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Banned from Amazon Associates

Yesterday at 22:59 GMT, I received this email from no-reply@amazon.com:

Hello,

It has come to our attention that you are framing our Web site with the domain, th8.us. This activity is prohibited by the terms of the Operating Agreement which states that Associates cannot frame any part of the Amazon site within their site(s). You can review the complete terms of the Associates Program Operating Agreement and Participation Requirements by following this link:

http://affiliate-program.amazon.com/gp/associates/agreement

http://affiliate-program.amazon.com/gp/associates/help/operating/participation

As a result of this activity, your Associates account has been closed and payment of advertising fees has been withheld. Any other accounts you may have or may open in the future which are found in violation of the Operating Agreement terms will be closed and advertising fees withheld without notification.

Thank you for your understanding.

Best regards,

Andy – Associates Account Specialist

http://www.amazon.com

Anyway, this puts me in the untenable position of having no revenue to finance my online operations. After being banned from Google AdSense in Nov. 2010, I never received my final owed payment of $566 (because Google always cheats its 1099-contractors out of their final owed payment), nor will I be receiving my final owed payment of $480 from Amazon Associates.

At the peak of my institution of ads on the Th8.us URL shortener, I had it alternate every hour between Google ads and my Amazon affiliate link. I thought it was pretty ingenious:

if(preg_match(“/^[0-9a-zA-Z_-]{1,62}$/”, $i)) {db_connect();
$result = mysql_query(“SELECT url FROM urls WHERE short_url = ‘$i’”)
or die(mysql_error()); if(mysql_num_rows($result) > 0) {
$row = mysql_fetch_row($result);
if(strlen($row['0']) < 80) $durl = $row['0'];
else $durl = substr($row['0'], 0, 77) . ‘…’;
if(date(‘g’) == ’1′ || date(‘g’) == ’3′ || date(‘g’) == ’5′ ||
date(‘g’) == ’7′ || date(‘g’) == ’9′ || date(‘g’) == ’11′)
{$rand = ’1′; $qe_override = true;} else {$rand = ’2′; $qe_override = false;}
$frame1 = ‘<frame name=”t” src=”http://thripp.com/ad.php?’ . $row['0'] . ‘” scrolling=”no” border=”0″ ‘ .
‘marginheight=”0″ marginwidth=”0″>’;
$size1 = ’94′;
$frame2 = ‘<frame name=”t” src=”http://www.amazon.com/exec/’ .
‘obidos/redirect-home/brilliaphotog-20″ scrolling=”yes” ‘ .
‘border=”1″ marginheight=”0″ marginwidth=”0″></frame><frame name=”z”‘ .
‘ src=”http://daytonastate.org/ad.php?’ . $row['0'] .
‘&special=mode_continue” scrolling=”no” border=”0″ ‘ .
‘marginheight=”0″ marginwidth=”0″>’;
$size2 = ’200,22′;
if(strpos($row['0'], ‘thripp’) !== false ||
strpos($row['0'], ‘aspire-cs.com’) !== false ||
strpos($row['0'], ‘e-prophetic.com’) !== false ||
strpos($row['0'], ‘wpmu.org’) !== false ||
strpos($row['0'], ‘brilliaphotog-20′) !== false ||
strpos($row['0'], ‘daytonastate.org’) !== false ||
strpos($row['0'], ‘composersjourney.com’) !== false ||
strpos($row['0'], ‘googlereform.com’) !== false ||
strpos($row['0'], ‘iseeafish.com’) !== false ||
strpos($row['0'], ‘stevepavlina.org’) !== false ||
strpos($row['0'], ‘paul2012.org’) !== false ||
strpos($row['0'], ‘secretsinrelationships.com’) !== false ||
strpos($row['0'], ‘writrams.com’) !== false ||
strpos($row['0'], ‘parrish’) !== false ||
$qe_override == true) {
header(‘Location: ‘ . stripslashes(str_replace(‘,’, “%2C”,
$row['0'])), TRUE, 301); exit;}
else echo $head . $i . ‘.th8.us: ‘ . $durl . ” .
‘<frameset rows=”‘ . ${‘size’ . $rand} . ‘,*” frameborder=’ .
‘”1″ framespacing=”2″ border=”0″>’ . ${‘frame’ . $rand} .
‘<frame name=”b” src=”‘ . $row['0'] . ‘”></frame></frameset>’ .
‘<noframes><a href=”‘ . $row['0'] .
‘”>Click here to continue</a></noframes>’;}</frame>

After I was banned from Google AdSense, I switched to AdBrite, from which I was also banned, without explanation, when the executives of Dish Network found their ads were being displayed on spam sites (Th8.us used to be very popular in Nigeria). I only found out the reason when the CMO of Dish Network, Ira Bahr, contacted me some months ago.

