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Is Technorati Being Gamed – Do They Care? – Does it Matter?

One of the questions I’ve been asked quite a bit lately is what I think about the increasingly common practice of swapping Technorati Favorites in order to climb the Technorati Most Favorited Top 100.

To be honest, it’s not really an issue that I’ve given much thought to (although I’m increasingly being asked by bloggers to swap with them – something I don’t get into) – and one that I don’t really think is massively important – however as I repeatedly am asked about this tactic to increase a blog’s profile I thought I should give it a little attention.

PS: as I’m writing this I’ve just received an email from someone who is developing a service (site) to organize and formalize the technorati favorite swapping process – it seems a mini industry is rising up around the practice.

In this post I’m going to explore the following questions:

  • Does the Technorati Top 100 Most Favorited Blog List Drive Traffic?
  • Does it Increase Profile?
  • Does it give Egos a Boost?
  • Does Technorati Care?
  • So What’s the Point of Technorati Favorites and Why Do I promote it?
  • So What do I think about swapping Favorites to Climb the Top 100 Most Favorited Blogs List?
  • What do I think about the Top 100 Most Favorited Blogs List?

At the end of the post I’d love to get your thoughts and opinion on it.

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What’s Wrong With Your Blog?

Modern Life has a useful post titled ‘What’s Wrong With My Blog?’ which outlines 11 ‘common pitfalls, mistakes & faux pas in blogging’.

I think it’s a really useful list to run through periodically for bloggers.

Which of the 11 might you need to work on for your blog?

What would you add to it?

Speedlinking – 28 April 2007

Just a few quick ones today.

How a Young Couple Made Half a Million Dollars In an Hour Before My Eyes

Just a few weeks ago I found myself sitting in a room full of 500 aspiring internet marketers who had gathered together to learn the art of growing an online business.

I was there to present on the topic of blogging but after presenting right up front as one of the first speakers found myself fascinated by the way in which the other speakers presented.

Each speaker was given just over an hour to talk and then 10 or so minutes to pitch a product, resource or service to those attending.

Over the three days of presentations I saw a wide array of presentation styles:

from the quiet and humble interview that the organizer did with one presenter who was making her fortune through selling pearls

through to the hype filled presentation of a black hat SEO splogger (who made me feel ill)

through to the dynamic presentation of a 22 year old young man who was building an online community with hundreds of thousands of members around teaching people to play piano by ear

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Be a Better Blogger – ProBlogger/b5media 1 Day Conference in NYC – June 2007

Problogger Meetup-1Do you want to improve your blogging? Do you live near New York City (or are you able to get there? If so, this is a post you’ll want to read.

I’m really excited to announce that in just over a month ProBlogger and b5media will be holding a 1 day event for bloggers who want to take their blogs up a level and meet other bloggers who are working on the same thing.

We’re still working on the exact details but plans for this one day event are firming up enough to announce them so that people can begin to make plans to attend.

These details are not confirmed yet so don’t go booking any flights if you’re planning on flying in – but here’s what we’re aiming for.

Date – Saturday 9 June 2007 (the day after FOOA – so if you’re planning on attending that, stay an extra day).

Time – 10am – 4pm for the training part of the day and then from 7pm for a Party

What – I can’t announce the speakers at this point but will say that I’ll be leading a session and that there will be an array of other speakers and panelists over the course of the day. We’re still confirming who’ll be presenting and what their topics are but we’re aiming this event at beginner to intermediate bloggers who want to learn from professional bloggers. We’re aiming for a mix of topics from some of the technical aspects of blogging through to a session on finding readers through to a session on monetizing blogs. Details to follow.

The sessions will largely be a presenter talking on their topic for 30 minutes and then 25 minutes of questions and answers.

The evening will be similar to the last ProBlogger meetup in NYC. Networking, drinks, food and fun. This will be open to both those who attended during the day and others.

Cost – We will be charging for the event but it won’t be big dollars as we want to keep it as affordable as possible and are just hoping to cover costs. We’re confirming the location in the next week so once we’ve done that and have costed it out we’ll be able to announce this also. My hope is that it’ll be somewhere in the $60 – $70 range and that that will include lunch.

Where – Somewhere central in NYC.

