Lunacy Unleashed

Notes from the field in the War on Spam

I spotted some Bad Behavior

People ask me about making money from AdSense all the time. While I usually will offer little tips and tricks that I’ve learned along the way, one thing I want to make sure that new AdSense publishers know is what NOT to do.

The number one thing that you should NOT do is STEAL OTHER PEOPLE’S CONTENT. Yes, I know the guy who sold you the video or the eBook said it was okay. Guess what, he has your $97 bucks, and you’re about five minutes away from being up shit creek without a paddle, as you lose your web hosting, your domain names, and most importantly, your AdSense account, all because you ripped someone off.

If I catch you stealing my content, your ass is grass. (This obviously doesn’t apply if I gave you permission to use it.)

This content was stolen from Michael Hampton.

Copyright © 2006 Michael Hampton. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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September 19, 2006 Posted by | AdSense, Advertising, Bad Behavior, Blog Spam, Google, Link Farm, Personal, Spam, Splog | 2 Comments

I spotted some Bad Behavior

People ask me about making money from AdSense all the time. While I usually will offer little tips and tricks that I’ve learned along the way, one thing I want to make sure that new AdSense publishers know is what NOT to do.

The number one thing that you should NOT do is STEAL OTHER PEOPLE’S CONTENT. Yes, I know the guy who sold you the video or the eBook said it was okay. Guess what, he has your $97 bucks, and you’re about five minutes away from being up shit creek without a paddle, as you lose your web hosting, your domain names, and most importantly, your AdSense account, all because you ripped someone off.

If I catch you stealing my content, your ass is grass. (This obviously doesn’t apply if I gave you permission to use it.)

This content was stolen from Michael Hampton.

Copyright © 2006 Michael Hampton. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

September 19, 2006 Posted by | AdSense, Advertising, Bad Behavior, Blog Spam, Google, Link Farm, Personal, Spam, Splog | 2 Comments

Making money from AdSense?

People ask me about making money from AdSense all the time. While I usually will offer little tips and tricks that I’ve learned along the way, one thing I want to make sure that new AdSense publishers know is what NOT to do.

The number one thing that you should NOT do is STEAL OTHER PEOPLE’S CONTENT. Yes, I know the guy who sold you the video or the eBook said it was okay. Guess what, he has your $97 bucks, and you’re about five minutes away from being up shit creek without a paddle, as you lose your web hosting, your domain names, and most importantly, your AdSense account, all because you ripped someone off.

If I catch you stealing my content, your ass is grass. (This obviously doesn’t apply if I gave you permission to use it.)

This content was stolen from Michael Hampton.

Copyright © 2006 Michael Hampton. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

May 18, 2006 Posted by | AdSense, Advertising, Bad Behavior, Blogging, Google, Spam, Splog, WordPress | 5 Comments

Gmail becomes annoying

Google’s Gmail service just pissed me off.

As you’re probably aware if you have Gmail, Google just added several new features to Gmail, primarily among them the ability to carry on live chats with other Gmail users, right from within Gmail. One of the other features they added at the same time, however, is the one which is driving me nuts.

Everytime you place the mouse over a message in the listing, this box pops up.

Annoying Gmail Popup Box

And it’s driving me insane. I don’t want to add them to my contacts, mail them or invite them to chat! I want this box GONE! And there’s no option to turn it off.

February 14, 2006 Posted by | Gmail, Google | 7 Comments

AdSense on WordPress 2.0

If you’re upgrading to WordPress 2.0 and use Google AdSense, there is something very important you need to know to ensure you continue to get well-targeted ads, and that Google doesn’t suspend your account for program violations.

One of the new features in WordPress 2.0 is a live post preview. If you scroll to the bottom of the page while editing a post, you’ll see a live preview of how your page will look once it’s published. This is a very nice addition to WordPress, but for AdSense publishers, and those using other context-targeted ad networks, it presents a serious problem.

When the post preview is rendered, it will try to fetch your Google ads!

And because the post hasn’t been published yet, when Google’s bot tries to crawl the page a few seconds later, it will receive a 404 error.

The best case scenario for this is that some of you (who don’t use permalinks) will receive very poorly targeted ads for up to two weeks after you publish your post.

