Wooing The Women: ContentNext’s EconWomen Conference

Today I attended the first ever Econ: Women conference here in New York.  It was very informative, as the panel discussions focused on women in online media, advertising and community. Co-CEO Wenda Harris Millard of Martha Stewart Omnimedia kicked off the conference by saying “Flat is the new up”. It was her response to the current economic conditions. Wenda announced MSLO’s investment in Pingg.com, an online invite application for events.  After Wenda spoke, I caught up with her offstage and asked if MarthaStewart.com would be integrating social networking features a la Facebook. She said that the site already has a community section.  [It is more old school than Web 2.0 with a message board, but there are also active blogs from the editors including Martha herself.] Wenda said frankly that social networks like Facebook are not MSLO’s audience and besides, “social networks don’t make money”. I thought her comment was especially interesting given the recent study from Jupiter Research which asserted that blogs are more influential that social networks.

One of the highlights of the conference was the exchange between Tina Brown and interviewee Cathie Black, Hearst President. Although Tina Brown is now the founder of new online start-up, The Daily Beast, she seemed to be still quite the cheerleader for Conde Nast titles, and repeatedly called the now-defunct Hearst publication Cosmo Girl, “Teen Cosmo”.

Another highlight was when Andrew Shue introduced himself as the founder of Cafe Mom and before that “an account executive at D & D advertising”. It was a funny reference to his former role on Melrose Place.

Dooce AKA Heather Armstrong was on the community panel along with Joni Evans of Wowowow, Brandon Holley of Yahoo Shine and others.  Heather manages her commenters by setting guidelines and making sure that her readers respect Dooce and as if they were in her “living room”.

It was great to see Lisa Stone, co-founder and president of BlogHer. She spoke on a panel about advertising and ad networks. There were men at the conference as well, Gary from Gary’s Guide was there and Glam Media Scott Schiller made a quick mention of Glam’s new men-focused portal, Brash. I also met people from The Frisky, She Knows, Wedding Wire, Be Jane and Video Egg. I look forward to next year’s event.

Search Through Quickbooks And IPhone App For Freshbooks

As a bookkeeper, sometimes I have to research an old transaction from either months ago or even years ago.  OSI shared some great tips on how to search through Quickbooks. I listed a few which also includes search through Google Desktop.

  • Search the account’s register. Go to your company’s Chart of Accounts. There are register for each account on your balance sheet, which includes bank accounts, inventory, accounts receivable, and other assets.  For expense accounts, you will have to run a Quick Report.
  • Do a Simple Find.  While in the register, choose edit and then Find (or press Ctrl-F).
  •  Advance Find is similar to Simple Find but you can specify criteria (like vendors) for dozens of available fields.
  • Google Desktop. First you will have to have to have Google Desktop installed and set up indexing process on your QuickBooks data. The length of time required for this varies, based upon the size of your QuickBooks company. You’ll get the best results from your search if you wait until Google Desktop has completed its initial index.

I don’t have an iPhone, but so many who need to keep track of their time do.  Freshbooks has an iPhone application that does time tracking. The free FreshBooks Time Tracking application is now available for downloading from http://www.freshbooks.com/add-ons/iphone.php

It’s Not Over

Thanks to everyone who have sent comments of support.  I have gotten of lot of advice, and I appreciate it. My accounts are still frozen, and I found out today that the bank freezes your account for double the amount of the judgment against you. The personal banker at Citibank forgot to mention that last week, I guess. The good news is that a friend referred me to lawyer who specializes in stuff like this.

I am in financial purgatory, and I am so frustrated because I can’t make plans to do anything.  I really want to disappear, and keep my head under the covers, but I can’t. I am trying to be a grown-up, so please bear with me.

If you really want to help in a financial way, don’t send me money but please make a donation to Right Rides.  Part of the money in my accounts was  going to go directly to them, so this would be a good way to help me and others.

BTW, please pull your credit report if you have not done so already. Knowledge is power!

Web 2 Point Dough: Shrink Bills, Work At New Work City, Think Globally

Save money on your wireless bill and your Credit Card: Use BillShrink to find the best rates.

Looking to co-work in NYC: Check out New Work City. Member sign-up is this Wednesday, October 15.

Business Week offers tips for small businesses during this financial crisis: be patient, manage your credit and think globally.

Check-Rich; Cash Poor and Piggy Banking It

Check-Rich: Here’s an update on my personal finance crisis.  The amount Rubin & Rothman/Midland Funding claim I owe is about $3400. I don’t know anything about this.  I pulled my credit report and found an exception from Midland Credit for $1600 for a credit card that was opened in 2005.  I am disputing this since I have not opened a personal credit card since 1998. I have used either corporate cards for work or my debit card. My accounts are still frozen, and I have two client checks just begging to be deposited.  I may have to go to court to dispute. I am living my worst nightmare right now. Everyone who reads this post: Get your credit pulled today. Do NOT wait. Use Annual Credit Report which is actually free.  Dispute anything that does not ring true.

Cash Poor:  Right now, a lot of people are skittish, and they are worried about their 401Ks.  There are other safer instruments like Money Market accounts which yield less but are less risky. Talk to a representative from the financial institution that is holding your 401K account, but do you some research first and compare options.

