Saturday, October 3, 2009

A rotten week for this blog


I’ve run this particular blog for over a year now and it has been mostly a pleasant experience.

This week, however, two events occurred which make me really question how enthusiastic I’ll be about posting my usual brand of nonsense in the future.

It seems the old ways of generating a little traffic and making some cash are swiftly becoming things of the past. Let me explain.


One of the most effective ways I found to generate traffic is to participate in Entrecard. For those not familiar with that site, subscribers simply put an Entrecard widget on their sites (you can see the widget over in my right sidebar) so that other bloggers can run small “calling cards” on their sites.

Attractive cards bring in some traffic and Entrecard members earn credits through clicking on cards, visiting sites, etc. that can be used to purchase space on all those Entrecard widgets scattered on blogs here and there. The system worked very well for awhile.

A few months ago, Entrecard started allowing advertisers to purchase spots on those aforementioned widgets. The primary problem with that arrangement (as far as I’m concerned) is that it does take away from the exposure Entrecard members bought with their hard-earned credits.

Entrecard came up with a partial solution to the “paid ads” problem by allowing users to refuse to accept any of them at all. That, seemingly, is about to change. Apparently, on Oct. 5 all members will be required to carry paid ads unless they send Entrecard $50 per blog to opt out of the program. If you want to read more about that plan, just click here.

Entrecard has been trying hard lately to run off its members and the plan seems to be working. That’s a shame – Entrecard is made up of a great community of bloggers and I fear a lot of them will simply choose to take off rather than waiting around to see what kind of weird policy comes next.

Frankly, I’d suggest avoiding Entrecard at this point and go with a service that generates traffic without a whole of strings attached –

The Google hates The Hawg

For close to a year now this blog has sported a Google PageRank of 3. Last night, Google decided to change that rank to a big, fat zero.

Why? I did some research and – seemingly – it has to do with the fact that I do accept paid posts. The focus of this blog remains on my original, non-commercial content, so why not? What’s wrong with making a buck or two?

From what I can tell, Google is worried about the links in those paid posts – they might not yield solid search results. For example, let’s say someone is looking for some information on the history and development of the big thermos. If I’ve got a post talking about the latest thermos from Big Thermos Inc., then that could lead someone astray – they might come over to my blog based on the Google search engine picking up my “Big Thermos” link.

That issue gets down to the quality of the content – if someone is looking for the history of the big thermos, shouldn’t they be able to do that without having to slog through a bunch of links sprayed all over the place through paid posting? That’s a pretty admirable goal, to be sure.

Ah, but wait. Google’s argument loses more than a little steam when you consider all the junk sites that Google’s AdSense sends people to. Yes, it’s very common for blogs to run AdSense ads, so it does appear that Google might be worried less about protecting consumers and more about protecting itself from competition.

Still, it’s Google’s kennel, so why not leave it to Lassie? The main problem I have with the policy is that it’s simply not enforced consistently. There are a lot of sites out there that host nothing but affiliate ads and some of those have achieved a far superior page rank to mine.

Also, my rank was reduced without warning and I’ve heard nothing back from the “request to reevaluate site” application I’ve made. In addition, I have a problem with the notion that AdSense links are just fine and dandy but other commercial ones are not. I hate thinking along those lines because AdSense is truly terrible. Since July last year, I’ve made around $155 through AdSense because no one clicks on the blasted links. That stinks.

And – last but not least – I make some great money from taking paid posts. That will dry up soon with a rank of zero because who would want to pay for a post on a site that is – in the eyes of Google – pretty well worthless? So, Google has cut off a bit of money for me and I’m not sure I’ll ever know exactly why that is.

Again, I’m not saying that Google sucks or anything like that. I am saying, however, that it’s disturbing to know that the company that seems to be well on its way to owning the Internet has essentially determined my blog is useless.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Tell Me Thursday – Beer theft!

StolenBeer For my Wordless Wednesday submission this week, I posted the dandy photo over to the left.

That photo is a bit cryptic, to be sure. What does it all mean? The good folks over at Tell Me Thursday have inspired me to explain these random photos I tend to throw at my blog from time to time so I’ll do just that.

