April 22, 2006

Performancing v1.2

Filed as News with Comments Off

Performancing has released version 1.2 of their Firefox plugin for blogging:

After a great beta run, we are pleased to announce the release of Performancing for Firefox 1.2.

We hope you enjoy this release, as it brings some more key functionallity and stability to performancing to make your blogging even better.

I tested their earlier versions for use on both my Mac and my PC with great success. I’m too old school though to use this plugin on a daily basis. It has gathered quite a following though and several of our bloggers here at BlogMedia use it regularly.

i

April 21, 2006

Wired has an Idiocy Problem

Filed as News with 5 comments

I’ve always been a fan of Wired News. Ever since the early geek days when the cypherpunks ruled the cover of Wired Magazine, it’s been the solution to my never-ending quest for more geeky news on the bleeding edge of technology.

This week, Wired News publishes the results of a comparison between the California Sex Offender Database and MySpace users and comes up with the easily predictable results:

Wired News ran the names of randomly selected registered sex offenders in San Francisco and neighboring Sonoma County through MySpace’s user search engine, and turned up no fewer than five men whose self-reported names, photographs, ages, astrological signs, locations and (in two instances) heights matched those of profiles on the state’s online sex offender registry.

In two additional cases, the information posted on MySpace was sufficient to suggest a probable but not certain match. Repeated e-mails to all seven men through MySpace were not answered.

On the surface, this article appears to be nothing more than yet another attempt to attack the popular social networking service with hints of a ‘criminal problem’, which has been a popular angle in recent weeks. After spending time reading the article, I’m convinced that it’s nothing more than another hatchet job against MySpace.

Criminals will always use whatever technology is available to them in order to commit their criminal acts. As one commenter noted in their comment on the post at wired.com, 97% of sexual offenders have a telephone, should they have to disclose the fact that they’re a convicted sex offender whenever they answer the phone – or make a phone call?

As a former criminal justice professional, I’ve always had a problem with sex offender registration lists. I believe that registration leads to community ostracism and potential violence or ‘shunning’ of a person who has already served time for their offense. Yes, I’m well aware that the recidivism rate for sex offenders is very high – but so is the recidivism rate for criminals in general.

This problem isn’t MySpace’s problem. What does the author expect them to do? Ban all sex offenders? Conduct a background check before someone can blog?

i

TV Guide joins the world of Blog Networks

Filed as General with Comments Off

TV Guide Logo

We reported this morning on Blog Network Watch that TV Guide has launched a blog network:

TV Guide has launched a blog network with more than 60 blogs.

The blogs are organized into ‘Expert Blogs’, News, Celebrities, and a few other categories.

i

CIA Monitoring Blogs

Filed as News with 1 comment

Hot on the heels of our post earlier this week about corporate blog monitoring, the Washington Times reveals that the CIA is now tracking blogs and other ‘open source’ intelligence resources:

President Bush and U.S. policy-makers are receiving more intelligence from open sources such as Internet blogs and foreign newspapers than they previously did, senior intelligence officials said.
The new Open Source Center (OSC) at CIA headquarters recently stepped up data collection and analysis based on bloggers worldwide and is developing new methods to gauge the reliability of the content, said OSC Director Douglas J. Naquin.
“A lot of blogs now have become very big on the Internet, and we’re getting a lot of rich information on blogs that are telling us a lot about social perspectives and everything from what the general feeling is to … people putting information on there that doesn’t exist anywhere else,” Mr. Naquin told The Washington Times.

I guess it should have been obvious to an educated reader that the CIA and other intelligence agencies were using resources like blogs for information, but apparantly some see this as part of a larger conspiracy:

Translation: Government is monitoring bloggers’ content and reporting information to local police as well as federal government agencies.

Or this little tidbit:

They can’€™t be much less reliable than the CIA itself, which was clueless about 9/11 and WMDs in Iraq, just to mention a couple of recent fiascos. Maybe reading a few blogs will improve their performance.

i

April 20, 2006

Pope Benedict, Jason Calacanis, Eyeballs, and Audiences.

Filed as News with 5 comments

I am not Catholic. In fact, I’m far from it.

But there’s something about the church mystique that has always attracted me. Ceremony, pomp, strongly held beliefs, and sometimes a strong sense of identity.

Pope Benedict, who came into office last year after the death of the beloved Pope John Paul II, is widely considered to be a man of very strong beliefs – and was known for being the ideological force behind John Paul II’s papacy.

Something that he said came to mind this morning while I was skimming a discussion over at Chartreuse again.

