Dec 142007

A large portion of the blogosphere (as well as many non-blogging readers) are pretty fed up with Google lately. Many bloggers and webmasters have removed the Adsense ads from their sites and replaced them with alternative ad suppliers. Which means if you’re paying for PPC through Adsense then you’re not getting the same reach you once were. And if you’re fed up with Google then you’re probably looking for a new PPC advertising broker anyway.

Well, today I just discovered Adknowledge. I’m going to be trying them out for some of my other web-based projects and they’re so confident that you’ll prefer them to either Google Adsense or the Yahoo! Publisher Network that they’re willing to give you $50 in FREE PPC Advertising! Considering their prices are up to 30% lower than either Google or Yahoo! that’s like receiving $65 from either of those companies. Overall they’re better, leaner, and more efficient than the Google behemoth and they’re willing to give you $50 worth of free clicks just for trying them out.

Even without this special, limited time, offer I’d happily recommend Adknowledge. They’re currently serving ads for more than 50,000 advertisers in 1,200 targeted niche categories, they’re exclusive Click Scoring® technology automatically removes fraudulent clicks from thousands of traffic sources, and their automatic real-time optimization algorithms filter clicks based on time-of-day in order to deliver more consistent traffic without affecting the return on your investment (ROI). There is PPC life beyond Adsense and with $50 worth of free advertising being offered, there’s no reason for anyone to not try the next big thing in online advertising.

Dec 122007

Sometimes you’re just looking for information. At those times a general purpose search engine is perfect. But sometimes you’re looking for people and that’s where the “big boys” of search all fall apart. What we need is a completely searchable online Who’s Who for whatever it is that interests us. Luckily, we already have one in Spock. I’ve written about Spock before, and have used it a few dozen times since then. Spock’s not only helped me learn more about historic anarchists, but also helped connect me with California homeschoolers. That’s the beauty of searching the web, as opposed to a traditional Who’s Who – not only can you find the famous (or infamous) but also everyday people that share your interests and concerns. Here’s my latest example…

I’ve been doing a lot of research into roller coasters as part of my personal goal to ride every coaster in California. As a history and biography buff I’ve been looking to learn more about the people that helped design and build the rides that have captured my imagination. A Google search for “roller coaster” brings up 567,000 results for me to sift through. While many are relevant to roller coastes in general, not deal with the actual people behind the machines. Yahoo! brings up 18,000,000 results, but they all have the same problem. However, a Spock search on roller coaster brings me the following-

Now that’s what I’m looking for! One hundred eleven results of not only current and past designers, but also coaster enthusiasts that I can reach out to for companionship and further education. Chris Sawyer is the programmer behind the famous computer simulation/game Roller Coaster Tycoon; John Miller was called “the most innovative and influential figure in the history of amusement parks” by Robert Cartmell, the author of The Incredible Scream Machine: A History of the Roller Coaster, and Charles I.D. Loof is not only the world’s most famous carousel designer, but also the lead designer of my favorite coaster of all time, the Giant Dipper at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.Spock’s also got a wiki-type feel to it in that it encourages users to add to the search results to further flesh them out and aid future searchers. Clicking on a result brings you to a page with not only related web pages, but also news about the person, tags that describe them, and links to other people that relate to them. The latter isn’t strictly limited to blood or marital relatives, but is more of a “similar” persons search. All of these results are user editable in the same way that a wiki is. Spock truly is the melding of powerful search technlogy and “the wisdom of the crowd” that is social networking.

Dec 102007

For the last few months I’ve been billing around 550 hours per month at my day job. As a in-home caregiver I don’t get overtime pay, nor am I limited to a 40 hour work week. I can (and occasionally do) work a full 24 hours in a single day. And yet, I’ve still found myself seeking Unsecured Personal Loans each and every month. Despite the bad taste my blogging about my personal experiences with Bad Credit Loans has left in some reader’s mouths (eyes?), Philaahzophy exists primarily as a personal blog for me to share the reality of my life with my daughter (who can’t live with me full time). Not blogging about a regular occurance in my life would be antithetical to the very purpose of this blog. However….

