Google Aquisition of ProBlogger – April Fools Day Recap

I think most people worked out that my last post (ProBlogger Acquired by Google) was an April Fools Joke – however I wanted to make sure.

It was an April Fools joke!

It’s been two years since my last April Fools Day prank – last time (in 2008) I issued a press release announcing that I was starting a new company – Pay Per Tweet. Of course back then the idea of sponsored Tweets had not happened and it caused some outrage – all I can say is that I hope this year’s prank comes true too! :-)

The idea for this year’s joke started with a dream – a real dream where Google actually did buy ProBlogger for a new blogging platform for professional bloggers. I tweeted the dream and it got such a good reception (including from a few people who work at Google/Blogger) that I filed it away as an idea for April Fools Day.

Yesterday I decided to go for it and wrote the press release announcing the acquisition. I even went so far as to register a domain for my next business venture – and setup a twitter account for it (funnily enough that Twitter account is already getting followers and is featured on at least a couple of Twitter lists).

Of course running an April Fools Day post on your blog has some benefits and risks.

On the negative side – some people fall for it, and fall for it hard. Today I’ve had a lot of emails, DMs, comments and even a few phone calls congratulating me on the ‘acquisition’ (and a few accusing me of selling out). I even took a call from a family member (who was very happy for me) and another from a reporter (who wanted to run a story of me selling my blog). I’ve had to follow up with a few people to make sure that they realized it was a joke – although I have to say most got it.

On the up side – the joke was a lot of fun, caused a nice ‘buzz’, was retweeted a lot (actually I think most people who were fooled were on Twitter where people just saw the headline and started RT’ing like crazy without reading the post) and even got a few incoming links from other sites who pointed it out.

A big thanks to a few people for making this possible. Firstly to Google/Blogger for their inactive part in it (although guys…. if you ever want to buy a blog about blogging…. you know where I am), secondly to Lara who had to moderate the comments when my last post went up… and lastly to everyone who read and responded to the post (whether you were fooled or not) – thanks for playing.

ProBlogger Acquired by Google

Press Release: For Immediate Release
1 April 2010

MELBOURNE, Australia. (April 1, 2010) – ProBlogger, the web’s #1 Blog Tips site, today announced that it has been acquired by Google.

This acquisition will be a part of Googles extension of the ‘Blogger’ brand and a precursor to their new professional blogging suite of applications – ProBlogger.

“Blogging continues to grow in popularity, not only for personal use but by entrepreneurs and businesses around the world. Once seen as a ‘fools game’ – blogging has now grown up.” said a Google representative today. “Google’s new professional blogging suite, ProBlogger, will put an amazing array of tools into the hands those wanting to take their blogging to the next level.” said a Google representative today.

“What better brand to align these new tools with than ProBlogger, a blog that has consistently produced blog tips for professional bloggers for just under six years.”

“Some have called me a ‘fool’ for even considering selling ProBlogger,” said founder of ProBlogger Darren Rowse, “but I’d be a fool not to allow the ProBlogger brand to be developed by one of the world’s most innovative companies. I’m excited to see where Google will take ProBlogger going forward.”

The acquisition of ProBlogger will allow Darren to concentrate on his other projects including his main site – Digital Photography School – and an upcoming project – FoolsMedia.

Darren Rowse will remain a part of ProBlogger over the next 331 days where he plans to to begin a series of posts entitled ‘331 days to Build an Even Better Blog’ – a follow up to the successful 31 Days to Build a Better Blog.

About ProBlogger

ProBlogger is a blog about blogging. Kinda sad really but not as sad as having a blog about Tweeting… or a book about blogging… that’d be sadder! ProBlogger was founded by Darren Rowse on September 23 2004. Since that time Darren has published 5,356 posts and the blog has received 178,448 comments. A Foolish endeavour? Maybe – but perhaps not as foolish as this press release!

31 Days to Build a Better Blog Bootcamp – Are You Interested?

Would you be interested in joining with a group of other bloggers for a month long intensive program of blog improvement? If so – please read on:

ProBlogger’s 31 Days to Build a Better Blog workbook has been downloaded many thousands of times since it was launched last year. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive – however the one negative that I’ve heard quite a few times has generally been:

“It’s great…. but I’m only up to day 13….”

