Marketing IT Dept.

I’m on the Internet!

For the past 4 months or so I’ve been digging through a bunch of server logs to try and figure out why my site was getting hammered 6,000 times a day driving my hosting prices up to $299 a month. I still don’t understand exactly what the problem is beyond that it’s some kind of podcasting client looking for a podcast. I haven’t done an episode of The M Show in what feels like 10 years so this is very bizarre.

Regardless, I finally scuttled as a web address which is fine, I still use it for mail but has been the URL I pass around when needed.

So, aside from that incredibly exciting story the big news is that Trust Insights and Marketing Over Coffee have been very busy and ski season is back upon us. I was not overly impressed with the sound quality of my Sony 7506 Ski Helmet but that all changed when I added the EarStudio ES100. It’s a Bluetooth DAC, you can plug in any wired headphones and now they are Bluetooth. Also great for adding any Bluetooth to your car or home stereo. The big win is that you also get a full equalizer app so I was able to boost the sound (surprise, the preset I have to make earbuds sound better makes the helmet sound fantastic!)

One other thing on this setup, Chubby Buttons 2 have been released. The only difference is you can access your Smart Assistant with them now. When they came out I said “I can get by without that” and then after the first day skiing when I got 15 test messages and had to pull out my glasses to read them I went home and ordered it that night. Review to follow.

That’s it for now, just wanted to check in now that I’m finally back on the internet!

Marketing IT Dept. The Marketeer

Lazarus Protocol

Ronin Marketeer lives! After a week of not existing at all, and another 3 days with the equivalent of a circa 1996 “Under Construction” page, most of the blog is back. You can check out the previous post to hear about the crash with the fire supression system kicking off in the server room.

So what happened next? The good news is I did have my backup drive, so I had all the data even though I didn’t have access to the MySQL install anymore. I have an older laptop I use for crazy projects with my Tivo and GPS, and I installed XAMPP and WordPress so I could run the blog from that machine as it’s own web server. From there I was able to dump the database into an export file and then import that up on to the new server. I had to zero out all the tables for the import to work, but that was the only glitch there, it was about as smooth as I hoped it could be.

There are still a few broken things, mainly plugins that may or may not be active, if you see anything odd please give me a yell. Thanks also to the Marketing Over Coffee fans that stepped up to offer help, I really appreciate that.

Marketing IT Dept.

When Even a Backup is Not Enough

Update: Eureka! I’ve fixed it, the blog Lives! If you want to know what went down…

As you can see, everything is all f’d up here.

Over a week ago disaster struck at my hosting company, during a fire alarm test the suppression system was triggered, hosing all the servers. This blog was dead for a full week.

We were offered to move our hosting from the version 3 infrastructure to v4, and I took up the offer since it got my domain back 2 days earlier. Unfortunately the new environment is not the same – even though I have a full backup of my Database that supports this blog, the new system does not allow you access to the directory where that data is kept.

I’m no expert in MySQL, but it looks like I’ve gone from having my own instance to sharing one on the server with everyone else.

The end result is that all my archives are gone for now and my Google juice vanishing as there’s no access to any of my archives. It looks like my only path is to install WP and MySQL on a box of my own, then do a wordpress export so I can then import it back in. I cannot believe that having the actual files is not enough for me to do a restore, that is complete crap. If anyone has any better attack plans I’d love to hear them. Please DM me @johnjwall I’m closing comments on this post b/c if all goes well this domain will resolve to the real site soon.

Marketing IT Dept.

Reviewing Marketing Automation Software

I spent most of my day today reviewing software tools for marketing. Over the past two months I’ve seen many examples of why it’s so difficult to choose the right product in this space. Unfortunately it’s the wild west out here right now. I went to Dreamforce last month and came back with a list of 8 vendors that claim to have a business intelligence application.From looking at my checklist, yes they do all do some kind of BI, but as you dig in you find out how the checklist is completely inadequate when selecting a tool.

Four of them did a lot of pipeline analysis, which would be great if I was a VP of Sales, but I’m not. I’m more interested in spending marketing program dollars wisely.The tool that looks to be the best fit for what I am trying to do is InetSoft’s Style Intelligence for Salesforce. They’ve been doing reporting for over 10 years and are now plugging into Salesforce. Ultimately I’m trying to automate the reports I’m running manually right now. I had a demo and tour today, and will continue to give it a test drive.

Marketing IT Dept.

Banner Armaggeddon

I didn’t realize that banner ads were already dead.

I’d noticed a massive drop off in the past year, and was finally tipped off as to what was going on by Josh, a guy that I work with. He had installed a firefox plugin called AdBlock Plus.

It works insanely well. You can choose what you want to block, or better yet, add the subscription service that checks a database of known ad servers and the ads go away. I’ve only had it for a week and I can’t believe the stuff it cleans up.

I haven’t seen any dancing figures or a classmates ad since it’s been installed. Even cooler – since I’ve made the switch to GMail, all my email newsletters get the same treatment – banners wiped away.

It will be interesting to see the response to this…

Marketing IT Dept.

How to measure web traffic

In today’s Marketing Over Coffee (the best marketing podcast) we got on to the topic of web analytics. There are a few different methods to see how your site is doing and each of them have some benefits and drawbacks.

  1. Analytics as a Service (AaaS – that’s not a real acronym, but I like it) – Services such as Google Analytics. With these solutions you put a few lines of javascript on each webpage (or some providers use a tiny 1 pixel by 1 pixel image, or a banner for their own brand). This is the king of quick and easy and since it’s web based if they roll out new features everybody gets them as opposed to having to upgrade your own program installed on your own machine. This method is not really good at telling you how busy your server really is though. It can’t tell if images are being pulled from other websites and doesn’t tell you as much about your feeds such as something like feedburner.
  2. Which leads us to: Spot solutions – there are tools like feedburner or MyBlogLog that give specific metrics for feeds, blogs whatever.
  3. Server Side – There are many solutions you can install on your own servers to monitor how busy those boxes are. This is very useful to see how much bandwidth you are burning, and see how many errors your site is serving up. Some of this can be difficult to configure, and since they may not be frequently updated they may have a problem separating search engine or other “fake” traffic from real humans.
  4. Custom – Check out the podcast for more on this, if you have some jedi skills you can use a graphic image and set up scripts on your server so that when it is called you capture the details and throw them in your own database. This would be a do-it-yourself version of #1 but is completely stealth mode – for places like MySpace that don’t want you to install and AaaS services, this is a workaround.

Have fun measuring!