Birthday Bash Mega Site Update, CelebrityPWN Celebrates One Year

February 4, 2008 at 11:20 pm (Uncategorized)

CelebrityPWN is now a year old. Can you believe it? I present to you a birthday present for the site that everyone can enjoy:

1) Changes When Viewing an Individual Story:

  • Added “Latest Stories” that show the latest stories added on the site
  • Both “Similar Stories” and “Latest Stories” now have small thumbnails that can be enlarged
  • Report Story button has been reworked, and is now more obvious with its own icon
  • Behind the scenes changes as well that power users can appreciate.

2) Significant changes to the story promotion algorithm. I’d tell you what but I’d have to kill you.

3) New Profile Stats

  • Site figures out your favorite celebrity
  • Site determines whether you are a self promoting blogger or an actual fan of gossip. (There is a difference yanno)
  • Top 5 biggest fans for your stories submitted and comments (limited to D-List Users or better)
  • A complete overhaul for the profile page is due next time. I will be adding A LOT more stats in the very near future. Thanks to Wonder Rob for showing me the light.

4) The fresh stories page now hides who submitted the story. This will hopefully prevent people from just voting for their friends.

5) New banners added, YAY

6) Easier to Submit Stories than Ever before! Story Submission completely overhauled. Its much nicer and was heavily influenced by Digg.com and Mixx.com’s story submission process. Simply enter the URL of the story you want to submit:

  • Automatically finds the picture from the website and lets you pick the one you want
  • Automatically fills in the title
  • And sometimes, even fills in the description of the story for you.

7) New “Add to CPWN” Buttons were created. Add them to your website immediately. They are so purdy!

8 ) “Add to CPWN” Bookmarklet has been created located on the tools page. You can now simply click this button when you are browsing the web and it will take you to celebritypwn and fill in the URL automatically.

9 ) Home page now lists 25 stories rather than 15 due to the amount of stories being promoted.  You should be doing more reading and less clicking now.

Quickly, a few other things that I didn’t mention is the fact that our new host ServInt seems to be doing the job much better than my previous host in the past month or so. January was by far our biggest month ever and 2008 seems to be the year of the PWN. We are now ranked a top 100k site in the last 3 months according to Alexa. Our rank now hovers at around 96,000th and our average rank for the past month has been around 60,000th. This is a BIG deal for me and the loyal site users who stuck around since the beginning. Also, thanks to all the new users!

 

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Exclusive: Jessica Alba sighting at Lakers game with boyfriend?!

December 10, 2007 at 1:02 pm (Uncategorized)

CPWN has obtained exclusive pics of the oh so hot Jessica Alba enjoying herself at the Lakers/Warriors game at Staples Center with a gentleman and his brother. They were pretty flirty and into each other so I am going to drop a bomb for all the guys out there…she looks to be taken. If anyone can identify the lucky guy let us know.

Jessica Alba at Staples Center

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December Christmas update is well rounded

December 1, 2007 at 1:31 am (Uncategorized)

The last time I blogged about new features was all the way back in late September. As you all know, changing hosts wasn’t exactly a smooth process. I also realize the site isn’t responsive at all times, for example you click to vote for something and it pauses for 5 seconds. That is due to my lovely host. 🙂

  • Major CMS Updates
    • gossip stories can now be edited for up to 24hrs after a post. (For those of you who make mistakes)
    • users can now report stories. this helps prevent against spam posts, nonsense posts, and to censor nudity
      • just like with comments, the power users moderate the stories they are alerted to
    • modified how domains get created for being a “Most Popular Site”, this is now based on how many frontpage stories they get
    • modified the way stories get re-promoted as a “hot story”.
  • Public comments comments may now subscribe to the story to receive emails for all new comments posted
  • Updates to profile include how many points left until next user class and what stories they are subscribed to

December also will hold a surprise and will reward user activity in different categories.  Use your imagination.  Also keep in mind that the Win a Microsoft 30 gig Zune  contest is still open until mid December.  Those of you who wish to be eligible, simply refer a friend under your login name.

Until next time 🙂

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New Hosting Provider

November 8, 2007 at 1:42 am (Uncategorized)

I will be very brief here and just explain the situation.  CelebrityPWN has changed hosting providers because we basically outgrew the last one as traffic kept increasing and site load time kept increasing as well.  I thank http://www.digitalshell.com for their hosting and the people behind it.

MediaTemple.com is the new hosting place should load 2x as fast and have no downtime. This move will allow the site to grow much quicker plus allow me to work on other side projects as well with ease.

