Monthly Archives: January 2013

Captcha Credits & Secondary Submissions

This is a long post, but quite important as it describes a big change coming to the jobs submissions functionality for Pro members.

The Secondary Submissions tool is an under-used tool available to Pro members to allow you to reschedule your existing links to any new sites added since the original submission. This allows you to continue getting new backlinks for your previous submissions for as long as you have your IMAutomator account.

We ran a global report today counting up all the secondary submissions available for all jobs for each of the Pro members. Some of you guys have 50k submissions available!!! That’s 50k backlinks just sitting there unclaimed!

Anyway, this tool has great intentions but was never implemented particularly well and it’s not intuitive to use which is probably why it is under-used. The addition of the upcoming Captcha Credits functionality will force us to change how this whole concept works.

Currently, as a Pro member, when you submit a new job it gets blasted out to every site in the system without exception. When Captcha sites are live, you’ll have a new interface in the submission screen that allows you to choose which sites to submit to and you’ll see just how many credits it will cost.

As an aside, we have also had a few requests to allow selection of sites in general. Not all members want all links to go to all sites – it can be beneficial to mix up the backlink profile and not use the exact same set of sites for all your links.

So, when we build the interface to allow selection of Captcha sites, we’re going to do it for ALL sites – so if you don’t want to bother with some PR1’s or perhaps you’d rather use your own account for a particularly high profile site, then you’ll have the flexibility to do that.

So that is going to change the concept of job ‘completion’. As it stands now, a job gets scheduled to be submitted to every site, and once all of those submissions are complete the overall job is deemed to be complete and it moved to the completed jobs page. Then it becomes available for selection in the Secondary Submissions screen.

This is messy and unnecessarily complicated. Instead, we want to move towards the concept of jobs never being complete as there will always be new sites available. This will be especially so with the addition of Captcha sites simply because there are so many MORE of them! We will really be able to expand our site lists.

And this is another reason why you might want to be selective about what sites you choose. If we had 100 bookmark sites, you might not want your link to be blasted to every single one of those (but if you do – you can do that as before!)

So once you submit a job, instead of the whole ‘secondary submissions’ idea (which is a stupid name anyway!) we’re going to introduce instead the concept of ‘submissions available’. If we have 50 sites and you submit a bookmark to 40 of them, that job still has 10 submissions available. If the next day we add 2 new sites to the system, that job now has 12 submissions available and every other job you ever submitted in the past has 2 new ones.

We want to make it easy and intuitive to pickup all these additional submissions. First of all we’re going to overhaul the jobs list. Right now it just gives you a great big list divided into pages and there’s no way to easily search through them. We’ll add searching and sorting functionality so you can see jobs from a date range, or do a text search on the title or the URL and so on.

In this jobs list we’ll also show a new column indicating how many submissions are available. For existing members that have been with us for a while and have never used the Secondary Submissions tool, this number on many jobs will be equal to the count of the current sites in the system!

Then you’ll be able to go into any job and edit it like you do now except that you’ll also be able to submit it to any of the new sites just like you do with a new submission.

This will be quite a big change, and we’ll have to introduce it in stages so for the meantime, the secondary submissions tool will continue to work as it does now, but captcha sites will be omitted. Once you’re able to re-submit directly from the jobs screen we’ll get rid of the secondary submissions tool entirely.

Captcha Credits Testing – Phase 2

The ‘minor’ bug that was fixed yesterday actually had a significant impact on the success rates of the captcha sites we have in the system – they increased dramatically and are now ready for the second phase of testing!

One thing to clarify before I go on is that this captcha system is still currently in testing, the sites are submitted to at random as part of normal submissions and members are not actually charged in any way for them! They are all additional free backlinks whilst the system is under test!

Captcha Credit Costs Explained

We have now decided exactly how captcha credits will work. Each site submission has a captcha credit cost equal to the Page Rank of the site. For example, a submission to Diggit which is PR1 costs just 1 credit, where as a submission to Digit Fest which is a PR4 site, costs 4 credits.

For testing purposes we have allocated 500 credits to all Pro members and 100 credits to all Light members. All these do right now is allow us to start tracking the spending and refunding of credits for testing purposes – the credits are not real yet!

When the system becomes live you will be able to select exactly which sites you would like to submit a link to and the running total cost of credits will be shown. For now, certain submissions are selected for additional submissions to sites that are on trial and currently all captcha sites are on trial so they are being picked up by this process.

When the job is initially submitted the credits for the sites chosen are spent. At the moment, as these are chosen by the system, there is no check against the member credit balance. Once it’s live, your credit balance will be shown and you will only be able to select captcha sites for as long as you have enough credits to spend.

When a submission is completed it is marked as a success or a failure. If the job fails, the credits are refunded back to the member account. That way we can guarantee that members are only charged credits for successful submissions. Remember this is just in testing right now – nobody is actually being charged for anything 🙂

On the subject of charging – we are not going to be making any monetary charge for these sites for the time being. We will allocate Pro members a credit package (most likely 1000 credits) as part of their Pro membership every month. At some time in the future we may allow the actual purchase of credit packages but for now, we want to just include them in the service at no extra cost to the member.

Credit Transaction Report

We have now implemented a new report on the members page – the one you see when you first login. You will now see your current credit balance displayed (remember this is just for testing purposes right now!) and you can also generate the report to see how they are being used. You’ll see where we allocate credits, where they are spent on submissions and refunded for failed submissions.

Note that not all members will see anything in the report – only selected jobs use trial sites.

This is the last phase of testing for captcha sites. We’ll let this run for a few days, get some more sites in and then the final (and most complicated) phase is to modify the submission process to allow the captcha sites to be selected when submitting a job.

Also note that we are only working on Bookmark sites at the moment. Once this is live and working well, we shall extend it to all the other job types and then hopefully we can massively increase our supported sites list which we have been trying to do for some years!

Fixed Minor Bug with Retry Mechanism

Our submission engine has a mechanism in place to retry a failed submission several times over a period of time to get around server glitches, problems with the Captcha system and anything else that can cause a temporary hiccup.

We’ve just found (and fixed) a minor bug that was causing the number of submission attempts to be recorded too high – this meant that a failed submission would not be tried as many times as it should have.

Whilst this doesn’t really affect the live sites as most have success rates of over 95%, it could have affected our CAPTCHA sites on test. We currently have about 15 sites in testing and many of them have failure rates that are still too high. Hopefully this will bring them down a little and bring us a step closer to getting captcha sites in IMAutomator!

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