Archive for November, 2006

mktg ethics

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

I had a good giggle from this quote… Source

There’s definitely something about marketing that makes people check out of their ethics.

It’s defintely interesting to work in a field where one can seemingly violate people so, from the practitioner’s point of view, innocently and easily.

[tags]Marketing, Internet Wisdom [/tags]

Co.mments

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

Co.mments.com bills itself as a service which “helps you stay on top of the conversation by keeping you updated of new comments.” Basically, you bookmark comment threads you want to monitor. I haven’t used the service myself, but a reader of mine does, so maybe he will chime in with a (har har) comment about his experiences with it.

The one neat Co.mments feature which I like is the ability to track your bookmarked comments via a RSS feed.

Host: 64.34.192.12

/2006/11/27/explicit-gmail-referrer/

Http Code: 200 Date: Nov 29 18:28:29 Http Version: HTTP/1.1 Size in Bytes: 18764

Referer: -

Agent: CommentTracker/1.0 (http://co.mments.com)

[tags]Co.mments, blog comments, social bookmarking, social bookmarking service, RSS feed, Web 2.0 [/tags]

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IlseBot

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

It never fails to amaze me observing how the Web grows.

IlseBot is a crawler belonging to what I think is a Dutch Web portal called Ilse.nl. The crawler came to my blog, I believe because the particular post it crawled was linked to by a Dutch blogger. Ilsebot was very polite and only crawled the linked post.

Host: 62.69.178.24
/robots.txt
Http Code: 200 Date: Nov 29 04:44:03 Http Version: HTTP/1.1 Size in Bytes: 6702
Referer: -
Agent: IlseBot/1.0

/2006/11/26/kind-of-neat-stuff/
Http Code: 200 Date: Nov 29 04:44:04 Http Version: HTTP/1.1 Size in Bytes: 5728
Referer: -
Agent: IlseBot/1.0

[tags]Robots, Crawlers, Spiders, Web, Ilse.nl, IlseBot [/tags]

Newshutch

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

Yet another Web based RSS reader, but I really, really like this one called Newshutch. Newshutch provides another option for those looking for the perfect newsreader. While Newshutch isn’t quite perfect yet, it could be there soon.

What I really like about Newshutch is the the look and feel of the site. The colors and fonts that used are readable and not in a light color on light color, a design mistake that I see on too many Web 2.0 sites these days. Another feature I like about Newshutch is that when you hit your user page for the first time, there is a large box with clear and concise user instructions (including instructions on how to add Newshutch to Firefox and how to add your OPML feed). In addition, what makes Newshutch stand out is that when there’s that momentary pause of pulling an RSS feed, the page does not move or wobble or look like the DNS is not resolving. This is accomplished by pulling your userpage first, then pulling the subscribed RSS feeds. These guys are in the right direction as far as usability.

What these guys could improve on is that the front page is underwhelming and doesn’t sell the service at all. Very little text, lots of images. They could probably take the features and screenshots page and use that for the front page. Also, a really minor gripe in that the “Add Newshutch to Your blog” code was hidden on the development blog. That is something which should be available on the service itself.

As for design, Newshutch is using XHTML Transitional with CSS and the underlying platform looks to be AJAX and, according to their blog, some Ruby on Rails on Linux. I’m not a programmer, but I am wondering if some of that Javascript could be optimized. The navigation on the site is displayed simply, at the top of each page, in two groups - a left navigation tab group and a right content box that changes within context (for example, it will show each newsfeed individually).

In closing, I like the execution of ideas and the look and feel of Newshutch. Let’s hope the project continues and provides some much needed savvy competition in the online RSS newsreader category.

Add Cleverhack RSS to Newshutch

[tags] Newshutch, RSS, RSS feeds, RSS Newsreader, RSS Aggregator, Online Newsreader [/tags]

Explicit Gmail referrer

Monday, November 27th, 2006

Recently, I had a visitor who clicked through a link in an email he/she received via Gmail. That isn’t so unusual, what was unusual was that the referrer read like this…

http://mail.google.com/mail/?account_id=username%40gmail.com

And thereby the visitor’s Gmail address was shared with me, merely by the visitor clicking through an email link. Normally, Gmail referrers look something like the example below (and yes, other Web mail providers - Yahoo Mail, AIM, MSN, etc. have similarly obscured referrers.)

https://mail.google.com/mail/?auth=somereallylongalphanumericstring

I suspect that the visitor was reading his/her Gmail through something other than an official Gmail client, but I don’t know what.

[tags]Gmail, referrer, Web mail [/tags]

Like, don’t do that

Sunday, November 26th, 2006

Well, the one thing I wanted to do today with the blog was to update WordPress. I have Web hosting which largely allows me to run free and all that, so I don’t have WordPress automatically updating. So, anyway, after taking a look see at the online WordPress upgrade docs, I thought I may try to take the easy way out by just making backups of the WordPress files I’ve edited and use an upgrade script provided by my host which would backup the rest of the files and install the new version of WordPress.

