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New Google update

For those of you who watch such things – it seems that Google have just started a backlink update.

Do your Blogging Goals Match Your Current Blogging Practices?

Jeremy has an interesting post over at Ensight where he looks at a recent ‘downturn’ in blogging after some of the recent controversy over character blogs.

To be honest I’ve kept out of the debate and really don’t see it as a particularly useful one (maybe I’m missing the point but I find it a bit of a bore) HOWEVER while I was reading Jeremy’s blog I was drawn to the following four questions that he has for bloggers to ask themselves:

1. Why did I get into blogging?
2. Am I still blogging for the same reason as when I started?
3. What do I want blogging to become?
4. Are my current attitudes and actions the kinds of things likely to bring about my goal for blogging?

These are some questions I’m going to ponder over the next few days – particularly the last two.

I guess at the crux of it Jeremy is asking people for their blogging goals and then challenging them to ask if their current strategy is taking them closer or further away from these goals?

Warning – Tangent Ahead….

[Read more…]

BlogLogic.net Lives

Paul has decided to keep his BlogLogic Network going after taking on the advice of a number of readers. He’s also going to start a text link campaign across his network in order to help raise more income.

Good news Paul – blog on mate.

Bloggers Under Attack from German Spammers?

I’m glad to see I’m not the only one getting hundreds of German spam emails at the moment. Steve thinks there might be a blog link to the issue – or maybe its just that bloggers are talking about it more than others because they have the vehicle (their blogs) to do so.

Update: The Australian picks up the story.

Also I’ve noticed quite a few of the emails I’ve been getting are ‘message failed’ emails and that my email address has been used as a reply address for hundreds of emails.

MSN Search Updating

I’m noticing significant shifts in MSN search results today on most of my blogs. They must have just done some sort of update. I can’t see any discussion of this in forums however so it could be just on my domains.

Since its inception the results were artificially high (for example I ranked number 1 for some very popular search terms on some brand new blogs) – so I was expecting an adjustment – today it came.

Whilst its sad to lose a little traffic (it never sent a huge amount) because of it I’m also happy because it shows MSN are becoming more accurate with their rankings – my blogs didn’t deserve the position that they had this early in their life.

Why not to use Google Web Accelerator with WordPress

The Word Press forums have an interesting thread running with a warning NOT to use Google’s new Web Accelerator with Word Press.

In it they link to an article over at O’Reilly Radar which is a little frightening:

‘Some users of 37 Signals’s new Backpack web application started noticing yesterday that their backpacks had been rifled through and a page here and there had simply disappeared. A little digging found Google’s new Web Accelerator to be the culprit.

Writes Jason Fried:

The accelerator scours a page and prefetches the content behind each link. This gives the illusion of pages loading faster (since they’ve already been pre-loaded behind the scenes). Here’s the problem: Google is essentially clicking every link on the page — including links like “delete this” or “cancel that.” And to make matters worse, Google ignores the Javascript confirmations. So, if you have a “Are you sure you want to delete this?” Javascript confirmation behind that “delete” link, Google ignores it and performs the action anyway….’

Thanks to Tom Hanna for the heads up on this one.

Filtering Adsense Ads

Arieanna has an interesting experiment going where she is filtering Adsense Ads in the hope of increasing CTR. She writes:

‘Relevance has a couple of points. First, relevance to your content. Second, relevance to your readers. So, if I talk about a new blog innovation here or over on Blogaholics, we’ll get all the ads to start your own blog, write content, etc.

However, experience and knowledge has shown me that a good many of my readers here, and most on Blogaholics, are sophisticated bloggers already. Or, at least, already have a blog. So, these ads are relevant to the content I am writing about, but not to my readers.

So, my solution was to watch daily for those ads and to block them using the Competitive Ad filter. Yes, this is not the purpose for the filter. And perhaps would annoy some advertisers. But, seriously, they were not getting clicks anyway.’

This is a good experiment and one well worth trying – Arieanna is finding that it works well and her CTR is on the up and up.

However before we all start blocking ads left right and centre be aware that this will not work on every blog. One of the reasons for this is that Google Adsense ads can be geo targeted. The ads I see on your blog from here in Australia are probably quite different from the ones others see in the USA or Europe. So filtering ads might help for those of your readers sharing your location, but might not help too much on a global level.

