Hurting the little guy?

Today I come back from the dentist, if that wasn’t bad enough news, I get an email from Google AdWords titled Your Google AdWords Approval Status.

In the email, all my AdWords campaigns are now disapproved, because of:

SUGGESTIONS:
-> Ad Content: Please remove the following trademark from your ad:
mysql.

Yeah right. I can’t put the word ‘MySQL’ in my ads. How are people to now find me? It would appear that many ads have been pulled not just mine. Is this a proactive measure by Google? is this a complaint from the MySQL trademark holder Sun Microsystems?

I’d like any comment, feedback or suggestions on how one can proceed here.

It reminds me of the days CentOS advertised itself as an “Open source provider of a popular North American Operating System”, or something of that nature.

Improving your web site compatibility with browsers

Every website page content uses two basic elements, HyperText Markup Language (HTML) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). Each of these has various standards, HTML has versions such as 3.2, 4.0, 4.01, and the new XHTML 1.0,1.1, 2.0 along with various version flavors know as strict, transitional & frameset. CSS also has various versions including 1, 2 and 3.

Each browser renders your combined HTML & CSS differently. The look and feel can vary between FireFox, Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer and the more less common browsers. Indeed each version of a product also renders different. With IE 8 just being released, it’s common versions now are 5.0, 5.5, 6.0 and 7.0. This product alone now has 5 versions that UI designers must test and verify.

To minimize presentation and rendering problems, adhering to the standards can only assist, and greatly benefit the majority of entrepreneurs, designers and developers that are not dedicated resources. There are two excellent online tools from the standards body, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) that an easily assist you.

You can also link directly to these sites, so it’s easier to validate your HTML and CSS directly from your relevant webpage. For example, HTML Validation and CSS.

It’s not always possible to meet the standards, and when you are not the full-time developer of your site, it can be time consuming if you don’t check early and regularly.

Brand identity with undesirable domain names

Choosing a domain name for your brand identity is the start. Protecting your domain name by registering for example .net, .org, and the many more extensions is one step in brand identity.

However a recent very unpleasant experience in New York, resulted in realizing some companies also register undesirable domain names. I was one of many unhappy people, mainly tourists as I was showing an Australian friend the sights of New York. We had chosen to use the City Sights NY bus line, but we caught with some 100+ people in a clear “screw the paying customers” experience.

I was really annoyed that my friend, only in New York for 2 days both had to experience this, and missed out on a night tour. I commented, I’m going to register citysightsnysucks.com, and share the full story of our experience, directing people to use Gray Line New York, which clearly by observation were providing the service we clearly did not get.

To my surprise, the domain name was already taken. To my utter surprise, the owner of the domain is the same as citysightsny.com. Did they do this by choice, or did another unhappy person (at least in 2006) register this, only to be perhaps threatened legally to give up the domain.

I would generally recommend in brand identity this approach, especially when select common misspellings and hyphenated versions if applicable can easily lead to a lot of domain names for your brand identity.

$ whois citysightsny.com

Whois Server Version 2.0

Domain names in the .com and .net domains can now be registered
with many different competing registrars. Go to http://www.internic.net
for detailed information.

   Domain Name: CITYSIGHTSNY.COM
   Registrar: INTERCOSMOS MEDIA GROUP, INC. D/B/A DIRECTNIC.COM
   Whois Server: whois.directnic.com
   Referral URL: http://www.directnic.com
   Name Server: NS0.DIRECTNIC.COM
   Name Server: NS1.DIRECTNIC.COM
   Status: clientDeleteProhibited
   Status: clientTransferProhibited
   Status: clientUpdateProhibited
   Updated Date: 31-dec-2006
   Creation Date: 28-nov-2004
   Expiration Date: 28-nov-2011

Registrant:
 CitySights New York LLC
 15 Second Ave
 Brooklyn, NY 11215
 US
 718-875-8200x103
Fax:718-875-7056


Domain Name: CITYSIGHTSNY.COM


$ whois citysightsnysucks.com

Whois Server Version 2.0

Domain names in the .com and .net domains can now be registered
with many different competing registrars. Go to http://www.internic.net
for detailed information.

