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Malaysia’s Top Internet Marketer Lets Domain Name Expires

March 17, 2008 by · 24 Comments 

Of all people, Gobala Krishnan forgets to renew his blog’s domain name at http://www.gobalakrishnan.com/ and as it appears, the domain has expired on 14 March 08 and now redirected to Godaddy’s domain parking page.

A similar incident happened to Advertlets.com, a Malaysian own online advertising company which had its domain expired on January 3, 2008. The case attracted quite an attention as it involved thousands of publishers who sell advertising space via Advertlets.com system.

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Anyway back to Gobala, he is a great Internet marketer and one can only wonder how he could end up having one of his important domain names expires. But I understand that he was probably just too busy with other important projects which could easily steal a considerable amount of his time.

He was recently given the privilege to grace the front page of Tech&U over at New Straits Times. You know you’ve reached a certain status level when the national newspaper wants to feature you on their front page, so more power to him!

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Anyway talking about expiring domain names, there’s a chance that you’ll never get it back. Your competitors may use this opportunity to seize that domain name via backordering and snap it up the instant it becomes available and use it as they wish once they own it.

Backorder is a service that attempts to register an expired domain name on behalf of an entity before someone else grabs it. With over 750,000 domains expire every month you can imagine there exist an opportunity to make money instantly when one can get hold of a hot, high PageRank and high traffic domain name.

Of course there would be legal repercussions in some cases but I imagined the Malaysian’s cyber law hasn’t catch up with this thing yet – correct me if I’m wrong. Any such case will be a watershed once it’s initiated.

By the way, backordering has helped me got a hold on Sabahan.com. In my case though the owner let it expired and I was the first to grab it and became the proud owner in less than one second it became available.

Currently, I am monitoring twelve or so other domain names. None of them are copyrighted of course or belongs to a particular person who has build up his brand around that domain name.

If you don’t want to end up having your important domain names expire, I suggest you register them for at least 2 years in advance. Important domains should be registered 5 years or longer in advance. Also be sure to pay attention to the domain name renewal notice sent by your domain name registrar.

How I Get My PageRank Back While Still Serving Text Link Ads

March 17, 2008 by · 19 Comments 

OK, I think a more descriptive and appropriate title would probably be something along the line “Google shouldn’t have given my PageRank back when I’m still selling Text Link Ads!” LOL.

While some claim that the long awaited update took place on March 2nd 2008, it didn’t seem to have any affect on my blog until recently. I first noticed my PageRank value was no longer zero last Friday after I made some changes to my blog.

To make sure that it wasn’t just a normal spike that could happen during a PageRank update, I decided to wait for a couple of days before writing about it. I ran a future PageRank check to see what my PageRank values were across several Google datacenters.

Sure enough, all datacenters agree that Sabahan.com is now a PageRank 3. So what did I do to have my PageRank back while I still serve Text Link Ads on my blog?

To be honest, I don’t claim this method as definitive and I can’t say for sure Google will retain my PageRank once the dust settles. I could end up having my blog slap again once Google catch up with this trick. But for the sake of information sharing, here’s what I did.

I just update the Text Link Ads plugin with the latest version and changed the title of my link ads from “Our Sponsors” to “Sites”. That’s all, nothing fancy.

That said, I am not suddenly retracting my previous stand that selling (or buying) text link ads is not good for your blog especially if the main motivation is to game the search engine rankings.

People just never get tired talking about this PageRank thing don’t they? 🙂

Now let’s hear something from you. Have you tried the changes above? How does the recent PageRank update affect your blog?

Blogger.com, WordPress.com or WordPress.org – Which One Should I Choose?

March 12, 2008 by · 29 Comments 

I received an email from a reader recently asking me about the differences between Blogspot and WordPress and which one is better if one wants to setup a blog with its own domain name.

This is probably one of the most common questions asked by newbies when starting out their journey in the blogging world. I’m posting my answer here for the benefit of those who may have similar questions.

BlogSpot aka Blogger.com (I’m going to use this term to refer to this service) is a hosted blogging service. Hosted means, you don’t have to worry about spending money on web hosting because they will take care of that for free.

You can setup your own custom domain name (like Sabahan.com) instead of opting for the more common blogname.blogspot.com address setup on Blogger.com. Using your own domain has the inherit advantage in that it can be used as a branding platform while helping your blog appears more credible to your readers.

While you won’t get the full control and freedom as when using your own hosting solution, it’s still a better choice if setting up your own blog software, dealing with hosting fees and all the setup hassles aren’t your cup of tea.

To learn more on how to setup your own custom domain name on Blogger.com, click here.

WordPress itself can be divided into two categories; one is WordPress.com which works like Blogger.com and the other one is WordPress.org, a site where you can download the open source WordPress software and host it on your own server.

