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Is That Free Offer Legit? Tips that Can Help Everyone loves the chance to cash in some great free stuff, but navigating the world of freebie offers, especially online, can be like navigating a minefield. Unfortunately, a lot of people out there use the love others have of taking advantage of free deals to scam them out of money or personal details that can be used in identity theft scams. All of this gloom and doom doesn?t mean that you have to give up on free things altogether, however. The good news is that there are some simple, common sense steps you can take protect yourself from online freebie scammers. These tips will help give you the confidence that you can enjoy taking advantage of free offers without the fear of ending up facing some negative consequences. First and foremost, when you are checking out a free offer on the Internet, take a closer look at the website, beyond just reading the words and figuring out what you have to do get the free goods. Does the website look like it was made by a professional, with some consideration, or does it look like a five minute amateur job? Are typos and clip art the order of the day, or does it look like a website any business would be proud to call its own? What about the web address ? is a domain name that matches the business the website claims to represent, or is a ?free? domain address that includes the name of the domain company in the address? All of these factors can be red flags that determine the difference between a scam and a legitimate free offer. If the website looks half hearted or doesn?t seem to exactly ?match? the company it purports to represent, then don?t even think about trying to get anything from it. When you?re reasonably sure that the website is actually the front of a legitimate business, it?s time to turn your attention to the privacy policy of the website. The best privacy policies guarantee you that the email address you use to sign up for this offer will not be shared with any other companies ? but when it comes to free stuff, those kinds of privacy policies are few and far between. Many companies cover the costs of the free things you get by selling your email address to other companies that may have offers you they think you might be interested in. If you can?t find a privacy policy that lets you opt out of getting unwanted solicitations, at least make sure the site is secure and that any personal information can?t be obtained by hackers. Other things to look out for when you?re looking for freebies is products that are free but that require you to pay a shipping charge that seems beyond the pale for what it should cost to ship and freebie offers that seem to ask for way more information than needed for what the product actually is. Twenty pages of personal information for a travel size bottle of shampoo? That doesn?t make sense, and it should set off warning bells in your head. All of these red flags aside, giving out some amount of personal information comes part and parcel with freebie offers. There are a few things you can do to make life easier on yourself. Set up an email account that you will use specifically for freebie offers so all of the inevitable spam doesn?t clog up your main account. Use a phony phone number (preferably one that can?t be anyone else?s, like one that starts with 555). Last but not least, if you?re unsure about an offer, keep on moving. Better safe than sorry.

The "Catch" to Some of these Freebie Sites Remember that old saying, "There's no such thing as a free lunch?" Well, it's not true?there are plenty of freebies out there. However, there are some things you should know about if you are going to go after these freebies. The World Wide Web is awash with web sites that like to offer visitors with loads of tempting freebies. But although many of these are legitimate offers, there are some things you should know about these freebie sites. Here are some things to know about these freebie sites. Getting Things for Free?A Caveat Here is the basic caveat when it comes to these freebie offers?there is usually something you will have to endure in order to get your freebie. Although you may not have to make any sort of financial contribution or monetary expense, you will have to pay in some small non-monetary way. Here is a quick rundown of various kinds of 'catches' that you may come across as you seek out the best of the web's freebies. Watching Ads Before You Get to the Good Stuff One of the most common techniques that websites will use before you can get access to their freebies is to force you to watch ads. There are many different versions of this method. Many sites that promote freebies will support their site through advertisements. Most advertisements show up as pop-up or banner ads. Some websites also use video websites. With the ubiquity of high speed Internet, video ads have lately become the preferred method of advertisement on many websites. The less subtle of these ads are the pop-up and banner ads. Pop-up ads are often quite obtrusive and they can interrupt your enjoyment of the website. You might want to avoid ad-based freebie sites at work, as these can often interfere with your screen. Many popular freebie websites also offer ad-free versions of their content. This may be something to consider if you really find the website's content valuable. Be Wary of Automatic E-mail Sign-Ups Many freebie websites will sign you up automatically for their email newsletters. The worst-case scenario is when the website allows its partners to bombard you with email ads. What is the best way to avoid getting on an unwanted email list? Read the fine print, and whenever you get the option, uncheck the opt-in box at the very bottom of the page. Take Care of Your Privacy Many sites that offer freebies make money by selling the personal information that they gain from their web traffic. In order to avoid having your personal information being sold, you should avoid giving your personal information to websites that can't provide you with an upfront privacy policy. You should also look for the TRUSTe seal that ensures your personal information is kept secure and private. Also, never provide more information than you need to provide. Avoid Large Downloads Whenever Possible Another thing you should watch out for are large downloads. Although there are many legitimate large downloads out there, you should avoid sites that don't tell you exactly what you are downloading, how long the download will take, and how big the file size is. Watch Out for Disappearing Websites If there is one thing to know about freebie websites is that they are often 'here today, gone tomorrow' type enterprises. Many freebie websites simply don't survive for very long. You should think hard before committing to a website that offers free services that you will have to depend on. The last thing you want is to depend on a website's services, and then have those services disappear or suspended.

