The problem

Is a market of obsolete middle managers. In a functioning market, “middle managers” would disappear. They’re like digging a hole only to fill it back in.

It is important to note that middle managers, notably IT (Information Technology) middle management, don’t necessarily know, don’t necessarily need to know, anything about what they are managing. They only need to be good bullies.

Micro payment system is exactly what bloggers need

The new supposed micro-payment systems from PayPal and Google aren’t really micro-payment at all. Real micro payment needs to be completely automatic and for tiny amounts, like a penny an article (or less.)

For example, I use micro-payments and charge a penny an article for major blog articles here. You sign up. At the end of the month, the micro-payment service bills you for, say, 30 cents and sends me the total amount for all readers. This could be a simple way to build revenue for any blog or website.

Baekdal explores how it could work. The biggest obstacle is that it would need a huge back engine somewhere tracking micro-payments across millions of websites. Hey, that sounds like a cloud application to me. Amazon and Rackspace have massive amounts of cloud computing time and space available. Moreover, there is already an application that does something similar, Google Adsense. The concept behind Adsense could easily be adopted for micro-payments.

Publishers have talked about micro-payments for the past 15 years, but we are actually at a point now where we have the technology, and scale to make it happen. We couldn’t have done this 2 years ago, but we can do it today.

What we need is for publishers to get together. Micro-payment systems don’t work until we reach critical mass.

The newspaper industry managed to get together to create the Associated Press. We need to do the same, to create the Associated Micro-Payment System.

So stop fighting, and start earning money.

Not only would we earn more money, we could create our own content distribution system. The micro-payment system could aggregate totals by category and make them publicly available. What was the most popular left-wing article last month? Hey, articles about algae biofuel are steadily gaining readers. Whoops, readership of Sarah Palin articles is nose-diving :). What are the most popular other sites for those who read Newshoggers? Blogs could be presented by category and readers would choose which ones they want, like BlogAds does now for advertisers looking for blogs to advertise on. All sorts of possibilities present themselves.

This would also reward those with unique content. A site that reblogs news from elsewhere with few original thoughts might find themselves, well, penniless.

Baekdal, OTOH, would do quite well. And if a reader read his articles for a month it would cost him a mere 83 cents.

Backup WordPress with BackupBuddy to Amazon S3 cloud

What many think of as a backup in WordPress is actually just the database. BackupBuddy will also do a full backup, which includes WordPress itself, plugins, settings, and images as well as the database. Thus, if you want to move your WordPress site, simply put the full backup on the new site and run their script. It’ll do the rest. Sweet.

S3 file storage is part of Amazon Web Services

It also does database backups, and you can schedule either. Here’s the really powerful part. It’ll automatically ftp the backup to your account on the Amazon S3 cloud where it is super secure then delete it from your site. Backups should not be kept on your blog site for security reasons and are way too big to email. Sending them to S3 is a great solution.

S3 is one of the many web services that Amazon offers. Prices are very low. In fact, given the size of my monthly backups for Polizeros, it’ll be free for the first year, then maybe 30 cents a month. There is no minimum charge.

BackupBuddy is normally $45 (and worth it) but you can get it for 25% off until the end of this month by entering RESOLVE2011 as the coupon code.

While this may seem complicated, it’s not. I installed BackupBuddy, signed up for and configured a S3 account, and then did a full backup in 15 minutes. The backups are scheduled now, so I don’t have to do anything. If you have a WordPress blog, this is a safe, easy way to do backups.

Polizeros caching software change

Warning: The post is deeply geeky.

Polizeros is now running W3 Total Cache. You may notice the site is loading faster. (There were a few hiccups earlier in the day while installing it but those have been resolved.)

Caching software makes copies of frequently used pages, like the Home Page, then serves them up to those browsing the site. So, rather than WordPress having to load the php page, pull data from the database, then render the page, it simply uses the cached copy. This greatly cuts down on server usage and load, especially when you have hundreds of simultaneous users.

I switched caching software at the recommendation of Laughing Squid, our hosting company. Polizeros was bumping up against a compute cycles limit, which is the amount of processor time being used. They analyzed the site and said W3 is more powerful than the cache I was using and should help.

They may have a funny name, but Laughing Squid is the best host I’ve used. They host everything in the Rackspace Cloud. I can’t remember having downtime, and their tech support is superb. After some weird glitches trying to install W3 – which turned out to be a PHP memory limit issue – I emailed them and they did it for me.

Even better, if Polizeros does exceed the limits for the account, they simply upgrade the site in $4 a month increments so everything keeps going rather than blocking the site as some hosts do. That’s a big advantage of cloud computing. It scales as needed. Rackspace doesn’t do hosting for small sites per se, so that’s why I use Laughing Squid.

Big thanks to Jamie Holly at Intoxination for advice and help. If you ever get a 500 Server Error on your site or blog, check your .htaccess file, because that’s probably where the problem is. And make sure all remnants of the old cache are gone before installing the new one, otherwise a festive and alarming set of error messages may ensue.

A few updates here at Polizeros

A new Share/Bookmark link at the bottom of each post allows you to share it on over 100 sites. Mouse over it and the pop-up box will list a few sites it thinks you use. Type a name in the search box to find others.

The single post page now has an unobtrusive Google vertical text ad at the top rather than a big honking ad which could get confused with the content of the post. The big honking ad has been moved to the bottom of the post, where it looks better and where Google says it can actually be more effective. All ads can be text / image / or video which adds a little variety.

I’m thinking of using Disqus for the comments. Are any of you using it?