PBNs 2019 – Domain Detailing – Picking Expired Domains And 301 Redirects

In PBNs 2019 Part 1 we discussed some logistics of organization on a high level concerning Cloudflare, Spreadsheets and above all randomness.  In this the second part of our private blog network series we’ll focus on expired domains and the assessing of their value.

Domain Authority Is One Part

First, we will look at Domain Authority but before we do lets note Domain Authority in and of itself is worthless.  It IS NOT used by Google.  It is made by a company called Moz and it is their best guest how Google interrupts the content on a site based on a lot of factors but not all the factors and not in the same ratio.  Why do we use it then?  Google doesn’t have to tell us their formula for ranking a site in their results…in fact to do so would likely be a disservice to everyone involved.  So based on observation and conjecture Moz provides us with an imperfect rating called Domain Authority.  It is though in the end a made up number that is flawed.  It was so flawed that DA 2.0 came out in March 2019 where many sites saw their rating plummet.  Search results didn’t change … why would they when they are not connected to DA.  Now thats out of the way…

Expired Domains

We should start with https://expireddomains.net its a good site that has aggregated the domains being deleted from multiple registrars and it provides some base metrics that we can use to qualify domains for a closer look.  There are millions of deleted domain names and we need someway to filter them down to something you can work with.

Why do we care about expired domains?  Your PBN is attempting to mlmic organically earned backlinks.  In the real world backlinks would likely come from sites that have their own backlink profiles and no two organic sites would likely have the same backlink profile.  Buying a new domain name will come with 0 backlinks.  Buying a used one will likely include some backlinks therefore giving your PBN its power.  Think of these like telephone numbers…and you want someone to call you…you wont want to use the old number of someone who didn’t have any friends, but if you get a popular person’s old number then your phone is more likely to ring.  Sure they are after the former owner ( or site in our case ) but if you can answer their questions and keep them happy they may keep calling.  Same with expired domains.

Another site that focuses on expired domains is domcop.com.  They are expensive and I’ve never used them because I can do all the work it does pretty swiftly and save the 100 dollars a month.  Sure they have a cheaper plan but you cant do anything with it.  Access to the expired section and archived section isn’t included …. making it relatively worthless.  Back to expireddomains.net its free.  Once we log in we can choose filters to sort down to the domains we want.  Some of the filters I always put into play are:

expireddomains.net filters

expireddomains.net filters

The Main Tab

  1. Domain Name   CONTAINS  – If I want a domain about a hospital I’ll type ” hospital ” then may remove some domains that would have worked but its helpful.  If you get too few results you can remove the filter.
  2. Length – I set this to no more than 15 characters.  Longer ones are likely created for some weird purpose.
  3. Hyphens – I set this to no more than 1
  4. Backlinks – I set this to 10 or more.  Keep in mind that the metrics reported may not be accurate all the time but this at least fishes out all the domains that have 0 links.
  5. Only New Last 7 Days – 7 days is ages in this kind of hunt but for our purposes I leave a few extra days because those that set it to 12 or 24 hours may have missed a gem.  After a week though the pile is looted beyond use.
  6. Only Available Domains – who cares about it if its already registered for someone else.
  7. Domains per page – change this to the max … 200.

The Additional Tab

  1. I check NO CCTLDS and NO SECOND LEVEL DOMAINS – the quality of the domains aren’t worth your time in these country codes unless you are specifically targeting that country…but even then a .org or a .info is better usually than a .bi

The Adwords & SEO Tab

  1. Domain Pop – How many domains point to the expired domain?  A site with 100 backlinks from 1 domain is less valuable than a site with 10 backlinks from 10 domains.  So we want to make sure we have the most domains pointing to our site.  I generally set this to 50 or 100.
  2. Wikipedia – If I have a ton of results after all these filters then I may put a minimal of 1 here…but thats a secondary search if iI need to filter more.

The Majestic Tab

  1. Trust Flow – I’ll set this to 7.  Its rare to find a high trust expired domain as they’ve been picked up usually in an auction but you don’t want a trust flow of below 5 so I put that number in here to ensure the site has some trust.
  2. I may use the drop down filer Majestic Topical Trust Flow for specific niches but be careful here because the sites often lose context of the domain name… for instance a domain named “ThisIsHealthInsurance.com” can very easily be miscategorized as transit.

Filtered Results

Search and gain these results….

expired domains search results for pbns

expired domains search results for pbns

Now most of these values are worthless to me.  They are cached results usually and not exactly accurate.  SO I use the clip board icon to export the top 200 sites that made it through our filters.  I sort these results though first by Domain Pop or DP in the graph.  Use the clip board to export just the domain names to your clip board. clipboard


Domain Detailer – Accurate SEO Metrics

With these export names in order of domain pop I paste the results into a speed-sheet for safe keeping.  And then I use a program called Domain Detailer.  You can download it … its an application on PC.  You can buy credits and each domain name looked up takes a credit.  But you get a ton for your money.  Ive probably spent 80 bucks on these credits and looked up over a hundred thousand domains in this tool.  The metrics reported are more accurate than expireddomains.net metrics.

Domain Detailer

Domain Detailer

From Domain Detailer I paste the domain names I have selected and click “Add From Text Box” with credits the program will build you a spreadsheet with metrics that should be semi self explanatory.  The metrics I focus on are Moz DA, Majestic Domains, Majestic TF and the categories.  Backlinks are often off and its good that we have two sources … Moz and Majestics counts … if either has some I believe the higher one.

When I find a domain that has a mix of these metrics that seems above the group I move to the final phase.

Anchor Text

I open SEMRush.com and search that domain name and verify that the domain pop is as good as I expected.  I then check the anchor text and if the anchor text is consistent with the keywords I’d like to be pulling in I then say … its time to buy.

Remember to use a registrar that offers free private registration and shop around they are not all the same price.

We’ll talk soon about PBNs and the onsite things that you’ll need to consider when building the site up.  You also may decide that you just want to help a specific site out and skip building a PBN site and 301 redirect all backlinks to the main domain…we’ll cover that as well in Part 3.

