April Fools on the Web 2014

April_Fools_Lolcats
I haz April Foolz lolcats. Intended for use on...

I haz April Foolz lolcats. Intended for use on an April Fool’s page. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

April Fools Pranks have their roots in small jests from the Middle Ages, but with the power of the internet you can now play an April Fool’s Day Joke on millions! There are a few repeat offenders every year that will be good to keep an eye on and I’ll try to update this post as I come across them. If you see something that isn’t listed, please leave me a comment!

1. ThinkGeek

ThinkGeek is my favorite, I love their fake products and I’m not the only one! Several of the fake products they have created for April Fool’s Day have been in such high demand that they’ve actually created them! My favorite this year is the Rosetta Stone – Kilingon:

2. Google

Google always has a strong showing, it seems that the different departments even compete with each other so keep an eye on all your favorite Google Products:

3. Facebook

Even if Facebook the company doesn’t do anything you’re going to see LOTS of jokes from companies looking for Likes

4. Woot

The Prankster’s at Woot don’t usually need a special day to cause trouble, but that doesn’t mean they won’t take advantage of it. Take a look at their want ad for a new copy editor!

5. LinkedIn is looking for a Punch Card Programmer

6. Fark.com has the front page pointing to stories from a decade ago, and is making me feel old.

7. XKCD has a choose your own adventure up. Should be good, last year’s comic ‘Time’ was epic. UPDATE: Looks like it is as epic as i expected, it’s an Internet wide choose your own adventure/wiki like mash up. The title is Lorenz – named after the American mathematician known for his work describing the ‘Butterfly Effect’ and laying the foundation for Chaos theory. (Source Wikipedia)

I’m sure there will be more, enjoy and be sure leave a comment with your favorite or any that aren’t covered! And while you wait you can always Prepare for April Fool’s 2015!

 

 

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Google Wave Invites

google_wave
Image by jlori via Flickr

I have a few Google Wave invites available if anyone out there would like one, just leave me a comment and put make sure you put your correct e-mail address into the DISQUS commenting system.

Wave is pretty slick and if you need to do some online collaboration and don’t mind a fairly open environment then this is the perfect product for you.  Wave is NOT a replacement for e-mail,  instant messaging, or your online social networks,  although it pulls in components from all of those types of communication.

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Perspective On Human Spamming

Just be patient about the fact that, be patien...
Image by Meredith_Farmer via Flickr

Are you getting human spam on your blog?  I am.

If you are running Disqus right now and have some pages with page rank there is a good chance that you are getting hit with human spam from site owners trying to accomplish some bargain basement SEO requiring the bare minimum of work.  This isn’t limited to Disqus, but since Disqus continues to leave NOFOLLOW off of the link to the user’s website in their username they have become a specific target.

It’s pretty trivial to mark these guys as spam and the worst of them are easy to recognize because they’ll move from page to page leaving the same worthless comment, but there are a few that have an interesting perspective on what they are doing and it’s worth thinking about before you start blowing away all the comments that they leave.

In comments left on my blog and on a thread I started about this problem on Disqus’s forums I’ve seen an attitude of entitlement from the Spammers that put the smallest amount of effort to customize their spam comment to the content of the page.  Their logic (?) is that comments add value to a site and by leaving a comment that is somewhat on target they “earn” the link and the SEO value that it instills.

There is some truth to this perspective, comments mean a lot to a blogger.  They add new content to a page and keep it active and updating something that Google likes to see, they can also provide new search terms and enhance the keyword usage on the page, helping it rise in the search results.

What human spammer’s fail to take into account, and where their perspective diviates so far from that of mine, is that comments are encouragement and validation of a bloggers work.  That engagment is worth more than all the SEO benefit a spammer can offer me and why I take such offense at their half hearted attempts and sense of entitlement and why so few of their comments will be allowed to stand here.

That’s my perspective – what’s yours?

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Google Adsense Knows, Taunts Me

I thought Google wasn't supposed to be evil?

I thought Google wasn't supposed to be evil...

In an attempt to drive me mad, Google has been posting adsense ads for both Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and for Pedometers to my site. This juxtaposition of doughy temptation and a capitalistic encouragement of my weight loss attempts is the height of evil! Google knows that it can appeal to either side of my nature, and either way my willpower goes, still profit (or maybe they just want me to walk to Krispy Kreme).

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KillerStartups Killed?

*Please note the important update at the end of this post

One way that a new blogger can get story ideas and make a name for themselves is to report on new and interesting startups, the problem has been how do you find out about a startup early enough to get the scoop? The main service that I was aware of was KillerStartups.com, they saw the need, the niche, and acted with great success.  The problem that appeared was the sheer amount of new startups interested in the publicity made it impossible for detailed coverage of any of them.  The cookiecutter information that became the standard fare on KillerStartups, while still useful, left open a door for competition that could do a better job providing coverage.

TechCrunch’s Crunchbase has been steadily gaining users in this arena and with the recent addition of an API and KillerStartups’ decline, has taken the lead according to Google Trends (it’s recent integration into Zemanta means you’ll see more of it from me):

Google Trends Data for Startup Info

Google Trends Data for Startup Info

Still, it’s hard to scoop TechCrunch with their own database, so other startups have entered the field, two that I’ve used and think are notable are TradeVibes and YouNoodle.  If you check out the Alexa data you can see that YouNoodle is enjoying a spike in traffic among Alexa users.  And while Alexa data is generally considered less than ideal, in this case it might be a better indicator of where web-savy users are getting their information:

Page Views by Alexa Users

Page Views by Alexa Users

The Alexa data also seems to show some hope for KillerStartups, but the Google Trends data is showing a clear flatline.   So, we get back to the title of this post, does the way KillerStartups delivers information still have a place?  Can they bounce back or has KillerStartups been killed?

*Update! – Please be sure to take a look at the comments and note that the Quantcast directly measured results back up what the Alexa results show, a significant bounce back up in traffic and a hefty lead in readership over Crunchbase.

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