Raising $8,600 for suicide prevention by shaving my head

Last Sunday night, I created a fundraiser raising funds for suicide awareness and prevention.

After seeing local families affected by such tragedy, as well as individuals creating fundraisers raising funds for charities for which they are passionate about supporting and have a connection to, I decided that I wanted to take part and contribute in my own way. After a little research, I found a charity that I wanted to support.

I was looking for a way to raise funds for the AFSP — the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

If you know me personally, you know there are few things I like more than my hair. It’s the reason I spend an unfathomable amount of money on hair product, bring a mini-mirror and a (now not-so-secret) comb in my backpack, and run my fingers through my hair several times per hour.

I’ve had long hair all my life.

close call

The shortest I had my hair was a short, dark time when I got gum stuck in my hair and panicked, making an evident bald spot in the middle of my head. I got a haircut in an attempt to hide the bald spot, and looking back, it worked pretty well. I purchased hair-growing vitamins from GNC and would take twice the recommended daily dose because I hated the short hair look and it was the shortest I ever went. This is the only known picture of this dark time in my life.

It became clear to me that shaving my head was the driving factor I was going to use behind the fundraiser. Plus, it helps that other fundraisers, such as runs or walks, didn’t fit me too well (I ran a 14-minute mile in middle school).

So, I put aside everything else that I was doing and created a fundraiser with a goal of $500. To be honest, I wasn’t sure that I was going to reach that goal, and was deciding putting a goal of $250.

Needless to say, the then-ambitious goal of $500 was not so ambitious after all. 1,720% of the initial goal of $500 was raised, and I have no words but to say that I am so humbled and thankful. I have just returned from shaving my head.

So, what’s next?

The next step is to donate the funds to the AFSP. I have submitted a form and am waiting for verification from Generosity.com. When approved, the payment will be disbursed on the week of June 12. As soon as the funds hit my account, a donation, as well as a thank you video will both be recorded live and posted on this page.

Update: June 1, 2017

Generosity.com is making me jump through quite a few more hoops. I submitted my last 4, then they asked me for my full SSN, which I provided. They have now asked for a full passport photo (each of these after a delay after submitting the last piece of information) and will do so, as well as update this post once the funds reach my account and when they are donated.

Update: June 12, 2017

I have finally finished verification. Funds have not been disbursed to my account yet, but I will update this post as soon as they have been.

Update: July 12, 2017

Funds have not yet been disbursed, but if Generosity.com documentation is correct, I will receive it in the coming week.

Update: August 16, 2017

I have (finally) put the AFSP in touch with Generosity.com. Generosity.com will be disbursing funds directly to them. Woo!

 

The Better Way to Hide Links from SEO Crawlers

It’s no question that hiding links is critical to any successful SEO campaign.

When building links, especially on PBNs and the like, it’s important to block SEO crawlers like Ahrefs (ahrefsbot) and Majestic (MJ12Bot). Most SEOs accomplish through abhorrent .htaccess lists of bots to block.

what are all of these bots anyway?

The current solutions are…

  • .htaccess files
    • Not always applicable if you don’t have full control over the site
    • Often times blocked from being edited
    • Require some technical know-how, updating, and blind trust
    • Footprint if set up incorrectly
      • Blind trust / copying pasting code you find online is bound to lead to problems
      • Most .htaccess codes available online redirect bots to webMD.com
  • robots.txt
    • (lol)
  • WordPress plugins
    • Not so great if you’re not using WordPress
    • Require blind-trust in the author of the plugin
    • Footprint if (when) set up incorrectly (more on that in another post)

Using Javascript, we can abuse the achilles heel of crawlers and have links “hidden” in the source code of a site, but visible on the page load.

This is what the SEO crawlers will see (no visible links), but here is what Google will see.

Because we broke the link up into two parts (variable a and variable b) and combined the variables when the page loaded, we were able to hide our link from third party SEO crawlers.

This requires little to no technical knowledge and relies on simple Javascript. No sneaky redirects or cloaking.

This is helpful for those who are also building links on public facing properties and can place Javascript: most website builders and submission platforms allow Javascript embed within the HTML, but not access to .htaccess or robots.txt. Using this, you can block your competitors from viewing more than just your PBNs!

You can view the code for this here. Replace link with your anchor text, and replace the URL split among the two variables with your own.

After doing so, simply invoke your link by using <span id=“target”></spaninstead of the hyperlink HTML code.

Bulk Twitter Username Availability Checker

This is a free tool that uses Twitter’s undocumented username availability checking API to verify the availability of a large list of Twitter usernames.

To use, create two files: input.txt and proxy.txt. The former should contain a list of usernames, one per line, that you want to check, while the latter should contain a list of proxies, one per line. Actions are logged to the console (visible window so you can see what is going on) and the list of available usernames are saved to output.txt.

The program is designed to check one username per proxy every five seconds: safe limits to keep the program running without worrying about limitations. Although not recommended, because the source is included, this number can quickly be modified by those with basic programming knowledge.

A visual of the program in action is available here (refresh a few times if it doesn’t load), while the program can be downloaded here. For this program to function properly, need the latest version of the Microsoft .NET framework.

Those who act quickly can take advantage of this free data from Majestic (reuploaded, Majestic 404) to find juicy Twitter accounts that are available for registration. This list is from 2012 and sorted by Majestic metrics, meaning the users in the list have had enough time to change their usernames, leaving powerful usernames available to register.

This tool was created because using software like Gscraper and Scrapebox is inefficient and inaccurate. The abovementioned softwares request a whole page to get the status code, and often times are timed out and return an empty (–) response, leaving you with no idea if the username is available or not. Additionally, using those softwares to check for 404s returns inaccurate results, as usernames that return as 404s are not necessarily ones that are available to register (such as banned accounts, reserved usernames [BritishMonarchy, for example], and URLs that don’t exist, but are not usernames available to register).

This tool is light years faster and not even comparable in terms of accuracy to the above mentioned solutions.

Oh, and it’s free. 😉