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  • NegBox 3:03 pm on June 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags:   

    How I Made $77 From One Sponsored Tweet 

    This has to be either some epic mis-targeting or something so brilliant I’ve fallen for it and haven’t noticed yet… I got paid $77 dollars via Sponsored Tweets to tweet about a car they’re promoting along with the new vampire movie.

    I cannot fathom the math these people did – my account is short of a thousand followers – but I do have ten times more followers than what I’m following. .. Well, whatever – $77 pays for all those Amazon Mechanical Turk followers I had added some months back. I feel kinda bad for the $52.62 CPC for the advertiser. I’m still trying to figure out if this is for real- Time will tell.

    Update: I’ve figured out how I did this… I was tired of getting $1 offers, so I went in and set my minimum offer price at $77… Someone evidently decided to take me up on my minimum price. I wonder what would happen if I set it to $777 now.

    Minimum Cost Per Tweet

    Minimum Cost Per Tweet

     

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  • NegBox 7:02 am on June 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , AWS, Cache, , Cloud, , Plugins, S3, W3 Total Cache,   

    How to Accelerate your Site to Warp Factor 9.9 without paying $99 a month 

    Ever wish you could deliver web pages and graphics at blazing speeds without having to sell your firstborn?




    Before CloudFront Blog Load Times




    99% of the content of this blog is now speeding from Amazon’s CloudFront Content Distribution Network. Check the page source code – whatever comes from “cloud.negbox.com” is actually coming from a server at an Amazon location near YOU. Yes, YOU. Not me, not my hosting provider… You.




    After CloudFront Blog Load Times

    After CloudFront Blog Load Times




    I never thought I would set up my own little CDN in a few hours – I thought these things were hard as hell to set up. Amazon has made it incredibly simple, and you don’t have to pick up the phone to talk to any IT ‘tard. I basically muddled my way through. The really nice bit is that I estimate that for my 3GB of storage and an ungodly amount of traffic on this blog, the monthly cost I would pay for storage, transfer, etc would not exceed a coffee at Starbucks even when I double my realistic estimate. Yup, this is really cheap.

    Now imagine hosting your landing page and images on CloudFront. Wouldn’t that be sweet for the PPV mavens?

    Turns out Amazon has been offering for some time this service called CloudFront. If you’ve heard of Akamai (by far the biggest name in this field) and other Content Distribution Networks – you know what this is. They put the stuff in a redundant cloud close to the people that request the files. Theoretically if folks from Botswanahilii start requesting your pages, your pages start getting replicated to servers closer to Botswanahilii – That’s the gist of a CDN and I understand CloudFront follows it to some degree – not going to split hairs on this one.

    Signing up for Amazon Web Services is dead-simple. Setting up CloudFront is not for the faint of heart – it involved no coding, and can be done easily – but there is little in the way of user-level help screens – you get tons of help pages, but its all aimed at developers. Just do like me: Close your eyes, plug some values that make  sense and cross your fingers… You did it on every other test in school – this is no different.

    Amazon has a really nice web interface for all their web services… I’m not going to go into how awesome all their other services are – just check them out, they are awesome.

    If you’ve got balls of steel, you can follow my instructions:

    1 – Signup to AWS (Amazon Web Services) – Give them your billing info.

    2 – Go into the AWS interface, go to the tab labeled S3 and “Create a Bucket” any name is fine – if it gives you errors, try a more unique name. “Bucket” is probably taken.

    3 – Go into the CloudFront tab and “Create a Distribution” and give it the name of your blog, or your pet Iguana, don’t really matter.

    3a – Select download for the type (I really don’t know what the difference is – this is how I did it). On the “Origin” drop down, select the name of the bucket you created on step 2

    3b – On the CNAME field, put a subdomain you will be creating for this file distribution service. I chose “cloud” so in that field I put in “cloud.negbox.com” … The way NegBox is set up (no www) I could have perfectly well chosen  “www” on CloudFront and could serve some static pages from http://www.negbox.com/index.html straight from CloudFront (note it doesn’t do “root” or document finding, so pointing your browser at the root of your CloudFront subdomain returns gibberish).

    4 – Go to your hosting provider’s DNS tool or your registrar’s DNS tool – Whoever is doing name resolution for you at the moment – and add a CNAME record. The Cname Record has only two pieces of information – One is going to be the name you want to redirect, in this case “cloud.negbox.com” the other piece of info is WHERE you want to redirect it to – that comes from the AWS interface – when you are looking at the CloudFront dashboard you can see your network’s line that says “Delivery Method, Domain, Comment, Bucket”. That domain name that is something like d87sdhs98.cloudfront.com is the second bit of info you need for the CNAME record.

