Saturday, December 31, 2005

Slow Scrape Via AOL?

Something eluded to in a previous post, or maybe on someone else's site as it's all becoming one long blur, but it appears there is slow crawling running across an entire block of 256 IP addresses.

What seems to be happening is this scraping is coming from a couple of sources and one of them is someone using AOL as the IP resolved to an AOL proxy cache server. The implications are fairly disturbing in that blocking the scraper might also block a bunch of AOLers.

Many aren't aware that AOLers get issued a new IP address while surfing on the internet, typically around every 15 minutes, so if that person isn't using cookies they are quite difficult to track when the IP changes.

It could be multiple visitors but probably not due to the sequential nature of the pages being accessed and a couple of other factors that won't be mentioned so that the scrapers can't fake the behavior being targeted.

So now comes the ultimate question, as this activity is quite obviously scraping, to block or not to block, THAT is the question!

If a block is put in place it would obviously have to be some adaptive technology to analyze and temporarily block and only those IPs being used until the suspicious activity subsides.

Just what I need, to start out '06 chasing uber-scrapers.

Happy New Year scrapers, it might be your last.

Remember Me?

Don't you love all these web services that have the login with the checkbox "[ ] Remember Me On This Computer" under the password?

Then 30 minutes later you click something on the page and get "Session has timed out, click here to login again" or better yet, you go to their home page which has no clue who you are.

Did someone forget to click the checkbox on their website developer tool to "[ ] Implement Remember Me On This Site" or what?

This is further proof that the idiots of the world are taking over and the Future 2.0 is not going to be pretty.

War on Arrogant AdBlocking Assholes

Enough is enough already, this means WAR!

It's bad enough we have people disabling Javascript and running Norton Firewall blocking ads but now some Firefox extension lets you just right click on any ad and POOF! it's gone.

Once installed, it's a snap to filter elements at their source-address.
Just right-click: Adblock: done.
The only upside at this writing is Firefox, Norton Firewall and javascript disabling is all collectively under the 10% mark of all pages being displayed based on web log and advertisement impression comparisons on a couple of fairly popular web sites.

Why do they do this?
If you're tired of all the intrusive adverts that are increasingly taking over the Internet, Adblock is for you.
Well I got a better idea, if you're tired of the adverts that pay for the websites thus allowing people to read the content for free, then stay the fuck off those sites, maybe the entire internet or better yet, PAY the website directly to access their content!

That's right, you heard me you banner-blocking ad-stopping javascript-disabling assholes:

PAY TO PLAY or get the fuck off my bandwidth!

To counter-attack this ad blocking mentality let's try taking a page from the porn industry and create a new service like AdultCheck that would allow all the ad blockers access to all the member sites for an annual fee.

It's a perfect solution as the webmaster gets paid, the ad-blocking assholes get to see the content, and a new middleman web service gets rich off their ass.

Watch out blockers, your free ride is almost over.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Webmasters Protect Your Own Damn Content!

What the hell is wrong with all these cry baby writers and webmasters crying foul that Google should protect their content?

  • Google didn't write your content, nor did MSN or Yahoo
  • Google didn't steal your content, nor did MSN or Yahoo
  • Google isn't a law enforcement agency, nor is MSN or Yahoo
  • Protect your own shit and grow the fuck up!
Putting the blame on Blogger and AdSense is just pandering to the masses when all sorts of blogs not on Blogger steal content as well and use all sorts of ways to monetize their sites other than AdSense but of course if you aren't Google bashing then nobody gives a shit and won't read your flea bitten bullshit blogs.

Hell, many scrapers aren't even using blogs, they just scrape crap into some automatically generated pages on some free web server hosted in BFE (Bum Fuck Egypt) where your complaints to will be ignored because your email isn't written in Swahili.

So what's a webmaster to do?
  • File a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) complaint to the ISP hosting the site and Google, Yahoo and MSN. Since the search engines are all in the US they have to comply with US law.
  • Install some robot blocker/scraper stopper scripts (see link at page bottom)
  • Fix your damn blog software to make scraping harder instead of putting a months worth of shit on one page which is imperceptible for scraper stopper scripts to catch someone downloading a page every now and then vs. many pages.
How do you file a DMCA complaint?

You should read the DMCA law first (pay special attention to the safe harbor provision) as it will help you get it right the first time as there are some specific things you must do, such as provide exact samples or the infringement, URLs, etc. and swear on a stack of religious reading material that you're the original author.
Typically 1-2 days and POOF! they are gone.

They will now be offline, or at a minimum locked out of the 3 search engines which is what they use to drive traffic in the first place. If they are using AdWords (or something similar) for PPC traffic, you may have to take that up with Google's AdWords dept. or whoever they use.

Now, to make sure you are fully legal, take your lazy ass to the US Copyright website and spend about $30 getting a legal copyright so you can drag US-based thieving assholes into court and take advantage of what's called "statutory damages" which can hit 6 figures.

TIP: What I do on my primary web site is set a "usage" fee on the policies page, just like photographers do for images, and set the page content licensing fee at $2,000 per page. Whether this holds up in court is another matter but it sure works for photographers with stolen copyrighted images so I'm willing to give it a whirl when someone steals my shit.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

High Speed Scrapers Steal More Than Pages

The common thinking about scrapers is they just steal your content and make money off your hard work. However, the damages can be worse and more immediate if they overload your web server and stop other traffic from accessing your site while they scrape. Some of them are so aggressive it's practically a DOS (denial of service) attack until they get what they want.

The problem for dynamic database driven websites (like mine that I'm trying to protect) is they tend to need more CPU resources than the normal garden variety static web sites so a high speed scraper, and sometimes even a regular search engine bot, can easily overload a server's CPU. This can quickly escalate to the point that the web server is queued up with so many page requests that it is unable to respond to new requests and appears "offline" for seconds, minutes or even hours depending on just how aggressive a spider gets with it's page requests.

Worse case, it may crash your server altogether under the strain.

The net result is that sites like mine that survive on advertising revenue, such as Google AdSense, suffer total income loss during temporary bot induced service outages. Visitors that would normally be clicking on ads are sitting there waiting for pages that will never display. Therefore, these bots do more direct damage to your pocket than just bandwidth wasting and stealing content for their own sites as the monetary losses can be quite immediate and left unchecked potentially devastating.

Prior to launching my new spider-trap/scraper blocker there were days where these scrapers had impacted the site income as much as 20%-30% in a single day. How this was possible is they were pummeling the server at night while nobody was watching and significant amounts of high income producing traffic coming from other time zones was lost.

This may be more of an issue to some webmasters than others but website scrapers, other than legitimate search engines, just need to be put out of business as they provide zero value and do nothing but steal.

Protect your site today with this nifty PHP scraper blocker Alex Kemp has written.

Many of you might find Alex's tool very useful to integrate into your web sites and stop copyright theft and income loss today.

The Great Anti-Scrape-Off

Previous posts have mumbled about my new spider-trap anti-scraper tool that I added to my web site and I must say it's working so well I'm contemplating converting it into PHP so the masses can play with it.

Don't hold your breath as I'm fundamentally lazy.

The features are as follows:

  • Fast crawl auto-block
  • Slow crawl detection and optional blocking
  • Spider trap auto-block
  • Webmaster control panel that shows last 15 minutes of live activity by visitor
  • Manual ban/block from the control panel
  • Allowed spider pass thru with built in passes for Google, Yahoo and MSN
Overall it has put the skids on 99.9% of the scrapers and off topic bots crawling my site within 2 days of being fully deployed. Previously I was just monitoring what it was doing, or going to do, in order to make sure it wasn't zapping legitimate spiders and visitors and now it seems to be ready for prime time so it was set to LIVE a couple of days ago with fingers crossed.

New enhancements I'm working on for next week aren't spider related but visitor related. These new 'sensors' will detect additional information per visitor such as cookies, javascript and banner blocking being used so I can remove old hacks that do some of this and make a centralized visitor knowledge base.

The final features in the visitor knowledge base will allow me to dynamically deploy the appropriate advertising model that each visitor can view when the second page is loaded, or theoretically allow me to start interjecting intermission pages to become a "subscriber".

So far so good, will keep everyone posted as to the effectiveness of the anti-scraper tools.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Voyager the Cosmix Crawler

Found another super slow web crawler slowly downloading pages for Cosmix's Kosmix health search which was completely off topic for my site. It was only moving at a snails pace looking for pages with medical information but being that far off topic I decided to block them just on principle alone.

What all these crawlers and scrapers do is inflate my page views and for my direct advertisers which are embedded in every page, inflating their page impressions and make the click thru rates for the ads look worse than they really are.

