Thursday 31 January 2013

Stop Estimating Wildlife Killed by Cats!

We have another shocking report that has been hyped up in the press today (31st Jan 2012).  This time Nature Communications have published estimates animal kills by domestic and feral cats in the USA over a year. The figures come from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Photo by Kai Hendry
They say that 3.7 billion birds and 20.7 billion small mammals are killed yearly by cats. However, they constantly refer to "estimates"or "thoughts"...

  • "far exceeds all prior estimates..."
  • "The researchers estimated..."
  • "There are thought to be ....."
We don't know how many feral cats there are the in the USA and by far the biggest "estimated" impact on wildlife comes from feral cats.

How can scientists produce accurate figures if they really don't have any idea about the number of feral cats in the USA? No one has ever done a proper count of feral cat numbers. And what about the benefits of feral cats?

The researchers say that cats kill "mice, voles, rabbits and shrews". They also kill rats. How many rats are killed by feral cats in one year in the USA? No one has addressed that point.

The scientific community and the online newspaper work together in a most disagreeable way to distort the image of the cat and create adverse publicity that encourages the nastier sort of person to up the rate at which they shoot feral cats. It also encourages a devaluing of the domestic cat in the eyes of non-cat owners and irresponsible cat owners.

It really is time that scientists stopped estimating things as important as cat kill rates. It is careless science. The people who write up these reports cannot place any value on the cat. If they did they would not be so careless.

They say, "There are thought to be 30-80million such cats living wild in the US...." One figure is less than half the other! Neither could be anywhere near correct. This is not science. It is journalist nonsense.

Wednesday 30 January 2013

How Long Should an Internet Article Be?

Keep it short and to the point. I believe the Internet has changed because the world has changed; because of the Internet. People have developed speed reading skills. I sense that most people do their reading on the Internet and on the go; in caf├ęs, pubs and restaurants etc. They want information now and on target. It has to be without waffle. The tablet computer is the reason for this, and Wi Fi.

All newspaper articles - the hard copy version - are embroidered with verbosity. Newspapers are far too big. There are far too many pages and far too many words written. You can often crystallise down a conventional newspaper article to about one tenth or less of its length. The reason: papers have to have some bulk in order to sell them. People are used to that, but years ago they were much thinner. Bring it back, please.

On the Internet articles should be about half of their previous length. What length is that?

Well, my experience tells me that about 300 - 750 words is the right area to target.

If you can say it in 300 words, then say it but that is an absolute minimum. Add a picture, too, because you should not forget SEO in respect of images. A lot of web pages are found and accessed through Google Images. Never forget that SEO angle. But don't SEO the text. It doesn't work in my opinion these days.

In conclusion:
  1. Keep sentences short. It makes them easier to understand.
  2. Use subheadings, if suitable, as this breaks up long text making it look more readable.
  3. Make the point succinctly.
  4. Get to the point quickly.
  5. Make the point in the opening line as Google lists this under their search result link.
  6. Add a picture but make it good and relevant. Caption it with the title of the article.
  7. Write about 500 words.
The quality has to be there, though, time and time again. This is just a bit over 300 words.

Tuesday 29 January 2013

How Important Are Facebook Likes?

Huge numbers of Facebook likes is no guarantee of getting more visitors to your website. I have seen sites with hundreds of thousands of Facebook (FB) likes and rather average visitor numbers. Conversely I have seen websites with absolutely no connection with FB with good unique visitor numbers. It is much more about how good your site is rather than FB likes. I don't like them because we are far too beholden to the big websites. Let's be more independent and stop leaning on FB.

There was, and still is, an almost manic need to link up with FB because everyone else is and because FB indoctrinated people into believing that you had to put an FB like button on your site.

There is something odd about FB likes as well. On my main site I had 1,500 likes (yes I have a like button on the home page but no where else) yet onvernight, recently, it lost about 150 likes. Weird. Do people unlike your site? And do they do it en masse overnight?

You can't rely on FB to get traffic to your site. Also the more you integrate with FB the more you lose visitors to FB which is exactly what FB wants.

If you have a forum for your site on FB, beware. Anyone can visit it and make critical comments.  You don't have the same control over submissions as you do on your own forum. Also, you are moving customers from your site to FB.

The FB like button has almost become a habit for web designers. You place a series of social media buttons on each page in the hope it spreads the word. I don't think it makes any difference. If it does, it is slight. And of course, it slows up page load times. Page load speed is important these days as Google likes fast loading pages. It is part of the algorithm.

I don't believe anyone has done any proper research into the benefits of the FB like button. If someone did they'd probably conclude what I have written here.

There is another point. People who click on the FB like button are "used" by FB to promote advertised products that are associated with the webpage that they have said they like. FB does this without notifying the person. These people are presented by FB as sponsoring certain products. I find this unsatisfactory at the very least. FB are desperate to make more money.  They want to prove that FB is very commercial and can make good profits to boost the share value that dived after the recent float. FB was overvalued at the time of the float. In fact, it was valued at twice its true value, which is why the share value dived so dramatically. FB are keen to rectify that. They are trying all manner of things to make money and some of the strategies are near the bone.

The FB like button is overvalued. It is a habit that at one time we did not have. We were fine without it. Perhaps we were better off without out. Remember the FB like button is for the benefit of Facebook and its profit margins. It is not a public service.


