Consumer Confidence Continues to Climb

The Consumer Confidence Index is up for the second month in a row, rising to 64.5 in December from 55.2 in November.

The survey, which was conducted by random sample by Nielsen for The Conference Board, showed an improvement in both current conditions and hope for the new year.

The Present Situation Index increased to 46.7 from 38.3. 16.6% said the business conditions are “good,” up from 13.9%.

There was also in increase in those who thought available jobs were “plentiful” and an almost equal decrease in those who said jobs were “hard to get.’

What’s really encouraging is the outlook for the future. The Expectations Index rose to 76.4 from 66.4. A higher percentage expected business to improve and they anticipated more available jobs in the near future.

Home Businesses Flourish on LiveJournal Singapore

In 2011, small business owners in Singapore set up shop on LiveJournal and completed transactions worth $72 million USD. They call them “blogshops” and there are over 50,000 of them currently running on the social blogging site.

Livejournal recently released a statement about their success and it is pretty amazing, mostly because it’s a singularly Singaporean phenomenon. They say the businesses are mostly small, home-based operations that have grown organically as an inexpensive way of getting started.

Right now, says LJ, only 10% are earning more than USD $1,500 a month but that’s nothing to cry about. Top earners are pulling in as much as USD $15,000 a month selling mostly clothing, beauty item and tech items.

Holiday Shopping: It Ain’t Over Until it’s Over

Last night, after the gifts were opened and the holiday glow was being to wear off, I saw a TV commercial for Wal-mart that shook me to the core. Wal-mart opens at 5 a.m. on December 26 for the the biggest, blow-out, post holiday sale ever.

I had instant Black Friday flashbacks. Seriously? 5 a.m.? I used to be a big post holiday shopper, but like 44% of the people Consumer Reports polled, I can’t deal with the crowds.

Consumer Reports also says that the holiday shopping season will continue until the ball drops in Times Square as 4 out of 10 Americans say they’re still shopping.

82% are hoping to take advantage of post-holiday sales. And a quick look around, says there are plenty of deals to be had. Stores aren’t just marking down holiday items, they’re clearing the shelves.

Alert the Media. Facebook Explains Advertising

Do you know what confuses me? Advertising. I don’t understand why these little boxes with product names show up on web pages I visit. And I really don’t understand why people interrupt my TV shows with short videos about cars and food and cleaning products. What’s the point?

If only there was someone who could explain it all to me!

Oh, wait! Now there is! Facebook has a whole web page and video that explains advertising in a way that is simple enough for a three-year-old. The video is so juvenile, the only thing missing is Bert and Ernie.

Here’s the process:

And why do they do this? Because. . .

comScore Says Toys and Tech Were the Big Winners for November

comScore just released a report on the Top 50 Web Properties for November, complete with an ironic twist. was one of the big winners for the month. They ranked #1 in their category with 35.3 million visitors and #2 on the list of top gainers with a 78% increase.

Most companies would be celebrating, but Best Buy is now feeling nothing but pain for their efforts. Seems their heavy advertising push and slashed prices (to compete with Walmart and Amazon) made them a little too popular. The company sent out notices to a large number of customers saying that they have to cancel their orders, orders that were gauaranteed to arrive by Christmas.

‘Facebook’ Takes Top Honors as the Most Searched Term in 2011

Our obsession with Facebook drove the word to be the most searched term in 2011. Take that Justin Bieber! The mini-crooner came in 92, but he did top the list of “most searched celebs.”

All these fun facts are coming to us from Experian Hitwise and we’ve got even more! Memorize a few and use them to astound your friends and family at the holiday dinner table.

Online Rules!

It’s probably no coincidence that the top 10 most-searched terms are all internet destinations. YouTube, Craigslist (one of my personal favorites), Ebay and the like. I was initially perplexed by why people would search “” when they could just put it in the address bar. Then I remembered watching my husband navigate to Facebook and that’s what he does – he types the term in the Google search then uses the link to access the site. I’ve tried to tell him that’s the long way around but you know. . . dogs and tricks.

How to Benefit from Flash Sales without the Flashy Website [Infographic]

Call ‘em Flash Sales or Daily Deals, there’s been a lot of debate about the continued viability of these deep discount sites. Much of the debate has been between me, myself and I, but I’ll bet if I put up a poll I’d find that many of you have been thinking about it, too. (You know who you are.)

But how many of you think beyond sites such as Groupon or LivingSocial? How many of you have thought about running your own flash sales inside your own retail site?

I know the folks at Monetate have been thinking about it, because they created a nifty infographic all about it and they told me I could share it with you.

Take a moment to review it and I’ll meet you on the other end.