Archive for March, 2006

NCSU Engineering : Ah the Good Old Days

March 30th, 2006 Tony No comments

I did some digging around in to see if I could find some of my first websites while a computer engineering student at NCSU. I was able to find the URL to my first website ( but sadly its no longer in

I did find an archive of my robotics project named LOLA! LOLA was able to navigate a room or hallway and avoid objects and stairwells by processing information received from sonar and tactile sensors. The software was custom written in C by myself and a couple other software engineers and was driven by a small PC running Linux.

And I was thrilled to find a copy of my senior design project codenamed Project Greenlink which was my first database driven website. The task was for the NCSU arboretum and the task was to merge a plants database (Filemaker Pro) with a maps database of the coordinates of the plants. Then I had to tie it all together with a cgi search function for the web.

What was your first site?

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SEO for Forums

March 28th, 2006 Tony 1 comment

Martinibuster has a great post today on how to maximize your Adsense revenue on forums. I was going to post my additional tip on his blog entry but it looks like he has comments turned off so here goes.

In Martini’s entry he advises that you should edit your user’s forum post title’s to maximize the content theme of the page so that Adsense will retrieve targetted ads.

Rewrite member post titles so that they are COHERENT and MEAN SOMETHING. “Help,” and “I’ve got a Question” type titles are not going to help your forum rank well so why do forum operators not edit them to something meaningful?

This is absolutely true and furthermore it has a great impact on the future organic traffic you could receive from each post created. However, if you are running a successful forum with many posts created each day it would be extremely time consuming to manually edit all bad post titles. Also, loyal members get a bit pissy when you start altering other user’s posts.

Instead this method has worked extremely well for me. Create a sticky post which will be displayed at top of each forum with the title:

DON’T POST TITLES like “I have a question”

In the body of this sticky post:

Please don’t create posts with title’s “Can someone help me?” and “Help please”. Use the subject line appropriately.

Help us understand what your post is about in the subject line. You’ll have a better shot at actually getting the acvice you are looking for and it will help everyone else who is looking for the same information.

Thank you.

Also ask your moderators to refer any users to this sticky post if the user continues to write “Need help” and “Question” titles. I hardly ever see these anymore in my forum. Don’t work yourself to death. Get your userbase to do the work for you!

Categories: Search Engine Optimization Tags:

Now Google’s Breaking 301’s!

March 23rd, 2006 Tony 3 comments

Aaron just IM’d me about some weirdness he was seeing in the SERP’s. He had a site that was 301ing the to The problem was that Google was indexing the 301 page! I had never seen this before but a quick query found many more. Is BidDaddy broke?

Google query to find some of the indexed 301’s

And check out #1 position for this query:

Categories: Google Tags:

Merchant Accounts Could Stop Fraud… But They Don’t Want To

March 21st, 2006 Tony 3 comments

Yesterday I returned from a week in London to discover that one of my ecommerce sites was a victim of fraud. I have many measures in place to prevent fraud including strict requirements for exact credit card information as well as a custom built fraud identification system. Unfortunately it can’t always catch every con artist and this crook managed to rob me of $2,400 of product with stolen credit cards. The cards hadn’t been reported stolen yet so the transaction went through.

Why Merchant Accounts and Payment Gateways Don’t Care About Fraud

This type of fraud could be drastically reduced but the merchant accounts and payment gateways like don’t want that to happen. Why? Because they make a great deal of money from chargeback fees and interest on security money they hold. If a merchant like myself has too many chargebacks the payment processors often withhold up to tens of thousands of dollars as security money for their “protection” which is tantamount to holding the merchant up at gun point even if the merchant has a perfect record of refunding every single fraudulent transaction.

How Credit Card Fraud Could be Greatly Reduced on the Internet

Currently there is no incentive for a merchant to report credit cards as stolen when they detect fraud. For instance, in my recent fraud I had to refund 8 credit cards. I fully expect to receive chargebacks on some of these as the owner of the cards rarely notice that the full amount was refunded at a later date. Unfortunately I will still be hit with chargeback fees from the payment processor but at least I’ll win the chargeback dispute.

The Solution

Payment gateways and/or merchant accounts offer NO method for flagging a credit card as stolen.

1. There should be a simple web based form that allows me to flag a particular transaction as stolen and allow me to supply supporting evidence to the card being stolen.
2. To incentivize the merchant to report the card as stolen the payment gateway or merchant account should cancel chargeback fees on that transaction.

3. Ad further incentive to the merchant by developing a scoring system that rates merchants who report fraudulent transations quickly with a higher trusted score much like the auto insurance companys reward good drivers.

Its up to Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express to put pressure on payment gateways and credit card processors to get their act together and to stop placing all burden on the merchant and to stop raping the merchant with fees.

Categories: Credit Card Merchant Accounts Tags:

Brett Tabke’s Alias BoboTheCat to Attend His First PubCon :)

March 16th, 2006 Tony 5 comments

Brett Tabke has threatened legal action against the non-profit LondonSEO group for allegded trademark violation for use of the phrase ‘PubCon’ on the site.

Shortly before sending the threatening email he posted comments on the site under the alias ‘BoboTheCat’:

# BoboTheCat:

btw – pubcon is trademark owned by webmasterworld inc I believe.

A quick Google of ‘BoboTheCat’ turned up this WMW profile which indeed seems to be Tabke: “… been at it since `94 ( BBS’s since ‘85 )”.

The funny bit is that BoboTheCat posts in his own forum under that alias posing as a newbie thinking of going to his first pubcon in Boston.


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