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Speedlinking – 21 December 2006

  • Blogger Beta came out of beta a couple of days back. So I’d be interested in hearing Blogger user’s reviews. Do tell!
  • WSJ has published an opinion piece on bloggers and how we’re a mob. The irony is that bloggers everywhere are joining together to storm the paper’s website like an angry…. mob.
  • Eric has released a WP plugin to help bloggers to automatically link up to their Chitika Shoplincs.

ecto for Windows 2.2 released

Blog desktop editor ecto for Windows 2.2 has been released. New features include:

  • Added Flickr Search support for image upload.
  • Added more robust data saving to guard against OS crashing.
  • Added support for CSS style/class for image upload.
  • Added support for generic tag format (e.g. Ultimate Tag Warrior)
  • Added GoDaddy.com’s Quick Blog to the preset list of blog type in Profile Creation Wizard.
  • Added check for default RSD location before checking blog index page HTML header.
  • Added initial support for the new Google’s Blogger beta using the GData library.
  • Added Image option to Create Link window.
  • Added extra options for different type of posting entry data time.
  • Added profile backup and restore to file capability.
  • Added Paste Special option to Post window with capability to paste text as unformatted text or strip out MS Word formatting tags.
  • Updated Amazon Search to include new product types.

There’s also a lot of bug fixes.

Google Gives Clarification on Duplicate Content

If you’ve ever wondered what Google does and doesn’t clasify as ‘duplicate content’ then you might find this explanation of it on their official Webmaster blog.

A few snippets:

“What is duplicate content?
Duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar. Most of the time when we see this, it’s unintentional or at least not malicious in origin: forums that generate both regular and stripped-down mobile-targeted pages, store items shown (and — worse yet — linked) via multiple distinct URLs, and so on. In some cases, content is duplicated across domains in an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings or garner more traffic via popular or long-tail queries….

What does Google do about it?
During our crawling and when serving search results, we try hard to index and show pages with distinct information. This filtering means, for instance, that if your site has articles in “regular” and “printer” versions and neither set is blocked in robots.txt or via a noindex meta tag, we’ll choose one version to list. In the rare cases in which we perceive that duplicate content may be shown with intent to manipulate our rankings and deceive our users, we’ll also make appropriate adjustments in the indexing and ranking of the sites involved. However, we prefer to focus on filtering rather than ranking adjustments … so in the vast majority of cases, the worst thing that’ll befall webmasters is to see the “less desired” version of a page shown in our index….

Don’t fret too much about sites that scrape (misappropriate and republish) your content. Though annoying, it’s highly unlikely that such sites can negatively impact your site’s presence in Google. If you do spot a case that’s particularly frustrating, you are welcome to file a DMCA request to claim ownership of the content and have us deal with the rogue site.”

This last part will undoubtedly calm a few nervous bloggers that I know who worry about their content being scraped and republished on other people’s blogs and being penalized for it.

Blogging Wills – What happens to your Blogs When You Die?

Eric Giguere asks an interesting question over at his blog – Do you have an “AdSense Will”?

It is actually a question V (my wife) and I have talked about and made plans for over the past year or so.

It became more serious for us to talk about when we realized that our family’s main income source was blogging and when we started planning a family (funny how things get more serious when you realize you’re responsibly for a little one).

Phase one of getting things in order was getting our wills together and setting up our business in a smart way.

With that out of the way we had one level of the problem solved – but another question arose.

V came to me one day and said ‘if you died, how would I know what to do with your blogs?’ and ‘Would they keep earning money without you?’

The second question first – yes they would continue to earn money, but on a decreasing scale over time. It would be important for her to either manage the blogs and find a way for them to continue to operate with soeone e

Now V’s a pretty smart person, but she’s not a blogger and while I’m not a techie, she makes me look like a hardcore coder. Like Eric writes in his post, she wouldn’t have the faintest on where to start in a lot of the logistics of what I do.

As a someone who works largely alone I realized that I needed to put together some sort of dossier to help her out in case anything untoward were to happen to me.

Here’s what it includes (so far – it is a work in progress):

  • Contact details for partners – I have a number of blog partners that would be able to help her navigate some of the logistics of managing my blogs
  • Contact details for trusted other bloggers – a few others who know enough to be useful
  • Passwords and Contact details for Advertising Programs and Affiliate Programs – to be able to access and manage income
  • Contact details of bloggers who work for me – a number of my blogs are written these days by others.
  • Contact details for web hosts – without these the blogs fall over and income disappears
  • Passwords for Paypal accounts
  • Backup details – for blogs and computers
  • Blog and hosting passwords – to give her (or those who help her) access
  • Instructions on what to do – a few notes on what I’d suggest she does. Which blogs she could sell (and who could help her sell them), which to allow to run (and who to write on them), what my agreements are with different people etc

I’m also going to give V some blog lessons in the coming months and be more intentional in talking to her about the day to day running of my work so that it isn’t a completely foreign thing to her. She’s also going to meet some of my blogging partners next year when we head to North America which I’m sure will help also.

