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highlighted links:

Twitter Blocking explained

Social Marketing... at last!

The Psychology of Collective Action, Social Media,...

Fwd: [#MRO-489-36585]: com-give.com scam site

Today's "what's this company?" mystery: Safer Alco...

Losing classroom content

Cross pollinating outreach ideas

Equity versus equality

Tempered glass whiteboard ideas

Top tier front line




earlier posts:

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6.19.2006

This could be the one!

I just got an exciting e-mail! Sure, it's to my "feedback" address that's published on the Internet, and she got my name wrong, but I think this could be the one! It feels like she's my soulmate! I hope Ruth doesn't find out that I have such an enticing and legitimate interest from a young woman in Russia:


Hi, Curt

I'm a very young and energetic lady! I have very positive attitude to life and people. I do enjoy new experience life can offer me: to see new interesting places, to meet new people.
I do try to enjoy every moment of life and accept everything the way it comes without complaining.
Though my life seems to be quite enjoyable there's one important thing missing. It's LOVE!
Without my beloved one, my soul mate, my King my life is not completed.
I wish i coud find him very soon so that we could share together every momement of the life-time romance!
What about you? Could you be my King? If answer is "yes" - you can find more about me http://web-site-that-doesn't-deserve-to-be-given-free-publicity.net/

so long
Galinka


With this opportunity available to me, maybe I can get Ruth to start calling me "King" -- and that's with a capital "K", don't forget!

6.15.2006

Southern Baptists, Alcohol and Legalism

For those of you interested in theological side-trips and denominational differences... check out Between Two Worlds: The SBC Resolution on Alcohol.

(Do note that "Baptist General Conference", of which Berean Baptist is a part, is not the same as the "Southern Baptist Convention", of which Justin's post speaks.)

6.14.2006

Red Rain has returned?

In one of those "mysteries of the unexplained" books from the 1980s, I read about a story of weird reddish rain falling on people with a variety of bad effects. Here's a more current version of the same thing. If it turns out that some guy in India has the Andromeda Strain sitting in his laboratory... well, you heard it here! CNN.com - Mysterious red cells might be aliens - Jun 2, 2006

6.09.2006

A "myvu" review

An excellent review of the myvu display, including a comment (but not much detail) about something of particular importance to me. From Mobility Site - myvu – a personal media viewer: "One concern you might have is whether or not you can wear glasses with the device. The answer really depends on the size of your glasses. I have several pairs of eyeglasses and found that I could use ones that had smaller frames although it would not be optimal for comfort. However, there is a prescription lens snap-on option (integrated with nose pad) that you could get to aid in viewing."

Making video-podcasts bearable...

As soon as they come to a local retail store so I can check them out personally (or, I suppose, as soon as someone I know buys one and lets me look at it), I'm gonna play with the myvu personal media viewer.

Finally, the concept of video podcasts makes sense. Yes, HMDs have been around for years, but something this light and inexpensive? Now that's new!

6.08.2006

Google Speaks!

WOW! I actually heard back from Google! I still hate that more and more companies consider it "customer service" to send out form letters without any thought to whether they make sense or not... but I give huge credit to Google that, when you say "Your form letter makes no sense!", they have a real live person respond with something that you can actually understand!

So, Kudos to Google!

What was the problem? Well, here was their response:


Hello Eric,

The language we were specifically referring to was: "So, if you're into
giving your opinion for money (i give mine for free :)) go ahead and click
on the ad :) Questions, problems, worries? Go ahead and post a comment.
:)"

We felt that it is misleading to your users as the most prominent ads on
your site are from Google.



Now, before you think that my wife is some evil person who's telling people to click on Google ads... here's the actual post in question (which we've now removed from Ruth's blog to appease the Google gods) -- and just a hint that the sentence you're looking for is at the very bottom:


Real survey money! Who'd a thunk it?

