Robosoft for Beginners

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Posted by Cynic | Posted in Online Marketing, OpenCandy, PAD, Robosoft, Software, Solutions to Problems, Super Simple, Web Sites | Posted on 29-09-2012

Software Marketing with Robosoft

For years RoboSoft has been the single most effective 1-stop way to promote software. If it isn’t already a part of your software marketing, it should be. If it is a part of your software marketing, there are most likely areas where you can squeeze quite a bit more juice out of it.

In this article I explain what it is, issues surrounding it, and how to use it to effectively promote your software.

This article is aimed at RoboSoft “beginners”, though there are some good tips for intermediate users as well. For highly advanced usage, you can refer to some of my previous articles on Robosoft here.

What It Is

RoboSoft lets you either automatically or semi-automatically submit your software to hundreds (or thousands) of download sites, news sites, and other software-related sites.

It works by having you enter information about your software, then automatically submitting that information to its large database of sites via web automation. Not all sites can be done automatically, so you can go back and submit to those sites that it “missed”.

For semi-automated submissions, RoboSoft automatically fills in all the forms with your software information, e.g. the product name, download URL, descriptions, etc.

What It Can Do For You

Used properly, RoboSoft can significantly boost your position in search engines, and consequently, increase your sales.

It’s that simple. RoboSoft increases sales. Period.

What It Costs

The cost of RoboSoft is insignificant compared to the value it delivers. A standard lifetime license is $99.00, while database updates are sold on a subscription basis starting at $8 / month. A full year of updates can be purchased for a discount.

About PAD

PAD stands for Portable Application Description. It is the industry standard way to communicate information about software, and is maintained by the Association for Software Professionals (ASP).

PAD files are simple XML files. Each bit of information is contained in a descriptive node. Nodes do not have any attributes.

RoboSoft, and most download sites, use the PAD standard to communicate your software information. You can either create your PAD file inside of RoboSoft, or you can use an external PAD authoring tool like PADGen to create your PAD file then import it into RoboSoft. See below for more information on this.

For more information about PAD, see the official PAD site here.

For more information about PADGen, the official ASP PAD file generator, see the official PADGen page here.

The Download Site Controversy and Why It Doesn’t Matter

Skimming through various developer forums, you will at some point encounter the download site debate, with many authors poo-pooing download sites. Don’t buy it.

The typical “controversy” goes on about how there are thousands of download sites, and how they have no value, and how submitting your software to them is a waste of time.

I beg to differ.

When digging deeper, it usually turns out that somebody submitted their software to a very small handful of sites (maybe 30) once then came to the conclusion that it’s a complete waste of time. Well, duh! That is a waste of time.

Follow the advice below, and you will not waste your time. You will see significant results.

But don’t throw a handful of sand on the beach then claim that you can’t make a sand castle with sand because you tried and it didn’t work.

The “Real Deal”

RoboSoft is an SEO tool.

Let me repeat that just in case…

RoboSoft is an SEO tool.

By submitting your software to a LARGE number of sites, you create backlinks to your site. This boosts your site in search engines even if you never get a single download from any of the sites. Even if you never get a single download directly from a download site (yes, I’m repeating that because it’s important), having your software listed and linked back to your site tells the search engines that the content on that page that links to your site is relevant to your site, and that translates into higher search engine rankings for you. Not all download sites post direct links to you, but they do post links to your software installer, which still translates into a link that search engines can follow.

So, your goal isn’t to get downloads from download sites. Your goal is to get better search engine placement, because the new download site is Google.

That means that you need to do some SEO work on your PAD file… Which is beyond the scope of this article. There’s lots of information available on SEO out there, and you can find an excellent article about on-page SEO here. Many of the same principles apply. Don’t worry about download sites out-ranking you. That may happen, but eventually it gets corrected.

In the past, I’ve had up to 95 out of the top 100 results in Google pointing to products that I was promoting, albeit 94 were on download sites. Still, that’s only room for 5 competitors inside of the top 100 results. Those days are done and gone though, but the tactics used still work to get your site up in the SERPs and are still very much worthwhile.

Entering Software Information

As space is short, we’ll forgoe the PAD SEO discussion, and get on to the simple mechanics of entering information…

If you have a PAD file, click “Import…” under “Company tasks” in RoboSoft to import your company information from your PAD file:

Import PAD info for Company

Follow the instructions and click the “Save and exit” button when you’re done:

Importing company info from PAD - save here

That will create your company info inside of RoboSoft. You will see your company info listed similar to as shown below:

Company is now listed in RoboSoft

Next, select your company as shown above, and do the same for your product information by clicking “Import…” under “Product tasks”:

Import product info from PAD

You may be prompted with the company info screen again; click the “Save and exit” button again to continue on to the product import screen:

Product import screen for RoboSoft

You can edit information in there, just as with the company import screen. However, make certain to click the “Save and exit” button to save your product into RoboSoft.

When prompted, make your imported product the selected/active one by clicking Yes:

Make product active

RoboSoft will now look something like this:

Product has been imported into RoboSoft

Before you submit, you must ensure that there are no errors. In the screenshot above, click the “Validate now” link, or in the Product tasks, click the “Validate…” link. This will check your software information for problems:

Validation errors

Walk through each error and correct them all. This may require uploading files, such as your PAD file, to your server and making certain that the information in RoboSoft accurately reflects the newly uploaded files.

You can resize the screen above to go about fixing the errors. If this is the first time you’ve used RoboSoft, you WILL have errors that must be corrected. This is perfectly normal as some fields are RoboSoft specific.

Correcting validation errors in RoboSoft

To correct the errors, click on the error then in the left pane, correct the error. Rinse. Repeat.

Correcting validation errors

!!! IMPORTANT !!! — For your contact and login information, do NOT use your normal email address, i.e. DO NOT use support@ or info@ or yourname@. Use addresses that are used ONLY for submissions. Use email addresses like pad@ or padsupport@ or padsubmit@. Your PAD submissions will generate a lot of email that is only relevant for your PAD submissions. You will also get automated PAD polling information from download sites to tell you that they’ve polled your software and that it has been added/listed or that there was a polling error (which is often because the download site PAD validation is not PAD compliant). So… To avoid filling up your inbox with all that, use another email address. Really. Trust me. I speak from experience. Lots of it.

