Archive for April 2009

Can You Make a Living Blogging?

Apparently over 400,000 people in the States claim to be professional bloggers.  A news station took a skeptical look at this.  You can see the report HERE. 

It reminds me of my first piece of advice I give to bloggers.

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Fake FBI emails: (Egyptian Inheritance Scam)

Internet scammers never cease to amaze me.  Here's an email I got yesterday:



We believe that this notification meets you in a very good present state of mind and health. We the federal bureau of investigation (FBI) in conjunction with some other relevant investigation agencies here in the United States of America have recently been informed through our global intelligence monitoring network that you presently have a transaction going on with the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) as regards to your over-due inheritance payment which was fully endorsed in your favour accordingly. . . .
The email warns me only to only make contact with the included emails/numbers, lest my million dollar inheritance be delayed. 

Who would have thought my Egyptian inheritance was an issue of national security?  Who would have thought the FBI would use a live.com email address instead of an official .gov address?  Too funny.

This is a remix of the old Nigerian scam. 

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Blogging: Building Momentum


As I've mentioned before, it takes time to build a good blog.  But if you stay with it, post high quality content, and take practical steps to increase traffic, you should build some momentum.  Your readers will grow, your reputation as a blogger will grow, and (hopefully) you'll see more traffic coming each month. 

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Fast Blog Finder: Review and Tips

Before I give you my Fast Blog Finder review, let me disclose something:  the links below are affiliate links which I get commission for.  If my review is helpful, I would appreciate you using the link below so I could get a commission.

Fast Blog Finder is basically a SEO-building tool.  Here's how it works:  FBF looks for dofollow blogs.  When you comment (with your website address) on these blogs it helps you build your page rank.  Here's a screenshot:

When you search a term, you get a list of blogs, the blogs' page rank, the specific post's page rank, and number of outgoing links.  Posts with a high page rank and fewer outgoing links are the best options for building up your own page rank.

I've used this program for a few weeks.  Let me give you the pros and cons.

Pros:
*It is user-friendly.  I was set up and running very quickly.
*It has found blogs I never would have otherwise known about.
*The theory behind it is sound in terms of SEO.
*You'll get traffic from the links you build.

Cons:
*A search takes several minutes to complete (even with a pretty fast connection).  This is not a defect--it's just that the software has to search and process a lot of information.
*So far I haven't found "hundreds" of blogs each search--I normally only find a handful.
*Sometimes I don't see the connection between the blogs I find and the search term I used (though this gets better as I learn how to use the software).
*It is time consuming--you do have to go through the trouble of writing a coherent comment. 

So do I recommend it?  Yes.   I think this software is very helpful--I'm not aware of anything else that can give you this kind of information.  It would take thousands of hours for me to find this many blogs and know their pagerank, etc--Fast Blog Finder does this in minutes. 

Here's how I use it:

I have Fast Blog Finder on one of my computers.  I'll start a search and let it find blogs while I'm doing something else (or using my other computer).  Once a search is complete I'll start looking through the search results. 

As mentioned, sometimes the page doesn't seem to match the search I did.  This is where having more than one blog comes in handy.  If a page doesn't match the blog I had in mind for the search, I'll see if another of my blogs more closely matches the post.

In summary, I think Fast Blog Finder is a worthwhile software.

Want to try it? You can download the trial version by clicking HERE.
The trial version only gives you about 50 results, but you'll get the idea of how it works.

You can also go directly to the ordering page HERE. 

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10,000 Unique Visitors Scams

I see websites offering to give you 10,000 hits (unique visitors) for 8-10 dollars.  Please don't fall for this. 

Usually about the best you can do is a penny per click--that's the lowest most advertisers (adwords, etc) will allow.  I've been able to get cost down to half a cent per click by running some flat rate ads on high traffic websites (through adbrite).  But a penny per click is dirt cheap in terms of internet advertising, and it's about the best you're going to do.    

10,000 hits for ten bucks would mean you get one thousand hits per dollar; a tenth of a cent per hit.  There's that old saying, "If something sounds too good to be true . . ."  Well, it definitely applies here.

