AdSense Stats Are Not Updating

If you nearly had a heart attack when you logged into your AdSense account today and saw zero revenue and zero impressions, you are not alone.  Google AdSense stats have been stuck for the last 12 hours. Ads are still being served as usual, however, and hopefully are being tracked.

Thousands of AdSense publishers experiencing problems with their AdSense reports showing no impressions and revenue, but don’t worry. The problem isn’t you. Your account has not been banned or suspended.

The fact of the matter is that this is not the first time that Google AdSense stats have “stalled”. It has happened numerous times in the past: in 2005, 2009, and earlier this year in 2016. As one person from Webmaster World put it:

I haven’t seen any new impressions or clicks for an hour or so, so I guess google’s taking a break again. Oh, and my CTR is terrific again today, so I guess clicks are running ahead of impressions as well. Don’t get too excited. Now that I’ve experienced this a few times, I no longer waste too much time wondering about it.

A quick look on the official AdSense Help Forum shows that it seems to be a publisher-wide issue, but none of the official Google AdSense reps have commented as of yet.

Powersalesteam.com and their former employee Taylor Chapman

Chances are if you watched anything in relation to Dunkin Donuts last week, you saw what is one of the worst kinds of public relations a company could have. Clearly I am not talking about Dunkin Donuts having a bad week, if anything they had one heck of a great public relations week. Abid Adar (the guy behind the counter that had to deal with Taylor Chapman) may have cost the company somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 – 20 to try and appease someone that was impossible to please.  Yet he brought the company good public relations on rather tiny budget.  The company I am referring to that had a bad pr week is the one that Taylor Chapman worked for: Powersalesteam.com.

I ended up watching that Taylor Chapman posted because I later found out she worked for a “SEO” company. So like Mindshark.ca I had to look at stats, but more about that further in.  As first I would like to cover why I don’t think the customer is always right.  Taylor Chapman is the perfect example of why you can’t please all the people all of the time. For some time I have wanted to address this.

When people post their reviews about a hosting company, I sometimes get complaints from people about a host and I get told “the customer is always right”. I guess since this site is a customer advocacy site some people think I agree with that train of thought. But I am a business man and I don’t agree, if anything people like Taylor Chapman come to mind as those that I have constantly rejected as being a customer. Honestly I don’t think I would have near the patience that Abid Adar has.  When I ran a hosting company I would literally send irrational customers packing.  If I had found a customer like Taylor harassing my staff I killed their site. As they broke the terms of service they signed up for. Most hosts have this in their terms of service.  But really Taylor and those like her are not customers; they are a drag on productivity.

Sometimes customers that I had like her would as their form of revenge would take to forms and review sites to bash my company. It probably would of helped them not to be irrational, as it backfired on them, but no where as well as it did with Tailor Chapman. She thought she would try to video her experience in hopes she could somehow hurt Dunkin Donuts, all because she did not get a receipt.  Dunkin Donuts policy is the meal is free if the customer does not get a receipt.  Which has happens to me every so often, but I don’t actually care if they don’t give me one. As it generally takes time to fix a mistake, and I worked in fast food at one point in my life. So I have sympathy for those that have to work for minimum wage to make a living. So I tip nicely and avoid anything that might cause management to come down whoever helped me.  I don’t think Taylor has had a retail job, perhaps I am wrong.

Somewhere at the start of the video she claims to have gotten a lawyer. Which is pathetic.  I have over 10 years of running a hosting company. So I have had my fair share of people who pay less than $10 a month for hosting, that turn around and threaten to have a lawyer come after my company. If they had to deal with a lawyer, they would realize lawyers are not free.  An estate issue I am currently going through I had to plop down $1,500 just to start with. My sister has a lawyer that bills her $75 for every letter he sends out. But that is beside the point, as while she is telling them she has a lawyer, a young man named Abid Adar (who should be employee of the month if not year) is calmly trying to accommodate her. Yes I know he could of asked her to leave, or called the police. Yet I honestly think he did ultimately the best thing one could do, as this all backfired on her. For 8 minutes and 18 seconds you hear a triad crap come out of Taylor’s mouth which gets worse the further end you go finishing off with racism.  Which is the main reason I don’t post the video here. Keep in mind she had a job in public relations and a business degree that she ruined in a matter of minutes.  Clearly she thought that everyone would take her side as she posted the video that went viral, which enraged “the internet”. She has a long path to redemption.

Powersalesteam.com former employer of Taylor Chapman.

Powersalesteam.com is a “Internet Marketing and SEO”, or as they claim”#1 Internet Marketing SEO“. They had Taylor Chapman as a spokesperson for their advertising video’s. I am not exactly sure how her video got on YouTube since she claimed to be posting the video to Facebook. Which as me wondering if someone else did that was on her friends list. But at some point it hit YouTube and spread like a wild fire. It did not take long before we knew who her boyfriend was and soon who she worked for. Some people (who should be ashamed of themselves) took it upon themselves to contact the company in a uncivil manner. Which is the point where Powersalesteam.com a marketing site had been handed lemons, so they should have made lemonade right? I can tell you there could have been no better time given the companies condition before Taylor gave them national exposure.

I am a graphics guy; I don’t do the SEO part of my business.  I will not make any claims of being an SEO expert, in fact I would go so far as to say that I had everything I know about SEO beaten into me by some of the best. The only site that I am actively running right now that I do the SEO for is this one. So it really is bad when I can pull off better search engine rankings without help from my own experts than a company claiming to be “#1 Internet Marketing SEO“. After all their Google page rank is 1, and their Alexa score is 3.4 million. As I have stressed many times before the lower the number the better when it comes to Alexa. Based off that data alone it’s not worth the bother to go over the rest of their stats. Never mind that the design job is poor, also not worth the time to go over in detail.

powersalesteam alexa

They don’t even know how to make video advertisements for their customers.  Never mind that is one major focus of their business. As one commenter on this whole fiasco stated, they could take a better video with their iPhone than this company. Which is true as they don’t shoot most of their videos in wide screen, and the quality of the videos are less than that of an iPhone. One of the videos I seen had audio not synched with the video. They don’t even have their own YouTube channel; their videos are on Worldhiphopreport.com (whose site’s stats are worse than Powersalesteam.com).  Also the opening video (which annoyingly starts the moment you load the page) on the main page for Powersalesteam.com was shot in really bad lighting.  The video that has Taylor Chapman looks like it was shot in the 70’s and the back ground noise is awful.

