Saturday, December 11

Going Green for Christmas: My Recycled Cardboard Tree

To me, there is nothing more fun during the holiday season than going to the tree lot on a chilly night. Living in Los Angeles, I can make believe for that brief time that I am back in the northeast (where Christmas feels like Christmas).

Bringing home and having an elegant fir tree throughout the season always makes the house smell like Christmas, and the twinkling lights made us happy. But each year I rue the task of taking the tree down. It's not quite as lovely as the day we brought it in, and frankly? It makes a mess and becomes a fire hazard.

My initial foray into daring to go green for Christmas was when I saw an old aluminum tree at a garage sale, I snapped it up and we had a sparkly 50s Christmas. (I also found they sell for a tidy profit on eBay and bought as many as I could to resell - but that's another story).
This year, while in Montreal speaking at webcom, I saw a tree displayed made completely out of cardboard. It reminded me that much of the decor at PayPalX this year was made of recycled cardboard and I was intrigued.

I inquired and got a Cascades tree delivered to my house - we were happily surprised! It was delivered in a nice (easy for future storage) flat box. The tree and it's ornaments are diecut from sheets of 100 % recycled fiber (the  Trees are FSC® certified) and we had a great time putting the tree together. It was very much like putting together a huge puzzle!

The tree I selected was the Moderno with a festive holiday print on natural color board. They sell several style and color options on the Cascades website. The trees were developed together with Cascades’ Italian partner,  Reno De Medici. The styles in the Collection are the Classico, Moderno and Piccolo trees. Sizes? The Classico is 41″ x 28″, the Moderno 52″ x 29″ and Piccolo 24″ x 13″. Each style comes in your option of three colors: white, forest green and a print version. Prices range from $29 to $45 and include free shipping.

I no longer have the guilt of being party to a beautiful tree's demise!
Families with children will particularly like the plain white trees. I can easily see children having a great time designing their own. Seems that's what they had in mind too.
Take one minute and enjoy this short video, produced by Cascades, to give you an idea of the fun you and your children can have:

Friday, December 10

Holiday Video You'll not forget soon: "Christmas Laser Beam Cats" PEW! PEW! PEW! I love the holidays

If you like cats, these two guys make pretty funny videos. they have way too much time on their hands.

Wednesday, December 8

"What do you look for when you hire Customer Service reps?" #custserv 12/7 Tweetshow

We had a lively chat on Twitter last night regarding new customer service hires. The tweetshow features insights from the participants. Our participants come from all levels from CEOs to interested consumers. You are welcome to Join us every Tuesday at 9p ET. Just search Twitter for the hash tag #custserv.

Tuesday, December 7

Should You Merge Your Facebook Place Page & Business Page? Advice from @MariSmith #custserv

I just wonder what to do with the Community page Facebook invented for me? I don't want to lose the top tabs on my "fan" page. I think I will just wait and see. Maybe Mari Smith will come up with a suggestion.

Sunday, December 5

To those who wished me Happy Birthday, a blog post: "Social Media? It's Community, not just Marketing"

We have to remember that Social Media is that it is all about community. A community that may drive marketing, but is really all about people - real people.

This past weekend I celebrated a birthday. Before the advent of social media, it might have meant a party with close friends or people with whom I work. But social media has enabled us to bring the human touch to the web - and broaden it beyond anything we could have ever dreamed. I am lucky. All the people below all wished me "Happy Birthday," either on Facebook or Twitter. I appreciate the acknowledgment more than you can imagine. This is an amazing community to be part of, and I wanted to thank each and every one of you personally. Keep wishing Happy Birthday to everyone you know, it makes them feel special.

Thank you:

