Archive for the ‘blogs’ Category

Viral Distribution for Your Blog

Friday, January 5th, 2007

Do you want maximum exposure for your blog? Do you want others to market it? Do you want to reach the widest possible audience?

I know this sounds like a 4am infomercial, but I’m simply outlining the goals, aspirations, MuseStorm logoand hopes of many bloggers. Now, thanks to MuseStorm, these challenges have been overcome and distributing your content is easier than ever.

Bloggers, or anyone with an RSS feed for that matter, can set-up an account and instantly create a distributable widget that others can embed. The company proclaims that they will ‘widgetize’ your feed.

Widgets are customizable by colour and type, with some restrictions.

The coolest part of the whole system is the back-end analytics. Anyone who distributes the widget can then log into the MuseStorm portal and get an in-depth look at the evolution and success (or failure) of the campaign. The three main categories of analytics include:

  • Widget impressions
  • Domains
  • Click-throughs

In other words, these categories essentially tell you a) how many impressions your content widget has received, b) which domains are producing the impressions, and c) the total amount of click-throughs to your blog or site. Very cool.

The product is currently in BETA, but I received an invite from the company so I’m going to test it out. If you would like to embed Mapping The Web content on your blog or site, please read the ‘Note’ at the bottom of this post. 

Here is a sample screenshot of how the widget may look:

NOTE: Anyone that wants to embed Mapping The Web content on their site can find the HTML code here.

Blogging Predictions for 2007

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2007

In response to a post by Tony over at the Blog, I am going to make some specific predictions about the blogosphere for 2007.

Perception shift: Historically, a blog has been stereotyped as a ‘personal journal’ or ‘diary’ to the non-techie. In other words, it is categorized as a log of someone’s daily happenings. This is often true. However, a large number of blogs are NOT personal sites, but rather sites that cater to specific topics or report news. I think that we will see a shift in the perception of the term toward this mentality.

Bridging the gap: Up until recently, the gap between A-list bloggers and the rest of the pack has been enormous. But the line is being blurred. More and more so called B and C-listers are making their way up the ladder. The days of the blogging elite are numbered.

Deeper niches: As the number of blogs continues to increase at an astonishing rate, we will witness the further proliferation of tighter and tighter niches. In other words, instead of a new blog about dogs, someone may choose to blog about poodles or pugs in particular. This general trend will continue to occur as long as the blogosphere expands. The more blogs, the deeper the niches.

More full-timers: As the blogosphere matures and more and more readers become accustomed to this new media outlet, the opportunity for a career in blogging has become more and more real for many people. The combination of good content, a carved-out niche, and a solid ad system (i.e. maybe Google AdSense, Text Link Ads, or direct sales) can potentially lead to a full-time job in the field. In addition, blog networks are further facilitating this transition by streamlining the process.

Increase in blogging tools: More and more start-ups are popping up with tools that cater to bloggers. Furthermore, widgets and web apps are making the lives of bloggers much easier, while providing maximum exposure and distribution for the given company.

I could have said blah, blah, blah… blogs are the new media… blah, blah, blah… they are replacing newspapers and old media… but this is obvious and inherent. Nonetheless, the trends listed above are just a few I see surfacing in the year to come…

Umbria - Bulk Blog List Buying

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

Umbria logoYesterday, buzz monitoring firm Umbria annnounced the launch of a new service, Umbria Connect, that provides blog lists to companies looking to connect with individual bloggers. The lists are tailored for specific niche topics and areas of interest. This facilitates conversation and discussions between the client company and bloggers.

Umbria gathers publicly available data, information, and input to locate individual bloggers who may be of interest to a given client. Subsequently, Umbria sells these blog URLs in blocks of 25 on a subscription basis. Lists are updated on a monthly or quarterly basis to provide the most accurate picture of the current blog landscape.

