When Will Big Data Spill Over?

These mining firms, if you will, will eventually cave to selling to everyone.

What will we do with the data?

What will future for-profit mining operations be focused on?

 

 

The Best Ecommerce Solution for Artists

Crowdfunding is an obvious need for undiscovered artists and creative type people.  It’s hard to put musicians, photographers and software developers in the same box, but when it comes to E-commerce, there are some obvious common threads.

There are projects that us small time creators just can’t do without a garuntee of cost offset.  If we know we have a certain amount of support from our community, we can do bigger and better things!

Crowdfunding is growing in popularity, and since I am a long-time supporter of the democratization of virtually everything, I have always been interested in trends related to crowdfunding and other non-gatekeeper models.

I recently experimented with selling an album (mp3 320) via a common WordPress ecommerce plugin, and was trying to make the transaction pay-what-you-want, but I had a hard time editing the checkout process.  It was just really hard for me to find where in the plugin I was using to patch/hack the checkout form to do what I wanted:

  • Pay What You Want (even nothing)
  • Collect emails
  • Gracefully redirect back to my site (from PayPal or other payment gateway) after opting to pay (One of the biggest problems I had is dealing with payments of $0, because the forms for ecommerce usually assume a value, and redirection happens after purchase… but then, what about the email collection and redirection to a thanks page?!)

The real value to me here is the email address, not the payment, which I can only expect to be a few bucks here and there at this point, since I’m not super famous (yet).  But building a fan-base, if I can do that, is very valuable.

What I’d like to be able to do is easily set up, both things for sale, like mp3’s, and also, take pre-orders for things I’m working on. It’d be great if people like myself had an easy way to paywall content or allow paid subscriptions to certain pages or downloads on my site. And it’d be very cool if I had crowdfunding abilities.  As far as I know, this is not an open-source or turnkey possibility. But stay optimistic!  Things are moving fast in these spaces.

I hope all this stuff gets easier for Creatives soon.  Let’s overthrow that gatekeeper legacy we hate so much!

I will do my best to update this if I get new info!  Comments welcome as usual.

 

 

HashTags AreStupidAndSoAreSpacesSoWeShould AbolishSpaces

IfEveryoneJustTypedLikeThisAndWeEssentially AbolishSpaces AsOurPrimary WordSeparators WeWouldntNeed Hashtags BecauseEverythingWouldAlreadyBeSearchableTextStrings. WeCouldUseSpacesToIsolate KeyWords AndPotentially TrandingTopics. This WouldAlsoSaveCharactersWhen Tweeting EtcAndInGeneralItWouldSaveSpaceBecauseIt’s Compression. AbolishSpaces aka #abolishspaces

To My Ello Friends: A Few Days Into the Experiment.

Some thoughts on @ello

If I recall correctly, the way MySpace got rolling was that they recruited a bunch of lower-tier models and bands in order to make the population seem cool. And that slimy quality never really went away.

Of course, this is probably a premature complaint (is it?), but I fear that something similar might be going on here on ello. In the few days I’ve been here, I feel like there’s tons of stuff flying around that’s really just magazine spreads and and logos… MySpace was once described to me as “an online version of the inside of a teenager’s high school locker.” Now the kiddies use tumblr for that purpose and everyone else uses pinterest: topical passive image consumption and re-posting things that manifest how you want to be seen, by consuming a feed of re-posted crap from a bunch of strangers whom are filtered by topics or genres. Right?

And for now I really don’t want to see runway models and futuristic, laser-accurate post-modern woodcarvings from wall to wall. It actually makes me feel like I’m part of some sort of ‘early adopter’ demographic and I’m being profiled and marketed at. Pretty funny. I put myself here and I’m complaining. But bear with me for a sec.

Once #hashtags are working, and I can actually filter the noise in useful ways, OK fine. But until then, there’s really no value here, beyond the manifesto, unless everyone just shuts the fuck up and talks about what they had for lunch and then uploads a picture of their cat or their baby, while recruiting their ‘real’ friends and family to come here and do the same. Seriously.

The appeal of FaceBook, at least for me (and I suspect the vast majority of people who are not early adopters), is that it doesn’t have to be noisey/quiet if you don’t want it to be. It can be less-quiet/quiet. I know a lot of early adopters are also hustling to promote themselves as the next super-important entrepreneur/influencer/visionary. And I love all those/us people too. But it is a bit ironic to me that everyone flocking to the non-data-mining, non-commercial social software platform (which even has a goddamn ‘manifesto’ for cryin out loud) gets here and and immediately whips out their SEO/follower-collection habbits.

This isn’t going to stick if we can’t get grandma and Joe Blow on here. So I guess what I’m saying is, perhaps we should, as a community of people who are early to this place, think about the potential here, that is, if we decide to steer the status quo of behavior in a constructive direction, acting as an example to the next round of people. Construction problems, missing features, and an unfamiliar interface aside, I know the old ladies I know would bounce right the fuck back out the door if they came to this place and saw what I’m seeing.

I may be sounding like a luddite to you (and to me a bit too), but there’s no way to filter all this content yet. So maybe we should dial back our douchebaggery and think about the ello manifesto and what appeals to us most about it, and what will make that actually happen: Grandma and Joe Blow coming here, along with a few hundred million other people (most of whom live in stupid towns and just have jobs and cats and babies) who are tired of being spied on, bought and sold by Facebook, data-mining companies, marketers Etc. Right?

We’re expecting company! Right?

The FaceBucket Challenge

RULES:

If you accept The FaceBucket Challenge, you must:

A) Promise that from now on, you will not share any alleged facts on social media without first reading the Wikipedia entry likely to contain confirmation of the alleged fact;

Or

B) Share a video of yourself putting a bucket over your head.

WHY?

The FaceBucket challenge is intended to spread awareness about media literacy, especially social media’s potential for spreading misleading information.

As participants in social media, we have a responsibility to the others in our networks to not disseminate an inaccurate portrayal of the world we live in.  This is especially true when it comes to political or ‘loaded’ topics where widespread misinformation can lead to negative consequences for large numbers of people.

Also, it’s kind of funny.

Reviews Sites: Some are Super Shady

Some info about the Better Business Bureau lifted from the wikipedia

In 2010 ABC’s 20/20 reported in a segment titled “The Best Ratings Money Can Buy” about the irregularities in BBB ratings.[24] They reported that a man created two dummy companies which received A+ ratings as soon as he had paid the membership fee. They also reported that business owners were told that the only way to improve their rating was by paying the fee. In one case a C was turned to an A immediately after a payment and in another case a C?minus became an A+. Chef Wolfgang Puck said that some of his businesses receive F’s because he refuses to pay a fee. Ritz Carlton, which does not belong either, also receives Fs for not responding to its complaints.[23]

In response, the president of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has stated the BBB ratings system will cease awarding points to businesses for being BBB members.[25] The national BBB’s executive committee voted to address the public’s perception of the ratings system. It voted that the BBB ratings system would no longer give additional points to businesses because they are accredited. It voted to implement a system to handle complaints about BBB sales practices. [26] Despite the vote, the BBB website still states that points are taken away if accreditation is lost.[27][28]

In Canada, the CBC News reported in 2010 that Canadian BBBs were downgrading the ratings scores of businesses who stopped paying their dues. For example, a moving business who had an A rating and had been a BBB member for 20 years, dropped to a D?minus rating when they allegedly no longer wanted to pay dues.[29]

BBBs have been accused of unduly protecting companies. If a branch does not act reasonably on behalf of a consumer, a complaint may be filed with the Federal Trade Commission. However, recent reports have suggested that the Austin chapter of the Better Business Bureau refused to resolve complaints against companies if customers do not pay a $70 mediation fee.[30]

Revisiting Microformats/Semantic Web for Future Prediction Info

What if the content/facts of all wikipedia articles were semantically linked by a prediction modeling application?

Of course all of this linking would need to be done by the community. But I have a great deal of faith in the wikipedia community.

All that really needs to happen is for links in sentences that contain dates like “2054” or “June 11” or “05, 21, 1976″ to be declared as being a prediction, fact, speculation (or other specs) Etc (for now, via a rel=”prediction” or time=”Etc” type of thing) (I think it would have to work along with/within human language syntax for now, because I doubt people want to qualify every word they write with semantic markup, but to require lines that contain a date to have some rules isn’t too crazy)

Another piece is needed to tie in the actual information, but it could just be a link to the actual article in which it appears, which isn’t necessary because that’s where it’s coming from.  It’s a start.

In other words, “Show me predictions for 2054 based on wikipedia info” could give you articles that contain predictions for 2054. And you can easily get to those articles from the results.  Not as granular as “linked data” should be, but right now, the web is basically all about making it easier to look at selfies and bad journalism.

I think this could have a lot of research power.