I’m proud to say that, for the first time in about six months I will not be seeking a Payday Loan this month! WooHoo!! Despite all the hours being billed at my day job, it was really the temporary spike in my Google PageRank that allowed me this freedom, along with the gracious advertisers who have continued to support both myself as an individual and Philaahzophy as a medium. Thank you to you all!

Dec 032007

Okay, despite my recent problems with the Big G I’ve got to admit their latest announcement is pretty damn cool-

We’ve all been there: You’re out and about, and you need to figure out where you are, what’s around you, and how to get there. Google Maps for mobile can help you do all that, but first you have to enter in a starting point using the keypad. And let’s face it — entering things into your phone using the keypad is so 2006. While some people are lucky enough to have GPS-enabled mobile phones that provide location information for Google Maps for mobile, the vast majority of us are not. So what to do?

Starting today, we have an answer: Google Maps for mobile with My Location . My Location is a new beta technology from Google that uses cell tower identification to provide you with approximate location information, so it will work on phones without GPS. Simply fire up Google Maps for mobile, press [0], and the map will indicate your approximate location by centering on a blue circle like this:

If you do have a GPS-enabled device, My Location can actually complement it. My Location kicks in faster than GPS in most cases, so you can access your location even faster on the map. It also works reliably indoors (unlike GPS) and doesn’t drain your phone battery at the rate that GPS does.

This is very slick stuff. Personally, I’ve always been pretty torn over GPS. On the one hand, I really like the technology. On the other hand, carrying a GPS device as a political dissident seems like an open invitation to have your movements used against you by the state. On the other (less paranoid) hand, the adventure in road tripping is largely brought about by the possibility (or frequent reality) of having no idea where you are, where you’ve been, or where you’re going.

Dec 012007

Stumbled across an interesting post over at Top 10 Tech Web Tips last week, titled Adobe And Yahoo Partner [To] End Scammy Ebook Deals

Yahoo and Adobe have decided to work together to provide PDF documents that will run advertising within those PDF documents. This will enable publishers to receive advertising revenue through their virally circulated PDF documents. That is a significant advancement and could decrease publishers needs to sell those same PDF documents upfront.

Valid publishers with good contents won’t need to sell their documents if they can earn advertising revenues through viral distribution. This could then thin the herd of the number of publishers that actually sell e-books, and that will decrease the consumers desire to purchase e-books as the remaining e-books and the market will be even more likely to be scamming material not worth buying.

This is a brilliant idea, whose time came quite some time ago. Frankly, although I never thought of it, I am shocked that it hasn’t been done prior to this. It does have one major stumbling block at the moment: eBook authors must submit their books to Adobe who will insert the ads themselves, then return the book. Why can’t Yahoo simply provide its publishers with an eBook code or even an Acrobat plugin, that allows the ads to be displayed? Involving Adobe in every eBook creation seems a lot more than simply cumbersome, it’s a huge hassle. Still, I’m sure they’ll get that minor detail worked out soon.

It’s wonderful to see major corporations do what they can, to provide the market with the solutions it is seeking. If only Google would return to taking the same approach. I’ll conclude with the conclusion of the original article I cited above-

As a side note, I think it’s illustrative to take a look at Yahoo’s response to the problem of e-books that scamp the people that buy them. There’s definitely a market in e-books and PDF documents in general. Yahoo chose not to penalize people that sell these scamming e-books, but instead they chose to create a solution that provides an incentive for the marketplace to use better practices. They have opted to give a reward for doing things better as opposed to penalizing people that do things in a way that is detrimental towards readers.

Google on the other hand has recently chosen to attack publishers when they engage in publishing behavior that Google doesn’t like, especially when that behavior threatens Google’s monopoly. Google could have chosen to offer up a better solution instead of attacking publishers, but chose to attack first and protect their monopoly.