The Chat Bit

Idly scrolling through the list of widgets in the admin panel, I came across tlk.io, which describes itself as a simple web chat.

I put the widget in the sidebar and if anyone feels like chatting using it, go ahead. I have no idea how it is supposed to work, but maybe we’ll find out.

By the way – no guarantee it will be there in a couple of weeks time or whenever a reader of the future happens on this post. But it’s there for the moment.

No More Ads

I paid for the ‘no Ads’ upgrade. No ads, no brainer. It cost almost nothing more than the cost of the domain. So that is done for a year.

The ads have been screaming at me for months. Screaming quietly, so you may not have heard them.

Actually, this is their second or third bout of screaming. I thought it was all bluster, and I ignored them. But the sight of them started to jangle and I submitted.

It’s a funny thing, is it not, this new economy of being given something for free but with an annoying bit tacked on. And you pay to get rid of the annoying bit. It’s clever, isn’t it?

For Those Who Are Not Familiar With How WordPress.com Works

for those who are not familiar with the ‘system’ I should explain how ads work on WordPress.com sites.

This site is hosted with WordPress.com and after some or all of my posts there are ads that only people who are NOT logged in to WordPress.com see. [I ranted about it here a couple of years ago.]

I don’t want ads after the posts on my site so I paid WordPress.com to remove the ads on my site that visitors would otherwise see.

WordPress offer a range of plans that you can see here: WordPress Plans, but this – at a glance – is what they offer.

Monetise Your Jetpack-Enabled, Self-Hosted WordPress Site

write-this-way

I bought a small job lot of old inkwells a few years ago. I stuck feathers in them and photographed them. I may get some more feathers and try again.

Do You Jetpack?

Did you get an email from Jetpack? You probably will have done if you have any self-hosted WordPress sites with Jetpack installed.

Jetpack is a plugin made by Automattic (the commercial arm of WordPress). It’s for self-hosted WordPress sites and it gives you:

  • Site stats & analytics
  • Automatic social network sharing
  • Related posts to keep visitors on your site longer
  • Enhanced distribution on WordPress.com
  • Protection from brute force attacks
  • 24/7 Uptime monitoring
  • Single sign-on
  • Automatic plugin updates
  • Centralized, cross-platform dashboard
  • Bulk installation & management of plugins
  • Automatic plugin updates
  • Streamlined content editor
  • High-speed content delivery network for images
  • Easy CSS editing
  • Contact forms
  • Custom image galleries

I have self-hosted sites with Jetpack installed and the main reason is for the nice Contact form and the social media sharing buttons built into the plugin.

The section in the email that interested me, was this:

Jetpack Ads is instantly available to all users who have purchased the Jetpack Premium plan — no approval process required. Once you’ve purchased the plan, activate the feature in the Engagement tab within Jetpack. You’ll start seeing ads on your site right away, and can tweak ad placement settings and view your earnings on WordPress.com.

It is interesting that as a website owner, Jetpack and WordAds doesn’t require that you have a certain minimum number of monthly visitors.

Nor does it require that your Alexa, or Klout, or Kred ranking are high, or that your content is high quality and not just ‘thin and spammy’.

Just pay for premium Jetpack and you are good to go.

And I am somewhat surprised at that because hitherto I have had the impression that WordPress is to some extent a gatekeeper of quality.

So what does Jetpack Premium ($9/month or just $99/year) give you? It gives you:

  • Automated, daily backups with one-click restores
  • Bulletproof spam filtering by Akismet
  • Daily, automated malware scanning
  • Dedicated priority security support

If you are running a self-hosted WordPress site, many web hosts offer backups and one-click restore. There are also a number of plugins that will backup your site off-site, such as to Dropbox.

Spam filtering by Akismet is free provided you are not monetising your site. So blogs get Akismet for free anyway. I guess that running WordAds implies the site is being monetised even if there is no other commercial aspect to the site – and so the spam filtering is justifiably described as a benefit.

Malware scanning is great, but preventing malware is better. Wordfence has a free version that gets good plaudits.

I can’t comment on dedicated security support as I don’t know what it entails or offers.

What is the competition – Google’s Adsense, of course. So this is a direct competitor to Google. Is it better?

What does ‘better’ mean?

For me it means this: Does it pay better and are the advertisements of higher quality? If the advertisements that appear on this WordPress.com site are anything to go by, I wouldn’t say so. I wrote about that a while ago under the title ‘Why, Dear WordPress, Oh Why?

I opened another browser to look at this site without me being logged in and currently I see advertisements for Expedia (a travel site), Very (a fashion outlet) and for something that I don’t want on my site because I strongly oppose the internet gambling laws in the UK. Here is a screen grab of the advertisement.

gamblead

Unlike some countries that keep a tight rein on online gambling the UK is full of advertisements for it on TV and it is a huge industry.

Meanwhile, household debt (credit card and loans) in the UK has gone through the roof. The average household debt excluding mortgage obligations is over £7,000.

I used to pay to not have Ads on this site. I stopped paying because I thought ‘Why am I doing this?’ – but now I figure that on next renewal I will pay just to keep gambling ads off the site.

In This Most Uncertain Of Times

This is a bit of a mishmash of a post, so forgive me if I wander into a different territory here.

Tamara and I have just been talking about the current state of the world – and this that follows touches on some of the things that we have been talking about.

The quote is from Isaiah Berlin’s 1957 Herbert Samuel lecture on Chaim Weizman, in which Berlin said:

Weizman had all his life believed that when great public issues are joined one must above all take sides; whatever one did, one must not remain neutral or uncommitted, one must always – as an absolute duty – identify oneself with some living force in the world, and take part in the world’s affairs with all the risk of blame and misrepresentation and misunderstanding of one’s motives and character which this almost invariably entails.

Consequently .. he (Weizman) called for no compromise, and denounced those who did. He regarded with contempt the withdrawal from life on the part of those to whom their personal integrity, or peace of mind, or purity of ideal, mattered more than the work upon which they are engaged and to which they were engaged and to which they were committed, the artistic, or scientific, or social, or political, or purely personal enterprises in which all men are willy-nilly involved.

He did not condone the abandonment of ultimate principles before the claims of expediency or of anything else; but political monasticism – a search for some private cave of Adullam to avoid being disappointed or tarnished, the taking up of consciously utopian or politically impossible positions, in order to remain true to some inner voice, or some unbreakable principle too pure for the wicked public world – that seemed to him a mixture of weakness and self-conceit, foolish and despicable.