Video – Matt Cutts on How To Avoid Buying A Domain Name Previously Ruined By Spammers

In the latest webmasters video from Google, Head of web spam Matt Cutts offers some advice on how to avoid purchasing a domain name that may has been destroyed by a spammer in the past.

Wally in Reno asks:

How can we check to see if a domain (bought from a registrar) was previously in trouble with Google? I recently bought, and unbeknownst to me the domain isn’t being indexed and I’ve had to do a reconsideration request. How could I have prevented?

Cutts starts off with a few rules of thumb when it comes to checking a domains past activity. Firstly do a search for the domain, and do it in a couple of different ways. Do a ‘site:’ search, so, ‘site: domain.com’ for the domain you are wanting to buy. If there are no results at all from the domain you want to buy and you can see that there is content on that domain it is a pretty bad sign. However if the domain is parked with no content Google do try to omit parked sites from the search to give better results.

If B*Different were having this problem, we would go to Google.ie and enter site:bdifferent.ie if no results came up we would be in big trouble luckily for us this is not an issue for our site.

Cutts next suggestion is performing a simple search on the domain name – excluding .com or its extension. Here you are on the lookout for the domains previous reputation. Are people online talking about the domain in a bad way, is this domain associated with spam tactics such as sending unsolicited emails or leaving dodgy comment spam on other sites.

Another rule of thumb from Cutts is to check out Archive.org to look at previous versions of the site. Here you will see if in the past it contained spammy, auto-generated content if it did it would be a good idea to stay away from that domain name and choose another one. “The previous owner might have dug the domain into a hole, and you just have to do a lot of work even to get back to level ground.”

Cutts goes on to suggest that if you are purchasing a site from a current owner, ask to see the analytics and webmaster tools so you can see traffic patterns and if there are any warnings or messages.

Cutts continues ask yourself are you trying to buy the domain just because you like the domain name or are you buying it because of all the previous content or the links that were coming to it, or something like that. If you’re counting on those links carrying over, you might be disappointed because the links might not carry over.Especially if the previous owner was spamming, you might consider just going a disavow of all the links that you can find on that domain, and try to get a completely fresh start whenever you are ready to move forward with it.”

Cutts sums up the video by saying “Overall, if you do a site-colon search, or you search for the domain name, or you look for it in internet archive, that’s a really fast, quick way to get an idea of whether it was owned by someone that used it for ill, or whether they were doing some good stuff with it,” 

Read More

Game of Thrones: Driving visitors to Northern Ireland

Earlier this month Tourism Ireland joined forces with HBO’s hit TV show Game of Thrones to market Northern Ireland’s rugged landscapes, crumbling castles and magical mountains as the real life Westeros to the rest of the World. HBO is lending its name and logo to the new campaign, which was rolled out by Tourism Ireland through ads on Facebook and Twitter in the UK, the US, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Holland and Scandinavia. Tourism Ireland has also created a dedicated land page on their website showing off the locations where the popular medieval fantasy series was set. The huge marketing effort can also be seen offline in the Game of Thrones signage that is being placed at key locations from the show around Northern Ireland. This is a marketing tactic that worked well for New Zealand in the wake of the Lord of the Rings movie series. 

Where to visit:

The Dark Hedges, Ballymoney, Co. Antrim

IMG_7485 smaller

The Dark Hedges by Jim Barton, on Flickr 

Planted by the Stuart family in the eighteenth century, the trees were originally intended as a landscape feature to wow visitors as they approached the entrance to the family home, Gracehill House. Two centuries later, the trees have become a must see destination in Northern Ireland for Game of Thrones Fans. These trees are currently protected by a Tree Preservation Order issued by the Northern Ireland Planning Service. 

Downhill Beach, Coleraine, Co. Derry

Downhill beach, Co. Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Downhill beach, Co. Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland by James Burke, on Flickr

Already one of Northern Ireland’s most visited beaches Downhill Beach is overlooked by the easily recognised Mussenden Temple. Fans of the Game of Thrones series will easily recognise the view as a doppelganger for Dragonstone Castle.

