Monthly Archives :

August 2012

CodeIgniter Framework – Based Daily Deal/Groupon Clone Aggregator Script

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Note: Due to the age of this post as well as the evolution of the Groupon clone/aggregator system, RJH Solutions will no longer offer support for these systems. The “writing on the wall” was seen when Groupon’s CEO was fired early 2013. In the meantime, please continue browsing the rest of the site. -Rafi

In the past I wrote about Groupon Clones and reviews. Well, the hype on that seems to have cooled off, and now people are wondering what to do next. Well, there are are always Daily Deal Aggregator scripts.

Of the many Groupon Clone websites that launched, while not many lasted beyond 3-6 months, the number remaining still is a nice number. Also, daily deal sites still are looking for exposure on various other sites. Until the market is dominated by 1-2 Daily Deal sites, people will wonder how to get the best deal on which site covering a niche they like. Enter Daily Deal Aggregator websites.

From a business perspective, it makes a lot of sense. Host all niche Daily Deal websites and earn a small percentage from each sale. A nice amount of money can be made from this business without the headache of running a single deal.

Sounds tempting? Want in? Okay, I can tell you’re hungry. That’s good, right? Well, RJH Solutions has partnered with Extanet to provide you one of the most modular, user-friendly daily deal scripts around. Built in CodeIgniter, this script can be extended to include whatever your heart desires – all within reason of course.

Contact us today for a free quote on not only the script, but to setup.

A demo is currently pending and we will update you on when it is available.

How to Publish a Kindle eBook

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So, you’ve written a book?  Congratulations.  Whether it’s the work of years or simply your latest entry, it was almost certainly a difficult and demanding project that it would be great to get some recognition for.  Sure, you can go through the traditional routes and send out your manuscript to the publishing houses in hopes that you get a bite, but should you be looking for another route, whether due to rejection, disinterest, or simple distaste for involving yourself with those companies, Amazon’s DTP(Digital Publishing Platform) for the Kindle might be right for you.  Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Create an Account

One of the advantages to going with the Kindle for your digital platform is that any Amazon.com account should basically be good for this already.  Simply head to the DTP Log-in screen and enter your usual information.  If this is your first time playing with the DTP service, you’ll be asked for some basic publishing-specific settings such as tax information and preferred payment method.  It’s pretty straightforward and you should have little trouble.

Step 2: Format your eBook

Presumably you’ve already taken the time to do any sort of content editing you’d like to do.  Dwelling on the details of that would turn this post into a book of its own, as I’m sure you’re aware.  What is important, however, is making sure you’re setting things up properly to be accessible on the Kindle platform.  The supported file formats at the moment are:

Unencrypted Mobipocket(.mobi and .prc)

This is pretty much the ideal, if you can do it, since it is the format that the Kindle-specific file format is derived from.

Unzipped EPUB

These should actually make the conversion very cleanly in most cases.  It is basically the current generation of the old Mobipocket format(yes, I know I’m oversimplifying) and can be brought back to that earlier iteration in eBook formatting pretty easily.  If you’re hoping to get your book set up for more than just the Kindle, you’ll likely be using this format anyway, at some point.

Plain Text

Obviously not much you can do wrong in this one, though it is a bit limiting.

Microsoft Word .doc File

Definitely usable, but with some complications.  Avoid anything like headers or footers.  No page numbers(remember that the Kindle reflows the text to respond to size adjustments and such).  For the same reason, don’t bother playing with Margins or anything.  Also, for whatever reason, Amazon recommends you add in images using the “Insert” command rather than copy/paste for best results.  Something to keep in mind.

*IMPORTANT* Don’t mistake this for the new .docx file format.  That is a different and wholly incompatible thing.

Adobe PDF

This is the poorest option, by all accounts, but it will still work after a fashion.  There is simply too little formatting information in your average PDF to hope to get much of anything besides the bare text and most minimal formatting out of Amazon’s conversion process.  You might actually be better off finding a third party utility to break down your PDF into something that can be played with in MS Word or a similar program that can be converted into a more useful format.

Zipped HTML

There are a number of specific things to be aware of in using an HTML document for your Kindle book.  While this is the most finely controllable method for formatting your book, by most accounts, it is also complicated and requires great attention to detail.  In most cases, until and unless you have extensive experience using this sort of an eBook format, you might be better off using something else.

To be honest, speaking from personal experience, the best thing you can do to get something ready for publication is to take what you have finished, convert it to either .mobi or HTML, and send it to your Kindle to see how it works.  Flipping through on the device itself will save you a world of trouble in case something goes wrong.

