Valid Flash Embed and Preloaders Episode V: Internet Explorer Strikes Back

If you saw my previous post on valid Flash embed while maintaining preload functionality and used it, be warned: when the user does not have Flash, a lovely <![endif]--> will appear in IE where the Flash movie would normally be. The only way around it I’ve found is to actually duplicate everything from the opening object tag to the closing one so there is one each for IE and Firefox. For example:

<!--[if !IE]>-->
<object data="movie.swf" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="725" height="235">
	<param name="movie" value="movie.swf" />
<!--[if IE]>
<object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" width="725" height="235">
	<param name="movie" value="movie.swf" />

Definitely a pain, but I’ve found no other way around it.

Also in my search for a solution, I discovered that our old pal Internet Explorer does not let you append anything but param elements to object elements in Javascript. That was pretty frustrating. Don’t try that. It doesn’t work.

Why Paid Blog Networks Suck – Link Building 2010 Revisited

Link Exchanges

A lot has changed when it comes to gaining links to your website. More importantly a lot has changed on what is considered a good link or a bad link. With the economy in the tank, we are getting more and more calls for help with search position and increased traffic. Some of the calls are from potential clients that have never paid for any type of link building or site optimization, but a good percentage is from small business owners that have either been a part of Link Exchange programs or have purchased links in the past and now they are finding out  it is not working for their website any more. If you are not familiar with the Google or Bing guidelines for links then you should read Google’s position on link exchanges and Links: the good, the bad, and the ugly – Part 2 from Bing.

Paid Blog Networks

So what do you do if link exchange software doesn’t work any more? How about all the fuss about these blog networks? That’s a question we have received a few times. First let me tell you about blog link networks where you pay a monthly fee and publish as many posts as you want, with links to your website. Your posts are distributed throughout a “network” of blogs. The claim is link diversity and unlimited potential. Don’t waste your time! This type of network is popular because they pay out good commissions, that’s it! These networks are easily detected which means they are easily discounted by Bing and Google and could be considered a bad neighborhood. You will waste a lot of time writing or you will pay additional fees to have the writing done for you, and you get nothing or near nothing in return. That time and money would have been better spent putting an article on a popular article network or sending out a press release. While neither of those methods are high value they generally have some value, unlike the so called Nirvana of subscription blog networks. With generic category based blog networks with no specific theme and some of the worst content ever written, you will get zero benefit. Once your post is pushed off of the main page or the main category page, which usually happens in a day or two, any value is lost. At that point your time, effort and money live on a page buried in a site that nobody, including Bing and Google, gives a rat’s ass about.

Example of a Blog Network where you pay per month to post as many times as you want. Just look at the quality. 😉

(The examples we showed here have shut down since this post’s writing, meaning everyone who paid to be on them has lost their investment, for whatever it was worth.)

If you think this type of site is not easily detectable, let me show you how I found them: Google This and then look for nonsensical domain names as the title. See the similarity? Most of these are from one of the most popular subscription blog networks out there. Notice every post has a single keyword link buried in the post? It gets worse, look at almost any post that is over 90 days old and copy a unique sentence, then search for the quoted sentence on Google, and 90% of the time the article can’t be found. The only people making money here is the owner of the blog system and their affiliates.

Let me say that there might be a paid blog network that actually works, but it would need to follow a few rules. I just pointed out one of the most popular networks that in my opinion is a waste of money and just ripping people off. If someone really wants to create a blog network that works, it would need to follow at least the following 4 rules:

  1. At least 75% of the posts need to be commercial quality information without any paid links embedded in the article.
  2. Every subscriber’s post needs to be reviewed by an editor for “real value”.
  3. Each blog needs to have a theme and specialize in one particular subject.
  4. Each blog in the network needs to be optimized and promoted as a “real website” with good content.

That said, you are most likely still violating Google’s guidelines if you pay to post your link on those sites. I’m not judging, just pointing out the risk involved.

How To Build Links

So how do you get quality links to your site? You need to create information and multimedia that people need and are willing to link to. Then you need to contact relevant websites and convince them that they should link to your content. If you are a product reseller, you should get your vendors to link to you as an authorized dealer. If you are a member or sponsor of any organizations, you need to get them to link to you as a such. You could do some guest blogging, but be sure the value of the link you get is greater than the value you would get from posting the article on your own website. You can also use article marketing, press releases, and directory submission but it’s just for diversity and extra exposure, alone they are not the answer.

