Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Million Billion Trillion

Million, Billion, Trillion.
Similar sounding words that have very different meanings.

With these numbers being tossed around a lot these days in financial, statistical and general media reports, the general public could be forgiven for dismissing or not really understanding the impact and implications these similar sounding words really represent.

I remember in the late 80s reading a publication about the then U.S. national debt and seeing that dollar amount compared to seconds in time.
My memory of the exact time, numbers and publication has escaped me now but I do remember being very surprised by the results.

So today I decided (with help from Google) to do my own research and number crunching and I have to admit, the results have once again surprised me and in fact, seem a lot more daunting than they did back then.
Not just because the current U.S. national debt is a LOT more substantial, but because my calculations differ a lot from my memory of the article.

So, all though they sound similar, that's where the similarity ends.

One Million:
If you started counting every second of time from now, you will reach one million seconds in approximately 11 days and 20 hours. Or 11.575 days.
Likewise, you could blow a million dollars by spending $1 every second, 24 hours a day, for 11.575 days.
Doesn't sound that long does it! Lets replace the M with a B.

One Billion:
The difference between an M and a B is substantial. Instead of taking 11.5 days to count or spend $1 every second, you would need to count or spend $1 every second for approximately 31.71 year’s o_0
The difference between an M and a B is enormous, from under 2 weeks to over 30 years.
What will replacing a B with a Tr do?

One Trillion:
Now this is where the mind starts to boggle and the head starts to hurt. Replace B with Tr and the scale in time moves from taking 31.71 years to an amazing 31,688 years.
Yes, that’s "thirty one thousand six hundred and eighty eight years"

To make sure I had the right "Trillion", I turned to NASA for the answer.

"In the U.S., one trillion is written as the number "1" followed by 12 zeros (1,000,000,000,000)."

So I recalculated it in Google, this time using the numerical form of one Trillion and got the same result.

According to the "US Debt Clock", the current U.S. national debt sits at 12.1 Trillion dollars and steadily rising (which is twice what I thought it was).
Assuming their correct, if the US were to start paying $12.10c every second, 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days a year, it will take 31,688 years to pay it off. (Not taking into account added interest or future debt).

A couple of other numbers I found interesting while researching this article, is that light travels at approximately 186,000 miles per second and there are approximately 32 million seconds in a year.
12 Trillion divided by 186,000 = 64.5 Million.

So if the US were able to pay $186,000 dollars towards their debt every second, and kept it up 24/7/365; they would clear the U.S. national debt in 64 million seconds which is around 2 years. :D

With that in mind, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

PS: With the way my mind is currently boggling and head hurting, quad checking my figures for accuracy has been halted. If you spot any mistakes in my number crunching, please let me know and I will adjust them accordingly. TIA

Friday, December 18, 2009

Twitter hacked - Down, but not out.

Seems the popular micro blogging site Twitter has temporarily been taken down by hackers.
The Business insider claims twitter was hacked by a group calling itself the "Iranian Cyber Army", leaving a short lived message on Twitter's home page that said...

This site has been hacked by Iranian Cyber Army

U.S.A. Think They Controlling And Managing Internet By Their Access, But They Don't, We Control And Manage Internet By Our Power, So Do Not Try To Stimulation Iranian Peoples To .............



Take Care.

I was able to find a few tweets getting through using Google new real time search option, it seems tweets can still be sent using desktop applications like tweet deck etc.

Updates will follow as we learn more. back online as of 7:08am Friday (GMT) but still does not resolve.

7:32am Friday (GMT) now resolves, but only mentions and unplanned outage and nothing about being hacked.

Working on site outage
We are working to recovery from an unplanned downtime and will update more as we learn the cause of this outage.

Update 7:40am Friday (GMT): Twitter’s DNS records were temporarily compromised but have now been fixed. We are looking into the underlying cause and will update with more information soon.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Google noindex,nofollow sidewiki comments

Seems that Google have had a change of heart regarding the indexing of SideWiki comments.
Which should come as a great relief to those who held concerns about derogatory SideWiki comments showing up in search results associated with their site.