Steven Cooper, Mendel Mendelovits, Amanda Kaufmann, Maya Bisineer, Mark Krynsky, Maggie Dwyer, Jessica Northey, Mike Westerberg, John Weatherly, Ray J Gordon, Frank Ehrnreiter, Jack Nesbit, Jim Kukral, Lynn Langit, Aaron Howard, Erin Kotecki Vest, Peter D Hillard Jr, Tommy Geraci, Heather A Taylor, Robert Moran, Lotay Yang, Calvin Lee, David Molina, Phil Gerbyshak, Tristan Bishop, Johnny J. Shin, Michelle Millender-Baeck, Armen Chakmakjian, Karen Locker, Fran Maio Moore, Evan Ross, Diane Brogan, Robert (Bob) Watson, Jon Sturgill, Phil Leahy, Ketal Parikh, Amber Avines, Skip Bieber, Dilip Rajpurohit, Kani Civelek, Jan-Marie Henry, Chip Aspnes, Ziona Etzion, Nek Park, Stacy Small, Curt Buthman, Steve Duncan, Julie Spira, Ted Coine, Munish Gandhi, Jitendra Jojawar, Nicholas Clayton, Calvin Lee, Ed Millner, Keith Privette, Ruben Orozco, Henie Reisinger, David E. LeVine, Gino Xiao, AJ Bombers, Lisa Halang, Tammy Gamble, Scott Ross, Tomorrow Knight, Nina Bargiel, Laurel Kaufman, Andy Sternberg, Paul Chen, Ben Chou, Alexandra Mokh, Remy Ash, Mia von Doom, Todd Shoemack, Donna Bernstein, Roger French, Mark Drapeau, Jamie Patricio, Wendy Warren, Rick Bakas, Suzanne Hallam, Wesley Faulkner, Julie Spira,  Abbey Huret, Josef A Kunzler, Robyn N. Cohen, Linda Sue Martin, Jillian Cline, Lennlee Keep, Oz Sultan, Carol Quinn, Jon Luke, Anna Anisin, Cliff Aliperti, Post Just Post, Patty Boyer-Moore, Phil Gerbyshak, Joseph Gier, Franck Merlin Kengne, Jeff 'Digi' Lange, Ho Da, Beth Donahue Cherkowsky, Darryle Pollack, Stephanie Ciccarelli, Rynda Laurel, John Bates, Tricia Wallace, Donna Orr Tittsworth, Stan Cravens, Christopher Darbro, Genesis Musser, JD Andrews, Megan Testerman, Maryann Lowden, Kevin Winston, Rebecca Musser, Jim Donnelly, Albert Palomares Jr, Barry Moltz, Gayle Hall, Chris Brogan, Tom Rubin, Yancy Scot Strickland, Chris Voss, Harry K. Jones, Garick Chan, Johnny J. Shin, Linda C Teuthorn, Tara Hunt, Richie Hecker, Gary Neubert, Beth Frysztak, Nicole Jordan, Ron Taylor, Clare Bazley, Debbie McGuinness Woerner, Ken Yeung, Mona Telega, Steve Akins, Doug Rago, Steve Banfield, Chris Noble, Stacye Branché, Marjorie Clayman, Jim Weiler, Tristan Tom, Marc Cohen, Richard Brewer-Hay, Tony Adam, Tony Adam, Paula Lancit Boze, Brenda Demarco, Felix Nick Capurro, Debbie Clayton Wieder, Eric Greenspan, Clarissa Parashar, Daniel Egan, Ken Feldman, Sandra Ann Miller, Darla Flack, JMichael Wang, Tracy Bagatelle-Black, Carmie Giamella Docton, Ana M. Smith, Rebecca Quinn, Carolina Abenante, Clifford N. Robinaugh, Joe Limauro, Patti Louise Ruby, Myra WebSales, Matt Singley, Mystic Styles, Steve Rawlins, Patty Oyervides Simoneli, Bill Sharpe, Vicki Wilson Conley, Jonathan Craft, Debbie Levitt, Kathleen April Silvey, Stephanie Piche, Melinda Emerson, Stephanie Piche, Tommy Price, Ryan Lee Cox, Ryan Lee Cox, Ruth Gresham, David E. LeVine, Bobbie Steichen, Suzanne Randa, Jennifer Karpin-Hobbs, Robert M. Caruso, Richard Chereton, Roy Baker, Jon Luke, Brandon Dupsky, Helen Ziber Smith, Simon Salt, Ellen Reavis Gerstein, Shashi Bellamkonda, Richard Anderson,  Barry Piatoff, Henie Reisinger, Kelly Craft, Michelle Millender, 1680PR, Roy Merrill, Tony Dillistone, Caroline Cramer, William Hurley, CD Van, René Klaassen, Sue