WARNING: MADWire Media, Marketing 360: Behind the veil of SEO and Astroturf

To Bluehost staff and legal dept: Please look closely at the specifics of any court orders before assuming that this content is actually not compliant with any documents sent by parties wishing to have this content removed from the web. I have carefully complied, line-by-line, with all rulings. Thanks.

Jump to original Madwire 360 / Marketing360 reviews post below

Visit the unlisted/hidden Madwire / Marketing 360 Yelp! page here

Jump to the comments section of this post

I’m back! And I’m in total compliance. :)
UPDATE 2015-02-08: So apparently, Madwire was able to get my entire hosting account taken down with a court order resulting from a defamation claim. But this post will return, albeit slightly altered to protect my hosting account from being shut down again.
In the meantime, the court ruling contains all the content in question, including all the Madwire Reviews and Madwire Complaints and there’s a copy of it here: http://cvweb.clerk.leon.fl.us/cvimage/official_records/download_document.asp?book=4729&page=01970&type=OR&jwuser=&subnet= (it takes a few minutes to load because it’s around 6MB and 60 pages)
Also, notice: the Affidavit of Diligent Search, mentioned on page 2, is conspicuously missing from the evidence. I wonder if that was an accident. I think not.
To Madwire: just let it slide! Everytime I update the content here, I move up in search results! It’s called the Streisand Effect: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect
And frankly, I’m sick of this post and having to keep changing it after account suspensions (I think this the 4th time!). But I wont go dark. It’s a matter of principle.
To anyone wishing to read my post as it appeared in December of 2014, including the comments, it’s stored at the WayBack Machine: https://web.archive.org/web/20141208100043/https://andrewapeterson.com/2013/12/warning-madwire-media-madwire-360-behind-the-veil-of-seo-and-astroturf
NOPE! this has been taken down :)
Meanwhile, I must disable comments on this post for the moment, while I remove some content ruled by a Florida court to be defamatory.
[2015-02-25: COMMENTS ARE BACK!]
But feel free to send me a message via my contact form: https://andrewapeterson.com/contact
When you see XXXXX stuff, it’s words I needed to delete from the below content in order to be compliant with the court order.
[update 2015-01-11] I heard through the internet that Madwire is no longer using a non-disparagement bit in their standard contract.  This is good news if it’s true, but I have no way of knowing for sure if it is true.  So if you have any info on this, please comment!  This post is here to help other people.  So if you can help me keep the info up to date, since I have great SEO power concerning Madwire, you will help other people.  Please do comment. Is this real? It’s a link about madwire’s change of policy. Thanks, everyone, for contributing. We may be making a difference here!
[update 2014-09-26] Madwire has appeared to have filed, in a Florida court, a “Complaint for Declaratory Judgement,” against an anonymous person whom, according to the document, HERE (a PDF) is one of my my commenters below. This appears to be a way that Madwire can get Google and other search engines to un-index this blog post, Madwire’s Yelp! page and a few other search results where this anonymous person has posted.  So apparently, one of my commenters is the defendant known as “John Doe 1” in the filing (Madwire is referred to as the “Plaintiff”).  And I just noticed that Madwire’s Yelp! page suddenly has a meta noindex tag (<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”>) on it and no longer comes up in Google search results for ‘Madwire Reviews.’ So I guess Yelp! is cooperating with Madwire for whatever reason.  I’ve always had pretty positive feelings about Yelp! despite all the recent negative hype about them, but if they’re willing to hide negative reviews, it certainly decreases their value as a consumer awareness product.  Also, I was assuming that at some point Madwire would contact me or at least post a comment on this post, but so far it appears that they’d rather try to control their reputation through back channels.  Interesting.  To Madwire: I know you guys are looking at this.  Don’t you have anything to say?
[update 2014-06-14:] My site has been taken down again over this post. This time it was ripoffreport.com that sent my hosting company a DMCA Takedown.  Their claim is that my ‘fair use’ quotation of negative Madwire reviews from their site (which contained attribution) was a copyright infringement!  So I had to remove several negative reviews/stories concerning madwire.  To the next reviews site considering sending a takedown or threat: you are only making this post more visible! Every time it’s edited/updated, it gains value in google serps.
[edit 2014-05-07:]Pissed Consumer sent my hosting company a DMCA takedown notice for this post, due to me quoting negative reviews for Madwire. I’m pretty sure this post is fair use, but my hosting company wont stick up for me  so I had to delete the pissedconsumer reviews in order to get my site back online.  I’ve linked to the originals.  Keep in mind, original bad reviews on pissedconsumer.com are often hidden on the page  and you have to click ‘read the complaint’ to see what you’re looking for.

Original post starts here.

The other day I posted about a friend’s personal experience with MADWIRE, which was horrible to say the least.

I’ve become kind of fascinated by how well this company appears to have created a facade of positive reviews and press, making them seem like a great company to hire.

It’s actually quite difficult to find anyone out there saying anything bad about them, which is a bit suspicious (even the companies I love the best are getting flamed occasionally).  So I’ve been doing some deep googling and I’ve found a lot of stuff that not only sounds more credible and like real people wrote it, but that’s also totally consistent with my experience.

So let the SEO battle begin!  I have great Google mojo with my blog.  And my goal here is to make the world-wide neighborhood a better, safer place.  So here is a compilation of what I’ve found about Madwire that may not be so easy for most people to find, since the search results for things like “madwire reviews” and even “madwire negative reviews” are so cluttered with astroturf.

From the Madwire / Marketing360 Better Business Bureau pages:

Complaint #1: 10/10/2013

Complaint: We paid for two months of Search Engine Optimization & AdWords for our company website through Madwire Media. We never reached the top of the search engines, we received 1 potential customer who filled out our “Contact Us” form, that was it. We paid $750 a month for a total of $1450.00 plus Madwire has tried to pull more money out of our account without authorization. They have added all these additional fees and now are threatening to take us to collections. They promised us a “free” website, they put it up for us but once we cancelled our marketing through them, they posted our website as “ACCOUNT SUSPENDED” which reflected horribly and lost us potential customers from consumers that were directed to our site through our own advertising means. We called them and asked them to put the website back up but they said they wouldn’t unless we paid for the hosting through them but it was a ridiculous amount. The website was supposed to belong to us but they wouldn’t give it to us without paying for their hosting (we already have hosting through someone else). We were offered so much and received nothing but headaches.

Desired Settlement: My desired settlement would be a refund of all money paid, $1450. They didn’t deliver on ANY of their promises. They said we would be on the top of the internet searches, which didn’t happen.Also, we didn’t get to keep the website. We were much better off than before we ever started with Madwire. From what I have read on the internet, we are not the only company that Madwire has scammed. Since internet marketing is so vague, they are able to take advantage of many consumers.

Business Response: Attached is the contract for reference and a receipt of refund. I talked with the client about the contract and services that we provided. We have already made a refund in the amount of $720.00 and we are not moving forward with collections on the remaining part of the contract.

Business Response: An email was sent to ‘*********************’ on 8/21 outlining the details of the contract as well as additional. Also an email was forwarded to ****************** on 8/23.

Consumer Response: Complaint: *******

I am rejecting this response because: they did NOT give me a refund, they just didn’t charge me after I cancelled my account. It’s not that I MISUNDERSTOOD anything (like Jerry’s letter refers), it is that they are rude, did nothing with all the money we gave them and used our “credits” on what? We don’t know! They are a scam and I am demanding full refund. I will keep  on warning other potential customers  about their misdeeds b/c no one deserves to lose $1500 on absolutely nothing, especially when you are a small business, like us.

Regards,

******** ******

Business Response:
That should do it. One is the contract which speaks to what the consumer was complaining about. All of the information is in there. And the other is an invoice for a refund. This client signed 6 month contract to which we were going to send to collections for early cancellation 2 months in on the contract. Upon receiving the email they filed a complaint with the BBB. In addition we invested $3K dollars of time on a website as part of the agreement. Outlined within the contract it talks about early cancellation with the option of hosting. They disregarded all emails. We took the site down that we own for nonpayment. Not only did we not pursue collections for breach of contract after speaking with ******** we also gave them a refund. It is unfortunate how this process works.

15 Day Collection Letter sent 7/31/13
30 Day Collection Letter sent 8/15/2013

If you have any other questions please feel free to reach out to me.

Thanks.

