With that said, this article will address the issues with sponsored links in WordPress themes and give a technique to remove the encrypted code in the footer without messing up the theme. A few months ago, a visitor left a comment on one of the WordPress themes called "Kindergarten" in relation to the license and encrypted footer links contained in the theme. It was mentioned that the encrypted code presents a security concern, because malicious code could be included with the theme and there is no way to audit for it.
Themebot has been aware for a long time that WordPress theme designers often encrypt the sponsored links at the bottom of the WordPress themes they add. This wasn't the first time somebody complained about this, and it brought to mind the possibility of disallowing themes that contain encryption. Some sites that provide directories for free WordPress themes do not allow themes to be listed if they use encryption, and the free themes directory on WordPress.org doesn't even allow themes with sponsored links at all. However, this is not the best solution, because there are a lot of high quality themes that have sponsored / encrypted links. Instead of prohibiting members from uploading such themes and removing all of the existing themes with encryption, Themebot decided it would be better to write an article explaining why it is a bad idea to use these themes along with a tutorial outlining an easy method to remove the encrypted code. This way your selection of themes is not limited and it is up to you to decide whether or not to use such a theme. You will also have the tools to take care of the encrypted code if so desired.
First, it is important to understand why sponsored links are harmful and you should keep reading if you are considering using a WordPress theme that has encrypted links. If you would like to just skip ahead to the method for removing encrypted links, click here.
Update on payment from Kontera: 2009-01-20
In this article, I will specifically address why you should avoid using Kontera ContentLink ads and discuss generally why it is a bad idea to use in-text advertising on a website.
If you are not familiar with Kontera ContentLink advertising, it is the double underline links you see on some blogs and forums. When you mouse-over the link, an ad pops up. ContentLink is Kontera's specific brand; there are other advertisers who offer this type of advertising. Generally, it is referred to as "in-text contextual advertising".
Look more closely at the picture above. This is a cropped screen shot taken from a website with Kontera ads. The screen shot was taken shortly before I started writing this article and it was the first link I moused-over to view a Kontera ad. You will notice that the mouse is hovering over "HTML tag". The ad that is displayed is for free Married With Children episodes.
First of all, I can't think of a more pointless way to waste my time than watching old re-runs of the TV show, Married with Children. But what is really glaring in this example is that free Married with Children episodes have nothing to do with an "HTML tag". Is this supposed to be contextual advertising? Obviously, Kontera's algorithm for determining relevancy sucks. That was my impression while running Kontera ads on Themebot for several months, and seeing that ad today only confirms my opinion. Obviously, if you have a website and use Kontera, your visitors aren't going to appreciate seeing the irrelevant ads.
What do IE aka Internet Explorer and the word DIE have in common? Well, you don't have to look that close to figure out that IE comes at the end of DIE. What can we deduce from this? It's quite simple really, IE should DIE. And, what do IE5, IE6 and IE7 all have in common? They all suck and of course, they should all DIE.
Which version of Internet Explorer is the worst? In my opinion, IE6, or Internet Explorer Sux as I like to call it. Technically IE5 and lower versions are worse than IE6. But, the fact that so many people are still using IE6 makes it the worst browser.
I don't think I am exaggerating when I say that Internet Explorer is a menace to society. Microsoft is doing a disservice to humanity by providing their crappy browser with its lack of proper support for web standards and buggy display issues as the browser that comes bundled with Windows.
According to NetMarketShare, the Operating System Market Share for all Windows Versions was 91.46% as of January, 2008. Downright dismal! Fortunately internet users are catching on and using browsers other than Internet Explorer. Browser Market Share for Internet Explorer was 75.47% as of January, 2008. Still, that is 75.47% too many IE users.
They're back online with a new domain name. This time they moved the images and CSS to their own server. Something needs to be done to take them offline again: www.freeipodsforstudents.com
Within less than 24 hours the domain registrar canceled freeipodsforstudents.co.nr and the leechers deleted all the files from their hosting. 403 victory! It is a somewhat hollow victory. I was hoping they wouldn't find out about it for at least a few days. Anyhow, I did take before and after screenshots for posterity.
After "adjusting" the header image being displayed on the leecher's site, the domain they were using to forward to the hosting account on their school's server no longer works. Looks like the domain registrar shutdown their account. But you can still access their site directly for the time being: boskone.lboro.ac.uk/~masc5. I just wish I could have a hidden camera to see the reaction when they load the adjusted site for the first time.
Somebody ripped off the new Themebot layout!
As you may have read earlier, the layout for Themebot was updated recently. I was checking my Google analytics this evening and saw a noticeable amount of traffic coming from a site I didn't recognize. The referring URL is: freeipodsforstudents.co.nr. Free iPods eh? Decided to pay them a visit. Hmm, something looks familiar.
At one time or another, nearly every web master thinks about how to make (more) money on their web site. The challenge is that most people who surf the internet expect things to be free. The internet was formed on the idea of free access to information. Scores of companies are willing to subsidize the cost of building out a website and gathering an online community without charging a dime. Why?
Because people are not interested in frequenting a site they have to pay for (unless it is for porn). If somebody stumbles upon a web site with an entrance fee, they will quickly browse to another site and are almost guaranteed to find exactly what they are looking for free of charge (yes, even for porn). Although it may be lucrative, there will be no Bot pron on Themebot. Sorry. NO BOT PORN! So how is a web master supposed to make money?
The following guide provides a walk-through for setting up automatic backups of your mySQL databases using the AutoMySQLBackup file bash script. After reading the guide, it should be quick and easy to implement. This is an indispensable tool for webmasters. Once the backup system is in place you'll have daily, weekly and monthly backups of your mySQL databases neatly organized in a private folder on your web server. They are automatically rotated so that they don't eat up your storage space. Anytime you download a backup of your home directory all of the database backups will be included. This is much better than creating manual backups and can be a huge time saver if you have multiple databases.
ThemeBot has been off-line for the past couple days. It seems that a combination of modules that were installed Wednesday caused some file or database corruption. I am still working on pinpointing what the problem was.
If you are using a content management system to create a website, it is likely that you will eventually encounter a situation where you need to set up a Cron job. Cron is a program installed on Unix / Linux based servers that allows users to schedule tasks to be run automatically at specific dates or times. The name "Cron" is derived from the Greek word for time - chronos. Since most people use shared hosting, this guide will provide the basics for setting up your own crontab and automating tasks with your web hosting provider on a shared server...