TenthOfMarch Reviews Nuffnang From The Inside (Part Two)

Part two is finally ready! In the first part of my review on Nuffnang from the inside, I mentioned that I found bugs in their system. On the next day, I immediately fired up an e-mail to notify Timothy from Nuffnang about some of my findings and waited for his reply. To get a clearer meaning of a computer bug, I am quoting the definition of a computer software bug from wikipedia.

“A software bug is an error, flaw, mistake, failure, or fault in a computer program that prevents it from behaving as intended (e.g., producing an incorrect result).”

The “bug” I found is that the system is actually tracking my (the nuffnang member’s) own visits. Now before I continue, I would like to mention that this is quite a “subjective bug“. As wikipedia puts it, a bug is only considered a bug when it prevents the system from behaving as intended thus producing an incorrect result. Therefore, it is not a bug if that is how Nuffnang planned to have the tracker to work. However, I personally feel that the tracker should not track my (the nuffnang member’s) own visits. The reason being some members may manipulate their unique visitors and hits a day by visiting their own blog.

Timothy replied:
We actually have the ability to NOT count your own unique visits but we don’t implement that for a few reasons. The most important of all is, since we charge advertisers and pay bloggers based on their unique visits, it would not particularly be fair to exclude the blogger’s own visit from there. After all, when an advertiser placed an ad on your blog, you of all people will be the first to notice the ad, so why shouldn’t the advertiser pay for the ad that’s served to you?

Secondly, you will find that we have taken great pains to build a very sophisticated counter. Unlike many statcounters out there, we have a 2-factor authentication way of tracking not only by cookies but also based on other information we get from users anything from Screen Resolution to even Geographic area in Malaysia.

Timothy went on to explain in detail on how their tracking system works and how it would prevent members from manipulating the statistics. This part of the explanation is not disclosed to protect their privacy. However, what I can tell the users are, forget about trying to manipulate your unique visitor statistics because it probably won’t work. As for Nuffnang’s current and future advertisers, rest assured that your money is well spent on legitimate visitors.

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Next, clicking on the hot blogger model brings me to the blogger login page. I notice a ‘minor feature’ that was missing. Forcing me to click on the textfield before typing is a big pain-in-the-wrist and can get a bit frustrating sometimes. It is almost like an unwritten rule that a page should automatically focus on the textfield upon load. Gmail, Google, Friendster, Dictionary.com, Youtube and others does it. Why don’t you?

TenthOfMarch recommends:
Focus the cursor on the e-mail textfield once the page is loaded.

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Nuffnang’s Blogger ModelAfter logging into the system, it was an immediate disappointment. Nevermind the simple looking interface, where did my blogger model go? I had this mental picture that she would be ‘escorting’ me into my admin area, while showing me different posses as I go through the different menus. However, it did not happen … it did not happen. *shakes-head-in-full-disappointment*

TenthOfMarch recommends:
You should … ahhh, nevermind. It’s not like you will do it anyway.

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I notice an inconsistency with their logos. Sometimes the stickman looks ‘taller’. Sometimes the logo fonts look bigger. Sometimes there are bigger white spaces between the lines. Sometimes there is a trademark (TM) sign. Sometimes the stickman is on the left, sometimes it is on the right and sometimes it disappears (member admin area).

Inconsistent logos

TenthOfMarch recommends:
I think it is part of a branding practice that you should have consistency in your logos. Unless your plan is that your stickman gets to ‘run around as he wishes’, I suggest creating a finalized design and stick to it.

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Time to find a banner for my blog. There are three types of banners up for offer — Leaderboard (728 x 90), Large Rectangle (336 X 280) and Skyscraper (160 X 900). What baffled me was whether the earnings for the three banners are different (eg. Leaderboard banner earns more than Large Rectangle). There was no indication that you earn more or less by using a particular banner. So I guess it’s the same for all three?

Anyway, I was planning on putting a banner in one of my sidebars. Since I have two sidebars, I guess it won’t interrupt my blog navigations much. However, I almost had a heart attack when I saw their skyscraper banner. It is 900-pixel tall! Then I realized a note that says, “Shrinks to one unit if ad slots not used“. That is about 200-300 pixels per slot, small enough. Come to think of it, I don’t mind having 3 advertisers using up the whole 900-pixels. I DO GET PAID 3 times more, don’t I?

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After clicking on the “Finished” button at the “Add ads” page, I notice a ‘strange number’ at the top left of the page. “805“. Damn, if it had 4 digits I would have bought TOTO already.

Strange number on the top left

Timothy replied:
We put it there sometimes when we’re running tests on our system. It’s not a bug, just something that helps us keep track of things when we’re running tests.