When you’re done, click the “Save and exit” button.

!!! IMPORTANT !!! — Critical errors must be fixed, however, you can ignore some warnings. Try to fix everything that “makes sense” for your software, but don’t worry if something that is irrelevant to your software still throws a warning, e.g. Your PAD file may not have a press release in it, so you will get warnings there. (Press releases can be added through the press release PAD extension. See here for more information about PAD extensions and here for the PAD extensions repository.)

Before you continue, back in the main RoboSoft screen, double-click your newly imported software to edit it. Walk through each and every field and verify that it has been entered (if required), and is correct. There is a description of each field at the bottom of the screen when you click each field.

Enter or edit information directly in RoboSoft

That should take you several hours (or days) if you do it properly. Why? Because you should have a press release, and you should have site information, and it takes several hours at a minimum to write a draft-quality press release. Don’t overlook that. Remember, this is about SEO, and the more you submit, the better you will perform in the search engines. Take the time to do it properly. Don’t be lazy.

If you don’t have a PAD file, you can simply create a new company and product and enter the information exactly the same as in the screenshot above.

So… by this point you have taken the time to do things right, right? Good! It’s time to submit your software and open the floodgates of traffic!

Submitting Your Software

Before you start submitting, make sure that the database is up to date by clicking Site List > Update. Follow the directions.

Filter Sites That You Submit to

If you have an Excel utility, there is no point in submitting to games sites, and if you have a non-mobile game, there’s no point in submitting to mobile sites… So… Filter them.

Click the Sites tab. It should look something like this:

RoboSoft Sites tab

Click the “Site Rank” column header to sort by site rank. The ones at the top are the most important ones. You will want to do those sites semi-automatically, and not automatically.

In the lower right, check “Use filter” to enable the options there.

Filter the sites you submit to

For Category, uncheck any category that isn’t relevant. e.g. It’s unlikely that you’re a CAD developer, and more likely that your software may fit into the Multimedia category. Be honest. Checking them all is counter productive. If you don’t have a screensaver, don’t submit your software to screensaver sites. You will want to submit to news feed directories, search engines, press release sites, and web directories though.

For Language, you can submit to all of them. You don’t need to uncheck anything. Some non-English sites accept English software, while other non-English sites don’t. Cross that bridge when you get to it. However, if you want, you can check only one language and do your submissions by language, i.e. do multiple sets of submissions. That’s a solid tactic that can help you focus on specific language markets. It may or may not be applicable to you though.

The Flags options let you hide entire categories of sites. For example, some sites require that you pay to be listed, while other sites require that you link back to them. Show or hide the sites that you want to submit to.

HINT: For sites that require a link back, most of these will crawl your site to see if the link is on the home page, and if not, they will decline your submission. A small minority of sites will accept any page, even if it is not linked to anything in your site. I would recommend not bothering with these sites at all. You don’t want to link to them as it does not add enough value to your efforts to warrant it.

I would recommend hiding all sites that require payment or a link back.

For Status, leave that at ALL for the time being. Later on you will want to know where you have submitted, where you are listed, and where submissions failed or were skipped. Before you actually use those functions though, you should use the RoboSoft crawler to update the status by clicking Tools > Track Listings (Batch Search).

When you’ve finished filtering, click the “Apply” button. The status bar in the lower left will update to display something like this:

Filter results

You have now chosen the subset of sites that you will submit to. It’s time to get started…

Starting Submissions

To start submitting, click the “Auto…” button on the RoboSoft toolbar (or click Tools > Automatic submission…) and choose “Submit”:

Click autosubmit to start

RoboSoft will update the database:

Updating database

Once the database is updated, you must complete the automatic submission wizard:

Automatic submission wizard

Next, verify you have the right product that you want to submit:

step 2

RoboSoft then validates your software info:

PAD validation

Next, verify and test your SMTP settings as some submissions are done by email, and others require an account that RoboSoft can automatically create for you:

SMTP settings

Next, verify your site selections:

Verify site selections

Next, RoboSoft will check to see if your software is already listed:

Autosearch

In step 7, check or uncheck individual sites that you want to submit (or not submit) to. To change a category, press CTRL + click the category. If you need more categories to be available to choose from, click the “Edit possible categories” button and follow the direction in the dialog there. A green check mark means that the software is already listed at the site. Check these sites if you have an updated version. Also, make certain to check the account information in the Account tab on the right. If you don’t know what something is, mouse over the question marks (?) for more information.

Category and site selection

It is important to make sure that you get things right in step 7. Take a few minutes to go through the list and verify that everything is correct. Uncheck irrelevant sites and correct any category problems. Not all sites support all categories, so just try to get as close as possible. If you can’t get close, uncheck the site because it’s a waste of your time and a waste of the site owner’s time if your software isn’t relevant. e.g. You have a photo resizing application and the site is for network administration software.

In step 8, RoboSoft does all the submissions. Take special note that it has anti-CAPTCHA built in as you can see in the screenshot:

Submissions

The various panes in the submission window detail what sites are being submitted to, show a screenshot of the submission process, give real-time statistics on the submission process, and show CAPTCHAs being cracked.

The anti-CAPTCHA feature in RoboSoft is highly effective, but not 100% of the time. At the end of the submission process, you are given the option to go back and process those CAPTCHAs that RoboSoft missed:

Process CAPTCHAs

It’s a very simple and easy process, so just click the “Process CAPTCHAs” button.

Missed CAPTCHAs

Click in the Value column and type the CAPTCHA. You can see a screenshot of the actual web site in the lower right.

If you get one wrong, you’ll be promted again. Some CAPTCHAs are very difficult, while some sites are just broken. If you can’t get one, forget about it. The chances are that the site itself is broken.

Step 9 is the “YAY~!” stage:

Success rates for software submissions

RoboSoft keeps track of all the submissions for you, including success and failure rates. Don’t worry about failures though. It’s common for a site to go down, or for a site to have internal errors, especially when you submit to hundreds and hundreds of them. RoboSoft also keeps track of why there were errors, as you can see in the screenshot above. Just make certain that you aren’t the source of the errors through some silly oversight like bad account information.