Doing a search for "" now returns no results because Google to their credit have added the meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow" tag to the head of the html that contains the Side Wiki.

Good move Google.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Google confirms toolbar PR will remain.

After Google removed the PR distribution from Webmaster tools last week, there has been much debate about whether the toolbar PR will be removed as well. Good arguments for and against have been raised, but Google get to have the final say.

Well less than an hour ago, Google employee Susan Moskwa returned to the thread with this comment.
Hey folks,

Re: Toolbar: My impression is that PageRank in Toolbar is aimed more at the casual browser of sites who wants to get a general feel for the authority of a page. For this reason many people still believe we should leave it in Toolbar. Toolbar isn't primarily aimed at site owners who are looking for precise & reliable metrics that they can judge their site by or make decisions by. That's one reason it made sense to remove it from Webmaster Tools, which is designed specifically for site owners in a way that Toolbar is not. Personally I would love to see us remove PR from the Toolbar, but mine is not the only opinion in Google and the folks I have most contact with--site owners--aren't the only users or stakeholders of Toolbar.
So like it or not, it seems like its here to stay.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Labs added to webmaster tools.

Google has added a couple of new features to webmaster tools under the label "Labs"

Fetch as Googlebot.
With Fetch as Googlebot you can see exactly how a page appears to Google.

The first is basically a way to see how Googlebot sees your site, from the header information returned to the code contained in the page.
A great way for webmasters to check whether the content they think Googlebot is seeing, is actually what Googlebot does see (in relation to hacked sites, malware, bad code etc).

The other feature allows webmasters to check if Google has detected any issues with malware on there site and supposedly will report any "Malware details" it finds.
I say supposedly because luckily all my sites reported "Google has not detected any malware on this site."
This is a great addition to webmaster tools, but (as with all webmaster tools) only allows you to check your own verified sites.

Unfortunatly its not all good news...
The WMT's PageRank Distribution information that is usually provided under the Diagnostics >> Crawl stats tab, seems to have gone missing.
I have heard a Google employee say in the past that the webmaster tools pagerank information, is updated more often and is a more reliable way to judge the PR of your site, rather than using the toolbar PR, so I suspect its only a glitch and will be back soon.
UPDATE: The official response from Google is that the PageRank Distribution information was removed intentionally and will not reinstated.

Susan Moskwa
Google Employee
We've been telling people for a long time that they shouldn't focus on PageRank so much; many site owners seem to think it's the most important metric for them to track, which is simply not true. We removed it because we felt it was silly to tell people not to think about it, but then to show them the data, implying that they should look at it. :-)

My personal opinion on this subject is, I would rather the PR displayed via the Google toolbar was abandoned before the Pagerank distribution in WMT's.
But I do understand their point of view in that PR should not be obsessed over and to concentrate more on building your site and less on pagerank.
If they are serious about this, then I would expect them to reset all toolbar PR to N/A and/or remove it all together.
Update #2
About the toolbar PR

Susan Moskwa
Google Employee
Hey folks,

Re: Toolbar: My impression is that PageRank in Toolbar is aimed more at the casual browser of sites who wants to get a general feel for the authority of a page. For this reason many people still believe we should leave it in Toolbar. Toolbar isn't primarily aimed at site owners who are looking for precise & reliable metrics that they can judge their site by or make decisions by. That's one reason it made sense to remove it from Webmaster Tools, which is designed specifically for site owners in a way that Toolbar is not. Personally I would love to see us remove PR from the Toolbar, but mine is not the only opinion in Google and the folks I have most contact with--site owners--aren't the only users or stakeholders of Toolbar.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

How to get video thumbnail images in search results.

Quite a few common searches done these days, result in having a small thumbnail image with a tiny play button embedded in the bottom right hand side of the thumbnail that accompanies the title and description of some of the search results.
This is especially the case whenever a search query has a related youtube video.