Sorry unwanted spiders, take a hike.

Sensis Web Crawler

Maybe I'm leading a sheltered life but I've never heard of the Australian based Sensis Web Crawler before this week when I noticed it slow crawling my biggest web site over a period of days now. Just before I almost blocked this bot I noticed that it seemed to be a legit service and Alexa claims is reasonably popular in their top 10,000 sites so I let it crawl.

Probably one of the best behaved but persistent little bots I've seen in a while.

Sensis has only crawled about 1300 pages in 24 hours which is about 54 pages an hour so Sensis will probably be on my site 30 days depending on how deeply they index based on their current rate of crawl.

This is much less abusive than Yahoo, MSN or Google that want whatever they want whenever they want and sometimes as fast as they can get it just to be competitive with each other.

Maybe the Big 3 can take a clue from this little player and be a bit more web server and bandwidth friendly. Then again, maybe Sensis just doesn't have the bandwidth and computing horsepower to beat the crap out of my server like the Big 3.

Good luck Sensis, will keep an eye on my results down under.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Google Peeks on Purpose

Google must peek at pages they are expressly told not to index in robots.txt on purpose just to see what in the heck is being hidden. There is no technical reason imaginable that they can't read the same robots.txt everyone else is reading as neither Yahoo, MSN or Teoma have ever crawled the pages marked off limits yet Google just can't seem to control themselves and keep their damned bots off those pages.

So which is it Google?

  • Everything at Google is still in BETA so what do you expect
  • Our engineering dept. just can't get all the bugs out, get over it
  • We peek regardless because we're Google and we can
I'd really like to know which it is as the competition doesn't seem to break those rules.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Google's Blog Search Doesn't

Noticed some poor hapless bastard looking for a little holiday cheer came here from Google for the search phrase "good will toward men" but noticed that it was from the main Google index and not the Google Blog Search.

Upon closer examination this site is definitely indexed by the blog search but oddly enough you can't find that quoted phrase for this site in the 700 returned results but it's about in the top 20 in the main Google index unquoted, about #10 quoted.

No wonder I'm losing my hair as Google keeps making me scratch my head all the time wondering what in the heck is going on over there but the blog search does say BETA so we'll give them the benefit of the doubt for the moment.

Someone must've complained to Google as my "good will toward men" rankings got flushed.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

AdSense Makes Americans Fat

Time for a quick game of twisted logic that's about as scientific as some of the stupid surveys and studies you'll read but more amusing in the end.

Reading this piece about The New American: Fat, weak and slow caused me to attribute this to Americans sitting in chairs all day glued to the internet and video games. which would ironically make the article about Americans being fat and weak itself contributing to the problem it claims to expose as it's also on the internet but we're sidetracking.

So let's draw some conclusions from my hypothesis that everyone's increasing tendency to be sedentary is caused by the internet.

Many webmasters are creating tons of content to get people to visit their monetized sites more often in order to make them more money, thus contributing to these sedentary lifestyles.

Therefore, since most webmasters monetize their websites with AdSense, we can conclude that ultimately it's AdSense that makes you fat.

How can this be?

Because AdSense drives the money grubbing webmasters to write more and more content that your addicted asses just can't stop reading all day on the internet which is why your ass has now spread to consume the complete lateral surface area of your chair cushion and perhaps overflow it somewhat.

Notice no AdSense on this blog?

That's right!

IncrediBILL's Random Rants are DIETETIC because we care!

AdSense Vigilanteism

Here's a neat trick if you want to help maintain the integrity of the AdSense network when you run across some ignorant blogger or some other idiotic web site with calls to "click the ads" on their web page.

Posting the following snippet below from the AdSense Policies page into their online comments has resulted in the "click the ads" requests being yanked sometimes instantly when the webmaster shit their pants thinking big brother must've done it.

Try it, just cut and past the following in someone's page as comments:

Google AdSense Program Policies


Web pages may not include incentives of any kind for users to click on ads. This includes encouraging users to click on the ads or to visit the advertisers' sites as well as drawing any undue attention to the ads. For example, your site cannot contain phrases such as "click here," "support us," "visit these links," or other similar language that could apply to any ad, regardless of content. These activities are strictly prohibited in order to avoid potential inflation of advertiser costs. In addition, publishers may not bring unnatural attention to sites displaying ads or referral buttons through unsolicited mass emails or unwanted advertisements on third-party websites. Publishers are also not permitted to use deceptive or unnatural means to draw attention to or incite clicks on referral buttons.

Funniest amusing shit ever and it's FREE!

Not to mention you may be saving your own source of income by stemming the tide of advertiser withdrawl of the AdSense content network so it's a win-win.

Firefox Prefetch is Crap

Now that I've been monitoring what good old Firefox is prefetching since first watching it step right into my new spider trap it seems to have one more disturbing trend in that it tries to prefetch the same pages over and over and over.

What seems to be happening is that every page a visitor goes to the Firefox prefetch appears to keep asking the web server about the same navigation pages repeatedly.

Well that's just fucking stupid!

Oh well, what do you expect for free.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Whiny AdSense Webmasters

Google must have the secret formula to create whiny assed momma's babies as all these AdSense webmasters do is piss and moan about their earnings, income per click, click thru rates, smart pricing, being banned for not following the rules, and so on and so forth to the point I'm ready to round them all up and smack them for being such whiners.

Maybe you babies should understand what AdSense is not:

  • AdSense is not a dependable welfare check
  • AdSense is not a dependable retirement fund
  • AdSense is not a replacement for your job
So what is Adsense?

AdSense is a way to monetize your web site traffic - no more, no less.

Read the various AdSense forums and you'll rarely ever hear anyone that had a really good web site with an ample amount of traffic ever complain about AdSense.

Most of the whining comes from the get rich quick types that thinks the world owes them a living since they can put up a web page that nobody cares about.

Get a clue you blubbering morons, web pages alone don't make money!

BUSINESSES make money so if you don't have any business sense you will fail miserably.

If you don't know who your audience is, don't provide the content your audience wants, don't know how to market your site and overall don't provide a good user experience you won't make anything with AdSense, YPN, Chitika eMiniMalls or any other affiliates programs.

Grow up and stop whining!

Enough already.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Very Fucking Funny

Apparently someone having a wee bit of time on their hands is trying to make me spit soda on my screen every time I look at what keywords are referring people to this web site.

Today we have:

Yes, I know the tequila wasn't using that same magical keyword, but I'm assuming someone has to be drinking a lot of it to keep looking for that horse to have sex with.

Well ya know what?

If looks like I have some fucking rank in MSN!

Fuck you very much!

UPDATE - ok, I don't know who did it but you all need to get a life

New entries today worth mentioning:
Very fucking funny, but I think we'll just stop reporting on this topic and move on to more mainstream things.

Ode to AdSense

AdSense pays the best of all,
Better than Yahoo and eMiniMall.
A better program does not exist,
I think I'll go and slash my wrist!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Breaking Search Engine News of the Weird > UPDATED

Thanks to women drivers everywhere this web site is now about the top 20 position [fickle MSN shuffling us around] for some highly competitive keywords in MSN without the additional equine keyword as previously reported.

Now comes the interesting concept of monetizing this web site as the types of ads needed to address the people being attracted to those keywords would most definite make Zawodnygate look pale by comparison.

However, I'm suspecting both of my loyal readers wouldn't give a shit if this place was oozing in porn ads.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Most Tech Bloggers are Parrots and Thieves

Today was a slow day for me as nothing was pissing me off enough to write about so I spent some quality (ha!) online reading time.

Then suddenly, as I surfed around to every mind numbing little technical blog, it hit me right between the eyes today that all of them were posting similar lame ass little quips about the same lame ass stories and the rest of them were stealing those lame ass little quips.

Give us all a fucking break and stop 'fair use' quoting the only 2 or 3 people that ever write anything useful on a daily basis as a temptation to drag us to your goddamn websites.

If bloggers really don't have anything to say that adds any value to the story then why not just move along and find something truly worthy of comment?

We know why that is, you have no talent and couldn't write something new if a story snuck up and bit you on the ass!

Besides, the sick truth about this large chain of blogrolling snippet quoting assholes is that they're all fighting for the same few eyeballs to land on their page just so someone will click on their AdSense ads to pay for their smouldering cigarettes sitting next to their keyboards.

The fancy word for this is "monetizing" their blogs.

It doesn't matter if they don't actually do the work, don't actually write the stories, they just cut and paste clips from other web sites and forums all day long trying to become an authority site on some topic where they've never written anything original in their own words except "Bob from XYZ forum said..." or "Fred from ABC said..." yet try to profit off all these clips and links to other sites.

