rspca

So anyone who knows me knows I hate email.. I even had an email from someone who spammed this blog recently who (and I’m not making this up) complained that having had second thoughts, he couldn’t delete his spam comment.

I probably should publish those emails at some stage, but some dopey prick promoting Sri Lankan dating isn’t all that interesting in the big picture of things.

What is interesting is when a company using the RSPCA name asks you to remove a link to help their SEO ranking with Google.

I’ll note in advance: it’s not the RSPCA direct, but the company they use (and use their name, so guilt by association) to sell insurance.

Here’s the fun first email, cut and pasted into pure text…because you know Google loves that shit, particularly when they’re looking for folks who are trying to game their Google ranking 😉

RSPCA WebMaster rspcawebmaster@hollard.com.au
4 Feb (8 days ago)

Hi,

We have recently received a notification from Google stating that our website has unnatural links pointing towards it. This has negatively impacted our search engine rankings and as a result, we are trying to tidy things up. Our website url is www.rspcapetinsurance.org.au, which is part of the Hollard Australia Group.

We have found links pointing to our website from the following pages:

http://www.4aus.com/6330/free-pet-insurance-information-pack/

We appreciate this is inconvenient and isn’t a reflection on your website at all, but if you are able to remove the links, we would really appreciate it and would be very grateful.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Hollard Financial Services
P: 02 9253 6600
F: 02 9253 6699
58 Norwest Blvd?Bella Vista NSW 2153 Australia
www.hollard.com.au
www.rspcapetinsurance.org.au
Team Spirited | Results Driven | Customer Focused

 

Damn, an insurance company representing the RSPCA (be it that they are a kill shelter, another post, another day) is wanting me to help them game Google by removing an actual link to an actual offer they have up… because they reckon falsely that it’s bad for their Google ranking. Well fuck me 🙂

But wait…here’s today’s email (12/2)

Hi,

We would like to follow up on the link removal request we sent you last week.

We appreciate your time is important and so apologise for any inconvenience.

If you could please take a moment to remove the links as requested in the email below we would be extremely grateful.

If you have already removed the links and emailed us about it, then we thank you for your cooperation and please ignore this email.

If you have any questions please just reply to this email and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Otherwise we look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

Hollard Financial Services
P: 02 9253 6600
F: 02 9253 6699
58 Norwest Blvd?Bella Vista NSW 2153 Australia
www.hollard.com.au
www.rspcapetinsurance.org.au
Team Spirited | Results Driven | Customer Focused?

Dear RSPCA, do you as an organisation support Google manipulation and fraud?

Decent question given your associated company is running around trying to game their Google results using your name.

Food for thought 🙂

Thailand is often referred to as the “Land of Smiles” but surprisingly many people have a pre-conceived notion of the country, particularly if they haven’t been there.

Here’s 3 common myths about Thailand which are completely BS.

1. Thailand is all about sex tourism


This comes to mind in terms of the myth
One of the most common myths is that people only go to Thailand for sex tourism. Sure, there are areas in Bangkok for example that are “red light” so to speak, but the reality is that Thailand as a whole is conservative.

The big difference with Thailand vs many other places is where the sex industry exists, it’s often (but not always) more out in the open in selected areas vs hidden as is the case in most Western countries.

I’ve read (honestly) that Pattaya, and small parts of Bangkok (Patpong etc..) have all of this “entertainment,” and from the pics I’ve seen (research I promise 😉 ) they do. But while other places in Thailand may have small red light districts, it’s all small in perspective…as Bangkok is: BKK is a town of 12 million people, the red light stuff is <0.1%.

The most I’ve seen is Khao San Road (KSR,) the famed back packer street (also in a Cold Chisel song) and I’ve got to tell you that it’s very not happening…hell, Kings Cross in Sydney was 10x more in your face.

