The best way to stop Click Fraud - Don't do it

Saturday, May 17, 2008

When I was hearing about Google Adsense program, I learned about Click fraud (for those of you who don't know what's Click fraud, its a trick employed by an Adsense publisher by clicking ads placed on on their site through illegitimate means to earn more money through PPC) which is becoming a serious problem threatening to nullify the purpose of Adsense program, straining the relationship between Online search firms and advertisers and of course resulting in loss of money for advertisers using ethical means to promote their product.

Though I find many solutions and measures employed to prevent click fraud activities, I am convinced that unless people change, the problem is bound to go out of control.

Here are top reasons why one should not indulge in such unethical activities, though I hate advising, but its my responsibility to share this, I believe this and it will work for me, hope you too will.

1. You can make money without doing evil

Yes its one of Google's philosophy, but its applicable for all individuals as well, the stronger our ethics are, the more we can earn and what better example we need other than Google's proven success in making money without doing evil, therefore we should also strongly believe that we can earn in Adsense without doing evil and it will work.

2. Focus on the user and all else will follow

Another important success strategy employed so effectively by Google, we should focus more on adding value to the end users who spend their valuable time in our blog or our site's content, the greater the end user focus is, the more it will reflect on the results, we should therefore strive to create long lasting impression on users so that they remember and revisit our web for what they got from it, the rest will take care of itself by other means like more hits, word of mouth spread, ranking, etc which will greatly aid in making our web popular and ultimately we will get the expected results.

3. Be Loyal to the one who wants you to make money using Adsense

Adsense is a win-win-win program for publishers, advertisers and the search firm, the reason why search firms encourage us to use Adsense is that they expect our site to be a part of their advertising drive by having useful contents for visitors, and by misusing Adsense, we are disloyal to Google and indirectly contribute to their strained relationship with the affected advertisers and this is not the way to treat someone who have given the world a great search engine, GMail, blogger, Picasa and other exciting stuff for free,its something similar to being disloyal to our employers.

4. Don't contribute to the Death of Adsense

Adsense is a creative idea to expand advertising business with the belief that the more it spreads, the more it will do good for advertisers, search firm's business and the publishers, but by employing illegal practices to earn through Adsense, one tries to maximize their profit without doing any value add to other parties, which is unacceptable in a business and the more unproductive Adsense will be due to such practices, it will slowly sound a death knell to the program one day, which nobody including those responsible for that will appreciate, also it will prevent corporates in future to come up with such productive ideas due to the risks involved in it.

5. Last but not the least put yourself in the shoes of Advertisers

I am sure the pain of Adsense loss can be realized only when one runs an online business, advertising and finding new customers, as with every harmful activity people commit, the consequences won't be realized unless they become victims, but if one spares a thought for the advertisers and search firm's woes before commiting such activities and truly realize what effects it will have in the long run and take a smart decision, Click fraud will have its end of the roads soon.

Just to have some statistics, its been predicted that Click fraud contributes to $1 Billion yearly loss globally, nearly 16% of the advertisers are expressing this as a major concern and click fraud activities keeps raising 15% every year, the faster the figure raises, the sooner it will be the curtains for Adsense program I am sure that its not Adsense which should be a history in future, but the Click fraud.

Hopefully if these suggestions help somebody to think, then its worth it.

Changing the title of blogger posts

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Today I was learning some search engine optimization techniques which will be useful for improving the page rank of a site, where I came to know the importance of having relevant title for the page contents.

Since in Blogger the blog's title and individual post's title are appended when displaying a specific entry, I thought it's an area which can be customized by having only the title corresponding to the blog item being displayed, as with any lazy user looking for a quick fix, I was googling for the solution, though I found a very useful one, unfortunately it didn't work (but got a chance to see how bloggers were looking for that solution so badly :)).

After some hours of futile effort when I was about to defer the solution to the next day, I logged into blogger for posting some entry when I saw an useful tip at the home page.

"Layouts now has a blog.pageName datum that gives the name of the current page without the “[Blog Name]: ” prefix that blog.pageTitle adds."

The solution then was very simple, all you need to do is replace the below line in the Layout template.



<b:if cond='data:blog.pageType == "item"'>

Problem solved :)

The lesson learned: Always look for simple, yet powerful tips whenever you invoke a Software or from home page information after login rather than skipping those at the first sight. Most tools when invoked will display a 'Tip of the day' which is ignored by most of the users, had I applied it to Blogger, some 3 - 4 hours would have been saved.

Deleting a file which has owner nobody in Solaris

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Yesterday when I was creating a new file from a remote system in an NFS mount directory and somehow tried to delete it, but I couldn't because the file owner name was nobody, as obvious even changing permissions didn't had any effect, I was puzzled for a moment to see the owner nobody, I was using Solaris 10 (but not much as I have seen noaccess user account before).

Then I realized that the only way I could delete the file is to login as nobody (from any remote system with root access using su - nobody) and could delete the file created in the NFS directory.

Since I was new to this nobody user concept in Solaris, after some research I came to know that NFS server creates a file name with owner nobody if someone logins from different machine as root and root access from that box is not allowed (otherwise you can delete or modify any files in NFS with just a root access from any box).

Coming to the topic of deleting files with owner nobody, in my understanding the only way to delete a file with nobody is to login as nobody from any box where you have root access and remove it, since it solved my case I didn't want to explore it any further until some need arises in the form of a new problem :)

Coding it right the first time

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Has anybody consistently succeeded in writing code (say a simple one) and compiled it successfully without any errors or warnings in the first attempt?

Has anybody consistently got the expected output the first time the code was executed handling all possible inputs?

If the answer to the above questions are No, has anybody consistently strived to achieve the above results?

As I always hear, 80% of the time is spent maintaining code in the bigger picture compared to actual coding itself, but again its due to the fact that the fundamentals of writing code and the best practices are ignored most of the times.

The problem is not that the coders are bad, but the demands and expectations in S/W Industry has taken its toll on the programmers these days, the cost of missing the deadline being a primary factor why timely delivery takes high priority than the quality of the product, however its not an excuse for poorly designed code.

From my experience the frustration and anguish I got after discovering some hard to catch bugs in my code makes me ask the embarassing question
to myself "How the hell I could have missed that?".

Therefore lesson learnt is there should be a stringent methodology which I should adopt before implementing any solution, although every individual have their own coding style, but its always worth doing 'n' number of iterations in design, writing test cases and pseudo code which would lead to very few rounds of bug fixing, easing code maintenence. The following simple steps proved highly effective for me before coding and execution.

1. Come up with a comprehensive list of test cases from the end user's perspective.
2. Write pseudo code and ensure it covers all the tests you have come up.
3. If the pseudo code needs a change to pass a test, modify the code and iterate once again from the first case (In long term this would payoff during regression).
4. Finally decide to compile and execute the code (try to get the first and best impression from the compiler :)), it really will make a huge difference.

Once you come up with your own technique or adopt some best practices before you start the actual implementation, its highly likely that you will not be changing the code adding more if's and else's, deleting and commenting code fragments, moving part of code from top to bottom, etc, in the name of fixing bugs :).

The moral, we should ALWAYS try to get it right at the first attempt.

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