    5 – You’re done. Sorta – Now you need to redirect traffic to the cloud.

    To get WordPress working with CloudFront I am using W3 Total Cache from Frederick Townes. I can’t even begin to explain what an AMAZING piece of software the W3 Total Cache plugin is. I am simply amazed it is free – he could charge in the hundreds for this piece of software. One hint, though – Don’t use the current distribution release – get the development build 0.9 from wordpres.org, this new release in the pipeline worked flawlessly with CloudFront.

    To really use the plug-in is going to take a bit of time to figure out and learn – but its amazing. It scans your site and uploads to the CDN the files it needs, it minifies and caches your pages an uploads the cached pages, updates your .htaccess, goes through all your posts and fetches any content you’ve linked to, brings it into the media library and then exports it to the CDN… In short, it won’t wipe your butt, but it comes pretty close.

    If you need some hand-holding, they actually offer support, installation and professional services… Or you could go dig into the much more exhaustive posts on how to use W3 Total Cache with Self-Hosted CDN from Udegbunam Chukwudi and his follow-up post – His post is about self-hosted CDNs, but still very useful.

    What does this all translate to? Well, this site loads about 40-50% faster when profiled with simple Safari tools. Yes, the women are coming faster at you.

    It also means I’m going to seriously think about how I use CloudFront to accelerate any landing pages, blogs, flogs, etc.

    Go forth and Accelerate!

     
    • Frederick Townes 10:31 pm on June 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      A great how to post. Thank you. 🙂

      • Slave Rat 4:32 am on July 1, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Frederick, you’re a genius with your W3 Total Cache plug-in. Once I got the right version, I could not believe how simple it was to push everything to the cloud – and keep it updated automatically – plus the minification and cache. Hats off.

    • Mike Chiasson 12:28 am on July 1, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Heh a good lil quick tutorial. I had thought about this a while ago, the benefits are obvious, but I never actually looked at the possible price. I know Dreamhost offers a really quick integration for their customers.

      A while back I wrote a post on how bad my analytics reported on my PPV traffic from my shared hosting plans. However on my dedicated server the load times are like 5-10x better and I still see a big fall out from what I’m actually paying for from what my analytics shows. So sometimes I’m not so sure that load times matter as much as we all think, people are getting faster at hitting that X on the pop up!
      My recent post Kicked From an Offer

      • negbox 4:50 am on July 1, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Mike, for price check out their online calculator here http://calculator.s3.amazonaws.com/calc5.html Its very complete. Its in the same ballpark as any traditionally hosted solution for most intents and purposes – you're not going to rack up a $3000 bill unless you're running animoto.com – Which runs entirely (rendering and everything) on Amazon's cloud.
        I saw your post on the PPV view rates – I was thinking of you when I wrote about the PPV mavens. 🙂 … This may be a dumb question, but… Are those analytics for PPV view rates javascript-based? If so I've heard its a good idea to compare to good ole AWstats and other log analysis tools.
        Speaking of BlueHost… Damn… I just Googled "Bluehost CDN"… They integratred CloudFront within four months of release and it is a push-button integration – not all this stuff I just did. I smell a trial migration coming at least for one site.

    • Udegbunam Chukwudi 8:32 pm on August 23, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for the mention but do please edit the post ’cause my tutorial is for self-hosted CDN not CloudFront.

      Cheers 😉

      • Slave Rat 9:29 pm on August 23, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, I’ve updated the post. Really nice guide. Thank you again!

        • Udegbunam Chukwudi 12:07 pm on August 25, 2010 Permalink | Reply

          Hey what’s up? I just wanted to call your attention to the fact that your link back to my blog is till showing “how to use W3 Total Cache with Cloudfront from Udegbunam Chukwudi” as the anchor text. Do please change it to “how to use W3 Total Cache with Self-Hosted CDN from Udegbunam Chukwudi”.
          Thank you sir ;-).

          P.S: Since you say you’ve already made the change do please clear your cache as I’m still seeing the old revision in my browser 😉

          P.P.S: Your contact form ain’t sending mails from my end.

          • Slave Rat 5:24 pm on August 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply

            LOL.. Thanks for the tip-off. Fixed I believe!


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  • NegBox 7:52 pm on June 28, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Comments   

    Blogging & Comments System 

    I prognosticate in-line commenting will soon be a standard feature  of most blogs.
    I prognosticate in-line commenting will soon be a standard feature of most blogs.

    Its a catch-22. If you have a blog with little traffic, like mine, you want folks to get what they came for fast and easy – so your homepage should be styled to give them what they want with minimum fuzz. That translates into lots of featured posts (all content visible on homepage).

