multi-db + cloak.fm plugin issues.

I have been on a long term search for the best url cloaking plugin available for WordPress as I don't want google to see my affiliate links. I have spent way to much $ on this so far, and because I use multi-db, so far I have had no luck getting any of them to work.

Each plugin gives me some type of missing database errors and neither myself, nor the plugin authors are able to solve the problems. well let me put it this way, I am not good enough after days of trying, and the plugin authors don't see a reason to fix it due to little demand so it's financial on their part.

In the hopes that it is an easy fix, is there anyone available that can take a peek at the plugin code and possibly let me know how to fix it?
*If you contact me I can send links to the plugins to work with. I don't want to post them publicly because while gpl, they are commercial and that's not cool.

I am talking about cloak.fm from http://bit.ly/TqyQQE
and wordpress traffic tools http://www.wptraffictools.com/

From what I have read cloak.fm seems the best of the two. I do have a few others as well, but these are the best 2 I have found.

Thanks much everyone!

  • shawng

    I got more information from the devs today:

    I've checked the Multi-DB plugin you are using and the problem is that it can't handle the type of query Cloak.FM is running for it's auto linking (AKL) feature. If I went into your site, I would have to tweak the Multi-DB plugin - not Cloak.FM.

    Cloak.FM uses $wpdb, but Multi-DB incorrectly identifies the table name - in the sample SQL you posted in the forum, first of all it thinks the table name is "making" (because of the following phrase in it: "... refrain from making new posts ...") and I also think it is not able to handle the LEFT JOIN (but I might be mistaken about it) :expressionless:

    They might be able to do a better job of fixing it, so maybe you should try with them first.

  • aecnu

    Greetings shawng,

    Thank you for bringing this item to our attention.

    I am totally aware of these people including WPMU DEV plugins in their membership and in my opinion illegally using the WPMU DEV name and graphics from our site.

    But that does not prevent me from doing my duty to help resolve this issue.

    I will bring this post to the attention of the lead developer for his input into this and what he may have in mind to resolve this issue if at all possible.

    Though this may take a bit longer then a normal ticket, I will try to get him in here asap.

    Cheers, Joe

  • shawng

    I appreciate the help.
    When I first found out about the cloak.fm plugin it had nothing to do with the site it is on now. It was part of a totally separate company that I suppose was bought out, or was simply added to the new company, I don't know the story. I just know that I use the plugin and it doesn't work right with multi-db.

    As to what they are doing with your plugins, yeah that was kinda crazy to me when I saw it at first. I sent an email to them asking what was up with that and they responded back that they had some kind of special license or something. It turns out that they simply repost any gpl plugins they wish. I'm not a big fan of that at all, but none the less, I just want to get the plugin working if we can.

    The information I gave above from their tech is all I know about the problem. It doesn't make to much sense to me as all my other plugins work just fine. I'm guessing that it is probably a basic fix.

    Of course I can provide a copy of the plugin for testing, and I have removed the ioncoding from my copy so the source code is readily available. Honestly, I don't even know why they bother adding in the encoding as currently there is nothing on the market I can't decode with ease and they are not hiding anything revolutionary or important. It just makes testing and troubleshooting a problem for normal people.

    I would post a link to the plugin here, and I know it's legal is it's gpl, but I prefer not to participate in those tactics at this moment. I can either send a pm or deal with email if preferable to send the source.

    thanks again for taking a peek. You guys have been awesome here and I love being a member.

  • aecnu

    Greetings shawng,

    Thank you for your kind and thoughtful input as always.

    In this specific case referring to illegal, it was using the WPMU DEV name and some of the graphics, but it is beyond my authority to go after them about it.

    Using the GPL plugins is indeed fine and I have no heartache with it though it would seem that one of them has to maintain a membership to keep getting the updates.

    In regards to cloak.fm, you are once again correct as anticipated and it is, if memory serves me, Gary who was the proprietor in his own business and also selling CSV PIG which has now been renamed Content.fm

    Now on to the issue at hand with the conflict or probably more accurately the issue between Cloak.fm and Multi-DB.

