Author Archive

Fluffy Links – Tuesday September 25th 2007

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

Today I’m going to ask McGyver to sign my Swiss Army Knife and then ask him who’d win in a build-off with the A-Team.

National Consumer Agency = fucking joke.

This Speed Nanny thing is catching. Anymore photoshoppers?

The perfect place for my secret lair.

Overheard in Cork. I pictured the Swearing Lady in this.

Why did so many people not go to BarCamp when they said they were? Can we blame Eddie O’Sullivan for that too?

We’ve got the Jesus Phone and now a Cross MP3 player.

Twitter T-Shirt.

Enough is enough:

De new face of Irish Rugby for the Rugby World Cup

Monday, September 24th, 2007

How many Irish men does it take to get a paddy out of a french loo? No, not a joke:

He overcame the massive obstacles the french put in his way, he got around their watertight defenses, he communicated with the rest of his team and he executed it all with perfection. Put him on against the Argies. The new face of Irish Rugby, take a chance on him Eddie.

Face of Irish Rugby

Who’s your nanny? In memory of Blogorrah – Lovelygirl pics courtesy of Speed Nanny

Monday, September 24th, 2007

I got sent these today as part of a PR promo for a device called the speed nanny. Nothing like promoting child safety like having the name of the product displayed on a low cut top of a model while she straddles a fast car. Stick in a few kids wondering what the feck is going on and you have perfection.

Speed Nanny 1

Blurb:

Satellite positioning combined with intelligent software gives drivers critical safety information when they need it most; when approaching accident risk locations such as dangerous junctions, bends, schools and pedestrian risk zones as identified by the Irish Road Safety Authority.

But if I read this right, it’s a handy device for warning you where coppers normally operate speed traps:

Speed Nanny monitors your speed and location as you drive and provides an alert approaching dangerous bends or junctions, school or pedestrian zones or a Garda identified accident risk zone. Accident Risk Zones are the stretches of road where Gardai are particularly concerned that people do not speed. The objective of Speed Nanny is to assist drivers in reducing their risk of accident and of inadvertently getting penalty points on their licence.

Speed Nanny 2

Speed Nanny retails at €199 is available by calling 1850 930 304 or from www.speednanny.ie. The girl on your hood is extra. Oh that last sentence could be misinterpreted. I should change that.

Update: Via Nat the ledge:
Nat is a ledge, no fucking seriously, he is

Update: More from Green Ink:
Speed Nanny 3

And from Gamma Goblin:
Speed Nanny

The Vulgarities of web ads – Why Internet Marketing/Advertising still sucks in 2007

Monday, September 24th, 2007

This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for a while. I’m probably going to be launching a few new blogs in the next few months and I want them to start paying for themselves and from seeing what is out there in terms of revenue generation, I’m frankly appalled at the advertising offerings. Google might dominate contextual advertising and all online advertising (Yahoo! and MSN, what’s the story like?) but god almighty they are the ugliest blots on the web landscape, more like boils than interesting notices and they aren’t very contextual in reality either. I’m sure I’ll offend many people with my views on this but I really have issues with ads on blogs and especially on personal blogs and now I’m listing them 🙂

My blog seems to rank well for everything but I got so sick of crowds approaching me to advertise on my blog that I stuck up an “Advertise here” page, which if people read, they’ll realise is me taking money off people and not giving them anything in return if I feel like it. While I don’t have ads, what I do have is a notice that appears above a blog post if the person has not visted my blog before. Just the once it will suggest that if they like what they see, why not subscribe. This is done by a wordpress plugin called “What would Seth Godin do.”

If you want to make money online you need some kind of revenue stream and unfortunately the easiest and laziest route to that is Google Adwords but in my view it also seems to be a route which encourages people more and more to start being “creative” with ad placements. Google used to be a lot stricter in their rules but obviously as the net population got used to the ads and started to ignore them, Google allowed more camoflaging techniques to creep in so they got better clickthru rates. I guess in their views deceptive does not equate to evil. I wonder do the 1000s that work on the Adword systems think they making the world actually better and take pride that people are being conned with the system they are working on? It’s a damned shame as the idea for these ads was supposedly to provide relevant information but why would you need to allow ads to wrap themselves into the genuine content so much if they were really relevant? I’d much prefer standard less profitable ads that I can choose on my commercial site and which look nice besides something obviously designed by an engineer of the Dilbert ilk.

