AdSense Code

In the past, I used to monetize my blogs with Google AdSense. It provided me with Javascript code that I pasted into my web page HTML. Google seemed pretty good in matching up ads to the content in my blogs. However I got kicked out of the AdSense program. They did not mention any real reason. I have read about a lot of other people who got banned as well. I did not even bother to protest the ban.

Since then I have added BidVertiser ads on all of my blogs. We shall see how that works out. In the mean time, I thought we would have some fun with Google AdSense. One of the primary rules of AdSense was that you were not allowed to change the Javascript code that they provided. You had to cut and paste it into your HTML. Otherwise they might kick you out of the program. I have never messed with this Javascript code before, carefully following the AdSense rules. However now that I am out of the program, I say let's have some fun.

Here is a piece of some AdSense Javascript I copied from Digital Point Forums:

script type="text/javascript"
google_ad_client = "pub-5676236325709660";
google_ad_channel = "4467843311";
google_alternate_ad_url = "";
google_ad_width = 468;
google_ad_height = 60;
google_ad_format = "468x60_as";
google_color_border = "63513F";
google_color_bg = "63513F";
google_color_link = "A9B7E7";
google_color_url = "A9B7E7";google_color_text = "CF815C";

This is the type of code we are not supposed to modify. However I actually already did some modifications to it. I tried to remove the publisher name "pub-5676236325709660". This causes the ads to not show up. That name uniquely identifies the publisher who gets paid when somebody clicks on the ads. When I substitute my old banned publisher ID in there, the ads don't work either. I think part of the problem is that the rest of the JavaScript has to match the publisher. It also does not help that I am banned from Google AdSense.

One change I found that does work is that I modified the color choices who various objects in the code. I can control the color appearance of the ads. I think I am going to play with this Google AdSense code some more. I imagine there is no downside to this. I have already been kicked out of the program. If I find anything else that is interesting, I will keep you posted.

Blogger is Up

Just checking in to say that Blogger seems to actually be working fine recently. I am always still very cautious and paranoid. Blogger has not been stable long enough to forget all the times that the darn thing made me lose my latest post.

However it seems I can spell check and post without error now. Not sure how long things have been well. Maybe about a week. You only notice the state of Blogger when it goes down. And when it does go down, it goes down hard.

As always I cannot complain too loudly when problems arise. This is a free service. And it does a whole lot for me that would be painful to do by handle. Keep up the good work Blogger team, or Google, or whoever you are that have fixed the recent bugs. I dream of the day when I don't have to worry about Blogger bombing out on me.

Black of Hat Blog

I have started a new blog entitled Black of Hat. Of course I used Blogger since I am very familiar with it. This blog's purpose is self contained in its description: "Writing progs to achieve questionable ends."

So far I have already posted one free program to Black of Hat. It is a program which launches Internet Explorer and navigates to web sites of your choosing. This program can be used for a number of purposes. See the blog for some initial ideas I had.

Right now I have another idea for a program to write and release under the Black of Hat blog. It will be a type of web crawler that strips link information from a web site. I intend to run all my blog URLs through this program. Should make for some interesting tests.

Information Reformation

I continue to aggressively read all print books I can find on blogging. My latest read is one entitled "Blog - Understanding the Information Reformation That's Changing Your World". Wow that was a long title. The book itself is long as well. I am not talking about the number of pages in the book. But there is a lot of reading that is not really all too interesting. But there were a number of interesting points in the book I want to talk about here.

The book states that there are 2 main reasons for blogging: (1) to persuade, and (2) to leave a record. LOL. I think they forgot about (3) to make some money. Yes I know that if that is your only goal, it may be difficult to succeed. However we cannot overlook a major reason why some people such as myself blog. Its not that I don't want to persuade or leave a lasting legacy. But I really want to make some dough.

