========February 5, 2000========
ALL BURNED OUT
Hello everyone. Sorry for getting this newsletter out a little late but I had my own mishap. In the middle getting this newsletter out, my monitor decided it needed to burn out on me. I have a temporary one right now but it did cause a delay.
That's the story on that ... moving on with the rest of the situation.
by: Curt Dunmire
Hi again Portal Kids. I'm thrilled today. Why you ask? Because I'm finally starting to see our portals come back online. We are setting everybody up as fast as possible and if anyone has not sent an e-mail to Shane telling him to get yours up too, you need to do that as soon as possible. If yours is not up yet, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and your portal name and let him know.
What a trial this last two weeks has been but I finally feel like the worst is behind us now and we are starting to move forward again. For those of you who haven't seen the forums, I posted in there on Tuesday about the data recovery evaluation. Sorry to be redundant but here is the post.
I just got the evaluation. NO GOOD! They can not recover the data. They had to open the drive so now the warranty is no good so I'll have to cover that expense in addition to the $100 for the evaluation for absolutely nothing! I may be in the wrong business.
Now we are all faced with the same decision. Make the new Hyperseek program work or quit. I'm not quitting. We are already seeing some of the portals coming back up. The portal pro's we've sold are telling us WOW! The bottom line is that I'm seeing enough good things about the new that I can't see quitting.
I hope everyone will understand and I certainly can understand your frustration but I can not see me going through another 2 weeks and several more thousands of dollars to send the drive to another company to "see" if they can recover anything. I know that I'm running the risk of losing a few good people and I am really sorry about that but I just don't see anything else I can do. I have to try to think of this thing as trying to do the most good for the most people as fast as I possibly can and that mean getting everything on SK restored and backed up as fast as I can.
I have spoken with Shane and we have developed a strategy for getting as close to back to normal as we can as fast as we can. We have about 140 portal partners that have responded to the last e-mail requesting the new service. We have less than about 25 of those to go. Then we will work on getting the forums and chat up. Then we will get the affiliate program going. We intend to have all this done by a week from this Friday with installing all the portal partners other than the original 140 as they come in.
My main focus will be in getting the new e-mail program installed so that all the portal pros and portal pluses have their own vanity e-mail. We are also going to install some dedicated secure server software to our main server as opposed to using the outside secure server we use now to increase the value of the portal pros. We have also been in contact with Dan Kavanaugh who wrote the chat program for us and he thinks all the little problems are worked out now. If not, then I will buy the best chat program available and get it installed.
To me this strategy makes much more sense than waiting another two or three weeks to try to find someone else who can recover the data. I think we would all be money ahead to take what we have and run with it.
Anyway, a decision had to be made and I've made it. I hope everyone will support me in this like they have up to now. If you can't, believe me, I understand and I am truly sorry. For me, I'm moving on.
by: Bob Massa
In spite of the fact that this was basically bad news, I feel like a tremendous weight has been lifted from my shoulders. You remember that little Tom Petty ditty that says, "The waiting is the hardest part"? Well, It's true. Waiting was tough and I absolutely hated it. Feeling powerless for day after day just sucked. Personally, I'm very glad it's over.
Now to address the future. I spoke with David Galyon today and the Raid 5 server will be shipped tomorrow. I feel like a little kid on Christmas morning! I'm so excited! As bad as I want it NOW, the thing weighs over a hundred pounds and to ship overnight compared to 2 day priority is a big difference, so, I've got to go the cheap way which means it will be here Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.
Now, once the new server gets here, I'm going to have server logs, a DNS server, Apache w/ SSL (for the secure server) and the new Sony 24 gig DAT tape back up all installed at the same time. This means that we may have to pull the server down for a little while. I will instruct the Web Zone to not leave it down for more than 8 hours. They are telling me that that should be enough time to install everything I just mentioned. If it isn't of course that means I'll have to pull it down again, so I'm hoping I get a little break and this all goes smoothly. One way or another I'll make sure they understand that I do not want anyone to be offline for more than 8 hours. Be expecting sometime next week to have the day off. I'll post in the forums and send a special e-mail to let everyone know the day before.
Once all that is installed, I will have Sarge move SearchKing back from Spike to Cosmo. Once that is done, we can install the forums and the directory. Once that is done, I will have Mike put a post in the forums reminding everyone where to go to submit their portals to the web directory and once that is done we will announce the affiliate program, (which is shaping up very nicely by the way), and we will finally be back on track and back in business.
This is the last Portal Partner Press issue I plan on writing addressing the crash issue. From here on in, it is going to be business as usual. I want those articles from all you good people who have something to say to all the portal partners. Also, you may not want to publish an article, you may just want to voice your opinion or say something that you feel may be of interest. Those are fine too.