Seems to me that monetizing large collections of so called fair use clips is a strictly commercial motive of profitting from the work of others, it's not editorial whatsoever, and when you have nothing original to add it steps over the line into copyright infringement.

Someone will eventually teach these bottom feeding scumballs a very serious lesson about copyright before it's all over.

A Very Google Xmas

Google sent me a nice box full of USB toys yesterday [THANKS GOOGLE!] that turned my laptop into something straight out of a scene Mission Impossible or Alias with all the retractable cables, wireless this and that, light on a bendable cord, etc..

I'd take a picture to show you what it looked like but I'm fundamentally a lazy shit and John Jonas already has a nice picture on his blog that you can enjoy. John seems to be a really nice guy so I'm wondering how long it'll take before some comment I post on his blogs pisses him off and gets me banned, but I digress.

For those of you that don't read WebmasterWorld here's a directors cut of my story from there:

The phone rang when the FedEx guy dialed from the main entrance of the building (we're condo, like I'm doing yard work - HA!) and my wife yells to tell me he's at the door. I usually just walk to the main door and get packages as delivery people tend to get confused inside running up and down the hall, elevators, cat walks, etc.

So picture this:

I'm sitting less than 6 ft from my door and from the time she yelled I jumped up and headed straight for the door, flung the door open expecting to keep moving thru to the main building door, not knowing my wife actually buzzed the guy in, and the FedEx guy was standing almost nose to nose with me and it was so unexpected I yelped with arms flailing like Jim Carey's over-acting in some skit.

The FedEx guy laughed at me.

Why do I feel this will circulate around the 'Plex and they'll all laugh at me too?
"Serves him right always being obstinate about everything - HA!"

The little gift box has a Google zippered pouch that reminds me of a toiletries bag with the razor, toothbrush, nail clippers, etc. except those spots have been used to hold hi-tech toys instead.

My wife looked at it all and says "You think they could squeeze the word Google anywhere else on all this?" then storms off "Where's MY Google toys?!"

Something tells me I'm going to have to keep an eye on that wireless mouse as she had her eye on that and the cat seemed rather fond of the retractable headphone thingy - vultures I live with, I tell ya...

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Bestiality According to MSN

Keyword search terms of how people find my web sites are always a constant source of amusment but this one just about made me pass out from laughing so hard.

Apparently MSN has decided that this blog is about HORSES and WOMEN doing the dirty deed and ranks this site 4th from the top on the US index. Must be something in the water up in Washington state that has everyone looking to hook up with Mr. Ed.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

AdBrite Testing Contextual Ads?

Tonight I noticed something very odd on a FuckedCompany Happy Fun Slander page in that the word 'business' toward the bottom of the page seemed to have a contextual add popup on a mouseover ala IntelliText ads except it was an AdBrite ad!

When I looked at the actual page source there were no hyperlinks around the word business but sure enough there was some mouseover code present when I viewed "selected source" in the browser.

<a onmouseover="AdBriteMouseOver(this,'business', event)" href="#" style="border-style: none none double; border-width: 0px 0px 3px; color: green; text-decoration: none;">business</a>

This may mean something new in the works for people using AdBrite and could help them become more competitive.

However, when I went back about 30 minutes later the word was no longer being linked to an AdBrite ad. Not to be easily stopped, I put the link in a different browser and VOILA! the hyperlinked ad showed up again so AdBrite seems to be tracking how many times you view the page and disabling the ad after a few page views or something.

Stop the Planet, Jeremy Zawodny Sold a LINK!

When a famous Yahoo! blogger by the name of Jeremy Zawodny, that many of you know, recently started selling sponsored links on his web site the whole SEO and blogger community took a collective shit.

Imagine some old balding fat SEO guy flipping his last blonde flocks doing his best valley girl voice:

"Like, Oh My Gawd! Like, he's selling PR8 links, like, gag me with a spoon! These links are like, you know, totally tubular and he, like, didn't use nofollow fer sure! Like, let's send him dwEeeb-mail as this is too bitch'n."

Snapping out of the 80's, it's just a scream that someone with a Google Page Rank 8 is selling sponsored links and everyone is running around in such hysterics that would make Chicken Little proud. Even one of the sponsors got scared, soiled himself and pulled the link just to give you an idea about how crazy this got in a hurry.

To make this even crazier, the latest flurry of blogging about this even might drive him to a PR10 which would be just priceless as these idiots fuel the very page rank they claim is sacred.

When looking at Google guru Matt Cutts' little blog take note it's only a PR7 . So I'm wondering if the same shit storm would be afforded to Matt if he started selling links? Oh wait, Matt might be rich off his ass from Google stock and not need to sell links so perhaps Yahoo doesn't pay so well and Jeremy needs the scratch.

Could it simply be they were all just pissed that other people bought those sponsored link spots first or they were too cheap to pay for links?

Sounds like a heaping pile of sour grapes to me, must be vinegar season.

Regardless, leave the poor guy alone you link buying and selling hypocrites.

Oh yes, and while I have your attention, just shut the fuck up and stop whining.

My Audience Must Hate Women

Most of my blog articles tend to be technical in nature and sometimes even helpful but write just one lousy misogynistic rant about women drivers and my readership doubled over night!

What does that say about me or my readers?

Who cares, maybe I'll go for a drive and get material for todays blog ;)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Good Will Toward Men but FUCK WOMEN DRIVERS!

Mind you, I really don't have issues with women but you all pushed me over the edge tonight so if you're a feminist or some other gynecologically psychotic wack job then stop reading now and you won't have to increase your medication tonight.

My wife is running a fever and I'm out running a mission of mercy to get carry out food from BJ's and everything is fairly calm on my way to the restaurant but it's not quite 5PM yet and all those bitches are still answering phones, making copies, spell checking and doing other office-based chick shit.

Once I've retreived the food to return to my poor suffering ill honey is when all hell breaks loose.

Barely pulling out of my parking space I'm maybe 100 ft down the parking lot and some Malibu Barbie mother fucker ZIPS out in front of me, not a little nudge, I mean she ZIPS out and blocks the entire lane forcing me to screech to a halt. With my headlights glaring in her window the blonde vapid DMV approved sack of shit thinks that making some cute little wavy sign with her hand makes it OK that her IQ is barely above room temperature. Mind you, I'm on a mission of mercy to get food home to my sickly flu infected wife or I'd have most likely hit the gas instead of the brakes and hit that car so hard I'd have blasted her blonde intestines out the tail pipe and left her head shattered into the safety glass for a nice 1,000 peice puzzle for the holidays.

However, I let Bambi continue on her way intact and go about another 3 blocks and I'm in the left turning lane and half way into the intersection when suddenly some raven haired green Mazda driving whore from hell in the non-turning lane PULLS INTO MY LANE! Horns a blazing, breaks a screeching and this oblivous bag of estrogen just keeps pulling in front of me and nearly removes my fender.

Now that this crazy excuse for an ovarian driver is securely in my lane in front of me and my bumper is magically still attached to the car I decide to flip on my brights behind her to express my discontent with her PMS-based inability to drive a car, follow clear road signs and directions and to firmly disregard horns of warning. This pathetic excuse for an X chromosone has the audacity to make hand gestures for ME to CALM DOWN!

My hand gestures at this point leave nothing to the imagination.

When I'm only 2 blocks from home I think all is safe as I'm far away from the deadly combination of rush hour and Xmas shopping cockholders but hell no, they're at it again.

Sitting at a 4-way stop sign a van to my left that had the right of way starts into the intersection making a left turn while the cell phone talking fingernail polishing titless bitch in the lane on my left decides to pull into the intersection after the van already has control. My horn immediately sounds and this crazy cow at least hears me and screeches to a halt while I see shit oozing out of the crack at the bottom of the van door as the driver has obviously been traumatized by the near collision.

What the fuck is wrong with you women?

Take a goddamn cab!

Stay home!

Just hand over the car keys to a man until XMAS IS OVER GODDAMMIT!

Hold My AdSense Payment?

Google AdSense has a killer tip today:


Did you wish to hold your payment this month? If so, please remember to place a self-hold on your account before the 15th of the month.

So anyone that wants good old Google to hold your payment along with thousands of others and help them earn a big sweaty bundle of interest on the collective money for another month just go right ahead and click:


If you think about it the entire concept of the $100 minimum payment vs. $25 with most affiliate programs is priceless. Higher holding amounts allows Google to hoard cash from thousands of accounts on a monthly basis and get a little extra interest bump in the balance sheet. For that matter, making you wait an extra 30 days for payments helps that interest bump in the balance sheet even more!

