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Blog Herald’s WebProNews Expose

Duncan at Blog Herald has written an interesting piece pointing to a variety of pieces that Jason Lee Miller from WebProNews has written that allegedly fail to give attribution to original sources of information. Some of the pieces that Duncan compares show Jason using direct quotes from other sources without a link-back or even a mention of source which is a pretty big no no.

I have to say that WebProNews has been pretty good to me over the past few months since I started allowing them to use some of my content on their blog. They have responded to my suggestions and send reasonable traffic my way as a result.

However they are a professional site and have a reputation to uphold – as a result their authors should be writing with professional practices – especially staff writers like Jason who presumably are on the payroll. I’ll be interested to see what response Duncan’s piece gets when the rest of the world come back to work from their weekend in the next few hours.

Poll of the Week – Signatures in Blog Comments?

I don’t generally highlight previous posts but the comment thread in the Signatures in Blog Comments post is really kicking on and there is some worthwhile discussion going on there. I’m interested in your opinions so feel free to stop by and have your say.

I’ve also decided to add a poll to the sidebar of ProBlogger for the next week to see what public opinion is on Signatures in Comments. Tell us what you think by placing your vote for or against the practice (at the poll over in the sidebar).

update – this poll is now finished – view the results here.

YPN adds Ad Category Targeting

Jen has news of a new feature on the Yahoo Publishers Network – ad category targeting - which allows publishers to assign categories of ads to their website. Publishers can choose two categories of ads to target per website/page/directory. This doesn’t mean contextual ads won’t be served – rather YPN explains:

‘Your ad category selections, in combination with our matching technology, will determine what types of ads will be displayed. Selecting ad categories for a Targeted URL, however, does not guarantee that only ads from those ad categories will appear.’

There are 20 categories with 134 sub categories to choose from (they seem open to suggestions for new categories).

This is a distinct feature of YPN and is very attractive to bloggers targeting niche topics. While I don’t know all the details of how to implement it as I’m not in the beta test still (not unless I’m willing to move continents) I can see some great possibilities with this. For example being able to target different categories on your blog would definitely be handy!

I’ll be interested to see what Google comes up with in this area. They already have the ability to target specific sections of your page for making your ads more contextual – but I’m pretty sure from talking to a few other publishers that they are also testing something similar to this feature. Time will tell.

There is more information on YPN’s category targeting at the YPN FAQ page.

Welcome CBS listeners

Just a quick note to welcome CBS listeners who have tracked me down here after the interview with Frank and the mention on Market Watch in the past few hours.

If you’re looking for more information on the six figure blogging course - head here to get the free preview call and if you’re quick pick up the early bird discount which Andy and I have extended for a few hours (until Andy gets up tomorrow – so hope he sleeps in) so that those coming in from the interview can benefit from the discount. The discount is valid as long as you see it mentioned.

Also if you’re interested in Professional blogging you might like to subscribe to my free weekly newsletter. Otherwise – feel free to take a wander around my archives and say G’day in the comments below to introduce yourself to me and the wonderful community of readers here.

Update: the interview is available via iTunes as part of the Internet Daily Podcast. Do a search within the podcast directory for ‘Internet Daily’ or ‘Frank Barnako’ and hopefully you’ll find it. Apologies for my lack of animation on the call and muddled mind – it was 2am here when we recorded it and to be honest I didn’t realise who it was that was interviewing me – being an Aussie ‘CBS’ isn’t a name that immediately clicked as being a big deal in my sleep deprived state. I woke up this morning wondering just what I’d said – it was all like a hazy dream in my memory.

Signatures in Blog Comments

Has anyone else noticed recently that a lot of people leaving genuine comments on blogs have also started leaving ‘signature like’ links to their own blogs at the bottom of their comments? (NB: I’m not talking about links within comments that are relevant to the conversation happening in the comment thread).

I’ve noticed it happening more and more on my own blogs but also others. I’m a little torn on how to respond.

On one hand the comments are definitely genuine, on topic and from regular readers – something I love and want to encourage. On the other hand they have an opportunity to leave their link in URL field of the blog and to leave two is doubling up.

I have no follow tags on most of my blogs so doing it has no SEO benefits – but I still find it a bit spammy and have started emailing people who do it – politely asking them to refrain from doing so but I’d be interested to see what others think of it?

Google Adsense Change Log

A few weeks ago I was chatting to a Google Adsense consultant who was asking me for my opinion on how to improve Adsense. One of my suggestions was that they should add some sort of a ‘Change Log’ system which would help publishers to track changes that they make to their ads.