Let me know if you agree, disagree or what I missed. I look forward to your comments. | Read the original Link Building 2010

The Pesky iframe and XHTML Strict

Update: Example code updated. It used the shortened form of iframe before, as in <iframe />. That doesn’t sit well with IE. It now uses <iframe></iframe> which works. The same goes for object. It similarly does not play well with Firefox 4 (perhaps even lower versions) in shortened form.

If you’ve done much web work before, you’ve probably, at some time or another, had to use an iframe. It’s not pretty, but sometimes it’s the only choice, such as embedding a widget from another site or displaying things such as real estate listings. One of my biggest problems with it is that it doesn’t exist in the spec for XHTML Strict! It exists in Transitional, but I don’t like to use it. That may be good enough for some developers, but certainly not for me. How about you?

In Internet Explorer 8 (and possibly IE7, but I have not tested it) and Firefox, you can use the object element to embed a web page just like an iframe; however, IE gives it a thick, lovely border that seems impossible to remove. Here’s the trick: employing IE’s conditional comments, use an iframe for IE and an object for everything else. Here’s an example:

<!--[if !IE]><!--><object data="" type="text/html" width="320" height="240"></object>
<!--[if IE]><iframe frameborder="0" src="" width="320" height="240"></iframe>

Valid XHTML Strict! Make sure to keep your settings the same across both elements to keep it consistent.

Happy coding!

Domain Names and Hostage Negotiations

It amazes me the number of webmasters or hosting companies that register their client’s domain names in their own company name. There are only a few reasons to do that.

  • You suck at life so you need to hold them hostage
  • You have no idea what you are doing
  • You suck at life and plan on charging clients crazy $$ to leave your sorry company

Let’s be serious, if your company offers reliable hosting or professional web design and you make requested changes or answer support questions in a timely manner then most of your customers will never leave you. A small percentage will move around because a salesman convinces them they need “their” service or maybe you don’t offer a specialized application the client needs, but for the most part if you just stop sucking as a webmaster you can maintain your hosting and web design clients.

The only reason a webmaster or web host needs to hold a domain name hostage is because he knows he has nothing to offer of value. It’s really not difficult to please small business owners. Make sure their email and website are online and update their website when they ask you too. Answer emails and the phone in a timely manner. Is that really too complicated?

Understand your limitations and when you know you can’t meet your customer’s expectations then admit it, help them move somewhere that can. Think I’m crazy? Trust me, the next time they need something they might just call you again, you know why? Because you were helpful. For some reason that’s uncommon in the small business web world. Some of you act like losing $15 or $20 per month in hosting fees is going to bankrupt you.

Some of you are so offended by losing a client that you turn into an evil crook and you take hostages (domain names). I can’t keep track of the number of times I have been put in the position of hostage negotiator so some poor old lady can have *her* domain name transferred to *her*.

Time to face the facts. If your only chance of customer retention is stealing domain names (taking hostages) then you are going to fail.

Valid Flash Embed and Preloaders in Internet Explorer

Hello once again, web friends. Today I bring tidings of Flash preloaders and validity.

You may have noticed that with the embed code from my YouTube article that Flash movie preloaders don’t work in Internet Explorer, and the movie has to load entirely before it even displays at all. This is because Internet Explorer requires a different attribute and the removal of another in the object tag to let preloaders work properly. However, with different attributes, the Flash movie will not display at all in Firefox, so we must use Internet Explorer’s conditional comments to utilize two different opening object tags. Behold:

<!--[if !IE]>--><object data="yourmovie.swf" type="application/x-shockwave-flash"
	width="320" height="240"><!--<![endif]-->
<!--[if IE]><object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000"
	width="320" height="240"><![endif]-->
	<param name="movie" value="yourmovie.swf" />
	<param name="quality" value="high" />

The first line is the original that works in both IE and Firefox but doesn’t allow preloaders in IE. The second is the IE-only method that works with preloaders. Note the lack of a data attribute and the addition of a classid attribute.

Well, there you have it. Venture forth and embed Flash validly with preload animations!