Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Disappointing Experience With Google Adsense

As loyal readers of this site will notice, the layout of this blog has changed a little bit. This was done partly because it was time for a change and also because I have a new ad sponsor on this site because I was recently banned from Google Adsense because, and I quote, "After reviewing our records, we've determined that your AdSense account poses a risk of generating invalid activity" You may be wondering what exactly that means, and I can't answer that question because I honestly don't have a clue.

I started this site almost a year ago, at first I planned on blogging sparingly maybe one or two a month, but as time progressed I found I enjoyed blogging and found it almost therapeutic to rant about the idiocy that I seem to encounter on a day to day basis. As I continued blogging, I decided I would enroll in the google adsense program since I figured any money I made from blogging would be a bonus, I certainly didn't have delusions of being able to blog for a living or making a ton of money- but I was not going to refuse the possibility of getting paid for something that I actually enjoyed doing.

I put my ads up in February. Things started out slow as I completely expected they would. Going from memory, since once you've had your account disabled, Adsense doesn't even allow you to login to look at your stats, I believe I made something like ~$15 in February- For those unfamiliar with Adsense's policy they only send you money once you've passed the threshold of $100 USD or your currencies equivalent, so the $15 rolled over into the next month. In March I had some medical issues early in the month which led to only 5 blog posts- the majority of which were put up late in the month. After I started to feel better I posted on a much more consistent basis in April-- which is the same time that I decided if I was going to blog I was going to put some effort into promoting the blog, to be honest if you're reading this there's a good chance you were referred to this blog from facebook, twitter or reddit. There was an increased spike in traffic as I had hoped there would be. Because of this I ended up over the $100 threshold in April and was actually paid by Google in May, I was thrilled. Moving into May we had the whole Osama Bin Laden death/questions issues which provided another sustained spike in traffic. I won't continue to bore you with details but I accumulated $95 in May and in the first half of June had about $50.. so when I had my account disabled on June 15th, the $145 that I thought I was going to receive went back to Google. It was both disappointing and a tad frustrating but I'm not going to lose any sleep over that $145.

I'm extremely proud of the fact then when I started I would be lucky to get 100 views a day and as of this writing this blog averages anywhere between 900 and 1500 views a day and it's been a very steady gradual increase. I'm appreciative of everyone who bothers to come to this blog, whether you like & agree with what's written here or not. Hopefully I provide a few laughs and might even make you think about things, which is never a bad thing.

I also think it's important to stress that I'm not angry or bitter towards Google and their Ad Sense program, truth be told I was paid once by them which is a bonus as I've already stated that whole purpose of starting this blog was not to make money. My problem is with their seemingly arbitrary decision making process to just disable someones account. What exactly does generating invalid activity mean? I wasn't getting thousands of clicks a month, when I first started I would be lucky to get a few a week, by the time Adsense was disabled I was getting an average of 5-6 per day. Were the people who clicked not really interested in what they clicked? Were they people who were perhaps unhappy with what I had blogged about? I know for a fact there are people who vehemently dislike some of the things I've said in the past, was it some sort of revenge? Does that mean if I have enemies I can just go and click their ads and they'll get banned too? No one really knows and that's bush league by a company that seems intent on taking over the world.

Google offers an appeal-process for those who have their account disabled but to be honest the appeals form is one of the biggest jokes I've ever seen. They ask questions such as "why is your traffic important to advertisers". How can I possibly answer that? I'm not yahoo I dont get millions of visitors a day, then they insult you with this question: "why do you think your account was disabled". What can you possibly say here? "my neighbour is trying to ruin my life" or the Russian Mob is after me because I stole nuclear secrets? I DONT KNOW WHY IT WAS DISABLED, WHY DONT YOU TELL ME?!? To add further insult to injury, when they emailed with their appeal decision, they included this gem: "However, after thoroughly re-reviewing your account data and taking your feedback into consideration, our specialists have confirmed that we're unable to reinstate your AdSense account." That's right we didn't even bother reading your appeal, you can just go pound sand, our specialists (who for all I know are monkeys in diapers flinging their poop at a dartboard to see whether or not you win your appeal) said you're done so you're DONE!

