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Word Press – Web Application of the Year

ars tecnica has just announced its awards for 2004 and has named WordPress as Web application of the year.

Let’s face it. Blogs are in fashion, and why not? Vanity knows no bounds, and there are some people who actually do something productive with theirs. From the influence of blogs on the coverage of the US presidential elections to every random teenager who has problems with their partner/parent/teacher/cat, blogs are out there allowing your most intimate feelings to be shared with random people at wifi hotspots. WordPress is the most prominent rising star of weblog software, completely free and with a large and active community. Styles, plugins and hacks are readily available, with problems such as comment spamming being addressed far more rapidly than competing applications.



I have to agree – WP is moving forward very quickly and is a highly useable application for blogging. I’m looking forward to seeing how it develops in 2005.

New Adsense Format in Testing – 7 Ads per box

Adsensesky1-1

It looks like the people at Adsense are trialing a new format of ads again. Actually its not completely new – the size is the normal wide skyscraper (160 x 600) but the difference is that they are trying 7 ads in it rather than the usual 5.

The font is smaller and there is no URL on the design. I found it on one of their tester sites, sitemeter which runs Adsense ads on their stats pages (like this one).

Adsense have tested numerous formats on these pages and only some of what I’ve seen trialed there has ever gotten through to the rest of us so don’t count on seeing it as an option too soon – but you never know.

I’ve included a screen shot of this skyscraper (left – click to enlarge) because these tests always last too long.

What do you think of the new format? Theoretically it should increase the click through rate for ads as there are more chances of ads being relevant for readers – however the font is smaller which decreases the chances of users seeing them.

The other initial thought I have is that most of my pages already have two ad sections per page and Google struggles to fill them both already as it is. I worry that if I moved to a 7 ad format whether the other ad section would more often than not be empty.

I guess we’ll find out how useful the format is by whether they offer it to us.

Breaking News Blog Collective FAQ

Fredrik over at CorporateBloggingBlog takes a look at our new Breaking News Blog Collective and writes:

‘I like the idea of developing the group blog concept and “collective blogging” is an interesting thought. But what on earth does medical research have to do with Jessica Simpson? Or credit cards with MP3-players (unless you use the first to pay for the second…)? And why can’t readers subscribe to the collection of blogs with one feed?’

I appreciate the critique of what we’re doing but wonder if I communicated clearly what we’re hoping to do with the collective when I announced it. Let me make a few points to try and clarify things a bit more:

[Read more...]

Weblogs Inc announces SCM Wire

WeblogsInc have announced another blog (seems to be a weekly occurrence now) called SCM Wire which is dedicated to supply chain management. Its currently in beta but is functioning well. They describe the brief of the blog as:

‘The Supply Chain Management Blog is dedicated to reporting on and exploring the world of the industrial and consumer supply chain, including purchasing and procurement, distribution, logistics and traffic, e-commerce, outsourcing, customer relationship management, and a bit of operations management. We’ll also touch on some supply chain related general management and business topics such as human resources, negotiation, and training and development. Supply chain management is one of those less than glamorous topics and professions that seemingly works in the background. But, it is the glue that holds business together. We all experience it on a daily basis….’

Not sure I’ll be adding this one to my RSS feed but its sure to tickle someone’s fancy and by the little digging around that I’ve just done on what ‘Supply Chain Management’ pays on contextual advertising I’d say it’ll be a pretty worthwhile venture for Weblogs Inc.

Bill Gates on Blogging

Gizmodo got a bit of a scoop with a face to face interview with Bill Gates. They’ve posted the first part of the interview which largely focuses upon blogging. Here’s a snippet:

‘I think blogging is super-important and we’ve got to do a lot more software. The phenomena for us is we’ve got in beta this MSN Spaces thing, and it lets you leverage everything you do around Messenger—that’s your buddy lists and those relationships—to set up blogs, and who has access, and who gets notified. We’ve got up over a million people [who] set up blog sites.’

Adsense isn’t for all Blogs

MediaDailyNews has a great article that describes a situation where running Adsense didn’t work out for one blogger who wasn’t happy with the type of ads being served on his politically conservative blog.

‘Maloney pronounced Thursday on his site that Google’s contextual ad service, AdSense, was ‘not ready for primetime.’ He complained that Google routinely sent ads that weren’t meant for his conservative audience. One ad, for instance, asked readers: ‘How can 59,054,087 people be so dumb?’–referring to the voters who re-elected President George W. Bush in 2004.

‘I could live with the occasional mistargeted ad, but it seemed that a vast majority of the ads were inappropriate for large segments of this site’s audience,’ Maloney wrote Thursday on his site. ‘I could even live with the many ads that highlighted positions different from mine, if some of them weren’t so downright insulting.’ Maloney cited ads that sold T-shirts labeling Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and President Bush ‘asses of evil,’ and ‘Hillary for President’ ads. Maloney since withdrew from AdSense.’

It is a good reminder that whilst Adsense can serve incredibly relevant ads at times that it is an automated service that does not have the ability to discern opinion, sarcasm, tone or the points of arguments or debate.

Keyword Identification Tool – NicheBOT

Nichebot
Thinking of starting a new blog but you don’t know what keywords to target? NicheBot might be a tool worth checking out. Its a very useful tool that helps you to identify keywords that:

1. are being searched for

2. don’t have too many other sites competing for the same keyword

To use it simply enter in a keyword that you’re considering targeting – I’ll choose ‘MP3 Player’ for our example as its something I’m kind of interested in. After a short wait they’ll come back to you with a result page like this which has some very useful information (well it gets me going!) – the results are made up of the following pieces of information which they glean from Google and Word Tracker

[Read more...]

I need your help Bloggers

I need your help. Truly I do – but it won’t cost you much – in fact you’ll probably get something out of it if you do.

In the next months I’ve decided to interview a number of Pro Bloggers about their blogging ventures. These are bloggers who are currently making (or attempting to make) an income from the genre of blogging. Some are doing it by writing blogs on niche topics, others are blog consultants, others are providing blog tools or services to bloggers.

I’ve already lined up a few of the interviews with some prominent and soon to be prominent (I think) bloggers but I need your help (is there an echo in here?).

What would you like to ask pro bloggers? What is your itch that we can scratch for you? What do you need to know to take your blogging to the next level? You might also like to suggest who you’d like to see interviewed and I’ll add them to my hit list.

Leave your questions, ponderings, wonderings and suggestions in comments below either anonymously or with your details (I’ll credit you in the interviews).

Did I mention that I need your help?

Quiz Time

It’s Jeremy’s fault that I spent the last 10 minutes doing this but I’m a sucker for a good online test.

My nerd rating is 9 – They say I’m definitely not nerdy and might even be cool! Can someone please tell my wife?

My geek rating is 153 – Digital Ace – although I was penalized for being a Mac user.

Six Apart to go Public?

Dave Winer believes that Six Apart’s motivation for buying is LiveJournal is about Six Apart wanting to go public:

‘In all the speculation about the deal betw Six Apart and LiveJournal I haven’t seen what surely is the motivator. Six Apart plans to go public. The market will value SA based on its ability to generate profits, and it will likely do so in proportion to the number of users, the theory being that they can sell things to the users, so the more users, the more they can sell. The more users the more value. LJ has a lot of users. So the founders of LJ get SA stock, and the shareholders of SA get more users, and value of the combined companies goes up and the day of the IPO gets closer.’