But speaking of Taylor’s video the page that show cases the other professionals has some poorly edited out Taylor Chapman spots.

Website Video - Commercial - E-Commercial Video Presentation copy

Also for the life of me, why would a company that claims to be “”#1 Internet Marketing SEO“” have Google Adsense on their site? Google is generating ads for other SEO companies on their front page.   You can’t take this company seriously when they are advertising for their competitors. Yes I have Adsense, but I am not selling anything. Which is why Adsense works for my site.

1 Internet Marketing   SEO - 954.526.9608 - Fort Lauderdale Boca Raton copy

Now while I thought Tailor Chapman was a real piece of work, Mr. Williams whom I assume is the owner may actually be worse. The worse mistake by far that Powersalesteam.com did was having a graphic of the person they fired with a customer’s web address.

Taylor Chapman is Not Employed Here Anymore   Internet Marketing   SEO

If it was me the first thing I would be doing is removing and replacing every single commercial that had Tailor Chapman in it. Yet the decision was to take short cuts and grab whatever picture they could find of her (a screen shot of video clip it seems). While this customer’s web address is shown during the company’s official response they decided to play the hate messages that were left on their answering machine. I am pretty sure that the customer they listed is also getting nasty phone calls because of this lack of foresight.

powersalesteam customer

If anything I would have had a rep of the company in the video, make it clear and short that Taylor Chapman was let go because she does not understand that public relations is important to a marketing company. Playing the hate messages to “the internet” and being snide about it is only going to make matters worse. Powersalesteam.com had a chance to turn lemons in to lemonade given their poor traffic stats, yet they would rather have something vile instead.

What webhost do I recommend?

Since I started this site and the video on YouTube that fed traffic to this site the single biggest question I get asked is ‘who do you recommend’.  As time passes, I find my mail box stuffed with with emails asking that very question, and I usually don’t have the time to answer everyone. This is my attempt at a prefabricated response. This of course will not stop people from writing to ask me. But it does tell me who is paying attention. My intention with this post is to let people know where I stand, so instead of waiting me to write back you get my reasoning behind not recommending a host.

Problem is I am not very comfortable recommending anyone.

I still wrestle with the very ethics of recommending a host. Yes you may see ads on here for hosts. But that is just advertising and the ads really do not bring in the money I could make being a direct affiliate of many of the companies that I did a review on. Not to mention you’re just as likely to see advertising for something else you were searching for especially if you are logged into a Google account.  Like for myself since I am searching for a home I am seeing a lot of ads for real estate appear on hosting-reviews-exposed.com.

Perhaps in time I may change my mind, or worse yet (for those in the hosting review industry) I will start my own hosting review site. I am certain I could make more money than sites like webhostingstuff.com while not selling my soul in the process.

I have a very limited long term experience with cheap hosting.

Most people that want me to tell them who to host with want a plan that is less than $10 a month.  Trouble is my own sites are on $150 or more a month. With the exception of this site, none of my sites have been on a cheap plan. Unless you count my geocities website from back in the 90’s, I made the most unusual transition of  going from free hosting to my own dedicated server with Virtualis. $0 – $400 a month in less than 6 months.

Sure I do design work for people that end up choosing plans with companies like fatcow, ipage, hostgator.com, and variety of cheap hosting solutions(despite my objections). But for me I am only there in the beginning at the point where a site has no traffic.  Sure I can see how fast I can ftp. Compatibility with anything I install. How well support is while I am uploading and fine tuning. Not to mention how fast the site loads when all is done.  Generally I only spend a week or two at best. However when I am working with a cheap host I may have dealt with a host during a good month or a bad month.  I have yet to encounter anyone that wants to rework their existing site that are running off a cheap solution. But when they do contact me its generally about migrating the site(s) to a new hosting company.

While I have an idea of how things may be in the beginning my opinion really does not express a long term experience of a cheap host.  In short I am just one step above that person that signed up less than 24 hours to post a positive or negative review when I express my opinion on a host.

My only real experience has been with Godaddy.com, which really I did not pay attention to how well it functioned for the first 2.5 years I had that account (you will find there are a lot of hosting customers that really do not keeps tabs on how well their hosting works).  By the time I got a good amount of traffic less than 3 months after I started a blog, this site needed something more which jumped from a $3.99 a month plan with Godaddy.com to a $40 a month plan with Mediatemple.net, and in January of this year this site went to a plan with Rackspace.com at $150 a month.

The people that drive me nuts about wanting a cheap plan are those that tell me that they lost thousands in income with their last host. Which begs the question why would you trust a site that makes thousands a month to a less than $10 a month account? Seriously if your site is your source of income it is no better than the hosting plan it’s on.

Should you avoid cheap hosting?

No, we all have to start somewhere. Yes I stated that I went from Geocities to Virtualis. From free to $400 a month. In a way that was a mistake. As I took my first design check and went for an expensive solution. When I could have settled for a plan that was 25% the cost. Frankly if you don’t have a bit of experience with web design or hosting you are better off with a small plan with a company like Hostgator.com or Godaddy.com. But the moment you start to understand what you are doing and your site is making a profit it is time to start thinking of a bigger solution. Generally my hosting is 10% of my income. After all my income depends on my online presence.

So you should avoid every host that I did a post on?

Okay, okay I realize a lot of the big and small time hosts that appear in the posts on this site come under a negative light. Ones that appeared on webhostingstuff.com appeared here because I wanted to find a reason for them not being a top 25 host.

Does that mean you should not choose them?

In short no, but I want you to be aware that these hosts have engaged in questionably unethical behavior. Most of which have appear on a site called webhostingstuff.com.  I could go on and on about how they and other review sites are biased on the basis of who pays for a top position but I think there is more than a enough posts to explain why. The best explanation can be found at:

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/webhostingstuff-com-a-rigged-contest.html

There are some hosts I have done some posts on that I do think should be avoided and I am pretty clear on those posts on that. Other hosts I think should be joined only with some caution.

For my tips on how to find a host can be found at:

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/my-top-ten/my-top-ten-host-tips-%E2%80%93-how-to-pick-a-shared-host.html

Also please note I will not allow hosting recommendations here, and review site will be beaten with wet noodles should they try to post their opinion.

