August 20, 2007

Blogger Mocks Boyfriend, Gets A Book Deal

While there are plenty of bloggers revealing the dirt on their “loved ones” (as one can tell by visiting MySpace), it’s not too often that you hear of an authors rants against her boyfriend leading to a book deal.

Zoe McCarthy from England started a weblog entitled “My Boyfriend is a Twat,” after her boyfriend apparently dared her to start posting her thoughts about him online.

It seems as if that dare has recently paid off, as Zoe has secured not only a book deal, but $10,000 as well.
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When Your Comment Inspires Posts

It’s exciting when a comment you make on a blog inspires the blogger to blog about it.

This recently happened to me when Zen Zoomie wrote How the Great Blogs Began: The First Posts, and my comment there lead to What Makes a Successful Blog as a response.

Over the years, I’ve tried to follow the why and the how a comment becomes inspiration for a blog post.

There are two issues at hand. There is commenting in a way that gets your comment blogged about, and then there is commenting in a way that gets you and your blog blogged about. Both are generated the same way.

Here are a few tips I’ve learned about writing a comment which inspires the blogger to blog about it, and, in turn, you.
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August 19, 2007

Podcast 2007.2: Chartruese returns and why unions for bloggers are a bad idea

Podcast 2007.2: Chartreuse returns and why unions for bloggers are a bad idea

A few weeks later than intended, we’re back with a look at the return of Chartreuse and the whole hubbub around unionizing bloggers.

You can subscribe directly to our podcast feed in order to receive our show each day that it is released. For iTunes users, you can subscribe directly via iTunes.

And now, on with the show. Notes after the jump….

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August 17, 2007

Performancing Announces News Theme

Filed as News with 2 comments

Each month, Performancing releases professionally-designed and developed free themes for WordPress. For this August, the team chose News Theme, a two-column layout developed in cooperation with Design Disease and produced by Soccerlens.

The theme intends to mimic the look and feel of a print magazine or newspaper, with paper-like upper and lower edges, which is quite suitable for blogs that want to put forth a newspaper-y type of image (aided by the display of the current date on the masthead).

The color scheme uses subtle shades of grey and blue, with the sidebar standing out with orange tints.

News Theme is a two-column theme with a horizontal navigation bar at the header, and space for details and links at the footer. This gives the site a clean look and feel, with a wide fixed-width main body and a sidebar wide enough to accommodate long link text or banners. The space on the header can also be used for horizontal banners.

As with other Performancing theme for WordPress releases, Performancing offers official support for the News theme via the support forums. Theme download and demo are available at the Performancing WordPress Themes site.

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What Is the Return on Your Investment in Social Media?

I was recently asked if signing up for a social linking service was “good” for the blogger.

How can I answer that?

First, what’s good for you as a blogger may not be good for me. How would I know what’s good for you?

Second, social media services are popping up all the time. Do they work? I don’t know. How much money has anyone honestly made from Twitter recently?

Hours a day are spent twittering, but does it really enhance your reputation, bring business through your virtual door, increase traffic and revenue on your blog, or just bring in money directly? Is it working for you, and only you? Or is it working for everyone?

You probably have a facebook, myspace, mybloglog, and numerous other social accounts in addition to your blog. How is that really working for you? Are these multiple services bringing in the traffic, and are they hanging around for good? Are they making you money? Are they building your reputation that brings in indirect income through consultation and services? Or are you neglecting your blog?

What about all those links you added to del.icio.us, Digg, Spurl, Furl, Reddit, and so on? Are they bringing in the traffic they once did? Are you still seeing the benefits? Or are the benefits now diluted because everyone is doing it and it’s so hard to find anything because there is so much too look through?

What about Technorati and all those tags you smeared all over your blog, which you thought would bring you a lot of traffic from Technorati. Does it still?

Does anyone use Technorati as a search engine or directory any more? Honestly. When you use it, you go looking for yourself, don’t you? You don’t begin your search there, do you? Do potential readers?
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10 Minute Blog Tips: Where to Invest Your Energy

Today I have been thinking about blog monetization. Over on my blog I wrote about if blogging is a good way to make money, here I would like to talk about the real trick to earning money from blogging.

The secret to earning money from blogs might seem strange to you but I am confident others who have achieved some measure of success would agree with me. What separates the winners from those who struggle?

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Blog Action Day – October 15th – Topic: The Environment

Filed as News with 9 comments

On October 15th, the first annual “Blog Action Day” will take place, offering an opportunity for bloggers around the world to write about a common subject in whatever way is appropriate to them and their blog.

For its first year, the topic is “the environment”, and the organisers suggest three ways of getting involved:

  1. Post on your blog relating to the environment
  2. Donate your day’s earnings to an environmental charity
  3. Promote Blog Action Day around the web

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August 16, 2007

US ISP modifies then shuts down Iranian blog, raising privacy and censorship concerns

Filed as News with no comments

Global Voices writes a lengthy news piece concerning the Iranian blogger Hossein Derakhshan (aka Hoder) whose blog has suffered censorship at the hands of the US based hosting company “Hosting Matters”.

The main gist of this particular story, which I hadn’t been following until now, seems to be:

  • Lawyers representing Mehdi Khalaji, from The Washington Institute, complain to the ISP (not to a court) of alleged defamatory content posted on Hoder’s blog.
  • ISP sends a request to Hoder that the post in question be removed, and no further mention is made of Khalaji:

    we have found that the material and commentary fall into a grey area regarding the allegations made by the complainant. The most prudent course of action, whether the allegations of defamation are valid or not in this instance, is to remove the material from the site.

    While we do not agree with the assessment as it relates to the latest post you have made, we do not have the time, interest, or resources to invest in continually dealing with his complaints and to review your site. Please remove that post and refrain from mentioning this person in any form on the site you host within this network.

  • Khalaji’s lawyers request the IP addresses of anyone visiting the blog. Whether the ISP complied isn’t clear.
  • Last week, Derakhshan claims that his hosting company “removed, from my web serve and even my blogging software’s database, any post where Mehdi Khalaji was named in English.”
  • The ISP finally shuts down Hoder’s site.

Regardless of the specifics of this case, the whole episode raises alarm bells.

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Time Wasting Blog Comments, Comments Policies, and Comment Etiquette

In Terms of Use and Universal Comment Link Philosophy, guest blogger, John Pozadzides, laments the need for a comments policy on your blog:

…for the last several days my blog was being absolutely accosted by what seemed to be terrible, evil comment spammers, and the Marine in me was ready to go on the warpath. All of these comments started showing up (like 100 per day) with commercial URLs in place of the Author link, and we were deleting them left and right.

…Then some of the new visitors who had been commenting profusely started questioning why all of their posts were being deleted both in the blog’s comments and via the contact form.

At first I just couldn’t believe I needed to explain why they were being moderated. But it turns out that these visitors were completely unaware that they were violating basic blog etiquette. So I instated (and then clarified) some Terms of Use on the blog and lo and behold much of the problem seems to have gone away.

This got me thinking – why don’t all blogs have Terms of Use posted on them? I mean, are we expecting commenters to just know by osmosis what they should and should not be doing?

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August 15, 2007

WordPress Wednesday News: Awesome WordPress Plugins in the Weblog Tools Collection Competition, WordPressMU Updated, Theme Security Issues, and More WordPress News

Go vote for WordPress Plugins on the Weblog Tools Collection Competition. WordPressMU is updated. Have you checked your WordPress Theme out for security issues? Have you updated it and your WordPress Plugins? A mandatory WordPress Security update has been released. And more WordPress news.
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