Channel Conflict 101

By , April 10, 2014

Sixteen years ago, I received a call from someone who worked for a large computer manufacturer, which was planning to add an online direct-sales program.  The caller was creating a business plan for this new division of the company, and wanted to hire me to design an affiliate program.

My first question was, “What about channel conflict?”

Read more »

Poetry, and Thanks

By , February 23, 2014

I wanted to attend an event today, where Stephen Dunn will speak and read poetry. It’s in Sacramento, nearly a two-hour drive each way, and I decided not to go.

But all weekend, I’ve been thinking about poetry and how I came to love poetry. And so I’ll write about it. Read more »

AdWords’ Dot-TK Plague & the End of Automatic Placements

By , December 3, 2013

All year, I’ve been doing battle with a never-ending series of aggressive fraudsters who use AdSense ads across many dot-tk (.tk) domains which each generate small numbers of cheap fraudulent clicks, siphoning money from any campaign which has Automatic Placements enabled.

Why does it work? It works because Google AdWords refuses to enable exclusion of placements (web sites) based on Top Level Domain (TLD). Read more »

Rack Unit Calculator

By , November 22, 2013

The “Rack Unit” is a standard measurement for server height; one rack unit (U) is 1.75 inches.

Most colocation cabinets and racks are 19 inches wide, with standard depths ranging from 30 to 36 inches.

Here is a “Rack Unit Calculator” grid: Read more »

Google Gets Creepier – pre-filled subscribe box in search ad

By , November 7, 2013

This just seems creepy and wrong: Google (AdWords) allows advertisers to create Search ads which pre-fill forms with Google Account data. In this example, my email was pre-filled next to a “subscribe” button which doesn’t say what I’d be subscribing to — alongside a completely meaningless “Privacy” link which doesn’t disclose how the email address would be used. Read more »

Google’s AdWords ‘Interest’ Targeting

By , November 1, 2013

I’ve long wondered how Google evaluates a person’s “interests” in order to display advertising that’s not displayed “in context.”

I think Google’s algorithms need tweaking, because Google has an unreasonably long memory regarding my “interests.” Read more »

WordPress 3.7 Adds Automatic Updates: A Great Idea, But …

By , October 25, 2013

WordPress has just released version 3.7 of its blogging platform, and many folks will be pleased and relieved that they’ve added automatic updates to the software.  I certainly was happy about it, but … Read more »

In Praise of GTmetrix.com

By , September 18, 2013

GTmetrix.com is an awesome web site: it analyzes your web site and provides detailed suggestions for how to improve the page-load time; this is incredibly useful when trying to diagnose the issue, “why is my web site loading to slowly?”

Note that there are multiple tabs with information: make sure to click on the “YSlow” and “Timeline” tabs to see more information.

Here are screen shots showing the information for this site (markwelchblog.com). Read more »

When Is an Ecommerce Web Site “Unacceptably” Slow?

By , December 26, 2012

While reading Internet Retailer’s December 2012 profile of its chosen “Top 100″ ecommerce web sites (http://www.internetretailer.com/2012/11/30/going-extra-mile), I was confused by its “Speed” ratings for the sites. Each web site was evaluated based on its page-load time, and 33 of the 100 sites were rated “unacceptable.”

The idea that many web sites succeed despite slow load times isn’t a surprise. What confused me was the scale used by Internet Retailer in assigning its speed ratings: Read more »

Brown unLike Me, by Emmanuel Ortiz

By , November 11, 2012

When I first saw this poetry “chapbook,” I felt a faint glimmer of recognition at the author’s name, which clicked into place when I found the poem, “A Moment of Silence,” at the end of the book.

“A Moment of Silence” is one of those poems that draws a sharp reaction from nearly everyone who reads it. Read more »

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