It’s still something worth trying – just keep in mind the geo targeting and realise that Google serves the best paying ads to your site – so even if you increase CTR you might also notice a slight decrease in your earnings on a per click level. You might also find that if you block too many ads that Google runs out of ads to serve completely – so monitor it and track the result – and then come tell me what you find!

How Much Would you Sell your Blog For?

Yesterday I reported that Bloglogic was up for sale – today I’m wondering how one would determine the worth or asking price of a blog (or network of them).

How much would you sell your blog for? How would you determine it’s selling price?

A few months ago I was offered $13,000 for Digital Photography Blog – I almost laughed when I got the email. If someone had offered me that much a year or so back I’d have jumped at it – but now I know it’ll make me that in a month or two just from its Adsense earnings. But it did make me wonder what I’d be willing to sell it for.

Last September I wrote about how I suspected Blog Farming (fattening blogs up for sale) would become more common – in December I wrote a post on some criteria for deciding ‘how much to sell your blog for’ but to be honest I’m still unsure how I’d do it if someone made a serious offer. Any thoughts on how you’d tackle setting a fair price for your blog?

Warning about Checking G-Mail RSS on Bloglines

Warning for all G-Mail users who use the RSS feed feature via Bloglines.

I just got a bit of a shock when I checked a search feed at Bloglines to find a headline that looked very familiar. In fact it was familiar because I’d written it myself.

This might not be too unusual really – I often see my blog posts in Bloglines – the difference here was that this was not the headline of a post I’d written – rather it was the headline of an email I’d sent – my ProBlogger Newsletter (click screen cap for enlargement).

I thought this was a rather odd thing – an email that I’d sent to a select few people (those who have signed up for my weekly recap of blogging here at ProBlogger) came up in a bloglines search result – for all to see. How could this be so?

At first I thought that one of my subscribers had republished my email on their blog.

But further investigation revealed that the ‘source blog’ was a G-Mail Inbox for one of my readers.

I’d heard that Google’s G-Mail allowed users to follow their email via RSS – but didn’t realize that this made the subject line and first line of the email accessible by the public if that user checks their email via RSS at Bloglines.

This is a little worrying – every time I send an email to a G-Mail account now I’ll be looking at my subject and first line slightly differently because it could just be read by any Bloglines user who happens to have a search feed for any of the words you use.

So – the take home lesson here is twofold:

Firstly for G-Mail users – don’t use Bloglines to check your G-Mail RSS feeds – once you add it to your list of feeds to check it becomes checkable not only by you but potentially by anyone. Once someone discovers your RSS feed on Bloglines they have access to every email you get via G-Mail (or at least the first line of it). This could be VERY damaging to you – depending upon the type of email that you get.

Secondly for those sending email to G-Mail accounts – be careful what you write in your subject and first line – especially if it uses the word ‘ProBlogger’ – because that is one of my search feeds on Bloglines!

Update: I’ll add to this post that I’m not completely familiar with G-Mail’s RSS feed capabilities and perhaps I haven’t reported this technically correct – it could be that the G-Mail feeds (I’ve seen three now) that I’ve seen are not being used by their users correctly – but the fact remains that I’m seeing people’s G-Mail inboxes in Bloglines – and this should be ringing warnings bells in many people’s ears right now.

Update: Others (who know more about this) have followed this story up at:

Do not use the Atom Gmail service with online aggregators like Bloglines
Darren worried about Gmail leakage through RSS and Bloglines

Update II – I’m not the first person to notice this – Randy posts this back in November.

BlogLogic.net – Calling it Quits?

Sad news tonight – Paul from the Blog Logic looks like he’s calling it quits with his emerging network due to some pretty full on financial problems.

He’s hoping to raise some cash by selling his blogs (Getblogs.com, Turboblogger.com, bloglogic.net, selfhelpdaily.com, spywaredude.com, skinspotter.com and Gadgetizer.com) – his starting price is $55,000 ($US) – but I suspect he’ll be willing to negotiate. He does have some conditions (wants to keep the blogs together and ensure Kevin who blogs for him at Turboblogger continues to have a job).

I am saddened by this – Paul was taking a long term view with these blogs and was slowly building up his network but is forced to sell it. Hopefully he’ll find another way or get a decent price for it – either way – all the best Paul.