Vale Kerry Packer, Welcome to our Scientology Overlord

Kerry Francis Bullmore Packer, Australia’s richest man (Rupert’s American now after all) and owner of one of Ausrtalia’s largest media and gambling empires Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd (owners of the 9 network, ACP Magazines, Crown Casino to name but a few) passed away last night at the age of 68. More coverage at the Sydney Morning Herald.

I for one would like to welcome James Packer to the helm of PBL and promise to not make too many jokes about the fact that the Church of Scientology now controls one of Australia’s largest media empires. We’ve heard on the grapeview that National Nine News is going to include a salute every night to the Xenu, and well as replacing those overnight happy clappy christian shows with Scientology sessions. I particularly look forward to what our politicians will do now that they have to brown nose to a scientologist. Will Scientology be promised as Australia’s new national religion by the party that want’s the most positive coverage in the press? Will Ricky Ponting turn to Scientology to help the Australian Cricket team….interesting times ahead!

WordPress 2.0 released

As predicted, Matt Mullenweg has press the button and released the latest generation of WordPress: WP 2.0. The launch is also accompanied by a huge update to the site.

The Top 10 interesting people in the Blogosphere in 2005

Before making our predictions for 2006, we revisit 2005 in a list of the Top 10 interesting people in the Blogosphere in 2005.

1. Matt Mullenweg, WordPress
The rising star of the blogosphere took a few blows from supposedly friendly folk this year, and yet bounced right back with the launch of a new company, and took the mantle of the blogosphere’s most popular DIY blogging script WordPress. He’s making friends with the likes of Scoble and Winer (although I’m not sure that this is particularly a good thing) and others are starting to listen.

2. Mena Trott, Six Apart
Despite a rollercoaster ride of a year for her California based company, Mena Trott continues to entertain us all, whilst continuing to wear a coat made of teflon. Despite any criticisms from the likes of the Blog Herald and others, you’ve got to give her credit for tanacity and staying power.
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Time drops Blog of the Year Awards

I’m not sure why, but has anyone noticed after a lot of hoopla last year about introducing a best blog of the year Awards as part of its best of the year awards, Time has mysteriously not had a best blog this year? They’ve managed movies and music, but perhaps they don’t think blogs count any more, or maybe chief Time blogger Andrew Sullivan could tell us some more?

Using Fastclick to earn extra from your blog

Fastclick is one of those companies people either love or hate, mainly because they offer pop-unders, but if you are looking for an alternative revenue stream to Google Adsense and other such services, and in particular are looking for advertising options that pay CPM as opposed to CPC, Fastclick is worth a look in. I’ve had Fastclick ads running here at the Blog Herald for a couple of months, and as I’ve said in the past they don’t have spectacular returns, but they do bring in regular returns…they are literally reliable as a form of income. I’ve also had the opportunity over the last month to literally play with most of their ad formats (including what many would consider to be the evils ones) and this is what I found.

728/468 Banner
These are the big MF banners that you often see around the place. I’ve seen peope use these inline under the header and above it. In my case my templates only really allowed for them to be placed above the header, which isn’t regarded as a sweet spot. As such the returns weren’t that impressive.
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The Downside to Christmas….

Google Adsense stats…or YPN stats…or what ever CPC or CPM advertising you are running as your traffic plummets (or is reduced) over the Christmas break….

Free services damaging paid blogging market in China?

Comments made by a director of leading Chinese Blogging company, which is functing with a large injection of US Venture Capital would indicate that the free service providers may be killing the paid blogging industry in China.

Interfax quotes an un-named director as saying on the recent downsizing at Bokee:
“The company’s Board made this decision to cut staff, mainly because they are not confident about the future of the blogging industry in China…We will probably change our business strategies after that.”

This in a marketplace of between 33.6 million registered users (Analysys International) and 36.82 million blogs (Baidu) and recent reports that services such as MSN Spaces now lead the market in China.

Police probe comments on blog

The Riverside Police Department in Califronia is investigating whether employees wrote wrote sexist and racist comments on a local blog.

According to the Daily Breeze, people claiming to be officers left the comments on the blog of Mary Shelton, a reporter for the local weekly The Black Voice News.

The comments were posted between September and mid-December. A message from “Kevin, R.P.D.” referred to “worthless parole animals” in a predominantly Latino and black area of the city. It said: “How about we leave the East Side to who should really patrolling it … Animal Control.”

One post claimed that the department helped “certain females through training” and they take “safe little report calls” rather than arrest parolees or gang members.