Nuffnang vs. Advertlets

Sigh.  I’ve joined Advertlets for close to a year now (including the 3-4 months when I removed the stupid Advertlets code from my blog ‘cos the company so spectacularly messed up their domain name renewal) and sad to say, my earnings are about RM 20+, which is way below the cash out limit of RM 100 set for Singapore blogs.

I was thinking about Nuffnang again with the latest overhaul of my blog and I decided to do an online search to see which is the better ad server.  I thought I would find posts on pros and cons of the 2 ad servers but no… all I found were users complaining that Advertlets doesn’t pay!  And when it does, it pays a discounted amount of the earnings recorded and the reason given is always "fraud" by the user.  If it was really "fraud", then why on earth did Advertlets allow the user to continue earning $$ on the account?  Or does it only become "fraud" when a user wants to cash out?

I am appalled.  That RM 20+ I have in my account so far (assuming it’s really there), was painstakingly earned.  I don’t advertise my blog so readership is limited to pretty much my friends and some kind strangers who follow the stuff I gripe about.  While I don’t usually trust easily what I read on the Internet, the fact that Advertlets can mess up their domain name renewal has greatly discredited their ability in my eyes.

So I’ve decided to revert to Nuffnang… which was the first ad server I signed up for last year, but abandoned because I wasn’t getting any ads served to my blog.  A pleasant surprise this time round because once I uploaded the Nuffnang code, I got a STB ad right away.  Yay!  So please help support this blog (it costs about SGD 18+ monthly) and click on the Nuffnang ad ok?

Thanks!

P.S. A (far from exhaustive) list of the complaints on Advertlets can be found here.

Blog Make-Over

Don’t worry.  It’s still me.  After visiting the Fairy’s Inc website, I was very inspired by the light colours and did a search for any "fairy" related theme.  Been wanting to do an image overhaul of the blog for some time but never saw anything I liked… till today.  So viola!  Behold the new look.  (It’s been a year since the last major make-over!)

🙂

Wad iz a Widget?

It’s just a fancy name for this programme that allows users to drag & drop items onto their blog’s sidebar using compatible WordPress themes.

I know my blog’s been serving popup ads for some time now but I didn’t bother much because the ads were generally benign.  Till today… I got a shock of my life when I opened my blog in office and some popup with scantily clad women appeared.  Got similar feedback from friends so I decided that enough was enough – time to get rid of the popups.

I’ve always suspected that the popups were caused by my "shoutbox" (I was using cbox) – that little message board where you can leave comments.  But like I said, I never bothered previously because I suppose there’s no free lunch in this world and Cbox needs to earn their income somewhere!

But I draw the line at obscene ads.  So I went into my blog’s display settings to remove the Cbox from the sidebar.  Alas!  The entire sidebar was like frozen!  I wasn’t able to drag & drop the items on the sidebar like before.  Not sure what caused the error but I went to remove all the unnecessary files that were on my web host (left behind from the previous failed attempt to upgrade my WordPress) but it didn’t help.

Finally, I managed to download the latest release of the Widget programme and installed the files.  Thank God, it worked.

Sigh.  This blog thing is really too cheem for me.  Still haven’t figured out a way to upgrade my WordPress w/o upsetting my theme settings.  (I downloaded this theme and made some minor amendments to the colours but that took me many man hours so I’m very reluctant to change the theme).

Anyone willing to give me WordPress tuition?

 

P.S. Please let me know if you still see popups ‘cos of my blog ya?  Thanks!

Secret Key

Ok… so I’m a WordPress + Php functions idiot.  I have no idea how all these codes work.  All I know is how to play about with the features as provided for in my yahoo domain server and get the blog to post the stuff I write.

I have no idea why my WordPress version isn’t automatically upgraded even though I set it to be auto-upgraded.  My WP is still stuck at ver 2.0.2 and based on what I’ve read so far, using a web FTP server to upload all the files, plus all the extra time I’ll need to "trial and error" my way through, it’s going to take me AGES to upgrade everything properly.

While going through the notes however, I came across this "secret key" thing that should help strengthen the blog.  Here’s what I found (and added)…

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Add the SECRET_KEY definition to wp-config.php

If there is not a SECRET_KEY define statement in your wp-config.php file, add one. Beginning with Version 2.5, a SECRET_KEY for salting (strengthening) user passwords was added to the wp-config.php file. To improve the chances your user passwords are not ‘hacked’ here’s an example of the line to add to your wp-config.php file:

define('SECRET_KEY', 'RF63k93hb9shj3klvbn37sjd9a9n"'); // Change this to a unique phrase.

It is most important to change the default SECRET_KEY value to something other than ‘put your unique phrase here’. Visit the WordPress secret key generation site to get a SECRET_KEY generated for you.

Released with Version 2.5, this new, optional entry, called SECRET_KEY, causes better encryption of information stored in the user’s cookies. The secret key is a unique phrase.

// Change SECRET_KEY to a unique phrase.  You won't have to remember it later,
// so make it long and complicated.  You can visit https://www.grc.com/passwords.htm
// to get a phrase generated for you, or just make something up.
define('SECRET_KEY', 'put your unique phrase here'); // Change this to a unique phrase.

Here’s a detailed explanation on the wp-hackers email list from Mark Jaquith in response to the question, "What is the SECRET_KEY for?"

