Pixel Ad Site Targeting Bloggers with Deception

This morning I received an email from someone promoting his pixel advertising site which is targeting bloggers to buy space by deception.

The email was actually reasonably well written and outlined an opportunity to buy pixel squares along side other prestige blogs. It mentioned by name some very large blogs and pointed to it’s pixel map at (I’m not linking up).

Here’s a screen capture (click to enlarge):

Picture 5-2

As you’ll see when you head there they’ve already signed on some very well known blogs – it’s very impressive.

Of course when you dig a little deeper you find that at least some of the more well known blogs that have ‘bought’ space have never heard of it before. I just spoke with Jason Calacanis who says he and his team at Engadget and The Cancer blog (both featured at present prominently) have not bought space and had no knowledge of their logos being used in this way. I’ve also talked to numerous others whose logo is being used and have had a similar response.

Those included presently on the page include:

They have grouped together a number of blogs of similar genres including SEO, sports, travel, tech, blogging etc obviously in the hope of trying to attract other unsuspecting bloggers to join up.

In my book this is deception.

Now perhaps some of these large blogs have signed up and I’m making a big deal over nothing – but I’m yet to find an ‘advertiser’ on the list who knows that their logo is being used although I worry that some might have already signed up under false pretenses. I have however had email from a few people who have been approached to join the program who were about to do so on the basis that other prominent blogs have (obviously the intention of the people behind the program).

In and of itself I have nothing against pixel ad programs (although apart from the first one I’ve not seen any that have worked) – what I do take issue with is when they try to gain momentum by dubious means that obviously prey on people’s desire to be seen next to prominent blogs who have not consented to be used in this way.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this site isn’t there in a few hours – if I was behind it I’d be worried about the reaction of those that it’s using the logos of in this way.

update: Digging a little deeper – their ‘press page’ also ‘looks’ quite impressive at a glance but just points to 9 places where the same press release have been published – example.

update 2: I’ve written an update on this story with further developments here.

10 Steps to Writing a Successful Series on your Blog

Now that we’ve talked about why a blogger might consider the use of a series of posts I’d like to turn my attention to the way in which I do it.

When it comes to the way I build a series of posts on a blog my workflow is a little different to Eric’s (although there are some real similarities also). Let me outline how it usually works for me (and it does vary from time to time).

1. Identify a topic – this is of course key when it comes to developing a successful series (as it is with single posts also). As I reflect upon most of the series of posts I’ve written here at ProBlogger over the past year it’s interesting to see that in virtually every case the series has started in my mind as a single post. For example – one of my first ever blog series was one I wrote on AdSense for Bloggers. This 8 part series started (in my mind) as a medium sized post. As I started writing I soon realized that there was more that I could write than would comfortably fit in one post and so the series began.

The key of course is to make sure you choose a topic that is large enough to warrant multiple posts (you don’t want to write a series just for the sake of it) but manageable enough not to overwhelm you. Some topics are so large that they could almost be a blog in and of themselves.

The ideas from most of the series that I do generally do come from the themes that I see in the interactions that I have with my readers. Questions that they ask are usually key in triggering my thinking in this way.

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How to Write a Blog Series

MindBlog has a good post on Writing a Series of Blog posts which outlines the process that Eric goes through when putting together a series of posts over at his blog.

The method of stringing related posts together in a series has been a central part of ProBlogger over the past year (I always seem to have one on the go) so Eric’s post got me thinking about my own workflow in writing them.

As a result I thought it’d make a good series to write how I do it!

Don’t worry – it’s just going to be a 2 part series. In this post I’ll talk a little about WHY writing series of posts from time to time can be helpful and in the next (and last) post in this mini-series I’ll outline my 10 step process for writing a successful series.

Writing a series of posts is an excellent strategy for bloggers for a number of reasons.

  • Instead of ending up with one longer post on your blog on a topic you end up with multiple highly targeted posts which is good for your blog’s Search Engine presence
  • Series of posts can often help bloggers to go deeper and examine a wide topic in a more comprehensive way
  • They help build momentum on a blog over time in terms of your writing flow – I also find that they are good for helping me keep my motivation to write up on my blogs
  • They encourage repeat readers (people come back each day for more)
  • If you put them together smartly they are interlinked which is good for building page views per reader, creating stickiness and ranking well in Search Engines

A Word of Warning – I do suspect that some bloggers take the idea of the blog series too far in a couple of ways.
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Speedlinking – 23 March 2006

Google AdWords Keyword Tool – A Useful tool for AdSense Publishers

I’ve been playing around today with the Google AdWords: Keyword Tool which is a tool designed to help AdWords advertisers optimize their campaigns – but which is also very useful for AdSense publishers. It’s recently been updated in a number of ways – one of which is that you no longer need an AdWords account to access it.

I thought I’d take you on a tour of it because I think it has some great applications for AdSense bloggers.

