People impersonating me and my company for their own verboten gain…
People impersonating me and my company for their own verboten gain…
People impersonating me and my company for their own verboten gain…
This is my rolling commentary on Google Panda and the recent algorithm update.
In a previous blog post, I blogged about founding a trend and I still stand by that theory (for now). We’re starting to test and make some rather drastic changes to some sites in order to find a solution to the Panda update and hopefully recover the traffic we’ve lost.
While I won’t be publishing what steps I took (should what I’m doing actually make a significant difference), I’ll hopefully get permission from my clients to publish the analytics graphs, minus the numbers probably. I’m hoping that the traffic swing will be very clear. It should demonstrate that a Google Panda Recovery or solution is feasible and you’ll need to fix your site to recover from this “filter” or “algorithmic penalty”.
A little bit of concrete information for now:
We’re finding that Google’s crawl rate has dropped off dramatically in the last few days as opposed to crawling VAST amounts of the site just before Google Panda hit. This means any changes you make will take longer to take effect as Google isn’t seeing as many pages at a time. I also believe there is a “delayer” in the algo and am therefore expecting a 4 – 6 week time-frame to see an uplift in traffic.
The title only tells a small part about my disappointment with Sky Broadband and my Sky Internet problems. My personal experience with the company has been utterly diabolical, not only have I experienced a huge Broadband speed issue but the company appear to have problems in other areas of their business too. The following article is a summary of my own personal opinion and experiences with Sky Broadband. I’ve listed the issues in bold for easy reading and a quick Sky Broadband review, or if you’re experiencing Sky Broadband problems and want to discover whether other people have experienced similar issues, please read on:
SKY SURVEY RESULTS TO DATE:
1. Sky Broadband is Slow: (EXTREMELY SLOW)
Sky Internet is horribly, devastatingly slow. When I moved into my house and decided to use Sky Broadband because I thought it would be prudent to bundle the Satellite TV and internet together, I only had one broadband speed option available for the internet, it was the 8Mb line. My house happens to be in the countryside and I am aware that I’d not get what I paid for. I won’t get my full broadband speed quota because I’m not in a city and because of something called contention rate. (“Contention rate” is the amount of people that would share your broadband line, sharing with fifty or more people is not unusual).
Advertised “Broadband speeds” are nonsense. Fact I think many of the major broadband providers recruit copywriters that have PhD’s. in fictional writing, I accept that I’m being charged for something I’m not getting, (I can’t believe that I’ve just written that). It’s like seeing an advert for a fast car that does 200 mph, but when you buy it, you discover that it only gets to 65 mph (on a good day). However, there isn’t much anyone can do about it and it’s the same for everyone so it seems to be accepted as the “norm” here in the UK.
If I have to take the same tenuous analogy and apply it to my Sky Internet connection then the 200mph car I bought would do 2 mph. Yes, my internet is at least one hundred times slower than what’s been promised at certain times. In fact, my internet doesn’t work at all regularly so the proverbial car is broken down fairly frequently.
My Sky Internet is slow all the time, whether it is morning, noon or night, weekends or weekdays. It’s Slow. Very slow. I frequently test my broadband speed with broadband speed test tools and Sky Broadband will download at speeds of less than 1 Mb to over 4 Mb. That’s not the issue. The real test for a internet connection is it’s upload speed. It’s no good having the ability to download at a thousand times faster than the speed of light when your upload speed is as slow as molasses. This means that my broadband is about as useful as a glass hammer. My upload speed at times is less than 30K. Terrible.
