Category Archives: technology

Higher Learning: iAcademy and its mission of molding future Game Changers

Stepping inside the new iAcademy is like stepping on a time machine from the future. A university housed in a 12-story building; serviced by elevators across all floors; an expensive and airy ambience – you would think that you are just about to set foot inside the Philippine headquarters of a red hot start-up.

The analogy is not surprising; given iACADEMY’s positioning as the “School for Future Game Changers” – there are no boring White walls, staid lectures nor outdated lesson plans, no constricting uniforms, no need to pore over books since kids are encouraged to use Technology for their research.

It’s the kind of place I see my 17 Year old self thriving and succeeding – where individuality is encouraged and learning is actually fun.

As someone educated in one of our country’s state universities, I can’t help but marvel on how amazing and up-to-date the facilities I found during my tour of the school. When i was 17, I wanted to be a graphic artist and a filmmaker, but the options were limited for me back then because Money was actually low and my parents couldn’t afford to send me to a University with a good visual arts program.

I was lucky that I passed my university’s stringest entrance exam and had the opportunity to earn my degree for barely the cost of a second hand iPhone 5. I took up Communication Arts, became a lifestyle reporter before joining corporate PR.

Touring the iACADEMY campus, I remembered my long-forgotten dream to dabble in arts and design. Seeing all the equipment laid out before me brought a tinge of envy towards the talented kids who will use them and one day achieve their dreams. Consider the following:

The kids do their design using Macs
Light boxes for animation
This is where the kids bring their plates of individually-drawn animation sheets and animate their drawing
Inspiring film makers can use this green screen

The classrooms are all conducive to learning – each can comfortably accomodate up to 35 students in a college class and 30 for senior high. Each is also equipped with a security camera (iACADEMY has a strict program against bullying), projector, fully airconditioned and wifi accessible (the whole campus has wifi).

The facilities including the campus cafeteria (covers whole fifth floor), their very own parking lot (2F – 4F), a Student Affairs Center, library, basketball court, dance studios, rooftop deck and Assembly Hall.

But what’s impressive about the campus is that its strong points go beyond the physical (the facilities), but also and more importantly, on the degree Programs being offered by the school.

Initially established as a College with full emphasis on an Information Technology program, iACADEMY is now the undisputed leader In the Arts and Design Program — thanks to the vision of its president and CEO, Ms. Vanessa Tanco.

For the incoming school year, iACADEMY is excited to introduce new academic programs, including: Bachelor of Arts in music production and sound design,

Bachelor of Arts in film and visual effects and Graphic design and illustration.

The school is also on the final stages of a possible MBA program in partnership with the renowned DePaul University in the US.

The level of quality education should, of course be viewed as a worthy investment. We were informed that the tuition ranges from 70k to 80K per term – which to me is fair enough, considering incoming students are given access to quality education, using World Class equipment – in a relaxed, enjoyable and safe environment (the school also does not have any fraternities among the student orgs).

For more information on how to raise future game changers, go to the iACADEMY site.

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Easy Grocery: Here’s what happened when I let someone else do the grocery shopping for me

Like most people my age, I am terribly busy – with work and with life responsibilities. I dream of attaining work-life balance, a goal which remains as a work in progress for me.

But I am taking steps: I have applied all my existing bills to automatic debit on my bank account, including payments for the house and my two insurance premiums; and are now finding ways to optimize my post-paid usage to the point I can also predict my monthly use. In my mind, there’s nothing wrong with taking the easy option — especially when your hands are always full.

But what about other chores, like feeding the cats, cleaning the house and buying the groceries? These are tasks that looked mundane but can actually eat up a lot of your time. Take buying groceries, for example — while I consider browsing through shelves as a form of therapy, it’s the Manila traffic and the maddening crowd during weekends that usually gets to me.

That’s why I immediately said yes when I was invited to try out a new revolutionary start-up app called Easy Grocery:

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The premise behind Easy Grocery is simple: the EasyGrocery app allows you to have  someone do the grocery shopping for you. The goodies will be delivered to your home (at a time of your choosing and convenience), and paid through either through credit card, debit card or cash on delivery. It’s that simple.

While there are other grocery shopping app out there, the difference with EasyGrocery is that you will be in contact with their “runner” the whole time. The goodies you will pay for will be according to your liking — and there will be no errant or missing goodies in your shopping bag upon delivery.