For the first time in over a year, Th8.us is actually ad-free and I’ve resorted to directly forwarding all short URLs to their destination by HTTP 301 redirect again. I really don’t want it to be this way, but apparently my ideas are just too ahead of their time to be accepted by our controllers. :cool:

In other news, I received this email from steve@stevepavlina.com at 00:13 GMT:

Hi Richard,

I stumbled upon your website today. I’m fine with people posting whatever they want about me on their blogs, critical or otherwise, but I saw stuff posted about Erin and the kids there, stuff that’s really far off the mark and incredibly low class IMO. You appear to be encouraging exactly what you claimed to condemn.

I spend time with my kids every week and still talk to Erin every day or two, but I rarely blog about my kids because I’d prefer to keep their lives off the Internet for the most part. I think their online lives should be for them to decide when they’re old enough to make a responsible choice about that. I made the choice to do what I do, and Erin made a similar choice. Our kids should be free to make that choice for themselves, not have it forced upon them. I don’t think that would be fair to them.

I realize you’ve got your mind wrapped around some (pretty warped) conspiracy theories with regards to me, but if you presume to care about people at all, then perhaps you could at least have the decency to leave Erin and the kids out of it. I’m responsible for my decisions, and I’ll take whatever flak comes as a result of that, no matter how ridiculous it gets. But when you encourage Erin and the kids to be dragged into it, you cross into the realm of paparazzi.

I disabled your forum account, but not for breaking the forum rules. I simply don’t want such a person in my online home. If you want to use that as further fuel for your blog, that’s your call.

I know you fell into a bit of a trap with the slave post, as did a few other bloggers. It was a very over-the-top post, and your analysis unfortunately takes the joke parts as serious, so I’m sorry that it may have wasted your time to over-analyze an April Fools’ joke. I guess you didn’t notice that it was included in the “Humor” category. There is a shred of truth behind the joke, as I mentioned in the forums, but it’s not about enslaving people or D/s or skirting employment laws. It’s a lot more mundane than that, as I’ll share in a future post.


Steve Pavlina
Personal Development for Smart People

http://StevePavlina.com

So, on top of being banned from Google AdSense, AdBrite, Daytona State College (another story), and Amazon Associates, I am now also banned from the Steve Pavlina forums for my posts and discussions at StevePavlina.org (Steve Pavlina Watch). I have a feeling that if the Internet was not the wild west, I would not receive such consideration from bloggers in general — instead they would just go straight to the ICANN, the United Nations, or the Public Interest Registry and have my domain disabled, or perhaps go to WiredTree and demand my sites to be taken offline.

Basically, any website that is not under my command is enemy territory and should be treated as such. However, I do still like Facebook, Twitter, deviantART, YouTube, Etsy, and even Google, which I use for all my email. Evidently email is a bit more sacred than AdSense, since I have not received an email saying that my email services with Google have been disabled for abuse.

Anyway, with the Steve Pavlina issue, I think the best response is to not write anything of such “incredibly low class” anymore, but I won’t be taking any of my old material down nor censoring it. Also, Mr. Pavlina was very presumptuous in assuming I wrote the anti-slavery post, because as I stated at the top, it was not written by me at all and was actually emailed as a guest post to me by a guy whose name begins with K and was also posted on his WordPress.com blog (StevePavlinaLies.wordpress.com).

As for the stuff about his ex-wife and kids, I do not recall writing much, besides responding in the comment sections of my website to other people who chose to write about those issues. Comments are naturally unread whereas blog posts are read, so I’m surprised he even looked at them. For someone who talked about how much he loved his wife in his book in Oct. 2008, and then several months later announced on his blog how he was ready to engage in relationships with other women (become polyamorous), followed by becoming divorced from his wife, separated from his family, and paying child support, I don’t see my website as being much of an issue. I think stevepavlina.com is the issue, and I’ve always wanted to be a paparazzi.

I do feel I am entering a personal renaissance, and I have been practicing my music and other interests at an unprecedented pace. I’ve learned the first 3 and a half pages of the 3rd movement of the Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven, I’m learning Hindi, Russian, Mandarin, Japanese, Spanish, German, Italian, French, and Dutch at the same time with Rosetta Stone (thanks to the joy of software piracy), and I’m learning the alto saxophone, viola, cello, guitar, ocarina, and harmonica with the musical principles I learned on the piano and violin. I photographed the NASW Volusia/Flagler Social Work awards at LPGA International on Friday, and a beautiful wedding of some dear friends on Saturday. I have also begun giving piano lessons.

Because I have already funded my operation here through Feb. 2012, I do not need to immediately replace Amazon Associates with another stream of revenue. Instead, I want to continue focusing on my education for the next few months, and though I should be developing Tweet This 1.9, I need to fundamentally rewrite that WordPress plugin before moving on, since I’ve coded myself into a dead end in many sections of it.