In Chiang Mai the only reason I knew it existed is that I was going to the Night Bizarre one night and stopped at an average looking bar for a beer, and this “lady” asked me if I wanted anything more. All I wanted to do was drink my beer 🙂

2: You don’t know if a “woman is a woman” in Thailand, might be a “ladyboy”

kathoey
I wouldn’t think twice.

First time I went to Thailand I just thought I’d see ladyboys (Katheoy) everywhere. I’ve seen less than fingers I have on one hand, and even then I’m guessing because it was always a maybe, such as a receptionist at a guest house I stayed at, a very very tall woman I saw in the Sunday walking street in Chiang Mai.

Note that I mean no offence to transgendered people in using the term, it’s a post about what people think about.

There are, by all reports, a some what significant number of Kathoey in Thailand, but if you visit you’re not about to end up in bed with a Kathoey “accidentally.”

The best thing about Thailand is (perhaps because of the Buddhist side) that people just accept people for who they are, and Kathoey are just part of the general population, often without any issues, or (this is the important part) identification.

3. Every one is out to scam you

tuktuk
OK, so I can’t get the locals rate, but you can negotiate them down
I’ve read some forums where people have been scammed in Thailand, and it does happen everywhere…god, start at 90% of the hotels in Australia for starters.

The reality is that most Thai people are seriously honest… as in they use a calculator to add up your bill at a restaurant to make sure you’re charged the right amount…vs say somewhere like Indonesia where you can’t even walk into a local version of a 7-Eleven without them trying to rip you off (I spent 3 weeks in Bali..never again.)

Thai’s have got to be the most honest people I’ve ever met, 99% of the time. Yes, watch out for the tuk tuk scams and a small number of others (try to get a Bangkok cab to use the meter is impossible, despite the fact it’s a legal requirement posted in print on the OUTSIDE of the cab) but really, as South East Asian countries go, Thailand is great in terms of honesty, and you’re just as likely to be ripped off in Australia.

 

 

reset

Before I start, let me say that the following comes with a warning: I’m not a lifestyle guru, nor am I a life coach, any sort of guru, or any of the god knows how many sites who are promising you the world based on an idea.

But here’s the catch: I have an idea.

The following should be taken with not a grain of salt, but with about a dozen bags of it, because like way to many people blogging theses days, I’m not an expert just because I have an idea that may or not be good.

That aside.

In the new year I’m hitting the reset button on my life.

I’ve had some amazing experiences, successes, but I’ve also had some fucking tragic awful failures, be it mostly in my personal life.

Yay, I can build a website up. Nooo I fail at relationships, although I can survive them from anywhere to 3 months through to 9 years (with most <2 years.)

A friend (and I wish I could remember who) once said to me that you will only be ready for a relationship when you are comfortable with living by yourself.

After nearly 10 years of marriage the whole concept sounded wrong. The thought that I could live alone was wrong, and after the separation then divorce all I did was try to fill my life with someone else.

I’m not suggesting that anyone reading this can’t, or shouldn’t have someone in their life, but it’s an interesting point: “you are only ready for a relationship when you can live with yourself” (I know that’s not what I wrote above, but in each instance, it’s words to that affect.)

I can live with myself now. Actually, at this point in my life, I’m quite happy doing so. It only took 38 years 🙂

I’m currently planning to move back to Chiang Mai, where I spent roughly 4 out of the last 6 months in. I love the place, but I’m not using this post to explain why, I’ll save that for another post.

The moral/ idea of this post/ story is that you can be happy alone (with salt 🙂 ) I know it’s hard and hell it took me years to accept it but as I write this I know that I’m going to be far more happy alone than I will be in a relationship (and that’s putting aside the BS I’ve dealt with.)

I only wish I could remember who told me about being happy alone so I could credit them.

I’ve been there, done that, and if you are going through any relationship issues, or alone issues, know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and you can be happy alone.

I’m not going to open up a call centre here but if you want to talk about your probs, or ping my brain: duncan at nichenet.com.au Happy to talk.

But again, as per the heading: the reset button is coming. I hope to get back in Chiang Mai ASAP and come January 1st I’m pressing that button.

