Sunday, December 14, 2008

MicroStocking Up for a Graphic New Year

I will be adding tools to improve the profile features on CommunityColor.

I just added a feature for crediting Microstock Photograph. This very simple tool lets you record the information needed to credit the graphic designer of stock photos. You then link to a page with artist credits. The credit page has a link to the artist and one back to your project.

Crediting the source of Microstock images is good netiquette. I wrote more on the
y-intercept blog.

Note, I grabbed the following photo from fotolia. Clicking the image goes to a page crediting the photographer. The page has a link back here. So, by being good netizen, I end up with a link back to my blog post.

Picture Credits

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Site of the Week Updates

I've been working feverishly to get a Site of the Week review up for all of community directories in the Community Color family. I am doing this because I want to have an RSS Feed with regularly changing content for every site in the program.

The script rss.php produces the feeds. So the RSS feed for Boulder Color would be The feed for Park City is I stagger the site reviews throughout the week. Provo's review appears on Sunday. Colorado Spring's on Monday, Fort Collins' on Tuesday ...

The page KewlHist provides lists the review along with the review day. The summary shows that there are 2,848 reviews in the system. The program has had a little over a million hits. (That is 361 hits per review).

My hope, of course, is that, as the program grows, people will subscribe to the feed for the local community and the program will provide a little trickle of traffic to small local web sites.

The goal of the program is to provide a random cross section of web sites. The program was not intended as an award. The program might best be described as a blog about web sites from a community. The blog has one or more posts per week.

When you look at the RSS feeds, you will see there are entries titled "Site of the Week." Others have the title "Site Review". The "Site Reviews" usually contain additional resources about a site. For example, for band, I might have a link to a YouTube video, their myspace page or to the iTunes section for their band. For authors, the review will contain links to their books at online bookstores. In some cases, I put links to coupons published by stores or widgets. The official site of the week review will always be noncommerical. The "Site Reviews" will contain a mix of commercial and noncommercial resources related to the site.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

RSS Feeds

The goal of the Community Color program is to encourge people to browse through local web sites. The sites target the mountain west (where I live). The programs include a site of the day feature. The selected sites are pretty much random. It favors charity and arts sites.

I decided to break down and make RSS feeds for the reviews.

The feed lists the last 30 SoDs with the most recent at the top. If people subscribe to the feed, then they their feed reader show a local site a day. The towns with RSS feeds that get updated regularly are:

I admit, I was hesitant in adding an RSS feed because the SoD program is not about the content of the review. The goal of the program was to encourage people to explore random local web sites. The review itself is just filler with an ad on top.

In recent months, I've been using the review to put in widgets from or related to a web site. For example, if a web site has a YouTube video, the review will contain tha video.

The next step in my RSS project is figuring out how to syndicate the reviews. Comments welcome.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

AOL Demonstrates Worst Form

I can't believe this. Apparently AOL shut down their hometown program. If you had a web page with the program you get a sorry, you're hosed page. All of the links and work you did are now gone.

I can see closing down a program.

The polite thing is to give participants in the program a URL forward option. URL forwards aren't resource intensive and can help people salvage their web building efforts.

Fortunately, I did not lose a site resulting from AOL's actions. I large number of links to AOL which are now broken. I guess I have to delete them all.

This tears my heart apart as many artists, authors and crafts people were using the AOL service.

If you had an AOL listing on the directories, you will need to add them back to the service.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Contact Information

Perhaps the most surprising thing I've come across in building the CommunityColor family of web sites is the large number of business web sites that hide all of their contact information.

The phenomena is especially strange for inherently local business. If you are a wedding photographer; the first question on a potential customer's mind is your location. Location is the primary concern for people looking for photographers, restaurants, kennels, hotels and the many other services which revolve around location.

I had perplexing conversations with a real estate agents who was paying out big time for unqualified leads in places where he could not practice while losing all the free leads that he would have received if he simply put contact information on his web site.

I can see why bloggers, artists and political pundits might want to hide their contact information. I think it is a grave mistake for businesses and people selling online to exclude information.

I love buying from small internet shops; However, I will not purchase from sites that don't have clear contact information. Before buying online, I check the DNS entry for your site, along with RipOffReport or other services to make sure you are legit.

If you have a web site about a business, I strongly suggest that you update the information on, keep accurate contact information on and make your domain registration public.

Unfortunately, spammers troll contact databases. In making contact information public, you should be careful to protect your primary email addresses. One suggestion is to create a throw away email address for your domain registry. For example, you might use ""

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Five Million Hits

According to my handy little hit counter, the directory page of the Community Color family of directories is just about to trip 5 million page views. The most popular sites are, which had 2M hits, Provo Utah dot US, which is up around 500k, followed by Denver Color and which have 300k hits.

NOTE: The hit counter is low. For example, the counter is attached to the page; so, when I delete a page, the hits go away. The counter only counts hits on the dir.html page. The calendars, review pages and photo directory get tons of hits.

There are currently 18109 web sites listed in the directory. That is an average of 276 hits per listing. I've placed a number of test links in the directory. Sites in the directory get about 100 hits a year. This depends upon their location in the directory.

Note, I've deleted over 4477 of the entries as web sites go dark. About 20% of the sites added to the directory have gone dark. The turnover of web sites is higher than I had expected.

Ad revenue is currently at the point where I would need 5 million hits a year to provide one minimum wage salary for the year.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Local Musicians on iTunes

I spent the day making a list of Utah Musicians on iTunes.

My thought on this project is that quite a few people are building iTune libraries; Although iTunes may not be God's gift to local musicians, there is nothing wrong with using the tool to encourage awareness of arts in the community.

I am building this page by going through musician names one at a time to see if they show up in the iTunes search. There is probably a more intelligent way to go about the project, but I am not known for taking the intelligent approach to any task.

Anyway, if you know of a musician or band I missed, please tell me. I am rather dense. I am dense, for example, I forgot that the Osmonds were from Utah until someone pointed out my lapse of memory.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mobile Events

I started making a mobile (.mobi) version of the Community Color directories. Mobi are super scaled down sites for cell phones.

I think mobile will be big in the local entertainment scene as people want to connect with events, venues and restaurants while on the go.

Salt Lake is the community with the most events; so I will use it as a sample. To go mobile, I made a page for the calendar, venues and events. I also started making a directory of mobile sites.

My basic idea at this point is that if you have a mobile site, I will list it in the MOBI section of the main directory, then display all of the items for the MOBI page on the cell phone page.

The first interation of the .mobi stuff is now live. .mobi sites look boring ... but I think it will be useful. The real challenge will come in trying to figure out how to advertise the existence of the mobi pages, and figuring out how to monetize the program.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Calendar Event Category

I just changed the category list in the Calendar application. The calendars now use the same categories as the main directory structure. I realize that this is a hassle as a calendar really only needs a dozen or so categories, and the directories have hundreds of cateorgies.

In a future update, I will start listing the events in the directory. This will give events greater exposure, and will put dynamic data in the calendar.

I had a complex migration planned where I would map the calendar categories onto the directory categories. I am so far behind on updating the calendar that I decided that it would be prudent just to delete all the old category inforamtion.

Calendar events are time sensitive, and the currently listed events would end up deleting themselves with the passage of time.

I also started gathering geocode information on each of venues and am figuring out how to encode google maps. Here is the map page for the South Towne Exposition Center in Sandy.