Archive for the ‘business’ Category

We never told you… Testing Facebook ads

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

I’m currently trying to promote my new mobile augmented-reality-game. Which is a lot harder than I expected it to be. So I tried to advertise it. I published a post on Facebook with an animated GIF which reached 41 persons. Not much.

We never told you (Augmented reality)
We never told you: Youtube ⋅ iOS ⋅ Android

Then I invested $10 and tried promoting this post to people with interests that I selected. The results a pretty difficult to interpret. Facebook spreads the statistics over several places (in tiny windows) and basically avoids all industry standard terms. Instead they use terms that I can’t find definitions for. So I ‘reached’ 2.164 persons, but only 1.087 saw the video?

And some things don’t match at all. The average playing time was 4 seconds. With 1087 videos played, the total time should be around 72 minutes. But Facebook says it’s 171 minutes.

A lot of open questions. But what about the actual results? If you convert them to industry-standards, my results are:

  • CPM: 4,69$ / 9,20$ (persons/video plays)
  • CPC: 1,25$
  • CPA: -                  (meaning: no sales)

Not very good. Maybe this works better for other products or maybe I did something wrong, but I don’t think that I’ll continue this experiment… 😉

Google accusing Apple of “Unacceptable Business Practices”?

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

It sounds like an April Fools’ Day prank. But I didn’t make this one up. Promise.

I just entered “iTunes” as search keyword for Google AdWords. I wasn’t surprised that Google didn’t allow it. But it reason was a jaw-dropper:

These entries could not be added due to the following reasons:
Unacceptable Business Practices (Detail)
We’ve detected that your keyword list may contain words related to unacceptable business practices. Google policy does not permit the advertisement of websites that contain unacceptable business practices.
Recommended actions: Please delete or edit these keywords. 

So is Google accusing Apple of  “Unacceptable Business Practices”? Sounds like it. I know that they didn’t really like each other since Google started Android, but this is pretty heavy stuff.


A bit of advertising: ZeroClickSpellchecker

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

I recently published a new software: ZeroClickSpellchecker. It’s basically a spell-checker which doesn’t mark errors, but auto-corrects them. At least those that can be corrected safely. (It won’t try to correct kljfhsdakljh, for example.) But quite a lot errors can be corrected, so the program works pretty well. It effectively that speeds up your typing, because you don’t have to stop and correct any more.

It’s great tool when writing e-mails. Basically I wrote it because I was fed up with typing “copmuter” again and again. If you find this (or other typos) in your own e-mails, check out my auto-correction software.

There IS life on the other side…

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

…of the order form. I always suspected it, but it’s interesting to be on the other side for a change.

I’m talking about being a customer for a  change. I tried to check out AISIP’s member forums and one has to pay for that. Okay, I tried. I filled in the order form, hit the submit button only to see the same form again. I double-checked my data, I looked for marks that I forget something. Nothing. Same form again. I triple-checked my data, tried another browser, another computer. Even my iPhone. Nothing worked. I contacted AISIP (three times). No reply. I contacted and got a standard mail. My reply to that mail was left unanswered.

So I want to pay, but I can’t. It’s frustrating.

Hope you’re treating your customers better than that. I know that I do, but I wonder if I should test *my* payment processor…

Next > Weiter > Siguiente >

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

When doing screenshots of your software you may face some problems with the buttons in wizard and property sheet dialogs. The buttons at the bottom of these dialogs are drawn by Windows, with the language of your Windows installation. That can differ from the language of your application. The result doesn’t look professional. An English dialog with (for example) German “Zurück” / “Weiter” buttons (instead of Back / Next) won’t impress the customers.

You should of course correct this with an imaging application. And to make this easier I made a collection of the usual wizard buttons to copy/paste in

  • English, German and Spanish
  • Enabled, Disabled, Highlighted
  • NT, XP, Win7 Style

Feel free to use them.

Download WizardButtons_Devblog.png (33k)

Being online in Great Britain

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

We visited Scotland this year and having my own little business, having access to the internet was important to me.

It was a lot easier than expected. Very many Hotels and B&Bs have WiFi nowadays – a lot more than in Ireland two years ago. So it was easy to go online with my laptop. Except for the B&B that had WEP2, which my (old) laptop doesn’t support.

Just for the heck of it, I also wanted to have internet access with my cell phone – that however was quite difficult.