BBB’s Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

Complaint #2: 9/16/2013

Complaint: In June of 2013, Madwire Media Reviews contacted me and performed high pressure sales tactics to get me to sign a contract with them. They asked me to give them a large sum of money to start the campaign, which included web design, marketing, seo, and pay per click ads. They made all kinds of promises to which they were not able to hold up to. They promised a good web design and I get a mediocre, at best, design. Their site is beautiful and they said mine would be similar. They lied. They also told me that I would have 100% control of my website and be able to host it on my own server. Another lie. They have control of my website and I can’t make changes because I can’t access the backend. Madwire Media promised me 15-20 calls per day, based on my budget and the keywords targeting for my niche. Another lie. My campaign has been running for over two months and I have received two calls in that time period. Once call I actually booked the job, a $60 job, 45 miles out of my territory. I did the job anyway because my business, my name, and my reputation are at stake. They filled me full of their lies and promises in order to get me sign a contract and give them my payment info. I have done one job in the two months since my campaign started with Madwire Media and when I asked for a refund, they refused. They are not familiar with my industry and are targeting the wrong keywords that aren’t remotely targeted to my industry and they are charging me a premium rate and expect me to keep paying them $2500 per month for services NOT rendered. This fraudulent company needs to be exposed for who they are.

Desired Settlement: I want 100% of my money back. In my business, if a customer is not happy with the work, I redo it for free. If they are still not happy, I refund their money because my reputation is at stake. They promised me I could get my money back yet they refused to refund it when I asked.

BBB’s Final Determination: Consumer accepted resolution offered by the business.

Complaint #3: 9/5/2013

Complaint: I was told that there was NO contracts by several people, several different times before starting my marketing and web design with Madwire Media. **** ******** and ******* ***** both had stated that there is no contracts, until we no longer wanted to use there services after three months of very poor results and NO service. They told us one thing and had us sign documents that were supposedly forms that gave them permission to edit and change our current webpage, little did we know in the small print they lock you into a 6 month contract. This is the most dishonest and rude company that I have ever come across. We would like this matter resolved before we have to hand things over to our lawyers. Please Advise

Desired Settlement: I would like this to be resolved quickly and professionally, I would like for the remaining time and money in our contract to be wiped clear and the harassing phone calls and emails to STOP. I cant believe that there are companies out there like this that LIE and DECIEVE people to make a living.

Business Response: I spoke with ****** and addressed the concerns over the contract and client was satisfied.

BBB’s Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

Now on to Yelp! where MADWire currently has ONLY negative reviews [2014-10-07: this has changed. Now Madwire has one star on yelp but yelp appears to have cooperated with Madwire in burrying their page. Yelp put a noindex tag on Madwire’s one-star page so it wont show up in search results]:

Patty S.
Fort Collins, CO

7/15/2013
Just the fact that another reviewer is saying “I’ don’t know what this guy is talking about” and then you can’t find that review gives you an indication of how many people are not happy with XXXX XXXXXXX XXXX XXXXXXXXXXXX XXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXX XXX XXXX. Once they have your XXXXXX XXXX – XXX XXX XXXXXXXX XX X XXXXXXX XXXXX. XXX XXXXX XXXX XXXXX XXXXXXXX XX XXXXXX XXXXXXX. it is nice looking with great images and graphics but no one can find it. XXXX XXXX X XXXX XXXX XXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXX XXXXX XXXXXX XXX…..and i suspect many bad reviews have been deleted here because they are misssing from here…….what does that tell you? Yelp took money to get those taken off…….hmmm let’s see how long this review lasts….

Comment from Jerry K. of Madwire Media
Business Owner 8/28/2013 I can’t find your account as doing business with us. Please contact me so that I can take care of… Read more

Joe S.
Huntington Beach, CAJoe S.
4/30/2014
Damn I just spent 20 minutes on the phone with Marketing 360 the salesman had all the answers and only wanted $ 2500.00 per month to start? But promised first page placement so I just goggled SEO companies in Denver and guess what there not even on the first page! So I inform the salesman of my search result and he informs me that there parent company in Madwire Media and sure enough they show-up on the 2nd page with all these wonderful Yelp reviews.

Looks like Yelp really saved me time and money, Thanks

A’ngela S.
Gilbert, AZ
hare review
A’ngela S.
12/2/2013
BUYER BEWARE!!! I am not kidding you, if you choose to use MadWire360 or Mad wire media or whatever they go by (hint it will have 360 in it somewhere) You are XXXXXXXXX XXXXX XXXXX XX XXX XXXX!! They know how to market their site and unfortunately the talent ends there.. After they smooth talk you into their wonderful service and pass you off to some “Specialist” SEO person, you become just another credit card paying their overpriced fees.. I was with them 3 months and not one lead!!! i spent over 7k and got zip from it!! All i can say is stay away and remember, Pay per click is cheaper than these guys and SEO just means blog on your own site!! Save your cash…

Good Luck
AZ. UnHappy Sucker..

Randy W.
Houston, TX
hare review
Randy W.
5/1/2014
STOP!! DON’T USE THIS COMPANY!!! I don’t want anybody to have to go through what I went through. Bottom line. This company will take your money & never do the service. XXXXXXXXX. XXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXX. Can’t created a logo or design. They always want money up front. Don’t ever pay anybody up front. This company is all about sales . The Company is XXXXXXXXXt, full of fast talking salesmen, very expensive and doesn’t deliver the product. BUYER BEWARE!!!!!!!

John G.
Fort Collins, COJohn G.
8/6/2013
When it comes to SEO it doesn’t get much worse than MadWire Media! XXXX XXX XX XXX XXXX XXXX XXXXXXX XXXXX XXXXXXXX XX XXXX XXX XXXXXXX XXXX XXXXXXXX XX XXXXXXXXXX. Not only that, I had previously left a review on their Google listing along with close to 10 other dissatisfied customers and their listing has seemed to magically disappear along with all of the negative reviews. They obviously try their hardest to hide how bad they suck. I couldn’t seem to find any other SEO companies that had to do such things. These guys are bottom of the barrel! They provide unnecessary services and XXXX XXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXX or they just don’t care about their clients. Whichever it is, it would be wise to steer clear of this company.

[REDACTED]

Comment from Jerry K. of Madwire Media
Business Owner 2/26/2014 FAKE REVIEW! John Gotti is deceased. This is not a customer nor have we ever done business with John… Read more

Charles D.
Junction City, ORCharles D.
9/21/2013
Just when I thought all my issues with Madwire were well behind, I got rid of them over a year ago, they recently started billing my card for someone else’s website! It’s pretty scary that they have kept my credit card information on file well over a year after firing them. Not only that, the billing information is now completely different from when we used them, so obviously they don’t even bother with AVS. I guess why would you bother when I’m pretty sure keeping actively old clients’ card info on file if probably illegal and definitely unethical. The fact that they are so XXXXXXXXXXX that they start to bill me instead of a competitor’s account is absolutely ridiculous.

Originally we had Madwire design a logo, website, and manage some seo work. Problems started from the start. They could never get the logo right and I ended up having to hire someone else to provide custom artwork to be used in the logo. For the amount I was paying them for logo design I expected custom and original work. What I received was below par with no effort or creativity behind it. It was as if I hired one of the $4 an hour guys off oDesk but at 20 times the cost.

Now when it came to the website I was already pretty leary of them from the logo design part of the package. The beginning part of the web design was a complete nightmare. The project manager wouldn’t even respond to my requests or questions. I had to contact the supervisor and complain. I was assigned a new project manager to take over the design, or lack thereof. As a side note, the previous project manager is still employed there. The new project manager handled everything much better, however they really pumped the site out quickly due to the job being way behind and there were little errors I had to pester them about to get fixed.

The next disaster came their SEO package. When we signed up for all of this work to be done it was actually an SEO package. When the site was up and running they said they no longer do that and it is now a Madnoodle package where you are listed and gift cards go up for penny auction. Now, SEO-wise this did nothing for our website. This really didn’t even help sales either. We would pay them, they would buy these gift cards from us to post on their Madnoodle site, and then customers would use the gift cards to buy products on our site. It was usually the same people who would buy these gift cards so no new customers were being attracted. Plus these same customers haven’t returned after using these gift cards that we basically bought for them. I should also note the penny auctions were a giant fail and they no longer do this.

My advice is to steer clear of this company. If you don’t you will definitely regret it! Just when I thought all our problems with them were over with… Hope you enjoy the chargeback fees!

Edit 2/14/14: These jerks still have not completely removed my information! I still get invoice emails monthly for their crappy plugins I don’t use. Granted, the invoices are for $0.00, but just stop! I’ve already asked for our information to be completely removed but of course they can’t comply.

To touch on the management responses on some of these reviews (Boo hoo hoo Yelp is being mean to us, these reviews are fake, blah, blah blah). How about you actually listen and fix your company instead of complaining? These negative reviews are sticking because more negatives come from real Yelp accounts, compared to the many positives that are from accounts who have only reviewed Madwire and then never logged in again. Which ones do you think look fake to Yelp? Oh, and just because someone has a fake name doesn’t mean their review is fake either.

Holli W.
Charlotte, NCHolli W.
1/24/2014
Worst business decision I’ve ever made. DO NOT USE THEM! They will sell you and do a great job selling you. XX XX XXX XXXX. They are hard to work with, never responding, never making changes. It took WEEKS for them to make ONE small edit. They say they will create banners for your website, they are ugly and horrible. I even sent them pictures of what I liked. I finally had to pay someone to do it right. So much money wasted.

