September 30, 2008

Blog Scams: There Is Nothing Like This Anywhere

I hate hyperbole, and what really infuriates me are claims that “there is nothing like this anywhere!” Oh, really.

With the modern treasure trove called search engines, there is little left in the world that can’t be found, and odds are that your original, can’t be found anywhere, is findable. Have you looked?

A few months ago, a WordPress Plugin author claimed that he had the first Plugin of this kind. I knew of three others published over the past few years that did the same thing, and two did it better. I didn’t need a search engine to find that out, but why didn’t he search first before making the claim?

A day later, a WordPress Theme designer told me that he’d designed a Theme that was such an original, he bet me I couldn’t find anything similar. I found over twenty five similar Themes with a Google search before calling it quits.

Another blogger bragged to me that he was going to hold a contest unlike any other contest. No one in the world had ever done anything like it. When I told him that two similar contests were held over the past couple years exactly like his, one was a success and the other a failure, he was really angry at me for taking the wind out of his sails. I wished him good luck anyway. Maybe his would work, but bragging about it as the “only one of its kind” isn’t the truth. read more

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AOL launches Digital City: “a new approach to geo-blogging”

Filed as News with no comments

AOL has announced the official launch of its Digital City site, which it claims offers a new approach to geo-blogging: “showcasing original content with a local slant, but global appeal”.

It covers fairly wide topic remit (as you’d expect from a huge media player) including arts, fashion, comedy, shopping, politics, media, celebrity news/gossip, sports, and bizarre stuff.

Geo-blogging is really just a bit of jargon to suggest that AOL has found a bunch of bloggers from various cities (US ones at present, it seems) to write on local issues. While that may have global appeal, I’d be more excited if at least some of the content was geo-targeted, in the same way as many of the ads are sure to be. read more

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Using WordPress or Movable Type as a CMS

Want to put either WordPress or Movable Type to good sue as a traditional CMS? There are two posts about this on Devlounge that you really should read:

Yes, the latter one is written by me, and a while back at that, but it is interesting in comparison with Billy’s more recent post.

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Calacanis Calls the Startup Depression, Still Not Blogging

And he does it on his blog, which he incidentally still won’t be use to do any blogging, despite it having numerous updates. Fun stuff, that.

Now, I promised myself I was retired from blogging to focus on my email newsletter, but I’m getting pounded with so many requests for this essay that I’m giving up and posting it here. This does not mean my retirement from blogging is off, this means I’m posting this so I don’t have to respond to hundreds of emails asking for a copy.

The actual essay is from his mailinglist, which you can sign up for here. If you already subscribe to Jason’s emails, you’ve already read most of this. However, the additional comments for the blog post is interesting, and also shows why blog posts are a better way of communicating with several people at once, than email. read more

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September 29, 2008

WTF Blog Clutter: Out-of-Control Blogrolls

Save us from the out-of-control blogrolls, lists of links that run on and on and on and on and on and on and on…listing everyone who ever started a blog on the whole planet – well, it feels like it.

Your blogroll links are important in the minds of Google, and they can add or subtract points in your PageRank scores. You better take your blogroll links seriously, ensuring you are linking to blogs that will complement yours as well as complement theirs.

As part of this ongoing series on WTF Blog Design Clutter, let’s take a look at how we are abusing and misusing our blog’s blogrolls. read more

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Is iBlogger The iPhone App We Have Been Waiting For?

While some iPhone blogging apps target a certain blog platforms or even all of them (with varying results), iBlogger, an iPhone app designed by illumineX has introduced some really cool features that I found to be missing from even the official blogging apps such as WordPress and TypePad.

Even though Xanga, SquareSpace and Drupal fans will probably be excited that there is an iPhone app that can (finally) connect to their respective platforms, users of the traditional platforms (Blogger, TypePad, WordPress) may wonder why they should spend 999 pennies on an app when there other (cheaper) alternatives around.

So if you are sitting on the fence, wondering if losing $10 is worth the joy of another iPhone app, this review below is for you. read more

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The Future of Blog Spam

When Steven Carrol of The Next Web admitted to using a content generation service known as Datapresser, reportedly after seeing it used by an unnamed author at TechCrunch, he seemed to indicate that it was the future of mainstream blog publishing.

But while there is no doubt that at least some mainstream blogs use content creation tools to aid in meeting their deadlines, content generation has found a much more comfortable home with another group, spammers.

Creating content from nothing has always been something of a holy grail for spammers. Traditionally, filling their junk blogs has required scraping content from article databases, other blogs (usually without permission) or other sources. This has made them easy for search engines to spot and also drawn the ire of many bloggers who have had their content reused.

But technology is advancing and content generation is becoming increasingly practical. Many spammers have already moved to it and it seems likely that others will follow soon. This has some strong implications for both the future of spam and the Web itself. read more

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Uber.com Closes Shop

Uber shuts down, as of Monday September 29, 2008, which happens to be today. The reason stated?

the crisis in the economy has claimed Uber as its latest victim. Our investors have decided to stop supporting Uber and we have closed the doors. We would like to thank them as well, it’s no fault of theirs that this happened. On the contrrary, without their unflinching support we would never have made it this far, and they have stood by us and tried despere

Too bad for the folks over at Uber, and anyone who loved the site, but personally I’ll have to agree with Caroline McCarthy:

With a focus on editorial content centered on highbrow art and media, including a Huffington Post-like “Uber Index,” and the slogan “it’s easy to create better,” it was tough to define Uber. Was it a blog platform? A social network? A discussion hub? The financial crisis didn’t help, but the truth is that Uber had never really taken off in the first place.

Indeed. Too bad anyway, and should you be among the Uber fanbase, you can send the folks behind the scenes your e-mail address so that they can tell you when they’re up to something new. I did, because despite it all, I find myself somewhat intrigued by Uber, even if I obviously doesn’t “get” it.

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UMPC Sites Team Up Around Product Database

The niche nature of the Internet in general, and the blogosphere in particular, makes partnerships easy to work out. That’s why I’m a bit surprised why we’re not seeing more of this. UMPCPortal have decided to let JKKMobile and Liliputing, two blogs that cover the same ultraportable gadget sphere as they do, into their product database. By teaming up, they can maintain the database and keep it up to date, as well as deliver tailored solutions (and hence revenue and additional value) to its partners. A good example of an ideal partnership, if you ask me.

I wonder how long it takes for some of the larger online publishers to pick up UMPCPortal and its database? As you might recall, Giga Omni Media bought jkOnTheRun recently, maybe this is a solid follow-up acquisition?

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September 26, 2008

Interview with Helium’s Mark Ranalli, on citizen journalism and more

Helium is one of those citizen journalism sites, where people can submit stories on various topics, and hopefully be read. At first glance, it reminds me of Instablogs, one of the stronger voices for citizen journalism.

What really got me interested in Helium, however, is the Marketplace. Basically, it’s a way for writers to earn a little money on the stories they publish on Helium, because other media outlets can buy publication rights through the Marketplace. That’s a pretty cool concept, and a way for citizen journalists to, possibly, reach the more traditional journalistic publications. That is, if the content is good enough, and if Helium can push the Marketplace as a solid place for getting in on a story for other publications.

Mark Ranalli, CEO of Helium, was gracious enough to do a short interview on Helium, the Marketplace, and citizen journalism in general. read more

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