I do hope that Daytona State College will be mailing me my Associate of Arts degree next month, but I will not feel comfortable at the graduation, nor will I be going. I do intend to maintain perpetual ownership of DaytonaState.org, however. :grin:

Now, what to do with the Ormond Beach News-Journal? Send me your guest posts!

* Updated 2011-04-10: Steve Pavlina posted this post on his blog: Do You Have the Right to Put Your Childrens’ Lives Online?, which clarifies his position on the entitled matter. *

Welcome to the Thripp Republic

The Thripp Republic is a new micronation founded by Richard X. Thripp on Jan. 3, 2011 in Daytona Beach, Florida with its own constitution and currency (the Thripp Dollar). In the future, there will be a Senate, Supreme Court, citizenship applications and benefits, free markets, and other fun yet serious things.

The Thripp Dollar is backprinted on 4×6 prints of artistic photographs by Richard X. Thripp. Currently, over 8000 one dollar notes have been printed and are generally distributed by Richard X. Thripp himself to students and faculty at Daytona State College.

The Thripp Dollar is worth 1/5000 troy oz. silver. This means that as of Jan. 3, 2011, one U.S. Dollar is equal to about 160 Thripp Dollars.

For more information, please visit the website I have set up at gov.thripp.com. :smile:

2011 Resolutions

Most people abandon their new year’s resolutions before February, not because the resolutions are impossible, but because it’s easier to maintain the status quo. Resolutions are appealing in theory and execution, but usually require sacrifice in practice.

The key is to either be committed, or set extremely vague resolutions like “be more forgiving” or “exercise more.” Resolutions like “lose 30 pounds” or “stop smoking” are much harder to fulfill.

In 2011, I am going to finish my A.A. degree, travel to China and California for three months with my Mom, and start on my B.S. in the fall. I’m going to start a micronation called the Thripp Republic and print Thripp Dollars on the back of 4×6 photos (I have nearly 10,000 already). I am going to be a math tutor at Daytona State College and I am investing most of my money in precious metals, common metals, and material goods, because the U.S. dollar is going to suffer massive inflation (possibly 30%) next year. I plan to learn the guitar, viola, and saxophone, code and release Tweet This 1.9 and 2.0, and work on creating photos that are as well-received as my 2006-2008 portfolio by breaking the rules and using more Photoshop.

I also want to release a sequel to Inferno and sell off all my web domains except about 40 personal domains.

I plan to do a great deal of writing in 2011, but I don’t plan to find a girlfriend or start a photography business, since I will be doing a lot of traveling and don’t want to be tied down. However, I will be doing a lot of networking and meeting many new friends in Florida, California, and China. I plan to create a social network around the Thripp Dollar, so I need to learn the Facebook Application Platform and write my own application. I already have the MySQL and PHP backend done, but nothing on the frontend.

Before I leave in May, I want to start learning Mandarin Chinese. My Mom is Chinese so she can help me.

I am going to continue living with my parents (Dad and step-mom) and driving my Dad’s vehicle throughout 2011, because my income is still very low (under $1000 per month). I would like to make more, but it isn’t a priority.

Even though I am overweight (170 lb. at 5’9″), I’ve decided not to go on a special diet, but I will avoid gaining more weight. As with the past 17 months, I’m going to continue being a vegetarian except fish, and I’m considering a 30-day trial in veganism. Here’s a picture of me playing the violin from this week, but I got a haircut since then:

Dec. 2010 self-portrait

This is the flag I’ve designed for the Thripp Republic:

Flag of the Thripp Republic

This flag is really wonderful, because it can be printed on a monochrome laser printer or drawn with a Sharpie. It is also unique, because I could not find any other country using a black-white-black tricolor flag.

In 2011, my Dad will be turning 50 in January and I will be turning 20 in August. While I was very unproductive in the first half of 2010, I plan to work at a steady pace throughout 2011, without overburdening myself. I will work on selling the unsold copies of Along the Far Climb Down, my father’s book from 2006 (all new copies say 2011). If you live in the USA and want a copy, send me your mailing address and $5.00 by PayPal. For foreigners, email me and I’ll look up the shipping rate (the book is 6×9, 96 pg., 6 oz.).

Happy new year everyone!

Selling All My Domains for $10 Each! Tobu.org, YourNY.net, News-Journal.org, 93 more

I’ve decided to get out of domain speculation and never register a domain name again. EVERYTHING MUST GO, $10 EACH, EMAIL richardxthripp@thripp.com AND I’LL SEND MY PAYPAL INFO.

In total, I have 96 domains for sale. Most are registered by GoDaddy and expire in Oct. 2011, but 20 are Netfirms domains and about 5 expire in a couple months. If you want to know for sure, look it up.