These are "Video thumbnails" and are not to be confused with "image results" that only seem to appear in a group with other images and have no title or description.

Does having a thumbnail image beside a search result make a difference to the click through rate for that result?

Well it does for me.
I find that if I do a search that has a thumbnail beside the result, my attention is drawn towards the image. If the image is appealing enough, I click on it.
So assuming it does increase the CTR, then having thumbnails show in the SERP's must be a good thing for the site owners with embedded content.

Does Google show video thumbnails for any other sorts of files beside video?

Yes. Google will also show video thumbnails for embedded "flash games". If you have a website dedicated to online flash games, then I am sure you can see the massive potential benefit an image of the game appearing next to your site in the SERP's will have.

So how can I get them to show up for my site?

Well, like anything related to search results, nothing is guaranteed.
But here are a few tips that will help get video thumbnails in the SERP's.

First you obviously need to have videos or flash games embedded in pages on you site.
I am not sure if hosting the files on the same domain/server will increase the chances of generating image thumbnails in results or not. May need to do some experimenting to see if there is any difference.

Once you have you content embedded on pages in your site, you can now create the thumbnail that will appear in the results.
This part is obviously important; having a non related/non compelling thumbnail may turn people off visiting your site.

Video sitemap.
Because Google and other search engine bots are not able to watch videos or see images, you need to provide them with titles and descriptions about the embedded files on your site.
You do this with a videofeed or video sitemap.
The sitemap needs to be in the XML format.
To create one, download this one by right clicking and choose save as videofeed.xml
Change the parameters to suit your sites address, content, video duration (In seconds), family friendliness, title and description.

Then save it as
File name: videofeed.xml
Save as type: All files
Encoding: UTF-8

Now upload it to your site.
Add this line to your robots.txt file
"sitemap:" (without quotes "")
If you have a Google account, then add it to your sitemaps in webmaster tools as well.

If all goes well, you may start seeing video thumbnail results for your sites search queries in a couple of months.

Good luck.

Please fell free to add any other tips or tricks you may know of in the comments section for this post.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Alexa adds user ratings and reviews
The company founded in April 1996 that has been providing "Free web traffic metrics, top sites lists, site demographics, hot urls, and more", have just launched a "User Reviews" section to there very informative site, letting users (and webmasters alike) rate and review the sites they own.. I mean visit.

Although you do need to be logged in before you are able to rate and review a website, you don't need to register an account with Alexa, you can simply "Connect with facebook"

Don't have a facebook account? Good on ya, neither do I :D

Jamesalexa review

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Upgrading hosting | Opinions wanted

A few years ago, I started my first site.
I got a basic windows hosting package to begin with, then a few months later upgraded to the next level hosting package (still windows) so I could host multiple domains in the one account.
This has been working fine so far, although there are a couple of things that concern me about this setup, I have not noticed any indexing problems so I have not worried to much about it.

The domain I used to build the first site on became the main domain for the account, and any other sites I need to add, are added to a sub folders in the main account, and domains are pointed to these folders.

This seems to work fine, but I have noticed that when I check server response codes in some online tools, the folder I have my "sub" sites set up in, shows in the content-location URL

EG: (scroll down for the server responses)

Result code: 200 (OK / OK)
Content-Length: 15478
Content-Type: text/html

Like I said, I am not sure if this has any sort of negative impact on a sites ranking/SERP's or not, and the only real way to test that it does would be to take a site out of the shared hosting environment and get it its own hosting and see if that makes any differance to its position in the SERP's. (SERP = Search Engine Results Page)

The reason I want to upgrade hosting is because one of my sites that is nested in one of the sub folders, has been steadily growing since I started it just over a year ago, it now receives 10x more traffic than the main site, so I think it's time to get this site its own hosting.
And that's where I need some advice.