If you're a regular to this blog, you'll notice a new banner ad for American Consumer Opinion (on the right . . .flashing green). I was going to recommend this anyway and then I found out they had an affiliate program, hence the new banner. Anyway, if you're into making free money off the internet this is an EXCELLENT way of doing it. I joined about 6 months ago. Here are some things to know:

1) You get paid for answering survey questions online so companies can make their products better.
2) You will not get rich or get an iPod or a laptop or whatever, because this is a legitimate business that really does pay you for your opinion. What you will get is a little bit of money. So far I've earned $18 and a free month of feminine hygiene products to try out. The $18 came in the form of 2 real live checks. One for a $12 survey and one for a $6 survey. In both cases I knew how long the surveys would take to do and how much I would get paid.
3) It doesn't cost anything to join.
4) They do ask for personal information like how many people are in your family (to figure out your demographic) but they don't ask for anything that could hurt you (like your credit card or bank account numbers).
5) They don't send out SPAM. With the exception of a eBirthday Greeting (which I thought plain old nice) every e-mail I've received from them has been survey related.
6) They don't send tons of e-mail period. I'd say I hear from them about once a month.
7) They don't sell your e-mail address to others. I have a unique e-mail address for them and the only e-mail that comes to that address is from them.

In general, I've been very happy with them, which is why I'm recomending them. So, if you're into giving your opinion for money (i give mine for free :)) go ahead and click on the ad :) Questions, problems, worries? Go ahead and post a comment. :)


Remember that American Consumer Opinion isn't PPC (Pay Per Click) -- performance on the ad is based on whether people sign up or not, so the company is perfectly happy to have people click on the ad itself as much as possible. That means there's nothing unethical with Ruth telling people "Click on the blinking green American Consumer Opinion banner".

Personally, I think the context of the post was pretty clear and people weren't very likely to get "confused" -- and it's especially moot considering this is a year-old archive page that gets almost no traffic.

But, as I say, I'm extremely impressed that, when pressed, Google came up with a quick and coherent response in less than 24 hours. You don't see that much these days!

(If you're curious, the page where this reference appeared was Sleeping Toddler - Allergies to properties: July 2005; when you see how much other stuff is on there, you'll understand that one passing reference to a non-Google banner is a surprising reason to claim a violation of Terms of Service... but, hey, they make the rules!)

Bye Bye Ads!

After reading sites like Google-Adsense-Sucks.com Class Action Law Suit, I realized something: I'd better make sure there weren't any ties between this site and Google, or else Google could ban me for saying bad things about them.

You'd think they couldn't do that, but they really can do anything they want.

So, now we have an interesting ethical situation. Given that I'm not a Communist nation, will Google choose to censor my free speech or not? They can't ban me from AdSense based on what I say about it on this blog, because this blog isn't related to my AdSense account in any way, shape or form. So are they going to ban me anyway, or are they going to try and figure out a way to ban me based on my wife's fully compliant blog... or will they drop the issue entirely?

For what it's worth, their M.O. seems to be a letter stating that a site is banned because of "invalid clicks" -- which is misleading, because it's not that someone is sitting at a computer clicking on a bunch of ads. Their argument is that, since you're not following the TOS, the clicks you received are invalid.

The problem in my current case is that I am following the TOS, so we'll see where it goes.

Anyway, in the past -- in my pro-Google days -- you might have seen ads here as I was testing things out... but no more! My speech won't be stifled! :)

What does Google use?

By the way, as I await a response from Google (which I probably won't get)... if anyone's interested in the specs of the systems that Google uses to make false accusations against blog authors, here's what our log turns up. We got just one hit, going straight to the archive, and then it took them a day to craft their form letter to me:

VISITOR ANALYSIS
Referring Link: No referring link
Host Name: 216-239-45-4.google.com
IP Address: 216.239.45.4
Country: United States
Region: California
City: Mountain View
ISP: Google Inc
Returning Visits: 0
Visit Length: 0 seconds
VISITOR SYSTEM SPECS
Browser: Firefox 1.5.0
Operating System: Windows XP
Resolution: 1600x1200
Javascript: Enabled

Navigation Path
6th June 2006 08:38:54 PM ralarson.blogspot.com/2005_07_01_ralarson_archive.html
No referring link


Oddly, it seems there was a Google image search that brought up the same archive page the day before, by someone in Anchorage. We have no way of knowing what their search string was, but what they got (and clicked on, to end up at Ruth's blog) was this photo:



Are these two hits to the same page related? Who knows -- but it sure is odd that anybody cares about an archive page from nearly a year ago... and that it's the only page that Google looked at before sending me a note that something (which they can't yet describe) doesn't comply with their Terms of Service?