These prices are FINAL, please disregard any higher prices I’ve posted elsewhere on the Internet. There could be a lot of gems in here. Don’t pass up this opportunity!

alachua.biz
angley.info
angley.us
anthonyrobbins.us
applicationbusiness.com
axxx.us
bakercounty.us
bradford-co-fla.com
bryanferry.us
chipola.us
claycounty.us
daytonafl.org
daytonastate.us
dispute.mx
dixiecounty.us
dvdsort.com
entrepreneurs-journey.org
exabyte.us
feelgooder.org
flaglercollege.info
flaglercollege.us
flashdrivebackup.com
forthepeople.info
fullsail.biz
g2x.org
g2x.us
gadsdengov.com
gladescounty.us
gulfcounty.net
gulfcounty.us
hardeecounty.info
hardeecounty.us
indianrivercounty.net
jackcanfield.org
jamesblunt.us
jerrybrowngov.com
jimrohn.us
johnchow.info
keiseruniversity.us
levycounty.info
levycounty.us
libertycounty.us
lifedig.com
madlibs.info
markvictorhansen.us
miami-dade.us
monroecounty.us
mydakota.info
mydakota.us
mydaytona.org
myflagler.org
myholmes.net
mymanatee.net
mymexico.us
mymiami.info
mymiami.us
mynewyork.us
mynewyorkcity.net
myorange.us
mystetson.com
mytexas.net
myvolusia.info
mywashington.us
news-journal.org
newsjournal.us
ocgov.us
okaloosa.us
okeechobeecountyfl.com
orangecountyfl.info
orangecountyfl.us
parkingrestrictions.com
pavlina.org
photography-school.org
polk-county.info
polk-county.us
queuebook.com
reunioncounty.com
rickscott2014.com
rickscottgov.com
stephencovey.us
stevepavlina.us
suwcounty.com
swfc.us
tobu.org
tri0.com
verbix.org
volusiacounty.biz
volusiafl.com
waynebray.com
waynedyer.info
yournewyork.us
yourny.net
yournyc.info
yournyc.org
yournyc.us
ziglar.info

Let the liquidation begin!

Switched to AdBrite

I’ve switched all ads on most of my websites to AdBrite, which is similar to Google AdSense but does not ban people so easily. I received a $5.73 check for my AdBrite earnings from July 2010, but switched back to AdSense to make more money. Now that I’m banned from AdSense, there’s really no reason not to use AdBrite. I hope this program becomes as good as Google AdSense, but I am expecting a huge decline in income.

This is definitely a wake-up call for me. It’s never good to invest yourself too heavily in one company. It’s like I’ve lost my job. I was making over $400 a month from Google’s program as an independent contractor. Now, Larry Page and Sergey Brin have basically said “YOU’RE FIRED,” and they don’t even want to pay my back wages!

UPDATED 2010-11-22 05:45 GMT: I have been restored to the Google AdSense program, but I can no longer display ads on other peoples websites. This will reduce my income by 75%, but AdSense still generates more revenue than any other program, so I’ve stopped using AdBrite, which only generated about $1.00 per day.

Banned from Google AdSense

30 minutes ago, I received this email from Google AdSense:

Hello,

We continually review all publishers according to our Terms and Conditions and program policies, and we reserve the right to disable publishers or sites that are not in compliance with our policies.

Our specialists have found that your account is not in compliance with these program policies. As a result, we have disabled your account.

Google has certain policies in place that we believe will help ensure the effectiveness of Google ads for our publishers as well as our advertisers. We believe strongly in freedom of expression and therefore
offer broad access to content across the web without censoring results. At the same time, we reserve the right to exercise editorial discretion when it comes to the ads we display in our AdWords program and the sites on which we choose to display them in our AdSense program, as noted in our respective Terms and Conditions.

Thank you for your understanding.

Sincerely,

The Google AdSense Team

I immediately filled out an appeal, but I don’t even know why I was banned. The email doesn’t say. Is Google trying to cheat me out of the $570 they owe me? I earned $430 last month and $140 this month I have not yet received, and my AdSense account says they are not going to pay me until “issues” with my account are resolved. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN???

If you use my Tweet This plugin, DO NOT enable “Insert Google AdSense ads to support Tweet This” anymore. Unless my account is restored, Google will just keep the money. It won’t help me at all.

UPDATED 2010-11-11 20:45 GMT: Here are some details of my AdSense usage I posted on this forum:

I’ve been doing the same thing for the past 8 months and receiving Google checks every month, so it’s really surprising that they would ban me now considering I haven’t changed anything!

I display ads on my personal website. I also run a URL shortener called Th8.us and I display Google AdSense in an iFrame above the redirect page with a link to hide the ads. The service has over 21 million short URLs and makes about $150 per month from AdSense. I got the idea from About.com which does the same thing using Google AdSense ads.

