Steve Smith, host of your TQA Weekly, discusses the topics of advertising, piracy, search engine results, information presentation and storage.
Episode #2-36 released on June 3, 2012
Today, I want to talk about several topics that affect my web-site, and other web-sites, and solutions you may want to deploy yourselves, or as I call them, experiments.
Now, let's talk about the way we present information on a web-site. Today, we can use RSS feeds to allow our users to subscribe to our content, and in this same way, make it easier to post our content to our own web-site. This page content, rss feeds and other sources of information can live in a number of ways in our web-sites. We can deploy flat file databases, or databases like MySQL. Now, flat file databases are incredibly unsafe, and usually require that the file be writable to someone who is not necessarily the root administrator. Databases like MySQL, also, have an incredible flaw that I've be looking at. All the information required to access these files exist in any file that can access them, including, but not limited to, RSS feeds, CSS files, HTML, PHP, etc... Now, this is only a problem if you have user account information in a non-hash and salted form that can be made accessible to the user, and only if the user can view the original source code before the server manipulates the file, per the instruction set defined. So, it is only a problem, if the user has access to the raw files.
Now, what about advertising schemes on web-sites. This is an issue I am constantly looking at. On one hand, we all hate advertisements, but on the other, they pay my hosting, equipment, etc... So finding a balance is important. I will pick and choose who gets to advertise on my web-sites, or the how the advertisements are placed. Another solution is to use a subscription scheme that would allow everyone to benefit of the content, and allow others to pay for the convenience of having no advertisements. I'm wondering what you think about this option? Would you pay $5 a month if you had access, advertisement-free, to content on a web-page you already have access to?
This brings me to another interesting issue, piracy. I won't talk about movies, and music from Hollywood, we are all tired of that. I'm talking about content on web-pages. Search engines, and software scraping and modifying the look of our content, or removing page advertisements is a form of advertisement that actually hurts the content provider. We are paid by our advertisers, so to have people blocking it, means we have less funds. This is a game of cat and mouse. And the reason why I am willing to offer an advertisement-free option for a small fee. And there are ways of blocking computers, using advertisement blocking software. What do you think of this? Do you believe that using advertisement blocking software is piracy? And, if you can use a do not track me option, and leave the advertisement in place, would you consider not using an advertisement blocker?
And the last topic of the day, search engines, and search results. Go to my web-site, and currently we may be still using the Google Search Engine to search our web-site. This is a really neat service, but we aren't paid for the advertisement placements. Now, even in the face of mighty search engines, I've been hard at work making a database for the last 2 weeks that contains all the content of all my shows, and this search engine will be more precise. All companies have a spin on their search engines, we all place Easter eggs, and we all add features special to our feeds. My search engine will allow users to subscribe to future matching results. This simply means that you will be able to access our newer episodes that interest you automatically anytime in the future that we put out an episode matching your result. Does this creep you out or do you find this to be a cool idea for podcasts?
As an Easter egg treat, I will be publishing the code I'm using to create the RSS feeds from MySQL, the search engine, and user access module when they are completed.
Next week, for anyone who has ever wanted to search a web-site that did not have its own search feature, I will be explaining how to search your favourite web-site, provided it can be indexed. And, as a treat I will be including the form code required to use Google as your search option on your own web-sites.
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Host : Steve Smith | Music : Jonny Lee Hart | Editor : Steve Smith | Producer : Zed Axis Productions