There were some interesting blog statistics given in the book. These were collected from a study done some time ago. I suspect these numbers are still valid today though. 66% of blogs get less than 1 post every 2 months. And over 92% of blogs are authored by people under the age of 30. The first statistic is not so hard to understand. People start up blogs and either through them away, or don't stick with it. While I know a lot of young people who blog, I know a few older folk who do too. However worldwide, maybe it is the younger generation that is heavily into blogging.

My favorite part of the book were a number of rules for blogging success:
  • Post often
  • Link freely
  • Keep it brief
  • Avoid profanity
  • Keep titles short

This all sounds like good advice to me. I will try to practice these in this and my other blogs. In fact, I have noticed that I am starting to post more frequently on All Things Blogger. And I am really trying to get myself to be less stingy with outbound links. I am still in the beginning stages of that effort. Maybe I can give a shout out to Blogger whose generosity makes this blog possible. Thanks people.

Blogging Business

Today I finished the book "Start Your Own Blogging Business". Although the book had less than 100 pages, it was chock full of good information. I want to share some of the highlights from the book. However I recommend that every reads it for themselves.

Some of the book was dedicated to starting up a blog. The book cautioned the reader to choose a blog topic carefully. The topic should be one that can hopefully last forever, and not fade like a short term fad.

The book recommended you post to your blog under a pseudonym. I fully agree with that. My birth name is not Blogger Chief. It is not that I am not proud about what I write. And I am not ashamed of it either. But there could be some information shared which might be kept relatively anonymous. Some of my blogs talk a lot about my day job. As long as my real name is not tied to those blogs, I can sleep soundly without worrying about getting in trouble or fired.

A final highlight from the book was to be careful in developing your blogger voice. In particular, it warned against sound too preachy. Perhaps I need to work on this myself. This blog in particular sometimes accuses Blogger (and Google) of falling down on the job. Hey. They are a big company with big profits. So they should be able to take it. However I should maybe tone it down a bit. This does not mean I will water down posts on serious topics that affect my life. But rather I should watch the tone to ensure what I write is communicated the best for the sake of my readers.

I do have some other blogs which are truly accuse guilty parties. And in these cases it is hard not to preach. Maybe I can take it easy a little bit, while not letting the guilty get away with murder. How is that for a plan?

Books on Blogging

I decided to read some actual print books about the topic of blogging. Specifially I wanted to look at books geared towards making money through blogging. Previously I had purchased some books for this topic. But that was getting a big expensive. So I went to the local library. The librarian pointed me to a couple general sections. Here are the books I went home with:

  • Startup - Start You Own Blogging Business
  • BLOG - Understanding the Information Reformation
  • blog! - how the newest media revolution is changing politics, business, and culture
  • HOW TO publish AND promote ONLINE

Interests on Blogger

You can list your interests on your Blogger profile. This allows others with the same interests to find you. In addition to blogging, I am really interest in Google AdSense. There were 163 other people on Blogger who listed that as a keyword in their interest. I visited each and every one of these users. I also checked out all their blogs. This was a monumental tasks since some of the bloggers had 20 or 30 blogs each.

One common pattern I found was that there are a lot of blogs that are light on content. By this I mean the blog has exactly 1 post which is only 1 paragraph long. Perhaps I can understand this. I created a test Blogger account once and old added one blog post. But I did not enter in a lot of interest in that Blogger user profile.

There was another interesting thing I found on quite a few blogs. Many blogs were hosting Google AdSense ads. But some of them had their pages arranged so these ads had the label "Ads by G". The rest of the label got cut off (it should say Ads by Google). I am not sure if this was intentional on the part of the blogger. I have found that when choosing a wide ad that will just not fit on my web page, the resulting text will often get clipped. I emailed some of these blog authors to ask whether this was an intentional move or not. We shall see what they say.

P.S. Blogger is marking the word "bloggers" as a misspelling. LOL.

Blogs with AdSense

I started out in my main blog of Software Maintenance. Then I kept clicking the "Next Blog" in the navigation bar, checking out each random blog I arrived at. It seems like only 1 in 10 blogs are monetized with AdSense ads. I guess a lot of people just want to put up blogs to share information with other people. I was surprised that most of the blogs looked pretty good and had nice pictures.