Fiverr.com – A review written by an insider

Fiver.com has been something of interest of mine. In part people are willing to do things for five bucks.  Be it calling someone from a foreign country to wish someone a happy birthday, to writing as the below author of the bulk of the content for this post. There are a few things I will explore with Fiverr.com  Two reasons why I have chosen to look at fiverr.com.

1. To explore how much you can expect from $5.

2. Some of the abuses that are in Fiverr.com.  One of which is faking reviews, another is faking social media such as likes on FaceBook or Followers on Twitter.

Several of my colleagues will outsource some of their projects for just $5.  Since I am short on posts and I have been meaning to contact people that work on Fiverr some day to explore what to expect out of a buck a friend of mine has been asking people to write some posts for me. This writer is helping him to populate a blog with content for it’s niche .

The provider of this review inside the industry was paid for. The option was provided for them to have their account linked to this review, especially since my friend likes the writer’s work. However due to the nature of their review they felt it would be best to remain anonymous.  But they are offered to at any time post their link in here. After the post I have a few questions, which I get to open another project for and pay $5.  So in short this post will cost a total of $10, which I think is a bargain since I have been short on time.

A review from an actual person that will do something for $5 bucks on Fiverr.com

The below content was a paid review of a Fiverr.com seller.

_______________

On Oct. 19, 2010, I had turned on the television to watch Robin Meade and her newscast on HLN while my son got ready for school. There were all kinds of news happenings that day; but, one segment that’s done during her show is Clark Howard “Money Expert”.  He caught my attention with the word “money”. He had talked about Fiverr and how people were creating all kinds of gigs to make a little bit of additional money. I thought, great, I can earn a little more in addition to my work on Freelancer and Elance.

I created my first gig “rewrite or edit “1” 600 word or less article or blog” for $5. I set my initial timeframe for delivery at 2 days. And, for the first month, I didn’t hear anything. That was fine because as soon as I created the gig, more work from Elance came in. I didn’t expect anything right off the back with Fiverr. I didn’t do much with it, as worked mainly with the other freelancing sites to earn money for the household. Still, when it took off… it really took off! It really just takes one client to set things ablaze.

 Is It Really Worth The Hassle: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Of Fiverr

The Bad Of Fiverr.com

I’ve been using Fiverr.com for close to two years now and I’ve seen some good and bad things with it.  And, that’s not to say that the bad stuff is all Fiverr’s fault; some of it is with the clients who come on board, needing something done.  What’s some of the bad things I have experienced with Fiverr?

1 – (And most importantly) Fiverr claims you can make $5 for every gig ordered. The actuality is… you actually make a tad bit less than $4 for every gig. If you can earn $50 or more before you withdrawal the cash you earn, you’d be better off, as it is $1 to process the payment. Fiverr takes $1 for every gig ordered and then additional money to process the payment. It’s a bit unnerving but it’s their way of making money.

2 – (Another important bad point) Upon clients marking the order complete (or when it’s automatically done), Fiverr sets a countdown of 14 days before you can withdrawal the cash you earn to your PayPal account. Why do we have to wait two weeks for the money we earned?

3 – Sometimes the gigs take too long to get approved. I don’t know what it is (or if certain gigs get flagged for additional screening); but, I know that several of my gigs upon creation or updating have been on hold and not published for up to 24 hours. This can eat into the profits you’d like to make. This is especially true if the gig you’re updating is extremely popular.

4 – The time difference can sometimes be a factor when gigs are ordered. Many of my gigs will come in while I am sleeping, which means many of my clients are overseas from where I live. That’s why Fiverr stresses to think about the delivery date when designing a gig.

5 – Another bad aspect with Fiverr is a new change that recently went into effect. Buyers can now order more than one gig at a time in one lump gig. However, the timeframe for that buy is still the same. For example, on rewritten article 600 word or less to be done in 5 days or less is going to be done in five days or less. However, an article with 4,800 words might take me some additional time. However, Fiverr doesn’t recognize the additional orders and so the 4,800 words are due in 5 days or less. If you fail to deliver in that timeframe, buyers can cancel and leave negative feedback. Or, the system will automatically provide negative feedback.

6 – When it comes to feedback, some buyers are downright cunning in trying to get their work for free. I have personally experienced this problem – and Fiverr claims it cannot help. I had a buyer say that he could not use any of the work I did because it was horrible. Rather than have him leave me horrible feedback, which would significantly reduce my rating, I refunded the gig. Many providers feel that their feedback is held hostage and will promptly refund a gig if the buyer is unhappy.

However, when I went to copyscape the article a couple of days later  just to see if he was using my article, I discovered about 75 percent of my article was being used… in addition to changes he made that was not in the original article he had given me. Fiverr said because I had refunded it, there was nothing they could do. And, they would not ban his account even though it was likely he was taking advantage of other professional writers.

After this happened and with no assurances this would not happen again, I almost closed down my account. However, after some kind words from a great client of mine from Fiverr… I chose to leave it up. And, that leads me to my good aspects of Fiverr.

The Good Of Fiverr.com

Believe it or not, there are some very good points of fiverr.com. And, while one point of it deals with money, it’s not all about it. What are some of the good aspects of doing business on fiverr.com?

1 – Money is certainly a great aspect of Fiverr.com. After all, if you’re good at your job (whatever it is you’re offering as service) and are quick at it, then you can certainly make a side living with it. With the help of Facebook, Twitter and other social media to spread the word, you can earn a good deal of change to pay for what you need or want.

2 – Another great aspect of Fiverr comes in the form of clients. Yes, you do have some sneaky, want something for free clients; but, you also have the clients who genuinely care about paying for the work. Many of my clients are repeaters. I would say about 35 percent of my clientele comes back to me time and again to rewrite or write something.

In fact, I have one client who told me that the only person he comes to for rewriting services is me. He doesn’t trust anyone else to rewrite the material, which is nice to hear…even if it’s not true. (I don’t know if it is or isn’t.)  This particular client also pays me additional money to ensure that his articles are top notch, not just $5.

3 – The customer support aspect of Fiverr is also good. Despite the lack of help in the above scenario, the customer service has been extremely helpful in removing bad feedback when it was called for or when feedback was left when I was out of town and unable to shut down my gigs for a short while.

4 – Fiverr gives you the option to suspend a gig for however long you need it for. This is great if you find yourself overwhelmed with work and must avoid new orders coming in. With my most popular gig, I’ve had to suspend it 4 times in the last two months. I can wake up and have about three to eight new orders in one night.