[Read more…]

Let’s Meet at SXSWi!

SXSWi.pngAs this post goes live I’ll be in the process of arriving at SXSW Interactive in Austin Texas.

I was fortunate enough to at SXSWi two years back and it was one of the best conference experiences that I’ve had – so I’ve made it a priority this year to return.

My schedule is pretty open. The main thing that I’ll be doing is a book reading this Friday night. I’ll be talking about some of what Chris and I have included in the 2nd edition of the ProBlogger book (due out next month).

The book reading is on at 5pm, Friday 12 March on the Day Stage. I hope you’ll come!

For those of you involved in the Third Tribe there is a drinks/meetup the next evening (on Saturday 13th from about 5.30pm) at a bar called ‘Lovejoys’ at 604 Neches Street (2 blocks north of the convention center).

Note: I originally thought that my reading was on Saturday and we’d do one after the other…. but I messed up the time so the book reading is Friday and the Drinks/Meetup is Saturday. Sorry for the messing around 3rd Tribers.

Other than that I’ve got a pretty open few days and am looking forward to checking out a few panels and keynotes and doing as much networking as possible. If you’re at SXSWi I’d love to meet you – feel free to come up and say hi any time!

Dear FaceBook Friends, I’m De-Friending Most of You [It’s Not You, It’s Me]

Dear Facebook Friends,

I’ve been wondering when and how to do this for a while now but the time has come for me to bite the bullet and clean up what I’m doing on Facebook.

For 99% of you – this means that I’m about to de-friend you from my personal account on Facebook.

It is nothing personal – in fact…. that is what this is all about…. my personal account on Facebook does need to be personal and its not.

To use a phrase Ed Dale used in doing this same thing – It’s not You It’s Me.

I hope you’ll allow me to explain why I’m doing this and and provide those of you who wish to remain connected with some alternatives.

What I’m Doing

In the next 48 hours I’m returning my Facebook account to a personal account (in fact the process has already begun). This means a number of things:

  1. I’ll be pulling my all talk about my blogs out of my Facebook account
  2. There will be no more auto Tweets pulled into my status updates
  3. My videos about blogging, updates from my blogs etc will all be removed from my Facebook account
  4. I’ll be de-friending almost everyone – all that will remain will be real life family and friends who I regular catch up with (or those who I want to keep in touch with).

Why Am I Doing This?

When I started using Facebook it was largely something that I used for real friends to share updates of what I was doing.

However in time, as Facebook grew, I began to see how it connected as an opportunity with the work that I do with my blogs. I saw the opportunity to use Facebook to create secondary points of connection with my readers, build a brand and even drive some traffic to my blogs.

As a result my Facebook account became more and more focused around my blogging. As it did so it became less and less relevant to my real life friends and family.

I began to promote this account on my blogs and it quickly got to the point where I had 5000 friends (99% of whom I don’t actually know in real life).

5000 is the limit Facebook allows so I was then at a point where I was rejecting peoples friendship on Facebook – it suddenly became quite exclusive. In the last few months alone I’ve rejected thousands of friend requests – it’s even started to become a little nasty with a number of people thinking I’ve snubbed them.

A while back Facebook started to offer the opportunity for its users to create pages. I started a couple up – one for each of my two main blogs – one for ProBlogger and one for Digital Photography School.

Pages don’t have a limit of how many people can follow them yet they have many of the same features as a personal profile.

Now that I have pages set up and working my personal account on Facebook has become a little redundant for talking about those topics – in fact much of what happens is duplicated and it means my attention is split between updating three accounts.

Since setting up the pages I’ve just felt plain weird about using my personal Facebook page. I’m updating friends on my blogging stuff which doesn’t have any relevance to them (in fact last week I told my parents who are new to Facebook that I didn’t want to friend them because I didn’t want them to have to wade through all my blogging related updates) and I feel like I’m just sending out the same stuff multiple times to others who do want my blogging related stuff. I don’t feel like I’m really achieving anything for anyone with the account.

