Advertising on Blogs

This is a topic I've been considering for some time now. Many of you (who don't use an ad-blocker) will have noticed that late last year I began experimenting with placing ads on the blog. The idea behind this was the "get-the-blog-to-pay-for-itself" mentality that most of us go through when we realize that there are costs associated with maintaining a presence online if it's done using your own domain... and what self-respecting geek wouldn't want full control over their site??

So that led me to ads. There are four different kinds of ads on the site: the Firefox referal link (via Google), Google Adsense ads, TTZ Media ads on each post, and most recently an Amazon referal ad (left-side near the bottom).

When you let an advertising company into your blog you're allowing them to place text and images on your site which they say will match the content of your site. I've found recently that this isn't always the case. A post that Dave put up on the GGP blog last week illustrates the point. [note: the blog is no longer available - KM] Go ahead and read it. I'll wait.

Different vendors classify products differently. In this particular case, some rather questionable material ships as a "technology" product because it's on DVD. Lovely. There are lots of DVDs out there, I wonder how many have shown up on the blog?? I've had a couple thousand page impressions of the Amazon ad (not to mention the others) and it really made me think. I've had ad-code on the site since the fall, and have managed to rack up an amazing $2.72 (all of it from Google AdSense). To me, the cost of cluttering up the site and the potential for "bad press" far outweighs the benefits of maybe someday possibly getting a month's worth of hosting paid for.

This time it was an ad for asian girls in an oil-wrestling DVD.  At the end of the day it probably didn't hurt my reputation much, and Dave got some fodder for the GGP blog.  But it also didn't help me much.  I expected to see a mini spike in traffic for the day, and that didn't happen either.  And what about next time?  What if the next "oops" is more damaging?  Bottom line, getting $10 a year (maybe) isn't worth the crap I'm dealing with at this point.

Expect the ads to come down shortly.

WordPress Woes: Read the Damned Instructions!

Recently some of you may have noticed some instability with the theme on this blog. The theme on the blog seemed to reset to the WordPress default without any rhyme or reason. I assumed it was one of the many plugins I had installed to try to provide additional content or functionality on the site. I tried enabling and disabling all of the plugins but to no avail, there didn't seem to be anything that would correct the problem outright.

After several hours of frustration, I came across an article on coderemedy.com which provided an explanation, and pointed me at Scott Burkett's blog for a solution.

What it boils down to is this: I use Alex King's WP-Mobile plugin to permit the blog to be viewed on small mobile devices (like my own Treo 700wx) and this plugin was not set up correctly. I made the assumption that the plugin behaved like any other and didn't read the readme file. Suffice to say there's an extra step with this plugin and I didn't follow it.

Once the plugin is uncompressed there is a second wp-mobile directory which needs to be moved into your wp-content/themes directory. The directory structure looks something like this:

wordpress/
    wp-content/
        themes/
        plugins/
            wp-mobile/
                README.txt     (where the solution is!)
                wp-mobile.php
                wp-mobile/
                    comments.php
                    index.php
                    style.css

Once the move is complete, the directory structure looks like this:

wordpress/
    wp-content/
        themes/
            wp-mobile/
                comments.php
                index.php
                style.css
        plugins/
            wp-mobile/
                README.txt     (where the solution is!)
                wp-mobile.php

See? Simple! Just read the damned instructions.