SocialSpark Staff Pick Blog

I was happy to see an email last week from SocialSpark that was upgraded to a Staff Pick blog.


As a staff pick blog this puts my site in a higher category and is one removed from premium blogs which are the elite blogs showcased based on traffic and popularity of the website and the blogger personality themselves.

With any luck this will grab some more attention from advertisers and I can continue to showcase more reviews of products in the technology and internet categories.

I have had some amazingly great opportunities from SocialSpark over the past two years and have reviewed products from companies like Microsoft, CA, and many others.

My favorite is when I get sent a copy of software to test or a product to test because then I can actually try it and give a hands on review rather than just read about it and do my best to showcase a products strengths and perceived value without actually being able to try it myself.

Out of all the paid blogging companies I have been using and trying over the past three years SocialSpark has been the most consistent by having the highest quality advertisers and most offers for my sites. 

If you are curious of the 25+ programs and what have worked for me, you can read about how I make money online through my blogs and test the programs out for yourself.  Every program I have tried costs NO MONEY to join and is merely a way for you to sign up and try to make money with your blog by writing reviews of products or showcasing websites/services.

-Justin Germino

Turning a Blog Into a Business

In the past six months I have spent more time trying to turn into an enterprise rather than a single blog run by myself. My goal of turning this technology blog into an online magazine that showcased gadget reviews, gaming, entertainment, online news as well as blogging , SEO and WordPress tips was never going to expand as much as I wanted it to if I was the sole content contributor for the site.

In deciding to turn into an enterprise I knew right away that I didn’t a simple barrage of random guest bloggers who would come and go after one post without establishing any real “connection” as an author for the site with users so I decided to make some calls out and put together a team of people known as @Dragonbloggers who put as much time into writing for and helping become a part of this growing operation.

This team has become as much a part of and has helped come up with some fantastic idea’s for the site from everything from technical improvements to expansion and monetization idea’s. We brainstorm regularly on Facebook in a private Dragonbloggers group and often this type of live and open communication really helps create a kind of infectious energy as we come up with a new idea or just put up something new and exciting.

We also have come to bring in specialization with our site staff where certain team members focus and specializing on writing articles in a certain topic or category to help readers become more accustomed to seeing the authors for each topic.

The @dragonbloggers Twitter account was setup to showcase our staff as well where they could interact with and help readers with questions or even take article tips. As focuses on reviews we take idea’s on what readers want reviewed? Have a game you want reviewed for the PS3, a Movie or even a WordPress plugin tested and reviewed? We can do all of this and so much more.

In fact we are already establishing relationships with business and technology partners and these partnerships will allow us to expand and provide even more valuable articles for our readers as we can actually test and write more reviews on products we test hands on in our labs rather than write about gadgets and what features they have without being able to give hands on testing feedback.

With over 52,000 unique visits, 70k+ pageviews in June 2011 alone make no mistake, is becoming an enterprise and I am very glad I brought in a team of people I can trust with helping me grow that enterprise. I have always seen the value of companies building a blog around their company, but this is my first experience with starting a blog and building a full fledged business around what originally was only a casual tech blog.

-Justin Germino

Specs on My New Computer

I finally had enough blog earnings saved up to purchase my new computer and I must say I am quite pleased with the system I put together from a customized package offered by iBuyPower.

This was a customized Gamer Paladin D817 system and included the following:

  • Case ( Azza Triton Gaming Case – Black )
  • iBUYPOWER Labs – Noise Reduction ( Basic – iBUYPOWER Harmony SRS Sound Reduction System – Reduce System Noise )
  • Processor ( Intel® Core™ i7-2600K Processor (4x 3.40GHz/8MB L3 Cache) )
  • Processor Cooling ( Liquid CPU Cooling System [SOCKET-1155 & 1156] – ARC Silent High Performance Fan Upgrade )
  • Memory ( 8 GB [2 GB X4] DDR3-1333 Memory Module – ** FREE Upgrade to DDR3-1600 ** Corsair or Major Brand )
  • Video Card ( NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 – 2GB – Single Card )
  • Motherboard ( [SLI] ASUS P8P67 Deluxe — 2x Gb LAN, 3x PCI-E 2.0 x16, On-Board Bluetooth )
  • Power Supply ( 850 Watt — CoolerMaster RS850-AMBAJ3-US – **
  • Primary Hard Drive ( 2 TB HARD DRIVE — 64M Cache, 7200 RPM, 6.0Gb/s – Single Drive )
  • Optical Drive ( 24X Dual Format/Double Layer DVD±R/±RW + CD-R/RW Drive – Black )
  • Flash Media Reader / Writer ( 12-In-1 Internal Flash Media Card Reader/Writer – Black )
  • Network Card ( Killer Xeno Pro Gaming Network Card )
  • Operating System ( None- Pre-formatted Hard Drive Only )
  • Advanced Build Options ( iBUYPOWER Specialized Advanced Packaging System – Protect your investment during transportation! )
  • Advanced Build Options ( Tuniq TX-2 High Performance Thermal Compound – The best interface between your CPU and the heatsinks )
  • Advanced Build Options ( Professional wiring for all cables inside the system tower – Achieve exceptional airflow in your chassis )
  • Advanced Build Options ( Professional wiring for all cables inside the system tower – Basic Pro Wiring )

I upgraded to the Asus P8P67 Deluxe board and with Liquid cooling I should be able to safely and stably overclock the i7-2600K CPU to 4ghz from it’s default of 3.04ghz.  I have heard that some can overclock to 4.5ghz fully stable and major gaming rigs with excellent cooling can push a whopping 5ghz overclocked with this CPU.

