NiftyClicks: Cool Web Tools and Resources for Small Business

by Andrew Lock

Welcome to NiftyClicks. In the first of this ongoing series, marketing maven and Web wunderkind Andrew Lock offers up six clicks that can help you be more productive, efficient and knowledgeable as you run your business.

Andrew Lock

I’m always on the lookout for nifty Web sites, tools and software that can benefit your business. My friends have come to rely upon me as their trusted source for the latest and greatest productivity tools and resources. So without further ado, here are the latest gems for you.

Spam Disappears

Ever wonder how you started receiving spam e-mails? If your e-mail address is listed online, for example in Web directories or on your own Web site, that’s almost certainly responsible for much of the spam you receive.


Spam Disappears.com
Spam Disappear.com
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Software robots comb the Web to find, harvest, store and sell e-mail addresses.  Hence, your e-mail address ends up being bombarded with spam messages.

Spam Disappears.com is a free anti-spam blocker. It creates a new, public e-mail address that Internet browsers can see, but remains invisible to spam robots.

It’s very easy to use, just three steps: enter your e-mail address, what you want the link to say, and then copy the code in the bottom box.

As you can see, the tool generates a special html code in real-time.  Post it in your Web page, and it’ll be automatically encrypted.

Never put normal e-mail links on a Web site, always encrypt the address using a tool like SpamDisappears.com.

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A reader told me about TryBrevity.com, and I’ve become a member myself, so I wanted to share it with you too.

Brevity, a members-only Web site, is an extension of the executive book-summary concept.  The problem with conventional book summaries is that they tend to be boring ‑‑ they lack personality and voice.  Also, there’s no one to compare notes with and brainstorm about how the lessons can be applied to small business.

Brevity is different.  It combines three ingredients: analysis, action and traction.  Each week you’ll receive a book analysis (not a summary).  It includes action points, and you can compare notes with others.  That interactive participation is invaluable.

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Window Shop

Also on the book theme this month, WindowShop.com is a new Web site from Amazon.com

A bit difficult to describe, though appropriately named, Window Shop is a showcase for Amazon’s latest and greatest products – books, music, movies and anything else it wants to feature.

The cool part is that it’s a lot of fun to use.  You navigate the "shop windows" using your arrow keys on the keyboard, and as you move over a new item, it zooms in to feature it on your monitor.

For music products, you’ll hear samples from the album, which play automatically.  For books, you’ll hear a brief synopsis, again which plays automatically.  For DVDs, you’ll see the movie trailer play, and it’s nice and large too.

It’s a great way to discover new products in an enjoyable interactive environment.  Of course, Amazon makes it easy for you to buy anything you like, with a prominent "buy" button in the corner of each window ‑‑ very smart.  Try it out and see for yourself.  It’s what the Web is all about in this day and age.


DailyLit splits books up into short, daily excerpts that are sent to you via e-mail (or you can view them in your Web browser). You can select the frequency of the snippets – daily or on selected days of your choice when you’re in the mood for reading.

If you get hooked on a particular book, you can request the next installment to be sent as soon as possible, which is handy. A number of classic books are available at no charge, beyond that there is a fee for more recent titles. Overall, I was impressed by this service.

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Hard to Find 800 Numbers

This is another useful Web site.  Sometimes you need to a call a company only to discover that they don’t make their contact numbers easy to find.  Sometimes they even deliberately hide them!

HardToFind800Numbers.com functions exactly as the name sounds.  You can search for any company, and often you’ll be presented with options for customer service, general inquiries or the head office.

Oh, and because the site lists 800 numbers, all the calls will be free, which is exactly as it should be. I suggest you bookmark this site for future reference, it’s a handy one to keep a note of, and you might want to also tell your friends about it, too.


I’m always asked to recommend a reliable Web-hosting provider, and for a number of years I honestly couldn’t make that recommendation, but now I can.

I’ve had such a great experience with hosting my sites at BlueHost.com, that I have no hesitation in recommending them to you.  Not only are they reliable, but the customer service and support is phenomenal.

The couple of times I had questions, I called the support number on the home page, got straight through to a human, who was most helpful and friendly, something I’ve never experienced from a Web host before!

The hosting package also includes CPanel and Fantastico.  Don’t worry if you don’t know what that is; just know that it’s a good thing that makes it easier to work with your hosting.

Andrew Lock is a self-described maverick marketer and the creator and host of Help! My Business Sucks, a free, weekly Web TV show full of practical marketing tips, advice and resources to help small businesses "get more done and have more fun."

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!
This article was originally published on Monday Jan 26th 2009
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