5 – Fiverr also allows gig owners to update and change their gigs as well as add extras to the gig. If a buyer wants me to research additional information for the article or to ensure that the article is precise, he/she will purchase an extra on the gig.

It would seem that there is more bad things than there are good with Fiverr; but, if you can get past the part of waiting 14 days for your money and really getting paid less than $4 for every order, it really is a good deal… for buyers and providers (sellers). I do it, not just for the money, but the fact that I meet interesting people and learn about interesting topics.  Really, Fiverr is just a side thing that took off and continues to do so. If my clients cannot find me on my main gig, they turn to one of the other eight that I have to contact me.

Overall, Fiverr really isn’t that bad!

iPad 3 is here and it’s HOT!!!

As stated on Twitter Thursday night I waited in line at Wal-Mart for the iPad 3. Wal-Mart was selling 5 iPad 3s at every location.  I went with a friend at 9 pm after going to Red Robin. We had decided that if there were 5 people in line we would turn around and go home. When we arrived there were two people who had been waiting there since 5 pm. I am not sure of the general turn out nationwide, but we end up being the only 4 people there to collect 1 of 5 iPad 3.  This Wal-Mart is a bit out of the way, which may explain why so few people were there.  Though I made the mistake last month after 11 pm at this same Wal-Mart to decide I needed more canned air to clean out my computers and ended up venturing in during a Twilight Light release party (shudder) and it was packed with would be vampires and werewolves.  Despite the lack of increasing numbers we were told that we had to wait till 12:01 am to get our iPad 3’s.  The check clerk started checking us out at 12:09 am.

Around 1 am me and my friend made the out of the Box video of the iPad with the iPad 3, narration by my friend.  Never mind it only took 10 times to make the below video which I finale uploaded at 2:30 am.  I think this will be the last time I make a video half dead as I only had 2 hours of sleep that day, so I promise better next time around.

Full disclosure about my iPad 3 review

Should you click on any of the links within this post and make a purchase, I make an affiliate commission. Sure there are those that argue that I hate affiliate programs, but these are the same people that don’t want to disclose that they push review sites for the sake of a commission through affiliate programs.  It’s not that they make money by affiliate program that I have a problem with; it’s their method and the lack of disclosure.

While I do my best to be unbiased, I may have to warn you to what amounts to a fan boy love affair with a product when it’s clear I have a bias towards a product.

What I will never do is tell you to buy a product that I would not buy.  Nor will I tell you to buy a product just because I get paid a commission.  Despite that I suck as a sales person, and very likely may talk you out of buying something.

As with all reviews use your best judgment!!!

iPad 3 is hot, no really it gets hot!!!!

While the first iPad would slow down if I ran too many items, the iPad 3 so far has not.  I have had three games, a browser with 5 tabs going on (ok that is really lite for me), Pandora, the Camera, and the Weather Channel app. Point is I could not see a single delay. But it gets rather hot, nothing that bothers a desert rat like me but it’s significantly warmer than the first iPad gets when running multiple items.

On the first iPad it was easy to realize when too many programs were running, it performed slower.   So naturally I would close things down. My suggestion to keep the temperature low and lengthen battery life is to close off anything not in use, and lower the display brightness. Personally I would not be surprised to see a case that comes out for cooling the device. Though I thought I would see one that would add to the battery power of the device.  Perhaps such items add too much weight for consideration.  After all the first iPad with an Otter Box Cover is almost double the weight.

A few questions I have gotten from friends that don’t know much about iPads.

Every time I buy a toy my friends that are not as obsessed as I am ask questions about what I buy.  Mostly commonly is why did I buy a black and white reading device (Kindle 2 and Kindle Touch). In short I can read them in the sun and they have a really long battery life.

But here is what I was asked about the iPad 3:

Is it heavier than the first iPad or iPad 2?

To me there is not a significant difference between the three devices.

Is it bigger/thicker than the iPad/iPad 2?

IPad 3 is actually thinner than the first iPad, though slightly thicker than iPad 2.

Should I get an iPad 3 if I had iPad or iPad 2?

If you have an iPad 2, I would say no.  There is not a huge difference between it and the iPad 3. My friends that are obsessed with getting everything Apple state there is not a huge improvement.

As for replacing iPad with the iPad 3, there are a lot of good reasons for switching over.  Here are a few:

  • It has a Camera
  • Performs faster than the first iPad
  • It was made to be more of a production machine, than just a media consumption device like most tablets.
  • Faster browser

What is missing from iPad 3?

Once again there is no memory card slot. It boggles the mind as to why they would do that, other than oh say to get people to buy one with 32 gigs or 64 gigs.  This time around I choose to go with the 16 gigs over the 64 gig model not because I don’t use the space, but that I can’t store what I want to, which is a lot of personal data, Other that apps the most I ever kept on this device was 10 gigs, I may regret later only getting the 16 gig device, as this is the first time ever I have bought device with less memory than a previous device.  With the Kindle Fire I can tell you that 8 gigs is not enough. The apps that make it too small are the Audubon Apps, one of which wants to use 500 meg. A lot of the tablets I have looked at lack a SD card slot, except for the Barnes and Noble Nook.

iPad 3 versus other tablets, whose best?

Just to be clear I am not an Apple enthusiast. I am not going to abandon all of those pc machines at my desk in favor of a Macintosh.  This is the first device that I have actually purchased waiting in line on the launch date. To be honest I am leaning towards Amazon as future leader.

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/?p=2799

Between iPad (1 and 3), HP Touchpad, and the Kindle Fire; iPad 3 is the best.  But the Kindle Fire 10 inch display is in the works for August 2012.

Finale thoughts on the iPad 3

I think that Apple should abandon the whole idea of selling 16, 32, and 64 gig devices.  Sell one standard unit with a set amount of internal memory, and if they are so inclined to stay away from outside suppliers make their own memory much the same way that Sony has done.  After all there is not much difference in the units unless you pay for a wireless plan.   Data hoarders such as me would love to see a device that can hold a trig of data or more.

Asides for the memory issue, the iPad 3 is a solid work horse compared to its previous incarnations.

I will be inserting photos taken with the iPad 3 shortly.

Next post coming up recommended apps and accessories for the iPad 3.

