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Zookoda – New Email Newsletter System

Logo-1Regular readers will notice that my email subscription submission form at the top of my left hand menu has changed. This is because I’m beta testing a new email newsletter service called Zookoda which is designed specifically for bloggers wanting to offer their readers a way to subscribe to their blog via email.

I’ve just swapped my subscription list over and so it’s too early to give comment on how the service works but my first impressions are quite positive and I can see it has some great applications for a number of the blogs that I operate.

If you’re not already subscribed to my newsletter you can do so by simply adding your email address. If you do it in the next 20 minutes you’ll be included in this week’s newsletter. Otherwise there will be another one next week.

If you’re a subscriber I’d love to hear your feedback on the new format. Keep in mind it’s a beta test – but any suggestions you have as a subscriber will be appreciated by both me and the team at Zookoda I’m sure.

update: one glitch I’ve found with the first newsletter that just went out is that the reply address is actually wrong. When my account was set up by the Zookoda team they put their own email instead of mine as the sender. So if you reply to the email it will not go to me but to them. Please don’t inundate them with email meant for me.

Should Sites Republish Blog’s Content?

There’s an Interesting post and comments thread over at Mobile Jones where Debbie Jones talks about another site that is republishing her RSS feed without permission and is running ads on the site with some fairly prominent advertisers.

This is an increasingly common occurrence and one that I’m asked about more and more. Just today alone I found three sites republishing ProBlogger’s partial feeds – all of which did so with no permission and all of which had advertising on them.

I’d love to hear other’s thoughts on whether they would allow another site to republish their feed (with or without the ads).

On one hand this obviously gets your content out there and being read by more and more people – it also could help with SEO if the site gives direct links to your posts (although I’ve noticed quite a few of these types of sites don’t do this directly).

On the other hand, the other site is creating an income stream that is largely based upon your own efforts – in most cases without any permission from you and in some cases with little acknowledgment.

What do you think about this increasingly common practice? What do you do when you find your content being used in this way?

Converting RSS Subscribers to Blog Readers

Phil Sim has an interesting post about The little post that could… where he had an influx of traffic to his blog from his RSS subscribers the day he wrote a post that mentioned his new blog design.

Getting RSS subscribers to visit a blog is a challenge that many bloggers have – especially those who publish full feeds. For example I know of one blog that has a feedburner counter of over 10,000 who struggles to get a tenth of that to their blog each day.

Phil comments in his post – ‘It also made me realise just how much traffic RSS feeds steal from websites!’

Not all bloggers mind where their readers read them – as long as they are reading their content they are satisfied – but many bloggers do get a little down about this. I guess the key if you’re wanting readers to view your action site is to learn from Phil and give your RSS subscribers a reason to come to your blog.

I’d strongly advise against ‘teasing’ them or ‘sucking them in’ to visit you but rather to do it in a way that adds something to your readers experience of your blog. Some common ways to do this include the use of polls, writing posts that interlink to other parts of your blog (ie previous related posts) and other interactive tools as well as writing in a way that encourages comments.

gnoos — Aussie Blog Search

Yet another place for Aussie bloggers to submit their URLs and RSS feeds to at the new Aussie Blog Search at Gnoos.

Engadget accused of Unethical Blogging

There’s an interesting story emerging on Digg with regards to Engadget and their acknowledging of sources of stories. The controversy is around this story at dapreview.net.

Whether Engadget are at fault or not I’m not in a position to say – but the story is an important one for bloggers to consider when they are bouncing off what others are writing.

I know that this can be a real challenge for many popular blogs which get pitched ideas all day. Problems often arise when a story appears in multiple places at once, all using the same pictures and information. I would imagine that Engadget get many emails notifying them of each story – each one is after one thing, simply to get the link as the source which guarantees traffic and Google Juice. This would be complicated by the blog being a multi-author blog.

Of course this doesn’t give an excuse for unethical blogging and they have a responsibility to check and acknowledge sources like any other blog.

I’ll be interested to see how and if Engadget respond to the criticism as the story is gaining real momentum at Digg (652 diggs at present and rising quickly).

update: Ryan Block, managing editor of Engadget, has added an apology to the post in question.

YPN change their Terms and Conditions

YPN have just emailed their beta publishers to notify them that their Terms and Conditions were ‘modified’ this past weekend (crazily the link to the TaC in their email didn’t work). Unfortunately they do not say how they have been modified so unless you have a copy of the old TaC (or have a photographic memory) we’ll all be in the dark as to what the changes are.

If you can workout what the changes are I’d be interested to hear your theories.

There are a couple of discussion threads on it here and here.

update: Jen details the changes here.

Efficient Blogging – Lessons from Elite Athletes

Asafa-PowellTangent Time: Here in Melbourne the Commonwealth Games have been on for the last 5 or so days and I’ve been fortunate enough to get along to three sessions so far (Rugby 7s, Hockey and last night the Athletics). We’ll be heading to another Athletics session later in the week. Of course I’ve also watched my fair share of the coverage on TV as I’m a bit of a sports nut.

One of the things that I’m always fascinated with when it comes to many elite athletes is how effortless they look when they are performing at their peak.

We saw Asafa Powell (current 100m world record holder – pictured left) run last night (twice) and while other athletes strived and strained to keep up with him he almost seemed to jog past them.

I noticed this same thing as I watched a number of Australian swimmers on TV yesterday – their strokes allowed them to almost effortlessly glide through the water in an incredibly smooth manner.

As I’ve been pondering this over the last few days I’ve come to the conclusion (after a few conversations with friends and after listening to a few insightful commentators) that what seems to set these elite athletes apart from those a rung below them is their efficiency and ability to make each exertion of energy translate into maximum power.

In a sense it’s an incredibly finely tuned focussing of energy into the things that will lead to maximum output.

As I watched the athletics tonight, pondering these thoughts, my mind wandered to blogging… just for a few moments… as it does. I wondered what I could learn from these elite athletes efficiency and focus.

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Speedlinking – 20 March 2006

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Australian Blogs Index

Yaro points to a new service called AustralianBlogs.com.au that bookmarks Australian blogs. If you’re an Aussie, have a .au domain or are writing about Australian stuff they’re looking for your submission.