As a Result – I’ve decided to move all my blogging related updates purely over to my Facebook pages and return my personal account to being a purely personal one – a place where I connect with real life friends and family.

So I’m going to remove all people that are not either friends and family who I see regularly and want to stay in touch with.

My hope in doing this is:

  1. anyone who want to keep connecting with me on the topics of my blogs will still have a place to do so (not limited by the 5000 number)
  2. friends and family will have a more relevant place to connect with me
  3. I will feel slightly less torn each day about what to post (and what not to post) on my personal page

I’m also looking forward to have a private place to just be me – living so openly on the web for so long has been great but a guy needs a place to let what little hair he has down.

If You Do Want to Stay Connected

If you’d like to connect with me around one or both of the topics I blog about I would encourage you to become a fan (I wish they didn’t use that term) of one of my Facebook pages:

Alternatively – much of the Facebook updates that have previously been here on this Facebook account have been pulled in from Twitter. You can get those updates directly from twitter at – my Twitter stream at @problogger will continue to pull in both blogging related stuff as well as some more personal stuff from time to time also.

I hope this sheds some light on what is about to happen on this Facebook Account.

In terms of WHEN it’ll happen – I’ve already started to pull out some of the blogging stuff from my Facebook page – but I’ll be starting to de-friend people later today. It will take me a while though to de-friend close to 5000 people!

If you’re a real life friend and I do de-friend you – my apologies. I’m sure I’ll mistakenly do that with a few as I go through everyone – I’m certain that going through 5000 people is going to be a process with a few mistakes! Please friend me again if this is you so I can fix it up!

Welcome to ProBlogger – A Quick Tour for New Readers

In the last 24 hours we’ve had a lot of new readers to ProBlogger after a couple of links from sites like Yahoo.

If this is your first time (or you’re newish to ProBlogger) to then I thought I’d put together a quick tour of my online home.

darren-rowse.jpgFirstly, my name’s Darren Rowse (that’s me posing with my computer monitor trying to look like that’s a normal thing to do) and – I’m a full time blogger. I blog both here at ProBlogger but also at Digital Photography School.

ProBlogger is a blog that is devoted to helping bloggers improve their blogging and explore ways to earn an income at the same time by writing about topics that they love.

More and more bloggers are now making at least a part time income blogging – with some even having gone ‘Pro’ with full time incomes.

I write more about the reasons for this blog and my experience as a blogger in my About Page. You might also like to see some of the ways that I make money from my blogs for an introduction into how bloggers make money blogging.

If you’re new to blogging you might find this ‘what is a blog?‘ article and my series on Blogging for Beginners helpful.

If you like what you read here you can follow my future entries (I write 1-2 posts per day) in two ways – either using our RSS News feed or you can get daily updates by adding your email address to the field at the top of my sidebar.

I also send weekly(ish) newsletters out with updates from this site plus extra stuff just for subscribers. You can sign up for that here.

Resources for Bloggers

Most of what you’ll find here on ProBlogger is 100% free – however I’ve also produced 3 resources that you might find useful:

  1. ProBlogger the Book – a hard cover book I co-authored two years back that is ideal for beginners wanting to explore how to make money online.
  2. 31 Days to Build a Better Blog – an e-book for people with blogs that have stalled and in need of a little inspiration and motivation.
  3. ProBlogger Community – a community of bloggers who come together to learn and collaborate to improve their blogs.

If you’re looking for a blogging job – also check out the free ProBlogger Blog Job Boards.

Thanks for stopping by – I hope you enjoy your stay at ProBlogger. If you do have any questions feel free to drop me a note in a comment below or via my contact form.

Google Buzz

google-buzzI’m still working out what I think about Google Buzz but can already see some stuff about it that I like and dislike.  

I’ll give it a bit more time before I make too many judgements but in the mean time if you’re interested in connecting on it with me you can find my profile here.

The Third Tribe – Launched [My Back Story]

Just over 48 hours ago those of you on my newsletter list would have received an email from me introducing a new venture that I’ve been working on – The Third Tribe.


