Posted on

A spammy pattern emerges

spamFor a while now I’m being pestered by spam – Just like the rest of the world. But only recently I noticed a pattern. And today it happened twice, which prompted this post. There is a pattern to spam which leads me to believe that a lot of my customers either have a virus on their computer or, worse, are part of a botnet.

Examples

Here are some examples that are too conveniently timed to be coincidental. I paid attention to these things for a while and think I found 3 scenarios that are very likely to be true.

Infected SMTP settings or whatever

Someone resets their password on this website and gets an email about that. The user then sends me an email about something.
Their domain suggests something a site about health and better living.
What else did I get at the same time? 3 spam emails about health, pills and vitamins.
Conclusion: That person has a virus on their computer sending spam to anyone the user sends legit email to.

Email list crawlers

Someone from a certain country, for example from Poland, buys something on my site and gets emails about that confirming their purchase.
Promptly, within a few days I get spam in Polish. This happens quite often, in many languages but *always* after someone from that country buys something from me. Most commonly Eastern European countries.
Conclusion: The computer is infected with a virus that crawls email lists and sends them to a spam server or sends them by itself via a proxy or something.

Botnetting

Every day for the past 6 months or so around 5pm GMT+1 spam starts to come in, about all subjects. Pills, roof fixing, woodworking, flowers, stock exchanges, hair loss prevention, the list goes on. Typical shit dumb people may fall for.
Conclusion: This is most likely because the persons computer is turned on around that time, every day. Which also activates the virus that is part of a botnet sending spam.

How to fix – It’s easy

Install or update your damn antivirus. Run malware scans and clean that crap up.
Or, better yet, stop clicking every link and attachment you get. Stop clicking banners and stop automatically opening downloads or running every option in those downloads.

Or even better; Stop using Microsoft Windows and start using a OS that is not as susceptible for viruses. Yes, that means using some sort of Linux or Mac OS X. I do recognize that switching from Windows to something else is not all that easy but it’s a somewhat sure fix.
If that’s no option then at least install a f*cking antivirus and firewall and be a more conscious (read: less dumb) user.

Microsoft Windows comes with *FREE* basic protection for that stuff. It’s called Security Essentials. It takes no time to install, runs in the background and doesn’t bother you too much.
Also, since I use it, I know it doesn’t slow down your PC.

Windows also has a Firewall built in, I don’t use that myself so I don’t know how good it is, but at least it’s something. Plus, if you set up your home network properly (without uPNP for example) things get safer already.

There are literally hundreds of cheap(-ish) tools available to protect your PC. Invest some time into it and find a proper one. We all know that Norton and McAfee tools are crap and bogging down your PC more than the viruses but there are good ones, too.
The best one is yourself. Or maybe not, since a lot of you are in fact having viruses. But stop clicking on every link or warning you see and stop going to garbage sites to get your porn, warez and hacked software. Which are the main sources for viruses.

Don’t assume you’re smarter

Because you’re probably not, deal with it. Most of you reading this will think “Hah! dummies, I’m not one of them”. Well, you’re wrong. Most of you use Windows, thus you have a virus or can easily get one. Simple as that.

If you think you are a conscious user you may think “I don’t need antivirus because I never click attachments” then I guarantee you you are infected. You just don’t know it because you don’t have anything to tell you. You Sir/Ma’m are the worst kind!

Even me, I am very conscious about these things. But when I wanted to install a thing on Windows a while ago, despite researching the source and app I was going to install I got a virus from it. With this I mean to say, if a smart guy like me can get viruses that easy then most certainly the average person *will* get them too.

So, if you can get viruses that easy, and even worse, are dumb enough to not notice them or think you won’t get them… Please disconnect from the internet now. It will better the internet in the long run.

The result of your computer usage

As a result of all of the above I have now blacklisted the entire .pl, .kz, .us, .info and a few more TLD in my server. So if you’re in one of those. Sorry, but I won’t get your email. If you write to me about anything related to HARP, healthcare or more of such spammy keywords. Sorry, but I won’t get your email. Mention Paypal in the wrong combination of words and your email won’t reach me either. If you write to me and mention certain Polish, Hungarian or Russian words or phrases. It’s going right to the trash.
And then there are the hundreds of individually blacklisted addresses my spam filter picks up by itself.
You may say; get a better spam filter. Sure, I have a pretty good spamfilter. But why not tackle the problem at the root instead of at the top.

Make the internet a better place

If you’re not sure how to deal with this then perhaps I can help. You can always email me about getting help to make the internet a better place. If things get complicated I can recommend Chi Computers (Dutch site, Owner speaks English) who actually specialises in this stuff.