Step 10… Hmmm… Step 10… How about I let my sadistic side take over. You know… Slide on over to the Dark Side… and leave step 10 as a mystery by not telling you what it is and not posting a screenshot. Muahahahaha~! You’re tortured now, aren’t you? It’s eating you up inside, gnawing at your very soul… You must know what step 10 is… And so… You must go out and get RoboSoft and do your own submissions to find out! (You’ll be very glad that you did.)

But You’re Not Finished Yet…

That’s just the automatic part. There’s still the manual part.

Go to the Sites tab and double-click on a site that you’ve not submitted to (or one that you want to resubmit to). That will open up the site on the Browser tab. There, click the “Submit” button and carry on your submissions semi-automatically. Each site is different, so you’ll need to just roll with it. However, many sites run off of the same download site engines, and after a while, you’ll begin to recognize them. That makes submissions faster for you as you’ll know what to expect within a few seconds of visiting a site.

The important things to know are:

  • RoboSoft will automatically fill in fields for you.
  • You can use the “Autofill” button to fill in fields if RoboSoft doesn’t.
  • You can right-click in an input and choose what information to enter from the context menu.
  • This is a very important part of submissions, and if you skip is, well, you might as well throw a handful of sand on the beach and then complain about not being able to build a sand castle.

If you are diligent and aggressive, the entire submission process should take you about 2 or 3 days. That assumes some learning curve. Once you know what you are doing better, submissions are much faster; plan on a set of submissions taking a day to complete. The manual/semi-automatic portion takes the longest, as you would expect.

Again, it bears repeating: Do not skip the semi-automatic submission process. It is critical to your success. There are some very good download sites that you’ve likely never heard of, and if you skip them, you are missing out on some valuable exposure. See my praise for Softoxi here.

After You Finish Submitting…

The process doesn’t end with submissions though. RoboSoft can keep track of what sites your software is listed at, so you should periodically go back and run the batch search: Tools > Track Listings (Batch Search).

You can add in new versions, submit, and keep track of it all.

DynamicPAD

DynamicPAD is how you can turn RoboSoft from a raging 800 lb gorilla, into a fire-breathing, 800-foot high, Tokyo-smashing Godzilla. (BTW – Your competition is Toyko.)

However, DynamicPAD is well beyond the beginner or intermediate scope of this article. If you want more information about turbo-charging RoboSoft with DynamicPAD, see my articles on that here (part 1, 2, 3, 4). It’s not for the faint-of-heart, but if you really want to get some fantastic results, try it out. The articles include source code that you can use as well.

NOTE

This article has been sitting around for almost a year, but is still as accurate as the day it was written. Originally, it was written for another company, but, they simply sat on it for too long, so, I’m publishing it. I know it will be useful for someone.

Cheers,

Ryan

 

Photo Resizer Hits #12 in Google

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Posted by Cynic | Posted in Internet, Online Marketing, Robosoft, Super Simple | Posted on 23-07-2011

Well, I’ve not done anything since last posting about this (or before), but the Super Simple Photo Resizer has edged up a bit from #15 to #12 in Google. Just a little bit more and it will be in the top 10!

That’s a bit more vindication for my assertions that Robosoft really and truly rocks! Yay~! Now, for the nay-sayers…. Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah~! =P

So, I’ve got a bit of work to do still for Photo Resizer, but unfortunately it’s been delayed by a short gig doing some contracting, and about to be delayed again by a larger project that I’m about to start and a proposal for another small gig.

However, here’s a quick preview of what you can expect in the next version:

  • Crop photos
  • Upload resized and cropped photos to various social networking services:
    • Facebook
    • Flickr
    • TwitPic / Twitter

It’s all actually finished, however, I still have the long process of “polish” to do. I’ll be streamlining things and working on making the user-experience (UX) as smooth and easy as possible. It’s supposed to be super simple, so it won’t get released until I’m happy that it meets a certain standard there. It won’t be perfect because nothing is, but it will most certainly be above average.

Cheers,

Ryan

 

Robosoft and DynamicPAD Results 12 Days In

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Posted by Cynic | Posted in DynamicPAD, Google, Online Marketing, PAD, Robosoft, Super Simple, Web Sites | Posted on 10-04-2011

Tags: ,

So, Super Simple has been live for 12 days. It took about 2.5 days to submit, and since then I’ve only made some blog and forum posts. Results? Not too bad. Photo Resizer has moved from second click results to first click results, just as predicted. The Super Simple Photo Resizer even has a top 10 ranking now!

Google: First click results at #29.

Yahoo: First click results at #15.

Bing: First click results at #10. A TOP 10!

Now, that’s still a long way from being top 10 in Google, but only 19 away. Considering Super Simple wasn’t even on the search engine radar 2 weeks ago, I’d say those are some pretty decent results.

But, there’s still a very long way to go for Super Simple to really become more viable. For that, I will be releasing more uber-easy apps at Super Simple and following up here for you enjoyment! 🙂

For the moment, I know that this is still not the final nail in the coffin for the Robosoft/download site nay-sayers, but it’s a small victory, and hopefully I’ve managed to convince a few people.

Cheers,

Ryan

Turbo-Charging Robosoft with DynamicPAD (Part 4)

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Posted by Cynic | Posted in DynamicPAD, PAD, Robosoft, Software, Super Simple, Web Sites | Posted on 07-04-2011

Tags: ,

Well, this is the final part in how you can turn Robosoft from an 800 lb gorilla, to an 8,000 tonne fire-breathing, city-eating, raging godzilla razor-beast from hell!

Last time I exported the PhotoResizer.dat file from Robosoft, then added in the output from DynamicPAD Helper here:

Photo Resizer DynamicPAD DAT

I then saved the file, and imported it back into Robosoft.

At that point Robosoft is ready to go. However, there are 2 things left to do:

  1. Install and configure the DynamicPAD PHP script on your server.
  2. Upload the DynamicPAD DAT for your product into your new DynamicPAD server.

Step 1 is pretty simple if you are on a LAMP server. If you are on Windows though, you’ll pull out a fair amount of hair before you get it working. But more on that later (I’ve solved those problems and have a download for you so that you don’t go bald).

To install DynamicPAD, go to the DynamicPAD site here. Download the script, upload it to your server, and follow the direction to configure it properly.

It’s pretty straight forward.