Another way to put yourself at ease is to do some fall spring cleaning. Don’t you just love it when you a find a couple of dollars in a coat pocket?! Check around your bedroom and collect all the loose change. Quarters, nickels, dimes and pennies add up to dollars.  Go to Commerce Bank’s Penny Arcade and deposit your coins. You don’t have to have an account there. Every little bit counts.

Piggy Banks, Old and New: The old school piggy bank may seem retro these days, but it still works.  The new school piggy bank is opening an account with SmartyPig where you can set savings goals,  deposit money securely with a 3.9%  annual yield,  and have friends contribute to your smarty pig.  I will cover all the features about Smarty Pig in an upcoming post, but sign up today so you can start saving up for Christmas cash or a New Year’s Eve bash.

The Night All My Money Disappeared

Earlier this evening, I tried to get some cash out of the ATM, but it said insufficient funds. I assume it could be low since so far this week, I have paid on my student loans and bought $40 worth of tights since it is now fall.  I got home, watched the tail end of the debate, and then was about to retire for the night. Then I remembered to check my Citibank balance. I look at the screen in horror. There was $0.00 in all three of my accounts.  Nothing, nada, zilch.

My voice was shaking when I talked to the bank representative. I thought it may be identity fraud, but I knew I had both my debit card with me and my checkbook.  The rep told me that a restraining order has been placed on my account by Midland Funding. The attorneys representing them are Rubin and Rothman.  They are in Islandia, New York.

Googling Midland Funding, I found several complaints on consumer sites like Rip-off Report, but no solution.

I found another person who lives in Oklahoma and a similar thing happened.  The interesting thing is that their original creditor is Citibank.

I don’t know if I owe. I don’t know how much. I don’t  know what for. Midland Funding apparently is a mortgage broker. I don’t have a mortgage. I live in an apartment share. I think it is a scam.

The henchman (AKA the lawyers are Rubin & Rothman). They have complaints as well on Rip-off Report.They are based in LongIsland in Islandia.  There are several complaints about them as well on Pissed Consumer.

I did a “Whois.Net” on the domain name Rubinrothman.biz and the domain name owner lives in Rocky Point which is out on Long Island.  1and1 is the hosting site.

I will file a claim with the Better Business Bureau.  I need a lawyer to make expedite the restraining order to be lifted. I want Midland Funding and all the shady lawyers who facilitate their scam to be thrown under a jail. Plus, Citibank should train their employees to be aware of suspicious companies and create a database that is reviewed regularly. Also, they Citibank should also tell their customers who put money into the bank when someone is taking money out of the accounts.

Consumer Complaint in Arkansas

Also, if the creditor/scammer is supposedly suing me because the debt has not been collected then it is “volenti non fit injura”. I guess this means that they cannot recover damages for an act that they volunteered for.  (via Paul Exposes)

I didn’t find anything on Consumerist about Midland or Rubin Rothman.

By the way, this is the listing of the statue of limitations on debt by state.

It’s 3:30am, and  I can’t sleep.  I have $5 in cash, a monthly metrocard, and at least October rent is paid. I wish I could talk my mom and dad right now and they would tell me everything  will be alright. I’ll call them in the morning, if I can go to sleep.

Noon. October 8.  I feel like staying in my bed all day and watching shows, but I got up.

I emailed the situation to a reporter at CBS2 and she replied back with the number of the consumer reporter producer.

I called Citibank again, and a supervisor suggested that I file an exception with the state prosecutor’s office.

I called the law firm/collection henchmen and the woman who answered wanted my social security to look up my account. I would not give her that, so I hung up. I feel so compromised.  I feel like I need a “financial rape kit”.  The funny thing is that I have no money to pay for it.

Girls In Tech, Feast and New York Times Small Business Summit

With an eye on keeping expenses to a minimum, it’s good to focus on business-related that can inform, inspire or connect you to the right people. I recommend these events below.

Tonight, Girls in Tech hosts pitching expert Laura Allen tonight for a super-fast 15-second pitch session for Women in Start-ups. Fee: $10.99

On October 16, the lovely folks from All Day Buffet are holding their first conference, The Feast. Speakers include Dickson Despommier, Dale Jones and Summer Rayne OakesI’m going to this event.

On Monday, November 17, the New York Times will be hosting its 4th Annual Small Business Summit. Speakers include Liz Lange and Gary Hirshberg from Stonyfield Farm. (I love their yogurt!)  I went last year, and enjoyed it.

Web 2 Point Dough: Quick, Groups, Camp and Giveaway

Quick: With only three months left in 2008, Quickbooks 2009 is out.  The new features which focus on small business community include online services such as free Web site creation and hosting for one year, and better online banking. Check out the press release for more details.

Manage Groups Simply: If you collaborating on a project with a small group and need to manage email and tasks easily, then check out Convos.

Word: This Sunday, I will be at Word Camp NY which is going to be where I can totally geek out about WordPress. (I use WordPress for this here, blog).

Free: UPrinting has offered to giveaway 500 free 4×6 postcards to one of the readers.  To qualify for a chance a win the postcards, leave a comment to this post. I will announce the winner next week. Good Luck!

Ripple6 Tweetup

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Phillip Robertson (ooVoo) Kathryn Jones (synchronis.tv), Matt Caldecutt (TrylonSMR), originally uploaded by ckieff.

Monday, I stopped the offices of Ripple6 for conversation, community and lots of wine and cheese. Ripple6 is a white label social media platform.