Obviously there are valid reasons for some people in foreign countries with obscene banking policies to hold payments for a few months and only pay outrageous international check cashing fees a few times a year instead of monthly, but that doesn't stop Google from making some scratch off their backs.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Original Recipe or Extra-CRIPSy?

Looks like the Governator is about to make a no-bake xmas Tookie.

Brings back fond memories of Fried Ted recipes when they juiced Bundy back in the day..

As a friend said:
"That's the way the Tookie crumbles!"

LEARN HTML? Write Content Instead!

Amazing that in this day and age of automated everything that the nerds that think they run the internet are still telling newbies to become fluent in HTML and CSS. Sure, it wouldn't hurt to know HTML and CSS but it also wouldn't hurt to know Rich Text Format (RTF) and Postscript if you want to write a letter but I prefer to use Microsoft Word.

Come on people, get with the program and stop promoting bit twiddling nerd concepts from the 90's and be productive on the web!

Here I am blogging away about HTML and you know how much HTML I've encountered during this post?


Not a single <h1> or anything remotely HTMLish just like God intended.

I'm no slouch with HTML either and can probably run rings around the nuts and bolts evangelists hawking HTML knowledge as the end-all-be-all of internet existance but the truth is that CONTENT is king and nobody gives a rats ass how you built your pages as long as they show up in the browser properly.

The latest incarnations of FrontPage and DreamWeaver do a fine job of WYSIWYG page building but some of the purists will faint at the sight of tables and start rambling about the "extra code" they insert like those few hundred bytes of data make a bit of difference.

Who gives a shit - it works.

Reminds me of the 80s when everyone was trying to shove Pascal down all our throats thanks to the misguided devotion of all the Appleheads and now nobody uses Pascal.


Life's just too short to twiddle bits.

Lava Pockets

Whoever the sadistic bastard was that thought putting a lava flow inside of a pastry shell and selling it as food should be dragged out into the parking lot and have his nuts stomped into the pavement.

These little faux food items should be used to torture prisoners as the jails would surely be empty in a week as everyone got on their best behavior to avoid them.

This little warning on the food is the understatement of the century:


A pot of molten metal is hot, this shit fresh out of the microwave is like a slice of the sun's corona!

No mention on the package that you'll lose your fingerprints picking up this little snack as your fingers' epidermis will transfer to the pastry shell as you remove it from the microwave.

Forget a cold soft drink unless you have a cannister of liquid nitrogen handy as nothing else will help cool down the 3rd degree burns in your mouth.

They should require you to purchase a "Hot Pocket" safety kit and be properly trained and certified before being allowed to eat one of these damn things. The safety kit should include some metal mesh gloves, Space Shuttle thermal tiles to use as a plate, a high temperature infrared thermometer to sense when it's cooled to normal environmental levels and some safety goggles just in case a bit of super-heated lava splatter heads toward your eye.

Don't forget to keep a fire extinguisher handy in case you accidentally set the cooked item on a bare wooden table and it erupts into a violent fireball.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Yahoo! Burning Rubber

Yahoo! is still in the lead with 2 day old content indexed. Both Yahoo! and MSN are changing my opinion of their search engines as they both still seem to be updating much faster than Google and probably the better places to locate more recent information. It would seem that Google has become a large sloth-like behemoth that just can't get the lead out of its' pants while Yahoo! and MSN are running rings around it.

Maybe we'll check again in a few months as weekly monitoring at this point shows no change in performance with Yahoo always first, MSN a close 2nd and Google languishing in la-la land.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Chitika - turning page views into pennies

Started experimenting with Chitika eMiniMalls this month on a single web page with a decent amount of traffic and the results are in and it's pale compared to AdSense, not even close.

Chitika payments are obviously better than nothing but if they audit the payouts down to nothing, which AdSense doesn't do, then it's not even worth keeping on the site.

I'm rounding these numbers for ease of typing:

Chitika: $1.00
AdSense: $22.00

Chitika: $3.00
AdSense: $29.00

Chitika: $1.00
AdSense: $36.00

Chitika: $2.00
AdSense: $23.00

Guess I'll experiment with Chitika a bit more before tossing it in the circular file and see if I can get the revenue up higher as some claim it's possible.

Stay tuned for more...

FuckedCompany is Fucked

Not sure when it started going downhill but FuckedCompany, the long time dot com dead pool industry pundit web site is definitely fucked and the few remaining natives are restless. The site used to get all sorts of Internal Memos that you could read for a subscription fee but that hasn't been updated since 12/9/2004 so it's definitely past it's expiration date.

Pud moved on to his latest money grubbing efforts at AdBrite and appears to have put some second rate moron in charge of Fucked Company. Then recently the oh-so-popular and overflowing community section entitled the 'Happy Fun Slander Corner' was remodeled and all of a sudden the happy fun slander has left the corner and posting is almost non-existent. The final signs of decay is that FuckedCompany's daily page impressions and ad rates as reported by AdBrite itself show that the site traffic is in the shitter.

Damn Pud, my web site gets more traffic than that!

The straw that broke the camels back that this site has really jumped the shark is the idiotic Infect-o-matic service they're hawking on the home page. In past years this would've been used by thousands of idiots in the first day but this feature has been online about a week now since I noticed it and less than 800 people have used it at this writing.

To send up one of my old favorite web sites in style:

Has jumped the shark and the 'Thousands messages are posted daily' have dried up and blown away.
Severity: 60
Points: 160

Died of Natural Causes when someone forgot to feed it in 2005.
Points: 200
New Hall of Fame Inductee

It was fun while it lasted, good luck with AdBrite!

Kudos to FeedBurner Support

The other day FeedBurner was malfunctioning and thus came the obligatory rant but today Jessie Chavez from FeedBurner actually responded to my complaint on this very blog!

The FeedBurner support dept. seems to be a class act, kudos to you!

AdSense Quantity vs AdWords Quality

The scope of the irony of Google's latest Adwords changes is slowly settling in as the AdWords advertisers are now being held up to scrutiny for quality landing pages yet the AdSense community can still post those 'quality' ads on any old crap web site.

If Google thinks "It's not a great experience." for ads to take visitors to misleading pages then how about the AdSense hucksters that do the same thing?

There are many web sites snaring unsuspecting visitors with Made for AdSense sites (MFAs) that have little or no content whatsoever and some try to mask the ads as the actual content!

Makes you really wonder why there is such a double standard with the only quality requirements being placed on the advertisers while many of the so-called publishers that are busy scraping content from other websites and spamming search engines doing more serious harm to the AdSense content network and internet advertising landscape in general than a thousand misleasing ads will ever cause.

Perhaps that quality shoe is about to drop on the AdSense community next.

We can only hope!

AdWords Quality Ending Arbitrage?

Google sent some shockwaves thru the AdWords community yesterday claiming that they're going to base how much advertisers are charged on the quality of the landing page! The reason for this change is described as how Google is trying to "improve our users' experience" and rambles on about people not finding what they're looking for when clicking on an ad.

So what exactly does this mean?

If you land on a page full of Google ads, affiliate banners and links is that not what the user is looking for?

Big shock.

Perhaps Google is targeting the most heinous of the misleading landing pages where the user clicks an ad for "Baby Stollers" and lands on a page for those high paying mesothelioma ads.

To clarify what is meant by a quality landing page there's this nifty new web design tips page that makes it all as clear as mud. What you really have to love is that Google has raised the bar of ambiquity to an art form so they can charge whichever advertisers they want whatever they want or drop them altogether as the guidelines are meaningless.

Considering advertisers don't spend money unless they're making money in return (ROI) the misleading landing pages would seem to cause their own demise from being economically impractical. Therefore, these so-called misleading landing pages must be converting visitors by getting them to do something that the advertiser wants. The only thing that comes to mind is AdSense and affiliate arbitrage where an ad drives someone to a web page with nothing the visitor is directly looking for except more ads to click on that will theoretically get them to the actual products, goods and services.

Well, what's wrong with that?

Arbitrage, for those of you new to the concept, is when an inexpensive ad is purchased to direct visitors to a page or website full of better paying ads. For instance, the advertiser pays $0.05 to get a visitor to click on someone else's ad paying $1.00 and gets the profit share from AdSense.

More importantly, at some level these arbitrage advertisers may be performing a valuable service to get visitors to the right advertisers, as their bids are too low to compete and display on the same page, meaning these visitors are already landing in the wrong place when looking for something.