Cushendun Caves, Cushendun, Co. Antrim

Cushendun Caves

Cushendun Caves by Jonathan Tweed, on Flickr

The Caves at Cushendun are a natural attraction formed by over 400 million years of extreme Irish weather conditions. Fans of the show will be happy to know they can be accessed on foot from near the coastal village of Cushendun in Co. Antrim.

Marble Arch Caves, Florencecour, Co. Fermanagh

Marble Arch

Marble Arch Caves by Lachlan O’Dea on Flickr

One of Europe’s finest show caves, The Marble Arch Caves are located at Florencecourt, County Fermanagh. They give visitors the opportunity to explore the natural underworld of rivers, waterfalls and winding passages. Game of Thrones fans will notice that the caves were used to film scenes such as the hideout for the Brotherhood Without Banners.

The Causeway Coast, Co. Antrim

The Giants Causeway

The Giants Causeway by Patrick G., on Flickr

The Causeway Coast has multiple locations featured in the hit show. GOT Fans wanting to visit the Iron Islands will have to look no further than the view from the Ballycastle approach to The Causeway Coast. Ballintoy Harbour is also a dead ringer for Lordsport, the port town on the island of Pyke, which is the seat of House Botley.

What are others doing?

Budget Car Rental Ireland created a map showcasing the locations of the popular series as a self-drive option. The full version of the map is available here for anyone wanting to spend time exploring Co. Antrim, Derry and Down.

Budget Car Rental - Game of Thrones

The Stones & Thrones tour company offer a unique day tour of discovery, giving the opportunity to explore the scenic splendour of the seven kingdoms and see where so many of the pivotal Game Of Thrones scenes were shot! The tour will last 1.5 hours and will set you back £35.00 per adult.  

The courtyard of Clearsky Adventure Centre at Castle Ward Demesne Northern Ireland  is one of the actual filming locations of the show. They have masterfully recreated a replica of the ‘Winterfell Archery Range’ in the courtyard in the very same spot that the filming took place, and offer an authentic archery lesson in complete costume from £25.

Game of Throne day tours are also available from Dublin starting April 21st departing from CHQ Building, Custom House Quay check out Game of Thrones Tours for more details. 

Read More

How to stop people congratulating you after every LinkedIn update

It’s one of the most annoying things in the world is that when you update your Linkedin profile your connections start congratulating you. Ok, so if you have changed jobs, that’s cool because maybe you want to be congratulated. But if you have just edited your profile OR perhaps your current role has a new title, your entire network is notified. Super annoying! Not only that, but perhaps you are “job hunting” and you are spring-cleaning your profile, your network will see your notifications and also what companies you have recently followed. So, let’s put a stop to all of this. 

1) Log in to Linkedin 

2) Scroll to “Privacy and Settings”

 

3) Click “Turn on/off your activity broadcasts” 

 

 

 

4) Un-click the box and click save

 

That’s it, you’re done. Happy job hunting/spring cleaning…

 

Read More

Appy Tuesday – Gift List Planner

Last weekend saw the start of my Christmas shopping trips. This year, I have to say I am quite disorganised! Normally I start doing out my list of who I have to buy for in October, thinking I am half way there because I have my ‘list’ done. Last Friday night I realised before I headed off on a shopping trip with my friends Saturday morning, that I had no list or idea of what to buy for anyone, the stress that induced was a little overwhelming. The last year I found myself in a similar predicament, I ended up over-shopping and going way over budget. So Friday evening I thought, there has to be easier way to organise this than a random bit of paper, so I opened up the play store and typed in ‘Christmas Shopping’. A free app (remember I am on a budget!) came up called ‘Gift List Planner’.
The app lets you add your list of who you have to buy for, the ‘category’ of that person be it your immediate or extended family, friend, neighbour, teacher and ’empty’ categories that you can fill in yourself and also your budget for that person & if you have an idea for a present for them. Once I had added all my people that I had to buy for, you can hit the summary icon, which gives you your total estimated budget for your Christmas shopping. A very interesting and frightening feature all at the same time!