The site does not use much bandwidth (around 20 gig a month) and is plain/static HTML, no database stuff, So I assume it does not need much server power to run it.
It does get quite a bit of traffic though, (From Analytics: Jun 1, 2009 - Jun 30, 2009 | 210,394 Visits | 1,551,874 Pageviews)

I have installed on the site, and I can see that there are between 90 and 190 people on the site at any given time with an average of around 115. These numbers are somewhat of a concern me.
I have only had to ring my host once since I got the account, and while I was on the phone to them, I asked a few questions and found out that even though I get 1.5TB of bandwidth per month for the account (which I will probably never need), I can only have 100 simultaneous connections/downloads at any given time on all sites in that account.

I was somewhat reassured by the guy I was speaking to when he said that once a page had been fully opened, the connection is dropped, so having a few hundred people viewing a site is usually no problem if they are viewing fast loading web pages (which mine are).
I am not sure how many users it will take before people start being cued up and the site starts slowing down.

Anyway, I have decided to get a virtual dedicated server for the site.

My options are.

1. Linux: CentOS (4 or 5)
2. Red Hat Fedora
3. Windows Server 2003 - Add $6.99

I want to be able to use .htaccess to do a 301 redirect from non www to www. So I guess that counts Windows out of the equation.

My options are 1. CentOS or 2. Red Hat Fedora.
From a bit of Googleing, I have found most people prefer CentOS for its stability, so I will probably go for that unless there are some good reasons to go for Fedora.
Any good reasons you know of?

Control panal:
1. Simple Control Panel Unlimited - $0.00
2. Plesk Control Panel 30 Domains - Add $4.99
3. Plesk Control Panel 100 Domains - Add $6.99
4. Plesk Control Panel Unlimited - Add $9.99
5. cPanel Unlimited - Add $9.99

I have no idea how plesk, cpanel and the simple control panel differ from each other or even what they do to make them worth the extra money, so any advice appreciated.

At the moment, with the windows hosting I have, I just log into my Godaddy account, and manage everything through there site (I guess this is the simple control panel), any files I need to upload, I do via FTP in windows explorer.
If adding cpanel or plesk will make life easier for me in the long run, then I may as well add it.
But as with choices, which one is better and why?

256MB Guaranteed, 1 GB Bursted
512MB Guaranteed, 2 GB Bursted - Add $14.99/mo

I don't think much ram is required at the moment or if there will be a noticeable differance if I upgrade to the 512mb guaranteed, but more may be required in the future as I add to the site, so I will probably just go for the 512mb straight of the bat.

So far, I have decided on...
Server: Virtual Dedicated Server
Bandwidth: 500GB
Hard Drive: 10GB
RAM: 512MB, 2 GB Bursted

Need advice on...
Operating System: CentOS or Red Hat Fedora
Control Panel: Simple Control Panel, Plesk or cpanel.

I would also like any advice on the best way to implement the changes, to try and reduce any chance of being de-indexed, penalized or a drop in SERP's

To try and avoid any downtime to the site, I will probably ring Godaddy and ask if I can setup the hosting and upload the sites files before I assign the domain to that hosting account. (if that's possible)

So, is there anything I am overlooking? Anything you would do different, add or recommend?

Once I implement the changes, if I notice any drastic changes to SERP's etc, or run in to any stumbling blocks, I will keep you all updated


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Make money posting links on Google - Yeah right!

About half an hour ago, after I had finished checking one of my sites "Alexa rank", I decided to have a look at the Alexa "Hot URL's".
I was suprised to see a familiar looking URL at number 5 on the list of hot URL's that I have seen mentioned several times before in a few differant discussion groups. The title of the link is "How I Make $5,000 a Month Posting Links on Google".
The URL usually goes something like kevingotgreen, kevingothisgreen or in this case kevinsgreenblog. com.
The questions in discussion groups are usually something like... "Posting links on Google - Is it a scam?"
The majority of answers are "Yes, its a scam"

So when I saw the scam site ranked at number 5 on the hot URL list, I couldnt help but cringe at the thought of all the potential victims this scam may get again.
Although the site looks very scammy (to me anyway) there are a lot of people that are taken by the promises of easy money. Hopefully the authorities can step in like they did with the "GoogleMoneyTree" scam, before too many people get ripped off.

