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Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Understanding Google Ad Quality Score

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This is probably the most simple explanation I've seen yet of how Google PPC bidding works & how increasing / improving certain factors within your ads to make them better for users will actually lower your overall PPC spend.

Essentially a higher quality, more targeted & more well written ad will attract a higher click through rate & therefore improve the ad rank quality score. The actual cost per click is determined by the quality score of the ad & the maximum cost per click ... therefore a higher quality score means a lower cost per click and higher ad rankings. A win/win situation.


Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Remove 'Powered by GCalendar'

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I came across this today & thought I'd share a simple way of removing the 'Powered by GCalendar' text link for the Joomla Gcalendar module.

The author doesn't mind people removing the text link as he is distributing it as free software, but a small donation (or even a blog post about how great the Gcalendar Joomla module is) wouldn't go amiss!

Ok, the instructions.

Blogger doesn't like live code so I've had to put this in a text file - free download here.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Evolution Festival 2010 Set Times (Sunday)

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Here are the set times for Sunday Baltic Stage (Wax:On Dance Stage) for the 2010 Evolution Festival

  • 12pm - 2pm: People Get Real
  • 2pm - 3pm: Jaymo & Andy George
  • 3pm - 4pm: Rusko
  • 4pm - 5pm: Beardyman
  • 5pm - 6pm: Eskimo Twins
  • 6pm - 7pm: Filthy Dukes
  • 7pm - 8pm: Scratch Perverts
  • 8pm - 9pm: Benga
  • 9pm - 10pm: Doorly
  • 10pm - 11pm: Fake Blood
Enjoy!

Monday, 17 May 2010

Create Friends Lists - Hide Your Online Status on Facebook Chat from Select Contacts

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Create Friends Lists -Hide Your Online Status on Facebook Chat from Select Contacts


In times gone by, you could either be online or offline with regards to Facebook chat. This was annoying because what if you wanted to speak to some people but not others?

Now Facebook has an option that allows you to do just that. It's called Friends lists.

Basically you create a list, assign a friend to it & can then set your online / offline status in bulk.

Lets say you have two lists: Friends & Family / Business Contacts.

Want to be online to your business contacts during the day, but not available to your friends & family in case they disturb you? You can be.

OK, I get it ... but how!?

First thing is to create the lists & assign friends to each list.


Log in and click on Account > Edit Friends


Under the Lists heading, click the Friends option.



Then choose Create New List. A new box will appear where you can name the list and add friends to your newly created list.



Online or Offline? You Decide

Now that your lists are set up and you've assigned contacts to them (don't worry if you haven't you can drag & drop from the chat window. You are now in full control of who sees you as online or offline.

Simply open the chat box at the bottom right of the page. You'll see little sliders, green means online and grey means offline. Simply slide them to toggle whether you appear as online (green) or offline (grey) to that particular group.

Any ungrouped friends will appear in the Other Contacts list.



Adam Gardner is a freelance SEO / Social Media Expert. Follow him on twitter @agseo or subscribe to this blog via RSS.

QR Codes / 2D Barcodes

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QR (Quick Response) Codes / 2D Barcodes


QR Codes, or 2D barcodes aren't new, they've been around for sometime (in fact they were developed by a Japanese company, Denso-Wave in 1994) buy as mobile devices & technology become more advanced and connected to the world via the internet. QR codes will only become more and more important to your marketing effort.




Why is it important for me?

Well, 2D barcodes can contain any information you want:

Use a map location & scan it on a mobile (eg. iPhone) Google Maps will launch and show you where to go.

Use your business card information - Allow someone to scan it & your business information will automatically be added to their address book.

Use your web address - Whether you choose your Facebook profile, LinkedIn account or business URL, scan a code and you will be taken directly to whatever page you choose.

There are tons of other places QR codes can (and should be used) in promotional material, marketing materials, paperless registration for events, paperless tracking of students in schools etc. etc..... Use your imagination!


Take this page, for example. It's a photo of a QR code on a sign. Use your barcode reader app and scan this code (straight from your computer screen) and it should work ... these are super versatily & certainly my new favourite toy!

I have tried a few iPhone QR code readers and can highly recommend QRReader. It's free and scans in real time. I also haven't found a QR code that it couldn't scan yet.