2. My Sky Router Didn’t Work Properly: (POOR QUALITY SKY INTERNET ROUTERS)
On multiple occasions Sky Customer service told me that the Faceplate on my telephone socket had failed. I retort: “No Mr.Sky Internet Customer service, the wireless internet router you provided didn’t work as it should have done“. My internet connection would work for five minutes and then the wireless Sky Internet router would freeze and require a reboot (gets a bit tedious after a while), I checked whether the distance between the computer and the router maybe causing the Sky Broadband wireless router problems. It wasn’t. I presume the router problems exist because the internet fluctuates so greatly that the cheap wireless routers Sky provide can’t cope. I’ve changed my router and that particular issue has gone away. Now I “only” have very slow internet that works some of the time. The wireless routers that Sky Broadband provide are manufactured by a company called D-Link for your reference.
3. Sky Internet Customer Service is Dissatisfactory: (TERRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE)
Here are a few of the issues that I unfortunately encountered with Sky’s customer service:
3.1 As I had ordered internet and satellite TV in a “bundle deal” they had to physically “install” some hardware for the TV to work. They cancelled and the appointment at the very last minute. They then requested anther appointment two weeks later!
3.2. I had to wait a further two weeks after the TV installation had been done for a Sky engineer to come to my house and “do something” so my internet would work. When the Sky engineer didn’t arrive on the promised date I telephoned their customer service number and was informed that an “engineer didn’t have to come to my house” and the “internet would work soon”. I lost almost a full days worth of work waiting for a phantom telephone engineer. Thanks!
3.3. I had to make multiple pointless calls to inept customer service agents trying to resolve issues. Sometimes they would helpfully suggest to “call me back” as calls to their “helpline” are really expensive when called from a mobile phone. The people that supposedly call you back have striking similarities to their phantom telephone engineers. Nobody called me back, ever.
As I write this blog post, I’m currently paying for two broadband connections at home. Sky Broadband is so slow and unreliable that I’m not even connected to the internet through them currently. I’m working off a mobile internet Dongle, ironically, the speed and reliability supersede what Sky Internet for me by a country mile. I find it astounding that Sky Internet or BSYSB are still riding high in terms of broadband market-share; even though I’ve read thousands of near identical Sky Broadband problems.
If you’re contemplating a move to Sky Broadband as part of a package deal, TV bundle or even a standalone product, I urge you to consider choosing another broadband provider. The internet is full of people on forums that angry, unhappy and generally dissatisfied with Sky Broadband. If you’re attempting to get Sky Broadband help and found this Blog then you’re probably wasting your time looking for the answer to your Sky Internet problems, cancel your contract with Sky Broadband and get another broadband provider. I don’t believe there is a Sky Broadband fix, the issues are systemic and it would appear as though their infrastructure is completely inadequate. I’ve been using a website called “broadband speed test” to conduct my Sky Internet speed tests as it seems to be the most accurate when it comes to determining how fast your broadband actually is.
Broadband is an industry rife with mis-selling and Sky Broadband seem to be one of the worst in terms of what you get versus what you pay.
If my analysis and theories about the latest Google algorithmic update are correct then sites like Ezinearticles.com will never recover. Christopher Knight owns Ezinearticles.com and his solution to the update was to “clean up his site” and improve the “quality” of the “articles” being submitted. Right now, It’s going to make little or no difference and there will be no Google Panda recovery or solution for Ezinearticles should the algorithm remain somewhat akin to what it is today. Ehow.com and Suite101.com have a chance to recover but the size of the task is monstrous and hugely expensive. However, they can recover. Google could and probably will change their algorithm in a couple of years time again and all that expensive work they put in will go up in flames.
More worrying though is that if Google don’t change their Panda algorithm dramatically, then the websites that have been affected (that’s everyone that can’t fix their sites) will continue to bleed traffic slowly. If some websites are down 30% now, it’s likely that the attrition won’t stop there and the affected websites traffic will continue to fall.
My theory has come up 83% correct with each of the sites I’ve looked at, however, I’m looking for more websites to do blind testing on. If you’ve been hit by the recent changes and are looking for a solution to the recent Google Panda update, then please put your URL in the comments and let me know whether I can publish them or not. I’ll then look at the sites that are left as examples and either comment or write back to you with a simple “yes” or “no” as to whether I believe your site was affected. Once we’re all settled and I’m absolutely certain that my theory and analysis is correct, I’ll try to give you some advice for your site.