Web Hosting - Is a Dedicated Server Worth What You Pay? In reviewing web hosting plans, many web site owners are faced at some point with the decision of whether or not to pay for a dedicated server. A dedicated server is one which holds your site(s) exclusively. It's not shared with other sites. You then have the option to put one site or many on that piece of hardware. But the decision is never easy. There are multiple considerations to take into account, far beyond just the higher dollar outlay that inevitably accompanies a dedicated server option. Performance is (or should be) a prime consideration for the majority of site owners. Studies show that when a page doesn't load within about 10 seconds or less, almost everyone will give up and go elsewhere. The delay may be caused at any of a hundred different points in the chain between the server and the user. But often, it's the server itself. In any case, it's important to eliminate the server as a possible bottleneck, since it's one of the few points over which the site owner can exercise some control. That need for control extends further than just performance, however. Other aspects of the user experience can benefit or suffer from server behavior. Security is a prime example. With the continuing prevalence of spam and viruses, a server can easily get infected. Having only your site(s) on a single server makes that issue much easier to deal with. With fewer sites on a server, there is less likelihood of getting infected in the first place. Also, since you will place a higher value on security than many others, it's easier to keep a dedicated server clean and your site well protected. You can use best practices in security to fortify your site. Having other sites on the server that you don't control raises the odds that your efforts are for nothing. One way your efforts can get watered down is through IP address sharing. Less sophisticated hosting services will often assign a single IP address to a single server and multipe sites. That means your site is sharing the same IP address with other domains. That leaves you vulnerable in several ways. Virus or spam attacks may target a particular IP address. If you have the same one as another site, one that is more likely to attract hostile intentions, you suffer for and with someone else. In other cases an IP address range is assigned to the server, with each site receiving its own address from within that range. Though better than the one IP:server scenario, this still presents a vulnerability. Many attacks try a range of IP addresses, not just a single one. But even legitimate sources can give you trouble when you share an IP address or a range. If another site engages in behavior that gets it banned, you can suffer the same fate if they ban the address or range. If the miscreant that shares your server/IP address or range is himself a spammer for example, and gets blacklisted, you can inadvertently be banned along with him. Using a dedicated server can overcome that problem. There's a certain comfort level in knowing what is installed on the server you use, and knowing that you alone put it there. But a dedicated server option may require increased administration on your part. If you're not prepared to deal with that, you may have to pay still more to have your dedicated server managed by someone else. All these factors have to be weighed carefully when considering a dedicated server plan.

The Options For Online Creative Writing Courses (online creative writing courses) Online courses are ever growing in popularity. Many consumers don?t have the patience, money, or time to attend regular college classes, so many of them has turned to the Internet as their means of education. The online course phenomenon is especially helpful for many writers, as more and more writers find it both convenient and helpful to take online creative writing courses. Online courses are also known as distance learning courses, because of course the student is not in the classroom, or even the school when the course is taken. These distance courses have been seen as one of the best ways for a busy writer to brush up on their skills or learn new ones. Taking creative writing courses gives writers many options, such as working at their own pace. Many writers are too busy to attend class and enjoy the freedom giving by online courses. The distance courses give students the freedom to work at their own pace while learning everything that is needed. Students also don?t have a set time for the courses, so they may choose when they want to learn. An online course gives the writer time to fulfil all of their other duties. Online creative writing courses are easy to find, and there are plenty of programs offered by online writing schools. Writers Weekly University is one online school that offers creative writing courses for the busy writer. The university offers e-mail courses for freelance writers and aspiring novelists. They offer courses such as The Art of the Press Release, Finish Your Novel in eight Weeks, and How to Write a Cookbook and Sell It. Published writers and editors usually teach the online courses offered by Writers Weekly University. The courses may be inexpensive, and typically range from $25 to $745, but the price is based on the length and complexity of the course. Writers? Village University is also a school that offers online creative writing courses. Writers? Village University is one of the most popular sources for online writing courses, and offers more than 250 courses. The courses offered by this university are paid for in a non-traditional way. There is no payment required for the actual courses taken, but instead a membership fee, which gives writers unlimited access to hundreds of online creative writing courses. The Writers? Village University is also one of the most inexpensive with a membership fee of $69 per year or $10.99 per month, which for many is less than the cost for Internet access. The university offers courses in fiction writing, comedy writing, literature, business writing, and poetry. However, the schools for writers don?t stop with the Writers? Village. There are many more online schools that offer writing courses to consumers. Writers Online Workshops is also an online writing university that offers writers the creative courses they want and need. This university is facilitated by Writer?s Digest, and the courses are said to be taught by the best writers. The creative writing courses at this university range from fiction writing to business writing to poetry to composition. The Writers Online Workshops are far more expensive than other online creative writing courses, and typically start at $200. The courses provided by this university also require textbooks, so students will feel as if they are attending a regular university. Online creative writing courses may not be for every writer, but they can help a writer improve their skills while obtaining some education in the field they love. The courses may not be foolproof, but they may be a great benefit to every writer who wants to take them and wants to learn more about writing.