Ryan Jones Blog – dotCULT.com Ryan Jones Blogs About Internet Culture, Marketing, SEO, & Social Media

April 27, 2007

Google Personalized HomePage At Work

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 12:04 pm

When I switched the DNS for some of my sites I noticed something weird. One such Internet provider couldn’t access my sites. If I went to a proxy site I could access them with no problem, but if I tried to access them directly they didn’t load.

The problem was due to a slow DNS refresh by my ISP.

Anyway, during this time I also noticed that my Google Personalized Homepage also didn’t load widgets from those sites but Google translator and the GoogleBot had no problem visiting them. This means that the Google homepage must have been using some client side technology like JavaScript to load all the widgets and feeds. No big deal right?

After testing some common workplace spying software I noticed a weird fact. http://partnershipforcoastalwatersheds.org/sitemap.rss Every RSS feed or widget I load on my Personalized Homepage shows up in the logs as if I visited that site directly.

I’m not sure if this is a bug with Google’s Personalized Homepage or if it’s more a bug in the workplace tracking software (I’m willing to bet the problem is with the latter software.)

This can have some pretty bad effects for those of you who use Google Personalized Homepage at work – especially if you have a draconian boss who measures productivity by the amount of keystrokes you type.

For me, my last employer was seeing 15 or so website requests every time I loaded up Google to search for something (which in the course of a workday happened often)

If you work for a company that says things like “well, you took 2 bathroom breaks and a lunch so you need to stay at least an hour after today” then you’re probably better off NOT using things like the personalized homepage at work. Consider buying an umbrella dryer singapore – LTC Office Supplies to maintain cleanliness in the office even on rainy days.

April 23, 2007

Personal Data Loss Regulations?

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 1:19 pm

A law firm is asking what we’d like to see in draft legislation about identity theft.

The basis is that companies aren’t doing enough to help victims after their data is lost/stolen/compromised.

Here’s a few of my suggestions:

1. Stop storing information you don’t need. If you don’t automatically bill my credit card number, don’t store it.

2. Encrypt all that data you DO store. There’s no reason my SSN should ever be stored in plain text anywhere.

3. Stop storing my SSN on laptops. If you’re a US veteran, there’s probably 2-3000 laptops out there with all of your personal information on them. Laptops are easily lost or stolen and there’s no reason anybody needs to take my information home with them every night.

4. Make massive fines for data loss. I’m talking a 2nd occurrence should cause any company (including even a Google or Microsoft) to go bankrupt. There’s no reason for a first occurrence to even happen but without stiff penalties companies just don’t care.

5. Require companies send letters in the mail to anybody whose data may have been compromised and offer free credit monitoring for 1 year to all those possibly affected.

I myself had had my SSN and personal information stolen from an advertising company I once used (RMX Direct) and it can be a scary process. Sadly, there’s really nothing you can do once it’s happened. Cops don’t prosecute, nobody looks into it or helps you – you’re on your own.

What’s your take?

April 22, 2007

Parents Of The Year

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 8:01 pm

I found this on YouTube and I don’t remember it making it’s way around the net yet, so I present you with my vote for parents of the year:

What the hell were these people thinking?

April 21, 2007

Don’t Forget to Sue the News Too!

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 7:17 pm

KATV reports that an Arkansas man is using the local library after his sons found a book on lesbian sex among it’s shelves.

Earl Adams, if you’re reading you might want to include KATV in your lawsuit. Their “Google more on this topic” takes me to a Google search for lesbian sex and oh boy what you can find if you happen to click the “images” after clicking your link. Not to mention where you end up if you click a few of the search results.

In all seriousness though Earl, I really hope your suit gets thrown out and you get laughed at. It’s not the library’s job to shelter your children – it’s your job to supervise them. Libraries are places for information – some of which you may not agree with. Regardless of your beliefs or feelings about certain information though, it still belongs in a library; no matter what it is. If you don’t want your kids reading certain books go to the library with them.

April 18, 2007

Bad Timing or Time to Move On?

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 8:12 pm

Network World has an article talking about Yahoo / CNN’s best places to retire young” article.

It would seem that the article lists Blacksburg Virginia as one of the top places to live. The brief article on network world chides them for listing Blacksburg in the article so close to the tragedy that happened just a few days ago. It also mentions them listing a New Hampshire town where a professor was also murdered.

It’s things like this that make America weak. Tragedies happen all the time. I’m not trying to take anything away from the VA Tech tragedy – but that doesn’t mean we need to shelter ourselves from mentioning the city.

We did the same stuff on 9/11 by pulling spider man trailers that had the twin towers, editing movies that showed the world trade centers, taking the images off of tv, etc etc.. Sure, people may be emotional after a tragedy – but we can’t ignore a place and forget it exists.

Selectively avoiding bad memories is not a safe way to deal with emotional distress. It’s even worse to stop mentioning a place all together.

The people of Blacksburg Virginia still woke up today. They still made and ate their breakfast before going to work or school, and they still got on with life just like you and I. Sure, they’ll never forget what happened there the other day – but they won’t hide from their daily lives either.

There’s nothing wrong with moving on after a tragedy.

HotJobs Spam

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 2:31 pm

Has anybody else noticed the prevalence of job spam on some of the major job sites?