If you have problems, double-check that you have your 404’s working properly. DynamicPAD relies on the fact that none of the requested files actually exist, and all 404’s are redirected to the dp.php script, which processes the URL and returns the correct information, be that a PAD file or your program’s installer file.

If you are on a Windows server in a WIMP configuration (Windows, IIS, MySQL, PHP), then the DynamicPAD file from the DynamicPAD.org site won’t work. Instead, use my fix. It removes information from the DynamicPAD file that isn’t really needed, and fixes some issues where PHP is a bit finicky under Windows.

Download DynamicPAD for Windows Servers

There is a web.config file in there, and you should probably setup the folder as an application in IIS. Make sure to edit that for the proper path.

I’ve made some modifications in DynamicPAD for myself (and to get it working properly), so you should check them. Open the dp.php file and search for “cynic.me”.

Where to edit in dp.php

Notably, I’ve deleted the “Delphi” and “OnlineShops” nodes. You can delete more if you like, or add those back in.

Do not add back in the “Robosoft” or “DynamicPAD” nodes. You can try and find out, but that’s up to you.

You may wish to change the way things are done there if you can manage to get PHP working with some of the other regular expression methods. I wouldn’t bother though as it works the way it is right now.

For both the LAMP and Windows versions, you need to configure the script in the “dp_conf.php.inc” file. It’s straight forward. (Remember to set proper 404 redirection in your web server.)

Once you’re finished there, run the install.php file to install the DynamicPAD server, then delete the install file. I’d recommend backing it up somewhere though or moving it to a secure location that isn’t public.

When you’ve got the server installed, you must then update the site list. In the DynamicPAD for Windows Servers download above, there is a “dp_conf.dat” file that contains mappings for the various download sites and their unique values. (I’ve not customized any of that, by if you are adventurous, then it’s a pretty cool way to further get DynamicPAD looking even sexier~!) In the DynamicPAD web interface, click the update link. That will update your list of sites that you need. The link reads:

Download an updated download sites list from DynamicPAD.org

FINALLY… Back in Robosoft…

On the Products tab, double-click your product to open it up for editing. Expand Product > DynamicPAD > DynamicPAD Settings and double-click on it to open it up.

Final DynamicPAD DAT Export

#1 We need to do a little cleanup, and Robosoft will automatically do that for us. So click the “Edit dynamic data” button, then click “Save”. You might want to make a minor edit of a space somewhere then save. This will fix up any extra or empty entries and prepare the lean-mean DynamicPAD info for export.

#2 Next, click the “Export” button and save your app-##########.dat file. This is the file that you will upload to your DynamicPAD’s “data” directory.

Once you have that uploaded, your DynamicPAD server is ready to go!

In your Internet browser address bar, type in “http://www.yourdomain.com/path/to/dynamicpad/pad/app-############/product-name.xml” to test it. Here’s a live example for Photo Resizer:

http://www.supersimple.me/PAD/app-00b31342c6/Photo-Resizer.xml

And an example for a specific web site:

http://www.supersimple.me/pad/app-00b31342c6/site-007310de455/photo-resizer.xml

And one with the language specified (which we didn’t bother with in any previous work, but you’ll see this anyways):

http://www.supersimple.me/pad/app-00b31342c6/site-007310de455/lng-eng/photo-resizer.xml

If those 3 styles of URLs are working for you, then everything is ready to go.

The other style is for the distributable download, and looks like “http://…snip…pad/distr/app…snip…/your-installer.exe”. That’s a tracking link for your installer, and will help you know where your downloads are coming from.

At this point, you can go back into Robosoft and begin your submissions. Everything is already configured, and you can now serve up specific information as you specified in the Excel file, and random content that was generated inside of the DynamicPAD Helper application from all the different content that you had specified in the Excel file.

So, that ends the series on how to setup DynamicPAD. It’s fairly complicated, and certainly not very straight forward, but if you follow the steps that I’ve outlined, it’s actually much easier and quicker than trying to specify specific content inside of the DynamicPAD UI in Robosoft.

I hope that helps out.

Cheers,

Ryan

Turbo-Charging Robosoft with DynamicPAD (Part 3)

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Posted by Cynic | Posted in DynamicPAD, Online Marketing, PAD, Robosoft, Software | Posted on 04-04-2011

Tags: ,

Last time in Part 2 I covered what at the end of it was essentially a useless Excel file. This time I’m going to show how to put that to work.

If you recall, the Excel file looked something like this:

DynamicPAD Template in ExcelAnd after it’s completed, it could look something like this:

DynamicPAD Template Photo Resizer Done

Note there that the most important ones are at the top. That’s where you will want to customize your entries more. e.g. You will want to make sure that you have an excellent entry for Download.com as you’re probably going to want to spend the $100 for the listing rather than wait a year or whatever.

However, I would recommend doing all your mass submissions first, then going back and doing the most important sites like Download.com as you will have a bit of time to reflect and tweak your text more. During the submission process you will have ample opportunity to rethink things and come up with improvements. You’ll also likely think of things that didn’t occur to you before or you’ll find new ways to explain your product that are easier to understand and will get better results.

But I digress…

From the B1 cell, highlight and copy everything to the right and down. That is, copy it all except for the red Rank column.

Next, paste that into a plain text file and save it. You now have a simple tab-delimited text file that you can play with in “DynamidPAD Helper”, the little utility that you’ll use to create the [Dynamic_PAD] entry for your product. If you have questions, you can read through the source code as it is commented extensively.  But you probably don’t need to. You can just run it and use it with the text file that you created above.

Download DynamicPAD Helper (or click the screenshot below)

The DynamicPAD Helper download is a Visual Studio 10 C# solution, so you will need Visual Studio 10 for that. You can download the Express version of Visual Studio 10 here. It includes a debug build, so you can also just run that. It looks like this:

DynamicPAD Helper

Just click the button, load the text file from above, then wait until it’s done in a few seconds.

Next, copy the output content. You need to paste that into the exported product DAT file from Robosoft.

To export a product from Robosoft, make sure you have the product selected in the main interface on the Products tab.

Next, click the Export button on the toolbar:

Exporting Product DAT in Robosoft button

In the dialog, click the second “Export Product” button under “Robosoft / PADManager / Submit-Everywhere Data File” and save the DAT file:

Export Product DAT from Robosoft dialog

You now have your DAT ready to open in a text editor.