6.07.2006

Google starts bullying...

I wondered how long it would be before Google screwed up something, somewhere, and decided to start bullying us about AdSense. Even though they're making money hand over fist with the program, the word on the webmaster forums out there is that they have a nasty tendency to shut down accounts on false pretense. But we'll hope that's not the case here.

The funny thing is, they're not complaining about my little yellow note on this site; they're on my case about my wife's blog! Wow!

At least I'll have some topics for the podcast now!

Check out Google AdSense - Program Policies for a little light reading, (and maybe take a peek at the page they dislike over at Ruth's Blog)... and then see if my Minnesota passive-agressive response to them makes sense:

----- Original message -----
To: adsense-support@google.com
Date: Wed, 07 Jun 2006 22:36:26 -0500
Subject: Re: Google AdSense

Hello! Please explain in additional detail how pages such as
http://ralarson.blogspot.com/2005_07_01_ralarson_archive.html are out of
compliance with your policies. Your e-mail of this evening is
inadequate:

1) The site contains no phrases of any kind that might call attention to
the ads
2) The site contains no arrows or symbols that might draw attention to
the ads

I honestly believe that all of our pages are in 100% compliance with
your TOS, which we've reviewed thoroughly.

In fact, the site you reference is on Blogger (owned by Google) and the
ads are simply included within one of the Blogger-provided default
templates; I'm extremely surprised that you believe this actually
violates your TOS! How?

As soon as you inform us as to what "the necessary changes" are, we'll
gladly make them within 72 hours. As an alternative, we'll also accept
an apology for your mistaken accusation and the time we've been forced
to spend to inform you of your error.

Thank you!

---Eric Larson

cc: Ruth Larson


On Wed, 7 Jun 2006 17:53:59 -0700, "Google AdSense"
said:
> Hello,
>
> While reviewing your account, we noticed that you are currently
> displaying
> Google ads in a manner that is not compliant with our policies. For
> instance, we found violations of AdSense policies on pages such as
> http://ralarson.blogspot.com/2005_07_01_ralarson_archive.html
>
> Publishers are not permitted to encourage users to click on Google ads or
> bring excessive attention to ad units. For example, your site cannot
> contain
> phrases such as "click the ads," "support our sponsors," "visit these
> recommended links," or other similar language that could apply to the
> Google
> ads on your site. Publishers may not use arrows or other symbols to
> direct
> attention to the ads on their sites, and publishers may not label the
> Google
> ads with text other than "sponsored links" or "advertisements."
>
> Please make any necessary changes to your web pages in the next 72 hours.
> We
> also suggest that you take the time to review our program policies
> (https://www.google.com/adsense/policies) to ensure that all of your
> other
> pages are in compliance.
>
> Once you update your site, we will automatically detect the changes and
> ad
> serving will not be affected. If you choose not to make the changes to
> your
> account within the next three days, your account will remain active but
> you
> will no longer be able to display ads on the site. Please note, however,
> that we may disable your account if further violations are found in the
> future.
>
> Thank you for your cooperation.
>
> Sincerely,
>
> The Google AdSense Team
>
> --------------------------
>
> To avoid the risk of having your account disabled for violation of
> AdSense
> policies, we recommend that publishers also review the important
> guidelines
> found here:
> https://www.google.com/support/adsense/bin/answer.py?answer=23921&ctx=en
>
>
>

6.02.2006

Testing Click.TV

The good folks at Click.TV just released their new Self-Service functionality, so I'm playing with that here. It probably doesn't look too good, squished into my blog format, but the point is that you can stick a Click.TV-wrapped video on any web page that you want to.






 


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