Third Tribe is a new collaboration between myself, Chris Brogan, Brian Clark and Sonia Simone.

I’m going to tell some of my story of why I’m involved in this venture below – but if you want to skip straight to the offer you can read the story behind Third Tribe, what it is and how you can be involved here.

Third Tribe – A Conversation Between Two Worlds

If you were at Blog World Expo last year you might have seen a panel that the four of us were on where we began to explore the topic of our journey as online marketers trying to find our place between two groups of people who we didn’t always feel quite at home with.

Of course these two groups don’t really exist as groups – they’re generalisations and are probably more two extremes of a spectrum we all find ourselves somewhere on – but they are:

  • Traditional Internet Marketers – known for their hype, at times obnoxious, annoying and manipulative tactics.
  • Social Media Cool Crowd – known for their ethics, value of community and relationships – but also renowned for struggling to make what they do profitable.

Over the years I’ve felt like I’ve spent a little time in both groups. I’ve been to their conferences, tried their ‘tactics’ and ‘approaches’ and attempted to fit in. I’ve also, at different times, swung too far into either camp and done and said things that I now regret.

Tangent Time – A Story of 2 Conferences

I remember speaking at one internet marketing conference a few years back – my first – there were fireworks…. literally and figuratively. My memories of that week include

  • speakers selling hundreds of thousands of dollars of coaching and product from the stage (I saw people literally run to signup)
  • a presentation on how one internet marketer was setting up hundreds of meaningless blogs to game Google and make money
  • one speaker make an entrance that included a light show and fireworks
  • a movie star coming to sign autographs

Some of what I saw was amazing – much of it left me feeling quite uncomfortable and out of place.

Mixed in with all that there were also some amazingly genuine and smart people who made a real impression on me and taught me a lot despite being surrounded by hype.

I also remember another conference a few years ago – it was a social media event where I was invited to speak about making money from blogging and social media. In retrospect I think I was actually set up by the organizers who knew those attending would want to shoot me down in flames.

The Q&A time was filled with biting questions – the theme of which was that social media should not EVER be used for anything other than relationships, community and social good. Marketing or profit was certainly not welcome in social media in these people’s minds.

Of course at the event were also some amazing people who I also learned a lot from about the value of community and the power of social media to do good.

I tell these stories for two reasons:

  1. there are things about these two groups of people that I’ve learned a lot form and resonate a lot with. Much of what I do is based upon elements that I’ve picked up along the way from a variety of people all along the spectrum.
  2. there are things about both groups which leave me either uncomfortable or in some kind of conflict. I do want to make money online – but I don’t want to resort some some of the extreme, deceptive and hyped tactics I see happening around the web.

I’m not the only one who feels a little out of place between these two extremes. I meet people who grapple with these same things regularly.

Back to The Third Tribe

Brian and Sonia started blogging about these same themes last year and the idea of a ‘Third Tribe’ began to emerge as a term to describe those of us in the middle. Chris Brogan joined the conversation and then I jumped in and we began to plan a panel for Blog World.

The more we talked about the Third Tribe concept and the journey that we’d been on to find our place as online marketers the more people began to come out of the woodwork expressing similar experiences and feelings. We decided it was time to call people together and provide those wanting to explore the topic with some training on what we were learning and a place to connect with others on the journey.

As you’ll see in the story on Third Tribe – there’s an amazing group of people lined up to share their journey with Third Tribe members. What’s better still is that since launching 48 hours ago we’ve had may others join and begin to interact – the depth of what’s being shared is fantastic (there’s already over 1000 posts on a great range of topics) and I can see that there are going to be a lot of great collaborations emerge out of this.

The other reason I’m excited about Third Tribe is the mix of people involved all bring such a wonderful collection of skills, strengths and experiences. We’ve got people with experience in copy writing, social media, building membership sites, E-Book marketers, SEOs, affiliate marketers, those who use social media to market their real world businesses…. and much more.

The Offer

As we’re still growing and shaping The Third Tribe we’ve set up a discounted Charter Member Offer for those who join in the first week. This is partly to thank those in our current network but also simply because the site is still growing and those who join now help us to build it with their contributions in the forum (thus they should get a discount).