I develop a WordPress plugin called Tweet This which includes the option “Insert Google AdSense ads to support Tweet This.” If checked, this inserts ads with my publisher ID on the plugin user’s blog. Last month, this made $143.

However, I have been doing both of these things for a long time. Tweet This has had the AdSense option since Feb. 2009, and it hasn’t changed a bit. Why would they ban me now?

UPDATED 2010-11-22 05:45 GMT: I have been restored to the Google AdSense program, but I can no longer display ads on other peoples websites. This will reduce my income by 75%, but AdSense still generates more revenue than any other program.

The Joy of Piracy

One benefit of the online, inter-connected world we live in is that it’s no longer necessary to purchase music or software. Although I have my favorite music and the latest video games and photography software, I haven’t purchased a single intangible item in years. Hardware, yes, software, no.

The Pirate Bay is the source for almost any music or software you are looking for. Get uTorrent and start downloading torrent trackers. While you’re receiving files, you’re also sending pieces of those files to other people, helping provide freedom to everyone.

If it isn’t on BitTorrent, it’s probably on RapidShare. Find your booty.

I have a brand new copy of Adobe Photoshop CS5 on my computer, Sibelius 6 for composing, a Nintendo Wii hooked to a hard drive with 50 games, a Nintendo DS with even more games and my favorite music, and I didn’t pay a dime for any of it. Anyone who pays a dime for any of this stuff is a chump, plain and simple.

The beautiful thing about piracy is that it’s a victimless crime which hurts no one. The people who pirate software would not buy it anyway, and the people who buy it are too principled (read: stupid) to engage in the bliss that is piracy. Even content creators benefit, because piracy breeds not only more piracy, but also more purchases from stupid principled people. It’s a win-win situation.

Now go and pirate something today! George Washington would be proud.

Manifesting Money

Most people assume manifesting money requires hard work and providing value, but since money is just worthless paper, the quickest way is to print it.

So you should immediately become CEO of Goldman Sachs and start printing credit default swaps. Sell them to the Federal Reserve at face value, then buy gold in sacks and flee to Mexico.

Carbon Taxes

Proposed in the United Nations and the U.S. Congress is a tax on all carbon dioxide emissions. Whenever we light our wood-burning stove to heat our house, carbon atoms in the wood are being oxidized to release heat and carbon dioxide. Whenever we breathe in and out, we convert oxygen into carbon dioxide. A carbon tax is no more than a slave tax—a yoke around the necks of industry which will kill a billion people in the third world. Gasoline and power bills will easily go up 10%, and the cumulative effects will be even worse at the supermarket and the office stores.

The Carbon Tax Center postulates that “a permanent and increasing U.S. carbon tax is essential.” The theory is that burning carbon causes the Earth to become warmer, and that any influence we have on the Earth’s environment must be negative. Therefore, the ultimate solution is human extinction. We all know the Earth would be completely perfect without our presence. Short of that mass suicide, modern feudalism to our elitist overlords for our carbon sins will do (carbon is one of the four major organic molecules along with hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen). The mindset is we are a cancer upon the planet, and every time a baby is born mother Earth weeps. Environmentalism is an excuse to take away our sovereignty, our property, and our wombs as gifts to the state, in the name of saving the Earth. This is why popular media promotes euthanasia, abortion rights, and one-child per family policies. Human life is cheap because we don’t belong here anyway. We evolved from monkeys as an evolutionary mistake, because monkeys were never supposed to be this smart.

The science anthropogenic climate change rests on is shaky. Emails leaked from the Climactic Research Unit in the University of East Anglia reveal that the Earth’s temperature has been declining since 2000. Scientists there have to come up with tricks to “hide the decline” in temperature—also known as fudging the numbers or cheating, to support the global warming agenda. Then the U.N. takes the C.R.U.’s reports and cites them as the excuse to enslave humanity. During the Medieval Warming Period, It was far warmer than it is now. The sun goes through warming and cooling cycles and right now we are in a cooling cycle. There is nothing you can do about that. More carbon dioxide does not cause global warming; global warming causes elevated carbon dioxide levels. Besides, the warming of the planet by 1 or 2 degrees F would be better for farmers. The Earth is too cold. Sea levels may rise one or two inches. Not 50 feet. The Great Lakes are not preparing to drain into the Gulf of Mexico, nor will San Francisco be 50 feet underwater by the 50th presidential election.

Our carbon output amounts to about 0.28% of the planet’s. Volcanos go off all the time. Florida is supposed to be on fire half the year. Polar bears are not dying and penguins are swimming better than ever. If you want to talk about damaging the environment, talk about the 200,000 troops we have bombing Afghanistan, killing citizens for no reason other than bloodlust. We fight wars with no enemies against people who have no weapons besides the weapons we give them, and then at home we talk of instituting crippling taxes and killing off the elderly. The only terrorists in this country are the elitsts on Wall Street, the Federal Reserve, the Bilderberg Group, the Trilateral Commission, and several others, who continue to ram fascism down our throats.

