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Message Cast – Live Message Alerts

I’m testing Live Message Alerts on this blog at the moment which enables you the reader to receive an alert every time I post new content. You can choose to be alerted either on you msn messenger, via email and/or to your mobile device. You have to have an MSN passport to be included in the program. The system uses my RSS feed and is currently in Beta. Let me know how it works for you if you sign up for it. You can do so via this button.

LiveMessage Alerts

10 Emerging Trends for Bloggers to Watch in 2005

The Scotsman has one of the more useful predictions for 2005 lists that I’ve read over the past week or so. They write about the 10 trends that will shape 2005. I think its a worthwhile list for enterprising bloggers to consider – it might just give you a hint or two for some new directions for the year of blogging ahead. Here are the 10 trends with a few of my comments of explanation and dreaming on each.

1. Age complexity – Kids are growing up faster and adults are behaving more like kids. A number of successful blogs already tap into this – for example Gawker’s Kotaku is one that springs to mind – targeting adult males with a blog about games. In fact a few of Gawker’s blogs seem to be tapping into this playful zone.

2. Gender complexity - Distinctions between the genders continue to blur. Whilst I’m not sure this is just something for 2005 (its been going on for years) I’ve noticed in the past couple of years some interesting developments in our own community. For example I’ve noticed more groups for dads who are stay at home parents, there has been an increase in emphasis on beauty tips/ plastic surgery etc for males etc. I’ve not seen too many blogs tapping into either of these markets yet – maybe something to explore?

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About.com – Megablog

Abt

What is the biggest pro blogging operation that you can think of?

If you believed the press it would probably either be Gawker or Weblogs Inc. They certainly know how to get press coverage. But whilst they are successful blogging networks there is another one that is quietly going about its business of building market share in the background with little noise or PR (at least that I’ve seen).

About.com is a site that many of us will have surfed by on numerous occasions after searching on Google for anything from Action Figures to Archaeology to Salt Water Aquariums. Their reach is quite staggering in terms of topic but also traffic. This is a megasite.

Actually it is a Megablog.

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Bloggers Banned from Trade Show

Blog Your Way has picked up this interesting tidbit in an article at InfoWorld about the upcoming CES (consumer electronic show) in Las Vegas in January. Apparently no bloggers will be allowed at the event.



‘The CEA spent more time qualifying attendees this year to make sure everyone in attendance has a legitimate attachment to the consumer electronics industry, said Kristen Peiffer, a CEA spokeswoman. The show is not open to the general public, and the CEA does not allow the blogging community or other independent observers to attend the show.’

I find this pretty disturbing as a blogger who remotely covers this event on one of my blogs (remotely). Whilst I was not planning a trip to cover the event this year it was something I have been considering for the future.

Whilst I can understand that they don’t want their event crowded out by thousands of bloggers each covering the event from a different angle I don’t understand why they wouldn’t embrace some of the recognized tech bloggers. I doubt strongly that they’ll be turning representatives from Gizmodo or Engadget away at the door.

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New Google Feature: Sponsored Links

I just stumbled across a new (?) feature on Google – Google Sponsored Links which allows you to enter a term and then see what ads Google has in their stock pile.

The initial page that you go to looks like you’ve come to an error page but enter in a term in the search bar and you’ll get a list of ads that they have. For example here are ads on the topic of Blog Money and here are some for Digital Cameras

The results do seems to vary depending upon your location (I get a lot of Aussie ads). This would be a useful tool for you if you’re deciding on a topic for a blog and you want to run Adsense Ads. Check your keywords/blog topic on this tool and you’ll see if there are sufficient ads to make it worth your time. If your keywords don’t produce any ads it might be worth changing your approach or finding another income stream as it will be hard to get ads served to your blog and therefore difficult to extract any money from Adsense.

Pro Blogger Agency

Paul over at Radiant Marketing Group is considering setting his group up as an Agency for Pro Bloggers and wants the feedback of probloggers, consultants and CEO types:



‘I’ve been thinking about turning Radiant Marketing Group into an agency for bloggers who want to find paying gigs. Serving as a rep for them so to speak. (I’d consider doing the same for blog consultants.)

What do you think? If you’re a pro blogger or a consultant, especially if you’re one looking for paying jobs, I’d like to get your take on this. Would you be interested in aligning yourself with an agency? I’d also like to hear from CEO-types as well as business consultants. Do you see viability in a business like this?’

