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MyBlogLog – Is it Adding Value?

Mybloglog-ProbloggerProBlogger’s MyBlogLog community has continued to grow in number over the last couple of weeks since I added it to my sidebar however the last few days have given me numerous reasons to wonder if I continue with it.

Community Message Spam – I am increasingly spending time deleting spammy comments left on the community from members. While I’m not overly concerned by the ‘check out my community/site/blog’ comments (although leaving a comment like that’s not really incentive for anyone to check out your community/site/blog in my experience) over the last few days I’ve had an increasing amount of ‘harder edged’ spam on my community – particularly linking to porn and drug sites.

The result is that I’m spending more and more time each day removing spam (something I have enough of with my email and blog comment spam).

I’ve suggested to MBL that they give community owners a higher level of moderation. Perhaps one way would be to not only send an email every time a comment is left with a link to the comment – but to include what the comment is as well as a link within the email to delete it (similarly to how WordPress does with comments).

Author Spam – Last night I received numerous invitations from other communities to join them as an author – despite the fact that I’ve never heard of the blogs (let alone the fact that I’ve not written on them). The communities in question listed hundreds of authors. Today a number of other bloggers posted that they’d been added as authors on blogs that they didn’t write on including ShoeMoney, John Chow, Danny Sullivan and Web Metrics Guru. Reading the comments on these blogs shows that many others were spammed this way also. (The Jason Calacanis community also looks like a victim of this as he seems to have been made an ‘author’ of an SEO community).

Reliability – I’ve had a few problems with deleting spammy comments this week. Sometimes it takes hitting ‘delete’ 3-4 times before they actually are deleted.

I guess I’m also still a little confused about what MyBlogLog offers bloggers (as I was last time I wrote about MyBlogLog). While there’s definitely potential there (they do seem to have a large number of enthusiastic users) I’m worried that in it’s current form their communities could actually hurt the reputation of the blogs that they form around.

I’ve already had complaints from a number of readers about the nature of some pictures appearing in the widgets and some of the content in comments left on the community pages. Unless there is added levels of moderation, tighter controls over authorship and some sort of features that adds to community around a blog I’m not sure it’s something I’ll continue much further with.

I’d love to see MyBlogLog go to the next level and become a useful tool to bloggers and blog readers – but adding any feature to a blog has the potential to add to and strengthen that blog’s brand and message – or take from it. When it takes from it there comes a time to take action.

update: The team at MyBlogLog have fixed the co-author spam problem. Well done MBL!

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. There’s so much potential in MyBlogLog, but it just doesn’t seem like they’re developing nearly as much as they could be.

  2. I agree with Matt, I was expecting faster improvements after the company got acquired by Yahoo. I am still waiting to see how those problems will be solved before using the widget on my blog.

  3. Jen says:

    Diminishing marginal utility? Not that us “little guys” get anything like the frustrating spam levels that you have to deal with, Darren – it’s just, as you say, an absence of a clear benefit to outweigh the PITA factor and, most importantly, the time commitment that comes with involvement in any online community… Your question, “is it adding value?” is starting to reverberate…

    It’s my belief that MyBlogLog needs to start showing its members the fruits of all that “potential” – and fast, before its reputation becomes cast-in-stone as a site for shameless spammers.

  4. Maki says:

    I only find two main benefits of using MyBlogLog

    1. You can network with your readers. This widget works in this way, by allowing to find out who is regularly reading your blog. Sure beats an IP address anytime.

    2. Being listed in the 50 communities will give your blog or blogs a lot of exposure as MyBlogLog becomes more and more popular. This will definitely get you more readers and subscribers.

    Both points are great for small to middle sized blogs which are not yet popular brand names that are consistently referenced by other bloggers.

    I do think MBL needs to have stronger spam moderation capabilities. Perhaps an option to mass moderate/delete certain messages would be very useful.

  5. Matt W. says:

    I think the whole thing is useless for 99.9% of all blogs. It might have value for your site since your target audience is in fact other bloggers, but it just seems like yet another geeky toy bloggers think is fun but average readers are confused by. I have a blog, but I’d never add one of those things to my sidebar, and of all the times I’ve seen the widget around the web, I think I’ve clicked through the see what someone’s “community” looks like maybe twice.

