When Ethics and Integrity Get in the Way of Making Money

My Daddy once said to me, the only thing you have, that no one can ever take away from you, is your integrity. You can only give it away.  Everything else you have, even your life, can be taken away.   So never, ever, give away your integrity. It can be hard to get back.

I have been seeing a new “make money on the internet” widget popping up on blogs everywhere.  It is a simple concept.  You buy a widget.  You put it on your blog.  When other people buy the widget, you make money. How much money you make depends on how much you paid for your widget.  It sounds simple. It will work, at least in the beginning, and the company that came up with the idea is probably making a killing.

So what’s the problem?

It is just another  pyramid scheme, or ponzi scheme, with a Web 2.0 flair.

There is no real product being sold, no value being given.  Not even a poorly written e-book.  Just the promise of getting money without doing any real work.

The following is a quote from Wikipedia on pyramid schemes.

The essential idea behind each scam is that the individual makes only one payment, but is promised to somehow receive exponential benefits from other people as a reward. A common example might be an offer that, for a fee, allows the victim to sell the same offer to other people, or receive bonuses through other people they refer. Each sale includes a fee to the original seller.

Clearly, the flaw is that there is no end benefit; the money simply travels up the chain, and only the originator (or at best a very few) wins in swindling his followers. Of course, the people in the worst situation are the ones at the bottom of the pyramid: those who subscribed to the plan, but were not able to recruit any followers themselves.

The internet is huge, and it may very well be awhile before this particular scam hits the bottom and people are no longer able to make money. And that is where the ethics and integrity part comes in.

People who get into this right now will probably make a good deal of money. Many people don’t care that it is a scam, and that eventually, some people will get burned.  I have to admit that I had a little bit of temptation to go for this myself.  After all, it is the people who get in early that make the big bucks.  And with the vast market of the internet, it could be a long time before the market saturates and people start losing money.



And I can’t be knowingly responsible, not even distantly, for someone losing money to a scam.


Now I know probably most of the people who have this widget don’t know that it is a scam. At first glance it does look like a really good idea.  So how can you tell if something is a scam, or a valid money making opportunity.

It is simple, you just have to ask yourself one question.


Can I make money selling this product, without having to recruit anyone else into selling the product? 


If the answer is yes, then you have a real product and a real opportunity. (It might not be a great or even good opportunity, but it is a real opportunity.)  If the answer is no, you have a Ponzi scheme.


I’m not going to tell you the name of the widget.  There are plenty of people out there who don’t care that people will lose money, and I don’t want to help them find a new way to scam people.


However, if you have such a widget on your website, do the right thing and take it off.  You may lose some money in the short run, but in the long term, you  keep your integrity, and that is worth more than any money you could earn.


Please feel free to share this information with others. I would appreciate credit and a link back. Thanks.


Save Money on Gasoline

I work from home and consequently, I don’t do much driving.  I only need to buy gas for my car a few times a month.  And every time I buy gas I get a new case of sticker shock!  On our recent trip (in the motorhome no less) we found gasoline as high as $3.90 per gallon.

There are all sorts of tips out there on how to save gas, some are a little crazy. (Like not braking for corners so you don’t lose any speed or momentum)  To find tips that actually work, it is best to go straight to the experts.  So here are some real gas saving tips from someone who knows what they are talking about.

I don’t know what you guys are paying for gasoline…. but here in California we are also paying higher, up to $3.50 per gallon. But my line of work is in petroleum for about 31 years now, so here are some tricks to get more of your money’s worth for every gallon..


Here at the Kinder Morgan Pipeline where I work in San Jose , CA we deliver about 4 million gallons in a 24-hour period thru the pipeline. One day is diesel the next day is jet fuel, and gasoline, regular and premium grades. We have 34-storage tanks here with a total capacity of 16,800,000 gallons.

Only buy or fill up your car or truck in the early morning when the ground temperature is still cold. Remember that all service stations have their storage tanks buried below ground. The colder the ground the more dense the gasoline, when it gets warmer gasoline expands, so buying in the afternoon or in the evening….your gallon is not exactly a gallon. In the petroleum business, the specific gravity and the temperature of the gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, ethanol and other petroleum products plays an important role. A 1-degree rise in temperature is a big deal for this business. But the service stations do not have temperature compensation at the pumps.

When you’re filling up do not squeeze the trigger of the nozzle to a fast mode. If you look you will see that the trigger has three (3) stages: low, middle, and high. In slow mode you should be pumping on low speed, thereby minimizing the vapors that are created while you are pumping. All hoses at the pump have a vapor return. If you are pumping on the fast rate, some of the liquid that goes to your tank becomes vapor. Those vapors are being sucked up and back into the underground storage tank so you’re getting less worth for your money.

One of the most important tips is to fill up when your gas tank is HALF FULL or HALF EMPTY. The reason for this is, the more gas you have in your tank the less air occupying its empty space. Gasoline evaporates faster than you can imagine. Gasoline storage tanks have an internal floating roof. This roof serves as zero clearance between the gas and the atmosphere, so it minimizes the evaporation.

Unlike service stations, here where I work, every truck that we load is temperature compensated so that every gallon is actually the exact amount.

Another reminder, if there is a gasoline truck pumping into the storage tanks when you stop to buy gas, DO NOT fill up–most likely the gasoline is being stirred up as the gas is being delivered, and you might pick up some of the dirt that normally settles on the bottom.

Hope this will help you get the most value for your money.



Getting Back to Diet Basics

My weight has been creeping up on me again. A few years ago I managed to lose 30 pounds. I did it a simple way, by eliminating all sugar and refined carbohydrates from my diet, and by eating foods that were as close as possible to their natural state. I ate lots of vegetables, some fruit, and high quality protein. I felt and looked great!? But then I started having little slips in my diet. First it was pizza, and then honey, and slowly and surely I got back to the place where I am now. Eating too much sugar and way too many refined foods.

So of course, I start looking for the quick fix. I have read all sorts of top 10 lists on how to lose weight. I’ve actually been watching the commercials for those “fat burner” pills. I even briefly considered taking that new, FDA approved weight loss pill. Anything except the one thing that will work. Eating right and getting some exercise.

Why is that? Even though I know it doesn’t exist I am looking for the great, miracle weight loss secret. I am hoping to find the magic pill that will let me watch TV all day and eat junk food and still be slim and healthy. Why am I looking for a magic pill when I know what works? The secret to weight loss is simple. Eat less, exercise more! Eat healthy foods and it will be easier to eat less.

Today I have recommitted to my healthy eating plan. No more sugar, no more toast with honey. Plenty of quality protein, fresh vegies and fruit. I will drink lots of water and take a walk every day. I think I’ll start a 30 day healthy eating and exercise  challenge to go along with my 30 day blogging challenge. It will give me something to write about!

Solar Power

Just a quick thought tonight. With all the concern about running out of oil, and the reliance on foreign oil, and all the government programs to help people save energy, would it make sense for the government to put solar panels on every public building? It might not be worth it in some of the northern states, but we have plenty of southern states that get lots of sun. If the panels generated extra power you could have public powering stations for electric cars. That would save a barrel or two of oil!

I don’t know, maybe that’s not a good idea, but it is late and I am tired.  I will be away for the next few days. I’m going camping! Hopefully the sun will shine!  No phones and no internet. But I will bring my laptop and continue to write a post a day, then I will feel I’ve stayed true to my 30 day challenge. You’ll just have to wait till I get back to read them. Hopefully they will be better than this one!