My review of the Amazon Kindle Fire

After almost a week of play I have to say my original assumption of the Kindle Fire is pretty much the same.

The first thing that came to mind with the Kindle Fire was not so much a productivity tablet, and after weeks of viewing the app store I can’t say it even looked like a gaming platform.  My thoughts were a mobile media extender.  After all I have purchased as of this date 435 mp3 albums from Amazon and Amazon is allowing free unlimited music storage for those that purchase 20 gigs or more (Just $20 a year). Which means I will have an online library of 3,000 albums. Then I have Amazon’s Instant videos (formally Amazon Unboxed) if there is a Doctor Who episode for sale I own it (one can only hope that those up for rent only will be purchasable).  Then there is my Kindle library that I have been building up for the last 2 years of 432 books as of last count. All of which is available via the Kindle Fire.

But there is more, after all I also have Amazon Prime.  In the past that meant I could get orders for free in 2 days, whereas without the membership I had to get $25 in a order to get free regular shipping.  But now it means a sort of Netflix like video access.  Plus as of October the ability to borrow a Kindle book each month. Which gives the Kindle Fire a bit more, I can only wonder if Apple will have a similar offer.

With my last review I compared the Kindle Touch against the Kindle 2:

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/?p=2757

This time around I will compare the Kindle Fire against the iPad 1 (64 GB).  Most of my friends that know me, know I am not big fan of Apple.  From Apple’s “I’m a Mac” commercials to their cult like stores (yeah I said it). To date iPad is the standard for tablets, hence why I have one.  But I gladly welcome another company.  Last year I had hoped that it would be HP, but they post phoned till this year and then jumped ship.  Fortunately a few months ago Amazon announced they were going to get in the tablet business.  Amazingly they released a day early, and not to mention a full 8 days early on the Kindle Touch.  If only a certain game company would release things early (*cough* Blizzard *cough* Diablo 3).

Full Disclosure about my Endorsement of the Kindle Fire

I have placed affiliate links thru out this post, which means if you buy a Kindle Fire or other recommended item via any of the links I placed I get paid a commission.   Unlike the review sites that I rail against I actually use the product(s) I listed. I will not tell you that a product is good just to get a payout. I actually stand behind a review of a service or item that I provide affiliate links to.

The Amazon Kindle Fire

I can honestly say I am not disappointed in the Kindle Fire, despite its short comings.  After all this is Amazon’s first attempt in the tablet industry.   With my experience of the Kindle 2, there was only one short coming and that was it did not have any pages numbers.  The Kindle 2 was not bad for a second generation device.  I am willing to bet with the second generation of Kindle Fire the short comings will be far less than they are this time around.  Never mind that a lot of the short comings could be remedied by updates and more apps becoming available. Despite what I have read from other reviews I have not had any crashes.

The only software with the Kindle Fire that I have had issues with is Comics, I have had two Doctor Who comics that I purchased and had to contact this third party who has no access to my order information. It took 5 days for them to correct the issue. I was going to go hog wild and order all of the Sand Man series.  One problem is there is no direct link to purchased items, hopefully they fix that later.

I am not too happy about 8 gigs of space, or the lack of a memory card slot on the Kindle Fire. But then again its only $199, compared to $900 I paid for my first tablet. But it would be nice to store more for periods I may not be near an internet connection.

Battery life on the Kindle Fire seems to be about 4 hours when playing games (more like 4 hours of Plants versus Zombies), but as far as checking email, reading books or magazines, listening to music and browsing the internet I get about 8 hours.

The Kindle Fire‘s Browser (silk) is the best tablet based browser that I have encountered. The Kindle Fire‘s Browser loads smoother if not faster than Apple’s Safari or the HP’s Web OS browser.

While browsing the software I found interesting software that allows me to see the strength of my Wi-Fi connection.  But I am still playing with some of the productivity software such as Documents to Go.  Not really much of an opinion on what’s available for the Kindle Fire, I’ll comment later on an opinion. What notes software I have found does not auto save, it requires you to manually save unlike with my iPad and iPod touch that allows me to write a note and close the app to open back up where I left off.

I also subscribe to a few Magazines Men’s Health that are only available to the Kindle Fire (which I unsubscribed from once I saw it was almost 90% ads), Rolling Stone (which lead to me buying a book called Free Ride, a review on that at a later date as it has reverence to this blog), PC Magazine, Popular Science, and Popular Mechanics.  The neat thing is you can switch between page view and text view.  Page view gives you that glossy magazine as you would see it on the stands, where as Text view gives you a view that focuses just on the text of the magazine.

The Positives of Amazon Kindle Fire

  • Access to Cloud Storage of Music files bought through Amazon or your private collection with the Unlimited music storage when you purchase the 20 gb or greater storage plan ($20 a month)
  • Smooth integration with Amazon Cloud music files
  • Crisp graphics
  • Mostly Earth Friendly packing limited plastic covering (too bad no soy ink)
  • Large array of videos, music, books, newspapers, and magazines (some with a 90 day trial) available for purchase or rent
  • Despite listing not coming with a Power adapter it came with one
  • Awesome video quality

The Negatives of Amazon Kindle Fire

  • Limited Productivity and Gaming software (though this could change with time)
  • No Skype App (or Skype integration in Trillian which is available)
  • 8 gigs of storage
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  • No USB computer cable
  • No memory card slot
  • No integration with Cloud storage files (i.e. personal files such as pictures, documents, video (perhaps changed at a later date).
  • No VPN App/Capability (perhaps an update later)
Despite not being a direct by product the Amazon Cloud still needs work:

Amazon Kindle Fire faces the Mom Test (or the Skeptic’s test)

Perhaps its reverse psychology, as my mother can often take the counter point of any argument.  But my recommendation to her is that she go with an iPad.  After all she has a iPod Touch, with a lot of software.  She is also someone that can be cheap on a lot of things. But after handling the Kindle Fire she wants a Kindle Fire now.  Maybe it’s me recommending something familiar (reverse psychology), or perhaps just the weight of the device versus the iPad.  Not to mention the cover I have on the iPad seems to double the weight.

Recommended for Amazon Kindle Fire

On my iPad I have an Otter Box casing:

I swear it doubles the weight of the iPad, however it is the best case that I have had.

Unfortunately I cannot at this time recommend a Kindle Fire cover that is not leather (As I am a vegan) that is up to the standards of the Otter Box cover.  I can only hope that they will come out with a better one later.