My focus is going to be two fold from here on in. #1, I plan on always giving as much information and as many ideas as I can to help you all use the program to help you achieve success with your portal. #2 I want to explain what the difference is between SearchKing and other search services. There are so many great features about SearchKing that I'm not getting credit for and I think it only makes sense that if all of you are going to be displaying a link back to SearchKing that you know why. I bet most of you think that we ask for a link simply for the traffic and to be able to sell more advertising. That is NOT why. I think if you're going to take up space on your portal to "push" something, you should know why.
Anyhoo, I could go on here but I won't. I have work to do and so do you. I just want to remind you all of why you joined forces with us in the first place. The only thing that has changed now is that it is a little better and as so many of you have conveyed to me this last two weeks, "what does not kill us only makes us stronger".
Don't forget the temporary forums are at: www.searchlynx.com/cgi-bin/ubb/Ultimate.cgi
YOU KIDS QUIT PESTERIN THAT CAT AND GET TO WORK!
Love y'all Bob
Publisher -- Bob Massa
========February 11, 2000========
Hello once again portal kids. I hope this letter finds you all doing well. The first little piece of business is that last week I promised to start sharing some of the differences between Searchking and other search services. Again, I feel that it is important to make everyone aware of just what Searchking is and what it does if you're going to be linking to it.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SEARCHKING AND IT'S COMPETITORS?
The biggest difference with Searchking is that, to my knowledge, Searchking is the only custom search service developed with the philosophy that most people will act honestly if given the opportunity to do so. Most of the major search services have spent vast amounts of time and money to fight spam. The effect of this has been to include so many rules and filters and defensive measures that without being a search engine expert, the possibility of being able to secure top positions in those services is almost impossible. Having been one of those search engine specialists for over three years now, I know how many hoops you have to jump through to get top placements. It has gotten to the point where the very people they are trying to stop are the only ones with the ability to get placed well. I think this is unfair. It has given birth to an entire industry, (which ironically has afforded me the ability to finance Searchking in the first place), of search engine optimization, which makes it very difficult for an honest small business person to compete with anyone that has the money to hire someone like myself.
Searchking does not use any type of computer program to determine relevancy. Nor does it use any type of human intervention. With every submission, Searchking assumes that the webmaster is going to represent his/her site honestly. Based on that assumption, Searchking allows every submitter to simply CHOOSE the keywords that they would like their site to come up under. Searchking then adds enough initial relevancy points to every submission to ensure that that site will come up in the top 20 results under at least some of those chosen keywords. We use no spam filters whatsoever because we believe there is no need because again we are assuming that the submitter is honest and merely trying to get a fair shot and we DO NOT automatically assume that every submitter is a spammer.
Once the site is placed, the only thing that can affect the placement of the site is the votes from users and the users clicking on the site's title. If the site is low quality or spam, the public, NOT Searchking, will vote no and the site's relevancy points are deducted for all the keywords they chose and not just the one being searched for. By the same token, the yes votes and the clicks on the site add points to all keywords across the board.
We also have a feature that allows every one to go in and edit their site's title, description and keywords. This is important because, let's say that you are getting voted down on one keyword, obviously the public does not think that keyword is relevant to your site and each no vote pulls your site down for every keyword you selected. By being able to edit your site, the idea is that you can alter the one keyword and replace it with something more relevant and then get the yes votes coming in again and that moves your site to the top across the board. You can also edit your title and description because even mere clicks on your site can add a small amount of points.
We also have a feature that is unique to the industry. Every time your site gets a vote, yes or no, we send an e-mail to the person who submitted the site identifying the vote and the keyword. The purpose here is to train webmasters what the public expects and give them the opportunity to go and edit their site. We feel that feedback from the public is the most help we could give to a webmaster and that is the idea of the e-mails.
We also have programs installed that track the votes. The only reason we do this is to keep your competitors from voting you down. One person can vote on any site only once in a 30 day period. This means you can't vote yourself up more than once and no one else can vote you down more than once.
This is a simple philosophy that turned out to be a huge undertaking in custom programming. Why? Because there was no example for Searchking to use. We could find plenty of examples of how to assume everyone was a spammer and how to fight it, but we could not find anything that was based on the idea that maybe the vast majority of people were not spammers and simply wanting a fair chance.
What the programs have done for Searchking is to allow us to appreciate and reward honesty. The bottom line is that sure you can spam us easy, just pick the keywords and we'll place you in the top. BUT, you can not spam the public. People know when your site is crap and Searchking has simply given every connected human being on the face of the planet the power to do something about it. So the bottom line is, if you spam Searchking all you have done is wasted your time and that time could have been much better spent at another service where your spam techniques could have gone undetected and produced some results. With Searchking having used this system for the last two years, we have proven that the system works.
What we are attempting to do should have been the most obvious approach, yet Searchking stands alone in the search service industry. All we are doing is simply trying to educate the honest webmaster on how best to design and display their sites and then rewarding them for doing so honestly. We are trying to prove to the internet community that there is a market for honesty and fairness and there is success to be had from that philosophy as long as there is someone willing to take the time and make the investment to enable them NOT to try to fight spam but rather to be in a position to assume that there are a lot of honest people deserving of an equal opportunity and not penalize the many for the bad deeds of the few.