Should have guessed so. I remember myself doing that quite often — printing outputs on the screen just to check if some results are correct. Come to think about it, that could be the number of bloggers that has already signed up with them. What do you think?

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I don’t like the way their navigation menu works. When you click on a menu, “Analytics” for example, there is no indication that the “Analytics” menu is selected. I guess they try to compensate it by including the ‘menu-selected’ in the submenu. Although the ‘menu-selected’ in the submenu is not clickable, it is confusing and WEIRD!
Redundant Submenu

TenthOfMarch recommends:
Highlight the menu when it is selected. You can use the same colour as the one that appears when the mouse moves over it.

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It takes forever to load the “Came From” and “Keywords” page from the “Analytics” menu. Why does it take such a long time? It reminded me of days surfing porn the Internet with a dialup. It is not a good user experience.

Timothy replied:
It’s slow because we have sooo many queries coming in at the same time it’s ridiculous. Yet, we’re working on optimizing our script on that end, you should feel the changes within the next couple of weeks. We’re also about to Ajax the analytics part which might make the experience a little more pleasant for our bloggers.

UPDATE: The guys at Nuffnang must have done some modifications to the code because the pages are loading a lot faster now.

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In the “Came From” page, why is the list of referrals truncated?

Timothy replied:
When we first launched we had the full line of referrals but it was causing a bit of complication so we have since truncated. The solution to that problem is not difficult but we’ve decided to prioritize on things that are more important e.g. the optimizing of our code.

UPDATE: Modified.

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To summarize:
Overall, the interface of the system is simple. However, the most important thing is to get the ball rolling. Their system works and delivers all the necessary functions. They are already in their 3rd (?) week of advertisement campaign. A few advertisers have already invested in them. Their advertisers’ banners have been displayed in hundreds of blogs to date. And most importantly, a big group of bloggers has already started earning money! I’m kicking myself regretting not to have joined them earlier. Or else, I would have probably made a few ringgits by now. It could have been a lot more, who knows?

TenthOfMarch Reviews Nuffnang From The Inside (Part One)

Wow! I never thought that writing Review: Nuffnang Vs. Advertlets would bring in a few new readers to my blog. That post generated some great discussions between Nuffnang, Advertlets and myself. However, they say you cannot judge a book by its cover. Therefore, neither can you judge a website by its index finger page.

Pointing finger to Nuffnang’s banner on the right

Finger pointing at Nuffnang’s banner on the right

So, I decided to register an account with them and make a review (and also one or two ringgit) from the inside. I’m going to start off with Nuffnang and continue with Advertlets after completely ransacking Nuffnang’s ‘insides’. This may seem a little unfair for Nuffnang because it gives Advertlets some extra time before ‘judgement day’. However, I have no choice because apparently, Advertlets do not do business with small-time blogger with less than 100 unique visitors per day like me. Grrrr!! :evil:

Due to the extra traffic generated from the previous posts, as of 10pm today, my blog has successfully surpassed the 100 unique visitors mark. I will work on it and hopefully will be able to stabilize or increase this number further. Alright, enough nonsense and lets get to business.

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Registering an account was a breeze. It took me under a minute to fill up the form and hit the ‘Sign Up Now!‘ button. Seconds later, I received the confirmation letter and clicked on the activation link. When I thought I could start setting up my banner, I was asked to fill up some survey first. :mad: What annoyed me was it took me longer to fill up the survey than it did with the account registration. And I can’t even skip the damn thing (I think). But I guess it’s ok — they help me scratch my back, I help them scratch their backside loh.

Immediately after starting the survey, I felt like throwing one of the Nuffnang guys down the Penang bridge already. I wonder which one of them made the survey. Surveys should be short and easy to answer. Nevermind the 10-over questions. I’m already stuck with the first one!

Stuck at first survey question

I try to make it a commitment to blog daily. However, my statistic shows I misses two or three posts a week. That means I blog ‘4 or 5 times a week‘. Where’s my option? If I answered ‘3 times‘ will my earnings be less? If I answered ‘Daily‘ will you call me a liar if I missed a post? First question also so challenging already. Grrr……WOOF WOOF!! Oppss…. :oops:

TenthOfMarch recommends:
Provide option for “Daily”, “1-2 Times a Week”, “3-4 Times a Week”, “5-6 Times a Week”, etc.

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Some of the questions asked DO have multiple answers. However, you only provide ‘bullet options’ which allows only one answer. Take for example:

a) How would you categorise your blog?
b) Are you signed up on any other ad networks?

