Thursday, November 24, 2005

Orwell Controversy, Portal Feeder and Niche Websites

I had thought about mentioning Orwell, and Portal Feeder here, and my opinions on both. Actually I have deleted half of what I was going to write.

I even have a branded report, but I don't feel comfortable distributing it atm.

This thread on Warrior Forum I just read however has certainly had an effect on my overall opinion.

Well worth reading quickly, because it has already been locked, and might well disappear in due course.

My opinion before reading the Warrior forum thread was that Orwell might be a useful tool if you don't have something more powerful such as Article Miner.

As to Portal Feeder, what I have seen of it so far has not impressed me, and in many respects I can already achieve far more with Wordpress and a few plugins, and if you have a lot of sites maybe enhanced using Blog Auto Publisher..

Edit: Further discussion on Warrior Forum

Make up your own mind

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Monday, November 21, 2005

Email, whitelisting and Aweber

Like most internet marketers, I have multiple email accounts. Some I look on as primary accounts I monitor "live". I actually use gmail for that because I love the sorting features. If someone forces me to use a "non free email address", fine, I will just use an email associated with one of my 50+ domain names, and maybe... maybe it will get read sometime.

One of the services I use is, I suppose it is the Polish equivalent to Yahoo. They have free email accounts and paid ones with more features. It also isn't regarded by most filters as being a free email address ;)

Today I noticed that Dr. Mani, who previously was using another email solution, is moving his list gradually over to Aweber.

Importing subscribers to services is a royal pain, it is much better to send a compelling offer to one list, and get them to resubscribe on another.

Now I can understand why Dr. Mani is making the switch, I am sure he was having deliverability problems, and decided to try Aweber who make huge guarantees on email deliverability.

So I took up his "compelling offer" (and it really was), and signed up onto another of Dr. Mani's excellent email lists (this time run on Aweber). I am honestly on loads of his email lists.

And then I was shocked...

The "double opt-in" message generated automatically by Aweber... ended up in my spam folder.

I had whitelisted every single one of his previous email list addresses. I didn't expect to have to do it with Aweber, and haven't had to do it in the past.

I have no idea whose service Onet use to decide which email addresses are spam, but whoever they are, Aweber seem to have upset them.

Here is the contents of the email that ended up in my spam folder.

Hello Andrew,

We received your request for information from the
group. Before we begin sending you the information you
requested, we want to be certain we have your permission.


There was
an optin link here

Click the link above to give us permission to
send you
information. It's fast and easy! If you cannot click the
URL above please copy and paste it into your web

Or, if you
prefer, reply to this message with the
confirmation key in the subject line.

If you
do not want to subscribe, simply ignore this message.

Thank You,
AWeber Systems, Inc.

95, 13th Street, Chennai, TN 60040, SINGAPORE

That is a totally default double opt-in message from Aweber that hit my spam folder. The worry is not Onet, which is only used by 3 (a guess) million people in Poland, but who provides their spam blocking code and database.

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Friday, November 18, 2005

Google Analytics

I think most people have head about Google Analytics by now. It doesn't seem to be producing any data yet (Google underestimated the demand a little), but just implementing it for some people is going to be a major undertaking.

Lots of people build their sites around php includes, but who thinks to have a PHP include at the end of their header for tracking?

Here are a couple of good solutions for those who want to do things quickly (i.e. those with lots of VRE)

Search and Replace - I have spent a lot of time looking for the best search and replace tool money can't buy (because it is free). Take a look at this great little application

Wordpress plugins - If you are running your blogs on Wordpress (I have loads of Wordpress blogs), then just like Blogger you can add something directly to your templates, or even easier just install a plugin. I am not going to name a particular plugin, best to do a little searching because it is early days as far as functionality, especially in regards to not including page views in the admin pages.

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Thursday, November 03, 2005

Tracking: 2 hrs wasted on

Marc Goldman had suggested on the Howto forum that would fulfill all my tracking needs. I got fed up waiting for a promised review account, so I signed up for their 30 day trial.

It doesn't come close to fulfilling any of my needs, let alone all of them.

For PPC I am better using adtrackz and creating campaigns "on-the-fly". From what I could see, Goldbar only provide for manual campaign creation. What a nightmare.

Maybe there are some hidden features. The documentation was very lacking.

What I really needed was the ability to track across domains, as I funnel traffic through to a pre-sales page, and then on to an affiliate site where I can track a conversion.

I can't see any sign of being able to do this. There are no tools for tracking traffic around a site.

I also need to have adsense clicks tracked in the same system, as that is one return of revenue.

The SEO tools provided are worse than free tools provided on sites like Digital point. There is no way to setup a large number of domains and keywords to track over time.
Checking your backlink was just reporting how many you have, no analysis of anchor text.
There is a tool that shows keyword density on a page, but no attempt at suggestions, or other page analysis. You would be much better off with a free version of WEBCEO or what I use extensively, SEOElite.

I didn't test the shopping cart and autoresponder, maybe they are more refined, but what I did test was "klunky" and time consuming.
Maybe I will give those a trial sometime in the future, but I am loath to signup to any autoresponder service that won't sometime in the future integrate with onsite tracking. falls far short of what I expected.

Update 20/11/05: You will notice Marc Goldman has made a comment here, questioning the integrity of my review of

I have made a comment in reply, but I believe this situation also warrants an addition to the post.

1. First of all I didn't title this post in any way an "in-depth" review. Far from it, I filled out the forms, logged in, went through the initial presentation of the system (which didn't tell me anything), and then went searching for information and services I needed to use... immediately (I seriously had a team of people pushing for a decision)

2. I went through all I could on the tracking. The only tracking I found on any of the menus was for tracking links. You had to manually define things like campaigns.

On one of my projects I want to track the whole of the Clickbank database... no way in hell I am going to define all of that one item at a time.

I looked at help files available. Most were just a title with an empty page. Maybe a database error, maybe a browser incompatibility. I don't care. I didn't find any answers I was looking for.

3. I looked for some kind of site tracking, or a hint that all the different types of tracking could somehow be linked together with a single overview... I didn't find it. Maybe it is hidden? Seems to me a fairly major feature to hide somewhere though, and if it existed, it would be highlighted extremely well on the sales page.

4. So I went looking at other tools. I decided to play with the SEO tools. I honestly found them worthless. Worse than the free tools at Digital Point. No tracking of SERPS over time. No indepth tracking of large keyword lists. No import of keyword lists. No support for multiple pages. The keyword density analyser does a single page, and doesn't even suggest anything to do on the page to improve it.

There wasn't even a way to bookmark all your VRE/niche sites so your could check each of their performance in sequence.

The free tools do a much better job, but could still be improved upon. There are loads of ways SEOElite could be improved as well.

Customer support...

When I cancelled my account, they give you an option to give some feedback. I gave them some feedback. It is only now, more than 2 weeks later, that they are responding, in kind, with a comment on my blog.

If the intention was to help me find a solution, they would have been back in contact within hours of me cancelling my account.

Thus the only reason they are now responding in some way is damage control.


If you do a little search on Google for "", this short review is in 2nd place in the SERPS. Unlike many posts on this blog, I haven't done anything to promote what I have said about the product. Thus no backlinks specific to the term.

I have no intention at this time of taking a second look. I haven't got time and quite frankly I don't have the inclination either.

The sales page isn't dishonest, though I would question how state-of-the-art some of the individual components of the whole system are.

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