The mobile company “Three” seemed to offer good rates for prepaid connections. I had researched that before. However, they don’t sell them at the store. The vendor guy send us to the O2 store next door.

Okay, O2 *does* sell them. But they are terribly complicated. I purchased a SIM card for 10 GBP here (without having to register it to my name, surprisingly). But the internet access didn’t work. I had to activate it with a scratch card. Then (as I found out with my laptop and WiFi next day) I had to book a “bolt-on” with a special SMS (“web” to 21300) and wait almost 48 hours as O2 took its sweet time processing it. Then (with another internet research) I had to correct the APN ( / vertigo / password) which the SIM provides wrong by default. And then it finally worked. However, I’m only allowed to use it on my cell phone, now with the laptop…

Now I only have to remember to cancel the “bolt-on” (SMS “web off” to 21300) before I return home….

Happy new year! And a reminder…

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

…to update the (C) year on your website. See my old post for details.

How to change the hosting company without downtime

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

I just moved my website to another web hosting provider. Here’s what I learned and what tricks you can use to minimize downtime and other problems.

For a smooth transition two things are vital:

  1. You *need* an second domain. One that points to the same data, but won’t hurt you if it’s down for a few days.
  2. You *need* a web provider that allows you to configure things as soon as you initiated the transfer.

With the help of the second domain you can test the transfer without haste, because customers won’t notice. Set up the new server and take your time to test everything. Keep in mind that scripts may behave differently, because of:

  • Different software versions (of Perl, PHP, MySql, etc.)
  • Different settings for sending automated mails
  • Different handling for protected directories
  • Different handling of write-access for temporary local files for scripts

Don’t forget to test subdomains and invisible features (like automated updates for your customers). If everything’s working, make some preparations against problems

  • Set up a hint on your contact page that there may be temporary problems
  • Check the e-mail on your website. If possible change it to an address on some other server (or to the second to domain) to make sure it’s always accessible.
  • Create a hidden page that only exists on the new server. This allows you to check if the transfer was done.

If you’re ready start the transfer. Immediately start configuring your new hosting account and set up the domain’s root folder and create the required e-mail addresses.
Okay, time to relax, wait and check the site every now and then. However, then transfer times for domains can very a lot, for example:

  • Some TLDs transfer much faster than others (e.g. .de is faster than .com)
  • If you start transferring multiple domains at the same time, they may arrive quite differently (many hours in fact)
  • Different nameservers update at different times. Maybe the domain isn’t transferred for you – but for your customers it already is.

I hope this helps you a bit to get a smooth transition to your new server. 😉

Affiliate Fraud! – Is it?

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

I was recently contacted by fellow software developer Michael Bauer, who called my attention to a certain website. That site is an affiliate of mine and I thought that it was my best affiliate.

A deeper look however showed that the website placed the usual affiliate cookie not just on the pages displaying my software, but on all. Each and every page that I visited (it’s a big site), had the cookie-setting-code. And not just for me, but for a number of other software vendors, too. The cookies expire in half a year.

In other words: Every person that visits any page of that website, would bring the website owner a provision if the visitor should decide to buy any software from any of the listed vendors within the next 6 month.

Previously I had thought, because of the sales, that this was my best affiliate. Now however, I have my doubts how many sales he *really* generated and for how many he just got the money.

Is this okay?

I don’t think so. Is this a violation of the terms or even illegal behavior? Well, so far Share-it (who handles the affiliate system) says that this okay and that I’m free to terminate my cooperation with the affiliate.

I’m no expert (even though I’m probably involuntarily on the road to become one, sigh) on this topics but on this seems similar to Cookie-Stuffing, so I won’t give up so easily on this and post updates on this.

But untill then, if you have an affiliate program, you should check your affiliates’ websites, especially those that you think are your best ones.

Vista doesn’t like Demos

Sunday, September 14th, 2008

Vista is known to be “special” in some aspects. What’s perhaps not so well-known is that it doesn’t like anything called “Demo”. In fact, it will show an increased warning level for any installation file that has “_demo” in the filename.

A signed installer name “test_demo.exe” will generate a red warning. If you rename it to “test_trial.exe”, you’ll only get a yellow warning. Don’t ask me why, I got no idea (please contact me if YOU have). But I don’t call my demo “demo” any more…