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AdRotate 3.11.2

General fixes and improvements for AdRotate.

Changes

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  • [fix] Query error when cleaning database manually
  • [fix] Self-repairing database function now actually works
  • [tweak] Load max. 20 ads for a dynamic group
  • [tweak] Impression counting excluded from popular caching plugins
  • [tweak] Click counting excluded from popular caching plugins
  • [change] Upgrade script cleaned up
  • [change] Removed unnecessary indexes from database
  • [change] Removed obsolete ‘block’ columns from database
  • [change] Improved INT() unsigned datatypes in MySQL

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Update

Updates are offered via your dashboard via the WordPress update system.

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AdRotate Pro 3.12.4 – General improvements.

Some further improvements for Geo Targeting and general improvements. Based on some user feedback I have re-done some of the database indexes aimed at making stats faster.

Changes

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  • [fix] Query error when cleaning database manually
  • [fix] Stats exports not working on certain versions of PHP
  • [fix] Adblock nag countdown not saving
  • [fix] ‘Strict standards’ error when uploading a file on some systems
  • [fix] Geo Targeting better filtering for locations with capitals
  • [fix] Self-repairing database function now actually works
  • [tweak] Geo Lookups no longer leading in Geo Service availability
  • [tweak] Geo Targeting warning emails removed
  • [tweak] Load max. 20 ads for a dynamic group
  • [tweak] Impression counting excluded from popular caching plugins
  • [tweak] Click counting excluded from popular caching plugins
  • [change] GeoBytes no longer supported for Geo Targeting
  • [change] Upgrade script cleaned up
  • [change] Removed unnecessary indexes from database
  • [change] Removed obsolete ‘block’ columns from database
  • [change] Improved INT() unsigned datatypes in MySQL

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Updating

If you have version 3.12 or newer already you’ll get the update via your dashboard.
If you have an older version you may have to update manually because your version looks at an older API which is no longer online. More information here.

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Switching your WordPress site to SSL

Https for your domain makes sense these days for a bunch of reasons; You offer an encrypted link connection to your visitors which provides security. It’s not very expensive either. You can get affordable certificates via NameCheap (A popular hosting provider).

I got mine via MediaTemple because I’m rather lazy and their dashboard has this fancy thing to install a certificate with just one click. But you can get them cheap via NameCheap from ~$10 per year or so.

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Product changes – AdRotate Geo updated

logo-100x60Over the weekend I have made some changes to the website, related to products and availability of products. Also I’m working on something new and exciting.

AdRotate Geo

AdRotate Geo has been online for a little while now. Nobody appeared interested to buy extra lookups. Some found the 14400 lookups per day not enough. So I fixed both.

I have updated the API to accept 50000 lookups per day for free now. And next to that, the paid options have been removed. There really was no point in keeping them around if nobody was using it.

So the gist; More lookups, effective since yesterday. No action is required on your part. Less premium options. But nobody bought it anyway.

WooCommerce Plugins

As you may know I maintain a bunch of WooCommerce modules. I’ve gone over what they actually do and how useful they are. Some were not useful, reflected by the number of sales. Specific little plugins have little demand obviously. So zero sales in a year means to me I don’t need to sell it either. Therefor I have removed the fluff and kept the useful ones.

Also I have updated the page a bit to show a download counter on each plugin and WooCommerce Price Equality got updated a few days ago. Good stuff ๐Ÿ™‚

AdRotate Pro & AdRotate Free

AdRotate Pro are due for an update, too. I am finalising a bunch of things for that. Based on some feedback I have revised the indexes of the stats database which should see a bit of a speed bump on larger setups. For GeoTargeting in AdRotate Pro a bunch of things have been tweaked and improved. Also GeoBytes kinda broke their stuff so I decided to remove support for their “API”.
Updates are likely ready for release later this week.

Coming soon-ish

Currently I’m working on a simple to use SEO solution which focuses on what you look like in search results. SEO is always important to drive traffic to your site and a lot of plugins simply aren’t up to snuff. Others are complicated or are otherwise unwieldy. I think I can make a difference. SEO generally is made out to be much more complicated than it actually is. I’m going to change that. That’s exciting right? I think it is.

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The ultimate development environment for Mac OS X

Updated: December 26, 2018

I’ve pieced together what I think is the ultimate development setup. This tutorial is particularly useful if you’re working in different places and have to rely on public wifi or if you don’t have high speed internet available.

As you may have read I’ve moved to the Philippines. This means I no longer have a home address for a while. This also means that high speed internet becomes a luxury. To not being hindered in developing things like AdRotate and other plugins I needed a fast and reliable alternative for my online development server. So that even if internet is wonky, I can still do some work.

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Troubleshooting common email issues in OS X Mail

Improve your email overall, fix issues with receiving or sending email. Or generally make things work if you simply don’t know how OS X Mail works or is supposed to work. This post will outline a number of things to look at which may improve your overall mail usage but also will be helpful if things go bad. This post is particularly useful if you use IMAP/POP email combined with SMTP (for sending). Exchange accounts are a whole different kind of animal and are not covered in this article.

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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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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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.

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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

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

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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 ๐Ÿ™‚ Simple.

How does AdRotate Geo work

AdRotate Geo is composed of 3 parts really.

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  • 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.

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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.