Comment from Jerry K. of Madwire Media
Business Owner 2/26/2014 I can’t find your account as doing business with us. Please contact me so that I can take care of… Read more

Ekaterina B.
San Jose, CAEkaterina B.
10/17/2013
I agree with the review that said “$5,000, and not a single client.” This is how I felt when I was using this company. It is true that they XXXXXXXXXXX XXX XXXXXXXXXXXX. When I finally questioned them why I only got ONE client in 3 months, they said “well, lets try another thing.” I am not paying for trial and error. I pay them to know what they are doing. Horrible and XXXXXXXXX.

Michael G.
Brentwood, CA
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Michael G.
5/10/2013
First to Review
Working with Madwire has been one of our companies biggest mistakes! It has been over a year and a half and we still do not have a finished product. We have gone through 3 programmers and it seems like they just keep wasting our marketing departments time. We spent a significant amount of money and expected a certain amount of service. They have not delivered. I would not recommend them to my worst enemy. The frustration has built up to the point where we want to jump ship and get our money back.Comment from Jerry K. of Madwire Media
Business Owner 2/26/2014 Please contact me so that I can take care of the situation. I can’t find your account as doing… Read more

From truckmountforums.com (apparently madwire’s sales team targets people’s carpet cleaning business?)

9/12/2013

Attention fellow carpet cleaners. I am posting this to warn everyone of a XXXX being pulled by Madwire Media. I posted a while back, asking if anyone had any experience with them. I didn’t receive very much info so I assumed they were legit. I should have done more research and I didn’t, and now I’m paying for it. So, I am here to expose these XXXXXX and make sure none of you get XXXXXX XXX. Please watch my videos, subscribe, and share so that we can expose these XXXXXX and hopefully prevent anyone else from making the same mistake I did and losing their entire business to XXXXXXXXXXXX XXX XXXXXXXXX companies like Madwire Media. I will not stand idly by as they XXX people off and are not held accountable for it. In my business, if a customer is not happy with the work performed, I will redo it at no charge. If they are still not happy, I will refund their money. Why? Because my name, my business, and my reputation are at stake and I don’t want any of it tarnished over a few dollars. Madwire Media does not feel the same. They think it’s ok to XXXXX XXXX XXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXX. XXXX XXXXX XXX XX XX XXX, as long as you get the sale. Please, I ask all of you to help with my plight. I may go out of business before I get soon but if I do, I will take the ones responsible with me and I will make sure they can’t XXXXX XXXX XXXXXX XXXX. Please go to http://oxydry.co/carpet-cleaning-marketing/ and watch my video directed at you, my peers. Also, you can go here http://oxydry.co/madwire-media-reviews/ and if you don’t mind, please leave a comment on the pages. Your help in this matter is greatly appreciated and I hope I am able to dig myself out of this hole.

Thanks to all.

Read more: http://www.truckmountforums.com/threads/madwire-media-reviews-warning-madwire-media-scam.47238/#ixzz2nH8DiZq9
Follow us: @truckmountforum on Twitter | truckmountforum on Facebook

From scamgroup.com

9/12/2013

Took my entire advertising budget and single handedly almost bankrupt me.

On May 28th, Karen Brennan with Madwire Media sent me an email but claimed to be from CarpetCleaningMarketing360.com. Now this is one of many of their niche scam sites that they have. Over the course of a month she called and called and called. Finally I decided to listen to her and what she told me sounded amazing. She made all kinds of promises about me getting 15-20 calls per day with their marketing and seo. Well I was just starting a business and decided to go with Madwire Media because I simply didn’t have time to go out and actually do the work I needed to do on top of trying to market and advertise. Karen told me that based on the amount of monthly Google searches for my keywords, I would get 15-20 calls per day and I figured I should at least book 2-3 of them. So I sent them a large some of money, my entire advertising budget based on the promises made.
Fast forward to the date of this report. My campaign has been running for over 2 months now. I got one call in 2 months and it was a $60 job, 45 miles from me. They are targeting niche long tail keywords that are barely related to my industry and get very few searches. My seo campaign is horrible. They have control of my website and can lock me out at any time. XXXX XXX XXXXXX XXXX XXXXXXXXX XX XXXX.
Now in the meantime, I have had my phones turned off and I literally cannot pay my bills. I gave them my entire advertising budget because they promised me a big jumpstart in business and promised I would be busy. XXXXX XXX XXXXX XXX XXXXXXX that do NOT know what they are doing,One thing they should have thought about before XXXXXXXXX XX XXXXX and destroying my business…… I was an seo guy for 7 years, I am a single father with 3 children and this is my lively hood. I put my entire savings into my idea and they single handedly destroyed it. So, I have made it my mission to make sure they don’t XXX anyone else off. I am broke, getting ready to have equipment repossessed if I can’t sell something to make the payment, I have resorted to applying for emergency food stamps to feed my children until I can recoop something or until my seo efforts pay off.
I have asked them for a refund several times and they have refused, therefore, I am going to make sure they never steal from another company or person that needs seo work or internet marketing services.
Madwire Media has gone around to all these review sites including ripoff report and have posted fake positive reviews because of all the negative reviews they are receiving. They are paying these companies like yelp and ripoff report to remove negative reviews so they can keep their Madwire Media Review XXXXX up.They XXXXXXXXX my business, I have nothing left to lose. I will make it my plight in life to shut these XXXXXXXXX down. I hope that Scam Group will help shut these guys down before before someone else loses their life savings to these XXXX artists. XXXXXXX XXXXX XXX XXXXXXXX XXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXXXX XXXX XXX. I will not sit by idly and let them XXXXX from others.

From a comment on one of MADWire’s own YouTube videos 

Be very careful about using Madwire Media. We spent over $3k with them and didnt get 1 single client. Our website had images missing and took 7 weeks to complete rather then the 14 days we were told. If you do want to use them make sure you record every telephone conversation you have with them and get everything the sales person tells you in writing!! Do your research before using Madwire Media! There appears to be a consistantly to the negitive feedback which tells its own story!!

There were similar testimonials on some other youtube videos I found last night, but they’ve been deleted.

Now on to RIPOFFREPORT.com

It seems that when you get a negative review on ripoffreport.com, you can pay to have it covered up!  For instance, with Madwire, if you search for “madwire reviews” you certainly find ripoffreport, but the titles are negative and review copy is a boilerplate positive thing put there by ripoffreport!  Dubious.  I finally found a few of the original bad reviews at ripoffreport

9/25/2012

[redacted! ripoffreport sent my hosting a copyright infringement takedown notice because I quoted their site]

11/2/2012

[redacted! ripoffreport sent my hosting a copyright infringement takedown notice because I quoted their site]

from pissedconsumer.com, also highly astroturfed but there’s stuff there if you dig

August, 20xx

HERE is the original Negative Review of Madwire.  You must click on “Read the Complaint” [content removed due to copyright infringement claim by pissed consumer sent to my hosting compnay]

march 6 20xx

HERE is the original Testimonial about Madwire / Marketing 360.  You must click on “Read the Complaint” [content removed due to copyright infringement claim by pissed consumer sent to my hosting compnay] 

Jan 29, 20xx

[content removed due to copyright infringement claim by pissed consumer sent to my hosting compnay] 

March 15, 2012

HERE is the original Customer Complaint about Madwire / Marketing360.  You must click on “Read the Complaint”
[content removed due to copyright infringement claim by pissed consumer sent to my hosting compnay]

March 1, 2013

HERE is the original Customer Complaint about Madwire / Marketing 360.  You must click on “Read the Complaint” [content removed due to copyright infringement claim by pissed consumer sent to my hosting compnay]

January 29, 2013

HERE is the original Customer Complaint about Madwire / Marketing360.  You must click on “Read the Complaint” [content removed due to copyright infringement claim by pissed consumer sent to my hosting compnay]

It’s me again.  I have stuff to do today so I’m going to stop for now.  You get the idea.  Maybe I’ll add more later.

