Friday, December 30, 2005

New Blog

If you'd like - but I don't know why you would want to - you can take a sneak peak at my new blog. It is now "live" at But it's not really a blog yet. For now it is a basic html document, in fact most of the links aren't even set up yet, and I've barely thought about CSS. I'm working with the open source project PowerBlog to adapt this look as my template for my new blog - it's going alright but I don't really have time to waste on this. I considered using wordpress or blogger, but I've always built sites on Windows/ASP servers so this was probably my best option for now. We'll see. The logo - if you're wondering - is actually a manipulation of the Lopico logo.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Is Wink the Answer?

In my last post: "New Service that I'd like to see in 2006," I may have overlooked Wink as the answer to this problem. Wink is ambitious, and IMHO a great idea, but needs momentum, which, judging by the amount of coverage it is receiving right now, will not be a problem. Unfortunately, momentum now is not as important as momentum once it starts working. I've been trying for a few days to sync my bookmarks from, and have received an error message every time.

But wink is much more than a way to track bookmarks across multiple platforms (or at least it's supposed to support multi platforms soon); it is also a whole new way to look at search. Similar to what I was thinking about in my 1st post on, Wink uses the power of people to create, what I believe, is a better formula for relevance than any algorithm will ever deliver. For example, if I want to find a great article on a new css trick, I will have much better luck searching, than I would Google., will bring up fresh results that have been tagged the most, Google will bring up champions of the SEO game, which usually means pages that have been around for awhile, that may or may not have what I'm looking for. Google's link based algorithm is great, but people are better at determining a good resource than algorithms.

Thus the evolution of the web continues, but is it an evolution or a devolution? It seems that more and more evolution in terms of the web means relying on humans rather than machines to determine what is important. Sites such as digg,, lopico, judy's book, and amazon's mechanical turk, are all aimed in some way at tapping humans rather than machines as a resource for determining relevance or for answering questions.

Perhaps this is what web2.0 really means, the building of an entirely new information retrevial system based on humans and social interaction. Old methods are new again.

Monday, December 26, 2005

New service that I'd like to see in 2006

Other than my new site (which I am working very hard on, and really think will be great) the web service that I'd like to see most in 2006, is a bookmark tracking aggregator.

Every few days I check the number of times that Lopico has been bookmarked on, and sometimes Furl, but there are also a handful of other bookmarking sites such as yahoo myweb 2.0,, clipmarks, and simpy. is the most important for now, but to truly use bookmarking as a tracking tool I'd like to be able to see data from all of the sites compiled onto one page. Sort of like clusty meets social bookmarking.

Will it happen? Who knows, but if it does I'm sure I won't be the only one using it.

Technorati Tags:

Friday, December 23, 2005

New RSS / XML Logo

The RSS standard logo: Mozilla started it, Microsoft has said it will adopt it, and now the rest of the world should soon follow suit.

I joined in today by creating a new rss logo for Lopico as well as the new site and new blog that I am working on. I modified the logo slightly to keep the XML abbreviation for the benefit of those not yet familiar with the logo.

If you want, you can grab the logo that I created, or go to

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Blogatus - A Blogger's Hiatus

I haven't been blogging much lately, well I've been blogging my usual amount after a heightened amount of blogging, and there are good reasons. First I'm working on a lot of great things right now that are consuming the majority of my time.

Some things that I'm working on:
I've discovered a way to make Lopico up to 10x faster and I am implementing the changes.

I'm finalizing some last (but important) details for Lopico Lovers

The majority of my time is being spent on my new site, which I am extremely excited about. The knowledge that I have gained over the past year is really helping me create a great new site. When this is launched it will give you some insight into what Lopico might look like in the future.

Lastly, it is the holiday season so I've been making a little more time for things tagged life.

What's been pushed back:
As much as I hate to say it, the mobile version of Lopico has been pushed back. I really like my mobile version, because it focuses on high level takeaways. Google Local Mobile is cool, but the prac app is lacking. When someone is using there phone to find a business they (for now) most likely just want the number and address. Why not the other features? 1. rates for Internet access via phone and 2. screen sizes and mobile browsers make it tough for most to really enjoy the Google Local Mobile features. That said, I think that if there is a Google Phone in the future it will be amazing.

My new blog is being pushed back, I don't really have time to design it or blog, so there's no point in me rushing to get it up.

Side notes: I used Gmail to create this post. Flock is great for blogging and probably my prefered app, but Gmail is convenient for me while I'm at my other job (another reason things are moving slowly). GMail mobile is awesome - sorry blackberry.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Final Flock Beta Review

This will be my last post about Flock until it is released. I've had some fun with Flock with but now I've pretty much switched back to firefox full time. It's an interesting concept, but not one with mainstream appeal. Nothing wrong with being niche.

Overall Strengths:
1. The blogging is great, especially the ease of tagging. Maybe it's pure coincidence, but my "web 2.0 picks" blog was by far one of my most read of all time, tagging may have played a role in this.
2. It's essentially a skinned firefox, so if you like firefox you should like most of what Flock is about
3. I enjoy the integration with, but prefer the extension for firefox.
4. Web Standards support
5. Clucene, the open source search engine that searches your history as you type into the search box, is a nice feature for quick access to places you've been.

1. Although it was on my strengths list the integration is also part of why I am sticking with Firefox as my primary browser. I don't like the fact that you cannot (or at least it's not obvious how to) bookmark sites outside of This probably is not a problem for most, but as a web developer there are times that I release features or even entire sites that I don't want the public to have access to yet, being able to bookmark these things out of would be a big plus.
2. Feed Aggregation. It's sort of a pain if you like to control what feeds you read when. I really prefer Firefox's live bookmark. I like it better than Opera's feed reader, but I think it needs some work.
3. On the subject of feeds, Flock should join in with Microsoft and Mozilla and use the standard RSS button. I think the uniformity will be helpful to users, a consistent user experience lets users know what they're getting.

Overall, I think that Flock asks you to give up too much control of how you like to use your browser in exchange for some cool features that you could get elsewhere. Good concept, and I really like the design of it, but let me do things my way.

I think that it will get better.

Side notes:
I have purchased a new domain and hosting plan for my new blog, so this space will soon be disappearing.
"Lopico Lovers" - my review program - is set to launch in the next couple of weeks.
I did my first podcast yesterday, it's available on odeo, and not very good or interesting.
I've been noticing a large amount of traffic coming from my "web 2.0 picks" posting, I'll probably set up a cleaned up version to go along with the launch of the new blog.

Links from this post:
Internet Explorer
Why are the links down here instead of inline? It's a new idea I'm trying out, comment if you like it or hate it, thanks.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Lopico on Your Site

I just noticed that Yelp added a feature that allows businesses to put a Yelp link on their site. The link displays the businesses current star rating (which if you've read my posts in the past you know I'm not a fan of) and the number of reviews on Yelp for that business. Why am I blogging about this? Well, I've been thinking about doing something similar with Lopico, but also very different. I recently released a button that anyone can place on their site, and gave directions for how to modify it so that it can be linked to the page where a business is listed, but I want to do more in the area of syndication. One idea that I've been kicking around is allowing votes to come to Lopico from other sites. I think that this is possibly a good idea, but it has high potential for compromised results. I've thought of a number of ways to tackle this problem, and you may see something happen with this in the future. Of course with the review program set to launch in the next couple of weeks (or maybe after the first of the year) there will be another new dynamic added to Lopico that I may consider syndicating.

For now if you want Lopico on your site you'll have to settle for this button Lopico!

Monday, December 12, 2005

What else are you going to call it?

I just checked out the flock blog aggregate for the first time in a while, and one thing that I was surprised to see was a post scorning the name web 2.0. Not because the name web 2.0 is a fan favorite that no one scorns, but because another Flock blog has a graphic on the bottom that says "take back web 2.0." Clearly not intended to be taken as more than a play on Firefox's take back the web, but if you're going to advocate the "buzz word" in one place, don't bash it in another.

The name Web 2.0 is not the best and some use it just to try to generate buzz or to look hipper than they are. But, what else are you going to call it? Overall it describes a distinct movement in the web in which users are switching from using the web passively to using it interactively. With such a sea change, I see no reason why web 2.0 is not a suitable name.