Now, before everyone runs to Searchking to start adding their sites and playing with the editing and voting goodies, let me remind you that we had a severe technical problem just a few days ago and we are taking this opportunity to implement some upgrades and get everything tightened up a little, so at this time almost all of these features are not working. We are in the process of moving Searchking onto one of the new servers and once this is done we will start activating all the features again. Give me another week to 10 days and then I encourage everyone to go in and add, edit and vote to your heart's content. Once you do I think you'll start seeing some of the unique features and what advantage they can provide. From there of course, you'll tell all your friends, traffic will go up, they'll use the directory to find all of our portal partners, our partners' traffic will go up which will send more traffic to Searchking and then Searchking will send more traffic to you and you send it back and ---- well, you get the point.
I don't so much love Searchking for what it is, but I love it for what it could be. I love it so much I considered getting the SK logo as a tattoo. Since what I seem to do the most is make an ass of myself, I figured that I would get it on my tushie since that would probably get me the most exposure. Anyone else wanting the SK logo emblazoned on their body, just send me an e-mail with your home address and I'll send you the art work.
SEARCHKING AND THE POWER PORTAL
In just a little over three weeks, we've had almost 300 people become Power Portal Partners. I'd say we have a hit on our hands. I believe by the end of this year, we will have over 100,000 Power Portal Partners and I could very well be off by millions. The program is so fast and easy to set up, that we could easily handle thousands a day and I truly believe that is a very good likelihood.
Since it's so quickly becoming such an integral part of the entire Searchking family, I feel it's important to devote some special attention to all the Power Portal Partners. Today I would like to express my feelings on why this is such an incredible program.
Naturally, the first big up-side is it's free, but even more importantly, it's fast and easy to set up and maintain. We have just heard from one of our oldest portal partners, (old in terms of how long he's been a partner and not in how long he has graced the earth and one of the closest friends of Searchking from just about the very birth of Searchking almost 2 and a half years ago), that is going to set up a portal specifically to offer help and advice on building the best Power Portal possible. Curt Dunmire is not only the administrator of the Searchking forums and editor of the Portal Partner Press but also an extremely competent webmaster and should be able to do a lot in getting the Power Portals up and looking sharp really quick. He invested his own money in securing a portal plus devoted to just the Power Portals. We're excited about this little project of his. His new portal is at powerportal.searchking.com He just got the site yesterday so I'm sure it's going to be a few days before he has it up and running, but bookmark the address because I'm sure you are going to want to take advantage of his knowledge and expertise.
The next big up-side is that these Power Portals were designed to give you a lot of muscle as far as providing tools that help to make your little freebie a great way to interact with your visitors and be able to control what you want to say and where you want to say it with very little time or effort. With the templates provided, you don't need any special skills and making the site work effectively is not much more than changing the links on your front page to go to the pages you want them to go to.
When we first put the program up the biggest technological challenge we faced was the fact that since the only real downside to the Power Portal is the fact that you do not have control over your own search engine, we did not want you to lose your traffic every time someone searched for something. Since the search function on all the Power Portals defaults to Searchking, we wanted to be able to come up with some way of allowing people to search from your site and STAY on your site. At the same time, the biggest benefit to Searchking is that the Power Portals will be generating a ton of hits to SK so we wanted to keep that as well. The answer we came up with is to have every search done from your site simply pull up a pop-up window with the results. This is a great little win - win situation. What Shane has developed is basically a way for us to "share" those hits. Searchking gets the hits from the search, but the searcher never leaves your site. Once they are done searching, they are still there looking through your links and pages. Pretty cool huh?
Finally, just because your Power Portal was free does not mean that we don't have the same appreciation and respect for the Power Portal Partners that we do for all our other partners. We are expecting some really great sites to come out of the Power Portals and we feel that it is important to take your suggestions and comments just as seriously as we would any other partner's. So, this next week the Searchking forums are going to be set back up on Searchking's servers and Curt will be setting up some new topics and of course the Power Portals will be one of them. In fact most likely one of the most active. The forums, as always will be the best place for help and discussion. We are expecting quite a bit of that if for no other reason than the Power Portals will be eligible to be an affiliate and make money from their site the same as any other portal partner.
SPEAKING OF AFFILIATES
The affiliate program is all ready to go. We are just waiting for the new servers to be set up. (By the way, the raid server just got in today and we are set to have it and the other server and the Sony DAT back up installed tomorrow). Once everything is transferred over in about a week to 10 days, the affiliate program will go live. Please stay involved in the forums as one of the first things we'll do is set up a forum to discuss the ins and outs of how the affiliate program will work. We are relying heavily on your input to make it one of the very best affiliate programs in the history of the net. So just keep in mind that if you don't participate in the beginning, don't come back complaining later that you don't like the way it works.