Open your product.dat file in a text editor, preferably one with syntax high-lighting, and scroll down to the [Dynamic_PAD] INI entry. It looks like this:

[Dynamic_PAD]
General/DP_Script_Base_URL=http://www.supersimple.me/pad/
General/DP_Pad_Enabled=TRUE
General/DP_Distributive_Enabled=TRUE
General/DP_AtFormFill_Enabled=TRUE
General/DP_Pad_Mask=photo-resizer.xml
General/DP_Distributive_Mask=photo-resizer-setup.exe
General/DP_Distributive_Primary_URL=http://www.supersimple.me/Downloads/Photo-Resizer-Setup.exe
General/DP_ControlPanel_Login=loginname
General/DP_ControlPanel_Password=encoded password here
….THIS IS THE STUFF THAT YOU WANT TO REPLACE…

After that is the part that you want to replace. However, there are some INI entries below that you do not want to replace, so keep that in mind. You should see something like this after that section:

[Autosearch Info]

[ASBM Info]

So, paste the output from DynamicPAD Helper in the Dynamic_PAD section, being careful not to replace the parts listed above, then save the DAT file.

You now have the DAT ready to import back into Robosoft.

Exporting Product DAT in Robosoft button

Click the Import button on the toolbar to get the new DAT file with the Dynamic_PAD information back into Robosoft. When you are prompted, overwrite the existing information.

At this point Robosoft is prepared for you to submit, but you still need to make sure that your DynamicPAD server is ready and that you have uploaded your DynamicPAD file.

NOTE: Your DynamicPAD file that you need to upload is NOT the same as the DAT file above.

Next time I’ll go over how to setup your DynamicPAD server, how to export and upload your DynamicPAD file.

Cheers,

Ryan

BLOWN AWAY by a Download Site – Softoxi.com!

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Posted by Cynic | Posted in DynamicPAD, PAD, Robosoft, Software, Super Simple | Posted on 02-04-2011

Tags: , ,

It is RARE for a download site to impress me. Very rare. But Softoxi.com has literally just blown me away! I’m quite frankly shocked with disbelief!

Their screenshot page for Photo Resizer INCLUDES A VIDEO SHOWING INSTALLATION AND HOW TO USE PHOTO RESIZER!

I received an email from Rainer Weiss, the editor at Softoxi, at a contact email address that I don’t use for PAD submissions, and when I checked, I saw that he had registered at the Super Simple web site. i.e. He went out of his way to email me at a properly monitored email address. Here’s the email:

Software Downloads

Dear Sir/Madam

Softoxi.com lab testing team would like to inform you that your product Photo Resizer has been listed and awarded by our editors:

—————————————————————-
Photo Resizer is a smart little tool that provides probably the easiest way to resize your photos.

Just drag and drop a photo into Photo Resizer then slide the SIZE bar until you’re happy.

All resized photos are PC compatible for Mac, Windows, and Linux, so you can share them with everyone!

Photo Resizer also works with YOUR digital camera. Whether you have a Nikon, Canon, Sony, Samsung, Casio, or whatever it is, you can use the Super Simple Photo Resizer to resize your photos. In other words, the color of your digital camera manufacturer’s logo doesn’t matter.

—————————————————————-

After carefully testing your product, Softoxi.com Editor Team decided to award your product with the Top Software Awards:

5 out of 5

5 out of 5

Softoxi.com’s team has also made a VIDEO TUTORIAL showing the installation, the main interface, the main features of Photo Resizer, letting our visitors as well as the potential users of your product take a glance at the main qualities of this software before downloading it. This video tutorial is also intended to help beginners understand how to use your product:
Photo Resizer Installation Video Tutorial

Moreover, Softoxi.com has tested your software, Photo Resizer on 02 04 2011 with 2 of the best antivirus engines available today. We have found it to be clean of any form of malware (viruses, spyware, adware, etc.) – the full reports are available here:

Photo Resizer Antivirus Reports

Softoxi.com Editor Team would also like to congratulate you for the high quality standards achieved by your software. We’re glad to be able to promote and support such high-quality products in any way we can.

To let your users know about this certification (and therefore about the fact that we consider your product to be a top one), you may display our awards or the conclusion of our review on your website:

Softoxi.com editor team:
“Photo Resizer – simple, nice, little and handy freeware tool that lets you resize your photos in a really easy and convenient way.”

Softoxi.com Verified Certification:
Softoxi Verified

Many of the other software publishers whose products have been awarded by Softoxi.com have already listed our awards on their website. A link back from your website to your software URL on Softoxi.com would also be very appreciated. It would also help our efforts to promote high quality software such as Photo Resizer. Placing our image certificates on your website would also benefit your product as it would inspire trust in its qualities.

More information about your product’s certification and the certification award is available on this page:
Photo Resizer

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Best Regards,

Rainer – Softoxi.com Editor

I’m impressed.

The anti-virus reports are also on Softoxi’s main page for Photo Resizer and include avast! and Kaspersky.

To top it all off, all of this is on a Saturday too!

Softoxi lists Photo Resizer as “Ad supported”, which is perfectly fine and is something that I plan on addressing in great detail later.

But the point is, there are software sites out there that really put in a lot of effort. Knowing who they are is almost impossible, so I hope this helps people know about one of the good ones!

Cheers,

Ryan

Initial Robosoft and DynamicPAD Sumbission Results

1

Posted by Cynic | Posted in DynamicPAD, Online Marketing, PAD, Robosoft, Super Simple | Posted on 01-04-2011

Tags:

Well, I’ve spent the better part of 2 individual days doing submissions with some final submissions on the morning of a 3rd day. So, that’s the time investment.

Now, Photo Resizer ranked absolute zero prior to the submissions, so anything that’s in the search engines now is purely because of the submissions that I’ve just finished.

A quick note before I get into it, I did a significant amount of work, but have not gone over my submission list to resubmit for stragglers or missed sites. I went through the list once. Some sites I skipped, and some I found didn’t work initially so I abandoned any further effort on them. In short, I went through the list quickly.

So far there’s only 1 result in the top 100 for Super Simple with the keywords “photo resizer” in Bing at position 58:

Bing photo resizer 56  first click

So, for the same keyword , Super Simple turns up for the second click™ at positions:

  • 91 in Google (and 94)
  • 74 in Bing (and 94)
  • 69 in Yahoo (and 93)

So, for having finished my first quick round, that’s not too bad.