It is a hashing salt that is not readable through the database. "And what is a salt?" A salt is something that adds randomness to a hash input and makes it much harder to crack. For example:

In these examples, consider that the password is "test", but that the cracker does not know this (indeed, this is what he’s trying to determine). And yes, I’m glossing over some stuff, but this is the simplistic explanation.

Easy to crack: md5(‘test’);

Since ‘test’ is a short dictionary word, crackers who have the output hash can easily use rainbow tables (dictionary lookup table) to crack that password in seconds, or minutes.

Harder to crack: md5(‘test’ . $known_salt);

In this case, the cracker has to generate a new rainbow table that adds the $known_salt value to their table’s hashes. This slows them down.

Even harder to crack: md5(‘test’ . $unknown_salt);

In this case, they don’t know the salt. And since a good salt is something very random, like "888a7da62429ba6ad3cb3c76a09641fc" — they can’t use rainbow tables to help them. They have to just "brute force" their way through all the possible combinations. This is a huge hurdle. Something that might take 10 minutes before could now take years.

==================

Really hope this stops any backdoor entry into my blog by hackers.  Sigh.  🙁

Tolong Tolong (Help Help)!

 Could everyone please do a poll that’s located at the bottom right corner of the ad banner (see red arrow).  I think this is supposed to help the ad people categorise my blog better so they’ll know what sort of ads to place here. 

Please help ok?  I’m still trying to figure out (if i ever get a payment), how am i supposed to encash a RM100 cheque when i have no RM banking account?  *Forehead suffers a few more wrinkles from deep-in-thought frowning*

This Domain Name Needs to be Paid for!

It’s been 8 days.  Nuffnang said that they needed a week to monitor the type of traffic that comes to my blog before assigning advertisers.  So i waited 8 days… and still, i see no ads appear on my blog.  No ads = no money. 

So i got a little fed up.  I sent them an email asking for a reason and i’m told that due to “stringent requirements” of their advertisers, i may not have been selected, but they’re working on marketing all member blogs and are in the midst of negotiating some deals with advertisers that will allow all member blogs to be served an ad in the coming month. 

I’m miffed obviously.  ‘Cos it sounds like Nuffnang is blaming my blog content for the lack of advertising.  Hello!  Are they trying to say i need to write crap like Xiaxue in order to get advertisers interested?  I mean, i would love to learn from her by posting photos of big fat thighs on my blog, except that i’m still working on growing my thighs to 2x their current size in order to match hers.  Seriously, not enough advertisers say so lah.  Don’t push the blame man!  Hmph!  *Crosses arms indignantly*

Anyway, i just signed up with Adverlets and my blog was served ads immediately.  Looks like a good start.  I’m leaving Nuffnang on my blog, albeit right at the bottom.  Don’t say i don’t give chance.  Heh.

ARGH!  What happened?  I heard a hissing sound and all the lights in my room went out!  The hanging lamp, the down lights… all not working!  Wah lau… see lah.  Told u i got a lot of bills to pay.  Just settled my SGD20/month bill for my blog’s domain name and now the electricity goes out on me?  Sheesh…

Eh wait… how come my TV and PC still got electricity uh?  Hmmm…

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P.S. My only gripe is that all these ad companies are very cryptic about their payment structure.  Wonder why… are they afraid that competitors will register as members and find out?  Weird.

$$ Minded

Saw this article in Sunday Times about earning $$ from your blog.  I used to have Google Adsense on my old blogspot blog… but i think i only installed Adsense for like 2 weeks or so before i decided to get my own domain name.  So that was the end of my Adsense adventure.

Back to Sunday Times.  The article mentioned this website – www.nuffnang.com.sg and how u can earn $$ by having advertisements placed on your blog.  I googled the site and found another blog advertisement site – www.adverlets.com.  Did a quick read of both sites… and honestly, based on face value, it’s hard to tell which site would help me earn more ca$h.  Heh.  (Sorry for the mercenary anaconda in me has reared its head). 

What made me decide to go with Nuffnang eventually was this… i scrolled right to the bottom of the Adverlets site and saw this line, “Malaysia Boleh! Majulah Bloggers Untuk Negara!”.  I clicked back to take a look at the founders of Nuffnang and from my quick glance, Nuffnang was set up by 2 Singaporeans.  It made my choice simpler.  Blogs really shouldn’t “play country” u know.  Not good… but oh well, given that all else SEEMED equal, i chose to support the Singaporean entity lor.

Hey…  National Day approaching right?  🙂

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Clarification: I think Nuffnang is half Singaporean, half Malaysian.  Ok lah… fair.  Mai fight.  Sekali tomorrow no more tap water.  😛

Disturbed

I’m quite upset now ‘cos 2 of my entries (Best of the Best and Best Parking Idiots Photo) on 28 Aug 2006 apparently disappeared. Thankfully, i managed to find a cached version of the page from Google. (THANK YOU GOOGLE FOR TRAWLING THE NET!) If not for the cached version, i wouldn’t possibly remember what i wrote regarding my darling Muah Chee… and i actually totally forgot about the photo from parking idiot. 🙁

Now i’m just wondering how many other posts have i lost, if any? It’s kind of upsetting isn’t it? I don’t know what’s the reason that these 2 posts disappeared… i’m pretty sure i didn’t delete anything ‘cos i haven’t been blogging the past few days. Hope these are the only 2 posts that went missing. 🙁