Looking closer at the Alexa hot URL list, I noticed another link to a site (this time at number 2) that was titled "Is Working Online At Home The Next Gold Rush?" I thought to myself "How ironic!" But then cringed again as I thought, "I wonder if this could be a scam site as well?". Looking at the URL in the link, gave me the impression that it was a legitimate site. So I visited it and took a closer look.

Los Angeles Tribune News ( Looks like a normal news site (and that's the scary part), reporting about a successful "Working online from home" story.
But dig deeper, and you will soon realize that it is just another "post links on Google scam".

If you Google the keywords "" (without quotes), comes up as the first result (as it should). The second result is from (a US only version of Alexa) which estimates 84,543 US people a month visit the site. If that number were correct, then that's a lot of potential victims.
The fact that the domain was only registered one month ago, and has a 16733 quantcast rank, could also mean that those numbers are likely to be a rough estimate and the true numbers may be a lot higher. The sites domain, design and layout make it look somewhat trustworthy and that increases the chances of people falling for the scheme.'s website is not on the first page of Google for its own domain name. (some sort of sign maybe?) But it sure is getting a lot of traffic from somewhere.

UPDATE: reports that very recently, started spending $26,591 per day on advertising. (No wonder it gets so much traffic)

Some more information about these sites.
Created: 2009-04-16
Expires: 2010-04-16
Owners details hidden by proxy.
ICANN Registrar: ENOM, INC.
Created: 2008-12-04
Expires: 2009-12-04
Owners details hidden by proxy.

Some interesting reading.

The Los Angeles Tribune News Scam
The Electron Plumber (Exposing the Bullsh*t Of Internet Money Making)

"another part time job work at home money making scheme. This time it’s pushing the Easy Google Profit scam and stars our old friend Mary Steadman from Mary’s Money Blog."

Consumer fraud reporting

Warning: "Kevin and his family clearly are not the same people in the images on his different websites. In both cases, he clearly states that these are supposed to be actual photos of him (Kevin) and his family:

Warning: Why would he ask for you to pay $1?

Answer: to gain access to your credit card! See this page for an account of what happens.

Just thought I would add, after I made this post, I refreshed the Alexa Hot URL's page, and found a couple more "Make money online scams" in the list.
One of them a near duplicate of the's Easy Google Profit site, but this time passing themselves off as: and also
(The Miami Gazette News)

Below are a few more duplicate "News" sites: (New York Guardian) (The Atlanta Tribune) (Detroit Tribune News) (Myspace Job Scam) (Philadelphia Herald News)

A couple of blogs are starting to show up with the exact same story on them. (Ironically some are on hosted Google blogspot blogs)

Another scam? lol Obama bucks. even has its own theme rap. "Mike has money dot com" rotfl
This site links to /p/ f8c4..., When you Google, there are a number of referances to Ad Block filter lists.
The site mentions that you must pay a $2 postage fee. (Guess that's how they get your CC details)
Beware folks, and remember the saying, If it sounds to good to be true.

Why are there no URL's that expose the scams in that list :|

So what does Google say about all this? Answer

Sharing my opinion.
You can share too.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Google's Country Specific Domains

While looking at the new layout/design of Google's Webmaster tools, I noticed that the drop down list of Google TLD's provided for the "Top search queries" stats, had a lot more Country specific TLD's added. I hadn't noticed any changes in the list before the new layout/design, so I assume that this is new for WMT's. (Webmaster tools)

Looking at the list, I was surprised at how many there were. I didn't even know half of these extensions existed, and to be honest, I hadn't heard of some of the Countries in the drop down list either.

