Search rankings update

Time to do another snapshot of where things are at. Same conditions as usual. Rankings do bounce around a lot, and I am only viewing them from my own searching perspective (affecting locality). I am not logged in to Google when searching, so hopefully it doesn’t tailor the answers by detecting who I am some other way.

Also of note is that I am still checking both Yahoo! and Bing results separately even though they are rapidly approaching 100% identical as their Search Alliance nears completion.

Page 1: bad results at #3,6 (out of 10)

Page 2: none

Page 3: #2

Page 1: none (out of 10)

Page 2: #1, #8

Page 3: #3, #10

Page 1: none (out of 10)

Page 2: #1, #8

Page 3: #3, #10

Page 1: #1, #4 (my ad is low on credit so no ads this time.)

Page 2: #2

Page 3: none!

One continuous page: result #8, 10, 13 out of a total of 28 results.

So what do I think of the results at the moment? Minor improvements on DuckDuckGo, and Yahoo!/Bing are much better.

The Google results are much more disappointing, although not all bad news. While the bad results on the first page have climbed somewhat, out of the top 30 results, the count is down by one and the other link is disappearing down the stack. On Ask, the search rankings have only gotten worse, and in particular I am disappointed that I am being outranked by a no longer maintained blog.

What to do next? There is more positive content up relating to me, and I’ve also done some more cross linking today. Hopefully that will assist. Also, I need to consider legal avenues on content removal – not sure what my options are in all cases. I’ve been assured that some of the content will come down shortly, but the two remaining blogs are my biggest issue and I need to see what my legal options are here. Questions are:

  1. Is this libel or something else? i.e. how do I legally define this issue.
  2. How do I get an international court order for take-down of the content?

Server updates

I now have Drupal installed to serve web pages for my technology consulting profile. I’m yet to put any real content on there, but the exercise in building the website was worthwhile. I was surprised at the speed of configuration (mine is not the most simple system now), and also impressed at the availability of themes. I was also impressed at how easy it is to theme plain HTML pages outside of the CMS with freely available CSS themes.

I’ve also gone through the update process for Diaspora* quite a few times, and the instructions work well. The only note is that they should also point out it might be a good idea to update gems at the same times.

Note on progress of content change requests

This is a brief note regarding he continuing quest to remove or reduce the content that has incorrectly implicated me in an internet scam. I have found someone to contact regarding one abandoned forum, and have done so. I have also again requested another site remove some content implicating me in the scams. I hope these will be effective.

I have also stepped up the registration of my sitemaps to hopefully boost the amount of indexing done for me.

My Diaspora* Pod is up!

As a further foray in to open source software, and taking a more personal ownership to sharing data, I’ve had a look in to Diaspora*. Rather than dabbling round the edges, I’ve installed my own pod.

If you are unfamiliar with Diaspora*, what it is and what it stands for, check out Join Diaspora*.

So installing it is far from easy. It is still considered to be in “Alpha”, and so instructions are changing on a regular basis. Also, as it can integrate with other products such as Facebook and Twitter, instructions on how to do that has to keep pace with those products and their APIs.

Simplest and best advice for installation is follow the instructions on the GitHub wiki for Diaspora*, and it will get you a long way. There are plenty of sites telling you the instructions are wrong and provide alternatives, but this appears to be no longer required. The next thing is to take a good look at everything in the config directory, even if you don’t think you need to configure it. I had a silent failure (Diaspora* has a habit of just stopping when things go wrong and not always providing log file comments) due to a non-existent directory being required as a log file repository.

The biggest gap in instructions for me was how to configure Apache2 to do all the things you need it to. It largely came down to working out which modules need to be loaded to fix which not-so-helpful error messages.

I’ve managed to get Twitter to allow me to twet from Diaspora*, but I’m yet to have any luck with Facebook. It seems to revolve around a lack of callback URL, something which the Facebook interface is yet to let me do. This is one of the issues where if I let my side try to contact Facebook and it doesn’t work, Diaspora* aborts ungracefully, leaving me to have to clean up the still running processes. Failure to clean up the ruby processes causes great confusion on the next restart. I’m currently running the server on a detached screen which is a little bit manual, but it seems to work.

Some more details on actions taken

So I thought it might be a good point to discuss why the rankings have changed. Broadly speaking, the approach has been to ask people to remove the misleading content, and secondly, to add more content about me that is under my control.

In the cases of removing content as well as generating new content, there needs to be some Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) performed. There are quite a few ways to do this. For a start, the content on here is submitted in multiple ways to multiple search engines. This includes both at the root website level and at the wordpress level. Further submission techniques have been used to add “link juice” to faster promote these pages as active. Lastly, some keyword advertising with Google also helps to promote the correct content, but created some interesting side effects that need management.

There has also been a wide range of extra pages created on various sites to highlight what I would like to be known about me. While these sites will then require maintenance, it does help improve my profile.

Lastly, there are some sites out there worth regularly keeping an eye on. These are the ones that involuntarily start indexing information about you, unless you find the super-secret way to opt-out. These sites are a mixed blessing, and as long as they are watched carefully, they can add to the positive content.