I left a comment over there (and encourage you to do likewise) that expressed my interest. I know there would be a number of issues to work through for it to work, but purely speaking as a blogger wanting to earn an income from the field I know I’d be interested.

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Skweezer Update

I thought I’d update you on my interaction with Skweezer who in my last post I expressed my frustration with for duplicating the content on my blogs.

Last night I sent an email to them asking to remove all of my domains and sub-domains from their site. I explained some of my reasons for doing so.

This morning I had two replies – firstly from their customer service department asking me to confirm my desire to be removed – they will be doing so shortly (as I note they have done with Weblogs Inc’s blogs already). The second email was from Barnabas Kendall from Greenlight Wireless who I want to acknowledge has been helpful in getting my sites removed from his program and who invited my feedback to Skweezer – but whom I also feel seems a little naive or deluded as to the impact his site is having on the publishers who are providing content to him without their knowledge.

I am continuing to correspond with Barnabas and am assured by him that he will be making a full statement shortly to explain further his side of the story.

My main concerns remain that:

1. That content that they duplicate like this downgrades the page ranking of my site. Google will not differentiate between my original content and their duplicated content. It will actually devalue both of our sites.
2. That I seem to be doing all the work in the equation. I research and writes (which takes hours), I host the images and they simply copy it onto their site and charge their readers for the privilege of reading it – and add their own ads to it. This is in direct violation of my (and most other bloggers) creative commons license which says that my content cannot be used for commercial purposes.

Anyway – I’ll be off their system shortly and will continue to discuss this with Barnabas.

By the way – if you wish to be removed from Skweezer it is best to email [email protected] and put something in the subject line like ‘Please Remove my Site’.

Update: Barnabas has added a response to Green Light Wireless’s new Blog.

RSS Abuse, Duplicate Content and Parasite Websites

Jason has spoken out about something that a number of us have been mulling over for the past week or so – RSS Abuse. He points to Skweezer as one of the culprits that is targeting their blogs.

I’ve noticed a growing trend recently for sites to do this. Skweezer has pages for most of my blogs also (http://www.skweezer.net/s.aspx/2/www.livingroom.org.au/photolog/ is the one for my digicam one). Basically they are repackaging content of sites/blogs for viewing on PDAs and Phones. Not a bad idea in many respects – however they are taking complete posts and giving no real link backs. They are also stripping the advertisements from the sites also.

About the only thing that I can see on their version of my site that is linked directly back to and hosted on my site is the images. So not only are they using my content without giving me a way to benefit from what they are doing – but I’m also hosting their images.

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ProBlogger to Visit US in 2005?

There is a chance that I might be in the US in June for a few weeks for holiday and maybe a little connecting with some bloggers if possible. We’re toying with the idea of New York, LA, Washington and maybe even Boston.

I know a lot of you are from the US and so I’d love to hear your suggestions on destinations, things to see and do and most importantly cheap places to stay which won’t suck all our worthless little Aussie dollars out of our wallet!

I’d also like to meet some of you – although we’ll have to work out a way of not completely dominating our holiday with probloggers! So if you’re based in the US and would like to meet, or you have any suggestions on destinateions, let me know in comments below or via email.

PS: is there any blogger conferences planned over there at that time?

The Challenge of RSS for Marketers

I’ve just been listening to G’day World latest Podcast interview with Mark Jones, Deputy Managing Director at IDG Communications. It is a pretty long interview – but the section that I found most interesting was his grappling with RSS feeds and Blogging as a Magazine publisher.

It is fascinating to hear both the excitement about the technology but also the frustration (wrong word?) with finding a way to measure and monetize it. One of the interesting threads of the conversation was how RSS is impacting email newsletters.

Traditionally people would subscribe to newsletters and information would be sent to them by marketers who know who they are, where they live, their age etc.

With RSS there are similarities (ie it is a permission based method of communicating information) – however the challenge comes when analyzing who is reading it. With RSS gives readers almost complete anonymity and puts the power back in the hand of the reader in terms of when and how they access the information.

This brings all kinds of difficulties for monetizing this exchange of information. Will advertisers be willing to sponsor RSS feeds when all they know is the total number of those subscribing to them? No more demographics which has been key in raising sponsorship for newsletters.