  6. Eduardo Maio says:

    What brings visitors to your blog? Is it the topics you discuss and the tips you give us on your blog or is it MyBlogLog?

    Could it do more harm then good?

  7. Tasra Dawson says:

    Had the same thing happen to me the last few days…spam, being asked to join a new community as co-author when it’s all in a foreign language I don’t read or write. Now that would be interesting to try to manage.

    Moderation is key to me and the people in my community. Once we’re burned a few times with images we don’t want to have stuck in our heads, we’re done and will move on. I love MBL concept and name, and hope they respond quickly to feedback from users.

  8. Podophile says:

    I’ve been a MyBlogLog member for a few weeks and I’m having the same reservations about it. I’ve already removed the widget from my sidebar. Just too many spammy or babe-a-licious pictures showing up for my tastes. I’ve had to delete many comments from my community. I have no indication that I’ve actually found new readers from MyBlogLog, and I don’t think I’ve found any new blogs that I’ve started reading. Mostly what I’ve found is bloggers trying to promote their sites to other bloggers. Will this change as MyBlogLog grows? Without serious spam control, I don’t see how.

  9. Darren — we’ve been working on this all morning and we’ve got a lot more to hash out in terms of an improved spam management process. You suggestions were already factoring highly into our thinking. I will post again when we have more info.

  10. Phil says:

    I love the idea of MyBlogLog, the ability to get closer to your readers, to attract more and to get that sense of community that was previously only on the edge of self hosted blogs.

    You are right though, to keep up with their growing popularity, they are going to have to lockdown the spammers and lock out the inapropriate pictures (though I haven’t seen any). I have been lucky enough not to have been spammed on my community or personal page yet, but I was invited as a co-author to a community that already had hundreds of authors. Did not see the point in that!

    I’ve put in a completely different suggestion (only a small thing, mind) of my own and I look forward to finding out how quickly and well they respond.

  11. Matt & Daniel — we’ve been with Yahoo for about five weeks now. It would be great if Yahoo! had developers in cold storage ready to be deployed on new acquisitions, but that’s not the case. It’s still the same team of three developers cranking out code and for the last five weeks it’s been nothing but working on security issues and moving over to Yahoo!’s infrastructure to get rid of those occasional slowdowns. We want more features to, but we need to nail the basics before we start adding more bells and whistles.

  12. Upsides I´ve discovered after a week with MBL:

    - It´s nice to put a face to a name.

    - You can discover some interesting websites through the various networks in MBL.

    But I fear the widget in the sidebar is making my blog load slower.

  13. I am very greatful for Mybloglog since they added my blog to their landing page which got me tons of traffic and a member jump from 60 to 587. Traffic has gone up as well.

    Yes, spam posts has gone up as well… and I decided to to block every spammer, delete every annoying animted avetar. If someone spams more then once I report that use.

  14. Rhys says:

    I do agree with you Darren, I’ve yet to see the benefit for my blog for mybloglog. I doubt I have picked up even one new reader. However, I am keeping an open mind, and accept that it’s partly my fault (I haven’t put that much effort into gaining members).

  15. Kanwal says:

    I have had nothing but issues with MBL since I joined up. It was fun at first, but the company is in its infancy and I cannot have my visitors go through torture while they figure out how to run a reliable service.

    With no widgets from mybloglog I’m definitely losing out on the community aspect of it, but I’m sure my web visitors will appreciate that the fact that I am only going to share a service with them that is reliable and will not hurt their surfing.

  16. I may be in the minority here, but I actually HAVE picked up new readers and new blogs to read from MBL. I’ve also used it to get to know some new bloggers.

    There are some issues to be worked out, that I agree with. But I like putting a face to a reader. It’s nice to see who’s stopping by, even though they may not leave a comment. My community is much smaller of course, but I do see a good deal of those members show up in the sidebar widget at least occasionally.