According to Umbria, the monthly list of bloggers are created based on the client’s selection of age and gender. In other words, Umbria is not only targeting by niche topic, but also based on more narrow demographic information.

These bloggers may become a client’s:

  • evangelist
  • product test market
  • PR team

I am a big advocate of blog marketing  and targeting specific niche groups, therefore I see huge value with such a service. The elimination of time and hassle cannot be overstated. If indeed the lists are accurate and highly targeted (which I do not know), then the advantages of this service are obvious. However, an automated system cannot be trusted without major scrutiny, as the blogosphere is extremely dynamic and perpetually-changing. If upon further analysis the Umbria Connect tool is able to connect clients with the appropriate blogs, then this may be a big hit.

Otherwise, simply type your ‘niche topic’ into Technorati and start researching.

The Million Dollar Blog Post

Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

What happens when you combine web 2.0 with social giving? Answer: The Million Dollar Blog Post.

This feel-good project sprung from the minds of some ambitious, Eastern Canadian entrepreneurs. The idea is this:

  1. Post a wish for the world (comment) on the Million Dollar Blog Post.
  2. A ‘wish’ sponsor will then donate $1 to a chosen charity for every wish posted.

Anyone is able to sponsor a wish or series of wishes, so please be sure to do so. If your financial situation is unfavourable, please post a wish at the very least - it is free. It is the time of year when making a small contribution and supporting a charitable cause can go a long, long way.

Readers may also help by blogging about the cause or providing a back-link. If you would like to Digg this initiative and provide much needed exposure, visit the Digg submission.

What did I wish for? Something that is dear to me:

“My wish is that everyone cherishes every waking moment of every day. The beauty of life is a privilege and may you never take anything or anyone for granted - ever.”

May we use the Internet and technology to provide hope for the less fortunate and make the world a better place for all.

Jeff Pulver Really Blew It

Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

An interesting story has emerged from the vlog community. An informed source has brought to my attention the recent uncustomary antics of well-known VOIP pioneer Jeff Pulver. Apparently he really shit the bed this time.

Though I am not a vlog enthusiast, I felt that such a story deserved a second look. Upon further in-depth analysis and scrutiny of blog conversations and forum discussions, it became apparent that Pulver had committed three fatal sins. These rookie mistakes should never have been committed by a seasoned veteran. Forgiveness should not be granted.

So what exactly did he do to deserve this tongue-lashing?

  1. His new venture, Network2, pulls vlogger RSS feeds without publisher consent. In other words, Pulver is assuming an ‘opt out’ basis (stealing) as opposed to the standard, industry-accepted ‘opt in’ basis (promoting). Need I really say more?
  2. Pulver started the ‘5 Things You Didn’t Know About Me’ meme as a self-promotional tool to garner publicity for himself and his company. Starting what seemed like a fun, interesting meme, but with self-fulfilling intentions, is just plain selfish and narrow-minded. To cap it off, he even added this meme to his Wikipedia page in a self-glorified series of events. Nevertheless, the Jeff Pulver Wikipedia entry has now been deleted by moderators (Pulver may have done it himself in a weak attempt to preserve some level of credibility).
  3. His crew has spammed forums and message boards in a blatant attempt to gain exposure and drive traffic.

Now, I know these sins are committed on a daily basis and are seemingly widespread on the net. But I wouldn’t expect these sleazy marketing tactics from such an authority figure. It never ceases to amaze me the level people sink in order to achieve fame and seek financial prosperity. Selling out is a weak move for the cowardly.

I think Pulver needs to go back to the drawing board.

UPDATE: There may be a happy ending to this debauchery. My source tells me that today Network2 has switched from an ‘opt out’ basis to an ‘opt in’ model. This is definitely a step in the right direction. Nonetheless, his antics of forum spam and self-indulgent memes cannot be forsaken.

Excerpts and information for this article have been pulled from various sources including the Yahoo videblogging group, Jeff Pulver’s blog, and TheGayExpat’s blog.