Nik's Technology Blog

Travels through programming, networks, and computers

Adsense for Domains - Fasthosts Setup

Until recently you couldn't take advantage of Adsense for Domains if you registered a domain name with Fasthosts.  However, with the new Fasthosts control panel which now allows you to edit DNS settings, domain name owners can now earn revenue from domain names they don't currently use.

If you're familiar with Google Adsense, you may have seen the "Adsense for Domains" link on the "Adsense Setup" tab on the Adsense navigation.  Unfortunately the "Quick start guide" Google provides doesn't include instructions for Fasthosts setup and following the generic instructions doesn’t work either.

The solution

Log-in to your Fasthosts control panel and click on the “DNS” button for the domain you wish to use to park with Adsense for Domains.

Find your "unique identifier" from the Adsense for Domains page within Adsense and create a CNAME as follows:

Host Name: www

Points to: your adsense unique identifier e.g pub-xxxxxxxxxxxxxxafd.ghs.google.com.

Next create an A record as follows:

Host Name: leave blank

Points to: 216.239.32.21

See the screenshot below for a finished example…

fasthosts

Nik Makris is now Google Analytics Qualified!

I just passed the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ) test with a score of 88%! I'm now officially qualified in Google Analytics!

Nik Makris is Google Analytics qualified

If you're interested in taking the test or simply want to learn more about Google Analytics then visit the Conversion University and brush up on your knowledge with the tutorials and presentations before taking the test.

I was actually quite surprised how much there is too Google Analytics and how powerful some of the features actually are, even though I've been using Google Analytics for years I learnt some really useful techniques and tricks.

More about the test

The test consists of 70 multiple choice questions and costs $50.  You are given 90 minutes to complete the test, and must achieve 75% to pass.  You are allowed to pause the test and continue later, but you must complete it within 5 days.  The whole test is completed online, and you will receive a PDF of your certificate on completion, which will look like the picture of mine above.  The qualification is valid for 18 monthsRead more frequently asked questions about the Google Analytics Individual Qualification FAQ.

TradeDoubler Affiliate Trademark Keyword Bidding Reminder

Following on from Google's change of stance, allowing UK and Irish AdWords users to bid on trademarked keywords of other companies, TradeDoubler the affiliate marketing platform has sent its affiliates an email.
The email reminds TradeDoubler's affiliates that even though Google now allows its AdWord users to bid on trademarked keywords, it does not mean that any previous keyword bidding restrictions TradeDoubler's merchants had previously with their affiliates are now a free for all.

They warn that any affiliate activity that goes against a TradeDoubler merchant's terms and conditions will mean action will be taken such as removal from the programme or network and forfeit of commissions.

UK Reg Encourage Users to Buy Domains for 10 years Citing Google Patent

UK Reg, a domain registrar in the United Kingdom is using text written in one of Google's patent applications to help sell 10 year domain name registrations!
I was quite surprised to see a marketing technique used to sell a search engine marketing benefit.

Here's a screenshot from the site below:

UK Reg - Secure your domain
Clicking on the "Google patent application" link produces a pop-up which quotes the following sentence from the patent application Google made, with a link to the application in full:

"Certain signals may be used to distinguish between illegitimate and legitimate domains. For example, domains can be renewed up to a period of 10 years. Valuable (legitimate) domains are often paid for several years in advance, while doorway (illegitimate) domains rarely are used for more than a year. Therefore, the date when a domain expires in the future can be used as a factor in predicting the legitimacy of a domain and, thus, the documents associated therewith."

Google Paid Link Policing and other more Democratic Ranking Methods

Google's Webmaster Help Center explains Google's policy on paid links and encourages people to report them to Google. Here's a snippet from Google's statement:

"Buying or selling links that pass PageRank is in violation of Google's webmaster guidelines and can negatively impact a site's ranking in search results.

Not all paid links violate our guidelines. Buying and selling links is a normal part of the economy of the web when done for advertising purposes, and not for manipulation of search results. Links purchased for advertising should be designated as such."

Google essentially want websites to designate paid links with rel="nofollow" anchor tags, so link juice or PageRank is not passed on to the website who bought the link. The use of rel="nofollow" anchor tag was originally conceived to stop comment SPAM on blogs and discussion boards, but its use has now spread to the policing of paid links.

I understand the difficulties Google and the other search engines must have in determining when to pass link juice between websites, but leaving the webmaster in control of this is like asking Google to start ranking sites by meta keywords again.