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PBNs 2019 – Domain Detailing – Picking Expired Domains And 301 Redirects

With Manchester City Out, The New Champions League Favorite Is …

Eight days ago, the FiveThirtyEight Soccer Power Index (SPI) gave Manchester City the best chance to win the Champions League. On Wednesday, Manchester City crashed out of the competition in spectacular fashion, conceding three goals at home to Premier League rival Tottenham Hotspur. The series finished 4-4 on aggregate, but Spurs get to play on because of the competition’s away-goals rule. Remember all that talk about City winning the historic quadruple? That’s all over now.

Pep Guardiola’s Sky Blues got off to a quick start, grabbing the lead via a strike from Raheem Sterling in the game’s fourth minute. Sterling’s goal canceled out Tottenham’s 1-0 aggregate lead, and the tilt was on. But it wasn’t long before Son Heung-min struck to give the lead back to Spurs, and it wasn’t long before he struck again. At that point it looked like City was doomed, but then they stormed back, scoring twice to tilt things back in their favor. Spurs were not done, however, and got the series-winning goal from unlikely hero Fernando Llorente in the 73rd minute. They still had to survive some end-of-the-game drama: City scored what appeared to be the winning goal, but VAR ruled that forward Sergio Aguero was offside in the buildup, and Tottenham was on to the semifinals to face Ajax.1

City is out, but the favorites to win the whole thing still hail from Northern England. According to our SPI, Liverpool has the best chance to conquer Europe. The Reds followed up their very professional 2-0 win over Porto at Anfield last week with a very professional 4-1 win over Porto at Estadio de Dragao on Wednesday. Porto needed to score at least two goals to send the series to extra time — and at least three to win it outright — and the first 35 minutes of the match reflected that: Porto completed twice as many passes in the attacking third as did its opponents from Merseyside en route to outshooting them 14 to 3.

But then Liverpool scored a goal in the 26th minute, and it was all but in the bag for Jurgen Klopp’s side. Eder Militao, future center back for Real Madrid, scored a late goal for Porto, but it was merely consolation. And Liverpool’s reward for its 6-1 aggregate victory? A date with Barcelona in the semifinals.

Speaking of the Catalonians, they made relatively light work of Manchester United in the quarterfinals on Tuesday. Lionel Messi did Lionel Messi things at Camp Nou, scoring twice from outside the box — one shot with his left foot, the other with his weaker right — in a matter of four minutes. The first was vintage Messi, a left-footed effort driven low that curled past the outstretched body of Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea and into the bottom left corner of the goal. The second was less spectacular, a speculative effort that de Gea whiffed on uncharacteristically. Gift or not, the goal put Messi two clear at the top of the Champions League Golden Boot race. A goal in the 61st minute from old United foe Philippe Coutinho put the series out of reach for the Mancs. And now the soccer world can salivate over a Messi-vs.-Salah showdown in the semifinals.

If the result in Barcelona felt like a forgone conclusion, the result in Turin felt like anything but. Ajax’s 2-1 Tuesday win (3-2 aggregate) marked a sort of long-fermented revenge: In April 1997, the last time the Dutch giants played in the Champions League semifinals — a month before the team’s current best player, Frenkie de Jong, was born — they were eviscerated by Juventus, losing by an aggregate score of 6-2. That Ajax team featured club and country legends Edwin van der Sar, Frank de Boer, Marc Overmars and Danny Blind,2 but Lucky Ajax wasn’t very lucky on that occasion.

This time around, Ajax took the game to Juventus from the opening whistle, a strategy that should have stunned exactly no one who watched the team embarrass Real Madrid last month. Total shots and shots on target were nearly equal Tuesday in Turin, but Ajax created more big chances and completed a higher percentage of passes in the attacking third than Juventus. Crucially, the Dutchmen didn’t panic when Cristiano Ronaldo scored to give the Italians the lead in the 28th minute. They kept pressing, kept playing on the front foot, and midfielder Donny van de Beek bagged an equalizer just six minutes later. And even after it took the lead on a header from team captain Matthijs de Ligt in the 67th minute, Ajax didn’t sit back. The side smelled blood and attempted more passes inside the penalty area in the final 23 minutes plus stoppage time than its opponents. Ajax could have scored a couple more — and now it has a 16 percent chance in our SPI model to win the whole thing, up significantly from before the quarterfinal’s second leg.

It’s hard to predict whether Ajax pups like de Jong, de Ligt and van de Beek will go on to have the kinds of long, fruitful careers their elder countrymen did, but there’s little doubt that they’ve cemented themselves as club legends. They’ve made Ajax relevant again. Now all that’s left for them to do is to make Ajax champions again.

Check out our latest soccer predictions.

Who Might Make The Democratic Debate Stage?

Presidential primary debates are a major media spectacle in American politics, so candidates, naturally, want to participate lest they become irrelevant. And with a historically large Democratic field in the 2020 cycle, the race is on to qualify for the first two debates, which are taking place this summer.9

Democratic hopefuls have two ways of getting onto the debate stage, according to a February news release from the Democratic National Committee. They can earn at least 1 percent of the vote in three different national or early-state polls conducted by qualifying pollsters, or they can receive donations from at least 65,000 unique donors, with at least 200 individual donors in at least 20 different states. And as you can see in the table below, of the 16 major candidates FiveThirtyEight is tracking — plus former Vice President Joe Biden, who hasn’t yet entered the race but is widely expected to — 15 have already met at least one of those two criteria, according to our research.

Which candidates have made the primary debates?

Democratic presidential candidates or potential candidates, by qualifying criteria for the first two primary debates, as of April 16, 2019

Qualifies for debates via …
Candidate officially Running Polls Donors Both
Pete Buttigieg
Kamala Harris
Beto O’Rourke
Bernie Sanders
Elizabeth Warren
Andrew Yang
Cory Booker
Julian Castro
John Delaney
Kirsten Gillibrand
John Hickenlooper
Jay Inslee
Amy Klobuchar
Joe Biden
Tulsi Gabbard
Tim Ryan
Eric Swalwell

Includes candidates deemed “major” by FiveThirtyEight and Joe Biden, who has not formally entered the race.