Step 3: Upload Your Book

They’ve made this part really simple.  Assuming you are still logged into the DTP system, you will see a button that says “Add a New Title”.  Click on it and enter all the information it asks for.  You’ll need to provide not only your book file and a description of the work to sell it with, but also any important publication data, an assurance that you have a right to publish the book, a decision about whether or not to enable DRM, and a cover/product image.  The product image is important, since it is what will appear on the product page in the Kindle store.

You will then be prompted for information on countries where you hold the rights to your work, and to select a pricing/royalty option.  You can choose from either 35% royalties, in which case you get to set your price in stone, or 70% royalties, which means that Amazon has a lot more say over how much your book is going to be costing if they decide they need to price match or anything like that and that they deduct a small delivery fee based on file size for each sale.  Either way, you set your price(s) in the little box below that area and you’re done.

Step 4: Promote it

Let’s face it, getting the book on the Kindle marketplace is the easiest part of things.  The hard part, aside from the writing itself, comes next!  Now you’ve got to spread the word.  Many recent authors have had luck with creating a public presence for themselves through creative use of blogging, web promotion, and plain old word of mouth.  Whichever method you choose, you’ve got a good start going already.  Good luck!

Read more: http://blogkindle.com/2010/11/how-to-publish-a-kindle-ebook/

November 23rd, 2010 by matthew

11 Reasons You Didn’t Get the Job

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Here Are the REAL Reasons You Didn’t Get Hired
By 

Sometimes It’s Not Them — It’s You

We all have friends (or maybe YOU are the friend and just don’t realize it) who have been job-hunting for what seems like an eternity. They look through the help wanted ads, scour job boards and go on their fair share of interviews, each time thinking they “nailed it.” But their optimism is soon broken by the hammer blow of rejection, and they’re still unemployed.

Which begs the question, why?

There are a thousand different potential reasons. Some are valid, others arbitrary. But even though employers will likely never reveal the true reasons behind their hiring decisions, we’re giving you our list (in no particular order) of the most likely reasons you didn’t make the cut.

11. Arriving Too Early/Too Late

The people interviewing you are busy. Even if they aren’t, you should assume they are. And the very first impression you can make — even before they see you — is to judge you based upon what time you arrive.

We shouldn’t have to explain why being late to an interview is a bad thing. Obviously, if you’re trying to impress somebody, making them wait at the outset is not the smartest idea. Even if you have a good excuse, the only thing some hiring managers will remember is you were the candidate who was late.

But what some people don’t realize is while showing up 5-10 minutes early is what you should aim for, getting there too far ahead of schedule can be viewed as equally disrespectful of someone’s time. Even if they leave you sitting in the lobby, now they feel rushed to finish up what they’re doing and tend to you. If you get there half an hour early, wait in the parking lot and go over your notes for a while.

10. Looking Like a Slob

In the hours (and maybe days) before a first date, men and women spend an inordinate amount of time picking an outfit, doing their hair and caring immensely about how they look. And just like a first date, looks matter in a job interview as well.

Dress professionally. Iron your clothes, run a comb through your hair and make yourself presentable. Zip up your zippers, button your blouses and wipe the crumbs off your shirt. If you have pets, make sure you pack a lint brush and give yourself a once-over before the interview. Are looks the most important thing? Certainly not. But that saying about first impressions is definitely true, so try to make the best one possible.

If it comes down to two candidates with equal work experience, skills and education, make sure you’re doing your best to win all the tiebreakers.

9. Bad-mouthing Former Employers

Your old boss was a jerk and your former company treated you like garbage. You gave them years of your life and they rewarded you by unceremoniously giving you the axe just before bonus-time and days prior to being fully vested in your 401k. They’re horrible, we get it.

But even though all of that might be true, we recommend keeping it to yourself.

When your interviewer asks you why you left just bite your tongue and say something along the lines of “I’m grateful for all the opportunities I had there but in the end I wanted to work for a company with more opportunities in line with my career goals.” Besides, bad-mouthing your former employer to your potential future employer just isn’t a very intelligent tactic. Take the high road and show them you’re a class act instead of a mudslinger.

8. Your Resume/Cover Letter Stinks

Your resume will determine whether you’re even worthy of a job interview. So if it isn’t up to snuff, you won’t even sniff the dream job you’re trying to get.