    Now why would anyone leave a comment on a blog with little traffic like that? People are a little egocentric – why would they leave a comment when deep down they KNOW nobody but the blog owner is going to see it – To even leave the comment, the user has to go into the individual post page, and leave it there. For someone to see how clever that comment poster is, they would also have to go there – we all know that’s not going to happen. Why do you think Facebook works so well?

    We have Top Comments, Comment Luv, and Top Commenters, and Latest Comments plug-ins and widgets and shit… Well, how about just putting the damn comments where people can see them, Sherlock?

    When you post a comment on someone’s page on Facebook, it doesn’t just go on the page, it tells all YOUR friends about the fact that you posted some words of brilliant wisdom somewhere – and gives them a link. Disqus has the right idea on their commenting platform – What’s the point if folks don’t even get to it?

    Enter the in-line comment.

    If I could give my site visitors a can of spray-paint, I would.

    Anyway, enjoy the new quick-comment thing. Say hi to the Comment Monster when you see him. I wonder if I can use it for something elsewhere. I just had to have this developed – It was driving me nuts…

     

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  • NegBox 6:04 pm on June 24, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Autoresponder, ,   

    Mailing Lists & Paying it Forward 

    I’m all giddy and excited – I’m sending out my first all-awesome-content e-mail to my awesome-o 4000 (I just had to) brand-spanking new mailing list of 16 subscribers!

    I’m not asking them to even click on anything… According to “The Gurus”, the ideal would be to have them click on a link to a video on my blog… The “Triangle of Trust” or something like that – reminds me of the ‘circle of trust’ from Meet The Parents. I’ll do that next time… We’re in roll-as-we-go mode since I just finished composing the e-mail and adding it to the responder series. I don’t have eternity to build a series before getting the site and list going… Dr. Kern apparently does everything via Broadcasts instead of responders – He forgets his mailing lists are his main ‘work’ – I need to be building for automation, with the added flourish here and there – my mailing lists are a money pit and time sink for me right now.

    I do wonder if the auto-responder is going to pick up and send “email #2” that is supposed to go out “Three days after the first e-mail” even for people that signed up five days ago. Will it ‘catch them up’? I’ll soon find out since I have a test address inserted into the list – seemed like a good idea.

    UPDATE: The Answer is “Yes, it catches people up to speed based on their sign-up date”. Nifty!

     

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  • NegBox 6:07 am on June 24, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: CMO, Map,   

    Social Media Marketing Map 

    A useful Social Media map, courtesy of of CMO.com (CMO = “Chief Marketing Officer”). If you’re interested in getting traffic to your site, you go down the “Traffic to your site” column, find the green boxes, read the text in the box and look at the row you’re on to see what site its referring to. It also tells you what each site is good at, and what it sucks at, before you do something stupid like trying to get some SEO juice from Facebook, like I did a couple of weeks back.

    Click on the picture to enlarge, save it doing whatever works for you.

    Social Media Map 2010

    Map of Social Media by Marketing Task

     

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  • NegBox 4:55 pm on June 23, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Toolbar, Wibiya   

    Wibiya Toolbar 

    Check the toolbar at the bottom of your browser window when you’re viewing negbox.com. That’s the Wibiya toolbar. What a stupid name for an awesome app – I keep misspelling it every time I want to go to their site. I had this thing running on another site for a year or two and its come a long way.

    Wibiya makes it really easy way for folks to mess with your site a little more. Its free, it has a truckload of features and “apps” you can add/remove, and even I can figure out how to use it.

    This will only be interesting if you’re running content-rich sites. It might help if you’re trying to convince Google your site doesn’t suck – by lowering the bounceback rate and increasing the time folks spend on your site…  What? You thought Google doesn’t know how much people spend on your site? They know what you’re going to have for breakfast tomorrow, and even how much salt its going to have.

    One tip if you use the toolbar on a site: Less is more.


     

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  • NegBox 8:04 pm on June 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Fable, Gaming,   

    Fable 2 Banshees 

    One day I will go into how I play games and why I always cheat at videogames.