To qualify via polling, a candidate must reach 1 percent in at least three national or early-state polls from qualifying polling organizations. To qualify via donors, a candidate must have at least 65,000 unique donors with at least 200 donors in at least 20 different states. Whether a candidate has hit the donor threshold is based on information released by campaigns.

Sources: Polls, Media reports

Of the major candidates we’re tracking, only U.S. Reps. Tim Ryan of Ohio and Eric Swalwell of California have not yet qualified, but working in their favor is that they announced their campaigns in the past two weeks. Also considering that they both received 1 percent in a recent Iowa poll by Monmouth University (one of the qualifying pollsters), it’s not implausible that they could hit that mark in two more qualifying polls by early June, ahead of the first debate.

And remember that our tally above doesn’t include 2020 hopefuls whom FiveThirtyEight doesn’t consider “major.” Some of those candidates, including author Marianne Williamson, Miramar, Florida, Mayor Wayne Messam and retired Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel, could end up qualifying for the debates, as could candidates who have up to now been pondering a run but end up getting into the race in the next couple of months. Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, for example, have not officially declared their candidacies, but each has already received 1 percent in at least one qualifying poll. So the number of candidates meeting the criteria to participate in the first debates could grow.

This means we could end up in a situation in which more than 20 candidates qualify to participate in the first debate. The Democratic National Committee indicated in its release that it will cap the debate at 20 candidates and that if more than 20 qualify, the candidates who meet both thresholds will be given preference. Based on our tally, which relies on self-reported figures, six currently do.10 But we don’t have a complete picture of who has met the donor criteria. (The DNC said in its release that candidates will be required to provide evidence of how many donors they’ve had.) So, theoretically, we could end up with more than 20 candidates who hit both marks.

What happens then? The party indicated in the release that it would then give debate spots to the candidates with the highest polling averages. So let’s suppose that the DNC needs to create a polling average to narrow the field to 20 participants — where do the candidates fall currently? Since late February, there have been four qualifying national surveys and three early-state polls (two from Iowa and one from New Hampshire).11 If we average these polls together, we can get a sense of how a polling average might help some candidates — and not others. As you can see in the table below, only eight candidates are polling above 2 percent, on average.

In a big field, many candidates are polling below 1 percent

Polling average of Democratic presidential candidates based on seven surveys from qualifying debate pollsters since late February

Candidate Number of polls included in Polling Average
Joe Biden 7 27.4%
Bernie Sanders 7 22.5
Kamala Harris 7 9.2
Beto O’Rourke 7 7.6
Elizabeth Warren 7 6.6
Cory Booker 7 3.4
Amy Klobuchar 7 2.9
Pete Buttigieg 7 2.4
Julian Castro 6 1.2
Tim Ryan 1 1.0
Kirsten Gillibrand 7 0.8
Andrew Yang 5 0.6
Jay Inslee 6 0.5
John Delaney 7 0.4
John Hickenlooper 7 0.4
Eric Swalwell 3 0.3
Tulsi Gabbard 7 0.1

Includes candidates deemed “major” by FiveThirtyEight and Joe Biden, who has not formally entered the race.

Combined average based on four national polls, two Iowa polls and one New Hampshire poll.

Source: POLLs

Seven candidates are polling at less than 1 percent, which could signal that they might be in trouble if the polling average comes into play. Granted, if there are more than 20 qualifiers by June, there will be more polls to include, which could boost — or hurt — a candidate’s standing. Not to mention that it’s unclear how the DNC would calculate a candidate’s polling average. FiveThirtyEight reached out for clarification, but the DNC wouldn’t specify how it would handle such a situation.

Additionally, the process for averaging polls could mean that tenths of a percentage point might determine which lower-tier candidates make or don’t make the stage, so Democrats could find themselves mired in controversy because pollsters don’t always ask about the same list of candidates and surveys have margins of error much larger than a tenth or two of a percentage point.12

If the polling averages aren’t enough — and the DNC has need for further tie-breakers to determine a final list of debaters — it said in its release that the number of “unique donors” would be taken into consideration (although it declined to specify how this would work). It’s no wonder then that candidates are also very focused on increasing their total number of donors. For example, former Maryland Rep. John Delaney is trying to hit the donor threshold by promising to donate $2 to charity every time someone new donates to him. His campaign said Delaney’s “debate challenge” will remain in place until he has 100,000 new donors, which could help him in the event of a tie-breaker.

Time will tell, but Democrats could very well have more than 20 candidates qualify for the debates. And if that happens, get ready for a debate about the debates, similar to what Republicans experienced in the 2016 presidential cycle.

FiveThirtyEight's 2020 draft: Episode 2

Can Julian Castro Rally Latino Voters?

Latinos became the nation’s largest minority group in the early 2000s. Next year, the country’s pool of eligible voters is expected to include more Latinos than African Americans for the first time. But more than 10 years after black voters proved pivotal in nominating and electing the first African American major party presidential candidate, a Latino candidate has never come particularly close to winning the Democratic or Republican presidential primaries.

Julian Castro, of course, hopes to change that. So far though, he’s polling in the low single digits. Whether it’s Castro or another candidate in another election cycle, will Latino Democrats mobilize behind electing one of their own for president, as black Democrats have in the past?

Before we get to Castro, let’s start with understanding the role of the Latino vote in the Democratic primary process. While the eligible voter pool is expected to include more potential Latino voters then black voters in the 2020 general election, black voters are still likely to outnumber Latino ones in the Democratic primary. That’s true for several reasons, most notably because African Americans tend to vote at higher percentages and because Latinos are more divided between parties (about 25 percent are Republican and about 60 percent are Democrats) than African Americans are (close to 90 percent are Democrats). So part of the reason media coverage of the 2020 Democratic primary, including the coverage at FiveThirtyEight, tends to emphasize the role of black voters more than Latino voters is simply that there will likely be more black voters in the primary. As a rough estimate, I would expect somewhere from 18-25 percent of Democratic primary voters in 2020 to be black and 10-20 percent to be Latino.

