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Bloglines is Down

If you’re having trouble logging into Bloglines tonight you’re not the only one. It looks like they are having some sort of database problems. Others reporting difficulties include:

to name just a few.

Unfortunately this is becoming more of a problem for Bloglines – its the second extended problem I’ve had in a few weeks. Perhaps its rapid growth is taking things a bit beyond what they can handle.

I’m going to do some serious looking for a non web based News Aggregator this week – I can’t afford to have my News Aggregator offline like this – it’s costing me money each time it goes down. What do other Mac users use to track RSS feeds? Interested in others experiences.

ProBlogger Email Newsletter Update

If you’ve signed up for the ProBlogger’s Email Newsletter in the past 36 hours you’re not alone. I’m really happy to say that there are already over 60 of you who’ve taken a step deeper into ProBlogger in this way. Scanning the list I see quite a few regular contributors to the comments of this blog as well as a couple of what I’d consider to be A-lister bloggers – overall the quality of those in the list is fantastic and I’m hoping we’re going to have a good time with it.

If you’re impatiently waiting for an newsletter to hit your inbox you’ve got a few more days to go as I will be sending the first ever one early next week.

As I said in the introductory post – the newsletter will be no more than a weekly one at this stage with highlights of the week that was on ProBlogger – a few special ‘members only’ tips – previews of ProBlogger news and down the track some competitions. Sign up in the sidebar to the left and join the growing numbers of readers who want to take their blogging to the next level with ProBlogger.

Free Advice and the Entrepreneurial Blogger

Jason Calacanis writes that by optimizing their Adsense ads Weblogs inc have just raised their daily Adsense earnings to $1400 per day (it was just $1000 per day a week or two back). He asks Adsense experts for advice on how to take it up a notch (he wants to get it to $2000 per day in the next couple of months) and offers a free dinner for those who are willing to help and whose advice works.

Paul takes offense at Jason’s post writing:

‘To me this is just insulting. The guy is making $1400/day (min.), which he equates to $511,000/year and wants free help to get to $730,000/year (min.) along with Amazon help. Does this seem strange to anyone else or am I missing something here? For helping him earn an extra $200k/year I can get a free dinner. Awesome.’

I have to say that I had some similar thoughts as I read Jason’s post – although I probably wouldn’t word it quite as strongly as Paul does.

I guess the question it leaves me wondering is – ‘At what point should someone start paying for the advice or sharing the benefits that they receive from the input from others?’

[Read more…]

Putting Google Adsense ads inside your Posts

Duncan wrote a helpful post on How to place Google Adsense ads next to your text – like he says in his post – one of the best positions I’ve found for Adsense ads is within or as near as possible to your content.

Whether you use this approach will of course depend upon the overall purposes of your blog (for instance I don’t do it as much here at ProBlogger – but do it more at Digital Photography Blog).

Duncan posts the code that he uses to get his ads into his text – I use a slightly different approach (add a “<” to the start of this code and a “>” to the end (and change the channel and publisher code to your own)… [Read more…]

Adsense Ad Click Variations Explained

One of ProBlogger’s readers – Charles – asks the following question:

‘do you know anything about what drives the sometimes wild variation in day to day click values…’ (see longer version of the question).

It is a good question and something that I know many people ask so I’ll answer it publicly. There are a variety of factors that could explain the phenomenon of the variation of click values.

Geo Targeting – the global positioning of the reader clicking on the advertisement can have significant impact upon the value of the advertisement. I know of two bloggers who started blogs at the same time on the same topic – one of which has a .com URL and gets traffic from around the world, the other of which has a .nz (New Zealand) URL and gets quite a bit of NZ traffic. The .com blogger’s click rates are significantly higher than the .nz one’s. In my opinion this is largely due to the fact that advertisers targeting NZ readers are not paying as much for the ads as advertisers in other parts of the world due to market size and competition between advertisers. This could explain quite wide fluctuations in click values.

Demand and Supplya number of Adsense publishers that I know of tell me that they’ve tracked variations in click values on a variety of levels. Most of these might not explain wide variations. They include:

[Read more…]

Competition – Design a Blogging Course

I just got home from a graduation ceremony – my graduation ceremony – I finally finished my Bachelor of Theology and have a piece of paper to prove it.

