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Potentially Malicious Fake Advertiser using Wordpress Plugin (

It starts with an innocuous email:


I am sorry I have to write you to e-mail from whois information of the domain. But I could not find contact e-mail or feedback form on your site.
We are looking for new advertisement platforms and we are interested in your site %DOMAIN%
Is it possible to place banner on your site on a fee basis?

Best regards,
Nicolas Gauthier

But it quickly turned strange:


Thanks for reply to our proposal!
We like your price.We would like to place 160x600 banner.

To pass to the banner control system follow the link
To enter use the following data:

login: %DOMAIN%
password: %PASSWORD%

NASA Space Shuttle Discovery Flys over Washington DC (Photos)

Posted in

I took these from The Kennedy Center Rooftop.

Space Shuttle Discovery Flys over Washington DC

Space Shuttle Discovery Flys over Washington DC

Space Shuttle Discovery Flys over Washington DC

Space Shuttle Discovery Flys over Washington DC

Space Shuttle Discovery Flys over Washington DC

Space Shuttle Discovery Flys over Washington DC

Space Shuttle Discovery Flys over Washington DC

Space Shuttle Discovery Flys over Washington DC

Space Shuttle Discovery Flys over Washington DC

Creative Commons License
This work by Kevin Ohashi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Client Side Tweet Parser in JavaScript (jQuery)

Posted in

I just published a simple JavaScript that helps websites comply with Twitter's Display Guidelines. It helps you comply with issues 2,3,4.

It automatically links to urls, hashtags and mentioned usernames. You simply set the div class to 'tweet' (or whatever you change it to in the code) and link to twitter.js. Make sure you also have jQuery(Only tested 1.6.4) loaded before twitter.js. It is a dependency.

Thanks go to Raphael Mudge who helped with some of the regular expressions.

Future improvements: this code isn't perfect by any means. One improvement would be merging the 3 primary functions into one and some conditions. I've also seen some very elegant server side solutions using almost entirely regular expressions from CodeIgniter (see code below).

function parse_tweet($tweet)
$search = array('|(http://[^ ]+)|', '/(^|[^a-z0-9_])@([a-z0-9_]+)/i', '/(^|[^a-z0-9_])#([a-z0-9_]+)/i');
$replace = array('$1', '$1@$2', '$1#$2');
$tweet = preg_replace($search, $replace, $tweet);

return $tweet;

High Res Photos from Laboratory for Autonomous Systems Research (LASR) at the Navy Research Laboratory

Posted in

Here is a small sampling of high res photos from the Navy Research Laboratory's brand new Laboratory for Autonomous Systems Research (LASR).

All Photos taken April 2, 2012.

Click on a photo to see high res version.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

How to Make Facebook Like Button on a Website Connect to a Facebook Page

I wanted a simple 'Like' button connected to my facebook fanpage. No stream, no faces, no counts, no nonsense. I couldn't find an easy and obvious way to do it.

I spent more time than I would care to admit trying to figure this out and it turns out to be trivial.

  1. Go to Like Button developer tool.
  2. Set 'URL to Like' to your facebook page (
  3. Set 'Width' to '50'
  4. Uncheck 'Send Button'
  5. Choose 'Button Count' for the Layout Style.
  6. Uncheck 'Show Faces'
  7. Get Code, choose iframe version.

The 50 width should cut off the like count box (you can make it bigger/smaller to make sure it works). Simple, easy, like button connected to facebook fanpage.

Screenshot below:

Firefox Inspector Bug (10.0.2)

Posted in

I wanted to report the bug to mozilla but it took me 15 minutes to even find their bugzilla and then it wanted too much of my time and to share my personal info (email address). So I will just post it here instead.

So basically the problem is if you double inspect, you can't escape the inspector and the close box (X) disappears.

Screen shots after the jump.

