Category Archives: Tutorials

Make Money With Sponsored Blog Posts

Aloha! You see the post below this one? Good! What you see there is what I’m about to teach you put into practice. The idea is quite simple really. Just think of your blog as your own personal newspaper. Obviously the major way newspapers make money is by the patronage of advertisers. So what you can do is apply the same revenue model to your blog.

Most people already have Google AdSense banners and other such pay-per-click advertisements, however, I believe that a paid post can be more valuable to a potential advertiser than any banner can simply because the post will earn the advertiser a continual source of hits or leads for the entire time your blog remains online. Search engines like Google will pick up on such posts and index them and your advertiser’s exposure will grow surprisingly large, especially if this advertiser is smart enough to advertise on more than one blog. If your blog happens to be very popular and gets a lot of hits daily I assure you advertisers will come flocking to you.

There are several ways you can make sponsored blog posts work for you:

1) You write a normal posting as you usually do but at the bottom of the posting you include a “byline” or a link to your sponsor’s website(s).

2) You convince your advertiser to produce an article that is relevant to your blog’s theme. In exchange the advertiser will link certain words in the post to their chosen website(s).

3) You dedicate the entire post to promoting the advertiser’s product or service. Think of this as being like a full page newspaper ad.

4) YOU become the advertiser and DIRECTLY promote some product or service that is relevant to your blog’s theme. However, this option requires that you write your own adverting material, which you may or may not be good at.

Now let’s get into the technical details.

The first obvious step you need to take if you don’t already have a blog is to set one up. There are so many choices out there but the usually fall within tow categories:

1) Get a free blog from providers such as blogger, wordpress.com ,etc (see list below)

2) Install your own blog using WordPress or whatever other blogging software you may prefer.

Here is a list of free blog providers:

Blogger – http://www.blogger.com/
Blogbuddy – http://blogbuddy.ca/ (WordPress – Administered by me)
MSN Spaces – http://spaces.live.com/
AOL Blog – http://journals.aol.com/
BlogThing – http://www.blogthing.com/
Wordpress – http://wordpress.com/ (WordPress)
BlogEasy – http://www.blogeasy.com/
Aeonity – http://www.aeonity.com/
OkayBlog – http://okayblog.net/
Blogates – http://blogates.com/ (WordPress)
Weblogs.us – http://weblogs.us/
BlogSavy – http://blogsavy.com/
Supersized – http://www.supersized.org/ (Serendipity)
Tblog – http://www.tblog.com/
BlogRox – http://blogrox.com/ (WordPress)
Blogsome – http://www.blogsome.com/
Blog.com – http://blog.com/
SelectABlog – http://www.selectablog.com/
ClearBlogs – http://clearblogs.com/
BlogsLive – http://www.blogslive.net/
Skaffe – http://blogs.skaffe.com/
Atom5 – http://www.atom5.com/
Blog City USA – http://blogcityusa.com/
Hosting 365 – http://www.hosting365.com/
Upwith – http://www.upwith.net/
Blogshifter – http://blogshifter.com/
Bloggles – http://bloggles.info/
Blogtonomy – http://www.blogtonomy.com/

If you prefer to host your own blog then the best option in my opinion is to go to http://www.wordpress.org and download the latest version of WordPress.

Now if you decide to go with option number 4 (write your own sponsored posts) you obviously need to find some product or service to promote. In my opinion one easy to use source of relevant products is ClickBank. Sign-up for an account and then on their homepage click on the “Marketplace” link to search for relevant products. Another good source is Commission Junction. These are just two among a plethora of possibilities, so I encourage you to explore and I have no doubt that you will eventually find some worthwhile products to promote.

Some guidlines I recommend you follow:

1) Do no just write sponsored posts for the sake of it. Littering your blog with advertisements that are totally irrelevant to what your blog is about is a guaranteed way to turn off your readers. So if you are going to do this, I highly recommend you put some effort into finding out products and services that your blog’s readers will find interesting and useful. In other words try to cater to your reader’s tastes. If your blog is about Forex trading for example, do go promoting credit card products or mortgages or whatever other irrelevant products.

2) Do some research into the products you promote and try to NOT push junk products

3) Invest some time into each sponsored post. Word it properly with correct spelling and grammar. Also make sure your post is honest and doesn’t just consist of a bunch of BS marketing speak

4) Limit the use of graphics. If you noticed on some of my sponsored posts I only have one picture in each post. Do not overload the post with pictures. I highly recommend that you DO NOT use animated GIF’s or banners – it will make your blog/post look tawdry!

5) Properly categorize your sponsored posts. I would suggest that you NOT intersperse your sponsored posts with your other posts. Although doing so can give you better results I feel that it would annoy your readers far too much when they dig through your blog trying to find some specific content and they come across some advertisement. What I suggest you do is create a specific category such as “Sponsored Posts” (like I’ve done) and make all your sponsored posts belong to that category.

