Performancing Metrics

Archive for July, 2008

Google Blog Runs Intro to Google Ranking Series

Over at the official Google Blog, Search Quality Group fellow Amit Singhal starts a series on Google ranking. Sure, a lot of us bloggers have perhaps been introduced to several SEO concepts, but hearing it from Google itself from their new Search Quality team will probably help us improve our blog rankings in relevant searches.

The most common question I get asked about Google’s ranking is “how do you do it?” Of course, there is a lot that goes into building a state-of-the-art ranking system like ours, and I will delve deeper into the technology behind it in a later post. Today, I would like to briefly share the philosophies behind Google ranking:

1) Best locally relevant results served globally.
2) Keep it simple.
3) No manual intervention.

This is just the start. Amit promises to discuss in detail the technologies behind our ranking and show examples of several state-of-the-art ranking techniques in action in the subsequent posts. I’m hoping he does get to discuss Google’s search technologies in detail.

Categories: General

News: Multiply Premium Account

Multiply.com has introduced its Premium Membership Account last June 25.  Now, due to the millions of hi-res photos and videos they receive everyday, they are now charging US$19.95 for unlimitted storage space.

Here is a comparison between the free and premium membership accounts of Multiply.com in relation to storage space:

For free accounts – album sized photos are still free, and stored forever.  But for hi-res/original photos it will only be stored free within 30 days.  After that, automatic deletion.

For Premium Members – album sized photos, hi-res/original photos are stored forever.

Multiply.com has explained this move clearly right here.

As a Multiply.com user myself, I would understand Multiply.com’s move to start selling “idle property”.  True that most users would choose to store the original hi-res photo versions just because the opportunity is there.  I would likely agree with Multiply.com too that most of those hi-res photos aren’t viewed… ergo aren’t generally useful to the user, or the public.  I guess not everything in life is or will remain free… except WordPress! (of course)

Multiply users post millions of photos and tens of thousands of videos a day, and that’s a lot of stuff to store and manage… which costs money and resources. We’ve also learned that an overwhelming majority of the original photos and videos are never even viewed! Clearly, for many Multiply users, the album-sized photos and Flash videos are good enough.

So rather than spend resources supporting something that isn’t used, we feel it makes more sense to focus on making the site faster and better for everyone, improving the features that are used, and adding more features. For free. But if your original content is important to you, you have the option of sharing and storing that indefinitely by upgrading to Multiply Premium.

 

 

Categories: Blogging News, Interesting

Are Blog Networks Scams?

This was one question posted by James Mowery over at Performancing. He wonders if all blog networks are the real thing, or if some just want to waste your time producing content for them at practically sweatshop pay rates.

Well, some of these sites put on a great first impression. They look like great places to work. Sleek designs, flashy graphics, and text from other members contributing. They are all getting paid for their hard work, right?

Many of these sites state that “you will be paid for your content” and similar. However, there are catches: for one, there is no guarantee they will actually feature your work, and I’ve seen sites that claim the rights to your content even if they don’t feature it (they essentially get your content for free without pay); next, these sites usually determine how much you will be paid on an article by article basis, and this just doesn’t seem right as the writer should set the rate; finally, many of these sites don’t have a chance of making it to the big time and won’t promote your brand in the process.

I would say it’s unfair to characterize blog networks as scams. In general (most) blog networks are legitimate businesses and most likely if they’re still running after a year of operation they are likely doing well, in terms of revenues and even profit. Sure, there may be some fly-by-night outfits out there that might be a waste of time, in terms of earning opportunity.

In this case I would say brand matters. If a network runs great sites and have great readers and writers, who form a good community, then in all likelihood they’re legit, and they can afford great talent. But if it’s not so, then better do more research. I agree with James that you should do research, and you should always read the fine print before committing to something.

I’ve been working with and for blog networks for more than three years now, and I’ve mostly had positive experiences with all of them.

