Bugged by Spam: Ban These IP Addresses with WP-Ban

Are you being bugged by spam comments on your blog? While it’s likely they come from a vast array of IP addresses, I’ve found that I control most of them by banning just a few IP addresses. You can use my updated list below.

If you want to add some IP addresses, do let me know by adding them to this form, it’s pretty easy. Just use the form below to add the IP Addresses you want me to include on my list.

Include only IP addresses that spam your blog more than once. And remember I can’t include EVERY spam IP address. But banning 80% of the spam before it hits the blog will make your life MUCH easier. I promise I won’t spam your email address, just to keep you update with the latest list, that’s it! To use the list of IP addresses, just download Lester Chan’s wonderful WP-Ban plugin, and paste the entire list into the Banned IPs area. Then hit ‘submit’. You should see far fewer comments than before.

WordPress 2.7 – Five Reasons You Shouldn’t Wait To Upgrade WordPress Today!

With the recent and much anticipated release of WordPress 2.7, I was reluctant to upgrade some of my blogs because of past foibles, bugs and unexpected incompatibilities with plugins. So when I read that 2.7 was released, I was initially reluctant to upgrade ANY of my blogs. So I started with a couple of them, and updated, tested things out, and moved on. Ordinarily, I would have waited until 2.7.1 was released as a bug fix for some of the issues that area always present in a full release of WordPress.

Overall, I’ve been very impressed with WordPress 2.7, in the few days that I have used it, and I’m a little frustrated that some of the hosting companies I work with haven’t updated the software on CPanel yet. Of course, Dreamhost jumped in pretty early, and that’s why I was happy to try it out. I’d say that there are five basic reasons I like this version of WordPress more than any previous release.

1. A Simplified Dashboard: You can eliminate clutter!

The dashboard has long been a bone of contention for me, because of the tendency of WordPress to want to flaunt its gimmicks, updates and features to all and sundry. In this version, though, users get to turn off the feeds, through the screen options at the top right. Simply uncheck the things you don’t want. Voila!

wp admin area

Additional features that are helpful are the little downward arrow that occurs at the top of most boxes, in the top right corner of each box. Simply clicking on that arrow or area closes or opens the dialog box in an obvious fashion. You’ll see the downward pointing arrow next to tools (see highlighted area). It works simply in a toggle fashion. These toggle switches are all over the admin area. To find them, just hover over the task bar for each item on the right hand sided.

down arrow in wp admin

The dashboard area is divided into three areas: the sidebar on the left where each of the menu items can be opened and closed; the central column which includes the stats box, the writing box; and the right column that pretty much includes everything else. As you can see from mine, it’s easy enough to pick things up and move them around a lot. Clicking on the words “screen options” highlights an area where you can turn off things you don’t want to see.

The right sidebar includes several new designations which may be confusing to new users. First the ‘pages’ button has moved to just below ‘links’. It used to be located right next to ‘posts’. This confuses me now. I often hover between writing posts and pages, and now I have to look further afield to find the pages button. It seems illogical to place it after ‘links’.

The old ‘design’ menu has been renamed ‘appearance’ on 2.7 but functions in pretty much the same way as the its predecessor. The Tools menu, however, is a new one and features several items that were moved from the former ‘Manage’ menu, including import/export functions. The Upgrade items, though, hint at some of the new features of WordPress that make management much easier (more later).

2. Keeping Upgraded – it’s getting easier!

Plugins are getting easier to manage: You will soon no longer need to use FTP to upload stuff – plugins and core upgrades can all be done within WordPress itself. This leaves ‘themes’ as the only item that now needs FTP. I imagine that future versions of this will remedy this. Other software, such as Joomla or SMF, have long had this ability. Right now, you can upgrade a plugin in much the same way as uploading other items. Find the item ‘plugins’ on the left hand menu. Click it, and you will see it open slowly to reveal four options. To add a new plugin, click on the words ‘add new’, and you will be taken to a page where you can upload a zip file of the plugin which is uploaded and installed. After it’s done, you can activate it straight away. A nice touch. Just hit ‘install now’ to upload the plugin!

plugins management

It’s also much easier now to find new plugins. Take a look at the next screenshot: you will see what I mean! The tags below the upload button hint at the next page. These plugins are from WordPress.org’s own plugin area, and clicking on the tags reveals that they can all be downloaded and installed quickly and without any fuss.

install plugins

In fact, activating and inactivating plugins has also got easier as has removing unwanted plugins. Simply just click on the plugins area on the sidebar, usually under ‘plugins’ >>> ‘installed’ menu option. You’ll find it easy to manage plugins from there, including removing them completely!

