HubSpot Webcrawler

November 23rd, 2015

Apparently, SMB Internet Marketing services firm HubSpot has a webcrawler. This bot hit cleverhack over the weekend, crawling multiple pages of the site from 6 different IP addresses within the 54.174.#.# IP block (HubSpot AWS-HUBSPOT (NET-54-174-56-0-1) -, which is HubSpot using Amazon Web Services.

HubSpot Webcrawler

Yes we can bounce email from

November 20th, 2015

Up until somewhat recently, Mac OS X had the handy feature of being able to manually bounce email. Technically, the mail bounces with a new header created, but still.

There are the email bounce instructions from Lechnyr.

First, we need to add the ability to bounce email back into OS X’s program. To accomplish this:

  1. Run the Automator program, located in your /Applications folder.
  2. When prompted to choose a type for your document, select Service and click the Choose button. You’ll now have a window that you can drag and drop various actions in to.
  3. Using the drop down menus at the top, make certain to indicate that the service receives no input in the Mail application.
  4. Drag Get Selected Mail Items into the workflow window.
  5. Next, drag Run AppleScript into the workflow window.
  6. Enter in some code (below) and save the workflow with a meaningful name such as, Bounce Message.

Here’s the AppleScript to copy and paste into the Automator workflow.

on run {input, parameters}
tell application "Mail"
repeat with eachMessage in input
bounce eachMessage
delete eachMessage
end repeat
end tell
end run

After you’ve saved the workflow, you’ll see this in your menu. And yes, it does work in OS X Yosemite.

Bounce Workflow in menu

Are 2015 E-Commerce Sales Slowing?

November 19th, 2015

There’s been some rumblings in the news lately that e-commerce - especially for traditional retailers - is in a slowdown. Witness the following headlines…

Target’s Digital Sales Slowdown Disappoints Investors - Forbes

Target, Wal-Mart See Online Sales Growth Ebb in Ominous Sign - Bloomberg

Macy’s and Nordstrom Struggle to Adapt to Changing Retail Trends - 24/7 Wall Street

Weak sales trend hits Dick’s Sporting Goods - Chain Store Age

So why are these traditional retailers having problems? The economy going soft? Buyers willing to use no-name or smaller e-commerce sites? The ubiquity of Amazon? Google traffic directed elsewhere?

Schrödinger’s Cat Email Marketing

November 10th, 2015

If you’re a Web-based service which requires your users to log in to unsubscribe or to change email preferences, I think you deserve your place in the spam folder.

Even moreso when your service fails to send password reset emails due to email deliverability issues and you require users to log in to use your Web site’s help functionality.


Adbeat bot

September 7th, 2015

Some Web bots are cool, others not so much.

If you take a look at the screenshot below, this adbeat bot (a competitive research tool for online advertisers) hit 108 pages on cleverhack in nearly 40 minutes. Hrm…

Not cool bot, not cool

Google Page Speed Insights

August 30th, 2015

As we all — or at least SEOs and Web Developers –know by now, Google uses site speed as a factor in their ranking algorithm because in theory, a faster loading site is more useful.

This is a user agent for Google Page Speed Insights (at least Google announces the intention in the description). Also, of note, this instance of the crawler was not part of a manual request but instead part of a quasi-regular crawl.

Http Code: 200 Date: Aug 30 09:47:41
Http Version: HTTP/1.1
Size in Bytes: 14300
Referer: -
Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko; Google Page Speed Insights) Chrome/27.0.1453 Safari/537.36

Time goes by

August 24th, 2015

Upon the news that Rutgers University is spending millions on cyber security.

I’ll just sit here on my (virtual) rocking chair and muse about the fact that about 20 years ago, abuse of the the Unix ‘wall’ command caused minor havoc on, especially during heavy use in the evening.

And yes, the ability to use ‘wall’ was quickly removed by the admins.

Carry on.

Chrome Error Message

June 18th, 2015

Below is a screenshot of the error message Chrome provides when a Web site refuses to load because there is no needed redirect from the non-www to the needed www version.

A) Why doesn’t Chrome automatically try to redirect like modern Firefox does?

B) Not like anyone but a Web developer would even recognize what DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN even means.

C) Yeah, I know the fault is technically on the Webmaster’s side on this one, but still, a browser should try to correct.

Chrome Error Message

iOS Sharing without an App

February 15th, 2015

Not too long ago, a few of us on Twitter mused about getting rid of certain social media apps on our phones. They’re a distraction or they promote unhealthy habits.

One Twitter user mused about the effects of losing such apps. What about pictures on your phone.