 

[update 2014-10-01]the following is a list of other domains that appear to associated with Madwire. If it’s the same people, I don’t see any reason why there’s not plenty of love to go around. It is ‘Loveland, Colorado; after all
  • bigcommercemarketing360.com
    html title: #1 Bigcommerce Marketing Platform | Bigcommerce Templates & Design
    Daily visitors (according to informer.com): 1 643
    Keywords:Big Commerce, bigcommerce, marketing 360, bigcommerce seo, marketing360
  • ecommercemarketing360.com
    html title: eCommerce Marketing Services – eCommerce Software & Website Templates
    Daily visitors (according to informer.com): 1 186
    Keywords:ecommerce 360, ecommercemarketing360 review, ecommerce360, ecommercemarketing360 scam, free ecommerce store mockup
  • mymarketing360.com
    html title: Login – Marketing 360®
    Daily visitors (according to informer.com): 686
  • contractormarketing360.com
    html title: Contractor Marketing, Leads for Contractors – Websites & Contracting Advertising Services
    Daily visitors (according to informer.com): 534
    Keywords:construction website templates, contractor marketing, ads website template, free building contractor website templates, free contractor website templates
  • businesswebsites360.com
    html title: Business Websites 360™ – Best Business Website Templates & Designs
    Daily visitors (according to informer.com): 534
    Keywords:business website templates, business marketing websites, top business websites, marketing website templates, mad360
  • mad360.net
    html title: Mad360 – The Leader in small business inbound marketing
    Daily visitors (according to informer.com): 534
    Keywords:360 marketing, marketing 360, marketing360, mad 360, mad360
  • wordpressthemedesigner.net
    html title: WordPress Theme Designer | Custom WordPress Theme Designers
    Daily visitors (according to informer.com): 534
    Keywords:custom wordpress theme design, wordpress theme designer, theme designer, custom wordpress theme designer, wordpress transportation theme
  • chiropracticmarketing360.com
    html title: Chiropractic Marketing 360 | Chiropractic Websites | Chiropractic Advertising | Chiropractic Website Templates
    Daily visitors (according to informer.com): 534
    Keywords:Chiropractic marketing, chiropractor marketing, 360 marketing, marketing 360, marketing360
  • dentistmarketing360.com
    html title: Dentist Marketing 360 – Dentist Websites | Dentist Advertising | Dentist Website Templates
    Daily visitors (according to informer.com): 89
    Keywords:dentist marketing, dental website templates, dentist website template, dentist website templates, template dentist free
  • medicalmarketing360.com
    html title: Medical Marketing 360 – Medical Websites | Medical Advertising | Medical Website Templates
    Daily visitors (according to informer.com): 89
    Keywords:medical website design, medical website design templates, healthcare marketing 360, doctormarketing360, youmedical template
The Registrant of all these domains appears to be John Kellogg who is also the CFO of a company called Traders Network or tradersnetwork.com which shares the same address as Madwire. I’m not sure but John Kellogg may be the same person as Joe Kellogg and/or JB Kellogg.
A few extra search terms for Marketing360
  • Natural Listing Ads
  • Top Placement Ads
  • Retargeting Ads
  • UXi Websites

Before Hiring MADWIRE, Be Warned

OK, so I have no doubt that there are plenty of honest and capable people at MadWire, or MadWireMedia, or MadWire 360 or whatever.

But there are some things you should be aware of before signing a contract with them.  I’m writing this because in searching for anything negative about Madwire, I’ve found that they have completely bombed google.  And meanwhile, they are buying Pay Per Click Ads like nobody’s business, so it’s really hard to see through their promotional efforts, which I must admit, are pretty thorough.  But such a substantial publicity push serves as what is essentially a reality distortion field for you and me–The kind that would make us think that Godaddy is actually the best choice for shared Linux hosting, which I think most developers would agree, it isn’t.

So here’s the thing I want to warn you about.  It is quite possible, in my opinion, according to what I’ve seen, that if you do not carefully negotiate your contract with Madwire, you will find yourself locked into a perpetual hosting agreement in the ballpark of $50/month.

AND

The Design work you hired them to do, they (or their legal representation) will claim is their intellectual property.  So you can walk away from a hosting agreement that’s about 8-10 times more expensive than it should be, and have nothing, or continue to throw an unnecessary $30=$40 or more dollars into the wind every month, essentially FOREVER.

In other words, what someone I know was lead to sign off on, according to someone at Madwire or claiming to legally represent them, was not Work-for-hire.

Good Web Developers (I include myself in this category, thank you) working for individuals and small organizations understand that the client is best suited if they always have as many options as possible.  Those options necessarily include the ability to hire someone else at any time and/or do other things with the hosting they are paying for.

This means:

  • whenever possible, use non-proprietary code such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Concrete5 Etc (making easier to hire from a pool of other developers out there)
  • The Client should own their own Domain Registration
  • The Client should own their own Hosting Account.
  • All design work should be work-for-hire.  Ownership of the design needs to be the client’s
  • All build work should be work-for-hire.

My understanding is, according at least to one contract I know of with Madwire, their model is that you “rent” their design and development work, contingent on whether or not you continue to pay them way too much every month for hosting that you do not actually have the freedom to use.

And if you want out?  Well, as far as I know, they will then want to be paid off for the release of rights to what should have been work for hire in the first place.

So please, take these things into consideration before hiring Madwire or anyone else including ongoing hosting charges as part of the proposal.

 

 

Popular Posts: Featured Image & All In One SEO Description

the Popular Posts Plugin allows you to use a number of ‘tags‘ (similar to shortcodes) to alter the output of the Popular Posts Widget.  Here’s what my client wanted to display with the Popular Posts Plugin: Featured Image (Thumbnail Size) , followed by the Description filled out in the All In One SEO settings for the post.

I freakin googled like mad to figure this out.  The main trouble I was having is that I was getting the same thumbnail for every ‘popular post’ …The reason is that you need to use

$result->ID

instead of

$post->ID

here’s what you do (note, my example is for if your thumbnails are set to be 100px by 100px in Settings>>Media)

{php: echo get_the_post_thumbnail($result->ID, array(100,100) ); }
{php:echo get_post_meta($result->ID, '_aioseop_description', true);}

Now, that was just the raw tags.

Here’s an example with some actual HTML in the mix (note I’m using nofollow for seo purposes and alignleft for layout purposes):

<li><a class="alignleft" rel="nofollow" href="{url}">{php: echo get_the_post_thumbnail($result->ID, array(100,100) ); }</a><a rel="nofollow" href="{php:echo get_post_meta($result->ID, '_aioseop_description', true);}"</a></li>

The End.

Now this (humans ignore){php} echo get_the_post_thumbnail($result->ID, array(100,100) ); echo get_post_meta($result->ID, ‘_aioseop_description’, true); echo get_post_meta($post->ID, ‘_aioseop_description’, true); echo get_the_post_thumbnail($Post->ID, array(100,100) );

Schema.org: New Semantic Markup Supported by Google and Bing (and Yahoo! (if yahoo search isn’t just bing))

The ‘Semantic Web’ is not nearly as hot of a topic as it was a few years ago, but if you remember, some of the efforts being made back in the old days (2008?) had to do with embedding semantic identifiers into regular old HTML.  The two examples that come to mind are RDFa and Microformats.  I haven’t heard a lot of buzz about embedded ‘linked data’ in HTML lately, but I heard today that a new project, called schema.org has been launched to enable developers to add markup to sites which will help search services glean meaning from markup.  Apparently, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! are all on board with this project.

I guess we should call this Keywords 2.0

Anyway, they have a whole taxonomy of ‘things’ laid out.  Check out “The Type Hierarchy” page.  A great start.

I guess this means that a lot of SEO people are gonna start getting work again. It’ll be interesting to me to see if people start actually putting this stuff into their CMSs.  I suspect not.  I suspect that the kinds of companies that have such rich data that they can just rebuild the hooks they use as their apps render HTML will already be benefitting enough in organic search that they wont find a need to actually clutter up their code with this stuff.  I mean I find it very unlikely that a site like Disney’s would get out-ranked by some spammer because the spammer used these newer HTML attributes.

Then again, the fact that the major players are on board with this makes me wonder if there isn’t a reason that’s profitable to search companies to finally start getting rid of all the garbage from SERPs.  Touch-screen finger fatigue?  Even so, it’s all the damn spammers in eastern Europe that’ll have the resources to recode everything, at least in the near future.

Above all, I’m glad to see any attempt at making information more granular.  And deep down, I still want the universal distributed database we were all so excited about back in web2.0  when the semantic web seemed like it was on the horizon, before facebook and the mobile app-o-sphere took over.

What do we call this current era?  The API-o-sphere?  The Walled-garden-o-sphere?  Maybe we should just call it Facebook.

Intrigued and disappointed at the same time.

 

Last.FM Limit on Friend Requests Sent Per Day

The maximum number of friend requests you can send per day, as far as I can tell, is 100.  I may be slightly off.  Here’s the thing:

When you run out of friend-requests, it doesn’t tell you!   So you can end up spending an hour (or hours) adding people without realizing you are accomplishing nothing!  The way to tell is you refresh that user’s page, and it doesn’t say ‘friendship requested,’ or you just send the request twice and the second time, it will say the same thing it did the first time: “Do you want to make friends?” instead of “you already requested this person’s friendship” (or whatever the specific wording is, you get the point.)

Diclaimer:  I may be blocked or something rather than just hitting a preset speed-bump. I did sent a lot of requests.  I’ll know tonight at either Midnight somewhere in the US or in the UK.

