The Professional Bloggers Association has just put up their website. Great name – they’ve chosen Pro-Bloggers.
Do you want to buy a domain name? Got a spare $1million dollars? Then PicturePhone.com might interest you! It isn’t a blog and therefore isn’t quite relevant here but I couldn’t resist linking up.
You see PicturePhone.com will be auctioned off to the highest bigger on January 31 to the highest bigger and the bids will start at $1million. Check out their terms for the auction at PicturePhone Domain Name Auction.
Listening to a good interview with Mick and Cameron from G’day World on a Podcast with the Blog Herald. Of particular interest to me was their comments about finding a business model for podcasting. I won’t quote them directly here (editing out the ‘vulgarities’ that some complain of..hehe) but they suggest that they’d like to look at doing a similar thing to the guys at Weblogs Inc with podcasting – ie provide the infrastructure for a stable of podcasters who each produce quality podcasts on their own areas of expertise.
Sounds like a great idea – I am fast coming to see the benefits of the podcast both as an addition to a blog but also as a medium in its own right.
The challenge is to find ways of paying for it (it has a lot more overheads than the average blog) but I suspect that this wouldn’t be too hard once they become a little more widely listened to.
Mick and Cameron talk about how their latest interview with Scoble was downloading 2000+ times in a couple of days. Sounds to me like their product is getting to a level where some smart advertiser should jump on board and test the effectiveness of promoting their product or service through their next big name interview.
Is Google’s latest attack on Comment Spam going to hurt Bloggers as much or even more than the Spammers themselves?
As I mentioned a few days ago, Google have announced a strategy for eliminating comment spam on blogs by implementing a ‘rel=”nofollow”’ tag which would cause links using the attribute to not be given any credit in their rankings.
Google already have the support of some pretty major bloggers and blogging tools including.
- Brad Fitzpatrick – LiveJournal
- Dave Winer – Scripting News
- Anil Dash – Six Apart
- Steve Jenson – Blogger
- Matt Mullenweg – WordPress
- Stewart Butterfield – Flickr
- Anthony Batt – Buzznet
- David Czarnecki – blojsom
- Rael Dornfest – Blosxom
A number of people have asked for my opinion of this new development. I’ve written some initial reaction here previously before it was announced and have similar feelings now.
Read/Write Web has an interesting post predicting that the killer application for RSS will be to track Topic/Tag/Remix Feeds rather than to track individual blogs or news sources.
‘One of the reasons I think this may eventuate is that blogging is and always will be a minority sport (as I’ve referred to it in the past). The killer app for RSS probably won’t be geared towards the current ranks of bloggers and geeks. When RSS hits it big, it’ll be because ‘normal’ people start using it – your Mom and Dad, Frank from Marketing, Jessie from Payroll, Dave from the local dairy. They won’t be bloggers. They won’t be interested in writing or podcasting or anything like that. All they’ll want to do is track news and trends that are relevant to them.
Tools will evolve to let people easily set-up personalized searches for information relevant to them and subscribe to the results – using, you guessed it, RSS! Google will probably be the front-runner (see this video for a hint to the future – thanks twdanny for the reminder), PubSub will be another, current players like Bloglines and Technorati will be in amongst it, and who knows who else.’
Poynter Online has a great post about the importance of having a good headline in your RSS feed.
‘But what do I do with headlines like “Dramatic change” (which turned out to be about a change in the government’s attitude toward immigrants) or “An unfinished story” (this deals with the U.S. inauguration). And these are just a couple of random picks from a Norwegian feed I read last night. Both those headlines belong in a newspaper or on a website, where there is room for a picture and a blurb. They have no place in my RSS reader. Or in my mobile phone’s WAP reader. Because I can’t even make up my mind if I’m interested.
With RSS and WAP, more and more journalism relies on headlines alone. So they better be good. And they better be informative.’
This is so true. I’ve actually done some tracking of the most popular posts on this site for those reading my RSS feeds and have noticed that it is usually the simple, clear and informatively titled posts that get the most hits. Yes occasionally I’ll get a little clever, humorous and cryptic and come up with a title that tries to be intriguing, witty or mysterious – but more often than not the simple ones do much better.
Of course I show the first few sentences in my RSS feeds also (not that everyone chooses to view them) so your opening line is also vitally important to getting people to read on.
Silicon Valley Watcher writes that Google are getting ready to announce some big changes to their Adsense/Adwords program which will be of interest to many bloggers using the system.
