Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Referrer Spam

I am posting this to hopefully keep other bloggers from experiencing the problem that I am having with Google/Blogger at the moment.
Recently I noticed some traffic sources in my stats that I didn't recognize. Because I have little experience with nefarious internet ploys and pitfalls, I innocently clicked the traffic link to see where the new traffic was coming from. It was a porn site... I quickly hit the back button and grumbled to myself that a porn site was referring people to my blog... Well that is not what is happening. No one is actually coming to my blog from this site, it is a spammer who gets paid by clicks and is using Blogger to collect money for fake clicks via my blog. I unfortunately I now have this site and two others (probably the same person with multiple sites) messing up my traffic stats. I am not really interested in numbers except that it is nice to know that my posts are being read and to see that I am reaching people, so the stats aren't a biggie anyway. But it bothers me that I have to be suspicious and skeptical of tools that Blogger has given me to help me with my blogging.
There is nothing that Blogger or Google can do about this since the traffic from these sites looks the same as normal traffic to my site. According to what little info I can get on the subject from forums, the only way to prevent these spam sites from ruining your stats and abusing Google/blogger bandwidth is to never click on the Referring Traffic links in your stat information. By doing so the Spammers will have access to your traffic stats and your numbers will climb exponentially from one day to the next. If Google doesn't have any way to control Referrer Spam then I wish they would just not make it possible to follow a traffic link to start with! Google says that eventually there will be enough complaints and trending from a particular spammer that they can identify them and block them, but until that happens I will just have to not pay attention to my traffic stats or page views, and try not to think about the dark forces that lurk behind everything that is done on the web...
  Sometimes I think I will give up on the Internet, just close my laptop and disconnect my access, because there is so much junk that can be stumbled across while trying to go about my own business. I am not wired to think bad of people and I hate having to be suspicious and cautious of what would seem to be simple things, like opening an e-mail without a subject line, or now... using the tools that were given to me to use by Blogger. But without Internet access, I wouldn't be able to connect with some of the people I love who live far away, or express myself  by writing my blogs, I would miss out on relationship with all the friends I have made through my blogs and that would diminish my world considerably, so I won't stop using the Internet...But much to my dismay I do feel like something has been taken from me. I am exposed here on the web, not safe to go about my business in peace. What a shame..

** so if you see unfamiliar links on your traffic stats... Don't click them! 

Blog Hops that this post is linked to:
Clever Chicks Blog Hop #24

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Paring Down the To Do List

Hi there!
  It has been way to long since my last post and even longer since I got any mail out... it seems like the hurried-er I go...the behinder I get...
  I really have been making progress, but there is still much to be done. Today we finally got the tile laid in the bathroom. My husband did the heavy work, mixing mortar and trimming tile and I spread the mortar and laid the tile. It will be a day or two before we can grout, since the mortar needs to cure for awhile, but soon I can grout and the bathroom will be functional again... makes me grateful we have a second bathroom!

There is still much work to be done in the garden, and as soon as I am able to put the bathroom project down for a day or two, that is where I will be spending much of my time. But I have been working on a little postal project in the wee hours of the morning, and hopefully soon I will have it ready to go out...

Here is a little sneak peek of what I have been up to when I should be sleeping! Hopefully soon I will see you all in the mail!

If you would like to hear what is happening at Heart's Ease Cottage, come check out my blog www.aviewfromthecottage.blogspot.com There is a new post up there too!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Postal Sticker Shock

  I went today to collect my mail and found that I was locked out of my P.O. Box. The post office sent me an envelope earlier this month so I could send in my annual POB payment, but they neglected to note how much to send in...Typical. Usually they send me a notice threatening to reissue my box to someone else if I don't pay the rent due, having never sent me a notice that the rent was due in the first place. I guess this is an improvement... I haven't been back to the post office during office hours, since the day I received the notice, so I had no idea how much the payment due was.
  Today I was out running errands and got to the post office during business hours so I could pay my POB rent. Wow... What a shock! When I first opened the POB in 2001 the rent was $12 for a year. Today I had to shell out $44 to get my mail out of jail. Gulp! I don't like to complain, and I normally try not to grumble about my local post office, no matter how much they ask for it... but really? Last year the fee was $32, that up from $15 the year before we went to Costa Rica... It just seems kind of steep for the kind of service that my post office provides.
  The cost probably wouldn't bother me if it weren't that the service to my POB is so very bad... I regularly receive mail for someone who is deceased, two other people have rented that box since she held it, I also get their mail. This means that every time I check my mail, I have to go to the counter and wait for them to take the errant mail from me. Then I have  to remind them again that this person hasn't had this box in at least 5years, that I would like for them to stop putting her mail in my box. I get the customary, "I'll take care of it", as I watch them take the mail from me and throw it back in the to be delivered box, where it will go through the system again and then end up in my box again a day or so from now. Sigh.
  I try hard not to, but I really dislike my local post office. The employees are rude, intolerant, seemingly incompetent and insist that I answer their long list of questions and options individually. If I try to interrupt the process by stating that, "I only want my stamps, nothing else thank you", one particularly irritating postal worker will hold her finger up and say "Please let me finish", then go on to ask her questions while holding my stamps hostage until she is done. I have to confess that the last time she did that, since I was just needing to make sure I had the enough postage on a letter and had confirmed that I didn't owe anything, I turned and walked away while she was still going through her little schpeel... I am not proud of that, I try to be polite and considerate to everyone I come in contact with, but when she stuck her finger up, it was either walk away or say something that I know I would regret...
  Usually, I just check my box at this post office, since the postal workers are not very helpful. If I need to buy stamps or do other postal transaction, I wait until I am driving towards Charlotte, and conduct my business at one of the post offices there. But on occasion, like the POB rent, I have to deal with my local postal workers. It is almost always an unsatisfactory experience and I walk away wishing I could rent my POB in Weddington, a couple miles up the road. But when I asked the U.S.P.S in  Weddington, they said I have to rent a box within my zip code, so I guess I am stuck with my Waxhaw P.O. Box.
  I really enjoy writing letters and I need my P.O.Box, since the home delivery person is worse than the workers at the post office... letters go missing, the box lid not properly closed in the rain resulting in soggy mail, letters are delivered to a similar address on the other side of Waxhaw, where since the mail doesn't belong to them, they just throw it away! *We found this out when a piece of their mail was delivered to our box twice in the same week, (even with the street named circled so they would realize they delivered to the wrong address and it was placed back in the mailbox with the flag up for the postal worker to see...), so we hand delivered it to the person. They cheerfully told us thank you, and then blythely mentioned that the post office has been goofing up with our mail for quite some time, and that since telling the postal delivery person about it didn't remedy the problem, they just started throwing it away! Who does such a thing??? Did it never occur to them that we might like to receive our mail? What if it was important? So I decided that all important mail would be sent to a P.O. Box, at least there the mail wouldn't get wet!
  I wish that I could have the kind of relationship with my postal workers that I hear about from others in the letter writing community. I would love to look forward to going to the Post Office. My mail is one of the highlights of my day, but more often than not if I have to interact with the postal workers I go home from the post office feeling out of sorts. I hope for the sake of the U.S.P.S. and the future of letter writing, that my experiences with the postal system are the exception instead of the rule...