:: TheOneAndTheOnly.com – Andrew Buckman ::

Domain Rewriting

Blogged in Plesk,Web Development by Andrew · Saturday February 28, 2009

I was recently setting up a subdomain for a URL pointing at a shared IP.  The domain itself already had DNS set up for all subdomains to go to the IP, but nothing was being done with them on the server.  In a moment of curiosity, I checked out the subdomain’s URL before I set it up on the server and much to my dismay, it pulled up the primary website set up on that IP, a completely different domain than this subdomain was going on.  This is obviously not good because of duplicate content issues with the search engines, I certainly don’t want an entire copy of my site reachable on an unlimited number of subdomains on other domains.  To combat this, I’ve added an Apache Rewrite directive to my .htaccess file that rewrites anything not on the correct domain over to the proper one using a permanent redirect.

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !theoneandtheonly\.com
RewriteRule .* http://www.theoneandtheonly.com/ [R=301,L]

Obviously, replace theoneandtheonly.com with your domain of choice.  Please be sure to put this after any other subdomain rewriting rules you might be using.  I don’t intentionally send subdomains to my main URL, if you do, you may need to tweak this a bit.  Also I opted to drop any path information on the rewritten URL, if you’d prefer passing that along, use the version below instead.

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !theoneandtheonly\.com
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.theoneandtheonly.com/$1 [R=301,L]

For the record, I encountered this problem on a server running Plesk 8.2.1, it may or may not be an issue under other setups.

How NOT to run a Social Media Promotion

Blogged in Marketing by Andrew · Tuesday January 27, 2009

Recently I ran across a Facebook page for a local company running a promotion to encourage people to become a fan.  The promotion involved awarding a prize to an unspecified number of people who were a fan on the ending date and asked that you forward the invite on to your friends and anyone else who might be interested in being a fan.  If it’s not obvious, the problem with the promotion is that there is a decided disincentive to me telling my friends about the page.  Why would I want to decrease my odds of winning the prize(s)?!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for giving away stuff to your loyal fans/subscribers, but when you’re just starting out and trying to encourage the viral spreading of your new marketing tool, a promotion that discourages people from inviting their friends probably isn’t what you’re looking to run.

Now to be fair, yes, it did work to get me to signup as a fan.  Did I tell anyone else about it?  No.  In fact I deleted the story from my news feed so it wouldn’t show up to my friends.  Are most people quite as bad as me on that?  Doubtful.  I’m anxious to see the promotion end to see if they follow it up with another promotion intended to spur the current fans to recruit their friends.  If that happens I’ll give them a free pass on this one hoping it was their strategy all along.

Betting on the End of the World

Blogged in General Thoughts by Andrew · Wednesday September 10, 2008

So they fired up the Large Hadron Collider today.  Apparently there was quite a buzz of people afraid they’d blow up the world starting it up.  One place in England was apparently even taking bets!

Meanwhile, William Hill celebrated Man’s continued existence. It had taken £119 from punters willing to bet that September 10 2008 would see the end of the world.

A spokesman said: “Our standard odds are 1,000,000/1, but anyone wanting longer or shorter odds is at liberty to take them. A number of customers took us up; on our offer and have bet that the world will end as a result of the Large Hadron Collider experiment.”

To anyone else I say, never fear, you haven’t missed your chance.  If the LHC experiment is going to cause the end of the world, it surely won’t be until they start colliding sub-atomic particles.  Today they merely let them race around the track.  There’s still time for you to bet it will end the world, and I too am willing to take your bet and let you name your odds.  Leave a comment with the amount you wish to bet and your desired odds and be sure to enter your email address when posting.  I’ll get back to you with my PayPal address for you to send your payment over.

source: Large Hadron Collider doesn’t cause the end of the world – yet

Comparative Advertising

Blogged in Marketing by Andrew · Wednesday July 30, 2008

The people over at Cuil.com should read this newsletter issue on comparative advertising.  I’d like to add one more thing to their email and that is: if you’re going to compare yourself, be certain you get your facts in order first.  Sure it got them some quick press, even prompting Google to release an idea of how big their index is now, something they haven’t done in awhile, but how long will the buzz last now that their claim to fame (world’s biggest search engine, 3x as many pages as Google) turns out to be merely one tenth the size of Google’s?

I do think the name is pretty clever though.

Urchin 5 Stats Stopping

Blogged in Plesk,The Site,Web Development by Andrew · Saturday March 17, 2007

So it seems there’s something wrong with Urchin 5 that is preventing my web stats from being compiled out of the logs files and into Urchin’s reporting interface. This began happening a year after I switched to the current server (running Plesk 7.5) and I noticed it on a few more important domains and found a fix at that time. Meanwhile I wrote myself a post-it note to go back and fix it on the rest of the domains, which of course I never did. Today I was curious about some stats for one of the domains I hadn’t fixed and thankfully was still able to find my note. I’ve decided to blog the solution so that I don’t have to worry about losing that note any longer and hopefully it will help someone else in the future as well.

If you try processing your log by clicking the “Run Now” button in Urchin Admin and see the following message come up, these instructions should help with your problem.
WARNING: (7063-54-63) Unable to open database for writing since it has been archived

The official solution to this problem exists on the Urchin Help site (now owned by google) at this location:

My more detailed walkthrough follows…

The problem has to do with the archiving feature on a per domain basis. If you login to the Urchin Admin interface and configure the profile for that domain, there is a Storage/DB tab. On the tab you’ll see “Archive DB Options” with options for on/off and a timeframe for archiving if you leave it on. Change the setting for “Archive DB” to off and click “Update” to save your change.

The second half of the fix is a bit trickier and will require shell access to your server with an appropriate permissions level that grants you access to urchin’s installation directory. I logged in via ssh and switched to the superuser account to perform the following tasks (obviously you do so at your own risk, remember when you’re the superuser you have the power to break many things you don’t want to break). First, find where urchin is storing its reports for the domain you’re fixing (/usr/local/urchin/data/reports/theoneandtheonly.com/ for this domain). Change to that directory and look at the contents. You should see a variety of zip files named with the following format: YYYYMM-archive.zip. You should unzip these files to restore the data from the archives and remove the archive.zip files after they’ve been unzipped. This is important, you MUST remove the archive files, or at least move them to another directory so Urchin doesn’t see them.

UPDATE: By request, here is a list of the commands I ran for step 2…
cd /usr/local/urchin/data/reports/theoneandtheonly.com/
unzip *-archive.zip
mkdir archive-backup
mv *-archive.zip archive-backup

After both steps above are complete, go back to your Urchin Admin interface and run the stats report. You should see it processing your log files again and your missing data should fill in. Depending on the log file rotation schedule for your webserver you may or may not have gaps. If you keep backups on your server of all the logs, you should be able to reconfigure urchin to process the old files if you don’t have it setup that it does so already.

©2010 Andrew Buckman
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