So after I had my account disabled I did a google search- yes irony is a wonderful thing but I just can't bring myself to use BING- anyways I found that accounts getting disabled with no explanation is a fairly common occurrence. It's really quite sad when you think about it since many many moons ago Google wasn't the big fish in the pond, they were simply a startup trying to find their way. You would think they would be more understanding towards the little guy, and perhaps treat them with at least a modicum of respect, rather than just flexing their muscle and doing as they please.

Again I don't want this to come off as an Anti-Adsense post, I'm simply sharing the head-scratching experience that I had. Either way I want to thank you for reading this blog, some of you read it on a regular basis and I truly do appreciate that.

Please feel free to comment on this post, share your experiences, or hell even insult me, any feedback is good feedback.

Thanks for reading (and continuing to read)!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

TTC: Wasting Money Since 1925

When I was just a young pup, my mother gave me some solid life advice, she always told me "Do whatever it is that you do best". Personally, I don't believe I've found whatever it is I do best, however I do marvel at the fact the TTC seems to have found their knack - wasting money.

Last week it was announced that the Toronto Transit Commission, who is facing a major budget short fall for the upcoming year would be spending $100,000 for a "suicide prevention program". The program will place over 200 posters in 69 stations urging people who are thinking of suicide to "talk about it". They will also install 141 specially-equipped payphones that will be installed at the stations’ Designated Waiting Area to contact the Distress Centres of Toronto where they will reach a trained counsellor. The service is free and confidential. The counsellor can also assess whether the TTC needs to be reached to slow down a train, or whether emergency workers need to be dispatched for assistance. (source)

In theory, it's a nice idea but when you look at it objectively, this is nothing but a giant waste of money. If you have someone who has strong enough suicidal urges to head down to the TTC platform waiting to jump in front of a train, how can you honestly believe that a special payphone is going to make them change their mind? Especially a phone located in the DWA.

According to the TTC's own website, the Designated Waiting Areas (DWA) have closed circuit cameras, brighter lights and a bench to sit on. Can someone explain to me how this "service" can be considered confidential? Why not just put up a big neon sign that says SUICIDAL NUTJOBS WELCOME. Honestly who is going to use a phone like this with people around? If you're undecided on whether you want to continue living or not the last thing you want to do draw even more attention to yourself.

I think it's also important to point out that last year there were 26 suicides via TTC jumpers and thus far there have been 7 this year, so this isn't a daily occurrence, not to sound callous but to gamble $100,000 of money that you don't have in hopes that it MIGHT prevent a suicide is not fiscally responsible and downright wrong. In the end the people who will suffer the most are the riders of the TTC. Being a monthly metropass user myself, I can't explain how infurriating it is to see $100k thrown away when that money could be spent all over the place to improve the current system and keep fares from going up once again.

I really don't understand when it became the TTC's responsbility to attempt to prevent suicides- especially at the cost of $100,000 with no guarantee of success.

Of course there is always the possibility that the unavoidable raise in TTC fare will prevent a suicide as the person who wants to end their life just won't be able to afford a token to get to the TTC platform.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Toddlers & Tiaras Returned To TLC Last Night!!

Last night, on the TLC network, yet another season of the hit show Toddlers & Tiaras aired. This season marks the fourth that the show has been on the air. For those of you unfamiliar with this filth, the show takes a look at the world of children's beauty pageants. TLC promotes the show as:
On any given weekend across the country, toddlers take the stage wearing makeup, spray tans and fake hair to be judged on beauty, personality and costumes. Toddlers & Tiaras follows families on their quest for sparkly crowns, big titles and lots of cash.

But in reality it has nothing to do with titles and "lots of cash". The show focuses on the behind the scenes work done by the parents - mostly mothers but sometimes fathers partake in the disgusting behaviour as well. The parents are shown "working" with their little children, dragging them all across state lines to take them from one pageant to another, teaching them how to pose, applying FAKE HAIR and of course TANNING THEIR CHILD. I would be remiss not to mention the best part of the show the parents yelling at the children for everything tiny thing that they do wrong. BECAUSE IF ITS WRONG YOU ARE GOING TO LOSE POINTS FROM THE JUDGES!?!?!?!?!?!?!? The best part? The children are under the age of 7 and in some cases under the age of 5. Yes I threw up in my mouth a little bit as well.