But the size of the black vote is not the only reason it’s important in the primary — black Democrats also sometimes vote as a big, unified bloc. In four modern, competitive Democratic primaries, black voters overwhelmingly got behind one candidate — Jesse Jackson in 1984 and 1988, Barack Obama in 2008 and Hillary Clinton in 2016 — with more than 75 percent of the African American voters backing a single candidate, according to exit polls.

The Latino vote, in contrast, has tended to be less unified, regardless of whether a Latino candidate was on the ballot. The most prominent Latino Democrat to run for president was then-New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson in 2008. He dropped out after lackluster finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire, so his campaign didn’t last long enough to compete in states with large Latino populations. The overall Latino vote is much smaller on the GOP side, but neither Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas nor Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida did particularly well in 2016 with Latino voters in any of the three states where we have detailed exit poll results — each won a plurality of the Latino vote in their home states, but President Trump won at least a quarter of Hispanic voters in both Florida and Texas and a plurality in Nevada.

The candidate who has done best with Latino voters in recent primaries is Hillary Clinton, but even her performance was not dominant. In 2008, Clinton won more than 60 percent of the Latino vote in the Democratic primary. In 2016, few exit polls were conducted in states with sizable Latino populations,1 but of the four states where we do have detailed results, Clinton basically split the Latino vote in Illinois and Nevada against Bernie Sanders, while winning about 70 percent in Florida and Texas.

What does all this history mean for Castro’s candidacy? Castro, who served as mayor of San Antonio from 2009 to 2014 and then as secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Obama administration, is not a civil rights leader in the mold of Jackson or an already famous political figure like Clinton. But you could see him taking a path somewhat similar to another Harvard Law School graduate who ran for president in his 40s: Barack Obama.

In 2007, before the voting began, polls suggested that Clinton and Obama were running neck-and-neck among black voters. Then, Obama won Iowa and narrowly lost New Hampshire, two states with very small black populations. Once the primary moved to the South, Obama overwhelmingly won the black vote. It’s impossible to know for sure, but it seems likely that black voters moved decisively toward Obama as they saw that he had a real chance to win. And that black support helped Obama win many Southern states, including a number with heavily black Democratic electorates.

For Castro, then, the ideal scenario is that he is a viable candidate when the primaries start in February, so he can galvanize Latinos behind him in three key states in particular: California, Nevada and Texas. Nevada (where about 20 percent of Democratic primary voters are likely to be Latino) is currently scheduled to be the third state to vote.2 California and Texas, the two states with the largest Latino populations, hold their primaries along with several other states on Super Tuesday, on March 3, but both states allow early voting, so lots of voters in both states will cast ballots in February.3

In short, Castro will have less time, post-Iowa, to show Latino voters he has a real chance. That means he’ll need to use Iowa and New Hampshire as a springboard as much as possible, while also trying to rally Latino voters for strong showings in Nevada, California and Texas regardless of what happens in the first two contests.

And it’s entirely possible that he will succeed in mobilizing Latino voters. Some research has shown Latino voters are more likely to vote if a Latino candidate is on the ballot and more likely to back the Latino candidate than a white one, even in an intra-party race. But that research largely looked at state- and city-level races — we haven’t had a major Latino presidential candidate on the Democratic side, where appeals to shared racial identity are easier to make than in the GOP.

“If Latinos think that Castro has a reasonable chance of winning, they will come out in large numbers to support him,” said Melissa Michelson, a political science professor at Menlo College and an expert on Latino political activism. She suggested having key Latino leaders embracing Castro’s candidacy would be important, with Michelson specifically naming journalist Jorge Ramos as a key potential validator for Castro.

Michelson’s caveat — “a reasonable chance of winning” — is important and goes back to the Obama comparison. Castro is currently polling at 1 percent in many surveys. He is raising significantly less money than some of his rivals, and it will take a lot of money to organize and win in big states like California and Texas. There are few polls that have large samples of Latino Democrats, but the fact that, in the few polls available, he’s not doing much better in California (where 30 percent of eligible voters are Latino) than in Iowa (where 3 percent of eligible voters are Latino) suggests that he is not overwhelmingly popular with that demographic.

For Castro to even test the potential for a Latino candidate to mobilize Latino voters in a Democratic primary, he needs to first do fairly well in contexts where Latino voters are not particularly powerful: fundraising, endorsements and debates.

Castro is an experienced politician, and he seems to know all of this. He is running a campaign not unlike Obama’s in 2008 or Cory Booker’s and Kamala Harris’s this year — some targeted appeals to his racial group but also a traditional campaign aimed at the broader Democratic base. I spent a day on the campaign trail with Castro last month in and around Charleston, South Carolina. Castro started the day visiting a black church, then went to the site where a black history museum is being built and later to a barber shop. In short, the former mayor was campaigning for the black vote, just as all the other presidential candidates do when they go to South Carolina, where African Americans are likely to be the party’s biggest voting bloc. He doesn’t want to be narrowly defined as the Latino candidate and realizes he can’t be defined that way if he wants to win.

At the same time, Castro, who is Mexican American, went to Puerto Rico in January for his first major trip after launching his campaign. His staffers are trying to organize the relatively small (6 percent) Latino population in Iowa and get them excited about Castro. He has called for a “Marshall Plan for Central America,” referring to the aid that the United States offered to help rebuild Europe after World War II. Castro is one of the few Democratic candidates to put out a comprehensive immigration proposal, with a group of proposals that would add up to a total reversal of the aggressive border security regime that has existed not only under Trump but also Obama and George W. Bush. He is not shying away from issues that disproportionately affect Latinos and could cast him as defending Latino interests.

When I asked Castro how he would present himself as “electable” to Democratic voters, he named six states that he felt he could flip: Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which Clinton barely lost in 2016, along with Arizona, Florida and Texas. Castro didn’t outright say this, but the implication was obvious: Arizona, Florida and Texas are the three states with the largest Latino electorates that did not vote for Democrats in 2016.

“It’s important to always campaign and to govern for everybody,” Castro said when I asked him about being the only Latino candidate in the race. “And I’ve always done that in public service.”