The real problem is the number of attributes that people try to throw in to determine if a site is web 2.0 or not. This is where I tune out. Too many try to limit what web 2.0 is by saying that it is AJAX or Folksonomy or any other limited category that excludes a bunch of great new sites. I especially dislike anyone that tries to say which technology is driving web 2.0. The only one that I would say actually drives web 2.0 is high speed internet. It's not that most of these sites couldn't have existed before or that new tech is revolutionary, it's that dial up wouldn't support it.

All that a site needs to be web 2.0 is creativity. User input and independence help.

Still in Flock, still not checking the spelling.

technorati tags:

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Name this blog

One last note, I hate the new name of my blog, and seem to be stuck in trying to come up with a great name for my blog. I'm looking for one that is not a registered domain as I plan on moving out of blooger. Any Ideas?

Still using Flock and posting much more.
Sometimes I feel like I am talking to my self in a socially acceptable manner when I blog. I'm guessing that I will not get any responses.

Web 2.0 Picks just got picked up by Yahoo! and it really was my second favorite web 2.0 site, but there are many more great sites that people should try. This is just a short list of sites that I like, and most likely there are more I am forgetting:

These are in no particular order:
  1. eHub - have to start here because this is the place where I picked most of these from
  2. Odeo - best place for podcasting, I use it mainly to stream podcasts.
  3. - not necessarily my favorite site, but I would definitely like it more if I had more time, you can look me up on my login is jfromak, and yes I do like Wolf Parade that much
  4. YouSendIt - Send huge files over the net
  5. AllYourWords - Cool concept, but I think it's a dangerous playground for spammers
  6. Springdoo - send email through voice. Something I've wanted for awhile.
  7. Judy's Book - Yeah it competes with Lopico, but I like it (they have way more money).
  8. Squidoo - Seth Godin doesn't like Akron, so I don't like him, but I agree that this type of niche search is the future of the net. Not sure that this is exactly what I'm thinking of but it's a start.
  9. Meebo - AIM always seems to act up on my pcs, I now use Meebo with no problems.
  10. Ning - I don't use it, but I like the idea and I'm looking forward to the apps people create.
  11. Digg - I might not be a geek if it weren't for Digg.
  12. Flock - still a little hesitant, but liking it more.
  13. Netvibes - Great alternative to a big 3 homepage.
  14. Cityfeeds - Good idea, needs more cities.
  15. Riffs - Pretty cool app, but no clear sense of focus.
  16. Instant Domain Search - I just like playing with this.
  17. Lopico - well of course.
I'm sure there are more, but try these out if you haven't already. For more subscribe to eHub's feed.

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Buy me out! was bought by Yahoo! yesterday, and I'm upset about this. Not because I am against Yahoo!, I really like a lot of what Yahoo does and I've been using My Yahoo since about the day it came out. The only thing that I don't like about Yahoo is the amount of spam that I receive in my Yahoo inbox. I'm not Dvorak but I get very little spam in all of my email accounts with the exception of Yahoo. The reason that I am upset about the buyout is because I felt that was going to be a major player on its own. I really wanted to succeed. This is success, but a different kind. The web right now is fragmented, and should ideally stay that way. Web 2.0 is probabbly best defined as outstanding creative and innovative thinking coming from independent sources outside of the big three. The big three are leading the web 2.0 charge but are doing so by adopting ideas that come from independents. This sort of sucks if you're an independent, and the only way to survive is to be bought out, or to do something that the big three cannot (unlikely) or will not do. Yes, I was hoping for a revolution of indpendent sites takign on the big guys, but it doesn't look likely.

On that note, if you are an independent site I'd love to support you both through my blog and on Lopico. But wait, people have to actually read this blog first.

Lastly, I cannot blame the people of for joining Yahoo! I would do the same, and for much much less. I'm a little upset by John Battelle's post on, because he doesn't seem to understand the power of Flock note: I'm using it more and liking more... still overhyped. I'm really starting to abuse Technorati tags with the help of Flock. Okay this one hasn't been spellchecked.

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Friday, December 09, 2005

Live Mail's 5 Minutes

Yesterday I posted about Live Mail's 5 minutes of being as good as Gmail, and that is over as far as I'm concerned. My biggest complaint with live mail is the lack of RSS incorporation which Gmail just added. Live Mail still has a calendar which is great if you use it, but I don't, and I imagine that Google will soon have a competing service. I suggested RSS through live mail's feedback and I'm sure that I wasn't the only one. Hopefully they'll get it together before it's taken out of beta.

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New Homepage

Some Mornings you just wake up with an idea. This morning I woke up thinking about the Lopico homepage, and within an hour or so I had a new homepage. I would classify this as an intermediate step to the next new version of the Lopico homepage.

Part of what I like about Lopico is the freedom that I have to play with the look and feel of it and the ability to change things so quickly. If you read my blogs on the day Loblogo launched (which feedburner tells me you didn't) then you can see an example of how quickly I can turn things around. This would not be possible at a large internet company (but then again they'd also get people to notice their changes).

This is my second post through Flock, and I must say that I'm happy with this portion of it, with the only caveat being that their is no spell check.

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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Who has time to Blog?

With the exception of people that are paid to blog, who has time for it? I know that I don't. But if you look at my blogs compared to frequent bloggers, mine tend to be on the long side. I'm going to try to blog more often with shorter blogs.

Beta Blog preview...

I'm involved in beta testing a handful of services right now, and would like to blog about these. This would include Flock, the browser that I'm not too impressed with yet, but am using for this post. Not sure how it's supposed to be better than firefox or why you would use it instead of firefox. I listened to the Inside the Web podcast with one of the Flockers and he really played up the star button as his main reason for liking Flock better than Firefox. Personally I prefer the extension in Firefox.

I'm also using live mail from Microsoft. It's close to as good as Gmail for the next 5 minutes, but in danger of falling behind before it gets off the ground. I honestly am a fan of Microsoft, which is why I would like it to be a good service, but it could use a few tweaks. Of course, Microsoft being Microsoft it will be tweaked, by the time it becomes a true hotmail replacement. Microsoft is overly criticized for taking too long to release products, but they are so heavily scrutinized when released that they have to take a long time to release them.

Search engine comparison...
The reason that I am a fan of Microsoft is probably because of MSN search. I really think that it is the best non-niche search engine available right now. Search builder is probably the best search feature that gets the least attention. I'd like to blog about my comparison of the big three as well as some of the niche search engines, and why I think non-niche search is nearing its peak.

I'm too longwinded

Don't forget to vote!

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Sunday, December 04, 2005

Sea Change

Now that this is my blog and no longer the Lopico blog there are going to be and have been a few changes.

Changes that I've Made:

  • I changed the title to reflect the new scope of the blog

  • I added a Lopico button on the side bar as well as a feedburner counter

  • You can now subscribe to this blog by clicking the feedburner icon

  • Lopico news is now available at Lopico News

What to expect from this blog:

  • As with the addition of the feedburner counter, you can expect me to try out new features from different sites around the web, some of which I will be testing before incorporation into Lopico

  • More about the web and Less about Lopico. I still plan on dedicating the majority of this blog to Lopico, but I would also like to post more about what's happening elsewhere on the web. There are plenty of good blogs about things happening on the net right now, things like web 2.0 and AJAX, but I don't think that there are enough. And the people that run these services and that deserve attention I'm sure don't think that there are enough.

  • More insight into things that I am working on outside Lopico including and other side projects.

I look forward to this new blog and hopefully it will be enjoyable.

As always, the more you add the better we get.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Loblogo Launches!

I said it was likely and now it's done. I have now created the new Lopico News section on Lopico called Loblogo, available at

Cool Site Update

Everything is now updated. It's been updated for a while now, but I haven't really had time to post.

Overall, being Cool site of the Day was a great experience, which produced hundreds of new listings. Thanks to all who contributed and voted for Lopico.


My rank wasn't the highest, it was pretty average at 5.332. I'm pretty happy with this considering Lopico is a directory of business listings. Think about it, would anyone say that the phone book is Cool? I also think that had Lopico been Cool Site of the Day a few months ago, before the redesign, it would not have faired nearly as well. SO yes I'm happy with my rank, but I think that it will be even cooler in years to come.

The end of this blog?