I'm beginning to believe the future of web search lies in the democratic nature of the StumbleUpon, Digg and other social bookmarking methods like (del.icio.us and my favourite ma.gnolia), whereby users vote, tag and bookmark sites. Surely a combination of popularity and search algorithm is the way forward?

Updated: Shortly after I posted this blog entry, Google has been spotted testing Digg-style voting buttons on their results pages!

Updated: Matt Cutts and Maile Ohye posted on The Official Google Webmaster Central blog on 1 Dec 2007 a post that intends to clarify Google's stance on paid links.

Adsense Allowed Sites Flags Up Google Cache Views As Unauthorised

When I read about the new Google Adsense feature "Allowed Sites" a couple of weeks ago, I thought I'd set it up on my account just to make sure no sites were displaying my Adsense code on their own sites, which could end up getting my account banned or flagged as suspicious due to factors outside my control.
Let's face it, if they're displaying my Adsense code, they've probably scraped or copied my site content without my consent, so who knows what else they may be up to!

Anyway I logged into Adsense recently and decided to check out the Allowed Sites page, and this is what I read...

There are unauthorized sites that have displayed ads using your AdSense publisher ID within the last week. Please click here to view them.

So I did click here, but all I got were some IP addresses:

 

Site URL
72.14.253.104
64.233.183.104
72.14.235.104
209.85.129.104
66.102.9.104
216.239.59.104
209.85.135.104
64.233.169.104
64.233.167.104

 

A little intrigued to what these IP addresses were, I decided to investigate further by issuing a trace route command to glean some more information.

C:\Documents and Settings\Nik>tracert 64.233.183.104

The trace route results resolved the IP addresses all to Google. I'm guessing that these are in my list because of people viewing my sites in Google's cached pages; So panic over!
Would be good if Google could filter out it's own IP addresses from the list though, so I don't have to check out each IP individually.

Google add feature to stem stolen Adsense publisher code

Google have added an "Allowed Sites" feature in the Adsense console to stem a problem that has been talked about for a while.
Lots publishers have had their site content stolen and re-purposed in an almost identical fashion on another domain, specifically to earn the criminal money from advertising without spending time and effort writing content themselves.
In some cases the HTML contained the victim's Adsense code, which when uploaded to a "junk" domain with other duplicate content, essentially associated the original publisher with a bad site in Google's eyes.
To protect Google's Adsense publishers from being associated with this crime and having their Adsense accounts potentially banned, Google has developed the "Allowed Sites" feature which allows the Adsense publisher to tell Google which domains it publishes to.

What this won't do is stop people stealing your content and code, nor will it stop people hacking into your web server and changing the Adsense account ID in the Adsense Javascript to the criminals Adsense ID, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.

Google Reader 'Shared Items' Widget Broke My Site in IE7

As an avid user of Firefox the dangers of using one browser (apart from initial testing) became apparent today, especially considering most web users still use Internet Explorer.

I recently converted my site to use Blogger, and I also thought I'd share interesting news articles I read with my visitors by using Google Reader's Javascript widget.

Google Reader is still in Beta

I placed the Javascript widget on my home page and my blog pages a while back. I just checked my site in Internet Explorer 7 and was amazed to see only the template was rendered. There was a distinct lack of content!

I looked at the source HTML, and the content was there. I was puzzled for a few minutes until I realised what the blog page and the home page had in common; The Javascript Google widget.

I quickly removed them and FTPed the pages, the problem was resolved. I grabbed the URL the script block was trying to call and tried to download the external Javascript straight to my browser... it timed-out.

It appears that Internet Explorer will get stuck when external Javascript doesn't load, so be aware of this the next time you choose to use an externally hosted Javascript file. Opera and Firefox didn't seem to have a problem.

Dollar - Pound Exchange Rate Hits British Web Publishers

The British Pound broke through the physiological barrier of $2 yesterday due to the relative strength of the British economy. For us Brits this has some advantages like cheap shopping trips to New York, and some negatives such as companies who export goods to the US will suffer due to their goods becoming more expensive to American importers.

It also affects British web publishers who earn money from American companies. Affiliate programs like Google's Adsense, Amazon Associates etc are all paid in US dollars. Some schemes have the option of holding payments, but with the weakening economy in the US this exchange rate might be with us for some time.