If you register with WordPress.com, you blog address will be like mynewblog.wordpress.com. Like Blogger.com, you can use your own custom domain name with your WordPress.com blog.

So you may buy the domain name mynewblog.com and ask WordPress.com to automatically move your blog over and redirect all your links and readers to the short and sweet mynewblog.com instead of mynewblog.wordpress.com that carries an amateurish notion all over it – at least that’s how my first impression would be like.

Click here to learn more about domain registration and mapping with WordPress.com.

So to recap we have four options to choose from when one wants to setup a blog with Blogger.com and WordPress. The following shows the possible blog addresses for each service:

 

Blogger.com

  • Mynewblog.blogspot.com
  • Mynewblog.com

WordPress

  • Mynewblog.wordpress.com
  • Mynewblog.com

 

Back to the original question, which one is better if your goal is to setup a blog with its own custom domain name? To answer that question, we need to understand what each service has to offer. More importantly, you need to ask yourself why do you want to start a blog.

I have to admit that being a user of WordPress from WordPress.org for nearly all of my blogs; I might be a bit bias when it comes to answering this question.

So both Blogger.com and WordPress.com is free which is good but there are some fundamental differences between those two.

While I have several blogs hosted on blogger.com, they are why I call experimental blogs which were setup when I was just testing the water. I find blogger.com doesn’t support as many features as WordPress.com.

As an example, the absent of a function to help you create static pages (for your About Us page, Contact Us page etc) on Blogger.com is rather frustrating as I think those are some of the most important pages a blog should have. OK, there’s a work-around but it’s for the average users, too complicated of a solution at best.

The post timestamp feature in WordPress allows you publish your posts some time in the future. This is useful when for example you plan to go out of town for a couple of days, you can prepare some blog posts that will be published at specific intervals throughout the day without your intervention. This feature is simply not supported on Blogger.com.

If you want more control over your template, you can tinker with the underlying template code as much as you wish. This is however not possible with WordPress.com, except the rudimentary ability that allows you to customize your headers and colour scheme. Even then, that’s only possible if the template itself supports customization.

The ability to create categories in WordPress puts it ahead of Blogger when it comes to organizing your posts. It’s an alternative to sort your posts besides the by date option.

I can go on and on talking about the advantages WordPress.com has over Blogger.com, IMHO, WordPress.com emerges as the clear winners on a features by features comparison.

Some of you may wonder if WordPress.com is better than Blogger.com than why the later seems like a more popular choice among bloggers? I think it’s more popular among new and amateur bloggers rather than among those who consider themselves as serious bloggers.

Now, I know that there are many exceptions to this but I did say earlier that I could be a little bias against other services besides WordPress didn’t I? 😉

Blogger.com is owned by Google.com and last time I checked they are making use of their advertising muscle to the fullest promoting the service via AdWords. So that could easily contribute to its popularity.

Now let’s us compare WordPress.com to WordPress.org to find which one is better.

First and foremost, WordPress.org gives you more control and freedom on your blogging activities since you are hosting it in on your own server. You are not bounded by any terms and condition that could work against your blog.

If you want to make money from your blog, you should cross WordPress.com off your list right away. Their Term of Service states (take note the bolded text)

the Content is not spam, and does not contain unethical or unwanted commercial content designed to drive traffic to third party sites or boost the search engine rankings of third party sites, or to further unlawful acts (such as phishing) or mislead recipients as to the source of the material (such as spoofing).

What I know for sure is that writing paid reviews would risk account suspension. However the term “commercial content” is so general it could be interpreted in many different ways. Does it means you are not allowed to promote affiliate programs, put AdSense ads in your blog, sell books via your Amazon affiliate links or review products or services for your companies?

As the boundaries between content and advertising become increasing blurred, you are at the helm of WordPress.com by letting them dictate your blog’s future as you continue to monetize your content.

From a technical perspective, WordPress.org offers many benefits over WordPress.com as you can see from the table below. However WordPress.com wins hands down for convenience.

WordPress.com
WordPress.org
Pros
Cons
Pros
Cons
It’s free Limited themes choice Ability to upload themes You need to pay for you own web hosting
It’s easy to setup No control over the code whatsoever Ability to upload plugins Requires some technical know how for setup
Upgrades, backups and security are handled automatically in the background You can’t install third party plugins Complete control to edit code as you wish Software upgrade has to be done manually
Use SSL so that no one can get into your account if you connect via Wifi Terms of service may restrict your blogging freedom and ability to make money from your blog Great community that could help you along the way Your site could be down if you server can’t handle huge traffic spike

 

So if you are serious about blogging, and plan to monetize your content then go for WordPress.org. Otherwise, any of the free options; Blogger.com or WordPress.com will serve you just fine if you just want to learn about blogging.

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