Start basic: is everything spelled correctly? This should be common sense, but hiring managers have recycling bins full of resumes from people who claim to be “intellegent” but obviously can’t tell the difference between “there,” “their” and “they’re.” And while you don’t necessarily have to keep your resume to one page, it generally shouldn’t be more than two. Keep all the relevant job experience and nix the stuff that is outdated and useless.

Furthermore, make sure your cover letter is specifically tailored to the company to which you’re applying. You’re probably up against dozens — if not hundreds — of other jobseekers, so a generic form letter isn’t the best way to set yourself apart.

Your resume should speak for you. If you’ve carelessly thrown it together without proofreading it, then it is all but shouting that you don’t deserve the job.

7. You’re Not the Right Cultural Fit

Experience and skills are important, but so is chemistry.

If you’re someone who craves structure and a formal work environment, that funky start-up you applied to might not be the best fit. Sure you have all the qualifications, but if your personal style didn’t resonate with the hiring manager then you might lose out to someone with fewer skills but the right attitude.

A collection of superstars on a sports team might self-destruct despite being the most talented group on the field, and the same goes with business. That’s why it’s important to research the company beforehand so you have an idea of what to expect prior to the interview. Skills can be taught and expertise gained, but personality styles are usually set in stone. If yours doesn’t match, that’s probably why you didn’t hear back.

6. Not Sending a “Thank You” Note

Yes it’s old-fashioned, but good manners never go out of style.

Even if it’s not as popular as it once was, following up a job interview with a thank you note is always a good idea. A handwritten note with personalized stationery not only shows you’re courteous, but that you’re taking your job search seriously. And if you’re competing against similarly skilled and experienced candidates, a gesture such as a thank you note might just be the thing to put you over the top when decisions need to be made.

Not acknowledging your interviewer’s time with a quick “thank you” is inexcusable. Even if it’s just an email instead of a handwritten note, something is better than nothing.

5. Being Discourteous

When you have a job interview, it’s more than just the people with whom you’re interviewing that you need to impress.

Many employers will seek out opinions about you from anyone with whom you had contact while visiting. Were you dismissive of the receptionist? Did you come across as a little snarky to one of the people you met in passing? If so, it could be your undoing.

To avoid this trap, be overly polite to everyone you meet from the CEO to the janitor. If you’re equally respectful and show everyone the same amount of courtesy, you can’t go wrong.

4. Not Reading the Job Listing Carefully

How many times have you seen a job listing online, applied for it, and never heard anything back? If so, it might be because you didn’t read the listing carefully.

Hiring managers know who they want and what skills they need. Although many companies are willing to train in certain areas, other positions require specific knowledge needed to hit the ground running. So when you’re reading the listing and see “MUST BE AN EXPERT IN EXCEL!” written as such, you’d better truly be an expert if you apply. Because if you do get a call back and for a phone or in-person interview and you don’t know the first thing about Excel, you’ve not only wasted everyone’s time but also ensured you won’t be considered for future job openings at that company. And possibly others depending on how connected and influential the hiring manager is.

3. You Botched the Salary Issue

“How much money does this job pay?” is almost always the most important question to any jobseeker. But it’s also the subject that can potentially disqualify you from the running the fastest.

If the very first question you ask is about pay, you could be in trouble. Namely because it shows your potential employer all you care about is the money. You’ll be in a much more advantageous position if you put off asking the question until they show genuine interest in hiring you, or make you an offer. Sometimes hiring managers want to know what you’re currently making or what your salary requirements are. If you can, avoid this trap because you could end up either lowballing yourself or pricing yourself right out of the job if your demands are too high.

Use our Salary Wizard to find out how much the job pays in advance, so when you do talk salary you’re prepared and ready to negotiate.

2. You’re Just a Bad Interviewer

Sometimes it comes down to the simple fact that they didn’t like you.

Some people are born to work a room, while others are inherently uncomfortable under pressure. So if you spent your job interview fidgeting in your seat, sweating profusely, tapping your foot or twiddling your thumbs, you didn’t do yourself any favors. Skills and experience are great, but at the end of the day people generally hire people they like. A candidate who was conversational, friendly and easygoing is more apt to get the job compared to a nervous person ill at ease the entire time.

While being cognizant of your body language and memorizing some responses to classic interview questions seems like a good idea, just be wary. An experienced hiring manager can spot canned answers a mile away, and all that research could end up hurting you.

1. You Didn’t Ask Any Questions

Obviously, job interviews exist so companies can learn more about you and decide whether or not they want to hire you. But make no mistake, you’re also interviewing them.