Here are some screenshots. The first has second click results at #91 and #94 in Google:

Google Photo Resizer 91 94

Bing at #74:

Bing Photo Resizer 74

Yahoo at #69:

Yahoo photo resizer 69

Those are all “second click” results. By “second click” I mean the result points to the product, but it is on a different site.

The results are much different that they would have been in 2003 or so. At that time 50% to 95% of the top 100 results would have been second click results. So the landscape is much different than it was. Even just 2 or 3 years ago I could have results in the top 100 easily within hours.

I had a look for screenshots from a few years ago, but didn’t find the ones I was looking for. The results were pretty disgusting with almost every result being a second click one.

In any event, for a brand new site with one round of promotion, that’s not too bad. It will improve over the next few weeks though and more second click results will creep in as well. As for the main site, that takes some time to climb up in the ranks, especially as it’s new. But, a bit of patience and a little more work will get it up there.

For an established site, it’s much faster and you get better results. Also, with multiple products, the results keep getting better and better. It’s not like 1+1=2; it’s more like 1+1=10. Once I manage to get some more software up there, first round results like this will improve.

I’ll post back with more results later on.

Download Site Problems

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Posted by Cynic | Posted in DynamicPAD, Internet, PAD, Robosoft, Software, Super Simple, Uncategorized | Posted on 31-03-2011

When you’re submitting to download sites, you can’t take much time except of a few good ones like Softpedia and CNET. Most you just need to get done and ignore any problems. Many won’t list you at all, while other will list you months down the road. And there are so many of them, that you simply can’t afford the time to mess around. While automatic submission gets most done, you’ll still want to get the others done as well in semi-automatic mode.

Why? Because other people won’t, and every little bit of juice you get will put you further ahead.

So you need to balance the value of the download site with your own time and get through them.

I’ve done more submissions that I could possibly count. Sometimes it is mind-numbingly boring. But the part I really hate is all the broken sites.

There are about a half-dozen different download site engines out there that run most of the sites you’ll see. The engines actually work (mostly), but individual sites running the engines don’t. What happens is that the engine requires some degree of customization and the people who buy the engine license and run the site just screw it up.

Some problems that you’ll see include:

  • Broken forms
  • Broken CAPTCHAs
  • Broken email servers (they don’t send confirmation emails)
  • Monkeyed-up UIs that are unreadable
  • Exposed PHP and SQL code
  • Bad validations
  • Bad database design
  • Bad site architecture (URL collisions)

There are other problems as well.

Here are a few examples to illustrate typical situations that you’ll see.

Sensitive PHP errors

Sensitive PHP errors

Errors are one thing, but code?

More Raw PHP code

More Raw PHP code

Many sites love Robosoft. Heck, most do.

Robosoft ad

Robosoft ad

But there’s one engine that doesn’t like DynamicPAD.

No DynamicPAD

No DynamicPAD

Backlinks are a big deal as well. But there’s no way that I’m going to link to most of these sites from my main product page. It’s nutty. They really don’t offer that much value to warrant a link. I won’t even link from the actual site. I will create an orphaned backlinks.htm page and link from there, but it won’t have any links to it from the real site. It’s an orphan page and will forever stay like that. If a site offered some real value, then sure. But they just don’t offer that much value. You’re already providing them with free high-quality content for their site. And they want more? Fsck that! =D

Forms that do not work

Forms that do not work

Like the above form, you’ll find that some do very bad validation and simply don’t work. This is a very common problem. It’s the sign of a very inexperienced programmer/designer that has used their very limited knowledge to try and validate data. The problem is that they simply don’t understand what a URL or URI are and they mess up. This happens very often with email addresses as well. Unless you are on a .com, .net or .org domain, things break. These kinds of things are pretty easy to do, but you need to know how to do them.

Here’s another example.

Backlink on same host

Backlink on same host

The validation there is particularly bad. The site isn’t even able to properly determine if two hosts are the same. This is extremely basic stuff. (A host is something like www.domain.com just in case you’re not familiar — these people should be.)

Broken CAPTCHA

Broken CAPTCHA

This happens often as well. CAPTCHAs that are broken. Well, it happens. Move on.

Wrong Product Collisions

Wrong Product Collisions

This last one requires some explanation. After submitting my software, I was shown that as my software.

First, I’m a much better writer than that! =P

But what’s happening there is that there’s a database problem or a URL collision. Again, it shows bad programming. While the design may be ok, and they did manage to get some ads in there, it’s still flat out bad programming.

Anyways, those are a few problems that you’ll encounter when submitting your software to different sites. When you do, just move on. For problems that are fixable, come back to them later. But don’t waste time.

Turbo-Charging Robosoft with DynamicPAD (Part 2)

42

Posted by Cynic | Posted in DynamicPAD, Online Marketing, PAD, Robosoft, Super Simple | Posted on 28-03-2011

Tags: ,

In Turbo-Charging Robosoft with DynamicPAD (Part 1) I outlined the problem of the massive amount of information needed and the data entry problem. In here I’m going to outline solution and go through the first steps to solving the problem in detail.

The solution overview is that we create a template in Microsoft Excel where we can easily duplicate entries very quickly, then import that into Robosoft. Now for the details on creating our template.

While the data entry problem looks scary, it’s easily solved. Writing the 3~5 sets of copy that you use is actually more time consuming. So lets start with the assumption that you’ve already got all your copy written. Lets also assume that you’re going to have custom entries for the following fields (by XML node path omitting “XML_DIZ_INFO” for clarity) alphabetically:

  • Press_Release/ALT_Headline/
  • Press_Release/ALT_Keywords/
  • Press_Release/ALT_Press_Release/
  • Press_Release/ALT_Press_Release_Plain/
  • Press_Release/ALT_Summary/
  • Program_Descriptions/English/ALT_Char_Desc_2000/
  • Program_Descriptions/English/ALT_Char_Desc_250/
  • Program_Descriptions/English/ALT_Char_Desc_45/
  • Program_Descriptions/English/ALT_Char_Desc_450/
  • Program_Descriptions/English/ALT_Char_Desc_80/
  • Program_Descriptions/English/ALT_Keywords/
  • Program_Info/ALT_Program_Name/
  • Program_Info/ALT_Program_Version/
  • Web_Info/Application_URLs/ALT_Application_Icon_URL/
  • Web_Info/Application_URLs/ALT_Application_Info_URL/
  • Web_Info/Application_URLs/ALT_Application_Order_URL/
  • Web_Info/Application_URLs/ALT_Application_Screenshot_URL/

IMPORTANT NOTE: Those fields all start with “ALT_“. That’s not a regular PAD field, but is used by DynamicPAD. If you stripped those out, they would be regular PAD fields.

