Splashpress Media Acquires Blog Search Engine

Splashpress Media has recently acquired yet another blog-related new media property: Blog Search Engine. Originally owned by Loren Baker of Search Engine Journal, the deal was done for an undisclosed amount via private bidding.

Blog Search Engine is described as “a living and breathing search engine of blogs which brings you posts from over 10,000,000 blogs in our IceRocket powered search results.” Relevant results are listed in reverse chronological order–blog style.

Splashpress Media plans to overhaul Blog Search Engine with the help of design guru Thord Daniel Hedengren, who has done several other designs for the network’s various blogs and portals. The site will then be re-launched as a service that will compliment the EatonWeb Blog Directory.

Disclaimer: Splashpress Media is the owner of the Blog Herald.

Performancing Announces News Theme

Each month, Performancing releases professionally-designed and developed free themes for WordPress. For this August, the team chose News Theme, a two-column layout developed in cooperation with Design Disease and produced by Soccerlens.

The theme intends to mimic the look and feel of a print magazine or newspaper, with paper-like upper and lower edges, which is quite suitable for blogs that want to put forth a newspaper-y type of image (aided by the display of the current date on the masthead).

The color scheme uses subtle shades of grey and blue, with the sidebar standing out with orange tints.

News Theme is a two-column theme with a horizontal navigation bar at the header, and space for details and links at the footer. This gives the site a clean look and feel, with a wide fixed-width main body and a sidebar wide enough to accommodate long link text or banners. The space on the header can also be used for horizontal banners.

As with other Performancing theme for WordPress releases, Performancing offers official support for the News theme via the support forums. Theme download and demo are available at the Performancing WordPress Themes site.

Splashpress Media Launches Podcasting Blog Audival

Splashpress Media has launched Audival, a blog that serves tips, tutorials, equipment reviews, and articles about podcasting. Authored by Stefan Hedengren (more commonly known as Stiff), Audival aims “help you record and make a professional sounding podcast. [Audival] will supply you with tips and tutorials, as well as sound clips that you can use if you like to.” Audival was created with the thought that while many are interested in podcasting, the process behind actually recording audio, producing/using the music and sound clips, and putting these together, may not be as easy as it seems.

Stiff is a professional musician and engineer, and creates the original music and sound clips that are made available for use via Audival. Stiff is the man behind the Pro Tooler Blog, which is focused on tools and equipment used by the pros in producing music and audio.

The site was designed by Stiff’s brother, Thord Daniel Hedengren, former Blog Herald contributor, and who has also designed several other Splashpress Media blogs and portals including the Eatonweb Blog Directory, Jack of All Blogs, Blog Network Watch, and Blogger Jobs, and also some enhancements to the Blog Herald look, particularly the header image and links.

Splashpress Media Partners with Contec Innovations, Inc. for Mobile Content Distribution via BUZmob

Splashpress Media, in its aim to reach out to more markets and to give existing readers a wider choice in accessing content, has partnered with Contec Innovations, Inc. for the mobile distribution of blog content via BUZmob . Accessible through splash.buzmob.com (or through m.splashpress.com), Splashpress Media’s mobile portal includes feeds from its various blogs and other content-generating sites. When accessed, the portal will automatically detect a user’s device and browser type, and will serve the content in a format that is readable by that device, and organized according to topic, with easy navigation links. This includes full fledged web browsers, WAP browsers, mobile browsers, and the like.

Contec has issued a press release:

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(CCNMatthews – July 18, 2007) – Contec Innovations Inc. (TSX VENTURE:BUZ – News), a provider of mobile infrastructure software, today announced UK-based Splashpress Media has mobilized dozens of blogs, feeds, and portal sites, using the BUZmob(TM) mobile publishing service.

“Mobilizing our content inventory provides additional value to both our readers and to our writers. By extending our reach into the mobile space we’re well positioned to grow our market position and tap new revenue streams,” said J. Angelo Racoma, a principal at Splashpress. “BUZmob’s ability to support the largest number of handsets was critical for us. Implementing the service across our multiple sites was quick and easy, and required no content change on our end,” Racoma added.

Visitors to sites published by Splashpress Media can now push content to their mobile device directly from their web browser. In addition, a custom mobile portal (http://splash.buzmob.com) has been created which aggregates the most popular Splashpress-owned content properties. Splashpress’ top sites include: The Blog Herald (www.blogherald.com), 901am.com, Performancing (www.performancing.com) and Business Logs (www.businesslogs.com).

“It’s great to have Splashpress come aboard and we’re seeing tremendous interest from Internet publishers to mobilize their content with BUZmob,” commented Don Lay, Contec’s CEO. “So far over 50 content publishers, including websites, blogs and services, have gone mobile using our ad-driven BUZmob service,” Lay added.

