Wednesday, April 19, 2006 

Uphook update #12

Today I submitted my site to a few more online directories to try to increase visibility. I also did some research on press release vendors-- one of the best ways to get your site promoted is to write a good in-depth press release about the SITE but pointed at the BLOG.

At least that’s my theory. If I can promote both of them, I might possibly reach a wider audience. People who like to read blogs but aren’t interested in a personals/dating site probably wont be interested much in the site itself, but they may find the blog an interesting read. Similarly, those people who just want to search for pictures and meet people might not have much of a need for a blog about the technicalities behind the site. So something that can drive traffic towards both of these simultaneously would be optimal.

Today, I also fixed a pretty large security flaw. Apparently, I didn't filter the user input as well as I thought. A stray apostrophe in the heading field was actually interpreted by my database as a control character. With the right input, someone could have compromised the database. But, it's pretty much fixed now-- just a few tweaks to the filtering function was all that was needed.

I also added a "quick-search" feature to the site. I was reluctant to do this because the search is weakened (not all fields are available). This means that all fields that aren’t listed as part of the quick-search will be defaulted to "nothing." This means that the only matches that will show up will be ones where those fields are unimportant to the poster (i.e. they selected "match all" when creating their post). Knowing that this would really weaken the search, and also knowing it would be pointless to try to include all search fields (which defeats the purpose of quick-search), I included the fields which I think are the most important-- age, gender, and location. With enough people posting, the quick-search would certainly be useful, since there would usually be a good amount of matches, even with a weekend search.

AdSense profits are...unimpressive. The excitement of getting your first few dollars quickly wears off after you realize how little you are actually getting. It has occurred to me that the path to making a large amount of money could be a very long and drawn-out process.

Fortunately for me, that’s not really a priority. I think it's more important for me to keep learning about website marketing and promotion. This entire thing has been a huge learning experience as well as another nice addition to my resume: Thousands of lines of code, robust security built-in, graphic design, site promotion and marketing, profitable revenue model, etc. Plus there's a chance that it WILL get really popular. I'm starting to think that getting attention before I have an established user base is a very very bad thing. It may be wise to stay under the radar and promote the site through forums and conversation, as opposed to blasting my site on every marketing article and press release site I can find. The problem is, I want people to know about UpHook-- but not so many people that I can't keep up and let the site grow as the number of users grows.

It's a tricky situation.