If hired, you’re going to spend a minimum of 40 hours a week at this place. Probably more. Would you buy a car without test driving it? Would you purchase a new home sight unseen? No, of course not. So why wouldn’t you ask pertinent questions of your interviewer? Believe me, they’re not only hoping you will, most of them are expecting it. And if you don’t, it could raise some serious red flags.

Ask about the company’s organizational philosophy in relation to your own. Find out what the atmosphere and dress code is like. Or, better yet, do some advance research. See what a Google search turns up about the company and ask some relevant questions. Not only does it prove you’re inquisitive and involved, it shows them you’ve done your homework about the company.

Recommended Reading

We hope you enjoyed this article. As an added bonus, the Salary.com editorial staff has compiled a recommended reading list regarding this topic. Enjoy:

 

Why Are Constant Disturbances At Work So Mainstream?

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Constant disturbances are very commonplace where there is more than one manager and there’s no communication between one and the other. The same goes with employees that talk a lot without getting a whole lot done.

This however is a big problem, since how does someone with tight deadlines requiring 100% concentration, as well as employees to train, answer questions “on the spot?” If anything, that’s non-productive as less work ends up getting done. This becomes frustrating for everybody.

I firmly believe that the source of these disturbances is in employees not being busy enough. This especially applies to insensitive interns and junior level employees who don’t care but think that you’re so smart that you can afford to waste time and that their time is more important. Sorry, that’s not living in reality, sweetie.

In a way, I can relate as I was once struggling in a work-atmosphere similar to that. When I started a job at a certain Internet Marketing company in Richmond Hill, I initially impressed everyone with my ability to learn quickly on instruction. However, when it came to learning a certain website framework, I became stuck and started asking questions, an apparent taboo there. My trainer, who was rather overworked himself, got wind of this and eventually chastised me, calmly, about not being able to continue figuring things out on my own. This frustration mounted further when I was literally thrown into a particularly overwhelming project that heavily involved this framework. I was so poorly trained that I literally felt worthless. This led me to job-hunt once again and leave that company after a very short period of time. The owner couldn’t believe it, said I was something else, and that he saw this coming a mile away. Believe me, I “get it” as I was once one of those disturbances.

How to Reduce Disturbances At Work

So, I guess I’m getting what I deserve in many ways. However, this also wizened me up. Here’s what should be done:

  1. Set aside special times to train an employee each day, for a half-hour-to-an-hour time at the very least. The time invested will be worthwhile in the long run.
  2. Notify the employer(s) about this time and that all emergencies need to get pushed off until after the training session has ended.
  3. Be clear and firm with the employee(s) that all questions that they have, long after the session has ended, need to be written down and brought up during the next session. Calling out “help I cannot do this” is unproductive for both the trainer during his production hours, and the trainee.
  4. For mainstream (not proprietary) products and frameworks, Google is your best friend. If Google doesn’t have what you’re looking for and your product is under support, then technical/customer support is your next option. Those are places where I usually go when in doubt, so there’s no reason you cannot do it yourself. However, again, with proprietary, do #3.

Pinterest Clone Scripts Reviews

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Pinterest is one of the hottest social neworking sites today. Some people are looking to create their own niche Pinterest sites as there’s marketing value to keeping everything under one theme.

It makes perfect marketing sense: If you attract a large user base you can market “likeable” material.

Here are some Pinterest clone script reviews that might lead you into the right direction in terms of what to purchase.

Joomla! Social Pinboard by Apptha (Contus)

Contus, now Apptha, has come out with another clone built on an existing platform – Joomla! Being a big fan of scripts built on an existing platform, this has caught my eye.

Overall, the script looks solid with a ton of new features.

Pros

  • Solid, robust back-end.
  • Fluid interface.
  • iPhone and Android Apps at an additional price.

Cons

  • Session times are too short
  • No Admin demo in back-end
  • Contus is known to use spaghetti-code methodology that nonetheless “works.”

Price: $249

Rating: 3/5

Drupal PinBoard Theme by ThemeSnap

Drupal’s PinBoard theme is similar to the Joomla script in several ways, focusing on social network and location filters.

Pros

  • I am personally a big fan of scripts built on already-established platforms, and Drupal is certainly one of the best platforms to build on.
  • It is also easily available in it’s own mobile app!
  • The Drupal script makes Pinterest a little more personal.
  • “Look” is solid and secure.
  • In the demo, an email verification gets sent to activate a user account.

