Archive for April, 2007

New CherryPy

Monday, April 30th, 2007

I’ve upgraded CherryPy from version 2.2 to version 3.0.1. It’s supposed to be much faster but I was also doing the upgrade because it seems easier to use and all of the documentation has now been migrated to 3.0 so it can be a bit of a pain to be using the older software.

The upgrade seems to have gone fine, as I expected I had a couple of glitches but nothing too major.

The speed is still not fantastic - but I think that I really need to take a good look at MySQL which I suspect is where the slowdown is happening. I’ve got loads of memory so I’ll need to make sure that the cache is set to being as large as possible which may well get things moving a bit more swiftly.

Problems from Dubai

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

I’ve just received the following mail:

Hi guys,

I have put our profile on your new site because at least I could get into it. I will explain.

We are now living in Dubai where every website with any nudity is blocked, the only reason your site was accesible to me was it is new and has not yet been found by the authorities.

Draconian? Yes, but thats what you get in a Muslim country.

name redacted

I am really keen to do something about this. Maybe we could keep a secret domain name/IP address for members and regularly change it - and make sure that the non-logged in view on that site was about Microsoft or something? But I’m not sure how as a free site we could keep that secret?

I think I’m gonna ask for some advice on this.

Out of supplementary hell!

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

What a relief! Just did a query in Google today and I’m delighted to say that all of the pages are coming back. Just last week, virtually of the pages were being held back as “supplementary results”.

I believe that this meant that Google thought the pages were all much too similar so wasn’t giving them any weight due to having meta description tags that were virtually the same. There is some circumstantial evidence too because I noticed that we were finally getting some Google traffic recently and I think this happened at roughly the same time we exited supplementary purgatory with our meta description sins atoned for.

Cache for the homepage

Sunday, April 22nd, 2007

I’ve now implemented a cache for the expensive parts of the homepage using Cheetah Templates. It was a bit of a pain to set up because I needed to make sure there was a separate cache for each of my threads. However the net result is that homepage renders in 6 ms instead of 176 ms!

This is on my laptop in development mode, it should be a bit faster on the real server in production mode. I’m also now getting to the stage with the homepage that CherryPy is becoming significant so the next stage of optimisation would be to upgrade to version 3 but there’s no need for that right now

Speeding things up

Saturday, April 21st, 2007

I’m really pretty pleased with the marketing progress and I notice know that we are finally ranking on some swingers searches on Google - at last! So I guess that I’m now quite convinced that the site is going to succeed from a marketing point of view so I’m going to focus a little bit on the technical side to make sure we can handle the traffic.

My personal background is in marketing so I will naturally do better at growing the site than at the software and indeed I’ve already brought the server to a halt through a mix of my marketing success and technical incompetance!

The most important page of the site is the homepage. On my laptop (in debug mode which slows things down a bit) it renders in 176 ms which breaks down as:

  • 32 ms for the Cheetah template
  • 141 ms for the SQL querieis
  • 3 ms for CherryPy

What makes me laugh about this is that I had been thinking about upgrading from CherryPy 2 to CherryPy 3 because they’ve speeded it up!

I’ve looked at the SQL queries and I’m not sure there’s much I can do to speed them up significantly so I think what I need to do is to get them cached. Unfortunately I’m struggling to get Cheetah’s cache to work.

Right now I’ve got plenty of capacity on the server so this isn’t a pressing issue but I really don’t want to have to do another hardware upgrade when I can increase my capacity through clever coding. Once I’ve got it sorted I can then do a smug podcast!

Spammers & a nice surprise

Monday, April 16th, 2007

I’ve had loads of hassle today from spammers. I had a 419 in the morning who I stamped on immediately but they just re-registered!

So I quickly hacked up an IP address banning system and took out over 4000 African addresses in the same allocation that was being used. It seems to have taken them out.

Then a few hours later my new spam detection system went off and I found that someone was spamming our members. I took him out too. What is slightly annoying though is that I can’t just force one member to log off, I actually have to log everyone off which isn’t ideal.

But then at the end of the day I had a lovely surprise. A member posted to the blog that they’d pimped their profile and I was very impressed! I also didn’t realise this could be done!

It just reminded me of the start of My Space.

Email Hassle

Thursday, April 12th, 2007

Well AOL have now decided to block me because of the volume of email I’m sending. So I went to their postmaster site to sort things out and filled in an application to get on their whitelist. The form gave a choice between abuse@ and postmaster@ my domain. I filled it in and after a while noticed I hadn’t had any response.

I then just decided to test to make sure that my postmaster and abuse addresses are working, My domain is at Yahoo and I have it set up to accept email from any address and forward to my Yahoo account. However it turns out that it is forwarding from all addresses apart from postmaster and abuse which it is bouncing!

I am very, very unhappy. I’ve been unhappy with Yahoo for a while because they also won’t do SPF or even their own Domain Keys system so I think the time has come for me to take over the primary DNS for the domain (I’ll get Serve Path to do the secondary). In the process of taking it over I will lose their anonymous service which was quite nice so I’ve also ordered a British Monomarks postbox. As an added bonus this will allow me to add a postal address to the site and register for Google Local which should have SEO benefits.

In the meantime I’m just going to mail the AOL members manually from Yahoo which isn’t ideal.

News from the marketplace

Tuesday, April 10th, 2007

Two interesting bits of news:

  1. The Blog reports that the casual sex section of Craigslist is it’s most popular area - and of course Craigslist itself is one of the most popular websites in the world.
  2. AdultFriendFinder (the 30th most visited website in the UK according to Alexa today) is reported to gross over $200m which is in the same ball park as Yahoo’s $269 million results from last quarter.

The other cheering bit of news is that I’ve had a couple of people mailing me today volunteering to help with the site. I think that’s very positive and our secret weapon!

UK Swingers Site Rankings

Sunday, April 8th, 2007

I’ve just re-done the benchmarking. The Google Toolbar has not been updated since the last benchmarking so that’s unchanged. The Alexa Rankings have moved though.

Alexa Rank PageRank Site
74 7 AdultFriendFinder
8,754 4 Swinging Heaven
16,121 5
19,814 4 TheAdultHub
33,014 4 Sex in the UK
62,614 3 Local Swingers
154,143 3 Swing2Us
179,938 2 UK Swingers
298,051 3 Fab Swingers

Once again, virtually all of the competition have moved down while Fab Swingers has moved up. As long as we can maintain this momentum then we’ll start to move up this table quite quickly this year.

Jane’s Sex Guide

Sunday, April 8th, 2007

I’ve wanted to be in Jane’s Guide for absolutely ages. I really respect what they do and I think it would be a real stamp of approval for the site if we got listed.

I applied today and I really hope that they list us.

If they do I’ll plaster the Jane’s Quality logo all over the site!