Monday, April 30, 2012

McAfee Error Message

what you have to do:

The message you posted looks like it comes from McAfee's Site Adviser and it doesn't show up if it isn't installed. Their site summary only has annoyances in bold and describes them as number of popups and cookies installed. As this is an issue with McAfee's security ratings we can't begin troubleshooting without more information from McAfee. 

You can start the dispute process and ask them what we can do to get your site taken care of with the contact information below . 

To begin, please submit your rating dispute via email at or

During the evaluation of this dispute, McAfee communicates with site owners via e-mail.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Google's latest algorithm changes

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

What Happened to SearchKing?

The Big Idea

The big idea actually had nothing to do with building a network of niche portals at first.

In the summer of 1997, I hung out a lot at the Warriors forums. Kind of the SEW of it's day, complete with it's own Googleguy of sorts. Only back then Infoseek was king.

Anyway, someone posted that they had been busted by Infoseek but that no one from the company would answer their emails and they wondered what they could do. Looked upon as a kind of resident SEO expert within the community, I replied that it may be easier to just get another domain and start over rather than begging for a response from a company notorious for their lack of responses. Well, some IS employee with an email address of spamassasin, emailed me that Infoseek did not like people recommending multiple domains to one person so they wiped out the placements of my domain and every client we had. You know how they knew who my clients were? Because like the naive, peace and love, ex-hippy I was, I listed all my clients right on my main website with contact details and urls as references.

I have always had a real problem with authority and my perception of the abuse of authority really gets me motivated. Motivated to get me suspended from school. Motivated to leave home at an early age. Motivated to sue huge tech companies and basically motivated to take a bad situation and usually make it much worse. I admit to being guilty of being bull-headed, tenacious, unwilling to listen and unshakeable in my convictions once filled with righteous indignation.

So, here was a company who had just tried and convicted me because I answered a question in an effort to assist someone who Infoseek could have answered themselves and the question would have never been asked in the first place. This company whose vice president at the time was dominating the 6 o'clock news for being arrested while trying to hook up with a 13 year old girl he had seduced in an internet chat room, and had now passed judgment on me without any semblance of due process. I was motivated.

Furthermore, this was a company that was putting fast meta refreshes to the top within 30 minutes of submitting. Their answer to fighting this problem was to disable the auto submit on weekends. I thought it was a poor excuse for a real search engine compared to Alta Vista, Excite, Lycos and HotBot and I didn't feel they would have ever gotten as big as fast as they did had it not been for SEO's talking them up. I thought I could do better with my limited tech knowledge and even more limited revenue stream. In hindsight, that was my first mistake.

The idea was simply to put more focus on human review. To me, Infoseek and the others main objective was to eliminate the expense of human involvement. To try to automate algorithmically, the process of cataloging huge volumes of data. I could see the profit potential in trying to get one machine to do the work of a lot of people, but I could also see the reality was far from actually doing it.

I wanted a way to do get Yahoo quality without the expense, (which I felt I couldn't afford at the time), of a staff of hundreds of editors. A way to use human intellect and opinion on an individual basis to improve relevancy and use the computer programs only to make the process scalable. Still motivated, I set out to find the people that could help me build it.

After a couple of feeble attempts with a few internet notables such as Dave Kelly and Jude Lacour,( before they became internet marketing icons), I wised up a little and sit down and actually drafted a business plan complete with objectives, strategies, cash flow studies and basic software design. I found a local company desperately wanting to get their development company off the ground and met a very smart young man who, using my basic design documents, put together a real one. I was impressed, made the deal and SearchKing was born.

To my knowledge, SearchKing was the first search engine to ever effectively use searcher responses in the form of votes as the backbone of a working algorithm. We had instant indexing. We allowed you to instantly edit your own titles and descriptions. We had a pretty sophisticated adult word filter that actually worked back in 98 and we had a philosophy born out of those Search Engine Forum discussions that Kira mentioned. We had no system for penalizing anything. We took the approach that we were not trying to penalize and filter out the bad stuff, rather we were focused on trying to reward and include the good stuff. A concept that I believe has merit even today.