Just search for 'qr code' and you'll find it.

Update: Here are some captures from QRReader app on the iphone. As you can see, none of these are particularly great in terms of clarity or alignment & yet all of them were successful scans!























Friday, 14 May 2010

PLR Articles - Are They Worth It?

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PLR articles are private label resell articles. That means that once you purchase the article / content you are free to resell it.

A common belief in SEO / Internet marketing circles is that if you purchase PLR articles you can then spin them (reword them) and make them unique enough to promote as your own without incurring any duplicate content penalties from Google.

The main problem I have with this is: How much of a difference do you have to make to an article / page / piece of content before it becomes unique in the eyes of the search engine?

Plus, if you are only rewriting it purely to get round the duplicate content filter, surely it isn't going to be saying much new that isn't already available ... therefore you're unlikely to get people linking to it ... and therefore unlikely to gain much benefit from it.

My other problem is probably more personal. You see, when I write an article I want it to have value and be genuinely useful to myself (as a reference) as well as a website visitor. Therefore I often find it difficult purely to switch a few words around and change a pre-written article.

Very often I'll end up scraping it and writing my own from scratch anyway .... so there's no huge benefit for me to buy PLR articles.

That said, I'm sure people will continue to buy them & tweak them & they will continue to evade the dup. content filter ... but shame on you! Bring some value to the web & your followers and they'll be forever greatful :)

Adam Gardner is a freelance SEO / Social Media Expert. Follow him on twitter @agseo or subscribe to this blog via RSS.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Phonat vs ATFC - Sleep Talk hits the Fan

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Phonat vs ATFC - Sleep Talk hits the Fan


This one is simple, could help but feel that the brilliant Love Hits the Fan by Phonat needed some vocals ... Sleep Talk by ATFC fit the bill perfectly. Enjoy :)



Comments / Suggestions below please!

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Google's new Layout: How it Affects You

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Google's new Layout : How it Affects You


Google have just roled out a new layout with more in-depth search options down the left hand side of the page. The choices in this column aren't necessarily new, they've been available for some time.

Some of the options will already be familiar to users such as maps, videos, images & news since they've been available (and still are) along the top of the results page for a while now.

However the new additions to these search options are critical - they have been available for a while, but only if you went looking for them in the sub menus at the top of the results pages.

These new options include Blogs, Updates, and Discussions.

Blog Search

Google Blog Search (http://blogsearch.google.com) has been around for some time although people will notice it more now. If you want to find the latest blog post / opinion / review for a product or site then this is surely the easiest way to find it without specifically intending to use the blog search engine from the outset. If you needed another reason to start a business blog, surely this is it!

Updates

The updates option in the Google results pulls data from the real time search results (sites such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Google Buzz, etc.) It's now more important than ever to be listed in the real time search results - Get a Twitter account!

Discussions

This option returns results from the forums, Q&A sites & help sections. Helping out and answering questions in forums and message boards has always been a great way to get noticed and build a reputation in your industry, but now that there's a dedicated search option ... isn't it essential that you encorporate it into your online marketing strategy?

It's worth baring in mind that each of these options have sub-options to return and sort data by freshness (last 24 hours, last week etc.), length and also by location.

Therefore if you're running a local SEO campaign this could be a potential goldmine of relevant traffic!

Hyphens or Underscores? Which is Best?

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Hyphens or Underscores? Which is Best?



Another age old SEO / webmaster question ... should I use hyphens (dashes) or underscores in my page names eg. my-page vs. my_page.

Matt Cutts from Google states that it does make a difference as hyphens (dashes) are treated as seperators whereas underscores are not.

However he also says not to worry too much if your site is currently doing well, certainly don't go changing all your pages just because of this post. If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

But sure, if you're designing a brand new site structure, stick with hyphens - they look better and are easier (IMO) for people to remember and type (and they help Google to recognise seperate words).

A disclaimer: Like everything with SEO - just because this is currently the case doesn't mean it'll stay like this forever ... in fact this video was originally posted in February 2009 ... so they may have included underscores as seperators now too .... but I'd still stick with hyphens.


Paid Links - Buying Links

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Paid Links & Buying Links


Buying links or paying for links (which pass PageRank) has been officially forbidden by Google & is against their TOS.