Setting up each person was a bit tedious, but I had them all done within 10 minutes and felt a lot more relaxed heading off shopping on Saturday with my list on my phone. You can also update each person once you buy an item, input how much is cost, it will give you a balance on your estimated budget for them. Handy if you are buying a couple of different bits for a person!

In the car on the way home on Saturday I updated my list on the app (I wasn’t the one driving!) and I found it a little bit satisfying to see that I had managed to get 6 people on my list sorted for Christmas! You can also tick off if the present is wrapped or not! If you check the summary again here, it will show you what you have actually spent against your overall budget, how many people you still have to buy for, *IF* you have gone over budget on estimated budgets gifts and who’s present was the most expensive.

There are options within the app to purchase ‘Advanced Features’, which lets you filter out your list to see who you still have to buy for, e.g. your immediate family category. I didn’t upgrade to this as I was quite happy with the features of the free app, it did the job for me with regards, organising my list and trying to stick to a budget!

The beauty I think of this app, is if you are money conscious, this helps you to track and stick to your budget. Or even if you never had a budget, this app certainly makes you more aware of what you spend, especially seeing your estimated total and actual total right there written in front of you! Also I found it quite handy if you think of something to get someone, you can quickly whip out your phone, write it under their name in the app, so that you don’t forget that ‘amazing Christmas present’ that your Dad would love!

Hope this brings some of you stressed souls some peace when it comes to Christmas shopping!

Happy shopping!

Read More

Appy Monday – HMV Music

HMV launched their new digital music store app last week.

The app lets you browse, discover, pre-order and purchase mp3’s in their new online store. 

The app, which is available for free on iOS and android, combines image search and sound search technology with high quality mp3 downloads. What this means for the user, is that say you are browsing in-store, and would like to hear what a certain album/song sounds like, all you have to do is take a picture of the chosen album and the app will bring up the album details and will let you listen to a 30 second clip. Or you have the option of ‘sound search’, (highlight of the app for me!) which is basically Shazam built into the app, for those who are not familiar with Shazam, the sound search lets your phone listen to music (be it radio/tv/in-store) and will pull up the song/album details and give you the option of purchasing the song or full album. 

The app will even match up some ‘similar’ music/band options for you to discover & browse from your search.

Once you buy online, the mp3’s are integrated into the users own iTunes or Windows Media Library on their Mac or PC. HMV have priced their music to match that of iTunes.

According to a statement from the company, the HMV app is the first non-iTunes-based service on Apple’s iOS platform to allow the purchase of digital music downloads through a native app.

We are liking the new digital direction HMV are embracing since the company was taken over by Hilco Capital earlier this year and are looking forward to new progressions from HMV.

Tags: , ,
Read More

Appy Monday – Skyscanner

I have been using this app for quite a while, but it’s only since the weekend just gone that I have realised what a gem it truly is.

After meeting up with friends over a coffee, we decided that we should look into booking a city break away in the new year. Normally, one person it left with the task, and a gazillion emails on flight options later we either give up or someone ends up with less hair! Not this time, while we were all there, I took out the phone and opened the Skyscanner app, selected dates that suited us all, inputted the information and in less than a minute, we had our options right in front of us. 

Skyscanner is the handiest go-to app for checking flights. Not only is it free for iPhone & android, there are no service charges for booking through Skyscanner either. ‘SkyScanner saves you time and money by finding the cheapest flights, fast. It’s free, flexible and simple to use’. – Basically, it does exactly what it says on the tin!

It is so easy to use, just input where you are looking to fly to and where from, it even lets you have a wide search, so instead of selecting Dublin, you can select Ireland, and it will pull up flights from all suitable airports in Ireland flying to your destination.

You can also filter your results by price, airline and take-off and landing times. Skyscanner has the option of chart view, which lets you see prices for flights across a particular week or month.

For those feeling a bit more adventurous, you can select the ‘anywhere’ destination, choose your travel dates, and it will show you what countries are available and the cheapest price for flights to that country. How much time does that save you jumping back and forth on Ryanair’s app looking for the cheapest city break for a particular weekend?? A lot, plus your nerves will stay intact 😉 For that reason alone, this app gets my vote!