The only thing to do is wait and see how these new cryptic rules will be applied but it appears that AdSense arbitrage, unless being done extremely well, may be heading for the history books.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

FeedBurner Reporting is Whacked

For the last couple of months I've been using FeedBurner to track my RSS feeds and suddenly today the 'Content Item Traffic Details' which has always shown daily click thrus shows NOTHING has been clicked.

So I tell it to show me a report from 'Earliest to Date' and it still shows NOTHING with this insightful message:

P.S. Stats seem low? Yahoo is currently working on a fix for reporting your My Yahoo subscribers.
My stats aren't just low, they are MISSING YOU FUCKING MORONS!

AdSense Darwin Award Nomination

How bad can a web site want to stay in AdSense when they violate 2 rules at the same time?

This directory site has a new feature called AutoSurf that frames other sites with AdSense in the frame which is a huge violation of the AdSense T&Cs and then the page auto-refreshes every 30 seconds which reloads a new AdSense ad too, another violation.

Just hang a big sign on your site "BAN ME! BAN ME!" and get it over with.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

AdSense Site Targetng Can Seriously Damage Earnings

The AdSense support team keeps regurgitating the party line that site targeting "increases your revenue potential" as advertisers have to bid higher to get direct ad placement on your web site. Furthermore, support claimed that after I took a nasty decrease in earnings that it would've been even worse if people weren't directly bidding on my site.

Guess what you geniuses, when I'm losing money so are you so don't spout rhetoric at me when I'm telling you WE have a serious problem on my web site that can be backed up with a year of AdSense statistics telling a different story than your coporate line.

One word sums it up: HOGWASH

The original premise with Google Adwords was that Google would give all the ads a trial run on their search pages and only release the best converting ads into the content network. Now anyone that can bid the highest to site target and literally overrun your web site with ads based on bids alone, regardless of whether or not the ads are relevant or convert.

From Google's own AdSense web site:

Keep your users coming back with contextually targeted ads.

You want to make more money from advertising, but you don't want to serve untargeted ads to your users. Google AdSense™ solves this problem by automatically delivering text and image ads that are precisely targeted to your site and your site content—ads so well-matched, in fact, that your readers will actually find them useful.

That sure worked when that's all AdSense did.

For instance, a new meta search engine started running their off topic ads and they were showing up all over my site one weekend. Revenue took a nose dive but luckily I keep an eagle eye on my earnings and when it was down by 75% at noon I went looking at what could be going wrong. Traffic was normal but a couple of ads certainly weren't.

Dropped a few apparently site targeted ads in the competitive ad filter and my earnings started increasing again as soon as AdSense filtered them out, which can take up to 4 hours while your site is being held hostage by spammy advertisers. Basically, the earnings for the day were shot to hell but it rebounded and I've been keeping a close eye on anything that appears to be site targeted ads ever since.

The real issue is when you have a very specific niche web site that your visitors just won't click on any old spammy ad as they are on your web site for a purpose and the ads need to be contextual and appeal to your audience. That's what built AdSense in the first place and now Google is bouncing all over the map with features that let spammy advertisers muck up the place.

Typical example of Google trying to fix what was never broken.

Even the AdSense Forum on WebmasterWorld is finally starting to realize what's happening although I saw the potential for problems the first day AdSense released this new feature but it took other people a while to catch on.

The basic problem with site targeting is that the webmaster needs the ability to approve which ads run and which ads don't to control the situation. The current implementation actually gives advertisers more control over your website with AdWords than you have in AdSense!

I guess that's the philosophical difference between products like AdBrite which gives the website owner total control versus AdSense which treats webmasters like mushrooms, keeping them in the dark and feeding them lots of shit.

2005 Stuffies - Keyword Stuffing Award

The first nomination for a Stuffy award goes to MMK Host, just scroll down the page and try not to snort soft drinks out your nose.

Yahoo Aggressively Indexing

I've been monitoring the search engines to see which one is the most agressive at indexing this blog and it seems Yahoo is way out front with 2 day old content indexed and searchable, with MSN's index a day behind and Google pulling up in the rear.

Why this is fascinating in my opinion as Yahoo seems to want to be the big aggregator of information and is really stepping up to the plate. Perhaps it has something to do with a lot of people using My Yahoo to monitor their RSS feeds and it would make sense to try to get anything seen in the feeds searchable as soon as possible just like they do with Yahoo News.

Needless to say, Yahoo has been quite impressive over the last couple of weeks since I started this and I'm going to keep monitoring for a couple of weeks and see if they're the consistent leader.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Prefetch Blocking Bullshit

Firefox is starting to really annoy the hell out of me as I installed the prefetch blocking code into my site and it appears some browsers are still prefetching regardless. Best I can tell at this time it appears somehow about 4 visitors tonight prefetched without telling my web server "X-moz: prefetch" so this spec seems to look better on paper that in reality.

Checked the web logs and it definitely wasn't a rogue bot hitting my site with a fake agent string.

Hope it's a bug on my side but if not, I may just let them fall in the spider trap.

AdSense Undersells Your Site's Worth - NONSENSE!

While I agree with the basic premise that AdSense doesn't work for everyone, Jason Miller's article on WebProNews about AdSense lowering site-self-esteem just about made me spit soda on my screen. It appears in the current state of news you can collect a few interesting anecdotal tidbits from a couple of industry pundits and without further researching the topic call it gospel and post it as newsworthy.

Not only does AdSense not lower the self esteem of many web sites, I'd hazard a guess it does just the opposite and raises the amount of quality offers available to visitors. There are many advertisers that wouldn't normally be able to offer direct advertising on the many thousands of web sites due to the logististics of managing the sheer volume of sites and wouldn't be interested in the low traffic many of them have. AdSense thus is broadening the reach of advertisers to AdSense publishers that would normally be unable to compete for that revenue.

Many of the webmasters using AdSense successfully seem to be in a similar league and appear reasonably satisfied with the income AdSense generates. That doesn't mean they couldn't possibly generate more income via direct marketing efforts but what has to be considered is the amount of overhead dedicated to such efforts opposed to generating new content. Jason's article glosses over that a small website operation can't cover all the bases of both content generation and advertising sales without seriously impacting some aspect of their websitewhich would suffer from neglect and would in turn create the very low site-self-esteem he's telling us to avoid!

Let's look at the state of advertising in general from my point of view as my primary web site isn't a big fish that has a ton of advertisers banging on the door, more of a medium sized fish with 400K visitors a month which is a very good sized niche audience with a stable of regular advertisers. Instead of spending an excessive amount of time trying to expand my base of direct advertisers, AdSense gives me access to many advertisers that I possibly couldn't attract directly. Not to mention AdSense provides a nice daily CPM rate ranging from $12-$16 which is comparable to what CPM banners went for back in the dot com glory days.

Although my website is one of the rare hybrids with a combination of AdSense and direct advertising, new services like AdBrite have been changing that. Adbrite let's publishers sell advertising directly and still not have to hassle with issues like credit card accounts, ecommerce or billing and charge a low 25% fee for their services. However, when you look at the rates most AdBrite publishers are charging it makes AdSense cash look pretty good by comparson. It really doesn't appear that AdSense is underselling quality websites at this time but if and when AdSenses does undersell they'll probably get the boot by a number of publishers..

From posts in many AdSense forums it would appear that most of the webmasters that complain the loudest about AdSense payments are those doing websites for a pure advertising play called Made for AdSense (MFA) sites. They just crank out garbage sites intended to game the search engines and snare a top 10 position just to get visitors to click the link to their site and hopefully click the AdSense ads as they run screaming from the useless website. These are the same webmasters most likely also complaining about the Google Sandbox which tries to keep these spammy MFA sites out of Googles search results which is ironic if you think about it. Since these sites have no self esteem in the first place they won't command any big bucks from advertisers other than those already spending bucks on the AdWords content network.

That's my opinion, if you disagree drop a comment.

San Francisco's Stupid Traffic News of the Day

It seems that a muni bus in San Francisco splattered some pedestrian that was most likely stepping out in front of traffic against the light like always. If you've ever driven in San Francisco the pedestrians are horrible and scurry all over the streets like cockroaches in a room when you switch on the lights. They don't care if they walk against the light into oncoming traffic and they have almost become hood ornaments on my car on multiple occassions by stepping off a curb while I was in mid turn or in the middle of the interesection just a few feet from running their stupid asses down.

How do the police respond, do they cite jaywalkers and people walking against the light?


The city responds by sending cops out to run around the city all day penalizing your average joe drivers today. Not that these drivers are innocent mind you, but they are a target getting tickets left and right because a city BUS DRIVER, not a car driver mind you, a BUS DRIVER turned one of their citizens into a greasy bug stain.