    I have indeed notified the lead developer of the issue and it will be up to him to decide what steps to take next to resolve this.

    Hopefully he will make it in here sooner then later.

    Sincerely, Joe

  • shawng

    Hey Thanks Joe

    I appreciate your passing this along even with the 'activities' by the company who now owns the plugin. I personally wish things were different, but at the very least, I am happy that wpmu is considering looking into providing a fix for this for me.

    I've only come across 1 other plugin that comes even close to what this one does, and that one has a ton of problems, much worse than this multi-db problem. So because I am doing my best to control my outbound links, this is pretty much the only option that I have.

    Have a great day

  • shawng

    Here is another very similar plugin that has the exact same problems with multi-db, only this one is a bit worse. It seems to get the tables per database mixed up. It's to bad, as this plugin looks every bit as good, and possibly better. I just wish I knew what these guys were doing wrong when it comes to multi-db. It is only these plugins that I find that deal with SEO link cloaking etc that have problems.

    http://www.wptraffictools.com/#buynow

    *I don't currently have a full vs. copy with all the plugins, but if interested, I can always ask the author to donate a copy for testing. I'm guessing he may be interested as so many of us here use multi-db and it would open a huge market for him. Not to mention, once people here at wpmu find out what link cloaking actually is, I'm guessing the demand would be huge as we're more pro bloggers here than standard users.

  • aecnu

    Greetings shawng,

    Thank you and I acknowledge receipt of the file in question, now if we could just get Barry's attention on this and the file in his hands we may be all set.

    In addition, thank you for pointing out that other plugin and you are indeed correct that if the author of the alternate plugin codes this out to work with Multi-DB it shall indeed open up a huge market I would think.

    Thank you Shawn for the additional input and to see if Barry is going to consider taking on either of these plugins to find out why they are malfunctioning with Multi-DB.

    On a side note, like some of our plugins, I am wondering if all that is needed is a statement added that indicates the globals table added or something to that effect?

    I will let the big gun determine that as soon as I can get him in here for comment.

    Cheers, Joe

  • shawng

    @aecnu

    I reached out to the author of http://wptraffictools.com/ and he was kind enough to give me a registration# in order to activate all the plugin extensions.

    This is the competitor to cloak.fm and in some ways I believe it may be better, though I have not yet gotten it to work with multi-db to say for sure.

    I will setup a test site today with multi-db so we have a place to test it out.
    *If you have a test setup with multi-db that would be great also.

    I'll email you a copy of the registration code for this plugin as well. I already sent you the cloak.fm plugin.

    Here's to hoping the lead dev finds time to look into this. I think everyone is going to love to find out about link cloaking here.

  • shawng

    Do I need to send over anything?

    Sounds like @aecnu found the scripts I sent and hopefully the registration code for the second plugin as well.

    @aecnu
    If it helps at all, I can create a temp admin account for you guys, though I would rather not try installing the second plugin again until it works as I don't want to have to manually clean the db again.

    I will try to find time today to create a new demo site with multi-db setup and running. I tried over the past few days to get it done, but dad was back in the icu at the hospital and it gets a little crazy trying to get any work done under those circumstances.

  • shawng

    Thanks Joe
    Once again, your the best :slight_smile:

    I am going to setup a test environment for the second plugin this weekend. I tried to get it done yesterday, but this week has been crazy. At least then I can narrow down the exact problems I had with it. One issue I do remember it having was that it was not saving the tables in the right databases.

    For instance, site #4, would have tables that were _4 in there as normal, but would also have a single _5 table prefix which was obviously wrong.

    Once I am setup again then I can be very specific with the ones that were wrong.

    *I just wish I had a fast way of creating the databases themselves. It takes forever to create 256 db's by hand one at a time. I use virtualmin/webmin, which doesn't seem to allow db creation via scripts... oh well

  • shawng

    @Barry
    That is totally awesome and exactly why I love being a member here. I would never receive this type of support using the wordpress multi-db plugin or any other one for that matter. You guys really go the extra mile in supporting your multi-db plugin.

    Cloak.FM has not had an update since the vs. I sent to you. The http://wptraffictools.com/ has had an update which you can download from his site. It's the registration code that matters anyhow, the download is available to anyone which is nice.

    I think the guys over at Cloak have pretty much given up as they have said nothing constructive in some time now and I honestly doubt if they have the expertise to support the plugin anyhow as by now they should have had it fixed.

    I do know the owner of traffictools was very interested in getting this resolved. He has sent me a few emails asking how it is going and if there is anything he could help out with. He was kind enough to even donate the license we are using for testing.

    I said before, I don't really care which one works in the end so long as I get something that will work with multi-db, but I have to say the traffictools guy seems to be really cool and willing to try and help. So if it is a matter of choosing between the two, assuming their code quality is similar, I would ask to go with traffictools.

  • aecnu

    Greetings shawng,

    You got that right sir, the main holiday season of the year is not a good time to be having issues and it makes me wonder why WordPress themselves causes them year after year with their major updates right before Christmas and how truly thoughtless this is. They should wait until after the New Year but prefer making everyone scramble right in the middle of the holiday shopping season and makes me afraid to update my production sites during that same period.

    In any event I am hoping we hear from Barry soon on this subject.

    Sincerely, Joe

  • shawng

    Thanks Joe, I appreciate it.

    There hasn't been any 'real' updates to the cloak.fm plugin in the past month. The wptraffictools has had a few good sized decent updates since then. The download link I gave above is still valid and always will be. It's the key that matters and it still works.

    I let the author know that we were still waiting for an answer so he has not killed the key. If he does get tired of waiting on us and kills they key, then you can use my key as I bought a copy for a client last week. I just really want to get it or cloak working with multi-db properly so I can use it on my main site.

    At least going through this experience has taught me about a HUGE flaw in how WordPress and google work together when using multisite.

    Scenario:
    On a subdomain (using domain mapping) I have installed bbPress. Now all the user profile links go back to the 'root blog' primary domain which of course is a different domain name.

    So, google sees 50,000+ links to another domain for the profile links, and when you add up all the links per post for a user profile, plus archives etc, there are about 300,000 links going to the primary domain.

    I estimate that I have lost about 30% of my 'link juice' do to this problem.

    We were able to measure it more accurately by building a few smaller forum test sites where we started out by cloaking the urls (removing them from google bot) to the primary site for profile links. This means when the bots surf the site, all external links are removed.

    Once we turned off the plugin, after a month or two, then google could see all the links and our page rank dropped as did our overall ratings, and it was dramatic.

    It actually makes sense why they do this, so link cloaking is going to become even more important in the future for seo WordPress multisites.

  • aecnu

    Greetings shawng,

    That above post is a fantastic find and could indeed be the answer for many having page rank issues related to follow or duplicated content, author content, etc. and I can see how cloaking would/could possibly have a great effect on SEO.

    Between cloaking and no index it can help take a bite out of this phenomenon.

    Hopefully the lead developer will give us some news soon regarding this issue.

    Cheers, Joe

  • aecnu

    Greetings shawng,

    Sorry that I can do nothing more then I already have other then keep sending notifications to the lead developer and you know by working with me on other projects that if it were up to me I would be all over it.

    However, to be completely fair I have no idea what commitments or other projects/items this lead developer is working on and considering my position within WPMU DEV it is not my business to ask.

    Also this cannot be a one way street, meaning has I believe Gary made any comment or given any insight to what the issue may be? Considering he is basically selling WPMU DEV plugins with his membership the last I knew, one would think he would be at least mildly interested in getting the issue resolved as well.

    I will certainly ping @Barry again sir, but in all fairness Gary should be equally under the gun as well to get this issue resolved once and for all and I believe with careful and wise thought you would agree as well.

    Sincerely, Joe

  • shawng

    @aecnu
    No worries mate, I totally understand. I don't keep posting in this thread for you to respond, but more to see how long it will take the developer to finally respond back.

    I'm not to worried about cloak fm, especially after the way he is treating you guys. The other plugin however is built by a great guy. I purchased the full vs. from him and sent in the codes needed for the dev here to work on it. The wptraffictools plugin is spectacular and in many ways much better than cloak. I just can't get it to work with multi-db properly.

    Anyhow, here is to hoping that the dev jumps in and helps out.

  • aecnu

    Greetings shawng,

    Thank you Shawn for your kind input as always and I am with you on wanting to know what this issue is.

    I keep posting to keep this ticket from falling into the ticket system abyss and hope as you do that our lead developer will have the time to dig into this sooner then later.

    At least with a clue as to why the issue persists to begin with?

    Have a GREAT week ahead.

    Cheers, Joe

  • shawng

    Thanks Joe
    I don't know why he is ignoring my post like this. Pretty much it has been my only 'real' request since joining here so I find it a bit frustrating, yet I still hold out hope that he will find the time to jump in and solve the problem.

    I know that both these plugins work great in normal setups as I use them on many websites now. Well I use wptraffictools a lot, cloak not so much. So it has to be something with the multi-db interacting with this.

  • aecnu

    Greetings shawng,

    You are spot on though I admit I am not walking in his shoes but one would think he would have had time to dig into this by now but I am in no position to make that call.

    Furthermore I do know he has been pounding away at resolving Membership issues and I am sure you have heard of the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few.

    Though I am not sure, one would think this is what the holdup is where he has one person wanting this issue resolved versus the mountain of people wanting Membership issues resolved - and there is indeed a lot of them with varying issues to address.

    Your persistence has genuinely amazed me because if I were in your boots I admit I would have given up by now moving on to another possible solution and letting this one go.

    In any event, I am sure you are aware that I am doing what I can and if I could have I would have been all over this to get it repaired if at all possible to repair.

    Sincerely, Joe

  • shawng

    Like I said Joe, no worries mate...

    This project is on a total back shelf for me and I only check back on from time to time more or less to see if Barry is actually ever going to answer.

    It's ironic actually. The only reason I ever paid for a yearly membership in the first place was to receive support for the plugins as I can access the wpmu plugins updated daily in hundreds of other blackhat locations without even trying. This is the one and only problem I was ever totally stumped on which required help and yet months later.. well you know the story.

    I do appreciate your help and I can honestly say that if I were to ever be in the position of having a company requiring tech support, I would hire you in a second as your dedication is second to none.

  • aecnu

    Greetings shawng,

    Thank you Shawn and I do see that you truly realize my efforts and appreciate them and my dedication to the mission of getting issues resolved in any way that I can.

    I really appreciate it and without going into detail my Boss has indeed shown me his appreciation as well.

    I am indeed trying to take further action to attempt to expedite some action on this issue which I cannot disclose at this time though you know already by dealing with me that I am honest and would never betray my clients, WPMU DEV, or its members to include the mission at hand in which in my case is resolving tickets/members issues in whatever way that I can as long as it is legal, moral and adheres to the integrity and duties entrusted to me.

    With that said I will mix a couple of quotes together "I have not yet begun to fight and surrender is not an option" though I must on rare occasion admit defeat but not due to deficiencies in myself or my personal efforts but to the actions or in-actions of others - you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink.

    Have a GREAT weekend.

    Cheers, Joe

  • Barry

    This project is on a total back shelf for me and I only check back on from time to time more or less to see if Barry is actually ever going to answer.

    Unfortunately there is only the one of me, and a lot of plugins to manage / update and support so whilst I do try to get around to going through other peoples plugins it does take a lot of time to work through their code to understand what they are trying to do or accomplish and then, effectively, rewrite large chunks of it to work with a scalable system. With that in mind, should a support issue come up I have to prioritise issues with our own plugins over issues with other companies.

    So far over the past few months this has involved major updates to a lot of our plugins, so as soon as things slow down a bit, which hopefully will be very soon / this week, I can get back to chugging through cloak.fm

  • aecnu

    Greetings Barry,

    Thank you Chief for chiming in and letting us know what is going on, why, and indeed there has been a lot of items on our plates and specifically yours with the Membership Beta and all the rest.

    Understood and hopefully things will indeed calm down soon and you will have some time to put those unbelievably fantastic coding skills of yours to eyeball what is going on with these other folks plugin i.e. Cloak FM

    Though I have been relentless at following up on tickets which is of course my support staff duties, I am going to move this ticket to feature requests so it is not in my face every three days for a reply.

    Thanks again Barry for letting us know what is going on in your neck of the woods.

    Cheers, Joe

  • shawng

    Barry
    I saw your message about a week, came and past, wasn't gonna say anything, but now we're yet another week into this. You should talk to the owners about getting you some help here.... I see their articles about bragging about member levels, but obviously it's happening at the expense of the devs

    If cloak.fm is that bad to go through, why not go through traffictools instead?

    That developer is incredibly active, very smart, and if you find an issue to fix, I can guarantee he would get it done right away where cloak.fm.. well not so much. Their whole company is imploding on them, not like we didn't all see that one coming anyhow.

    I just need a url cloaking plugin that works with multi-db that is not going to kill my servers, which is happening the entire time this thread has been here.

  • shawng

    Another month.... another bump....

    You know, my membership at this site is now 1/2 over and the ONE question I have had here is STILL outstanding.....

    I could really use some help on this one. 99% of the ENTIRE reason I joined wpmu in the first place was for support with multi-db and almost 6 months later, I still have my server almost brought to its knees every night that google comes and sweeps the site.

    *I am masking all internal links, so there is a lot of filtering the content going on and with multi-db activated, well, to put it nice, there are not enough resources available on any server for this to work right on a large website.

  • aecnu

    Greetings shawng,

    Thank you for your feedback and in an attempt to help further I found:

    URL Cloak & Encrypt plugin

    As a matter of fact there is a whole slew of products that do cloaking and some of them automated as well:

    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/search.php?q=cloaking&sort=

    And probably better products since several appear to be maintained.

    Let me know how it goes if you try one or more of them out.

    Cheers, Joe

  • shawng

    @aecnu
    Thanks for the links.

    The wptraffictools plugin is actually VERY actively maintained with almost weekly updates. It is so powerful that I personally put it in my top 5 most required plugins for any WordPress website. Once you dig in and see what all it is capable of doing, I am sure that you would agree and I imagine you would use it on every commercial website you have. Trust me, it's that good!

    *we just built a huge affiliate network site using this plugin and it is doing things that just plain blow my mind away. We came up with the craziest ideas anyone had ever heard of, and still the developer was able to add in every single one of those features in no time. This thing is crazy cool,, it just needs to behave properly with multi-db.

  • aecnu

    Greetings shawng,

    Thank you for the heads up on that and I have put it on my short list to purchase when I have time to work with it or it is on sale again on the warrior forum :slight_smile:

    Hmmm .... It has issues dealing with Multi DB as well?

    Any chance you gave the developer a copy of Multi DB to see if it will possibly help them with integration?

    Once again thanks Shawn because it seems really awesome and I hope to see what it can do for some of my affiliate sites/stores

    Let me know.

    Cheers, Joe

  • shawng

    @aecnu
    Glad you got the info. I slept for a couple hrs, checked my email and saw no response so I was worried that I goofed somehow. I am one of those guys who checks email 100x more often than going back to any forum. To hard to remember all the open trouble tickets out there...

    This is one of those plugins that is so incredibly well built and powerful that I would have thought the devs would be jumping up and down to make sure it works perfectly with multi-db and all the other wpmu plugins. Once you get to play with it, you will see what I mean. It truly is that special.

  • aecnu

    Greetings shawng,

    Sorry to report I have yet to get to this and hopefully be able to give some experienced input :stuck_out_tongue: as here it is Easter Holidays and other then me - my small team here has been on vacation since Tuesday and I am stuck with holding down the fort ... lol

    Tuesday they return to work thank goodness.

    Look forward to letting you know.

    Have a GREAT upcoming weekend!

    Cheers, Joe

Thank NAME, for their help.

Let NAME know exactly why they deserved these points.

Gift a custom amount of points.