The Constitution is dying and our freedoms are disappearing. The police dress in black and engage us as enemy combatants. As the artificial dollar bubble bursts, property taxes, mandatory car insurance, vehicle registrations, garbage pick up, sewage and water services, and power and phone services skyrocket. The people are being trodden over. Motorcycle cops are mere tax collectors, and we never question them, lest we be tased or clubbed.

We are headed for national socialism. With carbon taxes, even more of our money will go to the state and we will have to count on the state to take care of all our problems. It won’t happen. Healthcare is going to get even worse. You better pray you don’t get sick. They want to kill us with fluoride in the water, mercury in the vaccines, and barium in the chemical trails they continually spray on us (with no remorse for mother Earth). Some 2000 nuclear weapons test detonations in the past 70 years have done far worse for the environment than smokestacks or gas-guzzling SUVs.

Wake up and watch the Alex Jones channel. Start eating apricot kernels to avoid cancer. The green movement is death-worship, and we must thwart the death-worshipers before they kill us all. Population control starts with you.

Carbon taxes are the secular version of the Catholic indulgences of the 1400s. Carbon taxes will be used to set up a global government with Pope Benedict’s blessing, and there will be no escape. Buy your shotguns now.

Selling Stuff

I’ve spent ten hours today and yesterday listing stuff on eBay and Craigslist to sell. Mostly new stuff, much of which I acquired many months ago from rebate grifting, and more recently, small items I purchased cheaply through an ink cartridge recycling scheme, with intent to sell. Now, that intent is a reality.

A few details: I bought 6000 empty ink cartridges at an auction for $1080 two months ago, and me and my Dad have turned in 3700 of them at Office Depot for $3 store credit coupons. We have a box of them. You can only turn in 25 per day and use 3 per day, so each time we go there we buy $9.02 worth of stuff and get $9 off. Since the cartridges were only 17 cents each, it’s a safe, though tedious way to acquire small office supplies cheaply.

Recently, that program has changed so you can only turn in 5 per day and you get the store credit back all at once on a gift card at the end of the quarter. That won’t be till February, but we continue to turn in the 1700 remaining cartridges. I’ll be able to buy a computer or a new camera eventually.

With all these $3 coupons which I can only use 3 of per day, I’ve bought markers, new ink cartridges, and tech items on clearance under $9. I’ve been reselling them sporadically, but I just got the biggest batch listed.

What I found out is that it takes a lot of effort to create 30 auctions. I used to list things on eBay occasionally, but I’d get bogged down in details. I’d feel compelled to include every detail from the packaging in each description. I’d spend 30 minutes taking a product shot with the correct light. Editing it would take longer. I’d agonize over shipping costs and debate international shipping.

All this is not any good for getting anything done. I was tempted to spend lots of time on each auction this time around, because it feels comfortable to accomplish nothing when you’ve conditioned yourself to do so. But instead, I took the photos quickly, used the grass in my yard as a background, did quick contrast adjustments in Photoshop with keyboard shortcuts, wrote shorter descriptions without deep thought, and didn’t even bother with anyone but U.S. users. I have no qualms with padding my shipping charges. Everyone expects it, and with eBay taking 45 cents + 11.15% of each sale (eBay fees + PayPal), they can live with it too.

I got all these items listed:

