and no considerations for what I had done. That was the last straw and I wrote that letter to my brother to basically fire his family and let them know I would no longer be the "Go To Guy" when they needed someone to write their letters and resumes.

Now over the years, I have continued to put my self out and offer my hand in friendship and love to family and friends, but over the past few years, I have fired other friends and relatives. I have found that we live in a cruel world today where people have no problem asking friends, family members, co-workers and others to do for them, but never return the favors or will put themselves out for others.

We live in a world of
What can you do for me, not what can I do for you.
Now that I am 67 years old I look back at all the friends I had over the years and how many are still friends and sadly the number is very small. My wife and I have fired friends who have let us down in one way or the other.

My wife owns a small travel agency and fired one friend who asked her to work on a trip for them that literally took days to plan. This former friend was not easy to deal with and kept changing her mind and plans so my wife had to keep going back to do the research and present the trip plans. She later found out that this so called friend's husband decided to book the trip with another travel service, took all the information my wife had given them and found a deal for a few dollars less. They never asked my wife to see if there was a way to meet the price or even if it was exactly the same trip with all the extras.

Well, needless to say that friendship of over 20 years ended and my wife fired these friends. Now if they had simply come back to discuss this with her as friends would, she could have compared item by item why the other agent came up a bit lower. Every time she does, she usually finds out it is not the same items or there are hidden taxes the other agent didn't include. You see in the world of travel before the internet, every agent gets the same prices, but there are ways of working a trip and maybe using travel wholesalers that can bring the cost down.

You need to understand that many people are takers and not givers, so if you are going to do a favor and can do it without receiving what you need in return (a heartfelt thank you or other sign of appreciation) then go ahead. If you feel you are being used, then learn to say NO.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

New review - Navigator of the Seas - IPA web site

I know this blog is supposed to show you how to contact corporations to discuss good or bad things they are doing. Well you may wonder why I am posting this review of a recent cruise I took.

There is no better way of getting heard by large and small companies then by publishing an article or review, good or bad about their products and services.

As president of IPA, I have found a great deal of power in being able to tell my stories on our web site. Our IPA members can do the same. Imagine sending the link to this review to all the executives at RCL. By doing so, they realize I have the ability to help them do more business and that only strengthens my relationship with their company.

Check out my just published article and review of Royal Caribbean Cruise lines Navigator of the Seas. I shot hundreds of photos using my Nikon D90 and video clips too and after two weeks of work, ended up with a 33 minute video and a super review.

If you are interested in cruising, photography, travel or writing reviews, this is one article you won't want to miss. Visit my site at:

Read some of my other reviews too, as a member of IPA you too can get your message out, Loud and Clear.

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