Monday, 16 March 2015

94% would agree, it's been a while

It's been a very long while, in fact over a year since the last blog post. Ooops. Suppose there hasn't been much to write about, Google has only changed their algorithm about a billion times and there has only been maybe a few thousand new apps to play with on the App Store and Google playstore.
But to be honest, none of that has interested me.... until now.

Everyday I cruise the app store looking for something new and fun to play, and its been the same old boring '80's style' we are so cool and retro games there, backed by big companies to get them up there in the top 10, booooooring!

But recently a few have caught my eye. I admit, one of them is a big name game, Wally & Friends, but it's nostalgic ok!

The others, 94% and AA are great, addictive and why I love the app store. Both totally simple games to play, easy graphics, small time devs, but just lovely all round package.

I am especially keen on the 94Percent game, such a simple premise, it's basically, do you think the same as 94% of the world population think, most of the time the answer is no, it's super frustrating but so so good and completely addictive! Makes you questionand think about so much.

Sometimes too addictive mind you, which makes me happy for sites like this 94 answers site because I think my brain might explode otherwise!

The AA games greatness also lies in its simplicity, it's kind of like digital darts but even more simple. Throw the line, make sure you don't hit another line, the end. It is 100 percent not as easy at it sounds! I wish there was somehow a cheat for this also but it's impossible, I think most of the time it is luck.

So that's a run down of the latest games I think are noteworthy, none of this Angry Birds crap, lets help the poor developers, why should all the big wigs keep making all the money just becuase they can afford the PR.

I downloaded all these games from the app store.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Another Day, Another Quiz App - 4Pics1Movie Rant

The last 18 months has seen an invasion of sorts and the mighty rising of quiz apps. It all started with the humble Logo Quiz, then came all sorts of variations of that, followed by an onslaught of Word Quiz games, where you not only had to guess words but there was even a song variety and celebrity head variety, so naturally at some point one had to appear where you guess the movie, and as reliably as the 263 bus, it has appeared!

4 Pics 1 Movie (you can download it from the app store here) by developers Game Circus LLP does pretty much what it says on the tin. It gives you 4 pictures, and you must guess the movie title. Simples. Sounds nice, I like movies, could be a good game to play while whiling away some time waiting for that darned 263 bus or when i'm bored and in a quiz app mood.... No.

Stop. Right. There. This game is not what it seems. Not the easy-on-the-brain, good for a bit of time wasting, something to do when you can't sleep type of quiz app. I am going to outline here some reasons why this game, as fun as it should be, especially for a movie geek, is downright annoying! I am even using numbered bullet points and two exclamation marks in two sentences in a row!

1.  What is the deal with having to wait 13 HOURS or more for the next level to open up! That is extreme and ridiculous and makes me want to throw my phone at the wall.
Yep, just when you're getting into the swing of things and ready for the challenge of a new level, BAM! you must wait a random number of hours whilst it's 'unlocking', seriously, see the picture →.
You can of course unlock the next level with coins, which you must buy, but with 40 levels so far and more to come you could end up spending your life savings on this silly game.  (nb. before you start moaning that you can get coins for free, yes you can, but not many, and only once, and certainly not enough to open up all the levels).

2.  For movie buffs, which is the kind of person you'd assume would download this game,  this is going to be the most frustrating thing... The images don't actually represent the movie you are trying to guess in anyway.  It all starts to get a bit to logical, simplified and literal.
Lets take an example: the well known classic film, Space Jam. One would think, maybe an image of a basketball, Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny would do the trick and be very relevant to the movie, well you would be wrong. Very wrong, instead you will get two images of stars/milky-way galaxy/space and 2 images of jam/marmalade jars. VERY LITERAL, and also hugely annoying and insulting to our movie intelligence. Its like a smartphone version of rubbish charades.
Very literally Space+Jam = SpaceJam 'sigh'
3.  This one is minor, but nevertheless irritating, for those who are into films even more so. I have to do a bit of background explaining here for those who haven't played yet;
' after having correctly guessed an answer, a success screen will appear which includes a quote from the movie you just guessed'.
The fact that when guessing the movie title 'Rocky' the quote wasn't then 'Adriaaaaaaan' and instead a part of the film I had never heard of made me do a meh face and roll my eyes. This happens a lot, be prepared, if you like movies to have all the quotes you love not appear.