The great thing is the company upgraded the DDR3-1333 to DDR3-1600 without cost which gives me faster memory without any extra fee.

I opted for a SATA-3 6GB/s 2TB 7200 RPM Drive instead of the default 3GB/s SATA-2 drive in the offering.  I also didn’t have the extra money for an SSD drive but if I did, I would have purchased a Vertex OCZ SSD drive as my boot drive.  Still I am running on an old 3GB/s 1TB drive now so I should still see some improvement, especially since it has 64MB cache instead of 16mb cache which my current drive has.

I paid a little extra for extra careful packing and using better compounds and wiring so that my system would survive UPS ground transport better and would have better airflow.

This entire rig wound up costing me just over $1300 including shipping and using a 5% off coupon for the total order.

Now I should be able to multitask without issue and do more screencast presentations as well as play some of the latest games without frame rate and lag problems.  Time to say goodbye to my old Athlon-X2 system.

-Justin Germino

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Time for Writing Blog Posts

I realized that while I was writing about 2 dozen blog posts, poems and such on my flights to and from Rome a while back that it was much more difficult for me to write articles for than for my poetry or personal blog. See with this blog I pretty much can write and talk about anything. This blog is my personal diary, my place where I can talk about any subject, thought and share my travels. Heck I came up with about a dozen blog posts just about my travels in Rome, Turkey, Greece…etc and none of these inspirations really turned into an article for

Meanwhile I did manage to write up a few iPad 2 game reviews for but my articles for typically require a lot more research and time, time to collect screenshots and size/adjust them, time to do reading or find articles or information to inform my readers as well as time to find/set featured images and properly SEO the articles. I am much less strict on SEO optimizing for my personal blog or poetry blog.

So I am really glad in times like this that I have a team who helps me manage now as I had a slew of articles for every day I was on vacation and my staff and writers continue to provide quality content in just about every major category I want to cover regularly including Movie Reviews, Technology News, Gadgets, Game Reviews and more.

I may start looking for additional writers soon as I could still use some more content to reach my goal of 3 articles per day publishing rate. I wanted 7am, 12pm and 3pm to be the standard times that all posts published and my future goal is to have 1 entertainment, 1 blogging and 1 technology related article publishing everyday to cater to all my major audiences.

Another future goal I have is to start doing more video screencast demonstrations and how to videos for the site but this takes a lot more time and I have to find the time to do it. As a group we are going to be polling readers for what they want to know more about and get some idea’s. The more interactive we can be the more we can connect with our readers and build more interest and buzz around the site.

-Justin Germino

A Real Unlimited Cell Phone Plan

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Net10 for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

When choosing between cell phone providers you will often see the word “unlimited” in reference to talk, text and web access time.  Behind the scenes however this unlimited really comes with mostly a bandwidth cap or other restriction that really doesn’t make the plan unlimited.

So I went to see the Light and learn more about NET10 and their $50 per month unlimited talk, text and web browsing plan.  I did fine digging in all the Terms and Conditions and there was no bandwidth cap mentioned at all, in fact it only mentioned that the unlimited plan offered

The $50 per month unlimited plan gives you 50,000 minutes with each minute spent either talking, texting or browsing the web counting against your 50k minute allotment.  Note:  There are only 43,200 minutes in a 30 day month and 44,640 minutes in a 31 day month so you are getting more minutes in your unlimited plan than there are minutes in a month.  There is also no mention of bandwidth cap so you can watch as many movies, video’s as you like streaming to your phone.

For mobile phone users who don’t need an unlimited plan Net10 offers a $15.00 Easy Minutes Plus plan where the minutes that are not used roll over and you only pay for the minutes you need just by adding more minutes as you need them.  You can also switch between plans anytime to fit your monthly usage needs without paying any fee to switch plans.

Net10 also has low rate international minute calling and offers a wide variety of phones to choose from that suit your mobile needs at a great low price.

Check out the cute NET10 commercial to see the offerings showcased.


Here is a real NET10 customer testimonial:

Also rememer to follow Net10 on Twitter or Join the Net10 Wireless Facebook Fanpage for more information on product offers and just share your feedback with their service or what you want to see from Net10.

-Justin Germino

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