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aboyd
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56 posts since Jul 2005
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DELETE FROM table1
USING table1, table1 AS vtable
WHERE (table1.ID > vtable.ID)
AND (table1.field_name=vtable.field_name)

You may need to have lots of ANDs at the end, if you want lots of fields to be the same. If you just want to delete records that have ONE field the same, then my example works already.

As an example, let's adapt the SQL above to remove records from a table called macintosh. The table has many columns, but we're going to call a record a duplicate if three (of the many) columns match. Here we go:

DELETE FROM macintosh
USING macintosh, macintosh AS m2
WHERE (macintosh.id > m2.id)
AND (macintosh.manufacturer=m2.manufacturer)
AND (macintosh.model=m2.model)
AND (macintosh.os=m2.os)

PLEASE only try this on a copy of your database table. Do not run this on production tables until you've certified that it works.

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aboyd
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I'm a strong advocate that a website can never truly be self sufficient. Comments?

I guess it depends on how you define truly. If you mean, the owner/admin dies, and yet somehow 3 years later the forum is still humming along, then, yeah, no forum is that self-sustaining.

However, I've left my forum for writers unattended for a month while I did some contract work. The 3 moderators did OK on their own, new members did join, and the conversations kept going just fine.

Of course, I wouldn't leave the forum unattended forever. I felt like a month was very long.

And it does depend upon the forum. A lot. I have another forum that died even with me spending $500/week in Google ads, and posting like crazy, and doing post exchanges, etc. It wanted to die, and nothing I did could stop it.

-Tony

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aboyd
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It wouldn't be spam if you could partner with a site that is already established in your market. I've done that with email newsletters -- I find a site for writers, find out how much it costs to sponsor their newsletter, and then they mention my site when their next email blast goes out. Of course, the people they email have already opted in, which is why it's not spam.

-Tony

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aboyd
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I am going to try and email as many people as possible, kind of spam, but it is to people who will be interested in it. First of all how many emails do you guys think I need to send to add 100 more members, and when should I send them?

You want people to give you advice on spamming?

-Tony

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aboyd
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DaniWeb is the only one I post on regularly nowadays, although I probably surf at least 50+ a day.

I see you on The Admin Zone every now & then. :)

I'm a member of TAZ, Daniweb, Sitepoint, v7, Digital Point, webmaster-talk, Ozzu, talk-freelance, phpbb.com, and maybe 30 more. Oh, and my own forums too.

-Tony

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aboyd
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Yar's revenge Atari 2600/Collecovision

Mmm. Cain goes way back. Nice. I loved playing Yar's Revenge.

My list of favorite games:

Kaboom! on Atari 2600 - they encouraged gamers to take a photo of their TV if they got a high enough score, and I did, and they sent me something for it (a t-shirt I think).

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link for the original NES.

Crystalis, for the original NES - first video game I ever "beat."

Wing Commander for... something? Maybe NES.

StarLancer for the Dreamcast

Burnout 3 Takedown for PS2

Tribes Aerial Assault for PS2

Unreal Tournament for PS2

-Tony

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aboyd
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As a community, it becomes a win-win situation for both the community and the members as it promotes discussion.

Not only that, it promotes quality discussion, because the people participating don't want to drive away members. Suddenly, the top posters start to view your site the way you view it. They want to provoke discussion without provoking flame wars or anything that jeopardizes the number of viewers.

Has anyone heard or know anything about this? I think it could be a real great thing if it was possible.

Fairly easy with phpBB. Grab the phpBB mod, Custom Profile Fields. Add 2 custom fields to the profile -- 1 for the AdSense ID, and 1 for the Campaign ID. VBulletin can do custom fields built-in, so that should be easy.

Next, the only difficult step. You query the database when a topic is viewed. You get the IDs for the person who started the topic. Then, using PHP's echo statements (or print, whatever your system uses), you write out the Google AdSense JavaScript code, plugging in the IDs of the topic starter. The page is sent to the person's browser, the JavaScript is run as usual, and Google serves an ad for that ID. If someone clicks an ad, Google credits it to that ID, not yours.

After that, you can get pretty fancy. You can plug in your own values if the person who started the topic never entered an ID. You can do yours 50% of the time, and theirs 50% of the time. You can do it randomly, based upon anyone who posted in the topic. You could tie it to their reputation or karma. Lots of ways to do it.

-Tony

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aboyd
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I'm pretty sure it violates Google's terms of service, but I'm not 100% on that.

I'm about to implement this on one of my forums. I'm looking at Google's terms and I cannot find anything that would prohibit this. Can you explain how it violates the TOS? I don't want to get in trouble.

Hmm. To be honest, I'm not sure how Google would even be able to detect revenue sharing. The ad that appears on the page uses Google's JavaScript code exactly as Google specifies. Doing revenue sharing doesn't involve breaking Google's code, nor does it involve any trickery. The ad on the page is plain JavaScript with an AdSense ID, like any other ad.

