Get a Bag of Schwag from ValleySchwag!

ValleyschwaglogoIf you’ve ever been to a conference you know the anticipation connected with the Schwag Bag which comes filled with bribes gifts from vendors hoping that by giving you a pen, t-shirt, condom, coffee mug, USB drive that you’ll buy their product, give them a favorable review or use their bribe gift in front of influential people.

Of course as a receiver of the schwag you don’t care what the vendor wants – you are just hoping for something that will make you cool, look important, give you bragging rights or give you something to play with on the plane on the way home from the conference.

Unfortunately – if you live in an isolated part of the world or if you don’t have the thousands of dollars necessary to get to these conferences (after all $1000 for a bag of schwag is probably not a responsible way to spend your AdSense cheques) you might like to check out this new service called Valleyschwag. They will send you a bag of schwag each month for just $14.95 USD (or a bit more if you’re not in the US).

It’s actually a pretty cool idea for a business. Those supplying the schwag get their products/brand to you, you get your schwag (they say there’s at lest a t-shirt in each delivery so I could have just found a way of clothing myself and my family for life) and can look ‘cool or important’ and Valleyschwag make a few dollars on the side.

Schwag me up Baby!!!!

via techcrunch

Topix Launches Revenue Sharing Publisher Platform

Topix have launched their publisher platform which enables publishers to sign up to allow Topix to let them use their content in their system on a revenue share basis.

To join you need to have a full feed from your blog and the content needs to be your own. There is no mention so far of what the revenue share split is between Topix and the publisher concerned (I find it bizarre that they don’t state what this is on their information page – you have to email them for more details – you also have to email them to apply to join which seems a tad primative for a site this size). More details on the technical requirements of what your feed needs to give them here.

Keep in mind that in sharing your full feed to be republished with a site like Topix has some definite pluses and minuses:

[Read more…]

Xu Jing Lei heads to the top of the Technorati 100

Technorati have just announced a that they’ve got a new most highly ranked blog on their Top 100 – a blog by Xu Jing Lei which has previously been left out of the list but which has a mass of inbound links.

Changing Media Landscape in Australia – Seminar

Those readers in Melbourne or Sydney might be interested in a seminar called ‘Changing Media Landscape’ that Slattery IT is putting on later this month.

The topic:

“How is the Australian media landscape evolving? The race is on for consumers and workable business models! This seminar brings together an impressive collection of representatives to discuss the opportunities and challenges the media industry is facing. Speakers will also share their views on the impact of changes to cross-media ownership, uniform defamation laws, blogging, user-generated content and the ongoing developments in copyright law. The possible future structure of the media industry, the likelihood of sector consolidation and the potential winners and losers will be discussed.”

The details:

Date & Venue:
SYDNEY – Tuesday 23rd May, 2006
MELBOURNE – Wednesday 24th May, 2006
Time: 5.00pm-7.00pm
Cost: $30 Watch Subscriber; $50 Non-Watch Subscriber (inc. GST)
Sydney Speakers: Rohan Lund, Director, Digital Media, Seven Network & Interim CEO, Yahoo!7; Mark Strong, New Media Manager, Network Ten; Ian Vaile, Head of Content, ABC New Media
Melbourne Speakers: Andrew Kenyon, Centre for Media & Communications Law, Melbourne University; Mark Strong, New Media Manager, Network Ten; Eric Beecher, Co-Founder, Private Media Partners; Oliver Barrett, Partner, Minter Ellison; Mike van Niekerk, Managing Editor, Fairfax Online’

Register Here

I’ll be at the Melbourne one unless something out of my control happens and I kind of wish I could be at the Sydney one too as the speakers look good there too.


New AdSense referrals for Google Pack and Picasa

AdSense have continued to release new items on their ‘referral’s program today with two new things for their publishers to earn commissions on. You can now refer to:

  • Google Pack – when users install it from your referral you get $2
  • Picasa – when users download it from your referral you get $1

Picasa is available in multiple languages but Google Pack is only in US English at this point (I don’t see an option for it here in Australia).

I know I’ll be trying out the Picasa one on my photo blogs:

Source: Inside AdSense

PS: Looks like Google ARE getting into the affiliate marketing game after-all – this makes their referral options 5.

Blogathon Help Needed – Ask me a Question

I’ve spent a little time today working on some preparations for my blogathon and as part of the last two times I’ve done it I’ve asked blog readers for questions for me to answer during the 24 hour blogging frenzy.