Who – 100 Bloggers. This is an estimate and the final number of tickets available will depend upon the venue – but we will probably be capping the numbers at 100 bloggers. The ProBlogger meetup that we held in NYC a month back attracted around 70 attendees so we’re pretty sure we can hit the 100 mark. When we announce that tickets are going on sale there will be a first come first served system.

My hope with this event is that it will be:

  • informative – I’m not interested in any ‘fluffy’ sessions – I want ‘how to’ and practical stuff
  • fun – yes bloggers can let their hair down
  • a chance for lots of networking and collaboration
  • attendee driven - lots of Q and A
  • informal – I’m a pretty casual guy and hope that while there’ll be a structured schedule that it’ll be relaxed

Interested in attending?

We’re not taking bookings yet – but if you’re interested in coming along please express that interest my leaving a comment below with your name. Also make sure that you leave a valid email address in the email field of the comment form so we can email you when we announce how you can book.

I’d also love to hear any suggestions that you might have for what sessions/topics you’d like to see covered on the event. While we’ve already planned a lot of what we want to do – if there’s a groundswell of requests for something we’ve not included we’ll do our best to adapt the program.

Tim Ferris Interview – Part II

Tim-Ferris-4This is Part 2 of my in depth IM interview with Tim Ferris, author of The 4-Hour Workweek. You can read my introduction to Tim in my previous post. You can also read Part 1 here.

In today’s post Tim and I talk blogging. I ask him about some of the lessons he’s learned about driving traffic, posting frequency and being a productive blogger.

Darren – Why did you choose to add a blog to your strategy for promoting your book?

Tim – Good question, but I’ll reword it for you: why did I start a blog? It actually wasn’t solely to promote the book, though that’s a side-effect. There are a few reasons. First, a number of authors-cum-bloggers told me that they wasted thousands of dollars on book sites when a free blog ended up being the best PR tool. I believe that a good book site is important (www.fourhourworkweek.com), but the blog is much more.

The blog is how I build a “platform”. In publisher-speak, that means a fan base. Once you have a fan base — and I think my blog, forums, and other communities can be much bigger than the book — you have tons of options. Those options could be for monetizing (advertising, products, speaking, consulting, etc.) or simply extending your influence. There is power in numbers. Once I have enough clout with subscribers and fan base, I’ll be lobbying in Silicon Valley to establish an official “E-mail Detox Day” under law, for example! Lots of fun things coming.

Darren – What have you learnt about blogging since starting yours a month ago? Teach us oh wise one!

Tim – LOL… I don’t claim to have all of the answers, of course. Not even most of them, but I’m a pretty good “reductionist”. That just means that I question what everyone is doing and ask myself: if I ignore what’s popular, what everyone says you “have to do,” what actually works? I cut out all the fat and look at just the highest-impact variables.

For example, I’ve been told I need to post everyday, but when I really looked at the facts, a different picture emerged.

i’ve found that if i post less often, my blog has a sine wave sign-up curve. in other words: if i post just infrequently enough (for me, once every 4-6 days), the comments add up on each post, making the site look very popular, and rss subscriptions spike. if i post too often, it doesn’t look popular (since posts get pushed down and comment-count is low), so it is actually better for my site to post less often! love it when that happens…

The most important thing I’ve learned? Blogging is underestimated by many, but it’s overestimated by even more. It’s not a panacea or a silver bullet. It is a tool you should pay a ton of attention to, but it’s still just one tool.

Here’s another odd one.

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Tim Ferriss Interview – Part I

Tim-FerrisThis is Part 1 of my in depth IM interview with Tim Ferriss author of The 4-Hour Workweek. You can read my introduction to Tim in my previous post.

In Part 1 I ask Tim about the concept behind his book, we talk about how he wrote it (as I know many bloggers are looking at getting book deals) and talk about some of the lessons he’s learned about building buzz around his book. In Part 2 (which I’ll publish tomorrow) Tim and I talk blogging and he shares some of the lessons that he’s learnt in using a blog to support his blog launch.

Darren – ‘The 4 Hour Work Week’ is a great title for a book – what’s it about?

