February 19, 2009

UK PR company launches Twitter business resources

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It seems the mainstream rush to jump aboard Twitter is everywhere, and while seasoned bloggers and tech geeks have been using the service for years, it’s as well to remember that many individuals and businesses are only just getting their heads around blogging, let alone microblogging.

There’s no shortage of information online about using Twitter, with UK-based PR company Punch Communications one of the latest to set up online resources to help new users get the most out of their tweets. read more

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10 Tips for Criticism Without Harming Your Reputation

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A big turn-off for many people online are the rants, attacks and snarks that we see all too often in blogs. Really negativity is not attractive, and those who use negativity to attract an audience are storing up problems for the future. Sometimes though we have valid criticisms, how can we get our point across without making our audience think less of us? read more

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An Interview With Gina Trapani

Gina Trapani is the much celebrated founder of popular blog Lifehacker, a part of the Gawker Media blog network. She left the lead editor role just over a month ago and is now doing columns only, as well as writing post for her recently launched Smarterware blog. So where does she stand now? Let’s find out!

Congratulations on the launch of Smarterware, Gina! What can readers expect from your new blog, and how does it differ from your previous work at Lifehacker?

Smarterware is a personal tech blog, which means I’m going to take off the distanced reporter hat I wore a lot at Lifehacker and be a fan, and speak in the first person. Blogs are perfect for that, but when a news blog like Lifehacker grows its audience and its staff, it’s easy to get away from that and read more like a magazine.

read more

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Spammers continue to thwart Hotmail’s CAPTCHA system: fake email and blog accounts abound

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The news came through a couple of days ago that Microsoft’s Live Hotmail CAPTCHA system has yet again been compromised by spammers.

The method works by using an army of zombie PCs (those that have been compromised by malicious software and can be remotely controlled) and a remote computer server to handle image decoding.

It’s not the first time Microsoft’s system has been compromised, and it likely won’t be the last. Other online accounts aren’t immune either. Spammers need lots of fake accounts in order to send emails and publish splogs. read more

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Norway Does Battle with IE6, Twitter Tracks It

IE6: The Final BattleNo one likes Internet Explorer 6 (IE6 for short), a web browser that’s been around since 2001 and just won’t die. Designers truly loathe it, because it forces them (us) to do various fixes and ugly hacks that just shouldn’t be needed these days. And users, well, they should loathe it but obviously they don’t know better.

If you are using IE6, please switch to IE7, Firefox, Safari, or just about any other web browser out there!

In Norway they are taking it one step further than above. It started as a week long experiment (still ongoing as I’m writing this), but it seems to be evolving to an actual movement to stop the use of IE6. And that’s good for the web. read more

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February 18, 2009

Deal on Internet streaming rates reached

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SoundExchange and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) have reached a comprehensive agreement on Internet streaming rates for local radio stations that simulcast programming over the Internet or that create new stand-alone Internet stations.

The agreement provides discounts on previously-set rates for 2009 and 2010 and establishes rates for 2011-2015, providing stations with an enhanced ability to serve listeners through online platforms. Additionally, NAB has reached separate agreements with individual record label groups that waive certain statutory format restrictions allowing, for example, certain artists to be played more often during a four hour period. read more

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This is the Year of Original Content

This blog has no brain - use your own - caution signI’m working on my annual Things I Want Gone from the Web article and I’ve personally designated this “The Year of Original Content.” We’re done playing around with feed scraping and autoblogging.

The blog echo chamber effect of someone blockquoting and linking the same content as a recommendation, echoing through the web without original content, is a beginner’s mistake. Don’t do it. Always add your original voice and content to your recommendations, telling your readers why it is important to leave this blog and go to another, then come back for more.

Google took action to penalize duplicate content within a site and between sites, and added bonus points for original and unique, appropriate and relevant keywords around links, especially link lists, rewarding original content providers with nicer PageRank scores. Similar actions are being taken by other major search engines, directories, and legitimate content aggregators.

As a serious blogger, you’ve learned the lesson and stay focused on creating original content. You link to other people’s content appropriately, taking care to protect their copyrights and not confuse your reader’s, putting other people’s content in blockquotes with clearly indicated links and credits.

For scammers, scrapers, and plagiarists, other people’s content has turned into a major money-maker as they use other people’s content for financial gain and misdirection. read more

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In Twitter land, Fry is second most popular, Allen and Hilton scrap

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In the new-found celebrity playground of Twitter, Stephen Fry has just become the second most followed person. While Barack Obama has some 290,000 followers, Fry has doubled his count to over 200,000 in a little over two weeks.

It’s predicted that this quintessentially English celebrity, who tweets while stuck in lifts and is somehow able to follow close to 55,000 people, will overtake Obama some time next month.

Meanwhile, it’s not all smiles as twittering pop star Lily Allen has started a feud with Perez Hilton. Earlier jibes about Allen’s personal life moved on to album sales and gratuitous name calling. read more

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Facebook Backtracks After TOS Outrage

The criticism struck home, and now Facebook have backtracked its Terms of Service to the previous version, despite Mark Zuckerberg’s blog post about why they changed it in the first place. Now they’re taking their time to get the terms to where they want them, and invites users to participate in discussions in a Facebook group dedicated to these things. We’ll see where this ends, my guess is that a less aggressive TOS is in store.

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February 17, 2009

The New b5media Revealed

The New b5media RevealedThe times are changing and so are the blog networks, something that appeared to be a solid business model a couple of years back, but now deemed a rough one if you want to succeed. One company above others are being mentioned whenever blog networks are branded as a failed idea, and that’s b5media. Not because they have failed or anything, but rather because they have all these blogs, and no real focus.

Well, that’s about to change, and starting today at that.

The first big change is Splendicity, something of a portal page for the beauty and style channel at b5media. It’s not a new site, but with the redesign, b5media not only aims to bring something new to the table, they’re also reshaping the logistics of their blog network.

Or, to put it frankly, they have taken their 32 blog strong beauty and style channel, and converted them all to one big site: the new Splendicity.

32 blogs, becomes 1 site. That brings a lot of questions, doesn’t it? read more

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