Fixing Comment Spam with Stars

Jason Calacanis posted a couple of days ago on Weblogs Inc’s new Comment Spam Fix – The Star System – which allows bloggers to award commenters ‘stars’ for productive comments. They have the new system up and working at TV Squad and it seems to be being received pretty well.

I’ve been reflecting on this new system for a couple of days and watching to see how it works. Here are some initial thoughts: [Read more…] sells for 1 billion dollars

You gotta love stories of online success like this one:

‘, the British online discount travel agency and icon of the former Internet boom, has agreed to be bought by US travel group Sabre Holdings in a cash deal worth 577 million pounds (843 million euros, 1.075 billion dollars)….’

Read more at books takeover by US travel group Sabre

Google Content Blocker

ProBloggers everywhere will love Google’s latest feature – the Google Content Blocker that removes annoying content from pages so that readers just see ads. I like this section especially:

What can I do once the content is removed?

Click on the ads: Just click ’em (you don’t even have to read ’em). Every time you click an ad, money changes hands. As an option, you can install the free Google Content Blocker “ka-ching!” audio support file.

Look at the ads: You probably already know that ads are interesting, entertaining, and informative. So look at them. You may not even realize it, but just looking at an ad will help our advertisers because eventually you’re going to click on that sucker.

Click on the ads: Use your mouse. Move the mouse pointer over an ad, then click the mouse button.

Tell your friends about the ads: Tell them how cute and funny the ads are, and tell them how to find them. Also tell them to click on the ads.

Click on the ads: If you see an ad, click it. It’s as easy as that.

Very amusing.

Blogtalk Downunder Draws Near

Blogtalk Downunder is getting close now – and some of the papers being presented are truly mouth watering stuff.

Papers released so far include:

Overseas Speakers coming include:

The only downer of Blogtalk Downunder is some criticism that they seem to attracted about the cost of the event. It is costing $175 ($AU) which some believe is too high. James has responded here with how they worked out the pricing and some of the reasons its not cheaper. I personally think that $175 is a very reasonable price for a conference of this standard of venue, speakers, food etc.

[Read more…]

Google considers changes to Blogger

It seems that Google is considering integrating its Blog application – Blogger – with its email application – GMail if recent comments by Google’s Biz Stone are anything to go by. He also says that there is the possibility of an ‘enterprise Blogger version’ as well as new features like image hosting and private groups which would allow limiting of access to blogs to selected people.

Get more details on these developments at Google ponders Blogger, Gmail integration

Blog Design Layouts

Rachel at Designer Blogs has a cool post with 7 different blog layouts used by top bloggers – classified (with pictures) into navigation, sidebar, design and content.

She’s even got pretty pictures!

Adsense Earnings Per Click Changes

There seems to be an increase in the frequency of postings in Adsense forums from publishers noting that their earnings have slipped in the past few days. Of particular note is that a number of publishers are reporting drops in their ‘per click’ earnings (to get this figure divide your total earnings for a day by the amount of clicks for that day).

This is a trend I’ve noticed since Thursday 5 May in my own statistics. I’ve not been able to find any explanation for it as there have not been any abnormal traffic rises or falls on any of my blogs.

I can’t see many good explanations of this decrease in EPC but wonder if maybe Adsense has updated its Smart Pricing algorithm. This might account for some of those in the discussion forums reporting increases in epc at the same time.

Check out the discussion on this at:

Further declines in earnings
Recent severe drop in Adsense revenue
Amount Paid Per Click – Continues to Decline (not as good as the others)

Got any theories to share? Noticed any changes to your EPC?

Update: it is interesting to watch the theories fly around on this one. I’ve seen everything mentioned – from Google increasing their cut of earnings, to it being linked to the new features available to Adwords advertisers, to some large advertisers pulling out of Adsense, to it just being a new way of reporting statistics, to it being an update in their Smart Pricing algorithm to it being linked to an increased number of UFO sightings…..hmmmm, You got to love Adsense publishers paranoia!

Update II: Jen has started a Who is seeing a HIGHER EPC these days? thread at Webmaster World. It seems like a few noticed a similar increase at the same time that others noticed the decrease – which to me looks a little like an update in the algorithm.

Updated III – looking at my own stats it seems that things have changed back again. The decrease in EPC that I’d noticed since 5 May today increased back to a ‘normal’ level. Others in forums have noticed this also.

Locum Blogging

Thank you to the many well wishers who have emailed to wish us luck and congratulations with our new home. It has been a very busy few days of moving but we’re finally in and beginning to feel like we’re ‘at home’. We need to find more places for our things and do some work on the house (its a Victorian so has some work to be done) – but overall the main pieces have fitted into place nicely – including an ADSL broadband connection which conveniently was connected the morning after we moved in (after being told it could take 10 working days).

So I’m back and blogging and attempting to catch up on the backlog of the past few days of being offline. All my other blogs have caught up and tomorrow I’ll get back into some ProBlogging.

One thought though as I get ready to go out tonight to a meeting:

I’ve been pondering my last post on ‘what to do when you go on holidays‘ post and one of the thoughts that has come to mind is setting up a ‘blog-locum’ service.

When I go to see my GP (doctor) and he’s away on holidays he gets a locum to stand in and see his patients for him.

I’m wondering if with the increase in ProBloggers if there will one day a need for a locum service for bloggers.

I’m envisaging a website where ProBloggers going away on holiday (or who are sick, on conferences etc) can go request a blogger for a certain length of time, at a certain posting frequency and on a certain topic.

Bloggers then can pitch for the work – perhaps with their fee or an offer of bartering of services (ie I’ll post 10 post for you if you do the same for me – or I’ll post for you if you design a logo for me etc).

The other way to do it would to have more of a matching service where a centralized person matches bloggers needs and services.

Just an idea that I thought might be fun to kick around. I’m not sure that there is enough of us needing such a service yet to justify a business plan etc – but what do you think about it? Would you ever consider getting a locum for your blog? Would you consider being a locum blogger?

PS – if anyone runs with this please let me know. I don’t have heaps of time at the moment to throw at it but would be interested in a partnership!

Gawker Bloggers vs Journalists – Which Earns More?

In Gawker Bucks vs Journalists Buck does some analysis on whether bloggers or journalists earn more. The analysis is based upon the NYT article on Gawker Media that we mentioned a couple of days ago and centers around an ‘earnings per word’ comparison.

Of course its a pretty simplistic comparison based only upon three Gawker blogs (with massive readership) but its a bit of fun to look at and might stimulate some interesting discussion.

Introducing Geeky Info

A mate of mine has recently started up a new blog by the name of Geeky Info which I’m sure some of you will find interesting. He’s not primarily doing it to make money (although I think it could be a profitable blog as it grows) but rather its a hobby – documenting his obsession with collecting geeky information. There are still a few Adsense tweaks to make on the site but its coming together quite well.

He’s covering everything from organizational software, to firefox, to security apps, to tablet pc technology. Its going to be one of my favorites for sure. I hope you enjoy it too.