Some internet companies are quite sneaky. Or, in my opinion, unethical.
Here are two scenarios:
- You purchase an item on the internet and sign up for the free account with the store so you can track your purchase. In the sign-up process, there is an option to allow this company — and others with whom they are affiliated — to send you promotional email. The option is already checked!
- You upgrade your Java software (a free upgrade which you should do) and in the process of upgrading there is an option to download the free Ask.com toolbar and make it your default search engine (this search engine has nothing to do with the Java software itself). The option is already checked!
I am NOT suggesting that you stop shopping on the internet (egad!) or stop upgrading your Java software. I am suggesting that you look at every option in these and other internet processes to be sure that you uncheck any option you don’t want.
If a box is pre-checked and you don’t un-check it, you are “opting in” to the program.
Unethical? I think so, but the debate continues. Marketers will continue to pre-check options as long as it serves their purpose.
Take an extra minute in any internet transaction to be sure you are opting into only what you wish to receive. Clicker beware!
When searching for information through Internet search engines (AOL, Bing, Google, Yahoo), the more precise your search words, the more precise the search results, and the faster you will find what you are looking for.
One way to increase your search precision is to proactively exclude certain words from your search by typing a minus (-) sign before them.
- If you are researching beetles (the bugs not the car), type “beetle -volkswagen” (no quotes)
- If you are looking to purchase or learn about golf clubs (the equipment not the facilities) type “golf -courses” (no quotes)
- If you are looking to take a bicycle trip somewhere other than in the United States, type “bike trips -usa” (no quotes)
Note that the minus sign must have a space before it, but no space after it.
If you wish to exclude more than one word, leave a space between words: “dogs -poodles -pitbulls” (no quotes).
20% off the purchase price? Free shipping? Don’t shop online without first determining if you can buy it for less. Use coupon codes!
Many large online retailers offer coupons to attract your business. The discounts come in the form of codes that you enter into the “coupon code” box on the checkout screen.
Where do you find these coupon codes and how do you use them?
- Do a search on Bing, Google, Yahoo, or AOL for the name of the store followed by the word “coupon.” Example: “lands end coupon.”
- Click on a few of the search results to see if you can find a coupon that suits your needs. Be sure to note the expiration date.
- Copy the code from the coupon site and enter it when you get to the checkout page of the store’s website. Click “apply.”
- If the coupon code is valid, your purchase price will be reduced.
You know the “back” button: that left-facing arrow on the upper left corner of your web browser. Click it to return to the last web page you were viewing. Very useful. But what if you want to go back a few pages?
You can keep clicking the back button; you’ll get there … eventually.
Or, you can click and HOLD the back button to reveal a list of the web pages you have visited in this browsing session. Click once on the specific page to which you wish to return and you are taken there. Magic!
- If the page you want is not listed — browsers may limit the number of pages they show in this list — click on the lowest web page on the list (the most “distant” page) and then click and hold the back button again to reveal even more pages from your recent past.
- If a link from one page took you to a new window (rather than opening the content in the same window), the back arrow will not work; it only works for pages opened in the same window.
- If your computer is running an older operating system or an older version of a web browser, this feature may not be available. Time to upgrade?