I think that about does it for this non-sponsored post ;) I hope you found this brief tutorial useful and hopefully it will contribute a little bit of cash in your pocket to sweeten the rewards of blogging even more.

Cheers,

Alan

5-Step System to Evaluate Any Forex Broker

Here is a very good article written by Felix Homogratus  about how to evaluate forex brokers before you open up an account with them.

Step #1: Does forex broker provide natural trading environment?

First step is to determine whether the forex broker provides natural trading environment or artificial trading environment.

Let me explain…

Bids & Offers Example. Let’s say you are trading the GBP/USD pair. Let’s say you want to buy GBP/USD. Let’s say you login to your forex broker account, and you see that the price is 1.9950/1.9953.

That means that somebody out there is willing to buy GBP/USD for 1.9950, and somebody else out there is willing to sell GBP/USD for 1.9953. So if you wanted to buy GBP/USD, you would have to pay 1.9953 for it. If you wanted to sell it, you would have to pay 1.9950.

Let’s say you want to buy GBP/USD, and you do not want to pay 1.9953 for it, but you would be willing to pay 1.9952 for it. So you go ahead and you submit a limit order to your broker to buy GBP/USD at 1.9952.

If that forex broker has natural trading environment, you should immediately see the price on GBP/USD change from 1.9950/1.9953 to 1.9952/1.9953. Why? Because someone else was bidding 1.9950 for GBP/USD and now you are bidding 1.9952.

Your bid of 1.9952 is higher than 1.9950, so in natural trading environment, that should immediately be reflected in the price, and the spread must shrink.

Please watch the following video to see example of this:

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There are two major benefits that come from natural trading environment. First is that you get to benefit from true spread which can often be as low as ZERO. And second is that your stop/losses will get hit less often. Let’s look at each benefit in greater detail.

ZERO Spread Phenomenon. The ZERO spread phenomenon is a very interesting one and is only possible in non-centralized markets such as forex. Let’s discover how ZERO spread is possible in forex market.

In my opinion the goal of every honest forex broker should be to provide traders the best possible price available. The way they can do that is by choosing the best possible price from several different banks and from every trader on their platform.

So let’s say Bank A has price of GBP/USD as 1.9950/1.9952, and Bank B has price of GBP/USD as 1.9948/1.9950.

So what your broker does is it takes the lowest bid price from Bank A, which is 1.9950, and it takes the lowest offer price from Bank B, which is also 1.9950. Because bid is from one bank, and offer is from another bank, they can stay on your broker with ZERO spread without executing against one another.

Getting screwed on Stop/Losses. Let’s now discover why the stop/losses will get hit less often if you use a broker with natural trading environment.

Well…first of all, if the environment of the broker is not natural, it means that they constantly need to worry about the accuracy of their price.

Many forex traders trade during news, and when price gets very volatile during news, the forex broker with not-natural environment becomes afraid that the traders will take advantage of their price feed and will get filled on much better price than the real market price.

Because of that, the broker is forced to artificially raise their spread during news. It happens quite often that the spread is raised from 2 pips to 30 pips and sometimes more.

So if your stop/loss is 20 pips away, and the spread just got raised, even for 1 second, you will get stopped out on a price that you would never be stopped out on if you traded with broker that provides natural trading environment.

Every day is filled with many different news announcements, so if you do not have a broker with natural trading environment, you can get screwed on spread and stops very often.

Step #2 Does forex broker charge commission?

At first you may think that I am crazy. Why would I want to pick a broker that charges commissions over a broker that has only spread with no commissions? Let’s discover the answer to this question together.

Forex brokers are not charities. Their purpose is to make money. There are two ways brokers can make money. First is to charge commission. Second is to collect spread.

Charging commission is the only honest way a broker can make money. If the broker does not charge commission, that means they are making money from spread.

It should be impossible for forex broker to make money from spread in natural and honest forex trading environment.

The purpose of a forex broker should be to connect traders and banks. The purpose of the traders and banks is to compete with one another for best possible price. That competition is what determines spread in real trading environment.

The only way forex brokers can make money on spread is if they set their own “fixed” spread or add “extra” spread to natural spread. In either case it means manipulation of price.

There is only one party that can have control over prices. It’s either the traders or it’s the broker.

When traders control the prices, there is honest environment of supply and demand. When broker controls the prices, there is dishonest and artificial manipulation that is the root of many problems.

Manipulation of spread and prices is how most forex brokers screw their traders every day, and most traders don’t even know it. Most common way is to take out their stop/losses a lot more often than they should be taken out in normal trading environment.

But remember, many brokers that charge commissions also manipulate their spread, so they make money both ways.

The only way to know if the spread is real is to see if you can change prices with your orders as shown in video above.

Step #3 Is forex broker regulated?

What good is forex broker that you can trade and make money with, but when it comes time to take your money, they don’t give it to you, because they don’t have it?