In a setting not long after coming to office last year, Benedict spoke about how the church may shrink in the days ahead:

We will have to accept that many who call themselves Catholic will leave the Church when the whole faith is preached including subjects eagerly avoided by too many Western clerics: no contraception, no sex outside of marriage, no gay civil unions or “marriages,” no ordained women. In that sense, the Church, especially in the affluent West, will become even smaller, less wealthy, less imposing in terms of assets and institutional affiliations. But, at the same time, the Church is then freed to preach the whole truth, to be challenging, to be heroic: to be herself.

In a time and place where we seem to measure everything, Benedict was willing to accept a smaller church in order to have a church that is more aligned with its own interests. To be true to thine’s self

At this point, you’re reading and wondering, what does this have to do with blogging?

Simple.

On Char’s blog last night, Weblogs, Inc. CEO Jason Calacanis left this comment in a post from last month:

>> Audience is the new cash.

How old are you 25?

We did this back in 94/95’€¦ audience was called eyeballs back then. Folks who counted eyeballs crashed and burned. Folks who focused on earnings won.

For real’€¦

Amen, brother. Amen.

For all of the preaching about what Web 2.0 is… or what blogging is.. or how some blogs are losing traffic.. or other blogs are gaining traffic.. or what Alexa says.. or what a critic has to say.. or one more person talking about eyeballs and audience instead of th metrics that really count.. which are revenue & profitibility.

I’m willing to accept less traffic in order to get at the audience I really want..and in doing so increase our earnings.

But hey, I’m a business guy, what do I know.

Tags:

i

Screw benchmarking your competition

Filed as News with Comments Off

It’s no suprise that I’m a fan of Apple computers. For three years now, my principal work machines have been some version of an Apple Powerbook – backed up by a PowerMac G4 on my desk.

I admire their sleek design, the beauty of the OS X operating system, and how everything just works.

But as an admirer of great design, I really love their retail stores. They’re neat, clean, organized, hip, focus on the product, and they’re just damn cool.

Which is why a recent article in Chain Store Age magazine caught my eye:

In developing the Apple store, Johnson took a lesson from designer Michael Graves. When Graves was creating his home line for Target, Johnson took him to a trade show in Germany to look at housewares. After politely walking the show, Graves told Johnson that he really wasn’€™t interested in looking at anyone else’€™s work. Imagination wasn’€™t to be found in what others did or in benchmarking, Graves said, but in getting inside yourself and imagining what could be. Johnson set himself to imagining what an Apple store could be.

I draw a parallel about Michael Graves’s comment to my approach with blogging and, in a broader sense, BlogMedia. Choosing to blog will bring you all sorts of applause and criticisms. The more traffic you get, the more successful that you are, the more you threaten the status quo, the more criticism that you’ll face.

Part of your success, of course, will depend on how you choose to respond to that criticism.

But the real message from Graves is that who cares what your competition is doing? Who cares what everyone else is hawking? Who cares what your critics are saying?

Follow your heart. The rest will come.

Many see things as they are.. and ask why?

I dream of things that never were and say why not?

Robert F. Kennedy

Tags:

i

Can Bloggers Make Money? Hell yeah.

Filed as General, News with 2 comments

The Wall Street Journal Online held an online debate of sorts between Weblogs, Inc. CEO Jason Calacanis and Jupiter Media’s Alan Meckler over the topic of whether or not bloggers can make money.

A brief snippet:

Alan Meckler writes:

Jason, good stuff as usual for one so sharp and original! But look at the number you have in your reply — 500,000 per month (page views) is virtually unattainable for 99.999% of all bloggers.

My blog only gets about 300,000 per month — so with your model I might make enough money per month to buy a candy bar. And I have the advantage of getting promotion through the Internet.com home page as well as many links to other bloggers.

Your concepts are good, but once again only for a selected few.

The blogosphere is alive with discussion about the debate.

One of the more insightful posts comes from Duncan Riley:

The truth, of course, is some where in between. Meckler is right when he says 99.99% of bloggers aren’€™t going to make any serious money, but lets consider the fact that even if 0.01% are, that’€™s roughly 20,000 people out there who are going to make serious money from blogging.

I think the real lesson here is that most folks blog for fun – to entertain themselves, their families, and so on. Only a few are blogging for profit – or as a part of a business. And as I’ve said before, most of those businesses don’t have a plan (or much of a clue) of how they’re going to grow and monetize their blogging.