130269823059 Nov-17-08 Nov-24-08 17:09:34 PST $0.99 TWO New HP 41 Inkjet Color Print Cartridges Ink No Bids Yet
130269825000 Nov-17-08 Nov-24-08 17:22:07 PST $1.04 12 Mini DV miniDV Digital Video Tapes 60 min Maxell NEW jmab55
130269827607 Nov-17-08 Nov-24-08 17:40:09 PST $0.99 HP 14 Black Inkjet Print Cartridge Genuine NEW C5011D No Bids Yet
130269828889 Nov-17-08 Nov-24-08 17:49:06 PST $0.99 HP 41 Color Inkjet Print Cartridge Genuine NEW 51641A No Bids Yet
130269829947 Nov-17-08 Nov-24-08 17:57:08 PST $2.25 THREE Kodak No. 10 COLOR Ink Cartridges Genuine NEW icon68
130269832130 Nov-17-08 Nov-24-08 18:10:54 PST $0.99 9 Fire Extinguisher signs, 2″ x 8″, NEW, Adhesive, Red No Bids Yet
130269833636 Nov-17-08 Nov-24-08 18:21:26 PST $0.99 Speck ToughSkin Black Sport Case : iPod Nano 2nd Gen 2G No Bids Yet
130269834796 Nov-17-08 Nov-24-08 18:28:50 PST $0.99 Epson T036120 T0361 Black Ink Cartridge NEW Genuine No Bids Yet
130269836184 Nov-17-08 Nov-24-08 18:37:29 PST $0.99 Epson T037020 T0370 Color Ink Cartridge NEW Genuine No Bids Yet
130269838624 Nov-17-08 Nov-24-08 18:55:53 PST $0.99 4 Brother Ink Cartridges: LC31C LC31M LC31Y LC31BK NEW No Bids Yet
130269840078 Nov-17-08 Nov-24-08 19:04:45 PST $0.99 5 Color Maxell Mini DVD-R 8cm 1.4GB Camcorder Discs NEW No Bids Yet
130269840974 Nov-17-08 Nov-24-08 19:10:36 PST $0.99 Sterling 56K V.92 PCI Fax Modem Dialup NEW Vista No Bids Yet
130269909687 Nov-18-08 Nov-25-08 05:44:38 PST $0.99 Uniden TCX 905 5.8GHz Accessory Handset and Charger No Bids Yet
130269913165 Nov-18-08 Nov-25-08 06:08:34 PST $0.99 Rosewill 3 Port Firewire IEEE 1394a PCMCIA Card Laptop No Bids Yet
130269915385 Nov-18-08 Nov-25-08 06:21:43 PST $0.99 Rosewill RCX-Z775-SL Intel Heatsink & 92mm Fan NEW No Bids Yet
130269916624 Nov-18-08 Nov-25-08 06:29:10 PST $0.99 Brother LC31C Cyan Inkjet Print Cartridge Ink NEW No Bids Yet
130269917125 Nov-18-08 Nov-25-08 06:32:27 PST $0.99 Brother LC31M Magenta Inkjet Print Cartridge Ink NEW No Bids Yet
130269956469 Nov-18-08 Nov-25-08 09:51:12 PST $0.99 12 Foray Chisel Tip Dry Erase Markers + Erasers Colors No Bids Yet
130269959625 Nov-18-08 Nov-25-08 10:05:36 PST $0.99 2 Maxell Digial8 / Hi8 Blank Camcorder Tapes 120 min No Bids Yet
130270022541 Nov-18-08 Nov-25-08 14:25:47 PST $0.99 Staples Slimline 4 AA Battery Pencil Sharpener NEW 0 Dutch bids
130270026644 Nov-18-08 Nov-25-08 14:58:17 PST $0.99 20 Office Depot DVD+R DL Dual/Double Layer Discs +Cases No Bids Yet
130270029195 Nov-18-08 Nov-25-08 15:15:51 PST $0.99 Eagle 3.5-inch PATA / USB External Hard Drive Enclosure No Bids Yet

These low-margin items aren’t profitable to sell unless you’re getting them for free; I don’t expect to clear more than $200 from all these items. Postage and eBay’s fees swallow up way too much. But that doesn’t mean you should hang on to this stuff.

When I was creating these auctions, I did things differently. Before, I’d preview each auction meticulously and check for errors in spelling, categorization, product details, shipping charges. Usually I’d find none, and it would eat up a lot of time. This time around, I listed the items immediately, reviewing them after. It went much more quickly, and the few little mistakes I caught, I fixed with eBay’s revision feature. Psychologically, that helped me work much more efficiently.

Most people have way too many things, even nice new possessions like markers or paper or computer supplies. It’s easy to hoard free-after-rebate items, gifts, and things acquired cheaply, but they end up gobbling up space without providing much return. The question to ask is not “could this item be useful?,” but rather, “might this item not be useful?” If the answer to the latter is yes, get rid of the item. Sell it at a loss if you have to.

This was my first time listing on Craigslist.org. The site feels something right out of 1995. The design is clunky and simple, warnings are in bold red capital letters, all pictures I upload are compressed as tiny artifact-riddled JPEGs. But there are people, lots of people in the Daytona Beach area looking for things to sell or selling things themselves there. Community counts more than presentation. The things I listed there are generally too heavy to ship. I expect to get bites pretty quickly, as I’m getting rid of this stuff way below retail:

Microsoft Comfort Curve USB Computer Keyboard 2000 NEW – $10 (Ormond Beach)
Samsung ML-2510 Black & White Laser Printer – $35 (Ormond Beach)
HP LaserJet 1018 Black & White Laser Printer – $30 (Ormond Beach)
Brand new Staples 8.5×11 Paper Shredder – $10 (Ormond Beach)
Case of Legal Size Copy Paper (8.5 x 14 in.) 5000 sheets New – $30 (Ormond Beach)
16 Port Fast Ethernet Switch 100Mbps NEW – $15 (Ormond Beach)
Ultra ATX Mid-Tower PC Computer Case Steel NEW – $20 (Ormond Beach)
Epson Stylus Photo R260 Ultra Hi-Definition Photo Printer – $20 (Ormond Beach)

I got all the printers free after rebate or nearly so, then used up the toner or ink and put them out in the shed. They take up a ton of space, but I started getting attached to them. “These are obviously worth a lot,” I’d tell myself. “I shouldn’t get rid of them—what if they become useful someday?” The fact is, if you have something that’s going to be useful to you, you won’t even have to ask yourself if it’ll be useful—you’ll just know it. Whatever you need you can just buy later anyway, and with the prices of technological gadgets constantly falling, it will be cheaper anyway. This also means that if you wait to sell stuff, you’ll lose more money.

