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Malaysian Can Now Withdraw Money from their PayPal Accounts

October 1, 2007 by · 64 Comments 

Not that you can’t withdraw before this but the steps usually make your head spin. Some enterprising Internet marketers even took advantage of the complicated steps by selling ebooks telling people how to do it.

Anyway, Wayne Liew emailed me to give a heads-up about a new feature recently introduced by PayPal. Wayne’s post refers to the original post by Sweet Surrender about PayPal is allowing money withdrawal to credit and debit card.

I usually don’t much pay attention to such news before. While I spent thousands of Ringgit monthly via PayPal, I’ve never really used it to accept payments.

Some of you may recall that I promoted MaxBounty at some of my websites. My main gripe about this program is that it automatically converts my commission checks into Ringgit and there’s no way avoiding this. While this means shorter clearing time, I prefer getting paid in US dollars and put up with with the long clearing time.

This is because local checks issued by MaxBounty utilise a terrible exchange rate resulting me to lose hundreds of Ringgit per clearance. This problem is getting worse by the day as the US dollar continues to weaken.

So I told my affiliate manager about this and she recommended me to accept PayPal payment. In such case, I don’t want the money to sit quietly in my PayPal account doing nothing. I rather put them in the bank and earn some interest.

So that’s how I started paying more attention to news related to withdrawing money from PayPal.

Anyhow, to withdraw funds from your PayPal account to a credit, debit, or prepaid card, just add a card with a Visa or MasterCard logo. To do so, go to Withdraw under the My Account tab and click Transfer funds to your card.

It costs USD5 to use this service and there’s a USD500 daily withdrawal limit. For most people I think that shouldn’t be a problem. If you plan to withdraw regularly, I recommend waiting until your balance is nearing the limit to save on service charges.

paypal.png

So, I logged into my PayPal account and tried entering my Public Bank MasterCard but it was rejected with the following message:

This withdrawal cannot be completed because your card issuer does not allow withdrawals to this card. To withdraw funds from your PayPal account to a credit, debit, or prepaid card, add a different card with a Visa or MasterCard logo.

I tried calling PBB card customer service but nobody picked up the phone. I thought they were offering a 24×7 customer service… Anyway, I emailed PayPal and surprisingly within minutes, I got a reply:

Thank you for taking the time to contact us with your concerns. I am happy to assist you further.

Understand you are thinking about trying our new feature for money withdrawal to credit card.

By viewing your account, we found out that you added MasterCard ending with 0***. I am afraid MasterCard can not be used for money withdrawal at the moment, but VISA & American Express card. If you only have one credit card, what do you think about adding US bank account that bank must be located in US soil or VISA debit card?

It is my pleasure to assist you. Thank you for choosing PayPal.

Sincerely,
Jie
PayPal, an eBay Company

So apparently they don’t accept MasterCard credit card at the moment. Why don’t they mention this on their website is beyond me. So I guess I’ll have to get a Visa debit/credit card then. Is there a debit card for MasterCard?

BlogRush – The Answer to You Blog’s Traffic Needs?

September 19, 2007 by · 21 Comments 

Recently I asked my readers a question about topics they would like to read more in this blog. Each time when I run such survey, most would say they want to know how to attract traffic to their blog.

Talking about finding traffic, it’s such a coincident that a service called Blog Rush that help bloggers to do exactly that was launched recently.

I am sure many of you have seen this service mentioned around the blogosphere especially if you are a reader of any money making and blogging blogs. It was launched 3 days ago and has been generating quite a buzz when the big name bloggers put it in the spotlight.

Blog Rush has done very well at creating the hype which was instrumental in attracting droves of new members in just three days. Just check their Alexa stats below and see how it surpasses ProBlogger.net’s traffic in about two days.

graph-blogrush.png

 

What Is Blog Rush?

Blog Rush is basically a traffic exchange program that promotes your blog posts on other blogs via a widget. However, it would be more accurate to say that it doesn’t guarantee you traffic; instead it helps your latest post’s headline in getting some exposure.

Here’s how it works. You earn 1 display credit when a page on your blog with Blog Rush widget installed is loaded once. Your latest post headline will appear one time on other blog’s Blog Rush widget. So if you display Blog Rush widget 100 times, your latest post will be displayed 100 times elsewhere in return.