Forex Broker Bust Story. Refco was the biggest forex broker that was worth around $4 billion dollars. In October of 2005, Refco shut down its operations and every trader who had money with them got screwed big time.

Refco was not regulated and for some time they were spending not only their profits but also deposits of their clients. The amounts of money that traders saw on their trading platforms and the amounts of money Refco had in their bank accounts were different by $400 million.

So when the news hit the wire that Refco is running at such deficit, traders panicked and started asking for withdrawals. The only problem was that Refco was $400 million short of what it owed to traders.

There was a trial of course, and whatever assets the company had the court ordered to distribute among traders. I knew some people that had money with Refco. As far as I remember, after all assets were sold they got around 10% of what was owed to them. That means if person had $10,000 in his trading account, he got only $1,000 of it.

Moral of Forex Broker Bust Story. What is the moral of this true incident? The moral is that we have to remember that every time we deposit money to any forex broker, the money goes into their bank account. Whatever balance we see on our platforms is not real.

The broker can spend all of our money, without us knowing it, and they can still run their operation for a long time by robbing Peter to pay Paul. But when there are no more Pauls to rob, Peters get screwed.

The purpose of regulatory agencies is to constantly audit forex brokers and make sure that they are running their business properly and that the funds that belong to their clients are in place.

There are private regulatory agencies and there are government regulatory agencies. Private agencies are usually less strict and not as serious as government regulatory agencies.

I suggest doing business only with those forex brokers whose parent company is regulated by at least one regulatory agency, preferably government one.

List of 5 Regulatory Agencies. Here is the list of some popular financial regulatory agencies in the US:

Name: US Securities and Exchange Commission
Abbreviation: SEC
Status: US Government
Website: You can find out whether a forex broker’s parent company has a filing with SEC by going to: http://www.edgar-online.com/. There is also a search function on SEC website, but it does not go beyond 1994. Here is the link: http://www.sec.gov/edgar/searchedgar/companysearch.html.

Name: Commodity Futures Trading Commission
Abbreviation: CFTC
Status: US Government
Website: You can find out whether a forex broker’s parent company is a member of CFTC by going to this link, opening most recent PDF file and searching by broker’s company name: http://www.cftc.gov/marketreports/financialdataforfcms/index.htm.

Name: National Futures Association
Abbreviation: NFA
Status: Private
Website: You can find out whether a forex broker’s parent company is a member of NFA by going to this link and searching by broker’s company name: http://www.nfa.futures.org/basicnet/.

Name: Financial Industry Regulatory Authority
Abbreviation: FINRA
Status: Private
Website: You can find out whether a forex broker’s parent company is a member of FINRA by going to this link and searching by broker’s company name: http://brokercheck.finra.org/Search/Search.aspx?PageID=1.

Name: Securities Investor Protection Corporation
Abbreviation: SIPC
Status: Private
Website: You can find out whether a forex broker’s parent company is a member of SIPC by going to this link and searching by broker’s company name: http://www.sipc.org/who/database.cfm.

Step #4 Does forex broker have good reputation?

Before doing business with any forex broker, it is very important to check on their reputation. When checking on reputation of a forex broker, you should ask three questions.

How long has forex broker been in business? First Question is how long the forex broker has been in business. First you should search their company name on their local government website, and see date of their incorporation.

Second you should check and see when their domain name was registered. You can check on the domain by going to this link: http://www.networksolutions.com/whois/index.jsp.

If either their company name or their domain name has been around for less than 3 years, I think it’s very risky to be doing business with that forex broker.

Media Coverage. Second Question is whether the forex broker had any articles in any major financial newspapers. The easiest way to check that is to ask them. Most companies that had positive media coverage will save that information and post it on their website.

I think that doing business with forex brokers that did not have any articles in major financial newspapers is risky, because that usually means that they are either too small or haven’t been around long enough.

Reviews of Clients. Third Question is what do former and current clients say about the forex broker. Best thing you can do is go to http://www.forexpeacearmy.com/public/forex_broker_reviews, find your forex broker in the list and read reviews about them.

I would avoid forex brokers that have less than 20 reviews, because it means that they are very small. I would also avoid forex brokers with a rating of 2 stars or less.

I suggest reading through the reviews with great discretion, and look for reviews with specific details about certain issues and problems

Step #5 How much does it cost to withdraw money?

In my practical experience as a forex trader for quite a few years, I think it is very important to find a forex broker that allows you to withdraw money as often as you like at no cost or very little cost.

Perhaps you are different, but for me one of the keys for keeping my profits was to constantly withdraw them. If I left profits in my trading account, I had a tendency to take more reckless trades and lose them much quicker than normal.

But when I was back to core balance or below, somehow I would get more conservative and more careful and bring the balance to positive again. Even if you want to grow your account by keeping the profits there, I suggest withdrawing them first, and then re-depositing them. This way, mentally your profits become as core balance.