 

Eugene Leoncio, president and developer of Easy Grocery explained that the concept of Easy Grocery is heavily based on the Filipino trait of “pakisuyo” where you will ask someone to do a light chore for you. Easy Grocery employs runners and motorcycled-delivery drivers who will scour groceries for your needs and deftly deliver your items within a 60-minute guaranteed time. As the app is currently in its infancy, it is currently available for Makati and BGC addresses (with access to groceries located in these areas).

 

So how’s my Easy Grocery shopping you ask? 

My Easy Grocery shopping experience started when I downloaded their app (available in iOS and Android). The opening screen will ask you the input your location (Makati for me), which will then show the grocery stores available for your specific location. In my case, I chose Rustan’s Glorietta 4 (where I actually do my groceries IRL).

From there, you will see the items available for the particular store, classified according to their SKUs – like Babies, Canned Goods, Dairies/Frozen Food, etc.

The photo below shows the summary of the things I ordered, including the order number which was the numbers at the top-center of the screen, and the status and price of the items and the total amount of my groceries:

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The diapers and milk is for my niece, Penny while the rest is for our weekly food stash.

As a shopper, you will be able to see if your items are In Process, In Basket, For Pick-up or In-Transit. In process means that the runner is still looking for your items, in basket means they already found the item and are now in your grocery cart; while For Pick-up means that the items have been bagged and paid for and now are waiting for the delivery guy or rider to arrive. Finally, in transit means the grocery items are now on their way to your specified delivery address.

For cases where your specified item is out of stock, Easy Grocery’s runner will call you or message you (similar to Grab or Uber) to let you know, and will give you options for a replacement.

As soon as the items are marked “In Transit,” you can track the rider and see if he is already near your location:

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Because the app is still new — it can’t be helped that there are still areas for improvement. In my case, the app still showed “In Process” on top, but the status of my groceries are already “In Transit.” For cases like these, the rider will contact you and make sure you are informed on the status of your groceries. Similar to ride-sharing apps, you can give stars to the riders to rate their performance.

Here’s how the Easy Grocery rider looks like:

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The rider is outfitted with the Easy Grocery shirt and carries a huge (and heavy) customized bag which is heavily padded to protect your grocery items.

The bags are also insulated to protect frozen foods, and as you can see, there are divisions inside to make sure that all items will fit nicely and snugly. The rider will then arrange your items, double check content and then place them to the Easy Grocery bag ecobag before handing them over to you.

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For all that convenience, Easy Grocery only charges PHP100 for the “runner” and PHP100 for the “rider;” a total of PHP200, which is small change really compared to the hassle of getting a cab or a Grab/Uber, falling in line, getting hungry and eating out (another expense on top of your grocery budget) and most especially, finding the time out of your busy schedule. The PHP200 fee will be included in your total bill, so there are no surprises or hidden charges at all.

 

So, what’s the verdict? 

I like Easy Grocery for the convenience it affords people. Imagine if you just need to buy cat food or kitty litter, or just missing a few ingredients for your dinner party. Instead of taking precious time away from you, you can easily have these items bought for you just by using Easy Grocery.

The app’s commitment to customer service and delivering a good experience for its user is also commendable. I love how its runners and riders can communicate with the shopper, thus lessening the ease of not having control to the shopping experience.

BUT, of course — it still has areas for improvement:

  • Increase reach to other localities and more groceries – more areas and shops covered, which will bring the experience to other people living outside the pilot areas of Makati and BGC
  • More items on the shelves please! I was looking forward to buying rice, coffee, sugar, fruit juice, cat food and kitty litter. These six actually constitute my life’s basic necessities.
  • Fix bugs on the system to ensure customer convenience and peace of mind

The developers has assured us that they are now working double time to address these concerns. To their credit, I saw how they were  personally handling queries from us who were encountering problems during the ordering process.

During our conversation, Leoncio also expressed his hopes to expand the app’s capability and graciously listened and welcomed suggestions from our end. After all, Easy Grocery is a labor of love by Leoncio, who first thought of the app for his wife who was also busy juggling work and household chores.

 

Will I try it again?