When you first go to the tool you’re given an option of two types of keyword searches – ‘Keyword Variations’ and ‘Site-Related Keywords’. I’ll take a quick look at each now in turn.


Keyword Variations

I’ll start off by plugging ‘Blogging’ into the field and then pluggingin ‘get more keywords’. The results of this give me a list of keywords that relate to the term ‘blogging’ – ranked by relevance. [Read more…]

Recapturing the Joy of Blogging

I was just lamenting to myself a few days back that one of my favorite bloggers (who blogs about blogging), Paul Chaney, had been a little quiet recently on his blog. Today he posts a blog titled The Joy of Blogging which might explain a little of why we’ve been missing his words of wisdom recnently:

‘As I’ve lived my life out on the blogosphere for over two years (I started in December 2003), I found it to be something very pleasurable. It started out as a hobby, then morphed its way into a business. Somewhere along the way, blogging ceased to be fun and started to become more like work. When it did, my posting slowed down dramatically….’

He goes on to outline four ways to help if your blogging has become more of a chore than a joyful experience:

  • Blog about what you have a passion for.
  • Read other blogs.
  • Take a blogging holiday on occasion.
  • Set regular times to blog.

Another tip that I’ve been considering lately on a couple of blogs that I don’t really enjoy any more is simply to end them. In fact last night I ‘retired’ a number of blogs that had not been going well both from a perspective of traffic but also from a perspective of my own joy and interest in them.

Of course ‘retiring’ a blog is probably a last resort and I’d suggest you take some of Paul’s advice before getting to that point. I’ve also written quite a few posts on battling bloggers block – many of which might help a little with recapturing some of the joy of blogging.

Blood Boiling Blogging Practices

I’ve had one of those hours that makes my normally calm demeanor disappear – in fact my blood’s close to boiling point tonight. Warning – this could get ugly….

It happened as a result of three online interactions in quick succession:

1. Pyramid Scheme Advertising – I was IM’d by a person who was pitching me to advertise on his pixel advertising site. The system was one where I was ‘guaranteed’ traffic to my site after a $75 ‘investment’ – for life. I could also make back my money! Sounds too good to be true – and in my mind it is. The system is a pyramid scheme that gives incentive to those who advertise to click on the ads in the system. The person could not see why I wouldn’t want this type of traffic at ProBlogger (ie people who were being paid to surf here). I explained that firstly I didn’t want that type of reader and that secondly the ad programs that I use (like AdSense and Chitika) don’t allowed their publishers to engage in finding traffic through paid to surf programs.

Ironically the last time I chatted with this person on IM they were complaining of being kicked out of Chitika for no reason – even though they admitted to using traffic generators on their sites.

The IM conversation lasted close to half an hour with neither of us making any ground (ie he didn’t convince me to join his pyramid scheme and I didn’t convince him that his system seemed completely dodgy – we agreed to disagree and left it at that).

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Optimizing your Title Tag for SEO on 3 Different Platforms

This post has been submitted by regular contributor – Aaron Brazell

A lot has been made of SEO as it comes to blogging, both here at Problogger and elsewhere. If you are a regular reader of this site, then this is especially critical to you. You read this blog because you want to know how to most effectively leverage your blog to make money. A lot of those earnings will come on the back of traffic from search engines.

A few weeks ago, we looked at how to get a very effective integration of Adsense into your WordPress-based blog. I realized as I interacted with you in the comments that my affinity for WordPress would help many out but that there are a large portion of you who use non-WordPress solutions.

Today, there’s another tip I’d like to pass along – one that Darren turned me onto and that I have been implementing across my blogs. It’s optimizing your <title> tag for Search Engines. Specifically, how to implement a “Entry Title – Blog Description” style title scheme. This time, I’ll cover more than WordPress.

The Importance of Title Tags

I’m preaching to the choir when I tell you that title tags are important. They could very well be the most important piece of your blog. We know a couple of things about title tags.

  1. Title tags describe a page. They are a one line summary of what the page is about. The common (and semantic) understanding of the tag is to wrap the title of the site. Unfortunately for many people, the title of the site is completely un-descriptive of the content of the blog. For example, my blog is called “Technosailor”. If I put this in the title tag, search engines really have no clue as to the content of my site. It means nothing to spiders. It would be much better for SEO to place a keyword-rich description (e.g. “Technology, Blogging and Politics”) in the title tag.
  2. It’s the Title Used in SERPs! The content of your title tag is what will be displayed in search engine results. Before I optimized Technosailor to use a “Entry Title – Blog Description” titling scheme, I had results like this in Google:

Okay, Title Tags are Good, but How Do I Tweak Them?

Depending on the blog platform you use, and the theme/template in use there are a few options.
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AdSense updates AdSense Help Center

Google Sm-1The official AdSense blog has just pointed to their newly designed AdSense Help Center. It includes their demo section and a basic troubleshooting section.

I’m not sure how much of it is new and how much is just redesigned – but it’s developing into a reasonably helpful resource for AdSense publishers.