Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category

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Ask the Wizard

February 20, 2007

I’ve already forgotten where I read about it, but I found the blog of Dick Costello, the founder of FeedBurner (which does something with blog feeds), and it’s really good. It’s especially good if you are a startup trying to understand the whole angel/venture capital game, so take a look if that’s you.

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Sphere – Blog Search and Destroy

February 7, 2007

I often check out the blog search engine Sphere to see what it’s showing as the “hot searches” of the moment.

I’m not enamored of Sphere’s search results, but I love their home page. The hot searches coexist next to some thoughts on other random blog topics I might find interesting. (I usually don’t, but knowing there are blogs on the Atlanta Hawks and rodeos is interesting to me.)

There’s only one thing that I can’t help thinking every time I go to Sphere. Their tag line shown in the top of the browser is “Blog Search & Discovery” and for some reason I can’t help but think to myself “Blog Search and Destroy” as if they are somehow offering a video game in which you shoot down blogs.

Maybe they could integrate a game like that into their site, with the most popular blogs being the hardest to kill. “Ha! I just picked off Guy Kawasaki!” “Today I’m finally going to beat Boing Boing!”

Funny the things that float through your mind, isn’t it?

e-mail me: adam@bessed.com

Adam Jusko is founder and CEO of Bessed, a Web site promising “search without spam”, thanks to human-edited search results and ongoing visitor feedback. Do a search, offer your comments, submit your site–help create the “bessed” search site in the world.

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The Risk of Being a 1 Percenter

January 3, 2007

One of the concepts in the book Citizen Marketers is that the people who take the time to care about your business are the 1 Percenters, as in the other 99% have better things to do.  The 1% thing is traced back to Hell’s Angels in the 70s, people that dropped out of society to ride.

As with everything, the concept got co-opted and now everyone wants to be a 1 Percenter.  Well, not everyone.  But probably more than 1 percent.

All this is a lead in to get you to read this Lewis Green post: Join the 1 Percenters and Risk Success

Being part of the 1% might not be comfortable for everyone, but pushing yourself into it can pay rewards, as Green well points out.

e-mail me: adam@bessed.com

Adam Jusko is founder and CEO of Bessed, a Web site promising “search without spam”, thanks to human-edited search results and ongoing visitor feedback. Do a search, offer your comments, submit your site–help create the “bessed” search site in the world.

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User-Generated Okdork

December 28, 2006

Noah Kagan has been generous enough to open his blog up to outsiders for the past couple months, and yesterday I got my chance to add a few words.  Go to Noah’s Okdork.com to read my ideas on How to Be Fearless.

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The Demise of Blogging

December 13, 2006

PR blogger Steve Rubel looked at some statistics yesterday that suggest blogging’s upward curve may be starting to falter. While the number of blogs continues to increase, the average number of posts per day is “cresting” as he puts it. Frankly, I don’t know that his post makes a very statistically convincing argument that blogging is peaking, but I still think he’s probably right. His accompanying thought that the influence of blogs is increasing even if the numbers start to flag makes sense, too.

The question that this post raises, of course, is, why? Why would blogging be starting down the other side of the slope? Here are some ideas:

Blogging is Going Pro – In the beginning, blogging was amateur hour, and a lone voice could become highly influential in the blogosphere, which of course would incite amateurs to blog even more. As the phenomenon of blogging matures, the pros are taking over. Blogs that are spinoffs from traditional media and new blog networks consisting of paid bloggers (poorly paid but paid nonetheless) are upping the ante in terms of what a blog can be. As the paid pros rush in and start to actually break news, their blogs become the “go to” places for the latest scoop. The Internet only needs so many blogs about celebrities or politics that simply echo the news and thoughts of those who are doing it professionally. How long would you continue to air a public access news show when you have no way to gather news except rehashing what the big guys already reported? There’s no audience in it and no fun either.

Bloggers Have Less to Say Than They Thought – How many times have you run across an interesting blog that quickly goes dull? Why does that happen? Because bloggers start out full of gusto, say all the big things that are in their head that they’d like to share, and then they realize they don’t have any more to say. Their posts devolve from analysis of the human condition or at least quirky observations about their co-workers into making snarky comments about obscure news items. After a while, they quit.

Blogging is a Time Waster – This is not to say it’s necessarily a waste of time. However, to really say anything of value in a blog takes some time. If a blogger wants a real audience, it takes time to think of things to write about and then time to actually write about those things. If you want to build an audience, you have to post frequently, which takes time. Posting frequently is especially important if the blogger does not have any particular qualifications to discuss politics, business, sports, etc. Malcolm Gladwell can blog once a month; you can’t.

Take those ideas together and blogging is a time-intensive practice that usually results in few people reading your words and no money coming your way, either. If you don’t have the time, resources and desire to become a “pro”, then you will likely tire of blogging and stop it altogether. (And feel very good afterwards when you realize all the extra time you now have to actually go outside or maybe even take a nap.)

That’s not to say the amateur blogger is going anywhere. There will still be plenty of people that blog as a way to reach a small circle of friends, or blog mostly about very specific subjects that allow them to be part of a group of like-minded people. In other words, niche bloggers will continue to exist. But, over time, the average person who picks up blogging to spout off about whatever comes to mind will disappear back into the real world for more interesting and worthwhile pursuits, with their blogger blogs still existing and being counted but being the equivalent of online ghost towns.