When you refer a new member into Blog Rush, the number of display credits that downline earns will be added into your own display credits.

So for example, if Nancy signs up under your referral link, and her blog displays the widget 150 times, your total display credits would be 100 (yours) + 150 (Nancy’s) = 250.

Blog Rush claimed that you’ll earn display credits from your downlines for up to 10 levels deep. However the ratio would be different after the third level where you’ll earn 1 display credit for every four impressions you downlines generate.

From the seventh level onwards the ratio is 1:8. Now if this sounds a little complicated, there’s no need to worry about it. Just let Blog Rush take care of the details. It’ll become clearer after you sign up.

If this sounds like some MLM scam, don’t worry it has nothing to do with making money, it’s simply a tool to help bloggers generate some traffic to their blog. If you don’t like it, just dump it 🙂

The video below will do a better job at explaining how you could benefit from it.

 

How Much Traffic Will You Get?

I’ve just added Blog Rush to Sabahan.com yesterday and so far I have earned 747 credits. Personally I don’t know how much traffic it will send on my way because it’s still too new and there’s lack of data to make any assumption.

blogrush-traffic.png

Collecting display credits is one thing, but getting someone to click on your headline is quite another. So far I’ve seen the Blog Rush widget placed in a less than prominent location in many blogs which could result in a low click-through-rate (CTR).

Crafting attention grabbing headlines is important in order to increase your CTRs because that’s the only thing that readers will see in the widget. In addition, make sure to select the right category for your blog so that your headlines will be viewed by the right audience.

While Blog Rush only accept English language blogs with non-adult content, I’ve seen a couple of blogs in Chinese appear in the widget. Perhaps this is something that they are still working on fixing.

I would also suggest you add your own blog domain into the URL filters because I’ve seen a blogger own headline appeared in his widget! In the future I wish Blog Rush offers the ability to customize the widget style so that it’ll integrate more closely with any blog’s design.

While I am not a fan of cluttering your blog with another widget, I think there’s no harm in giving this one a try, who knows, you might get lucky and get some free traffic along the way. In the coming days I’ll report if Blog Rush is working for me, so stay tuned!

You can sign up with Blog Rush here if you haven’t done it already.

New Features Highlights for Google Reader, AdSense & Search

September 14, 2007 by · 9 Comments 

I’ve been busy for the past few days planning and negotiating with the contractor on my parents’ house extension, which is probably evident from the patchy posting frequency you might have noticed for a couple of days.

Anyway, I’ll continue to update this blog as time permits.

I’d like to mention a few new features that have been added into several of Google’s applications these past few days.

 

Google Reader Search

If you are using Google Reader as your feed reader, you’ll be happy to know that they’ve just added search. This feature is one the main features I’ll look for in any feed reader.

Basically, you can search your feed right from the Google Reader interface. So, let’s say you recalled that I once wrote a tutorial about AdSense blend strategy. Without going to Sabahan.com, just enter the keyword into the search box and you’ll get what you are looking for.

greader.gif

 

Better Date-Based Searching On Google Search

Previously, you can restrict your search to return results that are less than 3 months old. Well Google search has just got better. The advance search page now allows you to obtain fresher results that are less than 24 hours old.

datesearch.jpg

So what good this will do you ask.

Google estimated the age of a URL as the last time they fetched the page. However, the URLs returned on the search result don’t always represent the recent ones due to Google’s ranking algorithm.

This feature would be handy if you are following a fast developing new story from other sources in addition to the news search.

Matt Cutts points to a post by Alex Chitu where he mentions that the advanced date search affects a URL parameters called “as_qdr” and some of its possible values are.

d[number] – past number of days (e.g.: d10)
w[number] – past number of weeks
y[number] – past number of years

 

For example, there’s been a lot of fast progress on iphone stuff recently. A query such as http://www.google.com/search?q=iphone+source+code&as_qdr=d1 would show all the new urls for the query [iphone source code] within the last day, because d1 stands for 1 day.

