Best and Cheap Hosting – HA

So, I was browsing posts at an Affiliate Marketing forum and came across the usual nonsense posted by a first time poster. This one, however, contains some “hidden advice” so I thought I would share (my take) on a response to the question.

Hosting Shack
Good & Cheap Hosting at the Hosting Shack.

The newbie posted, “I looking [sic] for the best and cheap ASP.Net hosting.” He went on to ask for advice on finding the fastest network with full backups and a good price. For a fleeting moment I thought about starting such a service and call it the “Hosting Shack.” There is a place available near my home. Commuting would be a breeze. 🙂

Realizing that “most” people realize you get what you pay for, I began to type a response. This is what I would have posted on the forum – but thought I would let a mod respond in the forum itself. Here is what I had typed:

I didn’t realize was still popular. Keep in mind that “best” and “cheap” do not work in the same sentence. If you are thinking about running a serious business on $5-a-month hosting you are not serious about running that business.

Typed and then deleted. So…is still popular? What do you think about getting “good and cheap” at the same time. Are YOU serious about your online business or do you cut corners on infrastructure?

Continue to photograph against white backgrounds.

The tile of an article over at the The American Genius (entrpreneurs’ news beat) website has created a stir on (at least) one professional marketing forum and on several Facebook Walls. It reads, “Amazon wins patent for taking photos against a white background. What!?” (That’s just the first of many articles I saw – because this is causing quite a “stir” among photographers and photography blogs.)

Outrageous as that seems – it’s not all that outrageous. The “patent” (March 18, 2014) is for the specific studio setup they use to produce those pictures. Unless one copies that “Studio Arrangement” precisely I doubt there can be a claim of patent infringement. Don’t believe me, though. Read it for yourself: United States Patent: 8676045 cookie photographed on white background.

Here’s a chocolate cookie with a white background. Is this an example of infringing on that patent? Can you tell (or even guess) the “studio arrangement” I used in photographing that cookie? Can you tell how many lights I used? Or, how about the f-stop, shutter speed and/or ISO sensitivity?***

Said patent acknowledges that photography against a white background is prior art: “Prior art solutions for achieving such a result…” It then goes on to state that nearly all of those techniques also require some amount post-processing. The specifically patented “Amazon” technique allows photos to be used directly in product illustration without any need for (the expense of) post-processing.

The author of that piece used her Masters Degree in English to create an effective “Link Bait” title for an article where the facts are inherently flawed. Another example of “sensational” journalism is basically what I see.  The title of the article is not accurate! It is inept and misleading journalism – whether intentional (link bait) or not, I cannot judge. There are many more examples of “sensationalistic” journalism around the interwebs. For example:

  •  – Taking a photo against a white background? Amazon owns the patent on that (
  •  – You Can Close The Studio, Amazon Patents Photographing On Seamless White  (DIY Photography)

One thing these articles all have in common is an outrage against this (seeming) injustice of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). What they do not express is outrage against distorted journalism – which is sad. While there are many (far too many) claims of stupid (for want of a better term) trademarks and patents being granted, this was a poor example to use in the “cause” of enacting reform.

If the need arises, I will continue to photograph against a white background, as in the example above. My personal preference, however it to photograph against black, as in this example of a Christmas Cactus in bloom.Christmas cactus bloom on black background

***Ask in the comments and I’ll explain exactly how I shot that cookie to anyone interested.

SellFire? Someone asked about SellFire…

We’ve tried SellFire – and it has some cool features but, for some reason, I never quite “got it.” I gave them a try but I recently cancelled our subscription. While there are several datafeed aggregators “out there” we are still relying on GoldenCAN and PopShops for our 3rd-party aggregator needs. While both may have some issues they have (over all) been good, consistent performers for us.

Why not add another? I suppose one analogy might be “as comfortable as an old pair of shoes.” If those old shoes are quality shoes they will probably work and “look good” for a considerable time. Sure, another shoe might work just as well and be a bit more shiny – but where does it fit? Just as I’ve only got two feet, I only have so many sites and places to integrate a data feed.

In addition, we do not use third-party data aggregators on all our sites. For some larger sites we actually build a custom datafeed for our needs. That feed is implemented by our own PHP/MySQL code. 🙂