Archive for the ‘blogs’ Category

Oprius Launches Widgets

Tuesday, November 14th, 2006

DISCLOSURE: I am a consultant for Oprius and helped with the widget strategy. But I’m not getting paid to post this. Nonetheless, they are a bunch of cool guys and I recommend checking out their software. Then again, I’m extremely biased ;)   

Local software firm Oprius has announced the launch of their first web widget. Expect Oprius logomore customizable widgets to come.

This embeddable widget will allow network marketers, bloggers, or anyone with a website to acquire valuable contact information from willing parties. Currently, there is very little available on the web in terms on an embeddable lead generation/capturing tool. Therefore, this widget should be able to provide value and fill a void.

The widget itself contains a group of simple field boxes. They include name, company, contact information, and any additional comments. In addition, some level of aesthetic customization is allowed.

This lead generation tool will serve as a valuable network-building asset for business contacts and potential clients. Once a user has inputted their info, an approval process is initiated in the publisher’s Oprius account. The contact information can then be accepted or deleted.

The process of actually embedding the widget is extremely easy:

  1. Copy a chunk of HTML code
  2. Locate your website’s HTML source
  3. Paste the code in the appropriate area

It’s that simple. Seriously.

To learn more about this embeddable tool, visit Oprius’ web widgets page.


Soothing Relief from ReviewMe

Friday, November 10th, 2006

As many readers know, I am a huge hater of PayPerPost. I disagree with their business model in every way, shape, and form. But relief has come - in the form of ReviewMe. This new start-up promises to take care of all of the short-comings of PayperPost. Thank god.

ReviewMe just launched yesterday. The service pays bloggers to post about a company’s ReviewMe logoproduct or service. ReviewMe is backed by recently acquired Text Link Ads. Now let’s cut the crap and get to the point. Why is ReviewMe better than PayPerPost? Three reasons:

  • Most importantly, you MUST provide disclosure with every post. This ensures readers know that the blogger is being paid to post about a certain product or service. Once again, I reiterate that I am okay with being paid to blog, but I think disclosure is absolutely 100% essential.
  • Secondly, PayPerPost offers a single fee per post. This doesn’t make sense whatsoever. If am an A-list blogger with 200,000 visits a day, I’d expect to be paid more for a post than Joe Average with 5 visits a week. ReviewMe uses an algorithm based on stats from Alexa, Technorati, and other sources to determine the price per post on a specific blog. Much more sophisticated and intelligent.
  • Finally, posts do NOT have to be positive. If a blogger reviews a product or service and finds it hard to use or useless altogether, they can post negatively about the good or service without fear of backlash from the company. Once again, this maintains a level of trust and transparency in the blogosphere.

Interesting points to note: A company spokesperson was quoted as saying, ”We are planning on burying PayPerPost.” In addition, the company is giving away $25,000 for bloggers who write about the service (ReviewMe itself).  

I hope that any blogger who signed up for PayPerPost re-establishes their values and switches over to ReviewMe.

And get this, ReviewMe didn’t even pay me to review them. Maybe one day when my power goes out and I’m stuck eating Kraft Dinner in the dark…

Blogging about Blogs and Bloggers

Wednesday, November 8th, 2006

If you’ve read MappingTheWeb for any period of time, you will have noticed that I reference a few individual blogs more than all other sources combined. These include TechCrunch, Mashable, and GigaOM. These A-list blogs are considered among the top web 2.0 blogs on the entire web. They all offer different views, perspectives, and niches. I highly recommend all readers subscribe to these blogs. Though they’re not quite as interesting as MappingTheWeb, they’re definitely full of quality content. Ok, ok… they’re much better… for now.

TechCrunch is the token web 2.0 blog. The blog has more RSS subscribers than any TechCrunch logoother on the net (approximately 136,000 as of this posting). And remember, RSS hasn’t even caught on yet, or gone mainstream. This stat doesn’t count people who simply visit the site on a regular basis or have it bookmarked.

The blog focuses on web 2.0 start-ups and product launches. It has proven to be a very lucrative niche for its creator Michael Arrington. TechCrunch is only a year and a half old, but has already pioneered a new form of PR and publicity on the net. Arrington is considered by many to be the king of the blog world. His combination of smart decision-making and excellent execution, with a touch of luck and good timing, has catapulted nothing to something in a short period of time. Reports claim that the blog makes over $120,000 a month in advertising, a far cry from the meager $0.50 a month most bloggers scrounge from Google AdSense.

Disclosure: MappingTheWeb makes no money. Period. Don’t laugh. I hear you laughing.