Suppose you wanted to see all the new urls that Google found on your site within the last 7 days. For the domain mattcutts.com, I’d use a query such as http://www.google.com/search?q=site:mattcutts.com&as_qdr=d7 to find those urls (remember, “d” stands for days and “7″ stands for, well, 7). Previously, you could check whether Google had indexed a new url by (say) searching for content from that url, so this isn’t completely new, but it still simplifies life for site owners.

I’m already using this parameter in my power searching all the time. If you need a way to remember the parameter name, I think of as_qdr as “advanced search — query date range,” although I haven’t checked if that’s what the letters actually stand for.

 

AdSense Includes Allowed Sites

This new feature called Allowed Sites allows you to prevent other people from abusing your AdSense code by placing it on sites other then your own. Now you can ensure your ads only run on sites you’ve specified.

The Allowed Sites list can be access via the Allowed Sites link under the AdSense Setup tab. Sites that are not included in the list can still display ads using you code but impressions and clicks for these sites won’t appear in your reports and advertisers won’t be charge.

allowd-sites.jpg

Basically, you won’t be paid for any click but the advertisers will get free advertising.

It’s up to you whether you want to use this feature or not. If you are worried someone might misuse your code, perhaps sabotage your AdSense account, this feature will become handy to prevent that from happening.

If you participate in any revenue sharing blogs or forums, just be sure to include those URLs in the allowed list or you won’t be credited with the clicks.

5 Useless Tricks People Use to Increase Their Alexa’s Traffic Ranking

July 24, 2007 by · 39 Comments 

For some site owners, getting a high Alexa traffic rank is more of an ego boost than a true reflection of their sites popularity. Others are trying to game Alexa so that they can command higher prices for their ad inventory among other things.

The recently released official Alexa toolbar for Firefox seems to re-ignite the obsession some people have over their Alexa ranking. I’ve seen several bloggers recommending tools and methods to game Alexa ranking.

Trying to cheat their Alexa ranks may be fun to some people but it degrades the value of the entire system and affects Alexa’s reputation negatively as it becomes less reliable as a traffic measurement metric. While I am aware that Alexa has its limitations, it’s essentially offering valuable service to webmasters and advertisers alike. Besides Google PageRank, I don’t know of any other universally accessible metrics for anyone when evaluating a site’s worth.

However, like other popular services on the Internet, Alexa is getting smarter in preventing people from artificially manipulating their rankings. What used to work yesterday doesn’t always work today.

The following are tricks/cheats employed by some people who try to manipulate and increase their ranking.

 

  1. Install Firefox extension that Reloads Web Pages

    There’s an extension for Firefox named ReloadEvery that as the name implies, reloads web pages every so may seconds or minutes.

    The idea is to increase your page views and hopefully they will be counted towards your Alexa rankings. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on which side you are on), this won’t work because multiple requests for the same URL on the same day by the same user counted as a single pageview by Alexa.

    In addition, if you are using AdSense on your site, using this tool could get you banned. So don’t waste your time with this one.

     

  2. Install Alexa Redirect Plugin for WordPress

    Installing this plugin will edit all your internal blog links except wp-admin related) to add the “Alexa redirect” prefix which is http://redirect.alexa.com/redirect?

    So your normal URL will change to http://redirect.alexa.com/redirect?www.domainname.com.

    There’s no limit at where you can use this trick. You can use the redirected URL when leaving comments in other blogs or in your forum signatures. The idea is to send the visitor through Alexa and counts them as a visit, even if they don’t have the Alexa toolbar installed.

    The problem with this method is that, it will negatively affect your site’s PageRank and search engine rankings as it destroys any good internal linking structure you may have on your site.

    In addition, there’s no evidence that using redirects benefits your Alexa’s traffic rankings.. As far as I know Alexa’s traffic rankings are based on the usage patterns of Alexa Toolbar users over a rolling 3 month period. No toolbar, no tracking.

     

  3. Install Alexa Toolbar on Several Computers in Your Local Area Network and Set Your Site as Your Homepage

    It doesn’t matter how many computers you have the Alexa toolbar installed, if they all share the same IP address, all page views will be counted only once per day.