Some resources you might want to check out (mostly our own):

Categories: Blogging Sense
Tags: , ,

July 7th Came And Went With No 2.6

Well, it was highly expected that WordPress version 2.6 was going to be released on Monday July 7th but a little birdy has told me that work still needs to be done on the Press This Bookmarklet as well as a few other things. If all goes well and this work is completed within the week, it looks like WordPress 2.6 will be in good shape to be released next Monday on the 14th. Let’s hope no major problems arise.

Categories: WordPress News

WordPress Gears UP!

Just heard about WordPress.com going “turbo” right here.  They’ve have recently rolled out “Gears” to make WordPress.com a little faster.  I know, I know, I had the same question too… “What the heck was Gears (?) about”.  WordPress.com was already too fast and useful for me that if they’d ever turn off a feature to accomodate a speed-feature I’d be like screaming all over!  Really hate it when I’m blind-sided by a “feature”.  But this is a happy story, no worries.

Gears? It is a browser extension like Flash or QuickTime/Media Player. However Gears works with the browser to enhance web based applications. It can create local database and file storage, and run JavaScript in the background to update them without slowing down the browser.

Gears has been in the making for over a year and is well known among the web developers. Currently it supports Firefox versions 2 & 3 and Internet Explorer versions 6 & 7. Safari 3 support is coming soon.

On WordPress.com it is used to store all images and other web page components from the admin area to the user’s PC, speeding up access and reducing unnecessary web traffic.

Oh has this turned up to be a happy story eh?  I’m not that over-the-hill-jumping-for-joy-shouting-yeeeahaaah right now for the speed-bump, but I’m not complaining too.  I’m just a little curious that I will be allowing wordpress to access my local drives.  Is it THAT safe to allow it? 

Here’s what Gears will do during the installation process:

To enable this new feature, click on the “Turbo” link and follow it to Gears’ site to install it in your browser (if not already installed). Then the browser will have to be restarted and after logging back in WordPress, click the “Turbo” link again to give permission to Gears to work on WordPress.com.

 

 

After that Gears will download around 200 files and store them on your PC. It will also update them when needed automatically in the background, no other actions are required.

After installation, expect Gears to store moderate amount of files on your local drive.  This allows you to speed through images and other docs.  You don’t need to do things 100% online at WordPress.com.  With Gears installed and the turbo link engaged you can “gear” up speed pronto.

 

Categories: WordPress News, WordPress Plugins

Blog Search Engine now Powered by Icerocket

Over at Blog Search Engine, we’ve announced that BSE is now again powered by Icerocket’s search technology, after a brief switch to Google Custom Search.

We are now proud to announce that we have struck a new deal with Iceeocket, and our search is now powered by Icerocket’s technology. We’ve found out that while Google is the biggest (and arguably the best) search engine out there, when it comes to blogs, it’s still best to use specialized search solutions. And you also get that warm, fuzzy feeling ™ knowing you’re partnering with fellow blogging enthusiasts.

While Google’s Custom Search functionality was, well, customizable, we found it limited in terms of focusing the searches on blogs. And so we found an opportunity to partner with Icerocket again, and here we are with them powering BSE’s search.

Now you might be wondering why search using Blog Search Engine instead of going directly to Icerocket or Google Blog Search or other blog search tools. Blog Search Engine’s value-added is its daily posting of a featured blog review, which readers can rate and vote on. So aside from being a blog search tool, BSE also has a blog rating and ranking functionality. If blog reviews are your thing, then you can also submit your blog.

Categories: Blogger Tools

ScribeFire 2.2.8 Released

I just received word that version 2.2.8 of the popular FireFox extension ScribeFire has been released. The new version sports a couple of new fixes with the inclusion of a preference for limiting image width in posts. Here are the bug fixes at a glance:

Changes since version 2.2.7 include:

  • A fix for the “body of post not published” bug
  • A fix for delicious auto-login
  • A fix for the conflict with the Universal Edit Button extension
  • Display fixes for the Ping Settings section
  • Addition of a preference for limiting image width in posts

Head on over to official Mozilla add ons page for this extension to update. If you already have this extension installed, opening a new FireFox session will generally notify you of the update.