What kind of barbaric parent engages in this kind of activity? What kind of fucking buffoon takes their child on long road trips to parade around on stage with 14 pounds of makeup on their face wearing stupid fucking over the top costumes to be voted on by random judges? What kind of fucking life lesson is learned here? The "winner" believes that she is in fact pretty and that's the only thing that matters in this world, what a fucking great lessons for future generations. But what do the losers learn? That they aren't pretty enough or you can't get anywhere in life if you're not pretty? Or that they're nothing but losers? What a wonderful self-esteem boost that is for a 6 year old. THEY ARE SIX YEARS OLD FOR FUCK SAKE YOU CANT BE "PRETTY" AT SIX YEARS OLD. They should be out playing with barbie dolls and just having fun as being a kid.

It makes me wonder how the fuck do you become a judge at one of these pageants? How the fuck do you decide which 6 year old is "prettier". The last time I checked, people who found 6 year olds pretty were usually locked up in jails as fucking child molesters. Imagine answering the question of "what do you do for work" with "I JUDGE THE PRETTINESS OF SIX YEAR OLDS" fucking disgusting.

Getting back to the "mothers" (and I use that term very loosely) of the children, the worst part of it all is instead of being ashamed and embarrassed of their actions they're proud of them and are very quick to defend them. Always with the same bullshit answers too "my child is a star, oh she loves it soooo much" BULLSHIT YOU STUPID WHORE. The majority of the time, it's nothing more than the mothers, who were probably fat ugly and stupid children, living vicariously through their own children. The mothers push them because THEY want it, they don't give a flying fuck what their children want. The mothers are the ones who want their glory and are using their own children as nothing more than pawns in the game, ruining their childhood along the way.

I'll admit I attempted to give this show a fair shot and actually watched a bit of this garbage last night. I lasted 4 minutes. I couldn't stomach the interview with the mother of "Eden Wood" Honestly I thought it was a porn star name when I first heard it. Anyways this fake blonde bimbo was so proud that her daughter was such a star and that she had a book out and an album coming out. That's right a 6 year old girl has a book and album coming out. I turned the show off right there for fear my dinner was about to come up out of my stomach.

I really don't mean to pick on TLC, I'm sure there are a bunch of wonderful people working there, but they seem to have a knack at showcasing the worst that humans have to offer.

As far as I'm concerned parents who enter their little children in pageants should have them taken away by Child Protective Services. The pageants amount to nothing less than child abuse.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Canada Post: On Strike..Well Sort Of.

It is with a sense of pride that I am able to bring you a piece of stupidity from my own wonderful country, Canada. On June 2nd of this year, the Workers of Canada Post officially went on strike, well their version of a strike. Instead of all mailmen all across the country going on strike, they are having rotating strikes. Meaning they will select a city and just not deliver there just for that day. However they did decide that they would continue delivery of all unemployment, welfare and social-assistant cheques to Canadians, because really LETS NOT PISS OFF THOSE ON WELFARE. The rotating strikes thus far have happened in Winnipeg, Hamilton, Kitchener , Victoria, Edmonton & Calgary. Hilarious that here in Canada's largest city, Toronto, they haven't had their little rotating strike. Although with the speed of service in my neighbourhood, I would argue they've been on strike here for years.

The reason for the strike is due to what all strikes are over. Human Greed. The workers are upset at the offer to lower the STARTING wage 22% and put all workers in a two-tier benefit system, meaning that the longer you work for Canada Post, the more benefits you would receive. Personally I think that's more than fair as you won't exactly kill yourself as a postal worker, you sort mail and deliver it- you're not curing cancer. The only real dangers of the job are... yea I couldn't come up with any either. Oh and of course the workers also want a 3.3% raise in the first year and a 2.75% raise for the next 3 years of this new contact. Because hey, everything is getting more expensive so it's only fair that they get more money, right? WRONG!

Since 2006 the overall workload for Canada Post has gone DOWN 17%. Which is to be expected, we live in an internet-obsessed society, now instead of sending Grandma a letter updating her on you and your family and Billy's 5th birthday party, you can email her, tweet her, or facebook her. Hell if you're Grandma is tech-savvy you can even Skype her in and she can watch little Billy blow out the birthday candles from the comfort of her living room!

