Thursday, 31 May 2007

PAD, mass mailing (partial) result

Now it's time to analyze the results!

Of 3655 emails, 291 bounced back (8.0%), mostly for unknown user and mail-quota exceed.

17 people (4.6%) instead answerd me provinding information about Pizza shop I wasn't aware of, while 11 people (3.0%) replyed with "REMOVE ME" as subject, probably because they weren't interested.

Phplist tracking is saying that the message has been read 2039 times by 1156 people (31.6%)
Anyway only 214 people (5.9%, according to Google Analytics) reached the home page so far.

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

PAD: Mass mailing

I had over 3650 people who signed up to Prezzi Benzina newsletter, so I wanted to take the opportunity to let them know of my new project Pizza a Domicilio.
I downloaded and installed phplist, one of the best open source mailing list tools available around.
One of the best features it has, is the ability to personalize each mail.

Saturday, 26 May 2007

SMS service failure

Few days ago I started suspecting that something must happened to the mobile phone I use as sms gateway, since I haven't received any sms since May 19.

Anyway, since that hardware is staying about 60 km from where I live I could not check it before today. What happened was that the mobile phone received a flash sms from its own operator (Vodafone) with some configuration details about GPRS and WAP, and since then it disconnected itself from the network (the signal strength was zero).

I should probably put up some control routines, so that I could get warned it this happen again.

Friday, 25 May 2007

Pirate Pebbles Flintstone

I've taken this picture with my Sony-Ericsson P990 mobile phone because I really liked the way the handbag strap was hiding Pebbles' left eye, making her looking as a Pirate.

Later, when I got home I searched for some scars through Google Image Search, and the I used Adobe Photoshop to merge them.

Here's the result: "Pirate Pebbles Flintstone".
(in italian "il Pirata Ciotolina Flintstone")

Mostra della ciliegia 2007

Vi piacciono le ciliegie? Se è così, potreste essere interessati alla 17esima "Mostra della ciliegia" che si terrà domenica 27 Maggio 2007 a Maser (TV).
Per maggiori informazioni potete visitare il sito della manifestazione:

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Pizza a Domicilio

Sembra che Google si diverta ad indicizzare il mio blog molto più velocemente di qualsiasi altro sito che gestisco. Quindi perché non sfruttare questa occasione per fare un po' di pubblicità:

Cerca la pizzeria con consegna a domicilio più vicina a casa tua:

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

PAD, small improvements

Since there arent' so many people helping me in inserting the home-delivery pizza shops in the database, I had to realize some improvements:
  • I added also some takeway pizza shops, but the user who wants to see them on the map must express his willing by clicking on a check box.
  • the address that the user has entered in the search box is displayed on the map through this icon: .
  • the zoom is chosen so that at least three pizza shops are visible at the same time.
For realizing the last feature I've used the GMap API function GLatLngBounds.extend(). Here's a snippet:
var bounds = new GLatLngBounds();
bounds.extend(new GLatLng(41.895466, 12.482323)); // searched address
bounds.extend(new GLatLng(41.882694, 12.520852)); // first pizza shop
bounds.extend(new GLatLng(41.921056, 12.457294)); // second pizza shop
bounds.extend(new GLatLng(41.874163, 12.443047)); // third pizza shop
map.setCenter(bounds.getCenter(), map.getBoundsZoomLevel(bounds));

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Pizza a Domicilio, keywords removed?

For some strange reason if now I search pizza a domicilio on, I'm not able to see any more my website I don't know what is going on, but as you can imagine, I am not happy with it.

So, let's start using some of the domains I maintain for some keyword linking.

PAD, is Adwords getting greedy?

Google Adwords says now that it wants 0.04€ for the following keywords:
pizzeria asporto
cinese a domicilio
pizza d'asporto
pizza domicilio
pizze a domicilio
pizzeria d'asporto
and 0.08€ for these:
cinese d'asporto
pizza asporto
pizze asporto
pizze d'asporto
Let's see what happening rising the maximum cpc at 0.04€ (0.08€ is really too much)

Monday, 21 May 2007

PAD, almost a positive cash flow

This weekend I've been at the sea side at Bibione and I did not have Internet access. This means that all the traffic on PAD was genuine (it wasn't generated by me).

It's very rewarding the fact than on Sunday I raised 3.85$ from Google Adsense, while spending 4.05€ (1€=1.3$) on Google Adwords. This is amazing because I never suspected I could do advertising on Google almost for free.

