Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The other PR (Public Relations)

Just appropriate that following a post about PageRank, there'll be something with a more positive note.

TheMarker, a popular Israeli newspaper concerning economics, have published an article (in Hebrew) about phone cards collectors and colnect.

The Islands Phonecards Database story now has a Russian version (originally posted in English).

colnect.com has also been mentioned in Telecartofilistas and Dia de Folga, Brazilian blogs in Portuguese.

Monday, May 12, 2008


Forgive me Google for I have sinned. I don't know the nature of my sin yet but I'll probably eventually figure out what has happened and how come my website, full of original content (it's the world's most extensive resource for collectible phone cards information), has a PageRank of 0, aka PR0.

Seems like the lovely WWW is made of a myriad of rules that dynamically change and are quite hard to obey, even if you're one of the good guys. Unlike the real world where you usually know what's good and what's bad, here you have to figure it out slowly, understanding that causality isn't as evident.

PR0 is considered a punishment but since Google work in mysterious ways (and keep their algorithms confidential), not even a prayer could work here. One has to search deep in his heart (and on the Internet) what it is that was wrongfully done.

So here's my guess
At the end of March, I've moved to a new hosting service and decided to also move to the new domain and so http://telecards.islands.co.il became http://telecards.colnect.com

Since colnect.com (the project which will soon accommodate many different types of collectibles) is still under development I've made redirects from http://colnect.com, http://colnect.org, http://colnect.info and http://colnect.net, as well as from the old http://telecards.islands.co.il

And so, it's possible that this is considered a domain Spam (when one has a few domain that link to each other to get better search engines ranking) although no bad intentions were involved nor any trickery.

But the site's still on top of the results
Strangely enough, although my website was seemingly punished, it's still on top on the results page when Googling for telecards.

There will be more posts on SEO, SERP, Google. Meanwhile you can check out these tools for measuring your website.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Google's AdSense for an international website

This is a technical post explaining how to use Google's AdSense on a multiple languages website.

The problem: having a dynamic website that is available in many languages is great but there has to be a way to let AdSense know which languages the user is currently using so relevant ads would appear in that user's language.

Solution: as I've researched the issue for colnect.com (available in 25 languages), it seems the only way to let AdSense know the page's language is by using different URIs for each language. There's currently no way to pass the language as a parameter to the JavaScript responsible for showing the ads.

The following pictures show the same page in different languages. Note that the AdSense ads match the language of the page.

On colnect.com, each link is now prefixed by two letters which signal which language is used. Thus:


Refers to a French-language (fr) page while:


refers to a Spanish-language (es) page.

Calling the relevant PHP script and converting the language prefix to a parameter is easily done using Apache's mod_rewrite.

An important issue I had to address is what happens when one user sends a link or publishes a link. Let's say I know both Spanish and English and prefer to view colnect.com in Spanish. However, perhaps some of my contacts know Hebrew and English but not Spanish. Thus if I send a Spanish-language link to a Hebrew-speaking user, it would be a shame if the site would show up in Spanish and confuse the other person.

To address this issue the language information is saved in the session and the user is redirected to the appropriate link according to his session language. If no session information is found, the language referred to in the link is used. The language is also saved in the user's account so if one logs in using a page in any language, upon a successful log in the language is changed to the previously chosen one

Here's the example (the two letters note the language: es = Spanish, en = English):

If you're visiting the site for the first time, this link will show a Spanish page:


Now, if you change the language to English (on the bottom of the side menu - there's a combo-box), you will be redirected to:


So now, if you try a Spanish link such as:


You'll automatically be redirected to:


You can change into any of the 25 supported languages and you'll see the AdSense ads now appear in the correct language:

| English | العربية | Български | 汉字 | Hrvatski | Česky | Nederlands | Suomi | Français | Deutsch | Ελληνικά | עברית | Magyar | Italiano | 우리말 | Polski | Português BR | Português PT | Română | Русский | Slovenščina | Español | Svenska | ภาษาไทย | Türkçe |

Hopefully this post gave a sufficient outline to a working solution.

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