Joined: 3/20/2008
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Developer Blog: Amazon Ads
11/30/2013
Since blogs have been dying down on the site due to the busy school year I decided to take some time out every so often to feature developer blogs to help give you an inside look of what's happening as well as to gather my thoughts. I'm by far a professional writer, so bare with any grammatical errors you may find.
 
There have been a lot of changes to the site over the last few days with API integration such as with twitter and tumblr. With the change in ad partners there has been a noticeable decrease in ad revenue for the site as well as quality. 
 
The biggest issue with ads at the moment is they are text only and don't entice users. Another issue is when we did have image ads the ads were often not related to the site at all. This is why I'm currently looking into replacing ads with amazon ad units. Now, let me explain what that means. In reality there is no such thing as an "amazon ad unit." 
 
Amazon offers a few widgets you can place on the site but they aren't really advertisements and they don't follow standard ad formatting. What amazon does offer is a powerful API that allows you to obtain a ton of information from their database and perform specific keyword searches. An example being a search for anime under the DVD category. 
 
When you obtain these results you're then able to create a link that will send the user to amazon to purchase the item. A small percentage of all sales then gets return as revenue for the site. The pay system is a bit more complex, but that's the general idea.
 
So what is the advantage of using an API to create your own advertisements? You can customize ads to look anyway you went and even create dynamic content. Such as having expandable ad units. Other options include the ability to specify items. A good example is in the long term of the site an anime company could offer to pay to have their product advertised on the site that they sell on amazon. By doing that they can simply provide their amazon product ID that will then be automatically used to generate a custom ad. 
 
Other features that can occur in the future is searching for specific genre's based on a user's interest. If a user likes a lot of horror anime, it's possible to do a search for horror anime based on the user's interest. If a user is on the database looking up an anime title such as Spirited Away, they may see an advertisement to purchase the DVD. As well specifics on product discounts can be shown to entice users on great deals they may not have otherwise have known
 
It's a fairly simple API to use and the majority of the code will be completed using JavaScript. What will happen is the server will create a unique link that will only be usable for a short time and cannot be created again. Because of this it's possible to create a very lite weight tool that requires minimal server side code.
 
I'm hoping to have the code library completed fairly soon and then I'll just need to create the ad units and JavaScript code. For now here's a dirty example of an ad!
 
 
Until next time!
Nyo
 
Tumblr Blogs!
11/29/2013
You'll now be able to post your blogs to tumblr! In my case it's going to a test blog so you won't be able to see it.
 
This feature supports full HTML so there is no need to worry about any limitations of using the current blog system. All features should work just like before! Just as a remember, when you link inside the site you should make sure you're using absolute links and not relative. 
 
An example being:
 
You can also include images as well!
 
 
Another change is that blogs should longer use relative URLs for in-site links. This is an issue with the blog configurations that should hopefully work now. Let me know if you are still having this issue. If so, i'll have to manually fix these links.
 
Until next time!
Nyo
 
Twitter
11/11/2013
Figured I'd write an informal blog post for a change of pace. Been working on getting twitter up and running on the site and so far I just have two issues to tackle. One is pretty much figured out, the second is a bit of an annoyance and there is no trick to get around it.
 
Limiting Tweets
First off while twitter does not have a specific rate limit for tweets, there are application limits and user limits. To avoid potential problems I plan on using a loose rate limit system. This system is also a prototype that may be used on other areas of the site. The overall process is fairly simple.
The advantage of the above method is you'll be able to post up to 5 tweets within a 5 min interval. To give you a better idea of this method I'll give you 2 examples:
 
Example 1
Action: User posts 5 tweets within 1 minute.
Cause: User will have to wait 1 minute to post to twitter again.
 
Example 2
Action: User posts 3 tweets within 1 min and waits 2 minutes.
Cause: User can now post 4 additional tweets.
 
As you can see this is a far better method than requiring a user to wait 1 min between posts and is very cheap to do code wise.
 
SMS Commands
This is the biggest issue right now. Right now twitter has around 50 special commands for tweets as described here: https://support.twitter.com/articles/14020-twitter-for-sms-basic-features
 
The problem with this is I'm now forced to restrict 35 key words from the start of all tweets. The words are shown here:
 

ON
OFF
FOLLOW
UNFOLLOW
LEAVE
STOP
QUIT
END
CANCEL
UNSUBSCRIBE
ARRET
D
M

RETWEET
SET
WHOIS
W
GET
FAV
FAVE
FAVORITE
FAVOURITE
*
STATS
SUGGEST
SUG

S
WTF
HELP
INFO
AIDE
REPORT
REP
BLOCK
BLK
G

Note: Don't worry you'll be able to *hugs* as much as you want! Just no "* "hugs.

This proves to be a big annoyances and according to responses on the dev forum. There's no way around it or are there plans to allow it in the future. I've tried a few hacks and none seem to work.

As a result I'm stuck with having to modify posts. The quickest option would be to just be to remove these words from the start. However, a better option from what I can tell is to simply change tweets in the following way:

WTF people! => WTF-people!
On the way to my friends house! => On-the way to my friends house!

The downside of this is it looks kinda lame having On-the. Sadly there is no other option unless I can find a better character. I may also look into posting a warning if anyone uses a special word at the start of a tweet.

Anyway, let me know your thoughts. I'm hoping to have this done by tonight or sometime tomorrow.

Nyo

    Achievement!
    Document the discovery of a new anime.
    #38646;