On a side note I am considering dropping this blog, in it's current form and adding a Lopico News section to Lopico. I will keep this blog for my thoughts on Lopico and the web but for pure news about Lopico I would like a separate space. I often feel that there are things that I cannot or should not say on this blog because they are not really related to Lopico (for example my post), by having the two separate I can say whatever I want to here and leave the Lopico news to

The proposed change was also brought about by being Cool Site of the Day, I wanted to have my blog feed displayed on my homepage so that visitors could keep up with the progress of the update, but there are certain things that I say here that I wouldn't necessarily want featured on my homepage.

I also think that by creating my own feed and moving out of Blogger I will have more control over the look and feel of the posts. However, I will keep this blog for my own thoughts because Blogger really is easier than hand coded RSS.

Of course this is just an idea, but also very likely.

As always, the more you add the better we get!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Cool Site - The Day After

Yesterday Lopico was cool site of the day. It was a great day for Lopico with a great response to the site! Thanks to all for your contributions.


Due to the enormous response Lopico is a little backlogged, some additions have started showing up, but it's likely that most of yesterdays updates will not be processed for 48+ hours. I'll post when this is finished.

Again thanks to all who contributed, your updates should be visible soon.

As always, the more you add the better we get.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Cool Site of the Day

Today is the Day! I'm pleased to announce that Lopico is Cool Site of the Day today. My hope is that people add content rather than just voting. It is an honor to be Cool Site of the Day, but to really get the full effect of Lopico you need to come back. First time visitors should come back tomorrow or later this week to see that the content that they've added is online. I'd also suggest visiting Lopico's Akron directory (the directory with the most content) to see how well Lopico works after more content has been added.

If you'd like to vote for Lopico click here.

As always, the more you add the better we get!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Update 3 of 3: Lopico Lovers

The progress that I'm making on Lopico Lovers is great. I really think that I am creating a review system that is more helpful than others currently available. It will be helpful not only to consumers, but also to business owners. On the off chance that someone reading this would like to be a beta tester of the review program email me at, and I'll see what we can do.

As always: the more you add the better we get. Thanks.

Update 2 of 3: Cool Site of the Day

Lopico is going to be Cool Site of the Day in the next few weeks, I'm not sure how much I am allowed to say about this until it actually happens, so I'll let you know when the day comes.

Update 1 of 3: The Tour

Just a couple of quick updates for the few that happen to read this.

First, I added a tour that is accesible directly from the homepage. To me Lopico is very easy to use, and I obviously know what it is about. However, this is not true for all of my site visitors, so in the interest of making things better and easier for all, it has some quick take aways in an easy to read format. Most of the information is available in on other pages in the site, but ths provides a quick format to get a lot of information (much better than reading a long paragraph).

Sunday, November 06, 2005

SuprGlu Bandwagon

Joining in on the SuprGlu bandwagon, I created a SuprGlu page today.

SuprGlu is a cool service that lets you combine your own personal feeds into one page >> although seemingly you would be able to add feeds from others as well.

My page contains my, this blog, and my account which I started yesterday.

All three sites, suprglu, and are worth checking out and using, if you're not already using them.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Mobile, Love, Hub

Okay... that's a strange title, but it all refers to some things happening with Lopico right now.

First Mobile: I just started creating a mobile friendly version of Lopico, but only for the Akron area. It's not like traditional Lopico, it does not have voting or ability to add favorites. Lopico mobile simply lists the businesses listed on Lopico for quick access to phone numbers and addresses. The introduction is limited to Akron for two reasons: 1. I have the most content available for the service in Akron; and 2. I live in Akron so I have the best ability to track the functionality of the service if I'm actually in a location where I can use it.

Second Love: Although I'm not overly fond of online review sites, I'm internally testing a review system on Lopico tentatively called "Lopico Lovers." My problem with reviews has always been the content. There are currently two ways to have reviews done either through critics or through people willing to share their experiences. Critic reviews are often misleading in that they don't represent the traditional customer -- usually they are given extra attention and higher quality service in the hopes that reviews will be favorable, and even if they aren't catered too they still traditionally have a different perspective than what a typical customer wants. The next logical place to turn is to average customers, to ask them for their opinions. These reviews would be better, but with these reviews you tend to get polar opposites and nothing in the middle. People are usually only going to take the time to write a review if something really bad happened or something really good happened. With these two review models in mind I'm working to create a system that delivers quality reviews that are helpful to both businesses and consumers... and for geeks I'm using Ajax.

Lastly Hub: eHub listed Lopico on October 31st. It was exciting for me and there have been quite a few visitors from eHub as well as two or three other sites that syndicate the eHub feed. If you're not familiar with eHub, become familiar. It is a great listing of sites built for the next generation of the internet. A great resource for finding productivity tools and other cool things that you can now do with the internet.

As always, the more you add the better we get.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

6million things

There are too many things happening on the web right now, but at the same time nothing. Web 2.0 really feels like Web 1.0 did at first, the technologies are there they just need refining. Unlike web 1.0 we actually have the infrastructure to support the internet this time. And we have big players trying to enhance that infrastructure (Google's wireless foray and Ebay's Skype purchase), so hopefully this time it won't be a return to "the net without a net," we just weren't ready when we were all using dial-up. Everyone questions Ebay's purchase of Skype which makes perfect sense to me, yet no one questions Google's ambition of coating San Fran with wireless. I think Skype makes sense when you look at what type of business ebay is, it's an online retailer. As more people begin to use ebay, the potential of providing on demand phone connection to your seller ensures that some of those that are less comfortable with spending money online will be comforted by a human voice. This clearly is not the only reason for the purchase of Skype, but to me it's one that makes sense.
On the other hand Google (who I am growing slightly more fond of) is allegedly planning to coat the bay area with wireless coverage, and no one questions this. To me this is strange, I think that if Google really wanted to help a community they would not choose the affluent San Fran, but a poor community. Why not give access to those who need it? San Fran is fine without Google's help, try taking on a noteworthy cause.
I think that the most important thing that has come from the web recently is definitely RSS this is the one thing that will truly change the way the web works, and I plan on incorporating it into Lopico in the next go around of redesign.
Oh yeah, Lopico. I'm working on new ways to promote my site outside of paid advertising, and I've been having a fair amount of success. Lopico recently passed the 1000 business mark, but I really hope to do better in the coming year.

I hadn't blogged in a while so thought I'd throw out some random thoughts.

The more you add the better we get.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Lopico Express

Just a quick note... I added an express submit tool for business owners to add detailed informaiton about their business. It's available directly from the homepage. I put it under the business resources section on the homepage to distinguish it from general business submission done by regular site visitors which only requires putting in the name of your favorite business.

September Wrap

Well September was a very good month for Lopico and also a very interesting one.

I've already commented on September a few times so I don't really feel saying anything more would add any value. There still are a few PR things that I started in September but won't come into effect until sometime in October, so hopefully October will be a great month as well.

The numbers for September were great, but I've decided to stop openly publishing my numbers on my blog - don't want to say too much.

My link to my blog is back up on my homepage - and I forgot to mention I have a new homepage. I felt that the old homepage wasn't consistent enough with the rest of the site so I replaced it. If you want to see the old one it it's available here, and the new one is live. (my other project) is coming along okay but I've mainly been using it to test out new ideas for Lopico.

That's about all that I have for now. I think that my next blog is going to cover Rollyo and what I believe will be the future of search (personalization is the holy grail, but not how rollyo did it).

Thanks to anyone who has added their favorites, I hope that you will continue to do so.

The more you add the better we get!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Happy Birthday Lopico (and Google)

September 27th is the official birthday of Lopico, the site wasn't officially launched in content form until December 31, but this is the official day that Lopico was created. Between September 27 and December 31 Lopico just had a coming soon page available with a form to "make sure your business is included," you can check it out using the way back machine but most of the images have been taken out of my site directory so it's not a very strong representation. Coincidently, I noticed that Google's birthday is today according to the Google homepage (although I thought that it was the 7th and Alexa says the 15th) - so Happy Birthday Google! As much as I talk negatively about Google, I was actually going to mention that Google was the first to crawl my new homepage (every now and then it lives up its hype).

