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Depression News Blog Launched

I’m really pleased to announce a new blogging project that I’ve been working on for the past few days – Depression News - a blog that will report the latest news and information about the symptoms and treatment of Depression. It is still in beta but is at a stage where I’m happy for people to start to use it.

Over the past 10 years in my work I have encountered many people who suffer from depression and have always had an interest in seeing them reach their potential in terms of health. In more recent years I have had more personal confrontations with depression and have always kept an eye on the latest news on treatment and studies into it. I am also passionate about advocating on behalf of those who suffer from depression or mental illness.

It seemed natural to extend this personal interest in the topic into a blog where others could benefit from my own research.

I have felt a growing urge within me in recent months to look for ways to extend my blogging in a direction where it not only is about making me money or satisfying the consumeristic urges of my readers to have the latest gadget – Depression News is one of the responses that I’m making and is an project that I hope to repeat many times over in the future as I develop my blogging.

Depression News is being hosted with the Breaking News Blog collective and uses Word Press as its backbone. I am funding it (and hoping to raise a few dollars for a local mental health charity) using Google’s Adsense and Amazon Affiliateship at present but am also open to other forms of sponsorship. The design is based upon one from Cre8d design but tweaked quite a bit in CSS by me.

I hope that you or someone that you know finds it a helpful resource. I’m open to it becoming a group blog if others wish to join in with some posting. Just let me know. Your comments suggestions on design and features are also welcome in comments below or via email.

Can Blogging Produce a Passive Income?

Business Opportunities points to an article over at About.com on Passive Income that is worth a read. I think most of us would like to get to a situation where we could say our income earning is somewhat passive:

‘Passive income, on the other hand, is income that does not require your direct involvement. Some kinds of passive income you may be familiar with include owning rental property, royalties on an invention or creative work, and network marketing. If you want to earn more, work less, and have a decent retirement, you’re going to have to start creating income streams that do not require your direct involvement. Whether you’re just starting your business, or you’ve been running it a while, the sooner you start thinking about how you are going to shift your business model to create more passive income, the sooner you can achieve personal and financial freedom.’

The question I’ve been asked a number of times by friends is whether my blogging strategy is one in which I’m building a passive income?

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Companies that Fire Bloggers

The Bloggers’ Rights Blog is compiling a list of companies that have fired, threatened, disciplined, fined or not hired people because of their blogs.

I’m sure it is a list (currently of 28 companies) that will grow a little more in the years ahead.

Blogathon 2005: Blogging for Victims of the Tsunami

I believe that Blogging can make a difference not only to the hip pockets of those doing the blogging but the wider community. This is your chance to join me in such a project.

On Thursday 20 January I will be blogging for 24 hours straight with at least one post every 15 minutes to raise money for victims of the Tsunami. I’ll be blogging at this blogathon site and would like to invite you to be a part of the project.

You can support the project in a number of ways – either by a direct donation, sponsoring the site (I’ll leave your ads up forever!), by helping promote the project or by helping me out with content or proof reading.

I’m particularly seeking some marketing/PR savy bloggers to help get the word out through the blogosphere about the project as the more who hear about it and visit the site the more we’ll be able to raise through donation or via sponsorship.

I’d also love someone with some design skills to design me a little button to promote the blogathon that I can give to other bloggers to put on their sites. Doesn’t have to be anything too amazing – if it could just say something like ‘Tsunami Blogathon’ or something similar. Any takers?

I’m attempting to make the project as transparent and accountable as possible so that 100% of all money raised goes through to our chosen charity who are doing some great work in the Tsunami affected areas.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me as soon as possible if you have any ideas or would like to lend a hand to the project.

Why Comment Spam is Dangerous to Our Blogs

Comment Spam is a terrible thing. I feel like I’m constantly fighting a battle against the slime that leave unsolicited, irrelevant and often degrading comments filled with links to disreputable sites on my blogs. It comes from the automated bot spammers but also from the small blogger who think that a comment like ‘nice site’ with a link back to their site is any better. I delete them all and add them to a blacklist.

There have been mornings that I’ve logged onto my blogs after peaceful night’s sleep to find thousands of comments on my blogs. It can be down right depressing – especially when you think you’ve finally installed that tool to stop spammers in their tracks only to find that they’ve found a way around it.

However I fight on. You see I believe that if we don’t delete and fight comment spammers then we’ll do ourselves a disservice. Comment spam left unchecked can not only bring your own site into disrepute and degradation, but I believe it can also decrease your site’s standing in Google and other search engines and that in the end we all suffer from it.

This morning I was doing some surfing and I thought I’d stop by Blog Search Engine to see what was happening there. I ended up on their blog and was really disappointed by what I saw. It wasn’t that the blog hasn’t been updated for a few months (that is their prerogative) but it was the 142 comments on the last post – all of which (bar one that I could find) were spam to poker, finance and drug sites. Unfortunately this was the tale to virtually every post on their blog – between 80 and 160 spam comments everywhere you look.