I made the mistake of trying one of these scams years ago.  I think I paid about 8 bucks and received no traffic.  I complained to paypal and won, but I don't think I ever got my money back (don't fall for money-back guarantees).  

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Conficker Image Test

Want to know if your computer is infected by conficker?  Just click the link below. 

http://www.baylor.edu/its/security/conficker/

A non-infected computer will look like the image you see below.  But if your computer is infected, the worm won't allow images from the security websites (top row).  There's a chart on the website to help you interpret the results.

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How to Choose Your Blog Topic-3 Questions


I’ve read quite a few articles on choosing a blog topic.  What I’d like to share with you is a more simplified, intuitive approach.  I think just three questions will have you well on your way.  Here goes:

1. What are you passionate about?
Almost every pro blogger I’ve read says the same thing—be passionate about your topic.  Think about it: you may spend the rest of your life making weekly (if not daily) post about your chosen subject.  It better be something you really care about.

2. What do people ask you about?
This question is a great way to figure out what you already know that others are interested in.  What do friends, family, or acquaintances ask your advice on?  This can be anything, from recipes to investment tips.  I started my fitness website because I’ve been giving training advice for years. 

3.  What are you learning?
Is there something you’ve been learning?  Blog it!  You don’t really have to be an expert—just invite others along your journey.  You may offer fresh insights the “experts” have overlooked. 


I hope these three questions will help you get started.    

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Conficker worm hits 700+ University of Utah Computers

From Yahoo News:


SALT LAKE CITY -
University of Utah officials say a computer virus has infected more than 700 campus computers, including those at the school's three hospitals.

University health sciences spokesman Chris Nelson said the outbreak of the Conficker worm, which can slow computers and steal personal information, was first detected Thursday. By Friday, the virus had infiltrated computers at the hospitals, medical school, and colleges of nursing, pharmacy and health.

Nelson says patient data and medical records have not been compromised.
 "That's secured in a much deeper way because of the implications," he said.

Nelson said the virus is mainly attacking personal computers and could be siphoning login and password data, credit card numbers and banking information.

My Response:
Haven't these people heard of anti virus software?  Was two weeks not enough warning?

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Entrecard Paid Rates Go Up


Entrecard has doubled their paid rates.  In order to be fair to existing customers, they have doubled our balances.  This is fair enough and makes sense to me--I'll still get the same number of clicks.

I probably won't run another campaign--4 cents per click is a bit steep for me.  But I don't blame EC.  They are simply following the rules of supply and demand, and 2 cents per click was a steal.

I think the more profitable Entrecard becomes the better it will be for the users.

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You don’t have an inbox…yet

Apparently hotmail was having some major problems--people with existing accounts getting the above message.  Anyone out there experience this?  Is it resolved? 

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Adgitize Review (Follow-Up)

About a month ago I started using Adgitize.  I decided to run an advertising campaign, figuring 14 bucks for a month is not a bad deal.  It turned out to be a great deal--the first 30 days aren't finished, but I'm pretty sure I'll end up with over 1,000 hits from the campaign.  From a cost-per-click perspective, that's under 2 cents per click--not bad!  I've already renewed the ad for another 30 days. 

My recommendation for Adgitize still stands.
Click Here to Join:
Adgitize your web site.

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Twitter: Three Benefits to Bloggers



I've only recently jumped on the Twitter bandwagon.  I didn't really see the point of "micro-blogging."  It just seemed like a bunch of drivel--who wants an hourly update of what you are doing?

Two things changed my mind.  First, I joined FaceBook and got used to updating my status.  Second, I notice viritually all of the serious bloggers were using it.  So I finally decided to start my own twitter account.  Now I see how beneficial it is for bloggers. 

Let me share just a few ways Twitter can help:

1.  Advertising multiple blogs in one place: Twitter gives you one place to share updates from all your blogs (or from other blogs if you like).  What most bloggers do is use a website like tinyurl.com to shorten the address, then post updates on their twitter account.  It looks like this:

You can also sync your Twitter account with FaceBook--Twitter updates automatically appear in your FaceBook status.  This allows you to advertise new posts on two major networks.