Definitely, and in a heartbeat! I am looking forward to using Easy Grocery as soon as the busy Christmas season rears its ugly head. I look forward to enjoying preparing our Christmas and New Year dinner without having to go through a harrowing experience at the grocers, where everyone seemed out for blood just to have the last piece of queso de bola and jamon serrano.

I love how, in spite being heavily-centric on technology, the app still takes great care to please and communicate with its customers.

I think Easy Grocery is on the right track, and given the right push and improvements, it’s set to revolutionize our grocery shopping experience.

Wish I May: Shopback, Put these babies under my Christmas tree!

There is something magical about receiving something you’ve always wished or dreamed about. In the great scheme of things, it can be that dream job, or a complete family, your dream car parked in the garage of your dream house, and yes — even world peace. It can also be the simple things, one that is easily attainable – like a new camera, laptop or even the coolest pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing for some time now.

For the simple things in life you can easily achieve, there’s always Shopback to make it easier — and yes, even more profitable for you.

What is Shopback? 

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Shopback is the best online destination when you want discounts and cash-back rewards for all your online spending. With its long list of merchants and online shopping sites as partners, Shopback ensures that there’s always a “cash back” reward for each of your every need: whether electronics, toys, gadgets, mobiles, fashion and other lifestyle products. It’s also very easy to use (please refer below).

Wish I May, Wish I Might 

The things I wanted as my early Christmas gift follows a certain theme. Friends know that I’ve always been in love with traveling. I make it a point to save money and scout for cheap deals just to be able to get out of the country at least, even once a year. This year, my dad finally retired from work and as his birthday gift to my mom has treated us to airline tickets to Singapore, one of our favorite cities in the world. From Singapore, we plan to make a back packing trip going to Malaysia. It’s a unique bonding experience for the family, it’s also an opportunity for us to revisit our favorite places in Singapore, while discovering Malaysia at the same time.

Hence, my wishes are mostly related to this trip. I’ve been saving for some of these items, but it’ll be really cool if I can use the money I managed to save on the trip instead.

  1. A Nikon CoolPix S33 Camera (available in Lazada)

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Having your own camera goes a long way if you are a blogger and a constant traveler at the same time. These past year, I’ve been very dependent on my iPhone for everything: make the usual texts and calls, surfing the net, taking pictures during event and for times when I can’t be bothered to bring a laptop, even updating my blog. I am so in love  with my iPhone but we all know it takes crappy photos. With the Nikon CoolPix S33, I can take as much photo as I want, upload it quickly, yet be comfortable enough because it is handy and portable compared to a DSLR camera. And when I am traveling, I can easily take photos with just one hand and quickly stash it in my bag or laptop as needed. Plus, I also love that the camera comes in bright colors, it’s just so me.

 

2. Superdry Rookie Scoutpack Backpack (Available at Zalora)

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You wouldn’t think I would wish only for myself, right? This one’s for my ever supportive hubby whose love for backpacks are legendary. Superdry’s Rookie Scoutpack Backpack is fashionable and stylish without compromising on the space. Its many pockets also helps a lot in traveling since you can easily keep stuff without opening the whole pack. This is the perfect bag for quick trips and budget travels.

 

3. Onitsuka Tiger Colorado Eighty-Five Sneakers (available at Zalora)

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It is pretty known that my taste in footwear and accessories entirely contradicts my age: in short, they are usually colorful, trendy, unique and appropriate only to those who were born about a good five to ten years after me. If you ask me, age is just a number. Life is too short to say no to amazing things.Like this Onitsuka Tiger Colorado Eighty-Five Sneakers. This is my dream shoe. As in, I do not hesitate to always window shop and pine after the very nice Onitsuka Tiger babies displayed on their shop at Greenbelt 5. The nice play on colors and the retro throwback on the usual running shoe silhouette of the 80s is just too good to pass. And yes, need I say more that an eye-catching footwear like this will prove to be the perfect compliment to a well-timed #OOTD atop the Marina Bay Sands’ viewing deck?

 

4. Skin Inc. Custom Blended Hydrate ‘Em (Set of 4) – available at Sephora PH

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Traveling can wreck havoc on your skin – it must be the dry, uncycled air present in airplanes, the stress of a changed environment and the pressure of being constantly on the move. However, Skin Inc.Hydrate ‘Em custom pack of 4 will ensure that my skin remains soft and smooth, even no matter how stressful the trip may be. I’ve also long subscribed to the belief that the earlier we take care of our skin, the less it will give us problems when we grow old. This set comes in handy travel-sized bottles making it sure that passing through airport security is always a breeze.

