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Blogads 3.0 Beta

Henry has just posted an interesting post over at BlogAds about some of the changes they’ve been working on in BlogAds 3.0 (beta). For starters they are refining their application process and introducing the idea of ‘sponsor bloggers’ who bring new bloggers into the program and help them get going (and get 5% of that bloggers earnings as payment).

‘So, going forward, bloggers will join blogads on the invitation of current network members, bloggers who, in essence, have helped beta test the Blogads idea and build the network. These “beta” bloggers will evaluate, invite and guide new blogads sellers. New bloggers (theta?) will pay 30% of ad prices to participate in the network, rather than the 20% fee charged current blogads sellers. A sponsor blogger, only a handful at first, will get 5% of her sponsored bloggers’ revenues while she remains a sponsor. Essentially, sponsor bloggers will be rewarded for doing some of the work traditionally performed in corporate publishing by both an editor and staff in the HR department. (To be clear, this means identifying, recruiting and acculturating stars, not managing!) Sponsors are doing work they are far better qualified to perform than we. (Once acculturated, new bloggers will be able to invite bloggers too.) ‘

Sounds like an interesting development that is designed to not only take some of the load of the central administration of BlogAds but that gives bloggers themselves incentive to recruit and coach other bloggers which will in turn should grow the network – both in terms of bloggers and advertisers.

I like the sound of what Henry is proposing. My only question is around complexity. One of the risks of tiers or new levels of contributers to any network is that it necessarily brings some level of complexity with it (at least initially). If I’ve learned one thing since blogging its that the vast majority of bloggers like things simple.

Adsense has boomed with Bloggers because its largely a matter of selecting a few simple options and cutting and pasting some code. BlogAds has a similarly simple interface (although initially I did find it a little more complicated than Adsense) – lets hope that BlogAds 3.0 retains and even improves upon this simple process.

Where to Put Keywords on your Blog

Getting your blog ranked highly in Search Engines can be a complicated task – so can sifting through all the theories being espoused by SEO ‘experts’. Everyone has their theory. As a result I like it when people put together simple well thought out lists that even a non technical person like myself can get his head around at the end of a hard week’s blogging.

SEO and Online marketing have put together a helpful list of 8 places to put your keywords in your blog if you want the Search Engines to look favorably upon you. Being smart about using keywords (the words you want people to find your blog with in Search Engines) – is generally accepted as important factor in SEO.

Here’s the list (each point is expanded upon in their post):

1. Use Your Keywords in Text Links for ALL Links – Inbound and Outbound.
2. Use Your Keywords in the Page’s Title Tag.
3. Put Your Keyword in Your Description Tag.
4. Place Your Keywords in a Keywords Tag.
5. Make Sure You Use Your Keyword in Your Heading Tags.
6. Put Your Keywords in Bold Text in Several Places on the Page.
7. Use Your Keyword in Text Early – and Often.
8. Use Your Keywords in Alt Tags.

Adwords Advertisers Can Now Block Publishers Sites

Jensense announces that Adwords advertisers can now negative filter publisher sites – meaning that advertisers can now block an ad appearing on your blog by simply adding its URL to their campaign filter (in a similar way to publishers having the ability to block certain advertisers – seems only fair really). The feature is known as the Negative Site Feature (catchy name).

Whilst this is good news for advertisers and for publishers of high quality sites – Jen observes that:

‘publishers with less-than-quality sites could be hit, particularly if advertisers are opting out simply based on appearances rather than conversion data. Because some of those less-than-quality sites definitely do convert for some advertisers, even if the sites don’t appear as though they would convert very well, some publishers could filter them on looks alone while not even considering their ROI on these sites.’

All In all I think that its a good move – it could draw more advertisers into the system which means more demand for ads and higher click throughs. Of course if you have a poor performing blog it could have negative impact.

