Introducing Sponsored Posts

Post by Mark

blogslogo

I’ve recently introduced a new advertising option to my media kit called “Sponsored Posts”. These are posts that will be written by an advertiser and is meant to promote their brand, services, products, whatever. They’re advertorials. Why have I decided to introduce this?

1) I need to make more money, lattes don’t grow on trees and they aren’t cheap

2) Lots of brands have a lot to say and sometimes they can’t say it all with a simple banner

3) It will make my life easier since anytime a brand contacts me now to write about them, I can just say sure and then send them my media kit

Now like you, I check my blog daily and whatever kind of advertising I introduce, it needs to be something that I personally don’t find annoying. This is why you’ll never find pop up ads on the blog or any of these super annoying banners that expand and take over the whole page. I don’t think these sponsored posts will be annoying, right now I am limiting them to just one a week although thinking about it, if I can publish a sponsored post every day that’s like KD15,000 a month which would be pretty sweet actually. But until that happens, it’s just once a week.

The sponsored posts will also always be clearly marked as sponsored in the title and they will also have different colored backdrops instead of the usual white. So those posts will in no way be misleading and in no way be mistaken for a post written by me. A few minutes ago I published the first sponsored post which you can check below to get an idea of how sponsored posts will look like.


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Al Busal Kuwait

Post by Mark

onion

Every now and then I try to invite new writers to the blog to write about stuff which I myself wouldn’t be able to do. Al Busal is going to be a new series of posts by a really creative and funny friend of mine who will go by the anonymous nickname Holla. I met Holla years ago through my blog, he used to leave the most ridiculous comments and I just had to meet him in person. We ended up becoming friends and even worked together for a short while.

Since the moment I met him I’ve been trying to figure out how to put his talent into use and then over dinner last week I figured it out. We were poking fun out of some local stories from the English papers and how some of the stuff sounds so ridiculous they might as well be in The Onion, and thats when I realized, Holla would be the perfect guy to create local satirical posts in style of The Onion. The name Al Busal is the Arabic translation of The Onion and just like The Onion, these posts in no way should be taken seriously. His first post is already up, check it out [Below]


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Community is Currently Down

Post by Mark

I wasn’t planning on posting this since I didn’t think anyone would notice but I’ve been getting emails about it all morning. The Community section of the blog is currently down due to the fact I’m upgrading the software. Earlier this morning I realized I had an old forum software running and Google was giving a “Deceptive site ahead” warning when trying to access the section. So decided I might as well just do a full on upgrade.

issue

Technical Details
The Community runs on Invision Power and I had version 3.8 installed. I’m currently trying to update it to version 4.1 which has new features and an overall fresher look. The upgrade should have taken around 30-60 minutes but turns out my server is running PHP 5.4.45 and I need at least PHP 5.5 for the upgrade. I’m currently waiting for my host to upgrade the PHP version on the server and once that is done I will complete the upgrade process. This should have no effect on the main blog since 248am.com is running on a different server than community.248am.com.

Update: I completed the upgrade but then managed to completely mess things up again. Now have to restore from backup and restart the process. On bright side the google warning should be gone now.

Update2: The upgrade is now complete. There is still lots of work to do like redo the whole Community theme but for now at least it’s back up.


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I’m Migrating

Post by Mark

Just a heads up in case issues with the blog start popping up this weekend. I’m currently migrating my blog from Rackspace to WP Engine.

I’ve been with Rackspace for over 9 7 years now and they’ve been super great, probably the best customer service I’ve ever deal with but, my server (basically the computer that my blog is running on) is also over 9 7 years old. When was the last time you kept a computer or laptop for that long? Never of course but in my case to upgrade the server was going to end up tripling the price of my already super expensive hosting. It just wasn’t feasible financially so I just left it. Last year my traffic increased considerably and this year it’s also been increasing steadily and my server can just no longer keep up and it was either being very slow or just completely unresponsive.

wavai

Then, around a month ago I got approached by the WP Engine local agent. Wavai. They offered to host my blog with them while also helping me manage all the maintenance work. The “WP” in WP Engine stands for WordPress which is the blogging software I use for 248AM. So as you can imagine, since they’re very focused on one software, they’re experts when it comes to hosting blogs like mine. We already started the migration process yesterday (Thursday) and all my sections have been moved already. We are now about to migrate the main 248AM blog which is why I’m posting this. The website might go down for awhile and somethings might not work the way they should. In case that happens you’ll now know why.