Give the damn scoflaw pedestrians tickets too as it takes two to make a human hood ornament, not just a driver.

GoogleBot Ignores Robots.txt!

Here's a big shocker that 2 days after I build my new spider trap Google ignores my robots.txt entry and snares itself in the trap.

Simple robots.txt, nothing hard about this test:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /rogue_bots.html
Sure enough my spider trap log for that page shows:
SPIDER AGENT=Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +
Bad, bad Google, tsk tsk.

Monday, December 05, 2005

No Analytics in Blogger?

What a joke, I know nobody reads this crap anyway but there's not even a simple visitor count that I can find in blogger to prove that nobody loves me. My first bright idea was to add this site to my Google Analytics account but those lame asses have 'Add Website Profile' disabled.

Not to be stopped by Google's Analytics shortcomings I just did a quick search on free web site analytics and clicked on the first one and installed StatCounter which seems to be pretty decent for what I need assuming anyone ever visited this blog.

Looks like I'm just talking to myself, oh well.

Firefox Prefetch Steps in Spider Trap

Now that I've built and installed my Spider Trap there was one surprising thing that happened which was quite unexpected. I appear to have snared some Firefox users in the spider trap due to that stupid bandwidth wasting prefetch feature crawling the spider trap page.

Looks like I'll need to disable prefetch from accessing my server to avoid snaring unsuspecting users.

To quote Roseanne Rosannadanna quoting her grandmother:
"It just goes to show's always something!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Google Doesn't Index My Blog?

The previously reported problem about Google not indexing my lastest blog posts is slightly wrong and I'm the first to admit when I'm wrong as Google hasn't indexed ANY of my blog posts in their main index whatsoever! However, Google Blog Search [like anyone uses that] seems to be somewhat up to date with my latest posts opposed to Yahoo! and MSN that have it all in their main index already.

I'm really starting to wonder if they know which end is up at this point.

Google SLOWEST to Index Blogspot?

Talk about stupidity in the indexing department we have to hand the prize to our old buddies at Google. My latest rant "Florida Drinks Cat Piss" written on Dec 3, '05 already appears in the index of both Yahoo! and MSN on Dec 4th.

This begs the question of why Google's two competitors are indexing this site faster than Google itself:

Your search - "florida drinks cat piss" - did not match any documents.

  • Make sure all words are spelled correctly.
  • Try different keywords.
  • Try more general keywords.
Things like this make me wonder if Yahoo and MSN are a lot more serious about becoming the leaders in the search engine market than Google is about holding onto their currently undisputed throne.

Way to go Google, nice black eye.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Florida Drinks Cat Piss

When I was trapped in Florida for a week over the Thanksgiving Holiday it became quickly apparent that the entire state is devoid of what most serious beer drinkers would consider real beer. Lot's of restaurants had beer on tap but it was always the same old mind numbing choices of Bud, Bud Lite, MGD, Coors, Michelob, etc. without anything resembling Anchor Steam, Bass, New Castle, Guiness, an IPA, Blonde or Hefeweizen and I'm not sure anyone in the state has even heard of the term Micro Brewery. Even Winn Dixie, the local grocery store a block away, had very limited beer choices, it was shocking.

In desperation I went to famous Rickey's in Hollywood, FL as I remembered they had some real beer on tap but all was not as expected as either there was soap residue in the pint glasses or the lines hadn't been cleaned lately. The Bass tasted funny so to make sure it wasn't a bad keg I tried something else and it had a funny taste too so being thoroughly annoyed and disappointed we bailed.

The next night we ended up at the Seminole Casino to play poker as the Hard Rock was just too crowded to even get near a poker table and it wasn't worth waiting 2 hours.

When I walked past the Seminole's bar I saw a big red beacon between all the cat piss on tap so I screeched to a halt to order a beer.

Bartender: "What'll ya have?"

Me: "A Red Hook!"

Mind you the beer is on tap next to where I'm standing but she walks away and comes back and sets down a RED BULL and tries to charge me for it.

Me: "Not Red Bull, I want a beer, a RED HOOK!"

Bartender: "I don't know what that is!"

It's only a foot away from the bartender at this point, I'm almost in shock now.

Me: pointing and waving at the tap "It's that big red tap that says RED HOOK E S B right there!"

Baretender then figures it out, pours the beer and I'm on my way to play some poker.

Later at the poker table a cocktail waitress shows up and asks what I want.

Me: "A Red Hook"

Waitress: "A Red Bull?"

Me: "No, A Red Hook" points at beer glass on table "it's a beer on tap, big red tap, RED HOOK!"

Waitress: "A Red HAWK?"

Me: "Yes!" - close enough, we'll see what we get.

She surprisingly comes back with an actual Red Hook but later when I order another Red Hook still calls it a "Red Hawk" yet again but at this point she could call it Red Square and I wouldn't care as long as they serve the right thing.

Two nights later I'm back playing poker again and I notice a different bartender and different waitresses so I'm thinking it might be better.

Waitress: "Cocktail?"

Me: "I'll take a Red Hook"

Waitress: "I don't even know what that is!"

Me: "It's a beer, 3rd tap from the left, big red tap that says RED HOOK ESB on it"

Waitress: "OK, I'll see if we have it"

See if you have it?

I can see the tap from where I'm sitting at the poker table!

OK, I wait 10 minutes and see her serving other tables, 20 minutes and still serving other tables, I figure I'm forgotten at this point so I head to the bar for self-service.

Bartender: "What can I get ya?"

Me: "A Red Hook"

Bartender: "A Real Beer drinker!"

Me: I faint at this point.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Forget Click Fraud, Fix Technical Money Loss

Must be a slow news day as we're back to beating the dead horse of Click Fraud yet again. What's interesting is that many of the very same publishers that continue to make their living using AdSense, YPN and other CPC advertising programs would continue to bang the gong of hysteria about Click Fraud and poison their own well!

Instead of dwelling on what probably can't be completely fixed, how about addressing simple real world technical issues that cause advertisers serious money loss and are 100% addressable by the CPC media companies. Not a popular theme I'll admit, as it's not trendy like scaring people into not spending their advertising money online like Click Fraud topics. However, this is probably more serious as it happens all the time, possibly more costly in the long run and perhaps even results in technical money loss mistakenly claimed as Click Fraud further fueling the current Click Fraud hysteria environment.

Let's identify how advertising money can be technically lost:

1. Advertiser's Site Offline
When a large advertiser has a service issue with their web server hundreds or thousands of dollars can be lost in as little as an hour. One medium sized customer of mine used to spend about $1500/day and had to rely on a 3rd party server monitoring system to alert him when his server was down so he could manually shut down all of his advertising accounts which were costing about $100/hour during his site's busy hours. Most likely this advertiser had lost more than $50 in dead clicks just from the time the server monitoring system had detected the problem, sent the pager alert, the advertiser actually received the pager alert and then, if not near a computer, called someone else to go disable all his CPC campaigns until the server was back online. Let's not even mention the fact that he lost sales [more money] on the flip side when the server was back online and the reverse process started getting the alarm notifying that the site was back online, getting all the CPC campaigns active again, so it's lost revenue all the way around.

2. Dead Clicks
When the connection between the visitor and the advertiser's web site isn't working due to some sort of routing problems or other technical issues we get 'Dead Clicks' which are recorded by the ad server when the ad is clicked but the visitor never actually connects to the advertiser's web site. This situation probably happens much more frequently than most imagine and once was responsible for approximately a 5% click failure on an ad campaign I was tracking during an internet stability rough patch over a single weekend.

3. Accidental Clicks
Inevitably someone always accidentally clicks on a link and hits BACK often before the advertiser's web page is ever fully displayed. Unfortunately that click was already recorded by the ad server so whether or not the visitor ever actually sees the advertiser's web page he gets charged regardless and the visitor can't click 'UNDO AD VIEW' to correct the mistake even if they were so inclined.

What's the solution to technical money loss?

The simplest solution to the 3 problems mentioned above are the conversion tracking bugs that can be installed on the landing pages of the advertiser's web site. If the conversion tracking bug doesn't report than the visitor made it to the landing page within a certain amount of time the ad server can assume the possibility of a Dead Click and not deduct that click from the advertisers campaign. However, this does open the possibility for a shady advertiser to dynamically rotate the conversion tracking bug and only insert it on 50% of the pages but that too can be easily spotted and ban the advertiser.

When multiple conversion tracking failures occur a server monitor with multiple geographical locations and a diversity of backbones could be engaged that would ping the advertiser's server. If the server monitor detects the server is completely offline from all pings then the ads could be automatically suspended and then automatically re-enabled when the server is detected as being back up. If a specific backbone is detected as not being able to connect to a server then only customers on that backbone could be filtered from seeing the ads until the issue is resolved and thus solve the localized dead clicks problem.