From holding these printers and computer towers for as much as a year, they’ve already lost value. It doesn’t bother me. It’s much better to take action now than cling to the past. I could easily hang on to this stuff for many more years never doing anything. I could console myself by saying the items are too valuable to part with. However, that accomplishes nothing and serves no one. The space I’m reclaiming can be used for new stuff like photography gadgets or chairs or tables, or I can just leave it empty so the house doesn’t feel so cluttered. Printers that you never use take up a lot of space. They take up a lot more space than useful printers, even if their dimensions are physically the same.

I bought two cases of legal size copy paper a year ago. They were clearanced at Staples for $15 each, and it was just such a good deal I had to have them. Each case weighs 70 pounds, after all. It must be valuable. Surely it is, but to whom? Not to me. I have no use for paper that’s 14 inches long. I could say that I might in the future, but I’d be conning myself. Never in a million years will 140 pounds of legal size paper be worth owning. If I got them as a gift I’d accept them, but only to sell to someone else. It’s much more important to get rid of these space-eaters now, rather than deceiving myself into thinking they might become useful. I can always buy new stuff, but I can’t always get rid of old stuff.

You can make money selling your stuff, be it your creative art or the trinkets you’ve collected. It takes effort, though. I still spent too long writing all the descriptions and taking photos of all this junk, and I could never do this as a profitable business. I can rejoice that I am making progress in getting rid of a large amount of stuff and earning a small amount of money, because it would have been easy to get nothing done today. Don’t cry over wasted time in the past, but look toward what you can do in the present. It actually makes no different if you’ve been operating below the capacities of your talents for years or decades, because that is irrevocable now. The time in the future is also going to come to pass whether you like it or not. Thinking like this gives me a lot of motivation. I used this on my last physics exam, where I studied the problems and formulas for over a dozen hours even though I’m near-failing in the class. I could stay depressed because I didn’t put in enough effort earlier in the course, but that’s over and done with regardless of my feelings.

Now I know why people have garage sales and sell stuff so cheaply. Most people, myself included, go through six-month periods where they acquire lots of stuff. Everything I’ve bought has been at fair prices, even free, but most of it has outlived its usefulness or was never useful to begin with. When you’re evaluating an item to purchase, you must not ask “is this a good deal?” You must ask “will this item help me a lot?” If the answer is yes, it might be that you should buy it even if it’s over-priced. If you’re dying of thirst, it’s a great deal to pay $100 for a bottle of water. But if the answer is no, the item isn’t worth buying at any price. I’m starting to think in this manner, so I should be able to end the garage sale cycle right here.

The other key is to simply stop buying things. If you’re going to buy something to resell, it has to be something you’re going to list on eBay or at your own shop within the next day. If you aren’t committed to flipping it within the next week, don’t buy it. If it’s a really great deal, become committed. It’s quite simple. We just have the tendency to make it way too complicated.

I love my material possessions. I have a camera and lenses I used every day to create art, a computer with two monitors that lets me communicate my thoughts and creativity to others, a good color and black and white printer that does the same for hard copy, a piano I play occasionally, hundreds of prints of my photos I give out to people, clothes that I enjoy wearing. But the camera I had three years ago that’s now broken is not a possession I love, because it’s not useful to me. I should probably throw it out. It’s not doing anything as a relic.

Objects that have sentimental value usually have less sentimental value than you think. Having a whole bunch of small trinkets you never use on your desk is even worse, because they’ll stop you from thinking. I become a lot more productive with a clean desk, even if I’m just typing at the computer. I need to work on that.

At least move the stuff from your desk to a drawer, or under the table, or to plastic bins, as an interim measure. Throw out old receipts and paperwork. We burn them in our wood-burning stove. Moving things out of sight makes you more productive, but there’s a trap: you encourage yourself to fill your space with more stuff, while never getting rid of the junk you’ve hidden. That’s why no one can have a big enough car or house or apartment.

I want to settle this issue for myself now, so I don’t have to deal with it for the next days, months, years, decades.

If your house burning down does not seem such an unpleasant thought, then you need to clear out the clutter.

Please buy my stuff. When you do, ignore everything I just said about buying stuff. :cool:

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