This is a list of questions that have been asked most often. We hope you find your answers here, but if there is something we've missed, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be happy to help.
Ballofdirt.com lets people publish their travel notes, maps and photographs on the web.
"Why would you want to do that?", you ask.
Well it is a bit like this. Imagine you are sitting in a cyber cafe on Koh Tao, Thailand. You have just come in from a dive and you are itching to get back to the dive school to check out the video of your dive, but you have to email your friends back home and tell them what a wonderful time you are having (and that they are not there with you). So you sit down and log into hotmail or whatever and then you spend the next 30 mins sending out 10 emails to your closest friends.
Ballofdirt.com is better, all you have to do is add in a new diary entry, make sure your friends are all signed up to recieve email alerts when you update your travel diary and blamo, you can go and watch your dive video, drink beer and chat up the dive instructor safe in the knowledge that all your 'close friends' have been emailed by ballofdirt.com to tell them of your good fortune.
See it is a good idea!
It is also currently free to use, and is very likely to remain so for the forseeable future (more on this under - how much does it cost? below).
To see what others have published you can goto http://www.ballofdirt.com and choose a region from 'Browse Regions' or you can click one of the selected photographs, or one of the selected journeys on the front page.
If you have a friend that is putting their journeys on ballofdirt.com you can click on the search button.
Even better, you can create your own travel diary. All you need to do is create an account and get started with your travel diary entires.<<back
Currently you can either make things either 'public' or 'private'. Public means everyone can see it, and private means that only you can see it.
Those of you paying close attention will have noticed that there isn't that much point in putting things up that are private-only, but there are several reasons for this:
If you like the idea of sharing your private journeys with selected BoD members, email us at email@example.com so that we know and can move this along faster! :o)<<back
It's FREE! Obviously we have costs, but most of this site was developed initially as a hobby, out of our own passion for travel, photography, hearing people's stories and the need to get good fresh tips from other travellers. We've grown beyond a hobby now and every business needs money to grow and improve, so by using our services you're helping us to improve for you.
We make our revenue by offering:
Coming soon: travel bookings, global calling cards, and your own personalised travel site.
How does this work? For instance, if you click a link for a camera and go to Amazon, all the prices you see are the same as when you go to Amazon directly, but we get a small share of the revenue back from Amazon for everything you order. There's no reason not to do this, so every time you click the link, browse and search Amazon and order a book, a brand spanking new digital camera, or anything else, you'll be helping us a little.<<back
If you like BallOfDirt.com and want to help us grow and succeed, there are several things you can do.
The most important thing is that we meet your needs: if we don't 'scratch the itch' for you, let us know how by emailing us: firstname.lastname@example.org. We read and discuss all the feedback and ideas we get.
If we're doing something especially well, let us know too so that we can be sure to keep doing it! If you have a business idea or a concept you'd like to discuss with us, get the ball rolling and talk to us.
What else can you do? The most important thing is Spread the Word!:
Also, we have some excellent services and products you might just enjoy if you try them... See the section above, What does it cost? (How do we make money)
Lastly, keep contributing! It's your interesting stories, good tips, discussions, great photos that make BallOfDirt.com interesting and worthwhile visiting. Try to keep your photos high resolution, even if they are bigger.<<back
You do. The long and the short of it is: if you upload stuff you own, then you still own it. All that we ask is that you give us the right to do whatever we please with it.
Daunting yes, however, here is the reason why:
We plan to offer other distribution mediums for your content. For instance, we have been working over the past year with mobile and digital interactive services to see if it makes sense to put Ballofdirt.com onto other media. So that anyone can patch in and find useful information no matter where they are, we require the rights to let people using this medium to access your stuff. To do these sorts of things, we need a kind of 'all encompassing license' in order to be legally able to produce new products and services for you. For a version written in legal-ese have a look at our terms and conditions of use.
Hope that doesn't put anyone off using us, if you have any concerns or questions, please just get in touch!<<back
Firstly, we are working to make this a more simple process. :-) There are currently three methods of uploading images to the site.
Traditionally computer nerds have transferred files around the Internet using the ftp protocol. The only problem is that this is not a very user friendly experience for most people. However, the technical nature of ftp is not an insommountable hurdle. You can download software such as WinFTP. On their site they say that ftp is easy to use, oh well, there you go then.
You need to set your usercode and password to be the same as your login and password for Ball of Dirt. The ftp server you need to connect to is ftp.ballofdirt.com. Good luck.
This is actually ftp but with the browser pretending to be an ftp client for you. Some people find that this works, some don't. The major problem is getting the URL correct to put in your correct usercode and password. The benefit is that you can drag and drop your images into your browser window and they magically appear on your file area on Ball of Dirt. The disadvantage is that the system has limited error reporting, so if something goes wrong (and it does a lot) you have no idea what has happened. Some people find it works, others have problems.
One of the options on the upload photo page is to send the images to your email drop box. This is your own personal email addresss @ballofdirt.com which receives emails, looks for pictures in them and puts them in your dropbox ready for you to use. You can find out your email address in the 'attach photos' section once you've created a journey and an entry.
Two pieces of advice:
One of the options on the upload photo page is to send the images to your email drop box. There is some long number and @ballofdirt.com. All you need to do is email your images as file attachments to that email address (every user has their own one) and after a while the images should arrive in your email inbox. Two things; don't send a squillion images in the same email. Send like 3 images in a single email, as our email server doesn't process large emails.
And secondly, it takes a while for the images to be processed once they arrive. So, it can take a while perhaps up to 6 minutes from the time the email is sent till they arrive in your email drop box. Ftp is quicker but more hassle.
