Lektora Joins Qumana

Up and coming blog company tools Qumana Software has announced that it has acquired the exclusive rights to market the browser-integrated RSS aggregator Lektora.

Lektora is an RSS aggregator that works on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. Lektora is available free in both English and French versions under the Qumana release. Lektora was developed to give readers a simple, clear interface that would make them feel like they were flipping through a personalized newspaper. Lektora is available in a free ad-supported version or a paid ad-free version ($29.95).

This acquisition follows the recent launch of blog posting tool QumanaLE.

Fred Fabro, CEO of Qumana Software said “Acquiring Lektora gives us another piece of the digital workflow puzzle ‘€¦ integrating Qumana with Lektora’€™s functionality will give readers everywhere an instant WYSIWYG publishing tool. Now you are able to go from opening up Lektora, flipping through updated feeds, reading something, and with a simple drag and drop gesture capture the content that you want to quote or the picture you want to highlight, and then publish directly to a blog from the Qumana WYSIWYG editor”.

AlwaysOn and Technorati Unveil the ‘Open Media 100’

AlwaysOn and Technorati has announced their first annual “Open Media 100,” a “power list of bloggers, social networkers, tool smiths and investors leading the Open Media Revolution”.

“The list provides an initial framework of this emerging industry and honors the individuals who are leading the open media revolution,” says Tony Perkins, founder and editor of AlwaysOn. “These people are proving the power of online community and collaboration, and the transparency of information and ideas.”

In selecting the Open Media 100, AlwaysOn leveraged data produced by Technorati and surveyed dozens of top bloggers, including many of the people who appear on the list.

The list can be viewed here.

WSJ selects MSN Spaces over 360 and Blogger

Some more good news for the MSN Spaces team with the Wall Street Journal selecting MSN Spaces as the best choice for new bloggers over Google’s Blogger and Yahoo! 360.

Walter Mossberg, Staff Reporter of The Wall Street Journal writes that MSN Spaces “did the best job of performing these tasks in a way that was organized and self-explanatory. Yahoo 360 was almost as easy, but it tries to tie in the use of too many other Yahoo services. Blogger.com has a long way to go until it becomes as easy to use as the others.”

Time for me to add “review MSN Spaces again” on my list of things to do, certainly from all accounts the service is progressively getting better and better.

New Technorati now live

Some ten days after announcing beta testing for a new user interface, Technorati has launched its new design and layout to all and sundry through the main www.technorati.com site.

New features include a corporate weblog, integration of photos and links in tag searches from flickr, furl, delicious, and buzznet, more personalization and a whole lot of backend work as well.

A full list of the changes can be on the new Technorati Weblog here and David Sifry’s blog here.

The new look brings a more fresh and modern look to the blogospheres favorite search site and will make the service more accessable to a new generation of blog users.

(Ed note: however unforutnately it appears that the link counter issues for larger sites remains at this stage, but this is only a small thing)

List of Blog Networks v2

Update: 6/1/06: The best place to look for blog networks is likely Blog Network List and Blog Network Watch.

My first effort at putting together a list of blog networks received a fair bit of attention and my thanks to everyone who has emailed and left comments. There are a lot more networks out there than I imagined, and there are blogs on networks I read where I didn’t even mentally place them as being part of a network, either way blogging continues to grow and so do blogging networks. The diversity of this list is a testament to the strength of the blogosphere and the many wonderful things people are developing and doing online.

Rather than try and edit the original list here goes version 2 with a few comments as well, there are some real gems here that are a great read, even if it means another heap of Bloglines subs get added to my bloglines account. I’d note again that this list is for blog networks only so I’ve excluded corporate sites that also have multiple blogs (CNet being a good example) because they are not blog networks but companies that just happen to also have multiple blogs. Im also excluding joint advertising networks because although they are “networks” by name they are really just individual blogs who are pitching advertising collectively (such as the Music Blog Network, FM etc..).

[Read more…]

MSN running UFO competition to promote Spaces in the UK

MSN is running an interesting competition in a drive to get more British users blogging on MSN Spaces: The MSN Space race.

To quote the site:

“MSN is giving away hundreds of prizes in the coolest competition of the year so far. All you have to do is get a MSN Space (the best free blog product in the world) and a MSN Hotmail account (the biggest free webmail product in the world) and’€¦ take a picture of a UFO, or an alien. Do this and you could win a state of the art camcorder, 10 Creative Zen MP3 players plus hundreds of Qees. It takes minutes to sign-up and it’€™s completely free! Plus, if you can locate the hidden UFO base, you can win our star prize – a NASA holiday! Prepare for lift off!”

There is also a tie in with the British tabloid press: an article appears in The Sun…well I say article but it looks and smells like an ad to me, promoting the competition.

What advanced civilizations at the far corners of the universe would make of all this was not mentioned.

Link Doping debate places Blogcritics against Republican bloggers

An interesting debate on the value of building links between like minded blogs has emerged with a scathing piece appearing on Blogcritics.org attacking the Alliance of Free Blogs, a right wing link network which targets the Truth Laid Bears blogging ecosystem.

The piece from Erik Grayson of Sobriquet Magazine takes an interesting look at the whole concept of “link doping” and describes the phenomenon as such;

I would like to emphasize the fact that link doping essentially uses the generally positive conventions of blogrolling and webringing/community-building to grossly exaggerate the significance or quality of a given blog.

Bizarrely though, the best the Alliance of Free Blogs could respond with is that their method of cross linking is somehow better then that of Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit fame, who apparently commits the crime of linking at random.

Whilst the battle perhaps appears to be nothing more than a minor partisan stoush, the rise of blogging versions of link farms and statistical manipulation sites, such as that featured at blogclicker.com has the potential to undermine the credibility of blogging as a a whole as the blogosphere continues to mature from niche early adapter marketplace to mainstream media and content player.

MSN Wallop returns as a Yahoo 360 competitor

We all know that Yahoo! 360 has been launched for testing in a blogging meets social networking format, but what you might not know is that Microsoft’s Wallop, last mentioned here at the Blog Herald in March 2004 is still being tested and is likely to be released this year in direct competition to 360.

The Star Tribune
has some of the story, including the comment that Wallop is “a Flash-based program offering similar services to 360”, and that Google may be looking at something similar.

Google Paypal competitor to help blogs

Google is preparing to launch a competitor to the eBay owned Paypal, long the favored payment method of many on in the blogosphere, and bloggers will benefit as a consequence.

Paypal has long been the payment method of choice for many smaller bloggers who sell advertising on their sites, or who utilise the Blog Ads advertising service. Paypal is also used highly on auction site eBay.

The introduction of a Google competitor would provide leverage that Paypal has never had and would potentially see the introduction of the worlds first true virtual payment system that could boast majority representation, unlike Paypal, whilst strong in some areas, is still not universally accepted.

The consequence for the blogosphere, if the new payment method is accepted, could potentially be ground breaking, as an electronic currency exchange underpinning the vast majority of transactions and transferable into multiple currencies would go a long way in providing a more level playing field in the blogosphere to bloggers outside of the United States, who in many countries do not have access to local currency conversion through existing payment methods such as Paypal, nor are they able to effectively spend their earnings made in Paypal with a large number of complimentary or retail services; the net effect potentially being a massive increase in intra-blogosphere trading and spending that has no geographic boundaries.