Category Archives: Websites

Information about my current websites and projects.

HalfAgain’s StoreStacker Review

I have been playing with StoreStacker since I purchased it and here’s my take on it.

This software definitely has a place among people running niche websites. For those who need a system that can show the reader a select broad range of products from a distributor, StoreStacker accomplishes the job easily. It lets you run your own affiliate store, by pulling relevant products from Amazon, eBay & Clickbank and including your affiliate id/code in the product URLs. Supposedly, plug-ins will be developed to handle other affiliate links, such as from Linkshare, CJ and Overstock. Speaking of links, the ones that the software creates for you are nicely masked from visitors and search engines

You can create your own templates too (based on the Smarty template engine I believe) to give your stores a unique look (or model it around your existing site’s layout). Out of the box, StoreStacker comes with 3 basic professional-looking templates to get you started. Of course, I highly recommend everyone to change the templates right away as to not face any search engine duplicate content penalties. Oh, you can also include your own advertising codes in the templates and/or directly into Storestacker, such as Google Adsense for some extra income.

The system is fast and very well coded. The product grabbing system is never slow and works like a charm. The guy who coded StoreStacker knows his programming well.

I have used BlogSolution on a few domains liked how the system ran. StoreStacker is no different: the user interface is clean, straight-forward and easy to use. I can create new categories and grab products using keywords of my choice in the matter of a minute, filling my site with products ready to sell. If you have a dozen or more categories to create, StoreStacker supports XML-based import files for quick and efficient category creation. It’s way too easy.

For 97.00$ USD, StoreStacker is a steal and a half. I recommend it to anyone wanting to expand their affiliate store and offer their visitors some new products, without manually entering each and every product from their various sources. If you want to receive 20% off this system or any other HalfAgain product, just use the promo code LUCKYYOU1068400 when you checkout. Give it to your friends too if you want them to receive a discount!

StoreStacker Officially Released

It looks like StoreStacker has been officially released by the HalfAgain team as promised (there were delays before, so this is good news for them to release on time). If you don’t know what StoreStacker is, take a look at this post I made a few days ago. In a nutshell, this baby will be able to pull multiple feeds (Amazon, Linkshare, Clickbank, eBay, etc) and display product information and prices straight on your website. Why would you want to do this? Simply, you get to give the consumer an option when it comes to purchasing, as some stores offer products for much cheaper. Rather than manually enter every item on your site, StoreStacker simplifies things by automating these tasks. This makes your site a one-stop shopping resource for everything about the niche you’re targeting.

Here are a few things about StoreStacker that you should know about before purchasing. First, the license is for unlimited domains: that means you get to install the software on as many websites as you like with no restrictions. Second, you can also list your own products side-by-side to the ones from the affiliate feeds. Third, if you are one of the first 500 purchasers of this script, you are entitled to a free Clickbank feed plugin. Fourth, you can add your own products to the shop next to the affiliate ones. Last thing you should know is that supposedly, the software will be limited to only 1000 customers, but I don’t think that’s true. HalfAgain has a reputation for these types of claims (see ContentClub). In any case, if this restriction is true, it’s something to consider.

For anyone who wants 20% off the purchase of StoreStacker, use this promo code: LUCKYYOU1068400. Pass it to your friends too if you want them to have a discounted price! This promo code is good for any Halfagain product, such as BlogSolution, ContentClub, ContentSolution, RSS Magician, RSS Evolution and of course, StoreStacker.

I just purchased my own copy of SS, so I will soon do a full review of the software and let everyone know how it is very soon. Stay tuned.

StoreStacker Software by HalfAgain LLC

A week or two ago, I got an email from HalfAgain, announcing their latest software dubbed StoreStacker. Before I divulge into describing what it is, I just need to mention that HalfAgain has released some real nice software in the past. They’re the guys who made BlogSolution, RSS Magician, RSS Evolution, Content Solution, Content Club and the WordPress to BlogSolution converter.

Basically, StoreStacker is their latest software that is definitely going to be a hit. What does it do, you may ask? Quite a few nifty things I have to say. The name itself actually describes what the software does: it stacks stores next to each other… or on top (you can look at it either way). It takes your Amazon, Clickbank, eBay and other affiliate-based store websites and pulls their products & prices to display on your site. Like I said, it merges each and every store to display a nice tabulated form with links to the products you’d like to sell on your website, with your affiliate IDs nicely tucked in the URLs. StoreStacker makes it easy for you to run a website of this sort (this is where the countless hours of PHP and CURL programming come in to play). I have a few websites I could definitely implement this script on, so I’m looking forward to its release (scheduled April 1st).

