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How to Solve the '1970-01-01'-Problem of WP Robot?

WP RobotWP Robot is a premium plug-in for the well known WordPress-Platform. It is used to create content for your blog in an automated way.

This is not a WP Robot Review, but discusses the so called WP Robot 1970 error.

Let me say a few words about WP Robot. I really like it and use it on a number of my own blogs to create supporting content.

  • How does WP Robot work?
  • The '1970-01-01' Problem of WP Robot
  • The Solution of WP Robots '1970-01-01' Error
  • Conclusion

How does WP Robot work?

You set up so called campaigns, that can fetch data from a number of sources, like Amazon, Youtube, Flickr and a lot more, combines it into posts, and then drip feeds these into your blog. The nice thing with Amazon for example is, that WP Robot can update the prices. This ensures your blog shows the current prices to your visitor and not vague or outdated information.

There is an even free version of WP Robot available that lets you try its features with a couple of sources.

I personally use the full version and have to say, that while I did still not use all possibilities and data sources of it, it is still the right thing for me to do, as using the commercial version gives me the flexibility I need and want.

Drip Feed

You can (and should) limit the number of posts created by it by providing a plan of posting. WP Robot is somewhat limited here and only allows you to say how many hours have to pass between two posts, but this is no real problem.

The ability to drip feed them at all is the required one, and once you have more than just one WP Robot campaign, their frequencies make it more random anyway. However, you can also post into draft mode, to check/edit them manually before publishing, or to use a separate, more powerful scheduler on them for dripping.

On the campaign overview page you see how many posts have been created for your campaign and when the next post is scheduled.

The '1970-01-01' Problem of WP Robot

The so called '1970-01-01'-problem of WP Robot is, that once in a while a newly created campaign gets the time stamp '1970-01-01' for the next post. This WP Robot 1970 error results in an active but waiting and not posting campaign, because it makes WP Robot next post 1970. WP Robot seems to wait for this point in time (and not for something after it) and therefore never creates any posts for such a campaign. It prevents the drip feeding of it.

Often one reads that this is a problem of the users blog - and exactly this is wrong. It is not the fault of your blog and definitely no configuration problem of the WP Robot campaign.

It is a problem of WP Robot - and has a (surprisingly simple) solution, that saves tremendous amounts of time and effort.

I want to share this solution with you.

Some time back I created 12 campaigns for a new blog I built at that time. They covered different aspects of what I wanted to present my visitors.

10 out of these 12 were fine from the start, but 2 had the 1/1/1970 time stamp.

It was the first time I had these and so I searched around. I could not believe, it should be the fault of my blog, as WP Robot worked fine for me until this point.

The Solution of WP Robots '1970-01-01' Error

Of course: You can delete the campaign and create it again. But this is an almost criminal waste of time and effort. And what if the new one is also buggy? Again and again? No!

The solution is simple: Copy the campaign!

Yes, you read completely right. This is all it takes: Hit 'Copy' below the erroneous campaign, used to create a new campaign with an existing as template.

A new campaign configuration comes up with name of the old prefixed with 'Copy of' or something similar. Do nothing else, but press 'Create Campaign'.

You are done. A new campaign is added and is fine in most cases. Time and effort is near 0.

I tested this by creating a really large number of campaigns in a test blog install, and only once in a while this WP Robot bug appears. I did not figure out why. The good news is, that in all but one cases, just copying the buggy campaign fixed the issue.

In the one case the copy showed also next post on '1970-01-01'. Copying it again solved this then once and for all!

It is extremely easy!

If you ever face this issue, just copy the campaign until it works. You do not lose any effort you put into the creation and configuration of the campaign.

Once all your campaigns show a valid time stamp, just delete the buggy ones. I also edit the names of the copies (remove prefix,...), but this is of course completely optional. I just like it this way.

Conclusion

As simple copying a buggy campaign solves the problem it is a clear WP Robot issue and has nothing to do with your blog.

But I am fine with this. The solution is extremely simple and WP Robot features make it such a fantastic tool I do not want to miss.

It provides great value to me and helps me to create value for my visitors.

Also beside being one of the most powerful premium plug-ins I own, it is also one of the very few, that are indeed actively developed with updates every now and then.

I am happy to have invested into WP Robot.

I hope you can put this workaround to the 'WP Robot 1970 error' to good use and have an even more satisfying experience with your WP Robot.

WP Robot

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