Recently I found an awesome user group on Last.FM that had showcased one of my tracks as the “sound of the year…”

So I figured I’d better add all of the members as friends.

I know that back in the day, MySpace had a policy that allowed somewhere around 400 actions per day, that is to say, if you sent 400 friend requests, you wouldn’t be able to message anyone or anything…

LastFM doesn’t seem to have much trouble with unwanted spam.  I have a few friends on Last.fm that spam me, but it’s all good spam (decent or great music to check out).

I’m basing my number, 100 on the fact that I got through two, fifty-user pages before the requests stopped working.

UPDATE: Two days later

After Midnight PST,  was able to send 100 more friend requests.

But after Midnight the following night, I was only able to send around before they stopped working.  I added a thread on Last.FM’s community/support forum here.

Maybe someone will shed some light on this.  Search engine results for this problem are horrible.

wordpress attack inserts movie links in content

One of my favorite clients’ sites running WordPress was recently attacked by a bug that inserts links to “movie downloads” and “DVDs” all over the place in her content with “display:hidden”

The site links to sites who are also under attack and when the bug is running correctly on those sites, the sites redirect the hits to the final destination,

which is http://www.zml.com/

I don’t know if zml.com knows this is happening.  I mean I suppose it’s possible that some unscrupulous SEO or Marketing guy promised them traffic and then resorted to this to get it.  I’m contacting them now to inform them of this uncool practice being committed on their behalf, and if they are not willing to cooperate on putting an end to it, I will have no choice but to give them some negative attention.

The process of extracting the bad links from the content was long and hard since the strings of code inserted were very inconsistent.

The following is a list of the sites being linked thru, which I assume are all victims of this malware.  If you own one of these sites, feel free to drop me a line and I will point you in the right direction as far as putting an end to this.

  • http://blog.segd.org
  • http://www.investorsunited.com
  • http://www.oca-gla.org
  • http://www.thunderstruck.org
  • http://subway.com
  • http://verdadeabsoluta.net
  • http://yourrnc.com
  • http://wordpressthemesbox.com
  • http://mp3db.org
  • http://webconsultingdc.com
  • http://turtlesurvival.org
  • http://turtleconservationfund.org
  • http://truenorthbrass.com
  • http://tarabooks.com
  • http://kolenalaila.com
  • http://techbostonacademy.org
  • http://pie-flex.com
  • http://www.philebrity.tv
  • http://www.landmarkwine.com
  • http://artsinbushwick.org
  • http://brettmartin.org
  • http://bsf.org
  • http://www.popandpolitics.com
  • http://womanhonorthyself.com
  • http://www.brainstorm9.com
  • http://webdev.entheosweb.com
  • http://www.topicus-healthcare.com
  • http://www.vfilings.com
  • http://constantinessword.com
  • http://www.dopiska.com
  • http://writingcenters.org
  • http://www.radisson.com
  • http://notjustaprettyface.org
  • http://www.arizonacriminaldefenseblog.com
  • http://www.sembrarpaz.com
  • http://www.apostilla.com
  • http://www.geektechs.net
  • http://johnquiggin.com
  • http://blog.pdma.org
  • http://bluesheaven.com

Message to ZML:

Hello,

I am a developer and recently one of my clients who is running WordPress for her personal website was attacked by some Malware that inserted thousands of links throughout her content. Those links resolve to your site, but via redirects thru other sites that I assume are also victims of the malware.

You look like you’ve built a pretty nice site here. And I’m writing to give you the chance to get on board with fixing this problem before I am forced to create some negative attention in the blogosphere and social media.

It doesn’t seem like you would want to be resposible for malware. But it also doesn’t seem like anyone would go through the trouble to make all these links back to you unless you were paying them. Perhaps you hired some marketing or SEO people and were not aware that they would be using these tactics? Please write back soon as I have very little patience for this kind of thing.

Thanks,

Andrew A. Peterson

<wp:tag><wp:tag_slug>%d0%b0%d0%b2%d1%82%d0%be%d1%80%d1%81%d0%ba%d0%b8%d0%b5-%d0%bf%d1%80%d0%be%d0%b3%d1%80%d0%b0%d0%bc%d0%bc%d1%8b</wp:tag_slug><wp:tag_name><![CDATA[????????? ?????????]]></wp:tag_name></wp:tag>
<wp:tag><wp:tag_slug>%d1%81%d0%b2%d0%be%d0%b1%d0%be%d0%b4%d0%bd%d1%8b%d0%b9-%d0%bc%d0%b8%d0%ba%d1%80%d0%be%d1%84%d0%be%d0%bd</wp:tag_slug><wp:tag_name><![CDATA[????????? ????????]]></wp:tag_name></wp:tag>

Some samples of weird code that the bot inserted:

<wp:tag><wp:tag_slug>%d0%b0%d0%b2%d1%82%d0%be%d1%80%d1%81%d0%ba%d0%b8%d0%b5-%d0%bf%d1%80%d0%be%d0%b3%d1%80%d0%b0%d0%bc%d0%bc%d1%8b</wp:tag_slug><wp:tag_name><![CDATA[????????? ?????????]]></wp:tag_name></wp:tag>

<wp:tag><wp:tag_slug>%d1%81%d0%b2%d0%be%d0%b1%d0%be%d0%b4%d0%bd%d1%8b%d0%b9-%d0%bc%d0%b8%d0%ba%d1%80%d0%be%d1%84%d0%be%d0%bd</wp:tag_slug><wp:tag_name><![CDATA[????????? ????????]]></wp:tag_name></wp:tag>

WordPress Usage: 202 Million Worldwide 62.8 Million US

This is according to Jason Calacanis via This Week in Startups or TWIST.

If this is true, I feel quite a bit more comfortable in my assessment that WordPress is the best CMS for most companies or people, even for non-bloggers.

This also makes me proud of myself for seeing WP as a star product way back in 2005 when I was just getting started with Web marketing stuff and working on the public-facing side of Four Eyed Monsters.

There a a number of other free, open-source systems for managing website content.  Drupal and Joomla are the most obvious to mention.  But in my opinion, these are not mature platforms, even though they may be more appealing to devs.

The point of a CMS is (in my opinion) to make things easy for non-devs.  The point is to make it easy for the owner of the site.  This way, they don’t have to get ahold of their “web person” to fix a typo or add or remove a page.

Anyway, I’ve had faith in WordPress for a long time and watching it grow to the point where it is now is so comforting to me.  Thank god for crowd-sourcing and Open-Source! It works.

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Trying Out LastFM’s PowerPlay: Payola 2.0

OK so I have to admit that I’ve overestimated the popularity of Last.FM. At least, I am realizing how different LastFM is for a user like me that mostly has mp3s on my hard drive, and users who stream music from lastfm.

PowerPlay isn’t going to do a lot of good for me very quickly since I’ve chosen to buy impressions on radio streams for artists that are pretty obscure.  I did this because conversion rates (see web marketing 101) are higher in a narrower target, so if I try to compete for impressions/plays on Bjork’s radio stream, the chances that the users will actually like my music are considerably smaller than if I target people who like more obscure music like the constellation acts or something.  Going for Bjork is more like going for Britney Spears in that there’s a fairly diverse audience and the users are more likely to be fairly mainstream (Bjork being one of the strangest things they like).  Going after a band like Excepter or HRSTA is a better bet for me because these are people looking for fairly unconventional soundtrack-y experimental music.

In ten hours since I launched my first $20 Powerplay campaign (100 plays on radio streams of ten artists I chose), I’ve gotten ZERO plays.

On the upside, twenty bucks is going to provide my with at least 3 months of entertainment since I’ll have one more site to check in with a few times a day when I’m being neurotic.

The music industry is a mess.  The best discovery tools suck because the content owners are afraid of change, while the best music delivery systems are either incomplete (legal or illegal but private) or unreliable (illegal but public).

And legal or not, there’s no real integration between the streaming services and the OS environment.

Maybe the Chrome OS or the Smartphone market will change that.  I’m sick of storing tons of MP3s.

OH!  If these other music acts are so obscure, maybe I should buy their Keywords from Google.  Hmmm…

Props to Hulu on Good PR

From the “Availability Notes” that appeared when I checked Hulu for new episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia…”
Apparently, they took down many of the episodes (they had a few seasons of the show up in entirety) all at once without warning.
The tone I get from this, is that Hulu may even be thinking along the lines of posting ‘expiration dates” for the content… That would be smart. It would be another way to browse (browse by what’s about to expire), and it would give Hulu users more of a sense that Hulu is almost like their free, ad-supported DVR, a good place for Hulu to be in people’s minds, I think.  The message is an apology from Hulu… All and all, I say, good going, Hulu.  You guy’s are rockin’ it!

Availability Notes:
Hulu can provide five episodes of this series at a time. We’ll add a new episode each week as we take down an older one, following the same schedule as the official site.  

