Another update in few words

Dry for July ends in a few days and I CAN’T WAIT. I’m still “dry” / sober, but looking forward to having a drink with friends on Friday.

I’ve made a few quid since embracing hypocrisy and appreciate those of you who sent support my way — thanks.

My recently re-added geek t-shirts page has shot up the SERPs so hopefully that’ll make me a little bit extra per month too. (Must finish adding my t-shirts…)

I contacted an IFA yesterday about how I move forward with buying Karl out of the mortgage.

Nibbles and Popcorn were recently rehomed with a lady I know from elsewhere on t’interwebs. Mixed feelings as I’m sad to see them go, but I know that reducing my stresses is for the best (and means the best possible homes for them).

And I’m still happy () ;)

Embracing Hypocrisy

Despite having moaned at length over the past 10 years about advertising on personal blogs, the rise (and fall) of “Pay Per Post” and networks of that ilk, I took the decision this morning to drop an adsense advert on my blog sidebar.

I am aware that this makes me a giant hypocrite, that some of you will promptly cry “eurgh” and never visit again, but it turns out that we all have our limits and being able to buy my ex out of the mortgage so that I can keep a roof over my kid’s heads is mine.


Why are people idolising this picture?

I have seen this picture doing the rounds on Facebook recently, mostly among parents who hail it as the right kind of thinking, not sexist, none of this “boys is blue, girls is pink” crap (which ironically LEGO embrace these days, sigh):


Now, don’t get me wrong, I like LEGO & I’ve talked about how it’s one of the few exceptions to my (albeit half-hearted these days) ‘no plastic toys’ rule. But I am really failing to see how this post is an example of a toy company getting it right.

Yes, it’s clearly a girl in the advert, but look at what she’s wearing. She’s dressed like a stereotypical boy. This advert doesn’t scream ‘gender neutral’ to me, it says pretty clearly that sure… girls can play, but only if they look and act like boys. I fail to see the revolutionary thinking there.

Why I Still Hate Mommy Bloggers

I hate mommy bloggers. There, I said it.

I think now I’m a mommy / mummy / mom / mum / mama (delete as appropriate) it’s probably inappropriate for me to comment on the phenomena that is ‘mommy blogging’ (and I use the American term because it’s what most people refer to it as, not because I’m suggesting the British equivalent — mummy blogging — is any way different). Still, I’ve never been one to hold back comment for fear of the backlash, so I’m not about to start now.

My distaste for this section of the blogosphere originally stems from PayPerPost and PPPers. It’s not an issue I come across as often these days, but rewind 2-3 years and blatant spamvertising was the bedrock of what seemed like the majority of mom bloggers. They were either in the game specifically to try and make money, or had overhauled otherwise mediocre (yet inoffensive) weblogs to reap the supposed rewards of paid-for-reviews and faux-articles.

Thankfully the whole “PPP” world is less prevalent these days (or I’m not reading the blogs still involved?) Still, it doesn’t stop those on the money-for-nothing bandwagon harping on at industry and retailers to give them free stuff to review. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t object to product reviews (or free things), but there’s only so many times I can read “I received PRODUCT-X! It was great! I would buy it!” Er, no you wouldn’t you jammy twat, that’s why you asked for free shit in the first place.

In the same vein (and normally the same people) are those who think that because they have received a few products or been paid for a few reviews, that they have some sort of power over either a) manufacturers or b) bloggers. Let’s face it, you’re not Dooce, love.

Am I over-generalising? Picking on a small minority? Pining for the days when blogs were more like journals and less like advertorials? Yes, probably. They’re still fucking annoying though.

Sneaky Tactics: Making Adverts Look Like the Browser Part 2

In 2008 I blogged about a site displaying adverts disguised as browser-style yellow bars and the risks associated with this shady tactic (especially if something a little more sinister than an advert were linked!)

Clearly nothing has changed in the past 2 years, because it’s still happening.

I clicked through to an article in The Independent whilst using Google Chrome and saw:


Note the almost convincing Chrome-alike yellow notice bar across the top? It beggars belief that a respectable UK newspaper would use this sort of sneakery to push their new browser extension, especially as they’ve hijacked the Chrome icons to make it all the more convincing.

When did it become OK to prey on the ignorance of users?

How to Make Money Off Gullible Fools

I’ve just been checking my Facebook activity feed and noticed a friend who’d “Like”ed a page called “This Formspring Question led to the SUICIDE of a 15-year-old girl”. It’s one of those annoying “click Like to see the content!” pages, which makes use of CSS to hide the content (pro-tip: the web developer toolbar for Firefox has an option to disable styles; scroll down to see the content).

The page hides a link to an external page with the supposed formspring question on it. Now, ignoring the stupidity of clicking links to websites you don’t trust, within seconds of the page loading I was redirected to an ‘Adscend Media’ page telling me I *must* enable JavaScript to see the content, X browsers support it, etc etc. Odd, I don’t remember clicking an Adscend Media page, I wanted to see this so-called cyberbullying! So, back-up a second, reload the content, view-source before the refresh kicks in (web dev toolbar also disables those, btw) and lo and behold… amongst the hideous bloated mark-up that can only be generated by a Microsoft Office product, is a JavaScript reference to Adscend Media. An external JavaScript file which loads an ad-ridden affiliate iframe onto the page.

When you click “Like” to “bring exposure to cyberbullying”, you’re promoting a page that is making money through the stupidity of Facebook users who don’t know any better than to click links to 3rd party pages. The fact that this page, and others like it, only have dodgy adverts is a small mercy… think about what you could be loading on to your computer by opening pages you don’t know and can’t trust. Nice, eh?

Creative Advertising

I have to admit that I’m a bit of a sucker for a creative advert. I swear I’m more likely to buy a product if I see an advert that tickles my funny bone than I am if I see an informative or factual one (which is why PPP posts are nothing but shit to me). I memorised the Honda diesel jingle, was fascinated by Cog and now I find myself dribbling over the new Skoda Fabia cake advert.

It’s just a shame that all of these are for cars, and I don’t drive.

Don’t Understand Beggars

I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t like these people who use their blogs as a sleazy way to generate income — because I don’t understand them. I like to blog to rid myself of anxieties and pressure, for my own entertainment and ultimately because I have nothing better to do with my time. I think it’s this complete lack of wanting to earn/make something that stops from me knowing why some people can’t help themselves: be it begging for referrals to those slightly dodgy ‘free laptop/ipod/etc’ sites, advert-covered blog entries or this new get paid to blog malarky.

Don’t get me wrong, I can ignore a couple of adverts if a person’s entries are worth reading, and I’d even click a referral link for someone if I a) knew them well enough and b) lived in the US (because most aren’t UK-friendly). Sitting and reading through someone’s half-assed testimonial about a product they’ve never heard of before, though? Like hell. If you’re too lazy to get off your arse and get a real job to support your online persona, then I’m too lazy to read your blog. Oh dear, what a shame.

Now, excuse me while I go and wallow in my ignorance of your blog-prostitution, whilst working on my websites.. y’know, the ones I pay for myself.