Google aside, a lot has happened in the past year. It's really been a huge learning experience for me. When I started Lopico I was only in 13 states, and the site looked very different to say the least. The concept has always been the same, but the finer points have evolved. I wasn't worried about things like site navigation or trying to figure out what my competitive advantages at this stage would be, I just wanted to have a website that I could use to build the Lopico brand into the business that I still would like to transform it into (my future plans are the one area I never really say in my blogs, and I'm still not going to). But the web is tough, especially when you live in not-exactly-tech-savvy Akron, Oh. Despite that I have made great progress.

Many things have changed in Lopico over the past year: I've added all states; I've increased the number of cities and categories on several occasions; I recently began making the site faster; I've been through a few ad networks (and have finally found one that I'm happy with for the most part); I've had multiple home page redesigns and 4 different versions of my interior pages; and most importantly I've had a lot of people add their favorite businesses. I've really become so much more knowledgeable about the web in the past year (but how could I not have), I don't think that I really even knew what a blog was last year, I'd heard of them, but had no interest in using one. I'd probabbly never even heard of SEO, FFA's or SERPs, and AJAX was just a household cleaner. Now I feel that I really am knowledgeable about the web as a business, which is really going to help me in the coming year.

I have some major changes planned in the coming year but I really cannot disclose any of them because they are proprietary information. But the first of the new changes should be coming soon.

What excites me about Lopico is that it gets better every day. Every day each new addition to the site makes it just a little better, until soon enough it's great.

Thanks to all who have added their favorites, and remember the more you add the better we get!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

The power of

This will be the first time that I have spent an entire blog about something other than Lopico. But this is the most blogworthy site I've come across (other than lopico)., is going to change the internet. People talk about as a way to track trends, but it's potential is far beyond that. It's a way to start trends and it's a whole new way (or hopefully will be soon) to search the web.

Search engines such as Google use incoming links to rate a sites value as a resource on certain subjects - while this has turned out to work well enough, it is not always the best way to find quality sites. One problem in particular is SEO (search engine optimization). I'm all for good SEO writing and believe that writing a site well is very important, but with some skill an SEO'er can write a site into rankings that it doesn't deserve. has the potential to change that. When I use delicious I see an opportunity for the web to be ranked by web users not algorithms. I look forward to the day when I can search and find top ranked sites for my query as dictated by the number of bookmarks for that search.

There will be several challenges however. First, needs to prevent spamming & bookmark farming. Traditional search engine algorithms have led to the creation of link farms, I can envision the creation of a bookmark farm in which a web developer signs up to have 6,000 people bookmark his/her site to shoot it to the top of the popularity rankings and generate instant buzz. Second major challenge will be to draw a large enough audience, this I am not as worried about for delicious, one you start using it you won't want to stop. But, the key will be to draw in web developers to put their sites on delicious, and to file them under the proper tags. It has a lot of potential, but it also seems easy to take advantage of from a web developers standpoint. In fact, I am myself contemplating adding every city from Lopico to I think that it will be valuable for a lopico page to show up any time someone is looking for a business in a Lopico city (both to the person and to Lopico). But at the same time, I am worried that if I dump a bunch of pages into all at once they will be ignored and my posts will be ignored.

Ultimately it is a revolution in the making and will change the way that you use the web. Whether it is or a copy from Google or MSN it will change the web. There's more to say but the best way to learn about it is to use it (and don't forget to bookmark Lopico).

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


1. I had a comment posted in BusinessWeek this week, regarding my feelings on Google.

2. is gone. Strictly a business decision to terminate it, I still think that it is a great idea, it just wasn't right for me right now.

3. I launched a new site today (though it's still under construction), it's not for everyone it's going to be Akron focused.

4. I made a change to the top row of navigation buttons on Lopico, it was the one part of the site redesign that I wasn't happy with.

5. I recently started an account on and I'm hooked. I think that this is a great site and will ultimately change the way the we use the web.

6. It's still September so there are still more big things to come!

The more you add the better we get! [This is my mantra but really it could be for any web 2.0 sibbu (site built by user).]

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Big things to come in September

When the dust settled I was very happy with the new look of Lopico, however this does not mean that I am finished redesigning. I just updated my hope page from an SEO (search engine optimization) perspective, but would also like to update the way it looks - not much of a change but a change none the less. Some of the most important changes that I have recently made to my homepage include keyword saturation (number of times a word is repeated on a page), usage of header tags (doesn't really change the look, but some search engines place more importance on things that are in header tags), reduction in the number of meta tags that I have (simply put: keywords - search engines usually do not like to many keywords), and I've changed my title tag once again to reflect my increased focus on low cost advertising.

I would say that August really helped me define the niche of Lopico as a focus on only the best business and lowest cost advertising. The best business focus, has always been the focus of Lopico but I wasn't marketing that aspect of Lopico as much as I should have. The low cost advertising component is a new focus for Lopico, as I am trying to increase the amount of business done directly through Lopico rather than through Ad Networks.

Speaking of Ad Networks I have a new primary ad network in FastClick. I have placed FastClick on the majority of my pages, and hope to have it on all pages before long. There were a few reasons for the change in Ad network, but I will save that discussion for another day.

I look forward to big things happening for Lopico in the month of September, now that the redesign is finished I have really been able to focus on my advertising and have begun to advertise outside of AdWords. I have a lot planned for the month and really think that things should go very well.

I've also begun work on my third site (well technically my fourth I set up a site called TownyAds to be the advertising arm of Lopico, but I have since abandoned this site) which I plan to have news on later this month.

Lastly, as of late I've been trying to find interesting new web concepts, and I have found quite a few. I've decided to share this knowledge and link to other start-up sites starting with this blog. So for my first Start-up of interest I have chosen: Grokker, check it out if you like, I think it will be worth your time.

As always I'd like to thank everyone who has contributed to the site. The more you add the better we get.

Saturday, August 27, 2005


My new site has just launched. This site is more for web developers than anything else, I think that this is going to be an interesting project and hopefully one that is successful for me. If not I'm not too concerned, like Lopico this did not take much for me to create and launch, and my costs should be very low for this site.

Friendlypop is primarily a resource for web developers that utilize pop-ups in their sites in a site enhancing way. For these developers pop-up blockers are a hassle that they have to try to avoid, friendlypop is potentially a way to avoid pop-up blockers. But, friendlypop is not just for developers - it also has resources for web surfers that want to know more about pop-ups and numerous links to pop-up blockers and antivirus software.

Lastly, Lopico redesign is 49/50ths complete, I only have one state (OHIO) remaining to be redesigned and it should be up sometime tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Redesign Roll-Out

The roll-out of my redesigned site has begun. Unfortunately, I'm already thinking of ways to change and improve upon it. However, unlike previous design changes I am planning to go ahead with this one 100% before changing again.

Some new features:
  • Easier navigation thanks to a top row of buttons that allow users to quickly change category - rather than having to revert to the city page.
  • Help page/FAQ - answers some questions about usage of the site - including what I believe is one of the biggest obstacles and one that will be addressed even more in my next redesign: adding only the name of your favorite not the address.
  • More Categories - about 20 more per city and some cities will have custom categories
  • More Cities - 19 new cities have been added with plans for even more in the next few weeks
  • A cleaner new look - I've addressed some of the design issues, and since Lopico is becoming more of a "yellow pages" type site I've added some yellow color to my pages
  • New Advertising page, and lower cost ads. Yahoo! local may be able to offer some things that I cannot, but they'll never offer a headliner at the price that I'm asking
  • And more! Just try it you'll see.

As the title of this post suggests this is still a roll out - so not all cities are ready to go but should be in the next few days.

As always, the more you add the better we get!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Hopefully this one will be short, but they almost never are.