Of course, I've been wrong about Google before, which is why I ask.

-Tony

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aboyd
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SMF (Simple Machines Forum) is another free one.

My thinking is like this:

If you're poor, or if you are a free software zealot (I am -- I want the ability to freely modify & use without restriction), then you should use phpBB. It's low-end, but you can apply mods to make it high-end.

If you're poor and NOT a free software zealot, you could try SMF. The license is too restrictive for my tastes, but it costs nothing, and it's better than phpBB out of the box.

For everything else, use VBulletin. In particular, if you can hold out for 3.6 and start with that, that would be best. 3.6 onwards looks nearly irresistible. But it costs $160, as Dani mentioned.

-Tony

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aboyd
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I just sent out my second newsletter, over the weekend. Poor response. :( My first newsletter went out on a Sunday and got a great response, but maybe that was just the newness of it.

I'll definitely try for a midweek, mid-afternoon newsletter next time around.

-Tony

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aboyd
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How high is the risk of being penalized? Glad I only started submitting on 10'ish directories.. So articles are a no-no now?

I'm not sure "penalized" is the right word. Perhaps "ignored" is better. Google doesn't want duplicate content in its index, so it tries to figure out which site holds the original text.

You can see this clearly with the case of DMOZ. The DMOZ link directory (and Google's "powered by DMOZ" pages) do OK in the search results. However, the thousands & thousands of sites that mirror DMOZ basically don't even appear in search results. Same thing with Wikipedia. Articles on Wikipedia rank quite high in Google's search results. But the thousands of mirror sites don't appear at all.

Google will try to do this with your article. It will see that the same article appears on 20 sites, and it will decide upon a "victor" to retain PageRank. The other 19 sites will not rank well or at all for that article. Note that I don't believe the sites get hurt -- Google does not blacklist them or apply a negative score to the other pages on the sites. It simply ignores the duplicate page.

What this means is that, if you want a decent strategy that saves time, you'll probably only bother with the top, high-traffic article sites. Get that article into maybe the top 5, and hope you get high PageRank from one, and a bit of traffic from the others. There wouldn't be much reason to bother with a no-name article repository, because you don't want some low-PR site to be Google's "victor," thus relegating your article to bad search results. And you won't get traffic from those sites, anyway.

Articles work. But past a certain point, don't expect a lot of PageRank. So only submit to the best (which also has the nice side-benefit of saving you time chasing diminishing returns).

-Tony

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aboyd
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If forums are not money makers, what kinds are? Because some say blogs are the best when it comes to this. Are there any other?

If you just want to build sites that will make tons of money from Google ads, then you need to build sex/relationship sites (not porn), pharmecutical/drug sites, and well, look in your spam folder. All that spam about Cialis and erectile disfunction? Those are the advertisers who will pay $10/click.

The other, less sleazy option, is to go after the corporate realm. They're willing to spend bucks to promote their products, and most corporate products are at least not sleazy. For example, I do contract work for a company that spends $250/day on Google ads for Java programming. Each ad will pay $5/click. If you had a hard-core Java developer site and the ads from my company started appearing, you might make some decent cash. And that company isn't the only one. Find a cluster of deep-pocket corporations who have products that are complementary, and zero-in on that market.

(Personally, I built a relationship advice Web site called "What Do Women Want" and I have to tell you that even with big advertising dollars, it doesn't make much money. I have a very difficult time getting the ads to be correct -- very often, Google will run ads for gay men, or for shower curtains, or for things far outside the demographic. I'm sorta happy with the site, but babysitting Google has not been rewarding enough to do it again.)

-Tony

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aboyd
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Go to www.phpbb.com and download the phpBB forum software. Unzip the downloaded file, and upload the contents to your Web server. Then pull up the installer page in your Web browser, and follow the install instructions. In very short time, you'll have a forum on your site.

Another option is to use SMF. Search for Simple Machines on Google, and you should find it.

If you don't really want a forum, but just want something to let people leave you comments, then all you really need is a guestbook or contact form. At a really basic level, you can just create a mailto link, so people can send you email. For something like a guestbook script, try www.hotscripts.com.

-Tony

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aboyd
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I tried all the stuff I learned to increase link popularity -- web directories, link exchange, article directories, blogs... Are there anything more besides these? Also, will too many articles, link reciprocals, and exchanges hurt PR?

Many sites have tens of thousands of articles/tutorials/etc. So no, I don't think you can overdo that. Every page is a potential landing page for a visitor who was searching on Google.

There are lots of other things you can do for your site. Do like Dani, and get rid of query strings. Google likes plain .html files. While Google will index a page like "index.jsp?id=553cd5566" in my experience, such pages are given lower rank if they're indexed at all. You can use mod_rewrite to do it. Search for it on Google.

Reciprocal links don't really hurt or help much anymore. At least, they don't help with PageRank. They probably help send a few human visitors to your site, though. And that's good. But Google seems to have decided that if the link is reciprocal, then it sorta balances out. One-way links are much more powerful.

