Put Your Best Face Forward

Whatever you’re selling, curb appeal can help, randompic4 especially on the information superhighway. That’s the premise of a Philadelphia company with the unappealing name of LiveFaceOnWeb.com. It’s an agency offering spokesmodels who will stroll around your webpage, wave their arms and pitch your product or service. LiveFace claims people visiting your site will “relate to real people, not to animation.” Personally, we don’t relate to either. But if you think a model is good idea, there’s a wide variety at LiveFace. Like ’80s Hair Guy, Droopy Moustache Man and Hot Young Babe. Actually, all the women at LiveFace are young and attractive. Go figure. So check out LiveFace if you want a hotbot for your website. (Or if you want to see how low aspiring actors will go for a few extra bucks these days.)

Can’t make a sale? Make a trade. The Great Recession has brought back lots of fond memories: iron-on knee patches, tuna surprise. And trading stuff. In these dark times, the gray market is booming. Reader’s Digest reports that lots of small-business owners are trading goods and servics with other small-business owners. Like a large pepperoni for a back-hair waxing. What’s more, the number of people offering goods and services for barter at U-exchange has doubled in the past year. And Craigslist barter posts are up 125 percent over the same period. What can you trade online? We checked out Craigslist in Detroit, the big city with the highest unemployment rate in the country. Trades on offer there include: a family portrait in exchange for a Dodge power-steering pump; and $600 worth of tattoos in exchange for a hunting bow (“Dinner at your place? Sorry, we’re busy.”). And this: “Engadgement Ring – $2500 (or best offer). I have this ring and no use for it anymore. She’ s gone away and I have no use. I’ll take $2500 or best offer or trade.” Times are hard. And for some people they’re really hard.

Can’t sink Bismarck. The Bureau of Labor Statistics list of metropolitan areas with the highest and lowest unemployment rates shows the worst-hit cities are El Centro, Calif. (30 percent unemployment) and Yuma, Ariz. (26 percent). The five cities with the strongest labor markets are all in North Dakota and South Dakota. Leading the way is Bismarck, N.D., with a jobless rate of just 3 percent. What gives? Business Week says it’s the diversified economy, with healthcare, agriculture and energy (including wind) all employing a lot of Dakotans.

You lie! South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson (R., of course) isn’t the only one calling President Obama a liar in public. Lloyd Chapman, chief of the American Small Business League, has issued a press release that says in part: “President Obama has lied to me and every small business in America by breaking every promise he has made to the small business community.” But unlike Wilson, Chapman has a point. ASBL looked at the government’s small-business contracting report and says eight of the top 10 recipients of “small-business” contracts were large businesses, with 85 percent of total dollars awarded. The top recipient of small-business contracts was Textron, which has 43,000 employees.

“Spontaneous” combustion. wilson Speaking of Joe Wilson and his outburst, are we the only ones who suspect that it wasn’t spontaneous? That maybe the Grand Old Yellers have a plan to turn Congress into one of those town-hall screaming matches that have paid such dividends for them? It’s possible. But why would Wilson detonate his political career? Another good question. Maybe his party threatened to tell his wife about his clandestine affair with some floozy in Argentina. Naaah. Politicians never do that sort of thing in South Carolina.