SPEAKING OF THE NEW SERVER
I just got off the phone with the tech kids at Webzone. The server made it here this morning and they are just as excited as I am. I kept telling them this was one hell of a server but I guess it's hard to imagine just how good it is until you actually see it. Adam Brown is the kid who will be installing the operating system and he is literally jumping up and down. He said it is one impressive piece of machinery and even though he's not scheduled to start working on it until tomorrow morning, he is going to start working on it today on his own time because he just can't wait to get his hands on it. Kids, I'm telling you, we have got some top drawer equipment and I can't wait until we have 100 more just like this one.
I want to put in another shameless plug for David Galyon, the man who built this server. If you are considering a server of your own, DO NOT BUY ANYTHING UNTIL YOU TALK TO THIS GUY!! Not only did he build me a great box, he saved me tons of money too. If you need his e-mail or phone number just e-mail me at email@example.com and I'll get it for you.
DENIAL OF SERVICE ATTACKS
I would imagine that most of you have heard by now about the Denial of Service attacks on some of the biggest sites on the net. Sites such as Yahoo, E-Bay, Amazon and ZDnet have had their servers shut down by someone sending huge amounts of bogus hits to their sites. This is done by sending packets through a third party using a technique commonly referred to as IP spoofing. This sucks! Actually it's not that big of a deal that some of these huge sites are out of service for a few hours or even days. The thing that I believe damages us all is the fact that through the media, this gets presented to the public in such a way as to impair the credibility of the net.
That is not to say that the mere fact of someone doing this type of thing does not deserve to be dealt with just as harshly as the law will allow, it is my opinion that a 15 year sentence may be too light. I'm only saying that by hurting the likes of Yahoo is only the tip of the iceberg. It hurts us all as internet business people.
Almost three years ago, I was contacted by a gifted young perl coder and offered a new program which the programmer guaranteed me would get me top placements in all the search engines for virtually any page I wanted. As a placement specialist, of course I was wanting to learn more about it. The bottom line is I paid over $3,000 for this program that supposedly only I had the rights to use without really knowing exactly what this program did. After getting the program and testing it a little, I soon realized that basically what the program did was hide my real html code and present a different code to the engines.
Once I figured out what it did, I uninstalled it and put it away. I never said anything about it to any of my staff. Why did I not use it when I had proved to myself that it actually worked? Because I will not do anything that makes me feel like I have to hide who I am and what I'm doing. I knew in my heart that if I had to try to "fool" the search engines, then it could not be good. At least not for long.
Within just a few short months I started seeing websites and posts in forums hawking the virtues of an incredible new technique for placing in the top of the engines. It was called cloaking. I instantly recognized this program and started, (without much success) trying to convince my peers NOT to use it. I tried to tell them that if you had to hide something, something was wrong. Well it virtually exploded. There started being whole forums devoted to nothing but where to get a program like this and how to use it to "beat" the engines.
Cloaking brought on IP spoofing. Again the natural extension of trying to "fool" one computer into thinking something about another computer. I kept telling everyone that would listen that eventually the engines would find out about this type of technique, develop software to catch it and then all the work you had done using it would be gone. Not to mention the fact that it may even be illegal. Thankfully, some listened but most did not.
Well, now that the Denial of Service thing has hit the media, I can just about guarantee that all major search services as well as ISP's are going to be taking this cloaking and spoofing stuff a whole lot more seriously. Within the next few weeks and possibly even days, we are going to be seeing the installation of filters, software and programs designed for the sole purpose of identifying and stopping the use of the these techniques. I think there may very well even be the liability of prosecution as the FBI and many other law enforcement agencies are looking hard for someone to nail.
My point with boring you with all of this is simply to illustrate the point I've been trying so hard for so long to make. Just play it straight. Don't fall for the next big "secret" you get as spam in your e-mail box. Anytime anything or anyone tries to convince you that doing anything that requires you hide something about yourself or your work, please remember, you are smarter than that. You know that lying and cheating is wrong. You also know that you can never be successful as long as you are trying to "trick" anyone. All those people now that have paid good money for these programs and worked hard to achieve real results are right back where they started and maybe even a lot further back. Don't find yourself in their position. I encourage you all to remember and apply the Searchking motto. DO THE BEST YOU CAN - BE PROUD OF WHAT YOU DO - AND DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU'LL DO. You do that and in the long run you will be standing tall while others look up to you. I know that at times it appears that those who have sold their integrity and principles are being more successful than you, but don't let yourself fall into their trap. You know in your heart that I'm right and by following the cute little motto you make it better for you, your family and the world you live in. Somebody, somewhere has GOT to put honesty and integrity before greed and prove to the world that we don't have to "cloak" or "spoof" our efforts to be successful. Let it be us.
See you in the forums and chat every Thursday at 7 pm central time.