When was the last time you or someone you know actually sat down and mailed a letter? Sure there are some business that still communicate through the mail but those numbers are dwindling, these days even most banks don't even bother sending you a statement if you sign up for their online banking service and every day more and more businesses are using the internet to reach customers all over the world. How much more efficient is it to be able to email a company with questions and have them respond possibly the same day, while if you mail a letter you'd be lucky if the business received it in a week. Have to ship international? Fedex and UPS have that market pretty much under control. (Editors note: use Fedex, UPS brokerage fees are offensive.)

An early report from Canada Post is that the amount of mail they process has decreased at a rate of approximately 50% since the start of the strike. Hopefully this will serve as a wakeup call for the workers, that the people in this country don't need you and will get along just fine if you never go back to work. What they need to realize is that the longer they are out, the more people will adjust to not using the mail and by the time they reach their precious agreement and come back no one will care or notice. Personally I hope they never come back. 17% decrease in workload and want an 11% raise and more benefits over 4 years. Outrageous.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Extreme Couponing or Extremely Disturbing Behaviour??

Extreme Couponing is a new show on the TLC network which has started to rise in popularity. The show focuses on families who take couponing to the extreme. Each 30 minute episode features a look at families who plan massive shopping trips and using coupons pay very little, sometimes just pennies, for a few hundred or even thousand dollars worth of products. It should be noted that the series takes place in the US as there are a lot of supermarkets there that will "double coupon" meaning if you have a coupon for $0.75 you will actually get $1.50 off of the product.

Now on the surface, this seems like a fantastic idea, especially in this economy- who couldn't save a little money on groceries? Then I sat down and watched an episode... and was beyond horrified. I have only watched a handful of episodes and some of the things I've seen include:
  • A woman and her child dumpster diving to find more coupons.
  • A woman buying over 150 containers of mustard, even though her husband does not eat mustard
  • A man taking all the store's vitamin water (over 50 cases)
  • A woman who had over 100 packages of diapers that she got for free using coupons.. yet she does not have any children.
  • A man taking over 100 sticks of deodorant
  • Numerous people showing off their pantries with thousands of dollars worth of food that they got almost free with coupons.
  • A family planning their shopping trip for up to 6 hours at home before actually going to the store
I believe in using coupons and saving money wherever you can- especially in this economy. But there's a huge difference between trying to save a little money and being an obsessive compulsive hoarder. Who in their right minds needs 150 containers of mustard? just because they're on sale.

This behaviour isn't cute, it's downright disgusting that these people are diving through dumpsters to stock up on items they are probably never going to use. To make things worse, the people featured in the show are always proud of how much stuff they've gotten for free- hey I'll be the first to admit there's nothing wrong with using coupons or trying to save money-- but TO WHAT END?!? There's a fine line between being a smart shopper and being a greedy pig. It's scary to think that these people have thousands of dollars sitting in their pantries collecting dust while there are children all over their city that won't eat dinner tonight.

Diving through dumpsters to save money on a few products? Really? Me- I'll pay full price for that container of mustard, and not have to buy new clothes and keep my pride.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I is for Illiterate

This post was inspired by one of our very loyal readers who sent in two pictures using the USER SUBMISSION section of this site, (click here for more info..)

They are pictures from a shopping list, I'll give you time to take a look at them now.

This was found on one of the shelves at a No Frills store here in Toronto. I've tried long and hard to think of excuses for this piss-poor spelling, but I honestly can't come up with anything other than outright stupidity and illiteracy, how do these people manage to hold jobs? Although if you're shopping at No Frills.. maybe you don't have one.. Although that's not fair to No Frills, there are some really nice ones in this city.

Some examples of the wonderful spelling from the list-
  • Lettice
  • Hambuger (I have to admit, I laughed at this one)
  • Tortia
  • Tolet Papper
  • Juce Box
  • Lasnana
How does someone like this function in today's society? I understand typos and the odd mistake, hell I'm the first to admit I'll even publish some posts that aren't perfect that need to be edited, but god dammit I know how many "p"s there are in the word PAPER, I'm pretty sure a 3rd grader would know that.

The worst thing is since it was such a long shopping list you have to figure that the person was over 18, I'm not sure if that condemns the education system in this city or if some people are just so stupid they shouldn't be allowed to breed.. To be honest I think it's a little bit of column A and a little bit of column B.

Hambuger.. Fuck me.