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The 2005 Weblog Awards Finalists Announced

The Weblog Awards for 2005 have posted nominations and voting will start sometime in the next 24 hours. Congrats to all the nominations (there’s a lot to wade through).

There’s a lot of quality blogs in the list as usual, I always enjoy these awards for finding new blogs that I’d not stumbled upon before.

Diverting to a local interest comment now – It will be interesting to see how their Australian and New Zealand list compares with the Best Australian (and NZ) Blog Award finalist list that is supposed to be announced today. I wonder how many will feature in both.

The Million Dollar Homepage

Want to see an enterprising online idea? The Million dollar Home Page is an attempt by one young business student to pay his university fees by selling advertising on a site – one pixel at a time. A pixel costs $1 and there are 1,000,000 of them up for grabs.

You have to buy them in 100 pixel blocks ($100 a pop) but people are buying them and he reported on his blog yesterday that he’s already paid for his 3 years of college fees completely.

Of course – a lot of those buying pixel are poker pages and affiliate programs by the looks of things – but he’s doing ok out of it and is reporting that each advertisers is getting good click-throughs for their money.

Food Blogs

I was chatting to a couple of people today about blogging (surprise surprise) and explaining to them that it’s getting to be that there is a blog now on almost every topic you can think of. One of the people I chatted with is a big foodie and asked about whether there are many food blogs out there.

“Are there food blogs out there?” they asked.

“Oh yeah… I’ve seen a few” said I (hoping I was right and making a mental note to check when I get home.

So I’m home – and I’ve checked – and WOW – there sure are some food blogs out there.

Check out Kiplog’s Foodblog links page if you doubt me.

Wow – what a list – it is massive!

The interesting thing is that quite a few of these foodie bloggers are experimenting with advertising and affiliate programs so it’s not only an active part of the wider blogging community – but it’s also a commercial segment.

Travelator Blogging

TravelatorWarning – Tangent Ahead

The Travelator is a wonderful invention. There is nothing better than rushing for a flight at an airport and seeing that the long walk to the departure gate is going to be cut down by jumping upon one of these moving sidewalks.

On a recent trip overseas we were lucky enough to find ourselves with the use of a Travelator on our way to passport control at Singapore’s airport – as I used it I realized that different people used it in a variety of ways. There were basically three types of approaches that I observed:

Self Powered – The first group completely ignored the Travelator. For whatever reason – they decided that they wanted to get where they were going under their own steam. Perhaps they wanted the exercise, perhaps their destination was halfway along the travelator or perhaps they were too proud or even scared to use it.

Free Loaders – The second group saw the Travelator as a chance to take a break from walking. They rested their luggage on the ground, stopped walking and let the travelator do all the work. While I didn’t join them – I could understand why they did it – after hours on a plane the last thing you want to do is go for a long walk while weighed down by luggage.

Power Walkers – The last group of people was the group I belonged to, we got on the Travelator and walked as fast as we could. The travelator was simply a tool to double our speed and get where we were going faster than would be possible under our own power. This group not only use the power of the travelator but they utilized their own ability to propel themselves forward.

Ok – so what do travelators have to do with blogging for money?

As I’ve worked with a variety of bloggers over the years I realize that many of them fall into these same three categories. This analogy is still forming in my mind so be gentle with me – but let me explain:

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Blogging that Gives Hope

I just stumbled (via Linkfilter) upon a blog over at MSN Spaces called typical guy, atypical situation – a blog written by a guy named Kenny who is a quadriplegic that is getting massive attention at the moment through his blog. He was featured on MSN Space’s main page and had 80,000 visitors in a day as a result.

I’m fascinated by this story for a number of reasons – firstly because his content is very good and gives a real insight into the life of someone who is going through something I can’t even begin to imagine. Secondly on a purely blogging level I’m fascinated by any blog that gets that type of traffic and how it impacts the blogger.

And lastly I’m fascinated because I’ve long thought that blogging has the potential to give people going through incredible hardship hope. I’ve been toying with some ideas around this for a while now and Kenny’s story has again got me thinking.