Third Tribe Marketing is a paid membership site. If you sign up before February 5th at 6PM (Central Time – GMT -6), as a Charter Member the cost is $27 USD a month (you’re locked in at that price even after the price rise). If you sign up next week, the cost jumps to $47 a month.

You can see what the deal entails and what you get on the inside of the TT here.

Of course both the topic and the deal will not fit for everyone. If you don’t resonate with where we are at or don’t find the deal is where you’re at we’re not wanting to pressure anyone to join up.

You’re welcome to sign up and trial things for up to 30 days – it it’s not where you’re at you’re welcome to a refund.

Join us Today

I’m really excited by The Third Tribe and hope you’ll consider joining us.

Check out the details here.

Get These 3 Free Bonuses to Help You Build a Better Blog – Less Than 1 Hour Left

ebook-copy1.pngUpdate: This promotion is now over. The 31DBBB workbook is still available for purchase at its normal price of $19.95 but unfortunately the bonuses have been removed. Thanks everyone for your support over the week of this promotion!

2010 is here and it is time to kick start your blog into action to ensure that the year ahead it reaches its potential with these 3 limited time bonuses.

19,782 bloggers have participated in 31 Days to Build a Better Blog and the reports that I’m getting back from them are that it’s the ideal way to get a blog fired up in the new year.

Over the next 7, 3, 1 days only if you purchase the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog workbook I’m throwing in 3 great bonuses to help you get your blog going in the new year.


Check out these limited time bonuses below….

Bonus #1: Free Report: 9 Things to Do to Get Your Blog On Track in The New Year

New Year ReportWritten in the style of 31DBBB this report talks you through 9 things that I do at the beginning of every new year. Each step gives you a practical exercise to go away and DO to help get your blog going in the right direction. Effectively it turns the 31 day workbook into a 40 day one!

Bonus #2: Podcast with Leo Babauta from Zen Habits

Leo BabautaRegular readers of ProBlogger will know the wisdom and insight of Leo from Zen Habits. He’s grow his blog Zen Habits from nothing to being one of the most read self help blogs in the blogosphere in just a couple of years. He’s released a book (The Power of Less) off the back of his blog and has also since launched a number of other successful blogs, profitable e-books and other products off the back of his blog.

This 55 minute podcast interview with Leo goes through his history of blogging and explores much of his philosophy behind what he does including:

  • his recent decisions to turn off comments on his blog
  • how he comes up with ideas to write about
  • his tips for launching e-books
  • his decision to remove all but one ad on his blog
  • tips on growing traffic and subscribers

There’s lots of good practical advice in this podcast – I came away from it with loads of ideas and inspiration myself and am sure many will benefit from it.

Bonus #3: Podcast with Neil Patel from QuickSprout

neil_patel.jpgNeil Patel has built an amazing reputation and brand for himself in the last 3-4 years. He’s been a part of building two successful blogs but has also work with some amazing companies on their social media presence (like AOL, HP, Viacom and General Motors). He’s also been a part of helping blogs like TechCrunch rise to the power blogs that they are today.

Neil also is the co-founder of CrazyEgg and KissMetrics and has some great advice in this podcast in a number of areas including:

  • Personal Branding
  • SEO
  • Productivity
  • Building Traffic to Blogs

The podcast goes for 42 minutes and is not available anywhere else but to 31DBBB buyers.


7 3 Days to Get Your New Year Bonuses

These 3 free bonuses are exclusively for buyers of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog (both past and present) and they’re only available until 4pm on Tuesday 19 January – Melbourne time (that’s 11pm Eastern in the US on Monday 18th and 4am London time on Tuesday 19th).

The cost of the 31DBBB workbook is $19.95 – it contains 31 days of teaching and daily activities to help you create a dynamic blog. Make your purchase and get it and the 3 bonuses here.

If you have already purchased the workbook you should have received an email from me in the last 12 hours (sent to the PayPal email address you paid with) that contains details of where to get the bonuses. If you purchased it through SitePoint I’m working on getting you the bonuses too.