    The spammy comments, the “mass-adders” who think everyone is their friend, and the questionable avatars area pain. But for the most part, I’ve enjoyed MBL so far.

  17. Having been a member for several weeks, I’ve concluded it’s near-worthless.

  18. I’d also like to add that the majority of what I’ve encountered on MyBlogLog are worthless “SEO” profiles.

  19. I agree with Tony here, nice to actually see who’s visiting your weblog and numbers have gone up since I’ve installed MBL (amongst other additional features). And yes, spam has also gone up but it can still be managed.

  20. tish says:

    I recently listed my blog at MBL — and found that I am also getting invites to co-author blogs I never heard of. I’ll stay with it for a few weeks and see if MBL sends any clicks my way. Otherwise, I may drop it.
    tish

  21. Speaking of spam comments, in general, I recently wrote about a proposal to use rel=”spam” to minimize or eliminate spam comments. I’d love to know if others think it is a good idea or not, and if not why, and if so to blog about it in hopes to make it happen (with or without links to my blog…I’m not fishing for links, I want the spam stopped. Of course a credit for the idea in the text would be nice. :-)

    http://blog.welldesignedurls.org/2007/02/08/rel-spam-to-fight-comment-spam

  22. Kate says:

    I’m another one who seems to be in a minority. I have picked up new readers, and found new blogs to read. I have also been asked to contribute to a couple of (more successful) blogs, which is great both in terms of ego-boosting and also reputation building. Plus, I have got to know quite a few members with whom I keep in touch via email. Having said that, I have been a member since last July, and have slowly worked on building up my communities – I hate to be controversial, but two weeks is just not long enough to build up any kind of relationship.

    I do agree that spam is a problem. I received the emails asking me to become a co-author of communities I don’t write for, obviously I deleted them. I do hope MBL can work on a method of dealing more effectively with the problem of spam, because it has grown over the last couple of months, and it would be a shame to let such people spoil things for everyone else. Also the undesirable images – I know they aren’t exactly porn, but they aren’t the sort of thing you would want to appear on your screen at work or if children are present. In fact, one I saw today, wasn’t far from being 18 certificate.

  23. Coop says:

    I’ve actually made a few good realtionships through MBL. There are some who actually are there to help their fellow bloggers, without any pitches, etc. Recently is does seem that the quality of bloggers has gone down.

  24. Evorgleb says:

    I haven’t run into any of the problems mentioned yet but as my community grows so quickly I’m worried about facing those issues. So far I’ve enjoyed having the MyBlogLog widget. Its let me connect with quite a few bloggers/readers. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that these issues are worked out.

  25. Ian McKenzie says:

    I’m finding the spam aspect an aggravation. I’ve made some good new contacts through the service, but I’m dealing with daily requests for community and author contacts. I’m also being “contacted” bloggers who seem to be doing no more than creating link blogs for ad revenue.

  26. I’m also in the minority here, and agree with Tony – I’ve seen a huge jump in referral traffic from MyBlogLog since I joined only a couple of weeks ago. I’ve picked up new readers, done great networking, and solidified many relationships with other bloggers.

    Perhaps I’m also unique in that with a site named “eMoms at Home”, I don’t think I have a lot of young guys with innappropriate hormone levels visiting my blog. So although it means I don’t get Dugg a lot (ok, ever.), I also don’t have to deal with avatar spam, either. :)

  27. Brian says:

    I like Mybloglog so far. It’s driving some readers to my blog which is still less than one month old.

    My main complaint is that separation of communities by subject matter is fairly poor. I think that many new bloggers like myself feel that they NEED to spam, pretend to be a supermodel, join hundreds of communities, and click through dozens of blogs without reading them just to get on the MBL radar screen. These tactics will always be employed to some extent but my hope is that Yahoo/MBL will take some steps to improve the site so that those types of actions become counterproductive.

