If you read my review on Socialbot v3.0, you already know that I had some difficulties with the software and ended up uninstalling and getting a refund. I was pretty disappointed because it sounded like a great time saver and I was looking forward to using it. With hope renewed, I recently purchased Socialbot v4.1 and put it to the test, so let’s see how it did.
Socialbot v4.1 Installation
The purchase, download and installation went easy enough though no desktop icons or shortcuts were installed as stated in the users manual. Easy enough to add those myself so that wasn’t really a big problem for me but is something to be aware of. You may not realize it’s installed when it finishes and you may need the skill to navigate your computers hard drive and create your own shortcuts. You’ll find it installed in Icansoft/Traffic Mania/SocialBot by default.
Socialbot v4.1 GUI
The user interface is clean, nice icons and the menu is broken into sections. The users manual is a little hard to find, you feel like you should click on the little arrow beneath the “help” button but you actually need to click the icon itself. (img sb-1).
Also, beneath each menu item is a small icon (img sb-1) which you right click and then can minimize the menu, called ribbon in SocialBot. At first glance I thought these would provide more options for each individual item as it is within Photoshop but each of these icons provides the same choice, to minimize the ribbon but I think a better term would be, make the ribbon disappear altogether. Right click in the area where the menu was and click the checkbox to restore. Not entirely intuitive but nothing major and who cares as long as it works like it’s supposed to.
Setting SocialBot v4.1 Up
There is a learning curve here as with all new software. I strongly suggest reading the manual top to bottom, several times before getting started. Some things are not real clear in the manual so I’ll try to toss in a tip or two as I go.
Registering with all of the bookmarking sites is a slow and boring process but it can’t be avoided, you would have to register at each site anyway if you were planning on submitting links manually so just get through this part the best you can. I’ve heard that some people outsource this but I prefer to do this myself.
While it is mind numbingly boring, registering is made easy with links and a built in auto form filler feature. Once you register with the bookmarking site, SocialBot asks if you would like to save the user/pass which also speeds up the process. One thing to watch out for here is that SocialBot is saving the user/pass you set up in your profile not one that you may have picked if for some reason or another, you had been forced by the bookmarking site to choose another.
Tip: When selecting a user/pass, don’t use a variation of your username for a password like user: mommamia, password: mommamia1234. Several bookmarking sites will alert you if your user/pass are too similar and force you to choose something else, then when you complete the registration and SocialBot asks if you would like to save the user/pass it is saving the original pass. Don’t forget to change it.
Tip: Don’t try and use the same gmail account when registering by adding the +1 before @gmail.com like firstname.lastname@example.org. (you can add +1, +2, +3, etc… to create additional pseudo emaill addresses at gmail) because several of the bookmarking sites won’t recognize it as a legitimate email address. Best to sign up for a new gmail account before starting and having all the emails coming to the same address for confirmation purposes.
Tip: When adding your websites, you can create one for Squidoo, Blogger, Hubpages, etc.. and then manually add pages through the ‘bulk import’ options. Alternatively, you could just create a website and name it anything you like and place all of your manually added pages there but I wanted to keep them seperate for my own purposes.
When setting your default filters, you will run into a limitation on the number you can add. I suggest placing the most common filters here and adding the others on a site by site basis.
Here are some standard default filters you may want to use if they apply.
A few more if you are using DLGuard or .htaccess link cloaking. Substitute go/ for what ever folder you’re using. Don’t forget any other folders if you are using some other type of redirection script.
Tip: If spidering a site using Wordpress as it’s platform. Using the following filters at the website level will help you not make the same mistake I made where you end up with hundreds if not thousands of additional “pages” you’ll have to go through and manually delete, one by one.
It’s possible you could just use the pound sign (#) as a filter and cover several of these but it’s up to you whether you want to try that or not.
If you would like to spider a blogger site, the following filters should be used on the website level.
It would be nice if these were built into SocialBot for the popular services and especially for Wordpress since it is so widely used… or at least a list of these filter words in the manual. I hope these filters will save you from hours and hours of manual deletion work and a painful wrist. One might argue that I could have just deleted the website and started over but that’s what happened with v3.0 and I wasn’t going to take that chance again.
Using SocialBot v4.1
Here’s really where the main problem started for me with v3.0. I could not get the pages from my websites spidered and everything just went downhill from there. But fortunately I was able to spider my websites with no problems this time though the descriptions were missing or incomplete (as in only showing one or two words) on a good number of pages even though the meta tags were on the actual pages.
Using the advanced feature and attempting to have it grab the keywords and description did not fix the problem so I had to go through… copy the url (url was not clickable though I certainly wish it was), paste it into a browser, visit each page and then write my own keywords and description.
I had spidered 9 websites, 12 blogger blogs, 49 lenses and 1 Build a Niche Store website (ebay affiliate store) for testing purposes.
Blogger blogs don’t even have meta descriptions on the pages so I can’t blame SocialBot for that. I did go through and manually add descriptions and keywords for hundreds of pages. A lot of work but hopefully worth it.
The BANS site spidered perfectly with complete keywords and descriptions.
The problem seems to be with wordpress based sites and I couldn’t determine why. The meta tags were there and there were no unusual characters that might have thrown a wrench into the cogs so nothing left to do but go through and add them manually.
Problems with SocialBot v4.1
I ran into numerous issues, like the submitter freezing up, the occasional error dialog box, incorrect status reportings, not submitting more than one page at a time, even when multiple boxes are selected and the websites settings allow for multiple daily submissions, etc.. I know the owners are aware of most if not all of the problems and are working to correct them.
One huge problem that hasn’t happened before and appeared for the first time just now as I was writing this post was a spawning of multiple windows while SocialBot was running in the background. It froze my system up pretty good and I had to terminate SocialBot and the browsers through the task manager.
I think this software has great potential and once all of the bugs get worked out, it may become worthy of another look.
The results were unsubstantial but I only used it for a few days. I noticed a lot of bookmarking sites which were being reported as ‘completed’ which weren’t in actuality, some I had not even completed the registration confirmations for.
The captcha websites make it very time consuming since there is no way that I could find to order those to submit first which causes you to either sit and babysit the whole process or create a different profile for these bookmark sites.
The good news is that buying SocialBot entitles you to free upgrades and I have a feeling it can do nothing but get better with each update.
My SocialBot Wishlist
- On page details list, make a link that’s clickable to avoid having to copy and paste each url into a separate browser window.
- Multiple threading for submissions. Should be able to simultaneously work on two or more submits.
- Ability to add any bookmark site or directory. Open submit page in new window and autocomplete what it can and allow for manual submissions. Some bookmark sites already to this, so shouldn’t be pushing the envelope too far as I know software does this already.
- Ability to select pages from multiple websites at once, kind of a pain doing one page at a time from each website. Very time consuming.
- Ability to order bookmark sites submission order, do captcha’s first so I don’t have to babysit it.
- Copy existing profile, like popular sites to begin new profile
Well, that concludes my review of SocialBot v4.1. I’m not ready to rely fully on it yet, still seems a little buggy but I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes open for the updates and feel confident that eventually, this will be a serious contender.
SOCIALBOT RESULTS UPDATE (09/10/09)
It’s been a bit since I ran Socialbot and I thought I would update this review with some factual results. Nowhere have I seen a spike of traffic and, unfortunately have actually seen a drop in traffic on one of my pr4 domains that was doing very well in the Google serps.
Note: These results may or may not be typical of other users, I obviously have no way of knowing. I’m merely reporting my own experience and am neither advising for or against.