As it turns out, iOS 8 has an unintended feature with the new Share Sheets sharing extensions. Here’s an article about how Share Sheets work. An unintended side effect is that once an app is installed and customizes the Share Sheet, you can delete the app and the sharing function still works. (At least for Facebook.)

Here’s how a Facebook-less iOS install “shares” to an app.

1) First, select a picture from your photo roll.
A picture on my photo roll, yet it is black.

2) Then, choose the picture by selecting the checkmark at the lower right hand corner.
Selecting a photo to share in iOS 8

3) Finally, in the Share Sheet, select the app you want to send the picture to.
Select the app where you want to share your image

4) Done.

tl;dr If there is an app icon in the iOS Share Sheet, you can share an image to that app even if the app is not currently installed on your phone.

Google + LinkedIn = Sales Intelligence

February 3rd, 2015

One of my favorite sales operations hacks is using Google as a search engine for LinkedIn. There’s a few good use cases for this type of profile search, including prospect or competitive business research or even social media verification — especially if the searcher typically allows their name and headline to be seen in the “Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile” section.

For this exercise, it is best to use a browser where you are *not* logged into LinkedIn.

The basic LinkedIn query I use on Google is: “First Name” City

For a deeper search, you can also use full or partial secondary keywords such as “Last Name”, “Title”, “Company”, “School”, “Company Description or Industry”. (The more information you know about a person, the easier it is to find their public LinkedIn profile.) Example queries:

“David” “Chicago”

“Joy” “Philadelphia” Internet

“Obama” “Washington” Government

As you know, quotation marks are important in Google searches as you’re searching on a particular word or phrase.

Bonus Tip: If you’re going to share a profile URL with others, the best bet is to share the public URL in the Google result. (See highlighted example below.)

Google Search Snippet for LinkedIn Public Profile

Why share the public profile URL? Because LinkedIn personalizes the experience for each user - not only via purchased service tiers but also by the relationship (or degrees of relationship) you have with someone. Therefore, if you share a URL from within the service, your end user may (or may not) be able to see the profile.

Do you have any good LinkedIn search hacks to share?

Quick Image Creation Hack On A Mac

January 31st, 2015

It’s a cold Saturday morning, and my friend, noted author, volunteer firefighter and techno aesthete John Sundman posted the following Twitter query.

Ah ha! A question with an answer I stumbled on a few days ago.

To make a quick image, like a banner, out of similarly sized images on a recent Mac, here’s a quick hack.

1) Determine the size of your image. For the purposes of this exercise, let’s use 600 x 200px.

2) Open up a blank page in whatever easy text editing program you prefer. Myself, I prefer Taco HTML Edit.
Empty Taco HTML Edtor Window

3) In the text editing program, take a screenshot (CMD + SHIFT + 4) of an image in a size roughly approximate to your desired image size.

4) Rename the blank screenshot to something easy to remember. Perhaps, mybanner.png.
Renaming To My Banner

5) Open the blank screenshot (mybanner.png) in

6) Resize the blank screenshot to your desired image size (Tools > Adjust Size), in this case 600 x 200px. Save your resized image.
Resizing the Banner in

7) Open the other images you wish to work with in, edit them as desired, and Copy + Paste the images into your blank screenshot (mybanner.png).

8) Continue editing and don’t forget to save your work! 3rd Party URL Referrer Real Talk

January 21st, 2015

So yesterday, just before the State of the Union speech, a poorly detailed story was released about how is sharing visitor data with various 3rd party services.

What is happening is that uses a quick and dirty parameter search (age, zip code, certain status) for the initial search for health insurance plans. That URL with the personalized parameters can be passed as a referrer URL to the external services (analytics, testing, image serving, etc.) the Web site uses.

I looked at last night and saw the same behavior. As a long time online marketer, I can confirm this behavior is NOT unique to and THIS URL REFERRING BEHAVIOR CAN AND DOES happen elsewhere on nearly every modern Web site. In fact, I’ve written about it extensively on this very site.

Aside from the status parameters used in the particular site search, any webmaster can see what you searched for on a Web site site, and what your IP address is and other client information. 3rd Party Services as of January 20 2015
Full Size View

Where the pearl clutching should happen (Note to journalists: There are places to look *hint* *hint*) as there are some legitimate questions as to why certain 3rd party services are being used on the site or why the search is executed the way it is and/or URL parameters aren’t obscured (I’d have to think the site creators were afraid of a site performance hit on the latter).

Update: A few days after the brouhaha, started obscuring the URL parameters. As of this writing, Zip Code is still intact in the URL, but your IP address gives webmasters that information anyway. Here’s a screenshot of the new URL.

healthcaregov obscured url