Archive for March, 2011

Time Warner’s Internet Monopoly

March 07, 11 by kenrich

There is a problem with the cable TV industry here in America.  These companies have a virtual monopoly when it comes to high-speed Internet in many of the big cities.  For the consumer there are no other options when you are stuck with poor cable Internet service and lousy customer service.  They know they have a monopoly and they use this to their advantage to charge outrageous fees, increase them every year without providing anything additional in return.

In most cities you don’t have any other choice for high-speed internet unless you count DSL.  DSL or Digital Subscriber Line is a technology that utilizes phone lines to transfer Internet.  This is a system that is inherently flawed.  For one thing, they use the same connection that your phone uses.  This means that voice and Internet communication are all shared on the same line.  Another issue is that speed varies based on your distance from the ISP hub.

The typical speed of DSL is 256Kb to 40Mbit/s for downloads and even slower for uploads.  Compare this to 15Mbit/s download speed for cable Internet and you see how huge the gap is.  In worst cases, using DSL is not much better than using dial-up Internet that we used to have in the old days.

Let me get back to what Internet companies have been taking away.  One example is Usenet newsgroups which were one of the original applications written for the Internet.  Imagine a massive collection of message boards shared throughout the Internet (if you don’t know what I’m referring to here).  This service was taken away from Time Warner high-speed Internet customers at the same time they raised their fees.

Another thing that Time Warner is horrible at is customer service.  They often keep customers waiting for 45 minutes by placing them on hold.  I’m sure this keeps their call volume down when 90% of their customers hang up the phone in disgust so they only have to deal with about 10% of all customer service calls.  For the amount of money we all pay for cable TV and Internet services, you would think companies like Time Warner could provide a modicum of quality customer service to their customers.  But then again, they have a monopoly so why bother!

Google’s New Page Rank Algorithm

March 03, 11 by admin

Google Search (How I Hate Thee)One of the things I really find discouraging is the page ranking algorithm created by Google.  I’ve been hosting web sites for well over ten years now and I have a handful of sites that have been continuously hosted during that period.  During the early years, I saw my page rank grow to a respectable number along with the number of backlinks. Business was good and I was relatively happy during that period.

I did a little bit of work on SEO for my sites to help improve my rankings a bit in those early years.  I made some mistakes along the way venturing into schemes that are known today as black hat SEO.  However, some of the things considered black hat today weren’t deemed that just five years ago.  Another error I made was migrating sites to another host and scripting language.  This is an operation fraught with many perils in itself.

The net result of these actions is that when the new page algorithms were launched, my sites started going downhill.  It didn’t happen all at once either.  My site rankings gradually decreased over time as each new algorithm was launched.  The purpose of the Google changes was to eliminate irrelevant results from their search results.  The problem was that my sites are very content rich so they deserved a little bit of page rank.

So today my main business site is doing okay with a page rank of three.  This is not a very good ranking for a website that has been around since 2000 and has had hundreds of valid backlinks.  As of today, my website has backlinks of zero, yes that’s right, zero!  Just a few weeks ago, my backlinks stood at five which is still an insult.

I’ve taken a few steps to rectify the situation.  After studying good white hat and black hat SEO techniques, I took steps to clean up my website and make it more search engine friendly.  I have all of the correct title and meta tags on all of the different pages.  I eliminated a lot of the duplicate content that appears on the site.  I also removed any links on the site that were part of a paid linking scheme as well as any links that may be considered irrelevant (unrelated) to my core business.  After doing all this, I then petitioned Google to reconsider my site for inclusion in the search engine.

Actually, my site already does show up in the search engine, its just that I felt I was being penalized due to my black hat SEO techniques.  It has been less than a month since I submitted this petition.  I haven’t seen any positive effects of doing this.  Hopefully, there will be some positive changes coming in the future.  Otherwise, I think I should consider exiting this business and getting into something else.

The major change launched by the latest page rank algorithms was to mark down the page rank of content farms which just scrape (steal) content from other sites and then republish that content on their own site.  Sometimes, this content is manipulated to change the grammar and structure.  The purpose is to score big points for having lots of content and keyword-rich content that search engines love.  The downside of this approach (for searchers), is that non-authoritative content is given to searchers when it would have been more appropriate to show them the original article.