Archive for the ‘Company review’ category

My first BzzAgent review:

May 23, 2011

As I mentioned in my last post, I recently started working as a copywriter for a social marketing company called BzzAgent. Also known as a word-of-mouth marketing company, BzzAgent enlists hundreds of thousands of “agents” to discuss brands and products (L’Oreal, Michelin, and Unilever are just a few of its clients).

The agents receive free products, free services, and discounts. I signed up to be an agent (also called a “BzzAgent”) to see what’s it’s all about (you can do so as well). After filling out some surveys, I was invited to the “” campaign. lets you put multiple online profiles (including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Flickr profiles) in one place.

I created an page at You decide which profiles and/or links you want to include on your page. I added my Twitter, WordPress, LinkedIn, Vimeo, YouTube, and Tumblr accounts (granting access to my posts, updates, videos, etc.), but I declined to allow access to my Facebook info (including profile information, status updates, and friends’ photos).

For me, my Facebook page is a relatively private space I don’t want strangers to see. I did, however, opt to add a link to my Facebook page (in case someone wants to friend me). You can link to other pages if you’d like, or add other profiles (Blogger, Posterous, Flickr, TypePad, Formspring,, Daily Booth, and Instagram).

You can also personalize your background, font colors, fonts, and biography. Other features include statistics about your accounts and page, ideas for promoting your page, and a place to add your favorite pages. I haven’t yet used all these features, but I’ll still provide my initial thoughts about

  • It’s a neat idea. Unless you have your own website/blog, I don’t know of any service that lets you list such a wide variety of profiles (LinkedIn, for example, just has fields for three websites, your Twitter account, and your IM screen names). Not to mention the other services don’t let you see content from all your accounts.
  • I like how you can personalize your page.
  • It’s good from an SEO standpoint. You can use to submit your page to Bing, Google, and Yahoo. I did this about two weeks ago, and at least for Google my page already appears on the second page of search results when my name is queried. So creating an page can help push down negative links (if you have them, of course).
  • I’m not sure sure how much time I’ll devote to my page. I have a personal blog and professional website that already allow me to add my Tumblr, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. info. So if I have these sites I’ve already invested in, why do I need I guess I could use to have all my content in one place. But at this point, I don’t see a huge benefit. Clicking on a link to access my content (at its source) takes one second.

My professional website is in the works

April 13, 2011

I spent a good chunk of yesterday setting up a professional website. It took me a little while to determine my domain name, register my site, and pick out a web host. For my domain name, I ended up deciding on, which will be my new name as of September 17. I registered the site with GoDaddy and chose Laughing Squid as a host.

After realizing how much I love WordPress (I’ve been using it to blog since the fall of 2008), I decided to set up my site with WordPress’s blog tool and publishing platform. As I explained in my new site’s first blog post, this involved a fair amount of work. But thanks to various online help/tutorials, I figured it out.

I’ve barely added anything to my site, but I look forward to working on it in the coming weeks.

Do not buy these empanadas

October 28, 2010

You are supposed to keep these Goya empanadas frozen until you’re ready to cook them. Then you’re supposed to start cooking them in a pan covered in oil (according to the directions). The problem with this is that the empanadas are stuck together with pieces of paper between them.

There's a piece of paper in between these two frozen empanadas.

Because they’re frozen you can’t break the empanadas apart. I tried to separate them by putting them under hot water, but that made them all gross. You aren’t supposed to thaw them so I started cooking them with the paper in the middle. Minutes passed and the empanadas still couldn’t be broken apart. I didn’t think it was a good idea to keep cooking paper so I stopped. I then threw the empanadas in the garbage.

Goya empanadas in the garbage

I am now hunting for a better brand of frozen empanadas.

This wine was really good

September 13, 2010

Swedish Hill Winery's 2008 Cayuga White

I got it during a wine tour of the Finger Lakes (in upstate New York) earlier this summer. It was perfectly crispy, semi-dry, and citrusy. The wine was actually developed by Cornell University at the the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, N.Y.  No wonder it’s so good– smart people made it!

The Finger Lakes are mostly known for their white wines, though I also really liked Swedish Hill’s red Marechal Foch (shoot, I forget what year). It was sooo smooth. Winery staff told me one reason was because it had aged in stainless steel tanks. I then started noticing that all my favorite reds had aged in stainless steel tanks. This doesn’t sound as impressive as oak barrels but oh well!

I look forward to soon trying a muscat I also picked up at the Swedish Hill Winery (I guess this was my favorite winery!). I’ll let you know how that goes!

I love online shopping!

September 9, 2010
My new power cord

My new power cord

Last week I was bummed to discover my laptop needed a new power cord. I only got the cord eight months ago, and it cost about $100.

