ObSrv: No Longer For Sale

Thank you for the emails of support and kind donations.

After a few minor changes and exchanges with Google I have managed to rectify the problem relating to inappropriate images on the detail pages.

Because of your kind support, and the resolution of issues with Google, I’ve changed my mind and decided not to sell ObSrv.

I plan to keep it running indefinitely.

If you have any issues, or need support, please leave a message or contact me at:
mail at neilennis dot com

If you’d like to donate to help keep the site running, I’ve added a couple of paypal buttons on the site.

ObSrv.com is for sale

ObSrv.com is a web service which provides image feeds for any subject you like.

The content is updated hourly, allowing you to provide high-quality, relevant graphics for any website, or feed reader.

I’ve been able to maintain this site and host it because of the modest income stream I derive from Google ads that appear on the info pages that are displayed when a website visitor clicks on an image.  This has been great because:

  1. Web publishers didn’t need to pay anything.
  2. The ads didn’t intrude on your site – they only displayed when an interested user clicked on an image.
  3. Clicking on the image redirected to an intermediate site which displayed the ad, and allowed the user to proceed to the original site.

I didn’t have any say on what sort of images web publishers displayed – my only request was that web publishers did not use ObSrv to display adult-related images.

That’s not because I am a prude – it’s because Google prohibits ads on these sorts of sites.

Unfortunately, some people ignored this request, Google cancelled ad serving for the ObSrv site, and now it’s not paying me anything.  I can’t afford to keep it running for free.

So I have decided to sell it.

If you’re interested, please make an offer.  No serious offer will be ignored.

I’m sorry for any inconvenience.  I’m willing to be flexibile to help you out:

If you need access to ObSrv prior to it being sold, please email mail@obsrv.com.  If you’re one of the incredibly generous people who has made a donation to me in the past, or if you would like to make a modest donation, I will send you a temporary URL which will keep images being served to your site until ObSrv.com is sold.

If enough people continue to make regular modest donations I won’t sell it.

What’s a reasonable donation?  I’m flexible, but $20-$30 per site per year seems like a reasonable amount.

If you want to buy it, here’s what you get:

1. The domain ObSrv.com.  A cool five letter dot com domain – imagine what you could do with it!

2. The ASP.NET and MS-SQL Server Source Code.

3. The data.

4. 12 months hosting for the site until you find somewhere else to host it.

5. 12 months tech support for the source code.  I’m not going to over-promise here.  The source code is well documented.  I’ll answer any questions you have.  I’ll even do minor mods for you – but it has to cut both ways, and the level of support depends on the price at which you buy from me.

About me: Do a Google Search on me: “Neil Ennis”.  You’ll soon see I’ve been around a long time, I keep my promises, and I value long-term business relationships.  I won’t let you down.

ObSrv Bug Fix – Please read

I’ve fixed a bug with ObSrv that was causing empty image feeds to appear.

There is a long term problem that we need to address, and I need your help to sort it out.

The problem is that Google is limiting the number of image searches that ObSrv can do to 100 per day. The problem is that once we exceed this limit, no images are returned and you get a blank feed.

I’ve temporarily fixed this problem by changing the image search provider. I’m not saying which, as I don’t want to cause any more waves.

But eventually they’ll start blocking excessive image searches as well.

So I’m considering changing ObSrv to require you to supply a Google API key. It won’t be hard to do. All yu need to do is go to the Google Code API console, log in (or create an account) and request an API key.

Future versions of ObSrv will require you to enter that API key as part of the Feed URL.

For now, you don’t need to do anything. Everything should be working perfectly. Your images should come through as expected.

I’m just alerting you to what may have to happen, and I’d like your feedback please.

You once might have had a feed URL that was something like: http://obsrv.com/General/ImageFeed.aspx?mountain+wallpaper

But I’m suggesting we change that to something like: http://obsrv.com/General/ImageFeed.aspx?mountain+wallpaper&APIKEY=[your API KEY]

This way, any ObSrv feed requests will be linked to your API KEY and not mine. And (provided you don’t go over 100 requests per day) Google won’t hassle you. This shouldn’t be a problem. Image feeds don’t update that often. Even if you refreshed the feed every hour you’d be able to have four separate feeds and stay under the limit.

If you exceed Google’s limit, they’ll probably want you to open up a commercial account with them and pay them something. This has nothing to do with me. I’m not asking for your money – I’m just explaining how Google deals with people who use their resources in an unusual way.

Please leave a comment, or email me, and let me know your thoughts.

The challenge we face is that Search Engines are a moving target. Writing a web service like ObSrv that keeps up with this target is difficult, but not impossible.