Monthly Archives: December 2006

Link to good content, don’t steal it

My wife has spent many hours gathering and updating the content on her website. Using copyscape, we found quite a few people blatantly stealing it, instead of linking to it. We do post a polite message at the top of the page asking people to provide comments, feedback, additions, and to link to it if they liked it.

Many people have just linked to that page and my thanks go out to them, however, it seems that every day there are more and more people stealing our images and content. So tonight I wrote a simple referrer checking script which displays a bogus image if someone tries to remote link to our images.

I know it’s not much but it at least it’ll make it harder for these people to upset my wife, which is something I don’t want right now.

TopRank interviews John Slade about Panama

Lee Odden from TopRank interviewed John Slade from Yahoo about the new Panama
PPC platform (read the interview). He gives us some insights into its current capabilities and what lies ahead. Specifically he mentions geo, demographic and behavior targeting, Panama’s handling of rich media, goal tracking and campaign management features as well as opening up its distribution to other broadcast media such as TV.

While I’ve gotten my feet wet with Panama, I’m certainly looking into playing with some of these features when they become available.

Webpronews also interviewed John at Pubcon this year.

Google.com SERPs and Google Phone MRPs?

Google OS blogged about a rumored project Google Phone. I was just reading some of Mike Blumenthal‘s research about Google local and a thought popped into my head. If the new device has GPS capability, then Google would know your location, so if you searched for “pizza”, perhaps it would use your immediate location for a radial search, making the Mobile Result Pages (MRPS?) extremely relevant.

It also opens up the possibility for extremely targeted advertising using a relatively new advertiser option ads for mobile. Add click to call capability and you have a really great advertising service for businesses that need walk in customers.

Perhaps there will also be some integration with the Contacts section within Gmail (and auto insert the company’s logo as the picture). Having had one of my cell phones recently stolen, keeping all of my contacts online would certainly make reprogramming them on the new phone a lot quicker.

Tehnical support is going downhill

So I downloaded the logfiles for this website and decided to run them through Smarterstats, which is a great little piece of software btw. For some reason it cannot read the logfile format properly and it misses all the referring information, eventhough I see it when I open the file in notepad. Here’s my email to (my webhost) tech support and their response.

> Which format do you use the write the log files? I tried using apache
common and extended NCSA but my log analyzer cannot interpret them
properly. The referring information is all screwed up.
>
> thanks
>
> Reuben

Dear Reuben Yau

Thank you for contacting us.

Our log files are written in text format.
You can unzip it then open it in notepad to interpret it.

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us.
Sincerely,
Merineth

5 things you did not know about Reuben Yau

DazzlinDonna tagged me.

1. When I was 5, my family and grandparents from Switzerland went on vacation to Fintry in Scotland. We rented some cabins on the grounds in a small clearing in the forest. They were private grounds so you could do all the hunting and fishing you wanted. My father brought his new shotgun and decided to take me out for my first adventure. We got up at 5am and got our stuff together and decided to head out into the woods to find some rabbits and pheasant. We hadn’t seen anything in a while, but then heard a noise somewhere in front. I dropped back behind my father about 20 feet away, since I knew the shotgun was going to be loud. We heard the noise again somewhere ahead and started creeping really slowly forward, Elma Fudd style. I took one more step forward and heard a huge rush of something right behind me. As I turned I saw a pheasant launching itself out of the bush beside me, taking off as fast as it could. It was then that I realized, I was between it and my father. I turned just in time to see 2 20 gauge barrels lining up level with my head. I ducked and thankfully my father decided not to pull the trigger.

2. Starting my second trimester in college, my roommate and I decided we’d compete in an Olympic distance triathlon. We trained for 3 months solidly, running, biking and swimming many miles each week in preparation. By the end of our training we were getting up in the morning, running 4 miles into college, taking class, going to the gym during lunch, running back home in the afternoon, then going for a swim or a bike ride in the evenings. We did this every day up until the event. I was certainly the fittest I’d ever been (and most likely will be) and was certain I would do very well in the competition. A good friend of mine loaned me his triathlon bike with the fancy aero bars on the front and I was all set.

During a downhill part of the race I had my head tucked down and was peddling as fast as humanly possible. The tears were streaming across my cheeks from the wind and I was sure I was breaking a new land speed record. I heard a whizzing in my right ear, turned to look, only to see some guy in one of the spandex suits wearing what looked like a giant tadpole on his head fly past me like I was walking. At that point I realized that it was just not in my genes to be competitive at that level. I eventually finished about 100th out of around 170.

3. Now, I am far from being a picky eater, my family used to call me the dustbin (American transaltion: trashcan). Having been to China a few times, I’ve eaten all kinds of weird and wonderful things including: raw oysters, raw octopus, baby pigeons, turtle, ostrich, kangaroo and a few other strange sea creatures, but the names escape me. When I was a baby my grandmother fed me raw calf’s liver in the belief that it had some beneficial purpose in my development. Having eaten all of that, I still cannot stand the taste of celery. If a raw piece his my tongue I start gagging like I’m possessed.