One of the scummiest link building strategies I've ever seen

Posted in

From: Ryan F (
Date: Thu, Feb 16, 2012 at 11:40 AM
Subject: Featured Tech Site Award
To: -------------

My name is Ryan, and I work at Green Gadget -- a PR6 technology and gadget review site located in Austin, Texas.
The reason I'm emailing you today is because we’ve selected you as an exceptional technology site. We would like to highlight you on our site and present you with an official sidebar badge for your site that will distinguish you as a Featured Tech Site.

Our selection criteria are based on several factors that we feel defines a great tech site. We selected you because we feel your website is a great resource that offers exceptional information on technology.

Attached is the html code to insert the badge. We are very excited to have you as a Featured Tech Site and I look forward to hearing back from you.

Best Regards,


First off, who mentions their Page Rank (PR6) in a legitimate award?

There is no mention of what my site even is or any indication that it was viewed. It's all probably automated anyway (or should be considering the lack of anything requiring a human to do since nothing is tailored or personalized in any way).

You want to see the 'award'? It's pathetic.

I hope nobody falls for this bullshit but sadly I am sure some people will. This one should go straight to the spam bin.

144 of the Largest Companies Using Godaddy

I took the top 1500 sites from and checked their registrar. Some companies have already said they were moving (Hi StackOverflow!). Huge thanks goes to Mike St John for his help in querying the registry.

Here are the 144 companies using Godaddy as a Registrar :

Click Tracking using JavaScript and Google Analytics - The Good and The Bad

Posted in

I ran into an interesting problem recently, I didn't want to change my links to some sort of URL forwarding script ( to track outbound clicks but I still wanted the outbound click data.

I thought it should be possible using JavaScript and the onClick() functionality. My first inclination was to just go to jquery and bind the click to a function that would simply make an ajax call to record the click data and then forward the user.

Upon further research I found out Google Analytics has this functionality and tracking already built in.

You simply include another javascript snippet:

<script type="text/javascript">
function recordOutboundLink(link, category, action) {
try {
var pageTracker=_gat._getTracker("UA-XXXXX-X");
pageTracker._trackEvent(category, action);
setTimeout('document.location = "' + link.href + '"', 100)

And then for any click you want to track you simply add:

onClick="recordOutboundLink(this, 'Outbound Links', '');return false;"

Outbound Links is the label for the link. It all shows up in the Event Tracking reports in Google Analytics. Simple.

Or so it seemed. I tried this method and some users complained that it broke things like middle click (open in new window) functionality. I am also not convinced it actually worked for every click, my click volume didn't seem to match on the links I did have access to stats on the outbound side for.

So I turned it off and canned the idea for now. I guess that's why facebook, twitter and everyone else seems to use link tracking scripts like l.php and

Gift Lizard - One Week After Launch: Stats, Failures, Successes and Lessons Learned

What is Gift Lizard? It's a gift shopping site where you describe the person you want to buy a gift for using tags. It helps you discover interesting and awesome gift ideas.

First Off, The Numbers for Gift Lizard

11,870 Visits (11,509 Uniques)

15,984 Pageviews (1.35/visit)

24 Seconds Average Time on Site

89.20% Bounce Rate

96.96% New Visitors

75% US Traffic

54.60% Chrome / 34.03 % Firefox / 3.89% Safari / 1.83% Internet Explorer



Fail. I did, so can you. I created a Gift Lizard fanpage and invited my friends. I got maybe 4 likes from messaging ~600 people? My facebook status did better and got 15 likes and 12 comments, 2 shares and someone posted it back to me. Not bad, but total facebook traffic for the week: 105 visitors, almost all from the status. Fanpage is probably a more long term benefit.

I know some traffic came from here, but it doesn't actually show up on my logs once. Nothing big enough to notice any substantial traffic coming from the 12 or so tweets broadcasting the site.

Reddit Advertising
It's only run for 1 day and there has been no a/b testing. I am still running this ad with the copy:

“Gift Shopping Made Easy! Describe the recipient and instantly get gift suggestions tailored just for them.”

