November 29, 2007

WordPress Wednesday News: Will You Turn Off Akismet? WordPress 2.4 Delayed, and More WordPress News

Are you willing to turn off all comment spam protection for one day? Akismet challenges you to take the chance! WordPress 2.4 delayed. Security issues over Plugins and cookies. Want instant reply and easy management of your blog comments? Did you know Automattic now supports some great WordPress Plugins? And more WordPress news.

WordPress News

Akismet Answering Comment Spam Questions: Mark is answering questions about comment spam on the Akismet blog, beginning with It really is spam?. He explains what comment spam used to look like, and how it is grown, and covers important points you need to know about including how the nofollow doesn’t work, comment spam/trackback spam association, spam economics, pingbacks/trackbacks and content theft, and how Akismet works best when we all work together.

He also adds that Jesper Rønn-Jensen is turning off all comment spam protection on December 15 to experience what it is really like to go without Akismet for just 24 hours. Mark invites you to have your own Turn Off Akismet Day, maybe even on the same day, just to remember what life would be like without Akismet. Then report in.

WordPress 2.4 Will Be Released January 24, 2008: Ryan Boren announced that WordPress 2.4 will now be released on January 24th instead of December 12, 2007. WordPress 2.4 will feature the new Administration Panels design, which will change the way the backend of WordPress works.

WordPress on Your Calendar: Here are some WordPress-related dates and events to put on your calendar as found on the WordPress Roadmap and the WordPress Meetup Group Listings (subject to change):
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November 28, 2007

nextMEDIA: Online and Mobile Media

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This is continuing coverage of the nextMEDIA conference in Toronto. To find all the posts related to nextMEDIA, check out Splashpress’ Blog

The second session I attended was the Online and Mobile Media session, which was a panel discussion moderated by Robert Montgomery, CEO of Achilles Media.

In the panel were Kurt Kratchman, Chief Strategy Officer of Schematic, John Hadi, CEO of Brand in Hand, and Jeffrey Stier, Director of Business Growth at J. Walter Thompson’s Sector 7.

Early on, it was said that this session should have been entitled, “show me the money”, as it focused on how and why people are monetizing digital media.

The discussion started off with how television has moved to the web, with ABC being the first to jump on board with both feet and present full episodes via their website. It was an aggressive move for ABC, but they saw a return of fifteen times their investment in only nine months.

The online advertising platform has allowed them to create interactive, and interesting advertising that is nearly a website on top of the video.

It reminded me of intrusive advertising in the past, but I believe, unlike with most text content, users will be willing to deal with such advertising to enjoy their favourite television and video programming online.

What they did say though is that putting a thirty second spot, in the middle of a video is no good, as users don’t connect with the advertisement, and find it annoying.

This is something well known to most people though, as even television users continue to shun the thirty second spot, by skipping it on their TiVo like devices.

It was also noted that the web is better for advertisers than many other mediums as you could control what time of day things are show, as well as making sure to push each user to local contacts, distributors and dealers.

Another point that resonated well with me was that the “pay for download model is basically dead” including subscription models. Personally, I think what Revision3 did with their members getting premiere access, and bonus features is very close to a normal subscription option, but they found a way to make it work. I think other video services, could also do something in this space to innovate, and I look forward to seeing what happens over the coming years.

In the sixties, you could reach 80% of the population by putting a sixty second advertisement on the top three television networks. Today, it would take 120 prime time commercials to produce a similar result.

Virtually no one today is able provide any form of playback, or details from the ads they have seen without some form of aide, be it visual or otherwise.

Basically, it looked to me like all of these people knew that the online space, be it video or otherwise is very exciting, and while they are trying to tap the audience, they are having difficulty. They showed some great promotions and marketing campaigns they have tried, that produced amazing results, but it doesn’t seem like there is any formula for advertising online to gain a certain minimum response.

The takeaway from this session really seemed to be that we should all be tring various things out, producing ideas on the web can be fairly inexpensive, and one of them might just go viral, taking the message to a much larger audience than most expensive, structured, online campaigns.

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Are You Rushing Your Blog?

A recurring theme from people who contact me through my blog or post in blogging forum threads is that bloggers are often frustrated at their own apparent lack of progress.

You will see the same advice is often given. Make sure you have a good foundation of flagship content. Get yourself out there, be useful, and most of all give it time.

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Taking Social Responsibility for Your Ads

TechCrunch pulled an interesting stunt the other day, asking the readers if they should accept advertising from PayPerPost, er, Izea, for their new RateRank product. A poll, which got 3,437 votes – a pretty puny number given that TechCrunch’s got 626k+ readers according to the FeedBurner badget – said no, and so the answer from TechCrunch to Izea was no.