Search rankings update

Time to do another snapshot of where things are at. Bear in mind that rankings do bounce around a lot, and I am only viewing them from my own searching perspective (affecting locality). I am not logged in to Google when searching, so hopefully it doesn’t tailor the answers by detecting who I am some other way.

Page 1: bad results at #5,7 (out of 10)

Page 2: #9

Page 3: #5

Page 1: #9 (out of 10)

Page 2: #3, #9, #10

Page 3: #2, #8

Page 1: #9 (out of 10)

Page 2: #3, #9, #10

Page 3: #2, #8

Page 1: #3, #5 (out of 10; excluding my ads inserted between 1 & 2, and at the end.)

Page 2: #3

Page 3: none!

One continuous page: result #5, 6, 12 out of a total of 27 results. One less result here is a good thing in this context.

Bing and Yahoo! are looking a lot better on the first page. Very happy with that. Ask has improved slightly on page 1, and Google has made no difference to page one. Duckduckgo has also improved a little, as all of the engines have improved at least a little in the lower ranks.

Overall, there are signs of improvement but still a lot more to do. First impressions count, so my focus is on the first page; but I still want to be more thorough than that.

Spam irony, and the same scammers are still out there

In a twist of irony, I have now been sent the same type of spam as the one that was created using my stolen credit card details and name earlier this year.

This time, the content of the spam is (with extra spaces in the URLs to break them):
[sourcecode language=”html”]
Dear Shawn Sijnstra,

This is to notify that new updates have been released for Skype.

http://www. official – skype –

Following are major new features :

* Up to 5-way group video call.
* Redesigned calling experience.
* Improved video snapshots gallery.
* Improved browser plugins performance on some websites.
* Reduced false positives on browser plugin phone number recognition.
* New presence icons.
* Improved handling of calling attempts made when the user has run out of credit.
* Improved access to sharing functionality

To download the latest version , go to :

http://www. official – skype –

Start downloading the update right now and let us know what you think
about it.

Talk soon,

The people at SkypeUnsubscribe (

It would appear to be the same group as the whois record for the address is registered in the same way, with the same or similar registrar, with the same fields used and a very similar address used. I have left the name of the registrant out for obvious reasons:

% By submitting a query to RU-CENTER's Whois Service
% you agree to abide by the following terms of use:
% (in Russian)
% (in English).

Domain name:             OFFICIAL-SKYPE-UPDATE.COM
Name Server:
Name Server:
Creation Date:           2011.09.27
Updated Date:            2011.09.28
Expiration Date:         2012.09.27

Status:                  DELEGATED

Registrant ID:           QH9BLSG-RU
Registrant Name:         
Registrant Organization: 
Registrant Street1:      1039 Avenue Street
Registrant City:         New York
Registrant Postal Code:  10023
Registrant Country:      US

Administrative, Technical Contact
Contact ID:              QH9BLSG-RU
Contact Name:            
Contact Organization:    
Contact Street1:         1039 Avenue Street
Contact City:            New York
Contact Postal Code:     10023
Contact Country:         US
Contact Phone:           +1 800 2379293
Contact E-mail:

Registrar:               Regional Network Information Center, JSC dba RU-CENTER

Last updated on 2011.09.28 10:34:48 MSK/MSD

The individual whose name was used has a much more common name so hopefully does not have the same issues I have.

Next observed stats change

So while relooking at the search engines, I’ve noticed that the root home page for this site has come up the ranks. It’s pushing some other results down by one. Interestingly, it is the home page with little content – not the blog – that is creeping up in rank.

On another note, the last updated page is yet to update in search engines. I will need to spend more time on seeing what I can do there.

Stats and security

While developing this blog, I’ve been working on the background on security and other curiosities. I wanted to use a log processor to look at where some of the hits on this site were coming from, so of course I turned to AWstats. I also wanted to make this viewable by myself, and didn’t want another password to either type in or store. There were great instructions available for basic installation, but I had to look a little harder for secuirity. I only really want to view the stats from home, and luckily I have a fixed IP address. This is certainly a lazy way to do security, and I haven’t yet pushed it to be SSL-only, but to bolt down the AWstats pages by IP address all that was required in the Apache2 conf file was:

[sourcecode language=”xml”]
Alias /awstatsclasses "/usr/share/awstats/lib/"
Alias /awstats-icon/ "/usr/share/awstats/icon/"
Alias /awstatscss "/usr/share/doc/awstats/examples/css"
ScriptAlias /awstats/ /usr/lib/cgi-bin/
<Location /awstats>
Options ExecCGI -MultiViews +SymLinksIfOwnerMatch
Order Deny,Allow
Deny from all
Allow from
Allow from 127

Where of course the is replaced with your desired access address – IP address or DNS address

In other security related news, somebody else ran a script against this site but at least it was a better attempt. They looked for 151 vulnerabilities in a single sitting rather than the 6 the last guys did. There’s been some other feeble one or two since then, but it’s nice to be tested thoroughly.

Newsflash: I’ve now had my first spam comment submitted. Hooray!

Thanks to go out

As always, credit where credit is due. Thank you very kindly to John Munoz whom, once I clarified the situation on his blog, moved very quickly to correct the information.

It is now up to the search engines to do their work for those hits.