I am really impressed with Google lately. As much as I hate to say, I am. There new features in AdWords are really great an helpful. I've often talked negatively about Goog before but, I must say my search for other advertising outlets combined with their new features really makes me appreciate Google. Google now does three things right in my opinion, Advertising, site design, and Branding. As far as the actual SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) and algorithm of Google are concerned I think things could be better. But, it's not just Google, I really believe that all search engines could be doing a lot better. I also think advertising online could be handled much better. But all that this does is give me hope for the future. I was going to attempt to go this entire blog without a negative comment about Google, but the thing that bothers me the most about Google, from a consumer standpoint - not b to b I'm still impressed on that front - is the homepage. The design is fine, that's not what bothers me, it's the line at the bottom that says "searching 8,168,684,336 web pages." To this I say who cares. When was the last time you looked past the third SERP? I rarely look past the first page. So most of the pages are just lost. And if you listen to some internet enthusiasts / experts they'll tell you that most of what really matters on the web is hidden in the "Deep Web." The Deep Web is essentially the uncrawlable. I would have to agree with this statement - at least partially - because so many things are not crawlable, either because of password protection or robots.txt files (file that tells a web crawler pages it cannot crawl). However, I think that there are ways around the 90% uselessness of search engines - they just haven't been implemented yet. I'm sure that some of this has to do with building trust of web users - our society is overly cautious when it comes to the web and hesitant to give out information even though it could definitely make the whole web experience more rewarding, faster, and easier. The time will come - just not for a while. I'm still working on trying to make Lopico popular, so I guess I can't really be spouting off my search ideas until I've had some more success on Lopico.

As far as new news on Lopico - I've been getting quite a few additions lately, and I've really been playing with my advertising a lot; it's amazing how a small change can have a huge effect. If you've been to the site recently, and you had been before you'd probably notice that the homepage got a facelift and may have noticed the logo on the bottom of the page. is another new idea of mine that I'm working on, and that has been a distraction from the Lopico redesign. But, I think it's going to be a wonderful site and will really help the progress of the internet as a whole. I'll say more about friendlypop when it gets closer to being finished.

As always the more you add the better we get.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

July Wrap

July was an interesting and productive month and hopefully August will continue the trend. While certain indicators would suggest a decline for Lopico, the most important numbers are steadily increasing. To me these numbers are the number of additions and votes that I receive and site revenue. I'm not going to give away too much information, but it was a strong month, with Chicago, IL leading the way as the most visited and most frequently added to. Coming out of the woodwork this month was Milwaukee, WI which had never been very strong for Lopico before, but this month managed to be very productive. This is of course because of my ads targeted to this region. It is probably a very good fit for Lopico, since it is a big city but more of a mid-level market. These types of cities tend respond better to the Lopico concept, but Chicago which doesn't fit the mold is still my leader.

Most likely the most significant change to Lopico in July was the Title Tag, which hopefully will increase the number of queries resulting in trips to Lopico, but as of yet I haven't seen much difference.

I'm also working on another site, that will serve as an aid to Lopico as well as many other sites. When it is fully launched I will announce it and there will be a link on Lopico.

August is going to be the month (I may have said this in July) when the redesign is finally launched, it is about 80% finished and I just need to run some tests and import my data from my database, but that won't take too long. So, with a little luck the new version of Lopico will be here soon for all to enjoy.

As always - The more you add the better we get.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Site Targeting Day 1

This isn't going to be fair, but I'm going to shoot from the hip. Day one (or should I say morning one) of site targeting was a disaster for me. I started with a low budget (which this probably isn't for) because I've had strong success playing low budgets on AdWords before; low budgets are a big part of its appeal. But that was CPC and this is CPM. I one glaring mistake: I was not selective in the sites I chose to have carry my ads. I simply chose a few keywords and selected nearly all of the sites tied to those keywords. The result my budget (A whopping $4 for the day) was spent before I left for work at 7:45am. So this was partially (okay mostly) my fault but at such a low budget I'm surprised I received the number of ad impressions that I did, and so quickly. $4 will get you 2,000 page impressions in a matter of hours with no guarantee of clicks. Compare this to one of my CPC campaigns which so far today has received 1,872 page impressions with 2 clicks at a total cost of 10 cents. So I paid $4 for Zero clicks and 2,000 impressions in a CPM campaign, that was all spent before my audience is awake. In order for this to work I need to be more selective and actively decide when my ads are viewed (since my ads do their best work for me at lunch and dinner time). But it was a nice little experiment and one that I'm happy I took part in, and will reevaluate and perhaps try again.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

A Couple of Quick Notes

Not that any one reads this, but I have made a few changes to Lopico in the past day or so. I changed the title tag so that it is more of a reflection of what Lopico is about than just the name of the site. In my redesign all the title tags (well almost) are being updated. Why you ask? Well if you've read this far and didn't say "title tag, what's that?" then you probably already know the importance of having a descriptive title tag. This is why Cityserch's title is "City Guides by Citysearch" not just, and amazon's says " Online shopping for electronics, apparel, music, books, DVDs & more." Lopico's old tag was simply LOPICO - Local Picks Online. Doesn't really tell you much, and that was a problem, because search engines put such strong emphasis on title tags. The new Lopico title tag reads: LOPICO - Local Business Directory, Find & Vote For Your City's Favorites. This is much more descriptive and puts a couple of key words right into the title tag. "Local Picks" is the heart of Lopico, but an unlikely search term; according to Overture the only close search that was done in May 2005 was "Pick your own local phone number," whereas Local Business and Local Business Directory have much higher probability of being searched for.

I've really been starting to get a more consistent amount of additions and votes, I'm quite happy with the progress. Also this month my revenue from advertising has taken a turn for the better. I'm very happy with what I've been able to do thus far, and only see it getting better in the future.

I've begun using Google Adword's Site Targeting feature (actually just created a new campaign minutes ago). First impression is that it is very easy to use and hopefully will be a good move for Lopico, however I'll update this in a few days. Also it is clearly a good idea for Google, making advertisers pay CPM is more predictable, and guaranteed.

Lastly, I want to congratulate SNAP, the new search engine that I have blogged about often, for receiving a nice $10M kick from Mayfield (I believe). This is great for a number of reasons; First this is idealab, and idealab has great ideas, and gives the world great products (I've already mentioned two former Idealab companies in this blog), Second SNAP is a great search engine in theory and hopefully this will help SNAP become a great search engine in application. That is probably the most critical thing that I have ever said about SNAP, but for now it is lacking in it's SERPS, not the quality of results but the number of returned pages. At any rate hopefully this will be a good step forward in search technology. I thought up a completely new way to search the web the other day, and hopefully I will see it come into reality one day; if not from myself I'd love to have it be from a real innovator like SNAP.

As Always please add your favorites, the more you add the better we get.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Why I Blog

In response to a comment on my last post I thought I should explain why I blog and why I say so much.

First of all I blog because it generates traffic. People come here read my blog (maybe) and visit a link to lopico.

Secondly it gives a Lopico visitor a little more insight into what Lopico is all about. I think that when people read that I'm a one man outfit who's self taught in his programming skills that he just started learning less than a year ago it makes them want to see me succeed and to add their favorites. When I express my goals for Lopico, some people think "that's a good idea I'll help this guy out." And in that respect blogging is extremely helpful to me.

This brings me to the amount of information that I put on this blog. The commenter (which I really appreciate, don't get me wrong) said I say too much and a person with more programming skills could easily steal my idea. I think that when I say I don't have a the programming knowledge I'm more referring to more advanced features that are further down the road. I have the knowledge to run Lopico in its current simplistic form. And simple is great, I like the simple format that I use, but some of the things I talk about as being too advanced for me are things that don't even exist yet on the web. These things that I'd have to invent I don't mention, the basics of Lopico I mention and don't believe that what I'm saying here is going to help anyone steal my ideas easier than merely visiting my site. I'm not the first to have a local directory, and I'm certainly not a heavyweight in the field, I'm sure that others have had similar ideas. What I feel that I have that is better than most is my brand. I believe that I have a strong enough business and marketing knowledge to more than make up for any slight programming deficiencies that I may have.

Lastly I want to touch on the comment that I should stay with the original design and not change to the redesign. Well the redesign is not anywhere online currently. What I do have online is inconsistency. I have three different versions of lopico listings currently. Compare Bronx Barbershop (V 1.0) to Akron Barbershop (v 2.0) to Spokane Barbershop (v 3.0). But the new version that I'm working on when I refer to a redesign (v 4.0) is not anywhere online yet. This version (which is almost finished) will be the easiest to use as well as the cleanest looking.

I really appreciate the feedback, I will definitely take into consideration the amount of information I put out, and maybe I have said too much in the past, but that's the only way that this blog is worth reading. I am going to keep it simple, I agree whole heartedly with that statement, and I also appreciate your additions in Manhattan/New York.