I’m all for reader integration like this, Wisdump readers know that, but I’m also a bit curious as to how Michael Arrington reasoned here. He voted “no” himself according to the post, and that should be the end of story, right?

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November 27, 2007

What Makes Bloggers Want to Link to You?

The most critical factors in building relationships with your readers is getting them to read and getting them to link. So how do you make your blog posts linkable?

Spreading the Word

Personally, I don’t believe in “spreading the word” about a blog post I’ve written. I like them to be naturally found, discovered – if you will – as part of the magic of the peer-driven, social aspect of the web. I want people to find my blog posts and want to write about them because they meet a personal need. Not because they were thrown in people’s faces.

Unfortunately, most bloggers want that “thrown” effect.
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How to Handle a Blogging Slump

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When you start out blogging, you’re full of energy and ideas, and it’s hard to imagine that enthusiasm ever waning, but ask almost everyone who’s been blogging for a long time, and they’ll tell you that it does. Suddenly, where you once had seemingly endless articles waiting to be written, you feel like you have nothing to post about and not much interest in writing anyway. What do you do when you hit one of these blogging slumps?

There are several ways to approach it:

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Three Steps to Building Your Own Conspiracy Theory

To complete this series on conspiracy theories and blogs, I’ve invited one of my dearest friends, Nancy Bixler, a public speaking teacher and doctoral candidate in Rhetoric, to help you learn how to develop your own conspiracy theory, or keep one going, on your blog. I chose her because she abhors bad reasoning, but enjoys explaining the inner workings of a good conspiracy theory. Nancy offers a three step plan for building your own conspiracy theory on your blog.

By Nancy Bixler

Do you want to put forward a conspiracy theory of your own on your blog? Perhaps you suspect that the CIA and U.S. government, in an unholy union with Muammar al-Qaddafi, are, for nefarious reasons of their own, raising the taxes of middle class U.S. citizens to fund AIDS research in Libya. Or that the Catholic Church, environmentalists, the PLO, or [fill in the blank] are working underground to [fill in the blank] put hallucinogens into the local water supply, make burping in public a capitol offense, or suppress a cure for warts. No doubt they have their methods and motives.

It’s your job, as a buddying conspiracy theorist, to find some troubling elements of life that, so far (in your opinion) lack an explanation and point out the ways the hidden conspirators plan to achieve their aim. With tongue firmly in cheek, let’s look at how to create a conspiracy theory, and if all else fails, you can make your own conspiracy theory with a conspiracy theory online.
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November 26, 2007

The 6 Steps to Stop Content Theft

With spammers and plagiarists becoming more prolific and more aggressive than ever, content theft is no longer a matter of “if”, but “when”.

Where once protecting content was the realm of lawyers and billion-dollar industries, it is now important for Webmasters, large and small, to be familiar with both the laws and the tools available for dealing with content theft.

Fortunately, the steps for fighting plagiarism are easy to follow and, for the most part, the tools are free and readily available.

If you take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the process and technology, you can become a champion plagiarism fighter in short order and get back to the business of running your site before you realize how effective you’ve become.

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Does Your Blog Interface Influence How You Blog?

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There are many different ways to write a blog posts. Some people prefer a simple text editor, an offline blogging tool or simply the write post area of your blog software. There are so many tools available that it is a matter of trying to find the right one for your personal posting pattern.

I am still trying to find the perfect writing environment. I often use a no-nonsense simple text editor, or a program such as Dark Room (Windows) or WriteRoom (Mac) that provides me with a full-screen, semi-distraction free writing environment. But because these programs are so basic it means that I will have to manually insert all the links. Am I lazy? What about the oldskool bloggers that manually coded their whole blog?

Blog software spoiled me.

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November 24, 2007

Have Trackbacks Become Too Spammy To Be Worthwhile?

You may have also discovered a surge in trackback spam recently as autoblogging software is being used by more and more spammers to reach out and cull RSS feeds.  This phenomenon has led to many disabling trackbacks, or raising the “blacklist” level so high that you might never see some trackbacks again.  Or, as some newer remotely-hosted commenting technologies like IntenseDebate and Disqus show, they simply do not show trackbacks because of the spam problem.

[As an aside, that's not to say that they will never implement it; I have it on good account that Disqus will probably implement it as soon as they *can* find a way to clean up the spam-detecting components in the trackback issue.]

The problem is that in my own blogging success, I have found trackbacks to be instrumental.

Here’s how.

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