Dailey, Andre Carthen, Sue Dailey, Keith Latz, Mark Le Vine, Alvin Martinez, Jonathan BigJohn Rumbley, Andrew Mueller, Forrest W. Kobayashi, Amanda Wernick, Frank Adman, Andy Rathbone, Arlene Wszalek, davidmartinezmu, Pretzel Crisps, Kelly R, Sprite, matt ceniceros, Luann Johnson, debra cincioni, Ashley Kelly, Fredrick Nijm, Josh Reiss, Hicham Souilmi, Valencia Burns, Katarina Cechova, Uri Agassi, Mark Fitzgerald, Kim Calvert, Jeff Kawa, Jessica Gottlieb, Mike Prasad, Nancy Poff Leckron, Tom N Becky Rupe, Birgit Conlen, Carol de Nieuwe, Brandi Rhodes, David Young, Kelli Shaw, Michael Gannotti, Carole Miller Redlus, Duane Harris, Rick Frank, Deborah Shane, Jeff Willinger, Stephanie Koutsouras-Astyphidis, Diana Adams, Patricia C. Campbell Cianflone, Kathy Simpson, Claire Flanagan, John Hagel, Mark Horvath, Dayna Steele, Claude Malaison, Aziza Johari Johnson, Leni Lava, Starlene Stringer, Peter Shankman, Veronica I Hoag, Terry Brightman Meade, Carla Tee, Tatyana Kanzaveli, Sibyl Masquelier, Hayden Black, George Mineos, Michael Pilla, Sue Grimshaw, Stephanie Komure,  Michael Cunningham, Ricky Ricciardi, Barry Peters, Michael Gackler, MaryAnn Sell, Alexandru Celac, Joey Leslie, Alexandru Celac, Chris Rauschnot, Stan Gill, JD Lasica, Karla Porter, Tim Devine, Phil Staudt, Myrna Rivera, Todd MacIsaac, Rebecca Davis Robertson, Heather Meeker, Lovelaughs Ebay Bonanzle, Calvin Lee, Jeff Harbert, Garick Chan, Keith Privette, Marc Vermut, Shauna Groenewold, Jeff Rago, Jim TechFrog Alden, Jason Marcuson, Chuck Allen, Mark Jeffrey, Marina Magliacano, Sandra Garrelts, Tuyet A. N. T., ER Computing, Inc., Maya Sabot Paveza, Beth Dockins, Jeffrey J Kingman, Richard Natoli, Laura Scholz, Claire Flanagan, Julie Spira, Matt Ceniceros, Mr_Fastbucks, Tom Rubin, Misteism, Jane Meade, Slava Pastukhov, Allison Collinger, Geoff Snyder, Rieva, Shelly Kramer, Ed Shahzade, Jake Kern, Ted Coine, Jen Reyna, Guy Stephens, schneidermike, Bizzy, Edwin Aoki, Stacey Soleil, Corvida Raven, Ja-Nae Duane, Eric Andersen, Mohammed Al Taee, Anita Leather-Tillson, Thomas Patrick O'Shaughnessy, Jeff Rago, Andy Roo Mowery,  KW Low, Bill Cammack, Peter Lam, Keira Susan Dazi, Matthew Temple, Sean Leavitt, Nina Kasper-White, Ishmael Khaldi, Lori Moreno, Vegas Bill, Tim Beavin, Anita Nelson, Gian Luca, Chris Taylor, Shannon Leigh Smith, Kimberly Cotton Pitcher, Robert Weiss, Kim Rowley, Elizabeth Metz, Barry Dalton, Pat Rich, Paul E Drecksler, Melissa Keyes, Joshua Linn, Alberto Pardo BANANO, Randy Matheson, Mari Hernandez, David G. Trybus D.C., Donna Bumbalough Bond, David Benardo, Kim Johnson Redd, Kim Kestenbaum Meltzer, David Ginsburg, Jenn Allen, Mark Politi, Eva Marie Woodby, Nht Revor, Tina Hoffman, C Henry Adams, Erik Hom, Matthew Arevalo, Debbie Womack, Sylvia P. Coley, Elizabeth Freid, Rachel Makool, Jeff Urell, Bob Holmes, Leesa Travis, Bobbi Miller, Linda Sherman Gordon, Toni James Ladenheim, Mollie Vandor, Joe Adamson, Luanne Gorzsas, Jim Shaw, Tony Blake, Kathy Keefe, Sarah Vela, Bill Frank,  Andrew Milburn, Bryan Goodman, Christopher E. Lesley, Steve Zehngut, Anita Leather, Suzie Eads, Marla Schulman, Glen Copple, Colleen Golas Rast, Brian Simpson, Jerry Reed, Bryan Shepard, Chris Kelly, Babette Pepaj, Robert Moran, Melissa Keyes

