The default search engine in WordPress has sucked for a number of years. So much so that people end up replacing it with a custom Google search box. However, there is a plugin that has been gaining steam in recent months called Relevanssi that is trying to solve most of the problems the default search engine has. Check out this tutorial on how to install and configure the plugin via WPLift.com. I think I’m going to install the plugin myself to see if it cures any of my search frustrations. ∞
By Jeffro on November 14, 2011
More WordPress Love via XKCD
By Jeffro on November 14, 2011
It’s a well known fact that WordPress.com shows display advertising but until I read this article on HalfBlog.net, I’ve never looked into what kind of advertising was presented on certain WP.com blogs. HalfBlog.net has a couple of screenshots of ads they discovered while browsing on WordPress.com and perhaps the most insulting one of them all is the Windows Dialogue prompt that tells users they have a chance to win an Apple iPad 2 and to click the OK button.
I decided to fire up a fresh copy of Internet Explorer as I know WP.com loves to show those folks ads to see what I could find. My results range from embedded YouTube videos to flash based videos. The sites I browsed were on the Freshly Pressed WP.com front page and the ads I found had absolutely nothing to do with the content they were displayed under. However, unlike HalfBlog.net, I did see the Advertisement disclaimer above each one. Here are the ones I saw.
When the issue was brought up within the WP.com support forums, Happiness Engineer MacManX alleviated fears of some that they are not forcing people into purchasing the No-Ads upgrade.
Forcing people into No Ads is definitely not, has never been, and will never be the plan.
Rather, the head-bashing that you described is the plan. The ads are some-what geo-targeted, and at this time, most of the bad ads seem to be shown to folks visiting from outside of the US. I’m not sure if it’s because there aren’t enough fish in the sea for our ad provider in this case, or if they just aren’t vetting their foreign ads well enough.
While Automattic makes an effort to remove ads from the network based on screenshots submitted by users, unfortunately, it’s like playing a game of Whack-A-Mole as Wank puts it.
Complaining about individual ads and getting them removed after the fact is just playing whack-a-mole. It doesn’t do anything to stop similar ads popping up again. Sooner or later you’re going to get malware slipping through (it’s happened a couple of times on livejournal) and the fallout from that is going to be exponentially worse than what you’re getting now.
It’s interesting in that WordPress.com can’t remove the ads because of the extra revenue the small amount of display ads provides but at the same time, it would de-value the no-ads upgrade. So WordPress.com has to find a way to make this work better but when relying on third parties for your advertising needs, there is not much they can do about the quality of the ads that are displayed. I wonder why they haven’t created their own in-house ad network specifically for WordPress.com?
If you feel like going back in time, check out this post from 2006 when ads were introduced to WordPress.com and read through the comments.
By Jeffro on November 11, 2011
Matt Mullenweg announced on Twitter this morning that Automattic has now reached 100 employees. By Monday, November 14th the company will reach 102. If you would like to be part of the next 100 employees at Automattic, check out their jobs page.
By the way, a new position has opened up that doesn’t really require coding experience but rather being in the San Francisco area to be Toni Schneiders right hand man in managing the new Automattic Lounge. The most interesting aspect of this job posting is that no one knows where exactly the new Automattic Lounge is located. While @beaulebens is responsible for publishing the job posting link on Twitter, even Otto42 doesn’t know where the new lounge is located.
The previous lounge for Automattic which was located within Pier38 in San Francisco was shut down due to safety and building code violations.
By Jeffro on November 11, 2011
WordPress.com has crossed over yet another milestone in that they now host over 60 million blogs. After the GigaOm article has been updated, it now appears that half of the 60 million blogs are hosted on WordPress.com while the other half is on the self-hosted version of WordPress. This is a big number but unless those 60 million blogs are broken down into active sites, spammers, sploggers, dead sites, etc. then it will remain nothing but a big number. Touting big numbers is cool but showing how that number is figured out is even better.
Asides from the big number, I also wanted to point out the article that GigaOm published regarding this milestone. It has to be one of the most confusing articles I’ve ever read that mixes up WordPress.com and the open source project known as WordPress. For example, this sentence threw me for a loop:
Meanwhile, WordPress doesn’t plan to abandon its core allegiance to open source standards as it continues to expand as a for-profit company.
The sentence starts off with WordPress, then mentions open source standards and concludes with for-profit company. Even if you added the .com to WordPress that still wouldn’t make sense. Outside of all the confusion, the article itself is not bad considering it has a number of quotes from Matt when he participated in an on-stage interview with Mathew Ingram at the GigaOM RoadMap conference.
The big take away is that WordPress.com will be receiving a heavy dosage of social and mobile development.
By Jeffro on November 10, 2011
WordPress.com has unveiled a brand new feature that photo bloggers are going to love. It’s called the Full-Size carousel and was designed to display photographs as large as your display can contain them. Created by a group of people within Automattic as a mini project during their stay in Budapest, the carousel has support for keyboard shortcuts such as using the left and right arrows to browse through images or pressing escape to return to the normal image view. When previewing the images within the post, I would have liked to have seen some pictures with huge resolutions to see if this thing really works or not but since the images were all 1000 pixels by 714 pixels, I don’t think I was able to grasp just how cool this new feature is since my monitor resolution is 1600 X 900.
For those using the self-hosted version of WordPress, Matt Thomas mentioned that it’s possible the carousel will make it within a future version of the Jetpack plugin.
By Jeffro on November 9, 2011
Ever wanted to see a group of plugins with similar functionality go at it in a head to head battle? BattleOfThePlugins.com does exactly that except the visitors decide with their votes as to which one is the best. The plugin with the most votes is considered the champion of their respective category. You can probably guess what the problem is. The best plugin is not decided on functionality, code quality, compatibility, etc. Instead, it’s decided upon by votes which in my opinion, makes the site and the winners useless for anyone who may be looking to find out which SEO or site analytics plugin is the best. However, what the site does is show the community who has the most popularity when it comes to plugins and especially, plugin authors. So, a little bit of fun can be had in a site like this but for anyone seriously looking for the best, this site won’t help you find it.