BUZmob, now in beta release, provides content publishers with a simple, web-based solution to deliver feed-based digital information to mobile users on any device, on any network, anywhere – without requiring the end-user to download software or to subscribe to any service. More information on BUZmob, including the BUZmob Publisher Network Directory can by viewed at blog.buzmob.com.

The Blog Herald has been publishing a mobile edition for some time now, done through a WordPress plugin that strips off formatting for easier access on mobile devices. However, the new mobile interface is more usable and accessible. Aside from this, we see the value added of BUZmob’s mobile distribution in these ways:

  1. We are able to set up a mobile portal for all blogs and feeds we manage, such as the Splashpress Mobile portal, accessible at m.splashpress.com. This way, users don’t have to jump from feed to feed in order to read content from our other sites.
  2. Users can individually add blogs to their own portals, so only one URL needs to be bookmarked. This will contain all the feeds subscribed to using that mobile number (whether within or outside of Splashpress).
  3. We are also exploring a new means to monetize our content–through placement of ads on the mobile feed, care of BUZmob.

BUZmob lets mobile users read content from any blog or site that publishes RSS feeds. You can manually enter any blog or feed URL at www.buzmob.com, along with your mobile number. You will be sent a link and a mobile ID, which you can then bookmark for easy access to your subscriptions (much like an online RSS feed reader).

The Blog Herald’s mobile feed can be directly accessed via m.blogherald.com. If you want to add the Blog Herald’s mobile feed to your existing BUZmob subscriptions, or if you want to set up a new BUZmob account for your mobile phone, go to buzmob.blogherald.com on your computer’s web browser and fill in your mobile number.

Ni Hao! The Blog Herald China Launches!

We here at the Blog Herald always look for ways to reach out to more people. Last March we launched the Blog Herald Japan. Considering that English may not exactly be the most prevalent language in the blogosphere today, I think it was a good move. According to Technorati, Japanese language blogs account for 37% of posts, while English comes at a close second at 36%.

Our sister site, 901am, also launched its own Japanese edition based on the same premise. What’s great is that both Japanese versions are humanly translated, so the context is not lost in machine-translation, which tends to be too literal.

But what about the other 27%? We thought it was worth our while to expand into even more markets. Third biggest in terms of language is Chinese, at about 8% (I think the Chinese market is potentially bigger than the 8% estimated by Technorati, though). So the next logical move would be to open an edition in Chinese.

With this we are proud to announce the launch of the Blog Herald China Edition.

Similar to Blog Herald Japan, the China edition is humanly translated into Mandarin. We hand-picked featured columns for translation to be sure we reach the intended market with content that is relevant to them, and that is timeless. These include tips and tutorials on better blogging, blog monetization, and taking advantage of social media, among others.

We started translated our archives dating back to Splashpress Media’s acquisition of the Blog Herald, and translation into Mandarin by our in-house translator is an ongoing activity. The China edition uses the same theme as the English, but modified a bit given the difference how Chinese characters appear onscreen. We are still doing some tweaks and optimizations and are yet uploading some of the more recent articles, so please bear with us. We target to catch up with current posting soon.

With this development, we are also considering creating original content in Mandarin. We have already started posting China-specific articles, care of a contributor based in mainland China, and we intend to keep this up, perhaps taking in other contributors to help out.

Splashpress Media Launches Community Blogs

This post has been three months in the making, since it was since last April that we started putting together a fledgling community of bloggers to form what is now a sub-network of Splashpress Media. Blog Network Watch (also owned by SPM) earlier wrote about it, and let me quote a bit from the BNW post.

  • Gadzooki is a blog where geekery and gadgetry hold sway, dealing with everything from cellphones to iPods, from software to Web issues, from video gaming to cars.
  • Blog Tutorials is a resource blog with a wealth of info for both the veterans and newbies; Blog Tutorials is the perfect complement to Performancing, another Splashpress outfit that deals with the more advanced and ‘professional’ aspects of blogging.
  • Froodee is geared to be a well-rounded blog on lifestyle and living, touching upon entertainment, business, family, and basically anything under the sun.
  • Travelogger is a travel blog that provides its readers travel tips, the best destinations, and personal travel experiences.

In conceptualizing these blogs (re-conceptualizing, actually, as three out of the four were already existing blogs), we thought of going beyond simply being a “team blog.” The point behind community blogging is to highlight interactivity, both with the readers and also among the writers ourselves. All contributors are part of the conversation, so it’s not just a two-way flow of ideas between the bloggers and the audience. And to make sure each blog gets to put forth a well-rounded image, each contributor has his/her own area of interest, and these are reflected in the articles that each member contributes.

Being community blogs, none of the four blogs were set up to be too niche-oriented. Rather, the focus was to build up not just the content, but also the people. Instead of focusing on narrow topics, each blog revolves around a central theme, with related and relevant content written in support of this central idea.