With 1250 sites or so, you’ll want to reuse your PAD copy effectively. Use the best for the most popular sites like Download.com, and use more or less “throw away” copy for the sites that exist, but don’t really matter much. Luckily, Robosoft ranks sites for you in order of importance.

So the basic idea is to mix up “good” sets of copy that will work well for your SEO efforts. You can think of it kind of like when you cross-join to create test data for a database you’ve designed. And we do that in Microsoft Excel!

Excel is well suited to copying repetitive data and it’s well known. Few people working in IT don’t know how to use it, and those that don’t know how to use a spreadsheet shouldn’t be in IT anyways. So that’s simple enough.

The fields listed above will be column headers, while each row will represent a single web site.

In order to get that organized, I have a template ready for you. However, since the sites change rapidly, you should know how to export the sites (rows of the Excel sheet) yourself. It’s actually very easy, but takes a few steps to make it usable.

How to Get the Site List Out of Robosoft

In Robosoft, export a report by clicking Tools > Generate Report.

Robosoft Report Options

In the export dialog, check:

  1. Site Rank
  2. Site Name
  3. Site Category
  4. Site URL
  5. Site UIN
  6. Language

Make sure that you do them in that order and that ONLY those are checked. You can click the up/down arrow buttons to rearrange them. Make sure that ONLY those are checked.

Next, click Save. The report is an HTML file and will open up in your default browser.

Next, go to the file location for the report and open it in a text editor. Replace all instances of “<br/>” with a space. Save the file.

Now, back in your browser, refresh the page. Copy everything. Paste it into your text editor. Delete the top portion, i.e. Everything above the table header:

Site Rank Site Name Category Site URL Site UIN Language

Copy everything in your text editor. Paste that into Microsoft Excel. Everything should be neatly on 1 line per site. If it isn’t, go back to the HTML file and search and replace for whatever is monkeying things up on you. You may need to use a regular expression, but I highly doubt that you will have any problems if you follow the directions above.

Now you have the beginnings of the template that you will use to create the DynamicPAD info. To make the “Site Name” column a bit nicer, copy that column back into your text editor then with a regular expression replace “http.+” with nothing. Copy that back into your Site Name column and it’s all pretty and rainbows and unicorns!

The Column Headers for Our DynamicPAD Template

I’ve written some quick software to help out in the process, and since this isn’t a commercial endeavor, I’m not going to bother polishing it up with all sorts of fancy-dancy stuff. Instead, I’m just making it available for whoever wants to try this out. (Later when we get to that stage.) The important thing right now is that we need our columns to be in order for the software to work. So, these are the column headers for the template (as above, remember the “ALT_” part):

  • Rank
  • Site Name
  • Site Type
  • Site URL
  • Site UIN
  • Language
  • ALT_Keywords
  • ALT_Char_Desc_45
  • ALT_Char_Desc_80
  • ALT_Char_Desc_250
  • ALT_Char_Desc_450
  • ALT_Char_Desc_2000
  • ALT_Program_Name
  • ALT_Application_Info_URL
  • ALT_Application_Screenshot_URL
  • ALT_Application_Icon_URL
  • ALT_Application_Order_URL
  • ALT_Headline
  • ALT_Summary
  • ALT_Keywords
  • ALT_Press_Release
  • ALT_Press_Release_Plain
  • Program_Info
  • Program_Descriptions
  • Web_Info/Application_URLs
  • Program_Info/ALT_Program_Version
  • Press_Release

In that order.

So, by this point our template looks something like this in Microsoft Excel (download is below as well):

DynamicPAD Template in Excel

I’ve filled in the first row under “ALT_Keywords” on to the right, so ignore that. You should have the green highlighted column header and everything up to the “Language” column filled in. There should be NO blank cells. If your sheet doesn’t look like that, go back and start over because you missed something or make a mistake.

Filtering is turned on, and it’s important that you also turn on filtering in Excel as you need to use it later on. It is on the Data tab in the Sort & Filter section. Just focus on the top row (the header) and click the Filter icon:

Filter your DynamicPAD info

Entering Your PAD Copy

The fields above all are entered on a single line except for the special cases of the 2000 character description and the press releases (normal and plain) which allow line breaks. As such, they must be treated differently. So, go copy 1 set of each of all of your sets of copy into their proper columns.

For each of the special cases of the 2000 character description and press releases, individually, search and replace the line breaks with %0D%0A. It is now on a single line that you can copy into Excel. Robosoft will translate %0D%0A into a line break for you. %0D%0A is probably more familiar as “\r\n”. Here’s an example of what a 2000 character description should look like before and after (from some first draft copy for Photo Resizer):

Super Simple Photo Resizer is meant for everyone from children and computer beginners to fast-working pros.

Specifically designed for resizing photos and pictures from your digital camera, all the complex logic is already taken care of for you. Where other apps present you with a million confusing options, Super Simple Photo Resizer delivers top quality photo resizing with record speed and ease.

You can open all the most popular photo and picture formats and save resized pictures as JPEGs to share with friends and family.

Most new digital cameras take pictures that are bigger than you can upload to Facebook, Flickr, or put in an email. Now with Photo Resizer you can make your digital camera pictures small enough to easily share.

Resizing is super-fast. You can preview resized photos and pictures in real time. Save with new file names, or Quick Save pictures with easy file names.

For children and new computer users, there is no fear of overwriting your original photos. Photo Resizer will not let you overwrite your originals, making it the safe choice in photo and picture resizing utilities.

Where did Photo Resizer come from? A real need!