Last but not least, the conversion tracking bug could have an OnUnload event component that reports back the total time spent viewing a page so that accidental clicks resulting in less than perhaps a 3 second threshold of visitor time spent on a page could be detected and deducted as well.

Before someone flies off the handle, this is not to suggest that any CPC media company provide server alarm monitors that track all advertiser's servers all the time, but only those advertiser's servers that are failing to report conversion tracking in a timely manner and once the server is detected back online remove it from the server monitoring system. This should be somewhat limited in scope to address what should only affect a small percentage of all the active ad campaigns and only those with failures detected. However, maybe Google will pony up and build a nice multi-backbone alarm monitoring system and offer it freely to their advertisers ala the latest freebie Google Analytics.

Not sexy topics, but definitely serious issues swept under the rug that all have easy solutions. The problem is I'm not sure the all the local corporate giants [you know who you are] rolling up and down El Camino and highway 101 in their gold plated Ferraris really want to address these problems as it's currently free money they'd be giving back.


Let's hear 'em!

Stopping Site Scrapers with a Honeypot

Running with some ideas I got from Brett on WebmasterWorld my roque bot trap is almost complete. His completely disabling robots.txt actually gave me a great idea as the rogue bots don't bother following the robots.txt rules in the first place so I've been working on some ideas to automatically identify and block rogue bots by setting multiple types of honeypot traps in the web pages that well behaved bots will ignore.

The basic concepts I'm using to catch rogue bots and scrapers are simple:

  • Bogus pages installed with fake links for bots to follow that well behaved bots will ignore
  • Tracking frequency of page access to detect rapid downloads
  • Tracking total pages accessed in a 24 hour period to detect a volume of downloads
  • Some secret herbs and spices I won't divulge
Sadly, nosy people looking at my web source code and accessing the honeypot pages may automatically ban themselves from my server but that's just the risk curiosity may cost.

The neat thing is I don't have to put a permanent ban on the rogue bots that get trapped as they'll just fall into another honeypot when they return or switch to a different proxy server.

This should be a very interesting experiment and I'll keep you all posted after testing it for a weekend to see how effective it is - maybe I'll set up a honeypot service if this works!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

AdSense Weights Ads Displayed with Search Keywords

We discovered this little AdSense behavior of weighting ads on search keywords while checking the SERPs for a web site that obviously had AdSense on it. For some reason we decided to click a few of the links to the web pages from the various search engines and noticed that 2-3 of the ads in a skyscraper were different when clicking from a search than by directly accessing the page or from navigating to the page via site navigation. Based on our intial observations it seemed that secondary keywords using the same landing page are displaying ads weighted for that particular audience based solely on the search keyword.

Curiosity may have killed the cat but AdSense paid for his funeral so we did some testing.

How the test was done:

1 - To study this phenomena we set up a test with 2 computers so that my personal search profile wouldn't impact the results on the 2nd control computer.

2 - We chose a series of keywords to test using Google Analytics to find some top ranking search keywords that landed on the site coming from Google, MSN and Yahoo.

3- Then we performed searches on a series of terms that all went to the same landing page with a single AdSense skyscraper displaying 5 ads, in this case the home page, and clicked on links to the home page via the search page. We followed up this with directly going to the page without using a search engine to see what ads were displayed. [Later we tried deeper links as well.]

4 - We annotated what ads were being displayed coming from search keywords vs. accessing the pages direct and correlated the results.

What we discovered was that certain types of ads were displayed based on the keyword such as search for "Junior Widgets" returned a portion of the ads (2-3) as teen oriented ads compared to a search on generic "Widgets" or "Senior Widgets" or direct page navigation and the results were very reproducable over and over.

Knowing that search keywords weight ad targetting should help webmasters use a combination of Google Analytics and the new Adwords Keywords Tool to determine which search keywords are impacting their revenue and via SEO efforts enhance the more positive paying keywords to maximize the revenues of landing pages.

UPDATE - It's in the Patent!
Someone pointed me to the AdSense patents and Jenstar confirmed that she's known AdSense does this so at least I'm not imaging things! Funny I've never heard this mentioned in more than a year since I've been using AdSense and reading the forums but it's posisble that prior to using Google Analytics it just wasn't that easy to see these things going on.


After doing a bit more testing it seems that only Google, MSN and Yahoo search queries are being used by AdSense to enhance the ads displayed. The queries of other search engines like Teoma, Gigablast and Altavista appear to be ignored by AdSense.

Nick sold ThreadWatch!

What in the hell is going on?

The ringmaster of my favorite watering hole has just sold the damn place!

I need a drink.

Zen Micro Part 2 - the Software Fiasco

Now let's explore the wonderful world of Windows XP "Plug 'n Pray" technology and how to truly screw up a computer by installing new software provided with a Zen Micro.

The instructions said to install the software on the CD before plugging the Zen Micro into the USB port which seems like a reasonable thing. Little did I know that installing the software on this CD would start a cascade failure of various music programs and would kick off a chain reaction of near total destruction on my computer.

The little "Zen Micro Media Explorer" tool that I installed seemed to work fine and after uploading a few MP3s everything seemed to be operating properly as upload, synch and playback were all working.

Now, let's try to upload some "Yahoo! Music" - it flat refused to upload this "invalid" media type. Since when are WMA files INVALID MEDIA for a player designed to work with Yahoo! Music?

Well isn't this a happy load of bullshit as I specifically picked this unit as it was supposed to be compatible with Yahoo! Music and it isn't compatible out of the box. Nice little error messages, no explanations as to any solutions, Yahoo's website was pretty worthless on this topic so after rummaging around on Creative's web site I found the new driver that I had to download and upload into the Zen Micro.

More fun:

What do you mean the Zen Micro has to be reformatted and all my MP3s tossed? Ok, we're into some seriously flawed horse shit at this point that would send less tech savvy people screaming into the night but I'm dealing with it well so far. I upload the new drivers, it reformats the Zen Micro, and everything appears to be OK as I can still upload MP3s and they play.

Now for the real test - let's upload a WMA file.

No dice - we're getting a new error attempting to upload those WMA files, something about media types, licensing servers, all sorts of new errors.

Oh joy.

Well hell, let's just play some music on my computer and chill out while I'm reading up to see what's wrong now. Wait, no music is playing on my computer, oh no, oh HELL NO! At this point both Yahoo! Music and Windows Media Player appear to have completely lost the ability of playing any and all WMA files as they no longer appear to be able to connect to license servers or any other damn thing let alone upload the files to the Zen Micro. Clicking PLAY on any WMA file on my computer now results in a list of songs flying up the screen at lightning speed as each one is just skipped as 'unlicensed'. I can still download from Yahoo! Music but that's about all it can do at this point as it's otherwise totally dead in the water.

It's now very obvious something on my computer has had it's head fly up it's own ass in a very bad way, so let's try the first line of defense after a new Plug 'n Pray installation and reboot the computer.

Still doesn't work.

Let's trying reading the Creative and Yahoo! Music sites for any clues.

No Dice.

How about Googling for others with this problem?

No Dice in the top 300 results on my queries so I give up this route.

OK, it appears we're in uncharted territory, everything has went to shit, I'm getting frustrated and whiny after messing with this crap for a few hours now for a "Quick and Simple" [BULLSHIT!] installation.

As a last resort before taking the Zen Micro into the backyard and smashing it to bits with a hammer I decide to re-install both the Windows Media Player and Yahoo! Music from scratch and miraculously that seems to resolve the issue so those wankers at Creative obviously installed something that whacked my system.

Now we can upload WMA files and play them on my computer once again, all is well.

Or is it?

Using Yahoo! Music I uploaded a bunch of files just to see if Y! Music interface worked and that seemed to work OK with the exception it only shows you Y! Music files and nothing else so it's too limited for my real world needs.

Next I gave the Creative Media Source Organizer a test to see if it was worth using and it did upload all my music files but the user interface [aka pathetic] could use a lot of work so I abandoned this path quickly.

Last but not least, the Windows Media Player seems to be the best in breed of the 3 I tried and it can upload and synch all my music quite nicely.

Now it's time to examine the actual files on the Zen and see what I've got uploaded.

Holy Crap!

I seem to have a bunch of duplicate files all over the Zen Micro as those 3 tools all seem to have different ideas on how to name the files copied over to the Zen and used up a ton of space with dupes. Fucking fantastic as now I have to wipe it clean ONE MORE TIME and upload everything from scratch again just to get rid of the dupes.