I have dealt with some brokers that charged a lot for withdrawals and even penalized for frequent withdrawals. Even if I had thousands of dollars in profit, and it cost $30 for a withdrawal, psychologically I was not inspired to withdraw profits. I would wait, and try to consolidate my withdrawals, and every time I did that, I usually regretted it.

So to make the long story short, before opening an account with a forex broker, call them and tell them that you are planning to withdraw money 10 to 15 times per month, and ask them how much it would cost.

You may be surprised to find out that with such withdrawal activity, you may be losing extra $500 to $1,000 per month just in withdrawal fees.

I believe that we as human beings are conditioned to efficiency, so if we have to pay money to withdraw profit, we won’t do it as often as we should, and it can end up costing us thousands and tens of thousands of dollars in lost profits due to psychological effect this will have on us as forex traders.

So I think it’s best to find a forex broker that will allow you to withdraw money as often as you wish. In addition to that, they must have at least one withdrawal option that costs under $10 per withdrawal, and takes 1 week or less to receive.

It’s Good to Protect Your Identity

Identity Theft

In todays increasingly interconnected and digitized society the theft of personal information is a lot easier to perpetrate than before. As a result, we must become increasingly diligent to ensure that we secure our most private and personal information. The theft of personal information, or identify fraud as its most commonly called costs consumers quite a lot. A big portion of loss could’ve been avoided had people been a bit more educated about identity fraud and what they can do to prevent themselves from becoming victims. Just to drive the point home a bit, check out this information compiled in 2005. I know it’s a bit old but I doubt that the dollar figure given has declined; in fact I bet you anything that it has increased.

This data was taken from an official U.S Government report published over here:
http://www.consumer.gov/sentinel/pubs/Top10Fraud2005.pdf

Here is the pertinent quote:

Between January and December 2005, Consumer Sentinel, the complaint database developed and maintained by the FTC, received over 685,000 consumer fraud and identity theft complaints. Consumers reported losses from fraud of more than $680 million.

Scary, isn’t it!

So, what is identity fraud?

Identity Fraud is commonly described as occurring when an impostor obtains a piece of your personal information like your name, credit card number, Social Security number, etc without your permission.

How do this thieves steal your identity?

  • Skimming- stealing your credit/debit card numbers using special storage device when processing your card.

  • Changing Your Address – diverting your billing statements to another location by filing change of address.

  • Dumpster Driving – rummaging trash looking for bills or other paper with your personal information on it.

  • Pretexting – using false pretenses to obtain your personal information from financial institutions, telephone companies, and other sources.

  • Phishing – pretending being a financial institutions or companies and send spam or pop-up messages to get you to reveal your personal information.

  • Old-Fashioned Stealing – stealing wallets,mails that include bank and credit card statements; pre-approved credit offers, and new checks or tax information.

The Internet is a major venue for fraud to victimize merchants who sell and ship products and also for those who provide online services. If you are using credit cards to transact business using the Internet, protect your self against these thieves. Be responsible enough with your identity.

The following are tips on how to prevent thieves from obtaining your identity:

  • Delete any suspicious emails from organizations requesting personal information from you. Don’t even think about clicking on any links present in such e-mail.

  • Be extra vigilant when giving out personal information (trust your instincts; if it smells suspicous, don’t give out your personal info!)

  • Shred all personal information before throwing it away in your rubbish. Get a paper shredder – they aren’t all that expensive!

  • If you move house, make sure you tell your bank and other organizations in advance

  • Tell your Postal Service if you suspect your mail is going missing

  • Encrypt the personal information stored on your computer. In Windows XP for example you can either use Windows’ own “encrypt contents to secure data” feature available by right clicking on a folder and going to properties then advanced. Alternatively I would also recommend a great program called AxCrypt.

  • If you absolutely must store password or any other highly sensitive information in digital format get a USB jump-drive and store the information on it in ENCRYPTED format (see AxCrypt or TrueCrypt). Then store this USB drive in a SECURE location.

  • Use password managers that store your password in a strongly encrypted format! One great program that I love and use is called RoboForm. You can download a free copy from my site (the software is 100% free to use) by clicking over here. Alternatively if you don’t trust downloading from my site you can always visit RoboForm’s official website.

For those of you who like to use BitTorrent you can download the RoboForm torrent file over here.

Stay tuned to this blog as later on I intend to write an article for you really paranoid folks (like me) about how to ensure maximum computer security when transacting online or doing anything where the highest level of security is a must.

Cheers everyone. Thanks for visiting my blog!

The 3 Things All Affiliate Marketers Need To Survive Online

Now every affiliate marketer is always looking for the successful market that gives the biggest paycheck. Sometimes they think it is a magic formula that is readily available for them. Actually, it is more complicated than that. It is just good marketing practices that have been proven over years of hard work and dedication. There are tactics that have worked before with online marketing and is continuing to work in the online affiliate marketing world of today. With these top three marketing tips, you will be able to able to increase your sales and survive in the affiliate marketing online.

