As an avid user of Google Apps, I regularly recommend this service to clients as well as using it extensively across my various business interests. An announcement that I received today means that if it is something that you’ve even vaguely considered in the past, then I suggest you sign up for it as quickly as possible before the change comes in.

Google Apps is a really good way of sharing information, and collaborating on projects, including:
Messaging apps such as: Gmail, Google Talk, and Google Calendar;
Collaboration apps such as: Google Docs, Google Sites, and
even more Google applications including Google Reader, Blogger, Picasa Web Albums, AdWords and so-on

We recently announced upcoming changes to the maximum number of users for Google Apps. We want to let you know that, as a current customer, the changes will not affect you.

As of May 10, any organisation that signs up for a new account will be required to use the paid Google Apps for Business product in order to create more than 10 users. We honour our commitment to all existing customers and will allow you to add more than 10 users to your account for GJBEnterprises.com at no additional charge, based on the limit in place when you joined us.

At the moment Individuals, groups and entrepreneurs can get up to 50 custom accounts like you@example.com for free, however as in the announcement very soon that is going to come down to just 10 users.

So for your FREE Google Apps account with unlimited users just head over here very quickly: http://www.google.com/apps/ then click on the ‘Learn More’ button for Google Apps (not Google Apps for Business – that’s the paid version – you can always upgrade later) alternatively try this link: https://www.google.com/a/cpanel/domain/new

You need to have your own domain name, and be able to either manage the DNS, or simply ftp an html page that Google will give you to the root of the domain. – Need help? just call us on 0844-453-5591 and we’ll get you set up as quickly as we can , and before that important deadline.

Using .htaccess To Stop Hotlinking

Recently, a few of my images started ranking highly on Google Image Search for terms like "icon" or "bullet point". An unfortunate side effect of this new found popularity has been dozens of people hotlinking my images on their websites without permission.

At first, I didn’t really mind, but it reached a point where 9 out of 10 hits on my website were for hotlinked images. So I decided I had to do something about it.

The solution was to write an .htaccess file to block hotlinks, and place it in my photos directory. The code looks something like this:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(.*\.)?gjbenterprises.com [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(.*\.)?thedigitalgeeks.com [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(.*\.)?tdgbusinesstraining.co.uk [NC]
RewriteRule \.(jpeg|jpg|gif|png)$ http://example.org/bad.jpg [NC,R,L]

Basically, this code filters out image requests based on the site that sent the request (aka the "referer"). It only affects images with the following extensions: jpeg, jpg, gif, or png.

So, how does it work? The first line turns the rewrite engine on, which allows us to redirect requests. The second line allows viewing images from blank referers; this is important because some browsers won’t send referers, even if the image is linked on your own website. The next three lines allow my own site, and two other sites, to link to my images. The final line redirects anyone else to "bad.jpg" on example.org.

Keep in mind, if you’re going to redirect someone to a different image, that image must not be on your server, or you will create an infinite loop!

Alternatively, you can simply block the hotlinked request by changing the last line to the following:

RewriteRule \.(jpeg|jpg|gif|png)$ - [F]

Instead of being redirected, the user will just see a broken image.

You can also use this code to block things besides images (MP3s or Zip files, for example). Just add the file extension into the last line, separated by a pipe character, like so:

RewriteRule \.(jpeg|jpg|gif|png|mp3|zip)$ - [F]

For more fun with .htaccess, check out my article on blocking bots and banning IPs.

Originally Posted by John on 2007-11-02 : http://blamcast.net/articles/block-hotlinks

Got a spambot or scraper constantly showing up in your server logs? Or maybe there’s another site that’s leeching all your bandwidth? Perhaps you just want to ban a user from a certain IP address? In this article, I’ll show you how to use .htaccess to do all of that and more!

Identifying bad bots

So you’ve noticed a certain user-agent keeps showing up in your logs, but you’re not sure what it is, or if you want to ban it? There’s a few ways to find out:

Once you’ve determined that the bot is something you want to block, the next step is to add it to your .htaccess file.

Blocking bots with .htaccess

This example, and all of the following examples, can be placed at the bottom of your .htaccess file. If you don’t already have a file called .htaccess in your site’s root directory, you can create a new one.

#get rid of the bad bot
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^BadBot
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://go.away/

So, what does this code do? It’s simple: the above lines tell your webserver to check for any bot whose user-agent string starts with "BadBot". When it sees a bot that matches, it redirects them to a non-existent site called "go.away".

Now, that’s great to start with, but what if you want to block more than one bot?

#get rid of bad bots
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^BadBot [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^EvilScraper [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^FakeUser
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://go.away/

The code above shows the same thing as before, but this time I’m blocking 3 different bots. Note the "[OR]" option after the first two bot names: this lets the server know there’s more in the list.

Blocking Bandwidth Leeches

Say there’s a certain forum that’s always hotlinking your images, and it’s eating up all your bandwidth. You could replace the image with something really gross, but in some countries that might get you sued! The best way to deal with this problem is simply to block the site, like so:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*somebadforum\.com [NC]
RewriteRule .* - [F] 

This code will return a 403 Forbidden error to anyone trying to hotlink your images on somebadforum.com. The end result: users on that site will see a broken image, and your bandwidth is no longer being stolen.

Here’s the code for blocking more than one site:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*somebadforum\.com [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*example\.com [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*lastexample\.com [NC]
RewriteRule .* - [F] 

If you want to block hotlinking completely, so that no one can hotlink your files, take a look at my article on using .htaccess to block hotlinkers.

