Bryan Ruby


Thoughts, Words, and Deeds

Uncle Ray on E-Bay

Ray Evans Steelers Football Player 1948

After 20 years working with computers and 10 years putting Web pages on the Internet, I finally got around to making my first eBay purchase. My first purchase on eBay helped end a five year search for a 1948 football card of Ray Evans while he was quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ray Evans not only was an NFL quarterback, but he also the University of Kansas' first All-American in both football and basketball.

Why did I want this football card of Ray Evans? Well besides the fact that he was a great athlete he was also my great Uncle. For the past five years I've searched the Internet looking for this card and ironically it showed up three weeks ago on eBay. The auction ended just in time for me to give the card to his niece for a birthday present.

To my surprise no one in the family knew that this card ever existed. I cannot help but wonder how many things we let slip away through the passage of time before we had the Internet. Suddenly legends are able to live on a lot longer before slipping away in the history books. This is the kind of stuff that makes me proud to be in the field of information technology

So Is It a Smart Move or Silly Money 2.0?

Google Buys CMSReport.com. That's at least what I would have liked this week's headlines to read. Instead, everyone in the business world is still scratching their head and wondering what to make of the Google and YouTube deal. Are we about to enter real growth and value in tech or are we about to face a Dot-Net Bubble 2.0? I don't have all the answers, but it looks like everyone is watching. BusinessWeek has this to say in their article, Smart Move or Silly Money 2.0?

WHO'S NEXT? Now, the question is whether YouTube's valuation will extend to up-and-coming buyout contenders. So far, it looks like only a few sites have demonstrated growth and engagement with users that might command similar prices. Exhibit A: Facebook, whose value as determined by its venture investors has jumped from $100 million in its first round in September, 2005, to $500 million in a second round last April. And that's just the start. Sources say bidders such as Yahoo are willing to pay up to $1 billion today.

So was Google's buy of YouTube smart or silly? Just as the BusinessWeek article discusses in their own article, the answer to that question is anybody's guess. I think if Google bought YouTube only for its young fickle audience and the level of synergy currently present at the site...it was a silly move. However, Google may have also bought YouTube before anybody else could which is likely a very smart move.

Traffic Rank and Site Confusion at Alexa

A few months ago I came across Alexa Web Search for the very first time. Alexa not only offers the usual search engine features, but also additional site statistics dealing with traffic ranking. Naturally, I entered my own site into the rankings to see what I could find. Considering my site has been around for only six months I was impressed that I had a traffic rank under 300,000.

Considering that there are nearly 50 million sites presently on the Internet, a site ranking under half a million is pretty good in my book. I had heard that sites using the Drupal content management system ranked well with the various search engines so I was pleased I chose Drupal for my site. All and all, those first few moments visiting Alexa were spent patting myself on the back for a job well done.

Then to my surprise I noticed that although I had typed in cmsreport.com, Alexa displayed uly.net. Uly.net was a domain I had never heard of before visiting Alexa.com. Worse, it appears that uly.net may have been benefiting from the traffic my site receives.

Traffic Rank for uly.net:

218,200

Where do people go on uly.net?

  • cmsreport.com - 98%

Now some of you might be asking yourself, why do I really care how my site is ranked? I'd like to say, it really doesn't matter to me either since I do run this site for "fun". But, I have an ego. I do get a sense of pride for finally having a site where people actually show up and visit. Put it this way, when you host sites that rank above 2 million you feel somewhat rewarded to finally have a site with only six digits in its rank. More importantly, there is benefit to understanding how traffic rankings from sites such as Alexa, Google, and Technorati are being utilized.

The CMS deja vu phenomenon

At the turn of the century it was estimated that there were over 7 million Websites in the world. In October of this year, Netcraft estimates that there are now nearly 50 million active sites on the Internet. However, I can't help but wonder how many of those 50 million sites are actually unique sites?

Sure, from time to time we are all guilty of recycling a post with the same content from one site to another. Increasingly though, I have come across sites that share not just a little bit of content but are almost exact duplicates of each other. On some cases, the only difference between the sites I'm comparing are their domain name. Let me give you an example of the déjà vu we are now seeing.

I came across a very good article about developing our own content management system titled, "Hands on: How to roll your own CMS". The article is written by Nigel Whitfield and I found it on the UK site, Personal Computer World. So far, I've found the article on four other sites. The four sites are:

  • Computeract!ve
  • WhatPC?
  • Personal Computer World
  • IT Week

Now it isn't too uncommon for various sites under the same parent company to share articles. It also isn't uncommon to see a publication syndicate their articles out to other publications. However, if you take a look at all four sites I found the article you'll see that they have much more in common that a few articles from sister companies. If you remove the header and name of the sites, it would a difficult task to pick the sites apart.

When IT changes too quickly

As I have mentioned in the past, besides this site I also run a site called "WebCMS Forum" [now defunct]. The forum is a place I started in hopes of bringing users of various content management systems (CMS) together for exciting discussion. While the number of users participating in actual dicussion have always been low, those people that are posting often write something that makes hosting this underused forum well worth my time.

This week I had a user, Anti, talk about frustrations with rapid changes currently happening with the content management system, Drupal. Don't get her wrong, she likes Drupal. However, for the first time in a long while, she is in need of taking a deep breath before absorbing all the new changes into her routine. At the forum she writes:

It seems like such a short time ago, in reality maybe six months or so, that I felt I at least had a finger on the pulse of Drupal. I knew where each off the settings were and was never intimidated by the concept of taxonomy and I was happy as can be. While none of that has really changed, I can still install and configure a Drupal site in record time, I am sometimes completely overwhelmed by the explosion of new ideas I find on Drupal.org. It is all very exciting but after watching this thing for a couple of years I suddenly feel out of sorts. Things really do seem to be happening right now.