    Sure you may notice a tiny improvement in the traffic ranking if your site is ranked in the millions to begin with, but that’s probably all that you’ll get.

     

  4. Put up Alexa Rank Widget On Your Site

    Alexa Site Widgets are those little graphic or button that you can display on your site to show Alexa traffic rankings and Alexa Traffic History Graph as shown below.


    There’s no evidence that these Widget will improve your traffic ranking. If nothing else, it just informs Alexa about your site and add it to the list of sites to visit, thus ensuring your inclusion in the Alexa service.

    That said, I am not saying all those using these widgets on their sites are trying to game Alexa. It’s a fun tool to display but if your purpose is to increase your Alexa’s traffic ranking, I doubt it’ll work even when the viewer click on it.

     

  5. Using Alexa Auto-Surfs Program

    Using an Alexa auto surf may work for new sites with very low Alexa ranking. However, I’ve seen Alexa auto surf users who complained that they are experiencing a drop in Alexa ranking after the initial increase.

    My theory is that, since the number of IP addresses which take part in the auto-surf program is not unlimited, up to a point, the limit will be reached. There’s just so many IP address for Alexa to consider as a unique page view per day during which your website ranking will stop improving. I won’t be surprise if Alexa has started developing a way to defeat the autosurf programs.

    In addition, you may get in trouble with Google if you are showing AdSense ads on the sites involved in auto surfing.

In my coming post, I’ll share the tips how you could increase your Alexa’s traffic rankings.

FeedBurner Pro Is Now Free

July 4, 2007 by · 1 Comment 

Here’s another reason to love Google. Following their acquisition of Feedburner, Google has made two of their paid service free for everyone.

One of the services is FeedBurner Stats Pro. This is a feed analytics tool that gives you a more details look at your readers such as the number of people who have viewed or clicked individual content items in your feed and “Reach,” which estimates the daily number of subscribers who interacted with your feed content.

To turn this on, log into your account and go to the Analyze tab anc click on the FeedBurner Stats PRO link under services. Then click the “Item Views” checkbox to activate these PRO features.

MyBrand is another service which is now free for everyone. It allows you to match you feed address to your domain name. So instead of using feeds.feedburner.com/sabahancom, I can now use feeds.sabahan.com/feed

The problem with using FeedBurner domain to track your feed is that if later you decide you want to use another tracking service for whatever reason, you won’t be able to take your feed with you. So, you will have to start with 0 feed subscriber count with the new service which isn’t very exciting at all.

To get started with MyBrand, sign into FeedBurner, click the “My Account” link in the upper left-hand corner, and then click “MyBrand”. You’ll need to change some DNS setting for your domain to use this service.

Save On GoDaddy Domain Names with GoDaddy Coupons

July 2, 2007 by · 2 Comments 

Do you know that you can get an immediate discount each time you buy a domain from GoDaddy.com? There’s really no need for you to pay the advertised prices.

To get a discount, all you have to do is search using the phrase “godaddy coupons” at Google.

The search will return a list of websites containing GoDaddy coupon codes which you can use immediate in your purchase.

If you don’t fancy spending your time sifting through the search results, the DigitalPoint forum is a good place to start your bargain hunting. I’ve found a handy thread where their members are listing GoDaddy coupons as they become available.

To use a coupon, just apply it during the checkout and the price will be updated accordingly. If you have several coupon codes, apply them one at a time to find the one that gives you the best savings.

 

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Using coupon codes to get discounts online is nothing new but I was surprise to see some people still pay the advertised price each time they purchase a domain name from GoDaddy.

Now this doesn’t stop at GoDaddy, you can get a discount for almost anything – all you have to do is search for it.

Submitted My 2006 Income Tax Form Via e-Filing

June 29, 2007 by · 9 Comments 

I’ve told myself not to wait until the very last minute before I file my B income tax form. Unfortunately that’s exactly what had happened. Well, I did the accounting stuff a week earlier but only submitted my income tax form today. Lucky for me, we have e-Filing to help me do this quickly over the Internet. This was my second time using this service.

While I’ve noticed some marked improvements in the service (it’s working for a start), there are a few things that they could have done to improve the service further.

