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Deconstructing AngelList: How to Optimize Your Funding Profile

AngelList is a platform that connects entrepreneurs to angel investors to raise seed stage capital.

Out of the $1.5 million dollars in angel funding we've raised for Socialize, over $1 million came from introductions made on AngelList.  We were very early AngelList users under our AppMakr brand, with Brendan Baker doing a detailed analysis of our use of AngelList in his Anatomy of a Seed project.  I also wrote a lengthy manifesto about our fundraising experience, and when AngelList was very new I interviewed Naval Ravikant, one of the AngelList founders.

Recently, using AngelList has changed the way I've been fundraising.  Where traditionally, I've had to dedicate a block of time to fundraise full time, I can now fundraise passively, meaning just by focusing on having an optimized AngelList presence and a few specific techniques, I don't have to spend blocks of my time finding high quality angels.  That is a game changer for us -- fundraising is an incredibly distracting process, and it's especially hard to innovate and iterate on your startup when you're distracted by bolstering the company's bank account.  Being able to have angels come to me has given me a freedom as an entrepreneur that's just fantastic.

As I was talking to my friend Ben Young, CEO of Nexercise, about this sea-change in fundraising, I offered to critique his AngelList page to help him optimize it for this type of inbound passive investment.

Guide to WordPress Comment SPAM

On Zach Browne

As your WordPress blog gets noticed and generates traffic, it becomes a natural target for spammers. If you’re noticing posts on your site that you don’t expect, or see users in the Dashboard that you didn’t create, you have other security problems. Most likely, your blog posts will accrue a variety of spam comments as a side effect of being popular.

You can recognize spam by a list of links within the comment or content-free comments saying that the poster enjoying your writing, with an attached URL or source address that invites you to a less-than reputable destination. In either case, the goal of comment spam is to generate more web content that points back to the spammer’s site, taking advantage of the page popularity ranking algorithms used by Google and others that give weight to incoming links. The best way to deal with spam is to simply get rid of it, denying spammers the opportunity to use your site to boost their own visibility.

There are three basic approaches to dealing with the problem: make it impossible for anyone to leave comments, increase the difficulty of a spammer sneaking a comment onto your site, and enable auto-detection of common spam patterns. Obviously, disabling comments (through the Dashboard) is a bit harsh, and defeats the goals of establishing conversation with your readers. On the other hand, if you decide to take this drastic step, remember that changing the settings for posts on the control panel only affects future posts; anything already on your blog will still have comments enabled unless you go through the Dashboard and turn them off individually. If you don’t mind an even greater bit of brute-force effort, you can remove the wp-comments.php file from the WordPress core, which somewhat unceremoniously puts an end to the ability to comment on your posts.

One approach to comment spam is to slow down the spammers; however, the simple approach slows down valid commenters as well. You can require commenters to register as site users before being allowed to post comments, as we discuss later in this chapter, but that has the downside of preventing passing-by users from adding their thoughts. It also requires that you stay on top of the user registration, as you may see seemingly valid users that are created purely for the purpose of posting spam to your blog.

Moderation is another tool in the slow-but-don’t-stop vein; you can hold all comments for moderation or require all commenters to have a previously approved comment. In effect, you’re putting the burden of spam detection on yourself, looking at each comment as it appears and deciding whether to post it to your blog or flush it. Again, an innocuous looking comment may be the approval stepping stone for an avalanche of spam later on from the same user. As with many security mechanisms, the bad guys are continually getting smarter and more automated, and testing the edge protection and response of the systems they want to infiltrate.

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