Dariusz on Software Quality & Performance


How to pay for AdWords effectively ;-)

Filed under: en — Tags: , , — dariusz.cieslak @

Guess who is the competitor for the FogBugz bug tracker:

225But if you click on AdWords box you can see the following image (no server available):

226Note the weird address: https://www.www.atlassian.com/software/jira/… It's the cause for invalid target link.

Of course it's a bug in configuration done by someone from Atlassian, but let's stop laughing and check what might be the final resolution for such type of problems:

  • Google / AdWords: couldn't they just check (HTTP 200) any target address passed by theirs customer? It's a very simple change in the service
  • Atlassian: automatic HTTP log scan won't be possible as web server hasn't been reached (DNS resolution phase), but 100% bounce rate should raise a warning

Anyway, dealing with such errors in non-systematic way (fixing just this error) is dangerous as further instances are not blocked. It's better to have an automatic process that helps with such errors exposure in the future.

We, at Aplikacja.info believe that bugs should be eliminated systematically i.e. every missed one should have proper effect in process change. The more "sensitive" process (more bugs exposed by the process) the smaller amount of bugs are left in the end. For example coding in PHP with massive refactorings is a trouble-maker (as the language has no static checking included and requires high level of test coverage to uncover every error). Any piece of internal check (only method names + parameter numbers done by lint-like tools) will help a lot there.


Watch your HTTPD logs

Filed under: en — Tags: , , — dariusz.cieslak @

Recently I observed that AdWords-generated traffic dissapeared from Analytics panel. I thought: WTH?

I checked the logs and saw that URL called by AdWords:


Generated 403 (Forbidden) server response. That was caused by recent change in Lighttpd filtering rules. I was paying for AdWords traffic but customer hit 403 error page. Ops!

In order to easily spot such problems in future I created the following scanner to easily find all error server responses.

awk '$9>=400' /var/log/lighttpd/access.log | less

If you are boring of 404 errors you can filter them out as well (leaving only 403 / 500 errors for investigation):

awk '$9>=400 && $9 != 404' /var/log/lighttpd/access.log | less

I discovered that the following URLs were inaccessible:

  • /robots.txt (exclusion rules for web crawlers)
  • /favicon.ico (icon used by web browsers)

Next step could be automation of this check (cron job that will send an alert if errant responses count is higher than N). It's left as exercise for the reader.


Why you should disable "content network" in AdWords

Filed under: en — Tags: — dariusz.cieslak @

Google AdWords is popular marketing tool that allows you to attract customer attention. You "pay per click" – that means if potential customer is directed to your page (or e-commerce site) then you will pay.

There are two main variations of this tool:

  • matching advert is located based on keywords entered by user in Google search
  • matching advert is located based on content of a partner page (AdSense partner)

It seems both methods (keyword and content-based) are equal efficient, but wait: there's a big difference. When user is searching for some keywords it's very likely he will be interested in your product/service. When user is coming from AdSense page he may be directed to this page for different reason.


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