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AdRotate Professional 5.6.1 – Bugfixes and stuff…

Another important, albeit smaller than the last. This update fixes a number of quirks and silly bugs including the false message that certain licenses are expired.
Geo Targeting Cookies have been replaced with actual sessions which caused another bug for the recently included duplicate advert feature, and that got fixed too.

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AdRotate Geo service updates

The AdRotate Geo Service got updated again. This time we try to tackle sites who slow down the server too much by just being slow. This kind of slowness is usually caused by crap hosting packages. You know, all those $1 hosting setups. Or people who have outgrown their shared hosting but won’t admit it…

Over the last few weeks I’ve been flooded with monitoring messages that the overall state of AdRotate Geo is deteriorating quickly. Some investigation turns out that (currently) 14 websites can not respond quick enough to handle the AdRotate Geo response.

This basically means that those websites process the AdRotate Geo response too slow, causing other sites to slow down as well. As a result of the slowdowns I’ve put the following rule in place.
If your site is slower than 750ms you’ll be denied access to AdRotate Geo for 2 days. If this happens you’ll receive a email notification.

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AdRotate Pro 4.18.1 – AdRotate Geo more reliable and fast

AdRotate Geo

I’ve upgraded AdRotate Geo to version 5. The older API will be retired in a few months. The newer API has better protection against fake users and stuff like that. Hopefully it’ll be faster for legitimate users 🙂

More importantly to you – the new API will no longer send empty responses like some users using version AdRotate Pro 4.17 experienced. So it’s working more reliable now, too.

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AdRotate Geo reinstated and updated

Over the past few weeks I’ve been working on new mechanics to better manage AdRotate Geo. As an immediate response I shut down AdRotate Geo API versions 3 and 4 and introduced version 5 a few days later with better detection mechanisms to block/ban abusers.

This worked fine for a while until the DDoS nonsense started again, those requests are not attached to a license and thus I can’t use the mechanic to block them as well – Since the system didn’t look at the IP address or origin other than the license key.

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AdRotate Geo temporarily shut down

Today I woke up to 22 emails that my website was offline-online-offline and so on. Turns out some users are once again abusing AdRotate Geo by sending millions of requests to my API.

AdRotate Geo serves around 3 million requests per day. And scales pretty well for small to medium sites. Currently there are a couple of hundred users subscribed to AdRotate Geo. But getting upwards of 40 million requests per hour is a bit too much for my servers.

So, DDoS then, again… But they’re all real AdRotate Pro users as far as I can see. Valid authentification keys and api access… After some digging it turns out that it was AdRotate Geo being hammered with traffic from a bunch of AdRotate Pro users sites. Millions of requests per site? Come on. That’s not real traffic. Can’t be… Or is it.

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Infrastructure upgrades and API changes

New infrastructure and servers

Over the last week I’ve been hard at work to finally resolve the issues with performance and up-time that plagued the AJdG Solutions website since mid December last year. MediaTemple kept denying any issues and couldn’t stop pointing fingers are everyone but themselves.

Very unprofessional for the stupendous amount of money I paid them monthly. But alas, their support was, as usual, completely inept. Too bad! So after a few days of frustratingly dealing with tickets and people pretty much ignoring me, I gave up and moved to a new hosting provider. So far that seems better and more stable.

I’m still ironing out some minor kinks, but so far so good.

Old AdRotate Geo API discontinued

Users of my AdRotate Pro plugin will know I offer various API for updates, AdRotate Geo and some other stuff.

Due to ongoing abuse of the older AdRotate Geo API, versions 1 and 2 will be obsolete effective immediately.

These API versions will soon be shut down and no longer return Geo Targeting information. If you’re still using AdRotate Versions 3.18.2 or older and you’re using AdRotate Geo, your geo targeting will no longer work in a few days.

Updating to the current version of AdRotate Pro will fix this and is the only solution. I’m not going to develop work-arounds or silly hacks. No need to ask… Just update the plugin!

A step-by-step update guide is available here.
If you need help with updating, or simply do not want to do it yourself you can use my AdRotate update service.

You are urgently advised to upgrade to AdRotate Pro 4 or newer. Version 4.11 has been released earlier today and is available for free for everyone who bought a license!

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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 🙂 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.