Mashable was launched by Pete Cashmore in late 2005. I really love this blog because of its niche. The blog focuses on ’social networking 2.0′. Companies profiled and featured include YouTube, MySpace, Bebo, Facebook, and Xanga. I reference the site a lot as I always have opinions and commentary with respect to these social web 2.0 start-ups. I will continue to read the blog regularly and watch it grow in popularity. Already it has blossomed to the mid 2,000’s on Alexa. Very, very respectable for any blog.

Last but not least, we have GigaOM. This blog focuses more on broadband and wireless. It was launched by Om Malik, a former editor at Business 2.0. Though he still writes a periodic column, he quit his main post to pursue his blog ambitions. He raised a round of financing and launched a network of related blogs and sites. I really appreciate the depth and insight of all posts. They are genuinely interesting and informative. Currently, its Alexa rank is hovering around 3,000. Pretty darn good, Om.

Oh… did I mention TechCrunch has an Alexa rank of around 500? Eat your heart out Mike Arrington. Just kidding. Please don’t hate me.

Topix Gets Top Dollar

Monday, November 6th, 2006

Popular news aggregation site has announced a $15 million round of financing with investments coming from Gannett Co., Tribune Company, and the McClatchy Company. This Series B round of financing comes as the company continues to drive significant traffic.

Since launching in early 2004, the site has already snatched an Alexa rank of 1,261. Pretty respectable by most accounts. However, traffic at Topix has flattened out over the past year. Its rank has only risen by a couple hundred spots, a small percentage rise in comparison to the exponential gains of previous years.

The site pulls feeds from all over the net - news, blogs, entertainment, local/world, business, and sports. In addition, the site contains forums and a classified ads section. According to GigaOM (see link above), the site attracts 9 million unique visits a month.

The concept behind the site is not overly revolutionary or extravagant. Pulling feeds from other sources is nothing new. However, the manner and execution of Topix has been nothing short of brilliant. The interface is very intuitive and well laid out. Ads are cleanly and cleverly integrated into the content in a logical manner. The site is essentially a mass-aggregated, organized directory of news stories and blog posts, in a nutshell. Features such as local and comments take it one step beyond a simple ‘feed’.

Though I am not a regular user of the site, I have been known to visit on the occasion and I am a fan. Functionality is useful, but not over the top. In an age where content is king, quality articles and feeds rule the landscape.

I am a bit hesitant and leery of the amount of money raised. A $15 million round seems extremely high for an aggregated news site. What will Topix do with this equity injection? Such a large investment must mean big things are in the mix. Will Topix move to new mediums of news dissemination such as radio, TV, or print? Will it begin to spin-off niche news sites? Will the company simply build the current offering and integrate sophisticated functionality and features? For the time being, all we can do is speculate. But expect big things to come as the world continues to move toward a more democratic news dissemination system.

Squidoo… or Squidud?

Saturday, November 4th, 2006

Right off the bat, let me say this: I am a big fan of Seth Godin. I own numerous books and I read his blog on a regular basis. I have much respect for the guy. He’s an amazing author, entrepreneur, speaker, and all-around businessman.

BUT… I’m not so fond of his latest, hyped venture - Squidoo. It has garnered much publicity and traffic, but I’m not convinced that it is anything overly revolutionary or ground-breaking. Godin always tells of making something exceptional that people will talk about. In this case, I think he should have taken his own advice.

I don’t mean to sound overly cynical, but he’s created nothing more than a new social network with revenue-sharing attached. With Squidoo, users create their own ‘lens’, which is essentially a profile. The lens contains ratings, a bio, links, an RSS feed, and a quasi-blog format. To me, the site is nothing more than MySpace with some branding twists.

To the site’s credit, it has an Alexa ranking of 1,439 and climbing. On one occasion, it peaked under 1,000, so people must be using the service. Just not me I guess.

The site has obviously been designed for the average Internet user, not the innovator. Functionality is very simple, almost to the point of being child-like. I guess I’m just not a big fan, nor a convert. I know Seth Godin has a huge brain and is always full of insightful, fresh commentary and ideas. But in this instance, maybe there was a momentary lapse or an overexcitement. I just don’t see anything breath-taking and I’m definitely not going to ’spread the ideavirus’ for this site.

And let me finish by saying I’m not a cynical bastard who’s jealous of Godin’s fame and fortune. Like I’ve said before, I have much admiration for the man. I just know he can accomplish things that are much more creative and captivating than this.

Good luck on your next venture Seth.