So why oh why has this game been sitting in the top 10 chart on the Apple app store for this week? Well, someone must like it. Why don't you take a long and judge it for yourselves, see what all the fuss is about. and when you get stuck and frustrated and have a phone to face moment cos the question is just to literal for your developed brain, stop, you can always find the 4 Pics 1 Movie answers here, yep, all the levels you need, once you finally get on to the levels that is!

Ok rant over.

 Being reminded of the movie SpaceJam has caused much distraction while writing this post, but it was SUCH A GOOD MOVIE! In capitals letters to reinforce just how awesome it was. For those of you who remember when the movie came out and can still remember the words to the theme song here is a special treat for you, the original Warner Bros SpaceJam website, 'Jam Central'. It's virtually like stepping in a time machine and going back to 1996, enjoy! :)

Saturday, 7 September 2013

'Hi Guess the Food' should be the greatest app ever!

What do you get when you cross food and technology and create an app, of course surely something wonderful!? You would think? They are two of my favourite things and they have been combined to create the new number one app on iPad (and somewhere floating in the iPhone charts) called Hi Guess The Food.

Checking out the developer Man Zhangs [on a side note, such a cool name!] portfolio as the app store asked me to 'check out more apps by Man Zhang' he isn’t shy when it comes to creating ‘guess the word’ style apps, and if we are being honest with ourselves, they were starting to get boring. But food! FOOoooooD! This should be the best app ever!

Unfortunately, Hi Guess The Food it not the best app ever. (Sigh so much potential).

Yes it has the wonderful simplicity and no bells and whistles UI that allows your brain to become numb for a while, and the cartoon images are great, but the content, the most import part, the food, is all wrong.

This is hugely frustrating!

When what you and I know as Ketchup is now labeled as just ‘Heinz’ and the correct answer for an image of a jar of Peanut Butter is ‘Jif’. Jif really?? Whoever heard of that? If you have and if you do eat Jif Peanut Butter on a regular or even not so regular basis please comment below as in my world Jif is used as a toilet cleaner.

- Battle of the Jifs -
Back on topic, the problem with this app is that we are not really guessing foods, it just guessing brands again,. It’s the Logos Quiz rehashed into food stuffs that is surrounding us. The most worrying thing, is that we mostly know what they are. The big corporate companies have not only taken over every other aspect of out lives but now also our food! What next, branded Broccoli? Corporate cucumber?

Instead of getting annoyed at not being able to figure out the answer for some of the food words on this app, I felt almost proud of myself for not having allowed myself to be brainwashed.  Well for a couple of minutes anyway, until the frustration that causes the addiction to these style of games kicked in and I NEEDED to know the answer.  The only options if you can’t figure it out yourself, pay to get hints. No thanks! Any other alternatives?

I discovered there were no other alternatives, so decided for all those other wonderful non-brainwashed souls who can’t figure out what brand they have been drinking or eating from all these years, to create an answers site. Here is it: all the Hi Guess The Food answers are here. Hope you like it! Let me know in the comments what you think!

You can download Hi Guess The Food for your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch by clicking right HERE.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

SocialAdr Review - an honest one!

Social media and social bookmarking is looking like THE way forward with regards to seo. Ignore it, and you will be left behind. But social bookmarking is just a part of marketing on the internet that people hate. You hear all over that you need to do it to help your pages rank better and to drive more traffic to your site.  It's true.  But there's a problem: It's incredibly boring! With SocialAdr suddenly that task is crossed off the list. It completely automates the process of getting pages on the social bookmarking sites

How does it work?
It's totally revolutionary in the way it works: they have hundreds of users, an army really, that are all waiting to bookmark you pages on their own social bookmarking accounts.  All you have to do is put in the pages that you want bookmarked and the rest is taken care of automatically.

With the 'Free' account you have to setup all your own social bookmarking accounts (only once though) in order to get started.  Next, share 5 other members' bookmarks, which is as simple as clicking a single button.  You have to do this in order to earn "credits" which can then be spent when other members share your bookmarks.  