I haven't done a June Wrap yet, and may skip it. I can say quickly that it was a pretty good month. My page views and visitors were slightly off where I'd like to be, but still good. Most importantly June was probably my best month as far as additions and votes per visitor. The more people add the more likely future visitor will make additions, and the better Lopico will continue to get. Thanks to all who have helped in this mission.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Quick Update

Lopico just got some great new additions in San Jose, check them out if you like.

San Jose - American
San Jose - Mediterranean
San Jose - Pizza
San Jose - Bookstore

I'm always happy when I get multiple new additions, it gives me hope.

The more you add the better we get.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Four Stars

These Lopico blogs are becoming fewer and farther between, that may not be a bad thing. I had a major breakthrough the other day, but unfortunately I don't have the knowledge to make it a reality. That more than anything has been the most frustrating thing about this whole process. Starting Lopico has been great and a wonderful learning experience, but not having the technological background that I really need for this, it's been frustrating to come up with ideas and not be able to bring them to reality. I've taught myself HTML pretty well, and I've learned some Java and even toyed with ASP, but the things I have envisioned can only be done by serious programmers with funding. My new idea would be yet another way that Lopico differentiates itself from its competitors, but there's nothing I can do about it, I did register the domain name of my idea but that doesn't really get me too far.
I have recently become very interested in one of my competitors, Insider Pages. Insider Pages is an IdeaLab company. If you've read my blog before (which you haven't) you know that I'm a fan of, another great site from IdeaLabs. Insider Pages is probably the closest thing to Lopico, but also very different from Lopico. Insider Pages plays to the internet community idea, whereas Lopico is more focused on the ranking and directory aspect. Insider Pages is similar in that it focuses heavily on user input, but does so in a different way, I recommend trying it out. Obviously Insider Pages has better funding than Lopico (Lopico funding still at $0), but it also has technological advantages that currently make it a superior site(I'm willing to admit when sites are better than mine is currently, but I always think that Lopico could be better than all of them if my vision could become a reality). One thing that I do think is better about Lopico than any other local directory is my ranking system. Every other site that I've ever seen uses stars for ratings, honestly I think that's a waste. That doesn't really tell a user anything. It tells them that there are 10 restaurants that are all 5 stars, does that mean that they are all of equal quality? Of course not, that's why my voting system is better, it gives the user a clear picture of where the business actually stands in terms of quality. More importantly, it brings visitors back. It brings visitors back because they want their favorites to be the best. I recently had one site visitor who came to my site everyday to vote (Lopico users can only vote once per day per category. Additions, however, are unlimited) until his/her favorites made the number one spot. Obviously, the more visits, the more ad impressions, the more revenue. But it's not all about money (Is it? I hope not.) the visitor was also making quality additions to my site.
Lastly a note on search engines. Because I've been negative about Google in blogs past, I want to note that Google finally got on board and began listing a large number of my pages, however, the cache of the pages is outdated, and the are listed as supplemental results. MSN search continues to lead the way, for me, in unpaid search traffic, I receive traffic from MSN daily without paying a cent (although I am looking forward to the MSN AdCenter arrival). SNAP, I still really like, but I'm still not listed. I can't be too upset, however, the Snap blog did link to mine, and I received traffic that way. Also, a Snap customer service rep contacted me about advertising, which I intend to do, as soon as my never-ending site redesign is finished. Lastly, I haven't had any contact with mamma media solutions since I informed my customer service rep that I was a one man outfit. Mamma doesn't pay much, the only thing it had going for it was customer service. Needless to say I am seeking a replacement.

I'll end with a quote about Lopico from Digital Point Forums, take it with a grain of salt:
"Lopico is another great idea that could take over the world if only it gets enough momentum. If it were 1996 you could easily get interviews and mainstream press stories about this new internet thingy"

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Well, things are starting to get a little more interesting. I have to say that looking at my May numbers in a realistic perspective, Lopico is still very unknown. But, I am still happy with the numbers because my Monthly advertising budget is less than what most pay on a daily basis. Also I've been able to get some people to buy into the Lopico system. I'm starting to get votes and additions on a daily basis, which to me is very promising, because I'm still just starting out.
The redesign, I'm always talking about on here (not that you've read my posts) is really going to be great. I was told the other day that the best thing about Lopico is that it's very user friendly, partially because of the simplicity. I think the new version is going to be even more user friendly. It just has a great feel to it (not that I'm biased). But anyway.
A couple more updates, awhile ago (but I never mentioned it)'s blog linked to mine, it helped generate some traffic. Have to love the free publicity. But as much as I like Snap, it still hasn't listed my site, even though I've attempted to add it. Snap has really helped me decide which markets to focus my advertising on, I'll search on Snap for e.g. dining in Tucson and see the type of traffic such a search receives vs. Dining in New York City; I use this as a factor in determining which cities to advertise in, and what categories to advertise in, but there are of course other factors.
I mentioned before that Las Vegas was not a good city for Lopico, because it's too much of a tourist town, and no one really knows what's best because most only have limited experience with the city. But, somehow I've been getting a fairly steady stream of additions and votes in Las Vegas. Interestingly one of the additions, was I Love This Bar and Grille, a new bar opening with a theme tied to the song. The bar hasn't even opened yet, but someone added and I was able to track down the contact info so it's up. I'm hoping this may drive in some traffic to Lopico when this starts to get more publicity closer to the time it opens. Essentially you can find it from Lopico, but not sites like Google Local, Yahoo! Local, or Citysearch.
The more you add the better we get! Keep adding and voting, thanks.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

May Wrap

It's been awhile since my last blog, I've been focusing all my time on my redesign, I need to get it right, I want it to be the final redesign for at least a year. I'm making great progress, in my opinion, but I can't skimp on quality just to have a newer version online.
May was my best month so far in terms of page views as well as new business additions, and will now serve as my benchmark month. It was also an interesting month for Lopico, as I began to branch out from Google advertising. The two most significant changes were the addition of ads and joining a link exchange. If you read my previous posts (which you didn't, and unfortunately a couple of my best were removed to prevent troubled relations with Google, so you can't read them) you know how I feel about link exchanges. In short I don't like them, I think they are a threat to the internet's power to give people relevant information without having to go through a bunch of crap. Unfortunately at this phase in the evolution of the internet they are neccesary, because the webs most powerful search engine (in terms of delivering traffic to your site) uses a link based algorithm to determine the importance of your site. So if you want to get ahead it's hard not to use a link exchange, at least when starting out.
The ads that I've placed on my site were initially a disaster. I guess this was my own fault, but the sites campaign management resources are not very good. So initially I had some pop-ups which drove me crazy, but in a few days I got rid of them. Lopico is supposed to help people and businesses, not annoy them. If you follow the internet sector business news, you know that is supposedly a mess of a company. I chose to use their ads however, because they did do one thing right, and that was customer service. First of all, mamma came to me asking if I'd like to use their ads. I've never heard from anyone at Google, I've received several e-mails from my rep at mamma. I still have a slight problem with one campaign that I receive from Mamma, and my rep hasn't responded to my latest e-mail. I think once she learned that Lopico is a one man show, she decided that I wasn't important enough for her time, but that could be a mistake. I'm increasing my number of mamma supplied ads on Lopico from 50 to 135, but if the customer service gets any worse, I'll gladly try out a different company.
I'm still trying to decide on, I may start advertising on snap, but I need to find out if snap's service can work for Lopico. Snap allows advertisers to pay only for ads that generate performance. For example, I would get paid only when some one added their favorite business on Lopico. From what I've read however, I'm not sure if the tech would workout with Lopico, since Lopico is built on the usage of thousands of forms. I've been meaning to look more into this, but Lopico is only my second job and as I previously mentioned design is taking all of my time right now.
I also created a new site this month. It is intended to serve only as a part of Lopico. The purpose of the site is to be the advertising arm of Lopico, so that I can separate the free part of Lopico (finding, adding, and voting) from the paid advertising. But demand is great enough at this point that I need to be in any rush.
I also was recently informed, in a post on digital points forum, about a site that is supposed to be like mine. The developer of this site said that he has trouble getting people to add businesses. Sometimes I think I have the same problem, but when I think of how small my audience is, I really think I've done alright. One of the things that I'm going to start tracking when the redesign is finally finished is the number of businesses that are listed on Lopico, and I will display this number on the home page. Not that anyone's reading this far down (which if you are I'm shocked, but thanks), but I think it will be a cool new feature of Lopico. I'm really inspired by the volume of information that gives its visitors, it's interesting and keeps me coming back.