  28. lornadoone says:

    I’m so glad that I’m not the only one having these thoughts. I haven’t quite figured out how MBL is all that useful to bloggers, and I’ve been getting invitations to join communities and be an author for things I have no interest in. When someone already has 3,000 members, I’m thinking they’re in it for some sort of bragging/spamming reasons, rather than because they’re trying to build a community. My other complaint is that I haven’t been able to find any decent information on why or how to use MBL. I’d appreciate it if the site’s creators actually put up a “this is how it works” page that is more comprehensive than their FAQs.

  29. I registered for MyBlogLog under its previous ownership, but have decided not to place it on any of my sites. Here’s why:

    * I’m also getting spammy invitations like the ones Darren is mentioning. I’m busy enough without managing these.

    * It’s Yahoo. I don’t use Yahoo products after their complicity with the Chinese government in the arrest and imprisonment of political dissidents. I’ve moved all my communities and services to other providers, or have created replacements myself.

    * The last thing my site needs is another script to load.

    * I run Joomla sites. If I want community tools, there are free, high-quality, locally hosted solutions available (such as the excellent Community Builder — reason enough for some WordPress users to give Joomla a good look).

    * The name “MyBlogLog” makes me snicker. It goes side by side with “Wii.” Maybe I shouldn’t explain. ;-)

  30. I am also concerned about some of these issues that pop up on MBL, and I’m most concerned that we – as users – don’t have a common place to discuss these issues.

    I’m not convinced that MBL even reads their e-mails anymore since they’re so busy, so a couple of weeks back I went ahead and opened a Yahoo group called the MyBlogLog User Group in the hopes that a few MBL users would join in and have discussions.

    There is already a MBL staffer who has joined in, presumably to actually hear the feedback people are giving, but as of yet no one else has found the group.

    Perhaps if you are concerned about it and feel it would be good for people to communicate openly you might mention it or even join in. Also, I will eventually need some moderators because I won’t have the time to do it all alone as traffic picks up.

    John

  31. jhay says:

    The only good thing benefit I see from mybloglog is the ability to see who’s actually read your blog recently. Other than that there’s nothing more special. Plus spammers have been ticking me off lately by inviting me to become co-author of some other site I do not know of. Maybe it’s time to send a clear message to the team behind MBL.

  32. Avinio says:

    Yeah, i think we all should notice MBL when someone sending us a spamm message.
    i just hope they not going to act like digg, and banned people cause someone click on “report spam” without really checking it.

    you can read in my blog about my story with Digg, and it seems like it happening to many people, and there is a small war right now between digg and some blogs, one of them it’s me…
    pity….cause digg aspect was really look nice at the begging…

    Darren, i hope you cam make some article about digg too.

  33. Dave Starr says:

    I’m in the undecided apparent majority. I see great potential for MBL although as couple cogent comments point out it may never be of a lot of use for those, like me, who don’t write about blogs.

    I am also glad to see Eric checking in here, one of the reasons I cancelled my long-time original membership was the complete lack of any response from MBL leadership. At least he pays attention to the big guys.

    Speaking of big guys the operational solution is no farther away than the very successful model MBL’s new parent uses for their Yahoo! Messenger. I am along-time YM! user and find it very useful. The model allows anyone who comes across me to ask to join my community, but allows me to block forever the ‘babe-a-licious’ come-ons and the pill pushers. Seems like the best of both worlds to me, although yes I realize it must be coded … but it’s the model of operation I toss out there.

    I do _not_ like the idea of anyone posting comments without approval and feel it should be the publisher’s decision to have a “no comments” option. really can not believe that wasn’t built in from the beginning, but it need to be there if MBL is to become what it can be.

  34. Lisa says:

    I just started my blog a few weeks ago and I was really excited when I joined MBL because I instantly started getting traffic to my blog and I didn’t even have to do anything except browse through and look at other people’s communities, so it’s been useful for me. I’ve also got to find a bunch of interesting new blogs and I haven’t received any spam or any weird emails from anybody yet.

    I’m wondering though if there are other services out there like MBL? Because if I do start getting spam or start having dirty pictures show up in my widget, I will cancel it immediately, but I really enjoyed meeting people on MBL. Everyone I have met so far has been really cool. It would be nice if there were other services like it.

