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Amazon ProductWiki

Amazonwiki

There has been quite a bit of talk in the past couple of days about Amazon starting a wiki – Church of the Customer started it all but the interesting thing is that no one that I can see (including Church of the Customer) seems to have a link to it anywhere. Some say it’s something that only some people can view – but even still I would have expected links it it.

The wiki is called ProductWiki but most people don’t seem to be able to find out where it comes from. Business Week does have a link to a help page explaining what a wiki is but it doesn’t really refer to an Amazon wiki as such.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/wiki/ currently points to an error page for me – but it’s not a ‘this page doesn’t exist’ type error but one that says they are having problems processing the request. So maybe that’s where it is.

Product-Wiki

Interestingly (and maybe it is connected – and maybe it’s not) if you go to http://www.productwiki.com/ you’ll find a ‘coming soon’ message – in fact whatever is there is coming very soon – midnight tonight in fact. Perhaps this is the new home for Amazon’s ProductWiki or perhaps someone else is capitalizing on what they see Amazon doing.

The page design doesn’t look very Amazon-ish and they tend to keep everything on the one domain so I’m not sure it’s officially Amazon or not but time will tell.

update: a whois on the www.productwiki.com site has no obvious connection to Amazon. It’s registered to Amanie Ismail from Canada. Probably a dead end to that lead.

update II: I’ve just had an IM from Tim Flight who says he can see Wiki links on normal Amazon pages. They also have a description as follows:

You can create Wikis about a many different things on Amazon. For example, you might create a Wiki to describe a particular opera recording. Within that Wiki you could create links to Wiki entries defining words such as “soprano” and “coloratura”.

You can view how a particular Wiki entry has changed over time, to see who has contributed what and when, and you can subscribe to be notified by email of any future updates to Wikis you are interested in.

A list of Wikis you have contributed to appears on your Your Amazon Home and Profile pages.

Interesting. Obviously I’m living in the wrong part of the world (again) to participate in it but it looks like an interesting interaction with customers by Amazon.

Web Moments That Changed The World

The Webby Awards have come out with their 10 Web Moments That Changed The World – many of which were revolutionary to blogging also.

Hat tip to Dave Johnston who has written a post bouncing off the Webby Awards list and adding his own comments.

Affiliate Programs – Transparency and Disclaimers

I’d like to see some discussion around the topic of transparency in using affiliate programs.

When you link to one do you indicate that you are benefiting from the link in some way?

I’ll kick us off here and say that I do – and I don’t.

I probably need to come up with a better policy on this – but in general this is how I approach it.

If I’m recommending a product that I’m linking to with an affiliate program then I generally indicate that it is an affiliate link in some way. For example – regular readers will know that I’ve been talking up Chitika’s eMiniMalls recently. I’m obviously very happy with the product and am recommending that bloggers give it a go. In doing so I link to Chitika with an affiliate link. I am part of a group testing an affiliate program that will be launched publicly to all of their publishers shortly.

At the end of each post that I link to Chitika with I place a disclaimer that reads:
[Read more...]

Favicons on Blogs

Today I had a nice surprise waiting for me in my inbox – an email from Tiago who had kindly taken it upon himself to design me a favicon for my blog in thanks for the advice I’d given him and others through this blog.

For those not familiar with favicons – they are the little tiny 16×16 pixel pictures that appear to the left of a site’s URL. They also appear in the tabs of firefox and in bookmarks on some browsers. – in my case Tiago had taken the ‘p’ from my logo and constructed one as follows.

Picture 2

He then pointed me to this favicon instruction site which told me how to add it to my blog – it took about 2 minutes.

I’ve been meaning to add a favicon here to ProBlogger for some time as it adds another element of branding to the site, increases useability for tabbed browser users and those who use bookmarks regularly to surf – but unfortunately it’s always slipped to the bottom of my ‘to do list’ – so a big thank you to Tiago.

