Thursday, January 25, 2007

Some Love for Fellow Blogger Users

I know us 'Blogger Users' lie somewhere on the outside of the blogging community with Wordpress dominating the blogging platform market. I will admit I have not fully explored blogger and I am a user of both platforms but great things still exist for those on blogger. Kip at wowimo will be posting 10 (+1) tips introducing people to the basics (and not so basics) of blogger. It will be a great set of posts to watch as blogger will be a huge driving force behind blogging groth because of its ease of use and drag and drop capabilities.

Here is a list of topics that will be covered by series of posts called 10 steps of blogger setup:

  1. Blogger Settings - which do you select and what do they mean?
  2. About Me - Using this page to your advantage and advanced tips.
  3. Finding a focus - what are you going to write about? Why?
  4. Posting How-To's - maximizing the impact of your posts.
  5. Creating a blogging schedule - figure out how much time you're willing to devote.
  6. Design and Layout - Google ads? Affiliate Programs? Links to other sites and blogs?
  7. Building a content base - Spend 2 or 3 months posting regularly to create a robust blog.
  8. Reaching out - getting other bloggers to start reading your blog.
  9. Feedburner or Feedblitz - setting up an email subscription to your posts.
  10. Submitting to Blog Directories - help Internet users find you.
  11. BONUS - advanced tips for hacking your blog.
Here is a permanent link to the series of posts

(via 901am)

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Tip: Keep a Notebook for Ideas

A great way to keep track ideas for new blogs and blog posts is to keep a notebook with you at all times. This can mean a tangible notebook and pen or a virtual "notebook" or word processor while on the computer. I often have ideas come to my mind throughout the day but fail to remember or capitalize on the entire idea because I simply can't remember what it was I was thinking about. A notebook enables you to write ideas down for blog posts in advance so when you get "bloggers block" all you have to do is whip out the notebook and look for an idea or combination of ideas to write about.

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What is wrong with Akismet?

In recent weeks I have noticed Akismet has been slowly leaking more and more spam while others are reporting that real comments are being caught up in the system. Just today Akismet released a version 2.0 of its favorite plugin but I am wondering if this will quell the problems that have been going on.

Akismet is one of three plugins that come automatically bundled into free blogs and Wordpress downloads. Having the whole blogging world (at least a good chunk of it) depend on one plugin to catch spam seems outrageous especially when situations like this arise and the whole blogging community is blogged down with spam that had previously been caught. Not to mention if someone learns how to break the system then the blogosphere would grind to a halt as all sites on Wordpress are rundown with an influx of spam messages.

I think there is a solution to this problem however. I think a new open-source project will be on the horizon, if it isn't already. This solution will enable everyone with proper ability to join the project and make it the go to plugin for spam protection. I am sure many people will be on the lookout for a new solution.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Another Microsoft Scandal: Tech Giant Attempts To Pay Blogger for Wikipedia Changes

Microsoft committed the ultimate of new media mistakes when it offered money for a blogger to edit Wikipedia articles on the tech giant. The news follows Microsoft's other major lapse in judgment when they gave away free laptops with the options for the recipients to keep them. I have to wonder where has Microsoft's marketing people been when all of these gaffes occurred.

This controversy stems from Microsoft offering money for articles to be rewritten which is against everything Wikipedia has stood for in the past. The site is focused on unbiased, unslanted articles that anyone is able to edit.

The move was to be carried out by Rick Jelliffe who works for a tech company in Australia in addition to blogging. Apparently the offer was to edit "technical standards" and was not intended to be biased toward Microsoft. The situation arose after the company attempted to flag errors in articles about the company and, after they weren't resolved they contacted the blogger. Typically issues with entries on the Wikipedia site are addressed in the discussion forums and then corrected on the site. This is the process that should have been taken to correct the entries.

This marks the first big case of a company trying to hire someone to edit Wikipedia entries. The site also recently made all outbound links NOFOLLOW meaning search engines will not use the link in determining a sites PageRank. Expect more situations like this one to arise in the future as more and more companies and individuals seek to gain free exposure from sites like Wikipedia, although adding the NOFOLLOW tag may quell some who create pages simply to gain a quality link.

Vote for this entry on Netscape!

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Developed Blogs Still In High Demand

Ahmed at TechSoapbox has a great post up discussing whether blogs, specifically those which are developed are still in demand. He cites recent trends indicating the value of developed sites was slipping since the tremendous pageview growth was slowing down. Well the Bloggy Network sales through that theory right out the window.

What did it prove? Well the blogs were sold for anywhere between 24x-1000x monthly revenue which means without further development of the sites it would take a long time to earn that money back. That being said why would someone buy something that seems like such a bad investment business wise.

First those numbers are with the previous marketing and design the site had. The new owners are sure to put more time and effort into developing those into good money makes so they can get their money back. Second, investors and buyers can see quality so they are willing to take risks on the site because they trust they can make the money back soon enough. Finally blogs remain in high demand especially sites that can form cores to new companies and networks.

To those who are looking to sell their sites there are a few things to look at. Blog sales are hot right now (think PS3s and Wiis) so plan your sale accordingly. Set your purchase price high because the worst thing that could happen is it doesn't sell and you must lower your price. If not you just made more than you would have otherwise. Also, be sure to invest some money in design. No matter how qulity the content on your site is potential buyers want to see a well laid out site. Last throw emotions out the window. Do not get too attached to the project. Always keep the thought in the back of your head that you may wind up selling the site someday.