Cons

  • The theme is only in Beta mode
  • Theme is only compatible with certain browsers (IE 7+, Chrome, Opera and Firefox)
  • Theme only works with certain versions of Drupal (right now, it’s compatible with Drupal 7 only).
  • No admin username/password access in Demo.

Price: $229

Demo: http://www.themesnap.com/theme-demos/pinboard/

Rating: 3.5/5

Pinterestclones Pinboarding Pro

Pinboarding Pro is one of the highly recommended Pinterest clone scripts available. On their website there are a few ‘Showcase‘ clones.

The graphical interface though looks oddly similar to that of Alstrasoft.com. I don’t know for sure if they’re different scripts or if one white-labels the other.

The demo contains most features, allowing you to perform o a complete test before purchasing. Completely customize your own Pinterest clone script in the simplest way possible.

Pros

  • I like the cleanliness of the back-end.
  • Manage Pages has meta fields for SEO.

Cons

The following, though, are show-stoppers:

  • The “Create Username” page on the demo is non-existent.
  • Too few fields for each section.
  • Also, the graphical interface looks oddly similar to that of alstrasoft.com, or vice versa.
  • You cannot manage/edit Pin boards.
  • No Facebook/Twitter integration with Admin back-end, though it exists for end user.
  • No indication of whether or not an iPhone or Android app is in store in the future. ***UPDATE*** It may be in development, but an Alstrasoft representative just mentioned that it’s not a priority. I believe it is as more people today are using their smart-phones for internet access than the traditional desktops and laptops.

Price: $199

Demo: http://www.Pinterestclones.com/demos

Rating: 2/5

Alstrasoft Pinterest Clone Script

Alstrasoft comes with it’s unfortunately long history of nice-looking scripts with horrific back-ends.

It has recently been brought to my attention that Alstrasoft has been stealing older versions of scripts and offering substandard support. While I don’t know how true this is, I did notice that Alstrasoft and PinterestClones have a similar script, though they have allegedly been caught stealing other pieces of software such as “AdQuick” which is owned by someone else. Therefore it stands to reason that they’re stealing other pieces of software. Not cool! I don’t trust either the company or their product.

Pros/Cons: Similar to Pinboarding Pro, though PinBoarding Pro has more features.

Price: $179

Demo: http://www.alstrasoft.com/Pinterest-clone.htm

Rating: 1/5

Cogzidel’s Pinderful

Still a product with room for improvement, the Pinderful clone script is still able to meet all of your basic startup needs. This script is specifically useful for those who are new to Pinterest and haven’t got a clue on what’s so important. With a long list of ‘Upcoming features’ it might be useful to understand the basics before moving up a level anyway.

In terms of the demo, from a back-end perspective, here are the pros and cons:

Pros

  • I personally like the design and fluid sidebar.
  • Facebook/Twitter/Email integration

Cons

  • The site functionality leaves a lot to be desired.
  • From an SEO perspective, there is a site “meta keywords” and “meta description” but not for specific pages.
  • “Manage Website” doesn’t allow you to manage a website.
  • “View Pin” doesn’t give the Pinned user any credit.
  • “Board Management” has too few fields.

Price: $299

Demo: http://www.cogzidel.com/Pinterest-clone, on the right side

Rating: 2/5

Uniprogy Pinnect

Uniprogy, the makers of Couponic, is a Russian-based script provider. It’s built on the same Yii framework that was used for Couponic.

Pros

  • Easy installation with guide
  • Front-end looks easy to use
  • Being built on a framework means that there is no “spaghetti code.”

Cons

  • Maybe this is because it’s on the demo server, but verification email for front-end takes a long while to send.
  • Beyond-ugly back-end interface
  • Complicated modular structure
  • Page module is under “Setup/CMS” and has no SEO meta fields.
  • Doesn’t seem to “get it.”
  • Since it’s Framework-based, to make modifications and design changes a high degree of Object-Oriented programming expertise is required.

Price: $200 for the base script, $35-$100 per add-on. However, there is a package of four scripts for a $295 instead of $320.

Demo: http://uniprogy.com/pinnect/demos

Rating: 2/5

SEOToolster Script

This is a script that is not built yet but is in development. Being that there is no live demo, here is my review based on what’s written:

Pros

  • Script is purportedly built on CodeIgniter framework, ensuring that there is no spaghetti code and that everything is clean.
  • SEO-friendly
  • There are ideas for an HTML 5 version of the script

Cons

  • Price point for an undeveloped script is way too high.
  • Everything right now is just that – an idea.