Eric calls this his ‘AdSense Will’ or ‘Disaster Recovery plan for your online business’ – I just call it thinking ahead and being smart for the sake of those you love.

PS: Interweb also has a piece picking up on Eric’s post titled AdSense in the Afterlife? as did Blogging Pro.

Digg This Post Here

More Reviews and Predictions – Group Writing Project Day 2

200612181504It’s day 2 of the ‘Reviews and Predictions‘ group writing project and I really enjoyed reading this next batch of entries. In fact I spent way to much time reading blogs today and not enough time posting! It just amazes me every day what a massive variety of blog topics are out there.

My pick of the day (and this is the first time I’ve singled anyone out is engtech’s You Can Be a Good Example or a Horrible Warning – How NOT to be a Successful Blogger which I would have linked to in a speedlinking or a post of it’s own because it’s a great post which I’m sure many ProBlogger readers will enjoy.

In total today there have been over 79 submissions from all over the globe (3 in languages other than English – a new record for a single day, lets beat it tomorrow!).

A quick reminder that there are still two days to go to be involved in this project. To be included in tomorrow’s list and go in the running for one of our 10 prizes (see them below) simply follow the procedure in this post.

Speaking of the prizes – which one are you gunning for most? the Nintendo Wii? The iPod Video? The Cash? The hosting package? One of the vouchers? The coaching course? Tell us in comments below.

Here are the latest batch of submissions. Make sure you surf as many as possible and spread the link love on your own blogs. The full list (today’s and yesterday’s links is here).

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Speedlinking – 20 December 2006

Google Release 2006 Zeitgeist Report

Two weeks ago it was Yahoo sharing the most searched for terms in it’s engine – today Google shares theirs with their annual Zeitgeist Report.

Google’s top searches for the year:

1. bebo
2. myspace
3. world cup
4. metacafe
5. radioblog
6. wikipedia
7. video
8. rebelde
9. mininova
10. wiki

The top searches on Google News:

1. paris hilton
2. orlando bloom
3. cancer
4. podcasting
5. hurricane katrina
6. bankruptcy
7. martina hingis
8. autism
9. 2006 nfl draft
10. celebrity big brother 2006

Also check out their What’s Hot page, their current events page, their milestones page and their entertainment and sports pages.

Online Etiquette and the Culture of a Blog

Michael Moncur has written a thoughtful post asking Whatever happened to online etiquette? which bounces off (and largely rejects) the NYT piece by David Pogue of the same name.

I think Michael makes some worthwhile points – particularly in his third point about Anonymity and fifth point about content inspiring community.

Anonymity – while some do like to hide behind anonymity I find that the majority of attack within blogging circles happens not because people can remain hidden but because it actually gets them attention and they think it will raise their profile. Thankfully the ‘snark strategy’ to build a blog’s profile has died away a little over the last 6 months. While it can raise your profile it can also destroy your reputation.

Content Inspiring Community – Michael quotes a comment from Gina Trapani of Lifehacker which is insightful and worth highlighting again:

“Also, netiquette in public forums has a lot to do with the content around which the community is centered. Lifehacker’s posts set out to help folks, so in kind, our readers want to help us and each other back. Digg is a popularity contest of oneupmanship. Gawker is all about making fun of things, so its readers mock each other and it right back in the comments. Karma’s a boomerang.”

My feeling is that sites develop a culture around them. This is often set by the tone and voice of those who set them up and provide the lead (in the case of a blog – the blogger/s).

If your blog is written in a positive, optimistic, helpful and inclusive voice then I find that those commenting generally respond with a similar tone. Write in a snarky, negative, rant dominated tone that makes fun of others and you can expect a very similar vibe in your comments.

In fact I think that this principle extends out of your comments section into the way that other bloggers interact with you from their blogs also.

Of course there are exceptions to this – even the most positive and helpful bloggers get attacked from time to time – but I find that this is more the exception than the rule.

What do you think?

Group Writing Project – Day 1

200612181504Day 1 of the Reviews and Predictions Group Writing Project is over and 55 submissions have arrived in my inbox from readers who are competing for the $2500 in prizes.

This round includes a few posts from our sponsors themselves (they’re not in the running for prizes but wanted to participate in the fun too). Alongside them we have a wide array of posts ranging from haikus, humorous pieces, lots of predictions and quite a few posts reflecting upon different niches this year. Together they make an interesting read.

Thanks to our sponsors – Rob Schaumer, DeveloperCube, eMoms at Home, Thrive Web Marketing, Dave Taylor, Poker on a Mac, Information for Her Australia for Australian Women, The Blogging Times, bloglinkr and 451 Press (see below for the full list of prizes).

There’s still 3 more days to get your submissions in and join the fun. Just follow the procedure outlined here.

Thanks to everyone who has participated in Day 1. Looking forward to seeing tomorrow’s batch.

Now as promised – here’s the prize list to inspire you to enter!

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