    I love sandbox-style games where you go wherever you want… Right now top of mind is Fable 2. Fantastic game – I think one of the best characters is a class of ‘monsters’ called the Banshee. The banshee has a raspy voice and will scream/whisper demoralizing phrases that strike at your heart. Some of my favorite phrases:

    Fable 2 Banshee and Children

    Fable 2 Banshee Sends Her Children Your Way While Screaming Demoralizing Phrases

    • “Did you know Rose didn’t die right away from that shot? No, she watched you fall through that window, heard as your body thudded against the ground and cried bitter tears before a final shot from Lucien ended her life.”
    • “Do you really think everything in existence revolves around you? This world will carry on without your parasitic presence.”
    • “Nothing you do means anything and when you die you will be forgotten.”
    • “You bring only despair to this world. It is better off without you.”
    • “What would Rose say if she could see you now? Do you think she would be proud? Do you think she would recognize the creature you’ve become?”
    • “The people you see, all the people you talk to, they are not real. You are alone in this universe. Terribly alone.”
    • “The prisoners of the Spire cry out your name. Where are you? Where is their Hero?”
    • “Could you do nothing to save your sister? Too weak to stop her death?”
    • “You still hear Rose’s death cry when you try to sleep at night, don’t you?”
    • “Think of all the time you’ve wasted fighting blame, when you could have been leading a normal life.”
    • “Rose would have done anything to protect you. She even gave her life, and what have you done about it? Nothing, nothing at all.”
    • “It is all over. After your death awaits the void. You will cease to exist completely.”
    • “Lucien laughs every night as he remembers that night in his study. He still keeps the gun with which he shot you and your sister.”
    • “You didn’t have the backbone to put Bob out of his misery.”
    • “Hammer still thinks her father’s death is your fault. One day she will betray you in revenge.”
    • “Your son/daughter hates you, he/she will get a blade in the night and plunge it through your heart.”
    • “Your husband/wife is cold and alone right now. Balverines will feast on his/her flesh.”
    • “Your son/daughter is so sweet, like honey. Last night when I visited your home, he/she screamed your name as he/she died.”
    • “Think about all the endless hours you’ve wasted playing this game. And for what? Nothing!”
     

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  • NegBox 4:03 pm on June 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Clubbing, DJ, Drinking, Hedonism, Manilow, Music, Science   

    Split-Testing Nightclub Music Mixes & The Science of Hedonism 

    Some folks are simply fucking brilliant, like Yale Fox.

    The guy wrote Inside the DJ Booth: How A Disc Jockey’s Strategic Track Selection Can Enhance Experience, Foster Loyalty, and Boost Profits

    Talk about testing – this time the patterns of how people move and buy drinks in a club depending on the songs played – to balance fun and revenue. Brilliant.

    His blog is a journey of discovery – Did you know Barry Manilow had been WEAPONIZED? You give Aussies a spoon and they give you a tunnel, give them Manilow and they give you Armageddon.

    Interesting article on the Optimal Price for Drinks in Different Demographics. What also blew my mind was the existence of a Journal of Addiction that has been in publication since 1884.

    I certainly didn’t know that drinking bull pee could be beneficial for anything – but it seems Red Bull helps with the symptoms of Vodka intoxication… Well, some.. It makes you feel less drunk – but does it make the ugly chick in the corner look ugly again? Didn’t think so.

    Ah.. the science of Hedonism – bring it on!

    nside the DJ Booth: How A Disc Jockey’s Strategic Track Selection Can Enhance Experience, Foster Loyalty, and Boost Profits

     

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  • NegBox 2:15 am on June 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Google Webmaster Tools, Googlebot,   

    How to Get Google to Index Your Site Once and for All 

    Here’s an idea I tried with Google that worked as far as I could tell… After two weeks of submitting my SEO site via their Webmaster Tools and sending them a good Sitemap.xml (plus the site had the sitemap where it belongs – its a WordPress site), the Google dorkheads were not indexing it – They were downloading the sitemap every couple of hours but telling me they had indexed something ridiculous like ten pages… Out of over a thousand.

    Here’s the bright idea: I noticed back in March that when you create and run an ad on AdWords, you get a visit by the Googlebots… They scan you, they score you and they do other unspeakable things. Here’s a screen capture of the Googlebots as they were scanning my site:

    GoogleBots Scanning my Site

    So I took a CSV file with a list of all my URLs and smacked it into the Adwords Editor, created a new campaign with ridiculously low CPCs and set it to run – Mind you I had to chop up the list since it seems I have some serious limits on my AdWords account, so I put about half the list into it… A few MINUTES later Google reported 747 URLs indexed! Coincidence? You try it and tell me.

     
    • Mike Chiasson 11:00 am on June 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Heh now that you mention it this make sense. I had a few landing pages get indexed and I couldn’t figure out why. I have a domain I use a lot for PPV traffic and so I just will be like mikemaindomain.com/ppv1 and not worry about editing robots.txt since there will be no actual web links to the product. However a few of these got indexed and couldn’t figure out how. However I know I was running some adwords tests on them at some point.

      GREAT TIP though. Thanks for sharing!


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