(insert guru stuff here) YOU CAN DO THAT 😀

OK so I’m taking the piss now but seriously, I am, and if anyone reading this has had any doubts, you can as well.

 

I need to be more selfish

October 25, 2013 — 3 Comments

selfish-1

 

One of the biggest failings in my life, personally, in business and even in a gig, is that I’ve been way to trusting.

The reality is that over and over again I get screwed for being so trusting.

I should theoretically be in Melbourne as I write this; I’m not. I’m in Chiang Mai.

I’d paid to go home to Melbourne but got bailed on at the 11th hour. So be it.

But I can say it’s not the first time I’ve been deceived either. Sort of the story of my life.

I’d booked to see a Stephen Fry and Kevin Smith maybe 3-4 years ago..and go bailed on in the end…I still went though 🙂

There’s more behind that, but I won’t carry on.

But I will say this: never trust a woman when it comes to promises, even if you are married.

 

 

XXXVIII

September 4, 2013 — 1 Comment

2013-09-02 21.03.17

“… and the sea will grant each man new hope, as sleep brings dreams of home.”

XXXVIII

and greetings from Kuala Lumpur.

problogger

I honestly didn’t wake up a week ago and decide to take shots at my former business partner Darren Rowse: we can/ do disagree on a range of things (in a good way..indeed I valued him as a business partner way back then, working through different ideas is the BEST way to get the BEST out of your business ) but I have to take umbrage with another of his posts.

No offense (I know that’s cliched) but honestly Darren, none meant.

This post: How Much Content Should I Have Ready to Go When I Launch a Blog? and it’s recommendations are…well, let’s just say I disagree 😉

To tl;dr his post, Darren recommends that you have 3-5 posts published, 5-10 posts ready to publish and 20+ blog post ideas “brainstormed.”

Sorry, but seriously this is balls.

Here’s my comment on the post (with one typo fixed) and explanation to follow:

Sorry Darren to disagree again but 3-5 doesn’t go close.

But that given, depends on your launch strategy.

If you simply launch with no publicity, no contacting people, PR etc yeah 3-5 is all very well and good.

But lets pretend that you can actually get decent attention with your launch…I know you certainly could. People come in (in a spike, be it small/M/L) to check out your new site.

Do you really want to present them 3-5 posts or 20 or even 100 posts that highlight the full range of topics/ subtopics you want to cover?

The key with ANY good launch is like catching a fish: once you get them interested you want to hook them into reading the site. 3-5 posts doesn’t even come close. At a standard, depending on the site I’d say 10 but more 20+ posts, and depending on the topic possibly more.

Of note is that Gawker sites use to launch (out of private, ie non-Googlable) with often 100+ posts, that’s because when people come looking they want to cater for them with a variety of options.

You see a “launch” done right should ALWAYS involve more posts, end of story.

My analogy in that comment I will repeat again: it’s like catching a fish, once you get the fish (in this case your readers) interested you want to permanently hook them, and you need a variety of bait to do so.

Unless your blog is about Llama farming in far eastern Peru, or a similar extraordinarily niche topic, your bait (your content) has to be more than 3-5 posts when you launch, end of story.

A proper launch (and I note this in the comment above) should include publicity. That might be something as simple as emailing everyone you know, but it may include press releases, ad campaigns, and a full blown PR campaign.

If you do it properly it should result in some sort of surge of new readers (might be 100, might be 10,000… I’ve experienced both.) The key here is to turn those one off “I’ve read you’ve launched a site and am checking it out” readers into long term readers.

20 is a figure I’ve used, but even anything up to 100 helps. The key to ANY good launch is to get the new traffic to come back, and 3-5 posts isn’t a lot to offer. 20+ posts, particularly if your topic isn’t uber niche is the way to go: the theory is to offer content (bait) to as many people coming to your site as possible, and you can’t do that in 3-5 posts. 20+ posts you can.