Customer trust is hard won, easily lost. On January 9, we removed nearly 3 seasons of full episodes of ”It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” We did this at the request of the content owner. Despite Hulu’s opinion and position on such content removals (which we share liberally with all of our content partners), these things do happen and will continue to happen on the Hulu service with regards to some television series. As power users of Hulu have seen, we’ve added a large amount of content to the library each month, and every once in a while we are required to remove some content as well. 

This note, however, is not about the fact that episodes of ”It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” were taken down. Rather, this note is to communicate to our users that we screwed up royally with regards to _how_ we handled this specific content removal and to apologize for our lack of strong execution. We gave effectively no notice to our users that these ”Sunny” episodes would be coming off the service. We handled this in precisely the opposite way that we should have. We believe that our users deserve the decency of a reasonable warning before content is taken down from the Hulu service. Please accept our apologies.

Given the very reasonable user feedback that we have received on this topic (we read every twitter, email and post), we have just re-posted all of the episodes that we had previously removed. I’d like to point out to our users that the content owner in this case – FX Networks – was very quick to say yes to our request to give users reasonable advance notice here, despite the fact that it was the Hulu team that dropped the ball. We have re-posted all of the episodes in the interest of giving people advance notice before the episodes will be taken down two weeks from today. The episodes will be taken down on January 25, 2009. Unfortunately we do not have the permission to keep the specific episodes up on Hulu beyond that. We hope that the additional two weeks of availability will help to address some of the frustration that was felt over the past few days.

The team at Hulu is doing our best to make lemonade out of lemons on this one, but it’s not easy given how poorly we executed here. Please know that we will do our best to learn from this mistake such that the Hulu user experience benefits in other ways down the road.

Sincerely,

Jason Kilar, CEO, Hulu

Google Rolling Out ‘Semantic’ Results

An interesting baby-step in Google improving Search Results (man are they ever holding out on us!)

From Read/Write Web (Written by Marshall Kirkpatrick)

Did Google Just Expose Semantic Data in Search Results?  Well did they?  No. The results pages don’t expose any “structured data”

I really believe that Google is trying to avoid becoming everyone’s scrape-able Semantic Query Engine. There’s tons of at least semi-semantic data out there and google simply doesn’t present it to us.  They have it.  They understand it. They could give it to us. But they don’t.  I mean for crying out loud, imagine how difficult it must be for google to return image search results that are anywhere near as good as google’s image results are?   Does anyone really think that google is completely ignoring microformats or service-wide presentational semantic data (an example of this would be the html classes and ID’s assigned to elements on social network pages)?? Does anyone really think so?  While they’re looking at things like alt tags and nofollow tags and everything else?  Would google just ignore piles and piles of metadata? No.  Would they decide to not let us use it?  I think so.  

I think they’re doing a classic ‘roll-out’ thing, saving their best search technology for when they absolutely have to whip it out for competitive reasons.  This is cause to resent google to a certain extent I think.

Technology Predictions for 2009

first of all, my last prediction-for-next-year was a little optimistic, as I was predicting what people in the echo chamber have since started calling ‘cloud computing…’ I predicted that we’d see a lot of online services that blur the lines between what is ‘local’ and what is an online ‘service.’  …let me just defer that prediction one year and add it to the heap of what I see coming this year.  At least give me credit for making it my major prediction before the catch-phrase ‘cloud computing’ came to the surface.

  1. Linux Will Come and Start Killing. Google Android, Ubuntu Mobile, Asus’ recent release of EEE PC’s running Linux, all point for me to the fact that Linux is finally coming to a device near you.  Of course, Linux never went away, but I’m talking about real OS Market share.  In addition, I wouldn’t be surprised if the coming popularity of Linux also dishes out a major hit to Microsft because I bet it’s easier to port software made for Linux to Mac OS X than it is to port it to Windows since OS X is built on Unix.  Just something to consider.  Also, if you haven’t been looking, take a look at Ubuntu.  It’s a pretty nice OS and will run on anything, maybe even your toaster.  And it’s free!
  2. AJaX Will Continue to Prevail as the Shiznit in Web Development (while Flash and others continue to die).  Because of the nature of touch-screen interfaces and because we will increasingly see the deployment of Navigation and Map-based services as well as virtual world type applications, where a scalable simulated 3-D space is used, I think AJaX is likely to continue to become the way things are done.  At this point, I’m starting to doubt the long term success of Flash, AIR, Silverlight because I think Javascript can do what these things do better.
  3. Affordable Smartphones. Maybe this is a no-brainer, but when I say affordable I mean $100 or less.  I’m not predicting at this time affordable connectivity for these devices. I know gadget enthusiast might hate me for saying this, but I think the Handset Race and the Netbook Race are very overlapped.  They are both fighting for certain causes together such as improvements to battery life, cheapening of Solid State storage, cheapening of Mobile Connectivity, The need for competition in the OS market and the need for “Thin” software, not to mention ‘Cloud’ services… 
  4. Ubiquity of Navigation Systems and/or GPS. From my understanding, cellular networks are already able to provide location info nearly as accurate as true GPS.  There’s no reason for the next wave of phones to not have on-board GPS capability or something similar that offers driving directions etc.
  5. Google Will Roll Out Geo-Targeted Advertising for Realz. Via GPS/Navigation devices probably, but even desktop search should see a shift in this way. Try searching for ‘pizza.’ You can see there’s big room for improvement there.
  6. Google Search to Shape Up or Start Shipping Out. Google may begin losing Search market-share in 2009 if they don’t play their cards right. Google’s Search Results haven’t changed noticeably since they started putting Wikipedia articles at the top of the stack a few years ago.  Personally, I think Google is intentionally not releasing major improvements to their results in order to avoid being an unofficial API for competing services. Again, search for ‘pizza.’ Then, add your postal code to the search. The funny thing is that Google already knows where you are, more or less, based on your IP address. Meanwhile, other search engines are actually better for many kinds of searches. Try Yahoo! for ‘pizza.’ Try Dogpile for finding an mp3. Google is capable of being better than these right now, in my opinion, but intentionally holding back, banking on the idea that their mindshare will carry them along until the next era, probably brought on by the ubiquity of GPS and Smartphones.  Even if Google loses a considerable amount of its Search traffic, it will continue to be the biggest hub of online metrics collection, as well as of course, online advertising, where Google makes all its money.  I don’t think Google is going anywhere any time soon.

NPR’s Weekend Edition is Mis-Using Twitter to Spam Me!

I like many NPR programs.  And this post about Weekend Edition’s mis-use of Twitter is just a way of pointing out a flaw in how one organisation is using Twitter so that we, and hopefully they (are you listening?), can learn from their mistakes.

  1. I clicked to “Follow” Weekend Edition.
  2. I got a weird impersonal messages sent “to me” via an “@ Reply” about how they’re getting the next episode of their show ready etc.  (why would they send that to me?  Smells like a strategy: “When someone starts to ‘follow’ us, respond to them with the latest tweet…” …a lot like automated thanks-for-the-add comments on MySpace, right?)
  3. I responded suggesting they aren’t really using Twitter correctly.  
  4. I gave it a day thinking I’d get a little response from their Team… Nope.  (What’s even worse than misinterpreting a medium, is not paying attention when people try to help.  Hello?)

Why would I want to be getting “personal,” direct messages from a media brand that wont respond to my own “personal” messages, when all of this is taking place via a platform in which I‘m already subscribing to a stream of anything that brand wants to say???  

Arghh!!

Can Anyone Explain The Open Rights Group to me?

The Open Rights Group is out there. I have no idea what they aim to do.  There are a bunch of new projects that have sprouted up online for various goals having to do with Intellectual Property in the digital realm, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Creative Commons, and more recently, the Featured Artist’s Coalition…  

My question is, is the O.R.G. a friend or a foe?  

I’m a child of digital media, and I’m also an artist.  I’m also a creator of other forms of content like this blog. 

The Open Rights Group’s site is so confusing and not-clear in its mission at first glance.  For all I can tell it’s a front for a major publisher effort.  

Really, the site is terribly unclear.  Maybe I was supposed to spend a bunch of time digging for the agenda there.  

Please, you guys, make it clear!

I can help if you want, but damn.  I can’t even tell what you stand for.

It needs to be completely clear to anyone visiting the site, as soon as they get there, me thinks.

rel=”spam” rel=”mal” MicroFormat for Spam? rel=”???”

IDEA: A MicroFormat for when it may be necessary to link to a Malicious, Dangerous, or Unethical Site?

Funny, the first thing that came to mind was using rel=”spam”  …but really what brought this up was a site that isn’t necessarily “Spam” in the traditional sense.  The site was a pyramid scheme, the operators of which were posting ads on my local craigslist for “social media” something or other.  This isn’t by definition, Spam.