The reason I suggested it was that when you have multiple web pages with multiple types of ads on each it is difficult to keep track of what changes you’ve made and what impact they might have had. There have been many times where I’ve made a range of changes to my Adsense ads on different blogs and have promptly forgotten what it was that I did – so when I notice a few days later a change in my ad performance I have little idea what was the reason for the change. Frustrating.

Anyway – it was just an idea and I doubted (and still doubt) that the Adsense team would implement it – but today I noticed on the official Google AdWords Blog (ie NOT the Adsense one – but the AdWORDS one) that Google have just made a new tool available to Advertisers – it’s called the My Change History tool which – you guessed it – tracks changes made to an Adwords account over 3 months.

Of course it’s a lot easier to track changes in an AdWords account so I still doubt that we’ll get something similar as Adsense publishers – but I’d still love to see them add something to help us keep track of our Adsense changes. Even if it was some sort of note taking space (or what about a private, internal blog?) for publishers to manually keep track of their changes.

There is of course nothing stopping us all doing our own change logs – in fact this is what I currently do these days – each time I tweak an advertisement (ie if I change a design, placement or add or subtract an ad unit) I just jot a note down in my Change Log so changes in my results can be traced back to the appropriate action. I use my Back Pack It account to run my Change Log – but any word processing, spreadsheet or calendar program would probably work.

Do you track your Adsense changes? If so how? And what other features would you love to see the Adsense team add to the publishers tool box?

14 Instant Messaging Etiquette Tips for Bloggers

One of the best parts about this blog is that it puts me into direct contact with hundreds of bloggers from around the world every week. This happens on a variety of levels – comments, email and increasingly Instant Messaging. I have my IM details on my about pages which is a great thing – but also at times a frustrating thing.

I don’t want to come across as a grump – I really do enjoy the interaction that I have with readers – but after a week where I’ve had almost 50 IM conversations with people I’ve not had contact with before I’ve decided it might be worthwhile coming up with a list of Instant Messaging etiquette when contacting other bloggers for the first time (let me emphasize that the majority of those who have contacted me this week have not inspired this post). I’ll also admit that I’m not always the best on IM – I need to learn to turn mind off more when I don’t have the time to chat.

Here’s my Top 14 Instant Messaging Etiquette Tips for contacting Bloggers:

[Read more...]

Introducing a Shoddy Blogger

Want to see a slimey blog? A blog that tries to pass off content of other people as it’s own?

Have a look at Blogger Tips (no follow tag used) – a blog that is filled with either posts that are ‘free articles’ or other people’s content. In both types of posts there is no credit given to the original author.

I’ve got nothing against using free articles (I don’t think its the smartest way to build a blog) – but this blog isn’t even crediting them. Free articles are able to be freely posted on your blog – but you’re obligated to include a signature with a link to the author.

Do a Google search for the title of virtually every post on the blog and you’ll find it somewhere else.

For example compare:

What is Business Blog (no follow tag used)

with

What is a business blog?

They couldn’t even get the title right.

Why am I posting this? Well I’m getting sick of this type of blogging. In addition to that they don’t have any way of contacting them – they moderate their comments so one can’t protest that way and they’ve stolen a friend of mine’s content and are bringing the ‘ProBlogging’ segment of the wider blogging community into disrepute with this approach (and plus I haven’t had a rant for a little while).

Online communities and integrating blogs into mainstream marketing campaigns

If you’ve got a spare 10 minutes can I recommend heading to Rachel’s blog and downloading a PDF that she’s posted that is the verbatim of a talk that she and her partner (that’s blog partner and life partner) Regan did to the New Zealand Marketing Association on the topic of blogging.

Rachel showed me the powerpoint for this presentation a day or two before they gave it and my reaction to her was that it is perhaps one of the most useful summaries of how blogging can be used in business that I’ve ever seen.

The presentation is called – The power of online communities and integrating blogs into mainstream marketing campaigns

It’s not a short article but it tells the story of Rachel and Regan – two bloggers that have quietly carved themselves a niche as two of the most prominent ‘go to’ business blogging gurus in their country. Their most prominent work is the massively successful idolblog which is a fan site for the New Zealand, Australian and American Idol shows. In NZ Rachel and Regan have become not only sought after experts on blogging but also on NZ idol – in fact every time I speak to them these days it seems that they’ve just done some sort of media appearance or another as a result of idolblog. Their story is well worth reading.