I was now about $30,000 in the hole and a monthly cost of about $1500 to keep it maintained. We were plagued by Microsoft/Linux compatibility problems from starting out on a MS box and being limited by the features offered then starting to use the open source magic of Linux. Microsoft never has liked that much. I began learning about things like DNS, IP addresses, routers, networked servers, oh yeah and let's not forget about that, "show up unexpectedly and never leave while eating you out of house and home" buddy, ---- bandwidth.

Still, I saw the whole thing as a success. I actually had built something pretty neat and I was proud.

The idea for a network of portals came from the fact that after about 18 months we realized that people don't go to search engines to work harder. The purpose of a search engine is to SERVE a human searcher, not to expect that searcher to SERVE the search engine. This is why there are no well known voting search engines right now. There are plenty of "rate this site" buttons on small engines the world over, including the free SK portals, but so few people take the time to do the voting that it shoots scalability and predictability right out the window.

That's when we decided that expecting a few people to rate everything was not going to work. A better approach would be to provide the tools to people who wanted to review a lot of data that pertained to a specific subject and form a centralized location to direct the search traffic to a keyword specific "portal" as opposed to a website. In the beginning, our focus was on local portals. I think we even called the first offering Hometown portals or something like that. At the time, using a search engine to get a pizza delivered was still just a glimmer in the eye of a few tech start ups like City Search. Turns out it is much harder than it sounds.

By this time, my relationship with the people who had built the first SK engine was becoming strained. They had way underbid the deal from the beginning and it was becoming increasingly obvious with each passing day. I pitched my idea of making the SK software available as a shared program but they were able to convince me that it could not work. They were right as it turns out. Enter Hyperseek.

Not long afterward, we changed our company slogan to SearchKing is the foundation and traffic generating center of the world's largest network of independent niche directories.

I will stop here as I prepare the next post. Please bear with me as it is going to take me some time. In the meantime, I believe every article I wrote going into great detail just what the plan was, is archived in the portal partner It may not be responding properly as I am still in server hell, but it is there.

The Money

In '97 and '98 the tech stock boom was just getting really hot. Anyone recall Webvan? The 200 million dollar venture capital deals were really throwing a monkey wrench in the conventional wisdom of evaluating start ups. Still, the internet was basically a small town in the old west that just had a railroad line go through it. I can't imagine the California gold rush of 1849 coming close to rivaling the rush to Silicon Valley. It seemed everyone was ready to make a deal.

I'm sure that environment had more than a little to do with my cost estimates being in the hundreds of thousands to get the search engine built. I realized even though I was being quoted prices in that range, that estimates rarely come in UNDER budget. I knew from the very beginning that what I was proposing would take more than a year and cost close to a million dollars. The problem was, I didn't have a million dollars.

I also knew that venture capital was a definite probably not for me. I don't have a college degree and if I were going to invest in a company, I would expect more formal education than I could offer. I knew from the beginning that whatever it cost, I didn't have it, no one was going to give it to me and if I needed money, I would have to MAKE it.

In 1995, at the age of 41, I owned a printing shop specializing in business cards ready in an hour. I sold a lot of business cards. So many in fact that I soon found myself putting in more and more 14 hour days. I lived on coffee, cigarettes and fast food and as any sane person could expect, I had multiple heart attacks that summer. I lost just about everything and fell into a deep depression. The internet saved my life, and still, as much as I hate computers, I dearly love the internet and the promise it offers to all.

I never had any idea I would have a knack for thinking like a search engine and be able to understand what makes one document addressing the same question get put on top of another. Turns out I did. By the end of '97 I had actually rebuilt a life based on placing websites in the top of the results of Infoseek mainly, (I can actually kind of understand why they didn't like me much), under terms that made my clients money. Boy, was it easy pickins back then. Swear to goodness, in early '97 I don't think there were more than about 200 people in the world doing SEO. It wasn't even called that back then. Can you imagine. All that greed and desire divided up between only 200 people. Ahhh, those were the days my friend.

So, by March of '98 I planned on supporting SearchKing with the money I generated from, the search engine placement service. More than a little ironic I know. That's what I did and that is part of why I'm in such dire straits today, technically speaking. I've always had to keep my eye on expenses rather than expansion. That is not the optimal situation for a business wanting to grow. Typical, just not optimal.

I have never had the luxury of being in a position to hire the best people for the job. I have been more inclined to hire the people willing to do the job for what I could afford to pay. I could very likely hold the world's record for getting the most benefit from employees for the least salary than anyone in history. I have had some really exceptional people do some incredible things for much less than they deserved.