Whilst I can understand the frustration of dealing with spam I worry for Blog Search Engine when I see the way they’ve let their blog go. I worry for them on a number of levels:

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Tips and Suggestions for Launching a Successful Blog from the Evangelical Outpost

The Evangelical Outpost has a great series of posts on How To Start a Successful Blog that might be worth checking out if you’re towards the beginning of your blogging journey. His tips cover the topics of:

Part I – Before You Begin

Part II – The Beginning Bloggers Toolbox

Part III – How to Become an A-List Blogger

Part IV – The Art of Marketing Your Blog

Part V – Owning a Micro-Niche

Part VI – Three Essential Elements of Blog Design

I particularly find part IV useful as he explores the idea of owning a micro niche which is an approach that I myself subscribe to in most of my blogging. Rather than blogging on a wide variety of topics it is much easier (but still not simple) to establish a reputation in a smaller niche with a blog.

Some of his other posts on blogging are also quite insightful including How to become a Higher Being (a look at the top ten blogs on the ecosystem) and How to get linked by Instapundit (a look at who Glenn links to and how to get his attention).

The Risk of Blogging a Scoop

Apple’s recent decision to sue fan site Think Secret for publishing rumors (which look like they were too close to home) about an upcoming Apple product got me thinking this week about where I as a blogger who rights about technology would stand with regards to publishing such information. On a number of occasions in the past two years of blogging I’ve been given significant information on yet to be released products including specifications, names and even photos.

Some of this information comes from within companies, others from anonymous tips and sometimes they are from mistakes companies have made in publishing pages on new products too early. Its a real buzz when you get such a scoop but what are the ethics of it? Just as an important question is what are the risks involved with such scoops? Is it worth publishing such information if we could be sued? As smaller operators could we even afford to foot the legal bills for such legal action?

This week I received an email from an employee of Samsung who requested that I take down information that I had posted on my Camera Phone Blog on threeconcept phones‘ (or phones in development) that Samsung had not officially launched. I did not obtain the information or pictures that I posted illegally, but rather from another site that had published it (with links back to them).

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Long Term Blogging Builds Credibility

Holy Weblog Batman! T.L. Pakii Pierce is writing some great articles these days! His recent one on Cracking Credibility & Why Internet Marketing WILL Change is worth the read and talks (as the title suggests) that credibility is an essential element of effective blogging.

Blogging is not a silver bullet solution – it takes time to build an audience, time to build relationships and time to build credibility as a source of information that people will keep coming back to. Its common sense really. T.L says it much better than I do:

‘When you consider the cost of blogging and the return on your investment, the ROI of blogging is phenomenal…BUT…it comes at a price.

But doesn’t everything?

The price is that you must commit to a relationship that will require ongoing attention. Blogs will amplify your message and your reach in a powerful way and at near zero cost when compared to other means of reaching a market with your message. But the price of relationship is the need to continually connect with your market and develop your social network in order to build an authentic and authoritative voice that can be trusted.

This is an extremely important message to receive and digest for newbie marketers and newbie bloggers especially. You cannot approach blogging thinking you will set a up page and sell tons of items. You have to properly prepare a message that helps carry your product to a targeted niche audience….’

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Are Explicit Copyright Notices Necessary for Weblogs and Web Pages?

Dave Taylor answers the question “Are Explicit Copyright Notices Necessary for Weblogs and Web Pages?” and writes:

‘This means that you do not need to have an explicit copyright notice for you to have a legally enforceable copyright, as long as your name appears on the work as an author. Anonymous material is covered too, but you can read about that yourself if you’re interested.

The US Copyright Office clarifies how the Berne Convention applies to U.S. Copyright law: “The use of a copyright notice is no longer required under U.S. law, although it is often beneficial.

Continuing to quote from the Copyright Office: ”Use of the notice may be important because it informs the public that the work is protected by copyright, identifies the copyright owner, and shows the year of first publication. Furthermore, in the event that a work is infringed, if the work carries a proper notice, the court will not give any weight to a defendant’s interposition of an innocent infringement defense—that is, that he or she did not realize that the work was protected. An innocent infringement defense may result in a reduction in damages that the copyright owner would otherwise receive.“’



Good answer which is what I was advised by my own legal investigations. Dave goes on in the article to write about what makes a good copyright notice. Well worth the read.

:: w.bloggar :: version 4.0 released

Wb-Tools

PC users might be interested in the latest release of :: w.bloggar :: which has just been released.

:: w.bloggar :: acts as an interface between you and your blog, acting as a post and template editor. It allows offline editing (of course you have to connect eventually to update your blog).

The latest version (4.0) supports MovableType advanced post options and new tools like WordPress, SquareSpace, B2evolution etc. Get a full list of the update changes at their What’s New page.

Looks like a good system – but unfortunately I’ll never know as I’m a Mac man and they have not and will not ever release a version for me. Instead I use ecto which supports both Mac and PC users. If w.blogger is anything like ecto I’m sure its a very useful tool!

I’d be interested to hear from w.blogger users – how do you find the new version? – write us a short review of the interface and I’ll gladly publish it here or link to it on your blog.