There are a number of goals I have in blogging. One of them is to make some extra cash using Google AdSense. But I also wanted the experience of being a Blogger. I wanted to learn about blogging and web publishing in general. Delving into the AdSense world has only given me more things to learn. When you publish a blog for fun without ads, you probably don't care how much traffic comes to your blog. And you are not concerned with how many people click through on your links.

All Systems Go

Just thought I would take a moment to report that Blogger is actually working recently. When I publish a post, it gets published. And when I click Spell Check, my text actually gets spell checked. It is a shame that this comes as a surprise to me given my bad prior experiences. But I am a happy camper for the moment.

Another nice thing is that my "All Things Blogger" blog appears to be getting served up relevant and interesting ads from Google. I think I even saw a Google ad for Blogger itself on my blog. People are visiting, and a small percentage are clicking through. The price per click that I earn is smaller than other keywords and sites that I run. But that is OK. At least the ads are interesting.

A couple of my blogs have high paying keywords. But when I look at the ads that are served up, I can't imagine anybody actually clicking them. Maybe this just means I like the subject of blogging better than those other niche markets I write about. I do not know. The good thing for me is that some people out there are reading my other web sites, and are clicking on these boring ads. I guess that is a win, right?

Weird AdSense Ads

I author a number of blogs. Currently they are all hosted on Blogger. And for the most part, I have Google AdSense ads displayed on these blogs. A nice ad format is the 160 x 600 shown directly to the left. This format is a tall one that lends itself to the right or left of a blog nicely.
However I have been noticing that sometimes one advertiser takes up the whole 160 x 600 ad like the one shown on the far left. I really don't like that. It does not look as good, since there is a lot of empty space. It also provides less ad options for the user to click.
So far I have been adding the URLs in the weird ads to my AdSense competitive ad filter. Google will then prevent these ads from displaying on my blogs. But this is still a weird effect. I also think this is wasting my slots in the competitive ad filter list.
This is really more of an AdSense issue than a Blogger one. I just wish there was another way to eliminate this weird ad distribution of one in a 160 x 600 ad format.

Spell Check Broke Again

This morning I tried to work on a new post for a new blog. Got a couple paragraphs of text. Hit the spell check button. All that happened was that I saw a couple strange messages in the Internet Explorer status bar. And the text of my post was not spell checked.

The funny thing is that this did not stir me up. These days I fully expect Blogger to bomb out on me. When I tried publishing my non-spell checked post, it actually worked. My expectations are getting really low for Blogger now. Just sharing the state of Blogger in my mind with you.

The Google motto is to do no evil. This is supposed to be in direct contract to Microsoft. However I have found that most Microsoft products I use are mature and seldom have blatant bugs like I have been experiencing in Google. Come on Google. Don't be evil man.

P.S. It appears the spell check worked for this post. Ironic.

Blogger is Broken

Had a couple of blog entries to write this morning. Blogger refused to work. Could not even start the blogging process. I don't think this was limited to just adding new entries. Some blogs that I have served up by Blogger were unavailable for viewing this morning. Maybe that is why I have not clicks on my ads.

This is very frustrating. Why is this happening? Blogger should be a mature product. And Google should have the resources to maintain it. Maybe it is not a high enough priority for Google? Maybe all of the original Blogger staff has retired. I do not know. When things go wrong, users like me who get the shaft start thinking all kinds of crazy thoughts.

Yeah. Blogger is a free service. Nobody is forcing me to use it. I guess the question I have to ask myself is how important is up time and working functionality? Or more directly, how much is this worth to me a month? I don't have tons of data or viewers for my blogs and web sites. So I imagine it would not cost me a lot to get good service from an ISP.

P.S. I have just discovered the Blogger known issues page. Maybe Google will let me know what the heck is going on with this service.