For now I can recommend a cover that can provide some protection.  Which is by Marware, but in my opinion the cover for the Kindle Fire is overpriced.  But some protection is better than none.  Another thing that bothers me is that while the outer packing is paper printed with soy ink, the divider they inserted in the cover is not an earth friendly option as you can see from the gallery I posted.  It could have been cardboard, corn starch peanuts, or some other bio-degradable option.  Especially for a company that states: “At Malware, we are committed to providing innovative and affordable products that create customers for life, promote environmental  awareness and enhance the communities we serve.”  So why not so earth friendly packing inside the envelope?

However Marware does provide the best screen cover for the Kindle Fire, and with zero bubbles.

If you are looking for a screen protector for the iPad I recommend:

Finale thoughts on the Kindle Fire

Despite draw backs like the limited memory, no memory card slot, and a limited amount of apps.  If the Kindle Fire follows the same rate of progress as the Kindle eReader it is bound to be a good substitute for Apple’s iPad.  Especially considering the cloud storage with Apple is more expensive (Amazon is $1 a gig, and Apple is roughly $2 a gig).The next review will be on iPad 3, and hopefully Kindle Fire 2.

My review of the Kindle Touch

On September  28, 2011 I bought the Kindle Touch as well as the Kindle Fire. The Kindle Touch arrived on November 15, 2011 and the Kindle Fire arrived on November 16, 2011 both less than 24 hours after Amazon announced they shipped (under free 2 day shipping with Amazon Prime). The joys of having a Amazon shipping facility in Phoenix Arizona.  For the next few posts I am going to forgo the usual smashing of hosts that use review sites, hosts that appear in review sites, and the hosts that spam in one or another for the next 7 days to do a few posts on one of my favorite subjects which is tech toys.  After all I got to play with a few since Early October, another such item being the HP Touchpad.

Full Disclosure about my Endorsement of the Kindle Touch

I have placed affiliate links thru out this post, which means if you buy a Kindle Touch or other recommended item via any of the links I placed I get paid a commission.   Unlike the review sites that I rail against I actually use the product(s) I listed.  I actually stand behind a review of a service or item that I provide affiliate links to.

The Amazon Kindle Touch with free life time 3g

The version of the Kindle Touch I got was the free 3g, without “special offers”.  Those special offers include advertising on your Kindle. I was not really interested in turning my Kindle Touch into an advertising platform. My Kindle 2 has 3g, which I have enjoyed not having to set it up when I take it any where. After trying the Kindle 3 with Wi-Fi I decided I would rather have the free 3g because I am not always near a Wi-Fi connection.  Even when I am near a Wi-Fi connection some can be painfully slow (even by free 3g standards) or disconnect a lot.  That and I may be a bit lazy on connecting my device.  I wanted to be able to synch my library as I like to synch often when traveling, rarely do I buy books outside of home.   Not to mention both the Kindle 2 and Kindle Touch have a browser which while being very slow, can some times helps out when there is no Wi-Fi or if I want another source to see if a web site is down.

Why did I buy a Kindle Touch when I also bought the Kindle Fire?

Most of my friends that don’t read or rarely read don’t understand the appeal of a black and white screen. They did not quite get why I would buy a Kindle 2 or Kindle Touch when I had an iPad or now the Kindle Fire.  After all they are color.  These being friends that will never read Lord of The Rings and other page heavy books, but they had no problem borrowing the deluxe version of the DVDs from me.

For any one that reads as much as I do or more knows It’s not so much the black and white screen, as the long battery life.  Anyone I know that likes to read, and like myself may get less sleep because of staying up longer than usual because of a good book, understands well that a device with a long battery life is better than a tablet that lasts 4 – 10 hours on a charge.

On my Kindle 2 I recharge about every 3 weeks to 6 weeks; whereas I recharge my iPad about every 1 – 2 days.    Not to mention most of the books I read are mostly text and not a lot of pictures.  So there is no advantage of having a color screen to read on. That and while I can read the iPad outside, it is no where near as clear as my Kindle 2 or Kindle Touch in direct sun light.

So after 2 years the Kindle 2 is no good?

Back when I was selling off my shares in 4 hosting companies in 2009, I decided in November to get a Kindle 2, since then I have added over 400 books to it. To be honest I really had no justification for buying the Kindle Touch. Other than a fancy new tech toy, I had no reason to validate a new eReader. The Kindle 2’s battery life shows no signs of decline. With a Speck cover and a proper screen cover my kindle is in the same condition I bought it in. Despite getting a new device I will not be retiring the Kindle 2, and will continue using it at home, while using the Kindle 3 when I travel.  I will not be sending back to Amazon for what amounts to a small percentage of the $280 I paid for it.  They pay $25. Especially when the extended warranty is still in effect for another year or two.

Generally if I avoid leaving the 3g connection on I can go almost a month or longer before having to recharge.  But I wanted one that fits easier in my pockets, even when I am not wearing cargo pants / shorts.

My biggest gripe with the Kindle 2, is that Amazon seems to have abandoned it this year after they put my model up for less than $100 last year for Black Friday which I bought for a friend last year.  I had hoped that like the Kindle 3, they would release a patch that would provide page numbers.  I am bothered by the lack of updates this year.

Despite the lack of updates, the Kindle 2 is still a good eReader which I have had zero issues with.

The positives of the Kindle Touch

  • More of the screen is dedicated to text
  • Smaller then Kindle 2 or 3, with a screen that’s a bit wider than a the Kindle 2
  • Lighter then Kindle 2
  • Longer battery life then previous models (I have yet to see the battery life and will update this post in a month).
  • 3g model also includes Wi-Fi
  • Pocket Size
  • Touch Screen, and you can just tap to turn a page
  • Holds up to 3,000 books
  • Comes in earth friendly / recyclable packaging (minus a piece of plastic that covers the screen), would be better if printed with soy ink

The down side / quirks of Kindle Touch

  • No page numbers (perhaps a new patch, as Kindle 3 has page numbers per a patch)
  • Text to Speech is no better than the Kindle 2
  • I was unable to copy my collection / folder options from the Kindle 2 (perhaps another fix with a patch)

My recommendations for the Kindle Touch

At this point there are no covers that I can recommend.  Being a very strict vegan I refuse to buy any cover made of leather.  I will at later date post a cover that I find practical for the Kindle Touch.  Currently the one I have on my Kindle 2 is made by Speck which is a snap on shell that has been very effective.