(Catalan Linguistic and Cultural Community)
(American Samoa)
(Antigua and Barbuda)
(Bosnia and Herzegovina)
(Congo, Democratic Republic of the)
(Costa Rica)
(Côte d'Ivoire)
(Czech Republic)
(Dominican Republic)
(El Salvador)
(Hong Kong)
(New Zealand)
(Palestine) *
(Puerto Rico)
(San Marino)
(Saudi Arabia)
(South Africa)
(South Korea)
(Sri Lanka)
(Trinidad and Tobago)
(United Arab Emirates)
(United Kingdom)
(United States)
(Virgin Islands, U.S.)

I found and added one Google TLD that was missing from the WMT's list (
I am not sure how complete this list is, but thought I would post it anyway.
Will add any others as I discover them, If you know of any that are missing from this list, please leave a comment and I will add them.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Dot ME Unallocated Sunrise and Land rush auction

Got an email from GoDaddy on Thu, Apr 2, 2009 at 6:55 AM, which kinda confused me a bit.
It said:

We regret to tell you that TALKTO.ME could not be registered in your name because your application was denied by the registry.

Your registration fee will be returned to you in the original form of payment.

We value your business and thank you for choosing, Inc. for domain registration. If you have any questions at all,

please don't hesitate to call us at (480) 505-8877 or email us at

Sincerely,, Inc.

I put it down to a bug in the GoDaddy system and didn't think any more about it. After all, sold at the land rush auctions in Aug 2008.

Don't know why, but today I visited the old dotME auction site, and to my surprise, there is an auction going on.

And what makes it worse is is in the auction, and it seems there is no way to join in and participate.

The auction started on Apr 23 and ends Apr 29. 21 days after the registry from participating.
Here is a list of names in the auction.

So I wonder why my application was denied by the registry! Is it because my $100.00 deposit was returned to me after the first land rush auction had ended? Possibly. Why wasn't I informed about the new auction and given another chance to participate? I have no idea. In fact, if I had not visited the old auction site today, I would not have known it was on.

I registered in the land rush auction. It got a bit of interest when the auction started and It ended up selling for $3,505 after 39 bids.

Whoever won that auction must have either changed there mind, could not afford to make the payment on time or just forgot about it.
So now it is being re-auctioned. it currently has 24 bids and is at $505 with 3 days remaining.

There will be another "Unallocated Sunrise and Land rush auction" starting May 14 and ending May 20. A list of names can be found here.

The minimum opening bid is $100 (one-hundred USD) for the first auction and $75 (seventy-five USD) for the second auction. Minimum increment is 5 USD. Minimum registration is one year.

You can find out how to get involved in the second auction by going here.


Samuel Morse | Happy Birthday

Nice to see Google paying a tribute to the late Samuel Morse with a new logo (below)
Google in Morse Code

Today is Samuel Morse’s 218th birthday, and no doubt there will be several Telegraphers celebrating today.

Samuel Finley Breese Morse (April 27, 1791 – April 2, 1872) born in Charlestown, Massachusetts.
Morse Code, which was invented for Samuel Morse’s electric telegraph in the 1840s, is a series of taps which can be felt as electronic pulses when sent along an electric line. The short and long taps stand for various letters and numbers, and organizations ranging from military to business used that code as a means of transmitting messages anywhere the lines could reach.

From wiki
On the sea voyage home in 1832, Morse encountered Charles Thomas Jackson of Samuel Morse TelegraphBoston who was well schooled in electromagnetism. Witnessing various experiments with Jackson's electromagnet, Morse developed the concept of a single wire telegraph, and The Gallery of the Louvre was set aside. The original Morse telegraph, submitted with his patent application, is part of the collections of the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution. In time the Morse code would become the primary language of telegraphy in the world, and is still the standard for rhythmic transmission of data.

Morse died on April 2, 1872 at his home at 5 West 22nd Street, New York City, at the age of 80.

If you want to do any Morse code yourself, but are unsure how. I have found this rather nice Morse code translator
(used to code my message below)

-.-. .... . . .-. ... --..-- / .--- .- -- . ... .-.-.- / ... .... .- .-. .. -. --. / -- -.-- / --- .--. .. -. .. --- -.