We had our Arkansas Realtors Association (ARA) convention in Hot Springs this week. I’ve mentioned a time or two that I handle public relations for that group, right? On the first night of the convention, the ARA hosted a party and we bought about 25 cases (actually, 30 packs) of beer for the event.

We bought far too much. In fact, over half of it was left at the end of the night. So my friend and co-worker Dave and I had to keep up with it all.

Now, Dave drives a pickup truck. On Wednesday – about an hour before we were set to leave and head back to the office in Little Rock – we parked his pickup across the street from the Hot Springs Convention Center.

The bed was full of beer so we concealed it with a couple of black tablecloths. By the time we got back to the truck, we noticed one of the tablecloths was missing. We noticed about five cases of beer were missing, too.

Oh, and they grabbed our dolly cart while they were at it (that’s pictured in the photo, too).

Dave and I thought about that a little bit and realized something – we provided the thieves with beer, a dolly to haul it off with and a way to conceal what they were carrying. We did everything except load it up for the miscreants, in fact. We did drive around a bit to see if we could spot anyone pushing a concealed dolly around Hot Springs somewhere but we had no luck.

I just bet someone in Hot Springs is – at this very moment – drunk as hell and laughing at us. Rats.


We went and started a blog at the ARA – The Arkansas Realtor. One of the dandy fun things we do over there is podcasting. The most recent one concerns Wade Rivers – a Realtor in Mena, Ark., and author who is promoting his book (it’s a thriller, and a good one, too!) Click here to read a bit about Rivers and access the podcast. Fun, fun.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Wordless Wednesday – this will all be explained later…

StolenBeerThis post is part of the Wordless Wednesday event. Why not check out the other entries over there or leave one of your own?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Music Monday -- The Pursuit of Happiness!

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. One simple rule, leave ONLY the actual post link here. You can grab this code at LJL Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted without prejudice.

PS: Because of spamming purposes, the linky will be closed on Thursday of each week at midnight, Malaysian Time. Thank you!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sadly, the Benton Panthers stink this year


My dad and I both watch as many Benton Panthers home games as we can.

Why? We both graduated from Benton and high school football is still a big deal here in Arkansas. Besides, I do enjoy going and hanging out with my dad and that’s a great excuse to do it. The most important thing about those games – as far as I’m concerned – is that I watch them with dad.

I’m glad that’s my priority because the Panthers are flat out terrible this year. How terrible? We saw the first home game and the fourth game of the season on Friday and Benton absolutely got crushed by Pine Bluff. In fact, the Panthers were so small that it looked like Pine Bluff was facing a junior high team.

Here in Arkansas, there’s such a thing as the mercy rule. When a team gets 35 points ahead, then the officials just let the clock run and stop it for nothing but time outs. We learned on Friday that the mercy rule doesn’t apply until the third quarter as Pine Bluff had run up enough points by the first part of the second quarter to invoke the rule.

The Panthers wound up losing 42-7 and that’s only because Pine Bluff pulled their starters in the second half (Benton couldn’t even move the ball well against the second string). That, folks, is some bad football.

In addition to the Pine Bluff game, Benton has been slaughtered by Bryant, humiliated by Catholic High and embarrassed by Conway. So far this season, the Panthers have scored 28 points while their opponents have scored 168.


Yes, this is the first year for new head coach Steve Quinn and a bad season was expected. However, Benton is severely lacking in the talent department and there is a reason for that.

Benton wins championships in baseball and golf and is even competitive in track and field, tennis, soccer and basketball (well, they do well from time to time in basketball, at least). It seems, then, that there are a lot of sports that appeal to students so it’s no wonder you just don’t see as many kids trying out to play football these days.

After all, players feel like they’ve been in a major car wreck after a football game. That’s not true in baseball. I can’t say I’m surprised at the lack of talent, then.

Still, it just kills me to watch the Panthers get slaughtered. A lot of my dad’s classmates feel the same way, it seems.

Last night, a lot of members of the Class of 1960 attended the game. I sat up in their section with dad and we were the only ones left at the end of the game.

“They’re losing faith, dad!” I yelled as each of his classmates left.

It’s hard to watch. I hope the team is better next year, but who knows?