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Showing posts from 2016

The Best Documentaries on Netflix (UK)

From killer whales and dinosaurs to Banksy and Cobain, UK Netflix has a lot of treasure in its documentary vaults.
1. Blackfish (2013)

A damning exposé of SeaWorld and those who sail within her, Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s documentary focuses on killer whale, Tilikum. Dragging trainer Dawn Brancheau into a pool and killing her (after two previous, similar incidents), the ‘nature or nurture’ question is given some serious heft - was the floppy-finned, 12,000 pound Tilikum born a killer, or is his cramped captivity to blame? It’s not hard to see why thousands felt the need to boycott SeaWorld upon the film’s release.
Read Empire’s review here.

2. Cobain: Montage Of Heck (2015)
Illustrations, voice recordings and personal photos are just part of the fabric that forms Brett Morgen’s documentary. From troubled youth to tortured teen to rock idol, Morgen keeps things intimate, focusing much more on the man than the icon. Executive produced by Kurt’s daughter Frances Bean, we are given access to un…

How to Add an RSS Feed to a Web Page

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RSS, which stands for Rich Site Summary, but is also often known as Really Simple Syndication, is a commonly used format for publishing a "feed" of content. Blog articles, press releases, updates, or other regularly updated content are all logical candidates for getting a RSS feed.It's easy to add an RSS feed to your Web page or even add it to every page in your website should that be what you decide to do.

RSS enabled browsers will then see the link and allow readers to subscribe automatically. Addditionally, search engines will see the feed when it's linked in the HTML. Once you'vecreated your RSS feed, you'll want to link to it so your readers can find it.
Link to Your RSS with a Standard Link

The easiest way to link to your RSS file is with a standard HTML link.

I recommend pointing to the full URL of your feed, even if you normally use relative path links. One example of this using just a text link is:Subscribe to What's New


Subscribe to What's New

If…

How to Increase Blog Traffic - Day #22

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Day #22 - Be Consistent and Don't Give UpIf there's one piece of advice I wish I could share with every blogger, it's this:



The above image comes from Everywhereist's analytics. Geraldine could have given up 18 months into her daily blogging. After all, she was putting in 3-5 hours each day writing content, taking photos, visiting sites, coming up with topics, trying to guest blog and grow her Twitter followers and never doing any SEO (don't ask, it's a running joke between us). And then, almost two years after her blog began, and more than 500 posts in, things finally got going. She got some nice guest blogging gigs, had some posts of hers go "hot" in the social sphere, earned mentions on some bigger sites, then got really big press from Time's Best Blogs of 2011.

I'd guess there's hundreds of new bloggers on the web each day who have all the opportunity Geraldine had, but after months (maybe only weeks) of slogging away, they give up.

When …

How to Increase Blog Traffic - Day #21

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Day #21 - Uncover the Links of Your Fellow Bloggers (and Nab 'em!)If other blogs in your niche have earned references from sites around the web, there's a decent chance that they'll link to you as well. Conducting competitive link research can also show you what content from your competition has performed well and the strategies they may be using to market their work. To uncover these links, you'll need to use some tools.

OpenSiteExplorer is my favorite, but I'm biased (it's made by Moz). However, it is free to use - if you create a registered account here, you can get unlimited use of the tool showing up to 1,000 links per page or site in perpetuity.



There are other good tools for link research as well, including Majestic, Ahrefs and, I've heard that in the near-future, SearchMetrics.

Finding a link is great, but it's through the exhaustive research of looking through dozens or hundreds that you can identify patterns and strategies. You're also likely…

How to Increase Blog Traffic - Day #20

Day #20 - Connect Your Web Profiles and Content to Your BlogMany of you likely have profiles on services like YouTube, Slideshare, Yahoo!, DeviantArt and dozens of other social and Web 1.0 sites. You might be uploading content to Flickr, to Facebook, to Picasa or even something more esoteric like Prezi. Whatever you're producing on the web and wherever you're doing it, tie it back to your blog.