We also adopted the Blog Herald’s design concept of having featured articles, but we also organized these into sections. This way, the contributors and the editors would be able to showcase select articles as sticky posts accessible from the front page and from any post.

As with any startup, we still feel quite new at this, even though most of us have been blogging both individually and as part of blog networks for several years already. Not everything is perfect, but we’re glad to say we’re improving as time goes by. Comments are welcome. And if you’d like to contribute to these sites in any way, do get in touch with us.

Three-Column Cutline Theme For WordPress Released

When Splashpress Media acquired Tubetorial, part of the acquisition was the Cutline theme for WordPress. A creation of Chris Pearson as a “platform” for blog design (and not merely a theme per se), Cutline has grown to be one of the most popular themes for WordPress ever. An estimated 5,000 blogs are currently using Cutline, and cutline.tubetorial.com is a top 100 Technorati site.

Part of our responsibilities to Cutline users when Chris passed the torch to us is for official support and development of the theme. So Splashpress is announcing the launch of a new variant to the Cutline theme for WordPress, which comes in three columns, with the main content column to the left, and two sidebars to the right.

This was done by Brian Gardner, who says he is also developing further variations to the three-column Cutline (such as content in middle).

A live demo is available at themes.wordpress.net, and the theme itself can be downloaded from the Cutline blog.

Performancing Launches pMetrics API and Widget Contest

Our sister site, Performancing has recently announced the release of the pMetrics API, which allows third-party developers to come up with all sorts of applications that make use of data gathered and displayed by the pMetrics analytics package for bloggers.

Nearly every piece of information you can see from the web interface can also be accessed via the API, and you can get it in XML, JSON (JavaScript), or serialized PHP formats for easy implementation in a variety of applications.

Along with the release of the API, Performancing is also running a contest in which the first five “fun and useful” widget submissions will get $100 prizes each.

  1. Widgets that overlap in fundamental functionality will be competing on a first come, first serve basis
  2. A “fun” widget is one that people will want to put on their blog
  3. A “useful” widget is one that displays interesting information
  4. Widget submissions should come with links to live demos
  5. Widgets must meet our technical guidelines
  6. In submitting your widget, you are giving us permission to host and distribute your widget if we choose to.

Some suggestions for widgets include those that display tag counts, geolocation, monthly/daily summaries, backlinks, and even a “spy” functionality that lets readers see what others are currently doing in real-time.

So far I think the contest is still ongoing, as the Performancing team hasn’t announced winners yet. So if you think $100 (and perhaps a ton of backlinks) is worth your time, then get start coding away! At the very least, if not for the widgets contest, then you might be interested in taking advantage of the new pMetrics API with other applications and uses.

Splashpress Media Acquires BlogHoster

Splashpress Media announces its latest acquisition to date: blog hosting software and service BlogHoster. BlogHoster, which was founded by Alex Benzer and Charlotte Genevier of webligo.com, is a software and service that lets service providers, businesses and even individuals run hosted blogging services meant for multiple users/accounts. The intent is to let providers brand the hosted blogging solution as they please.

BlogHoster is a PHP-based software product which allows you to provide a blog hosting service on your website. The blog hosting that you give your users with BlogHoster is comparable to popular third-party blog hosting services like Blogger, Livejournal, and Typepad. As the admin of your blog hosting service, you can control how users will signup, write in their blogs, and interact with each other. The entire visual frontend of the software is generic, so you can easily give it your website’s look and feel. You can even have ads automatically inserted on your users’ weblogs. BlogHoster also includes a variety of social-networking features, including interactive profiles, photo albums, friendships, blog categories, and more.

BlogHoster was first released in December of 2004. The product was deemed an immediate success, despite minimal marketing (promoted only via sponsored listing on hotscripts.com). To date, BlogHoster has sold nearly 1,000 licenses. I would say (and many would agree) that BlogHoster is perhaps the cleanest and most professionally coded blog software meant for hosted blogging solutions.

Splashpress hopes the inclusion of BlogHoster in its collection of blogs and blog-related online properties will be greatly beneficial helping bloggers succeed in their quest to build close-knit communities online.

Splashpress Media Acquires Wisdump

Splashpress Media is proud to announce its latest acquisition: Wisdump. The site was founded by 9rules CEO Paul “Scrivs” Scrivens as a personal blog on design, business and the Web, and was based on Scrivs’ Whitespace blog. In May of 2007 Wisdump was acquired by Manchester, England-based online media network maxafi.com, from which Splashpress has acquired the site via bidding at Sitepoint.

Wisdump will be managed by David Krug, who has said in his introductory post that while the voice of the site will be different with this change of ownership, the legacy that its founder and community have established will always be there.

A similar announcement was made on 901am earlier. Disclosure: both 901am and the Blog Herald are owned by Splashpress Media.