Banning An IP Address

Sometimes you just don’t want a certain person (or bot) accessing your website at all. One simple way to block them is to ban their IP address:

order allow,deny
deny from 192.168.44.201
deny from 224.39.163.12
deny from 172.16.7.92
allow from all

The example above shows how to block 3 different IP addresses. Sometimes you might want to block a whole range of IP addresses:

order allow,deny
deny from 192.168.
deny from 10.0.0.
allow from all

The above code will block any IP address starting with "192.168." or "10.0.0." from accessing your site.

Finally, here’s the code to block any specific ISP from getting access:

order allow,deny
deny from some-evil-isp.com
deny from subdomain.another-evil-isp.com
allow from all

Final notes on using .htaccess

As you can see, .htaccess is a very powerful tool for controlling who can do what on your website. Because it’s so powerful, it’s also fairly easy for things to go wrong. If you have any mistakes or typos in your .htaccess file, the server will spit out an Error 500 page instead of showing your site, so be sure to back up your .htaccess file before making any changes.

If you’d like to learn more about writing .htaccess files, I recommend checking out the Definitive Guide to Mod_Rewrite. This book covers everything you need to know about Apache’s .htaccess rewrite system.

PS: If your webhost doesn’t support .htaccess, it’s time to get a better one! :)

Originally Posted by John on 2007-06-23 on http://blamcast.net/articles/block-bots-hotlinking-ban-ip-htaccess

Get More Business Than You Can Handle

Does your marketing and advertising get you more business than you can handle?

It does for our customers and it can for you.

We can show you how by using the most powerful marketing system. This system opens your business 24 hours a day to attract more sales with your existing and new clients.

Fact: Consumers are not spending money the same way they used to. Advertising in newspapers, magazines and television has become a waste of advertising dollars.

When you spend your money on advertising, you absolutely must know what your return on investment is on every advertising pound.

Fact: Explosive growth of the Internet —- There are over 1.5 Billion people on the Internet

People are buying on the internet now

10 years ago people wondered if the internet would even make it. They wondered if it might flop because all they could do was send emails and what’s so big about that? Look how far we’ve come.

Today, if your business is not on the internet, it is likely that you are unwittingly dooming your whole business to failure.

Someone at some point will come along and sell the service you have online, with a coupon, and since people shop online and you’re not there, you are no longer competing for that business.

That hurts.

But it is reality.

Last year $198 billion was spent online. 
Earlier this year Google’s UK ad revenue
outstripped ALL UK TV ad revenues.

Intelligent advertising means being where your customers are, when they are, and giving them what they want. It’s simple.

Intelligent advertising means being in complete control of each pound that goes into your ads, and then getting overwhelmed by more data than you need, telling you what works in your advertising and what doesn’t, and how to get better real time results.

Remember, the internet is just one big bunch of computers. You can track everything.

  • You can see where customers came from (Global, down to the town)
  • You can see how long they read your ad for
  • You can see what they clicked on
  • You can see if they use a new or old computer
  • You can see how big their monitor is which will tell you how they see your ads
  • You can test product prices by making similar offers and tracking results
  • You can put up 2 pages and see which one sells best

You Get Massive Sales with Automation!

You know how to present your business to people better than anyone else. It’s your specialty.

Imagine advertising that did not limit you to one 30 second spot.

Imagine instead, that your advertising could be like a wonderful educational journey, where your customers learn about you and your business over time, all because they want to know about you.

Imagine advertising that inspires loyalty in your customers.

When you teach your customers about your business over time, and serve them well, they become loyal to you. That means they ignore the competition because they like you better. That… is Intelligent Advertising.

Building loyal customers over time is like building an army of volunteer salesman, who advertise for you because they like you.

Intelligent Advertising Increases Sales

  • No more over priced newspaper ads.
  • No more coupon books that work but don’t create real profit
  • No more overpriced and underused phone book advertising
  • You get the point

Why spend money on advertising methods that can’t give you any idea of how well the advertising is working for your business?

That’s like throwing money out the window.

Direct Response Email Marketing is advertising that the customer elects to receive because they want it.

Your customers are smart, and they want to know about your business, and they want more than a 30 second commercial.

Your customers will give you their name and email address, and they will ask you to tell them about your business…

…if you know how to ask them correctly

You can’t get better than that.

To learn more about how GJB Performance Marketing can help:

  1. You increase sales
  2. Build customer loyalty
  3. Slash your advertising in half!

What a hassle! after hours of running around to find out what the problem was, I finally came across this post http://digitizor.com/2010/07/06/fix-facebook-connect-xfbml-not-showing-ie/ by Debjit, and … fixed!

Interestingly, at the same time, facebook also changed the like button creator (available here: http://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/plugins/like ) and they removed the javascript and placed it so that it could be located off-site.

So, here’s a quick fix that will help you to show Facebook Like Button on Microsoft Internet Explorer (all versions).

If you have setup Facebook Like buttons for a website it is probable that these buttons may not show up or are not visible in Internet Explorer but are very well visible in browsers like Firefox and Google Chrome. To fix this all you need to do is just add these two xmlns attributes to your page’s main html tag:

xmlns:fb=”http://www.facebook.com/2008/fbml”

xmlns:og=”http://opengraphprotocol.org/schema/”

After adding this attribute to the HTML tag, your fully completed html tag should look like this:

<html xmlns:fb="http://www.facebook.com/2008/fbml" 
xmlns:og="http://opengraphprotocol.org/schema/">
.
.
.
.
</html>

Then just paste the following XFBMLcode where you want your like button to appear:

<!-- Facebook Like Button -->
<script src="http://connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1"></script>
<fb:like></fb:like>
<!-- Ends Facebook like Button –>

By default this will link to the current page, if you want to specify the url, then just use this code instead:

<!-- Facebook Like Button -->
<script src="http://connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1"></script>
<fb:like href=http://www.example.com/pagelink></fb:like>
<!-- Ends Facebook like Button –>

And remember to replace http://www.example.com/pagelink with your own link!

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