301 Redirect – Apache

I would consider this one of the first steps that you should take when establishing a new web site. If you are searching for “301 redirect” you probably already know why. Here is a simple .htaccess file that you can use to do the redirect.  You will also find this referred to as a “mod rewrite”

  1. Create a new file in your favorite editing program. Notepad is an easy choice.
  2. Paste the following:
    Options +FollowSymLinks
    RewriteEngine on
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^yoursitenamehere.com [NC]
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.yoursitenamehere.com/$1 [L,R=301]
  3. Save the file as .htaccess
  4. Upload to your server
  5. Test by going to yoursitenamehere.com. This should redirect you to the URL www.yoursitenamehere.co
  6. Check the server header response to be safe. Should return “HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently”

If you are using a web design program like Dreamweaver, it might tell you that it can’t find a valid editor for this extension (it doesn’t have one). Simply right click on the file and select “open using Dreamweaver”. You can also open/edit, in notepad.

If you are on a windows host, you can view the following method to handle an ISAPI rewrite using IIS.

MSFT Buying YHOO? Maybe

The rumors are flying… Again. If you follow the market, or the search space, you have heard this one before. I own shares in YHOO and because of that, I think that it is a great idea. On the business side? I am not inspired.

I don’t think that consolidation is needed in this space. At least not at this level. I am still a big fan of Yahoo Search Marketing (formerly Overture).

For people doing SEM and PPC (one in the same in most views) MSN coming along was something that was cheered by most. Finally another player who is significant enough to gain distribution and allow us another market to compete in. Well, it didn’t exactly turn out that way. When MSN Adcenter was finally live, I was very excited. With the reach of MSN through the various properties, I felt certain that they could challenge Yahoo for the number 2 spot in the PPC world. Not the case. In fact, it has been rather disappointing. You can achieve some nice results with Adcenter advertising, but the scale just isn’t there.

Well, what does Microsoft do? What does Yahoo do? Does a marriage make sense?

For shareholders in Yahoo (YHOO) this does make sense. For users… we shall see. I picture a post acquisition Yahoo with many of their parts being shut down.

What I think of most when I think of this possible combination is “what a free email behemoth this is”.

Microsoft Gets Socially Vertical

Microsoft is getting into social networking in a vertical way. It is funny because I came across details on this story while listening to a complaint from a partner who is looking for a new web store solution due to the closing of that product at BCentral. The new offering is Microsoft Dynamics Live. They are beginning with a vertical targeted at finance professionals.

“We’ve been thinking for a while about, is there a desire or a need for communities where businesspeople can connect, not on technology issues, but on business issues,” said Craig Dewar, director of community marketing for Microsoft.

Microsoft dynamics live beta Hearing that Microsoft is jumping into this space is both exciting and frustrating. It is exciting because it creates a new arena to play in. There are ways to use the social networks to your companies advantage and to a clients advantage. The fact that they are creating different verticals should add to the ability to create some benefit for your site or a client site thanks to theme of the vertical. What works today? Links. Ah wait, targeted links. A vertical social=Many targeted links. Perhaps.

This could fall by the wayside like many Microsoft ventures. It is amazing how many areas they jump into with a “me too” product. This is the trouble that many companies face. Especially one the size of Microsoft who needs to see significant upside to even think about it.

I just wish MSFT would find a way to tie new offerings to older products.

Do their products and offerings fail to reach their full potential in part because we are concerned that they will be discontinued or left to fade away (Case in point: bcentral.com).

The bottom line is this. Use the services to your advantage. Work them while you can and be ready if there is good value there. Don’t become too dependent on something that might go away in the future.

BTW: Can’t they just roll something out without announcing it before it is ready? It doesn’t even have a name yet. I know that it is a BETA, but come on. At least name it.

Another BTW: When did MSFT start putting a search bar in the header of the free web sites and domains that they offer through live.com? Fine, if you tell me that going in (maybe they did, I didn’t really read the TOS. Don’t tell), but adding it down the road is a bit bold.

Google Rumor

There are a number of sites chattering about Google buying up ad spots from the satellite TV companies and reselling the ad space.

In an effort to extend its growing advertising empire to television, Google has already started a pilot project in Concord, Calif. to deliver ads to cable television subscribers, it was revealed in yesterday’s WSJ. (source: VentureBeat.com)

As an online advertiser, what are your thoughts? Good idea? Bad idea? My feeling… If the concept makes sense for our company and our clients, anything is worth testing.

Who will be using the service?
Do TV ads work for the “I need it to work now” crowd?


Is a whole new era upon us where there will be more measurement, tracking, and accountability with respect to TV ads? Perhaps. My guess is that is what Google is after. Traditional networks probably don’t want this to happen and don’t need this to happen. They can sell their space now by using the current ratings metrics.

How many people feel that ad rates on TV are too high?  Am I going to start seeing ads for Meso and PI Lawyers?

When will Google start start distributing advertising in my local movie theatre?  Don’t laugh, I mean it.

Don’t skip this advertisement!

Are you running ads on other sites? Flash based ads with hot zones in part of the ad? Are you paying based on the number of clicks and not CPM or CPA? Well, you better be sure that your designer designed your Flash banner/advertisement properly. If not, one little mistake could be costing you. Or not.

Check out this ad that I came across while using a calculator at Bankrate.com. Click on the image below to view the entire screen shot, but what I want you to focus on is the “Skip advertisement” in the ad. There is a “skip advertisement” link on the interstitial page, but the one within the ad is not active. The ad is Flash based and should have that section mapped to the “skip” link/code for the site where it is showing. In this case, you click on the “Skip advertisement” link and you end up at the advertisers site.