Love Y'all and say hi to your mom-n-em Bob Massa
NOW YOU KIDS TURN THAT TV OFF AND GET TO BED
ps: Remember portal kids that all this new stuff is being installed tomorrow, Friday, February 11th, 2000. We will be experiencing some down time throughout the day. We are looking at about 8 hours for the entire process and of course that doesn't mean that we will just be completely down for the whole 8 hours but it does mean that we could be down for 30 minutes and then an hour or two later down for another hour and that type of thing. Keep this in mind as you are trying to ftp stuff. Please bear with me this last time as once this is all done it should make it better, more secure and more reliable for all of us as well as the many, many thousands of portal partners that are coming.
Publisher -- Bob Massa
========February 18, 2000========
Hello again Portal Partners! It's always great to see you again.
Last week I mentioned briefly the Denial of Service attacks on some of the web's major sites. This gave me the opportunity to get on my soapbox and preach a little about the evils of cloaking and IP spoofing. I'd like to expound on that just a little today.
I write weekly "Ask Bob" columns for a few web newsletters and e-zines. One of these publications is Web Gold published by a friend of mine, Terry Dean. Terry sends me one or two questions a week regarding search engine placement from his readers. I answer them and then they get published in the next week's issue. It just so happens that this week's questions dealt with EXACTLY what I was talking about here in the PPP last week. At the risk of being redundant, I'd like to post that question and answer here just to emphasize my point from last week:
How does one create a "doorway" so that search spiders can enter and see actual encoding while surfers see something else when they "View, Source"? Do you know of a source for info about this concept?
Thanks so much.
You can find a lot of discussion about this type of technology at: searchengineforums.com/bin/Ultimate.cgi under the topic: Search Engine Technology Issues.
I personally will not discuss or do anything to help anyone learn or use this type of technique. I am totally against the use of anything that requires anyone to hide or cloak anything they do. My personal feeling is that I am doing nothing wrong and have no justifiable reason to want to hide anything about what I do. If someone steals something from my source code, they are the ones that are disregarding their own values and ethics and I believe that anyone who is willing to compromise their own integrity will lose in the end.
If your interest in this technique is purely for placement, I promise you it is a mistake. In the long run there is no substitute for honest, professional content. If your concern is more of a security issue wishing to protect your material, again, just because others are willing to lie, and mislead, you doing the same and justifying it by thinking that "everyone else is doing it, why not me?" then you are only lowering yourself to "their" level. That is not good for you or me or the internet at large.
I try to run my internet business based on a simple philosophy that has served me and my staff very well. Do the best I can. Be proud of what I do and do what I say I'll do.
Nowhere in that little motto is there anything like, "of course if everyone else is doing it, then it's ok", or "Do the best I can as long as it gets me to the top" or "do what I say I'll do unless everybody starts stealing my motto then I'll have to make it look like I'm saying one thing when I'm actually saying something else". I'm sorry if I stepped on some toes.
See you at the top.
by: Bob Massa
ALL RIGHTEE THEN, ON TO SEARCHKING BUSINESS
The RAID 5 server got in just fine. We went to hook it up and it had a bad hard drive. Also, the RAID controller was not supported by Linux. That meant that it would not work as it was built to work. I could have went ahead and installed the OS and got it running BUT, the whole idea of using the RAID server was that if one drive died for any reason, the others would kick on automatically. Since the controller was not supported by Linux, that feature would not work. If it went down on Friday after 5 pm, it could very possibly be down until Monday morning at 9 am. NOT GOOD ENOUGH!
I told the tech guys to NOT set up the RAID until I had it working like it was supposed to be. I did not want some kind of "quick fix" only to have to go into it, take it down and install the controller and the other hard drive a week or two later and take another chance on losing data or having down time. I feel that we are all much better off to do it right the first time. One of the reasons I have had so much trouble in the past is that far too many times we have gone for the "quick fix" only to find out later that it cost me much more to try to fix it right later on. I'm learning but experience is what you get when you are expecting something else.
I'm returning the hard drive to buy.com and getting it replaced and I'm buying an Adaptec controller that IS Linux supported for another $450. We are expecting the RAID to be set up and running smoothly in less than two weeks. Once that happens we will move all the portals to the RAID system and loss of data will not be a problem any longer. It should also increase the speed and reliability a lot.
In the meantime, we have Cosmo running great and hooked to the Sony DAT backing everything up three times a week. The worst that could happen is that we may lose data from the last two days but NEVER again will I be faced with the problems I had on Black Sunday, January 23rd.