Falling Apart

Blogger is really starting to fall apart on me. One of my blogs is starting to get some good content. So I decided to add a blog roll to it. I chose to add a page element from the layout view. Clicked on the Link List item to add. Nothing happened. I tried clicking a few more times. Finally I got some error page. This kept happening. Luckily my latest changes to the layout were saved. But this was still a pain in the neck.

Finally I decided to get out of all my Internet Explorer sessions. Closed down all my windows. I even killed any process that was "iexplore.exe" on my machine. When I logged back in to Blogger, I no longer had the problems. The crazy thing is that, when I got the errors, Blogger gave me a unique error code to help the Blogger Team identify the problem. But there was no link on the error page to contact the Blogger Team. WTF is up with that?

When I am blogging or making changes to my page layout, I don't want to worry about when Blogger is going to bomb out on me. I want the focus to be on content creation. What is a blogger to do? I am starting to think that Blogger needs to be renamed Bugger.

Lost my Entry

I had this great idea for a blog post. So I sat down and typed my thoughts into Blogger. I went back and made sure my thoughts were well organized. I even clicked the spell check button. Should have known something was not right when it took a long time for spell check to complete. Then when I thought I was done, I hit the publish button. Blogger just gives me an error message and code.

Apparently I had lost my entire post. This can't be happening to me. OK. So I just hit the "back" button in my browser. It brought me back to the post in edit mode. But all my text had disappeared. I am starting to really dislike Blogger. I have heard about this happening to other people before. But I thought that was some type of personal problem. Well now the problem has found me.

So what is a blogger supposed to do? I for one typed this current blog entry in Microsoft Notepad. Then I copied the text to Blogger. I cannot afford to lose another whole post to some Blogger type error. I thought Blogger was supposed to save my draft automatically. Guess when it rains it pours. If spell check has troubles, and publish post does not work, of course auto save is going to be broke down too. If the current trend continues, I'd say it might be time to experiment with another blogging solution like Wordpress. My time is money. And I don't like people stealing my money.

P.S. I had to LOL when Blogger spell check decided that "Wordpress" was a misspelling.

HTML by Mistake

There is one nuance of Blogger that gets me frequently. I write a post about some facet of HTML. And I include the actual HTML markup in the text when I am in Blogger Compose mode. It all seems to go well until I try to Publish the page. That's when Blogger complains that I have invalid HTML.

The problem is that Blogger is treating the text itself as HTML. And when there is HTML in my text that is supposed to be just text, Blogger treats it as markup. I guess there must be some way to quote out the text to indicate that it is indeed quoted text. But shouldn't that happen by default? I am in Compose mode to start with, not the Edit Html mode.

I have had some hangups with Blogger in the past. However I need to keep my perspective. This is a free service. And overall I would say the service is pretty good. I would hate to think about the pain if I had to roll my own blogs by hand with HTML. Ouch. Hopefully the people who invented Blogger are rich and celebrating out there somewhere.

Blogger Problems

Recently I have been noticing more and more problems with Blogger. For quite a while I had been unable to to Check Spelling. When I clicked the button, I would just get some error message in the status bar of my Internet Explorer window. This is not a huge deal. But spell check helps my posts look more professional.

Another problem that Blogger seems to have is that I cannot always use the Add Image functionality. I click the button, but nothing happens. My work around has been to publish my blog entry without images. Then I would go back, edit the entries, and add images later. This is a pain.

I am not sure why Blogger has been degrading in quality. These guys are owned by Google after all. There should be resources that are working to increase quality. This is troubling because I have a number of blogs that are hosted on Blogger. I have invested a lot of time on these blogs and don't want to start over on a new domain. I plan to carefully monitor Blogger before I make my final decision. And I guess if I was a good user, I would open trouble tickets with the Blogger Team. But I have a business to run. My goal is to use a tool that works which does not require my help in debugging the product.

P.S. Thankfully the error check functionality worked for this entry.