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AdSense Gets a Facelift

AdSense has redesigned their back end for publishers in what looks to me at first impression like a simplification of design. Now across the top of a publishers screen are just three tabs – ‘reports’, ‘AdSense Setup’ and ‘My Account’.

It seems at a first glance that it’s the ‘AdSense Setup’ that has had the update. When you click on it you get a choice of four products to add to your site as can be seen in the following screenshot.

The products are not new – just the layout.

Picture 3-6

When you click on one of the options you’re taken to newly designed pages for making ads also.

For example if you click ‘AdSense for Content’ you’re taken to a page like this:

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Shiny Media launch The Googly – Cricket Blog

The Googly

I’m an Aussie and I’m proud of it – so when a blog launches on our national sport (ok, one of them) my ears prick up.

UK blog network, Shiny Media have just launched a Cricket Blog by the name of The Googly.

Now this is not a blog that will appeal to every reader of ProBlogger as it’s on a game that many around the world just don’t get – but it’s going to have a massive potential audience. When you consider that countries like India (with a population over over 1 billion people) play (and are rather obsessed about watching) cricket you begin to see the potential for a blog like this.

It’s a blog that looks like largely being monetized by AdSense at this point but I suspect they might do ok with affiliate programs down the track – especially if they decide to explore betting affiliate programs (lots of money goes down on cricket matches in some parts of the world).

My only sadness – they beat us at b5 to the punch as we’ve been working towards our own cricket blog for a while.

I don’t tend to announce new blogs these days – but this one’s going straight to the news aggregator!

PS: it’s going to be great to be able to be a reader of a UK Cricket Blog during the next Ashes series when their team gets completely trounced!

PS2: Apologies to readers in non Cricketing parts of the world who have no idea what I was just writing about – feel free to ignore this post :-)

Which Statistic is Most Crucial to Your Blogging?

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Yesterday at the conference I was attending I was speaking with a blogger about his blog’s workflow and we were talking about the temptation to check the many different types of blog stats all day long and what a time waster it can be.

Off the cuff in the middle of the conversation I asked him a hypothetical question that I thought I’d as everyone:

‘If you could only check one statistic on your blog what would it be?’

Note – I’m not talking about what statistics package (ie Sitemeter, Google Analytics etc) – I’m talking about one statistic from any such stats package.

Would you want to know visitor levels, your adsense total earnings, affiliate commissions, page views, referrers, outgoing links…. etc

I don’t think there’s necessarily any right or wrong – but I think the answers we give might say something about the motives we have for blogging – or maybe not :-)

Telstra BigBlog

HomepagewelcomeheaderAustralian Telecommunications giant Telstra seem to have just launched a new blogging service in the last day sometime (although I’m yet to see it mentioned in the media yet). It’s called Telstra BigBlog and they are promoting it as:

‘BigBlog lets you share your thoughts, comments, stories, interests and adventures online. You can include words, photos, photo albums, video, sound, MMS photos and SMS text… your BigBlog can be whatever you make it.’

Of course when you go to ‘create blog’ you get taken to a page that says to ‘stay tuned’ as the service is ‘coming soon’.

It seems a rather odd way to get things running.

There are a few blogs live by the looks of things though. They all look pretty standard with a ‘BigBlog’ header across the top. I can’t say that I’m very impressed with what I’m seeing so far – most of those that I saw have a fairly ugly olive green colored template.

Maybe I’m just being skeptical about a big company with a poor reputation like Telstra getting into the blogging game but it all just seems rather odd and very wrong to me. Their own corporate blog is being used as an example of how not to blog in blogging case studies in many circles so I wonder how their blogging service will go down.

Found via Trevor and Paul

update: SMH has more news on BigBlog

Journalists, Bloggers and the Australian Blogosphere

Well the MediaConnect conference (Kickstart 06) is over and I’m home again and am in catch up mode (I managed to keep the inbox down to 1200 unread emails over the three days).

