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Spam Blogs

Dave Sifry writes about the increase in numbers of blogs over the past few months in State of The Blogosphere, March 2005, Part 1 and comments on a disturbing trend in the many new blogs that are starting – Spam Blogs.

‘There is a dark underbelly to these numbers, however: Part of the growth of new weblogs created each day is due to an increase in spam blogs – fake blogs that are created by robots in order to foster link farms, attempted search engine optimization, or drive traffic through to advertising or affiliate sites.’

AdSense Positioning Experiments

Wow – someone is actually reading what I write! Not only that – they are doing what I advise! Not only that – its paying off and they are getting RICH BEYOND THEIR WILDEST DREAMS!!!!!

OK – I might be exaggerating slightly on the getting rich beyond their wildest dreams – but Eoghann over at Blog World took some of the advice I gave (perhaps in my positioning Adsense series) and it seems to be paying off.

‘The initial results were depressing. Both my CTR and actual earning plummetted to the lowest I’d seen in about 2 months. I nearly lost my nerve and changed things back right then. Fortunately I’m too lazy to make that many changes so quickly.

Three days after I made the changes CTR began to pick up significantly as did my income. It reached a peak a couple of days ago with my highest paying single day from AdSense ever (I still can’t retire) and while it’s dropped again a little bit the CTR remains higher than previously and my daily income averages higher than prior to the changes.

I’m not sure why there was an initial decrease across the board, but it might be a good idea when you experiment to hold your nerve and let it run for at least a week to see how things pan out.’

Read more at AdSense Positioning Experiments

Way to go Eoghann – keep experimenting. The key I’ve found to Adsense is to try try and try again and track your results carefully.

The best way to track your ads is to utilize the channel feature that Adsense provides for free. Make each ad on your site a different channel so that you can isolate which one has the highest CTR and which one is not performing. Then as you move them around the site track the results. I’m currently doing this on one of my smaller blogs at the moment – trying some very different ad positioning and seeing some very interesting results. Its too early to share the results but initial indications are pretty interesting.

Google Looking Into Negative Adsense Ad Blocking By Keywords

Check out this quote from the forums at Search Engine Watch

‘It seems that Google is researching into allowing Adsense publishers to block ads by keywords, categories, and/or concepts. Currently you can only block ads by specific URL. If they go through with this it could be a great improvement on narrowing down the specifics for targeting. Also you would not have to research your competition as much. Only problem I can see is that some companies who do not compete with you yet have those keywords listed in their inventory could be mistakenly dropped.’

Bloggers everywhere would be rejoicing if this came to fruition – they’d be able to block those ‘blogging ads’ that tend to come up when you least want them. One of the most common questions I get asked here at Pro Blogger is ‘how do I stop my niche topic blog getting ads about blogging when its about <<insert topic here>>>’

There are things you can do (like remove every mention of the word blog from the text (and code) on your blog as well as increase the keyword density of the words you’re targeting – however sometimes no matter what you do you just keep getting ‘blogging ads’. Perhaps this new system is a solution to this!

Read more about it at Google Looking Into Negative Ad Blocking By Keywords

Found via SEO Round Table

The Institutionalization of Blogging

Trevor Cook is writing a fascinating conference paper titled Can blogging retain its revolutionary fervour? Trevor’s thesis is ‘that as the blogosphere matures it will increasingly come to resemble ‘traditional’ media.

Its an idea I’ve wondered about myself over the past few months. Some of Trevor’s observations are spot on the money as far as I can see – he could well be onto something.

His analysis reminds me a little of a workshop I once participated in on institutionalization of movements. The speaker had done extensive research into significant movements throughout history which started as very organic, grassroots, unorganized and fluid networks of people who almost always would slowly move towards institutionalization despite the best efforts of their participants to stop the process. His theory was that institutionalization is always inevitable. You can slow it down but not stop it (not without killing it). You can see spin off movements that might lengthen the life of the organic nature of what’s going on, but they too institutionalize.

I’m totally generalizing and summarizing what was a complicated and interesting session into a paragraph here (its Sunday night and I’ve had a hard day of eating good food, drinking wonderful wine and sitting in the sun – not thinking too clearly) – but I wonder if what Trevor is describing with the inevitable movement of blogging to becoming like ‘old media’ is something like the inevitable shift from a movement to institution.

More on the BlogAds Survey

In continuing my last post on the BlogAds survey – I thought I’d make a few other little observations – nothing too profound – just what stood out to me as I read through the result.

Probably the more interesting responses for me in this survey were:

- 92.1% of blog readers never listen to podcasts – 3.1% listen to 1 per week and 1.7% listen to 2 per week. Whilst there is a lot of talk and development in this area its still got a way to go. It’ll be very interesting to see the comparison between these results and those of this time next year – I’d suspect a substantial increase.

-72.4% of readers never use RSS feeds. 16.5% sometimes use it, 7% often use it and 4.6% always use it. Again this is a technology that is yet to really hit the big time despite the hype about it. I’ve actually long suspected this as I look at the stats on all of my blogs which rarely get hit via RSS (except for this one which is gets quite a few – mainly I guess because its read by bloggers themselves).

