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Topics - ergophobe

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Traffic / In lieu of refusing guest posts
« on: August 06, 2018, 02:38:13 PM »
I always tell people (and try my best to practice): don't say no to work, quote a price, no matter how exhorbitant it feels, where you would be excited to take that business. Some clients just have to be charged double or triple for it to be worth it to take their job. And some people are worth doing the work for half of what you would normally want.

So in lieu of saying a flat no to people wanting to guest post, today I adopted this format:

Dear Emily,

I would be happy to accept 5-10 guest posts per month for a discounted payment of $999 per post or $1999 for a single post per month or $2999 for a one-off deal.

Thank you.

To be clear, this is on a site where I would say the actual market value of buying a guest post is about $0. This ain't for Forbes.

This is how I used to handle AirBnB for our rental too. I didn't like the AirBnB system, but since the calendars sync, I couldn't block all dates on AirBnB. So the VRBO price was $300/night. The AirbnB price was $1000/night. Because no matter what a PITA their system was, it wasn't a $1000/night PITA. So it wasn't blocked... it was just a price at which I was happy to take that business (the AirBnB system has improved a fair bit, so now I don't charge any premium).

Traffic / 54% of informational snippets come from Body only
« on: August 02, 2018, 08:36:26 PM »
And of those, most come from the first 20% of the page

Web Development / Meta Description and Title Tool
« on: July 26, 2018, 07:40:37 PM »
Some friends did this back when Google first switched to truncating by pixel count rather than character count. They've updated it the best they can through all of the recent vagaries.

Anyway, it makes a pretty good estimate of where Google would truncate if they actually deign to use your title and description, including bolding the search terms and things like that which affect truncation.

I find myself editing a bunch of metas and using it, so thought I'd pass it on

Water Cooler / Smoke Map of North America and the Atlantic
« on: July 25, 2018, 02:10:23 PM »
This is insane. I regularly look at this during the summer months and I have never seen anything like this

According to SimilarWeb, overtook in November 2017 and has had more visits every month since.

For those who follow travel, this is a big shift for several reasons

1. It means that AirBnB has catapulted past VRBO which a few short years ago had 5x the revenue of AirBnB. As an aggregate that might still be true because VRBO/Homeaway is split across several sites

2. More importantly, it represents a non-traditional property beating an OTA. When you consider that sells hotels, rental cars, flights and vacation rentals, and AirBnB mostly sells just vacation rentals and still a handful of shared rooms, that says a lot about where the travel industry is going (and how good AirBnB marketing is).

One side note - I have pretty much never seen AirBnB show up in "information" searches. They don't seem to have much of an organic strategy compared to or the Expedia family or TripAdvisor. So this must be a *huge* amount of direct traffic. Not to mention that the AirBnB crowd is also very much of an "app" crowd rather than a "website" crowd in my experience.

Web Development / RewriteRule Tester
« on: June 18, 2018, 02:48:23 AM »
Sometimes RewriteRule and RewriteCond etc can drive me mad. I was having a problem with a rewrite rule and found this

Super handy

Water Cooler / Floating an anvil on mercury
« on: June 15, 2018, 05:19:55 AM »
This has multiple things I'd never seen, including two gallons of mercury poured into a tub in someone's backyard. I wonder what he did with it them

Marketing / Amazon Search and PPC - ranking factors and user behavior
« on: June 13, 2018, 11:42:14 PM »
Latest Sumo article might interest some of you

Traffic / GDPR settings just kicked in for GA
« on: June 13, 2018, 07:25:20 PM »
I was looking at a Google Analytics property for which I only have read-only access and was confused at first...

When I look at All Users, I can track revenue back as far as I want. When I segment by Direct/Organic/etc, it only goes back to 2016. At first I thought I was in a view that was created in 2016.... then I realized that the account admin or their legal advisor or someone had decided to set the data retention to two years (or perhaps decided nothing and let the default take effect).

Everything just goes off a cliff... no data more than two years old. And some data seems just gone entirely - zero "users" right up to today in some reports even when "new users" is 350,000.


Seriously? All routers? It would be helpful if they said which routers were targeted.

Anyway, we lose power often enough around here that my routers are almost guaranteed to get power cycled weekly at least


TL;DR - keyless entry "keys" are prone to hacking

Web Development / Wikipedia Link Previews
« on: May 22, 2018, 10:24:00 PM »
I completely missed these until just now when I noticed the link previews and did a bit of digging.

Launched April 17.

This seemingly cosmetic change may seem far from revolutionary, but has been built through careful and vigorous A/B testing; scaling APIs to Wikipedia levels of traffic and a change to how we build our code (blog post to follow). Our testing shows that the feature makes it easier and more efficient for Wikipedia readers to interact with our content and get more context about a topic on Wikipedia.
The goal of page previews was to decrease the cost of exploration for each blue link you come across, allowing readers to satisfy their curiosity or clarify a confusing or unknown topic without the burden of opening a new page and navigating back to the original.
And for three, the number of classical pageviews is slightly decreasing. That might seem like a strange thing to be happy about

That last sentence highlights the difference between and ad-driven publisher and a donation-driven publisher, between the need to be interruptive and the need to be useful.

And a bit more on design considerations and a few other strategy observations

Nearly ~28 percent of Wikipedia’s traffic comes from clicking on internal blue links. a.k.a going down the rabbit hole.
~2 million links get hovered per minute across all Wikipedias
Add value not pain
Modifying such frequent behavior is difficult. We began by using qualitative and quantitative insights to conclude the interaction timeline for showing a preview.
Given Wikipedia’s scale, a minor change in any of these variables could always result in a massive impact on the experiences of the end user as well as on our infrastructure

So then 62% of traffic comes from outside the site - search or referral traffic. That's higher than I would have guessed given how often I go down the rabbit hole

I remember years ago I had a tool that would let me find other sites using the AdSense or GA account (I think it was even free for a certain number of results).

Is there something like that for GA now? I do not need *all* the sites. Even if the account owner has a huge number of sites, I'd be happy to get just a small sample for what I need. Five would be enough I think.

Water Cooler / Don't get distracted
« on: May 15, 2018, 11:42:12 PM »
I’m going to tell you about how I took a job building software to kill people.

But don’t get distracted by that; I didn’t know at the time.


We got WiFi hotspots located! Great, does it find phones?

It’s taking seconds instead of minutes! Great, does it find phones?

We looked into it finding phones, it seems unlikely but maybe! Ok, we’ll come back to it.

We got moving targets working! Great, does it find phones?

I had been distracted.

Does it find phones.

A year and a day ago, a developer named Bill Sourour wrote a blog post. It opened with the line: “If you write code for a living, there’s a chance that at some point in your career, someone will ask you to code something a little deceitful – if not outright unethical.”

As his conclusion, Bill writes: "As developers, we are often one of the last lines of defense against potentially dangerous and unethical practices."

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