Sick manipulation of the blogosphere or interesting exercise?

Duncan Riley> I reported yesterday on the apparent attempt to launch a blogging celebrity magazine blogebrity, and whilst I had my doubts about it, particularly based on the owner/ owners, I read this morning that the site is fake and is part of a competition called the Contagious Media Showdown being run by Eyebeam, a non-profit center for art and technology based in New York. The crux of the competition is to create viral sites, with the most successful sites in terms of traffic and links winning prizes.

There are some interesting sites listed, and indeed it could be argued that those sites which are obviously spoof sites are worthy participants, and from a third party perspective, watching other sites gain traffic as the word of mouth spreads throughout the blogosphere is some what interesting. What does concern me however is that sites like Blogebrity, which we now know is fake, asks for subscribers. Sure, it’s a risk anywhere, but here we have a site that is fake, getting in an increasingly large amount of traffic, with apparently false registration details (which is illegal in itself I would have thought) that is asking for email addresses but is guaranteeing not to spam them. Problem: if they cant be believed on anything else how do we know our personal email addresses are safe? The people behind blogebrity also appear to be writing Gawker Media knockoffs with stolen code as well, whether this is part of the competition or not I’m not sure, but potentially what the competition is doing goes beyond promoting innocent spoof sites and provides potential encouragement of illegal, or immoral activities, and bloggers are being manipulated as part of the process. Far to many questions and concerns and not enough answers. We’d note that something that Nick Denton is seemingly involved in as well (he helped launch the competition) would not potentially deceive so many bloggers as well.

Skype Offers Affiliate Program

VOIP provider Skype today announced the launch of its affiliate program that will reward bloggers with commissions of up to 10% for promoting Skype on their websites.

“We look forward to rewarding our most ardent online evangelizers by creating an avenue to increase profits from their websites,” said Skype CEO and co-founder Niklas Zennstrom. “A strong affiliate program not only opens up a revenue stream for Skype devotees, but also provides an interactive communications tool for website publishers to engage in dialogue with their audiences.”

The affiliate program is being managed by Commission Junction.

Google gets Google Hijacked

At the same time that reports are emerging about changes in Adsense, it appears that Google Adsense has been “Googlejacked” in Google’s search rankings, with an alternative site getting number one spot in Google for the term “Adsense”.

Screen shots are available here and here.

A search at Google for links to the site “”” shows that blogs have played a role in the hijack in part by the use of blogspam, with the SixApart TypePad hosted blog of noted PR blogger Steve Rubel appearing at No 2 for the search.

(in part via Threadwatch)

Mysterious changes underway at Google Adsense

Seemingly mysterious changes, experiments or similar are underway with Google Adsense and reports are starting to emerge about the changes.

Paul Short at Bloglogic reports
that he has seen a change to the Google Adsense Link Unit, and has a screen shot to prove it.

Darren Rowse at Problogger has reported icons appearing in standard to across (468×60) Google adsense ads, and also has a screen shot.

I’€™ve not seen any changes personally, put there are definite changes to the layout within Google Adsense itself, with the Ad Setting pages now left cantered, possibly in preparation for further changes.

What the! Blogebrity??

Apparently somebody is looking at launching a blogging celebrity magazine called Blogebrity. No information on the site as to who is behind it although the domain is registered to the Gawp Network, which seems to be a series of knock off blogs that mimic Gawker Media, and even strangley runs ads for Gawker Media blogs on its main page.

They also offer a list of A, B and C list blogging celebrities, which we won’t dignify in starting to pick holes in, but feel free to do so in the comments here, but we will note that Jeremy Wright should be higher than the C list.

3 adds mobile blogging service for UK customers

3rd generation mobile phone operator 3 has launched its a mobile blogging service named “My Gallery” that will let its customers in the United Kingdom publish pictures and video on their blogs.

Graeme Oxby, marketing director of 3, told Revolution that “Video mobile technology is all about immediacy, whether it’s downloading the latest music video on the move or being the first to share the breaking news from ‘Big Brother’ with your friends. With My Gallery, you can share your antics straight away with your friends and family without being tied to a PC.”

My Gallery is powered by technology supplier YoSpace.

No word on when the service will be offered to 3 customers in other countries.

More meat, less straws, Cox to stay at Nicks side says man of Steele

The second chapter of the Days of Gawker Media soap opera is being written with our hero, Ana Marie Cox strongly being rumoured to be leaving Melrose Wonkette Place as she pursues exciting new career options including finding new staffers to party with, has a change of heart as the man of Steele confirms that she won’t be going any where.

Gawker Media owner Nick Denton, still recovering from the pie he claims never hit him, rubs his hands with glee at the prospect of more sex and sin from a top Capitol Hill, as a menacing version of Kylie Minogues “I’m spinning around” plays in the background.

Zoundry offers new affiliate style program for bloggers

Zoundry has announced the expansion of its beta service for bloggers with an affiliate like program that promises to earn money for bloggers.

The service consists of a product called the Zoundry Blog Writer, which the company claims is “the first weblog posting editor designed for writing product reviews” and allows the automatic placement of affiliate links within posts.

Another reason why Yahoo!, Microsoft and others will come to dominate the blogosphere

shot of Yahoo Messenger
Duncan Riley> I was tempted to post this picture without comment because to me it speaks a thousand words. The picture comes from Software Journal as part of a review into blogging from the latest version of Yahoo! Messenger. The review isn’t particularly interesting, but the picture…..

There are literally hundreds of millions of users using messaging software from Microsoft, Yahoo!, AOL and others, and the figure continues to grow. Soon nearly every one of them is going to have extremely easy access to free blogging services at their messaging company at choice, and what’€™s more, they won’€™t have to sign up for a new account, or pay for the blogging privilege, it will be all be there ready for them to use at the click of a mouse. And despite limitations that services like Spaces and 360 have today, they won’€™t always be as limited in what they can and can’€™t do, and they will continue to improve.

I wrote back in April that the biggest threat is to SixApart, and I believe that still to be the case in consumer blogging, but today I’m going to extend this to Google and its Blogger service as well. Like SixApart’s LiveJournal, Blogger takes a lot of its users from the “consumer” blogosphere, or as some refer to it as: the journalers: those who blog for the purpose of keeping an online diary of events. The consumer blog market tends to be younger than the rest of the blogosphere, they are more likely to be open to trend setting, and are highly likely to be users of messaging services. This market is not only going to embrace blogging via instant messaging software, it already is, and the enormous join up rates to MSN Spaces is indicative of this. Yahoo! 360 is still invite only and AOL has only just released blogging capabilities with AIM to the general market. But just in case you think I’m picking on SixApart and Google alone, you’d be wrong. Services such as Xanga, My Spaces and others are going to face the same problems as teens flock to the services being used by their friends and peers, the same services that they can easily access from their Messaging services. The change is already happening, but the tidal wave is yet to hit.