But, he added: “I recognize that there’s special meaning for the Latino community, especially now, because the community has been so targeted by this president, whether on the issue of immigration or his comments about the Mexican judge or any number of ways that he has scapegoated people. He has tried to paint people of color as the ‘other’ …. So I’m confident that my campaign is going to resonate with people of all different backgrounds, but of course there’s special meaning in the Latino community.”

Castro is doing exactly what he should be doing at this stage — trying to make himself a viable candidate to all Democrats while also laying the groundwork for Latino voters in particular to get behind him. But he probably has to be great at the first part to get a chance at the second part. And so far, the signs are not promising.

From ABC News:
Presidential candidate Julian Castro on his 2020 campaign

IFTTT Loses Gmail Service

Much of the info in this post is from an article on engadget.  I became aware of the situation as I was working to build an IFTTT applet that would change my office lights to red if a website went down and I got an email about it from Uptime Robot.  That applet can probably still be made but just not using Gmail anymore as a trigger.

From Endadget:

Google’s push to tighten third-party API access is already going to cost the world Google+, but a change that more of you might notice is coming to IFTTT. The service sent out emails alerting users that their “recipe” scripts involving Gmail triggers and an action that could create a draft will go away as of March 31st. According to Google, the shift is a result of the Project Strobe sweep it announced last October.

IFTTT said it worked with Google to keep the integration that will support triggers to Send an email, or to Send Yourself an email, but the API lockdown that’s coming would’ve required too much work to change its services. Otherwise, integrations with Google will still be the same, but anyone relying heavily on the automated scripts may want to double check things before they get a surprise in a few days.

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IFTTT Loses Gmail Service

Tiger Woods Completes His Staggering Career Comeback

The first time Tiger Woods won the Masters, becoming the youngest to ever do it, he decimated the field and crumbled in his father’s arms. “We made it,” Earl Woods told his then-21-year-old son. Woods is now 43-going-on-60, still donning his trademark Sunday red. He scaled Augusta National this weekend for the fifth time,1 holding off a number of contenders, some of whom grew up watching him transcend the sport, on the back nine. What once seemed inevitable was anything but just a few years ago, as Woods battled surgeries and off-the-course maladies.

“Maybe the son of golf has returned,” broadcaster and former Masters champion Nick Faldo said as Woods left the 17th green.

It had been 3,954 days since Woods last won a major. Somehow, it felt even longer. Winning a major is an accomplishment reserved for a select few, but for a 10-year span beginning in the late 1990s, it was as synonymous with Woods as audacious drives and timely putts.

This didn’t come out of nowhere. Bettors knew there were signs that he was putting it all back together. But it was also known that this might have been the best remaining shot he had at summiting Augusta.

Suddenly a man who went five years without a win on tour has two in the past seven months. His turn-back-the-clock performance materialized when it mattered most. He now has three top-10s in his past four majors.

He did it by playing Amen Corner at one-under on the final day, while the other two members of the final pairing played it oneover.

Just as he has previously, Woods bashed the par-5s (-8), going three-under on them over the final round. He approached the 15th hole in a three-way tie with Xander Schauffele and Francesco Molinari, detonated his tee shot and immediately began walking toward the hole as it soared through the sky. He two-putted his way to a birdie and an outright lead and never looked back.

The last time Woods won the Masters, his chip-in on the No. 16 green provided the signature highlight of his career. Playing the same hole 14 years later, Woods added to his legend. He struck an 8-iron to the center of the green, spinning it back down the hill where it stopped 4 feet from the pin. As pandemonium played around Woods at the tee box, a replay showed him at-ease cooing “come on” to his ball at it inched closer to history.

That wasn’t the only time precision paid off for Woods on par-3s, which he played four-under for the tournament, the best four-round score among his five wins. When Molinari and Tony Finau found the water on No. 12, it was Woods who found the green and two-putted his way to par.

Nine players entered the weekend within a shot of the lead, the most in Masters history. That historically congested scoreboard continued Sunday, as each hole seemed to carry implications for the top 15 in the standings. The win marked the first time Woods came from behind in the final round to win a major.

Most unbelievable was the winding path Woods had to take just to get back to Butler Cabin. His career first began to go off the rails with a knee injury that cost him half of the 2008 season, and although he played well in 2009 (leading the PGA Tour in money won), he also blew a Sunday major lead for the first time ever when Y.E. Yang overtook him at the PGA Championship.

Then came The Accident, which brought to light an ongoing pattern of behavior that tore apart Woods’s personal life. Even that may not have been the low point, however. Woods only dropped to 52nd in the World during his post-scandal struggles — and eventually fought back to reclaim the No. 1 ranking in 2013, winning five events and once again taking the money title. But in the years that followed, Woods would play so poorly and infrequently that he dropped to 674th in the world in early 2017.

Such a pronounced valley in performance (particularly relative to the rest of his career) led plenty of pundits to write off Woods’s chances of ever winning another major. Those takes look scorching hot in retrospect, but it’s difficult to find an established veteran player whose ranking dropped outside the top 600 and who managed to claw back to win a major. Then again, Woods is one of the greatest pure talents in golf history — if anyone was going to rewrite that record book and make such an astonishing comeback, it would be him.

Age comes for everyone, of course. And the aging curve for golfers heads south well before 45, which will be here for Woods in no time. But even as younger players increasingly dominate the sport, there’s still room for perhaps the greatest golfer of all time to enhance his legacy.

It was Woods’s first Masters victory in 14 years, snapping Gary Player’s all-time record of 13 years between wins, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The win is Woods’s 81st on the PGA Tour, one shy of Sam Snead’s all-time record. It’s also his 15th major championship, three shy of Jack Nicklaus’s record. When asked about Woods’s rekindled pursuit of history on Sunday, Nicklaus said, “he’s got me shaking in my boots.”

Golf’s prodigal son has officially returned, and what happens next is not known. But no one will again underestimate what Tiger Woods is capable of on a golf course.

Superlatives of SEO – 140 Names To Follow

I’m not a fan of ranked lists and they take me back to middle school lunch room sitting, where a self created elite define a class system.  BUT I do like that the list offers a wide range of people you may not have heard of.  Knowledge gaps can be closed when you step out of your comfort blogs and into unknown ones.

