Web Development

WordPress Plugin Request: Shadow Ban Comments

On occasion, I will think of a neat plugin that can be used for one of my websites that uses WordPress, and when I search for the idea, I usually find an existing plugin to use. Last week, I thought of a plugin idea, and I could not find one available, so I thought I would blog about the idea.

On websites like Reddit, they have what are called “shadow bans.” In short, a shadowban is a type of ban that the banned user isn’t aware of. The user can continue posting comments and links that appear to be public, but they are only visible to the user.

I thought it would be

Share Your Success Story

I frequently write about large domain name sales and smart domain name acquisitions. One thing that I would like to write more about is success stories involving descriptive keyword domain names. I am sure there are people who are doing well with business development on keyword domain names, and I would be happy to share your story.

I’ll give you an example. Sol Orwell shared insight about his success with Examine.com, and I thought the discussion that followed on Hacker News were interesting.

Information that I think would be beneficial include some of the following:

  • Revenue and traffic numbers
  • Marketing / advertising spend and efforts
  • Capital raising and growth funding
  • Social aspect
  • Personal stories about starting building the business
  • Complications and how you overcame them

Obviously people who

Why I Bought A Flower Store

Since I started running my own Internet company in 1995, almost everything I do is virtual. I work from home, don’t go to meetings, don’t go trade shows, and hardly ever make phone calls. I have a paperless office, and my mailing address is a P.O. Box service that scans in my all letters so I can read them online. My voice mail box even tells people to email me instead of leaving a message (if they do leave a message, it is automatically converted to an mp3 file and emailed to me). So, it is kind of crazy that in 2002 I ended up buying a retail flower shop even though I had never owned or worked in any sort of store before and knew nothing about flowers. On top of that, I bought it online without ever seeing the store in person (it was 3000 miles from where I lived). Oh, and before I even closed on the buying the first flower store, I bought a 2nd one.

Here’s what happened. For several years, I was using my GetFlowers.com domain name to sell flowers by getting a commission from another online florist for every customer I sent to their site. This made a little money for me, but there was no chance it was ever going to turn into a big flower site that way, so I decided to build my own online florist on it instead. I looked into it and figured out that most online florists were just order takers and sent out all their orders through floral networks such as FTD and Teleflora. These networks route the order to a local florist who delivers the flowers. All flower shops have a computer that runs FTD or Teleflora software, which they use to print the orders that are sent to them and also to enter orders from their own customers for out of town deliveries. For example, if you walk into a florist in New York and ask them to send flowers to your grandma in Miami, they will enter your order into their FTD or Teleflora system, and it is zapped to a florist in Miami.

The florists make a profit of around 20% for each order that they send through a floral network, plus they usually charge an extra fee (sometimes called a “service charge”) which they get to keep as a bonus. My plan for GetFlowers.com was to make it 100% automated and then to do away with any extra fees since there was no work involved for me to place each order. I would set it up so that the customer just fills out the order form on my site, and their order is sent to the floral network which then relays it to the local florist. Most other floral websites at the time were not

Danger of Trying to Replicate

Several years ago, a friend of mine shared a website that he built based on a particular type of geographic + keyword domain name. I thought it looked like it would be a money maker because of the slick design and what I saw of the monetization, and I went out and inquired about a few domain names that I thought I could use in order to replicate what he was doing in a different market.

To make a short story short, I never got around to figuring out how his website works, and I never made any money with the 2 domain names I bought. They weren’t large investments, but they weren’t really valuable undeveloped.

Sometimes a project looks easy to replicate, but in reality, there were countless hours spent developing the engine that operates the website. Additionally, there are deals that need to be cut with advertisers and affiliate companies, and that doesn’t even include the time it takes to find those potential partners in the first place. Just because

StatCounter Down: Experiencing DDoS Attack


I tried to log in to my StatCounter account this afternoon, and I received an error message when I was finally able to access the website. I visited Twitter to see if anyone else was experiencing the same issue, and it seems that Stat Counter is experiencing a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, and that is preventing visitors from accessing their accounts within the StatCounter website.

Unfortunately, it seems like this has been going on for several hours, as the company has been updating its Twitter feed to respond to customers and visitors. I do appreciate that they are keeping people noticed via Twitter though. StatCounter has said that all visitor information is still being recorded on websites that use StatCounter, so people shouldn’t lose data.

I use three different

Dealing With Link Removal Requests


Over the last several months, I have received a number of emails from people asking me to remove website links on my blog because the websites have faced Google issues. Most likely, they received some sort of Google penalty that lowered their website rankings due to various SEO strategies that aren’t acceptable to Google. These link removal requests are made in the hopes of becoming compliant with Google Webmaster guidelines.

If I linked to a website in an article and the owner is requesting that I delete the link, I will usually just delete it for them. I don’t want to cause harm to another website despite the fact that nobody has ever paid me to link to them. If I did link to them, it most likely means they shared or offered something I found interesting, and because of that, I would hate for them to think that my link could be causing issues for them. Most likely, it wasn’t a link out from my blog that caused a problem, but when you have hundreds or thousands of links that may have been obtained by doing something against the “rules,” they have to cover all their bases.

Less frequently, I receive emails

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