During the ceremony to keep myself awake I started to wonder what a course in Blogging would look like – a Bachelor of Blogging. I thought it would make an interesting ‘Open Mike’ post where we all submit our answers. I’ll give a prize to the best answer.

If you were to enroll in a course about blogging what would you want it to include as core subjects, electives, assignments etc.

If you’re ‘beyond’ enrolling in a course yourself – how would you teach it if you were designing a syllabus? What would be essential reading? Who would be your guest lecturers (and what would you ask them to speak on)? What subjects would be central? How would you grade students?

Get a little creative with your answers if you like and submit them via comments below or post it on your own blog and leave a link in comments to it below.

Prize – I’ll award my favourite answer with a link in my menu to your blog for a week or so (ok its not much but it is better than nothing). Competition closes Monday – Aussie time.

Official Google Adsense Consultants

What do you think about the idea of Google licensing people to act as Adsense consultants?

They would train up independent consultants in the program, give them the skills and knowledge needed to help others optimize their ads. Then they give them some sort of accreditation or license that them ‘official’ status so that they can be hired by businesses and individuals wanting to optimize their adsense advertising.

I think it would be in Google’s best interests to offer this type of program. It would mean their publishers are better educated about the program, able to be more effective in what they do which in turn benefits them, Google and Google’s advertisers.

I know there are Adsense consultants already out there but to make them ‘official’ or ‘accredited’ could help Google to ensure the quality (and ethics) of advice being given is of a high standard.

Of course if there are any Adsense Execs reading this who want to fly me over to train me up as the first official Adsense Consultant – I’d be open to the offer! :-)

I’m interested in others opinions. Would you or your company pay for this type of advice? What would be the shortcomings of such a program?

The Etiquette of Linking

The hottest post on ProBlogger at the moment is Adsense Developing Fully Customizable Ads Blocks? due to it being picked up by a number of reputable blogs, forums and websites around the web. It is an illustration of what a ‘scoop’ (of sorts) can do for your ability to find new readers for your blog.

I’m always fascinated to follow the referral stats and trackbacks to the sources of those who are linking up to my posts to see what their take on a story is. In this case I’ve been surprised to see a number of blogs simply reposting my story virtually word for word. Some have been good enough to put quote marks around it others have not with some introductory comments – others have not. All have at least included a link back to the source.

I personally don’t mind being quoted (its part of what blogging is about) or even occasionally having one of my short posts posted in full – but recently have wondered if the art of linking up in an appropriate manner has been lost.

Here is what I consider to be etiquette when linking to a post that someone else has written:

[Read more…]

Adsense Login Problems

Since returning home from Sydney yesterday I’ve not been able to login to my Adsense statistics. I keep getting a 502 Server Error and a recommendation to try again in 30 seconds.

Anyone else having similar issues?

Update – I finally got in and think I’ve worked out what the problem was.

The last view of my Adsense statistics was for ‘All Time’ and ‘All Channels’. This is a very long page (I’ve been at it for 18 months). Adsense recently changed their stats so that it would open the last page you viewed next time you log in – this is supposed to be for the convenience of not having to manually choose your favourite stats page each time you log in. Unfortunately its not very convenient when the page is a long one like mine.

Anyway – its sorted now and I won’t be viewing my All time stats as the last one before logging off again.

Back in Town

Just arrived back in Melbourne after a whirlwind trip to Sydney for 36 hours of meeting with my blogging partners from the Breaking News Blog Collective who were up there for a few days from overseas. I won’t disclose all that we talked about at this stage except to say that it was a very worthwhile time together and that I’m excited by some of the dreams that we talked about and the blogs and blog services that will no doubt emerge in the coming months.

It was nice to have some face to face time with them also as our main interaction is via MSN Messenger which can be effective on some levels but nowhere near as productive as sitting together in front of a blog you’re working on together and talking it through.

The next few days are going to be about catching up on the work I didn’t do while away as well as working on some non blog related projects but have no fear – ProBlogger will be back to normal (although I probably posted more while away than normal as I had the advanced posts going off as well as some new ones (we had a wifi connection in Sydney) so I doubt anyone would have realized I was gone).