  35. I’m being spammed with co-author requests, too. I get a lot of spam from MyBlogLog and I am unsure how to use the service without getting spammed.

  36. Armen says:

    I didn’t just get a request to co-author from any old site…no, not at all. I got a request from a Belgique blog. I don’t even speak French!!

    I agree with Matt W. – he’s totally right!

  37. Michelle says:

    Hope this isn’t too unpopular an opinion but I think MBL is about the most useless thing (nudging out Snap by a nose). I thought comments were to build community and encourage participation. MBL just outs people.

  38. Interesting to know. I just joined myself.

  39. Pua says:

    extremely interesting to follow darren’s initiated discussion and what everybody has to say. i can definitely imagine that he and other pro-bloggers must be very annoyed about the spam they receive in MBL. but to tell you the truth i was totally surprised to find darren’s blog there in the first place. he is everywhere in the SE!!! why still MBL (just my humble question)?

    i guess we all need to define who we are and what our blog represents. i cannot measure my blog in terms of darren’s work! i have been blogging for 7 months and just start having fun with it. i agree with tony clarke ‘I may be in the minority here, but I actually HAVE picked up new readers and new blogs to read from MBL’ and currently i can still manage the spam. looks like MBL is working on the spam issue. let’s give them some credit. pua

  40. Darren, et al — we’ve just put up a long post detailing this weekend’s madness as well as our spam fighting plans moving forward. I would appreciate your thoughts on where we’re still looking weak. http://mybloglogb.typepad.com/my_weblog/2007/02/weekend_spamtac.html

  41. Paul says:

    I received a couple of those author invitation emails, I just deleted them.

  42. Bryce says:

    I for one, love MyBlogLog – it’s a great way to connect with my readers.

  43. tony says:

    AT least my spammer asked me if he could add me as a co-author, whatever that means

  44. Unreservedly I’m enjoying being part of MBL. I think it has great potential. I’ve got new readers and become aware of blogs I might not have run across in any other way.

    One feature that doesn’t seem to have been mentioned is an item on your profile page. That’s the ‘Hot In My Communities’ top 10 listing in the top right hand corner. Provided you are selective in choosing your communities, I find it’s another way of not missing things that should be on my radar screen. If the MBLers are visiting, then it may well be something I should check out.

  45. I’ve read on Shoemoney’s blog that they can also add blogs that you didn’t even wrote in your profile! Yahoo! need to do something.

    Spammers will never give us a chance?

  46. So, that guy who wanted me to be the author of that shit German site (I don’t know german) was a pathetic spammer ? That proves it. Booyah !!

  47. lornadoone — give this post a look (it’s by one of our members) — http://qureyoon.blogspot.com/2006/11/complete-guide-to-mybloglogging.html

  48. Shouldn’t have opened my big mouth yesterday. I think the naked butt on my site today was there because I said I didn’t get avatar spam! ‘Doh! :)

    But Lisa, there is an easy way to block this stuff – just “X” the avatar from your MyBlogLog widget and it won’t show up again.

  49. claude says:

    Blogmemes is not responsible for the hack which occurred this weekend via the Mybloglog Web service.
    The Mybloglog account of one of the network’s members was pirated without his knowledge.
    We do not yet know why or who might be responsible.
    It is not in line with the network’s code of ethics nor in its interest to proceed in this manner and serves only to discredit our community.
    We are currently suffering many spam attacks on our Web sites, which we are combatting as much as possible.
    We thank the mybloglog team for having now corrected this problem.

    We are currently trying to answer all those who have written to us, to explain the situation to them.

    Claude
    co-founder of the blogmemes network

  50. We are launching AutoRoll, a new widget complementary to MBL.
    MBL displays the visitors of your blog.
    AutoRoll displays the other blogs your visitors are reading.
    The idea is to provide highly qualified incoming traffic for your blog. You can test it at: http://autoroll.criteo.com/
    Let me know how you feel about it compared to MBL!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Update: Seems like a lot of prominent bloggers are talking about comment spam, author hacks, and other My Blog Log issues today – John Chow, Darren Rowse, Danny Sullivan. This is a huge issue for MBL – they better get into reputation management mode, plug the holes, and respond to every one of these posts before this starts to snowball. As of this morning MBL’s blog says they’ve fixed the co-author problem – which is good to see – but what about the other issues? [...]