Expect to see crops of blog flipping companies and individuals start to come out of the woodwork in 2007 as more and more sites sell for larger and larger ammounts.

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66 Sources of Inspiration and Information...

Bill Belew has a list of 66 Successful Bloggers and What they can teach you. Not only does the list introduce the newest of bloggers to the veterans of the media but it gives them a great list of resources to go to for inspiration or when a problem arises.

One of the biggest problem of getting started in blogging is that it can become overwhelming to get started in the media and can cause a great number of would-be good bloggers to fall by the wayside. Many of these great minds can be salvaged by providing them people to look at for inspiration and goals. I think this list goeas a long way in helping new bloggers to become integrated into the "blogging culture" that has developed.

(via ProBlogger)

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Monday, January 22, 2007

The Day Has Come...Wordpress 2.1 Released

Wordpress 2.1, the newest incantation of the open source blogging platform, was released today. In keeping with WP tradition the update was named after legendary jazz musician Ella Fitgerald. Here is what is packed in the new release:

  • Autosave makes sure you never lose a post again.
  • Our new tabbed editor allows you to switch between WYSIWYG and code editing instantly while writing a post.
  • The lossless XML import and export makes it easy for you to move your content between WordPress blogs.
  • Our completely redone visual editor also now includes spell checking.
  • New search engine privacy option allows you take you to indicate your blog shouldn’t ping or be indexed by search engines like Google.
  • You can set any “page” to be the front page of your site, and put the latest posts somewhere else, making it much easier to use WordPress as a content management system.
  • Much more efficient database code, faster than previous versions. Domas Mituzas from MySQL went over all our queries with a fine-toothed comb.
  • Links in your blogroll now support sub-categories and you can add categories on the fly.
  • Redesigned login screen from the Shuttle project.
  • More AJAX to make custom fields, moderation, deletions, and more all faster. My favorite is the comments page, which new lets you approve or unapprove things instantly.
  • Pages can now be drafts, or private.
  • Our admin has been refreshed to load faster and be more visually consistent.
  • The dashboard now instantly and brings RSS feeds asynchronously in the background.
  • Comment feeds now include all the comments, not just the last 10.
  • Better internationalization and support for right-to-left languages.
  • The upload manager lets you easily manage all your uploads pictures, video, and audio.
  • A new version of the Akismet plugin is bundled.
I have to admit I will definitely be trying this out in the next week as soon as I free up some time in my schedule. I have to say it is worth giving it a try whether or not you are already on the platform or not.

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Performancing Axes Partners

The Performancing Partners Advertising Network has been axed by Performancing. The move came because the network, although it had the potential to work, was not advancing fast enough and didn't have the capital to give it the environment to do such.

The news has been fast a furious out of the Performancing camp since their proposed sale to PayPerPost fell through. They have since rebranded their Firefox plugin as ScribeFire, experienced the departure of CEO Nick Wilson, and had their Metrics program go open source.

They will be one company to keep an eye for the rest of 2007. Can they fix their problems and reinvent themselves or are they too bound to wind up in TechCrunch's DeadPool.

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Bloggy Network Sells Some Websites

Bloggy Network is in the midst of selling three of their blog and RSS directories according to The Blog Herald. The three sites sold are Eatonweb Portal, Blog Catalog, and 2RSS. Here are the ammounts each was purchased for:

  • Blog Catalog: $40,000
  • 2RSS: $7,000
  • Eatonweb Portal: $10,000 (still running)
Two of the sites rank a Google PR7 while the other is PR6. Whoever has purchased the site is getting some quality material. Blog Catalog ranks number one on Google for Blog Directory while 2RSS is tops for RSS directory. Should generate some significant revenue and traffic for whoever purchased them.

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Advertising Options for Your Blog

When it comes to earning money from your blog most blogs opt for one form of earning or the other. Direct income means you make money directly from things placed or sold on your blog while indirect means the blogger makes money because of their blog but not directly from it.

The most common and well documented way to earn from your blog is advertising. Advertising comes in many forms including contextual advertising, CPC advertisements, impression based ads, text ads, and RSS ads.

Contextual advertising comprises a lot of the ads you see every day on the web. Some common contextual advertising programs include Google Adsense and YPN. In a nutshell these programs scan the content on your blog and display ads that are relevant to the topic at hand. The pay is on a "per click" basis which means that every time an ad on your site is clicked you earn a certain amount based on the ad. These programs are especially popular because they require very little human interaction and have higher click through rates because of their targeted nature.

CPC advertisements are essentially the same as the contextual ads listed above but differ in one critical aspect, they do not scan your content which means they can be displayed on the same page as Google Adsense and YPN advertisements without violating their terms of service. There are various different forms of these types of ads, most notably Chitika's eMiniMalls which can be set up to display ads about keywords which you enter. These can be combined with Adsense and YPN to maximize your earnings and blog advertising.

Impression based advertisements are becoming a thing of the past due to changes in web site design and the declining value of a page view but are still important to talk about until they become obsolete. Impression based ads pay a small amount every time that an ad is viewed on your website. This amount is often a fraction of a penny, but can add up over time. Fastclick and Tribal Fusion are two of the many impression based ad services. To get the most out of impression based ads you will have to have high traffic numbers otherwise your time and effort will likely lead to little reward.

