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. – 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 (,,,,, and – 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.

Which Laptop for Blogging?

A regular reader of ProBlogger, Mark from The Rock and Roll Report, has asked the following question that I thought I’d open up to all readers for discussion.

‘I am looking at getting a laptop that will primarily be just for my blog site The Rock and Roll Report. From writing my posts, to working on the design of the site to researching over the net to listening and downloading online audio and video content, this laptop will do it all. I want it to be wireless capable and high quality within a reasonable budget ($1500.00 or less). My heart says iBook (I do not currently use a Mac) but my head says a Windows based laptop for extreme flexibility. It will also be used for a potential podcast. What should I do? ‘

I personally have been a fan of Macs since I started blogging. I find them to be well worth the money, easy to use and a lot of fun. There are a few things that you need to consider though – the main one is that there are some products unavailable on Macs (there are others that you can’t get on PC though) and that you’ll probably have to buy the Mac version of some of the software that you already have.

Having said this – Macs come with some amazing software built in (iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie etc) which are a big feature.

I had an iBook (12 inch version) up until 6 or so months ago and didn’t have many problems with it. The only reason I upgraded to the powerbook I now have is that I wore it out (I’m on it 8+ hours a day many days). I also found the 12 inch size was getting a little frustrating.

If you want to follow the journey of another blogger who has just made the switch to a Mac you might like to check out Arieanna’s recent posts on the topic.

What do others think? Help Mark out with your opinions in comments below.

Podcast Network – Vidcast

Cameron and Mick from the Podcast Network have just put up their first vidcast to celebrate six months of podcasting. The video is interesting – they talk about some of the recent developments of their network and the pressures they are facing. Whilst they seem to be enjoying it it’s pretty clear that its not a walk in the park and that they are facing some challenges – especially around scaling their model up to the next level. Interesting watch.

Get the video here (its 134mb).

Tips on Selling T-Shirts on a Blog

After my post earlier in the week on making money by selling T-Shirts from your blog – a regular reader by the name of Chris (from Poker Geek and Jedi Scribe) sent me a message saying that he’d done ok out of T-Shirts himself and that they were definitely worth getting into as another income stream for your blog. Of course I wanted to know more and asked if he’d consider writing his tips up as a post. He kindly agreed so here is what he has to say on the topic of selling T-Shirts on your blog (by the way you can check out his latest T-Shirt here.

If your blog isn’t pulling in the hit count neccessary to make ad revenue that lucrative, it’s definitely a wise idea to consider something along the lines of t-shirt sales or other merchandise. Blogs that have smaller amounts of traffic (250-1000 hits a day) still can count on devoted readers who enjoy the content and won’t mind supporting the site for something in return

A few notes that I’ve learned: [Read more…]

More on Weblogs Inc’s Star Comment System

Jason Calacanis comments on my post on Weblogs Inc’s new Star Spam system and writes:

‘Darren: I have not given all the details on the system yet, but it does handle automated comment spam. Blogsmith (our blog platform) forces folks to validate every comment via email right now, so if you bomb us with 1,000 comment spams you have to click 1,000 emails. No one has done that yet. Also, if you get -1 Stars that email can never validate again—it’s blacklisted. All 75 of our blogs share the same black list so if you get banned on Engadget you’re banned on my blog or Autoblog as well. Was thinking we should let folks API into the Star System some day, so you could say “I trust Jason’s judgement and anyone he bans or rewards I will ban or reward.” Could be big.’

What $695 Buys You in Blogging

Looks like the real way to make money from blogging is to write a report on the topic of blogging (business blogging to be more specific) and then to charge $695 for it. That’s the approach that e-marketer are taking with their latest report

• What are the three main reasons blogs have not caught on with businesses?
• How many US businesses are currently blogging?
• How many plan to blog in the future?
• Should marketers tap into the blog market?
• How large is the blog audience?
• What are the dangers of blogging?
• And many more…

$695 for that? How many articles have I seen freely available on those topics – how many have I written myself! I gotta get into the report writing business.

found viaMicro Persuasion

Blog Power = Blog Clutter

Andy has a good post on ‘Blog Power’ which I think is a pretty spot on analysis of a tool that attempt to game Google and simply clutters the web with useless content. These sort of tools might bring you a little short term benefit but the risks are not worth it in my opinion. Be careful friends – if you’re wanting to build a long term, sustainable income from blogging – do it the honest open way. It might take time but you’ll build something that lasts and not sell you soul in the mean time.

Why Not to Join Blog Networks

Scrivs has just saved me some time and written a post that builds on my Examining the 9rules Network post (in which I gave reasons to enter into a network) – in it he gives some of the negatives of joining 9Rules (or any network for that matter).

So when is it NOT good to join a blog network like 9 Rules Network? Here are Scrivs reasons and a few comments from me.

  1. You don’t get 100% revenue – if you have a successful/profitable blog already it might not be worth joining.
  2. If the network looks bad, everyong looks bad – I picked up this a little in my post, but when you join a network you’re buying into the values, decisions and ethos of others. Whilst you retain your individuality you run the risk of being guilty by association. Remember that 9 Rules says you have to give 60 days notice to leave it. Whilst I doubt they will do anything to bring down the reputation of their bloggers its worth keeping this in mind.
  3. Design envy – there are some very nicely designed blogs in the network – how will yours look next to them?
  4. Some readers don’t want more people sitting at their lunch table – some of your readers might not like the extra attention being in the network might bring.

Good list – I probably feel more strongly about the first two than the second two.

What would you add to the list of why NOT to joining a network like 9Rules? I have two more:

[Read more…]

Blog ‘Issues’

Many of you obviously noticed that my blog has ‘issues’ this afternoon. Apologies for those who tried to access it but there were a few complications with the database around our server being upgraded. They all seem to have worked themselves out now and things will be back to normal (and even a little faster than usual hopefully).

Thanks to all those who emailed to let me know that the site was down – I appreciate the heads up. Now lets get back to some blogging.