Also, you've not mentioned SEO. If you haven't looked into that, then you need to do so. It basically involves re-factoring your pages to be more search-engine friendly.

There are of course many more ways to promote a site. Obviously, you can and should take it offline. Give away bumper stickers, t-shirts, mugs, anything with your URL on it. Run print ads. Do radio interviews. Issue press releases. Those things don't have much to do with PageRank, other than reducing your dependency upon it. :)

-Tony

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aboyd
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Wow, if you're actually going to do it, let me give you some tips.

First, you can blow your whole budget in an hour, if you pick keywords that are too broad. If that happens, it's not a total loss, because you WILL get traffic to your site. You'll get your money's worth. But getting traffic in a big burst is not ideal. Getting traffic steadily is much better.

So if you have a budget of $30, make sure it's spread out and can't all be blown in an afternoon. Google will let you set the budget to $1/day, for example. You've probably already done that.

Next, pick VERY focused keywords. And custom-tailor you ads to those keywords. I work with one company that spends $250/day on ads -- they just picked the keyword "Java" and they run a generic ad for programmers. That's not going to get good results. But they spend so much money that they're bound to get a few hits, so they're happy. In your case, you want to be much more careful. Instead of a keyword such as women, try "careers for women" all in quotes. And then make your ad speak to that. So if someone searched for "careers for women" your ad might say, "come discuss careers for women at our women-only discussion forum."

It's better to create 30 narrowly-focused ads than 3 broadly-focused ones.

Next, be sure to use geo-targeting. In the Google Adwords settings, you can specify that your ad only appear for a specific location. So if you see Romania in the list, and think that you'd get better results if you focus on people who speak your language and know the area, then you should definitely target that location.

Lastly, try not to be hugely stingy with the amount you pay per click. I used to specify that I wouldn't pay more than 20 cents. The problem with that is that your ad usually runs at the bottom of the list, which means it gets clicked very little. And if your clicks are too low, Google will stop your ad. So I found that running the ads at 30 or 40 cents each was enough to keep my ads high (although sometimes, my ad wasn't #1), and thus, I got a lot of clicks.

-Tony

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aboyd
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That's pages per visit, not hits? Wow. That's really, really incredible. You have a very sticky site. I'm going to stop by and try to learn from you.

-T

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aboyd
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I don't like my mailbox to be flooded with emails like "remember that thread you posted in on that new forum a month ago? ... someone finally replied to ya"

Really? That's primarily what I like it for. It's perfect for the obscure old threads that I'll never remember to check, unless there is a reminder.

But I do have a strategy for managing the big influx of email. About a third of the time, instead of clicking the link to view the new post, I click the link underneath it to "unsubscribe." This will still show me the new posts, but I won't be bothered/emailed again. And if the new posts are good that they provoke a reply from me, well, I'll get subscribed again. So it helps to kill off uninteresting reminders, but keep alive the reminders for topics I participate in.

-Tony

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aboyd
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one feature I LOVE is "instant email notification" I personally think that should be default on all forums.

Yes, I love that too. In fact, I wrote the mod for phpBB that switches the default to "enabled." However, oddly, it's about the least-downloaded mod I've got. I think forum admins might not understand that it really helps to make your site "sticky."

-Tony

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aboyd
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DanceInstructor, dojo, Dustin, thank you all for the input. I eventually slogged through it. I ended up banning SIX people, including the moderator, no chance (or desire) of making it up with her now.

I stopped being confused about what to do when one of the moderator's friends threatened violence & lawsuits. At that point, I just shut 'em all down. The forum was like a ghost-town for a couple of weeks, but now it's picking up steam again, and the new members who have taken over are actually friendly and courteous.

The big thing that helped was DanceInstructor's advice (I think it was DanceInstructor). I added not one, not two, but about 20 mods to my forum. In fact, my forum was running phpBB 2.0.16, so I actually deleted all the files (kept the database), installed 2.0.19, installed EasyMod, and basically built something better than before. In the process, I managed to rewrite and/or fix about 15 phpBB mods, notified the mod developers, and posted them on my site. So I'm feeling pretty good about it now.

-Tony

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aboyd
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Well, if the ideas mentioned won't work, that may just be a difference in size -- your almost 70K membership causes issues that those of us with 5K memberships don't experience. That's OK. But maybe that means that one of your own other topics is onto your solution -- your topic about email newsletters. Use email to provoke return visits. Maybe if you can't block 1-post wonders, you can excite them or interest them in doing more.

My only suggestion there would be to keep the email short. I was working on my first email, and I had piled a year's worth of updates into one message. It was HUGE. Then I got (just yesterday) an email from talkfreelance.com, and their message was short, simple, and effective. They mentioned the thing they were promoting, provided a link, and ended the email. I saw that & immediately decided to rewrite the email I was working on. I could tell theirs was going to work.

-Tony

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