It might be that I’ve found a consistent side effect of the Google Panda update and I’m going off on some tangent and am completely wrong, but I doubt it.
If you’re looking for the panacea to your website woes and want a Google Panda fix, then leave me a comment – what have you got to lose? Even more traffic?
Google panda recovery possibly? I don’t know yet, but I’m sure I’ve found enough of a trend to solve the issue. I’m certainly not going to go shouting about a Google Panda fix publicly, I am loyal to someone and am eternally grateful and would therefore never disclose that information in the public domain.
However, if the Google Panda update has hit your site then there maybe light at the end of the tunnel. I think I’m one of the first people to figure it out, it’s been a long few weeks but I’m pretty sure other smart search people will come to the same conclusion imminently.
What I will state is whether you’re vulerable, if you fit the profile or not, do leave a comment and tell me if I’m wrong or not.
You’re particularly vulnerable if:
1. You’re an established website with a reasonable about of search engine visibility.
2. You have a small site that you started years ago, you wrote some very good quality unique content (eg: technical guides) and let it attract links naturally as it was very good content.
3. You have a huge website, I’m talking tens of thousands of pages or (even millions) here and you’ve been ticking along quite nicely until now, you’ve done some link-building to get good rankings.
4. You’re an affiliate and the stuff you sell or promote can’t really be said in any other way as there are millions of variations and people need to key in the exact phrase to find what they are looking for.
5. You own a very large forum, it probably still even has tens of thousands or millions of visitors a month.
You read it here first. Please comment and tell me if you fit into one of the five categories strongly.
Skype hacking, Skype account Hack, Skype Account Hacked… Personal Emergency.
I run my business and am very dependant on a single VOIP company known as Skype. Alas, many of my friends, clients and employees around the world are also very reliant on Skype. When it becomes unavailable, day turns to night and a strange and an uncomfortable silence is bestowed upon us, it’s rather unpleasant and expensive in terms of lost business and general inconvenience.
Yes, there is email and the good old POTS (I hear you say), but using the Plain-Old-Telephone-Service is horrifically expensive and the quality of the calls is so bad in the places that I need to call that we don’t bother even trying to use a regular telephone. Skype actually does have the best call quality in the countries that I call regularly. Sad, scary and true. I do think that Skype is an incredible (almost) free service that we take for granted. When they went down late December 2010; I didn’t complain. I reminded the Lynch Mob that it would be a travesty to moan about Skype being down for a few days, especially since they were rock solid and FREE for so many years. I come from South Africa originally, and as a kid, making a telephone call was something you thought about. It wasn’t taken for granted. Telephone calls were expensive and a luxury. International calls were virtually never made due to the prohibitive cost. The fact that I can communicate with my family back home and the rest of the world these days so cheaply and easily still feels slightly magical. I am grateful. More than most.
However, today is a little different, I am less humble. My account has been hacked and I can’t get hold of anyone to resolve the problem. I spend an amount of money with Skype each year and my Skype account is set to auto-recharge when the balance runs low. This means that hackers can make a gargantuan amount of free calls as the account will keep topping itself up automatically if they manage to gain access and start using to your Skype account. Hence my sense of urgency around this issue. Fortunately, I use PayPal to fund my Skype account and could stop it reloading itself once I figured what was going on. If you’ve set Skype to use your bank account as the source of funding, it could cost you an arm and a leg.
I’m pissed off at Skype’s “un-contactable-ness” in these situations. They don’t have a public email address or telephone number, their “support” (official or casual member community) is unobtainable if you don’t have access to your account, I didn’t have access to my Skype account as it was hacked. It also feels somewhat “dodgy”, with “Joe Blogs” offering to help other people with their “security issues” on a public forum. Very strange. I couldn’t login, change the password, gain access or do a bloody thing with my Skype account because the hacker had changed my account access and the password reset function didn’t work, probably because he was still logged in to my account… #Fail.