5. Herschel Supply Co. Little America Backpack (Available at Asos)

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Herschel is the type of bag that is both functional and stylish at the same time.At 23L, I have enough room to stash clothes good for a weekend trip,plus some of my travel must-haves like my trusty journal, my Instax and some films. It is also lightweight and portable enough to carry from one place to another since we will just be taking the bus from Singapore to Malaysia where we will catch our return flight back to the Philippines.

 

I love that by using Cashback, I am given immediate access to a host of online shops in just one platform — plus earn back a part of the money I spent. Looking through the products available, from one shop to another, it is amazing how a single platform can bring all these selections together.

As mentioned using Cashback is easy. First,  make sure that you sign up for a Shopback account, using either your email address or Facebook account. After signing up, you can now start shopping in any of their partner merchants. Below is a simple illustration on jow to start earning back the cash as soon as you start shopping:

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Credit: All images used in this post is courtesy of Shopback and all its partner stores. 

 

Disclosure: This post is my entry to Shopback’s WinA Wish Blogging Contest. But yes, all items mentioned above are currently taking a long-term residency on my Christmas wish list. Hopefully, the Universe smiles at me and lets me win 🙂 

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In defense of unpopular and unspoken opinion – and how we can all #ShareDifferent)

The dawn of social media has made the world more connected, more intimate than ever before. It also seemed to make people less lonely. BSM (Before Social Media), people keep their thoughts to theirselves or confined it to their diaries, meals are shared on the table and not on an app and unpopular opinion are voiced out (and argued upon) face-to-face and in person.

The rise of the connected world assured that everybody won’t feel alone: everything is just a click and link away. Social media has allowed people to connect to virtually everyone, even your elementary school crush whom you’ve last seen 20 years ago. The rise of blogging and other content sharing sites meant that everyone can now create and share content. Suddenly, everyone is an opinion leader and a news maker.

However, no matter how the world seemed connected and that no information or opinion seemed too irrelevant not to share – would you believe that there’s still plenty of things that people don’t share on social media?

Mostly because they are afraid that they might be judged, ridiculed, or worse get fired. According to a study done by Pew Research, most of your friends on Facebook won’t share their opinion about a certain topic if they think it’s unpopular. This is a situation called spiral of silence. People are afraid to speak up for fear of isolation.

As a blogger, I can relate to this. When this blog was still private, I can pretty much write anything I want – I can rant about my co-workers, go on and on about how miserable I was working for my (then) company, how I can’t stand some people and go pretty much on and on and not care about who will read it or what other people will think. 

When I decided to make KamikazeeGirl public and join blogger groups and forums, I had to censor myself. I made a conscious effort to not inject my opinion when I write about the following:

  • Politics – politics is always a tricky subject, as you risk offending someone no matter what you write. When I write about politics, I choose to write a story as it is. Very fact based, without objecting opinion or my thoughts about the whole process.
  • Religion – save for my devotion to Sts. John Paul II and Padre Pio and declaring my fan status to Pope Francis; I do not write about religion because I believe it will always be a sensitive topic. One I’d rather not dip my paws on.
  • Local celebrities and mainstream Filipino movies – save for independent, artsy flick, I am not much of a fan of the local mainstream movie industry. The local fan bases (especially of teen stars and “love teams”) can also be scary and rabid when they want to so I’d rather shut my mouth. So even if I have opinion coming out of my ears, I’d rather keep it to myself than be subjected to cyber-bullying. This is especially scary because there are members of the population that are so fixated on being part of “what’s in” and being on the opposite end of the spectrum and having different opinions can get you subjected to harassment.
  • I also stopped writing about my family or even my struggles with infertility – but that’s more of a personal choice. My blog being made public has made me wary of sharing my personal life to the rest of the world.

The team behind the social app, Veems, has felt that many people share on social media but only topics that they think are safe or fit the status quo. While this is good, there are topics or questions in life that we must explore with other human beings. The Internet and social media are supposed to be places where we can explore our ideas freely in the first place.

