Gregg Hilferding :)

New from Google: LessTraffic™

From the Google Blog:

Answer highlighting in search results

Consider the example, [empire state height]. With today's improvements, the answer —1250 ft, or 381 m — is highlighted right in the search result:

Google Answer Highlighting

This might be cool for Wikipedia, but it totally screws every other website owner.

If you have a website that deals with anything Google's algorithm has decided is a "fact" then watch out, your traffic is about to drop. Google's destroyed a lot of niche online markets but this is a broad attack against all sites.

The future of this feature is that you never have to leave Google at all.

Published by Gregg Hilferding on January 22nd, 2010 at 4:25 pm. Filed under Google,Search,SEO,Signal1 Comment


From Google:

We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down, and potentially our offices in China.

It's about time.

Published by Gregg Hilferding on January 12th, 2010 at 7:23 pm. Filed under UncategorizedNo Comments

Micro-lending to change the world

Back in January I helped make a loan to Nosirova Uguljon so that she could buy a greater range of goods for her childrens' clothing business. Nosirova's business is in Kanibadam, Tajikistan. (Tajikistan is the poorest of the former Soviet republics.) Her daughter helps with the business:

Nosirova Uguljon's Daughter

Nosirova Uguljon's Daughter

Entrepreneurs like Nosirova are the key to building the economy in poverty stricken areas like Tajikistan. Plus, her daughter represents a better future for their family and community. Although the total loan amount was $1,200, it only took $25 of my money to help support this business. I was able to join with 37 other lenders to support Nosirova's business through the microfinance site, Kiva.

Alice Indangasi Shabola

Alice Indangasi Shabola

She's already paid back her loan and I've turned around the $25 and loaned it to Alice Indangasi Shabola for her clothing business in Kenya. That $25 now represents $50 of economic impact to businesses in developing countries. When Alice pays back her loan, I'll loan that money out again to yet another business. You can see what kind of long-term effect just $25 can have on Kiva.

Of course, once you've made one loan, you want to make more. :) Here's my lending page on Kiva showing all the loans I've made.

I hope you'll find $25 to loan through Kiva and have a real impact decreasing poverty around the world.

Published by Gregg Hilferding on January 2nd, 2010 at 7:33 pm. Filed under SignalNo Comments

expandUrl passes 11,000 mark (at least)

Since announcing the launch of expandUrl and fixing the few bugs that cropped up in the first week or so, I have barely given the service a second thought. The API works incredibly well for my own sites which take advantage of it.

Today, after receiving a report that the service was unavailable last night, I took another look at it. Still not sure why it went down, but while I was working on it I've added some basic logging (for troubleshooting purposes) and looked around the internet to see if people are using the service.

Since logging was never included in the first place, the only way to surface a reasonable count of URLs was to count the cache files. Since cache files are programatically deleted, I was pretty shocked to find over 11,000 files in that directory. Now that I have actually logging in place, the site displays a counter. Today's count? 11,411 URLs expanded!

Of course, people only know about the service because of the folks who have helped spread the word about it! Thank you to all these folks for mentioning expandUrl:

  • Blog Brasil Academico "If you prefer a cleaner and more free advertising try"
  • Troy Sabin "The Yang to the URL shortener Yin - URL expanders"
  • Free Nuts #2 in their top ten URL expanders list!
  • Borrowed Code Mentioned as part of a blog entry about fighting Twitter spam.
  • Benny Chen "After failing to find a good solution, a short address before the humble beginning to run out to restore the service; Can only say that a group of prescient people, ah!"
  • Kate Morris "There is another useful tool available - - it shows you not only where it goes, but how many times it is redirected and how. :) Not my tool, but a friend built it."

Finally, I discovered a Google Code project that integrates the expandurl API into Google Chrome. This is very cool to me, as it means the service will be used by lots of folks (even if they don't know they're using it!). :)

Not too shabby for 221 days in. ;)

Published by Gregg Hilferding on December 4th, 2009 at 4:27 pm. Filed under Search,Signal,Social Media,WebmasterNo Comments