That means that any links you buy or sell with the intention of gaming the search engines can potentially damage your site or even get it removed from the search engine's index.

Buying links isn't necessarily prohibited, Google rightly state that it is "a normal part of the economy of the web when done for advertising purposes, and not for manipulation of search results." and that "links purchased for advertising should be designated as such."

There are a few ways to do this but the most effective is to use the rel="nofollow" tag to tell the search spiders not to follow that particular link & not to pass any PageRank (reputation) along with it.

So, stop building sites just to gain PR & therefore to sell links & bring your online money making efforts into the 21st century!

Don't believe me? Here is Google's official stance.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Start Youtube Video at Specific Time

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How To: Start a Youtube Video at a Specific Start Time



Here's how to start a youtube video automatically at a given time. This method also works with Facebook embedding!

Find a video you wish to share. Copy the video URL (address) :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTG3FlEv4VQ

Now we have to slightly reformat the URL so that it becomes

http://www.youtube.com/v/aTG3FlEv4VQ

Next simply work out (in seconds) where you want the video to start. To start at 1 minute & 30 seconds, use 90 seconds & add this to the end of the new URL.

&start=90

So the complete URL becomes:

http://www.youtube.com/v/aTG3FlEv4VQ&start=90

Then simply copy and paste this into Facebook!


Autostarting the video

Automatically starting a youtube video is simple! All you need is another parameter tagged onto the end of the URL ... here's the code:

&autoplay=1

Where 1 is the number of times you wish the video to autoplay.

So to start the above video automatically at 90 seconds the complete address would be:

http://www.youtube.com/v/aTG3FlEv4VQ&start=90&autoplay=1

Enjoy!!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Number Google Search Results - How To

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Individually Number Google Search Results


So you know how to increase Google search results to 100. But what use is that if you only know that the site you're looking for in three-quarters of the way down the page?

This requires no additional plugins or software ... we're just creating a bookmark.

Individually Number Google Search Results for Internet Explorer


  • Create a bookmark to any page. Name it something useful like (Number Google Results).

    • Open Internet Explorer (IE)
    • Select Favourites > Add to Favourites
    • Right click the Favourite and choose Properties
    • Input the following code in the URL box (it may give you a warning about Javascript - just ignore it).




To use, just search for something on Google then open the favourite menu and click the bookmark you created in Step 1.

Individually Number Google Search Results for Firefox

  • Create a bookmark to any page. Name it something useful like (Number Google Results).

    • Open FireFox (FF)
    • Choose Bookmark this Page (or use Ctrl + D)
    • Select Favourites > Add to Favourites
    • Right click the Favourite and choose Properties
    • Input the following code in the Location box.


To use, just search for something on Google then open the favourite menu and click the bookmark you created in Step 1.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Must Have Free iPhone Apps

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My Must Have iPhone Apps


I am not ashamed to admit that I was a very late adopter of the iPhone. I've always liked Apple products, their design, simplistic yet powerful UI and their marketing is simply brilliant.

What I didn't like about Apple was the people who bought their products & the way that everything was 'cool' just because it had an Apple logo .... this attitude may have stemmed from my private school education where everyone came in with a new phone every week ... I just didn't get it ... if it worked and did what you wanted it to do, why change?

That said, I now don't know what I'd do without my iPhone .... it is the central hub of my digital life. So here are my must have iPhone apps (in no particular order) ... some you'll have heard of, others possibly not ... but all of them are great (and all 100% free!)

Runkeeper

Link: www.runkeeper.com
Cost: FREE

This app tracks your exercises via GPS (if you're outdoors) and plots it on a map. It then sync's it automatically with your profile on the website so you can keep track of distance & calorie burn.

MyFitnessPal

Link: www.myfitnesspal.com
Cost: FREE

I use this in conjunction with Runkeeper, they don't automatically sync but hey-ho we can't have everything, can we? Plus it only takes a few seconds to transfer the data.

This is both a calorie counter with a huge database of predefined foods and an exercise / weight tracker.

Dropbox

Link: www.dropbox.com
Cost: FREE

We've all been out and about and get a phone call asking for a document but it's on the laptop at home and you'll send it when you get back (invariably forgetting to send it).... not anymore!

Dropbox at it's most basic is a folder on your computer & whatever is in that folder is automatically synced to your online account & is therefore available on any device or computer.