So – I’m going to open this post up for questions of a two types (keep in mind that I’ll be posting 100 times over the 24 hours which is once every 14.4 minutes so don’t make them too big):

  1. Blogging Questions
  2. Personal Questions (within reason)

My posts over the day range from the fun to the serious to the bizarre (especially at the end of the 24 hours) to the useful etc etc – so your questions can be anything (have some fun with it if you like). If I use your question you get a free link.

I doubt I’ll be able to answer all of them but this is one way you can help me make the day successful and raise some money for a good cause.

Of course if you ask a question I won’t charge you a donation for an answer but do hope you’ll be willing to contribute something on the day (no pressure!).

Leave your questions in comments below (or shoot me an email via my contact form if you’d prefer).

Update: Wow – lots of questions here! Thanks everyone.

I’ve probably got enough ‘blogging’ type questions now (the blogathon usually is much more diverse in terms of topics covered) so if you have any other questions about ‘me’ I’d be happy to take those too.

TypePad update Comment Spam Protection

TypePad Hacks reports that TypePad have updated their comment spam protection to allow bloggers to ban specific words and URLS. This is an update of the previous version of this feature which had problems because if you entered words that were part of other words it was a little over zealous and blocked both (ie ‘Banning the word “the” would also ban “theater,” “theremin,” and so on’).

How to Make Money From Your Blog

Steve Pavlina has written another of his comprehensive articles (7000+ words) on the topic of making money from a blog. It’s filled with loads of advice from his own experience of his last 19 months of blogging in which he’s built his own blog’s income to a level of $200 per day from a variety of streams.

Thanks to the numerous people who sent me this link including Andy.

The Work at Home Entrepreneur

Dominic Foster has written a post on Benefits of Working From Home which, as the title suggests, outlines some of the upsides of working at home:

  1. Choose your own hours
  2. Get to see more of your family
  3. Save money
  4. Maintain sanity
  5. Save time

He explains each and makes good sense – I’d write a similar list of benefits that I’ve enjoyed over the last couple of years.

I’d add a few things to it including incredible:

  • flexibility – as I’m writing this I can see the delivery guy for our new washing machine arriving – if I were not working at home there’d be no one here to take deliveries, let tradesmen in to do work etc.
  • productivity – IF you’re a disciplined type of person (and don’t get distracted by the XBox) productivity levels are potentially quite high. I find I get an incredibly amount of work done simply because I don’t have the distractions of meetings, workmates, etc. I also work more hours (and enjoy doing so) as I can just pop into the office in the evenings or weekends without having to catch a train or drive anywhere.

Of course there are a few downsides to working at home also that include:

  • Loneliness – while I have a constant stream of ‘virtual companionship’ via IM and email I’ve often lamented the fact that I don’t have someone to chat to over the water cooler about the footy or someone at the next desk to work on a project with. While I’m an introvert and enjoy my alone time a definite downside of working at home can be isolation.
  • Blurring of Home/Work – I actually think that this is a partial strength and partial weakness of working at home. On the upside it does mean that you CAN (if you’re disciplined) get more work hours in a day. This might sound bad but as someone who really enjoys my work it is actually a plus for me. On the flip side there is obviously a downside and while Dominic rightly says you get to see more of your family (if they’re home during the day) it can mean negotiating boundaries and avoiding the temptation to always be working.
  • Distractions – every workplace has it’s distractions and the home is full of them. They can come in the form of family (I suspect I’m about to learn about this one with V stopping work in 3 weeks and Mini-Rowse moving in a few weeks later), electronics (TV, gadgets, video games etc), books, gardening, bed…. the list goes on. Having said this I constantly surprise myself by how focussed I am on my work. If you’d asked me 5 years ago whether I’d be able to do it I’d have said no way – but for me if anything perhaps I should work MORE on being distracted than less as if anything I work too much.

I’d love to hear the experiences of other work at home bloggers and entrepreneurs. What are the benefits and costs that you see of working at home? What strategies do you use to get the most out of it?

A Question for Work at Home Parents
I’m particularly interested to hear from Work-at-Home parents. As I move towards this myself I’m really looking forward to it but am also a little anxious about how it will go as I not only become the sole breadwinner (once the maternity leave runs out) but also have the added distractions of wife and baby at home. Anyone got any tips for me?