April 18, 2006

When your content gets stolen…

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What does a blogger do when their content gets stolen?

Lorelle has a great post up outlining the steps one should take – and coming to realization that inevitably, if your content is any good, someone is going to steal it:

Having been the target of copyright thieves, and working with writers, authors, and photographers on copyright protection and laws for over 25 years, I thought I’€™d talk a little about what to do when someone steals your content.

First, you noticed that I didn’€™t say ‘€œif’€? someone steals your content. That was on purpose. With the glut of information on the Internet, it’€™s now a matter of ‘€œwhen’€? not ‘€œif’€?.

Since we acquired The Blog Herald in February, we’ve averaged 4-5 content theft / improper repurposing of content each month. In some cases, a simple email addressed to the domain holder solves the problem. In about 1/3rd of the cases, we are forced to followup with a DMCA Takedown Notice sent to their hosting provider or ISP. This gets quick results as long as the hosting company is based in the United States.

Not too long ago, Feedburner, our feed hosting provider, began providing reports of uncommon feed usages. This is helped tremendously in identifying and tracking down the scoundrels that repurpose our feeds.

Are you watching your feeds?

i

Dave Winer announces BloggerCon IV

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In a post on Scripting News, Dave Winer has announced BloggerCon IV:

Let’s do BloggerCon IV in San Francisco, the week of June 19. If you have office space we can use in San Francisco’s business district or South of Market, please post a comment, or send an email. I’m thinking about a distributed multi-track conference over two days (Friday and Saturday?), covering a very wide range of interests to bloggers, podcasters, journalists, broadcasters, academics, librarians, programmers, business people, entrepreneurs, investors, retirees and students, and everyone else. An all-inclusive, no invitation required, $0, everyone welcome, free-for-all unconference of idea sharing and whoopee-making!

The long-dormant BloggerCon site has the official announcement:

The goal of the conference is to bring together people who wish to talk about the art and science of blogging, podcasting, video, syndication, unconferences, and related topics. Contexts for discussion will include politics, academia, libraries, publishing, and… ?

In 2004, I attended BloggerCon II at Harvard University – which was my first attendance at a professional blogging conference. For those of you used to going to trade shows where you sit quietly while others up on stage discuss and debate without audience participation, you’ll be quite suprised at Dave’s concept of an “Unconference”. Pleasantly suprised that is.

BloggerCon is a unique and fun experience that is well worth attending. Besides, where else can you sit between John Perry Barlow and Jason Calacanis with arguing with Jeff Jarvis in front of you while Winer is upfront preaching his gospel.

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Elliott Back profiles Top 10 Best Designed Blogs

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In the pursuit of beauty in blogs, Elliott Back profiles what he says are the Top 10 Best Designed Blogs:

When you’€™re looking for the next leader in web 2.0 blog design, Hicks starts to look a little too plain, Santa Maria wicked-worn out, and Zeldman like something you might print out, not read online. Where are the leaders of modern blog design?

The particular platform (WP, Moveable Type, Typepad, Handcoded) doesn’€™t matter. It’€™s what you do with it that counts. This isn’€™t about prettiest blog, or the best written blog. This is a list of the most groundbreaking, cutting edge blogs out there. You see these blogs and cry, because they’€™re creatures of fierce untameable beauty.

It’s hard to argue with some of his choices, Ordered List has long been one of my favorites, and his WP Plugins are at home in many of our blogs at BlogMedia. The Big Noob, while perhaps overusing blue, has a unique & clean look & feel. Bryan Veluso’s Avalonstar has always been a thing of beauty.

If you’re looking for great design, there’s usually not much need to look further than the members of 9rules. I haven’t seen an ugly blog over there yet.

i

Backfence acquires Dan Gillmor’s Bayosphere

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Backfence Logo

It was a few years back that Dan Gillmor, one of the early proponents of blogging and online media, left his career as a print journalist to launch a Citizens Media service, which over time became Bayosphere.

Today, Dan announces that Bayosphere

By now you may have heard about the new direction that Bayosphere is about to take. The folks at Backfence, a community information network based in the Washington, D.C., area, are expanding and have offered to continue our operations here under their wing. My business partner, Michael Goff, and I made the decision with our investors. We all agreed that this was the best possible outcome of several alternatives.

Blogging as a whole represents citizen’s media – it’s the only place I’m aware of where a relatively unknown Navy Lt. can become an influential milblogger. Or a place where a completely unknown Army soldier can become a bestselling author after returning from Iraq – or where a fat balding guy like me in Minnesota can write seriously about blog networks and a blogger from Biziki in the Phillipines can opine about small business & business leadership.

It will be interesting to see where Dan and his team go in the future with Bayosphere as a part of Backfence.

Other coverage: Business Week Online

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Blogging helps prevent Alzheimer’s

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According to USA Today, blogging can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease:

Research on animals and humans suggests mentally challenging activities such as playing bridge, learning a new language or even blogging might help build new connections in the brain, says Molly Wagster at the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health.

This reminds me of what my grandparents always perceived as retirement syndrome. Their contemporaries would retire, find themselves at home without a job or many hobbies, and they would soon pass away.

My grandfather retired after a long career as a police officer, rising to become Deputy Police Chief, and then started a new career as Chief of Security at the local college. My grandmother became a regionally famous painter in both oil and china – leaving behind a beautiful collection when she passed in 1996.

They both stayed sharp until the day they died because they were engaged in being alive.

Blogging is a way to stay sharp and curious – to stay engaged in being alive. And might just be a good way to prevent Alzheimer’s.

i

April 17, 2006

Dave Sifry: Blogosphere is 60x larger today than 3 years ago

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Dave Sifry, CEO of Technorati, has posted Part I of his quarterly State of the Blogosphere at his site.