Including your blog's link on your actual profile pages is among the most obvious, but it's also incredibly valuable. On any service where interaction takes place, those interested in who you are and what you have to share will follow those links, and if they lead back to your blog, they become opportunities for capturing a loyal visitor or earning a share (or both!). But don't just do this with profiles - do it with content, too! If you've created a video for YouTube, make your blog's URL appear at the start or end of the video. Include it in the description of the v…

How to Increase Blog Traffic - Day #19

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Day #19 - Aggregate the Best of Your NicheBloggers, publishers and site owners of every variety in the web world love and hate to be compared and ranked against one another. It incites endless intrigue, discussion, methodology arguments and competitive behavior - but, it's amazing for earning attention. When a blogger publishes a list of "the best X" or "the top X" in their field, most everyone who's ranked highly praises the list, shares it and links to it. Here's an example from the world of marketing itself:



That's a screenshot of the AdAge Power 150, a list that's been maintained for years in the marketing world and receives an endless amount of discussion by those listed (and not listed). For example, why is SEOmoz's Twitter score only a "13" when we have so many more followers, interactions and retweets than many of those with higher scores? Who knows. But I know it's good for AdAge. :-)

Now, obviously, I would encourage an…

How to Increase Blog Traffic - Day #18

Day #18 - Add Value to a Popular ConversationNumerous niches in the blogosphere have a few "big sites" where key issues arise, get discussed and spawn conversations on other blogs and sites. Getting into the fray can be a great way to present your point-of-view, earn attention from those interested in the discussion and potentially get links and traffic from the industry leaders as part of the process.

You can see me trying this out with Fred Wilson's AVC blog last year (an incredibly popular and well-respected blog in the VC world). Fred wrote a post about Marketing that I disagreed with strongly and publicly and a day later, he wrote a follow-up where he included a graphic I made AND a link to my post.

If you're seeking sources to find these "popular conversations," Alltop, Topsy, Techmeme (in the tech world) and their sister sites MediaGazer, Memeorandum and WeSmirch, as well as PopURLs can all be useful.

How to Increase Blog Traffic - Day #17

Day #17 - Survey Your ReadersWeb surveys are easy to run and often produce high engagement and great topics for conversation. If there's a subject or discussion that's particularly contested, or where you suspect showing the distribution of beliefs, usage or opinions can be revealing, check out a tool like SurveyMonkey (they have a small free version) or PollDaddy. Google Docs also offers a survey tool that's totally free, but not yet great in my view.

How to Increase Blog Traffic - Day #16

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Day #16 - Use Your Email Connections (and Signature) to Promote Your BlogAs a blogger, you're likely to be sending a lot of email out to others who use the web and have the power to help spread your work. Make sure you're not ignoring email as a channel, one-to-one though it may be. When given an opportunity in a conversation that's relevant, feel free to bring up your blog, a specific post or a topic you've written about. I find myself using blogging as a way to scalably answer questions - if I receive the same question many times, I'll try to make a blog post that answers it so I can simply link to that in the future.



I also like to use my email signature to promote the content I share online. If I was really sharp, I'd do link tracking using a service like Bit.ly so I could see how many clicks email footers really earn. I suspect it's not high, but it's also not 0.

How to Increase Blog Traffic - Day #15

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Day #15 - Attend and Host Events Despite the immense power of the web to connect us all regardless of geography, in-person meetings are still remarkably useful for bloggers seeking to grow their traffic and influence. The people you meet and connect with in real-world settings are far more likely to naturally lead to discussions about your blog and ways you can help each other. This yields guest posts, links, tweets, shares, blogroll inclusion and general business development like nothing else.



I'm a big advocate of Lanyrd, an event directory service that connects with your social networks to see who among your contacts will be at which events in which geographies. This can be phenomenally useful for identifying which meetups, conferences or gatherings are worth attending (and who you can carpool with).

The founder of Lanyrd also contributed this great answer on Quora about other search engines/directories for events (which makes me like them even more).

How to Increase Blog Traffic - Day #14

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Day #14 - Enable Subscriptions via Feed + Email (and track them!) If someone drops by your site, has a good experience and thinks "I should come back here and check this out again when they have more posts," chances are pretty high (I'd estimate 90%+) that you'll never see them again. That sucks! It shouldn't be the case, but we have busy lives and the Internet's filled with animated gifs of cats.

