March 29, 2006

Blogger Wedding

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Meg Hourihan and Jason Kottke tied the knot this week in New York City. Check the pics for some images of Six Apart’s Anil Dash and Gawker Media’s Nick Denton, among others…

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USA Today profiles Postsecret Blogger

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USA Today has profiled Postsecret founded (and blogger) Frank Warren:

Frank Warren is knee-deep in secrets: They’re overflowing boxes, piled on tables, leaning against walls – closing in on 30,000 at last estimate, and hundreds of new ones are arriving every week.

Warren is unperturbed; secrets have become his life. Not his secrets, mind you – America’s secrets. And they’re beginning to make him famous. He has become an award-winning blogger, a first-time author, an artist with a traveling exhibit, a possible documentary subject, the inspiration for a music video and the all-around media “it” boy of the moment.

Postsecret is one of my favorite websites – you just never know what you’re going to find when you load up the page.. happiness, mixed with joy and sadness…

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March 28, 2006

Is my blog HOT or NOT?

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Blog Hot or Not?

The boys over at Hot or Not? have come up with a new one: Blog Hot or Not?.

The idea of this site is twofold. One reason is to get some sort of ranking system on weblogs just like we have for people’s pictures. The other reason is to create a system that helps weblog writers find an audience, and for that audience to find new weblogs.

We won’t be implementing it here, but it could be a fun and entertaining site to play with from time to time.

God knows, Hot or Not certainly is…

i

Blog Business 101: Why you need Corporate Counsel

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Over at Blog Network Watch, I’ve penned a piece entitled Blog Business 101: Why you need Corporate Counsel. It contains some good lessons for newcomers to the Blog Network business who want to be taken seriously as a business.

In the last four months, we’ve relied on counsel’s advice a number of times to resolve issues both public and private. Sometimes these have been simple things, such as reviewing and editing our blogger contracts. But it’s that simple question.. has a lawyer reviewed your blogger contract.. that I think most blog networks would answer in the negative. And that’s where your trouble begins. Copyright issues, ownership of content issues (these are different questions), payments, obligations on either end, and so on.

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How to win friends and influence bloggers

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Steve Rubel writes of being criticized:

Over the weekend someone took a cheap shot at me, scored a lot of links and generated a lot of traffic to her blog on her very first post. Robert French summarizes the whole event here. The blog, which rhymes with Smurfette, is clearly going to dish out salty gossip and innuendo about the PR business, starting with me. The entire episode, which honestly I didn’t pay a lot of attention to, inspired me to revisit Carnegie’s classic. Carnegie’s tenets provide a solid reminder or two about how to take the high road in the blogosphere, which at time is a rough and tumble environment in a world filled with vile and meanness.

What follows is a summary of his ideas. My comments are in italics. Model these and you will go far in the blog world. I haven’t always followed this road, but it’s always been my intent to do so. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we all did?

One of my partners, and some of the readers, refer to this as snark. And perhaps it is. I’m certainly guilty of a few good cheap shots now and then – here and elsewhere.

Steve makes some good points in his post about how to go about winning friends in the blogosphere and finding ways to influence others – something perhaps all of us should take a look at from time to time – including me….

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Elections & Political Free Speech Safe in 2006

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Last week, I had reported that the US Federal Election Commission was about to issue new regulations for political speech during an election. This regulation could have wide-sweeping impact on bloggers and blogging around political topics this fall.

Wired Magazine covers the 6-0 vote, which comes down resoundingly on the side of free speech:

The Federal Election Commission decided Monday that the nation’s new campaign finance law will not apply to most political activity on the internet.

In a 6-0 vote, the commission decided to regulate only paid political ads placed on another person’s website.

The decision means that bloggers and online publications will not be covered by provisions of the new election law. Internet bloggers and individuals will therefore be able to use the internet to attack or support federal candidates without running afoul of campaign spending and contribution limits.

“It’s a win, win, win,” Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub said, adding that the rule would satisfy concerns of campaigns, individuals and the internet community about whether the campaign finance law applies to online political activity.

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March 27, 2006

Jimmy Wales launches Wikia

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Wikia Logo
Jimmy Wales, of Wikipedia fame, has launched Wikia, a new startup focused on community-based wikis. They’ve apparantly secured funding already from Bessemer.

Update: An official release is now up on the Wikia site.

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AdSense Blindness

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AdSense Blindness
The MIT Advertising Lab’s Blog points us to a upcoming study being released by Jakob Nielsen that will likely have impact how blogs are monetized:

Jakob Nielsen has conducted an eyetracking study of webpages and is planning a series of workshops to share the results. “Is “text-box blindness” getting to be as bad as “banner blindness”? We don’t know yet, but in our eyetracking study, users didn’t look at the Google ads in the right-hand margin of this page any more than they did banner ads.”

I think this continues to indicate that the tried and true methods of monetizing using Google’s Adsense or Yahoo’s Publisher Network programs does indeed work – move the ads closer to your content, blend in the backgrounds and the borders, and so on. I expect as Nielsen’s results and study become public that we’ll see more and more of that – and alot less right sidebars on blogs.

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March 26, 2006

$10,000 Daily via AdSense

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Andrew Johnson, over at The Web Publishing Blog has inteviewed Markus Frind, who makes $10,000 Daily from Google’s Adsense program:

In 2003 you made a post on WebmasterWorld where you said you were making $40 a day. At what point, either before or after this, did you recognize that you could generate a livable income, and beyond, through your own websites?

I knew the day adsense came out that i would be able to make a lot of money, suddenly here was this revenue stream i could actually build a business on. My site at that point only had a few hundred visitors a day and it was only a few months old. But my growth was steady and I could plot on a graph exactly how much traffic i’d have in 4 or 5 months in the future. This was the same time where i started doing mass anti competitive intelligence, i blocked anyone with the alexa toolbar from signing up and anyone using comscore. I figured if i was to have any chance i would need to stay completely under the radar, if no one knows you exist then no one is going to counter you or clone it.

What I found most interesting in this interview is that while Markus doesn’t necessarily cough up any great new secrets about using Adsense, he does talk about how to keep your competition from measuring some of the things that you’re doing by blocking Alexa and Comscore. It’s a great read.

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March 25, 2006

US finalizing Internet Regulations for Political Speech & Advertising

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Some might remember that last year, the US Federal Elections Commission began debating a set of regulations into how to apply election law and campaign finance reform law to blogs.

CNET is reporting that the decision has been made:

The Internet’s freewheeling days as a place exempt from the heavy hand of federal election laws are about to end.

Late Friday, the Federal Election Commission released a 96-page volume of Internet regulations that have been anticipated for more than a year and represent the government’s most extensive foray yet into describing how bloggers and Web sites must abide by election law restrictions.

The rules (click here for PDF) say that paid Web advertising, including banner ads and sponsored links on search engines, will be regulated like political advertising in other types of media. They also say bloggers can enjoy the freedoms of traditional news organizations when endorsing a candidate or engaging in political speech.

I will go on record stating that I’m opposed to these laws/regulations in any way, shape, or form. Although Blog Herald isn’t generally a place that we plan on posting about politics, we’ve written in the past about laws and candidates.

While this regulation purports to allow us the freedoms of news outlets, for which we are thankful, it’s clear that advertising restrictions will be in place and regulated like other political speech.

It will be interesting to see how these regulations read in their final form once approved by the FEC – and how much, if any, paperwork we’re going to be required to complete in order to be in compliance.

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