Wednesday, December 1

Online Sellers: USPS Announces 2011 Shipping Prices and New Products #ebay #etsy


The simpler way to ship – with Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes from the U.S. Postal Service – is set to extend its popularity with consumers and shippers in the new year when new prices take effect. Prices for Priority Mail, Express Mail and other Shipping Services will change Jan. 2, 2011.


A flurry of new flat-rate product innovations will be ushered in with the new year. Priority Mail Flat Rate innovations include a legal-size flat-rate envelope and a padded flat-rate envelope. The Priority Mail Legal Flat Rate Envelope (15" x 9.5") and Priority Mail Padded Flat Rate Envelope (12.5" x 9.5") are both priced at $4.95. All six types of Priority Mail Flat Rate envelopes will be priced the same as the regular Priority Mail Envelope (12.5" x 9.5") at $4.95, including the Gift Card Flat Rate Envelope, Window Flat Rate Envelope, and Small Flat Rate Envelope.


Pricing for the Express Mail Flat Rate Envelope will remain unchanged at $18.30. A new Express Mail Legal Flat Rate Envelope (15" x 9.5") makes its debut, and is priced the same as the Express Mail Flat Rate Envelope.


In addition to an overall price change of 3.5 percent for Priority Mail, new prices for Express Mail, Global Express Guaranteed, Express Mail International, Priority Mail International, Parcel Select and Parcel Return Service will be effective Jan. 2. The overall price change for all Shipping Services products is 3.6 percent.


“The Postal Service continues to offer the best combination of value and shipping solutions in the market,” said Paul Vogel, president, Mailing and Shipping Services. “These new products will provide simple solutions to a dynamic marketplace.”


Currently available for Express Mail only, the popular Hold For Pickup service option will be extended to Priority Mail and First-Class Mail commercial parcels in the new year. Available at no extra charge for customers using shipping labels from Click-N-Ship or other USPS-approved vendor, packages with the Hold For Pickup endorsement are shipped directly to a Post Office, instead of being left at a recipient’s address. Packages are then held at the Post Office until picked up anytime during office hours, at a time convenient for the recipient.


Pricing for 50,000 Post Office Boxes in 49 retail Post Offices will change to reflect a new pricing schedule based on their presence in areas where significant competition exists. Post Office Boxes at these Post Offices have been classified as competitive products, allowing the Postal Service to test consumer interest in enhancements to current service and help shape future offerings.

For shippers mailing regionally, an economical new Priority Mail Regional Rate Box featuring USPS-supplied packaging will be available in two sizes for Commercial Base and Commercial Plus customers. The Priority Mail Regional Rate Box (shown above) offers zone-based pricing with the “If it Fits it Ships” concept and flat rates up to a maximum of 15 pounds for the cubic-size box measurement of .21 cubic feet (about the size of a large framed photo) and a maximum of 20 pounds for the cubic-size measurement of .41 cubic feet (about the size of a toaster). Volume thresholds for Commercial Plus customers have also been reduced.

Critical Mail is another innovative product offering for January available to Commercial Plus customers. Offering fast, consistent time-in-transit service for sensitive documents such as event tickets, identification cards and high-value direct mail, Critical Mail provides customers with tracking and free Delivery Confirmation. Critical Mail is a category of Priority Mail with First-Class Mail service standards. Additional extra services such as insurance and signature confirmation are also available. Critical Mail requires using USPS-supplied envelopes at a mailing cost of $3.50 for letters and $4.25 for larger, flat-size pieces.

Customers choosing online shipping solutions from the Postal Service will continue to save compared to retail prices. A complete listing of 2011 prices is available online under the link. The new prices and product innovations are pending Postal Regulatory Commission review.

Pricing adjustments to competitive products are made each January. A plan outlining a balanced approach for the long-term viability of the Postal Service introduced on March 2 includes proposals to deliver mail five days a week rather than six, restructure prefunding requirements for future retiree health benefits, create a more flexible workforce, expand convenient customer access to products and services and drive inefficiencies out of the mail system.

 The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.