Archive for February, 2008

Hurrah! Yahoo Search Marketing Pricing Changes

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

I received an interesting, possibly exciting and expensive email from YSM today. Apparently, the minimum bid of $0.10 will be disappearing on many terms in the future.  Here’s a snippet from the email:

Pricing Update:
Minimum Bids will no Longer be Fixed at $.10

Starting in the next several weeks, the minimum bids for a number of Sponsored Search keywords will no longer be fixed at $.10. Your new minimum bids can be lower or higher than $.10. Content Match minimum bids currently will remain at $.10.

I wrote in a previous post about advertising pricing that Perceptus would spend several times more on advertising if the $0.1 minimum bid was reduced or dropped.  Well, true to my word, I’m logging into our Yahoo Search Marketing account right now to clean up our advertising spots in anticipation of the pricing changes.

There are a couple ways to interpret this change, here are a few of my theories:

  1. this was an inevitable evolution of Yahoo’s advertising service that they’ve finally gotten around to implementing
  2. advertisers are pulling out of the online advertising market or reducing bids due to economic conditions
  3. Yahoo was loosing certain segments to Google due to lower costs per click
  4. Yahoo wants to boost account counts to ward off the Microsoft bid
  5. Yahoo read our blog and decided that Perceptus was right, and that $0.1 clicks don’t make sense in all cases

These are purely random guesses on my part. While I wish it was point 5, I think it’s a  combination of items 1-4.

Having said that, over the last month, our Google AdSense revenues are down and our AdWords costs are down noticeably. I wonder if online advertising is more sensitive to the economy than other advertising media.  I can turn off pay per click advertising campaigns in 5 minutes.  How many weeks does it take to reduce or cancel TV, radio, and newspaper advertising?  Anyway, those ponderings belong on our non-existent financial blog.

Some Comic Relief

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

Adrienne told me about this Fox Trot comic from 2008-02-10. Apparently, it reminds her of a couple websites that Perceptus runs. And I agree!

1. We don’t have a Valentine printing program, but we do have a Bingo Card Generator

2. Naque for Unique Names, our little site for getting random words and creating unique names.

If you want to create random Valentine greetings using random words, you can try our random word picker.



Blank Bingo Cards and Easier Sharing

Saturday, February 16th, 2008

A few new little features for today.

First, we’ve shortened the “email design” web addresses, and made them easier to use in blogs and forum posts.  This saves a few steps for our users share their bingo card designs on blogs, forums, and websites.

We know a lot of great bingo designs have been made with our site, and hopefully we’ve made it easier to share that great work.

We used that new feature to create a couple custom bingo designs that clean up a few small features that have been requested in the past:

  •  Blank bingo cards we just tricked our generator with spaces to let users create blank cards for class exercises.
  • Customizable numeric bingo cards are regular numbered cards with slight changes, e.g. changing the free cell text or the column headers.  This of course users were able to do on their own, but this link saves them a few minutes.

That’s it for today.

Have a good one!

Easter Bingo Cards

Friday, February 15th, 2008

In our continuing series of special event bingo cards available from our web based bingo card generator,, I’m posting about our Easter Themed Bingo Cards. Our Easter word list is only a starting point for your custom bingo card design. You are encouraged to add or subtract words in the design to get the bingo sheets that are perfect for your needs.

Basic use of our bingo card generator is free! Those who want every bingo design feature that we have available can upgrade for only $10.

BTW: Sorry, we don’t have a custom bingo design for President’s Day, which is next Monday, the 18th of February, 2008, in the USA.  However, if you happen to use to create one, please email us a copy of the design.  We’d love to share it.

Fixing the Time in Windows

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

In theory, Windows XP in a home (i.e. non-domain) setting should have no troubles keeping its time accurate. All you need to do is enable the “Internet Time” option so that it synchronizes with a network time protocol (NTP) server. It looks so easy, but it turns out that it’s really not bullet proof.

Most users should try a different NTP server first. The default server is heavily overloaded, and it’s hard to consistently get a sync. Try – that’s actually a network of machines that share the load.

But that’s not the solution in this blog post. IMHO, NTP is unusable in many small network environments because of firewalls and network address translation (NAT). Even the built-in Windows firewall can block NTP traffic which operates on UDP port 123.

Most home PCs connect to the Internet through a small, inexpensive router from the likes of D-Link, NetGear, Linksys, etc. Many of these block NTP or don’t work with it properly. This used to be a common problem with NATs. Port forwarding UDP port 123 to a computer works for some people, but that only works for one computer. And it didn’t work on the two routers I tested with today.

My solution that is generally bullet proof? Use a protocol that is TCP based. I don’t want to get too technical, suffice it to say that the chances of a TCP protocol working with all NATs is higher than that of UDP. Luckily, I found a perfectly good protocol and client (my backup plan was to write a crazy script to screenscrape a web page). It’s called DAYTIME it’s actually older and technically inferior than NTP, but what’s a second or two of accuracy if it works?

Now for a basic client, one might as well go to the source: It’s free, as functional as it needs to be, open source, and provided courtesy of a US government agency.

I setup a this as a weekly time update job on 10 small retail store POS networks through a generic maintence scripting system that is already in place: “nistime-32bit.exe Once -s5”. That’s it. It runs the time client, fixes the time, then exits. There are other options, but for this client, one time synchronizaton per week should be more than enough.

The moral of the story? UDP is over-rated in an Internet that is flooded by little home routers.