In order to pull back some of these would-be fans, I highly recommend creating an RSS feed using Feedburner and putting visible buttons on the sidebar, top or bottom of your blog posts encouraging those who enjoy your content to sign up (either via feed, or via email, both of which are popular options).



If you're using Wordpress, there's some easy plugins for this, too.

Once you've set things up, visit every few weeks and check on your subscribers - are they clicking on posts? If so, which ones? Learning what plays well for those who subscribe to your cont…

How to Increase Blog Traffic - Day #13

Day #13 - Participate in Q+A SitesEvery day, thousands of people ask questions on the web. Popular services like Yahoo! Answers,Answers.com, Quora, StackExchange, Formspring and more serve those hungry for information whose web searches couldn't track down the responses they needed.

The best strategy I've seen for engaging on Q+A sites isn't to answer every question that comes along, but rather, to strategically provide high value to a Q+A community by engaging in those places where:
The question quality is high, and responses thus far have been thin
The question receives high visibility (either by ranking well for search queries, being featured on the site or getting social traffic/referrals). Most of the Q+A sites will show some stats around the traffic of a question
The question is something you can answer in a way that provides remarkable value to anyone who's curious and drops by

I also find great value in answering a few questions in-depth by producing an actual blog …

How to Increase Blog Traffic - Day #12

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Day #12 - Interact on Other Blogs' CommentsAs bloggers, we see a lot of comments. Many are spam, only a few add real value, and even fewer are truly fascinating and remarkable. If you can be in this final category consistently, in ways that make a blogger sit up and think "man, I wish that person commented here more often!" you can achieve great things for your own site's visibility through participation in the comments of other blogs.

Combine the tools presented in #10 (particularly FWE) and #4 (especially FollowerWonk) for discovery. The feed subscriber counts in Google Reader can be particularly helpful for identifying good blogs for participation. Then apply the principles covered in this post on comment marketing.



Do be conscious of the name you use when commenting and the URL(s) you point back to. Consistency matters, particularly on naming, and linking to internal pages or using a name that's clearly made for keyword-spamming rather than true conversation wi…

How to Increase Blog Traffic - Day #11

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Day #11 - Incorporate Great Design Into Your SiteThe power of beautiful, usable, professional design can't be overstated. When readers look at a blog, the first thing they judge is how it "feels" from a design and UX perspective. Sites that use default templates or have horrifying, 1990's design will receive less trust, a lower time-on-page, fewer pages per visit and a lower likelihood of being shared. Those that feature stunning design that clearly indicates quality work will experience the reverse - and reap amazing benefits.


These threads - 1, 2, 3 and 4 - feature some remarkable blog designs for inspiration

If you're looking for a designer to help upgrade the quality of your blog, there's a few resources I recommend:
Dribbble - great for finding high quality professional designers
Forrst - another excellent design profile community
Behance - featuring galleries from a wide range of visual professionals
Sortfolio - an awesome tool to ID designers by region, skil…

How to Increase Blog Traffic - Day #10

Day #10 - Guest Blog (and Accept the Guest Posts of Others)When you're first starting out, it can be tough to convince other bloggers to allow you to post on their sites OR have an audience large enough to inspire others to want to contribute to your site. This is when friends and professional connections are critical. When you don't have a compelling marketing message, leverage your relationships - find the folks who know you, like you and trust you and ask those who have blog to let you take a shot at authoring something, then ask them to return the favor.

Guest blogging is a fantastic way to spread your brand to new folks who've never seen your work before, and it can be useful in earning early links and references back to your site, which will drive direct traffic and help your search rankings (diverse, external links are a key part of how search engines rank sites and pages). Several recommendations for those who engage in guest blogging:
Find sites that have a relevant…

How to Increase Blog Traffic - Day #9

Day #9 - Participate in Social Sharing Communities Like Reddit + StumbleUpon
The major social networking sites aren't alone in their power to send traffic to a blog. Social community sites like Reddit (which now receives more than 2 billion! with a "B"! views each month),StumbleUpon, Pinterest, Tumblr, Care2 (for nonprofits and causes), GoodReads (books), Ravelry(knitting), Newsvine (news/politics) and many, many more (Wikipedia maintains a decent, though not comprehensive list here).

Each of these sites have different rules, formats and ways of participating and sharing content. As with participation in blog or forum communities described above in tactic #2, you need to add value to these communities to see value back. Simply drive-by spamming or leaving your link won't get you very far, and could even cause a backlash. Instead, learn the ropes, engage authentically and you'll find that fans, links and traffic can develop.

These communities are also excellent sourc…

How to Increase Blog Traffic - Day #8

Day #8 - Frequently Reference Your Own Posts and Those of OthersThe web was not made for static, text-only content! Readers appreciate links, as do other bloggers, site owners and even search engines. When you reference your own material in-context and in a way that's not manipulative (watch out for over-optimizing by linking to a category, post or page every time a phrase is used - this is almost certainly discounted by search engines and looks terrible to those who want to read your posts), you potentially draw visitors to your other content AND give search engines a nice signal about those previous posts.

Perhaps even more valuable is referencing the content of others. The biblical expression "give and ye shall receive," perfectly applies on the web. Other site owners will often receive Google Alerts (or, if they're using Moz, they might get Fresh Alerts :-) ) or look through their incoming referrers (as I showed above in tip #5) to see who's talking about them…

How to Increase Blog Traffic - Day #7

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Day #7 - Conduct Keyword Research While Writing Your PostsNot surprisingly, a big part of showing up in search engines is targeting the terms and phrases your audience are actually typing into a search engine. It's hard to know what these words will be unless you do some research, and luckily, there's a free tool from Google to help called the AdWords Keyword Planner.

Type some words at the top, hit search and AdWords will show you phrases that match the intent and/or terms you've employed. There's lots to play around with here, but watch out in particular for the keyword filters, keyword options, and include/exclude features:



When you choose "exact match" AdWords will show you only the quantity of searches estimated for that precise phrase. If you use broad match, they'll include any search phrases that use related/similar words in a pattern they think could have overlap with your keyword intent (which can get pretty darn broad). "Phrase match" w…

How to Increase Blog Traffic - Day #6

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#6 - Add Graphics, Photos and Illustrations (with link-back licensing)If you're someone who can produce graphics, take photos, illustrate or even just create funny doodles in MS Paint, you should leverage that talent on your blog. By uploading and hosting images (or using a third-party service like Flickr or Niice to embed your images with licensing requirements on that site), you create another traffic source for yourself via Image Search, and often massively improve the engagement and enjoyment of your visitors.

When using images, I highly recommend creating a way for others to use them on their own sites legally and with permission, but in such a way that benefits you as the content creator. For example, you could have a consistent notice under your images indicating that re-using is fine, but that those who do should link back to this post. You can also post that as a sidebar link, include it in your terms of use, or note it however you think will get the most adoption.

Some peo…

How to Increase Blog Traffic - Day #5

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Install Analytics and Pay Attention to the ResultsAt the very least, I'd recommend most bloggers install Google Analytics (which is free), and watch to see where visits originate, which sources drive quality traffic and what others might be saying about you and your content when they link over. If you want to get more advanced, check out this post on 18 Steps to Successful Metrics and Marketing.

Here's a screenshot from the analytics of my wife's travel blog, the Everywhereist:



As you can see, there's all sorts of great insights to be gleaned by looking at where visits originate, analyzing how they were earned and trying to repeat the successes, focus on the high quality and high traffic sources and put less effort into marketing paths that may not be effective. In this example, it's pretty clear that Facebook and Twitter are both excellent channels. StumbleUpon sends a lot of traffic, but they don't stay very long (averaging only 36 seconds vs. the general aver…

How to increase Blog Traffoc - Day #4

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4 - Use Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to Share Your Posts & Find New ConnectionsTwitter has 271 million active users every month. Facebook has over 1 billion active users. 
Google+ has over 300 million. LinkedIn is over 300 million. Together, these networks are attracting vast amounts of time and interest from Internet users around the world, and those that participate on these services fit into the "content distributors" description above, meaning they're likely to help spread the word about your blog.

Leveraging these networks to attract traffic requires patience, study, attention to changes by the social sites and consideration in what content to share and how to do it. My advice is to use the following process:
If you haven't already, register a personal account and a brand account at each of the following -Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn (those links will take you directly to the registration pages for brand pages). 
Fill out each of those profiles to th…

How to Increase Blog Traffic - Day #3

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Make Your Blog's Content SEO-FriendlySearch engines are a massive opportunity for traffic, yet many bloggers ignore this channel for a variety of reasons that usually have more to do with fear and misunderstanding than true problems. 

In 2016, Google will see over 6 billion daily searches from around the world, and that number is only growing:


sources: Comscore + Google

Taking advantage of this massive traffic opportunity is of tremendous value to bloggers, who often find that much of the business side of blogging, from inquiries for advertising to guest posting opportunities to press and discovery by major media entities comes via search.

SEO for blogs is both simple and easy to set up, particularly if you're using an SEO-friendly platform like Wordpress, Drupal or Joomla. For more information on how to execute on great SEO for blogs, check out the following resources:
Blogger's Guide to SEO (from SEOBook)The Beginner's Guide to SEO (from Moz)Wordpress Blog SEO Tutorial (f…

How to Increase Blog Traffic - Day #2

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#2 - Participate in the Communities Where Your Audience Already GathersAdvertisers on Madison Avenue have spent billions researching and determining where consumers with various characteristics gather and what they spend their time doing so they can better target their messages. 

They do it because reaching a group of 65+ year old women with commercials for extreme sports equipment is known to be a waste of money, while reaching an 18-30 year old male demographic that attends rock-climbing gyms is likely to have a much higher ROI.

Thankfully, you don't need to spend a dime to figure out where a large portion of your audience can be found on the web. 
In fact, you probably already know a few blogs, forums, websites and social media communities where discussions and content are being posted on your topic (and if you don't a Google search will take you much of the way). 
From that list, you can do some easy expansion using a web-based tool like Google's Display Planner:Once you&…

The Secrets of the Universe unveiled - Looks like a pair of boobs

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So my quiet Thursday afternoon was interrupted with the news that "Scientists are claiming a stunning discovery in their quest to fully understand gravity"

According to the BBC scientists have observed the warping of space-time generated by the collision of two black holes more than a billion light-years from Earth.

The international team says the first detection of these gravitational waves will usher in a new era for astronomy.

It is the culmination of decades of searching and could ultimately offer a window on the Big Bang. Basically it looks like a pair of twisting boobs.

Great work science, now how about you focus as to hover boards.

Credit: BBC

Battlestar Galactica slowly edges towards the big screen

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With the return  returns of Star Wars: The Force Awakens may just have had studios scrambling to their cupboards to see what sci-fi and space projects they have locked away there. Universal? It's found its long-in-gestation big screen take on Battlestar Galactica. Bryan Singer was set to bring this one to the screen, based more on the original television series than the Sci-Fi channel reboot. Singer, though, then rejoined the X-Men movie franchise (which has taken up a fair amount of his subsequent time), and his next film after this summer's X-Men: Apocalypse is 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea for Fox. He remains involved with Battlestar Galactica (according to Den of Geek) understand, and is still the only director we know of attached to the project. He's certainly still serving as executive producer at least. But the latest news is that Universal has hired a producer to give the project a kickstart. Michael De Luca, whose credits include The Social Network, the Fifty Shade…

How to Increase Blog Traffic - Day #1

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It's easy to build a blog, but hard to build a successful blog with significant traffic.

I launched this bIog about three months ago and was amazed to see how quickly, with a bit of planning, it gained thousands of visits to each post.

Here's my personal take on how to improve traffic. I'm be sharing a new option/tip/bit of advice/whatever each day.  #1 - Target Your Content to an Audience Likely to ShareWhen thinking about who you're writing for, consider that audience's ability to help spread the word. 

Some readers will naturally be more or less active in evangelizing the work you do, but particular communities, topics, writing styles and content types regularly play better than others on the web. 
For example, great infographics that strike a chord (like this one), beautiful videos that tell a story (like this one) and remarkable collections of facts that challenge common assumptions (like this one) are all targeted at audiences likely to share (geeks with facial ha…

What to Watch on Amazon Prime

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So you've just signed up to Amazon Prime and you don't know where to begin...
Well here are my recommendations. THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE (S1) What if the Allies had lost the Second World War, and America was currently ruled by Germany in its eastern half and Japan in its western half? Well, you can find out in this big budget Amazon Prime original series, a thriller which zips around a 1960s North America that’s more “Ja wohl!” than “Aw shucks!”.

Dealing with underground resistance groups, various plots and an alternative Cold War (waged between Imperial Japan and the German Reich, now the world’s only superpowers), it’s the kid of series that’ll appeal to history buffs, sci-fi fans and anyone who’s into high concept, high budget television.
Watch The Man in the High Castle on Amazon Prime Instant Video THE WALKING DEAD (S1-4)The zombie apocalypse scenario has now been covered so many times that when the dead The zombie apocalypse scenario has now been covered so many times t…

YouTube - How to get the transcript of a video

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Here's how to get the transcript of a YouTube video (when available):
Go to YouTube and open the video of your choice.
Click on the More actions button (3 horizontal dots) located next to the Share button.
1) Click on Transcript.






2) Here you are

How much does YouTube pay partners for their content?

On average, you can earn $.80 per 1,000 views monetized by banner ads, or, $5-$8 per 1,000 views on a video monetized by rollout ads (the commercials before the video). So, on a video with 1,000,000 views monetized by rollout ads, you could earn $5,000-$8,000.

Youtube/Google shares ~45% of their ad revenue from the content with the content creator. The ad revenue is collected when a viewer clicks on an ad. This is known as Cost Per Click. Now, CPC can vary based on the ad.

You can expect an accounting firm to pay a higher CPC than a toothbrush company because their Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is higher. Youtube/Google is going to choose the ads they place based on the highest likelihood of a click. Factors that come in to play include the individual viewer and the data Google has on them, and the subject of the video.
Now, in my opinion, these earnings are all too low. I would not use this as my primary monetization strategy. Getting a lot of views is hard work. And if I wan…

How Make Money from Google AdSense

How To Earn £60 Per Day With Google AdSense, And How Much Traffic You Need?Earning £100, £200 or even £300 per day with Google AdSense is not an impossible job.

Many bloggers and website owners are doing it, and you are not an exception. The only thing you need is better planning and execution, hard work, determination and passion for blogging about your topic or niche.

Before diving into the exact process, let’s know some terminology for better understanding of Google AdSense and how you can generate more revenue by selling your ad inventories on your blog.

What Is AdSense: It’s a monetization program by Google for online content from websites, mobile sites, and site search results with relevant and engaging ads.

CTR : Your ad Click-through Rate is the number of ad clicks divided by the number of individual ad impressions. Suppose you are showing 3 AdSense ads on every page, your 1 page view is equal to 3 ad impressions.

CTR = Clicks / Ad Impressions X 100

Suppose, you get 5 clicks out of …

What to Watch on Netflix - Louis Theroux's Wierd Weekends

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Before he met the likes of Jimmy Saville, Paul Daniels and Max Clifford, Louis Theroux specialised in meeting, interviewing and often living with what you could politely call "controversial" groups. Over the course of three BBC series he hangs out with porn stars, wrestlers, hardline Christians, UFO watchers and more, somehow gaining the sort of access and revelations that a more 'serious' journalist couldn't (or perhaps wouldn't) get.


This is brilliant stuff: funny, troubling and regularly moving, and a good primer for Theroux's upcoming documentary film, My Scientology Movie.

What to Watch on Netflix - The Thick Of It

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You know how The Day Today made it impossible to watch the news without thinking it was a spoof (“Portillo’s teeth removed to boost pound”) and Brass Eye did the same with current affairs (“People say that alcohol’s a drug. It’s not – it’s a drink”)? Well, after watching The Thick Of It you’ll never again take anything a politician says seriously.


The unifying factor in those three shows is of course the supremely talented Mr Armando Iannucci, creator of TTOI and The Day Today and, given that he also worked on the various Alan Partridge shows, a man surely deserving of the title Greatest Living Briton.

But we digress. The Thick Of It could be described as a satire were it not so accurate in its depictions of jobsworth civil servants, careerist politicians and their clueless advisors. A must-watch for many, many reasons not least the virtuoso swearing abilities of Malcolm Tucker.