Text links are an emerging way of monetizing blogs mainly because they are easy to implement and are unobtrusive. Text ads are basically links which you sell to other sites and you get a large cut of the price they are sold for while the company who handle the transaction takes a cut. Both Adbrite and Text Link Ads are two companies that sell your text links while you approve all proposed purchases. All you have to do on the tech side of things is copy and paste a code into your template and your ready to earn.

Perhaps the newest way to earn money from your blog is to utilize RSS ads. RSS is way for people to read your blog via and RSS reader but the downside is that none of the above methods of advertisements can be seen by those on RSS readers. What does this mean to you? That a lot of your earnings are going down the drain. To solve this problem programs such as Feedburner have come up with a way to place ads in feeds. The ads may not earn as much money as other advertising forms but they can be a great option for earning the most from your blog.

The above resources are just some of the many advertisers and ad types for your blog. Do some research on your own about other options and tinker with your site to earn the most from your advertising sources. Effectively combining the above advertising types and implementing them into your blog are key to earning the most money for your time and effort.

Read my original article

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Lobbyist Bill Rejected in Senate

A few days ago news surfaced that bloggers who addressed greater than 500 readers on political issues may have to register as a lobbyist. This unwelcome news concerned many bloggers who, although their blogs were not necessarily about politics they had discussed in passing or supported a candidate, felt they too may have to register.

Well the issue has been laid to rest. Web Pro News is reporting that the Senate shot down the bill. Bloggers rejoice! You are free from political legislation for now. The bill still passed minus a section that stated grassroot causes, including blogs, must register as lobbyists or face up to 10 years in jail. At least the Senate got this one right.

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Will This Mark The End of Blog Networks and Niche Blogs?

A post on Valleywag says that AOL will be shutting down a bunch of smaller blogs which they acquired in the purchase of Weblogs, Inc. Jason Calacanis, the founder of the blog network, has stated previously that the group of blogs earns in excess of $1 million a month but that most of the money comes from Engadget, Joystiq, and Autoblog. Basically the smaller blogs are being shut down because a.) they are not reaching 1 million page views and b.) they just aren't profitable enough for AOL's liking.

In the comments of the post Jason Calacanis said it was always their intention to shut down blogs that were not at 1 million pages a month or on their way to the mark. Personally I think this goal is a bit high for the ordinary web developer and most people will see this move as outrageous but now that some of the blogs from the network have hit the big time and the whole of them have been purchased by a large company people had to forsee this coming at some point. It is all a numbers game from AOL's perspective and these blogs simply consume too much effort without giving them nice, healthy returns.

Some have predicted that this move by AOL will make niche blogs less attractive and that it may sign that blog networks will no longer look as attractive to big companies if they are comprised of niche blogs as opposed to broad topic blogs. Well there are a few solutions to this.

First I think it is possible for a blog network to survive on its own as long as contextual and text link advertising remains strong. Although this may not be as solid of a business plan as being purchased and managed by a billion dollar plus company this is still a viable plan. Secondly, having 100 niche blogs that get 3 million pages a month is equivalent in my book to having 3 that have 3 million pages. Pages are pages whether located on only a few blogs or across a whole network.

Now last but not least when starting a blog should you go for a niche or for a broad topic. Whether you are an individual or a blog network I'd recommend going for a mix of the two. Broad topic blogs will have far more content and a broader audience but these factors also mean increased competition. Niche blogs on the other hand have a far smaller audience but with less blogs on the topic you can dominate the market. By combing the two types of blogs you can gain a large readership and corner a market leading to greater success for you and your blogs.

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Other Contextual Ads Now Allowed on Same Pages as Adsense Ads

JenSense is reporting that Google's recent policy revisions allows you to publish other contextual ads on the same page. This is big news because many publishers had to choose AdSense or a number of other "second tier" services. Now webmasters can use some AdSense ads along with ads by other services as well. This change may greatly increase the variety of ads seen on sites as well as increase earnings to those who wish to use multiple programs.

The previously mentioned rules still stand however and the new ads should not look like Google ads as this would be a violation. Some networks that are now compatible along with AdSense include Chitika, IntelliTXT, and Kontera. Note though, YPN ads cannot be published along with AdSense ads because it is against their terms of service.

Even with the changes do not let your new found power go to your head. Use common sense. Don't clutter your site with so much advertising that the users experience is affected. Instead use the ads sparingly to see how your readers respond. That being said I recommend keeping your previous advertising scheme in terms of number relatively intact but change it up with a few different companies to see what kind of money and click through rates you can get.

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Wordpress 2.1 Features List

The Wordpress Codex now includes a list of all the features of the upcoming 2.1 version of the popular blogging software. As many Wordpress users know this is a major upgrade. The current 2.0 line will continue to be supported for years but I would highly recommend upgrading after looking at all the new featured. Here are the features:

  • Much more efficient database code, faster than previous versions
  • Autosave
  • Tabbed editor
  • Lossless XML import and export for moving between WordPress blogs
  • WYSIWYG spellchecker
  • Search engine blocker for private blogs
  • You can set any "page" to be the front page of your site, and put the latest posts somewhere else
  • Links can now have sub-categories
  • Redesigned login screen
  • More AJAX to make custom fields, moderation, deletions, etc all instant
  • Pages can now be drafts, or private
  • Minor admin redesign
  • Upload manager
  • Faster dashboard
The new version also has some developer/power updates and fixes more than 550 bugs and glitches. Also if you have never upgraded your Wordpress version before or simply need a refresher be sure to check out the Upgrading WordPress page as well.