Instead of returning to MicroCenter to get a new power cord, I decided to look for one online. I googled “power cord” and the name of my laptop (Dell Inspiron 1318).

One of the first results was for a power cord for sale on I clicked on the link, and saw the cord cost just $4! I couldn’t believe it! I read the product description to make sure the item had the right specifications (e.g. correct input and output voltages).

It did! I proceeded to order the power cord for $10 (includes $6 shipping cost). I received it in the mail three days later, and it works like a charm! Talk about bargain shopping! Oh how I love you right now, Amazon!

And I must credit Moon Tech, the seller, as well. Thank you!

Super Fitness in Watertown doesn’t put customers first

August 27, 2010

I keep complaining about companies, but this complaint is truly merited. Up until a couple of weeks ago I belonged to the Super Fitness gym in Watertown. I decided to end my membership as I was moving to Somerville, about a 20-minute drive from the gym.

I looked at a copy of my contract to make sure I could end my membership. Turns out toward the bottom of the contract there was a note about it being for two years. The only way I could get out of the contract is if I moved something like 25 miles away, or had proof I couldn’t exercise.

Neither of these conditions applied to me, unfortunately. I was angry at myself for having signed the contract, but also at my gym for the way it had represented the contract. I remember meeting with one of the gym’s employees, and telling him I would only sign up if my membership was a month-to-month commitment. He said it was, and that whenever I wanted to end it I could with no penalty.

Well, so much for that. Looking at my contract I realized he had lied. I went to my gym to see if I could end my membership anyway. I was given a phone number, and told to call “Shelly” in Quincy. I called her, left a message. and waited. She didn’t get back to me so I left another message and sent an email detailing my situation.

She finally called me back, and said I could end my membership early for $50. Normally she’d charge $100, she said, but because I had attended the gym for so long (a year and a half) she would give me the discount. I appreciated her offer, though I was disappointed she hadn’t apologized for her colleague’s misleading words the day I signed up for the gym.

I ended up sending Shelly my $50 check. I called and emailed her numerous times to make sure she had received it. No response. I ended up confirming she’d received my check by looking at my bank account.

Shelly had told me my membership would last until the end of August, as I had paid my monthly membership fee for all of August.

I went to the gym toward the beginning of August, and my card was rejected. The girl at the counter told me my membership was over. She said I’d have to call Shelly. I called her but received no call back (surprise, surprise). It’s like as soon as she had all of my money she didn’t care about helping me anymore.

I don’t know if any of this conduct merits a Better Business Bureau complaint. But at least I can use this blog to spread the word about the gym’s practices.

It looks I’m not the only one who’s experienced their poor customer service/was lied to about what I was signing.

Photo credit:

Unhappy with Micro Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts

June 2, 2010

Well, it’s been a few months since my bad experience with the Micro Center computer store took place, but I still think I should share it with the world (or at least the few people who come across this blog).

Late last year my Dell laptop stopped working, so I took it to Micro Center. I had bought the computer from this particular store, and it was still under warranty.

The woman at the counter told me it would take a couple of weeks for my computer to get fixed. Well two weeks rolled by and I heard nothing. So I called the store. Turns out the store hadn’t even shipped my computer to Dell at that point.

The guy I spoke with over the phone gave me some excuse about paperwork issues with Dell. Did I really care what the issue was? If it didn’t pertain to a mistake I made, please don’t tell me about it. Just tell me what your next step is. Well this guy didn’t seem to know.

I tried calling back a week later, and no progress had been made. I tried another week later, and it was the same story. After a couple of more weeks of no progress, I went into the store with my boyfriend.

We told them their delay was negatively impacting my work, which was true. They agreed to give me a free replacement laptop until mine was repaired. Still, they still couldn’t tell me when my laptop would be sent to Dell.

The next morning I went in to pick up my replacement laptop. What do you know? They gave me a hard time about it. I explained that I had spoken with such-and-such manager. They said it’s not their policy to provide replacement computers for free. I repeated what I had said about speaking with such-and-such manager.

Finally, the person I was dealing with went to make a phone call. He returned moments later with a laptop at hand. “Here you go,” he said, as if there had been no issue in the first place.

I was happy to have the replacement laptop (an Acer), even if it was really cheap, small and slow. I ended up having it for over a month. Finally I received the call that my laptop was ready.

I went to pick it up. They asked me nothing about the replacement laptop. If I hadn’t been honest, I might have been able to keep it. That’s how unorganized they seemed to be.

When I arrived home with my Dell, I immediately tried to use it. What do you know? I immediately got an error message about how the power cord wasn’t compatible with the computer. If I continued to use it my computer would be put at risk. (more…)