October 23, 2008

Vox Turns 2 This Month

Vox, Six Apart’s free hosted blogging platform, is 2 years old this month. In fact, they’ve dedicated all of October as Vox’ birthday, with user testimonials and whatnot. A pretty good idea if you ask me.

Two years ago, we created Vox for the people who told us they wanted to connect with family and friends on their own terms. Today, Vox is a thriving community where people can safely and confidentially connect with whomever they choose. We’re delighted that so many people have made Vox their home online, and we can’t wait to see what the next two years hold.

Congratulations Vox!

Do we have any Vox users among our readership here? Tell us why you like or dislike Vox!

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Weblogs, Inc is Doing Well Under AOL

Weblogs, IncWeblogs, Inc, the blog network founded by Jason “I’m not blogging anymore” Calacanis, is doing well under AOL’s ownership. In a presentation, published by TechCrunch on Docstoc, they show massive growth since 2005. Just to illustrate, in 2005 Weblogs, Inc had a estimated revenue of $6 million and 4 employees. In 2008, the same numbers are $30 million and 26 employees. Add a massive traffic increase, with a unique visitor growth of 994% between October 2005 and August 2008, and the success story that is Weblogs, Inc just seems all the more impressive.

Of course, the growth is possibly due to the fact that the blogosphere by itself have had a massive growth during this period as well, with blogs going mainstream and getting the recognition they deserve (and sometimes don’t), but numbers are numbers, and they generally don’t lie.

Check out the full presentation for more number crunching. It’s just 10 pages and mostly pictures, so it’s very accessible. It also shows how much larger Weblogs, Inc is when compared to both Gawker Media’s network, and b5media.

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Perez Hilton Goes Mobile

In an effort to spread the celebrity news/filth/funniness even further, Perez Hilton is launching a mobile site. You can visit it in your browser if you’re curious. Basically, it’s a trimmed down version of the regular Perez Hilton blog, and obviously something the readers have been craving according to Hilton in a press release. He’s partnered up with Crisp Wireless, who are thrilled by the prospect:

“We are extremely excited to team up with Perez Hilton as he extends his global status into the mobile web, said Boris Fridman, Chief Executive Officer, Crisp Wireless, which hosts the mobile site and provides the ad serving platform to BlogAds. Perez realizes that mobile phones, Blackberries and iPhones are practically the lifeblood of the celebrity world and everyone that follows it. Without them, they feel totally disconnected. By tapping Crisp Wireless and BlogAds, Perez’s insights and information will be readily available by mobile. His mobile web presence should equal or surpass the success of his online site.

If you want to go mobile with your blog, just like Perez Hilton does, you could use a service like MoFuse. It’s not even difficult to do.

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October 22, 2008

Must Have iBlogging Apps: GrandDialer And Fring

One of the reasons I love VoIP technology is the fact that it allows bloggers to interact with readers, companies and (if you are lucky) conduct phone interviews–without using up any of your minuets.

Although there are many VoIP services out there, the one that I have come to love the most is GrandCentral (a VoIP service owned by Google), as it allows you to embed a button on your blog, giving your readers (and potential advertisers) an extra option to contact you directly without revealing your mobile number (or even theirs, which is great for anonymous tips).

Despite the fact that Google has not (yet) created an iPhone app for GrandCentral, a third party company called GGT Enterprises has developed a free iPhone app called GrandDialer which basically gives iPhone users “unlimited” calling (regardless of their plan)–as long as they live in the US of A (more on that below).

Since GrandDialer (through GrandCentral) may not appeal to many international readers, I have included a brief overview of another iPhone app called Fring below. read more

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Monitor Your Blog Comments With BackType

Filed as Guides with 5 comments

If you want to build a successful blog, in terms of traffic, you will need to leave comments on other blogs. I have tried very hard to be more proficient in this area, but at the end of the day, I find myself more of a passive reader than an active participant.