‘As this is being writtten, about 1800 Google marketing people from its offices around the world are at an internal sales conference at a secret location in San Francisco, being briefed on a completely revamped Google Adwords/Adsense program and other new features.
The text ads business is crucial to maintaining Google’s pace of growth and its share price, which reflects high expectations for the dominant search giant. But Google offers few tools to advertisers to let them control where their ads appear and on which web sites. Similarly, web site publishers have virtually no control over what types of ads Google sends their way. This has caused some shifting to competitors such as Kanoodle that offer such controls.
That’s why the revamped Adwords/Adsense will provide a suite of tools that provide greater control, management and monitoring data to advertisers, to better target their sales messages.’
I’ll be watching any announced changes carefully as Adsense has been a major part of my earning strategy on my blogs – hopefully the changes not only benefit the advertisers but also are worthwhile for publishers.
Have you ever wondered what the benefits of being a premium publisher on the Google Adsense program are? Google don’t say to much about it on their website. You have to achieve ’5 million search queries or 20 million content page views a month’ to qualify, which puts most of us out of the race but we can dream can’t we? Anyway – the official line is that the benefits of being a Premium Publisher are:
- Google sales representative and account manager
- Flexible ad formats
- Advanced filtering
- Optimization assistance
- Additional monetization options
- Enhanced technical support
It all sounds pretty general and I’ve often wondered what the specifics are. Today I spotted a short post by Gary Stein who shed a little light on what one premium publisher (Topix) is doing to boost their earnings on their home page by 500%. The long and short of it is that they are able to track your movements across the site’s different channels and serve up ads that relate to where you’ve spent the most time. So instead of their Home Page (which is a collation page of loads of general news) showing up ‘general’ type ads it shows up ads which they have a pretty good idea that you’ll be interested in because you’ve previously searched for it.
So in a sense the ads are not contextual in the strictest sense (ie they are not relevant to that page’s content but are reliant upon your surfing history – Behavioral targeting advertising. I wonder if this is the type of feature that Google would consider making available down the track to its average user? Obviously it would be in their best interests, and those of their publishers and advertisers, to see click through rates go up by 500% across the board. However I guess they also have to balance it with the reaction of the end user who may not appreciate having their surfing tracked in this way.
Source of original information: AdSense Premium Publisher: Boost CTR
I’m really happy to see the caliber of Professional Bloggers Association’s Founding Team Members - whilst some have critiqued having such an association I’m pleased that it seems to be moving ahead. They’ve named a board and voted on office bearers which is a good first step and now have a lot of work to do to get it up and running.
This might seem like I’m having a go at them, I’m not in fact I’ve offered my full support and assistance in any way I can a couple of times now. I believe in the ideas of pro bloggers coming together – however I would give one initial observation of the group that have kicked this thing off.
Whilst Paul mentions that they are international in their scope I’m left wondering whether this is really just a north american association. Yes they have Hans on the team (and there could be another European or two in there that doesn’t say so on their bio) but the vast majority of those on the founding membership list are from the US with a few from Canada.
Ok – let me critique my own observation.
- Of course this is only a founding membership list and it would make sense to have the initial group clustered together to help with the logistics of setting up the process.
- Yes the majority of pro-bloggers probably do live in the US.
- The founding membership needs to be of a high caliber/profile – again the US and Canada has a lot of pro bloggers that fit this bill
- Yes it would make good business sense that pro bloggers in a region would want to network together…..
Jeff Jarvis is taking another stab at the blogging and ethics question and this time tries to take a different approach -‘Some of us have been looking at this ethics question the wrong way: The starting point is not to impose a code of ethics on a medium but instead to understand the ethic of the medium — and its community — as it exists: What are bloggers already telling us about their ethic?’
He then goes on to identify 6 ethics which I quite like:
‘: The ethic of transparency: We believe that our public deserves to know about us and our perspective to better judge what we say.
: The ethic of conversation: We do not believe in one-sided lectures. We believe conversation leads to better understanding.
: The ethic of humanity: We believe this medium lives at a human level while old media lives at an institutional level.
: The ethic of the link: We believe one of our key jobs is to link our public to other voices and to source material so they may judge themselves.
: The ethic of correction: We believe it is vital to correct errors quickly and openly.
: The ethic of immediacy: We believe that the fast spread of information is will yield better information.’