I’m going to pull a slight twist though and rather than repeat the names of the whos who …. here are the links to the articles they recommended.  So the focus is on the knowledge not the name.


  1. Using Strong Internal Links for SEO
  2. Should Writers Care About Voice Search?
  3. How PageRank Really Works: Understanding Google
  4. 100+ Google SEO Success Factors, Ranked
  5. Data Driven Content Marketing Audit – Pubcon Vegas 2018
  6. Five Ways to Use Social for SEO and Vice Versa
  7. How to create the best content in the world
  8. Measuring the quality of popular keyword research tools
  9. Advanced SEO Auditing
  10. When Shouldn’t You Automate B2B Marketing?
  11. A Technical SEO Checklist for the Non-Technical Marketer
  12. How to Work Effectively with Google Search Console Data to Analyze Google Updates
  13. 14 “No-BS” Ways to Rapidly Increase Organic SEO Traffic in 2018 (with Case Studies & Examples)
  14. How to Calculate Your Total Addressable Market Online
  15. E-A-T and SEO
  16.  Local Landing Page Study: What’s happening in 2018
  17. 91% of Content Gets No Traffic From Google. And How to Be in the Other 9%
  18. The Ultimate SEO Audit [Works GREAT in 2019]
  19. Using Keyword Psychographics to Improve Your SEO with Marty Weintraub
  20. Rating the Smarts of the Digital Personal Assistants in 2018
  21. In Search of Natural Language Processing: Rank Brain, Google, SEO, and You
  22.  Is SEO table stakes? (Hint: No!)
  23. Three smart content strategies for boosting search performance without creating fresh content
  24. From Search to Discovery – The Changing Face of Search Engines
  25. Five Years of Google Ranking Signals
  26. BrightonSEO LIVE 27 April 2018 – Optimizing for Search Bots by Fili Wiese
  27. How Machine Learning in Search Works: Everything You Need to Know
  28. Interviewing Google’s John Mueller at SearchLove: domain authority metrics, sub-domains vs. sub-folders and more
  29.  Link inversion, the least known major ranking factor
  30. Web Performance Madness – brightonSEO 2018
  31. How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets to Build More Traffic
  32. WordPress Site Speed Optimization Guide
  33.  For Agencies: How to Adapt Your Service Offerings to the Modern Digital Landscape

We’ll pick up some more of the article links later, but this at least gets us 1/3 of the way to 100. I already saw some titles I’m interested in so I’ll leave ya to it.

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Superlatives of SEO – 140 Names To Follow

What’s Behind MLB’s Bizarre Spike In Contract Extensions?

On Feb. 13, 25-year-old ace Aaron Nola agreed to a four-year contract extension with the Phillies. A day later, 26-year-old Max Kepler and 25-year-old Jorge Polanco agreed to five-year extensions with the Twins. The following day, Yankees ace Luis Severino, who turned 25 a few days later, signed a pact with the Yankees. The deals marked the beginning of a historic spree of extensions.

From mid-February through Thursday, 27 players had agreed to extensions worth a total of 132 years and $2.045 billion, according to data from the MLBTradeRumors.com extension database analyzed by FiveThirtyEight. There has never been a flurry of activity like this: March represented the most dollars ($1.126 billion) and years (58) awarded in contract extensions in a one-month period that we’ve seen.

While veteran stars including Nolan Arenado, Chris Sale and Mike Trout all signed massive extensions this spring, players with little major league experience made up the majority of the deals. Fourteen of the players — including reigning NL Rookie of the Year Ronald Acuna, who signed a $100 million extension last week, and fellow Brave Ozzie Albies, who signed a much-discussed extension Thursday — were so early in their careers that they were not yet eligible for salary arbitration, which generally requires a player to accrue three years of major league experience before becoming eligible to negotiate for significant raises. Eight others were at least a year shy of six years of service time, the amount required to become a free agent. In 2019 to date, players signing extensions have forfeited 51 combined arbitration-eligible seasons and 69 future free-agent years. The deals also include club options covering 25 seasons.

Buying out the arbitration and free agency years of younger stars for the purpose of controlling and reducing payroll costs was a practice pioneered in the early 1990s by John Hart, then general manager of the Cleveland Indians, who watched great Pittsburgh Pirates teams broken up prematurely because of escalating player costs. While extensions had since become common practice, the activity had slowed in recent seasons as young stars like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado seemed intent on hitting the open market as soon as possible.

So what’s behind the extension surge this spring? Why are MLB teams intent on avoiding arbitration and locking up young stars? It may be because arbitration wasn’t working to begin with — at least from the perspective of the teams.

Under arbitration, a player and a team each puts forth a salary amount to a panel of arbitrators, who then must decide on one of the two figures. In the past two offseasons, players have totaled more wins than losses in arbitration cases against the owners — the first time that’s happened in back-to-back years since 1989-90. Through 2015, owners had won 58 percent of all arbitration cases, according to Forbes.

This winter, Gerrit Cole ($13.5 million) and Trevor Bauer ($13 million) were among the six players to win their cases against their clubs. Arenado and the Rockies avoided a hearing, which is common practice, by signing a one-year, $26 million deal — a record for a player eligible for arbitration.

“We’re going to be seeing $20 [million] and $30 million salaries regularly in arbitration,” one agent told us. “They [MLB teams] are going to try and push back on that. How do you do it? You pull those guys out of the system.

“Every time the teams see a seam in the defense, they exploit the shit out of it and they are really good at it,” the agent said. “They are capitalizing on good players they have been watching through the draft, through the minor leagues, and who are represented largely by unqualified or under-qualified agents. The teams have scouting reports on agents the very same way they have on opposing hitters and pitchers. They have heat maps. They know our tendencies, they know who will go to arbitration, who won’t, whose business is failing and they need to vest their fees.”

The agent noted that teams look at arbitration as an important battleground and have scores of analysts that compile data for these cases. By taking players out of the arbitration system, the teams not only cap earning potential for those players, but they also reduce salary comps for other players. Agent Scott Boras described the MLB’s aggressive approach with young players and extensions this spring as “snuff contracts” — or an attempt to snuff out future markets.