Once everything is up and running things should be a lot faster. Already without any optimization my subsections all load up more than twice as they previously did. I’ll post a more detailed and geeky update on what we’re doing/did exactly once everything is up and running normally again.

Update (Sat/10:00AM): The process is 90% complete. Nearly everything has been moved including the main 248AM blog. If you left a comment anytime between this post and now then it might have been lost since until last night depending on where you lived you were either accessing the old server or the new one.

Update (Sat/12:00PM): Shifting my domain control from Rackspace to Namecheap. Site might not be accessible for a short while and my email doesn’t seem to be working right now.

Update (Sat/2:00PM): My email is working again. Some of the blog sections (like classifieds) are currently not working depending where you live and what ISP you’re using.

Update (Sat/11:00PM): Everything seems to be working fine now.


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Kuwestions Now Working

Post by Mark

kuwestions

When I launched the section Kuwestions last month I quickly found out that a lot of people were having javascript issues and weren’t able to answer any questions. Well, I think I fixed the issue, I’m not getting those errors anymore on my side so please check it out and let me know if you still run into any problems. [Link]


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Kuwikipedia is now Kuwestions

Post by Mark

kuwestions

Last month I launched Kuwikipedia since a lot of people email me asking me questions all the time. I figured I might as well setup a website where people could ask questions related to Kuwait, and them me and other people could answer it for them. Well the site proved to my more useful than I expected it to be so I decided to integrate it into the blog as a section. A twitter follower even helped me come up with a better more descriptive name for the section which is “Kuwestions”.

I’m still fine tuning it a bit but for now it’s up an running so check it out [Here]

Update: Looks like there is a technical issue when trying to answer the questions. Working on fixing that now.


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Milestone: 10,000 Posts

Post by Mark

I was planning on doing something special for my 10,000th post on the blog but I just realized today that I passed that marker a few months back without even realizing it. As of this post I’ve published exactly 10,329 posts on the blog and since it launched around 11 years ago, that averages to more than 3 posts a day if you ignore the weekends. Considering this is Kuwait where very little goes on I still surprise myself on a daily basis that I’m still finding stuff to write about.

248am-2005
The blog back in 2005

I used to think I was lucky that I was finding content on a daily basis and it was only a couple of years back did I realize that hold on a second, maybe this isn’t luck, maybe I just have a skill that allows me to discover stuff. I think it’s probably a combination of my creative side, mixed in with my extreme curiosity for things and probably a bit of ADHD and OCD on the side to top it all off.

248am-2006
The blog back in 2006

Another interesting figure, 199,363 comments have been posted so far, this doesn’t include deleted spam which is amounts to around 2.5 million.

The blog started off as a side project to another blog I had and was never meant to last this long. I have no idea when I’m going to stop blogging, but that day will most likely be sooner than later. For now I’m still here.


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Problems Viewing My Blog With Zain

Post by Mark

zainglitch

If you have a Zain mobile number or internet device then you’ve probably encountered a problem similar to what is pictured above, where an image gets repeated over and over when browsing my blog using their network. I have no idea why that happens, my theory is that Zain’s cache system is very aggressive to help make things quicker but the side effect is my blog and I’m guessing other ones as well will end up looking weird. So if you’re a Zain IT guy reading this, maybe you guys could put my blog on the do not cache list or something?


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The 248AM Community

Post by Mark

com

Have you checked out the 248AM Community? It’s an online discussion forum and with over 200,000 posts so far, it’s a great space to ask questions and debate topics. You can access the community by clicking the link in the navigation strip on top or by typing community.248am.com in your browser.


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Two Anniversaries, One Month

Post by Mark

So this past Friday (February 19th) was my blogs 11 year anniversary. I published my first post here back in February 19th 2005, a really odd post which I find hilarious now since my blog has become what it is today. If I had known my blog would end up here I would have probably posted something a bit less… crude.

But, what I just realized a few moments ago is that this February also marks the 13th anniversary of my first post on my first blog ever. Back in 2003 me and a few friends launch a blog called Qhate and my first post there was published on February 6th, 2003. At that time we were the first blog based in Kuwait and unlike my early posts on 248AM, I actually enjoy reading my old stuff on Qhate. For those of you who don’t know, Qhate started off as a war blog in which we were posting about life in Kuwait during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. So reading through my old posts there just takes me back in time during the volatile period. If you’ve never gone through some of the posts there you should, it’s like an untouched time capsule. [Link]


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