One thing that worries me about leaving comments is the potential for something you say to come back and bite you in the ass down the road.

A useful tool I recently came across is BackType, a Website that lets you view all of the comments you’ve left (if you linked to your URL) on other blogs on a single page.

You can also display all of your comments on a widget that can be placed on any blog or Website.

The site also serves a purpose for those of you that read blogs but don’t write them. BackType hopes you will set up a profile page with them, and use that URL behind all of your comments.

Another use for the site is to monitor if anyone is using your URL in vain, putting it behind comments that are impostors or just plain spammy.

Just like Twitter, you can choose to follow folks as well.

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Go Wide or Go Niche?

Filed as Features with 1 comment

Should you go wide appeal or focus on a niche? This is a question that haunts many a startup, and as usual a lot will factor into the decision … read more

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TIME Piece on CAPTCHA

CAPTCHA is that annoying technology that asks you to type the characters in an image in a field to post a comment, get an account, or whatever. It’s a spam fighting tool, and one of the more successful ones I might add.

TIME’s got a piece on CAPTCHA which should be pretty interesting reading if you want to know about where it is originating, and what is being done to make sure that it stays successful. Personally, I hate it, but it serves its purpose and probably makes the web a better place, don’t you think?

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Hawaii Social Media Club is Changing Lives and Businesses

On Thursday, October 23, 2008, Hawaii Geek Week will rock with the exciting Thursday, October 23, is the Social Media Club Workshop in Honolulu. This one day workshop is ideal for businesses, bloggers, especially those in the media, marketing, advertising, and social services.

The speakers include Chris Heuer and Kristie Wells from San Francisco, Beth Kanter from Boston, and Roxanne Darling from Honolulu.

What Social Media Means in Today’s Economy

Listen, folks, traditional media and marketing isn’t working any more. You cannot survive in today’s economy doing what has been done in the past. It’s a new world and that world is online and “social” right now. read more

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October 21, 2008

Valleywagger attempts to assassinate blogs; social networking and microblogging is where it’s at

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Paul Boutin — “Very Special Correspondent” at Valleywag — has written what I can only assume is linkbait over at WIRED Magazine. It’s working, anyway.

While I don’t disagree with some of his opening words, I do take issue with his black-and-white stance: that blogging is dead and microblogging (or whatever Boutin might call it, given that “blogging” itself is now a dirty word) is the way forward — linked in to social networks like Facebook.

“Thinking about launching your own blog? Here’s some friendly advice: Don’t. And if you’ve already got one, pull the plug.

Writing a weblog today isn’t the bright idea it was four years ago. The blogosphere, once a freshwater oasis of folksy self-expression and clever thought, has been flooded by a tsunami of paid bilge. Cut-rate journalists and underground marketing campaigns now drown out the authentic voices of amateur wordsmiths. It’s almost impossible to get noticed, except by hecklers. And why bother? The time it takes to craft sharp, witty blog prose is better spent expressing yourself on Flickr, Facebook, or Twitter.”

Clearly this is only one opinion of many, but because Boutin has been granted a very public soapbox at WIRED, he’s making the most of it. Others believe that blogging is a vital part of corporate branding, while Six Apart’s leader reckons blogging will ride the economic downturn. read more

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Hawaii Geek Week Begins in Honolulu

Mactoberfest in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Saturday, October 18, 2008, started the first of a week long celebration called Hawaii Geek Week.

Designated by the governor of Hawaii, there is a week of tech events all over Honolulu, ending with PodCamp/WordCamp Hawaii.

The first event, Mactoberfest, was a great success with a photography and computer tech swap meet and a day of speakers covering web technologies and applications. It began with myself, Lorelle VanFossen, speaking about how WordPress changes lives, followed by Lorenz Sell of iLovePhotos, John Dalton of Studio Artist, and a great panel discussing the past and the future of web technology, blogging, and journalism. OhScrap has some pictures of Mactoberfest. read more

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