- Whilst 16% of readers read blogs for around 10 hours per week – 38.6% of readers spend 5 hours or less. A further 33.8% spend between 6 and 10 hours per week, 14.8% spend between 11 and 15 hours and 12.7% spend over 16 hours per week reading blogs. So the vast majority (72.4%) spend 10 hours or less per week reading blogs (or under 84 minutes per day). Not sure why this interests me – perhaps it just depresses me as I can spend that much reading blogs 10 times over in a day! :-)

Blogads: reader survey for blog advertising.

Just running out the door for the day (its a long weekend here) but saw that Blogads have released the results of their reader survey for blog advertising. Looking forward to having a look through their results tonight. Adrants summarizes it as follows:

  • 75% are over 30
  • 75% are men
  • 43% have HHI over $90K
  • Most, 14%, are employed in education
  • 71% have signed a petition
  • 66% have contacted a politician
  • 50% (highest of any media) rank blogs tops in usefulness for news and opinion

So we’ve got middle aged, men with pretty decent wages who are politically aware/active…. Interested in what others are thinking about the results? What conclusions can we draw – what are the signs that we as pro bloggers need to take note of? I’m expecting ALL the answers here in comments below when I get home tonight! :-)

Read more at Adrants: Study: Blogs Reach High Income, Educated Audience

Bloglines Problems

Is anyone else having issues with Bloglines today? I logged on this morning only to find that I could not access it at all. I thought maybe they were having issues and waited an hour or two only to find it still timing out. Now 10 hours later I’m still without it and starting to get a little edgy about it as I know others on my IM lists can see the site. My ISP says it must be a computer problem, but I’m not sure about that as I’ve done nothing to it since last night when I could access the site fine. Very strange.

I’m not sure what I’d do without Bloglines – I currently track 300+ feeds on it, it provides me with the content for my blogs, which my business revolves around. Maybe I’ll have to find a new news reader – anyone got any suggestions of one that works well with a Mac?

Update – Still no luck with Bloglines – its been 19 hours and counting. At least I’m not alone though.

Update II – We’re back online with Bloglines – phew….I think I might back up the feeds I follow – the threat of losing them has left me realising the importance of that list of sources – its actually an asset!

Google’s AdSense a bonanza for some Web sites

USA Today has an article on Adsense titled Google’s AdSense a bonanza for some Web sites which has a few interesting snippets that basically talk up the program. Here are a few grabs from it firstly on Chris Pirillo from Lockergnome:

‘Chris Pirillo, who has a following from his former role as a host on the now-defunct TechTV cable channel, says he’s clearing more than $10,000 a month.

Before AdSense, which began in March 2003, bloggers and other small Web publishers had fewer options to make money. They could put banner ads on their sites for a host of non-related products, or commission programs from Amazon and eBay. “It was a lot more work, and you didn’t get much of a return,” Pirillo says.

With AdSense, “You write content, publish it, and the money starts to pour in,” he says….

Next a grab from Jason Calacanis of Weblogs Inc:

In his first four months of Web publishing, AdSense brought in $45,000. Some of his blogs produce $3,000 a month. His best do “four figures,” Calacanis says, though he’s reluctant to fill in the exact numbers. “And that’s with zero marketing,” he says….

And lastly on the future entry of Yahoo into the small publisher market:

With pay-per-click ads, Google and Yahoo are locked in a bitter battle for advertiser dollars. But Yahoo doesn’t compete with AdSense for small publishers — yet. Yahoo says it will introduce an offering later this year.’

Read more at USATODAY.com – Google’s AdSense a bonanza for some Web sites

More Business UnderBloggers added

I just updated the nominations in the 2005 Business Underblogger Awards. We’re up to 51 nominations so far. In updating the nominations I discovered a few great professional bloggers that I’d never known of before on a really wide range of topics. Check them out and leave your nominations for Business Blogs that you like that fly under the radar and deserve more readership than they get on the nominations page.

Here are the latest nominations:

Open Xorce Crossing :: Ken’s Management Log Book :: Biz Book Nuggets :: What’s Next Blog :: Leaders Go First :: Blog for Fun and Profit :: Next Level Biz Tips :: Build a Better Blog :: WonderBranding :: VOIP Advice :: Decent Marketing :: Brand Autopsy :: Coach Ezines :: What Retirement :: Business of Life :: Legacy Matters :: Estate Legacy Blogs

See the full list of nominations here

Letting others Promote your Blog for you

Finding readers for your blog can be one of the hardest and most frustrating parts of blogging. You slave over your content, writing witty, clever, insightful, humorous posts and check your stats at the end of your day and barely anyone has taken any notice – it can be downright depressing. I’m always on the lookout for new and fresh ways to expose potential readers to blogs and love to check out how others do it.

One of the more innovative things I’ve seen recently is over at Idol Blog – particularly in their American Idol Section where they have just made public their American Idolblog Popularity Tracker.

The tracker is basically a poll about which contestant people like the most. The poll is reset every week and tracked back on the blog in graphical form. Up until now they’ve only run these popular polls in their own sidebars but now they are offering them via a javascript code to other bloggers and websites.

[Read more...]