But this plugin management hints at another feature (one that I have not needed to try yet)… upgrading WordPress can now be done entirely from WITHIN the admin panel. Take a look for yourself! Under Tools >>> Upgrade, you’ll see the following dialogue.

upgrade wordpress

Very tempting when you can choose to download and reinstall automatically. I have no idea how this works, yet. But it would be a neat variation IF you could upgrade from WITHIN the admin area. Perhaps this is just teasing us.

3. Commenting from WITHIN WordPress

Admins often had to comment in a very odd fashion before: read the comment in the comments area; find the post in the archive, read the post, and then comment in the comment box AFTER the end of the article. Now it’s much easier:

comments reply wordpress

Just hit ‘reply’ to answer the query and a simple but functional comment box will appear just below, enabling you to answer without messing around in the archives! Of course, this presumes that you remember what you wrote!

4. Quick Posting and Quick Editing

The commenting function also has another feature that hints at much more power: the quick edit button. Clicking on the Quick Edit enables you to edit the comment very quickly, without calling up the entire post or page where it is entered. But the ‘quick’ idea has been extended with in several ways: making a powerful trio of blogging tools.

QuickPress : on the admin page, when you login you’ll be taken to a dialog box that enables you to write a short post, with media and tags and publish it in a matter of minutes! While you don’t have a WYSIWYG editor, you can learn some simple codes to faciliate quick blogging (they’re all available in the Write Post area).

wp admin area

Quick Edit is also enabled in the post and page view, and allows you to quickly update a number of features (the usual suspects that a busy blogger will forget in the heat of the moment!): such as tags, categories, slug, date or more…

quick edit post

This combined with Press Links (shouldn’t it be called ‘Quick’ Links?) means that posting, editing, linking and commenting can all be carried out fairly rapidly.

5. You can now add media without creating post

This is another puzzle from the previous version that was finally finished! For years, I never thought about uploading media to WordPress. I simply created a post and added the stuff I wanted… until last month when I created a batch of videos and wanted to upload them all at once. I would have had to create a post and add each one one by tedious one! Now it seems, I can simply upload media as I need and when I’m ready I can create a post and find the media I already uploaded! It’s funny, but that’s something you don’t need, until you really need it! And now it’s here!

upload new media

Now it would be nice if I could upload a number of files at one go! Oh, wait! It does! Or at least I think it does! I’m practising uploading media now! Now I wonder how I can create a simple gallery from these files! …

Paid Blogging – Round 1: PayPerPost vs. ReviewME – Which shows you the money?

In this post, I would like to share with you my own personal experiences of writing paid posts for my blogs. I won’t go into the nittygritty details of each system, but I will try to share the positive and the negative of each system and what results (if any) I had with each of them. Be aware, this documents MY experience and may not be applicable in different areas or blogs.

Who are the candidates? Well, step up.

  1. Payperpost
  2. ReviewME
  3. Blogitive
  4. Blogsvertise
  5. SocialSpark
  6. Linkworth
  7. PayU2Blog
  8. Smorty
  9. SponsoredReviews
  10. LoudLaunch

So which of these really pay? Let’s find out. I should mention that I’ve done paid posting on this and several other blogs for some time with all of the companies listed above. In today’s post, I’ll look at PayPerPost and ReviewME. Over the coming months, I’ll look the others as well, so stay tuned. Do also be aware: doing paid blogging runs the risk of losing any PR ranking you may have obtained, especially if you are using bare links without the no-follow tag. Google has seriously frowned on this activity and taken steps to limit its effect.

Payperpost

I’m not sure if Payperpost is the grand-daddy of all the blogging companies out there, but it sure is one of the oldest, and in fact, I was one of the earliest to sign up in August 2006 and completed my first ‘opp’ in Sept. 2006, just as the company was starting out. So how have I fared? Well, since then I’ve earned approximately $1900, most of which has been paid out already. Some bloggers have earned 10x that amount. So it is possible to make quite a lot of money.

pppblogger

 

Requirements and Potential

The requirements for having a blog included in PayPerPost are relatively simple: The Blog must be 90 days old with over 20 entries MINIMUM. The blog must also be kept current with 20 posts in ANY 90-day period. The primary means for earning money is through the MarketPlace and opportunities are generally available there depending on your blog’s PR rank, Traffic, Blogger’s Country, your selected categories for your blog. Once you login, you will see the offers listed as well as those applicable to you. It is possible to earn upto $50 per opp, but at the start your more likely to be in the $5~15 range. My own long term average is a shade under $10.