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Ways to grow your blog...

Now I haven't been doing much on the "tips" side of blogging here but I am looking to get back to it and here is a great way how. I recently read a post about growing your blog 2000% in one month. Below is a quick summary of the post but I definitely recommend reading the full article since there are some great tips throughout the whole thing.

So your just starting to blog and want to know what you need to do first. Well first make sure you get a good host with little/no downtime. This is key to building a respected site that is always "on" when your users decide to visit. Second, make sure you pick a long lasting domain that won't lose its allure. Also, go all out, buy domains when you start instead of blogging a few months on Blogger for example only to switch and lose all the links you had built. Also make sure you:

  • Pick the right blogging platform. I recommend Wordpress.
  • Pick the right niche. Make sure there is a market but that it isn't flooded or is going down in traffic not up.
  • Don't forget your old posts. Move all of your posts from Blogger or other platform to Wordpress, it ads a lot of credibility.
  • Pick the right theme. Cutline is your best bet, in my opinion.
Drive up inbound links. The more the merrier when it comes to these and you will just have to wait this out but having good content that will get linked to sure helps.

The full post here more fully explores all of the above topics and does a really good job of conveying how even the average joe can grow their blog tremendous amounts.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Are you a lobbyist?

Most people would respond to this question by simply reponding no if they know what one is or changing the subject is if they don't. Well 901am is reporting that if the government has their way many more people will not only know what a lobbyist is but may actually be considered one themselves. Here is an exept they had from Richard A. Viguiere, Chairman of Grassroots Freedom:

"Section 220 of S. 1, the lobbying reform bill currently before the Senate, would require grassroots causes, even bloggers, who communicate to 500 or more members of the public on policy matters, to register and report quarterly to Congress the same as the big K Street lobbyists."

This is an interesting move the U.S. government is taking considering we have rights to free speech and all but I can see where the line gets blurred between lobbyist and blogged. I mean I guess you have to draw the line somewhere. I am not sure what the distinguishment of being a "lobbyist" has on a blogger i.e. what, if any, constraints or limitations this puts on bloggers and what they write.

Keep an eye on this one as now that the story has been broken there is likely to be a slew of people making their opinions known on the topic. For more information check out the Grassroots Freedom page about the issue or to get involved you can sign this petition.

(via 901am)

AdSense Policies Updated

JenSense, a must read for all things contextual advertising, has a summary of the AdSense policy changes and how they affect you as a publisher. Noe these are not minor changes by any means and they will likely affet nearly every publisher in one way or another.

The biggest change revolves around ad rotators and displaying YPN and AdSense ads on the same site but not on the same page, this has and will remain against the terms of service. The new rules address the issue:

"Competitive Ads and Services In order to prevent user confusion, we do not
permit Google ads or search boxes to be published on websites that also contain
other ads or services formatted to use the same layout and colors as the Google
ads or search boxes on that site. Although you may sell ads directly on your
site, it is your responsibility to ensure these ads cannot be confused with
Google ads."

What does this mean for you as a publisher? You can no longer place any other contextually targeted ads on the same site with AdSense ads, not just the same page. Now this is only pertinent if your ads looked the same which most publishers strive to do. As I read it to get around the policy you ads will have to look distictly different like having a different color pallate or one set having a border and one set not having one. Now Google did not go as far as to outlaw them but that appears to the direction they are heading.

Some other changes of note:
  • Referalls used to be limited to four per page. The four per page limit has been thrown out and it now states you can have up to two referall links or buttons per page per product.
  • AdSense officially documented their long standing attitude of pictures by ads which is not to have any pictures near ads without a seperation of some kind.
  • Placing ads on pages with copyrighted materials is illegal unless you have permission to publish it.

These document the major changes Google made to policy. There are some more "niche specific" policies I won't discuss here but that you can read about here and here.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Around the Blogosphere: January 16th, 2007

  • has a great post up describing the process of moving to a new domain. I think it is a must read for anyone who starts on blogger with the intentions of moving to another domain eventually or who decide to change the name of their site as well as its address.
  • Darren has written a post discussing whether blog design is important. I have to say it is still very important especially for non-tech blogs. Until general society embraces RSS feeds web design is critical.
  • Yahoo!'s YPN Blog has two posts up about optimizing your blog for relevancy and what parts of your blog are important when it comes to search engines. Part 1 and Part 2.
  • Copywriter has a post up about creating cornerstone content to help Google understand your site. Great introductory piece for those just getting into blogging or SEO and must read for just about everyone.
  • Scott at Web Professor has a plugin that can ban certain email domains from user registration. (via Blog News Watch)

FeedBurner Pushes Forward; Expands Metrics Project

If you recall a few weeks back FeedBurner announced they were releasing a metrics package to their users. They have since provided more detail on the program. The move to go after the metrics market was hailed by most as a step in the right direction and a nice alternative to other metrics packages (namely Google Analytics). Where do I stand, well I burn my feed through FeedBurner but use Analytics for my stat tracking...for now. In the next week or so I am planning on switching to the new FeedBurner metrics program StandardStats.

FeedBurners new metrics program evolved out of their purchase of BlogBeat. The integration of feed and site stats as well as actual feed material into one account streamlines the process signifigantly. I am all for effective time management and having all of this accessible from one screen is jusrt fantastic.