It generated 44 clicks of 71,551 impressions on 26,877 different users. However, those users had 1 minute 54 seconds average time on site and only a 37.14% bounce rate. Better users, incredibly small volume. I also got some fantastic feedback from one particular user about some ways to improve the site that I was unfamiliar with.

MVP Launch

I launched with an MVP (minimum viable product) and there is a lot of things people didn't like (and still don't like!). The interface isn't as good as it could/should be to make it clear how the site works with tagging. There are still bugs in the way it behaves and improvements I know I should be making. But the site does function and I fixed major problems as the came along as best as I could. Other more structural problems are still there and probably won't be solved before the end of the holiday season.

Those are some of the biggest failures and problems I ran into when launching.


Finding a marketing strategy that works and can be replicated is hard. But I think I've found one.

My original plan of finding 'good' gifts and tagging them across multiple categories was well meaning but it was/is highly subjective and hard to scale. I will still add gifts in targeted popular categories, but that's not where I will spend most of my time.

I realized that niches were far more engaged in their very specific interests and more likely to interact with something targeted than a blanket message about finding gifts.

To that end I tested my idea with a starcraft gifts page and posted it to starcraft subreddit. The thread received around 99 comments (about half were me responding). I engaged them in a constructive and inclusive manner adding any item they thought would make a good addition. It's also important not to be greedy, I want people to find good gifts and share it with their friends of similar interest (funnily enough some of the people's sites I linked also responded on the thread thanking me for promoting their products - and I was genuinely happy to to it!). The goal is creating a great collection of gifts for anyone who likes starcraft regardless of what site the product may be on or what type of relationship I have with that site. It was a HUGE success. The result was 10,494 visits this week to the starcraft page and I only posted it 3 days ago (so it's only 2 days worth of stats).

Fluke or repeatable?

The next day I decided let me try it for another niche and see if I can get a similar response. I created a World of Warcraft gift page and posted it to the WoW subreddit. The result was 1,143 visits to the WoW gift page. The article was more popular in terms of relative ranking (peaking at 5th versus around 12th for starcraft post) but the subreddit is a lot less active it would seem. The engagement was a lot lower, despite being only half the size, it received 10% the traffic volume. The gift collection was still relatively popular in its niche. Success! And it looks like the model is repeatable and possibly scalable.

This massive influx of traffic from one social media site was nice. A secondary effect was linking and stumbles (I got no facebook likes or tweets from these it would seem).

StumbleUpon generated 134 visitors though from one person stumbling the page and setting off a chain of stumbles presumably. Content was sticky enough to be shared and promoted. Success!

Someone even bought me 1 month of reddit gold for the starcraft gift page (thanks anonymous stranger <3)

Finally, email lists worked well. I am on a couple mailing lists and sent a message out to them, the more personal and connected you are and/or your message are, the better it worked out. My co-working space had an amazing response. I saw people browsing it all day and they would come up to me and give feedback (and even bought a few things! <3 Affinity Lab)

Lessons Learned:

  • Easier to connect with a niche audience.
  • Don't be greedy and help others, it makes people like you.
  • Launch it and fix it on the fly.
  • Just because it's not perfect or even great doesn't take too much away if you have great content/value.
  • Google Analytics is mesmerizing (that's going to have to be another post!)

What I would do differently:

Facebook Event in conjunction with a facebook page. I would like to try creating an event and invite everyone to it announcing the launch. Events are stickier I think because the user has to either acknowledge it to remove it or ignore it for a long time while it shows up. Of course the risk is you may only get one chance with this strategy because users may ignore event invites from you. High risk, high reward. I'd choose who I sent the event invite to carefully.

Link directly on social media sites, it may seem like a less popular idea, but I posted to a few subreddits as comments to get feedback (design_critiques, startups, twoxchromosomes) and it generated very little interest or traffic. I think direct links, when possible, are a better idea if you can communicate effectively in the short title.

Happy to hear thoughts, feedback, questions, ideas, your stories or anything else you wish to share!

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