Tim – The premise of The 4-Hour Workweek is that there are three currencies in a digital world: time, income, and mobility. In the last 2-3 years, it’s become possible to do things like outsource your life and create virtual businesses, both of which can enable you to live the lifestyle of a millionaire on less than $50,000 per year.

The concept of retirement, as well as single offices with 9-5 clocks, is hopelessly outdated.

Darren – How did you come up with the idea for the book?

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Tim Ferriss – The 4 Hour Work Week – An Interview

Tim FerrissTim Ferriss and I first met in person in Washington DC on my recent trip. He came up to me seconds after a presentation that I made and told me how he’d worked with a mate of mine and then asked if he could take me to lunch (hint – free food is always a good way to make a good impression with me).

The lunch that ensued was one that I won’t forget in a hurry – we hit it off and I quickly realized that I’d already heard about Tim (through a bizarre and surreal connection that I’m not allowed to tell you about – he IS a champion kick boxer and world champion cage fighter – I’m not going to break that promise).

Tim’s got a long list of accomplishments to his name – he’s a successful entrepreneur, he’s a Princeton guest lecturer, he’s a fighter, he’s a dancer (a world record holding one) and he’s an actor (among man other things) – however what got my attention most about Tim is that he’s the author of a book with a fascinating title – The 4-Hour Workweek.

After a long lunch, numerous other conversations and then dinner with Tim and my wife V you could say that I was pretty much sold on Tim and couldn’t wait to read his book.

My preview copy arrived this week and while I’m still only part of the way into it I can tell you that this is a book that is going to make a real impression on many thousands of people once it is launched (it’s being released this week).

Tim and I have been in contact since we met up and he kindly agreed to be interviewed via Instant Messaging this week. The interview was fascinating – in fact it was so interesting to me that I just couldn’t stop asking questions and it ended up being rather long. As a result I’m going to break it into three parts. The first one I’ll post in a few minutes – I hope you enjoy it!

While you’re waiting for the interview – get Tim’s book The 4-Hour Workweek at Amazon – it’s a great read.

Read Part I of my Interview with Tim Ferriss
Read Part II

Expose Yourself to My Readers – Group Writing Project Sponsor Needed

Hmmm – that title didn’t really come out right – I can just imagine the offers I could get for this.

After massive reader demand (I get emails every day asking about this) I’ve decided to do another ProBlogger Group Writing Project – and I’m looking for a sponsor!

Yep – this time I’ve decided to go with ONE prize instead of 5 or more because I want to give one generous sponsor the chance to get all the attention.

What I need – I need a fantastic prize! Previously our prizes have been pretty amazing – we’ve given away a week’s accommodation in Spain in a luxury Villa, video game consoles, vidoe ipods, thousands of dollars worth of vouchers to various online shops etc.

This time I’d like one jaw dropping prize.

What You get

  • Over the week of a group writing project sponsors get talked up in at least 7 ProBlogger posts. I generally include a link to the sponsor and the prize that they’re offering towards the top of posts
  • As you’ll be the only sponsor you’ll get exclusive billing in each of these posts
  • In addition to that I’m happy to run a 125 x 125 pixel ad in my side bar for the week and write an introductory post on ProBlogger launching you as the project’s sponsor for the week. I’m happy in that post to talk about your company and any product or service that you’re promoting
  • These group projects get 300-500 participants, most of whom link back to the pages that your links are on – some even link to the sponsors so the potential for a viral campaign is there if you have a worthwhile enough prize

Previous Sponsors have had some pretty nice results from sponsoring these projects and many have applied to come back for a second round of sponsoring the project. Those that did best had something a little different about the prize they were offering.

How to Apply – You’ve got two days from…. now…. to email me with details of the prize that you’re willing to offer. Please email me via my contact form with the following details:

Your Company Name:
Your Contact Person’s Name:
The Prize (a short description including a link to it if you have one):
The Value of the Prize:
A brief Description of what you’re wanting to achieve with the sponsorship (I want to tailor what I give you to your needs and hopes)

For ProBlogger Readers wanting to participate in the Project – sit tight. Once we’ve got the prize nailed down we’ll move forward with it and I’ll announce the topic.

If you’ve got a topic you’d like to see us use feel free to suggest it in comments below.