Wednesday 9 January 2013

Catmoji, Cat Lovers Pinterest Must Fail

The people at Catmoji say "“Catmoji is on a mission to make the Internet a better and happier place with cats. Join and help us distrupt (this is verbatim but is not a word!) the Internet with cats and happiness,” Rubbish. You are on a mission to squeeze what the hell you can out of the internet while disregarding intellectual property rights.

I really hope that this new, Catmoji. website fails. We have enough copyright violations with Pinterest. Catmoji pretty much copies Pinterest but the photos are of cats.  Boring. There are enough cat photos on the internet and enough people gawping at stupid cat photos and making stupid childish remarks.

Yes, I have a website called Pictures-of-cats.org but there is hardly one silly cat photo. They are sensible and they support the article that makes a real point.

But just to recirculate cat photos and to steal them from bona fide cat sites and put them on Catmoji seems a backward step to me.

It is time to move forward and refine the internet. It is time to make it fairer and to eradicate the sloppy intellectual property rights abuses that abound without regulations. There is no regulation on the internet other than Google and their complaints procedure - hardly inspiring.

I despair with the sloppiness of the internet. To let Catmoji grow is akin to the dumbing down of society, the new laziness of the youth and the rampant acquisition of debt by nearly everyone.  Catmoji is a negative influence. It achieves nothing other than cheap laughs and amusement at the expense of others.

People are running out of ideas about what to put on the internet so all they do is just regurgitate and recycle what is already there and then make some money out of it. It is diluting the internet and dumbing it down.

No doubt some ars*hole will steal something from my site without even realising they have done something that is immoral and illegal and put the image on bloody Catmoji. People are ignorant.

I have read that horrible Catmoji is an Asian idea. In general Asians have a very low regard for intellectual property rights in my experience.

Please can someone bring on some sort of sensible low level regulation of the internet so proactive steps can be taken to curb rampant copyright violation?





Bizarre Pinterest Terms of Service?

Pinterest terms of service

Pinterest's terms of service have recently changed (on November 14th 2012). The terms are a contract between Pinterest and the people who are account holders (members). I suspect the change is because a lot of disgruntled people were chatting in a critical way about the terms on blogs and social media sites.

in this post, I am addressing the new and improved terms and they seem bizarre to me. It seems they are struggling to get the contract correct, which does not surprise me because the basic model upon which the website is built is flawed in my opinion. It does not respect intellectual property rights sufficiently or hardly at all. Pinterest depends on a certain amount of copyright violation.

We know that a lot or most of the photos on Pinterest are pinned there - uploaded and posted - by people who neither created the photos nor have any rights in them. This activity is facilitated by Pinterest because it provides code that a website owner can use on his site which allows visitors to lift photos off the site and pin them on Pinterest. Then Pinterest allows people to re-pin these photos.



Note: website owners can put some code on their site which blocks the use of the Pin It button but do website owners know about it or do they know how to use it? Also this code does not stop people downloading images from a site and uploading them from their computer's desktop.



In summary, the company expects that a photo created and owned by Mr. A will be uploaded to Pinterest by Mr B and copied and moved around Pinterest by Mr C and embedded on another website by Mr D.

Mr B, Mr C and Mr D have no rights in the photo and it is not their content. The content (the photo) belongs to Mr A. And Mr A has no idea what is happening and has not granted any rights to B, C and D.

Yet bizarrely at Pinterest's Terms of Serivice clause 2, which is headed "Your Content" it states that...
If you post your content on Pinterest, it still belongs to you but we can show it to people and others can re-pin it.
So Pinterest is saying in the terms of service that the content that is posted on their site belongs to the person who uploaded it. But we know this often does not happen. And, as mentioned, Pinterest encourages people who have no rights in the content to post it on Pinterest.

Clause 2 goes on to say that a person who posts content (usually photos) on Pinterest grants to Pinterest and other users total freedom to do as they please with the photos. Once they are on the site you can kiss copyright protection goodbye unless you complain and get the content deleted. That is very troublesome for the copyright holder. So, when they say the content "still belongs to you" it is meaningless because you have no control over it.

The terms completely annihilate intellectual property rights. Pinterest encourages and expects people who have no right in a photo to post it on their site where it becomes public property. They say "We respect copyrights. You should, too."

Notice the word "should". They should have used "must".

The company limits its liability to $100 under any circumstances. "IN NO EVENT SHALL PINTEREST'S AGGREGATE LIABILITY EXCEED ONE HUNDRED U.S. DOLLARS (U.S. $100.00)."

There you have it. Some bizarre Pinterest Terms of Service that simply do not stack up and bear no relation to what actually happens and which Pinterest expects to happen.

People with websites who have photographic content on their site that they want to be protected by copyright must not put the pin it button on their site. If they do they are, without knowing it, potentially putting their protected images into the public domain and they'll never get them back.

The big boys of the internet don't like copyright because it gets in the way of the use of social media sites. It is also a barrier to the viral-like spreading and expansion of the internet that these big companies want to happen as it expands their business. Copyright is under huge pressure at the moment from the internet. Pinterest erodes it.

Although Google do have a decent complaint service. I expect that Google receives millions of complaints regarding intellectual property violations and are probably drowning in them. Something needs to happen that stops it (i.e. proactive action) as opposed to removing it (reactive action).


Note 2: My apologies to cat lovers who want to see and read about cat stuff. However, sometimes website owners have to stand up against the big sites because they tend to walk all over the smaller sites run by individuals.


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