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In Review: Comus Thumbs

Stephen Yagielowicz
Considered by many to be the top performing TGP script solution, Comus Thumbs is currently powering, and growing, an increasing number of gallery post sites. Let's take a closer look:

There are many different solutions to running a thumbnail or movie gallery post site, ranging from manual updates, to free scripts, hosted solutions, and beyond. Serious webmasters, however, demand serious applications; and Comus Thumbs has quickly established itself as the script by which all others are compared.

Comus Thumbs Main Screen
Comus Thumbs Main Screen

Comus Thumbs Template Control
Comus Thumbs Template Control

Increasing Traffic
Beyond its ability to manage gallery submissions with flexible display options, Comus Thumbs (CT) proprietary "Productivity Booster" technology works alongside your trade script to increase the effectiveness of traffic exchanges, helping sites grow faster and more steadily than would be possible otherwise. This is but one of the script's innovative features.

CT builds traffic by getting surfers to click on more of your thumbs. It does this by tracking all clicks and automatically rebuilding your site, at specified intervals (every 10 minutes, for example), and highlighting the most popular thumbs. The script also creates high quality, compressed thumbs, either automatically, or manually using a 'bounding box' to crop a selected area from a full-size image. The high quality of these thumbs also plays a role in increasing click-through ratios.

Powerful options are also available to target your incoming and outgoing traffic by niche, allowing you to trade mature traffic with mature sites, for instance, which enables you to generate more clicks for your niche-based trades, while improving productivity with your sponsors.

Advertising Options
Flexible layout controls, such as multiple thumbnail sizes, custom and hidden categories, and the ability to split and control your galleries provide a high level of advertising options. You can rotate your sponsor's FHGs in your site's prime locations, while submitted galleries cycle through and expire, for example, or pop galleries in niche-determined framesets. You can also rotate banners, and other content, in any location, as PHP support is provided. Make sections for Today's Thumbs, Yesterday's Thumbs, a Hall of Fame, your own thumbs, text links only, archive pages, and more – there really is no limit to your layout options, with templates easily modified through the online control panel.

Adding Galleries
And speaking of sponsor hosted galleries (FHGs), CT provides comprehensive support for these pages that routinely cause problems for average TGP scripts by breaking just about every rule in the book. For example, many FHGs write cookies to the surfer's browser, and then won't display the page unless the cookie is present. This just creates a 404 error, so many automated gallery scanners can't even read FHGs. CT also offers filters that automatically extract hosted galleries from their central database, automatically inserting your referral codes. This "One Click Install" feature makes adding new sponsors, and galleries, quick and easy.

Comus Thumbs Gallery Control
Comus Thumbs Gallery Control

Comus features powerful import capabilities that allow you to spider URL pages, existing TGP sites, other Comus databases, or just transfer as little as 1 gallery, a whole category or more across multiple sites. You can use this to get started quickly, import hosted galleries, or sync up multiple sites, so that you only need to prep your content once, and then post across dozens or even hundreds of sites.

Tons Of Features
With all of these powerful features comes a fairly steep learning curve, but fortunately, Comus offers excellent support, including a message board and active user community. A variety of productivity-boosting templates, plus undocumented tips and tricks, are available on the Comus message board; and many users will no doubt find this a handy resource.

There's no way to cover all of the items on Comus Thumbs' daunting feature list in a quick overview like this, but as I'm currently building a site using this script, I'll be documenting common problems with running a TGP, and what tools and features Comus offers to solve them, as well as innovative techniques that I come across during this process.

In the meantime, if you have a suitable web server with PHP4 with MySql, Zend Optimizer, Image Magick and GD for PHP (preferably 32bit GD2) and Wget for the auto installer, and are looking to build a new site, give Comus Thumbs a try: You'll be glad you did!

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