That said, to date, I have spent a little over 1.2 million on building and maintaining SearchKing. Both as a search engine and as a portal network. I have had to adjust my projections almost quarterly since the beginning and I would say realistically, it is going to take another 5 million minimum to actually complete the "plan".

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Motivational Quote


Definition – What is empathy all about?

Being able to empathize means to be capable of identifying and understanding another person’s feelings, without experiencing them for yourself at that particular moment. It is – just as previously discussed – the ability to literally experience the world from another person’s perspective; to walk in their shoes, to view life from their living conditions and to feel what it feels like to be that person.

The noun em•pa•thy refers to

* the ability to comprehend another person’s actions and emotions
* the identification of thoughts and emotional states within others
* the capacity to understand a persons (emotional) reaction
* the awareness of another’s problems, without experiencing them
which can be – in general – understood as the ability of a person to understand others or to “see where they are coming from”. In contrast to this, the personality trait of a person that is incapable of empathizing with others would be defined as a sociopath.

Surprisingly, the ability to empathize with others is relative to a person’s capacity to identify, feel and understand his own feelings and thereby being able to project one’s feelings onto others. This means in turn that it becomes complicated at times to understand what a person is undergoing, if you haven’t undergone it for yourself – or at least felt similar feelings. The outcome of this can be seen in our day-to-day lives; it’s relatively easy to laugh about someone who is not as tall as you, or to rant about “the lazy unemployed” when you have never been unemployed in your life, or grown up in riches. But once you experience for yourself what it feels like to be teased about your body height or the difficulty to find a job, your point of view might change drastically and also how you feel about those who are facing a similar situation.

Another aspect that empathy depends on is emotional intelligence. This kind of intelligence has not so much to do with mental skills (intellect) or the intellectual ability to study an emotion, but a lot more with actually experiencing these emotions. A person that has experienced a variety of emotional states and feelings throughout its life – from the heights of victory, happiness and joy to the depths of defeat, sadness and anxiety – will find it easier to understand another person’s problems and feelings. Furthermore, emotional intelligence enables a person to empathize with someone, without the need to have felt likewise in the past. Basically, it’s the mental projection into the emotional state of mind of another person, allowing you to identify their feelings.

How to develop and increase empathy?

1. Walk a mile in someone’s shoes – figuratively

Now, if you think about the events of the last two weeks, I’m pretty sure that there was at least one person, a colleague, your boss or even a friend – whosoever – that has angered you for any reason. If you reflect what happened in this situation, angered emotions might stir up again, but this time try to recall the situation – if possible – as unemotional as possible. You can think about your standpoint, your argumentation and the reasoning behind YOUR behavior for a short while. But then, try to step into the shoes of your counterpart – the person that angered you so much. This might be difficult to begin with, but give your very best and slip into the role of that person and try to view the whole world from that person’s perspective, just for a couple of minutes. Attempt to leave your opinion of your counterpart aside for a while, no matter how arrogant, illogical or full of himself that person appears in your opinion. While in this state of unbiasedness it will hopefully be possible to identify and understand the reasoning behind your opponent’s behavior, whether you approve of it or not is not so important. By understanding the reasons behind your counterpart’s behavior you have mastered an important hurdle on your path towards compassion. Don’t be discouraged if you do not spot the reasoning immediately – every (sane) person has a reason for what they do, it’s just sometimes really difficult to discover and understand that particular reason.

Basically, it’s the switch in perspectives David Nichtern is speaking about in his article on the pursuit of happiness: developing empathy for others. He not only says that you should ask yourself what the situation looks like to the other person, but also that this kind of “switch in perspective is the basis for developing empathy.”

2. Developing empathy out of a person’s motive

I think that once you understand at least the motive behind a person’s action, it’s by far easier to empathize with them. (Please note that we are speaking of regular people you come into contact in your daily life, not criminals!). Your boss, for instance, might be very demanding at times, but maybe you’ll notice that his pressuring bosses could be the reason for this. Maybe, he hasn’t experienced any other management style than his own bosses are setting an example of. By realizing this, you could clearly see that your boss is just a product of his environment, unable to comprehend his misbehavior.