 2.  Gaining followers: Twitter is an online community.  Users often search for other users with similar interest or related posts.  The more followers you get, the more potential blog readers you'll have.  Note: think of the keywords you use when you post updates about your blog--this can help people find you. 

3.  Finding content:  Following other members can help you find useful content for your blog.  As mentioned they often post articles, links to videos, and other links which can help you.

I'm sure there are more benefits to Twitter, but these three are the most significant for me. 

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Paid Campaigns on Entrecard

I'm going to run a paid campaign on Entrecard.  2 cents per click is really a good deal, especially for banner ads.  But there's another benefit I didn't even think of--free traffic and clicks!

Here's what I mean:

As soon as I started running my ad I saw this when I checked statcounter:


If I understand this correctly, these are clicks from members deciding whether or not to approve my ad.  I imagine they clicked my EC button before they left (that's what I do if a potential advertiser is an EC member).  I assume these clicks don't count against my pay-per-click, so it's extra free traffic.

I never thought about this before, but this is another nice perk of running a paid campaign on EC. 

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Friendster Profile Redirecting to Linkbuck

My friendster profile was redirecting to some kind of linkbucks website.  I figured out how to fix it:

This problem is caused by a comment which had some kind of malicious html code. 

Here's what you do.

1.  Go in your SETTINGS.


2.  Find SAFE MODE and click "YES".  This will disable the html codes in your comments and keep your profile from forwarding to the website.  But you still need to fix the problem.

3.  Look at your recent comments.  One of them is causing the problem.  Look for and delete a code that looks something like this (the code will be visible since you are in safe mode):



4. Go back to SETTINGS and turn off safe mode.
 
5.  Go back to your profile and see if you got rid of the malicious code.  If your profile keeps forwarding, you didn't delete the comment with the code that is causing the problem.

By the way, you should have your comments set to "never" for approve text comments automatically. 

Manually approving comments will not prevent all problems, but it will help a great deal.

I hope this helps.  Now, do you need some advice on your lovelife?  May tanong ka ba sa lablyf? Visit KuyaKevin.com

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Entrecard, Monetized

Looks like Entrecard is now monetized.  It's easy enough to reject ads--there's a column where you can choose.

So far I've only rejected one paid ad.  I think EC won't have a big problem with too many ads being rejected.  

You can also go into your advert settings and set it to run only ads you approve.

I hope this works out for the folks at EC.

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Conficker Worm, April 2nd Update

Ok, I'm still following this conficker worm story.  As I mentioned in the previous post, the worm did not disrupt the internet.  But it did "wake up" yesterday, becoming active as expected:


The worm was programmed to evolve on Wednesday to become harder to stop. It began doing just that when infected machines got cues, some from websites with Greenwich Mean Time and others based on local clocks.

The malicious software evolved from East to West, beginning in the first time zones to greet April Fools' Day.

Conficker had been programmed to reach out to 250 websites daily to download commands from its masters, but on Wednesday it began generating daily lists of 50,000 websites and reaching randomly 500 of those.
 -Quoted from Yahoo News. 

There are approximately two million computers infected.  But here's why things are so quiet: the worm hasn't been given any instructions.  Once instructed, it could cause these infected computers to act as "zombie" machines, sending out spam or overwhelming websites.  Whoever created the worm doesn't want to draw attention, since there is a 250,000 bounty for whoever can find the hacker responsible for conficker.

By the way, the Department of Homeland Security also has a tool for detecting the conficker worm.  You can find learn more about it here. 

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Conficker (Configure) Worm: April 1st Update

PCmag.com is calling the whole conficker worm scare "Much Ado About Nothing."

The worm did become active, and it seems most of the infected computers were in Asia:


As of Monday, 45% of the Conficker.c-infected computers were traced to Asian IP addresses, while another 31% were pegged to European addresses. South American accounted for 14% of the total, and just 5.8% of the infected PCs were using IP addresses associated with North America, Stewart said.
--Quote from another PCmag.com article.

But the worm has not wreaked havoc on the internet as some feared.

My advice is the same: keep your anitvirus software current.  You are asking for trouble if you don't.  I wrote about how to get rid of this particular worm in a previous article.


If you like this article, feel free to check out my BLOGGING TIPS. 

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