Yea, I spend too much time trying to weed through spam and I’m getting tired of it. Hence this post 😉

Posted on

Do you like AdRotate? Write a review!

time-for-reviewOn wordpress.org recently the review system got “cleaned up” by removing old ratings. These are from the pre-review system where you could just click your star rating and an actual review wasn’t required. But also even older ones, where reviews didn’t even exist. Unfortunately a lot of plugins, including AdRotate, are now left with lower ratings because of that cleanup. I lost almost a full point on the 5 star scale because of this new system. Not good.

Read more »

Posted on

AdRotate Pro 3.12.3 – Maintenance update

logo-512x512A small maintenance update with a small optimisation for dynamic groups – Bringing a small speed bump and less clutter when loading ads. Translation files updated and removed the now obsolete AdRotate Server code.

Changes

[unordered_list style=”arrow”]

  • [tweak] Load max. 10 ads for a dynamic group
  • [change] Removed obsolete AdRotate Server code
  • [i18n] New and obsolete strings in translation files

[/unordered_list]

Posted on

AdRotate Geo Explained – Increase your advertising campaigns relevancy with Geo Targeting.

geo-serviceSome people asked about what AdRotate Geo does, where they can download it and how it works. In this post I’ll try to answer all 3 questions.
In short AdRotate Geo is a Geo Lookup service. This means that it provides geo location data on your websites visitors where available.

What is AdRotate Geo

Quite simply put, AdRotate Geo is a Geo Lookup service for AdRotate Pro users. And what is a Geo Lookup service? It’s a service that tries to locate where your visitor is so you can target specific advertisements to that person. Targeting your visitors by their location has some great advantages. For example, what use is it to show adverts for a New York restaurant to a website visitor from Japan. None. So don’t waste your impressions on them. Use Geo Targeting to show that Japanese visitor something else. Something relevant. AdRotate Geo helps you with that.

Where to get or download AdRotate Geo

AdRotate Geo is not a downloadable product. You don’t have to buy it, either.
If you have AdRotate Pro version 3.12 or newer then AdRotate Geo is available to you. You can select the service in the Geo Targeting settings of AdRotate pro. All you need to use AdRotate Geo is a valid license that is registered. Basically that means activating the license 🙂 Simple.

How does AdRotate Geo work

AdRotate Geo is composed of 3 parts really.

[unordered_list style=”arrow”]

  • The 1st part is built-in in AdRotate Pro and grabs the visitors IP address and makes the request to the AdRotate Geo Server. But also processes the reply of AdRotate Geo.
  • The 2nd part is on the AdRotate Geo server and receives your requests. After validating the request it also sends a reply to your website. Either a valid result you can use or a message why you can’t use AdRotate Geo.
  • The 3rd part is the actual Geo Location database inside AdRotate Geo. This database is provided by MaxMind and is updated regularly for accuracy.

[/unordered_list]

So how does that work.

When a visitor enters your site he or she may get to a page where an advert is placed with Geo Targeting enabled. At that point AdRotate Pro needs to determine where that visitor is in the world and show an advert or not. If this information is not known by a earlier placed cookie, a request is sent to AdRotate Geo with the IP address of that visitor. AdRotate Geo checks if your site is known in the database and if it is looks up the IP address of the visitor. If the IP address is known AdRotate Geo sends back a reply with the location of that person. This can be a Country, City and/or State. Or any sensible combination of the 3. Most developed areas are listed and known.
Once AdRotate Pro gets a valid response from AdRotate Geo with location data it selects the advert to show to the visitor.
This happens in a matter of milliseconds and won’t impact your sites performance beyond that.

To make this even faster, once the visitor has visited your site, a cookie is created on the visitors computer containing the geo data retrieved from AdRotate Geo. This means that if that visitor comes back to your site before the cookie expires NO request to AdRotate Geo is required. AdRotate Pro will use the cookie of that person.

Signing up for AdRotate Geo

This is as simple as activating the option with a valid license for AdRotate Pro. If your site is not known to AdRotate Geo it will validate the first request and register your site automatically. You won’t even notice this. After 2 weeks of inactivity your site is automatically removed from the database. If you then start using AdRotate Geo again the signup process is simply repeated.

Paid options

AdRotate Geo in it’s basic form is free. You can make 14400 requests (Lookups) per day for free. For most small to medium websites this is plenty.
Since every visitor uses 1 or 2 request per day at the default settings, this means you can serve many visitors per day and you don’t have to pay a dime for it.
If you need more lookups you can buy them via the AdRotate Geo page. These will be added to your total quota. Lookups are a dirt cheap commodity and I think that everyone should be able to benefit from Geo Targeting. it makes your advertising campaigns so much more valuable.

Posted on

AdRotate 3.12.2

It took a while to figure out but with some help from Austria we managed to get the cities/state filter working a bit more accurately.