What are these three tactics?

1. Using unique web pages to promote each separate product you are marketing.

Do not lump all of it together just to save some money on web hosting. It is best to have a site focusing on each and every product and nothing more. Always include product reviews on the website so visitors will have an initial understanding on what the product can do to those who buys them. Also include testimonials from users who have already tried the product. Be sure that these customers are more than willing to allow you to use their names and photos on the site of the specific product you are marketing. You can also write articles highlighting the uses of the product and include them on the website as an additional page. Make the pages attractive compelling and include calls to act on the information. Each headline should attract the readers to try and read more, even contact you. Highlight your special points. This will help your readers to learn what the page is about and will want to find out more.

2. Offer free reports to your readers.

If possible position them at the very top side of your page so it they simply cannot be missed. Try to create autoresponder messages that will be mailed to those who input their personal information into your sign up box. According to research, a sale is closed usually on the seventh contact with a prospect. Only two things can possibly happen with the web page alone: closed sale or the prospect leaving the page and never return again. By placing useful information into their inboxes at certain specified period, you will remind them of the product they thought they want later and will find out that the sale is closed. Be sure that the content is directed toward specific reasons to buy the product. Do not make it sound like a sales pitch. Focus on important points like how your product can make life and things easier and more enjoyable. Include compelling subject lines in the email. As much as possible, avoid using the word “free” because there are still older spam filters that dumps those kind of contents into the junk before even anyone reading them first. Convince those who signed up for your free reports that they will be missing something big if they do not avail of your products and services.

3. Get the kind of traffic that is targeted to your product.

Just think, if the person who visited your website has no interest whatsoever in what you are offering, they will be among those who move on and never come back. Write articles for publication in e-zines and e-reports. This way you can locate publications that is focusing on your target customers and what you have put up might just grab their interest. Try to write a minimum of 2 articles per week, with at least 300-600 words in length. By continuously writing and maintaining these articles you can generate as many as 100 targeted readers to your site in a day. Always remember that only 1 out of 100 people are likely to buy your product or get your services. If you can generate as much as 1,000 targeted hits for your website in a day, that means you can made 10 sales based on the average statistic. The tactics given above does not really sound very difficult to do, if you think about it. It just requires a little time and an action plan on your part. Try to use these tips for several affiliate marketing programs. You can end maintaining a good source of income and surviving in this business that not all marketers can do.

That’s all folks. I hope you found this information useful.

Take care everyone.

A Brief Guide to Buying Silver: What kind of silver, and where to get it

Here is an excellent guide to buying silver (and even gold) for the serious investor. It is written by fellow silver investor Jason Hommel. I would encourage you to sign-up to his newsletter if you’re serious about keeping up with what’s happening in the silver market.

Click on this link to subscribe to his newsletter

Guide follows below:

The silver story is simple: Since the 1870’s, the trend has been to stop using silver as money (as a medium of exchange). This has reduced demand. Then, around 1945, electronics started booming, and since silver is the greatest conductor of electricity, a lot of silver has been used up. Today, the world has nearly run out of silver, just as paper money is beginning to fail around the world as gold begins to explode upwards in price. As investment demand returns to gold and silver for savings (as a store of value), like it will for no other commodities, physical silver prices will explode past them all, because monetary demand will return.
Therefore, I strongly suggest that you try to get the most physical silver for your money, and take posession of it. To do that, you ought to ask the dealer at your local coin shop the prices of the following items. (You can find your local coin dealer at a link below.) Prices sometimes change.

Types and Kinds of Silver Available

1. Bars:

A. 1000 oz. Bars. –These bars weigh about 68 pounds, and vary about 10% as to weight. You may get a 908.8 oz. bar or a 1099.6 oz. bar, and the price is settled on delivery. These are the NYMEX bars. Benefit: Good for NYMEX delivery to the major exchange for delivery into a 5000 oz. futures contract, and thus, the most liquid for large buyers or sellers. Also, it is quicker to physically move them in large quantities, rather than moving hundreds of 100 oz. bars. Drawback: They are not suitable for smaller transactions, but they are always liquid if they are sold to a wise bullion dealer who knows what they are. The other drawback may be shipping, if you are on the west coast, since the exchange is in New York.
B. 100 oz. Bars. –These bars weigh 6.8 pounds, and are among the most popular with retail investors. They stack well, and make it easier to inventory than 1 oz. rounds or silver bags. Popular brands are Englehard and Johnson-Matthey. Those two brands cost a bit more than other brands, usually about 40-50 cents per ounce above the spot price, but that price may vary with market conditions.
C. Odd weight retail bars. –Stamped as 101.46 oz. or 51.23 oz., these bars cost less, and generally have a wider spread, due to the extra work it takes to calculate their value, and extra risk due to the lack of good brand name. To test that they are silver, try a simple ring test. Bang them with a wooden spoon, and if you hear a faint, quick, “riiiinnnngggg”, they are silver. Lead filled bars thud or thunk, and do not ring. But you may be able to buy these as spot, and sell them at spot, depending on the dealer. These are true “bullion” bars, and not found in quantity. Also, there is the 1 kilo bar, which is 32.151 ounces.
D. 10 oz. bars are also very popular, often harder to get, with a slightly higher cost, as they seem more “affordable” and are very neat to hold, and can act as “change” between the 100 oz. bars, and 1 oz. rounds.
2. Coins:

A. U.S. minted Silver-Eagle. –This coin is .999 pure silver, and weighs one ounce. It generally sells for about $2.00 over the spot price, and is thus quite expensive. I don’t recommend these.