So just what does StandardStats have to offer:

  • Visitor summary, detail and trends
  • Page summary, detail and trends
  • Referral and Search trends
  • Inbound referral traffic breakdown, grouped by domain and broken out in detail
  • Outbound click breakdown
  • Visitor city cloud and live geographic visitor detail
  • Percentage inbound traffic from search and the queries that drove the traffic
  • Percentage of visitors that are new to your site today
  • Browser and OS breakdown, with trend indicators
  • Detailed historical traffic by page and by date

Its quite the powerful metrics package that I just can't wait to get my hands on.

Wordpress 2.0.7 Released; 2.1 On The Horizon

Wordpress is announcing they have released a new security update 2.0.7. The upgrade is a very quick follow up to 2.0.6 which was released a week or two back. The new update fixes a security problem as well as issues upgraded blogs were having with feedburner. Here is a complete list of the changes with this update:

    • Security fix for wp_unregister_GLOBALS() to work around the zend_hash_del_key_or_index bug in PHP 4 versions less than 4.4.3 and PHP 5 versions less than 5.1.4 with register_globals set to “On.”
    • Feeds now properly serve 304 Not Modified headers instead of mismatched 200/304 headers (a.k.a. the FeedBurner bug).
    • Backport of another 304 Not Modified fix from WordPress 2.1
    • Deleting WordPress Pages no longer gives an “Are You Sure?” prompt.
    • After deleting a WordPress Page, you are now properly redirected to the Edit Pages screen.
    • Sending an image at original size in Internet Explorer no longer adds an incorrect “height” attribute.

Okay but now for the real news. Wordpress 2.1, a major update with what are rumored to be a lot of great new features and tweaks on some old ones is set to be released towards the end of the month. You may be thinking to yourself, why is this news to you since you write on blogger. Well my friends most of my other blogs are on Wordpress so this is indeed big news for me.

Like 2.0 and don't want to change? You don't have to. Wordpress stated in the release post that the 2.0 branch will continue to be supported for several years. Good news all around.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Voice Your Opinion: Wikipedia's War on Blogs

Wikipedia user Timecop has lauched a War on Blogs. The aim of the project is to delete what he deems "worthless" blog related Wikipedia pages. Now if the motive of the project was to actually erase fake Wikipedia pages about blogs I could see this seeing a worthwhile project but it has other motives.

From everything I have read the goal of this project is to erase nearly everything and everything blog related unless the person in question is famous for something else. Personally I use Wikipedia all the time to find out the history of a person, blog, or software and deleting pages will be fruitless because more and more will be added in the future as blogging goes further into the mainstream.

What do you think: is this project worthwhile or is it just one users rogue attempt to erase everything blog?

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How Far Is Too Far; Blogger Tasered

Okay, we all know we would go all out to get a story but how many would be willing to get tasered. Amanda Congdon, the original blogger for Rocketboom turned CBS corespondent was. At CES this year Congdon allowed Taser International to shock her with 50,000 volts. Me personally, no way. Even the fittest of people can die from a shock like this and I would like to keep on living even if I don't get a story.

via: 901am

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Friday, January 12, 2007

901am Interviews Jeremy Wright about Glam Partnership

901am did a follow up post containing an interview with b5 Media CEO Jeremy Wright. The interview provides a little more depth than the press release offered us so take a little time and give it a read:

"You recently announced a partnership with the Glam Network, which says that select blogs will join their network. How does this work for b5 and the bloggers in terms of ownership and revenue share?

To be fair, the wording of the press release, and the way Glam has operated in the past has probably created a bit of confusion. What’s really going on here is simply a partnership. They sell our ads and get to resyndicate our content on their network, and we get better ad sales than we can currently do while providing some promotional space for their network in return. It’s a real win-win and basically a no-brainer all around. Just over 25 of our blogs now make more money than they did last week and their content gets pushed to a wider audience at the same time. This isn’t like we’re selling the blogs, giving up any control, passing things off, etc.

So, to answer your last question, content ownership doesn’t change (bloggers own their content) and the revenue share doesn’t change as a result of this (though, very soon, we’ll have an announcement on a new blogger pay structure, anyways, heh).

Overall it’s a simple relationship, and one that benefits both parties. They sell ads and sell them really well, while providing some more exposure for our bloggers. We get them more revenue by virtue of having a greater reach, and provide exposure for their network.

What does Glam put in here, besides their enormous reach? Or maybe that’s it?
The point of this deal for us was revenue. I honestly believe b5 has done a pretty kick-ass job at bringing on great writers who write fantastic content. These days they produce somewhere between 150-300 posts per day. Since we launched a year and a bit ago, we really have focused on creating valuable content – and effectively figuring that if you have enough traffic it’s hard not to make money with it.

Now that our costs have increased, though (staff, servers, new pay structure), revenue needs to increase as well. So over the next year you’ll definitely see more deals which help us generate more revenue – basically for doing what we’ve always done: great content, written by great writers, for great niches.

I’m sure people are interested to know how this deal came to be. Who initiated it?
Glam had kicked off the original advertising / content relationship about 6 months ago with eBeautyDaily. At the time, Glam was almost exclusively a fashion and beauty network. Which really meant that only a half dozen or so of our blogs were a potential fit for them. A few months ago they started branching out into anything women were interested in. When that change happened, they pushed for a larger relationship. We haggled over the details and came to an agreement during ad:tech in NYC in November. Since then it’s taken some time for us to redesign those sites, but now that we have we’re rockin and rolling.

