Frequently Asked Questions
- The applications page, for surprising examples of how this site benefits you.
- The "more info" boxes (such as this one: [?]
Sample "more info" box
) sprinkled throughout this site.
Place your cursor anywhere inside the box, and then use your mouse scroll wheel to move up or down, or use the arrow keys on your keyboard (see picture below) to move the visible screen in any direction.
Couldn't I obviate the need for Track-this.info by using a service such as Google Alerts?
No. Actually, "No way!" would be more accurate. Google Alerts does not give people the ability to track a specific topic or web site. Instead, its users can specify only search terms and type (news, blogs, web, comprehensive, video, or groups).
Second, it can take several years for Google to discover changes to a web page ().
Third, Google sends alerts only on new content that makes it into the top 10 results for a news, blog, or video search, top 20 results for a web search, or top 50 results for a groups search. If what you want to track with Google isn't currently that popular, you're out of luck.
Finally, Google Alerts and similar services do not offer the variety of power options that we do. Those options enable our users to do things such as allowing people viewing or tracking a topic to:
- Contact the person who posted it, if that person enabled this option permitting communication without either party needing to disclose their e-mail address.
- View and post comments about it, if the person who registered the topic selected this option; comment moderation is optional.
- Contact others tracking it, if the person who registered the topic selected this option.
The person who registers a topic can:
- Permit everyone to track it, or only those he/she approves. The "approve before tracking" option is ideal for situations such as when an author, publisher, or software developer wishes to give updates to customers only.
- Opt to receive reports on how many people are tracking it.
These options enhance any web page by making it richer and more engaging. People who register topics can give their visitors the ability to do things that otherwise cannot be done, or are possible only by installing software that is usually complicated and often pricey. In contrast, Track-this.info options are free and can be added in less than one second, just by clicking a checkbox.
To fully appreciate the power of some of these options, you may need to put your feet up and ponder what they can do for you. For example, the option to permit people tracking a topic to contact others tracking it (who chose to communicate with the group) gives you the easiest way in the world to form a discussion group, with or without moderation. In less than one second, just one click can give you a discussion forum that is fully integrated with your site or any other Web content.
Now let's consider the option to permit people to contact the person who posted a topic. This is wonderful if you don't want to publish your e-mail address due to a fear of spam, or because you cannot publish it on that page (such as in your personal profile on a dating site). Even if you have a "contact me" form on your site, most of you could benefit from using our service to enable people to contact you.
Why? It is relatively easy to include a form on your site but difficult to code one with the filters and other measures necessary to block spammers from using your form to send spam through it. That spam is a nightmare for the people who receive it. It's also a big problem for you, because you can be blacklisted as a spammer so that even legitimate messages you send won't be delivered to their recipients.
The average person who knows enough to include a web form on his site does not know enough to thwart spammers. Even if you take the time to read dozens of programming books and hundreds of web sites on how to include a "contact me" form on your site, it's a good bet that the spammers know more than you, and so can overcome your spam countermeasures. We know how to stop even the most advanced spammers, so in our opinion, you are well-advised to let us handle your "contact me" needs. You have better things to do with your time.
Why should I use Track-this.info when I could give my e-mail address to sites offering a "notify me when this site is updated" mailing list?
You can't sign up for what isn't offered. Most sites do not offer such mailing lists because their owners don't know how to add that feature, or because their site technology is such that it simply isn't possible. Integrating a traditional mailing list into a site can be challenging, time-consuming, expensive, and frustrating. In contrast, adding Track-this.info to a site is quick, easy, and free. You don't need specialized knowledge or a specific site technology. In fact, Track-this.info can be added to things that are not connected to the Internet, such as products like printed books, services like healthcare from your doctor, and amazing things like finding the love of your life.
Third, sites with mailing lists typically have just one of them. That's not good if a site covers many topics and you're interested in just one of them, because most update notifications won't interest you. We make it easy for people who register topics to give folks tracking those topics only what they want to see.
Fourth, whether you are a site owner or visitor, Track-this.info can do much more for you than mailing list manager software (see the above topic on Couldn't I obviate the need for Track-this.info by using a service such as Google Alerts?). Look at some of our applications () to get an idea of what we can do.
Why should I use Track-this.info on my site instead of a traditional mailing list manager?
Second, adding a traditional mailing list manager to your site can be expensive, time-consuming, frustrating, and needlessly complex. Adding Track-this.info is free, quick, and easy. In spite of our simplicity, we can do much more than manage your mailing list. Read some of our applications () to see what we can do.
One of the biggest drawbacks plaguing traditional mailing list managers is that changing e-mail addresses is a hassle. A person might be on dozens of mailing lists. If his or her e-mail address changes, updating multiple lists is time-consuming—IF it can be done (some mailing lists don't offer any way for a user to change his registered e-mail address). The fact is that people are busy and often neglect to update e-mail address changes, so as your list ages, an increasing percentage of messages sent by it go to addresses no longer in use. In comparison, no matter how many mailing lists a user subscribes to with Track-this.info, changing one's e-mail address can be done in seconds in one place. We know that people are more likely to do things that are easy, so we make it very easy. Result? Mailing lists managed through us will contain a much higher percentage of valid addresses.
Why should I use Track-this.info on my site instead of RSS?
You can use Track-this.info in addition to RSS, not necessarily in place of it. However, it is foolish to use RSS in place of Track-this.info because we offer much greater power, we're much easier to use, and we are not plagued by the many RSS drawbacks. We're better for people who provide information, and for those who receive it.
Readers have limited time and want knowledge, not a flood of information. With RSS, it is easy to drown in information but be starving for knowledge. The RSS format itself encourages information providers to flood their recipients with disconnected bits of info; we found many people complaining that they couldn't tell from their RSS readers who wrote what. Thus, even the minority of people who can use RSS are often puzzled by what they receive from it.
Sites with RSS usually offer just one feed per site, with no way to specify what you're interested in. Result? You're not just flooded with disconnected bits of information, but lots of info you're not interested in.
Even if you can tolerate the myriad drawbacks of RSS, 19 out of 20 visitors to your site won't know how to use your cute little RSS or XML button. Even the ones who can use RSS are often not fond of it. After removing the profanity from several comments, here is a sampling of what they said about it:
- RSS is not ready for the masses. Non-geek users can't make sense of RSS.
- A good RSS reader doesn't exist, and I think it never will.
- RSS developers, and everyone who thinks RSS is a good idea, are out of touch with real people trying to cope with information overload. Developers, try to explain to your mom what it does or how to use it. Good luck!
- There are so many RSS versions, and even more implementations, all incomplete and ugly, so you never get things right, but always get things ugly.
- I couldn't get my RSS reader to display the data I want. I was advised to parse the raw XML. Um, what?
- RSS is, and will always be, 1995 technology.
- The consensus on RSS: it sucks.
- RSS is horrible.
- RSS is doomed.
- RSS is confusing and annoying. I deleted all of my RSS feeds . . . .
The best that can be said about RSS is that it saves you the trouble of checking for new content on sites that are updated infrequently—that is, if you're the one person in twenty who knows how to use it. However, Track-this.info is so simple that virtually everyone can use it, yet we can do much more than RSS for site owners and their visitors. Our format is inherently flexible, so we can easily give users new features and power. Although we leave RSS in the dust in terms of what we can do now, our future enhancements will widen the gap between us and the outdated RSS technology.
How does Track-this.info differ from the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) system?
According to the Wikipedia (), "the DOI name is the identifier string that specifies a unique object (the referent) within the DOI System; the DOI syntax is the form and sequence of characters comprising any DOI name, specifically the prefix element, separator, and suffix element; and the DOI System is the functional deployment of DOI names as identifiers in computer sensible form through assignment, resolution, referent description, administration . . . an extensible metadata model . . . implemented through a federation of DOI Registration Agencies . . . in the ontology sense of any entity . . . semantically interoperable resolution to related current data . . ."
Got that? Simple, huh?
Hieroglyphics is more like it! The DOI System was designed by eggheads for eggheads with money, because the Wikipedia says that "there is usually a charge to assign a new DOI name." Furthermore, the DOI System uses Registration Agencies to assign DOI names. If you're fond of bureaucratic complexity, you're bound to like the DOI System. If you have lots of free time, try reading the countless pages of fine print in the DOI® Handbook.
Track-this.info is so intuitively simple that a child can immediately use it. We don't charge for our services, and we give you the power to do much more than what the DOI System can do.
So what do you prefer? Paying for something that is complicated and less powerful? Or Track-this.info, which is easy, powerful, and free?
Some web page change detection services are automatic—that is, once installed on a site, they automatically monitor it and send messages to people who chose to be notified of page changes. In contrast, track-this.info does not send page update notifications unless the person who published that page, or posted to it, chooses to send such a notice. Since that requires an extra step on the part of the person who published that page or posted to it, wouldn't it be better for me as a site owner to have automatic monitoring?
Only if you want to annoy your visitors with a barrage of page update notifications that waste their time and pester them so much that they unsubscribe from your page changes! The problem with automatic page change detection services is that they cannot think, so they detect any change to a page and report it to your audience. Those automated services will notify your audience if an ad or date changes, or you correct a typo. How many visitors want to be notified of such trivial changes? Zero! Even your own mother would probably want to wring your neck if she were notified every time your ads change or the date on your page changes!
Automated service cannot explain to your audience what changed and why it may be important to them, so once they receive an update notice—which could be for a changed ad or typo correction—they will need to scour your page and try to figure out what changed. This is nuts. Some web pages are long and may take over an hour to read. Even short pages may take a minute to read. If you have 10,000 people monitoring your page, each of those 10,000 people must invest a minute to try figuring out what changed. Add it up: that is a month of work (@ 40 hours/week) for those 10,000 people . . . all so you, the one who published the page, could save a few seconds. If you think so much more of your time than the time of your readership, they will tune you out—permanently. Most people are so busy that they won't tolerate a service that wastes even a few seconds of their time.
