January 2006 Posts

New Season of 24

It premiered last night. As dramatic as ever. Palmer dead, Michelle dead. Tony severely hurt. How in the world is he going to convince people that he didn’t do it with the video tape and the people inside of the administration who are working for the bad guys. Another 2 hours tonight!

Freedom of Speech

Lost is when you hide behind the freedom of speech.
Well, sure you’re free to do it.
But, what it mean to do it?
Did you mean to do it?
Did you need to do it?
Did you take time to think about the seeds you ruined?

– Will Smith
Song: Lost & Found
Album: Lost & Found

(I need to update my random quotes one of these days).

ProBlogger Forums in ’06?

Darren floated the idea in my interview with him. Not sure if he’s said it elsewhere, before.

Interviewed at NetBusinessTalk

I was interviewed at NetBusinessTalk. You can find it here.

10,000 Posts

In the many years that I have participated in forums and in the many forums that I have participated in, I have never reached a five figure post count. Not that it matters, but that is about to change. I have 9,980 posts at SportsForums.net, right now. So, it won’t be long now.

But, I could actually do it 3 times in 2006. I have 9,472 posts at KarateForums.com, so I will most likely reach 10,000 sometime this year. Finally, I have 8,657 posts at the phpBBHacks.com Support Forums and there is a good chance I will reach 10,000 this year there, as well.

So, er… there you go.

My Brother’s Friend

Recently, I’ve been considering writing a piece here about music piracy and how insane it is right now. Haven’t yet, but I probably will. Not sure when. Anyway, related note…

My brother has a friend over right now. He slept over last night. I think he’s like 14. Anyway, he steals music. He gets it off the internet, burns it to a CD and doesn’t think a thing of it. This sort of attitude I am very much at odds with. And it’s not just a few things. It’s a lot. It’s music and movies and a lot of them. And it’s not just him using it himself, him and his family give it to other people. And his parents approve of it.

But, he’s friends with my brother and there are a lot of people out there like him, unfortunately. It doesn’t make any sense to go up to him and out of the blue tell him what I think. No one asked. So, I’ve just been friendly with him as I am with people normally. He seems like an OK kid besides that.

So, he came over last night and he brought what appeared to be a pirated copy of Pirates of the Carribean to watch. It was on a generic CD-R disc. My family watched it, but I didn’t. I just couldn’t, but I didn’t make any stink out of it. I just took my dinner upstairs and didn’t speak a peep about it. Plus, House was on and I have to watch that, obviously. :)

So, they watched it, whatever. I had told my brother that him and his friend could watch Homestar Runner on my laptop if they wanted. So, they came into my room and asked if they could and I said yes and started to get it out. He asked if they could play some music on my sterio because I have Eminem’s latest album and he doesn’t and that would have been fine.

My brothers friend then asks me why I didn’t watch the movie last night. Now, at this point, I would have been surprised if my brother had not already told him why before this and he was just asking me a canned question. Nonetheless, I told him I didn’t watch it because it was obtained illegally. He laughed.

Now, this annoyed me a little bit. If you’re gonna steal, keep your mouth shut. After he laughed, I told him that as a creator of content, I support the rights of those that create content. He then started talking about his rights and he kept saying it says “right to copy” on his computer, “on Windows XP.” I have to say, I don’t have a clue what that means. I have a 100% legally obtained music (huge) collection and DVD (not huge) collection. I don’t have a clue what he meant. I asked my pal Jared who knows more about computers than I do, he has no clue. So, given his established history of theft – I’m assuming that this is a bunch of nonsense, especially because when he said that, I said something like…

Right to copy what? You only have a right to copy if you bought the DVD. Did you buy it? No answer. He repeats that he has right to copy. Where does it say that? On his computer. I told him that it doesn’t matter what it says on his PC, if he didn’t buy it, he has no right. And he laughed.

Now, at this point, I’m a little peeved. Not frustrated, but just annoyed at the whole attitude. I don’t like people who steal content/bandwidth and I don’t like people who steal music, etc. And when they don’t keep their mouths shut, I don’t like them even more. So, I told him he can stop laughing or he can get out. If this is how he is going to be, I don’t want him on my laptop. (I didn’t say that, but that was what I was thinking). He laughed again. I simply said “Out.” He stood there for a moment staring at me and his smilie turned from a smile to a hard expression, let’s say and then he walked out, taking his CDs with him.

I told him to go earn some money and buy DVDs instead of stealing.

Start With Ads

Recently, I have adjusted the ads on my sites in hopes of earning more. This has included the introduction of ads on the left side of just the index and forum pages (no other pages, no topics, etc.) on SportsForums.net, KarateForums.com, the phpBBHacks.com Support Forums and PhotoshopForums.com. I adjusted current ads, added new ads and removed others. Overall though, it’s a small increase in ads. The focus was taking AdSense out of my chain and giving it spots of its own, more often than not. So, this is a small decrease in AdSense impressions and an increase of impressions to other networks, like Casale, BURST!, FastClick, Mamma, RightMedia and Hurricane Digital Media.

It’s all about experimentation and that’s what I am doing. Anyway, these ads on the sides, they aren’t bad. They are just ads. I keep myself busy. Ads don’t really bother me as I don’t really like to waste time worrying about them. If they are really noisy, they try to make me download something, or they spawn a popup when you close them, that’s the only things that bother me. Otherwise, cool. Ads need to be on websites.