My blog is (or will be) about business, personal and technology. Currently, a workaround to this problem would be to select “Others” and write them in the textfield. However, I am lazy, so I just selected ‘Technology’. Luckily I only have AdSense running on my page, or else I’ll be scratching my head bald thinking which to choose again.

TenthOfMarch recommends:
Provide checkbox for questions that have multiple answers. That way, we get to select more than one answer.

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Then comes the second part of your survey. “Section 2: Now tell us about your readers“. I tell you, this part is the most ‘jia-lat‘. I was having a head-banging time answering questions about myself already. And now you want to know about my readers? All I know is that they have taste (they are reading my blog, aren’t they?). Ok seriously, I think (but I may be wrong) that most bloggers do not have a clear knowledge of their readers accurately.

Here is my reasoning. According to this article, only 1 out of 100 of your readers will leave a comment. Let’s say you are really good and manage to get 1 out of 10 of your readers to comment. After that, you make real good friends with them. Such a good friend you are, you are even able to know their future! However, you are still very much in the dark with the other 90-99% of your readers. True? Therefore, answering any of your questions regarding my (our) readers is based purely on my (our) own guessing. Is it still accurate then? So why bother having it? This part of the survey is just a big waste of time.

TenthOfMarch recommends:
Remove section 2 of your survey. If you really want the survey done, I suggest putting it up in your Nuffnangites’ blogs and allow their readers to answer them instead. How? What? I can only point you to one direction. You know where that is. Innovate. If not, just copy (at your own risks). :twisted:

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So that was it. I finally finished registering an account. How did I feel right after that? To say the least — somewhat exhausted and tu-lan frustrated at the same time. Nonetheless, I’m excited to be able to continue my quest in drilling deeper into them. You cannot imagine what I found next. BUGS!!!! Yes, those creepy crawly ‘things’ that become every programmers nightmare.

This is only Part One. Catch Part Two of my review that will be coming out soon. I hope I don’t have to extend it to Part Three. :mrgreen:

Sorry for the occasional sarcasm, no life joke, some not so friendly remarks and my honesty. You may bitch me, but don’t ditch me. See that “Leave a Reply” section down there? Go on, tell me what you think about my post, me or even my hand (if you want!). Oh by the way, hope you like the ‘handjob’! ;-) Cheers.

Review: Nuffnang Vs. Advertlets

(This IS NOT a sponsored post)

The war for the best Malaysian blog advertising company has begun!

In the blue corner, we have Nuffnang who claims to be “Asia’s First Blog Advertising Community“. While in the green corner, we have Advertlets who claims to be “Asia’s Better Blog Advertising Network“. Which one of these two titans will emerge victorious? We will have to wait and see. In the meantime, it is review time!

Nuffnang

I come to know about Nuffnang a few weeks back. My first impression on it? “Why didn’t I think of that?” Anyway, it was a nice concept and all, but I wasn’t so sure if their idea would work. I found nothing much that interests me apart from “their story” (lengmou.blogspot.com), their wacky stickman logo / mascot and of course, the two lady models.

I gave no thoughts about this program until I read this post. Having a paid post in kennysia.com will definitely be a boost for Nuffnang. However, there were some mistakes and improvements that I have suggested here for Nuffnang and kenny. I noticed the title of Nuffnang’s website says, “Nuffnang – Malaysia’s First Blog Advertising Community“. However, in all their banners they used, “Asia’s First Blog Advertising Community“. Hours after my comment, I noticed Nuffnang changed their title to “Asia’s…“. I wonder if they changed it after reading my comment. If so, at least say thank you lah! Oh, maybe they didn’t because I sounded a little rude in the comment…haha.

Thank God I took a screenshot of it as a proof (and souvenir).

Nuffnang, Malaysia or Asia’s First Blog Advertising Community?

Now, more complaint suggestion for Nuffnang.

I know you have bought both nuffnang.com and nuffnang.com.my. However, you should official stick to one of them. Throughout your website, you used both the domains. It’s confusing and is not uniformed. Since both domains leads to nuffnang.com.my, I suggest you stick to that domain throughout your website.

I also recommend you remove that flash navigation bar. Reason? Firstly, I’m allergic to flash. No seriously, using flash is a No-No in SEO. Whatever you put in a flash WILL NOT be accessible by search engine bots. You can use flash if you want, but use it wisely. However, creating navigation links throughout your sites using flash is suicide. Search engine bots can only crawl whatever links that is outside of the flash. In this case, the links that are not accessible to the bots are:

1. our_story.php
2. advertiser_faq.php
3. blogger_faq.php
4. blogger_faq.php

Not much, but you decide.