Give your launch customers bait, give them a full range of content you intend to offer at launch that you expect to deliver full term. Given as many people as you can a reason to read your blog on a regular basis.

I mentioned in the comment at Problogger the way Gawker use to launch their sites: I don’t think an individual blogger should go that far, but likewise Nick Denton knows his stuff, and that’s why he launches blogs the way he does. You don’t have to believe me, but you can look at one of the best and see how the serious pros do it.

skitched-20130518-213134

Those that have been reading this blog for a long time know that I speak with some level of experience: I founded the first blog about blogs early 03 (although I could argue 02…but lets be fair and not go there.)

I’m only bringing up the history because what I want to say is going to end in some level of argument. Darren Rowse, Jeremy Wright, Dave Winer and others can vouch for the fact that I was around in the old days, back when blogs couldn’t make money, and there was a massive outcry when some blogs did.

Enough of this though because I wanted to bring up a comment on Problogger I made where I disagreed with Darren Rowse.

Darren and I have disagreed about much more in our life, so I will make this clear that it’s not personal, I respect and love what Darren has done, and always appreciate the bloke.

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t disagree on this post:

How Many Posts Should a Blogger Post? [Pros and Cons of Daily Posting]

Let me say that the title, and the premise is bullocks up front. I have no doubt that Darren can run a site and make a fortune every day. Hell, I’ve seen his stats back when.

The problem now is that’s not a reality for anyone trying to make money now.

Here’s my comment on the site, judge as you will:

Darren,
going to agree to disagree with you on this one because if you want to become a serious “problogger” one post a day doesn’t cut it… let alone less than that.

Having written for major sites (including some of my previously owned ones) there is a direct correlation between quantity and traffic. The more posts the more choice you provide the reader, and the more Google spiders the site and you have the ability to get search traffic.

By no means am I suggesting you post rubbish simply for the sake of volume, but take for example my current project: I’m 8-15 posts a day on average, and the traffic suffers when I post less.

Different blogs, different horses I will concede, but likewise there’s a reason blogs like Mashable or Lifehacker have anywhere from 15-50 posts a day… it drives traffic and there is a proven correlation between posts and volume of traffic…and from your b5media days you’d know that 😉

This bullshit reality that you can run a blog and post 2-3 times a week and get rich…it’s not true, unless you are a genius, and lets face it most of us aren’t.

Posting once a day is a start but the same criteria applies: unless you are so bloody shit hot that people love you, you’ve got no chance at all.

As per my post to Problogger.net I’m not arguing for quantity over quality but I am stating the obvious: the more you post, the more traffic you get. The more quality quantity, even better.

The reality is if you want to ramp up a good site in the 9-12 mth period I’ve described here (to crack even, and 4aus.com is exceeding that) and on other sites you need to post and post and post, end of story.

Aside from a couple of hope pushers (ie who are selling books, courses etc etc as their primary income..) no one makes serious money from blogs unless they provide the volume.

In my past I’ve always employed writers. In the last year I haven’t been able to but I still do 6-18 posts a day.

You can get rich from blogging; I’m close again (for the 4th or 5th time post selling sites) but it means hard work, and very few people EVER make living money (500-2k ok, f/t no) posting at 1 or less a day, let alone decent money (2k +.)

Blogging gives what you put into it. The more you blog, the more you can make, end of story.

And I’ve been doing this for 10 years, officially this month 🙂

I received news today that I didn’t expect, that one of the guys I absolutely adored, both for his energy and honesty had passed away.

That guy was Allen Stern.

I tried to log into iPhoto tonight to find a picture of him back in the days I’d first met him: I know I have pictures of him, but ironically iPhoto keeps crashing. I’m not superstitious, but maybe iPhoto knows, and it knows that Allen would always wanted to be remembered for the life, vitality and amazing person he was, vs some photo I’d taken back when I was at TechCrunch (sorry, I stole the above pic from someone… he would always tell me you’ve got to have a pic in a post after all. )

When I first met Allen I wasn’t sure. Michael Arrington had him marked as a potential competitor at CenterNetworks, but as long as he linked to the TechCrunch stories there we’d allow him to attend TC conferences.