So there was actually a deal with Glam prior to this partnership, to work from?
Yeah, they were already selling eBeautyDaily’s ads. This is largely an extension of that – branching out into other channels, selling more ad units per page, higher rates, greater exposure, etc. It’s simply a natural evolution. That’s not to say it isn’t an important deal for us, it’s just that it’s not like we’ve turned over all operations of the blogs to Glam or anything. They’re selling ads and providing more exposure, and we’re increasing their revenues and providing them with content.

Today Glam, what will it be tomorrow? Are you pursuing content partnerships in other niches?
We’re aggressively pursuing quite a few partnerships. FeedBurner was one of our first, Glam is a great second partnership, and we’ll see what’s next. The truth is that I feel a pretty heavy responsibility to help our bloggers find the largest audience they can, so we’re being pretty damned aggressive in finding new partners that can either bring greater visibility to the blogs, the content or the writers themselves."

Good job on the part of 901am with this interview. Superior work...

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Around the Blogosphere: January 11th, 2007

Today's 'Around the Blogsphere', our quick look at what is happening on the web, is focused on one site ProBlogger. Now I have been a big fan of ProBlogger and linked to them many times in the past but this week Darren is on vacation and Tony Hung from Deep Jive Interests has assumed posting duties. Now both of these bloggers are on my feed readers but each has their own unique style. Here are some good posts Tony has done in Darren's absence:


b5 Gets Second Partner: Glam Media

First b5 Media teamed up with Feedburner and this time they have pacted with Glam Media. The move joins the women's network, Glam, with one of the largest blogging networks in b5. Though a small partnership between the two has been going on for some time this is much larger in scale. Here is some info from the b5 announcement:

New media publishers like the b5media contribute to Glam’s interactive channels
and features, offering brand advertisers a targeted way to reach the engaged and
passionate audience of the blogs in their network. Glam Media reaches more than
8.6 million global unique visitors a month, and is a top 10 women’s property,
according to comScore Media Metrix.

So this pretty much lauches b5 way out there especially in terms of impact as this should provide a nice partnership. As 901am pointed out there has been some confusion over just what this involves. Well they got to the bottom of it by interviewing CEO Jeremy Wright who clarified the situation:

They sell our ads and get to resyndicate our content on their network, and we
get better ad sales than we can currently do while providing some promotional
space for their network in return. It’s a real win-win and basically a
no-brainer all around. Just over 25 of our blogs now make more money than they
did last week and their content gets pushed to a wider audience at the same

Looks like everyone made out pretty good on this deal...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

MyBlogLog Sold....Really...It Is

A few weeks back stories were all over various blogs indicating MyBlogLog, a social network for blogs and bloggers, had been sold to Yahoo! for 10 million dollars. That story was retracted when, well, it turned out it hadn't been sold. But today it has finally been announced that MyBlogLog has officially been sold to Yahoo!

The announcement was far from smooth after it was announced, retracted, and then officially announced again. Although the stories were up late last night I help off posting until now so I knew it was for real.

Giga OM had the news up last night announcing the acquisition which is big, big news. Here is part of what the MyBlogLog crew is saying:

Yahoo! is going to put loads of resources into MyBlogLog and help us roll
out a ton of new features. Plus, we're moving to their infrastructure,
which should help with those occasional slowdowns.

The company will also be relocating from Orlando to San Fracisco as part of the deal. The terms of the deal are unknown although prior estimates put it somewhere upwards of $10 million. I have just recently gotten into MyBlogLog (other things took precedent) but it seems to have a bright future ahead of it so look for it to grow as more and more bloggers become involved especially after this big news.

Monday, January 08, 2007

901am Gives Away Domains

Today as part of the announcement that Blogger now offers domain hosting (I will be writing about this a little later tonight) 901am announced they would give a free domain name for life to the first 20 people who left a comment or contacted them. I was one of the lucky 20 who received a free domain which will be for my Web. Medical. News. blog.

I could have recieved a domain for Blogging for Money but with no domains really being left without changing the name of this blog I decided to hold off until I rebrand and expand this blog and my network. A big thanks to David Krug and the entire 901am team for the giveaway. It is always fun to win something such as this and thanks go to him for helping me expand my network.

Visit the site and give 901am some love!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Don't Fall Into The DeadPool

TechCrunch has a list of online companies that have fallen into the deadpool. The DeadPool is a list of online companies and projects that have closed up shop and failed for various reasons. Here is an excerpt from TechCrunch on the status of the DeadPool and what they foresee for the future:

"It’s clear that new venture fundings are still out pacing DeadPool admissions by a large multiple - it looks like $600 million or so was invested in Web 2.0 startups in 2006. And since most startups fail, I expect this commenter may be correct when he says “I predict 2007 will be the year of the deadpool."
Seems like it will be an interesting project to watch mainly to see what tech ventures and various blogging projects find themselves in the DeadPool and what companies ultimately succeed.

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Paid Posting Controversey

Blog News Watch, part of 451 press, has a post up discussing the always controversial concept of being paid to post. The post is rather interesting and takes an interesting stance on the issue. Essentially it focuses on the differences, if any, between a sponsored blog and a sponsored post:

"When a blog get sponsor (most of the top blogs have sponsor, whether they say it or not), they provide links back to sponsors site and as well as display ads of sponsor, that means directly or indirectly they are advocating that sponsor."
Now I don't know if I necessarily agree with their opinion that most blogs have sponsors but just don't disclose them. I haven't been blogging from the beginning but I think most bloggers who have a sponsor reveal it. Still this doesn't change the discussion the post is sparking over why paid posting has such a bad wrap:
"So as you can see the problem is clarity, in sponsored blog readers can identify which one is sponsored and which one is blogger suggested, but in sponsored post mostly don’t."
Give the post a read and tell me what you think: Is paid posting as bad as it sounds? Do you think paid posting and a sponsored blog are the same or is there a difference? Should bloggers be legally required to disclose affiliations?

