Adsense referrer spam?

I made a whopping 0,12€ with ads on this blog over the last 30 days (and just disabled them entirely, don’t want to get corrupted by all that money). However, what really caught my attention in the report was a domain that doesn’t belong to me (or my company):

Adsense Referrer Spam

So, apparently t****4web.com used my Adsense code on their site, resulting in a single ad impression (and nobody clicked on it, otherwise, my ad revenue would have been at least three two times bigger). How and why did this happen?

The innocent explanation is that their “Web Back Machine” (which sounds suspiciously similar to the non-profit Wayback Machine) archived one of my pages, including the Adsense ads. That’s possible, but what is more likely it that this is Adsense referrer spam, meant to get me to visit their website. I’ve got to admit that it worked, so now I have to write this blog post to justify my actions to myself, see, it was all in the name of research.

For further information on Adsense referrer spam, let me refer you to this comprehensive, well-written article.

g+ cover photos just got bigger

I know, this blog is turning from “things I learned” to “things I want to complain about”, but just look at this:

Don't like it? Move out!

Cover photos on google+ just got bigger. Great! What for? I don’t know yet. What looks really bad though is the new round shape of the profile photo (or in this case, the logo) and there’s no option to say “not now” there.

Sudden changes like these are a good reminder that you’re not really in control of your g+ or facebook pages, YouTube channels, Amazon listings, etc. You’re just a guest and if the owner suddenly thinks that your face appear in a circle, well, you better get used to it.

Edit: The new size seems to be 925 x 522 pixels.

Update March 16, 2013: Here’s a great example of what to do with the new giant header (don’t click if you’re on a slow or expensive connection).

Update November 15, 2013: Big cover photos are soooo March 2013! Now they’re smaller again:
G+ cover photos version 2 to version 3

Not too bad. However, if you never made your cover photo bigger in the first place it looks rather stupid now:

G+ cover photos version 1 to version 3

For a while, I thought g+ could be a viable alternative for small business owners who can’t afford their own website (which according to recent and now deleted Craigslist rant, should cost at least US$1500, no matter how simple it is). However, with so many seemingly unnecessary design changes I’m not sure this is still something I’d recommend.

Bye bye, Moneybookers (Skrill)

I had such high hopes for you, thought you might grow up to challenge PayPal. I soon realized that you were special. Your special SMS verification lead to a number of complaints from customers who claimed they’d never received your message. Those special “ISO” country codes you used in your merchant gateway forced me to write a function with the sole purpose of converting actual ISO 3166 codes to your system. There’s also the special way you treat refunds by keeping the original transaction fees.

Then came Christmas 2004 and it seemed like everyone suddenly wanted a digital scale. Our business took off, but you were skeptical and refused a large number of transactions. Our customers sent us angry emails asking why their credit card worked everywhere else but not with us. I apologized and asked them to use PayPal instead. Almost all transactions went through just fine and none turned out to be fraudulent.

After this disappointing experience I quickly signed up with Worldpay but still kept you around as a payment option for customers who already had a Moneybookers account. Very few did. This year, only one customer used your service.

Eventually, you decided you had to change. You gave yourself a new name (Skrill). You informed me about a new inactivity fee for merchant accounts and started charging a monthly gateway usage fee. Your new name suddenly made sense: Like a whale filtering krill out of the ocean, you wanted to become incredibly fat by feeding on millions of users.

Thankfully, you made it easy to close my account. Best of luck in your future endeavours.