If you want, please add as many favorites as you want. The more you add, the better we get.

And finally my numbers for the month of May:
Page Views: 24,488
Visitors: 1321
Top Reffering Site: Google
Most Active City: Chicago
Ad Impressions: 5077
Adsense Ctr: 1.7%

Monday, May 16, 2005

Barry and the Beacon

A few random thoughts for the day...
First off I've been getting a decent amount of traffic to my Las Vegas pages, but very little input. I think the reason for this is fairly obvious and part of the problem with Lopico in its current state. Las Vegas is a tourist town, so for the most part people don't know what the best is, so when they come to Lopico most likely they just want to use the find function, they don't have anything to add. A problem, but I know if this is going to work it's not going to be a quick process.
Second, Good old Google, is finally catching up in its Lopico coverage, I mentioned in my last post (which you didn't read) that Google had listed one page for Lopico. Now I think it's up to about 21 or so. A far cry from MSN which has 1,157 pages listed, but I'm happier. I think the difference, strangely enough, is that I put an info.txt file into my site. I've never really seen this discussed anywhere, but I had one before and Google listed a few pages, I took it off for awhile and now that it's back up Google is listing my pages again. Not sure if this is at all relevant or if it's mere coincidence. The reason I previously had an info.txt file was for Alexa. If you're not familiar with Alexa, it is a service from that ranks websites popularity. However, it only ranks sites based on traffic of people who have the alexa toolbar. My rank has been as high as 27,304 but I really don't pay much attention to the rank, because I know that I've definitely had days that I have higher traffic but lower rank. It is fairly interesting though, to see where pages approximately rank.
Next I think I'll explain the Barry and the Beacon title of this blog. These relate to two sources that are very similar to Lopico that I have come across recently. First Barry refers to web Mogul and probably one of the best businessmen anywhere Barry Diller. Barry is the CEO of interactive Corp. (IAC) the parent of sites such as,, and Citysearch. Citysearch is better than Lopico, because it has more information and has millions of dollars behind. I would one day like Lopico to have as much information as citysearch, but I want my rankings to be unbiased. If you read how Citysearch ranks its businesses, you'll notice that user vote is not the most important by far. However, now there is a new side of the site (new to me anyway) called best of Citysearch, which looks very Lopicoish, in that each business now has a vote button next to it, and there's even a spot to nominate your favorite. Fine, but I like my completely user driven site better. But really comparing Lopico to Citysearch is like comparing watermelons to raisins. IAC has an incredible portfolio of brands, I just think they need to be more closely connected, if you were on one site you probably wouldn't know it had any relation to the others. I wouldn't bring all businesses them together into one (it also owns HSN) but I think several could be combined, but Barry Diller doesn't believe in synergy. This may be changing though, IAC recently bought ask jeeves, which could develop into a Yahoo style portal. The problem is citysearch and other services are available from other web portals such as MSN, to really take advantage of the offerings of IAC needs to keep its offerings to itself (offer only through its portal) yet somehow convince people to give up their current homepage (a tough task).
The beacon refers to the Akron Beacon Journal, the newspaper in Lopico's home area. This weekend the beacon put out its best of Akron lists. This was promising for Lopico for two reasons, first some of the lists looked like they could have been taken straight from the pages of Lopico, which means so far we're pretty accurate with our listings. Second, this type of list is an honor, and as the beacons insert proved, a great place to advertise.
Last but not least I changed the look of the Lopico home page, if you've been there before (which you haven't) you'll notice that the graphic on the top of the page is brand new and the "Where the Locals Pick" graphic is gone. I like it hopefully you do too.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Good Sign Maybe

Google is the only major search engine not listing lopico, however, today it seems that it is one small step closer to listing LOPICO. One page is listed - Personal Training in Kansas City, MO. Unfortunately this page still has the original design. Why only this page? I have no idea. But it's a start, and I think it's a good sign. Other major search engines such as Yahoo! and MSN have listings of usually around 1000 of my pages which enables people to find my site frrom a variety of searches. Unfortunately the most popular search engine has been ignoring me, but maybe not anymore.
My Mamma ads are still irrelevant, but I changed the type of ad and now the pop ups are gone, which I am happy about. I think I may actually end up keeping the mamma ads on, what I call, gatekeeper pages. These are the top level pages such as a State or City Page, on these pages I don't really want people clicking because that means that they never even get the opportunity to see my site. Once visitors are into the actual category pages my goal is to have them provide me with information and eventually to be able to provide them with information. For right now if they are just looking for information, and cannot find it on my site then I want them to find it elsewhere, which is why I should have the relevant Google text ads on these pages.
That's all for now, but don't be afraid to add your favorites to LOPICO.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Blog tops site

I find it very funny that this blog now is the top listing in a Google search for LOPICO. Where is the actual LOPICO? On page 3 without a description. It is because of this that I am actually thinking about joining a link exchange. If you've read my past posts (which you haven't) you know that I am very against link exchanges, but seeing as 1) Google is the wal-mart of search 2) I have very little money and 3) I'm tired of being in the basement, I've decided to give a link exchange a try. Google is not wal-mart in the sense that it's a parasite that is ruining the lives of many Americans (in fact from what I can tell it is seems to be a rather pleaseant company), but more in the sense that if you're dealing with them it's their way or no way, and you want to deal with them because everyone uses their site. My second point, I'm entirely self funded, so a free link exchange is worth a try. And finally I'm really trying to up the promotion of LOPICO, and given point 2, this seems to be a good way to do it. But like my experience with, my plan is to give it only a month and see how it fits. I'm pretty sure I'm going to cut mamma before the month is out, but we'll see. The good thing about mamma, is it uses cpm, which means people don't have to click on the ads for me to get paid, the bad thing is they're annoying irrelevant ads. And I'm not making more this way, I have a pretty high CTR (rate at which people click on my ads) so I make more money from people clicking than I do from the ads that don't need clicked.
The other day I checked out LOPICO on my cell phone, it looked pretty bad, I'm going to be designing a mobile web version pretty soon, but I have so much in front of me as is, that it may be a few weeks.
My Blog is now linked to on, which again strikes me as a reason not to join a link exchange (I hate irrelevant links), but this is actually somewhat relevant, because in one of my posts I do mention that click fraud is probably at its worst for mesothelioma sites. But overall I'm not relevant to mesothelioma, many people are sick from the cancer, and it is sad that people are taking advantage of that.
Also I think I may be able to reduce my click fraud problem if I lower my advertising bids, if my ad is not as prominently placed the frauders will suspect I haven't paid much and will probably leave my ads alone. Unfortunately this will mean less publicity, but the trade-off may be worth it, we'll see.
If you're interested you can check out what the redesign looks like in the shopping-clothing categories in Naperville, IL, it's just a quick peak and not finalized, but I wanted to try it out, so feel free to check it out. (It should be fairly obvious that it's not final from the different versions of the Google ad that I use on different pages)
Much more going, which is why I need to stop blogging. As always I appreciate any additions to the site, the more you add the better the site gets.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Advertising woes

I now have 50 pages with ads. I put them on each state page, so for the most part if you want to get into LOPICO you have to see one of the ads. But I will be changing that, I'm going to try mamma for one month and then I'm done with it. I am not happy at all with their ads. Primarily because they're not relevant and because they include pop-ups. I hate pop-ups, and you have to have pop-up blockers turned off for LOPICO to work best. Mamma does provide a strong revenue stream (sort of) because it has some cpm based pricing, but I can't see myself continuing with mamma, it does not represent the best interest of promoting LOPICO. I guess I never really realized how good Google was until I tried Mamma.
I did make two changes however, that allow users to go around the state pages. First I now list the top four most visited cities from the prior week with a direct link to each city page. (City pages are due for an update and will be getting it soon). I also added search powered by MSN to my page. I went with MSN because it has more of my pages listed than most sites. I was really starting to like MSN's new search, and was starting to use it more and more, until I found SNAP.
My only other change recently is that instead of adding a city directly on the state page I put a link to a new page that allows you to make a suggestion and shows other recently suggested cities. I did this primarily because I was getting a lot of city add suggestions for cities that were already up. I think that this was either a result of confusion, because people thought they needed to input their city to go to the city page or that people just wanted to put in their city to see how the form worked. Either way I think putting it on a different page helps because now people won't be confused and they can see cities that are already in contemplation, so they won't re-add these.
I'm planning on making an entire help section to LOPICO for what I think would be frequent points of confusion or places where help is needed. This will be included in the forthcoming redesign.