Greg Dreyfuss, an associate general counsel for the union and the MLBPA’s director of analytics and baseball operations, also sees a link between the wave of extensions and players’ recent arbitration wins. The union and players have closed the data gap between clubs in making their cases. Dreyfuss says agents and players are educated on the market. While MLB payrolls remain stagnant, the records for largest arbitration salaries have been set in the past two years. The average salary of an arbitration-eligible player in 2011 was $2.73 million; that increased to $3.97 million this year, a 45 percent jump, according to analysis of MLBTradeRumors.com data.

The total dollars and players in the arbitration system has jumped from $393.6 million and 144 players in 2011 to $789.6 million spread among 199 players this last offseason, growth in part due to the game trending younger — meaning that there will be more 20-somethings entering arbitration.

“Nine of the 10 largest one-year contracts in the history of salary arbitration have come in the past two years, and overall, arbitration salaries have kept pace with the rise in industry revenue over a 10-year period,” Dreyfuss told FiveThirtyEight. “Recently a lot of really good players in that process have stood up and said, ‘No, I’m not just going to take what you give me,’ and they’ve fought for what they consider a fair salary. So, I do think there’s some correlation between players succeeding in arbitration and clubs wanting to take players out of that process.”

While spending efficiently is always a goal for teams, how these clubs have handled free agency in recent winters may be a motivating factor in some players’ decision-making. Even Trout, the game’s best player, expressed reservations about entering the open market when he signed a record extension (which is also a bargain for the Angels) this spring.

“I kind of saw what Bryce and Manny went through and it drew a red flag for me,” Trout said. “I talked to Manny and Bryce. It was a tough couple months in the offseason. They put it perspective in my mind.”

Not all extensions are club-friendly. Drefyuss notes that there have also been a number of veteran players who have agreed to extensions that will pay them lucratively into their mid-30s.

“Players agree to extensions for a variety of valid reasons, and there are any number of factors involved in their decisions,” he said

One key decision a player must make when considering an extension is how much financial upside to concede for the sake of job and financial security. In dealing with future risk, teams face less downside than individual players do. While a team can absorb a poor contract, a player is one injury or decline in performance away from having his career trajectory significantly altered.

Acuna and Albies look like future superstars, yet they signed deals that could potentially cost them nine figures in future earnings. White Sox top prospect Eloy Jimenez signed a six-year deal with two club options before he ever took a major league at-bat, limiting his financial upside. Those are the types of club-friendly deals that some on the players’ side have criticized. There is also an argument that individual players ought to consider not just themselves but their peers and future major leaguers when considering a long-term deal — and that they should wait until they are at least arbitration-eligible.

“If guys aren’t going through the system, if all the young [stars] are signing before they get there, then we are not going to have those posts to hold on to,” the agent said of salary comps. “I don’t think this is teams trying to screw with the free agent market. They are trying to take the best young players out of the arbitration system.”

Toronto outfielder Randal Grichuk, 27, said the Blue Jays began negotiating with him last month during spring training in the midst of the extension spree. He eventually signed a five-year, $52 million extension.

“The way I looked at it was taking guaranteed money, setting my family up for life, it’s hard to turn down,” Grichuk said. “If I leave a few dollars on the table now, I’m going to just be finishing my 31 season [after his deal expires] going into free agency. If I produce well, I’m going to be young enough to make some more. And if I’m not able to, whether due to injuries, failures, anything happens, I’m still set for life.”

Grichuk was into his arbitration years when he signed his extension, but he didn’t take issue with young stars like Acuna opting for financial security earlier along in the process.

“He could have probably waited and got more, but it’s tough to talk negatively about a guy who just got $100 million and is set for life,” Grichuk said. “What’s the difference between $100 [million] and $200 [million]? His kids’ kids’ kids won’t have to work? … I think it’s one of those things where his life changes completely.”

Neil Paine contributed research

How Many Times A Day Is A Broken Clock Right?

Welcome to The Riddler. Every week, I offer up problems related to the things we hold dear around here: math, logic and probability. There are two types: Riddler Express for those of you who want something bite-size and Riddler Classic for those of you in the slow-puzzle movement. Submit a correct answer for either,1 and you may get a shoutout in next week’s column. If you need a hint or have a favorite puzzle collecting dust in your attic, find me on Twitter.

Riddler Express

From Keith Wynroe, what time is it? Puzzle time!

You purchase a new clock but are dismayed to realize that both of its hands are identical. At first, it seems it’s going to be impossible to tell the time because you don’t know which hand is for the minutes and which is for the hours.

However, you realize you don’t need to know which is which for every time — for example, when it’s 12:30, the minute hand will be exactly on the 6 and the hour hand will be halfway between the 12 and the 1. It can’t be the other way around because if the hour hand were exactly on 6, the minute hand would have to exactly on 12, which it’s not. So you know what time it is.

How many times during the day will you not be able to tell the time?

Submit your answer

Riddler Classic

On Sunday, the Baylor Lady Bears won the 2019 NCAA women’s basketball championship, and on Monday, the Virginia Cavaliers did the same on the men’s side.

But what about all of the unsung transitive champions? For example, earlier in the season, Florida State beat Virginia, thereby laying claim to a transitive championship for the Seminoles. And Boston College beat Florida State, claiming one for the Eagles. And IUPUI beat Boston College, and Ball State beat IUPUI, and so on and so on.

Baylor, meanwhile, only lost once, to Stanford, who lost to five teams, and so on.

How many transitive national champions were there this season in the women’s and men’s games? Or, maybe more descriptively, how many teams weren’t transitive national champions? You should include tournament losses in your calculations. All of this season’s women’s results are here and all of the men’s results are here.

Submit your answer

Solution to last week’s Riddler Express

Congratulations to 👏 Joseph Kusko 👏 of Katy, Texas, winner of last week’s Riddler Express!

Last week brought a mysterious sequence of letters, and you were meant to figure out what letter belonged in the blank space with the hint that you’d do well to think outside the box.