Uh, yeah, let’s just say that didn’t work. The upgrade script timed out twice and in the process I exceeded my hosting disk quota. At that point, I had my wonderful hosting company support involved and in the ensuing hours, there were a few restores made from last night backups, some account maintenance performed which I should have done a while ago, and for a little while my email didn’t work. And after that was fixed, the blog was throwing errors presumably because the script resumed upgrading. Oops.

At this point, everything has been restored, but I haven’t yet upgraded like I had originally hoped. Apparently, I will have to do that manually.

Competitio.us

Sunday, November 26th, 2006

So, I get this unknown to me referrer this morning from a Web site called Competitio.us and I just had to check it out. Competitio.us is another brand tracking Web site service currently in beta. From what I could gather on the Web site, you (as a brand or project manager) sign up for the service and then set up Competitio.us to monitor news and traffic statistics about your…competition. Get it?

As for design, Competitio.us is using XHTML Transitional and their markup looks pretty clean. The underlying technology platform appears to be Ruby on Rails on Linux. Their color scheme and font choices just work. I’m going to give them bonus points for minimizing the use of images on their public pages and their harnessing of the H1 and H2 tags. I think their front page looks really good in terms of how much copy they’ve integrated, although they’re not currently not showing on Google for “competitor research” a term I’d think they’d want to show for. They may want to look at the keywords in their copy and maybe introduce some link anchor text with those keywords. In addition, their images are not alt tagged. The title tag on their pages could use some keywords, along with the fact there are no meta description tags.

As for “hacking” Competitio.us, even with the referrer information I have, I cannot view how or why my blog is being tracked. The referrer only links to this blog’s main URL. For giggles, I even signed up for a Competitio.us account, and tried the URL in the referrer, and only saw an ugly Application error (Rails) message - someone at Competitio.us may want to redirect a request like that to a page with information - so one cannot see URLs not associated with their account.

Host: [User’s IP Address]
/
Http Code: 200 Date: Nov 26 10:52:58 Http Version: HTTP/1.1 Size in Bytes: 15447
Referer: http://competitio.us/project/5217/competitor/23433
Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.8.1) Gecko/20061010 Firefox/2.0

[tags]Competitio.us, ruby on rails, competitor research, competitor tracking, Web 2.0 [/tags]

Kind of neat stuff

Sunday, November 26th, 2006

A few neat things, in no particular order…

-Musicovery is an in beta Flash based Web site that finds music for you based on your mood. The idea is kind of neat, and of course when I was trying it out, it pulled up some electronica for me. No big surprise there. For the site to be really usable though, it has to respond faster to user clicks.

-The Amazon Xbox post from Thursday was submitted to Reddit, a social bookmarking site. The submission never quite made it to the front page, but it hung around the second page for 8 hours or so. It brought about 1200 extra visitors on a very slow Thanksgiving. It seems that Reddit works by evaluating not only the number of votes, but the rate of voting, as more positive votes in a shorter amount of time should get you ranked higher and possibly to the front page.

-TopTen Sources seems to be a human edited new media aggregator type of Web site. I’m not sure about the quality of the overall site, but my Black Friday/Cyber Monday post was linked to.

[tags]Musicovery, Reddit, TopTen Sources [/tags]

Elements of Web 2.0 Design

Friday, November 24th, 2006

The Visual Design of Web 2.0 discusses some aspects of Web 2.0 design and how these aspects are implemented.

[tags]Web 2.0, Web Design, rounded corners, bright colors [/tags]

Eleventh Cleverhack Podcast

Thursday, November 23rd, 2006

Woo hoo, the Eleventh Cleverhack Podcast is here. Don’t get all excited or anything like that. This podcast covers such subjects as what’s been going on around here these past few months, my work is also my hobby (or the other way around), sessions I enjoyed at Ad:Tech, some new Web 2.0 sites including Blubrry, foneshow, meebo and twitter.

Get cleverhack podcasts on your cell phone!
Just enter your cell phone number here

[tags]Podcast, Podcasting, Ad:Tech, Web 2.0, Blubrry, foneshow, meebo, twitter [/tags]

Listen Now:


icon for podpress  Eleventh Cleverhack Podcast [22:16m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Amazon.com DDoS’ed by Customers Vote Winner

Thursday, November 23rd, 2006

In case you were hoping to take advantage of the Amazon Customers Vote deal for a $100 Xbox 360 on Thanksgiving, Amazon.com was reportedly not reachable from least 2-2:15pm EST (11am-11:15am PST). Presumably, the traffic caused by the $100 Xbox seekers was simply too much.

Some people are complaining that they couldn’t even load the Amazon homepage…I tried to around 2:10 EST and couldn’t get a response from the Web server.

Update: There are over 500 comments in a thread on the Amazon Customers Vote Forum with disgruntled customers chiming in, in addition to other blogs which have noted the outage. Plenty of people are not happy and some are filing Better Business Bureau complaints.

[tags]Amazon, Customers Vote, e-commerce, ecommerce, online retailing [/tags]

Happy Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 23rd, 2006

Enjoy the holiday. My motto this year: I’m not cooking.