Advertlets

I only got to know of Advertlets a few days ago. My first impression of it? Pretty impressive. I like the way they used AJAX throughout the website. Their AJAX-ed banner is a knockout compared with Nuffnang’s. It allows the banner to remain small, while being able to contain a hell lot more information in it.

So, everything is good with Advertlets? No way!

Advertlets has way too many ‘taglines’:

advertisers + bloggers = money + happy
Asia’s Better Blog Advertising Network.
Advertlets.com – Putting the bling in blogging.
Malaysia Boleh!
Majulah Bloggers Untuk Negara!

Advertlets, so many taglines?

Need so many for what? Just choose one or two (max) and stick to it. May I suggest you stop using “Malaysia Boleh!” and “Majulah Bloggers Untuk Negara!“. It’s not because I’m not patriotic or I hate Malaysia or I’m inviting ISA officers to my house. Here’s my explainations:

Firstly, your website consists of 99.99% English words. The 0.01% is the two slogan above. And that is WEIRD!

Secondly, “Majulah Bloggers Untuk Negara!” is a plain rip off from the slogan “Majulah Sukan Untuk Negara!“. You simply replaced ‘Sukan‘ with ‘Bloggers‘. OK OK. It’s not wrong or illegal (I think), but it’s grammatically wrong. Notice that the slogan uses, “Majulah Sukan…” not “Majulah Ahli Sukan…“. It urges athletes to improve sports for the country. Therefore, your slogan should have been “Majulah Blog Untuk Negara“, not “Majulah Bloggers Untuk Negara!“.

Lastly, you simply have to remove the tagline “Malaysia Boleh!” because it is not suitable. It is like begging for sympathy of Malaysians to join your program for the sake of patriotism.

Then, there is the case of inconsistency again. Your title shows “… Putting the ‘bling’ in ‘blogging’“, while the one at the bottom of the page reads “Putting the bling in blogging“, without the ( ‘ ) symbols. I know this is a minor mistake but it shows amateurishness.

Advertlets, inconsistent taglines

Advertlets provide a comparison chart that compares themselves with their “nearest competitor”. They didn’t mention who, but of course is our “NN” lah! I wasn’t too fond with a few things that they did and did not compare with.

1. Web 2.0 style logo.
So what if you have and they don’t? It doesn’t add any value to your advertisers or bloggers. Furthermore, according to this article, “There is no official standard for what makes something “Web 2.0”…“. Therefore it’s useless to claim that yours is, and theirs is not. Using bigger and / or brighter fonts is considered Web 2.0. Using ‘Beta’ to replace ‘under construction’ is Web 2.0. Logo of websites like Technorati, Weblogs, Inc., Wikipedia, and even MySpace looks ‘older’ than their logo but is still considered a Web 2.0 style logo. So in my humble opinion, their logo IS Web 2.0 styled.

2. Friendliness of logo.
So, yours are “Happy and laughing”, while theirs “Appears to be boxing and screaming”? I have to admit this is true. Their stickman’s hands are so short it cannot even reach their mouth, thus looking like they are asking for a fight. But then again, what’s your point here? It doesn’t add any value.

3. Meaning of name
Your name sounds like “applets” and theirs “Doesn’t appear to mean anything”. Dear Advertlets, kindly get your facts right. If their name is meaningless, that is a proof they are MORE WEB 2.0 THAN YOU! More and more Web 2.0 start ups come out with names that have no meanings! There’s Skype, Meebo, Zimbra, Wayfaring, Kajeet, Zopa, Pando, and more.

Again, all these three comparisons are VERY LAME. It shows that you guys are desperate and cheap because you’ll do anything to knock out your competitors (including punching them below the belt). This comparison is baseless, useless and meaningless. May I add, your minimum payout is RM200, while theirs is only RM100. Why didn’t mention this?

To be fair to you guys, here are some improvements you can have on your website:

1. Currently, the top bar that contains “Login, Register, Help” cannot be closed. One of the right way to do it is, click once it opens and click the second time it closes.

2. Remove “Malaysia Boleh!” and “Majulah Bloggers Untuk Negara!” slogans. It’s an English website. If you are serious in putting Malay slogans, create a Malay version of your website. That would be another punch to your competitors.

3. Remove the 3 comparisons I mentioned above. It is useless. Your facts are wrong. It degrades your image. Period.

4. Insert the minimum payout in your comparison chart, if you have the balls guts. People know the amount. If they don’t, they will find out. Not putting it in the chart only shows that you are somewhat intimidated by your competitor. Or better yet…

5. Decrease your minimum payout to RM100. If you don’t convert the currencies and just compare a dollar to a dollar, most advertising companies set a minimum payout of at most 100 dollars. AdSense is USD100. Text-Link-Ads is USD25 (no minimum for paypal payment). Adbrite is USD5. Setting a high minimum payout shows that you want your bloggers to work like mad, for a longer period of time before they can get their paychecks.

