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Automated Marketing with Webbots Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
The author mentions ethics but without any depth and uses a simple defence along the lines of "everyone is doing this so why shouldn't I/you". The obvious answer being, because it is wrong to con people by any means, it's just wrong and disrespectful, if not actually illegal. Such unthinking argumentation and perspectives are not good arguments for bad behaviour and certainly not justification for a lack of personal morality.
The book is hard to read and I suspect that English may not be the author's first language. The poorly presented and thinly researched subject matter could have greatly benefitted from good editorial. That said, an editor would still not have improved the actual content or the moral stance from which the material was presented.
If you are looking for webbot and internet automation reference that is educational, well written and provides practices that will not get you blacklisted (least case), or prosecuted (worst case), check out Webbots, Spiders, and Screen Scrapers: A Guide to Developing Internet Agents with PHP/CURL
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
So what does Tofu have to do with "bots?" In this case, the clarity of instruction and writing. The author stated his goal was "to make you feel like you could do it." He achieved his goal in my case. His careful, clear and detailed instructions were everything a non tech person wants to know.
While the book is focused on those doing the marketing, I was intrigued from the point of view of the one being marketed to, particularly as a top reviewer at Amazon. Ah, so THAT is how they scrape my info! Hmmm, could this author be using this tool, or that tool? Wait, you can do that?
He remains on the ethical side and never suggests you try these ideas in inappropriate ways. Still, he made me aware of many ways the tools could be misused.
IF you are reading his book to get some ideas for promoting yours to Amazon Reviewers, I have a tip concerning those emails. Statistically speaking, the higher up on the rankings an individual is, the more requests they get to review stuff. I personally get about three requests per day to read someone's book. Most are genres I would never read or review.
If you use your "good powers" to find readers using his technique, I suggest you do any of the following:
Find books similar to yours and scrape information on reviewers of those books
Be as personal as you can (even if it is a macro) in contacting reviewers.
NEVER EVER send an email out with multiple addresses. Very bad netiquette. I either blast the sender, or toss it in the trash. So do my friends.
Now, let's see if I can figure out a macro to finish my Christmas shopping online!
The book includes several tools for automating many processes using high tech tools. The first of these, "Live HTTP Headers," is a web conversation interceptor, a free Firefox add-on. That sounds complicated, but it's just a tool to observe your browser's "conversation" with a web server.
The next tool is another Firefox add-on called "iMacro" that lets you record, save, and playback macros that you create. (Didn't the early versions of Windows include a macro recorder?) This can be used to automate many tasks. Another automated marketing tool is "uBot," which may enable your scripts to sneak past CAPTCHA gatekeepers.
"Jingling" software may be the most powerful bot traffic generator for increasing page counts at sites such as eBay and YouTube. It's in Chinese, but the book walks you through using it.
Two comments about the book:
1. It's fairly technical, but the author explains every step with illustrations and commentary.
2. There are ethical issues involved (such as sending bots to vote hundreds of times for your book or photograph in a competition), but to his credit, the author acknowledges this and discusses the issues.
It's a very informative book with a boatload of information for anyone interested in automating some computer tasks.
First a bit of introduction for the very word `bot' (because I had no clue): `Web Bot is an Internet Bot computer program whose developers claim is able to predict future events by tracking keywords entered on the internet. It was developed in 1997, originally to predict stock market trends. The creator of the Web Bot Project, Clif High, along with his associate George Ure, keep the technology and algorithms largely secret and sell the predictions via the website. An Internet bot, also known as web robot, WWW robot or simply bot, is a software application that runs automated tasks over the Internet. Typically, bots perform tasks that are both simple and structurally repetitive, at a much higher rate than would be possible for a human alone. The largest use of bots is in web spidering, in which an automated script fetches, analyses and files information from web servers at many times the speed of a human. Each server can have a file called robots.txt, containing rules for the spidering of that server that the bot is supposed to obey or be removed. In addition to their uses outlined above, bots may also be implemented where a response speed faster than that of humans is required (e.g., gaming bots and auction-site robots) or less commonly in situations where the emulation of human activity is required, for example chat bots. Bots are also being used as organization and content access applications for media delivery. Webot.com is one recent example of utilizing bots to deliver personal media across the web from multiple sources. In this case the bots track content updates on host computers and deliver live streaming access to a browser based logged in user.'
Now on more solid ground, reading Marcus Eigh's book is an eye-opener. He brings to the reader a number of automated online marketing tools meticulously described and accompanied by very useful screenshots and careful instructions. His information on web macros used for marketing tasks and the traffic automation software he brings to our attention are valuable and inordinately useful - once mastered. So again this bright young man has popped the cork off a fresh bottle of information that promises to start the new year with a bang. Grady Harp, December 13
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