Archive for February, 2007
If you are interested in hearing some of the sessions from Northern Voice, I suggest you check out northernvoice.podcastspot.com as it contains audio recordings of nearly every session from both MooseCamp and Northern Voice.
The sessions have titles like “Using Video to Change the World”, “The Social Web for Karmic Good”, “Legal Rights and Liabilities for Bloggers” and of course “Why Do We Blog?”.
There is a fair bit of content posted on there, so if you have some free time, check them out.
Lorelle, as usual, puts together an all encompassing post on the WordPress plugins you can use to monetize your blog.
Covering everything from adding Adsense ads to adding ads to RSS feeds there is a wealth of information in this one post.
There are a lot of ways you can add ads to your WordPress blog. As part of my month long series on WordPress Plugins, I thought Iâ€™d take a glimpse into WordPress Plugins that help you monetize your WordPress blog.
WordPress Plugins that add ads to your blogs may assign advertising blocks to specific areas, or allow you to customize where they appear. Others will automatically inject them between blog posts or within the post content itself.
I haven’t tried most of these plugins myself, but I am thinking of giving a few of them a go in order to better monetize a few of my own blogs. Big thanks for Lorelle for organizing such a post.
Abe Olandres has written an article on the Blog Herald about how bloggers are paid and how they should be paid. He mentions a few things blog networks could do to make their writers happier including things like:
- Traffic Bonus
- Seniority Bonus
- Performance Bonus
- Travel & Training
- Schwag Bags
I love his write-ups for each section and totally agree with his positive spin on this otherwise touchy subject.
Basically, to throw my thoughts in the ring when it comes to blogging payouts. I think that if you aren’t making at least minimum wage after blogging for a network for at least six months, then you might want to concentrate on something else that can make you that kind of money.
Over on Yugatech there is a post about improving your Technorati rank, and while it is focused on the Philippine market, most of the rules apply to all types of blogs from all over the world.
Here are a few of my favorites:
- Develop awesome blog tools and plugins (again, mostly for WordPress).
- Join contests.
- Attend events.
- Focus on your niche.
- Make good use of Technorati tags.
Technorati can be a great source of traffic when you get up in the higher echelons of their ranking system, especially if you get on the Top 100 list, so it doesn’t do any harm to begin to try to work Technorati into your traffic earning plans.
Mike Rundle has put up his personal thoughts about how his digital records, like his e-mail and IM conversations are basically his memory, because his human brain, just can’t hold any more data, and its easier to rely on computers to record things.
because my memory is so poor, they’re a necessity in my life. Email search is one of the “killer apps” that I use every single day, and IM conversation search is used at least weekly.
So is memory tied to “being a pack-rat” in regards to technical storage? I’m not sure if it’s a causal relationship but if my computer can store things and keep them out of my brain, then maybe I can use my empty brain cells for other important things. Like Albert Einstein once said:
“Intelligence is not the ability to store information, but to know where to find it.”
I have to admit to using my blog as well as a memory archive. I continually post on events in my life that I want to remember later on as my memory is pretty horrible as well. I blame it on information overload, but I thank the blogging software I use every day for helping me keep track of my past.
Anyone else depend on their blog, e-mail and IM conversation logs to remember things?
If you don’t know who Robert Scoble is, then you have missed some very interesting stories and a very influental blogger and videocaster.
Well, Scoble was at Northern Voice this year, as well as last year it seems, and he was a very approachable guy. Sitting with his PodTech camera, he talked to people, just like a normal guy.
The ex-Microsoft employee was very nice and patient. I got to talk to him about a few things, including Microsoft, traffic and trends, as well as his reasons for coming to Northern Voice.
In regards to traffic, he mentions not being impressed with stats that some people put out that say they are doing hundreds of thousands of uniques. To him it is more important if traffic is growing. He actually says that the doubling effect is much more important than the stats from today or last week. If a site is not doubling in traffic over a given period then its not performing well.
I asked him if he missed Microsoft at all, and his response was “not yet”. He does miss knowing what was going on in the company, but otherwise he is more than happy where he currently is, and if he ever went back to Microsoft, it wouldn’t be less than for a pile of money.
One of the things I found most ammusing is that people were pitching videocast productions to him while at MooseCamp for his PodTech company. It was interesting to watch.
Scoble also admitted to me that he doesn’t understand the celebrity status that he has gotten, as he considers himself only a connector. He takes news stories, picks out his favorite, and publishes links and sometimes opinions. I suppose most of the biggest and best online think of themselves as just average people that have gotten some special attention for no special reason.
What do you think seperates people like Scoble and people with under one hundred uniques a month?
The best session during MooseCamp by far in my opinion was called “Hacking the Mothercorp” which was managed by Tod Maffin from Inside the CBC. The CBC is a Canadian national broadcaster, supported by the government and thus the taxes paid by people living in Canada.
The session was created to allow us to give feedback on how CBC should revamp their website. An area called MyCBC should be coming soon and they want to know what type of features they need to appeal to us bloggers.
The session was recorded so that Senior Executives can listen to the feedback in order to better understand what they should focus on. Unfortunately, despite Tod’s best efforts, he ended up with a fair bit of conflicting opinions because some people wanted every “Web 2.0″ feature added, while others wanted to keep traditional journalists in control.
One thing everyone agreed on though was that CBC needs to shift their content away from RealPlayer, as no one likes it.
They want the site to support open source software, standards, protocols and whatnot in order to appeal to everyone.
One comment that hit home for me was the fact that search is still not as good as it should be. I think this is always the hardest thing for any site, and eventhough they are using Google Search for their results, it still doesn’t always provide what you are looking for. People suggested adding tagging, and whatnot as ways to categorize content even more.