Speaking of dupes, I feel duped throughout this whole process as my supposedly easy to use Zen went from a simple CD installation and USB Plug 'n Pray to a complex technical support nightmare of near biblical proportions.

Miraculously it all worked in the end but I seriously wonder if I just hit a random speed bump others haven't encountered or if there are thousands of unsuspecting consumers out there banging their heads on a malfunctioning computer after following these simple instructions?

Who knows, maybe I'm just the lucky one!

The ZEN of MP3 Players

My lovely wife bought me a Zen Touch for my 45th birthday last week [now you know how old I am, isn't that special] as she wanted me to have a nice 40GB music player but all that is 40GB does not glitter. I was so excited when I unwrapped it until I turned on the Zen Touch and the backlit display was so dim I could barely read it which happens when your eyes go to hell after 40 but I digress as this is about Zen.

The Zen Touch was a bit hefty too, kind of like my wife's iPod classic which could probably be used to fend off attackers in a pinch. The next problem I noticed was how the A/C power adapter had to be plugged into the back of the USB cable so you had to have TWO cables connected to this stupid box just to recharge it?

OK, this Zen Touch gets stupid design of the year award being a bulky dim backlit hydra so this thing must go back to Worst Buy [Best Buy to some] and be exchanged ASAP.

So we run to Worst Buy with the intent to 'trade up' to the new Zen Touch Photo which wifey assumed would be easier to read with that bright color display. Well, it was definitely color but not so bright either, a little brighter but too dim for my tastes even after tinkering with the contrast and color display options. These people over at Creative Labs should take a page from the cell phone companies and punch up the brightness on the display but that would make too much sense as who over 40 needs to see what they're doing? Obviously the Stridex generation is their demographic and not an old fart like me but I'm digressing again.

Anyhow, their loss, not mine as I found a much smaller [and cheaper] unit called the Zen Micro that had a better backlit display easier to read, 5GB storage, recharged off the USB port of the computer and therefore only had one cable. Seems to have good battery life as my first excursion with it was a cross-country flight from San Francisco to Miami and I used it in Florida several more hours before charging it for the return trip, very nice.

Now the ugly - getting used to the Zen's hypersensitive controls as this thing is more sensitive to the touch than a virgin on prom night. You can barely pick up the Zen without accidentally changing what it's doing so you inevitably pause, skip, switch modes or something every time you grab the unit. They were wise to install a "control lock" switch on the top or either I'd be in the loony bin or this thing would be in the trash bin by now.

The other thing that makes me bats with this thing is the scroll control is also the select button so trying to scroll and pick a song frequently ends up accidentally picking the wrong song. Not too bad as I'm getting used to it but this thing would be helped with a 'SELECT' button like the iPod has.

In the 'My God What a Complainer' department I have another grievance to file which is that you really can't charge this Zen thing and use it to play music at the same time unless you disable all the auto-synch software as it otherwise goes into auto-synch download mode [aka the Zen trance] the minute you plug it into the USB port to charge it.

Guess what?

Yes, there's MORE to this story as all hell broke loose when I installed the Zen software which almost made me throw the Zen thru the wall and issue a fatwa on Yahoo! Music but you'll have to wait for the second installment to find out all the gory details.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

AA - American Airlines or Al Anon? You Decide...

Well the bucketheads at American Airlines have really topped the charts in the "stupid airline food for $5" category today on a flight I took from Miami to San Francisco.

Me: "Alex, I'll take 'Stupid Airline Food' for $400 please."

Alex Trebeck: "Name the sandwich that has raisin bread, cream cheese and ham"


Me: "What is a Ham and Cheese sandwich designed by a drunken airline employee?"


Alex: "You are correct!"

What kind of moron thinks your average joe flier is going to shell out $5 for some whacked out shit sandwich like this? The only other alternative is the $5 "snack box" full of gerbil food.

Well American Airlines you can take your idiotic sandwich and shove it up a flight attendants ass 'cause I'm not buying it.

Monday, November 28, 2005

FireFox Referrals kills CTR?

BillyS on WebmasterWorld said that his CTR (Click Thru Rate for you noobs) went in the crapper after installing the AdSense FireFox Referral buttons all over their site which in turn made smart pricing engage and drive their income straight down the crapper. Makes perfect sense to me as most people are afraid of switching browsers or simply don't want to or they'd already have FireFox so this is just a PR stunt and a financial boondoggle for one poor webmaster that got suckered into the Google hype.

Obviously I don't know if that chain of events that lowered his income was triggered by the FireFox Referral button but it seems possible and I sure wouldn't be surprised if that was the case and if so, Google should just be ashamed of themselves by combining this PR stunt into someones global CTR in AdSense.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

AdSense Off Topic Ads are Income Killers

Here we go again as the AdSense ads showing on my web site are very targetted and usually perform very well but some schmuck launching a new meta-search (yeah, we need another one of those) seems to be either site targetting or keyword targetting and he's raising hell with my earnings today.

Banning a few bad ads wouldn't be so terrible except:

a) Google takes up to 4 hours to stop showing them which can cost a busy site hundreds of dollars before the ban takes effect

b) The Google Preview tool does't seem to show Site Targetted ads as any time I run it the ads I'm looking for don't seem to show up, maybe there's another reason but Google isn't telling.

c) The Google Preview tool doesn't help streamline blocking ads, only figuring out the domain name to block, it's a time consuming process designed to piss off publishers IMO

It would be nice if the AdSense team got off their ass and fixed this problem as you can damn well believe that if the ad is killing my income then Google isn't getting paid either but that logic seems to skip right over their overly educated heads.

AdSense Preview Tool for FireFox?

I'm wondering why Google didn't first make an AdSense preview tool for FireFox before paying AdSense people a whole $1 referral fee just to get people to download and install the damn thing. On one hand Google wants to unseat Internet Explorer as the dominant browser yet are still behind the curve putting all their technical resources behind it.

Come on Google, get with the program, shit or get off the pot!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Google's Expired SSL Certificate

When I went to the AdSense support page today I got a warning popping up about being a valid certificate that expired on 3/6/2004 2:53 PM.

Gee Google, I'm sure you have enough money to buy a new SSL cert and not recycle year old expired certs.

Now I can't reproduce it, figures.

Holy Crap, it's WAL-MART!

I'm not sure if AdWords can target specific web pages vs. a whole domain when you site target but it looks like I have a single web page that's being site targetted by Wal-Mart. Whenever you load this page it keeps displaying this large Wal-Mart banner, just unbelievable as demographics for this page appear to be trailer trash!

Track AdSense clicks in Google Analytics

Aaron Wall of SEOBOOK has a cool script posted that will track AdSense clicks from both Internet Explorer and Firefox and report them in Google Analytics. No good deed goes unpunished as everyone immediately started begging for patches to make the script run on YPN.

What's next?

"Aaron, can you make it work with Chitika minimalls?"

Blogs Made For AdSense Hysteria

Well the villagers are up in arms and are heading to Blogger brandishing their pitchforks and torches claiming that Blogger is the root of all MFAs (Made for AdSense) which is some pretty narrow minded hysterical thinking.

The problem isn't Blogger or even that Google has made it easy to incorporate AdSense into your account, the problem is that lazy greedy people will use whatever means possible to get as much money as possible and the Blogger/AdSense combination just happens to be an easy way for the less technical people to access low hanging fruit for FREE.

If AdSense wanted a better reputation they wouldn't permit AdSense ads on any free web service of any sort which tends to attract people looking for webmaster welfare but Google wants just as much money as everyone else so all bets are off.

The premise of the webmaster welfare crowd is to, as Dire Straits put it, "Get your money for nothin’" as they don't believe in paying for a damn thing but expect something for nothing. Thanks to contextual advertising programs like AdSense some of them are being quite successful and that seems to irritate webmasters that actually attempt to provide a valuable service to earn the same money.

Let's face it, there are two approaches to making income with Adsense. The first is hard work to provide a valuable service that pays off in the long run. The second is to use the shotgun approach to blanket the web with little crappy sites designed just to snare clicks on the ads as people scramble to flee the site. While the complaints of the so-called legitimate webmasters can be appreciated there's also the possibility it's sour grapes talking as they didn't think of it first.

To spam or not to spam, to make for AdSense or not to make for AdSense, who cares!

Boys and girls it's a game of economics and if the MFA sites didn't work the advertisers would block the sites, smart pricing would drop their earnings per click to $0.01 each, and Google would ban the sites but that's apparently not happening so the incentive to keep cranking MFA sites is as strong as ever..

Money talks, deal with it.