  2. [...] He’ll tell you what to do – and what not to do. For example, the blogosphere has been saturated with a networking site called mybloglog and everybody has been signing up and promoting the heck out of it. Today, Darren wrote about the massive spam attacks the site has been subjected to and why he’s considering pulling out of it. [...]

  3. [...] Update : it seems that there’s other people (famous people or the A-List Blogger such as Shoemoney, John Chow, Darren Rowse, and Danny Sullivan) that got the same problem like me too. And now i know that the previously mentioned person here is not the spammer (i’m sorry about this), but it’s more to security issue at MyBlogLog [...]

  4. [...] Edit : Darren Rowse de Problogger.net se pose aussi la question. [...]

  5. [...]   MyBlogLog – Is it Adding Value? (ProBlogger) [...]

  6. [...] After posting yesterday about my thoughts on MyBlogLog and Social Networking Sites in general, it seems things may have made a turn for the better. Darren Rowse of Problogger.net, posted an article raising similar concerns to mine, and pointed out that MyBlogLog had actually just released an Anti-Spam Plan after all the email-spam that went out over the past weekend. [...]

  7. MyBlogLog Co-Author Spamming…

    I received an email a few days ago requesting me to become a co-author on Blogmemes Belgium MyBlogLog community. Thinking that I had received the invitation by mistake, I decided to ignore it. However, a post by Danny points out that these invitations …

  8. [...] While some folks out there in the Blogosphere are chiming in sharing their experiences (Check out, for instance, the superb weblog entry review that John created over at Library Clips) about the potential business value from using the fine service of MyBlogLog, an offering that you would remember I have been talking about recently quite a bit, I thought I would go ahead and introduce you to another interesting widget that claims to take things further into the next level. That is right, I am talking about AutoRoll. [...]

  9. [...] While the hole has been plugged for now, the frequency with which MBL abuse is occurring does make one wonder, How much value is the site really providing? This may not be a problem for someone with limited exposure (such as myself) and I have found the site to be a useful tool in getting to know the people that read my blog and some authors whose blogs I read, largely without problems, I can also see how this can be a huge headache for someone like Mike Arrington. For people with such a wide reach, I hope MyBlogLog’s six point plan is successful in achieving the spiritual (blogically speaking) nirvana that it hopes for. [...]

  10. [...] Today, though, I finally read a post on ProBlogger about the recent problems with MyBlogLog. Apparently, there has been a huge problem with spam on this network in recent days and that has caused an uproar amongst it’s users. If you’re curious, here’s a response to the incident on MyBlogLog’s blog. [...]

  11. [...] MyBlogLog – Is it Adding Value? [...]

  12. [...] UPDATE: MBL have apologised to Jeremy for banning him but I’m still not convinced that it offers any value to the blogging community. Darren Rowse over at ProBlogger seems to feel the same. Tech Tags : ShoeMoney, MyBlogLog Bookmark to: Related ArticlesShoemoney hackedGoogle to buy YouTube?The new Google?Text Link AdsBlog Network [...]

  13. [...] MyBlogLog is a blog tracking/social network for bloggers that I’ve seen around on different sites. Darren over at Problogger recent wrote a piece on it as did JohnTP. I’m not sure I fully understand the concept yet but they do have a cool little widget that allows you to put a face on your readers, which at the same time allowing you to connect with other bloggers that share similar interests. The service is free but for a fee you can also get stats on your blog activity and what people find interesting. I’ve added the MyBlogLog widget to this site, you’ll notice it in the sidebar. Click on a readers pic will take you to their MyBlogLog profile where you’ll find other things the read finds interesting. [...]

  14. [...] blog, hosting, forums, News, invites, party, links, gmail, first post, google According to problogger, Mybloglog is not really doing it for him. But just recently Mybloglog has added a new feature on [...]