Another issue that people brought up is localization problems. Being a national news source, finding local information can be a problem. There were not suggestions for fixing this issue, but knowing it still exists is always a first step in trying to find a solution.
Like most big news sources that have added RSS feeds, they don’t have full feeds. People brought this up and hopefully the CBC will listen. The problem with full feeds in corporate minds though is security from content scraping. There are a few ways to decrease this problem, but if someone wants to steal content, they will find a way to do so.
Tod Maffin seemed to really understand the whole “Web 2.0″ craze and social media, which makes me wonder why the CBC is not more in tune with the current market, but no doubt like any big company, it takes a fair bit of work for ideas to go up the corporate ladder, and then filter back down through the company.
A great session, and I hope more national networks take advantage of polling their audience and reaching out into their audience to get feedback, rather than being passive about it.
What would you want your national news source to change on their website?
Mashups for Non-Programmers
The big topic of interest was Yahoo! Pipes, a new service from Yahoo! that allows you to manage RSS feeds and do some interesting things.
You can clone pipes and modify them, and you can merge feeds together and filter them based on content.
While it was an interesting session one of the most important things is that if you depend on a hosted service, you might have outages and that is exactly what we got to see mid-way through the Pipes demo.
In the first session they also make mention of the fact that you have to remember that not all RSS feeds are created equal and so content filtering via Yahoo! Pipes doesn’t always work.
Identity and Security
We currently have too many identities online, and that was the main point of the Identity and Security session. They talked about the number of online identities that people hold, and a quick poll showed that around fifty percent of session attendants had around 100 accounts, profiles and identities online through various services and sites. And everyone agreed that we are tired of entering the same information over and over on each and every site.
There is a growing trend though towards a single sign on service. An identity provider that has some form of relationship with other sites to process your logins easily. You can log in once, and be signed onto and accepted to many sites.
It seems like a great idea, but if it is controlled by any single corporation, it can take away control from the citizens it is supposed to provide a service for.
If Microsoft made a deal with Nike and Microsoft had colour preferences and whatnot they could give that info to Nike who could then be able to market you better. But if you didn’t want to give that information to Nike it is too late as you don’t have control over that information anymore.
The most interesting technologies to come out include OpenID and Microsoft CardSpace. The good thing is that CardSpace is going to work with OpenID. I will be interested to see how that all pans out, but with sites like Magnolia and soon Digg supporting OpenID logins, I think I’d place my support in that camp.
Getting Your Podcast Levels Right
Bruce Sharpe, co-author of The Levelator, a piece of easy to use Windows, Mac, and Linux software that magically levels out audio levels held a session to talk about podcasting and how you can easily improve how your podcast sounds.
He gives some quick tips that podcasters should follow including using a bandpass filter at 80-10kHz, removing snap, crackles and pops, a little tweaking of the EQ if needed, and some gentle noise reduction, as more is not better.
Another great tip that came out of the session is making sure you have a decent sound card because the included notebook soundcard in certain lower end machines will make even the best microphones record horrible audio.
The piece of free software mentioned most during the session was Audacity, so that seems like a must have for podcasting.
If you don’t know Lloyd Budd, then you haven’t been paying attention. Lloyd, an ex-Flock guy, now works with Automattic, the people that make WordPress.
The Digital Entomologist, as they call him on Automattic’s website, was at MooseCamp to mingle with the crowd’s of WordPress users and attend some of the sessions.
It was great to see him there, and I wish more Automattic employees came to Canada for the small, but important event.
I got to talk to Lloyd about WordPress, blogging and whatnot, and he was a very approachable, and interesting guy. He sees WordPress.com as a great testbed, and loves working with Automattic. He had nothing but great things to say about the company, and its approach with everything it does. He gave some “big up’s” to Matt Mullenweg, as a person who can see the big picture.
I bugged him about a few things that were annoying me, like WordPress.com getting everything first, almost like being the spoiled child. He told me that it doesn’t mean it won’t come out to WordPress.org users, but we have to be patient. My conversation with him was very disarming, and he was very patient as I interrogated him. He laughed a fair bit, letting me know he doesn’t know any secrets.
We touched on Habari, and while he seemed impressed that there was a fair bit of talent in that group, he didn’t seem to be nervous about its development. I also asked him about WordCamp, and when it was going to come out, and it seems that is a daily point of contention between the group as family matters have put delays on it currently.
Oh, and if you want a job with Automattic, make sure you are a meat eater. Lloyd couldn’t stress that enough. Even if you are coming to WordCamp, as it should be “come for the meat, and stay for the WordPress”.
If you ever run in Lloyd Budd, have a chat with him. He’s a great guy, and if others in Automattic are like him, the company will continue to be amazing.
Note: Still waiting for a hosted statistic application from the Automattic crew as well as some tools like 37signals has with WordPress user integration… Hint, hint, nudge, nudge.
To find out about my journey across the country then check out my blog post on DavidCubed.
Paul Scrivens has put up a post on Wisdump about why blog networks have failed though he talks more about what makes a blog network successful.
- Great content. Great can mean insightful or great can mean entertaining, but if you lack it then you will lack an audience. This is the basic principle of any great blog.
- Interaction. Some of the greatest blogs have an interaction between the writer and the audience that donâ€™t make the blog a site anymore, but a community.
- Luck. It does take some timing and luck to make it big as well. There is no sure fire success plan. Arrington hit the wave at the right time.
Working on his 9rules Network gives Paul good understanding of how to run a blog network, especially since he has once failed before (finefools).
I look forward to seeing more posts from Paul in this line of thought.