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July 14, 2009

9 Things That Makes You a Reliable Reviewer

Do you review products on your blog? Then you should consider the ramifications, especially with all the sponsored posts and reviews out there, as well as the popular notion that bloggers reviewing stuff are more or less fooled by the marketers.

As someone who used to work as a games journalist, with thousands of written reviews over the years, I’d like to share my top nine advice on how to become a reliable reviewer. read more

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Why GPL Blogging Software is Important

HeckertThis is a continuation of the Blog Herald’s Guide to the GPL License series. You can read the first part here.

It is easy to see why GPLed software would be of great interest to developers. GPL software, though not always free in terms of the money charged, always has to come with its source code and the ability to edit and customize the work.

This means that, if a developer obtains a GPLed application and needs to fix a bug or add a feature, they can do so. They are then free to distribute the fix under the same terms and, in doing so, are ensured that all future modifications are treated the same way. read more

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July 13, 2009

Reviews: The Marketer’s Dream Says NYT

The New York Times runs a story about bloggers reviewing products, and the fact that this is a marketer’s dream. The article’s author, Pradnya Joshi, talks to both popular bloggers, Izea’s Ted Murphy, and the Federal Trade Commission who is looking into this form of paid reviews.

In the words of Joshi:

Marketing companies are keen to get their products into the hands of so-called influencers who have loyal online followings because the opinions of such consumers help products stand out amid the clutter, particularly in social media.

Bloggers are a soft target for PR agencies and manufacturers looking for non-ad mentions online. Some buy sponsored posts, while others rely only on their product and sends out samples. Either way, the idea is that bloggers aren’t as tuned to reviewing as professional journalists, hence you’re more likely to get a positive one. read more

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July 7, 2009

The Basics of the GPL

HeckertThere has been a lot of talk and a lot of confusion in blogging circles, especially among WordPress users, about the GNU General Public License or GPL as it is more commonly known.

When most people think of the GPL, they immediately think of Linux, Firefox (which actually uses several licenses, including the GPL) or other well-known programs that use it. However, several blogging platforms are also GPL including WordPress and Open Melody, a fork of Six Apart’s Open Movable Type project.

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to take a look at the GPL, what it is, what it means and, most importantly why it is important to bloggers and those who are running Web sites on open source platforms (including, for example, phpBB).

To start off, we’re going to talk about some of the basic premises of the GPL, what the actual license says and what your freedoms and rights are with GPLed software. read more

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July 6, 2009

Software Freedom Law Center Says WordPress Themes are GPL

Matt Mullenweg has, in an attempt to clear the confusion with themes and the GPL license they might or might not inherit from WordPress, contacted the Software Freedom Law Center, who was instrumental in creating the GPL version 3 license. The reply, which is presented as a whole in the wordpress.org blog, basically says that while CSS and images might not be “tainted” by the GPL license, the template files surely are since they load WordPress functions and rely on them to work. read more

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July 3, 2009

Sam Sethi Talks About the TechCrunch Lawsuit

Earlier this week the news that Sam Sethi is suing TechCrunch hit, and as was expected Michael Arrington posted the legal documents, just as he has done before. The responses to the law firm’s letter to TechCrunch and Arrington have also been reposted, so if you want to dig into what has been said thus far, this is the only place I know of. The TechCrunch stance is obvious, of course:

Needless to say, we think these claims have no merit, otherwise we would not have written the posts in the first place, or would have retracted.

I did an email interview with Sethi, after he got in touch with me and wanted me to correct or retract the news story (which I didn’t do, obviously). I figured an interview would be the best way to get Sethi’s side of the story. read more

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July 2, 2009

Gdgt Launches, Goes Down (But Comes Right Back Up)

gdgt.gifThe gadget startup gdgt, with Peter Rojas and Ryan Block at the helm, has launched. It is something of a gadget-focused community, mixing in traditional editorial content and reviews, with user generated content and a wiki-like gadget database. That wiki is the killer app, is my bet, although gdgt could do just as well with just its content. After all, they clocked in 4.7 million pageviews with their liveblog from WWDC, pre launch. The power of Rojas and Block is not to underestimated.

And gdgt might very well be an interesting site, surely one to follow. It is not like the predecessors, Engadget or Gizmodo, but more of a social beast, which is interesting. read more

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June 30, 2009

Reviewing the Reviewers: The Blog is Alive and Kicking

The New Yorker’s Malcolm Gladwell reviewed Chris Anderson’s most recent book, Free!, and it is an interesting read (with commentary across the web). Just like Anderson’s response on his own blog.

Welcome to the era of blogs, where reviews can be applauded, questioned, and picked apart not only by the masses (aka the readers), but also by the publishers and producers.

It used to be a straight forward thing, reviewing a product. Not anymore, because when anyone can publish a commentary on their own ground (aka the blog), it also means that reviewers suddenly find themselves being constantly reviewed. read more

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June 26, 2009

The Death of Michael Jackson: New Media Broke the Story, Old Media OK’d It

The death of pop icon Michael Jackson is dominating the web right now. TMZ broke the story, went down under the strain, but is back up now. Meanwhile, various sites and tweets talk about Twitter getting some fail whales and massive traffic spikes, which isn’t all that surprising after all. The King of Pop has been in the limelight for so long, it is just huge. At a time, the trending topics on Twitter was more or less exclusively dominated by his death, with people forgetting all about Iran for a little while at least.

People rush to Jackson’s Facebook page, currently sporting 880 991 fans, but expect that number to grow tremendously. Facebook overall is performing sluggishly now, possibly due to the artist’s death. It will be interesting to follow up on traffic spikes and surges later on. read more

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June 19, 2009

The Ad Heavy Feed Footers

It was bound to happen, ads hitting the RSS feeds. It’s not even anything even remotely new, popular services such as Feedburner (pre-Google) offered advertising solutions for your feed, and does now too, thanks to Adsense. Other players in the feed sphere did it too, and don’t forget the publishers themselves – adding something at the end of the RSS feed isn’t even all that hard. And I’m not even mentioning the fact that if you put an ad in your blog post, it’ll go right along in your feed.

It makes sense. A lot of us like to read, or at least glance, stories in the feed reader. We might not visit some sites in weeks, despite being regular readers.

Enters the ads in the RSS feeds. Problem is, where there is plenty of opportunity to make it look splendid and great on a website, the feed doesn’t have the same possibilities. Which makes it ugly. read more

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