Price: $749 just to book the script!

Script Site: http://seotoolster.com/clone-scripts/Pinterest-clone-script-social-pinboard-script/

Rating: 0/5

PinPress WordPress Theme

PinPress is a theme built on WordPress, an established framework. Launched in April 18, the script shows promise.

Pros

  • Widget-ready.
  • Complete Pinterest-like layout.
  • Search Engine Optimized.
  • Valid, Cross browser Compatible.
  • Easy Customization.
  • Impressive video presentation.
  • Facebook login feature.
  • Impressive price-point.

Cons

  • There is no admin username/password to work with in the demo.
  • No indication of mobile app versions

Price: $69 to start.

Demo: http://demo.pinpress.net/

Rating: 2.5/5

Okay, Which One Do I  Choose?

When there are several different Pinterest clone scripts to choose from, it’s difficult to choose the right one. We recommend trying out a few demos to see how the different Pinterest scripts work and which one you feel most comfortable with.

The majority of the features in these clone scripts are mostly the same, with a few unique features in several. So depending if you want to focus on social media or mobile apps, you may already know where to start looking!

Caveat Emptor With Off-Shore

When purchasing off-the-shelf scripts, just remember the Caveat Emptor (buyer beware) mantra. For most of these scripts, once you purchase them there are no refunds, for the simple reason that you can in theory use the providers’ script elsewhere. Each script is an  intangible good that is digitally delivered, and therefore cannot be physically sent back to the provider.

Also, remember scripts from India. Technical support is traditionally weak as their English is very different from ours.

Beat the Off-Shore Experience By Hiring iRISEmedia.com

iRISEmedia is available for hire in building Pinterest clone scripts for whatever your niche market is. Let us know and we can provide a quote.

This post originally was seen on the iRISEmedia.com website.

Why YouTube Doesn’t Have SEO Friendly URLs, Lighttpd (Lighty) and What Google Has Done

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Google is the well-known Search Engine giant out there. The company provides relevant search engine results to those seeking info. An SEO knows that to be placed on Google’s search results pages they need to optimize their web-pages for Google. One of the most crucial elements is in having an SEO-friendly URL. Enter YouTube.

YouTube: Google’s New Video Toy

Google bought YouTube for $1.5 billion in 2005 since it was the most wide-spread video streaming sites back then, arguably moreso than Google Video. Widely criticized, Google showed everyone up by creating one of the most widely-marketed video streaming sites on the planet. They had an interest in getting YouTube videos to the top of search results. However, YouTube pages, while they have strong support for header and meta description tags, as well as a content area, surprisingly lack the capacity for SEO-friendly URLs!

 

Reason for this: Lighttpd (Lighty)

Believe it or not, the answer is a very simple one: the website Youtube, when it initially was built, was built on a Linux server with a different web server than Apache. They built it using lighttpd, also known or “Lighty.” This was done because Lighty is a fast server that streams videos at a noticeably quicker speed than Apache can. However, it comes at a cost: SEO friendly URLs cannot be generated using an .htaccess file since Lighty doesn’t support .htaccess files! Only Apache does.

 

What Google Has Done: Blended Search Results

However, Google invested $1.5 Billion into YouTube to not see it flounder. While Google “owns” their search engine, they cannot simply take a URL to the first page from regular results. With their complex search algorithm, it’s not that simple.

Enter Blended Search Results (I’m thinking right now about the show “will it blend?”). Google came out with blended search results which included videos. From there YouTube videos became more preferential as apparently the URL name does not get counted in the video search results. Soon enough, Google Maps, news feeds, and yes, twitter showed up in the blended page 1 of Google’s precious search results page.

Extra: YouTube Cookies are tied into a Google URL

One more free  secret about YouTube. Have you ever noticed that when signed into Google, you need to sign in “special” for YouTube? Also, why is it that with the new multiple user accounts you can only get one YouTube session? The answer is that when you sign into Google, a cookie for “www.google.com” as everything points to “www.google.com/accounts.” Therefore, to get YouTube access (also some other services like analytics.google.com since it’s not “www”) you need to click “sign in” and it does it automatically. For this reason alone, applying multiple accounts to YouTube would be too complicated as it’s already not the same URL!

Unless the internet changes, the above will always stay the same.