The same day, the most money payed to Google Adwords was for the campaign with a lot of keywords (126 clicks at about 0.03€ each = 3.69€), while the campaign with only pizza as keyword was far less expensive (5 clicks at about 0.07€ = 0.36€).
Strange enough the first campaign generated clicks mostly through the Google and its search network, while the second only from the network of contents.

What happened is that Google Adwords now wants 0.30€ for the pizza keyword. At this price I can't afford it anymore, it's really too much.

The good side of the story is that on this keyword there is a lot of competition and this is why I got 3.85$ with only 20 clicks on the Adsense Links (about 0.19$ each).

Friday, 18 May 2007

PAD, pizza keyword at 0.08€

Google Adwords changed it's own price for the keyword pizza. Now it thinks that 0.04€ are not enough and it wants 0.08€. I guess I should give it a try anyway.
Maximum budget per day is still at 5€.

Thursday, 17 May 2007

PAD, more advertising and getting some money

Since I wasn't getting to many visits with the previous campaign, I started a new group of announces for the pizza keyword. Google Adwords is requiring at least 0.04€ for this keyword, so I placed my maximum cpc at that price.

Now that advertising is getting more and more expensive I decided to place some Google Adsense links on my result pages, so that if somebody would use them I will get paid.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

PAD, advertising campaign

To get some more traffic for the website today I started a campaign on Google Adwords for the all the combination of the keywords pizza, pizze, pizzeria, pizzerie, domicilio, a domicilio, asporto, d'asporto. Since hungry people may want something different from pizza, I also chose the keyword cinese (chinese).
I set the geographic area equal to Italy, the language to Italian and the maximum cpc at 0.03€.

Here's the complete list:
cinese a domicilio
cinese d'asporto
pizza a domicilio
pizza asporto
pizza d'asporto
pizza domicilio
pizze a domicilio
pizze asporto
pizze d'asporto
pizze domicilio
pizzeria a domicilio
pizzeria asporto
pizzeria d'asporto
pizzeria domicilio
pizzerie a domicilio
pizzerie asporto
pizzerie d'asporto
pizzerie domicilio

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Paging test: positive!

In the following charts you can see that after the changes the number of slow queries has been reduced dramatically. So the changes were really worthwhile.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

A very long waited feature: paging!

Finally, after probably over a year of planning, I had to modify the section of Prezzi Benzina where all the prices were displayed.
This was necessary because some gas stations now have too many prices:
  1. 2818: 1982 prices
  2. 3321: 1672 prices
  3. 3704: 1538 prices
It was taking too long for each page to load, making the people trying to fetch the page again and again, causing the server to be overloaded.

The only way of fixing it was to breaking down the prices in different pages. With MySQL it's very easy to do it by using the LIMIT and the OFFSET keywords.

Tomorrow I must remember to test if the server load will be lower.

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Comacchio Gas Stations, done!

Today I finished checking the GPS positioning of the gas stations found along State Road SS309 crossing the city of Comacchio. Not that many, only ten of them, but I manage to get also the pictures (and thus the prices) of two of them: one Agip and one Q8.

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Pizza a Domicilio, let's begin!

As promised, today I had to make Pizza a Domicilio available to the public. At the moment there are very few pizza shops, but I hope to resolve this problem as soon as possible.

The structure is very basic, it's based on a plain home page where users are supposed to enter their address, and then, pressing the "Search" button they are redirected to a page displaying a Google Map of the area around the specified address.

The destination url format is, where XXXX stands for the searched address. The geocoding is then performed thanks to Google Maps API, since any other way of doing it would have less efficient.

This requires contacting a google server for any search performed by the user and this could possibly make the whole website experience much slower. This is why every search is cached, for a faster retrieval, into the same local database providing the pizza shop details.

The pizza shops are then retrieved from the server as a XML file and then placed on the map with the following marker: .

In order to make the search easier I placed some direct links to the Italian biggest cities: Milano, Torino, Roma e Napoli. I also placed a link to Padova because it's the town in which I placed the most pizza shops.

Clicking on the marker will display some additional information such as the address and the telephone number:

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

PLM: Domain activation

The domain has been activated and it's now displaying a default parking page.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Back from Rimini!

I went to the sea-side with some friends of mine and since I wasn't driving I spent a lot of time tracking down gas station and taking pictures of the prices with my Sony Alpha. I've taken 145 pictures (to be sure the prices were readable there are a lot of doubles) for a total of 323 MB.

Some of the pictures are quite interesting since I catch an owner changing its own prices, a policeman and a policewoman using a telelaser, and all this while the person who was driving (Marco) tried everything (he is cleaning the windshield in this pictures) to stop me taking pictures.