I found Kickstart to be a worthwhile experience overall. The highlights for me all revolved around the people I met more so than the content of presentations (not quite where I was at as a blogger – but there were a few interesting sessions).

It was fascinating to watch the small group of new media people (podcasters and bloggers) interacting with journalists, vendors and PR people (not that those categories are mutually exclusive as I met PR people, journalists and vendors who were also bloggers). My observation was that there is a little jostling for position (perhaps legitimacy) going on – but that there were some who were genuinely interested in discovering how the different industries could work together (and a few who were pretty stuck in their ways – believing that their paradigm was pretty much the only legitimate one).

This was probably most evident in a series of posts written by bloggers over the few days (both by those in attendance and those who were not) around the topic of an Aussie A-list. I won’t rehash the whole thing here but you can follow the ‘conversation’ with Charles, Mark, Cameron, Ben, Shane, Anthony and Frank (let me know if I missed anyone). update: Cameron has written a bit more on Kickstart here.

Not wanting to stir the pot but the conversation of who’s in and who’s out of an A-list to me is a sign of perhaps the level of maturity that we have as an Aussie Blogosphere.

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ProBlogger Suffers DoS Attack

Apologies for the downtime here last night – we had a DoS attack aimed at ProBlogger.

It’s nice to feel noticed :-)

Blog Design for Beginners Part 2

The following post is part 2 (of 3) of a series of guest posts on the topic of Blog Design – written by blog designer, Peter Flaschner from Blog Studio.

In my last post, I described the process we use at The Blog Studio to design a web site. Today, we’re going to take the finished design and turn it into a fully functional WordPress theme.

So, ready? Excellent. For today’s lesson, you’ll need your graphics editor (Photoshop, Illustrator, Freehand, Gimp, etc), an ftp program to upload files to your server, and a pencil and paper.

I’m going to gloss over a whole bunch of technical stuff here. The point of this post is not so much to teach you how to write html as it is to give you an insight into the process we use to design and build blogs.

Step 1: Plan the attack
Let’s take a look at the design I whipped up:

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Technorati adds ‘Most Favorited’ Top 100

Speaking of Technorati – they now have a ‘most Favorited’ Top100 list which is made up of the blogs that have the highest number of users adding the blog as a favorite. Looking at the numbers involved I’d say that the favorites feature is perhaps not the most used feature on Technorati yet Steve Rubel who heads the list has 119 and Robert Scoble has 115 so far.

Add this blog to my Technorati Favorites!

Add ProBlogger as a Favorite using the button above.

Technorati Problems Resolved… For Me

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Those readers who have been following my Technorati problems posts (here, here and here) might be interested to know that it seems that all of the problems that I’d mentioned have been resolved.

After a fairly longish email discussion I seem to have convinced the ‘powers that be’ that my blogs are worthy of being included in the index and they have begun being indexed again (well all but one have – but who’s complaining?).

Also for the first time I’ve been included in the Top 100 list – something I’d been in as far as my links indicated but something that’d never actually happened in terms of the actual official list.

In the scheme of things lists like this don’t mean much as but it’s nice to have the hard work from the past 18 or so months amount to something.

It also means a little something to me to see something I created listed just under three blogs that I’ve long admired in Jeff Jarvis, Steve Rubel and Blogcritics.

Of course it could all disappear tomorrow as my luck with Technorati goes (hence the screen cap) but for now it looks ok. I also know that there are many other bloggers who seem to have similar problems to what I’ve had (if the comments sections in my previous posts are anything to go by.

All I can recommend is that you politely persist with contacting the Technorati customer service team. From what I can see they are good people who are doing their best to work through a fairly massive task. I can only imagine the numbers of emails they must get each day. Perhaps posting about your issues might also have some impact :-)

On a related ‘top blogger’ type list – it seems a new Top 50 of most influential bloggers was released this past week while I was away.

Not sure how they’re coming up with the figures or what the point of it is but my only suggestion is that they might want to take a look at this post. I also wonder why they don’t link to the blogs on the list. There are a few bloggers on it I don’t know and I’m going to have to go do the Google thing I guess.