Since e-Filing is only compatible with Internet Explorer 5.0 (IE) and above, I had to switch to IE for that purpose. By default, IE 7.0 that comes with Vista is actually more much secure than Firefox when it’s run on Vista because it’s running on a Protected Mode.

Protected Mode is another name for low rights that blocks access to all but temporary files folder. It protects users from attack by running an IE process with reduced privileges. While it’s not a complete security sandbox, it significantly reduces the ability of an attacker to write, alter or destroy your data.

Trying to submit my income tax form using IE on Vista was initially a little frustrating. I was unable to download the digital certificate that would let me log into the system even after trying several options. When I managed to download it, it didn’t install properly.

I was sure I wasn’t the only one who was screaming at my computer screen at that moment.

Then later I noticed a link for Vista users on that page. It turned out – as usual – I needed to select IE and “Run as administrator”. I should have thought of that earlier.

Anyway, the least they should do is to place the link in the middle of the page to make it more visible.

I’ve noticed that their FAQ is recommending a practice which could potentially compromise your computer’s security. In particular, they recommend enabling the ‘Automatic prompting for ActiveX controls’

 

faqactivex.JPG

 

This will prevent the Information Bar from being displayed for all websites and allow all those websites to automatically prompt you when downloading an ActiveX controls.

 

iebar.JPG

 

ActiveX controls are executable programs that add functions/features to your browsers but they can also be used to attack your computer. Allowing any website to run them by default will make IE less secure and most users aren’t aware of this.

Instead of recommending the above, LHDN should have advised their users to add the LHDN website to the users’ “Trusted Zone”, and set the security privileges of the Trusted Zone accordingly.

Completing the form was the least of my problem. Certain calculations were done automatically for me and the form only shows sections that apply to me which was good.

Talking about the online form, I think it’ll be helpful if they could include the sections alphabet to assist those referring to the guidebook and explanatory notes.

When it comes to sending my payment, LHDN offers two online options, namely their own e-Bayaran and Internet banking via CIMB and PBB.

The reason why I wanted to pay online was because I didn’t want to drive 60KM to the nearest bank just to pay over the counter.

I tried e-Bayaran a couple of times, but it didn’t work. Calling their Customer Service Center wasn’t of much help except that they advised me to visit the nearest bank to pay it manually. If I did that, what’s the point of creating e-Bayaran if you can’t even use it?

E-Bayaran was crawlingly slow, probably because everyone was paying their tax at the last minutes.

The second option was to use my online banking service. That should be easier I thought but then just before I submitted the form, it asked for something called ‘No. Taksiran’.

I know that’s not my Tax reference number. The info was no way to be found in my Form B. So I contacted their Customer Service Center again and I was greeted with a voice message that said they were “VERY” busy at the moment. Not just busy mind you, and it asked me to call back later.

I called my bank to ask them what I should put in there but they had no idea what it is. Then I called the local LHDN branch, they left the phone rang for a minute or two and they just disconnected it. That happened three times I think. Thanks LHDN Keningau.

Later, I called the Customer Service Center again and finally managed to talk to a staff who told me the No Taksiran was ‘095′. Unless I’ve missed it, it’s not even mentioned in their guidebook.

Anyway, the LHDN website could use some re-organizing. They should forgo the flash animation as it doesn’t make the users’ experience any better. All the page elements seem to compete with each other for attention and are causing users a headache – at least that what I think.

They should also redo the navigation scheme and prioritized the content based on the average users needs. Also some of their instructions like the one that shows you how to install your security certificate is unhelpfully brief. I know users could still follow it but they should at least include the appropiate screenshots.

 

arahan.gif

 

A search facility placed on the main page should help users locate information quickly too.

Despite those complaints, at least e-Filing works (besides the nagging but non fatal javascript error). I didn’t experience any slowdown while filling up my tax form considering that I was doing it at the last minutes. I came across an amusing post from Kay about his experience when using the e-filing system.

I hope they will do things better next year and really live up to their motto “Easy, Accurate & Safe”.

ClickHeat – A Free Crazy Egg Alternative

June 21, 2007 by · 2 Comments 

Yesterday I wrote about Crazy Egg, a click tracking tool that could help you analyse your visitors click behaviour.