Personal blog and business blogs/websites:

More and more I’m seeing personal blogs infected with Google ads. I agree with Robert Sweetnam on a lot of this. Why on earth if you have a dayjob and earn a living would you impose spam on your readers? To pay for the hosting? Hosting is cheap nowadays. My blog is a place for me to unleash and extract oddities from my brain and stick them on the web. If a friend called over for a cup of tea, I wouldn’t subject them to a charge to use the bathroom, or free usage in return for listening to an ad while they use the bathroom. Yet people do this on their personal blogs. I don’t expect them to have to see ads on my front door so I can pay my rent. If people come along and read my blog, great, I don’t think pushing ads on them is at all polite. True, there are plugins out there that remove Google ads for regular visitors but that still tells new people to the site they are not as welcome as others. I’d like people to feel welcome from day one. Welcome mat on door, come in and say hello and please do come back. Would you come back to a restaurant if the only started being nice if you came back a few more times?

And then there’s these “Get Firefox or fuck off my my site, oh and I make a dollar if you download it from me” ads doing the rounds. That’s telling people if they don’t wear the proper attire they’re not welcome to hear what you have to say. Your loss not theirs. Lovely.

In relation to businesses, why kind of message does it send out if you have your company reception full of advertising, why would you put ads on your own website either? I noticed that the IIA actually run ads on their website. That’s a shame.

IIA Ads

Text Link Ads

Text link ads are designed to fool people into clicking links to gain website owners at the expense of making fools of their readers. I’ve seen some blogs that jam them in areas where you think they are navigational links. That’s complete deceptive and totally dishonest and is an awful way to treat visitors to your site and potential subscribers. It’s a total “fuck you” to them. Google doesn’t like them either because these are rigging the DNA of Google search which are links. You are being paid to change the rankings of sites by linking to them. It’s plain bribery. Google suggests adding nofollow and they’ll be happy but it still means you are running a switch and bait scam on visitors to your blog. That’s just bad manners. What impression are you giving to people by cheating them? And Google is well guilty here too. Look at these ads, for the general web user they are not going to realise these are ads before they click them.

Sneaky Google Ads

Content rewriters/link injectors

We’re slowly moving down the rankings gettting to the more sinister advertising that I’ve seen around. These ads are scripts or plugins that you write and they’ll rewrite your blog post or webpage and add links to words in your text and these links either go to ads or else cause popup ads right there on the page but these “links” are structured to look like proper links. They not only add tonnes of links to a single blog post and make it uglier but they also piss off people with useless popups, all for the sake of a few cents. This is just spyware on a page in my view and is pretty much an assault on a website visitor. Here’s an example of this:

Spyware like Ads

Pay Per Post and their ilk

Because there just isn’t enough ways to be dishonest and deceptive are there? These are the boyos who pay you to write nice things about products in order to boost the Google rankings of products as well as astroturf the net and making it look like there are a lot of people out there who love such and such a product. There has been a hell of a lot said about these guys but I find it very disappointing that people use this service to make a quick buck without thinking of the consequences. This is OUR web that is being polluted by these gangsters. This is the web version of perjury in my opinion.

So what am I going to go with?

Jeremiah Owyang says we have to get used to advertising and get over ourselves if we think it can go away. Funnily enough, if Google gets search to work much better than it is, advertising will surely decrease since the search results will always get us what we want. For me and for the blogs over the next few months, what I’ll go for is plain sidebar ads but as well as that I’m going have sponsorship for the blogs too. It’ll be way more work to get sponsorship but I think I’d rather have happy subscribers and well-treated new visitors than try any sleight of hand tricks for short term gain while losing long term readers.

You can of course just block ads on blogs but I don’t like that idea either since it just turns into an arms race and the spam arms race ain’t going well, is it?

Fluffy Links – Monday 24th of September 2007

Monday, September 24th, 2007

Loving this idea from Primal Sneeze. A shopping unlist for Aldi and Lidl. What not to buy there as well as what to buy there.

Jocks. Never again. I got a four pack for €3 and can’t wear them. A bit like the village of Sallins in my parents’ day – no ballroom

So Rob is writing facebook apps in Lisp. Nerd!

In case of inflight emergency, reboot the plane.

Like this blog related t-shirt. I blog therefore … I am of questionable employment status. Personally ironic for me.

Why on earth would Microsoft allow people to roll back to XP? This would make me think the company is of the belief that the bugs in Vista will not be able to be remedied quickly. Scar

A facebook app so you can search Google from inside Facebook. I said they’ll eventually turn on outside search in their own search box. I still think they will and it’ll cause murder with Google. 🙂

I like this. These guys print t-shirts for SMS Campaigns. They own a shortcode and you buy a word on the shortcode.