The best screen covers I have found are:

Grantwood Technology Premium Anti-Glare Screen Protector for Kindle, 2-Pack Fits Latest, New Kindle (4G), Kindle Touch, Kindle Keyboard, Kindle 2nd Generation

They are a good anti-glare cover, however I find that they are near impossible to get the bubbles out.  Despite that flaw they are a good protection for your Kindle 2, Kindle 3, or the Kindle Touch.

My personal thoughts on Kindle Touch

There are many reasons I went from paper books to an eReader.  One of which is that I did not want tree to be cut down to provide me with reading material.  Then there is that part of me that that is a tech geek / data hoarder. On top of that I have not exactly gotten a permanent residence yet.  I would dread having those to lug another 400 plus books, another reason I stopped buying cds and went to buying mp3’s.  I can’t say saving money was the reason that went with an eReader.  The Kindle Touch is a tech toy I recommend if you like to read a lot.

Is your Outsource Tech Support Fair Trade?

One thing that never really occurred to me until this weekend, and that is the treatment of those that do outsource tech support.   Since outsource tech support deals with an IT industry and not farm goods, clothing or other non-tech specific items it never occurred to me that perhaps outsource customer service may be under the same boat all in the name to provide something cheap. You watch enough news and you hear about some clothing company operating sweet shops some where around the world, even the U.S. where there are child labor laws.  While India has child labor laws that cover up to the age of 14, that still does not stop someone from making people work for very little or  nothing to make a profit.

It occurred to me  after reading theecologist.org  and then calling Dell while brewing some coffee. Funny how some things are so obvious,  yet don’t quite connect in my head.  I was just about to vent my frustration over a order gone wrong when I glanced at the fair trade logo on my Trader Joe’s Organic Morning Blend (In short Fair Trade offers a reasonable pay for work done, not to mention reasonable hours and working conditions).   The fair trade logo connected all those points together. My first thought was did this guy on the other end really deserve my rage?  Was he paid enough to bear my rage?  I doubt it.

The Outsource Tech Support Sucks(?)

No I am not writing a rant against foreigners that are being outsource for customer service.  While there are many exported jobs that I am unhappy about, I actually have sympathy for this guy on the other end trying to do his job.  He is simply following the script that Dell provided him. At best his training consists of either being handed a binder with a table of contents that takes him to each answer, or being told to refer to the f.a.q. section on the company provided pc (which may have been the pinnacle of  technology 8 years ago). When it comes to something not covered by the materials provided, you either get a long pause or are put on hold while they ask someone that may know the answer.  Then when he / she comes back with an unsatisfactory answer, they may have to deal with the brunt of a customer’s anger.

There is no excuse for a company using Outsource Tech Support(?)

I don’t have a leg to stand on when it comes to complaining about outsourcing, after all on some of my cheaper companies used outsource tech support with India.

I went with outsource support for one reason and one reason only, and that was to compete in a cheap market.  When ever you try to compete in a cheap market,  as with any business its all about money. While the techs I had here in the U.S. were very good at their job, it was not cost efficient to have them dealing with a cheap market for many reasons.  Read enough of my blog and you will know that the cheaper an account was the more likely  the account holder would place a ticket.  That was a fact that I would not see until much later when software was in place that tracked such details.  The other details that was pretty obvious was the level web development skill was not equal to higher paying customers.  On the much higher end if my customers did not know, they hired webmasters.  The more a customer paid the less likely they put tickets in for support.

I can tell you my outsource tech support worked, but not without constant vigilance.  Hence why I had monitors dedicated to chat, so I could jump in if needed, or come through on another chat program to guide the outsource techs.  The vigilance being one of the driving factors into me desiring to leave the hosting industry.

Not all cheap companies provider Outsource Tech Support

There are companies out there that don’t offer outsource support such as Godaddy.com and Hostgator.com. I suggest looking up the results for yourself as this is a post about foreign provided support and not domestic.   That is a blog post for another day.

Having been an ex-employee of a major company whose current logo is “Save Money, Live Better”, or included advertising about “roll back prices”. Did I mention they had their employees go to competitors and write down their prices?  One of the big reasons I left them was the lack of employee benefits like insurance and money for college.  I had fulfilled my obligations to obtain these benefits.  Too bad I did not know the state I was in required these benefits for employees that work full time hours for more then three months.

The reason I bring Walmart in the mix of an Outsource post, is that low cost companies will sometimes do whatever they can to obtain a profit.  Like when Walmart bought Dead Peasant Policies on employees without their knowledge.

What is a Dead Peasant Policy?

Dead Peasant Insurance is sometimes used as a shorthand reference for life insurance policies that insure a company’s rank-and-file employees and name the company as the beneficiary. This means that the company receives the life insurance benefits when the covered employees die. This insurance may also be called “janitor insurance,” “corporate-owned life insurance,” or “COLI.”

http://deadpeasantinsurance.com/

Its the Outsource Tech’s fault(?)

I hear that a lot.  Just as I hear my mother complain about the quality of something she bought at the $ 0.99 store.  However she is willing to pay no more then a dollar for a lot of the things she gets at there.  She even goes so far as to return things that she finds defective there.  I honestly would not bother to return anything  after all it was not until 2 months ago I started going there as they started carrying my favorite energy drink for $0.79 and it usually runs $2.00 +.  Not that I have gotten anything defective from there, but if I did its just not worth my time to return anything. Its really a matter of math, in the time I spend going back to the store not to mention factors such as if I drove there or biked.  What could I use that time instead doing?

I get why people want the most for their money, but what about some realistic expectations?  After all how much are you willing to do for that $3.25 a month?   Are you willing to provide at less then a dollar a day service equal to what Pepsi pays for their hosting? Chances are that tech you complain about probable gets less then $0.01 of your hosting payment for having to help you out.  Sure there are hundreds of you on a server in order to make it profitable. Never mind that slow tech that is on chat with you may be slow because they are dealing with more then just you at that moment.

One of the things that I have seen while reviewing some 80 companies, those that use outsource support have a lot of complaints.  Endurance International Group being the owner of many of these companies.