Just because anyone can become a publisher doesn’t mean that everyone will or should. And if they do, a large proportion are going to decide it’s not worth the effort. Thus the demise of blogging as a large-scale activity will be upon us in the next couple of years.

When the shakeout is over, there will be more quality and less quantity. That’s not a bad thing at all.

e-mail me: adam@bessed.com

Adam Jusko is founder and CEO of Bessed, a Web site promising “search without spam”, thanks to human-edited search results and ongoing visitor feedback. Do a search, offer your comments, submit your site–help create the “bessed” search site in the world.

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On ReviewMe, PayPerPost and Righteous Purity

November 14, 2006

I’ve been involved with some political campaigns in the recent past, going so far as to have been a delegate for John Kerry at the 2004 Democratic Convention. While this would lead you to believe I’m a hardcore lefty, I’m not really. While I certainly veer that way, one of the things that has always made me most uncomfortable about political involvement is that most of the people you meet are extremists. They are loud and proud, and will shout you down if you’re not as extreme, or, maybe to phrase it better, not as “pure”, as they.

I think of them as I read the coverage given to the new get-paid-to-blog services like PayPerPost and now ReviewMe. (I’ll refrain from linking to them lest someone think I’m being paid to write this.)

Just as the extreme political activists shower you with disdain and knock your credibility if you’re not hugging the party line, too many bloggers have decided that they too have the truth in a headlock, and that anyone who thinks differently has no credibility. The many vicious reactions to these paid-to-post businesses are ridiculous.

I know that many hardcore bloggers have gotten themselves all worked up into thinking they are “citizen journalists” and somehow very different—i.e., more “pure”—than old-school journalists. And the thought that someone would come along and try to besmirch the bloggers’ hard-won credibility by paying bloggers to write nice things about a debt consolidation service or whatever? Scandalous. It’s time to draw a line in the sand! Which side are you on? The “purists” or the “sell-outs”?

The argument seems to be that if some bloggers are writing blog posts simply to get paid, then it calls into question not only that individual blogger’s motives and credibility, but the motives and credibility of bloggers everywhere, as if bloggers are some sort of association or club or whatever. You do know the secret handshake, don’t you?

But bloggers aren’t some sort of organized group. In fact, that is what many people love about blogging in the first place. Grab your piece of the Internet and start writing about whatever crazy crap comes into your head. Look at me! I wrote about my boogers! I’m a blogger!

Bloggers aren’t looking for some sort of code of ethics handed down by so-called “A-Listers” who’ve managed to build a big audience and now seem to want to defend their turf. Most bloggers don’t give a rat’s ass about the ethics of blogging. Why? Because they’re blogging on their own time for the grand total of zero dollars for their own enjoyment. But, hey, if they can get ten or fifteen bucks here or there to help justify their desire to transcribe the latest Lost episode for people they’ll never know, do you think they care whether some guy making $150,000 a year and listed on the Technorati Top Poobahs thinks they’re not “pure”enough?

I’m getting into rant territory here.

The point is, the blogosphere is not some sacred place—it’s full of crap just like every other place on the Earth. And just like in those other places, reasonably intelligent people know to put their bullshit detectors on when reading what is written there. When I listen to a sports radio personality tell me that the ribs down at Don’s Slop House are the shit and that I need to get myself down there pronto, I’m well aware that I’m not getting a “pure” endorsement. I’m a big boy and I can separate the wheat from the chaff. Same for blogs.

So get off of your high horses. If blog readers think that paid bloggers are insulting their intelligence, they’ll stop reading, and the “problem” will be solved. Cut the sanctimony and let the market decide.

Whoa, I’m starting to sound like a Republican.

P.S. I see via Dave Taylor that WordPress is now censoring bloggers that write blog posts for pay. Hey guys, I didn’t get paid $30 for this post, so don’t delete my blog! My annoyance at your pompousness is sincere and no one had to pay me for it.

e-mail me: adam@bessed.com

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The Reward for a Job Well Done

November 6, 2006

Like quite a few other people today, I saw this post on Guy Kawasaki’s blog, pointing to a very well done and interesting post from food blog The Amateur Gourmet.

I saw that the Buzzoodle blog also referenced Kawasaki’s post and I left a comment there about the decision bloggers have to make in the age of “the Digg”, when an awesome post can bring thousands of visitors, or can simply be ignored, making all your work seem not quite worth it.

Here’s what I said:

I think that a problem for a lot of bloggers is that they want to create something noteworthy but at the same time they are afraid to spend so much time on something that may be passed over so quickly in the never-ending rush to the new new new. If you get Dugg, your hard work pays off. If you don’t you may have just spend 6 hours on something that was fun but feels like not the best use of your time. On the other hand, if you spend 6 hours on a single awesome post like that one, maybe you end up on Guy Kawasaki’s blog and people start pointing you out and you gain a whole new audience. Sometimes you have to take that chance and spend that time to craft something really great if you want to get noticed.

If you’re blogging purely for fun, it doesn’t matter either way. But if you’re blogging for business purposes, it’s sometimes difficult to decide how much time to spend on something like that, especially if you’ve done something grandiose in the past and couldn’t get a bite of interest out of the Internet at large.

Like everything else in life, you have to weight the pros and cons. It comes down to how much money you have and/or how much time you have as to whether you’re going to reach to the top of your creative game to pull out something truly special or be a little less marvelous but keep the ball rolling forward.

e-mail me: adam@bessed.com