Real World

Heads up: PayPal email scam

by Cinda Baxter on September 6, 2012

in Real World, Web

Nearly everyone has a PayPal account, for business and/or personal use. Today, (yet another) scam email landed in my inbox, but this one took a new approach.

This one tricks you into being a good Samaritan.  [click here to continue…]


Does your business understand the newbies?

by Cinda Baxter on August 20, 2012

in Marketing, Real World

Attrition is part of the customer landscape, which means always keeping on eye on the next generation coming up the ranks. How well do you know them? Or, more accurately, how well do you understand them?

The Mindset List is the brainchild of Tom McBride (Keefer Professor of the Humanities) and Ron Nief (Public Affairs Director) at Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin. Annually updated in early August, it provides reference points for faculty as they welcome incoming freshmen, reminding them how different the world looks through a new generation’s eyes.

If you’re a small business owner offering consumer goods and services, the list might be a good reference point for you too.

Or at the very least, a fascinating read.

Check it out here.



“It’s our policy.”

Those three words can send a person’s blood pressure through the ceiling faster watching a shopping cart crash into their new car.

The person delivering the line intends it to be a conversation stopper. End of discussion, I’m right, you’re wrong, I win, go away.

The recipient, however, is more likely to see it as a conversation starter (more accurately, a launching pad for an angry debate, or worse, a reason to extend the conversation into blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube…helloooo, United Airlines?).

They’ve had a door slammed in their face, and they know it.

Recently, it was my face in the doorway.  [click here to continue…]


Uncle Sam Wants You (and your advice)

by Cinda Baxter on August 2, 2012

in Business, Real World

I frequently suggest small business owners learn from their customers. Ask what works. What doesn’t. What needs they have that aren’t being met. That kind of end user feedback can be a gold mine for future success.

Uncle Sam agrees.

[click here to continue…]

No, we didn’t endorse you

by Cinda Baxter on July 18, 2012

in Real World

It’s come to my attention that (yet again) a number of candidates running for office are claiming to be endorsed by -or- in partnership with The 3/50 Project.

None of these claims are true.

• The 3/50 Project is not political

• The 3/50 Project does not endorse candidates

• The 3/50 Project does not partner with candidates

• The 3/50 Project does not align with any candidate, at any level, in any way.

If someone says they support the Project, that’s fine. If, however, they insinuate we’re supporting them, well…not so.

You see, the Project’s goal is singular: To strenghten local economies by reuniting consumers with locally owned, independent brick and mortar merchants. Whether a person leans blue, red, or center makes no difference. They still live in the community. They still work the community. They still need their community to prosper, regardless of who’s in office.

If you know of a candidate using our name in their campaign, please let me know. Odds are, it’s just a case of sloppy marketing, although…I’m not sure someone comfortable with “sloppy” anything is one I’d want to elect.


Today’s post is not intended for discussion—it’s purely informational. Rather than risk things sliding into a political debate, comments have been closed.

Facebook, you’ve gone too far.

Here’s a recent family photo, as seen in the photo album on my personal Facebook profile page:

And a close up, so you get the full (absurd) impact.

What ticks me off is that I’m the founder of The 3/50 Project, a consumer awareness campaign that educates customers about the importance of engaging with locally owned, independent brick and mortar merchants instead of always shopping at big boxes. Like Target.

Which is why having Target ads anywhere on my personal profile—let alone inside my photo albums—is wildly inappropriate.

I didn’t “like” the Target page—friends of mine did. That does not give Facebook or Target the right to turn my personal photos into billboards for big boxes I absolutely do not and will not endorse.

First, it was our newsfeeds, but now…my family photos? Seriously?

There needs to be a boundary somewhere.

Do you agree that this is out of bounds? If so, please spread the word by clicking the icons below to share this post. 


It’s a sacred rule in business: Never, ever, ever bring up politics, religion, or sex with a customer. Period.

Surprise, folks. Facebook is doing it for you…whether you like it or not. Remember when you “liked” the NRA, Planned Parenthood, Glenn Beck, or I Love Jello Shots three years ago? Facebook does, and they’re pushing those pages to your friends’ newsfeeds, with your name attached.

Worse yet, there’s no privacy setting that prevents it.  [click here to continue…]


Take that, Amazon.

by Cinda Baxter on July 5, 2012

in Marketing, Real World, Technology

Just in time for Independents’ Month, Deloitte releases the results of their “mobile influence factor” study, created to gauge the impact of mobile apps on in-store purchasing.

Buckle your seat belts, brick and mortar owners. The news is good:

  • Mobile devices’ influence will grow to represent 19% of total store sales by 2016, amounting to $689 billion in mobile-influenced sales.
  • 48% of smartphone owners surveyed say their phone has influenced their decision to purchase an item in a store.
  • Among smartphone owners who used their phone during their last trip, 37% used a third-party mobile shopping application, and more than one-third (34%) used a retailer’s mobile application.
  • Among smartphone shoppers, the percentage who use their phone for shopping varies by store category, from 49% in electronics and appliance stores to 19% in convenience stores and gas stations.
  • Once consumers start using their smartphones for shopping they tend to use them a lot—typically for 50-60% of their store shopping trips, depending on the store category.

Did you catch the bold section?

…37% used a third-party mobile shopping application…

Proof positive that The 3/50 Project’s LookLocal mobile app is on the cutting edge of a growing trend (the primary reason we chose mobile over older, less effective web-based search sites).

Downloading LookLocal is free. Using it is free. Getting listed is free.

Welcoming new customers? Priceless.