These ads on the sides have spawned a little bit of negative feedback (only a few people), understandably. And there are people who don’t like them who haven’t said anything, as well, I am sure. No one likes ads. The problem isn’t the ad so much itself. If you looked at all of the pages on those websites (index, forums, posts, profiles, etc. etc.) and then you calculated the percentage of the pages that are ads and the percentage that are not, the percentage that are ads would be a small number. A lot of people serve a lot more ads than I do. And I have my limits. For instance, I decided against serving them on topics as I decided that it isn’t something that I need to do at this time and it isn’t something I really want to do in the future, either. I work with on the page ads because I don’t want to ever serve popups, etc. I would generally have to believe that most sorts of on the page ads are better than popups, popunders, interstitals, etc. and I don’t want to serve any of those. I try to maintain a certain user experience and try not to overdo it, in my eyes. It’s a juggling act that I work very hard on.

The problem with these ads is that they are new and different. People have to get used to them. They are foreign and odd and strange and, hey, not a lot of forums have an ad there. It is becoming increasingly popular, but it’s far from the norm. I understand their feelings, respect them (as long as they respect me) and I keep them in mind. Nothing is permenant. The ads may not stay. They may. I take everything into consideration. What people tell me, how the ads perform, how I feel about the matter. I think about it all.

No one likes ads. I don’t like ads. Who does? But, ads are needed. Ads are needed on my sites. Ads will always be needed on my sites. As I have told the people who have contacted me, this is my life. This is what I do. I have dreams. My life is very important to me. That said, I have many goals. Making money is but one. I need to make money in a way that I am comfortable with. I want to create good websites with good atmospheres. I don’t want to serve popups, interstitals, etc. (That’s a smaller goal, obviously). But, I work hard. Users are very important to me, but my life is also very important to me. If you are in a similar boat, don’t expect much sympathy. :)

Two things have become apparent to me. Greg Bernhardt mentioned the first when we were chatting a while back. He was talking about ads and audiences. The negative feedback on ads has come from the phpBBHacks.com Support Forums and PhotoshopForums.com. Not from SportsForums.net and KarateForums.com. The first is visited by a (generally) more technically internet savvy audience who is more sensitive about these things. Where, the last two are visited by sports fans and martial artists, who are less sensative about such things (generally). So, audience is one thing to keep in mind when introducing ads. I’m kind of a mix of both. I’m a technically internt savvy person who is not sensitive about these matters. :)

The second thing is that if you want to have ads ever that are in what could be considered a “sensative area” – start with them when you launch. It’ll make your life easier. If they are always there, there is never any change. Previously, I have taken the position of “I will ad ads in when it makes sense – when there is traffic and they’ll make money.” So, no needless ads. But, that’s wrong, I think, now. I think you should get ads out there as placeholders, even if they don’t make a dime. I mean, dealing with criticism isn’t that big a deal and it is a part of life, no matter what you do, you’ll get it – but if you have them from the start, they are always looked at as a part of the site as opposed to being added later and being looked at as a negative change.

Upset City

Last week, I pulled off a major upset in a series of very big upsets in a fantasy football league I was in to take the league title. It was a 20 team head to head league and the top 8 teams make the playoffs. I finished 7th. I was 9-5 with 3,518.69 points. The top 3 teams were 13-1, 4,013.39; 12-2, 3,797.15 and 10-4, 3,635.56. I was pretty much happy to win the playoffs and I was fully expecting to lose the first round because the team I was playing was very good and had done much better than me. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t give it my best shot, of course.

So, as the 7th place team, I get to face the 2nd place team in the first round. Up to this point, that team had scored 271.22 points per week whereas I had scored 251.33. That may not seem like a lot, but a 20 point average over 14 weeks is a pretty big margin. I ended up winning by a good marin – 286.76 to 258.78. This was a pretty big upset. So, from this point on, it was all gravy, really. I had an overall solid week, with my top 5 performers being Amani Toomer (25.60), Dallas Clark (23.50), Jason Taylor (23.50), Ronald McKinnon (22.00) and Zach Thomas (21.00).

Meanwhile, the 3rd place team routed the 6th place team and would be my next opponent. Through this point, they had scored an average of 262.62 points per week as compared with my 253.69. Entering this game, I actually felt that I had a legit shot. It was 7 vs. 3, but it was a very close 7 vs. 3. I ended up pulling off another upset, this time by a closer margin – 254.78 to 240.21. My top 5 were Clinton Portis (35.49), Amani Toomer (29.67), Trent Green (21.03), Zach Thomas (20.00) and Roy Williams (19.40).

This setup the final match, me (7) vs. the number one guy. Now, this was just a total mismatch. This was kinda like the Colts this season when they were at their height vs. the Rams or the Lions. If I won this game, it’d be like the 1972 Dolphins losing in the Super Bowl to a team with a losing record, kinda. I mean, it would be that unlikely. The 1st place team had come off of back to back total blowouts in the playoffs. For the year, their record was 15-1 with an average of 291.20 points scored per week. Me: 11-5 with an average of 253.76 points per week. That is a huge margin. This team was dominating every single week. But, in any sport, in fantasy football… anything is possible. And so, I had a great week, winning 308.70 to 264.89. I was led by Antonio Bryant (43.70), Clinton Portis (34.43), Mewelde Moore (33.78), James Farrior (25.50) and Zach Thomas (23.50).

And so, I pulled off the biggest series of fantasy football upsets I’ve ever seen.

What would you do?

Started a thread at CommunityAdmins.com talking about a situation I dealt with last night to see how other administrators would look at it. Not because I’m looking for advice, etc. but just because I thought it’d be interesting.

Come to think of it, I think it might be a good feature for the show. I describe a situation on the air – people write in and I read the best responses on the air. That might be cool.

Happy New Years!

Happy New Years, folks.

I almost have all of that $25 planned out…