We are still in the process of moving SearchKing over from Spike to Cosmo and keep running into problems with bandwidth issues. So far we have moved right at 1 gig and only have another gig or so to move. With ANY kind of good luck, (which I seem to have been running a little short on lately), it should all be moved by today or tomorrow. Once it is all moved, it won't take long to get the chat, forums and e-mail all set up for everyone as Mike, Shane and Curt are all chomping at the bits to get it done. It'll be really nice to get back home again. In the meantime the Thursday night chat at 7 pm will still be on at: www.searchlynx.com/chat
by: Bob Massa
SPEAKING OF CHAT... For those of you that were in the chat room last Thursday night, you know that one of the big topics was problems I was having on deciding which affiliate software to use to set up our affiliate program. The problem I was having was that I didn't see how to get the affiliates credit for people that signed up for the free portal but upgraded later on to a paid portal without going to some kind of two tier system, which I did not want to do.
Our concern was that there may be some people who would sign up for a Power Portal only so that they could then become an affiliate and sign up under their own affiliate number basically cheating the first affiliate out of their commission. No good. One solution was to only have the affiliate banners going to a separate page that only offered the Portal Plus and the Portal Pro. Again, no good. I WANT as many free portals as we can get. I also don't feel it's really honest and fair to imply to people that don't know us that we only have a paid portal program when in fact we DO have a free portal. It wouldn't really be fair to the affiliate portal partners either because we are already seeing that Power Portal upgrades do generate sales.
Thanks to one of our partners, Jim Raleigh, we have located a rather expensive little affiliate program that seems to do just what we need it to which is simply track any sale, even one with no money exchanged for a year and then if that sale upgrades any time within that year, the affiliate that first sent them there would get paid. It also has some really great accounting programs that Mom, (I guess I really should call her by her professional name. Yvonne), really liked. Since she will be the one in charge of the accounting for the affiliate program, I figured I better listen to her input. It will do a lot of things that will make keeping track of hundreds or even thousands of affiliates and their sales really easy. It looks like it will do everything except put the check in the pre-labeled envelope, (which I hope even that gets to the point that it becomes a problem). Once we make a final decision, I will let you all know what the decision is and who we went with, why we went with them and where to go and check it out for yourself. It won't be much longer I promise!
A SCARY THOUGHT: THE END OF LINKING?
No doubt many of you have heard about the ruling on the linking to illegal copied material of the Mormon text. While I understand the reasons behind it, this case, if not handled correctly by that judge and court will spell trouble for us all.
The whole net is built upon the freedom to link to sites. If the right to link to copyrighted material is taken away from us, that could be harmful to all of us. SearchKing would definitely be affected as would any other search engine that provides links to material that is copyrighted. It sure would make the engines' jobs of removing links to copyrighted material a pain in the behind.
The only way to handle this effectively as I can see, is to rule it this way: punish the sites that lifted the copyrighted material but don't punish us for linking to sites in general. How else are people going to have their copyrighted material exposed if nobody else is allowed to show a link to it, including SearchKing and the Portal Members right here? We need to be able to link to material.
I'm not advocating the linking to illegal copies but I am advocating the right to link to other sites. After all that is what the net is all about. I don't believe there is a clear cut way to prevent people from linking to illegal copies without it inadvertently hurting us all.
Hopefully the Judge and Jury will be smart enough to rule in the right way regarding this case. If this ruling sticks, it may very well become another law of the land that will hinder the growth of the web and our jobs as webmasters, Internet marketers, and other net professionals. If that happens, I would urge everyone that wants the web to prosper to contact their congressman or congresswoman and petition them via email, phone, or snail mail to make an amendment to protect our freedom to link.
I use to have a link to a searchable database of all the local congress people but somehow, that link has managed to get lost or I would have provided it for you to find your local congress person.
At any rate, nothing has been set in stone yet, but you will want to keep informed of the progress of this trial as it affects everyone who wants to make a living on the net.
Read more about it at: websearch.about.com/internet/websearch/library/weekly/aa121099.htm
by: Curt Dunmire
@PAGE® Internet Services · 847-854-5179
www.ipagedir.com · firstname.lastname@example.org
Need help with your portal? Template design and portal set-up done. Reasonable quotes will be provided upon request. No adult or questionable portals please.
WITH ALL THINGS SAID...
Well that's about it kids. I could go on for hours since SearchKing and our portal partner program has become my life and I love talking about it but I realize that we are all busy people and I need to try to keep the PPP short and to the point. In closing, I would just like to mention that if any of you have questions that you would like me to address in future issues, please send them to email@example.com and put "Ask Bob" in the subject line. I will try my best to answer as many as I can and the ones that I feel will do the most good for the most people. Please realize that I may not always be able to get to yours and don't get mad or take it personally if yours doesn't appear. It doesn't mean I don't still love you.
YOU KIDS BETTER GO TO THE BATHROOM NOW CAUSE ONCE WE GET IN THE CAR --- WE AIN'T STOPPIN
Publisher -- Bob Massa
========February 24, 2000========
A SHORT LETTER AND COMMENTS
Hello Portal Friends,
This newsletter will be a very short one. Since Bob has been up over his head in trouble and things to do that are urgent, he has asked me to write up a small blurb for the newsletter tonight.