B. One-ounce “rounds”. –They are .999 pure silver, and weigh one ounce. These coins are like the Silver-Eagle, but they cost much less. They are minted by a private mint. They generally cost about 40-50 cents above the commonly quoted price of silver–also called the “spot” price. These are often very popular, and a very good choice.

C. U.S. minted coins, dated 1964 or earlier. –These are half dollars, quarters, or dimes that commonly circulated in the U.S. Called “Junk silver”, they generally contain no rare or special coins. Sold by the “bag”, each full bag contains $1000 face value of coins, such as 2000 half dollars, 4000 quarters, or 10,000 dimes. A “bag” weighs about 55 pounds. This is typically the cheapest silver you can buy, because there is a cost to melt it down to get the kind of silver that is needed by industry. But this kind of silver also can become very much in demand, such as prior to the year 2000, when people wanted “tradable” silver, and bags cost up to 25% more than other silver bullion.

D. Commemorative Coins. Often times, the public will buy silver at a rate of 10 times higher than the bullion content if it is made into “Elvis” coins or “Space Shuttle” coins, or “Princess Diana” coins. Often made by the Franklin mint and sold on late night TV, these are generally a rip off. People pay so much, and sell them to the bullion dealers only for the melt value. And you can sometimes buy these kinds of so-called collectables at the coin shops very cheap at just over the spot price, or ten times cheaper than found on TV.
So, what kind of silver is best? It depends on your situation. I own and like the 100 oz. bars, and the 1000 oz. bars the best. But that’s because I have a lot of silver. My friends and family typically like the 100 oz bars, 10 oz. bars, and 1 oz. rounds the best. For storing large amounts, the 1000 oz. bars are most convenient. The 100 oz. bars are troublesome in very large quantities–it takes much more work to move 200 of them than it takes to move 20 big ones. I also like the bags, but they may require counting with a coin counter which I have purchased, which takes more time. My kids like the one-ounce rounds the best. Most people find the 100 oz. bars fascinating to hold in one’s hand, and the 1000 oz. bars are typically considered too heavy to lift.

How to Buy Silver & Gold, and Where to Get It!

Beware! Don’t trade in your dollars (which are defaulted promises to pay silver or gold) for more promises of precious metal! What I mean is, we are clearly heading into another situation where delivery default is imminent!

The safest place to start buying precious metal is from your local dealer, which you can find in your local phone book — look up “COIN DEALER”.

Now you can search for a Coin Shop near you, online!

Search by name, by State, or by zip code!

http://www.coininfo.com/User/index.php

If you take delivery in person when you pay, then you will avoid the risk of getting stiffed on a failed delivery. Start there, and start small. A dealer in your nearest metropolitan city may not have the best price, but you will get your silver if you walk out with it.

If you buy all that your local dealer has, then look to another, larger shop that might be a further drive away, and then you might consider one of the nation’s largest dealers who are not at the COMEX. If you order on the internet, or from a dealer far away from home, you may wish to place several orders at once, with several dealers, to protect yourself from a failed delivery.

And when you take delivery, get a safe! And also a gun! And maybe dogs. And perhaps a security system and alarm, or more depending on your situation. You can always protect your silver. The typical cost is 1% per year.
I have multiple large gun safes, each the size of a large refrigerator. I store it in various places, in secure locations, on property not registered in my name. It’s well hidden behind a series of 4 locked doors; armed security guards, along with security systems. They say you should be willing to spend up to 1% of the value of your silver, annually, on security. If you plan to hold silver for more than 10 years, you may be willing to spend more up front. I spent about 7% up front, and I spend about 1/2 of 1% annually. (I now have room to make silver my number one holding again, but I plan to buy more silver when the stocks get much, much more expensive.) Those who say they cannot afford security for their silver do not understand the concept of wealth, nor do they understand silver, nor security. If you actually have wealth, then by definition, you can afford to protect it. For example, if you have $5000 of silver, buy yourself a $50 lock box, or a $150 safe at Wal-Mart (maybe a floor safe), and maybe a dead bolt and solid core door for your closet. That would give you 4 locked doors, too: front door, closet door, floor safe door, safe door.