If you were logged in and saw a message on the top of the header that directed you here, its because your on the old site location.  Each Internet Service Provider (ISP) has DNS that tells it where the website is located.  Your ISP has yet to update it.  This could take an hour or it can take 12, but for now if you make a vote or comment it wont be saved.

I will try to make another post before Thanksgiving and tell you guys about new site features.  Until then, I have to finish with some other projects.

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Public Voting on Celebrity Gossip goes live

August 22, 2007 at 11:42 pm (Uncategorized)

People that who are too lazy to register for the site can now rejoice.  You may now vote on stories even though you have not registered for the site.  Early on during site development I went back and forth deciding on whether or not people should register to cast votes.  Today I decided that having public voting can only make things better.

Time will tell what kind of impact this has on the site.  In case you’re wondering, public votes will influence the gossip stories just as much as newly registered members of the site.  So it shouldn’t be too big of a problem.  The most importnat part is that it can be done in perfect harmony with registered users.  That’s why developing your own site can be fun! 🙂

At this point I am very tempted to allow anonymous voting for comments or even submitting comments.  Anonymous comments could lead to spam (among other things) but on the other hand, most gossip blogs allow it.  So I will ponder this and ask others for their opinion on the matter.

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Comment System July Update

July 2, 2007 at 3:02 pm (Uncategorized)

Major new feature to the comment system.  Users can now vote for or against user comments.  I have been wanting to add this feature for sometime but kept putting it off.  There have also been a few visual tweaks so comments are easier to read.

Registered users will notice the changes right away.  Each comment has green ‘+’ or red ‘-‘ icons that handle the voting.  If a comment has less than 1 point, then it is automatically hidden.  The comments that are hidden will have a “show/hide” link so you can still read and reply to them.

In the future, I intend to award extra points to users with comments that have +5 points.  However, right now that doesn’t seem feasible until the user base grows.

Also, I am aware of visual quirks for IE users.  I am trying to remedy those minor problems.

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Its time for the May News Update

May 12, 2007 at 12:27 pm (Uncategorized)

Before I get to the site news, lets talk about site growth.  As you may or may not know, I do not pay to advertise this site.  The traffic I receive is from word of mouth, search engines, terri, or other gossip sites who might come across my comments. So be sure and help spread the word.  The more people sign up for this site, the more fun it will be!

Some of the subtle changes in this update include:

1)   The Welcome Message. If you are logged into the site, then keep an eye out for it because its where I put important messages.  Everyone else gets a message about signing up.

2)  Bio Links. You will notice that PWN listing has been slightly tweaked.  Next to each celebrity name there is a Bio Link taking you directly to the celebrities biography page.  I found myself wondering who the people were and wanted to make getting that information much easier for everyone.

3) Site Stats.  This isn’t so much useful, as it is interesting.  On the right side of the site stats page you will notice a whole bunch of site totals such as comments, votes, etc.

4) Bug Fixes.   As usual, there are bug fixes.  Just know that it runs better this month than last 🙂

5) Image Size Restrictions.  When submitting a story an image needs to be a certain size.  I have lowered the size restrictions to allow smaller images.  I realize not everyone needs a big image and some just want to see what the story is about.

New Site Feature:

1) Email Notifications.  You can now be notified via email of any replies to your PWN submissions or replies to your comments.  This is of course optional, and can be found on the edit/settings page on your profile page.

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new feature: pwn comment notification

March 6, 2007 at 9:37 pm (Uncategorized)

PWN Notification

People have been asking for a way to be notified when someone  submits a comment on your pwn submission.  After about a day of work and testing, it has been added to the site.  I have been pondering this feature for awhile but finally put it at the top of m to-do list.

 

Next on my list. . .adding threaded comments so it feels more conversational.  Not only that, but to notify the user when someone replies to their comment.  Hopefully I can get this one done because it will definitely be tough. 🙂

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new voting abilites and more

February 10, 2007 at 12:10 am (Uncategorized)

I have updated quite a few things.  The biggest update is the way voting is presented.  You can now vote for or against PWNs with a thumbs down and thumbs up button.  Easy to see, easy to use.  Whats more, after you vote the box is colored green or red depending on what you voted.

I have also done a few styling changes to make the site even better with readability and coolness. 🙂  Not only that, but I have added the “snap” plugin.  Its from a search engine site that you will be hearing plenty about in the future.  Basically what this plugin does is give you a preview picture to the gossip blogs as you hover over their link.  Cool?  Gets in the way?  You let me know.  In any case, you can disable it under settings when it pops up.

The final change is the addition to the top users list.  I have created a preliminary method for calculating the top users.  Unlike those other sites, you can actually get a high level without getting all of the good PWN submissions.

Lots more features to be added. So stay tuned.

