Over 2000 bloggers taking cash for comment

Marketing firm USWeb is paying over 2000 bloggers for inline commercial comment and placement on their blogs.

A report in the Boston Globe states that the company is using bloggers such as Jeff Cutler, who is blogging about products without having used them or even disclosing his commercial interests in the posts.

A look at his blog at www.jeffcutler.com displays numerous commercial posts with links to outside commercial interests. Sadly, Cutler tells the Boston Globe:

”People should be trained to take what they read with a grain of salt…A person is not spending their time to throw something up on the Internet unless they have an objective or an ulterior motive. For me, it was making a few bucks and disciplining my writing.”

Remarkably USWeb defends the cash for comment process as being ethical, stating

‘We try to be as ethical as possible….In our opinion, paying bloggers is no different than Tiger Woods getting money to wear the Nike logo.”

Bloglines plumber appears again!

Duncan Riley> a short post but a goodie: a bit quiet here at the Blog Herald today, why: two words: the Bloglines Plumber. Bloglines is down again and the plumber is being displayed, and I’ve got to add this is the third time in a week I’ve seen it, its driving me batty and it might be time to start looking at a new RSS aggregation service. Am I alone in this growing frustration with Bloglines? Who provides a similar service to Bloglines you could recommend? share your comments below.

Yahoo 360 now open to the public

The beta testing of Yahoo 360, the social networking come blogging tool is now open to the general public.

If you never get an invite, or are interested in trying out the Yahoo offering, sign up here if you have a current Yahoo I.D, of follow the prompts if you don’t.

Engadget shuts down comments due to comment spam

Jason Calacanis’ Weblogs Inc’s leading blog Engadget has turned off commenting due to comment spam, according to a post at Engadget.

Editor Peter Rojas writes that it’€™s only temporary and that the Engadget team have gotten tired of “spending so much time deleting comment spam and dealing with trolls and all that ‘€œfirst post!’€? crap”.

The Weblogs Inc., blogs run off WordSmith, a secreative blog script developed for the network in conjunction with Weblogs Inc., founder Jason Calacanis

Microsoft and RSS: who cares?

Duncan Riley> No, I’m not being provocative for the sake of it, I really don’t care. In case you haven’t heard the news Microsoft will be supporting RSS in the next version of Windows. Now don’t get me wrong, there is a really wonderful cultural shifts underway at Microsoft that deserves a post on its own, but individually Longhorn and IE supporting RSS doesn’t really make any difference to me, and nor should it to most bloggers, because at the end of the day, as much as RSS feeds are handy to read, and provide a way for others to easily monitor our blogs, it makes no difference to the leading equation of the blogosphere: and that’s content.

All the RSS in the world doesn’t mean a thing if you’ve not got appealing content, content that appeals to a niche in the long tail. RSS is only a convenient means to an end for all bloggers from the rank amateur through to the network guru: at the end of the day its just another way of providing information, and I’ll add from recent reports that for those providing a full feed not a very profitable one at that.

If you are looking for quality out of Gnomedex, look to god, because of what I’ve read so far, Dave Winer perhaps delivered one of the more interesting speeches: to quote god:
“Blogging is about individual choice.”
And he’s right. Sure, Atom may be doomed thanks to Microsoft’s announcement but its appealing to the individual’s choice that will bring you visitors, not the type of your RSS feed. The only people who should be interested in this announcement is those companies providing Outlook feed readers and similar: sorry folks, your screwed.

Attensa Announces RSS Network

New company Attensa, Inc., is making its public debut at Gnomedex 5 with the announcement that they are rolling out the first phase of a comprehensive RSS Network. The Attensa RSS network uses “attention” metadata to intelligently deliver relevant up-to-the-minute information to people on any device they choose.

The Attensa RSS network is based on unique, proven intellectual property in a scaleable RSS architecture that efficiently organizes, distributes and measures RSS news feed articles and their associated attention metadata. Using Attensa network attention streams that accommodate the Attention.xml standard, metadata is filtered to deliver the most relevant information.
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Weblogs Inc., to include chat rooms for leading blogs?

Weblogs Inc., may be considering the implementation of chats rooms to accompany its leading blog properties The Blog Herald has learned.

Following a post from Jason Calacanis inviting users to watch him as he plays with “webchat”, the login to the chat script lists chat rooms for leading Weblogs Inc., sites (see pic). The move if implemented fully would be an interesting move for Weblogs Inc., with site hosted chat rooms normally regarded poorly in the web industry in general due to their reliance on having reasonable numbers of people involved in chatting over an extended time period to gain momentum and to keep users.

Companies charged $100k per year to monitor blogs

A report in the Wall Street Journal on the emergence of blog monitoring services states that companies such as Technorati and Intelliseek are charging clients up to $100,000 USD per year to monitor blog posts.

This quote was of particular interest: “We look at the blogosphere as a focus group with 15 million people going on 24/7 that you can tap into without going behind a one-way mirror,”.

The report also confused blogging numbers, with paper stating that their were 12 million bloggers and yet the “expert” quote refers to 15 million, having said that however the failing lies with the papers inability to contextualise the figures as being representative of the United States as opposed to the entire world.

Microsoft setting up lifestyle blog network

Microsoft is advertising for paid bloggers to write and edit proposed blogs on five topics: fashion/food/style, music, sports, technology, and television for a new network of lifestyle blogs as part of MSN.

Salary details were not available however successful applicants are expected to contribute around 15 hours per week on the blogs, and the position can be done by telecommute.
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