The SK team is still working very hard on getting SearchKing back up to par since the server crashed. Yeah I know, we all want it to be ready right now so we can move on with our projects. Believe me, there isn't anyone who wants things to be done more than Bob. He's spent a great amount time and put a lot of money into this venture and he doesn't want to give up now especially when SearchKing is at the point of becoming something big. He wants all of us to be successful with this program. Good things are coming soon though. Look for a new face on SearchKing.
by: Curt Dunmire
MORE BUMPS, CHATROOM MOVED FOR TONIGHT
Another bad thing happened too earlier today. The server that hosted the SearchKing chat room at SearchLynx was hacked into and it was brought down. It's not known yet what the damages are but the forum and chat are offline. Shane said that the forum was backed-up and we likely only lost the last few threads that were posted today. When we get the SearchKing forums up in the permanent location at SearchKing, hopefully Shane will be able to migrate the threads back into the original forums.
Since the chat room tonight will need to be hosted elsewhere, Mike has relocated it at: www.searchkingportal4u.com/chat/
Bob and the rest of the gang will be there to help and answer your questions. On behalf of SearchKing, I thank you for your continued support. Next year, when this is all behind us and things are running smoothly, you'll be glad you were a part of it all. It has been a trip this last month but it will also make SearchKing better in the long run. Let's hang in there, OK PORTAL PARTNERS?
IZ IT FRIDAY YET? HAH! WE DON'T HAVE FRIDAYS ON THE NET ;-)
by: Curt Dunmire
Publisher -- Bob Massa
========March 1, 2000========
Hello again Portal kids! You will probably notice some grammatical errors in this week's Portal Partner Press. I will be sending it without benefit of assistance. I've been noticing over the last few weeks that while I have thoroughly enjoyed having some of the responsibility taken off of me by Curt Dunmire acting as editor, and the added professionalism in the "look" of the Press, I seem to be losing some of the focus that I feel is important to make the Press an important tool for the partners to all use. It takes a lot of effort for a guy like me to write this little ditty every week and the idea of some help appealed to me a great deal. Curt did a great job of getting the Press out and this decision is in no way a reflection on him. The problem is with me.
As with just about anything important to you, it seems that there are just some things that can not be hired out. Some things that you can not rely on other people to do for you. Some things that only you are qualified to do. So I'm doing it. Pardon my spelling.
A LITTLE PREACHING AND HOW THE COW IS GOING TO EAT THE CABBAGE
I just got off the phone with Curt and we had another one of our hour long little talks about the way of the world and our places in it. I have a very unique relationship with Curt in that he is one of the few people I have that I can unburden myself to about things that I just don't ordinarily discuss with people. We were both lamenting on how it seems that morals and principles are playing a smaller part in the world with each passing day.
We were talking about the 1st grader that shot and killed another first grade girl just yesterday in Michigan. It's horrifying to think that our children, even our 6 year old children, are no longer safe even in our public schools. Who is to blame? The 6 year old boy? His parents? His school? I thank God that I am not a policeman or a judge responsible for having to make a call like that. I think most of us would lay the blame at the feet of the parents, but my personal feeling is that his parents were probably just trying to make a living and doing the best they could.
While I totally agree that our children are our responsibility and it is up to us to teach our kids, I don't believe that those parents had any intention of their child killing some one. Have you looked at your electric bill lately? Your insurance, your house payment. Everything is just so incredibly high. What choice did those parents have but to work and work hard just to be able to pay their bills? Well, something has to give somewhere and in this case it looks like what had to give was providing an example of how to live your life to their children. It's truly a shame.
My mother worked at a bank for years as a pretty highly paid employee, making about $350 per month. She kept 4 kids in decent clothes. She provided us with a decent home and we never hungered for a meal. Could you imagine anyone trying to live on less than $5000 a year today! HA! There is absolutely no way. Well with minimum wage at $5.25 per hour, (if that's even what it is now), that comes out to about $10,000 per year BEFORE taxes. So even if you and your wife make that, you're still trying to raise a family on less than $15,000 per year. I just can't imagine what kind of stress you would be dealing with. How does that stress affect the way your kids feel, think and act? So, is it the parents fault? I really wish I knew the answer but I don't.
So my question to Curt was, "am I a fool to try to keep running my business in tune with my own principles?" When it looks like everyone in the world is out to get what they can get for themselves, am I the one that's crazy for not following suit? Well, Curt could not answer me because that is a question that each of us must ask of ourselves and the only person that can answer the question for you is you. Sure I'd like to have more money, but not at the price of my own integrity, my own values and my own sense of who I am. I believe that there is a market for honesty, truth and fairness and I also believe that to make a false god of greed at the risk of losing my friends, my family and my own self respect is the ultimate failure. I believe it to the point that I am going to say something now that I bet some of you would never expect me to say.
