Friday, November 24, 2006

StumbleUpon for fun and profit - Part 3: Analysis

In my previews two posts about my run-in with StumbleUpon, I talked mainly about the number of visitors that ended up going to one of my sites.

I concentrated on the numbers of visitors as, according to the monetization (sic) community anyway, its all about visitors; the more you have the more money you get. Unfortunately for me, it turns out that this was the exact opposite. Instead of making a few extra dollars for a couple of days during the peak in traffic, I actually experienced a drop in click throughs for the next month!

To me that sounds kinda counter-intuitive. Lets take a look at the graphs:

The top graph is the real number of click throughs a day (not the percentage!), and the lower graph is impressions across all of my sites that run Adsense ads. The thick line is the line of best fit (showing a nice steady increase in traffic and money!).

As can be clearly seen, around about the 22nd September the StumbleUpon traffic arrived for one of my sites. It died away again really quickly (see the full write up about the traffic profile here: StumbleUpon for fun and profit - Part 2: Results).

But what is really curious here is the uncharacteristic drop in click throughs for the following month across all my sites. As you can see, click throughs are way below the trend up to ... are you waiting for this ... the 22nd October, i.e. exactly a month after the StumbleUpon traffic!

Does Google check referrers?

So this lead me to thinking - is Google checking the referrers before it decides which adverts to display for my pages. Maybe if it detects a lot of "low quality" traffic from sites like Reddit, Digg, StumbleUpon etc it puts your account on a black list, and then puts up some uninteresting, low paying adverts that no one is interested in to protect its advertiser's budgets?

That seems a bit far fetched maybe, perhaps it is the case that Google simply monitors the number of impressions and, upon detecting suspicious activity such as a huge spike, sends out the uninteresting, low paying adverts as above?

Whatever happened, exactly one month later my click throughs were back up to a healthy level. Unfortunately I didn't notice this happening at the time otherwise I might have disabled my adblockers and had a look at what adverts were actually showing - hopefully next time I'll catch it in time!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Why I wont buy another iPod

I've had a first gen 2gb iPod nano for just over a year now ... yes I was one of those people who was sold the moment they saw one, although to be fair I was looking at buying a new mp3 player anyway so it wasn't a total impulse buy.

Anyway, about 1 year later I think its time to upgrade to a higher capacity device. But will I get a new iPod? The simple answer is a "no". Here is why:

  1. iTunes. I'm not talking about the shop (I've always used AllOfMP3!), I am just talking about the software. Its the biggest heap of shit I've ever used. It is slow, bloated, buggy and most of all its crap at its main purpose of loading music onto the iPod! For example imagine you had 100 albums you want to copy to your iPod, but only space for 50; does iTunes copy over the first 50 complete albums? No that would be too sensible - instead it copies over a random selection of tracks from all 100 albums...why?!!?!!
  2. It is no longer "cool"...I'd be tempted to say that it was "cool" only for about 6 months before people actually knew what it was, but that is perhaps another story...
  3. Despite everyone ranting about how well designed these things are, you cant unplug the data-cable without having to unplug the headphones first because they put the plugs too close together.
  4. The data cable shell breaks after a few uses.
  5. The Hold-Play-To-Turn-Off implementation is irritating; it sometimes takes several attempts to turn the damn thing off.
  6. The so-called gapless playback is pretty random. An album will be gapless one day, but not another?
  7. The latest firmware has changed how the device works when skipping tracks. Now it seems that to rewind a track I need to press the back key 3 times, even if I am only one or two seconds into the track: once to "wake" the iPod up, second to rewind the track, and third to actually go back. I am convinced that this never used to be the case - now it just feels like its not responding or broken or something when trying to go back a track.
  8. Its really fragile and prone to scrapes and dents and all sorts of injuries despite living in a case all the time.
So there we go. Rant over. Basically I have been pretty disappointed with it all, particularly the software. If they were hoping the iPod would drive mac sales then they should have spent a lot more time working on iTunes because at the moment it just leaves a bad taste as it were.

What will I get instead? No idea to be honest - the zune is looking interesting. Maybe I will get one of those if it can update its music wirelessly (i.e. not just sharing tracks with others wirelessly).