The Wikipedia currently says:

“Spamming is the abuse of electronic messaging systems to indiscriminately send unsolicited bulk messages…”

The quantity is what makes spam spam, not the uselessness of what’s being promoted.

Maybe rel=”mal” as in malicious??

I’m not the only one thinking about this idea.

WordPress Blog Deleted/Archived for TOS Violation

If your blog has been deleted suddenly by WordPress.com, DON’T PANIC!  …that is, unless you use your blog for phishing scams or spam-commenting or anything else that brings down the experience of other people on the Web and/or makes it harder for people to find the information they need.  In that case, panic.  Scream and cry.  I hope your blog is permanently deleted, and everything you eat for the rest of you life tastes horrible. The Web is our garden!  

Assuming you are an ethical participant of The Cloud, pretty soon you should get an email from WordPress.com explaining the nature of the take-down.

[Anyway, my blog is back, obviously.  I guess I need to start backing up my blog? Jeeez.  What a hassle.]

[begin story]

I regularly blog about scams/spam on the Web.  It’s a way for me be discovered by, and to provide guidance to, people who happen to be googling around about some questionable content they find or are emailed.

One example of this is this search result for “paypal-cgi.com,” a site that mimics PayPal in order to trick people into handing over their paypal login info.  I come up number one for the search, and the title of the result makes it clear that you shouln’t trust PayPal-CGI.com… If you click thru to my post, I explain why these things exist and how to detect this kind of crap.

You see, I’m actually doing something good here.  And it’s good for me too.

Anyway, recently I encountered some scam crap on craigslist and blogged about it. And since my blog post contained a link to the spam/scam site I was exposing, WordPress.com’s evil-detectors went ape shit and my blog got automatically removed by wordpress.com.  

I was in the middle editing a post and suddenly my category selection buttons stopped working.  And there was a thing saying somethin like “you do not have permission to edit this..” or something like that.  When I refreshed the page, I got “The authors have deleted this blog. The content is no longer available”

…and my blog had been completely removed leaving only this scary screen saying: “This blog has been archived or suspended for a violation of our Terms of Service.”

Ironic. I got banned for merely exposing something malicious.

Current Spam-Filter technology isn’t context-aware. This is a slippery slope: Using words or links alone, without regard to context, to define what is untrustworthy content.

See the post in question for yourself HERE

Fortunately, about an hour later, I got a message from WordPress.com: 

from: Anthony – WordPress.com:

Hi,

Your blog was automatically flagged, as links to overnightcashexplosion.com were detected (and these are certainly not permitted). The blog is back – please remove all such links.

Best,

Anthony

Automattic | WordPress.com

I responded with:

if it’s a url in text, is that different in the eyes of your spam defenses from an actual link?  I’d like to leave the url if possible so I can still come up in searches for that url. 

WHat’s your take on that?

Thanks for communicating with me. :)

-A

Anthony from WordPress replied:

Hi,
Sure, you can leave it – I understand the context.

Best,
Anthony
Automattic | WordPress.com

So, there is a layer of discretion here?  That’s good I guess.

BitTorrent Tracker Specifically for Independent Artists

(just an idea I had in the middle of the night… maybe it’s a good one?)

It just occurred to me that what artists like me, who are non-label, totally independent, need is a tracker/directory site for us to upload out torrents to.  A tracker that’s 100% legal music.  

I’m thinking since when you launch a .torrent file, depending on the client, you can select what files you want to download, artists can include in one torrent, a few different versions of their releases.  For instance, I could include a flac version, and two different mp3 bitrates, all album artwork bundled with each compression scheme  separately, and each version in it’s own folder.  

The user selects the one torrent, launches it, selects the folder for the version they want, and they get what they want.  

*Artist is distributing without needing a central server…

*Fans of indie/niche music are getting what they want the way they want it. And there’s a central place  for hard-to-find and/or totally legally-distributed-via-P2P music. 

 

There may also be advantages to creating a recommendation engine that excludes major-label music:  Maybe major label music obscures the analysis of music taste in some cases?  Just a thought.

I wrote a letter to the peeps at The Pirate Bay.  Maybe they’ll read it and write me back.

Green-Washing, Water-Hoarding, Guilt-Mongering, Pickens & ZapRoot

Comment I left on zaproot‘s episode 048 called Truth About The Pickens Plan …As of posting this, it hasn’t appeared on their site…

Here’s the Video I’m responding to:

I love me a good conspiracy theory.

I’m interested to see the evidence of this water-grabbing thing spelled out as more than just a reference and passing the buck to one article in Tucson Weekly (which has no sources or links).

Are there other sources?

I’m not a Pickens supporter per se, but I am a Web2 fanatic who thinks the grassroots/marketing efforts of the Pickens Plan are amazing, both in design and success so far.

I’d like to see the evidence of this theory about the mid-western aquifer properly added to the Wikipedia article on the page for the pickens plan… Currently, it only mentions one source, which seems to be the same source as for this episode.

Here: http://www.tucsonweekly.com/gbase/Opinion/Content?oid=oid:113228

Maybe I’m wrong, and I definitely have no reason to side with a rich-ass oil guy…

I just want my skepticism to be smart.

Dates, Bill Numbers, and other data would really help.

The Wikipedia article, which anyone can edit, has none of this. It simply mentions the existence of this theory, which to me really makes it seem like a stretch since something so important seems like it would have some wikipedia back-n-forth going on.

Where is the discussion? If the people of the US are blind to this alleged water-grab, can you really claim the position of moral high-ground while attempting to make [ad-supported] content out of the issue without lifting a finger to actually get the word out via the wikipedia [or any other medium with any kind of reach]?

You guys aren’t even popular enough to have a wikipedia article for yourselves, yet you claim to be delivering an important message. I know it probably took a few hours at least to edit all that green-screen stuff with the pretty host bouncing around.

Who’s “Green-Washing” who? Are you helping humanity? Are you participating in the cloud? Or are you just trying to sell a cute actress to us while capitalizing on our guilt by using the whole “green” thing?

This is social media, people. If it’s true, add it to the wikipedia with sources!

If it’s “true” let’s expose it properly! I can’t wait to hear back from you. BTW, I love Channel Frederator!!! —Andrew

Kevin Kelly on the Next 5,000 Days of the Internet-TED, 2007:

Kevin Kelly gave this talk at TED in 2007.  It’s worth watching.  

He touches on a number of things ranging from history of the Internet and Moore’s Law to the future ubiquity of Cloud Computing and Kurzweil‘s “Sigularity.” 

He covers concepts like the Semantic Web, and the give-and-take between privacy and participation with relatively light language that any lay person should be able to understand.  This is an interesting and entertaining little presentation.  Thought I’d share.

How Will I Organize My Tags? An App? MOAT? A Feature in Delicious?

Here’s my dilemma. I have a ton of bookmarks on my Del.icio.us account.  I love using an online bookmarking system. But still, Delicious and others’ systems for organizing bookmarks don’t really help with a need I bet most users have: Tag-Optimization.  

What we need are tools for analyzing and perfecting the organizing of bookmarks.  Every one of these systems like Delicious, Furl, StumbleUpon etc, have the same problem: user-submitted tags are bug-y!!! The engine of the platform needs to guide the users toward better tagging!  Basically, we need built-in systems for finding the types of redundancies and other tag-errors that we all have. We need debugging software, so our bookmarks can become good, clean representations of how web-users feel about various web resources.  “Suggested Tags” and “Popular Tags” are great time-saving features but I’d like to also have a tool for correcting tag-cancer.  
These software offerings, if/when they finally exist, are going to make it increasingly more easy to harmonize user-submitted value from folksonomies with the ‘Semantic Web,’ which is right around the corner.
 
Some examples of areas where I think a robot could help users to clean up tags are:
  • Redundant Tags. Usually just alternate tenses of the same word (like the plural and singular form) but also synonyms. Example: Image, Images, Picture, Pictures, Pix
  • Arbitrary Capitalization. HTML vs html etc.
  • Vagueness. Like los or awesome (wouldn’t it be safe to assume that all the things you bookmark are ‘awesome’ to you?’). 
This is a screen-shot of my tagging screen from Delicious.  I added the red scribbling to point out just a few of the problems my tags have.
Del.Icio.Us Tags Gone Wild
Del.Icio.Us Tags Gone Wild

On several occasions, I’ve set out to clean up my tags manually, but I’ve never made it very far.  It’s just too much work.

Maybe the coming overhaul to Del.Icio.Us will ad some of these needed features, although somehow I doubt it.

I’ve heard of the MOAT (Meaning Of A Tag) Project, and perhaps this could save us, but like many other ‘Semantic Web’ projects, I haven’t found a way, as a lay person, to utilize it.  At some point down te road,  maybe someone will make a Delicious-MOAT-erizer Web-App that will clean-up-shop-by-proxy and make the metadata available to the Semantic Web.