Setting Up a Social Video Website Like YouTube – Requirements

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Image courtesy of TheCinemaSoldier.com: http://www.cinemasoldier.com/articles/2010/8/5/heres-a-great-parody-of-the-social-network-called-the-video.html

Even in 2012, people still want to set up their own niche video streaming websites to compete with YouTube. However, too many run into too many issues. This post attempts to cover the basics in what’s required to run a fully functional social video website.

The Insides

1. Script

Having a strong, as-bug-free-as-possible script is key. The script ideally should be set up in a modular, clean manner that can be extended. Building it in an object-oriented manner and, if possible, utilizing a framework like Zend or CodeIgniter is important as the work can go from one programmer to another. You do not want to be held hostage by your coder which unfortunately is all too common.

2. Fast, Powerful Web Server

This cannot be emphasized enough. One of the reasons why YouTube is famous is because, no matter how many visitors go onto YouTube, YouTube never seems to crash. Google has arguably the most powerful servers in the world and therefore they can afford to run YouTube in a manner where it won’t crash. That said, somebody starting out a non-revenue-generating website needs to realize that a powerful web server starting out will cost some nice dineros. On the other hand, starting out with a shared web server will lead to site slowness and frequent crashes, which in turn will alienate your user base. I honestly don’t have a middle-ground solution here.

What I will recommend though is that the web server for the video website uses Lighty rather than Apache. It lacks the ability to dynamically generate SEO-friendly URLs via an .htaccess file, but it’s wicked fast in processing.

3. Video Streaming/Storage Server

You need storage space to host your videos, so why use your web server to not only process the script but hold all those files? Having files stored on a cloud server (think Amazon Cloud) will help reduce lags in server processing, and it also makes things easier if/when you decide to switch to a more powerful web server (you don’t need to move ALL the files over in the process).

Another option for storing video files is on an RTMP server. If you are super-smart, you can either rent an additional server and set it up by yourself, or, hire a third-party stream service to do the hard work for you.

A third option is to have a server where the video is split up into thousands of 10 second clips, each successive clip loading after the previous one. This is how many streaming sites are able to load videos quickly rather than wait for the entire video to load at once.

Marketing

4. SEO-friendliness

Let’s be honest here: Any time you need something, where is the first place you go to? That’s right, Google. Google this, Google that. Google, Google, Google! Get the point? To reach one of the largest audiences in the world already asking for information (and not the annoyed types), you need to be on the front page of such a platform. This is where SEO comes in.

While SEO-friendly URLs might pose an issue if you’re using Lighttpd for wicked-fast processing, you can still optimize things like auto-Title and H1 tags, as well as an auto-meta keywords and description tags areas. Video transcripts are also popular as it adds content to the page. If the content is SEO-able, that helps your video pages tremendously.

5. Social Interaction

For users to stay beyond the first time around, there needs to be some form of social interaction on the site. This includes comments, sharing on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, and email updates whenever new comments are posted on your videos.

Money

6. Ways to generate revenue

In the end of the day, to be a somewhat-successful website you need a way to generate revenue to at least pay the bills. If the website is somewhat successful you can start to leverage Google Ads. Alternatively, you can also charge separately for custom Ads which people would pay monthly.

Another way to generate revenue is to create a “donate” button with “top donators” showing who donated the most to the website. That way there is an incentive to give more.

7. An alternate source of income starting out

Last but not least, you need to have an alternate source of income to start out, at least to feed your videos habit. Sorry to splash cold water on your face, but you will have a VERY hard time finding an investor trying to invest in another YouTube, a platform which has already matured. And yes, the excuse of “YouTube got $1.5 Billion” worked in 2005 when few others were doing it and it was “new.” It will not work in 2012 or beyond. If you’re really vested in this, fund it yourself somehow.

Explaining Technical Things to Non-Technical People

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I often have to explain technical things and technical decisions to my extremely non technical manager and I’m pretty awful at it. What are good ways to essential dumb things down for the rest of the world who don’t have a passion for programming?

Example questions I’ve been asked:

  • Why are you using Django instead of Java (Didn’t accept that it was cheaper either)
  • Asking me to rephrase things in non technical words, my sentence was “Certain HTML tags are not allowed”. How can I possibly dumb that down?
  • Other stuff that makes perfect sense to me, but is just so basic I don’t know how to explain it
  • Why this, why that, why everything!

Also, how do I tell my manager to look the basic stuff up on Google, like “What is Pylons?”

I’m ready to rip my hair out, these questions are driving me insane!!