True story from the author:


My wife came to me and asked me how to resize pictures from our Nikon D5000 digital camera. I’d shown her how to do it with other popular imaging software, but it was simply complicated and slow. She was busy and didn’t want to learn complicated things like what Hermite, Mitchell, Bell, and Lanczos resampling filters were, and who could blame her? With 30 different options, it’s too complicated. So, I wrote Photo Resizer for my wife. She loves it. She can now post photos to Facebook, even when our Internet connection is slow.

If you’d rather share your photos than spend time learning complicated software, Super Simple Photo Resizer is for you. If you know someone that hates complicated software, do them a favor: Tell them about Super Simple Photo Resizer.

And after:

Super Simple Photo Resizer is meant for everyone from children and computer beginners to fast-working pros. %0D%0A%0D%0ASpecifically designed for resizing photos and pictures from your digital camera, all the complex logic is already taken care of for you. Where other apps present you with a million confusing options, Super Simple Photo Resizer delivers top quality photo resizing with record speed and ease.%0D%0A%0D%0AYou can open all the most popular photo and picture formats and save resized pictures as JPEGs to share with friends and family. %0D%0A%0D%0AMost new digital cameras take pictures that are bigger than you can upload to Facebook, Flickr, or put in an email. Now with Photo Resizer you can make your digital camera pictures small enough to easily share. %0D%0A%0D%0AResizing is super-fast. You can preview resized photos and pictures in real time. Save with new file names, or Quick Save pictures with easy file names.%0D%0A%0D%0AFor children and new computer users, there is no fear of overwriting your original photos. Photo Resizer will not let you overwrite your originals, making it the safe choice in photo and picture resizing utilities. %0D%0A%0D%0AWhere did Photo Resizer come from? A real need! %0D%0A%0D%0ATrue story from the author: %0D%0A%0D%0A–%0D%0AMy wife came to me and asked me how to resize pictures from our Nikon D5000 digital camera. I’d shown her how to do it with other popular imaging software, but it was simply complicated and slow. She was busy and didn’t want to learn complicated things like what Hermite, Mitchell, Bell, and Lanczos resampling filters were, and who could blame her? With 30 different options, it’s too complicated. So, I wrote Photo Resizer for my wife. She loves it. She can now post photos to Facebook, even when our Internet connection is slow. %0D%0A–%0D%0A%0D%0AIf you’d rather share your photos than spend time learning complicated software, Super Simple Photo Resizer is for you. If you know someone that hates complicated software, do them a favor: Tell them about Super Simple Photo Resizer.

Now you have all of your data copied properly into Excel and can begin mixing and matching it.

Mixing and Matching PAD Copy

You should really try to mix and match copy as much as possible. The more sets you have, the easier that is to do. Also, make sure to use your best copy for the top ranked sites. The Rank column (in red above) is there to help guide you as to which ones are important. It’s not a hard rule, but a soft guide. Use your judgement.

Also, keep in mind that you may want to pay for listings at some sites like Download.com. You’ll want to make sure that you polish that copy as much as possible.

DOWNLOAD:

DynamicPAD Excel Template (Microsoft Excel XSLX)

NEXT TIME…

Anyways, that’s the template. When you’re finished that, then you’re ready for the next step: formatting it with a custom software utility that I’ve written for this, and then importing the data into Robosoft. But, that’s all coming very shortly. So stay tuned!

Turbo-Charging Robosoft with DynamicPAD (Part 1)

3

Posted by Cynic | Posted in DynamicPAD, Online Marketing, PAD, Robosoft, Software, Super Simple | Posted on 26-03-2011

In order to make this a bit easier on myself and get things done faster, I’m going to skip ahead to some of the more advanced stuff with Robosoft and DynamicPAD. Later on I’ll come back to some of the basics. If this stuff is too hairy, come back to it later once I’ve written the basics down here for you. (Should take a couple weeks.)

To really get maximum bang out of Robosoft, you need to submit different sets of PAD info to different sites. This allows you to optimize your off-site SEO for different keywords, phrases, and with completely different text that will all point to the same place, i.e. your software.

However, there’s a very big problem that you need to overcome: Robosoft is not setup to let you do this very easily for DynamicPAD. It uses a drill-down method with popup inputs that make it too slow to practically do. Here’s the DynamicPAD input UI in Robosoft:

DynamicPAD

Click the ellipsis (…) to display the DynamicPAD settings window:

DynamicPAD Settings

That is where you enter the DynamicPAD server URL and the login and password that you setup in the DynamicPAD “dp_conf.php.inc” file. e.g.:

define( "Login", "somelogin" );
define( "Password", "somepassword" );

The place where you enter your DynamicPAD info is under the “Edit dynamic data” button. Click that to see this:

DynamicPAD Data EditorSo far so good… Now… Enter some data…

DynamicPAD Data Entry Open

Now the problem becomes apparent. For every single custom entry, you need to click that “Click to add a new value…” link. Worse, once you do that, you must fill out something like this:

DynamicPAD Data Entry Char 2000 Main

Which isn’t too bad until you realize that you have to specify the site and see this:

DynamicPAD Data Entry Site Selector

That list has around 1250 sites in it right now, but it varies and can have more. I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand sifting through long lists. It’s mind-numbingly slow and painful to do.

So, to use DynamicPAD you need to do go through that for each entry.

Scared yet? If not, let me scare the living b’jeezus out of you. (Put on your adult diapers if you don’t want to clean up a mess…)

There are about 1250 sites.

You want to customize at least 14 fields.

Customizing 1 field requires about 12 user actions.

1250 sites x 14 fields x 12 actions = 210,000

Now, if you can perform 1 user action per second (this is unrealistically fast because you need to focus, copy, paste, scroll, click, etc.), then that’s 210,000 seconds, or 3500 minutes, or 58 hours, or 2.4 days of non-stop data entry at lightning speed.

Is your underwear still clean?

There’s not a hope in hades that I’d ever do that. But, I’d sure as guns find a faster way to do it, and I have. Setting up takes some time, but not that much, and I’ve already done most of the work for you.

So in my next post on turbo-charging Robosoft with DynamicPAD, I’m going to show you how to do several weeks worth of work in half a morning.

Make sure that you’ve digested most of what I’ve got here for you right now though, as the next part is where it gets truly hairy, scary wild!

If you’re confused at this point, then come back to this later once I’ve written the more basic stuff that will give you a better background to build on.

Cheers,

Ryan