You get the idea.<<back
You do not need to make your images smaller to upload them. You should put up as high quality an image as you can. That way if you order a print of the image it will come out in better quality. We scale the big image automatically into smaller versions that fit nicely on your screen. Those people with higher-resolution screens can therefore enjoy the larger version, and when we add the ability to browse using a mobile, the images will be auto-magically scaled to fit the phone too.<<back
You can upload as many as you like and they will be kept forever, at least until you delete them. We don't impose a limit because we figure that you put the photos there for a reason: either because they are interesting to the general public (like an interesting scene from your travels) or interesting to your friends (someone you all know doing an awesome party trick). Remember, if you upload lots of photos of a strictly personal nature, try to order some prints of them to help us to keep this free.<<back
Of course, by deleting a photo you remove it permanently from our database.<<back
Forever. Your journeys will stay there as long as you leave them there. It is intended that this should be a permanent record of your travels for others all around the world to see. You can remove your travel diary or photos when ever you want but we leave them online forever.<<back
Well, I suppose the first thing I should say is, just don't do it. The terms and conditions of use state:
The user may not post any travel diary entries or photos on the Ball of Dirt Limited Website that contain offensive language or imagery, or anything deemed as being obscene, pornographic, threatening, harassing or defamatory by the management of Ball of Dirt Limited.
Frankly, the management of Ball of Dirt Limited are a pretty sturdy bunch and not much fazes them, however, this is a site that is viewed by people of all ages, races and religions. It's all about travel after all.
So if you see something that you find offensive please contact the ballofdirt.com webmaster (email@example.com) and we will see what we can do about it.<<back
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Even better, email us with the GPS coordinates of the place you want added into our extensive location database. We have a coup-la million entires now and occasionally we miss places that people are likely to want to go to. If you don't own a GPS or have some nerdy boy travelling with you that has one on his cell phone then just tell us where it is close too and we can get out an Atlas and guess :-)
We try to have all requests for new locations put through the system in 24 hours from when the initial request is made and then we confirm via email that it is done. Go here to make a request.<<back
Why yes, you can. We recently entered into a relationship with Shutterfly, Inc. in the USA. They are our photo finishing partner, and send very high quality prints to you anywhere in the world. If you are looking at an image and you think, "Well yes... I would like that in a frame next to my bed... or perhaps... I should really get a print of that and send to my ex to remind her that Swedish tourists really do like my style."... anyway, I digress.. you can click on the order-a-print link and it takes you to the Shutterfly site. There you can choose how many and what size prints you want and Shutterfly do the rest.<<back
Firstly - we have a commercialy hosted data facility, with multiple offsite backups, replication, fail-over and RAID arrays, so your data is very safe. But for those of you who would like a copy of your journals to keep in your hot little hands, or to send out to various friends and relatives - towards the end of October 2006 we will be offering a service where you can order a CD-ROM (possibly a DVD - let us know) of your journeys. This CD-ROM will contain all your maps, photos and travel diary entries. So, hang tight for a bit while we get the service up and running and then we will be able to offer this service for you. If you want to pre-order one or make any suggestions as to what the service should offer please email email@example.com with your comments. We listen to our users but we can only listen if you talk to us. We would like to know - would you prefer buying one copy, or several (if they were cheap enough)?<<back
Some users have experienced problems logging into the system after they have received their initial welcome email. You must make sure you have cookies enabled on your browser.
If you are still having problems, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
No. We feel quite strongly about this.<<back
We get about an email a week from some poor person who has typed their name into a search engine and it comes back with a BallOfDirt.com page with their name on it. Sometimes it's because they have signed up and forgotten about it. Other times it's because they have accepted an invitation to join - not realising that they get an account automatically on BoD. Other people just don't realise that there are about 6 Billion people on the earth and quite a few of them have access to the Internet. That's billion with a CAPITAL B by the way.
Some people have the same name as you - get over it! :)<<back
The simple short answer is that when publishing on the internet (a public medium), the public will have access to it. Then think about these things:
What you do have to realise is that we are not actually Google/Yahoo/MSN/Jeeves and have basically no control over what they list in their search results. But there are simple rules you can follow, and the most obvious one is to remove and keywords on things you don't want to show up in search engines. For example if your name is Joe Blogs, and you don't want to be in the search engine, change your name to Joe The Cool for example (so that the search term Joe Blogs doesn't find your page anymore). Search engines also work by polling/checking pages manually every now and then. That is they automatically browse your site, following the links. The internet is a very very big place, so even for popular sites, it can take several days before changes are found. This means you can't change the wording on a page and have it effect search engines immediately. Wait a few days (at least two weeks) and then get in touch if you are still concerned. Remember that Google is responsible for Google search results NOT BallOfDirt.com. We can only help you get the best out of them, the ultimate control is with Google itself.<<back
We engage people from all over the globe: Travellers, artists, linguaphiles, computer nerds and digital camera heads. If you are interested in working for us, get in touch. We need people from geeks to copy-writers, maybe you can cover events in your area?
The management consists of:
All of us have backgrounds in internet technologies and all of us are able to understand geek-ese.
Contact us: email@example.com.
Comments always welcome. Even negative ones.
BallOfDirt.com is owned and operated by Ball Of Dirt Limited whose place of business is London, England.
Ball Of Dirt Limited is registered in England with company number 4251570. Registered office; 89 Essex Road, Islington, London N1 2SJ, United Kingdom.
We hate to see you go. But yes you can. Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org and we will make it so.