Skyscanner will give you your journey breakdown, showing which airline carrier, flight departing/arrival times, flight duration and of course the price per person, in a simple eye scanning layout. 

Once you have chosen your flight, Skyscanner gives you the option of sharing flight information (through email, social media, text etc., handy if you are researching that group city break!) or booking the flights. Once you hit ‘book’, Skyscanner will redirect you to the airline carrier to continue with your purchase.

So have you any plans yet for the October bank holiday?! Skyscanner may give you a few options 😉

 

Read More

Appy Monday – Phlok

Phlok – Connecting Local People with Local Business.

Phlok is all about connecting local people with local business. It’s a unique Irish social media platform that rewards you for shopping local, it’s also a free app available in the app store and Google Play.

Every merchant and business that you see on Phlok, gives you the availability to collect Phlok points. These points are a virtual currency and worth real money (1,000 points = €1). Just from signing up, you receive 2,000 points! Phlok points are unique, in that you can collect and spend them in any participating Phlok store by simply clicking on your points total at the top of the screen and follow the simple instructions.

You can collect Phlok points by checking into locations, following Phlok businesses and making purchases in Phlok stores. It is quite addictive building up your Phlok points and you can also collect points by inviting your friends to join! With the app, you can check out where your friends have checked in and see how you compare with their phlok points, it has most certainly has brought out that competitive streak in me!

Phlok is very much a social media platform with a focus on shopping local. When you sign up with Phlok you set up your profile and it gives you the option of signing in through email or facebook. Once logged in, the app uses your GPS to locate business using Phlok close to you. Your mobile will even automatically alert you when you are near an offer! It also has a map option, so that you can search locations and business to see what other offers are in place. You can see a live feed of people who have checked-in and received points in doing so. There is also the option to send group or private messages to people in your ‘Phlok’.

Each business also has a profile, with information such as address, phone number, website and what their latest offer is etc. and they can also update their status with relevant information to their customers that will appear in your news-feed/activity page.

Phlok has numerous different local businesses signed up to bring you a wide variety of different categories that will benefit all users of Phlok. There are local businesses from bars to motoring to butchers to clothes shops all signed up, wanting to pass on the reward for encouraging you to shop local. Phlok can only grow stronger and in the coming months you will see it rolling out into more counties across Ireland and abroad. Recently is has landed in the UK and only last week gained press coverage in Ilkley.

Another great app to come from the Emerald Isle, definite one to download and watch this Phlok grow! 

 

Check out Phlok’s blog here.

 

Read More

Appy Monday – Ultimate Rugby App

Coming up to the Ultimate Rugby Apps first birthday in October, I thought it would be a good choice for this weeks blog edition of Appy Monday.

The Ultimate Rugby app was released in October 2012 and is the brainchild of rugby legend Brian O’Driscoll and software entrepreneur Ray Nolan. The app is not just geared towards Irish rugby fans, but rugby fans Worldwide as the go-to app for Rugby. Not only does it cover the national competitions such as the Aviva Premiership, RaboDirect Pro 12, the Heineken Cup, the Six Nations and the Rugby Championship it is also reporting on Tier 1 European and Southern Hemisphere tournaments.

The app itself, is one of the most easy to use sports app’s I have used in quite a while. The Ultimate Rugby app gives you a choice to select whichever teams/players/tournaments from the menu to bring you to all the current and past information relevant to your selection. Ultimate Rugby app has all the news surrounding a match. All you have to do is click on a match and you have news, such as a twitter feed, team overview and profiles, live feed commentary from Ultimate Rugby’s own commentators/journalists and the score updates from the game and live updates of the league tables all from within the app. Users can even comment on each score of the game, proved to be quite entertaining when watching a game at home on your own! When the match is over, you get the match stats for each game also.

What I really love here are the team profiles, they give you everything you need to know outside of a specific game. Where they are in different tournaments, past and current. Also linked to individual team members profiles, with playing position, bio, age/height/weight info, links to their own websites & social media, recent matches stats and past teams they played with.

