BuzzRanking

December 4th, 2006

BuzzRanking.com is a not yet released service which promises to track the blogosphere and the buzz around it. Here is the blog entry translated from French to English announcing the upcoming service. In addition the creators do have an information page about the bot, which can be found here.

Host: 213.251.187.124
/robots.txt
Http Code: 200 Date: Dec 02 12:36:18 Http Version: HTTP/1.0 Size in Bytes: 6702
Referer: -
Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; BuzzRankingBot/1.0; +http://www.buzzrankingbot.com/)

[tags]BuzzRanking, BuzzRankingBot, Robots, Crawlers, Spiders, Blogosphere [/tags]

Rutgers (a little bit of) Heartbreak

December 3rd, 2006

West Virginia 41 - Rutgers 39. Triple overtime. There was a bit of heartbreak as Rutgers couldn’t seem to muster just enough to seal the deal. The kids did really well, coming off of their best season ever in the history of Rutgers Football.

I noticed that Rutgers let the ball move way too much. Also, just looking at the West Virginia offense as compared to the Rutgers defense - the West Virginia guys are brutes. While Rutgers is fast, I think we need a few brutes.

Good game. And the upside is most definitely going to another bowl game this year. There is always next year for the BCS.

Also, just a factoid: I was driving around Southeastern PA during the early part of the game, and I passed by a local sports bar with all of their TV screens showing the game. As an alumni, I was a bit awed by that.

[tags]Rutgers, Rutgers Football [/tags]

SEO cagefight - Real Estate Marketing Guide SERP

December 2nd, 2006

Recently I came across two Web sites - one a blog and the other a product page with real estate marketing products and I thought it would be interesting to take a look at how two different Web sites are doing SEO.

First, what I did to compare them was to take a look at a keyword combination where I could both find them on Google (because you should be able to find real estate marketers via Google, right?). So I used the keywords “real estate marketing guide” to see how each site would rank in the returned SERP.

-The Future of Real Estate Marketing blog appeared first in the “real estate marketing guide” SERP. What’s interesting, aside from the fact that it’s a blog, was that if you take a close look at the Google SERP, the keywords “real estate marketing” are highlighted in both the blog title and the blog URL. This goes to show how important keywords in your page titles and your URLs are to high SEO ranking.

Other SEO best practices that The Future of Real Estate Marketing does includes image alt tags, meta description and keywords (although the practice of including meta keywords isn’t a high priority) and plenty of copy content on the blog’s front page.

-The ArmingYourFarming.com product page appeared 5th in the Google SERP. Which isn’t bad for a page displaying products, in this case real estate marketing guides for sale. To see why the page appeared 5th, let’s go take a look at the the Google cache for the products page.

What is making the page not show higher in the SERP includes the fact that the URL does not have any real estate marketing guide keywords in it. While the page title says “Real Estate Marketing Guides” and image alt tags exist in the page source, there are no meta description tags. In addition, for a product page, while the page has keywords, it doesn’t seem that the page has enough copy with related terms or synonyms. In addition, a recently identified Google practice is the importance of immediate text on either side of the link anchor text - basically, Google judges the context of your links.

Now you may be thinking that The Future of Real Estate Marketing Blog probably has many more incoming links to it than ArmingYourFarming. Not really. Using the link: command in Google, The Future of Real Estate Marketing blog has around 540 incoming links and ArmingYourFarming has over 1300.

To summarize, I think that keywords in the URL and page title and well written descriptive copy with keywords, keyword synonyms and descriptive anchor link text are very important in SEO practices today.

MetaEuro Blog Crawler

December 1st, 2006

A search engine I suppose that is targeted towards, well, Europe, MetaEuro also has a blog directory. I daresay that the blog directory is even better styled than the plan jane search interface. I haven’t personally seen a referrer from MetaEuro, but the MetaEuro blog crawler visited cleverhack a few days ago.

Host: 85.91.136.210
/feed/
Http Code: 200 Date: Nov 29 09:53:01 Http Version: HTTP/1.1 Size in Bytes: 27088
Referer: -

Agent: MetaEuro.com Blog Crawler (http://www.metaeuro.com/blogs/) Java/0.3.2

[tags]Robots, Crawlers, Spiders, Web, metaeuro, metaeuro blog search [/tags]

mktg ethics

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

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]

Read the rest of this entry »

IlseBot

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

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

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

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

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

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]