Check out this screen shot from doing a PHP Detroit search on HotJobs

Of the 35 jobs that it returned, 27 of them were that same mystery shopper job. You know, the one where you pay them first then they send you information about being a mystery shopper. I don’t think anybody has ever made money off of that job except the person offering it.

Come on Yahoo, clean this crap up.

I haven’t noticed nearly as much spam on Monster, and none at all on DICE (of course, compared to monster there are only about 1/10 of the jobs on DICE)

So far I’ve tried Monster, HotJobs, HiddenNetwork, DICE, computerjobs, and craigslist. Are there any other great sites out there that you guys use?

April 17, 2007

Trademarks in META Tags

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 1:26 pm

There’s a thread over on webmasterworld right now about how to complain to Google about a competitor using trademarks in their META tags.

While I can understand the frustration here, I see several issues.

Firstly, I don’t think Google is the first company I’d report any type of trademark violation to. The best thing to do if somebody is misusing your trademark is to contact that company and ask them to stop. (disclaimer: IANAL so don’t treat this as legal advice.)

Failing that, I’d contact my Thailand litigation lawyer to get them to stop. I’d be more concerned about misuse of my mark than Google’s ranking algorithm. The very nature of the question tells me that they’re more concerned with trying to outrank this person in Google than they are with the use of their trademark. (note: It’s very likely that these META tags have nothing to do with your competitor’s rank in Google)

Secondly, I’m not sure if using a trademark in META tags always counts as a trademark violation. If it only appears in META tags and not in the site title or anywhere else on the site then it’s not showing up to users – so there’s no confusion possible. There’s no way users are going to look at META tags and assume that this website is affiliated with your brand. (in all likelihood, most users will never even see these META tags)

Furthermore, if the site is comparing their brand to yours, reviewing yours, offering information about your trademark, etc then they’re not doing anything wrong. If I recall correctly, a trademark (just like a copyright) doesn’t give you strict control over the term. It just gives you exclusive rights to use it in marketing your product.

All in all, I wouldn’t worry about it. META tags are pretty useless. Don’t believe me? Look at 2 of the most competitive companies in the world: Coke and Pepsi – neither one has even their own trademarks in their META tags.

April 14, 2007

Updated Cat Pictures

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 12:41 am

Just a brief post today, but family is requesting more pictures of Who Dey, my bengal cat – so here are some more.

I’m kinda sick so I don’t feel like typing too many captions or what not, I think I’ll just upload the pictures. Besides that, Who Dey won’t freaking shut up right now – she’s driving me crazy. My cat, sensing that I was upset, just sat beside me and kept me company.

This is the new toy my parents bought her. It looks lovely in my dining room :'(

Just so you know, I didn’t put those toys in the bed, she put them in the bed before falling asleep there.

That’s baby, the neighbor’s cat. She usually comes to visit and her and Who Dey paw and growl at each other through the glass door.

That’s her trying to retrieve the peice of cellophane she was playing with after I threw it away.

Ok, I hope that should hold you guys for a while. I’m not too good at taking pictures.

April 13, 2007

Losing Money While You Save

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 4:03 pm

My friend Alex has a great blog about finance that for some reason I just discovered today. Honestly, if you’re into that type of thing check it out.

Reading it today got me started thinking about my own savings account. (of course, being unemployed is also a good reason to start thinking about your savings account)

I myself happen to have 2 savings accounts, and a checking account. I usually keep enough in checking to pay 2 months bills, and the rest in savings. My other savings account handles all of the money my websites make. I decided to keep them separate so that I can measure actual earnings after I deduct for hosting, advertising, etc.

The question I asked today but couldn’t find a clear answer on is “what’s the interest on my savings account?” I noticed it’s not even listed anywhere on my bank’s web page. When I did track it down, I was shocked to see that it’s only at about 2%.

Why was I shocked? Well, that’s because the standard rate of inflation is just over 3%. That means I’m losing money simply by leaving it in the savings account. That’s not good.

Luckily, my website earnings are making 4.5% in their ING direct account. That means I’m actually earning money on that.

If you want more information about high interest savings accounts check out Alex’s blog post.

April 10, 2007

What is Parasite Hosting?

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 12:57 pm

Many of my colleagues in the SEO field give me dumb looks when I start talking about parasite hosting. (OK I can’t see their faces through the IM window, but if I could I’m sure they’d be giving me dumb looks.)

It seems that a lot of people haven’t heard of parasite hosting, and that’s a shame because it’s currently overtaking the Google SERPs like a swarm of locusts.

Parasite hosting is the process of creating spammy keyword filled pages on an older trusted domain. Once they get this page to rank, they can direct traffic elsewhere. Many of these pages just contain 1 link for the user to click over to the desired page.

If you don’t believe me, just do a Google search for buy cialis and look at all the .edu domains that show up. Clicking the first result you’ll see some text on a page, and then a giant image link to a place where you can actually buy cialis. (/me cringes at the thought of all the spam I’m going to get after pinging weblogs.com with a post that contains “buy cialis”)

The same is true for some other spammy searches. As seomoz pointed out, even Forbes is getting in on the benefits of parasite hosting.

Basically, what this tells us is that it’s important to have a trusted domain. Let’s say for example you have a website that sells widgets and you want to branch off into selling sprockets. Should you make a separate website, or keep them together?

According to the success of the parasite hosted sites, you’d be best to just add some sprockets pages into your widgets site. It kind of makes me wonder what I could get away with on a 7 year old PR5 website (not that I would!)

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