Today I came across another tool called ClickHeat that could do the same for free. ClickHeat is a free PHP script that creates a visual heatmap of clicks on any web page you specify. The script can be hosted and run from your own server to allow tracking of unlimited number of clicks.

You can use it to track clicks on as many domains or web pages as you like. You can even host the script on one domain and allow your other domains to access it from there instead of having to install it on each domain.

clickheat-screenshot.png

While the interface is not as flashy as Crazy Egg, it’ll get the job that if all you wanted is to track users’ click. Unlike Crazy Egg which offers four methods to analyse your clicks, ClickHeat uses the heatmap mode only.

The reporting is rather basic, as it doesn’t break down the clicks by elements or traffic sources which could offer better insight into users’ behaviour and preferences. However, I like the fact that you can view click report on any date you specify.

If the 5000 clicks per month offered by the free Crazy Egg version aren’t enough, you might want to give ClickHeat a try. There’s a demo available on the site if you want to test drive the features.

Track & Analyse Visitors Clicks On Your Blog With Crazy Egg

June 20, 2007 by · 6 Comments 

Crazy Egg is a nifty tool that could help you analyse your visitors’ behaviour and find out how they interact with your website elements and content.

Unlike other tracking tools such as Google Analytics or Site Meter which track traffic trends and behaviour, Crazy Egg maps every time a visitor clicks on whatever elements you have on your site. This should give you a clear picture of not only where your visitors are on your site but what they are clicking on.

You can test different versions of a page to see which works better. Armed with this information, you can better identify the best placement for your AdSense ads or utilise the design that could improve your pages conversion rates.

Crazy Egg offers four methods to analyse your clicks:

Overlay Mode

It shows coloured buttons with a plus sign. These buttons are overlaid on your page and appear next to each clickable element on your page. The click frequency determines the colour of the button; red is high, green is medium and blue is low.

You can obtain extra information such as the number of clicks and the percentage this represents of total clicks on that page. In addition, you can find out the origin of the traffic that clicked on a particular element.

overlay.gif

 

 

List Mode

List Mode displays the click frequency each element received in descending order. The data can be exported in CSV format for further analysis.

listmode.gif

 

Heatmap Mode

This is my favourite mode that displays the clicks using a heatmap display. Most clicked elements are represented by the brightest areas.

heatmap.jpg

 

Confetti

The Confetti mode allows you to identify the elements that are clicked the most by visitors sent by your top referrers. As shown below, Sabahan.com direct traffic which is likely to be return visitors, use the search box the most

confetti.gif

 

It’s nice if Crazy Egg can be used to track the click paths that lead to a conversion. As far as I can see this feature is not yet available.

You can get a free account that will track up to 5,000 clicks per month. Paid users are able to analyse other areas on their pages where visitors are clicking that aren’t clickable links .

I ran Crazy Egg for a week to test Sabahan.com main page. I noticed that it didn’t track the number of visitors very accurately (but keep in mind that it’s tracking a single page in case the low visitor count makes you wonder). In addition it fails to recognise how many submitted their search queries by pressing the enter key. Flash ad clicks tracking seem to be problematic as well.

Small gripes aside, Crazy Egg offers another dimension in tracking users’ behaviour that proves to be quite insightful. Such information can be useful when you are trying to convince potential advertisers that your page is worth their money.

Find Out The Most Popular Posts In Your Blog With Blogstorm

June 11, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

A new service called Blogstorm was launched recently to help bloggers track the number of links each post has from other sites.

It monitors your RSS feed daily and offer free statistics so you can see which of your posts are popular.

The service is still in beta and as everything beta, this tool isn’t perfect. It uses Yahoo! Explorer to obtain the number of links. Because of this, all links including those from spam blogs and advertisement are counted. This has a direct effect of artificially inflating the number of links a post has.

To use this service, you’ll need to upload a PHP file into your server and obtain Yahoo! API by login into your Yahoo! account. It’s fairly straight forward steps to follow but if your blog hosting does not allow manually uploading of PHP files, you are out of luck.

But regardless of those gripes, this service is worth checking because of the useful information it could provide. You can find Sabahan.com stats here.

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