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HTML 101: Tubetorial, Helping Bloggers Learn To...Blog

Tubetorial's recent HTML 101 series is a must read for most bloggers who have no idea how to write even the most simple HTML code. Here is some text from Tubetorial about the project:

"Thanks to blogging, millions of people are now publishing online with zero knowledge of basic HTML, which is the most basic language that web pages are built upon.

However, that lack of basic knowledge often leaves people unable to make simple tweaks to elements of their blogs, or to create a simple web page that lies outside of the blog architecture and navigation."

Right now they have 6 topics up and I am not sure if there are more to be added or not but they are definitely a start to learn basic HTML coding.I have a feeling there will be more since 6 seems like an odd number for this sort of thing but anyways here's is the topics listed so far:
  1. How to Create a Simple HTML Web Page
  2. Here’s How HTML Tags Work When Creating Web Pages
  3. How to Format Web Page Text With Block Tags
  4. Spice Up Your Web Page Text With Inline Tags
  5. How to Code Links and Images in HTML
  6. How to Code Tables in HTML
Now I am by no means an HTML expert but I have a decent handling on the basics. Despite this I think unless you really know a lot about HTML you should give these a read if not for anything else they serve as a good refresher.

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Newest Wordpress Security Upgrade Released

Wordpress has released their newest security upgrade Wordpress 2.0.6. Here is what the site has about the update:

  • The aforementioned security fixes.
  • HTML quicktags now work in Safari browsers.
  • Comments are filtered to prevent them from messing up your blog layout.
  • Compatibility with PHP/FastCGI setups.
On the WP site they also announced that this would be the last upgrade before Wordpress 2.1 (which is currently in Beta) is released. Ian Robertson of has a list of expected new features in 2.1:
  • Spellchecker in TinyMCE.
  • Exporter.
  • Pages can be private and draft.
  • Pages have their own caps.
  • A Page can be used as the front page.
  • Latest posts can be moved off the front page and on to another page.
  • Pseudo-cron is used for future posting. No more NOW().
  • Link manager overhauled.
  • Links can have subcategories.
  • New login screen.
  • More AJAX to avoid page reloads.
  • Blog privacy
  • User paging and searching.
  • WP_Error class.
  • Include files reorganized.
  • Lots of new API.
  • Script loader.
From everything I have been reading this update is going to do some good things for Wordpress users but it isn't set to be released for at least a few weeks, but hey, at least we all have something to look forward to.

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Who Nixed The Performancing/PPP Deal?

Rumors and speculation have been rampant over the past day over who nixed the proposed PayPerPost and Performancing. Both company went as far as to "officially" announce the sale with PPP going as far as to pay their bloggers to discuss the sale. Now nothing is official but each company has commented on their reasons for calling it off.

PayPerPost was first to the gate announcing that the deal was off. But why? For something that was so hyped to just be dismissed came as quite a shock to quite a few bloggers. Here is PPP's take on why the sale was dropped:

"We listened to our Posties and other Metrics users, dug into the Metrics platform and regretfully found that it wasn't what we were looking for right now."
They continued their post to express their interest in finding another analytics solution to use by by golly if you decide you are going to purchase something don't you think you might 'dig' into it before you put your money up to buy it. I know I am not going to buy a piece of fruit without looking at it let alone such a big investment and publicity move as this was.

Well what was PayPerPost looking for with Metrics or any analytics program for that matter? My guess is they are going to integrate a tracking program somehow to track the effectiveness of the campaigns so they can better target their opportunities to blogs whose traffic is equal to the amount they are being paid. Now this is just speculation but from the language I've been reading this seems like a viable plan.

So what was Performancing's reasong for the no go? Here is some text from their announcement:
"After much discussion, we've decided that the deal proposed by PayPerPost just isnt right for us or our community."
Keyword from that selection: community. In my eyes Performancing disclosed the real reason for why the sale was called off, because users didn't want it. I truly feel PPP made an attempt to cover up the fact that another company gave up money because they are just too controversial. I think the true reason lies in Performancing's response and that they called the shots and just said no after everyone started to complain of having their information given to a company who many simply don't like.
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TechCrunch Adds Forums, But Why?

Most of those who 'Blog for Money' have probably read, linked, or at least heard of TechCrunch. The site that focuses on anything online has announced that they have added forums. No I am all about forums as I really like what they are able to accomplish but they seem to be a bit, well, out of place with what TechCrunch is all about. TechCrunch is and will always remain a blog at its core and with blogs priding themselves on user interaction via comments it seems like a quirky move.

Why is it such an odd move? Well because there are plenty of other online forums out there to discuss the exact same things that TechCrunch is all about. The only real viable reason I have found for the move is because TechCrunch has been getting flooded with emails since they became big with pitches about the latest online happenings and forums will allow users to post their ideas there and those involved with TechCrunch can just read the forums to find ideas that interest them.