This app is a definite must for all rugby fans. Download now to be up to date with the current goings on in the RaboDirect Pro 12. By the time the Heineken Cup kicks off in just under 2 weeks, you will be a pro navigating the app!

Click here to download the android version.

Tags: , ,
Read More

Appy Monday – Publin

It was only a matter of time before Publin released their app after the success that they have received with their facebook and Twitter following.

Publin is the new free app to find pubs and drinks promotions that are on in and around the city. The app gives you the option of searching for a particular pub or you can use the GPS on your phone to locate pubs close to you and give you information on those pubs such as drink prices, offers, wifi, opening hours, disabled toilets, craft beer etc. You can also search pubs by amenities, for example beer gardens, handy for those (rare) sunny Sunday sessions! All this information in one handy app.

The app is also linked with their facebook and twitter feeds, so that you can keep up to date with the daily deals that are currently going on in the city. Publin seem to have a good relationship with the different pubs around the city, who will contact Publin about their offers.

The creators have plans to further develop the app to include deals from pubs, event listing and other entertainment. 

 

Read More

Appy Monday – PhotoGrid

It’s a well know fact that Google Play and the App Store are overrun with different photo apps to choose from. Which, if you are/were like me in the beginning of my smartphone days, found the app store a little daunting with all the choice of different apps/tools to edit your pictures. So when I came across this little gem I had to share!

PhotoGrid – the best collage maker’ is an absolute beaut of a collage app! Not only is it the only go-to app to combine your photos into paneled, framed collages, is has a very easy to use interface, which ensures that when you are creating your collage you get to have fun in doing so and not get bogged down with the technicalities!

First, you choose which mode you want to use for your collage, they have several options here available: Grid HD, Free HD, High, Wide and Single HD. Secondly, you select the pictures (max 9) you want from the gallery on your phone or the cloud -facebook, Instagram, Flikr, Dropbox or google image. PhotoGrid lets you choose a layout or it will select one and if you are not happy with it all you have to do is shake your phone to rearrange the layout!

What I really love about the app is that you can hone in on each of the images and move them around to fit as you wish, and rotate and flip each picture, add filters, borders, frames and text. You can be as creative as you like!

Once you are happy with your collage, you can download it, save it and share it on all social platforms!

 

Read More

New Guinness Ad receives over 4 Million hits in 7 days

The new amazing, heartwarming and totally unexpected (we could go on!) Guinness wheelchair ad has racked up a serious 4.4 million hits on YouTube since its release 7 days ago. And it’s no wonder, Guinness are well known for their ads, and this one is no exception, however it comes with an unpredictable twist that will pull on both the girls AND the boys heart strings, not an easy feat for a drinks company. We won’t ruin the ad for you, but at the end you just may have to wipe that tear from your eye, pick up the phone and organise that date with the buddies for a pint of the black stuff.

As the narrator says;   

Dedication. Loyalty. Friendship. 

 

The choices we make, reveal the true nature of our character.

Tags: , ,
Read More

Appy Monday – Sunrise Calendar

This weeks app is a wonderful calendar app called Sunrise Calendar. Created by the New York-based startup Sunrise, founded by Pierre Valade and Jeremy Le Van, two designers who worked on Foursquare, the app is lovingly designed, not just from the perspective of how it looks, but how it functions. It pulls in your events from Google Calendar & Facebook, even allowing you to RSVP to events you’ve been invited to.

Sunrise - your new calendar app

This app has some lovely uses for facebook integration as well, with friends birthdays being automatically added into your calendar. Sunrise isn’t only restricted to Google and Facebook events though, you can create events in the app, with maps integration to get directions, and some lovely soft alerts for your events. The future is bright for Sunrise, with new features such as notes, recurring events and more integration with social media.

Sunrise is so far only available, free, on the iTunes App Store, but the creators have said “We want to bring Sunrise to new platforms and we want Sunrise to connect to more services.” We’re hopeful that an android version of this beautiful little app will be coming soon.

Read More