The very same holds true with a person’s background, personal circumstances, education and so on. In many cases, people will start an argument with an uninvolved third party just to let off steam, or because they are still lost in thoughts about an exasperating situation. Therefore, you should not only seek for the reasoning behind a person’s action, but also try to understand how it would FEEL like to be your counterpart. From that particular moment where you understand just a slight fraction of the problems and feelings your counterpart is facing in life, it will become easier for you to empathize with them.

3. Replace anger with compassion

Once you get a hang of stepping into another person’s shoes, you can try to implement this technique into your daily life – in real time. Make it an intention of yours to respond with understanding instead of anger. Thereby, you can avoid leaping to conclusions and hasty reactions you might regret later. For instance, the next time someone angrily hoots with his car horn at you, try to think for a moment what reason might have led this person to hoot at you, instead of reacting instantly by making gestures or screaming insults. That way, you might discover that your opponent was just offended or is in a rush – which is none of your business and not worth your attention at all.

At some point, you might automatically step into another’s shoes before responding emotionally, allowing you to come to a wiser conclusion than starting an argument or a fight, for instance.

4. Discover the similarities, not the differences

In this (often times) self-centered world, it seems that many have forgotten that not only they are on a pursuit of happiness, but everyone else is as well. Naturally, this is doomed to cause conflicts, as by centering the whole world on ourselves, we tend to forget about others, which is causing us to see by far more differences between ourselves and “them”. But in reality, we are all the same. No matter of our ethical background, skin color or religious orientation – we all are striving for happiness, peacefulness and love. Also, each of us is trying to avoid sadness and suffering at best. So, instead of being blinded by the differences that superficially separate you from another person, try to acknowledge the commonalities you share with this person.

5. Don’t judge too hastily

When we meet a person for the first time, we immediately put them into boxes, subconsciously, if we want it or not. The first impressions can have a long lasting effect on what we think about a person – until we really get to know them better. Often times, we don’t even think much about this process happening and allow our “intuition” guide us when forming an opinion about others. It is important that you realize that this is a natural process unfolding that unfortunately creates a lot of biases. In order to empathize with others, it’s crucial to set aside your biases and generalizations, in order to see behind the fa├žade.

Before you judge someone, ask yourself if you know this person inside out and if you know what made them the person that they are today. If you can understand what they go through day after day, if you can relate to them and what it must feel like to be in their position, then you can form an opinion about them, without being biased. Notwithstanding, it should be noted that unless you really experienced the exact same situation as another person, with the same burdens, problems and suffers, you should ask yourself if you are in the proper position to judge or even criticize this person.

Also, it’s important to acknowledge the fact that others perceive their reality through biases, values and generalizations as well, which might highly influence their behavior.

6. Become aware of your emotional landscape

I’ve mentioned in the above that the ability to empathize with others largely depends on a person’s capacity to fully identify and understand his own feelings. Something many people are struggling with, as they give their best to numb themselves from unsolicited feelings by distracting themselves with work, TV or drugs and alcohol. Therefore, it can be tremendously helpful to keep an “emotions protocol” in order to discover the profundity of one’s emotional patterns, by keeping record of the various emotions we come across in our daily lives. This does not only encourage us to uncover the variety of our own emotions, but also helps us to acknowledge the fact that the emotional landscape of another person is similarly distinctive.

Writing an “emotions protocol” does neither require much effort nor time; simply write down – within the time span of five minutes – every emotion or feeling that you experienced during the day. For instance, if you experienced anger write down: “Sore anger: My colleague was promoted, instead of me.” Keep it plain and simple; the goal is to identify a huge variety of very different feelings and emotions.

7. Ask others about their perspective

The very last aspect on our list on how to develop skills in empathy describes a fantastic way that helps you to further increase and sharpen your empathic skills. Furthermore, it allows you to compare what you thought a person would feel like and how this person feels de facto. It’s as simple as the title of #7 reads; simply ask others about their perspective or even their feelings regarding a specific situation or occurrence. That way, you aren’t dependent on your sensitivity, but have a statement to compare your impressions with. Feel free to apply this technique wherever you feel fit, for instance, ask your colleagues about their opinion on the political development, and so on.

As closing remarks, let me point out that empathy is – luckily – a learned skill that can develop and grow through consistent practice. Therefore, if you are willing to increase your understanding of the behavior of others, it is never too late to learn it.

Friday, April 13, 2012