And the worst case scenario, since Google prohibits displaying ads on 404 pages, is that you could get your account suspended.

WordPress 2.0 does provide a solution, though; it’s the new is_preview template tag. This new tag tells whether the post is being displayed in the post preview section while it’s being edited.

So all you need to do is to add in a check for this into your template code wherever you have placed AdSense, and the problem will be solved. Just add this code around your AdSense code:

<?php if (!is_preview()): ?>
// Paste your AdSense code here //
<?php endif; ?>

This way, the post preview will not try to show Google ads, and they will only be shown once your post is published. This will keep your AdSense account safe and your ads well-targeted.

Update: It’s come to my attention that is_preview() may be broken. If you find that’s the case, submit a bug report and post the ticket number in the comments below so we can track it.

Update: I’ve tested is_preview() and it seems to be working just fine. Like other template tags, it only works inside the loop, though.

Update: Since people frequently place ads outside the loop, there needs to be a way to test for this outside the loop. The following workaround worked for me:

<?php global $wp_query; if (!$wp_query->is_preview): ?>
// Paste your AdSense code here //
<?php endif; ?>

Update: Ticket 2188 is open for is_preview() acting strangely.

December 27, 2005 Posted by | AdSense, Advertising, Google, WordPress, WordPress 2.0 | 40 Comments

Google Analytics restricts new sign-ups

After Google started offering its Google Analytics service for free early last week, so many people signed up that even Google, who has thousands of servers, was caught off-guard.

Today they’ve emailed everyone this special notice:

Hello Google Analytics User,

This is a quick update to address some issues you may be seeing in your Google Analytics account and what we’re doing to respond.

First, due to extremely high demand, we’ve temporarily limited the number of new signups as we increase capacity. This allows us to focus on our primary objective–to provide a great user
experience for our existing users.

Next, here is current information on the most common questions we’re receiving:

  1. The ‘Check Status’ button is being reworked to check for properly installed tracking code. This should be fixed by the end of November.
  2. The ‘+Add Profile’ link has been temporarily removed until we increase capacity. We’ll alert all current users when the feature is restored.
  3. While we increase capacity, you may see longer than normal delays in data showing up in your reports. All data continues to be collected and no data has been lost.

For additional help with your Google Analytics account, we encourage you to browse or search our online Help Center at http://www.google.com/support/analytics?hl=en.

Thanks for your patience as we improve Google Analytics and add resources to ensure a high-quality service.

Sincerely,

The Google Analytics Team

It’s about time they informed everyone what was going on. Something like this should have been sent out last week.

November 24, 2005 Posted by | Google, Google Analytics, WordPress.com | 2 Comments

Google Analytics sure is taking its time

I set up Google Analytics back on Monday when it was announced, but as of Friday have yet to see any data come in.

Obviously the announcement that the service would be free generated a lot of interest, and they seem to be backed up. But notices posted there (and since removed) indicated everybody should have data by now.

So I e-mailed them to find out what was going on, and got this response:

Hello,

Thank you for your email. I understand that you have some concerns about data not appearing in your account. I’d like to give you an overview about the problems you may be experiencing:

– The “Check Status” feature is currently not accurate. If you added the code to your pages correctly, then we are collecting data. You can make sure by seeing if your site has set “_utm” cookies in your browser.

Yes, I’ve got the cookies, so that part seems to be OK.

– If your reports aren’t currently populated, they will be as soon as the next processing run is complete. We process every 24 hours.

So, basically, wait another day is what you’re telling me.

– You may see some reports within a profile before others. We’re populating reports like this to get you as much information as soon as we can. If you see this, rest assured that all applicable reports will show data soon.

Well, I am not seeing any reports at all yet, so we’ll see what happens.

– Once we catch up with the data for your account, you’ll see new reports every 24 hours.

That remains to be seen.

For additional questions, please visit the Analytics Help Center at http://www.google.com/support/analytics. If you’re unable to find an answer to your question on our site, please feel free to reply to this email.

Sincerely,

Bo
Analytics Support

*************************
Share your knowledge and learn from others at the Google Analytics Help forum: http://www.google.com/analytics/analyticshelp
*************************

So far I’m not impressed with Google’s apparent inability to predict a massive spike in demand and have the capacity to meet it. They’ve been doing this for years, and should be able to figure out things like this.