In some configurations the states were not filtered out correctly. For others it didn’t always work for cities. This happened because of a function treating the array to check differently than it should. This has now been improved.

On top of that, services not reporting a Geo Lookup quota are now excluded from the quota notifications.

Changes

[unordered_list style=”arrow”]

  • [fix] No longer apply geo lookup quota for services that don’t report a quota
  • [tweak] Better filter logic for geo cities/states

[/unordered_list]

Updates

Updates are available through your dashboard if you use version 3.12 or newer.
You can download updates manually from your account on this website if you do not yet have version 3.12.

Licenses

If your license starts with 101 (all licenses bought trough www.adrotateplugin.com) you may need to register a new account on this website (top right corner) and link your license to that account from your profile.

Note: The title should of-course be ‘AdRotate Pro 3.12.2’.

Posted on

Did you buy AdRotate Pro via adrotateplugin.com?

logo-512x512Then read on 🙂 With adrotateplugin.com being offline you can no longer access your downloads and license keys on that site. This is of-course far from practical. I have come up with a small page where you can re-claim your license and link it to your new account on ajdg.solutions.

This sudden shift was required to “fix” the “broken” SSL (HTTPS) stuff for both sites. As outlined here. I had originally planned to migrate everything over in a few weeks. But alas, it wasn’t to be.

Read more »

Posted on

Failing SSL for AdRotate and technical shizzlewizzle

ssl-imageAs some of you know I’ve secured my sites with SSL (HTTPS). Recently when moving adrotateplugin.com over to this website I also moved over all related services such as the updates API.

Today it turns out that WordPress in all it’s wisdom decides to not validate my SSL certificate for ajdg.solutions but the one for adrotateplugin.com. Which of-course fails because the domain is not matching with the request.
This means; broken updates for everyone…

Disabling SSL seems to be the only sane workaround for this. Updates work if you have AdRotate Pro 3.12. But everyone else who didn’t update yet still relied on the update api on adrotateplugin.com which now doesn’t work anymore. Yep 🙁

Because of technical limitations on how most browsers treat such things adrotateplugin.com is now offline. Sticking with http seems of little use since everyone uses https.
I took the site offline and will be redirecting it to the new page on this website.

If you have a license key that starts with 101 and you can’t update Get in touch. Please mention your license key and email address so I can set you up quickly!

I will be developing a easier and self-help solution for this over the weekend or next week. But this kinda hit me in the face and I’m working hard to make this a workable situation soon-ish. Bah…

Posted on

AdRotate Pro 3.12.1 – Refinements

logo-512x512After an otherwise well received update here are some refinements to make it even better.
You’ve probably noticed some Geo Targeting alerts 🙁 … Yea, fixed.

Some other tweaks/fixes are included as well.

Changes

[unordered_list style=”arrow”]

  • [fix] Metro/DMA Codes not properly stored for some Geo Services
  • [fix] Geo Targeting Quota messages being sent unnecessarily
  • [fix] Cookie expiry setting now shows the right value

[/unordered_list]

Posted on

AdRotate Geo – extra lookups now available

geo-serviceAdRotate Geo is the exclusive Geo lookup service for AdRotate Pro users. The pre-paid lookups are now available for purchase. I’ve decided to make this crazy cheap so it’s in reach for everyone.

Originally the prices were going to be €20, €80 and €160 euros for 100.000, 500.000 and 1.000.000 lookups respectively. The price is now set at €10, €50 and €100 euros.
Check out the page here; AdRotate Geo product page.

Do you need Geo Targeting

If you have your ads targeted at specific areas, sure. It’s most useful where you can run localised campaigns. Your advertiser may require it for their campaign. After-all, if you have a restaurant in New York, it makes no sense to advertise in Japan or even Philadelphia… So make the most of your advertising campaigns and use geo targeting.

Geo Services

AdRotate Pro supports several lookup services such as MaxMind’s GeoIP2 and the GeoBytes IpLocator.
Both services are very affordable but still not everyone can afford it. Some simply forget to include it in the advertiser pricing, others simply have cheap adspace. Regardless of that, AdRotate Geo plays right into the market of medium sized sites that need affordable geo lookups.

Accuracy

How does AdRotate Geo compare to other services? AdRotate Geo uses Maxmind’s GeoLite2 database. This is fairly accurate and most countries can be detected without a problem. Cities are not always listed but most developed areas are supported just fine. Maxmind themselves rate the database as 90% accurate.

Try for free

AdRotate Geo’s basic subscription is free. It’s built right into your dashboard starting with AdRotate Pro 3.12 (released earlier this week) and all you have to do is activate it. If you don’t pay for extra lookups you get 14400 lookups for free, every day. For most small sites that will be plenty. For larger sites, well – Buy more 🙂 You know you can afford it.