But is there money to be made in blogging? Oh yes, there is…

Tags:

i

April 19, 2006

E-Mail Comment Option for Blogs?

Filed as General with 3 comments

Barry Bell asks if allowing your readers to subscribe to comments via email is a good idea or not?

One one hand, it’€™s convenient for your readers. They don’€™t need to keep checking back at your blog to see if anyone’€™s replied to the comment they just left, or to see whether anyone else has had anything insightful to say.

But hang on. With a blog like Chartreuse, some of the best stuff happens in the comments, and if I’€™m taking part in a discussion over there, I’€™m checking the page every 15 minutes to see if anyone’€™s snaking me. And I doubt that I’€™m the only one. But is that because there’€™s no subscribe by email button? Probably.

Plus, if everyone’€™s doing it, then Char (and a bunch of similar blogs) are racking up a pile of extra pageviews that are tasty advertiser-fodder.

Clever.

The subscribe via email option for The Blog Herald was in place when we acquired the blog from Duncan earlier this year. I can’t say I ever thought about disabling the option.

On the flip side, I’m an avid reader of Chartreuse and often subscrbe to his comments so that I can keep up with what’s happening there during the day. And as Char will tell you, “the action is in the comments”.

I am out and about alot during the day and keep in touch using a Treo 650 Smartphone. I can’t really run a decent feedreader on it or browse webpages at anything resembling what I’m used to from the office, so the email subscription helps keep me in touch.

But the email interaction leaves alot to be desired. It’s easier to read comments the way that God intended – on the webpage, as a part of a conversation, with the response mechanism right there so that the conversation can continue.

But in the middle of a hot comment thread that you want to keep up with – you can’t beat the email notification.

i

Bloggers are Full of Crap

Filed as General with 1 comment

Our friends at Those Bastards point to an article in The Guardian stating that, essentially, bloggers are full of crap:

Bloggers and internet pundits are exerting a “disproportionately large influence” on society, according to a report by a technology research company. Its study suggests that although “active” web users make up only a small proportion of Europe’s online population, they are increasingly dominating public conversations and creating business trends.

I guess we could look at this in two different ways.

In the context of the world at large, any pundit with a large enough audience can exert a disproportionately large influence on their target audience. Radio show megamouths like Rush Limbaugh, Al Franken, Sean Hannity, or any number of others are essentially professionally pissed off people with a large audience. With enough motivation and repetition, any one of these guys can stir up a hornet’s nest out of nothing.

Blogs really aren’t any different.

I think back to an incident a few weeks ago where someone had stolen the design of one of the more popular blogs in the “Professional Blogging” circle. A couple of nasty posts later by some major blogs – the story caught fire – and within a few hours the stolen design was gone and replaced with a boring old template.

But to a point made by Those Bastards, any person who looks at the blogosphere and thinks that places like Daily Kos truly represent the United States or the blogosphere as a whole is dumber than they look.

i

Corporate Blog Monitoring

Filed as General with 3 comments

At /Message, Stowe Boyd comments on the rise of the corporate blog monitor:

I think it is more likely that a role analogous to press relations will arise: blog relations. These folks will keep tabs on Blogpulse and Technorati, to see what is going down, but they will also maintain and active and on-going relationship with the major bloggers in their sector.

I know of several major corporations in the midwest that are doing something similar to this currently.

At least one Fortune 500 company I’ve advised recently is using Buzzmetrics in order to monitor blogs and produce a daily intelligence report that is shared amongst a few hundred senior executives and decision makers within the corporation.

Another Fortune 500 company I’ve talked with recently is using Bloglines along with a large list of query feeds from sites like Technorati, Feedster, and Pubsub to monitor thousands of keywords and then distill this into daily intelligence and “pulse” information that’s useful to them. This is a large corporation that has its own business intelligence team to track this information down each day.

I’m more of a fan of the in-house solution rather than outsourcing the process – I think one good business intelligence anlayst is worth their weight in gold.

While many corporations are doing blog monitoring in various ways, I’ve yet to see a corporation truly engage the blogosphere in a way that gets me hot and bothered. Sure all of the Web 2.0 groups do it – but when is a Fortune 500 CEO going to hit the blog and do it consistently – without the media handlers? When will the Executive Vice President, Marketing get up and talk about what they’re doing on a blog.. or perhaps more interesting, when will a major CFO start blogging and tell the truth about Sarbanes-Oxley and the serious pain in the arse it is to comply with…

The opportunity is there… waiting to be seized.. Don’t be afraid…

i