Every recent Internet humour mutation in one video.

Scott Adams really seems to have wound people up this time with his post which includes a swipe at Israel.

Al Pacino – Inch by inch, from Any Given Sunday:

Hugh Macleod on Social Objects:

How very interesting – Weekend inspiration

Sunday, September 23rd, 2007

Every now and then I find a link to a blog or website that sends me off on a jaunt for a day or week or well, forever. This jaunt can show you new shiny things and concepts you were unfamiliar with but as you let them seep into your brain you realise that it all makes sense and you get the feeling that you already knew this, somehow. The catalyst for the current Damien adventure was a twitter message from Hugh Macleod where he recommended Russell Davies and David Armano.

Egg Bacon Chips

Russell has a hugely fun post called “How to be interesting” which is certainly an easy philosophy to follow that will bring out the creative side in everyone. If that post wasn’t good enough, it seems Russell also runs a conference in this area, called, naturally enough “Interesting“. That link will show you the blog posts building up to the conference this year and videos of all the presenters. I’m probably going to be on that blog for the next few days watching all of them. So far I’ve just watched one, which is the Series of Tubes talk by Tom Armitage. It’s not a talk on net neutrality, despite the name. It talks about infrastructure and more. Watch it if you like history and odd inventions.

[Aside: Check out Russell’s Book on Egg Bacon Chips and Beans]

Many of these talks seem to come from people who I suppose are in the interaction design area and again I’m reminded of Matt Webb and his work. As I read more and more blogs in this space and watch videos of people that understand humans and the way we go about our lives, it is reassuring that there are people out there that are designing and building things that suit us and are creating objects that make our lives better instead of making things shinier so they’ll get our attention.

If you want me, I’ll be over here watching a lot of videos.

Blogging for business – Nice quote

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

When I started blogging, it never occurred to me that later, for economic reasons, I wouldn’t be able to stop

from Hugh MacLeod

Fluffy Links – Saturday September 22nd 2007

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

Fluffy links on a Saturday! Be the hokee!

John has probably made me buy another book but not of that dick Lance Armstrong.

I too hope to meet MacGyver in Dublin. He’s going to be at the launch for Halo 3 apparently. Halo 3? I think it’s some post Vatican II Catholic Church event a la Buddy Christ.

A blog about the Irish Hospitality Industry.

Haydn’s Gallery is now in Kinsale and is now showing off the work of Donncha and Ryan.

Say no to 1890!

Weird animated films. Rabid rabbits. I said rabid not rampant.

High tech for those that like bursting bubblewrap.

Auctomatic launches!

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

Congrats to Patrick, John, Kul and Harj for the launch of Auctomatic. Let the selling begin!

Fear of Google while Google has Fear of Facebook

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

Most tech companies and apparently non tech companies too have something called “Fear of Google” where some of them are just frozen to the spot about Google coming along and obliterating their business. Up to a few months ago, Google probably didn’t fear anyone but now, well now it is becoming quite apparent that Facebook is scaring the absolute shit out of them with the leak that they are going to open up some of their systems and bring out their own social graph. Remember this is the company that killed off the API they used to have for search and replaced it with a very shitty AJAX version. Now they are going to be open and start releasing APIs again?

Here’s the brilliant Techcrunch scoop:

On November 5 we’ll likely see third party iGoogle gadgets that leverage Orkut’s social graph information – the most basic implementation of what Google is planning. From there we may see a lot more – such as the ability to pull Orkut data outside of Google and into third party applications via the APIs. And Google is also considering allowing third parties to join the party at the other end of the platform – meaning other social networks (think Bebo, Friendster, Twitter, Digg and thousands of others) to give access to their user data to developers through those same APIs.

And that is a potentially killer strategy. Facebook has a platform to allow third parties to build applications on Facebook itself. But what Google may be planning is significantly more open – allowing third parties to both push and pull data, into and out of Google and non-Google applications

Starting with the godawful Orkut though? We’ll see. I really can’t see Google being as open as has been mentioned above though. There’ll be a twist no doubt and where does this feed into search or more importantly, spamming people with ads? Still, this looks like it could be a lot of fun. If they are opening to everyone, hell maybe Facebook can suck it all into their site too. Thanks for getting us even more traffic Google! That would be funny. 🙂

Update: Great comments from Danny Sullivan. Google is YEARS away. Maybe too far for catchup?