Sunday, May 08, 2005


I signed up for mamma's ad program for publishers, I really like some of the features of it, but we'll see what happens once I get the codes and put the ads into my site. I think I'll use mamma on 185 pages, actually I'll be giving these ads better visibility than my google ads, but my google ads will still cover the majority of my pages, I think I have google ads on approximately 11745 pages.
I was almost finished with the roll-out of my redesign when I decided to change the design again. Hopefully though I can focus on this and get it all done in a week or two. I'm also planning on adding another 50 or so cities and maybe another category. This site redesign is going to deal mainly with aesthetics, but there will also be enhanced functionality, and a navigational change. The navigational change is mainly going to be for my benefit, because it will make redesigns easier.
I'm also working on a new site to handle my advertising. I mentioned this before, but now I'm pretty certain that I'm going to keep it as a separate brand. I think that this will help set aside the free part of lopico from the pay part, and will allow me to keep my advertising all in one spot if I ever decide to develop another site. I'm also going to be introducing some different ways to advertise when I launch my ad site, but that's still a ways off. Not that time really matters, I've only had three advertising requests, and still am relying solely on outsourced ads.
I went through some of my old plans for Lopico that I came up with when I began developing the idea, I'm so focused on the online part of lopico that I often forget that this is real only phase 1a of my ultimate plan for LOPICO. But you've got to start somewhere.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

sub domain

I've decided to create a new site to handle all of my advertising. I'm in the process of creating it still so I'm not going to put up the url yet. I want to make it a sub domain, but I'm still having a little trouble with that. My other option is to run it a completely separate site which I might do. The problem with running it as a subdomain, is that the domain name then freezes and as long as you keep navigating through links it will remain. That is completely unclear. What I mean is if you were to go to and then from there go back to regular, the address bar would not change, it would still say Maybe not the biggest problem, but I want to figure it out before I do anything with it. I kind of like the idea of having a separate site for advertising entirely though. It seems to separate the free part of LOPICO, which is just the basic listing from the pay part. I might end up just doing this, especially since I'm pretty fond of the name I came up with for the ad site, and don't know if I just want to mask it. I'm not sure which is better from a marketers standpoint, probably the mask. I think having the separate site has its advantages, but as far as creating brand awareness for LOPICO, I think I need to go with the mask. I guess I still have some things to consider.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

More on

Today's been a fairly uneventful day in the life of a young internet entreprenuer. I've been looking into advertising with, and I'm really begining to think that it's a better way for me to go than adsense. I'm not saying that it's better than adsense, I'm not saying mamma is better than google, but for my purposes it seems to make sense. First and foremost they address the click fraud issue more than google does. This alone is enough for me, but they also offer a lower payout plateau (amount you have to reach before the checks come) and some other interesting features, that seem to make it a better choice for some websites. Truthfully I'm not sold completely because of the amount of traffic that mamma gets compared to the amount that google gets. But I need to explore outside of google, because I've not had the best experience with google.
Newest Post: Mobazz Barbershop

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Take The Sour with the Apple

Well another day of highs and lows. First my #1 computer, the one with most of our information, had a hardware problem. This is a real let-down, because it just got fixed about a week ago. But I've now got a pretty reliable back-up, this is the type of thing you hate to be experienced in, but I'm learning to deal with this issue. Unfortunately, this is probably going to push the redesign back a little, but it should be done by early June
On a more positive note I was contacted by today. Mamma is a meta search, if you don't know what that is, it's like a search of search engines. It will give you results not just from one search engine but from multiple. I've used it a fair amount of times, usually when I can't find something I go to mamma, but I don't ever really use it first. But maybe I will start to use it first. Anyway, Mamma (at least a sales rep from Mamma) contacted me about promoting my site through So essentially just advertising the same way I do now, only through mamma rather than google. I may do it for two reasons. First, if you've read any of my other posts (which you haven't) you know how I feel about google (although I hate to say it is usually my first choice for searching). Secondly, personal aside, I'm probably not doing as well on google as I would on mamma. Mamma probably has fewer advertisers, which means I'll probably be able to get a better ad position for less money. I also would benefit from mamma's size (not that it's that small) from the fact that there are probably less click scammers on mamma, I don't know for a fact, but it's worth a try. I know I'll get less viewers of my ads, but if I get more valid clicks (someone who adds something to lopico) then it's definitely worth it. I like the fact that the sponsored links come first, not off to the side like google, but I don't like the fact that it sponsored links don't have their URL displayed. In that respect an impression isn't really an impression at all. I'm still in the brand building stage (not that you're ever out of that stage) but, since I'm just getting going I'd like it if people could see my URL.
It's never too late to add your cities favorites

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Good the Bad and the Robots

Well good or bad my goal is to talk about the website creation process. Yesterday was an interesting day for a couple of reasons. First I learned about the creation of a robots.txt file, thanks mainly to the website It's a search but also is a promotional site. I used it for its free app that checks a page for robot webcrawler suitability. Helpful, because I didn't have a robots.txt file at all. But I created one and now curiously my site is no longer listed on google. Google used to have an actual description of my site, but then it was downgraded to just a link and now it's not even there when you search for lopico. So maybe I did my robots file wrong, but I don't think so.
I also began experimenting with sub domains yesterday, but I need to get another site hosted to really make it useful. I think that I'll probably use a sub domain for my advertising portion of my site. If you don't know what a sub domain is, it's a domain like, instead of
The bad, well if you read my last post (which you probably didn't) you know how I feel about people compromising the integrity of google by these link exchange networks. I got an e-mail today from a site that is willing to link only to pages with at least a 5 rank on google and if you're lower than 5 you can pay for them to link to you. What a bunch of crap. This just completely undermines the Google system and should be banned. I struggle with my sites promotion, but I'd rather, get attention through hard work, not through link exchange.
Finally, I continue to do well in Tucson, AZ. Despite a recent post that all I ever get is restaurants, someone posted a Veterinary Clinic in Tucson: Central Animal Hospital. This was a particularly interesting addition because the adder put in the address phone number and web address. I guess maybe I'm not communicating the message clearly that all you need to add is the name of the business, probably because it's buried on an about page. I think I'll put a note about adding only the name on my homepage, but I'm not too sure.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

The process continues

Well I just had my first addition to Sacramento, CA a restaurant called Esquire. I think it's about time, I've had 37 visitors to my site from my Sacramento adwords ad. Truthfully not a whole lot, but I've only had the ad running for about a week. Also, I don't spend very much on advertising because, I can't, I don't really have any money to be spending. All things considered I've been fairly happy with my progress. It's really an interesting thing trying to set up a website. Well I guess what I'm really trying to do is set up a corporation. From nothing to greatness hopefully. This is just step one in my plan for LOPICO, there's a long way to go.
Anyway, back to my adwords spending. I think it's a little odd the number of visitors I get compared to the amount of input. I know that especially in the beginning, and even now too, part of that is because of site design. But I only picked up my first web publishing and graphics design software 6 months ago. I'm not trained in this stuff, just trying to do my best. But I think probably a larger problem is fraud. I was recently reading a digital points forum message board where there was a web developer talking about designing his site to be about mesothelioma so that he could get the highest amount per click. So if people are out there creating these sights just to scam google, then there are probably some that are just clicking on my ads so that they themselves can make money, then once they're on my site they just close it. I don't if there's anything google can do about this, or even if they'd want to do anything. But I think they could change the system somewhat. For example I think that adwords advertisers that have ads on content sites should pay higher and lower levels based on what site their ad appears on. I think a simple three or four tier system could handle that. Obviously people will want to pay more for the top sites, it just seems to make sense. And then those of us who aren't as well off can buy up the advertising on low cost sites (or even bloggs) and have our ads featured more prominently. But I'm rambling and seriously off topic, well I guess this is all about the process of trying to create a successful website so I'm not too far off.
Anyway, if you feel like it please visit the site I always appreciate it.