   Domain Name: CITYSIGHTSNYSUCKS.COM
   Registrar: INTERCOSMOS MEDIA GROUP, INC. D/B/A DIRECTNIC.COM
   Whois Server: whois.directnic.com
   Referral URL: http://www.directnic.com
   Name Server: NS.PUSHONLINE.NET
   Name Server: NS2.PUSHONLINE.NET
   Status: clientDeleteProhibited
   Status: clientTransferProhibited
   Status: clientUpdateProhibited
   Updated Date: 26-jun-2007
   Creation Date: 11-aug-2006
   Expiration Date: 11-aug-

Registrant:
 CitySights New York LLC
 15 Second Ave
 Brooklyn, NY 11215
 US
 718-875-8200x103
Fax:718-875-7056


Domain Name: CITYSIGHTSNYSUCKS.COM

To www or not www

Domain names historically have been www.example.com, written also with the protocol prefix http://www.example.com, but in reality www. is optional, only example.com is actually needed.

www. is technically a sub-domain and sub-domains incur a small penalty in search engine optimization.

There is no right or wrong. What is important is that you choose one, and the other needs to be a 301 Permanent Redirect to the one you have chosen.

You also need to know that creating a server alias in your web server configuration, for example Apache or Tomcat is not a permanent redirect, in-fact it is technically duplicate content, with two web sites the same also incurring a penalty for search engine rating.

So what do the big players do. Here are a few.

Use www

  • www.google.com
  • www.facebook.com
  • www.cnn.com
  • www.yahoo.com
  • www.myspace.com
  • www.ebay.com
  • www.plurk.com
  • www.amazon.com
  • www.fotolog.com
  • www.linkedin.com

Do not use www

  • digg.com
  • wordpress.com
  • identi.ca

Show duplicate content

  • flickr.com
  • chi.mp
  • corkd.com
  • vimeo.com
  • garysguide.org
  • engineyard.com

Curiously youtube.com uses a 303 redirect, microsoft.com, stumbleupon.com and craigslist.org a 302 redirect.

How do you check? Use a CLI tool such as wget.

$ wget www.google.com
--2008-09-22 19:56:48--  http://www.google.com/
Resolving www.google.com... 72.14.205.99, 72.14.205.103, 72.14.205.104, ...
Connecting to www.google.com|72.14.205.99|:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK

$ wget google.com
--2008-09-22 19:57:56--  http://google.com/
Resolving google.com... 64.233.167.99, 64.233.187.99, 72.14.207.99
Connecting to google.com|64.233.167.99|:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 301 Moved Permanently
Location: http://www.google.com/ [following]

$ wget www.facebook.com
--2008-09-22 20:07:59--  http://www.facebook.com/
Resolving www.facebook.com... 69.63.178.12
Connecting to www.facebook.com|69.63.178.12|:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: unspecified [text/html]

$ wget facebook.com
--2008-09-22 19:59:43--  http://facebook.com/
Resolving facebook.com... 69.63.176.140, 69.63.178.11
Connecting to facebook.com|69.63.176.140|:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 301 Moved Permanently
Location: http://www.facebook.com/ [following]


$ wget digg.com
--2008-09-22 20:10:47--  http://digg.com/
Resolving digg.com... 64.191.203.30
Connecting to digg.com|64.191.203.30|:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: 15322 (15K) [text/html]


$ wget www.digg.com
--2008-09-22 20:14:06--  http://www.digg.com/
Resolving www.digg.com... 64.191.203.30
Connecting to www.digg.com|64.191.203.30|:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 301 Moved Permanently
Location: http://digg.com/ [following]


$ wget twitter.com
--2008-09-22 20:26:18--  http://twitter.com/
Resolving twitter.com... 128.121.146.100
Connecting to twitter.com|128.121.146.100|:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: 2655 (2.6K) [text/html]

$ wget www.twitter.com
--2008-09-22 20:26:41--  http://www.twitter.com/
Resolving www.twitter.com... 128.121.146.100
Connecting to www.twitter.com|128.121.146.100|:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 301 Moved Permanently
Location: http://twitter.com/ [following]

Professionally, I prefer shorter and simpler without www.

References: