The SAAQ Responds to My Letter Regarding Accompanied Rider Law in Quebec! Le SAAQ Repond a ma Lettre Concernant la Loi D’Accompagnement!

I apologize for the delay in posting this, but I did receive a follow-up from the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec a couple of months ago, here is their response to my letter, which you can read by clicking HERE.

Je présente mes excuses pour le retard dans l’affichage, mais j’ai recu un suivi de la Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec il ya quelques mois.  Voici leur réponse à ma lettre , que vous pouvez lire en cliquant ICI.

Monsieur,

j’ai pris connaissance de votre correspondance du 5 janvier dernier, transmise simultanement a M. Robert Poeti, ministre des Transports, ainsi qu’a Mme Nathalie Tremblay, presidente et chef de la direction de la Societe d’assurance automobile du Quebec (Societe), concernant le retrait de l’accompagnement obligatoire durant la phase d’apprentissage des futurs motocyclistes.  En 2010, la societe a mis sur pied un comite d’experts charges d’analyser differentes pistes de solution pour ameliorer la securite routiere des motocyclistes. Au terme des travaux de ce comite, Le Rapport moto – Volet securite routiere, a ete rendu public en avril 2013. Ce dernier presente dix recommandations sur differents themes lies a la pratique de la motocyclette. Une de ces recommandations concerne le retrait de l’accompaqnement obligatoire.

Actuellement, plusieurs des recommandations du rapport sont deja appliquees ou en voie de l’etre puisqu’elles ne necessitent pas de modifications leqislatives. Les autres mesures, don’t le retrait de I’accompagnement obligatoire, pourront etre mises en ceuvre des qu’une opportunite d’effectuer des modifications legislatives au Code de la Securite routiere (CSR) se presenters. D’ici la, les titulaires d’un permis d’apprenti-conducteur de motocyclette doivent respecter la reqlementation en vigueur, telle que prescrite par le CSR. A cet effet, I’article 100 du CSR stipule qu’une personne titulaire d’un permis d’apprenti-conducteur conduisant une motocyclette doit etre accornpaqnee d’une personne, elle-msme titulaire, depuis au moins deux ans, d’un permis de conduire valide
autorisant la conduite d’une motocyclette.

Si vous eprouvez des difficultes a vous trouver un accompagnateur, sachez que vous pouvez consulter certains sites Internet, tel que le site de Motodirect (www.motodirect.netiaccompagnateurs) qui fournissent des listes de personnes interessees a accompagner des aspirants motocyclistes.

En terminant, je vous invite a consulter I’ensemble des recommandations proposes par le comite sur le site Internet de la Societe a I’adresse suivante:

http://www.saaq.gouv.qc.ca/documents/documents_pdf/prevention/rapport_comite_moto.php

Veuillez agreer, Monsieur, mes salutations distinquees.
La chef de service,
~
Helene Beaulieu
HB/AMUjl

So basically the letter is explaining that they do intend to do away with the accompanied rider law, however the neither the SAAQ nor the Transport Ministry can simply remove it as it is a legislative law.  So this means that the provincial government has to table the law reform and then vote on it, pass it, and apply the new law and the intention is to do so this fall.  So in other words, nothing is going to happen until next year.

I am somewhat amused by her telling me to go to Motodirect to search for available accompanying riders… how amusing!  At this time, there are 4 available riders listed on the site for my area of Montreal, and they are available on weekends on sunny days and some evenings.  Wow, that’s beyond useless seeing as I use my bike to commute, thanks a bunch for nothing.  This province never fails to amuse me with their ridiculous policies and attempts at placating the public with worthless solutions.

Francais: Donc, fondamentalement, la letter explique qu’ils ont l’intention d’en finir avec la loi d’accompagnement, mais ni la SAAQ, ni le ministère des Transports ne peuvent tout simplement supprimer la loi, comme il est une loi législative. Donc, cela signifie que le gouvernement provincial doit presenter la réforme de la loi et ensuite voter sur elle, passer, et d’appliquer la nouvelle loi et l’intention est de le faire cet automne. Donc, en d’autres termes, rien ne va se passer jusqu’à l’année prochaine.

Je suis un peu amusé par la partie de la lettre que me dis d’aller à Motodirect pour rechercher un accompagnateur … Tres amusant! A cette époque, il ya 4 accompagnateurs disponibles répertoriés sur le site pour ma région de Montréal, et ils sont disponibles le week-end, les jours ensoleillés et certains soirs. Wowfantastique pour quelqu’un comme moi qui utilize leur pour se render au travail, merci pour rien! Cette province ne manque jamais de me faire rigoler avec leurs politiques et leurs tentatives ridicules à apaiser le public avec des solutions sans valeur.

Well, at least they answered my letter…

Dan

Contre la Loi de L’Accompagnateur pour Moto au Québec? Against the Accompanied Rider Law in Quebec? Take Action!

blog_moto

UPDATE! The SAAQ replied to my letter, click here to read! Le SAAQ a repondu a ma letter, cliquez ici pour lire!

(Francais) Bienvenue à mon premier post bilingue et mon premier post de 2015! Aujourd’hui, je voulais parler un peu d’une loi provinciale au Québec qui affecte tous les nouveaux motocyclistes, et j’espère que je peux encourager les autres individuels et des groupes au Québec de prendre des mesures et obtenir cette loi révoqué à temps pour la saison 2015 de moto au Québec . Cette loi est la loi de conducteur accompagné, obligeant tous les nouveaux conducteurs de motocyclettes être soumis à au moins 11 mois de conduite probatoire dans lequel ils doivent être accompagnés en tout temps lors de la conduite de leur moto par un autre conducteur sur leur propre moto qui a eu leur permis complète au moins de 1 an. La loi est carrément ridicule et éprouvées pour être dangereux, causer plus de tort que de bien pour une variété de raisons.

Je n’entrerai pas trop en détails sur mes points de vue et réflexions sur cette loi, je simplement vous invite à lire une copie de ma lettre récemment adressée au ministre des Transports du Québec, M. Robert Poeti, et à la SAAQ (Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec) Président, Natalie Tremblay. Si vous souhaitez également être entendu, je vous invite à bien vouloir tendre la main et envoyer des lettres aussi. C’est le temps de se débarrasser de cette loi!

(English) Welcome to my first bilingual post and my first post of 2015!  Today I wanted to talk a bit about a provincial law in Quebec that affects all new motorcycle riders, and I hope I can encourage other riders and groups in Quebec to take action and get this law revoked in time for the 2015 motorcycle season here in Quebec.  That law is the accompanied driver law, requiring all new motorcycle drivers be subjected to at least 11 months of probationary driving wherein they must be accompanied at all times when driving their motorcycle by another driver on their own bike that has had their full license for at least 1 year.  The law is flat out ridiculous and PROVEN to be dangerous, causing more harm than good for a variety of reasons.

I won’t go in to too many details on my viewpoints and thoughts on this law, I simply invite you to read a copy of my letter recently sent to the Minister of Transportation Quebec, Mr. Robert Poeti, and to the SAAQ (Society de l’Assurance Automobile du Quebec) President, Natalie Tremblay.  If you would also like to be heard, I invite you to please reach out and send letters of your own.  Let it be known that 4 years of floundering is enough, get rid of this law!

Write to / Ecrire:

Presidente Mme. Natalie Tremblay
Société de l’Assurance Automobile du Québec
333 Boul Jean Lesage N-6-2
PO BOX 19600
Quebec, QC
G1K8J6

Mr. Robert Poeti
Cabinet du Ministere
700 Boul Rene Levesque Est 29th Floor
Quebec, QC
G1R5H1

Version Francais:

5 Janvier, 2015
Cher Monsieur Robert Poeti,

Je vous écris aujourd’hui dans l’espoir que cette lettre, en collaboration avec plusieurs études connexes, les commentaires des écoles de conduit et les clubs de moto à travers le Québec, contribuera à faire de la Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec et le ministère des Transports du Québec pour finalement abolir la loi du «conducteur d’accompagnement» pour les permis 6A d’apprenants à temps pour la saison de moto 2015.

 

Je suis nouveau motocycliste au Québec, en passant mon test de circuit juste avant la fin de la saison 2014 au début Octobre. J’avais un permis de moto en Ontario au milieu des années 1990, que je n’ai pas renouvelé quand j’ai déménagé à Québec en 1997 – j’ai renouvelé seulement mon permis d’auto. Apres un dossier de conduit très propre pendant 22 ans j’ai décidé de relever la moto à nouveau dans la province de Québec, mais je dois commencer le processus d’octroi de licences depuis le début, ce qui signifie que je dois commencer avec le permis de 6A et vais devoir le faire pour la majorité de la saison 2015.

 

Pourquoi une moto? Mis à part la jouissance de conduire un moto, je cherche à réduire ma consommation de carburant pour aller au travail, abaisser mes coûts d’assurance (j’ai déjà acheté une moto 650cc), réduire mon empreinte carbone en réduisant les émissions et le recours à des fluides à base de combustibles fossiles tels que l’huile de moteur, et ayant un impact sur l’environnement global, financier et routière plus petite.

 

C’est avec une grande inquiétude que je trouve que je peux réaliser aucun de ces objectifs, en raison de la loi impossible d’accompagnement extrêmement inefficace et très honnêtement, cavalier. Je n’ai pas d’amis qui conduisent des motos, pas de connaissances, pas de collègues et aucune famille qui possèdent une moto ici, au Québec. Même si oui, aucune partage le même horaire de travail ou le chemin que j’utilise. La SAAQ a créé un obstacle majeur à apprendre à conduire une moto et le fait est, les titulaires de classe 6A sont obligés soit de briser la loi et conduire illégalement, ou garer leurs motos jusqu’à passer le test de route pleine.

 

Il y a aussi aucune manière que ce soit fourni par la SAAQ pour correspondre nouveaux motocyclistes avec des gens expérimentés pour les accompagner. Une recherche rapide sur Google montre des centaines de nouveaux motocyclistes qui mendient pour accompagnateurs, mais à part de quelques personnes qui se rendent disponibles pour les balades du week-end, il est presque impossible de trouver quelqu’un qui viendrait près d’égaler mon horaire de travail et de la voie.

 

Votre propre étude commandée avec la FCM indique clairement cette loi ne fonctionne pas: SAAQ Publications

 

En termes clairs, l’étude recommande “le retrait de l’accompagnement obligatoire de l’apprenti motocycliste.“

 

Je suis sûr que la loi de accompagnateur a été créé avec les meilleures intentions pour protéger nouveaux motocyclistes, mais malheureusement, les études et les évaluations montre le contraire qui se passe. Les nouveaux conducteurs sont obligés d’attendre jusqu’à ce qu’ils puissent obtenir un permis complet pour commencer effectivement la conduite, à quel point ils ont zéro restrictions et peuvent même transporter des passagers, au lieu de profiter de la période probatoire pour construire leurs compétences avant de devenir admissible à un permis complet. Cette loi est universellement révélée inefficace, contre-productive, et dans certains cas réellement dangereux.

 

En conclusion, je demande encore une fois, s’il vous plaît permettez-moi de pratiquer mes compétences et avoir une saison de conduite agréable, légale et sûre en 2015 et mettre fin la loi de accompagnateur. Sinon, ce sera une autre année de mon moto assis dans mon garage ne rien faire.

 

Je vous remercie sincèrement pour votre temps et svp trouver inclus les deux pages pertinentes de l’étude SAAQ / FCM qui traite l’abolition de la loi d’accompagnateur pour reference.

English Version:

January 5, 2015
Dear Mr. Robert Poeti,

 

I am writing you today in the hopes that this letter, in conjunction with several related studies, feedback from driving schools and motorcycle clubs throughout Quebec, will help push the Societe de l’Assurance Automobile du Quebec and the Ministere des Transports du Quebec to finally abolish the “Accompanying rider law” for 6A learner permits in time for the 2015 riding season.

 

I am new motorcycle rider in Quebec, passing my circuit test just before the end of the 2014 season in early October.  I used to hold a full motorcycle license in Ontario in the mid 1990s, which I did not renew when I moved to Quebec and I have been licensed and driving motor vehicles with a very clean record for 22 years.  I have decided to take up motorcycle riding again in the province of Quebec, however I must start the licensing process from the beginning, meaning I must start with the 6A permit and will have to do so for the majority of the 2015 riding season.

 

Why a motorcycle?  Aside from the enjoyment of riding, I am looking to reduce my fuel consumption to and from work, lower my insurance costs (I have already purchased an older 650cc motorcycle), lower my carbon footprint by reducing emissions and reliance on fossil fuel based fluids such as engine oil, and overall having a smaller environmental and financial impact.

 

It is with great alarm that I find I can achieve none of these goals, due to the extremely ineffective and quite honestly, impossible accompanying rider law.  I have no friends that drive motorcycles, no acquaintances, no co-workers and no family that own a motorcycle here in Quebec.  Even if I did, none share the same work schedule or route that I have.  The SAAQ has created a major roadblock to learning how to drive a motorcycle and the fact is, class 6A holders are being forced to either break the law and drive illegally, or park their bikes until passing the full road test.

 

There is also no venue provided whatsoever by the SAAQ to match new riders with experienced riders to accompany them.  A quick search on Google shows hundreds of new riders begging for accompanying permit holders, but aside from a few people that make themselves available for weekend rides, it is next to impossible to find anyone that would come close to matching my work schedule and route.

 

Your very own commissioned study with the FCM clearly states this law does not work: SAAQ Publications

 

In no uncertain terms, the study calls for le retrait de l’accompagnement obligatoire de l’apprenti motocycliste.” ***

 

I am sure the accompanying rider law was created with the best intentions to protect new riders, but unfortunately studies and feedback show the opposite is happening.  New riders are forced to wait until they can get a full license to actually start driving, at which point they have zero restrictions and can even carry passengers, instead of taking advantage of the probationary period to build their skills before becoming eligible for a full permit.  This law is universally proven to be ineffective, counterproductive, and in some cases actually dangerous.

 

In conclusion, I ask again, please allow me to build my skills and have an enjoyable, LEGAL and safe riding season in 2015 and do away with the accompanying rider law this spring.  Otherwise, it will be another year of my bike sitting in my garage for nothing.

 

I sincerely thank you for your time and I have included the 2 relevant pages from the SAAQ/FCM study that discusses the abolition of the accompanying rider law for reference.

 

All the best and I hope to hear from you on the subject.

*** Translates to “the removal of an obligatory accompaniment driver for new motorcycle drivers”.

The study to which I am referring to can be downloaded HERE.  The two key pages are as follows / L’étude à laquelle je me réfère à peut être téléchargé ici. Les deux pages principales sont les suivantes:

reportmoto1
reportmoto2

(English Translation) In case you do not understand french, the report outlines the 6 major flaws in the law:

  1. The complete lack of available qualified drivers to accompany new riders.
  2. The inability for the new driver and experienced driver to effectively communicate.
  3. The impossibility of the experienced rider to make corrective decisions and maneuvers on behalf of the new driver.
  4. The danger of having the new driver focus on the experienced driver for signals and queues instead of keeping his eye on the road and what’s in front of him.
  5. The danger of forcing a new driver to keep up with an experienced rider.
  6. Most new drivers on the road are young people learning to drive a car, and vehicles tend to be easily accessible by the vast majority of road users.  New motorcycle drivers tend to be older and often don’t know anyone else that drives a motorcycle.

I would also recommend you check out a great online letter that was posted by Michel Barrette on Autonet.ca by clicking here.  My favorite part of his letter is the following / Je recommande également de lire une lettre en ligne qui a été publié par Michel Barrette sur Autonet.ca en cliquant ici. Ma partie préférée de sa lettre est le suivant:

Vous vous direz sûrement ce qu’on se dit tous : j’ai payé mon cours de moto, j’ai été présent tous les jours, les instructeurs professionnels de l’école ont jugé que j’étais apte à conduire ma moto en toute sécurité, j’ai passé mon examen théorique avec succès, j’ai refait une journée de rafraîchissement avec les instructeurs, je suis allé faire l’acrobate dans la cour du centre d’achats avec mon dossard jaune orange (oui je sais, je ne l’ai pas digéré, celui-là), j’ai pratiqué dans les rues de la ville et sur les autoroutes, j’ai suivi sous la pluie des semi-remorques, me suis fait couper la route par un taxi sans me planter, alors normalement, sauf erreur, je suis prêt à prendre SEUL la route pour aller où je veux et quand je le veux.

 

Vous allez me dire que maintenant, pendant 11 mois, je dois me trouver quelqu’un qui possède déjà un permis moto, qui doit venir me chercher chez moi avec sa moto et non l’inverse, sinon ce serait illégal, qu’on doit choisir ensemble notre destination, que je ne peux donc pas aller travailler avec ma moto s’il ne travaille pas au même endroit, que je ne peux pas décider d’aller voir ma mère à Chicoutimi ou de faire le tour de la Gaspésie parce qu’il n’a pas le temps ou que ce n’est simplement pas de son goût ?

(English Translation) He is basically saying the following:

This is my understanding: I paid for my mandatory course, I was present every day, professional driving instructors judged that I was able to safely drive my motorcycle, I passed the written exam, I ran a 1 day refresher course with the professional instructors again, did the acrobatic closed course riding exam, I practiced in the streets and highways of the city, was water blasted as I followed 18 wheelers, I was cut off by a taxi and didn’t crash, so at this point, I would say I am ready to drive on the road by myself when I want and where I want.

 

BUT now you’re going to tell me that for the next 11 months I have to find someone who has already had their full license for at least a year and has their own motorcycle and that they have to come and meet me at my place (I can’t drive to meet him otherwise it is illegal), we both have to have the same destination meaning I can’t use my motorcycle to drive to work unless he works at the same building and has the same schedule, and I can’t drive to go and see my mother in a different city nor can I tour the beautiful Gaspesie because I can’t find a driver who has the time or interest to go to the same place I wish to visit?

The law is ridiculous and downright dangerous.  Please write a letter or file a complaint with the SAAQ today and hopefully the accompanied driver law is abolished in Spring 2015. / La loi est ridicule et carrément dangereux. S’il vous plaît écrire une lettre ou déposer une plainte auprès de la SAAQ aujourd’hui et j’espère que la loi de conducteur accompagné est aboli au printemps 2015.

Merci,
Dan

P2LHosting is now closed, thank you everyone!

I wanted to write a quick little blurb and thank you to all my clients and past-clients that entrusted me with their website assets by using P2LHosting for their webhosting needs.  As of today, the primary server was taken offline for good and hopefully everyone was able to switch over to a new hosting plan before the due date, which I communicated to all active clients twice via email earlier this month.

Unfortunately P2LHosting had been losing money for several years, but the amount was not that big of a deal as it proved extremely useful for me personally as well as for my clients.  But as the last few years have unfolded and I have been dedicating my work hours to my full-time career, the hosting business stagnated and eventually clients started to drop off.  Not many, but in a business where ever penny counts, even 2 or 3 clients lost per year hurts.  In addition, I was no longer able to respond to trouble tickets as quickly as I wanted, and I didn’t think that was fair to my loyal customers that were used to 1 hour response times over the years.  There is really no time to grow this business as all of my efforts are focused on serving the Playboy digital network that I currently manage.

For anyone that did not transfer in time (perhaps you never received any of the emails) I did keep a close eye on domains that were still pointed to the P2LHosting nameservers and I have downloaded complete cPanel backups for your accounts.

Didn’t transfer your account yet?

OK don’t panic, here’s what I have asked clients to do:

  1. Sign up for an account with a hosting company that uses cPanel.  I have personally moved to HostGator and I am referring people to use them as well.  You can choose a package and sign up HERE!
  2. During the sign up process, make sure you use the SAME cPanel username on your hosting sign up that you had with P2LHosting,  This is the username you would use when logging in to cPanel.  This is really important.
  3. Forward me your welcome email, which should contain your new cPanel information, including the login URL and login credentials as well as your site’s IP and nameservers, and your helpdesk login information.
  4. I will upload the cPanel backup to the home directory of your account.
  5. You will then be provided with specific verbiage for the restoration of your account.  You will need to create a helpdesk ticket and copy/paste the verbiage provided.
  6. You will need to update your nameservers on your domain via your registrar or you can send me your credentials and I can do it for you.
  7. Once the restore has been done, your site will be back up and running.

You can contact me directly via my contact page at http://www.danrichard.com/contact/ and I will get back to you ASAP.

Thanks again everyone for your loyal business over the years, it has been a pleasure serving you!

Dan

The Death of Tutorial Portals – A look at the Big 3 in 2013 and Suggested Counter-Measures for Webmasters.

It was a matter of time I suppose, an inevitable evolution as web behavior continues to shift, morph and push technological boundaries at an alarming rate.  More precisely, the ADHD generation of web users combined with massive strides in search engine results accuracy and perhaps a dash of lack of interest has destroyed the tutorial search portal business model.  For my long-time readers, you don’t have to ask, but for those of you fairly new to the world of online tutorials you might of never heard of the tutorial giants – Good-Tutorials.com, Tutorialized.com and Pixel2life.com.  These 3 companies battled long and hard for top search engine placement, diehard fans, streamlined UIs and dominance of the tutorial aggregate site niche.  In the mid to late 2000s, these sites were huge and brought in tens of thousands of visitors every day and considered the gold standard of free tutorial listings.  But as 2010 rolled around, it appears the wheels started to break free from what appeared to be a rock-solid frame.

Today these sites have plummeted in traffic, rank and audience.  Tutorialized.com and Pixel2life.com were sold to new owners in 2010 – 2011 that converted one site in to an ad laden cesspool of affiliate offers and the other seemed to fall in to autopilot while the owners fell asleep at the helm.  For Good-Tutorials.com, they seemed to have turned off all development and just let it chug along like an old 1988 Dodge Aries that refuses to die but gets harder to drive up the hill every morning.  A quick look at Alexa paints a fairly nasty picture:

blog_alexa_gt

 

blog_alexa_tz

 

blog_alexa_p2l

 

You can see that all sites suffer from identical markers of a site dying a slow painful death.  It’s important to note that you can only see the Alexa ranks from 2012 to 2013 and there was already huge drops since 2010 to 2012 that you can’t see in the graph.  The other alarming number is the dominance of traffic from India rather than the USA, especially for GT and Tutorialized with GT at almost 30% traffic from India.  These sites were previously ALL 50% or higher USA traffic sources with Alexa US ranking way below 10k, but with the lack of social presence, development and user interest, the sites are now exposed to non-premium traffic, which destroys the ability of the site to run top paying advertisers and affiliate offers needed for the precious revenue to keep these sites worth running.  The bounce rates, time on site and page views are also unhealthy signs of sites that are on the way to a website graveyard.

The question at this point is what happened and how do you stop this from happening to YOUR website before it’s too late.  What you may find interesting is that while tutorial aggregate portals like the big 3 are petering off, original content tutorial sites catering to specific niches are still doing quite well, in fact probably better than ever.  It’s becoming easier for people to find these sites through long-tail keyword searches on search engines so they no longer have to even rely on these portals for traffic anymore.  With basic SEO and patience, it’s hard not to succeed at some small level.  With bigger investments (in terms of time and development) and smarter marketing, you can stand to make a nice little profit once you understand how the web works today.

So what happened to the big 3 exactly?  In the most basic terms, they were mismanaged at a time when Google started making huge strides in long-tail keyword search results making it MUCH easier to locate tutorials for exactly what you wanted right from Google instead of having to sift through results on an aggregate that suffered from ancient Boolean search logic with sometimes sketchy results and 404 links once you finally found what you needed.  It was the perfect storm and all 3 major sites sailed directly in to the teeth of the seething maw of web destruction.  Once the downpour ceased it’s pummeling drive, some seriously battered websites floated out of the haze and have been drifting ever since and even now the seams continue to widen and water is pouring in, dragging them under.  The sites also allowed clutter to build up and standards started to slip both in terms of tutorial quality and advertisers and the situation would only worsen as users continued to drop as they discovered much easier methods of finding tutorials for free.  The sites with forums were further mangled by out-of-control spam, rendering the forums virtually useless to any valid users looking to be part of the community.

The final straw that broke the e-camel’s back was the massive implosion of online ad pricing, which saw a massive drop virtually overnight on all major networks.  After several years of high CPC prices with AdSense and other small competitors and the absolute insane earnings from the short-lived Yahoo Ad Network beta phase (think nerds, hookers and blow) prices went from dollars per click to a penny per click or lower.  Many webmasters found themselves unable to pay basic living costs once the ad market crashed and some bailed for steady employment, others fought to get through it, and some simply moved in to their mother’s basement and continue to fight the good fight!  This was actually one of the major factors that led me to dump the tutorial portal side of P2L’s business (I still run the hosting) and focus on more productive revenue generation.  2008 was most definitely gone and would never be repeated.

Pixel2life daily traffic from better times – 30k visits a day!

I founded Pixel2life – it was my creation, my baby, my passion and my fulltime business for many years and when it changed so I could pursue new challenges, it was done so with the very best of intentions and was assured that my site was in good hands.  It pains me to see what has happened to my beloved P2L, the tutorial community and the sites I used to consider threats to my livelihood.  While I know there is nothing I can do for P2L at this point even if it handed back to me today on a silver platter, I will always value the MASSIVE amount of lessons learned in every aspect of web development and management that I carry with me today.

Another benefit from the demise of P2L is that I can impart some advise to you, my readers, to help you preserve your website and possibly your livelihood.  If you run or want to run a website and want it to thrive for years to come, here are 12 lessons from me to you:

  1.  Always try to gear your site to a particular focused niche and try to cater to a niche made up of a buying audience rather than an audience looking for something free.  P2L was geared towards people looking for free tutorials, so when it came to looking for ways of converting on that traffic, it was a nightmare.  Another site I ran that provided product reviews for a particular niche had 10 times LESS traffic than P2L, but actually generated about double the revenue. The people that used that website were looking to buy products and just wanted to find out of it was worth it… it’s not hard to convert on an audience that has one hand on the mouse and the other wrapped around their credit card.
  2. Know your niche like the back of your hand.  If you’re not an authority on your niche, your audience will know it and will look elsewhere.  Live and breath your niche and become the dominant name in that field – this was critical to both my tutorial company and my collectibles company.
  3. Write original content that has not been done to death.  Forget about aggregate sites in general – Facebook, Reddit and Google have killed most of those opportunities so focus on providing your own unique content that can’t be found anywhere else and you’ll find other likeminded people that want to digest it.
  4. Listen to your audience, they are telling you what your competitors are already working on simply by telling you what they want.  If you don’t do it, someone will – that’s actually why I started P2L to begin with.
  5. Learn everything you can about SEO, it’s really important.  There are simple factors in search engine optimization that can make a HUGE difference in how much traffic search engines send your way.  At the same time, there are fatal mistakes you can make on your site that can turn search engines away from you and could take months to recover even if you manage to fix them.
  6. Constantly question every aspect of your website to ensure you’re not instilling a sense of blind cruise control.  Don’t confuse this with indecision or questioning your business sense…  what you want to do is ensure that your site logically makes sense and your business model is relevant and effective.  Why does your site exist?  Does it make sense?  Why would users come here instead of a competitor?
  7. There’s no such thing as an auto-pilot site.  The second you take your foot off the gas and let the site run on auto-pilot is the second someone is taking advantage of your lack of interest to threaten your market share.
  8. Don’t be afraid of change and evolution of your site, the web and the audience.  As social media and user generated content continues to dominate the web, things like “I don’t need a twitter account” are emotion based statements founded on fear of change.  If you want to have a business online that thrives, you’d better know where people gather and then make yourself heard.
  9. Put yourself in the user’s shoes and pretend to search the web like a regular person who has never heard of your site before.  If you have a business called Joe’s Bowls in Sacramento with a niche site on decorative ceramic bowls, then no one is going to open up Google and type Joe’s Bowls if they’ve never heard of you.  Be realistic and search ‘ceramic bowl store Sacramento’.  Are you anywhere to be found in the search results?  Check out your social media channels and those of your competitor.  Who’s more engaging and why?  If you can afford it, hire some folks for a focus group and get honest opinions.  You would be shocked at what you find out.
  10. Manage your site like a project, with a clear charter, project scope, work breakdown structure with deadlines and milestones.  Have the capital required to hire a top notch developer if you want to do it right the first time and do not let ANYONE compromise your delivery dates.  The more your drag out and delay a project, the longer you delay building up your business and generating revenue.
  11. Easy or hard, your decisions should be based on numbers and logic, not emotions.  Don’t become so attached to something that you ignore the facts.  I have this as number 10, but it’s one of the most fatal mistakes a webmaster can make.  AB test everything, learn how to use Google Analytics and study conversion.  Your site is a business, and successful businesses have a proper business model, a P&L and management decisions are based of actual data.  If your site is on a downward trend, then you need to investigate and address it, not dig in and ride it out or stick your head in the sand.  Otherwise you could follow the big 3 in to obscurity.
  12. Love what you do.  If you’re going to run your own website and business for years to come, you had better love the subject matter.

Do you miss the good ol’ P2L days?  Have some thoughts on what I wrote?  Please share them by using the comment form below, I read everything you guys send me.

Thanks for reading!
Dan

Fix for Samsung Galaxy Note II that won’t connect to PC via USB with Unknown Device Error!

I’ve broken free of the iTunes collar, the manacles of Mac and the yoke of iPhone madness… yes friends, I am back in the warm embrace of Android at last as I have now been moved to a Samsung Note II!  Despite the joy, there was one small itsy bitsy hiccup along the way and that was Windows 8’s absolute refusal to successfully install the drivers and let me browse my brand new Samsung Note II with Windows Explorer.

noteii_broken

Every time I would connect the cable to any of my USB ports, I would get USB Driver installation errors saying Unrecognized Device Error.  I tried everything I could find on the web to no avail, so I tried the most basic concept I could think of… I swapped out the cable.  The default white cable that came with the phone would charge the phone no problem connected to the PC, but would refuse to properly install the drivers.

Method 1 – Change the cable (it really works!)

I literally used a $1 OEM cable I bought from a dollar store years ago for an old Motorola phone.  Within seconds, the phone connected, correct drivers loaded and boom, windows explorer popped up with all the phone’s files available.  So there you go, before you try anything, swap out the cable!  If that doesn’t work, then I would suggest fiddling with the other solutions found online.

noteii_fixed

Method 2 – Don’t use a usb 3.0 port

Some folks have reported that using a USB 3.0 port on the PC in question may not work correctly.  Try using a USB 2.0 port instead if possible.

Method 3 – Ensure you have the right settings

By default my phone was already set to the right settings for USB file transfers so I’ll assume most of these ship with the same configuration, hence why I have this as method 3.  I found this on a forum and while it did not work for me, it seems a few other folks declared it a success.

  1. Launch the phone key pad on your note and press *#7284# (don’t forget to start with that * symbol!)
  2. When you press the last pound sign (#) this will bring up an option that will allow you to change your USB connection settings (modem or PDA) – change it to PDA.
  3. At the bottom there is a button that says Qualcomm USB. Click on it.
  4. In that menu click on MTP + ADB option.
  5. Save and reset.
  6. Wait for your phone to restart.
  7. Plug the micro USB cable to the Note 2 and the the other end to your PC or Mac
  8. Let your computer down load and install drivers.
  9. Once installing is done, unplug then replug phone.
  10. There should be a USB symbol on your phone in the status bar – click on it. It should ask if you wsnd to use mtp or ptp. Click MTP
  11. At this point your PC should open the phone’s folders in explorer similar to the screenshot above.
  12. Do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight.

Remember, you do not need to use Kies or root your phone for this to work and you should not have to fiddle with manually installing and downloading drivers in Windows 8, it should work no problem as is.

Good luck!
Dan