I’ve been very proactive in a bid to get my account “fixed” today, but to no avail thus far… I’m trying to keep in mind that they do offer an amazing service and they can’t provide comprehensive support as they probably don’t make much money per user. However, security breaches should be treated differently as it involves peoples money and data. I resent their lack of interest and urgency.
To cut a long story short (er), I started with their “https://support.skype.com/en-gb/support_request?” link. It makes it clear that you should let them know immediately if your account has been compromised. I quote:
“If you suspect that someone else has your Skype name and password, you should tell us about it immediately, so we can investigate further and reset the account back to you. You should also change your password as soon as possible and check your computer’s security.”
Now, following their link here: “you should tell us about it immediately” and then clicking the little boxes brings you back to the same page in one big loop. It’s very counter intuitive. However, if you’re reading this post in desperation, do scroll down and fill in the form, it is what you need to do. The next screen was a “Thank-You message” so I know that my “contact” was received.
My D.I.Y Skype fixing activities thus far today: (without response)
a) I have sent two contact form requests (security breach things), stating that I believe my account has been hacked.
b) I’ve Tweeted @Skype and @PeteratSkype (Skype’s blogger and Twitterer in chief) as well as @adrianasher (Chief Information Security Officer)
c) I’ve also Tweeted a message with the Skype hashtag (Skype#) hoping to get some attention.
d) Emailed support@Skype but there is an auto-response which redirects you to their support.skype domain.
e) I’ve tried to reset my password multiple times, but it didn’t work. I like the Token trick, it’s nifty. Wish it worked.
f) I tried (in vain) to call a number that I found on a random website that happened to list Skype’s (apparent) number in the Netherlands.
g) I’m now writing this blog post about Skype and it’s insecurities, lest not forget it’s underwhelming service.
I don’t care about the money I’ve lost, it’s not that much. All I want it my beloved Skype back, although, I am starting to believe that this marriage may need some serious consideration as the love is quickly slipping from my grasp and I’m contemplating an affair with another VOIP provider. I’ve simply grown too dependant Skype and it’s prudent to consider that this may keep happening or we may get a “big outage” at some stage which would cripple me and my little business.
Skype does have security issues, rather large ones too; I’ll highlight them for Mr. Adrian Asher (Chief Information Security Officer), even though he does have significant experience in Banking and Gambling security.
If you read this Adrian Asher from Skype, perhaps mull over a few points I’ve made here:
1. Your security algo’s may need a tweak or two, if they even exist. How a password change, combined with highly unnatural usage of the account and then with telephone calls to random countries which have NEVER been called before COMBINED WITH constant automatic reloading and exhausting of the account hasn’t thrown a red flag is beyond me.
2. Skype as a company doesn’t seem to take it’s security very seriously, maybe that should have been point number one… (Appearances are everything and this is like Roadkill)
Here are the calls that this “dude” routed through is Mud Hut or whatever for a few Dollars:
Skype’s security issues appear to be systemic, I’ve taken a snapshot of a Twitter search, this is just the last day or so, albeit two Tweets of the Tweets are mine.
My home PC auto-logged into Skype. (WTF) That’s how I’ve managed to see my calls for this blog post, even with my old password?! Although only two of my contacts appear to be online…
It’s time to attempt to get some help and talk to someone on Skype’s official live chat support as my machine seems to have half-logged-in and thus, this urgency brings the end of this blog post. (I’m sure you’re relieved.)
Carpe Diem. Skype Account Diem. Au Revoir.
ps: I’m in a rush, hungry and frustrated and am therefore not going to proof read this post. It’s probably littered with typo’s and grammatical errors. However, I hope this has an effect on getting my account fixed, sends a message to Skype about their “issues” and provides some comfort to you in knowing you’re not alone when it comes to this particular Skype problem.