Here is how TechCrunch has described the forums:

Create a thread on any topic you like. This is a good place to pitch your new startup or product if it hasn’t been featured yet on TechCrunch (or even if it has), share tips with the community, spread rumors, or endlessly debate the definition (or existence) of Web 2.0. When interesting conversations spring up, we’ll link to them from the main TechCrunch blog.
I have to admit they will be something I will be frequenting quite often not because I think they are necessarily unique but because they will be fairly busy and should provide bloggers with some ideas before they hit the mainstream and are tired and old.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Performancing Nixes PayPerPost Deal

As I first read on ProBlogger, Performancing has called off its proposed sale to controversial PayPerPost. The single reason for the cancelled sale was user displeasure and I have to say it hasn't really surprised me to see this. I first reported the sale a few weeks back and ever since word got out users of Performancing have been voicing their displeasure with the sale.

The Performancing blog has all of the details but here is the shortened version of what is ahead for them. Their blog statistics package entitled metrics will be going open source and will probably be used in quite a variety of applications. Performancing Partners, the up and coming ad network developed by the company will be retained and should form the bulk of what Performancing is operating, at least under than name.

I also reported a few days after the sale was announced that they would be rebranding their Firefox plugin as ScribeFire. This part of the original plan is still on and the two will be operated under completely different names from here on out.

So after all that where does it leave Performancing/ScribeFire? Well they are actually positioned a bit better now as far as branding goes as they have developed unique names for their two very good, but very unique services. I have to say the ScribeFire name is quite catchy and should yield good results for them. They are definitely going to be one hot blogging property to keep an eye on as we continue in 2007.

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AdBrite Dabbling In Video

As nearly every blogger has picked up on by now, AdBrite, a company who specializes in network ads as well as text links, is now venturing into video ads. The program allows webmasters and bloggers to monetize video and from what I have garnered is essentially an extension of the ads they had in place and is not a feature of their already established ad network.

This will really only appeal to those bloggers who already use video and need a way to monetize it but this development may lead some to experiment more in the media.

Here are the features from the AdBrite website:

  • Fully customizable video player, easy-to-use, and 100% free
  • Brand your videos with your own custom logo “watermark”
  • “Split-screen” ads engage users without interrupting viewing experience
  • Sharing features promote your site when your videos get “viral”
  • Earn money from your videos, even when they’re embedded into other peoples’ Web sites
The AdBrite program is called "InVideo" and is currently in beta. More information on it can be found on the Adbrite website here.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

More Wordpress Help Online

Wordpress' codex is a great resource for finding help with technical aspects of Wordpress but sometimes we all just want some more help. Well ProBlogger has a link that just might be the resource you need. Rachel of Cre8d Design is starting a new series of posts for those looking to make their own Wordpress themes.

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HTML Stlying Tips For Bloggers

Amit Argwal at Digital Inspiration has a great post of useful styling tips for bloggers. If you are new to blogging I highly recommend checking out the post as it has some really good HTML tips to make your posts more styled and readable.

I'd have to say the best tip Amit offers is the use of the div code to embed a text box and highlight a quote. I think this is one feature bloggers just don't do enough of but it really can set a story apart from others. The div tag can be used for many other things and I most frequently use it on my Pens Insider blog to embed AdSense ads into posts so that text wraps around them.

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Tired of Poorly Targeted Ads?

Well Adsense is doing something about. ProBlogger is discussing a post by Bryan at Caydel's SEO Blog that indicates Google is beta testing negative keyword targeting with select users. All I can say is finally! I have really struggled with targeting ads on my Pens Insider blog because I get a lot of ads about office supplies. The blog is about hockey, specifically the Pittsburgh Penguins and being able to tell Google what not to display is something I would really love to get my hands on.

This is one step off of positive keyword targeting in which users could tell AdSense what their blog is about and have ads focused on those terms. I think Google's reluctance in adding a feature like this is that many may abuse it in an attempt to have higher paying keywords displayed on their blog. Right now only large publishers are able to tell AdSense what ads they want to be displayed.

Should be interesting to see when and if either of these keyword targeting systems eventually make it into the AdSense mainstream.

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

6 Ways to Improve Your Blog

Lifehack has 6 ways to improve your blog:

  1. Display your contact information prominently.
  2. Make sure commenting is enabled and working.
  3. Write in a manner that is clear and easy to read for your audience
  4. Use tags to categorize your content.
  5. Link, Link, Link to other content
  6. Keep your content creative, entertaining, and vibrant.
The tips are a really good test to run on your blog to see how well it is set up for your readers. I think all too often bloggers overlook number one on the list and although the blog seems personal enough readers just can't figure out how to get a hold of you.

Right now here at Blogging for Money I have all but number 4 handled. I have never got into the tag system here on Blogger and until they get a category system in place or I move to my site to its own domain I don't foresee this changing anytime soon. I have all of these handled a little better on some of my other blogs but this blog seems to be doing just fine.

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Monday, January 01, 2007

Top Chitika Earners Recieve iPods

Chitika joined the party of publishers sending out Christmas presents to their top earners. The shopping affiliate company sent their top publishes new iPod shuffles. Darren from ProBlogger, one of the top earners as defined by Chitika, has stated that the cutoff for receiving the iPod shuffle is unknown.

I think this is a great was for companies to show their top users that they in fact mean something and it is a great way to build brand loyalty in a fairly inexpensive way. As I see it the top users are probably making a nice chunk of change each month so taking a little of that and giving it back to them in the form of a gift doesn't seem like a bad move to me.

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