Categories: Blogging Tools

Introducing WordPress to a Mayor


I just met a small town mayor here in South East Asia.  He’s the mayor of a small agricultural city, rural as rural can be.  I think I stood out of the crowd being naturally city-folk(country folks CAN tell). And it being a really small city, he heard from a friend that I was a computer person.   He set up a meeting with me to pick my mind regarding “blogging”.  I was a little confused with what he wanted to do (I thought he wanted to know what blogging meant) UNTIL he told me that he wanted municipal events, activities and other municipal news blogged.  His primary audience?  Former town residents who are now spread all over the globe. This mayor knew what blogging is and he had a specific project for it.

The mayor wanted former town residents to know what’s going on with their old town.  He wanted to let them know what’s new… AND what they can do to help their roots develop in this new cyberworld.

I smiled… literally smiled wide!  This is the kind of mind that aims at progress.  Blogging about their small city is a great progressive step.  He’s going to pass this project on to the youth council, who seem to be gungho about the entire thing.

I’ll probably start by dropping a few URLs about blogging and see where their interest brings them.  I for one can probably demo what and how setting up a blog site is.  Do you know any URLs that can help them?

Funny how blogging is taking its aim at even the rural communities of South East Asia.  It’s the grassroots communities that, I think, can benefit from blogging.  Tons of things may happen if they keep telling people about their small town.  Opportunities, change, development… progress.

Keeping my fingers crossed that this will press on!

Categories: Blogging Sense, Blogging: How To, Interesting

What To Expect In WordPress 2.6

Ryan Boren has announced today that the WordPress version 2.6 beta 2 has been released to the public. Looks like there have been a couple of improvements since Beta 1 such as:

  • Insert image and edit image fixes
  • SSL fixes
  • i18n fixes
  • Lots of new inline documentation
  • Improved tag auto-suggest
  • TinyMCE 3.1.1 with Opera 9.5 and Safari fixes, proper align = center removal, and improved embeds support
  • jQuery UI 1.5.1

There are two excellent articles worth reading if you want to know more information in regards to this next major version. The first article entitled ( 10 Things you need to know about WordPress 2.6 ) written by Aaron Brazell does a nice job highlighting various aspects of the new release.

The second article (What You Need To Know About WordPress 2.6 ) also does a good job giving you a heads up as to what to expect.

Based on the recent betas and the low amount of problems associated with them, expect WordPress 2.6 to be released next Monday, July 7th. If not the 7th, expect it to be released around July 14th.

Are you looking forward to 2.6? I know I am.

Categories: WordPress News

Get Ready To SEO Flash

According to TechCrunch, Adobe has come up with a solution to the nagging problem of content within an SWF or Flash file from being indexed by search engines. Adobe has announced that they have released their solution to Google and Yahoo allowing them to crawl the content within these files. As for Windows Live Search, no dice! Since Flash is licensed by Adobe and is not an open standard, Adobe has the privilege of releasing this sort of technology to whom they see fit. A bummer if you ask me. Furthermore, Adobe has created a special flash player especially for these search engines which will aide in crawling the content.

It’s not that SWF files are not crawlable, as the article points out that there are over 73 million SWF files out on the web, it’s the text and links within the SWF file that has escaped the search engine spiders. It will be interesting to see the various articles from SEO experts out on the web which will explain the best ways in which to optimize your Flash content. (I bet they thought this day would never come)

You know, if this were to occur a few years ago back when Flash was ‘cool’, this would be huge news. Now, Flash is an annoyance on the web. I hate web sites that are using all sorts of different flash elements that I have no control over. The last thing I would want to see is a SWF file showing up as the first item of a search. Hopefully, Google along with Yahoo will create a filter for this type of content. That’s not to say I hate Flash entirely, as YouTube, Ustream.TV and other web services have made good use of the technology.

So, will you be optimizing your Flash files? How much content do you think is hidden within these Flash files that would be considered of use to the web?

Categories: Interesting