Bankrate skip, or not

Was this an accident? Done on purpose? Who knows. Why would you do either?

Scenario 1:

Well, if you are the advertiser who is running this campaignm, and it is a PPC campaign, you certainly wouldn’t want to pay for visitors who simply wanted to ‘skip’ the ad. If this is the case, you are to blame, your programmer is to blame, your designer is to blame, and your QA (quality assurance) is to blame. Take your pick. There is fault in all of those areas. If those four people were in the boardroom on The Apprentice, I would expect that the QA person would be gone.

Scenario 2:

This is a CPM or CPA campaign and because of that you want as many clicks as possible.

scrollbarIf 1 out of 300 of the accidental clicks converts, you have 1 customer that you wouldn’t have had before. As the advertiser, you are happy. It is an “oops” that you could explain off very easily. No one is likely to call you on it, but if they do, you could explain it off. Perhaps this is today’s version of the ads that confused enought to generate a click through. I haven’t seen them used in a while, but I am sure that we all remember the “Windows like” navigation used within display or banner ads (ie: the phony scroller to the left). It generated a click through, a poor quality one, but a click through none the less.

In this scenario, the site where the ad resides tends to look bad.  A little less professional and perhaps even a little underhanded.   The user experience isn’t where it should be.

I would love to see the logs from this page to get a gauge on how many people clicked expecting to reach their desired page (in this case a mortgage calculator) and then clicked back only to try it again.  John Marshall once told me that behavior means that you aren’t answering a question or providing the anticipated result for that URL.  Right on in this case.  On purpose?  Perhaps.

Open Your Eyes .. Shoemoney

Open your eyes, thanks to Shoemoney.

Shoemoney put together a nice feed from a number of webmaster marketplace forums. As of this writing he has included SitePoint, Digitalpoint, Webmaster-talk, and DNforums. Most of what you will find for sale are domains and sites, but you will find some added stuff from time to time (scripts and such). I love viewing this stuff to get a handle on where values are falling, but even more than that, it can help to clue you in on what is happening now.

Viewing the marketplace feed will help you open your eyes to what is working now. You will find some designers who crank out site after site in whatever niche is working now, get some revenue and traffic (or not), and post it for a quick sale. For example, I have never worked in a corporate environment and didn’t realize how well some of these proxy sites do. Whenever I heard proxy, I assumed that click fraud was part of the discussion. Call me naiive, but I really didn’t realize that employers were blocking so many of the social networking sites. A proxy allows you through the wall. Ok, so you knew that, I didn’t.

Some of the sites that come up for sale offer tools, scripts, and/or databases that I have overpaid for in the past. Open your eyes. The webmaster marketplace is a quick read, it is fun viewing, it will keep you tuned in to what is happening now and

To top it off, the pricing is kept in check. We have all seen the silly numbers tossed around at some of the domain sale sites, or on Ebay. The people participating in these forums seem to have a good idea what their stuff is worth. The listiungs that are out of line are brought back to reality by the members pretty quickly.

Props to Shoemoney.  Way to go Shoe, you are starting to get pub like the Gossip Gangsta’

Google Video with Matt Cutts

It is nice to revisit Google from time to time to look at some of the things in the lab and to view some of the API’s that are available.

Google offers this really simple video search control wizard that provides you some nice cut and paste code that you can include on your site. If you want to get fancy with it, you could dynamically pass keywords from your blog post and provide a little added widget for the visitor. With the wizard, you can pass your own keyword list and output a list of videos that match your list. I wanted to keep the list on a topic that people in the SEO world would like. What better person to view than Matt Cutts.
Continue reading Google Video with Matt Cutts

Yahoo Pipes Pisses Me Off

Are you like me? Do you get upset every time the veil of technology is lifted and a once difficult (or tedious) process becomes easier for the masses? It must be some sort of character flaw, but it really disappoints me and sometimes it even pisses me off.

I will probably file this one more under disappointed than pissed off.

It used to be a little more difficult to grab feeds from other sites, parse them out, and spit out the data as usefull information that just happened to help your site rank well in the search engines. Yahoo Pipes makes much of this easier. Maybe it makes my job easier and I can focus on a new level of control over the data and content. Pull it all together and spit it out with a better mousetrap. We shall see. My hunch is that it will help the webmaster who doesn’t have a great deal of coding experience but wants to put up another worthless MFA (made for Adsense) site.

Please note, I am not calling MFA sites worthless. I am categorizing the expected result of easy feed integration and expecting many people to attempt to enter the game with worthless sites. A scrape, an rss, post site and make money, right? “That is what the eBook that I bought on Ebay said.”

Who will adopt and use Yahoo Pipes? Will it be the masses or users of myYahoo? Will it be the blog community (this could be the big market)? Will it be coders and SEO’s who now find that their job becomes easier?

Were you one of the many who weren’t able to use Pipes in the first couple of day? It must be very difficult to gauge the demand for a new product like this. As a developer on the inside of a company the size of YHOO, it must be daunting to learn that your product will end up on the Yahoo home page. Is there a way to gauge the level of traffic that will come. How about the amount of traffic that you can anticipate from all of the press. It has been so long since Yahoo was out in front and not introducing an “also ran” product that they might have forgotten what comes of it.

On the business front, and an owner of some YHOO stock, I was surprised to see Yahoo get out in front on a new tool. This is great news and perhaps an attempt by Terry Semel to rule with less of an iron fist and start listening to the developers rather than the marketers. Who knows. Semel is not exactly on firm footing at Yahoo. He needs to shake things up and I hope that this is the first of many announcements and products. Even if they piss me off!

PS: Is Pipes crashing Firefox for anyone else?