AOL Opens Blog Service to IM Users

Just spotted this news (perhaps its old and I missed it previously) that AOL are opening up their blogging tool to their Instant Messaging users. Not only this but they’ll be able to to submit posts to their blogs via instant messaging when logged in to the screen name associated with the blog they’re posting to.

Google Blog Moves

The official Google Blog has moved to a new blogspot address – googleblog.blogspot.com – it now features a blogroll – I can think of at least one blog they should add.

And so we Move

We finally got the keys to our new home (the one that blogging built) and so over the next few days we’re in transition.

This means packing up my Blog HQ, relocating net connections, hauling endless boxes, cleaning and aquatinting myself with a new neighborhood.

I’m tempted to do a ‘blogging will be light’ post – but then I realized that even a light blogging day means posting only 4 posts here in a 24 hour period – and so I think its already been a heavy day.

Calacanis Podcast

Jason Calacanis has started Podcasting. Perhaps lay off on the singing next time Jason. He gives an indication that they hit a $1800 record for their Adsense ads.

Then he goes on to talk about ‘Intimacy’ and blogging.

How are your Blog’s T-Shirt Sales?

This is a question that might start becoming more and more common if an article at the Wall Street Journal is any indication:

By Accident or Design, Selling T-Shirts Is Big Business on Web says that the online sales of T-shirts are booming.

‘All over the Web, bloggers, artists and entrepreneurs are unexpectedly finding that T-shirts are more reliable moneymakers than the original ideas that brought them to the Internet.

CollegeHumor.com, a site offering jokes and pictures from college campuses nationwide, sells T-shirts that say “My other shirt has its collar up,” “What Would Ashton Do,” and dozens of others. Its parent company, Connected Ventures LLC, says it takes in roughly $200,000 in monthly revenue from the shirts, about half of its total income. “A year from now things could be very different, but for now, T-shirts are a great way to monetize the Internet,” says Josh Abramson, one of the site’s founders.’

Tempted?

link via an IM conversation with Scrivs

Blog Design Survey – Planning the design of your Blog

Rachel over at Designer Blogs has just posted a blog design survey that she gives her potential clients who are wanting her to quote on blog design.

I think its a pretty helpful list for those thinking through a new blog – whether they are getting a professional to design it or are doing it themselves.

BlogStars – Infringing CopyRight since 2005

Update: BlogStars is asking for feedback on this question now – you can have your say here.

Well it seems that I’m a Blog Star! (nofollow tag used)

Its a pretty flattering thing to have your RSS feed featured on a blog by that title – however I’m left feeling a little disturbed by it.

BlogStars is one of those blogs that is really not a blog. It is a public News Aggregator, disguised as a blog really that publishes other people’s RSS feeds – in full.

Now I’m not overly concerned for myself – my RSS feeds are just excerpts (for this very reason) – but others who are being republished have their full posts appearing here. Its like a new version of their blog.

For example check out the pages for Jason Calacanis and Blog Maverick.

Now these last two fine blogs might have been asked for permission for full reposting of their feeds – but I was not.

This is an increasing trend – every few days I discover another one of these ‘services’. Some of them I don’t worry about because they are purely being used for non commercial purposes, however others, like BlogStars have ads on them. This directly puts them in violation of my creative commons license which explicitly stats ‘You may not use this work for commercial purposes.’ BlogStars also publishes feeds from other services as well including Daypop, Blogdex and Feedster – again this is in violation of at least some of their published copyright information. They might just be on the way to a legal challenge or two if they don’t wake up to themselves.

Of course, like many other such ‘services’ BlogStars has no contact details on their ‘blog’ (if you can see one let me know) which forces me to a public humiliation post in an attempt to get their attention.

Those of you who have expressed frustration with me not publishing full RSS feeds might like to thank the fine people at Blogstars (and others ‘blogging’ in a similar way) for it.

The irony of it all is that Blogstars have an image at the bottom of each of their pages that says ‘page protected by CopyScape – Do Not Copy’.

Update: BlogStars is asking for feedback on this question now – you can have your say here.