Leading off with this major headline, Sifry outlines the continuing onslaught of the blogosphere:

I continue to marvel at it, but the blogosphere continues to grow at a quickening pace. Technorati currently tracks 35.3 Million weblogs, and the blogosphere we track continues to double about every 6 months

Sifry goes on to outline some other significant metrics:

  • 75,000 new blogs created daily
  • 3.9m bloggers update at least once weekly
  • Technorati is tracking approximately 50,000 posts an hour
  • 19.4m bloggers are still blogging today after starting at least 3 months ago

Other parts of the State of the Blogosphere should be posted soon providing more in-depth analysis of some factors.

Mark Evans comments thoughtfully on Sifry’s report:

While Sifry’s take on the blogosphere provides an intriguing snapshot of what’s happening, it will be far more interesting to see how the business of blogs evolves this year. The Centre for Media Research recently published a forecast of advertising growth on blogs over the next five years – see my post here. As more advertising gravitates to the blogosphere, most of it will likely flow to Big Media blogs and blog networks such as John Battelle’s Federated Media. It will also be interesting to see the growth of podcasts and video-blogs as the tools to create them become even more user-friendly.

My own prediction: blogging will continue to grow in the coming year, but podcasts and videoblogging will pick up steam.

LIke Mark states in his post above, 2006 will be the year that big media moves into the blogosphere – and we’ve already seen the beginning of that with AOL’s acquisition of Weblogs, Inc and the launch of mini-blog networks by the BBC and NY Times. Hopefully, it will be a year of continued success for blog networks!

Other coverage: Media Buyer Planner, Qumana, Steve Rubel, Blogger’s Blog, and our favorite tech.memorandum.

i

Akismet for Movable Type Released

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Newly VC funded Automattic has released a version of their Akismet anti-spam package for Movable Type:

It still isn’t 100% to where we want it, as interactions with MT’s built-in spam filters and options can negate Akismet’s effectiveness, but we feel it’s now to a point where it can provide a much better protection than MT users are getting currently.

Problogger’s Aaron Brazell appears to think highly of Akismet:

When I installed Akismet at Technosailor, I was truly amazed at how well it handled spam. Literally, I went to maybe one comment a month that needed to be moderated. That was with no comment moderation enabled (save Akismet’€™s), and only Akismet installed as an anti-spam plugin. I was truly amazed.

All of our WordPress sites that are upgraded to WordPress 2.0 are using Akismet. I installed Akismet for MT last night and have already noticed a reduction in spam comments – we’re hoping that this trend continues.

i

Blogger arrested for Murder in Oklahoma

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Kevin Underwood

Kevin Ray Underwood, who apparantly blogs at Google’s Blogspot / Blogge service, was arrested and charged on Friday with the murder of his ten year old neighbor.

In his blog, Underwood wrote some worrisome entries, such as this one from 2004:

The first blog makes me want to kill people. Speaking of killing people…
(…)
Yesterday I was really depressed the entire day. I was so depressed yesterday, it was one off those times where I’m so depressed that my chest hurts. I wonder if that happens to anybody else? When I get really depressed that happens to me. Like usual, the main thing I’ve been getting depressed about lately is my lack of a sex life.

I mean it, I really need a girlfriend. It’s not just depressing anymore, it’s actually starting to have a negative effect on my mental state I think. For example, my fantasies are just getting weirder and weirder. Dangerously weird. If people knew the kinds of things I think about anymore, I’d probably be locked away. No probably about it, I know I would be.

Underwood is being held in Purcell, Oklahoma and will face a judge on Monday morning for the first time.

There’s some great in-depth coverage over at Look Who’s Talking Now.

i

Angry Bloggers

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Angry Liberal Blogger
Saturdays’s Washington Post profiled angry left bloggers who are using blogs to vent their outrage:

In the angry life of Maryscott O’Connor, the rage begins as soon as she opens her eyes and realizes that her president is still George W. Bush. The sun has yet to rise and her family is asleep, but no matter; as soon as the realization kicks in, O’Connor, 37, is out of bed and heading toward her computer.

Out there, awaiting her building fury: the Angry Left, where O’Connor’s reputation is as one of the angriest of all. “One long, sustained scream” is how she describes the writing she does for various Web logs, as she wonders what she should scream about this day.

The article goes on to profile many liberal bloggers in the United States, including Duncan Black’s Eschaton, the Daily Kos, and

The reality is that there are angry bloggers on both the left and the right in the United States. There are also angry centrist bloggers and angry libertarian bloggs – and then there are just angry people in general.

But my observation is that the angry left is really pissed off. Some examples from the article include:

Meanwhile, over on Eschaton, Dave is writing, “As a matter of fact — I do hate Bush!”

On Rude Pundit: “George W. Bush is the anti-Midas. Everything he touches turns to [expletive].”

On the Smirking Chimp: “I. Despise. These. [Expletive]!”

And my advice to O’Connor is to never allow a photo like that to be taken of you for a major article like this.

i

April 16, 2006

Scoble Changes Comment Policy

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Robert Scoble has changed his comment policy and will no longer permit non-family friendly comments on his blog.

It was about a year ago that a friend of mine became the subject of a comment war on Scoble’s blog because someone who was apparantly an ex-employee of his started posted negative comments after my buddy had posted a comment on Scoble’s blog. My friend contacted Scoble who refused to remove the comments, citing his comment policy at the time.

I welcome the change – but wish it had happened a year ago. I encourage bloggers to have an atmosphere that invites debate, yet keeps things at least somewhat civil.

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