Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Brausch Relusi Resource Directory: Hackable, Corruptible.

I will be gradually, as I get to it, removing affiliate links on my sites for the James D. Brausch Relusi Link Exchange Directory PHP script software.

Not that taking space to promote that P.O.S. did me any good, anyway.

FWIW, I am still offering my Relusi data file packer PHP script, for those who may still want to "fight the good fight" trying to keep their Relusi Link Directory straightened out.
Update 2009-06-18: No longer offering that. Relusi -- fuggedaboudit!

WHY?!! Why do I no longer recommend the Relusi PHP scripts?

I have discovered that the Relusi PHP script and data directory construction allows hacking or corruption of the data (the link files). That is a huge pain in the ass to fix.

If I still thought that having "Resource Directories" on web sites was worthwhile, maybe I would try to figure it out and fix it if I could. I would offer a fix, as I have previously, including offering the Data File Packer script. But I do not think it worthwhile to bother.

If Brausch doesn't think it worthwhile to fix his product, why should I? It would be a much more major endeavor for me to fix it, and then if he did fix it and sell an upgrade, that would mean I would have wasted even more time on it for nothing.

Maybe an even more important reason is that it seems to me that Google does not really value you and I having link directories on our sites. Anymore. If ever.

Look at it this way: Did you ever happen across a link directory and say to yourself, "Oh, goody, a link directory -- with all kinds of completely unrelated links -- I wonder what I will find here -- I'll just browse at random instead of going to Google or Ask.com to look for something I'm specifically interested in..." Well, I sure don't say that to myself.

Here's a basic question which I should have asked myself a year ago when I got all enthused about link directories in general, and Relusi in particular: "Why would Google think they are a good thing for Google to consider in providing the best search results to a browser's search query?" I don't think Google thinks they are.

Anyway, here is the major problem with Relusi in particular:

Previously accepted links mysteriously become "not reviewed." Even more dangerously, the "confirmed" status of many links becomes "not confirmed". This is due to corruption of the emailconfirm.txt and moderate.txt data status files. Running my packer script then removes what were previously accepted links, because the status files now say they are no good (unconfirmed),

For awhile, I thought maybe that corruption was due to new link requests not in proper format (the Brausch script has no format checking of what goes in each submission form entry box). Or maybe it was because someone who previously submitted a link resubmitted with the same a-mail address or URL and something in the code got confused because of that.

Now, since I no longer value the directories, I thought, "Just in case these directories really are of some value, I'll just fix up the directories. I'll keep them for now, but I'll disable future submissions (and changes) so I don't have to waste more time cleaning them up over and over." As a test, I edited the submission form script file for one of my directories to disable submissions/changes. I then cleaned up the data status files, moderated new submissions, ran my packer script to delete rejected links, and then verified manually that the files were all OK.

Everything was OK as of last night when I finished. This morning, the status files were once again corrupted, along with one new (spam) link request. That new spam link request was not formatted correctly. It got into the data directory, and the data status files in the data directory again got corrupted, even though I had disabled new/revised submissions. I can only conclude that the James D. Brausch Relusi PHP software is wide open to hacking.

My next step is to remove all Relusi files not directly used in displaying existing data (link files). If I get any comments to this post, I'll let you know what the results of that is. If the data status files again get corrupted, that will be a definite indication that the data files are hackable - being hacked - that it's not just the bad formatting of link requests that is the problem. (But I still am not going to try and fix it.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Dumping Relusi and Munius - What Do You Think?

My previous post: Relusi - Serious Problem - Brausch Resource (Link) Directory - I have come across a serious problem with the James D. Brausch Relusi Link Exchange Software.

That post outline a problem with Relusi. Someone else reported to me a similar problem with Munius.

I had not looked at my Relusi directories for my sites for a couple of days. After fixing the data file corruption reported, I had 200 links approved and confirmed for one of them. For another site I had 83 links approved and confirmed. Looking at them today, they are corrupted again. The corruption starts at link 69 on one and link 68 on another.

Just took a look at yet another directory: That had a different number of links to start with, and it is also corrupted starting with yet another starting link number.

Anyway -- I have had Relusi and Munius installed for 8 or 9 months. As far as I can tell, THEY HAVE NOT DONE ME ANY GOOD AT ALL in building traffic to my sites.

Are there ANY success stories out there for those using either of those products?

I am thinking of dumping them as being more trouble than they are worth. What do YOU think? Comments are open.

Update 2009-06-18: I have long ago dumped both Relusi and Munius -- P.O.S.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Relusi - Serious Problem - Brausch Resource (Link) Directory

I have come across a serious problem with the James D. Brausch Relusi Link Exchange Software.

This software, aka the Relusi Resource Directory software, is comprised of a set of PHP scripts that you upload to your web site server. Underneath that is a "data" directory which holds the links as individual files, and two additional files - status summary files. One of these status files holds the moderated status (not reviewed, accepted, rejected) for each individual link file. The other file holds the confirmed status (confirmed, not confirmed) for each individual link file. (Confirmed status means that the link requester has provided a legitimate e-mail address, to which the software sends a message requiring the requester to respond to it so that the link will show in the directory when it is confirmed.)

The problem is either that the data directory is easily or inadvertently subject to hacking, or there are serious errors in the PHP script coding that leads to corruption of the moderated status and confirmed status files in the data directory.

I have no idea what, specifically, the problem(s) is/are. I have a couple of suspicions:

One is that there is perhaps a problem in the code for the feature that supposedly allows a submitter to delete and/or update his listing. Perhaps that screws up other listings and/or the status files.

The other is that spam submittals (submittals not in the proper format in each of the submittal form text boxes) may screw something up.

In any event, I have noticed several times that the status of link submittals I have previously accepted have mysteriously reverted to "not reviewed" status. And this is not just one or two submittals, but dozens. To fix it, I have had to download the summary files, edit them back to accepted and confirmed, then upload them again. This is faster than going through each submittal individually. I have had to do this several times.

Now, if instead, you just go through each link request to accept they still may not be confirmed status if the confirmation file was also corrupted.

Because of these problems, I started keeping a record of the last good post number, and its subject, so when I went into moderation, I could see what is happening.

This post is already too long, so, bottom line, just one example:

I have a Relusi directory that has 228 links confirmed and accepted, a couple of days ago. Today, 133 of those links had been reverted to "not reviewed". It turns out that the confirmed script was also, unbeknownst to me, corrupted. That directory now has only 97 confirmed and accepted links.

That really pisses me off. First, I have lost a lot of links, and second, my script to get rid of spam links now deletes good links, because of the corrupted data directory status files.

For some time, I thought Brausch had some good stuff. In actuality, none of his stuff that I have tried, with the possible exception of Artemis Pro has turned out to be worth a crap.

Update 2009-06-18. No longer using any of Brausch's crap, including Artemis.