Another drawback of automated page change detection services is that your audience will not be notified of changes to your page until their bot revisits your page, which may be a day or more after you update it. Track-this.info page update notifications are sent immediately. Such instantaneous notification is obviously beneficial to you and your audience, and it may even be essential. Sometimes too late is too late, period.
Yet another drawback of automated page change detection services is that they cannot be used on pages in which the publisher of that page, or the person posting content on it, can't edit the HTML source code.
Additionally, track-this.info is vastly more powerful than page change detection services, which do only one thing—detect page changes—and, frankly, do a third-rate job of that. Track-this.info allows you to concisely (one sentence is usually sufficient) explain to your readership what changed, so they can quickly decide whether to revisit your page for additional information. With track-this.info, you will not be wasting their time making them hunt for what's new, so they are much more likely to continue subscribing to your page update notifications.
Can I customize the text and color of my Track-this.info button?
Scroll down for instant info buttons
Yes. When you register a topic, you are shown an example of how your Track-this.info button will appear and function. Look for this image:
Or this one:
Immediately after that is a form that permits you to customize your button text and color.
Why modify your button text?
Since a topic can be virtually anything, customizing your button text may give visitors to your site a clearer understanding of what clicking that button can do for them. The standard button text says, "Notify me when this info is updated." You may wish to change that to "Notify me when this page is updated" or "Notify me when this site is updated."
Here's another example. If the topic is you, your button text could say, "Be notified about what's new with me" or "Be notified about what's new with Amy."
If you choose one or more power options when you register a topic, you can also change their text. For example, the standard "Contact the person who posted this topic" can be changed to "Contact Amy."
Instant info buttons
Instant info buttons look like this:
Their wording can be changed when you register your instant info topic IF you click the Generate plain/fancy link style for Web checkbox (the customize text select box will not appear unless you click that checkbox).
Can I use this site as my blog?
Yes. Since a topic can focus on anything, on or off the Internet, it can focus on your life, too. When you register to create a blog, give us the desired title of your blog, such as Ingrid's Intriguing Insights, instead of the URL (link). You should select this option: Allow people viewing or tracking this topic to view and post comments about it.
To see your blog or add to it, click the + More options link on the right side of your Track-this.info button (you're given the code for this when you register a topic). Clicking that link will take you to a page showing the options, one of which is View or post comments about this topic. Click that link to post new content or view existing postings, which consist of what you previously posted and comments submitted by others. You can limit comments by choosing this option when you register: I want to approve comments before they are posted.
If you don't have a website to post that button code on, you can use a plain text link to access the correct page. The link is:
Where x is your topic number.
Thus, if your topic number is 7383, your link would be:
Your link is also embedded in the button source code we give you when you register a topic. Depending on what you select as options, and the type and style of your link, the source code for your button may look like this:
The code you can use as your plain text link is highlighted in yellow in this example; again, replace 7383 with your topic number.
You can include that plain text link in an e-mail, or simply paste it into a browser's address bar.
Why is there a disproportionately greater number of female than male models on this site?
It is very difficult to find male models who are as comparably attractive as the female models we chose. We obtain most of our photos from a few stock photo sites, who collectively offer well over 10 million images. We spent several weeks searching those photos to find the most attractive models with just the right facial expression and other characteristics influencing the message conveyed by the photo. On those sites, it is easy to find beautiful women but difficult to find gorgeous ones with just the right look; to select one photo, for example, we put in a 16-hour day looking at tens of thousands of photos.
After looking at so many photos—certainly enough to be a statistically valid sample—we noticed that not only were the men typically not as attractive as the women, but almost always not even in the same league. We found countless pictures of couples in which the woman was stunning but the man was so unattractive that he clearly did not seem to "fit" with the woman. The ratio of very hot women to men was at least 100 to 1, so it takes at least 100 times as long to find a photo of a comparably attractive man. We don't have enough time to search that much.
We recently found some relevant scientific studies. One study concluded that women are the more adorned members of our species and thus possess a greater potential for extraordinary attractiveness. Another study found much more consensus among men than women regarding whom they find attractive. In other words, the perception of what constitutes beauty is narrower in men than women—a fact that cruelly discriminates against women who do not meet this rigid standard of beauty. In contrast, a male could look like a caveman and yet be viewed as attractive by a few women who think crude features are more masculine and appealing. Research has also shown that what women deem to be attractive is influenced by their menstrual cycle, certain medications, and possibly even their diet, too.
It isn't unusual for very attractive women to consider working as models in order to capitalize on their appearance. In contrast, very attractive men are far more likely to become a doctor, lawyer, salesman, or businessman than a model. Given the relative scarcity of men who would be judged supremely attractive by most women, and given their propensity to work as anything but models, it isn't surprising that we found so few male models who met our standards of appearance.
You may wonder why we are so concerned with the esthetics of a site whose value resides in what it can do for you. The answer is simple: By including very attractive models as eye candy, we think you're more likely to stick around long enough to discover some of the amazing Track-this.info applications (), most of which are not immediately obvious.
Incidentally, if you are a man or woman who has what it takes to model for us in exchange for something that is worth more than gold, please contact us.
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