Required Metrics

Metrics used for measuring the success of your blog include: Page Rank, Alexa Ranking and Izea’s own Real Rank. You can receive a vote on your post’s quality called ‘tack’ which is out of five as well. There are additional quality features, but these are the ones you can control more directly.

Other Opportunities

There are additional opportunities for earning cash: through Direct offers placed by Advertisers for you, through Referrals, and any follow up work an advertiser may require. However, this is all the exception. I have never been paid a dime for either of these, and doubt that it is possible to make much money on Direct Offers or Referrals with PayPerPost. With the direct offers, you can choose your pricing.

Drawbacks

Overall, the system is a good system: is fairly well-policed and strict but not overly so. Additionally, there are feedback systems, and help available. You are required to have a viable blog with a regular posting habit. The downside is that offers can be low-ball, though you are not required to take any offers that you don’t want. The other issue is with disclosure (or informing your readers that you are paid): many advertisers do not like in-post disclosure (which I think is somewhat dishonest), though blog disclosure is mandatory. Other advertisers won’t accept non-full domain blogs or free blogs – when I advertised, I did not accept them either. Currently, with PayPerPost, no-follow is not mandatory, though it is supported if an advertiser requires it.

Overall, I’d recommend PayPerPost for those with a general blog or those in a popular niche (such as mommy blogging or tech) you’ll find the posts and rewards encouraging. However, many blogs that have relationships with PayPerPost have found their Page Rank completely dissed.

ReviewME

The first company that I actually heard of was ReviewME. I have only ever been able to complete three posts for ReviewME, and only earned a grand total of $45.00. In fact, one of my submissions was late, so to compensate the advertiser, I finished the review and submitted anyway. I felt that that was the only responsible course of action for that review. Otherwise, though, ReviewME has been a dead loss for me. Other bloggers have found ReviewME to a very viable source of income, so it depends on what your blog is, your metrics, and your own skills in marketing it.

reviewme

 

Requirements and Potential

While the requirements are expected, they are not clearly stated on any page that I could find.ReviewME notes only that “… a blog must meet a minimum number of citations, subscribers, and traffic.” Unlike PayPerPost, the bloggers create the marketplace, and advertisers pick and choose which blogs they want to call up for a review. You are not required to provide a positive review, though you can set your own pricing in the system.

Required Metrics

ReviewME uses three primary metrics in assessing the value of a blog (and whether it’s included or not): Alexa Rankings, Feed subscribers, and Technorati rankings. In fact, it’s one of the few paid blogging companies that still uses Technorati at all. As such, it calculates the price of a review on your site and makes a recommendation. You can choose to accept this or not. I think mine is currently ranked at $60.00 of which the blogger (me!) would receive 50%.

Other Opportunities

You can also opt in to their avertorials and you can take part in their ClearingHouse. Advertorials are sponsored posts that are provided by the advertiser for placement. The ClearingHouse is lower priced opps that are available under ‘Campaigns’. I have never taken part in either. In fact, the ClearingHouse produces very low ball offers that I would not take under any circumstances.

Drawbacks

In fact, the last two or three reviews for me have been for Casinos. I don’t always accept such reviews as it’s usually outside my range of interests for one of my blogs. I also used to display a widget for them on my site, but since I was getting few reviews, it was a waste of space. There is no referral system in place, either. They can pay via Check or Pioneer but when you don’t make any money, that’s a moot point, really.

Overall, once your review is published (and review of your post is light handed compared to PayPerPost), you will receive payment in the next payment round. It has been an effective way for popular bloggers to make money but for bloggers starting out, it is very difficult to get any reviews that are worth doing.

Payperpost 2 vs. Review ME 0

I’d recommend doing PayPerPost at the beginning because you can get a range of work, you will get valuable exposure to blogging, blogs and bloggers through their community, and you will possibly earn some money. If you choose ReviewME, don’t hold your breathe.

 

When you finish reading this article, you may also wish to check out these posts I wrote earlier.

What is your experience with PayPerPost or ReviewME? Have you had any success? Did you feel that either of these was a waste of time or a valuable opportunity?

First published on EeeBlogger.