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The challenges of creating your own digg-site from scratch

February 6, 2007 at 6:24 pm (Uncategorized)

Many people out there might be thinking of creating their own democratic user driven site.  Some people refer to this as a “Content Management System”, while others simply refer to it as the Digg Model.   No matter what you call it, the success of the site hinges on the functionality and presentation of the content.  I have recently gone through this challenge from the ground up and decided to write this blog to help others who may follow the same path.  Because of the size and uniqueness of each digg-clone project (is that an oxymoron?), it would be impossible for me to write a “How To” article.  So instead, I present you with the three biggest challenges you will face creating a site like this.  My second goal, of course, is to help get the word out on www.celebritypwn.com .  Give and take right? hehe

I present this article from the point of view of a self-taught php programmer with roughly a year of freelance experience. I am now a little over a month into the project. I have had no prior experience with JavaScript, especially JavaScript with AJAX requests.  It is important that you have experience with at least one programming language to base the foundation of the site on.  As you probably noticed, I have also used various php code examples and scripts to aid in the completion of the site.  I’m not ashamed to admit I know how to use Google J.   It is also important to realize that you do not have to reinvent the wheel.  If something is out there that you can use, then go right ahead and use it.Having said all of that, on to the three obstacles. . .

First, envisioning the database required to house your imagination.  This is fairly obvious with any big project.  However, this is my first attempt at a complex site and many of you may not realize the importance of thoroughly planning things out.  As you begin to think about your own CMS, a lot of ideas pass through your head.  The trouble is finding out how to organize these thoughts into a manageable system.   For example, you take a look at digg.com and you right off the bat realize how things are organized.  Do you want the user to create their own organization by means of user-defined tags or for the site to organize for you?  Obviously Digg chose the ladder. This decision needs to be made during the initial development stages.

Deciding how to organize the site is also related to how you present user submissions.  Story promotion is a direct result as to how you structure the tables in your database.  This means during your initial brain storming of features that you must account for keeping track of a lot of information.  Deciding how to promote stories while at the same time stopping cheaters can be challenging.  The site can be as basic as keeping track of votes or as complex as taking into consideration ‘down votes’, the time of submission, and the class of the user who submitted it, etc.  Sometimes you might want to grab more information than you might *think* you need, because later on you will realize more data is necessary to accomplish your goal(s).  Right now I have six different tables to store the necessary information to make the site go-round.  But do not try to stuff too much data into one table and make it needlessly confusing and disorganized. 

Secondly, the user submission page is vital to the site’s success.  I realize this point is closely related to the first, but it can make or break the site.  The submission form is important for two reasons.  1)  It is the most challenging part of the php coding process.  If you can do this, you can probably do the rest of the php coding that is required.  The submission form itself took me over a week to complete.  This should be your starting point because you need data to manipulate.  2)  This is what every user uses to make your site a success.  Anything that can make the user’s experience easier, such as an auto complete box, should be done!  It’s worth the extra time.  Make sure it is presentable and as easy as you can make it. Test, test, and test the submission form some more.  As I began this project I thought to myself that if I can do this submission form than the rest of the site should not be as hard.  This proved to be half true J

Finally, the voting system and the incorporation of that catch phrase known as web 2.0.  I realize not everybody knows multiple programming languages.  However, you really should try to add JavaScript to your repertoire.    I also realize that many people cringe when some noob throws around web2.0 catch phrases such as ajax, so I will try to be brief 🙂  The bottom line is that the use of an ajax voting system is critical for a digg-clone site.  There is no other way about it because end users today are used to functionality that is smooth and instantaneous.  Developers unfamiliar with JavaScript and never heard of an XmlHttpRequest are in for a wakeup call. 

This proved to be my biggest hurdle.  I made a basic ajax voting script and I was fortunate enough to have a friend who could help take it to the next step.  If you need to hire someone for all your JavaScript needs, then do so.  If you plan on learning yourself, then check out Ruby on Rails and/or Prototype.js.  There are plenty of tutorials around to help you get started.  Ajax is no longer optional in most cases.  There is no more web 2.0.  Two years ago you might call it that, but today that kind of stuff MUST be in sites created from at least 2006+ (where needed). 

Your site should have its own unique spin on something.  If its been done exactly like this before, then you are wasting your time.  I took note of what was out there on the internet and decided that a celebrity gossip site was needed.  There are many other niches that need filling.  I could go on much longer talking about potential snags that you can hit, but this article is a good starting point for those curious.   If people are interested in this article and want more, then I will be happy to revisit this topic.  For now, I really should get back to work on my site.  After all, people can’t even vote against stories yet!

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