Thanks for all the memories

Hi everybody,

I’ve elected to step down as the Editor of the BlogHerald today after some professional differences in opinion about how this blog ought to be run. Sometimes there are differences that you just have to agree to disagree about, and I believe that this is one of those circumstances.

I’ve had a tremendous time taking on this role, and its given me a fantastic opportunity to meet people and learn a few things about growing a flagship blog. I’d like to thank Mark Saunders for giving me the opportunity, and I’d like to thank every blogger that works here personally for all of their efforts and hard work. It has been an honour and pleasure to work with all of you.

Lastly, I’d like to thank all of the old readers who stuck around after the transition to a Splashpress ownership, and I’d like extend an outgoing hand to all of our new readers. I hope that under my stewardship we gained your trust, and I’d like to thank you for your ongoing patronage.

Thanks to everyone for all the memories, as the past year with the BlogHerald is one that I will never forget.

Tony Hung MD.

Hoax Bait — A Special Kind Of Link Bait.

Over the past few days the notorious blogger Fake Steve Jobs (also known as senior editor of Forbes magazine, Daniel Lyons) had put together a series of posts which made it appear as though he was being the target of legal action from the target of his satire: Apple.

What made it such a great piece of work was how legitimate it sounded. Oh, they had sent their lawyers after him. He had dropped his “FSJ” persona and was largely talking with that mask off. He was concerned and worried about having the pants sued off of him. And so on.

Which made it all the more poignant when a great majority of tech bloggers got suckered into these posts as they were all, in fact, fake. What’s the lesson here?

Only that bloggers are pathetically easy targets for hoax bait.

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Blogging Continues To Grow Amongst Teens, With Girls Leading The Way

A recent Pew Internet Internet Poll (pdf) conducted via interviews amongst over 900 parent-child pairs in the United States had some interesting findings when it comes to social media usage and content generation.  One of them was an extension of previously known data, as in 2004 19% of teens were engaged in blogging, whereas now that number is up to 28%.

But there is a split in terms of the sexes.  35% of all online teenage girls were blogging compared to 20% of online teenage boys.  Furthermore, nearly all of the growth since 2004 in blogging amongst teenager has really been due to interest amongst girls: older girls blog more than boys of the same age (38% vs 18%), but younger girls are also blogging more than older boys as well (32% vs. 18%).

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Happy 10th Birthday, Blogging! (Or, is it … ?)

Around 10 years ago today, one of the first blogs was authored by a gentleman named Jorn Barger, called Robot Wisdom.  In the beginning, he wrote content that consisted of short commentaries and links, but in 2000 he began to experiment with a timeline-based format which blogs are known for today (that is, the reverse chronological format today).

But was it The First? 

Well, it wasn’t.

And therein lies the debate we may always end up having, as Jorn Barger may have coined the term “blog”, but in fact was not the very first individual posting to what is currently known as a blog.

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LiveJournal Gets By Sold By Six Apart To Russian SUP

Six Apart, home to the blogging platform Moveable Type, has sold off one of its core acquisitions, LiveJournal, to a Russian media company named SUP (pronounced “soup”).  Acquired in 2005, LiveJournal in many ways was a pioneer in the “social media meets blogging” intersection (now also occupied by Vox, also owned by Six Apart), and has prospered under its stewardship, tripling the number of accounts to 13 million in the intervening time frame.

You may be wondering how a blogging company will do a Russian company like SUP at its helm.

Well, earlier this year, I had written about how prolific — and important — blogging had become in Russia, where I had linked to an article which detailed the birth of Russian blogging via the LiveJournal counterpart, called Zhivoi Zhurnal.

In a place where the political and journalistic organs are not as transparent as other places in the world, coupled with a sophisticated and technologically savvy audience, it seemed like blogging had an important role to play both inside and outside politics, as a legitimate “alternative” form of journalism and media.

Whether its to organize rallies, flashmobs, or providing first hand eye-witness accounts of things, it seems like blogging has found a real purpose there, unlike the angst that some bloggers feel about its existence as a medium, here in the west.

With that kind of background, I suspect that LiveJournal is in better hands than most bloggers might be concerned about.  But time will really tell, I suppose.

A Quick Reminder For Bloggers At

Bloggers who enjoy blogging anonymously at the Google-owned might want to hear about a recent legal kerfuffle in Israel.  Specifically, Global Voices Online reports that a local Tel Aviv court had recently ordered Google to hand over the IP of an anonymous blogger who wrote defamatory remarks on his hosted blog (they call the comments slanderous, but really, wouldn’t it be libel instead?)

To no one’s surprise, Google has worked within the boundaries of local laws, and has in fact, given up the IP of the blogger in question.  Further details over at TechCrunch have emerged that confirmed my own suspicions in the matter, in that Google did work through a process, but did give the IP over according to their own Terms of Service.

They read, specifically “Google may investigate any violations to “comply with any applicable law, regulation, legal process or governmental request” ”

I think there are some legitimate reasons for wanting to blog anonymously.  However, if you’re going to do it and you want to avoid persecution for whatever reason, clearly you may want to avoid doing it with a service such as Google.  They will do their best to work through local laws, but have long ago decided to work *within* those local boundaries in almost *all* of its services.

Bloggers To Get Another Source Of Revenue: Posting Pictures

It seems like Corbis, the world’s second largest stock photo service, is trying to catch up with Getty (The largest stock photo service) with the help of bloggers — and is trying to sweeten the deal by making it a bit of a win-win proposition.

Read/Write/Web has the details, but it seems like through a service called PicApps, blogs will be able to post images for their posts from Corbis’s vast stock library without any legal consequence.  The catch is that all of the images that are shown via PicApps this way will have a tiny bit of Javascript embeded in them, which creates a “roll-over” effect with advertising (see R/W/W for an example).

This will allow bloggers to avoid the potential copyright pitfalls with grabbing and posting images they have no rights to, and at the same time, allow them to earn a bit of the action as well.

No details at this time with respect to what the payout will be like, how they plan to roll it out and so on (will there be a limit to the number of pictures per post?), but it certainly looks like one extra way that bloggers can monetize their efforts.

Of course, for the purists who want to avoid the distractions of having a little bit of advertising on their blogs there have always been royalty-free alternatives, providing one knows where to look.

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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Breaking: Google Drops EVERYONE’S PageRank To ZERO?

I was alerted (thanks Jordan) that across all many some data centers, many sites now have their PageRank dropped down to zero, including such prominent domains as the New York Times and TechCrunch, but also Yahoo, and strangely enough Google itself. With this change in PageRank, one does wonder whether or not PayPerPost has truly been singled out, or this is an attempt to destroy (and perhaps rebuild?) PageRank as a metric once and for all.

More as it comes in.

Update: Ionut from Google Operating System has chimed in below — what we see on the toolbar is probably the official pagerank. Perhaps the PageRank zeroes have more to do with datacenter updates than anything else.

Update: In hand checking some of IP for data centers at, it seems like many data centers are not in fact down; the conflicting results, coupled with the persistent zero level at the tool-bar level of previously “zeroed” blogs suggests that this is likely, in fact a data center issue.  Thank goodness there’s a question mark at the end of that title. ;)

Google Selling Links For $1995?

In light of the Google PageRank correction to what is thought to be paid postings — and in the recent past, paid links — its ironic that Google might be selling links of their own.

That’s right — although Google has created the perception that it is actively punishing those blogs which are doing things to pollute organic listings, Google itself may also be an unwitting participant in said “pollution” by selling links … at almost $2k a pop.

How is this?

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