After some initial trepidation I actually got talking to the man, and a man in the truest sense he was.

I reckon I met Allen maybe 4-5 times in person, but that was enough that in the last 7 years that I could honestly call him a friend and at times a confidant.

He was a guy who I could bounce ideas off, and he would bounce ideas off me. He bounced many of his latest sites of me, and asked for advice, which coming from him was always a compliment, but likewise he’d known that I’d gone away from serious tech and was trying to enjoy myself.

When he walked away from tech blogging he came to me about selling the site, and we also talked about pitching his new sites as well. We didn’t talk far enough (sometimes 10 times in a week, other times once a fortnight) but I do say that never expecting him to leave us. My only regret now he is gone that I didn’t speak to him regularly enough..we were like friends who spoke epically when we were doing something, and then only share the odd thing in between. He’d helped me as well on SEO and similar in the past.

In the end I knew Allen loved tech as I did, but likewise he hated all the drama and politics around it.

Some of the best (be it via email) conversations I’ve had in my life came from Allen. I could have made him an honorary Australian because he got sarcasm, he could take the piss out of others, and he was honest to a tee… and that included again his opinion. That may not have made him broadly popular (I always loved CenterNetworks, but it didn’t work in the US) but meant that every day he lived his life he was a far better person than so many other people I know in the United States in particular. I promise I’m not having a go at Americans but my experience in the tech blogging/ startup community was all PR and falseness (I’d hope that my calling some of that out is why I was popular at TechCrunch.) Allen didn’t give a shit, and that’s why I came to love him as a person and writer.

Allen will be sorely missed, and I know not just by me but his family, friends (including Louis Gray, who I shared a friendship with, often together) and others who came to appreciate a big guy with a huge heart who spoke as we all should: honestly and from the heart.

This was a guy full of life who recognized his mortality, and gave it a shot to fix things. That he didn’t make it…well, it’s a fear of not only me but I’d guess many people reading this.

Vale Allen Stern, you were and should be an example to many other bloggers to come. You were honest, friendly, and called it like it was.

I’m an atheist Allen Stern, but lets pretend for a second you are up there looking down: thanks for being mate. I will never forget you.

 

I’m the first to admit that I don’t have a lot of time for Dick Smith…I mean he’s not Gerrard Harvey (of Harvey Norman) bad but he tends on the xenophobic anti-internet side at times.

That said free speech should be extended to all, and despite only very tame innuendo’s in this video, it’s been banned…and it shouldn’t have.

I didn’t find it that bad…be it very kitsch.

scum

I’m all for a more liberal version of copyright, but where a site steals every single post you write at 4aus.com, even when you work your arse off for it to find those offers…well, that’s a different kettle of fish.

Let me introduce to you “Thrifty Sue.”

And before you say “there is no proof” look at the picture above. The watermark was intentionally placed once I realized they were copying all of the free stuff from 4aus.com to try to catch them copying our text and pictures.

Suffice to say, they were caught in the act.

It gets worse: the site claims the following:

We are a family of 9, yes, you heard me right, and we actually have 7 children. I’m sure that you probably want to ask “How do you do it?” Well that’s what I’m here to talk about. With a large family such as ours, we realized early on that we needed to figure out a way to make sure we were still getting all the necessities and not breaking the bank in the process.

Balls.

I’ve done the research on the site, and every single free offer they’ve done for weeks copies 4aus.com. They even copy the language, but change it near the end.

You know the thing that disgusted me more is when I found that they are working affiliate pumping via CheckMyStats a company I work with.

So basically a company I work with is promoting a site that steals all my content with a few changes, but promotes others via an affilaite offer.

I guess there is no honour amongst thieves.

UPDATE

I’ve now sent a DMCA notice to their host.

I’m not fond of the DMCA in the US, but if you’re going to copy me, at least make an effort to not make it so blatent 🙂