With a paid account, you literally do nothing. Just add the bookmarks/links to your site and the rest is done for you.

I can see it's working just from looking at Google webmaster tools. You can see the backlinks being created from social media sites every week.

Does it really work though?
I tried a little experiment to see how my site did both with and without SocialAdr. The moment I started on the Lazy plan I suddenly saw my site go up the serps. I was sceptical though, maybe it was just a fluke, or something else I had done to cause this movement. So after a couple of months I stopped. Within days my site has lost some rankings! I was amazed! I also have no idea how it had such an affect, all I know is that it did, and so I instantly went back on the paid plan, and even went up a plan as I was so impressed!

Is it worth it?
Absolutely! The wonderful thing about it is that you can join for free. Yes, that means you are getting backlinks for free! However you may want to move up to a better plan eventually, that's when I really started to see results. But even then, the Lazy plan is only $15 a month, you would pay more than this to a decent SEO company doing your social media stuffs.

Where do I sign up?
Just follow this link and it will take you to the sign up page.

Still not sure? Need it broken down into bitesize review chunks? OK here you go;

The Good
It works, and its pretty white hat. Real humans are sharing your stuff to real accounts, what more do you want!

The Bad
Not to happy that there is a cap on how many times you can sure the same url before having to pay more. Although in the long run this may end up being a good thing.
Could do with integrating the big social networks sucg as Twitter, Facebook and G+ alot more, these are the powerhouses!

The Ugly
The user interface isn' overly friendly. It might take a bit of time to find your way around, and it's not so easy to find what you need. Minor problem though, and would much prefer they focus on making a great product that works instead of a friendly UX.

I was in your position once, doing some research trying to figure out whether I really needed some Social Media Seo. I'd read some reviews, and decided I had nothing to lose from joining up for free so I went for it. I am very glad I did and hope this review will help you to decide.

social media marketing services

Sunday, 17 February 2013

4 Pics 1 Word (What's the Word) - The new must have app?

The app ‘Whats the Word – 4 Pics 1 Word’ has taken smartphone owners by storm and looks to be the one to watch in the coming weeks.

But can it maintain it's popularity, similar apps such as Logos Quiz and Draw Something were similarly very popular at first, rising to the top of the app store and sitting there for weeks, however as time passed, they crept slowly down the chart, until 6 months later, they were almost forgotten about.

The difference here is that could 4 Pics 1 Word have learnt from the others mistakes?

Errors such as lack of updates, or updates that slow down the app (such as the introduction of too many ads), or selling out have been problematic for apps in the past, time will tell if that's what will happen here. However, it's already looking promising as developers of the game LOTUM GmbH have already hinted at regular updates and have indeed stuck to their word by bringing out a new update just a week or so after it's rise to fame, however it does have one flaw that is frustrating players, you are unable to move on from the word you are on until you complete it, that's it, if you don't know it you are stuck at that stage forever, regardless of how many times you turn your phone on and off again!

But maybe this game has luck, already it is being helped along un-knowingly by the slather of '4 Pics 1 Word Answer Sites' that it has brought about. A weird cycle has been created where they now actually need each other.

People need the answers to carry on playing and carry on playing because the have the answers.

So a bit of background: to put it simply, a rise in puzzle apps for smartphones has seen a direct link with a rise in cheat sites for these apps - we like to cheat as this article explains.

              Direct link between a rise in answer
                          sites and a rise in puzzle app popularity
This 4 Pics 1 Word gives everything it has to cheating, it is a difficult game, some of the answers are near on impossible to guess. It also doesn't have hints (unless you want to pay, which most people don't). The app even encourages you to cheat with a 'share on facebook' button allowing you to post the images to facebook and ask for help with the answer from your friends.
It was just a matter of time before the cheat sites came along, in fact it was no time at all, before hundreds of spammy sites with the domain name 'whatstheword' or '4pics1word' came along to try and make a quick buck from this apps popularity. These spammy sites again managed to make their way to the top of Google regardless of whether they had the answers up or not (they for the most part didn't).