Where to Buy Bullion in Large Quantities:

The following dealers generally have, or regularly keep, over 100,000 oz. silver bullion in inventory: These are generally not places to call for small retail orders. The dealers in this category may or may not have the best prices, but they do have bullion in large size.

American Coin and Vault
5523 North Wall Street
Spokane, WA 99205
(509) 326-7512
California Numismatics (will accept small retail orders)
http://www.golddealer.com
Richard Schwary & Kenny Edwards
1-800-225-7531
Miles Franklin Ltd.
http://www.milesfranklin.com
1001 Twelve Oaks Center Drive Suite #1028
Wayzata, MN 55391
Contact: Andy Schectman
Phone: 1-800-822-8080
They believe their exclusive wholesaler is one of the top 5-6 wholesalers in size in N. America.
http://www.wexfordcoin.com/BullionBar.htm
Minimum order $5000 –also publishes bid/ask quotes
David W. Young
Wexford Capital Management
113 Brenton Court
Stephens City, VA 22655
Toll-Free: 877-855-9760
<>DTW Coins
http://home.earthlink.net/~dtwcoins/
located in Grand Rapids Michigan
Dan Wagner (616)-813-0290If there are any silver bullion dealers who have at least 100,000 ounces worth of silver bullion in inventory on hand, please contact Jason Hommel at j@silverstockreport.com

**The following locations may not have bullion in large size, but,

These guys publish BID/ASK or BUY/SELL prices:

http://www.wexfordcoin.com/BullionBar.htm
http://www.ebay.com Not much in size. Mostly small retail orders. Single 100 oz. bars sell several times each day.

http://www.bulliondirect.com/index.jsp –Like Ebay for bullion. I’ve not yet used it, I especially like bulliondirect, since they publish the bids and asks of various different sellers on a wide variety of bullion products. Silver is great size is more frequently traded here at the “nucleo exchange”.
http://amark.com/ –THE largest bullion dealer in the U.S.A. that will trade with the public. (That’s not a refiner, or major bullion bank, or miner.)
http://www.tulving.com/goldbull.html
http://www.kitco.com –main page
https://online.kitco.com –bullion store
http://www.kitcometals.com –base metals quotes
http://www.kitcocasey.com –stock research and analysis
–Kitco is the largest and most popular precious metals web site, providing precious metals quotes, and base metals quotes, used by many in the industry.
(I advertise there.)
I do NOT recommend the kitco “pool” accounts. This says nothing about kitco as a buisness or whether they are trustworthy. This is simply a philosophical position that I have, whereby I recommend that you take physical delivery, and not let anyone else hold your gold and silver for you.)

Remember, the only way to prevent from being defaulted on a delivery default, is to bring your cash, in person, to a dealer and take delivery in person, that same day.

The easiest way to buy Comex Silver is through a precious metals brokerage firm such as HSBC bank, or http://www.fidelitrade.com that charges around 1% commission, plus delivery fees of about 2 – 3% depending on how far to ship. Or you could open a commodities trading account with any of the major brokerage houses who are most likely the bullion banks, and take delivery of your contract. There are several problems with this method.

First, is the most obvious. These are the paper contracts that are controlling and suppressing the price, that I believe must one day default. Second, the bullion banks, since they are the ones who are likely short silver, will try their hardest to talk you out of placing an order, or talk you out of taking delivery. I have actually had several bullion banks turn me down, and not open a commodities trading account for me when they heard I was going to take delivery of several futures contracts! Their hypocritical excuses are amazing! They will say on one hand that their commissions are too low, and thus, it’s not worth their time to open the account for you. And then, they will turn around and also say that you don’t want to order silver bullion because the commissions will kill you! Unbelievable hypocrites those shorts! They will also try to scare you with “assay fees” that will be assessed if you try to return 1000 oz. bars to the exchange! But they won’t tell you what those fees may cost! I’ve heard the assay fee is FREE if you use Brinks in Los Angeles!

“places to buy physical retail silver & gold”
These sites list prices for 90% silver bullion coins.

http://www.coloradogold.com
http://www.tulving.com/goldbull.html
http://www.wexfordcoin.com/BullionBar.htm
http://www.goldsilverbullion.com/LiveBullionQuotes.htm (Same people as above: wexford)
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/printer/ap.asp?category=1312&slug=Gold%20Coins
http://ajpm.com/htbin/silver.cgi
http://www.goldfingercoin.com/prices.html#SILVER
http://www.ccsilver.com/silver/silver_coins.html

How to Spot a Forex Scam

Start researching Forex and you’re likely to see several ads proclaiming ridiculous guarantees such as “2,000 pips a Day!” or “400% Profits in 3 Days!!” Before you quit your day job and start trading Forex fulltime because of these outlandish claims, let’s evaluate how to spot a Forex scam.

Unfortunately, many people associate Forex trading with scams, and perhaps for good reason. The number of unscrupulous companies has been increasing. The number of Forex-related scams has increased abruptly over the last few years, and it is important for you to be able to identify a hoax.