Some really cool features of running a StoreStacker website are the benefits you get with the search engines. Since your site would automatically become a large shopping directory (since it polls multiple stores for product reviews and prices) you could very well capitalize on the content it delivers to your visitors. Your website would become a large source of information (a niche) on the products you are trying to sell. The kicker? The whole thing runs by itself with a few clicks.

Anyway, at this time of writing, StoreStacker hasn’t been released yet. We’re only two days away from seeing this baby come out. More information to follow!


DirectAdmin 1.31.0, PHP 5.2.3 and CakePHP

Here’s an interesting problem I came across just now. I was setting up a new domain with CakePHP and noticed that the stock copy did not run, neither did identical files I copied from another working domain. Before this, each time I uploaded CakePHP to my server, everything ran out of the box, so why not now? It’s been a while since I’ve added a new domain to the system, so right away I thought it must be PHP or DirectAdmin causing the problem (they were the latest updates done to the server). The error message I was getting from CakePHP was the following:

Warning: session_start() [function.session-start]: open_basedir restriction in effect. File(/var/tmp/) is not within the allowed path(s): (/home/user/:/tmp:/usr/local/lib/php/) in /home/user/domains/ on line 154

Fatal error: session_start() [<a href=’function.session-start’>function.session-start</a>]: Failed to initialize storage module: files (path: ) in /home/user/domains/ on line 154

Doing a quick check on Google brought some insight to the matter, but nothing concrete. I decided to check phpinfo() and see what the open_basedir restriction was set to. Since I had a copy of phpinfo() on another domain of mine, the result of open_basedir came up to “no value”. I mumbled “WTF” to myself and was totally puzzled. Now, quick note on my mistake here: always run phpinfo() on the same user and domain that you are trying to troubleshoot. Fortunately, I didn’t give up just yet: I ran phpinfo() on the troubleshooting domain and right away notice that open_basedir had values, none of which would work with CakePHP. Finally, something! So where were these values coming from?

The next step was to check Apache’s httpd.conf. Since DirectAdmin organizes the httpd.conf files of every user account seperate (it Includes user-httpd.conf at the end of the main httpd.conf file) I went to the troubling user’s configuration and scrolled all the way to the bottom to the latest added domain. Bingo! It had the following line added:

php_admin_value open_basedir /home/user/:/tmp:/usr/local/lib/php/

And it was the only domain that had that line too. A quick sigh of relief after, I silently commented that line out and crossed my fingers, restarted Apache, refreshed the homepage and… yep, everything worked as usual. It seems that the latest version of DirectAdmin (1.31.0 at the time of this writing) has some extra security features enabled (which is a good thing) but a bit unnecessary for people who run their sites on their own servers. So, this is a heads up for everyone out there that might come across this error one day and not know what to do. I hope it works for you.

Update: DirectAdmin actually has a built-in control panel feature that allows you to turn on/off open_basedir restrictions and PHP safemodes per domain name. Just go to the control panel main page and click on PHP Safemode Configuration (available as of 1.31.4, maybe earlier).

WordPress and osCommerce

Anyone out there who runs a WordPress site and an osCommerce store will most likely have come across this problem. Let’s say WP is your site’s CMS under and your osCommerce installation is under If you try to access /catalog/admin/ in your browser, you might be greeted by a WordPress 404 page, blocking you from accessing the administrator page. The temporary fix for this solution would be to simply remove/rename the .htaccess file under /catalog/admin/ and login to the administrator section. This is highly annoying and poses a security risk: what if you forget to put the .htaccess file back?

After looking around the web for an answer, I found this solution. In your /catalog/admin/.htaccess file, put the following:

ErrorDocument 401 /[path_to_file]/myerror.html
ErrorDocument 403 /[path_to_file]/myerror.html

Once inserted, create a “myerror.html” file in a directory of your choice (let’s say in the root of and customize the page with a 401/403 message if you wish. That’s all there is to it!

I found this solution from this page. Their explanation is, and I quote: “HTTP Basic-Auth first sends 401 Unauthorized to request a password from the browser. The webserver tries to serve the corresponding, specified Errordocument. However when the ErrorDocument directive of your webserver is set wrongly, i.e. points to a non-existent file, [WordPress] ends up handling the page-request.”