Daily Archives: December 3, 2017

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Restructuring debt

Restructuring debt can be a good way for people who have a lot of debt to save thousands of dollars in interest charges and reduce the amount they pay every month towards their debt. The process is extremely time-consuming, however, and can cost a lot of money up front. It is important to understand the process of restructuring debt in order to decide if this method is right for you.

Restructuring debt is the process in which a person refinances their existing loans into new loans with better payment terms. These terms can include longer payment periods, lower interest rates, and/or lower fees. Refinancing debt, however, is not an easy process.

To start, a person will need to make a list of his or her existing debts, along with their required minimum payment, total amount owed, and interest rate. Separate this list into categories by what the debt is secured by. For example, you might want to make separate lists of credit card debt, mortgages, and so on. Each separate list will most likely need its own loan to refinance the debt in that category.

For example, a credit card with an interest rate of 10% and a balance of $10,000 probably has a minimum payment of $250 a month. A person who wanted to restructure this debt could find a new credit card with an interest rate of 5%. Of course, finding this credit card with a high enough credit limit to transfer all of the debt will take some time to do. After successfully applying for and being approved for the new card, a person could transfer their debt to the new card. This essentially cuts their interest rate in half.

Of course, it is crucial that people who are thinking of doing this pay attention to the fees involved. It is usually customary for the new card company to charge a 3% fee on the balance that is being transferred. The person who is considering this card will need to make sure that he or she will still save money by transferring the debt.

The process for refinancing other debts, such as student loans and car loans, is similar. A person will need to find a new loan that he or she can transfer his or her existing debt to. In many cases, a single new loan can be used for several old debts. For example, a person can choose to take out a home equity loan to consolidate and refinance their credit card debt.

It is important to realize that restructuring debt can take hundreds of hours of research, paperwork, and bank interviews. At the end of the process, a person will often have lower interest rates, but their overall amount of debt will not have decreased. In fact, once new loan fees have been added in, a person will often have more debt than when they started the process.

People who are interested in lowering their total amount of debt should look at other options …


Look Smart Not Small Business Friendly

There is a firestorm of negative press looking LookSmart's recent marketing stumbles via numerous discussion groups, including two of the oldest and most influential, I-Search and I-Advertising Digests. Most of the critiques center on LookSmart's accessibility to develop viable programs for SMB / SME ("small to medium business or enterprise"), the difficulty in managing their new pay per click "Small Business Listings" advertising program, and their overall lack of customer service responsiveness.

Many of us in the agency / marketing services world relied upon LookSmart's directory in the early days; especially as an offset to Yahoo's "my way or the highway" attitude when they became the 200 pound gorilla in the marketplace So, it's sad to say, but LookSmart appears to be morphing to just another portal with little marketing awareness of how to work effectively with the tens of millions of SMB companies that have rapidly embroidered a web-centric business model. Their overall terms of services are geared for big companies and their SMB programs appear to be an afterthought at best!

One of the core issues that frustrates many small businesses is the difficulty in getting a listing that actually describes their company, products, and / or services accurately – to add insult to injury, you have to pay in some cases twice to have your listing upgraded . Similarly, LookSmart's editorial staff can not keep up with the demand, or is so pressured to maintain some internal quota their descriptions suffer accordingly.

LookSmart's new Small Business Listings program is simply not "small business friendly." It is a complex program with lots of important details buried in an FAQ and there are some "gotchas" in the small print – including being forced to wait up to 90 days for the return of the upfront deposit of $ 150. and paying a setup fee for a listing; but having it deactivated when you exceed the dollar amount of your "monthly click limit." I can understand their dropping the listing once you exceed your budget, but it does not seem equitable to charge $ 49. to setup the listing in the first place – your in essence subsidizing LookSmart's cost of doing business.

We've found inconsistencies in LookSmart's stated Privacy program versus inbound e-mail traffic we've received from them over the past 3-6 months. We've unsubscribed 3-4 times and still keep getting self-promotional marketing materials which are not of any value, other than promoting LookSmart's business. They are clearly not adhering to their stated privacy policy and to compound matters, our complaints have not been addressed via their customer service department.

So, if your an SMB company what are your alternatives to working with LookSmart? We would recommend your assessing Google's new "AdWords Select" program which is geared more for business of all sizes; but, I must warn you there is some complexity in setting up this type of program as well. But, you certainly get much more coverage with Google – their rapidly becoming the dominant search engine du …