You may argue it is the same (that they will still receive their paychecks once they reach RM200) but it is not. Imagine you work for a company that pays you RM2,000 a month. However, your boss tells you that you can only receive your salary after it has been collected up to RM10,000. That means you only get paid once in 5 months. You still get paid the same amount right, but is it the same?

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Wow. This is a long post. Looking back, I commented more on Advertlets than Nuffnang. That’s because Nuffnang really has nothing much to talk about, really. Everything is short, sweet and nice. Straight to the point. And yes, lovely models. Design of the website is a little plain though, but it is the advertising campaigns that matters. And of course, the two lovely models.

As for Advertlets, the design of the website is really nice. I like the fact that you chose Yvonne Foong to become one of your Featured Bloggers. That will help her with her fund-raising campaign. I wish her well. Anyway, I especially like your banners. As Randy Jackson puts it, “It’s the bomb“. However you should modify your comparison charts a little. Those “3 things” I mentioned above really makes you look a little too desperate.

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Up to this point, I still have no idea who will rise up as the winner. What do you think?

Earn RM1668.20 in a day…

… at least that’s what the advertisement reads.

(Disclaimer: TenthOfMarch.com is neither affiliated with the advertisement nor responsible for its content. In fact, TenthOfMarch.com advices you against joining such a program.)

I found this paper advertisement stuck on the car’s wiper one day. As usual I wanted to just throw it away. However, I stopped when I saw “BERITA BAIK” written in big bold letters, which means “GOOD NEWS”. Well, who wouldn’t need a good news once a while right? So I continue reading. It read, “daily income, paid daily!”. Wow! I would definitely benefit from a little extra income. It also claims that the company is registered and recognized by the government of Malaysia. Should be safe then, right?

Advertisement front page

One big problem, what’s their company name? They said they’re registered, but company name also dare not include in the advertisement?

Even their so called “proof of profit” is so poorly designed. It looks like they just typed it from Microsoft Word and printed it out. If they want to be more convincing, at least print out a photocopy cheque, or a proper computer generated statement. Doing it their way only spells S-T-U-P-I-D on their face.

Advertisement earning page 1

Penerangan melalui telefon tidak akan dilayan kerana jadual kami yang ketat“.

Wah, really so busy? Or they just have no balls to talk to me? Try lying into my face.

Advertisement earning page 2

If those figures is not enough to attract you, they’ve also included a ‘real success story’. Apparently some guy named “Bob” had some serious financial crisis. But after joining this program, his whole life changed. In a little over 2 months, he and his wife managed to earn well over RM60,000.

I smell crap. One stinky crap from a big rat.

Advertisement real story

I would like to take this opportunity to advice all my fellow Malaysians, please use your head. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t true. There’s a big variety of scams out there. Sorry for saying this but some is so lame that you must be retarded to be fooled. Imagine this…

“Congratulations sir! You are the luckiest person on earth! You’ve just won RM1 million from us. However, before you can get your RM1 million, you’ll need to pay us RM20,000 for taxes. It’s the law.”

Who in their right mind would believe such a scam? If I really need to pay taxes also, can’t I pay later? Or just deduct from the RM1 million lah. Dumb ass. Some people did got fooled.

As Phua Chu Kang always say…..”use your brain, use your brain, use your braaainnn….”.

Malaysia must ban this bra bag

Title: Malaysia must ban this bra bag

I stumble upon this video one day. Don’t ask how or why, I just did. ;-) Just watch the full video before you continue.

Now, I don’t speak nor read Japanese but it’s obvious what the video is about. Some Japanese hero invented a bra-cum-shopping bag to help decrease the use of plastic bags. I can’t help but think what would happen if this shopping bag becomes an IN THING. Imagine ladies using them for school, work, shopping, leisure and everything else in between. This is one bag your boyfriend / husband will not want to be seen holding while you do your shopping.

I truly recommend the government of Malaysia to ban this product. The rate of snatch thieves in this country has been on the rise in these recent years. Allowing such a product to penetrate into our country will further increase the crime rate. If this product hits our market, a new breed of criminals will be created. Gone are the days where thieves steal the bags, keeps everything valuable inside, and throws away the bag. Now, these people will go steal a woman’s bra bag, throw away everything inside, and then keep the bra bag.

If you’ve read up till this point and still not burst into laughters, then I’ve failed. Chill out! :mrgreen: