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Ecomonkey – The Backend

For the very first time all is revealed from behind the scenes, well not exactly, but enough to get a flavour of the system complexity, which required a half time mechanic to keep it fed with fresh and up to the minute data and fresh looking.

Naturally Drupal, even in primitive version 5, coped admirably and mostly without fault. My lovely developers didn’t always use the Drupal hooks and filters, which was a very minor irritation in the bigger scheme, but they delivered pretty much on time more than a minimum viable product (MVP), which started to make some money fair quick. And, mostly without their help I was able to take over day to day management e.g. run bespoke database queries to do interesting things in the front end, as well as keep the back end tidy (joining tables seemed relatively easy compared with access once I got started); but also deploy an array of modules which could do some of the heavy lifting for me.

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Ecomonkey Review

In case you were wondering what others thought of the concept, here is what our main partner reckoned – awarding the site a stonking 9/10.

Site Review (2008)

ecomonkey_screen

Content 23/25
Functionality 22/25
Originality 20/25
Creativity 23/25
Total 88/100
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Ecomonkey has had to be put down

After several years of leaving ecomonkey.co.uk on the web for demonstration purposes, mainly for others to copy, to emulate or simply do it better, we’ve reluctantly decided to put it to sleep.

Ecomonkey.co.uk was officially dead by the end 2008, but still working from a technical POV.

Maintaining the code base indefinitely was never really a practical notion and we didn’t. We stopped refreshing the database long ago, since it was not making us any money, it didn’t justify our time, even though the slimmed down beast looked and behaved well in the front end.

The deprecated functions however were taking their toll, resulted in far too many warnings clogging up the logs and kept our very small virtual server overworked.

So we backed up the code and the database, and pulled the plug.

Rest in peace.

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The Kiva legacy

For those not in the know, Kiva is a Micro Loans Programme. It specialises in loans to small family-owned or community businesses mainly in the developing world, but also in the USA and some of Eastern Europe.

Ecomonkey started lending on Kiva a couple of years ago as Ecomonkey. We always lent out $25 amounts to reduce the risk of losing the principal, as you don’t get any interest back on your (for we are helping build up human capital too!) and there is also some risk associated with exchange rate fluctuations (wow!). We started this from our own pockets at first, just a few hundred dollars, and then proceeded to use the unclaimed commissions received from participating retailers on the Ecomonkey shopping programme.

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And what about weegreen.co.uk?

What about it? The idea for weegreen (wee small, and perhaps as in ‘we’ collectively; green – you know what that means don’t you?) was to marry the power of Google and its Co-op search engine  (a ‘collaborative’ search engine) and have real people filtering and categorising stuff, perhaps collaboratively – but not necessarily.

People like to search for things before they do anything else. They don’t know the url can be placed in the url bar cutting out a few steps. Oh and whats going on here? Where has the url bar gone? So how do you get to places then? Have you heard of a search engine? It is almost universal now that the search engine is used to find even the most familiar website, which any half decent browser will remember. People would rather type in a complicated search query into google than type one letter to return a familiar website.

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Why clutter things with Google Adsense?

The short answer? We had already decided it was over. At the outset, being an affiliate based site, we resisted the temptation to run competing adverts (even for our own affiliate partners’ ads).  Google however kept pushing traffic our way long after we had decided the numbers were not stacking up. So we thought we would reciprocate, as they were not always finding what they wanted on EM, and sent customers on the way.

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Important Notice

Sadly we are closing down the Ecomonkey Shopping Channel to new users (and have written to all the current ones).

Why? Basically too few people thought this was as good an idea as we did.