In fact, you’d do well to think outside the alphabet entirely. The missing letter was Θ, the Greek capital letter theta.

The letters in the sequence look like capital letters in the English alphabet, but they also look like capital letters in the Greek alphabet — iota, beta, tau, mu and so on. The trick to the sequence is that it hops through the Greek alphabet in such a way that there are no dead giveaways as to its Hellenic origins, such as Ω or Γ. Specifically, the sequence starts at I and goes backward seven letters with each step, wrapping around back to the end of the alphabet when necessary. Seven letters before O (that’s omicron), or after A (that’s alpha), is Θ (that’s theta).

Solution to last week’s Riddler Classic

Congratulations to 👏 Charlie Koudsi 👏 of Los Angeles, winner of last week’s Riddler Classic!

Last week, lucky you had won two gift cards to your favorite coffee shop, Riddler Caffei-Nation. The cards looked identical and each was initially loaded with 50 free drinks. You were interested more in the drinks and less in record keeping, so each time you redeemed a beverage you simply presented the cashier with one of the cards at random. One sad and fateful day, however, the cashier told you he couldn’t accept the card you presented him because it was out of drinks. What was the probability that the other card still had free drinks on it? How many free drinks could you expect were still available?

Praise the Coffee Gods, there was a 92 percent chance that your other card was still valid, containing at least one drink credit. What’s more, you could expect that there were about seven drinks left on that card.

So how do we get to those answers? Suppose, for the sake of generality, that each card started with \(n\) drinks. What we want to know are how many drinks, \(k\) (which could be anything from zero to \(n\)), remain on the other card when one card zeros out.

Call the cards A and B. As solver Jason Ash explained, there are two possibilities: 1) Card A runs out of drinks first and Card B has \(k\) drinks remaining or 2) Card B runs out of drinks first and Card A has \(k\) drinks remaining. Since the cards are identical and we pick which to use randomly, these outcomes are equally likely, so we only need to analyze one of them, and then we can double the probabilities that result from that analysis.

So suppose it is A that runs out and there are \(k\) drinks left on B. For this to happen, Jason explained, we must have purchased \(n\) drinks on the first card, \(n – k\) drinks on the second card and attempted one more purchase on the first card, for a total number of visits to the coffee counter of \(2n – k + 1\). Of those purchases, \(n\) must have occurred on a single card. This suggests an “X choose Y” binomial formula. Specifically, the chances of there being \(k\) drinks left on Card B are

\begin{equation*}{{2n-k} \choose {n}}\left(\frac{1}{2}\right)^{2n-k+1}\end{equation*}

We then multiply this by two — to account for the fact that it might have been Card B that exhausted first. That gives

\begin{equation*}{{2n-k} \choose {n}}\left(\frac{1}{2}\right)^{2n-k}\end{equation*}

If we plug in 50 for \(n\) and zero for \(k\), we find the chance that both cards are actually exhausted — that chance is about 8 percent, so the chance that the other card does have at least a coffee left is about 92 percent — our first answer.

To find the expected value of the number of coffees that remain on the other card (\(k\)), we can sum the expression above by all of the coffee possibilities. Specifically,

\begin{equation*}\sum_{k=0}^{n} k \times {{2n-k} \choose {n}}\left(\frac{1}{2}\right)^{2n-k}\end{equation*}

Plug in \(n=50\) and that equals just over seven, our second answer. And we’re done.

Curious about specifically what numbers of free coffees are likely left for you? Solver Laurent Lessard plotted the probabilities of all of the specific numbers of drinks that might remain on the other card when one card gets maxed out:

Want more riddles?

Well, aren’t you lucky? There’s a whole book full of the best puzzles from this column and some never-before-seen head-scratchers. It’s called “The Riddler,” and it’s in stores now!

Want to submit a riddle?

Email me at [email protected]

UltimateSEO.net Launches As Sister Site Focused On Free SEO Tools

Ultimate SEO has gotten a little more ultimate.  We continuing to offer our SEO information and topical articles and plan to expand into indepth discussions of stuff at the most minute details.  Great for those of us who love metrics and but our metrics are only as good as the tools we can access.  SEO tools are plentiful and almost all are expensive.  The best tools focus on one aspect of SEO and do that well but effective SEO campaigns are holistic and can’t neglect other foundational tool categories.  Having the best backlink tool won’t make the best SEO Site Audit.  It takes multple tools, often overlapping and many cost hundreds of dollars a month.  Thats why we’re launching UltimateSEO.net


SEO Tools are abundant but hard to find interestingly enough. At Ultimate SEO We’re offering more than one scan tool for page auditing.  In the image below there is a scan auditing tool in the blue and yellow header and a separate unrelated scan auditing tool on the page. We encourage you to use both.  Additionally from the Tools drop down you can take advantage of a dozen more SEO tools.  We’ll work to continue to expand the sites tools and we will NOT charge for these tools.

In addition to these tools SEO Panel is an open source tool that will allow users to track metrics and issues over the course of months and years allowing sites to see trends.  SEO Panel is also FREE but it does require registration at THAT site.  SEO Panel is available at https://panel.ultimateSEO.org

UltimateSEO.net homepage

UltimateSEO.net focused on SEO Tools

UltimateSEO.org also hosts a forum where you can seek answers to common and uncommon SEO issues.  Happy SEOing and may the backlinks always be follows.

List of existing tools

CSV File Merger

Keyword List Multiplier

Structured Data Tool

Link Variance

Analytics Spam Tool

Bulk URL Checker

RSS Feed Creator

What’s My SEO Score (Page Auditor #3)

SEO Panel Homepage

SEO Panel Homepage

SEO PANEL – Free Rank Trending Site

We also have an in-depth SEO tool available to our listers and visitors.

[qcld_hero id=”2″]

SEO Knowledge Bank And Support At UltimateSEO.org

SEO Articles and case studies will be published and pieced together to create guides specific to topics of interest.

Forums and discussions between fellow SEO professionals are available and hosted at the site.

SEO Support Desk allows registered users to enter a support request .

Hits: 43

UltimateSEO.net Launches As Sister Site Focused On Free SEO Tools