Once they do finally get the thing working, maybe I’ll post an actual review of Google Analytics, and be able to do something useful with it, which was the whole point in the first place.

Update: After Google (virtually everything they have) ran quite slowly or was down for several hours, I now have data! Through Thursday, anyway. Now to see what this thing can do.

November 18, 2005 Posted by | Google, Google Analytics | 3 Comments

Want a link farm? How about some spam?

The following bit of spam arrived on my contact form last night. Nothing has been changed, because the guilty don’t need protecting here.

Jill wrote:
I have an offer for your business if you’re interested in increasing revenues each month. I’ll cut right to the chase. We’re looking for 1 of 2 things. Or both:

1. Allow us to place targeted advertising on your existing website. We would share any advertising revenues with you at an agreed upon percentage. We’re masters of online advertising, so we can probably unlock new cash flow for you that might have otherwise never been tapped.

2. Allow us to set up around 10 subdomains or subfolders off of your website–for example: http://www.subdomain.YOURURL.com OR http://www.YOURURL.com/subfolder These would contain sites we control and be on a variety of topics. You would have to switch the DNS info for these new subdomains over to one of our servers so that we can make changes to these sites. For this we would pay you a monthly fee that we both feel is fair.

Anyways, if you could get back to me as soon as possible it would be appreciated. We would like to make this a win/win situation! I Hope to hear from you soon!

Jill

jill@masterlinkservice.com

p.s. I do not want to waste any of your time. If you’re not interested please just delete the message and I will not contact you again. I feel the offer is a win/win however and that we can make lots of money together!

p.p.s. I hope to hear from you soon!

Website:
IP: 142.161.37.169

For the unfamiliar, I’ll explain these two ideas in some depth.

The first one sounds like a typical advertising campaign you might see on a blog, such as AdSense or BlogAds. Only this one is bound to contain ads you don’t want on your site, like online casinos or erectile dysfunction drugs. In the case of this company, I’m going to guess home improvement loans, based on some domains I caught this company involved with.

The second one is absolutely something you should never, ever do if you want to be found in a search engine. Companies which get control of a portion of your domain space in this way will typically do one or both of two things:

  1. They’ll post “free” articles on various topics, which also happen to be rather boilerplate, and appear at various other domains across the Internet. One example I caught this company doing involves http://www.homeloaninfobox.com and http://www.homeinus.com which contain exactly the same content, word-for-word. Search engines catch on to this sort of trick and lower both sites in their results.
  2. The more evil possibility is that of a link farm, pages with dozens or hundreds of links to various other sites, which contain dozens or hundreds of links to the same sites. Spammers want sites outside their own sites to link to them, so as to increase their legitimacy, and decrease the chance that their link farm will be caught. Google delists entire domains that it finds involved in link farms, and this is definitely not something you want to happen to you. It happened to Matt Mullenweg of WordPress. He thought it was a good idea at the time, but it turned out to be anything but.

There are good ways to make money on your blog, and there are bad ways. Those are two very bad ways.

October 18, 2005 Posted by | AdSense, Advertising, Blog Spam, Google, Link Farm, Spam, WordPress | 1 Comment

Google Desktop can’t read RSS feeds with Bad Behavior installed

Due to a bug in Google Desktop, Bad Behavior is blocking access to it when it tries to download users’ RSS feeds. I’ve sent a message to Google (though I don’t really expect much to happen) and I’ll see if I can have a workaround in place shortly.

Affected users will see “Web Clip Error: Unknown error” in the Google Desktop.

FeedBurner users who use the FeedBurner .htaccess redirects are not affected by this issue. (And since I’m one of them, I never noticed.)

I have a ticket [#32426362] from Google for this issue. If you are seeing this, you can contact desktop-feedback@google.com and place the ticket number, with the brackets, in the subject line, and let them know you are adversely affected by this issue. Also run the program located at http://desktop.google.com/DiagnoseGoogleDesktop.exe and include the diagnostic output that it gives in your message.

August 25, 2005 Posted by | Bad Behavior, Google | 4 Comments