4. I have no piercings, tattoos or teeth fillings and I’ve never broken a bone.

5. My first car was a mini, very much like this one, but without the plate on the front. I drove that thing into the ground. I had such fun with it eventhough the heater was shot, the car would try to turn corners when you braked and the previous owner had fiberglassed part of the subframe. I remember picking up my first girlfriend and walking round to open the door for her, such a proud moment that was for me.

It’s such a tiny car that by American standards it really is like a circus clown car. The tire specs are 145/80/10. Yes 10″ wheels! It had a 4 gear manual transmission, manual drum brakes, a single carburetor, manual choke and weighed about 1500 lbs. It’s approx 120in long, 55in wide and 53in short. Compare that to my Jeep Grand Cherokee which is 186in long, 84in wide, 69in high and tips the scales at around 3900 lbs.

And now onto my 5 victims to be tagged:

Randall McCarley, Wit, GaryTheScubaGuy, Jrothra and Jocelyn

Here’s the tag tree for reference.

Google warns again about the perils of selling text links

Google posted an item entitled building link-based popularity, which I found rather interesting for a few reasons. Here’s a key snippet:

“We’ve always taken a clear stance with respect to manipulating the PageRank algorithm in our Quality Guidelines. Despite these policies, the strategy of participating in link schemes might have previously paid off. But more recently, Google has tremendously refined its link-weighting algorithms. We have more people working on Google’s link-weighting for quality control and to correct issues we find. So nowadays, undermining the PageRank algorithm is likely to result in the loss of the ability of link-selling sites to pass on reputation via links to other sites.”

What I believe they’re saying is that websites buying the links will not be gaining PageRank or anchor text benefit, but more importantly people selling links may have their site’s trust devalued. I don’t know of any examples yet, but all of those high PR sites (like newspapers) that are currently selling text links should certainly take note.

Matt Cutts already warned us back in September 2005 with his post Text links and PageRank. One of the key parts to that post is:

“Reputable sites that sell links won’t have their search engine rankings or PageRank penalized–a search for [daily cal] would still return dailycal.org. However, link-selling sites can lose their ability to give reputation (e.g. PageRank and anchortext).”

So to all of you out there blatantly selling text links, the time’s up! Use a link condom or find another revenue stream!

PPC Ads and Spelling

When writing ads, I always check, doublecheck and triple check the ad copy. The worst thing I could do as a consultant for another company would be to put a spelling mistake into their ad. It could possibly tarnish their reputation or push users in the wrong direction. So while checking up on some spam email I found this Yahoo ad.

Google Toolbar 3 Beta update

I imported my bookmarks from my work PC and well, nothing really exciting happened. I was given the same options to edit labels and shuffle my sites around. The only downside I saw was that I now have so many labels, some overlapping that I need to spend about an hour doing a reorg. With so many labels when I click the bookmarks drop down it scrolls way off the screen (I run 1600×1200).
I know Google loves labels, but I wish they would have used cascading folders. Not just for continuity from existing bookmarks/favorites, but also to remove a lot of redundancy from the list of labels.

Google Toolbar 3 Beta

So for some reason, against my usual software policy, I decided to download and install the new Google Toolbar 3 beta. I had multiple Firefox 2.x windows open at the time and thought I’d take advantage of the session restore feature. It downloaded ok, installed and prompted me to restart firefox. When it restarted, it brought up a preferences screen, but Firefox was also trying to restore the other sessions and had several windows open. Unfortunately it all went horribly wrong and I had to terminate the process and launch firefox again. Not a huge issue and something I thought I may be able to get away with.

One nice feature I’ve been wanting is to be able to access my bookmarks from any PC. Since I do some seo/sem research at home as well as work, I’m constantly adding nice little bookmarks and I haven’t yet used anything to keep them in sync. I have high hopes for this online bookmarks feature.
I uploaded all my bookmarks and just as I suspected it decided to use my folder names as the labels. Sounds great, until you realize that you used the Bookmarks Toolbar Folder. So now I have labels like this:

Bookmarks Toolbar Folder:SEO
Bookmarks Toolbar Folder:SEO:PPC
Bookmarks Toolbar Folder:SEO:Research
etc

Ok, I could have edited the labels at the import process, but it doesn’t make much difference, I still have to go and edit all those redundant instances of Bookmarks Toolbar Folder. So if you’re about to try this feature, do yourself a favor and organize your bookmarks before you import them into Personalized Search.

I’ll see what happens when I get to work tomorrow morning and import bookmarks from that PC. I wonder if it’ll warn me about duplicates…