So, we did our big roll out last night, and I’ll get the bad news out of the way first. In this case though, the bad news is also good news, kinda.
We had one bug at roll out which is related to the ‘spinning icons’ on the blogger dashboard. I’ll explain why this was in a bit when I walk through the feature list, but suffice to say that issue is fixed. Our new process seems to have worked.
The only other ‘issue’ of sorts is actually a misunderstanding due I think to a failing on part with regard to communication to you guys. There have been a number of people complaining that their page ranks etc are not updating. They aren’t supposed to update real time. We update blog ranks of all kinds every 48 hours, based on login. So, if you login every day of the week, you’ll see changes on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and so on. We limit the updates that we do simply to limit the load we place on our data providing friends. We are assessing what the impact would be of reducing the update time to 24 hours from 48, and we are also looking at forcing updates for today only to, in effect, give everyone a nice clean fresh start.
Onto the updates.
The biggest change we made was to the blogger dashboard and opportunities list, and this is where the spinning wait icon comes into play. Whenever people log in we need to check various things in the database, and on external sites (including your blog) in order to calculate which opps a postie qualifies for. We look at what we know with regard to ranks, update those ranks if they are stale (see above), and hit your blogs to determine if you are disclosing etc. Previously this all happened while the blogger dashboard was loading, causing it load very slowly indeed. Same thing on the blogger opportunity list, which is why it was next to impossible for us to sort that list to show qualified opps first.
We have a new system in place which spawns a background process on the servers to do all this work for you behind the scenes. When you log in now, this process does all the data gathering PPP.com needs and then builds your dashboard views, and your opportunity lists when it’s done. The net results are that you get a much snappier interface, and we can at last sort the opportunity lists properly; you’ll notice that you’ll see opportunities you qualify for at the top of the list, and unqualified ones near the bottom. In addition, this means the ‘qualified opps’ button now works properly and displays a nice well ordered list of opportunities you qualify for instead of rag tag pages with an opp here and there.
The next biggest change is in categories. A large number of you, posties and advertisers alike, expressed concern over the categories. They were too specific before to be able to make intelligent choices about just what a blog talks about. That’s changed. We now have a set of catch all general categories as well as more specific ones. This is actually why we took the site down last night to do the deployment. A small program was written to go through all the thousands of blogs and bloggers we have, and all the opportunities, and map existing category choices into the new category selections. Since we have added more general categories now we’ve also reduced the number of categories you can select for a blog to 4. In addition, to combat a growing number of posties just changing their categories in order to qualify for opportunities (rather than to reflect what they really write about), we’ve limited the number of times you can change them. Posties can now change the categories associated with a blog once every 30 days, and no more.
All of you logging on today will also have noticed the alert system in place. This is a mechanism that enables us to quickly notify you of important information about the system. It’s actually been in place for a little while now, but last night was, I think, the first time we used to alert everyone to some of the key changes in the system.
On the advertiser side of things we now have the ability for advertisers to choose to get email alerts about their opportunities. As an advertiser you can tell PayPerPost.com whether you’d like to receive an email when a post is made on your opportunity, whether you’d like an email when your opportunity approaches fulfillment, and whether or not you’d like an email when your opportunity fills or ends. This is response to a number of pleas for a more communicative system that doesn’t require people to log in to check their campaigns.
Also on the advertiser side we noticed a number of people having problems with segmentation raising the price on an opp and causing issues with the advertiser then having to cancel their new opp, add funds, then start over. You can now add funds to cover your opportunity in all of the opportunity creation, and edit screens. We’ve also stopped the system forcing a minimum price on an opportunity. Now, when you segment, we ‘suggest’ what the price should be based on our views of the marketplace. Ultimately though we are an open marketplace and it really is up to you guys to define and control the marketplace, hence we don’t force prices on you.
Finally, we have a new affiliate program for posties called “Signup forms”. You can find it under your affiliate tools. Basically this is a mechanism for placing a PayPerPost registration form on your site for both bloggers visiting you and advertisers. So what? Well, if you do this you are helping us market PayPerPost.com so we reward you. If a blogger signs up through your form we’ll pay you 15 dollars. If an advertiser signs up through an advertiser registration form we pay 25 dollars. As always though with blogger affiliate sign ups, your newly signed up blogger must make an approved post before you get paid. On the advertiser front, you get paid when the new advertiser makes their first deposit into the system.
And even more finally, we’ve added a bunch of new affiliate badges and Review My Post badges since you all asked so nicely.