But how do these answer sites help the app? As the recent press release put out about it states 'With the cheat sites becoming a helpful Robin to the Batman that is the 4 Pics 1 Word app and allowing for players to move up levels even when they don’t know the answers'. It's basically saying that these sites are making players stick with the game instead of giving up on it because if they can find just that one answer that they are stuck on, then they can carry on to the next level.

For now it's the next big thing in gaming and puzzle apps, until the next simple word/picture game comes along, the app is available for both iOS and Android and can be downloaded from the Apple App store here or Google Play here.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

SEO is dead

I am relatively new to SEO, Google rankings, page indexing and everything else that comes part and parcel of having and maintaining a website. I have had to learn everything as I go, from the very beginning not knowing how to even get a website up and running and where to buy a domain name from(let alone making the domain names WHOIS info private which I didn't find out until many months in!), to now having to find backlinks and figuring out percentages to optimise keywords.

Working in The World Wide Web is a contradiction, its the fullest and busiest yet also loneliest place to work. In the SEO world especially, there is no support  it's dog eat dog and everyone is against everyone else... unless you pay them!
It doesn't matter that your website has nothing to do with theirs and there is no competition or threat, they will still not help you out.
As a beginner, I needed help!
As a beginner, I turned mostly to forums and YouTube videos to help me out and as places to learn from, YouTube videos were generally rubbish and self promoting, but surely I could find some helpful, knowledgeable people on the forums, these were SEO forums after-all.  So off I naively went and asked all sorts of newbie questions, an at first it was fine, I got a few answers (some spam but a few good ones). My main response from people regarding how to climb up the rankings was 'get more backlinks', but how? 'forum posting and use your signature as a link, it's totally white hat'.  Ok, why not, I'll give it a go. Most forums you have to have made a certain number of posts before getting a signature, so I followed the rules, made legitimate posts and joined in legitimate conversations  even helping people out with my new found knowledge  Finally I got to the required number of posts, put in my signature with a little link, and BAM, my posts got deleted. Everytime I tried to post a newpost, a genuine one, it was deleted! This happened on a few forums. So it was time to try another way  of getting backlinks

I'd heard of blog commenting. Again, I didn't want to be spammy, just wanted to get my site out there, so I looked for blogs that related to my niche, they were blogs about apps, and smartphone games. Most of them I found really interesting and I made sure every blog comment something I would write even if I weren't trying to promote my site. Almost every blog comment I wrote was taken down.

I was losing hope with my backlinking strategy,  I turned to social bookmarking but even Reddit wasn't letting me add my link (just one sodding link! and i'd commented and contributed plenty to the sites other news!), and Wiki answers decided to ban my site after only putting it in the 'relevant links' section once, and the question was where can I get the Logos Quiz answers? Literally my site is the answer!
I even wrote a couple of high quality articles to submit as a guest blogger (and yes they were high quality!), but got rejected by all except 2.  I was losing my mind! What was I supposed to do?!? How was I supposed to do SEO?

I know what you're thinking, sounds like a spammer, serves her right, she deserved it. But I can assure you I am not in the least bit a spammer, I have seen spam and I do not promote my site that, I think it devalues the site immensely and after the hard work I have put in, why would I want to devalue it.
How are you supposed to do SEO or even just market and promote your site so that people know it's there if at every turn you get shot down? How do people get their sites to number 1 in Google?

Is Blackhat SEO the only way to go now?
I have finally, after many many months of looking figured it out, Adwords, and Blackhat. Simply put that is all that's left, SEO is dead now, its almost as impossible to implement as knowing what Google's next ridiculous algorithm update is going to be. For your site to be seen nowadays, you must pay either Google (Adwords) or if you're not savvy enough to do-it-yourself then you need to pay a hacker or other blackhat seo specialist to put you on their link wheel or add you to their blogging network. FYI, I have gone with the first option, I have turned to Adwords, which in my opinion stinks! I paid £12.90 for 23 clicks! But I feel it's better than going the blackhat way because surely, SURELY, this will soon get sorted out by Google? Right? Google? Please?