With the dropbox app your documents are always with available and you can view and send your documents straight from the app.

Facebook

Link: www.facebook.com
Cost: FREE

This is probably installed on 90% of the iPhone's out there, but I've actually found it makes me go on facebook on my phone less & pretty much never from my laptop.

The new iPhone OS will enable multiple app running (or you can get it now by jailbreaking your iphone) so that should make things like chatting easier.

Echofon (Twitter)

Link: www.echofon.com
Cost: FREE

I love Twitter (follow me if you like @agseo). This free app gives great control & access to all of Twitters features including sending photos, geotagging tweets & seperate @you mentions.

It really baffles me what more I could want that I'd be willing to pay for in a Twitter app?


GrabRadioLite

Link: www.grabradioworld.com
Cost: FREE

GrabRadio is a radio application for the iPhone. The lite (free) version only gives a handful of stations but it's got BBC Radio 1 on there so that's all I wanted it for :)

Sky News

Link: www.sky.com/news
Cost: FREE

Everyone wants to catch up with the latest news at some point, don't they?
Just wish it had the ability to tweet stories directly from the app.....

MoBank 2.0

Link: www.mobank.co.uk
Cost: FREE

This great free app links to your bank account and gives you real time access to your statements, balance and accounts .... handy to see just how much money you don't have :)

You can also pay for things directly from the app ... it's totally secure too!

Wordpress

Link: www.iphone.wordpress.org
Cost: FREE

Just for the blogger / site admin side of things but this free app from Wordpress allows you to quickly and easily edit / create blog posts & admin comments from your iPhone - basically anything you can do via a laptop can be done on the go from the app!


Other notable apps I have installed:

Skype

Link: www.skype.com
Cost: FREE

Free voice calls (only when connected via WiFi) and instant messaging. Again, falls down from the lack of multi-app running... will be great when it can be run in the background.

F1 2010 App

Link: http://www.formula1.com/mobile_services/live_timing.html
Cost: FREE

All the geeky data you'll need. Car positions on track, lap times, best lap, sector times, track status (flags), straight line speeds, safety cars & even air humidity and pressure readings!

Just be sure to watch the race as well as your phone!

Tap Tap Revenge 3

Link: www.tapulous.com/taptap
Cost: FREE

Guitar hero style finger jamming for free! Download loads of free tracks (really good ones, too) and of course there is the option to purchase tracks.

2 player & online play are good too.


Do you use these apps, got any must have's yourself that I may have missed? Post a comment & let me know!

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Creating Multiple Sites - Pointing to Main Domain

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Creating Multiple Sites - Pointing to Main Domain



Here's another question I see time and time again on the SEO forums:

"Should I create multiple small (one page) sites focused on a single keyword and then point them to my main domain?"

Here's why this is largely a waste of time:

When you build a new site it starts at zero. Zero content, zero backlinks, zero visitors & zero reputation.

Therefore for every new site you build for a keyphrase you'll have to build dedicated backlinks, content and promotion strategies for each site.

If you build 10 new sites then you're creating 10 times the amount of work than simply creating a dedicated, keyword focused page on your existing site.

Don't forget, if you've done it right you're existing site will already be indexed, established, have some good backlinks and be getting spidered regularly.

Don't waste your time with small keyword focused sites, just create a new page on your existing site and optimise that well!

Why PageRank Doesn't Matter

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Why Google PageRank Doesn't Matter


What is PageRank (PR)?

Google's pagerank is a measure created by Google of a sites trustworthiness in the eyes of Google.

It is important to realise that PageRank applies to each individual page on a site & is not a sitewide value. One page can be PR 5 and another could have no PR.

Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves "important" weigh more heavily and help to make other pages "important".

That is why you'll hear search engine professionals talking about how a single link from an authority (high PR) site can be worth more than lots of links for a low PR site.


What? Two Versions?


Google has two versions of PageRank, a publically displayed metric and an internal value that they do not release to the public.

The public version is only updated once every 3 months or so (there's even rumours that it only gets updated once a year).

Therefore the public toolbar PR is almost always out of date by up to 3 months.

That's reason #1 why your PR doesn't matter.