 

Best answer by Slokun:

“I tend to use analogies. Take whatever the topic is, and think of something completely non-technical that they would understand, and explain it to them that way.

Best example I can think of offhand is if I need to explain object orientation, I’ll explain it using a deck of cards. Or, when I was trying to explain the idea of wireless internet to my great aunt (who’s never used a computer), I used cordless phones to explain it.

I’ve yet to come across any topic I can’t dumb-down this way.”

Content originally found at StackExchange.com.

Daily Deal Groupon Clone Scripts – Reminiscing

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Well, the Groupon Daily Deal Industry has been dying down as of late. A lot of online businesses opened and closed their doors when they realized that with various pitfalls, as a business in and of itself it’s hard to make a nice profit when targeting a niche of a niche in only 1-2 cities.

I also noticed that, with my blog post reviews, different people tried different things. A number of you wrote comments congratulating me for my unbiased reviews. A number noticed my SEO rankings and tried to out-SEO me with creating one-page sites with SEO-friendly URLs. I also found out that a number tried to build Contus Groupclone sites themselves after reading my reviews and not bothering to thank me afterwards! Some were successful and some not. In my defense, I never said that their software was perfect, but that because it was build on Magento it always stuck to the “bottom line” which was in processing sales successfully.

Many tried to contact me to independently build their clones, in some cases even offering me salaried work. With my full-time job this admittedly was difficult as my personal time was severely diminished between work, school, and family time, which sadly included tending to my son that was to be born with a rare heart defect that unfortunately led to his demise at 7.5 weeks on February 29th, and mourning for a full month afterwards. Much of the time that I didn’t spend at work was spent in the hospital during the time he was alive.

To those that I flat-out rejected work, now you know why. To those eagerly anticipating my e-Book but not getting it until a year later, now you know why. Sorry.

However, regarding the reviews, keep in mind that I wrote my reviews when there was nothing else out there. I wanted to help service the internet community at large by writing a non-nonsense, say-it-as-I-sees-it post and make a few bucks on the side. Hence the Paypal button on the right as well as the e-Book I wrote (I know, I couldn’t have dreamt up a more original title, right?).

What can I say, for me it was an interesting journey to assist many to succeed in the Groupon Clone/Daily Deal industry as well as to fail. I merely provided my script recommendations to give people that “push” towards whatever their destination led them. I know, the last sentence sounds very Zen-like, doesn’t it?

You all have been amazing and I hope to hear feedback on other things I’ve done, as well as recommendations on what I should write about!

Get Hired – Infograph

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IMHO this was one of the best infographs I have ever seen on job hunting. Courtesy of Fosslein.

1. These are guidelines and examples. Don’t repeat them verbatim. Do I have to say this? Maybe. Contrary to what a lot of people seem to believe, interviews are not a time to spew a bunch of jargon and formulaic crap. Be smart, be honest, and be yourself, because those BS answers you think I (the interviewer) can’t see through? Surprise! I can.

2. I am not going to cover industry specific questions. For example, consulting likes to ask additional qs like how many NOUNs are VERBed in GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION per UNIT OF TIME, iBanking likes to throw out letters like DCF and WACC, etc. For those of you “interviewing” at “hip” firms with “startup” cultures, be prepared to answer “out-of-the-box” questions like “What food would you suggest our in-house chef prepare for lunch today?”****

Have I disclaimered myself enough? Probably not.

Interview Objective: Join the 180° Club

What You Hopefully Did Months Ago

Because I GUARANTEE This Will Happen Before Your Interview

What You Should Do Leading Up to the Interview

What You Should Bring

The Suit

This is Not a Party

“Fashionably Late” Does Not Exist

The Handshake

How Enthusiastic You Should Appear

Question Category Overview: What I (the Interviewer) am Really Trying to Figure Out

Tell Me About Yourself

What are Your Strengths?

What are Your Weaknesses?

Your Phone

Describe a Time You Had Difficulty Working with a Coworker.

What Was Your Biggest Mistake?

Describe Your Ideal Workplace

What Do You Know About this Company?

Why do You Want this Job?

Do You Have Any Questions for Me?

Lunch: Price Considerations

Lunch: Limit Your Pickiness

Lunch: Appropriate BAC Level

Lunch: Very Important Additional Consideration

What to Remember Regarding a Thank You Email

****Dear hip firms/startups, the sarcastic quotes are merely jealousy. For the record, I apologize. Also for the record, I like grilled cheese sandwiches and banana strawberry smoothies.