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Helping Nellie

I don’t usually do this type of thing (although it’s sort of the second time this week), but a very good friend has pointed me to the blog of a young New Zealand person (Nellie) who has started a fundraising blog to help her get back into high-school so that she can enter university to study to be a psychology.

Nellie has had a bit of a rough time of late and could do with a leg up so if you want to invest into the life of a young person who I’m told has a great heart and real potential please visit her at HELP! Nellie’s Fundraising Blog. She’s also willing to do some graphic design work in return for your donation.

When Blogging Means More than Money

I emailed Cary Miller this morning to ask how hi Cancer NewsWatch blog is going (you might remember I mentioned it a while ago – Cary’s wife Lori is battling cancer and he started the blog (I think after a conversation we had) to do something positive in the midst of a pretty terrible situation.

Cary answered with the following email (I’ve got his permission to post it and have edited it slightly to delete a few personal things. I’m posting it because I think it’s an amazing story of how blogging can make a serious difference in the lives of both bloggers and their readers. Check out how other bloggers are rallying around Cary and Lori at this time.

‘Hi Darren, welcome back : D

And thanks for asking… things are going really well, I’m slowly getting the hang of what I want to post, and how often, and more importantly I’ve already made some great new friends, via Cancer NewsWatch and ironically, via all those great guest bloggers you had, and all the great commenters too. I’ve had some great, and rather heart-felt talks…. I really appreciate everyone supporting my efforts.

Oh! perhaps the biggest thing you missed, as far as my site is concerned, was that after reading about our story via ProBlogger, Scott Randolph and his friends over at Triathlon Training Blog decided they wanted to run their triathlon in the name of Lori & I, and help raise some money for both cancer research, and also to help us out personally, as we are struggling with ever-deepening debt due to our situation. Anyways, I don’t know how much they’ll raise, but of course it’s the thought and support that really count. Scott had wanted to see if you’d mind writing a post about it, but you had just gone on your trip, and I thought it best not to bother you. Oh yeah, and then seeing that, Allen Heat, who is one of your loyal readers and is only 15, decided to dedicate a week’s worth of his graphic design downloads to Lori, too. What a sweet, sweet kid. He’s going to grow up to be something incredible, I’m sure.

The most exciting thing for me is all the cancer patients and caregivers I’ve made contact with through the blog, and I have to say that when someone writes something like “hey, I just wanted to say thanks for sharing your story, and all of your great research” it really touches me, and lets me know I am actually helping someone, and that is the greatest reward i could ever imagine.

Oh yeah, and it’s got my wife Lori a lot more into her own blog, which is starting to get a really great readership, and has helped her to really reach out and connect with people, which until recently she has had a hard time doing. That alone is priceless.’

I’m really amazed and excited by the way that blogging has helped Cary and Lori find something positive in the midst of a devastating time. I’ve long been a believer that blogging can make a difference, that it gives a voice not only to those seeking fame or fortune but those who have something profound to share with the rest of us about their lives. This is one of those times.

As the ProBlogger community can I urge you all to stop by Cary and Lori’s blogs to give some encouragement but also to help out financially either directly or through the Triathlon Training Blog’s challenge if you’re able.

Big news from Gnomedex

Probably lots of the guest bloggers are going to write more and better about this, but the big news from Microsoft today is that RSS will be natively supported in Longhorn.  We also got the first public preview of IE 7 here at Gnomedex.
 
And the API and information will be released under a Creative Commons license!
 
Lots of great discussion about this.  Standards, the Evil Empire and the Jedi keeping the peace.
 
Bottom line.  This is a great first step.  What we’re seeing is admittedly still too geeky for mom, but it’s supposed to get better and easier.  I know that some cool, cool stuff will be coming out for this.  I hope Apple follows suit.  Fast.
 
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Tris Hussey is a professional blogger and blog consultant, the Chief Blogging Officer for Qumana Software, and Managing Director of Qumana Services.  He can be reached at tris AT qumana DOT com or tris AT trishussey DOT com.
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