Rankings & PageRank

It is well known in the search marketing industry that good (high) pagerank doesn't equate to good (high) rankings. A PR 0 site can easily outrank a PR4 or PR5 site (and above).

Therefore concentrating on building PageRank in the hope that it will automatically convert into higher rankings for your keyphrases is a waste of time.

That's reason #2 why PR doesn't matter.




Pagerank alone doesn't pay the bills, it doesn't generate enquiries, sales or conversions. A little green bar will never make your business or website a success, no matter how optimistic you are.

A great site with a PR0 doesn't make it a bad site. It may be a new site, have had recent server problems (downtime) or the toolbar itself may be reporting bad data.

As has been said many times before, concentrate on building quality content that people will want to share with others & build your inbound links to get rankings that bring traffic, the PageRank will follow ... but if it doesn't ... so what?!!?!

PS. You don't just have to take my word for it, most SEO experts agree on this. Here, and here and even here.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Location and Previous Searches: Affect on Google Results

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How does Location & Previous Search History Affect Google Results?



If Google (and other search engines) know where you're located, they can (and will try) to display more relevant results based on that location.

For example if you're searching for pizza shops or plumbers or car dealers & you're located in London, you're going to want ones that are nearby and not a pizza shop in Edinburgh.

If you sign in to your Google account (Youtube is obviously included in this) and you have previously searched for MS and been looking for pages and information about multiple sclerosis then you're likely to want to see the same sort of result should you search for MS again. Rather than seeing results for Microsoft or manuscript or milestone.

Of course, there is the option to opt out of these services and clear your browser history and cookies but most people will find that providing Google with your location is a small price to pay for much more targeted results.


Does Google use META tags to categorise its web pages?

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Does Google use META tags to categorise its web pages?


They no longer use the keywords meta tag to rank sites in the results pages.

They do use the TITLE tag, meta title tag (two seperate entities) & the meta description along with other tags such as the robots meta tag.

While the meta description doesn't have a huge (if any) impact on ranking position, the keywords used to search will be bold in the description. Therefore a well written description tag will increase CTRs to your pages.

It is worth noting that the search engines can choose whether or not to use the description tag but in most cases they will.

Pingomatic Button for Firefox

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Pingomatic browser button for Firefox


Wouldn't it be great if you could ping a page instantly as soon as you land on it. Well now you can.

Pingomatic is a multi-service ping engine that basically informs various bots (including Google) that the page is new or has recently been updated. Therefore the spiders will rush to the page in an attempt to index it as quickly as possibly.

This method doesn't require any browser addons or additional software.

Here's the code if you want to see the workings of it (Text File Download as Blogger doesn't like embedding live code).

Alternatively you can simply drag this to your Firefox Toolbar and everything will be setup and ready to go --> Ping This Page

Free iPhone Ringtones from iTunes Tutorial

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Make iPhone Ringtones with iTunes - Free

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

F1 Twitter Accounts

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F1 Twitter Accounts

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Website Newbies: Free Traffic

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Free Website Traffic

Monday, 29 March 2010

Am I in the Sandbox - How To Check

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Google Sandbox Checker

iPad Pointless?

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iPad Pointless?

BT vs. Kings of Tomorrow - Finally Le Nocturne De Lumière

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BT vs Kings of Tomorrow - Finally Le Nocturne De Lumiere

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Monday, 1 March 2010

Keyword Research - 7 Days, 7 SEO Techniques - Day 1

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Keyword Research - Day 1
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Keyword Research - SEO Basics

7 Days, 7 Fundamental SEO Explanations - SEO101

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7 Days, 7 Fundamental SEO Explanations - SEO101


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SEO Basics - SEO101

Friday, 26 February 2010

Be Careful with Social Media Marketing

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Be Careful with Social Media Marketing

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Social Media Marketing - Be Careful

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Firefox One Key Shortcuts

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Firefox One Key Shortcuts

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Firefox One Key Shortcuts

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Monday, 22 February 2010

Twitter: Remove people you're following that don't follow you.

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Remove unfollowing followed people

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Twitter - Remove Unfollowers

Unblock Farmville

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Unblock FarmVille

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Unblock Farmville

Block FarmVille (or other annoying applications) on Facebook

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Block FarmVille on Facebook (or other annoying applications)

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Block Farmville on Facebook