If there are any portal partners reading this now that took a portal site only because they think it is just another way to spam, mislead and cheat people for the sole purpose of making more money -- I don't want you. Please, save yourself all the time and effort you will have to put into building your portal because I give you my word, I will do everything in my power to stop you.
Searchking from the very beginning was built on the philosophy that if you care about your site, then I will do everything I can to help you, BUT, if you don't care about your site and only care about money, then I have gone to great lengths to establish programs that will drop you to the bottom of the list until you either change your way of thinking or give up and go away to spam someone else. The portal program is the most important thing in my life right now, but my philosophy has not changed.
If you are one of those people who are only out to get what you can get and don't give a damn about others, then whether you accept responsibility for it or not, you are part of the reason that that little kid killed another little kid. You are only making it harder for everyone else and while I realize that I am just one person and I do not have the power to change the world, like it or not Searchking IS my little world and we're going to play it by my rules and my rules are simple but I mean it!
Do the best you can do Be proud of what you do Do what you say you will do
That's it. I honestly believe that those simple little rules DO make a difference. I don't want anyone to ever think I mislead them or misrepresented the Searchking portal program so I'm telling everyone again, you can count on me to follow those rules and I expect to be able to count on you to do the same.
A SHAMELESS PLUG
Karen Weber has done a really nice job of building a site dedicated to helping everyone with a portal plus and a portal pro. Here is a little plug for her site.
WHAT'S NEW AT PORTAL-HELP.COM
Great links to FREE tools, including:
• favicon Generator
• Weather.com zip code search box
• NetMinder tools to bring your visitors back to your site, over and over again
• blogger - see the PortalHelp Blog at www.portal-help.com/blog.shtml then get your own.
Useful information and tutorials, including:
• a new list of undocumented portal oddities
• the power search plugin
• the keyhole plugin
• bannermaster 101 - how to set up the banner rotation software and get started making money with your portal
• classifieds 101 - how to set up the iClass program included with your portal
What's coming next:
• how to use the what's new feature
• how to move all the links from one category to another in one swell foop.
Plus links to articles, tutorials, tools, and books to help you put together a smashing -and profitable- portal. You can find links to ALL the new stuff at PortalHelp here:
Happy portaling, Karen
If any other portal partners are doing anything at all that they think will make portaling a little easier, faster, more effective or more fun, please let me know and I'll be happy to give you a shameless plug as well.
ACTUAL SEARCHKING BUSINESS
Searchking is finally returning results again! I'm back in the search service business. Thanks to Sarge and the Worxco for all their extra effort as I know this has not been easy. We still have a ways to go as far as getting all the original SK features up and running, but we are getting results for a search now and that means that we can finally hook all the power portals with their pop-up search boxes. Whew! It's been one very long month for sure.
Here's another thing you probably wouldn't expect to see me do, but I'm going to publish the url of our stats program. Since the crash in January, we've had to run the portals on one server and Searchking on another. This meant that the Searchking server was not giving me any logs and the other server was only giving me logs for the portals. Basically, in the dark.
Now that we have moved Searchking back to cosmo and at least for the time being, Searchking and the portals are all on that server, I'm finally getting some stats on total usage. Now, keep in mind that we are still waiting for the replacement hard drive and the new controller for the raid 5 and once they're in we'll move all the portals to that one server, but for now I thought some of you might get a kick out of seeing what sites are the top referers and so forth.
This is a cheap little stats program called web analyzer, that doesn't give me everything I want to know but it's fine for now. Anyway, the numbers probably won't impress much of anybody but me, especially if your comparing them to sites like Yahoo, but it shows an incredible increase for Searchking since November of last year and besides, I bet it will be a pretty cold day in you-know-where before Yahoo publishes the url for their server logs. Anyhoo, take a look if you like. cosmo.searchking.com/~searchking/stats/
IN CLOSING -- (I can hear a sigh of relief from the gallery)
For some strange reason I'm kinda getting in to writing the PPP today. I could go on for quite a while but I know that I have long-winded tendencies and you kids are busy so I try to keep it short. I will tell you that starting next week, I intend to start sharing with you how I see the future of Searchking going. Can anyone say --- GOING PUBLIC?
I want to remind everyone that we will still be chatting every Thursday at 7 pm central at www.searchking.com/chat and by this time next week we will have the portal directory back online and accepting submissions so everyone that has at least put their name on their portal site, GET IT SUBMITTED.
Finally, Curt is in the process of setting up the forums back on Searchking, (thanks for hosting the forums at Searchlynx Shane). There will be new topics and a new look. The bad thing is that we will probably have to re-register --- AGAIN, but this should be the very last time ever and we will all be home. In the meantime, just follow the links to the forums from www.searchking.com and we'll see you in the forums. (For those of you who are not visiting the forums, you're missing a lot of good stuff).
QUIT PICKIN ON THAT OR IT NEVER WILL HEAL
Love Yall Bob
Publisher -- Bob Massa