Here’s a video that perfectly captures the thoughts of people who would like to talk about some serious topics on social media:

 

If you’re an extrovert who have very strong opinions or an introvert who just love to ponder on the important questions in life, here’s why Veems is a good social app for you:

1. Share a public status privately. Just like on Facebook and Twitter, you can share what’s on your mind to your followers. But instead of just posting it on your timeline, the status is sent as a private message. It becomes more personal and you don’t have to comment, “will PM you” if you want to take the conversation privately.


 2.Because when someone replies to your message, only you will see it. This puts you in control of the conversation that you started.

3. Join public chat on Veems like the Anonymous. Iddo Goren, Veems CEO, started the Anonymous public chat to help people share their ideas and emotions more freely. There are topics and certain experiences that we go through daily that we just can’t share on Facebook. The Anonymous public chat is a sure hit–with almost 5 million messages sent in a given day. Users have talked about different topics from the struggles in school to sex, parenting, religion, and relationships.

Have you ever been scared on sharing your opinion on your social media?

Find out how you can share different on Veems by visiting their website and download Veems on Google Play, so you can hugot your heart out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PR: Time to complete your  Christmas Shopping with Lazada’s 12.12 Online Revolution

One thing I hated about the Christmas season is the mad dash for gifts, trying to get every one on your list something. As mentioned in all my previous posts, I have an aversion to malls during the Holidays due to the long lines at the till and the extra long horns being spouted by evil cabs. 

Thus, it’s good news once again as Lazada Philippines (www.lazada.com.ph), the country’s leading one-stop online shopping and selling destination, culminates its Online Revolution sale in a 3-day Grand Christmas Sale finale on December 10 – 12. This will give procrastinators like me the opportunity to complete our Christmas list without losing our minds in the process. 

  
START SHOPPING HERE

Lazada broke its online sales records during the kick-off of the month-long sale event last November 11, generating 2.4 million visits and over 120,000 items purchased on its website and mobile app in a single day. The e-commerce giant expects to surpass these numbers before the year ends as it reveals further markdowns on its holiday bestsellers during the upcoming sale on December 10-12.


Deep discounts and Shocking holiday deals

Discounts during the Lazada Grand Christmas Sale will be up to 95% off and will feature new Shocking Deals, P12 Deals, and P99 Deals. Shocking Deals will feature popular branded items at half price including an Apple iPad Mini 2 Retina (16GB); other products include a Hoverboard and a MyView 40’’ Full HD LED TV with limited quantities as chosen by our customers on social media. The links to the 12 Peso Deal items will with be announced on Lazada’s social media accounts. Items that will be available for P99 include bestsellers like the Push Up Pro fitness gear and the popular Hands-free Toothpaste Dispenser.

  
Partnerships with Cebu Pacific, Hyundai, and BDO Cards

Lazada online shoppers are in for more exciting promos during the month of December. Purchases made during the sale period may qualify for raffle draws to win Cebu Pacific airline tickets to international destinations as well as a brand new Hyundai Eon in the grand draw. BDO cardholders are also entitled to additional discounts on December 10-12.

Lazada CEO Inanc Balci expresses his excitement for all the things lined up as they end Online Revolution with the Grand Christmas Sale. “Lazada Philippines aims to be the destination for effortless Christmas shopping with its low prices on its 1.2 million products” mentions Balci.

For more information, please visit http://www.lazada.com.ph

For updates on Lazada’s latest innovations, as well as activities, contests and promotions, connect with us via Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/LazadaPhilippines).
Disclosure: Blogger is an affiliate of Lazada. If you happen to clickthe links above and purchase from Lazada, blogger might earn a small affiliate fee. 

Kamikazeegirl believes in being being thruthful to its readers at all times. 

Lamudi joins Asia E Commerce Expo 2015 happening on November 25, 2015 at SMX Aura, Philippines