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/hosts-that-use-exposed-reviews/dont-buy-from-ipage-com-until-you-read-my-review-to-save-time-and-money.html

When I first reviewed iPage, I had this weird chat session.  Where I am asked what home page I was referring to, that had me wondering how many hosting companies this support company worked for.

Turned out it was a large company that buys out other hosting companies.  Which I found out after I reviewed a company that shared a spot in the top 10 with Justhost, which was fatcow.

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/fatcow/fatcow-sucks-beware-read-this-fatcow-review-first-before-buying.html

What I find interesting is they do not know what company they are handling chat for. Though the tech on the iPage review probable told me more then I should know.

I tend to think alot of these outsourcing companies that pop up out there do little to train their employees before releasing them to companies seeking outsource support.  Several years back before starting up my 2nd company I was trying to find a support company that could do it cheaply for the second host.   Trust me I was not eager to go with a cheap outsource solution.  But as I said before it was a matter of profit.  The cheaper you go, the more people you have to put on a server to make it profitable.  The less likely a you are going to put people on state of the art technology.   If you live in a area like I do where the cost of living is comparable higher then other parts on the world, outsource support is your best bet to make your cheap hosting solution profitable.

The first company I found was a complete disaster.  This was a former software developer if I remember correctly was in India.  I tend to think this outsource solution would have been the death of my company if I did not decided to monitor chats and the company had not started up.  As the people they provided did not even have the basics of for what they were doing.  For some reasons the owner of this operation thought my company would train people who barely understood what a pc was on how to be IT experts.

Their boss collected my fee and disappeared.  No surprise but they are no longer in business and the software part. there most industrious part was shut down.  Other wise there would be a post on avoiding them.

Outsource tech support versus Affiliate Programs

The main argument behind me not being for affiliate programs that pay more then 20% of what a customer pays is very simple. Yes the payment is tax deductable.  But lets take a host gator account that a design client of mine signed up for, I sent him to a friends affilate link on the promise he told he how much he got paid.  Being the cheap skate this design client was he went with the month to month plan which was $7.96 (never mind it would have been cheaper to sign up for a year or more).  That means that it takes 13 months before any of that money is put into tech support, its all being sent to the affiliate.  That also means that until the 13th payment, not a singe penny goes towards any form of service.  There are other things that qualify as a tax deduction which are things that would improve service, such as paying a decent living wage to the tech on the other end.  After all a happy employee is a productive employee.

As much as we may try to blame affiliates, and the companies that pay them.  The real problem is not the outsourced techs, nor is it the companies that employee them.   After all lets go back the product that started this post, Organic Fair Trade Wake Up Blend coffee from Trader Joes.  This is a product that caters to people such as myself that are Tree Huggers, and concerned with the well being of others.  I am not going to be on a list of people that buy blood diamonds out of Africa knowing full well the human cost.  Hence products that carry the Fair Trade Logo, for those that would rather not have coffee or other things under slave labor conditions.  Any company will flow to an idea that brings in money, especially when people stop buying from companies that operate sweet shops.

So before you decided to yell at an outsource tech, ask yourself how much did you pay for your  hosting package.  I welcome any outsource techs that want to share their experience be they good or bad.

Seclists.org – Is anyone home?

Yeah I know Seclists.org is not a host, for that matter they are not even a review site.  This post is more of away to try and get their attention.  This is even a site that I can honestly say I respect.  But Seclists.org and the author of one of their posts have ignored my emails:

http://seclists.org/fulldisclosure/2010/Oct/466

To be percise this is the exact reason I am trying to get their attention, they accuse me of:

Here is a list of Host gator google bombing with fake websites and prolifically self-aggrandizing sponsored conversations to bury negative reviews:

Based off one of my first posts: hostgator bad web host read honest hostgator review

In short he pastes part of my post:

Hostgartor.com [sic] likes to brag about numbers”, “Even though Hostgator has their own building, it does not appear they have their own server center, and they to [sic] like the first three companies I reviewed that are also using theplanet.com.”, “Even though Hostgator.com is only in number 5th position, they probable [sic] should be in the top position at webhostingstuff.com.

That is not an exact quote from my site.  For that matter the miss over the details that prove I am not “google bombing“, nor am I “prolifically self-aggrandizing sponsored conversations to bury negative reviews“.  Hostgator is not paying me to write about themTo be honest yes I was copying what those so called Google bombers have done, and those Google bombers have even accused me of such.  Over time though I have not done it so much as it gets a bit boring. While I do enjoy a good link, I would be happier if it was in a proper context.  I honestly really love it when some one is trashing me for what I am really doing.  But calling my site fake? Not so much.  This Seclists.org author did not do his research.

Seclists.org – I am not “google bombing

First off let me explain I claim to be no expert at blogging, and this site is not making me a income to live off of.  I started this because back in Oct 2007 I found a site called webhostingstuff.com that thought it was a good idea to remove my positive feed back given to my company by customers.  In short when I confronted this so called review site he blocked me from further communications. Long story short, hosting-reviews-exposed.com was born.

Which lead to the creation of this video.

 So Seclists.org do I need to show further proof?

A little after that post on Seclists.org, I got spammed from hostgator’s affiliates:

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/hostgator.html

Which I am sure I will see happen again before November, and have friends that have promised to send me Hostgator’s advance warning to cj.com so I can do an advance broad cast next time.

So Seclists.org how about issuing a correction?

I can respect not liking hostgator, after all they used to be one of my competitors.   Not to mention they fuel fake review sites like webhostingstuff.com.  The person who choose to post their rant on seclists.org did not read my post in full before grouping me with others.

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/unlimited-hosting/hostgator-bad-web-host-read-honest-hostgator-review.html

You would think they could at least beat Arvand.  Perhaps hostgator paid in advance for their “advertising” on webhostingstuff.com for that 5th spot. I would suggest contacting webhostingstuff.com to get a push up on those rankings, perhaps hostgator can get in a bidding war with iPage for that number 1 spot …… sorry I meant advertising Webhostingstuff.com does not “sell” rankings *eye roll*. Did I forget to mention the mysterious disappearing negative fee back.”

Perhaps my sarcasm was not evident?  I am still wetting my feet, and I make no claims at being a professional blogger. But I make it a point to read before I post links.  What I find interesting, that the only mention of webhostingstuff.com (who is doing the damage your writer was worried about) was mentioned by me.  Yet this is absent on the seclists.org post.

Come on Seclists, everyone makes a mistake so please issue a correction.