Google Blog Search – First Look Review

Google-Blog-SearchMy initial reflections on Google’s Blog Search:

  • the basic bones of the technology seem to be there.
  • basically it seems to be using similar (or the same) technology as Google News.
  • they seem to be indexing new posts very quickly which is great.
  • the pool of blogs that they are indexing seems smaller than I’d have expected. Of course they’ll be adding new feeds to track over time
  • they will have a big challenge of filtering spam – I’ve already seen quite a few spam posts in it both in the ‘related blogs’ and the actual posts that they are indexing
  • I’m disappointed with the ‘related blogs’ results – I’ve seen spam blogs, blogs that havn’t been updated for 6 months and know it’s omitting major blogs in certain niches. It seems from testing that the blogs served here are very related to the title of the blog concerned rather than the content in my initial tests.
  • The ability to subscribe via RSS to search terms is fantastic – top marks Google.
  • Being able to see results both ‘by date’ and ‘by relevance’ is a good thing.
  • The Advanced search functionality seems to offer more options than most other blog search tools that I’ve seen.

Overall – the technology is promising. It is in beta so we can’t expect too much I guess but I hope they make some improvements on some of the above areas.

I’ll also be fascinated to see how this impacts blog’s search result positioning in the main Google index. Will it lead to them being indexed faster and higher? Or is this a step towards downgrading their importance in the main index.

Update: Which indexes posts quicker – Google Blog Search or Technorati? The first one to index this post was Google in 50 minutes. The strange thing is that when I entered the index I entered it way down the page and not as the most recent post. Technorati is yet to index this post – however it has indexed considerably more in the mean time than Google.

Update II: Other reviews and first looks of Google Blog search can be found at:
- Anil’s first look at ProNet
- Paul’s Predictions
- Duncan’s Review
- Chris Pirillo has a massive list of posts from around the web on Google Blog Search

Intereseted to hear your reviews of Google Blog Search in comments below.

Melbourne Geek Dinner

Geek? Melbournian? If you’re both you need to get to the Melbourne Geek Dinner on Friday 26th August. RSVP to Tejas. I’m going to try to get there.

London Explosion

I’m covering some of the news on the London Explosion here as we have family who use the tube in the areas affected and are waiting for word. Phones are down and we’re a touch worried so I thought I’d do something productive.

Update – as I’ve updated on my other blog we’ve had good news from London from family. Despite being close to the explosions they are fine.

I’ve continued to update the page.

Ads: You can show them to guests only!

Posting a follow up to Nicole Simon’s Ads: You can post them later! I thought I would mention a common practice used by membership sites or other types of sites that require registration, such as message boards. You can easily show ads just to those who are not logged in, leaving those who are regular members without any ads at all.

Many publishers running AdSense on phpBB message boards use this technique, since you can use variables or different templates to give one set of users (ie. Guests) AdSense or other affiliate ads. Then you can specify that registered or logged in users (or even a specific group of registered users) do not see any ads at all. Or while guests might see 3 ad units and an Ad Link unit, registered users only see a single ad unit or an Ad Link unit.

You can also set up custom channels and track what registered users and guests are bringing in to your AdSense account. You might find guests are responsible for 85-90% of your AdSense income from that site, so it would make a great “feel good” community gesture to remove AdSense from those who are registered. And you can use an ad free environment as an incentive to encourage users to register, if you are striving for increased numbers of registrations.

Ads: You can show them later!

Many blogs have two audiences, sometimes equally divided, sometimes not: The daily readers and the visitors through links and search engines. But most of us treat those visitors the same – presenting them the same layout, and the same amount advertisement. Why?

If you analyze your earnings, you should see a difference between profit from your daily blog readers and visitors through links and search engines. It is because of their different focus in attention.

Daily readers ‘know’ your layout and will get very blind on advertisement. The other group is searching for something particular, and therefore is very open to contextual advertisement. Daily readers get annoyed by too much advertising (even when it is contextual), and the other group loves them.

But as you would like to earn money, there is no way to please the daily readers … or? There is. Think about it one second. What is the difference between both groups?

It is the amount of time since you published the article.

If your blog is listed good on search engines, it will at least take some hours to fetch your new article and often take a day to rank you. Your rank for an article slowly rises, so it is save to assume, that while your daily readers are through with your blog in a week, search engine and link traffic will start after a week.

So my suggestion is: Start showing advertisement if an article is more than some days old! This will need some programming you might not be able to do of your own, but someone can do for you.

Or: you can use such mechanism to display different ads based on the age of the post or gather more information how your website performs at the different times slots.

With this you get happy daily readers and still profits from your websites!