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Lamudi Philippines is the leading online real estate website in the Philippines. With over 90,000 properties and 1,000 brokers and developers online. Lamudi aspires to help consumers find their perfect home online from the complete assortment of properties for sale and for rent in the country. Simultaneously Lamudi helps brokers and developers connect to millions of prospective buyers previously beyond their reach. Lamudi is globally established in 30 countries and is part of the Rocket Internet Group of companies, the largest incubator of online start ups in the world with headquarters in Berlin and over 100 ventures across 50+ countries.
Previously successful ventures of Rocket Internet include Zalora, Lazada, Zalando, Groupon. Lamudi Philippines acquired MyProperty.ph in April 2015. The team together currently consists of 80 people. Jacqueline Van Den Ende, the founder and managing director of Lamudi will join Cinstantin Robertz of Zalora and Janette Toral of Digital Club Filipino in the first panel discussion.
Asia E- Commerce Expo 2015 (#AECoE) will be at SMX Aura, Taguig on November 25, 2015, Wednesday and brought to you by TAG Media and Public Relations. #AECoE will give you a unique opportunity to learn from, and network with senior leaders from the biggest brands in Asia Pacific region and in which the leading e-commerce experts from emerging markets, award winning e-commerce players and established e-retailers in APAC gather under one roof. Industry leaders will share independent experiences and insights for delegates from different countries.
You can be a part of this inspiring environment and benefit from the excellent networking opportunities it offers. It features: Sessions on ePayments, eLogistics and ePrivacy. The expo features over 15 local and international high level speakers, 30+ sponsors and an hour of Speed Networking.

Understanding Affiliate Marketing with Lazada

Last June, I was given the opportunity by fast-growing online shopping haven, Lazada to be part of their Affiliate Marketing program via the “Shop-Till-You-Blog” Lifestyle blogger meet up. I have been blogging for a long time, first covertly, until I have decided to provide more meat to this site.

The blogger mixer with Lazada has opened my eyes to the wonders of affiliate marketing. As a marketing practitioner, I have seen the rise of non-traditional media, both in public relations and advertising, and how it has redefined the field of sales and promotion for brands everywhere. In fact, the company I work for–which shall remain anonymous–is not an exception. This year alone,  I have significantly shrunk my budget for traditional media in order to accommodate the changing landscape of digital marketing and social media promotion.

The best thing about how Lazada is presenting its affiliate marketing program is its hands-on approach to its affiliated marketers and blog sites. From cheat sheets and open communication with the bloggers and online authors, the disconnect between introducing an opportunity and putting it into practice is significantly reduced.

Being one of the site affiliates is easy:

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In my case, it’s the act of configuring everything in this site that took a long time.

Here’s the thing — I have a way with words but I absolutely suck when it comes to configuring the nuts and bolts of this site to make it more meaty and more independent from WordPress. I have been meaning to find an independent hosting site for this blog and it’s something that I wish to tick off my long to-do list before the year ends.

The downtime tonight finally gave me the opportunity to really study the HasOffers guide generously provided by Lazada and tinker with the blog at the same time. It’s a hit and miss process, but something that can be easily learned once you get the hang of it.

The appeal of online shopping and affiliate marketing

Considering how busy people are nowadays — it’s heaven-sent that people can buy stuff on the net, on their down time and have it delivered to their doorstep. What’s even better? If you can pay for it in cash – upon delivery, without you being paranoid about sharing your personal and financial information online. This is the appeal of online shopping sites like Lazada.

I need new brogues? perfume for the husband? a waist trimmer? a frickin’ cat collar after the cat developed skin allergies? Everything ordered via Lazada. It’s fast, cheap and painless — I have actually managed to buy stuff while dressing up for work.

The best thing about online shopping sites is that everything’s basically there, from clothes, to gadgets, laptops and tablets sometimes selling to as much as 50% off? Everything’s there. The only scary thing is having to control your shopping tendencies.

Affiliate marketing provides people opportunities, regardless if they are work-at-home moms or working professionals or online influencers who could use the extra revenue. In a world like today where lines between traditional and non-traditional media and advertising channels have become one massive blur, it’s comforting to note that there are opportunities to earn more minus the need of having more time or more financial resources to augment your income. The advent of affiliate marketing opens the opportunity to become an advertising channel not only to recognized platforms like televisions or print or radio broadcast. It provides a more level playing field for everyone. Suddenly, with this technology, everyone can be both an information medium and advertising platform.

Here’s the new KamikazeeGirl blog, with creative banners finally in place:

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Disclaimer: KamikazeeGirl is part of Lazada’s Affiliate Marketing program. However, this is not a paid post.

KamikazeeGirl is committed to full and honest disclosures on this blog. I wrote this post with my own biases and interests.

Try seamless, efficient shopping experience at www. lazada.com.ph.