Now you may be wondering, as I have spoken so much about it what my site actually is and maybe you want to look at it to see what I'm talking about. Well I'm not putting a link in this post, I know, completely ridiculous, as a link would be very relevant  however that would be bad SEO. You see I've mentioned my site and put a link to it many times before in this blog and so putting another one in would look suspicious to Google and potentially bring my site down. Just another example of how very stupid these algorithms have become.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Google is Broken!

Google is broken, and it's killing small businesses and giving it's customers the wrong results. You want an example? I could give you plenty, but here's just one; I searched for 'Top locations to buy a house 2013', now because you probably wouldn't believe me if I told you what results I found, here is a visual for you...

Yep, thats right, I got given a page, (infact 2 pages!) about best honeymoon and holiday destinations and travel tips, not a single relevant page (and no I was not signed in for personal results!).

Google used to be the word for integrity and the best searches you can do on-line I'm worried that now it has built it's brand to a big enough proportion it doesn't care anymore and has become just a money-hungry beast like all the other big corporations.
If your thinking I'm some Google basher, who is bitter because Google threw my site down the rankings and isn't letting me back up to that number 1 spot, well you are kindof right, but there is much more to it than that.
Over the last month I have been doing everything I possibly can and everything that Google tells you to do to get your site back on the first page, perfecting on page keyword %'s, getting more quality and relevant backlinks, creating more content and generally following all the whitehat Google guidelines and rules, I have got nowhere.  Meanwhile, I have been keeping an eye on my competition, one in particular. Now I'm not going to mention their name as I would rather not give them the free publicity but if you Google pretty much anything to do with 'Logo Quiz' they will come up first in the SERP (search engine results page). They are easy to spot, they are the site with almost no content.
I decided to dig a little deeper into this site, some of the big SEO advice out there is to check your competitors links, I did, and what I found was shocking, here are some facts:
  • Website creation date: 19th September 2012
  • Number of backlinks: (on 28th October 2012)  57000+ 
  • Any relevant backlinks? No, backlinks were from sites about Salmon Fishing and Ballet to name just two.
  • Keyword %'s: All over the place, but for the keywords 'logo quiz answers' around 11%.
  • How did they do this: That's exactly what I wanted to know! So I found out....

They are hackers! I didn't have to dig deep to discover this on a Joomla forum:

This is the link if you want to see the whole forum discussion

What the hackers had done is embed a dofollow link to their site in the head of this poor guys website, thus giving them a free backlink. They must have an automatic software they did this 57000 times over, and with most site owners likely not even checking for any extra code, or if they did, like this guy they wouldn't know what to do with it, this gives the hackers a tidy amount of backlinks.
So well done hackers, you got your free backlinks, but hang-on, surely Google is clever enough to figure out that this is a hack, that something fishy is going on?
Well judging by the SERPs, apparently not, there's not even a prospect of the Google dance going on anymore as these hackers have been solidly sitting at number one for the past 6 weeks.
Surely Google has the intelligence to see this, so why are they not doing anything about it? Money. They want more money, which they make a lot of through selling advertising through Adwords.
Adwords is ridiculous  you pay more per click then you could ever justify, but for small businesses who have been shot down the rankings and over taken by hackers it is now the only option to be seen. So, actually clever Google, more money in you tax dodging pocket.
What about the rest of us? Trying our hardest to play by the rules and be good SEO's? Well time will tell, there needs to be another BIG Penguin update to sieve out all these bad guys, when that comes, if the bad guys are still at the top, well then there is only one explanation, Google have gone to the dark side, they can't beat em', so they're joining them and using the hackers to make themselves a pretty penny. Once again, googlebye small businesses, make way for the big corporations.
Sad world.

As an extra, you can do you're own little experiment to see just how broken Google is; we all do at least one Google search per day, so when that time in the day comes to do your search, instead of clicking on the first result and assuming it will be the best, go onto page two, an really have a look, I bet you'll find a better result for whatever it is you're searching for! I have personally been experimenting with this, and have found that approx 7 out of 10 times, the results on page 2 are more relevant, about 1 out of 10 times the first result is relevant and the rest is somewhere in the middle to lower end of page one.
I'm off to Bing!