Currency trading is an exciting and potentially profitable investment option, but as with anything involving money, there are people out there who will rob you blind if you don’t know what you’re doing. Let’s take a closer look at Forex scams, so you are properly equipped to spot one.

Understand Genuine Forex Operations

So, where are Forex scams likely to occur? Advertisements for scams can often be spotted in online pop-ups, newspaper advertisements, and the classified sections of financial magazines. How do you weed out the good from the bad?

A first step is to learn how legitimate Forex trading is conducted. Generally, Forex traders can place orders through an exchange or board of trade, a bank, insurance company, registered securities broker/dealer, or other financial institution.

This means that you should search out these types of institutions in order to trade currency. It also means that many scammers will masquerade as one of these types of companies in order to trick you. So where can you turn for help? Is there anyone out there tracking down and punishing these evil-doers? Never fear, the CFTC is here to help you.

Meet A powerful Ally – The CFTC

Even though Jack Bauer doesn’t work there (that’s CTU), the CFTC or Commodity Futures Trading Commission is a great source of information for Forex scams. They have been working tirelessly to crack down on the number of scams, and while it has taken longer than 24 hours, their efforts have produced solid results which Forex traders can utilize.

In the United States, the CFTC has federally mandated authority and jurisdiction to investigate and take legal action when appropriate against corrupt Forex brokers. Additionally, they have the ability to prosecute any firm registered with the CFTC if the firm’s actions violate any CRTC-mandated rules.

The CFTC was empowered in December 2006 with the passing of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act. Their efforts have centered on educating potential Forex traders about currency trading’s best practices as well as keeping tabs on the people who offer Forex services.

CFTC Guidelines

The CFTC has issued several reports concerning the offering and trading of foreign currency futures and options contracts. Some of the main points of advice from the advisory are the following:

  1. Stay Away From Opportunities That Sound Too Good to Be True
  2. Avoid Any Company that Predicts or Guarantees Large Profits
  3. Stay Away From Companies That Promise Little or No Financial Risk
  4. Don’t Trade on Margin Unless You Understand What It Means
  5. Question Firms That Claim To Trade in the “Interbank Market”
  6. Be Wary of Sending or Transferring Cash on the Internet, By Mail or Otherwise
  7. Currency Scams Often Target Members of Ethnic Minorities
  8. Be Sure You Get the Company’s Performance Track Record
  9. Don’t Deal With Anyone Who Won’t Give You Their Background

Additionally, the CFTC warns to be careful of unsolicited phone calls about “can’t miss” investments from offshore salespersons or companies that don’t sound familiar.

The following are some of the steps prescribed to identify a potential scam by the CFTC, and we encourage you to follow them:

  • Contact the CFTC.
  • Visit the CFTC’s forex fraud Web page.
  • Contact the National Futures Association to see whether the company is registered with the CFTC or is a member of the National Futures Association (NFA). You can do this easily by calling the NFA or by checking the NFA’s registration and membership information on its Web site. While registration may not be required, you might want to confirm the status and disciplinary record of a particular company or salesperson.
  • Get all information about the company and verify that data, if possible. If you can, check the company’s materials with someone whose financial advice you trust.
  • Learn all possible information about fees charged, and the basis for each of these charges.
  • If in doubt, don’t invest. If you can’t get solid information about the company, the salesperson, and the investment, you may not want to risk your money.

No Free Lunch

One of the basic principles of economics is the concept that there is no such thing as a free lunch. This concept is for the most part true (soup kitchens excluded) and particularly applies to any type of investing, especially Forex trading.

If a Forex claim seems too good to be true and a broker is seemingly giving money away, then don’t invest. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to find low commissions or low bid/ask spreads, but remember there is no invincible Forex formula or brokerage which will enable you to instantly make huge amounts of money trading currency.

Never Stop Learning

The only foolproof method to avoiding currency scams and to become a successful Forex trader is to gain as good an education as possible. The more you learn about Forex trading in general, the easier it will be to spot currency trading scams.

For example, what would happen if on your way into your favorite electronics store, someone stopped you and said not to buy that Plasma which you’ve been saving all year for, because they could guarantee you a better television at half the price? They explain all you have to do is give them $1000 in cash and they’ll present you with the TV.

Would this get your attention? Of course. Would this be a good idea? Not unless you want to wave goodbye to one thousand hard-earned dollars. How do you know? You’re a well-informed and responsible consumer with years of purchasing experience. In order to identify Forex scams you must also become a well-informed and responsible Forex investor.

Some good places to enhance your Forex scam-spotting abilities are:

Do Your Homework

A crucial part of any education – and the primary source of agony for kids over the age of 5 – is homework. But before you take anyone up on an offer or enlist the services of an enticing broker, do your homework. Thoroughly research all aspects of the action you’re about to take, and don’t act until you are absolutely certain the offer is legit.