Oct 30

Forbes get hot under collar about Blogger

According to Forbes’ cover story – Attack of the Blogs (signin required, or use bugmenot login/password ‘forbesdontbug’) I’m an “ultimate vehicle for brand-bashing, personal attacks, political extremism and smear campaigns”, or at least my blog is. For a repected publication, I find this story particularly one sided. There’s no balance in the writing and the advice to ‘get your own back’ is encouraging the same type of behaviour the article disparages:

BASH BACK. If you get attacked, dig up dirt on your assailant and feed it to sympathetic bloggers. Discredit him.

Whilst there are some elements of truth in that the lynch mob attitude has and does happen, there’s a lot more than the world painted in this article, which comes across as one man’s crusade against a single issue, without considering other sides. So far better off in a blog than a respected jounalistic article then.

Shel Israel’s open letter to Forbes today, challenges the journalism of the article, in stereotyping such a group though the activities of a minority.

Oct 27

Marketing and Blogs

Shel Israel comments about the approach of marketing executives to blogs, how “they want to use blogs to extend their integrated marketing solutions, thus extending the brand.” By integrated marketing, they mean another method to push the message. If all they do is push the message, they are not a blog as commonly perceived, but just another marketing website that uses a particular toolset to manage the message. And for some companies, that may be the right approach for the corporate environments they operate in. For others, the real benefits come from really turnign it into a one-to-many communication tool, allowing relationships to develop and the readers understanding the people behind the blog, not just the message.

Oct 26

Scott Adams’ Blog

Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, has a blog. The tone os being set by his call for people to advise him of spelling and grammatical mistakes:

1. Research the Native American method for sending smoke signals.
2. Set your couch on fire.
3. Stand on the roof and use your “good shirt” to control the signal as it comes out of the chimney.

Oct 26

Linkage and searches

For most of the life of this blog, my most popular search terms appear to have been related to tropical beaches, Daydream Island and things holiday related. This month, for some reason, it appears to be formula1. Which may explain why one of my most common referrers appears to a polish Formula 1 message board. What that most likely means is that some poster has ‘borrrowed’ the image I posted here of my trip to Silverstone, although I can’t find it on the forum yet. Then again, it;s in Polish, so I have no idea even where to start.

Oct 24

I want to play – Budget Cars and Blogs

BL Ochman has been working on a new campaign for Budget Car rental,called Up Your Budget, using blogs to power the campaign – a Treasure Hunt across 4 weeks and 16 US cities. That’s US only – therefore I can’t play, although the rules don’t state I need to be resident in the US. A nice prize as well – $10k per city.

The idea is nothing new, treasure hunts have been done before and will be done again. But it’s the tools that power this that differentiate it from previous ones (at least outside the tech industry). A blog to drive the campaign : easy to set up, easy to manage, direct interaction with the competitors made possible with comments and trackbacks. More unusual for me is the fact that all the marketing is blog based. There appears to be no offline ads, no promotional material, Word of Mouth is it. So if the only marketing being done is getting people like me to write about it, getting enough mass so the MSM will write about it and provide further publicity, then this could be a very effective campaign overall. Budget will be one of the first adopters and always known for that.

As a further bonus, the cartoons are provided by Hugh MacLeod. Colour at last ;o)

Oct 18

Posting Volumes

Dave Sifry of Technorati has posted his lastest update on the State of the Blogosphere.

The company is now tracking 19.6m blogs, the with the trend of a doubling every 5 months appearing to continue; currently 70000 new blogs are created every day. This time, he’s also included details of splogs, showing they are running at between 2-8%

Daily postings, at around 33000 an hour, appear to have slowed recently.


Is this because the surge since June has been due to school-aged children posting who are no longer on holidays or because of the increase in new blogs, driven by the interest, whose posts rapidly fade away. As blogs increase in numbers and popularity, the challnge now is making sense of the information.

Talking about posting volume, I’ve just seen that I’ve reached my 500th post in just under a year. That’s an average of 1.4 posts per day over the last 12 months.

Oct 18

Visitor Mapping Service

I’ve been trying out a nice little mapping service from gvisit, that puts site visitors on google maps (the mashup map of choice these days) It’s a short term snapshot over a few hours with 20 visitors maximum listed, but it’s more fun for me being visual than reading the list of countries in the traffic analyser.


Oct 18

Blog Design Mistakes

Jakob Niekson has published a Top 10 of Blog design mistakes. A must read. Wonder how I do?

1. No Author biography Got one of those – over there on the right.
2. No Author Photo. mmmm – not sure if I want one of those. I’m one of the people in the photo a few posts down and I’m occasionally in my own photos on Flickr. Otherwise – I’ll think about this.
3. Nondescript Posting Titles. Definitely fail on this one – but I’m trying with this post. Could do better.
4. Links don’t say where they go. Mixed report on this, I usually describe what the links are sending you to, but not consistently
5. Classic Hits buried. I think I need to get some first! Then I’ll list them in the side bar.
6. The Calandar is the only Navigation. Ok on this – a few ways to get to the stuff.
7. Irregular Posting Frequency. A few hiccups, but generally pretty regular I think.
8. Mixing Topics. Definitely. If pushed, I say this focuses on the use of technology and marketing. I may have to focus down somewhere.
9. Forgettting I write for my Future Boss. Difficult one; it’s like a student forgetting he may be a candidate for leader of the Tory party one day – it’s not easy predicting what will matter in the future. Hopefully, I’ve not made too many mistakes.
10. Having a Domain Name owned by a blog service. OK on this one – it’s mine, all mine.

Not too bad overall – how do you do?

Oct 11

Resignation over blogging

Shel Israel writes about an IBM emplyee in India resigning after the subject of one of Guarav Sabnis’s posts, the Indian Institute of Management and Planning, threated to boycott IBM machines, stage a student protest and burn the Thinkpads. He explains the decision:

Firstly, my intention to stand by my posts, since I believe in freedom of speech. I have written nothing that can be thought of as libel. IIPM is an organiation in free India which makes some claims in its advertisements. What I did was exercise my right as a citizen, by responding to the information contained in the ad……The second thing dear to me is IBM’s well-being. IBM has been a good employer to me. I have no complaints about them. Even in light of these events, they did not pressurise me to go against my principles and hush the matter up. Yet, IBM was being dragged into this unnecessarily.

An honourable decision. But indicative of trouble to come if you post in your own name?

Oct 08

Blog and RSS studies

Yahoo and Ipsos Insight have released a study on RSS. (In pdf). Looking at RSS usage inthe US, it shows that many people who are using RSS do not know they are going so.

  • Awareness of RSS is quite low among Internet users. 12% of users are aware of
    RSS, and 4% have knowingly used RSS.

  • 27% of Internet users consume RSS syndicated content on personalized start
    pages (e.g., My Yahoo!, My MSN) without knowing that RSS is the enabling

  • 28% of Internet users are aware of podcasting, but only 2% currently subscribe
    to podcasts.

  • Even tech-savvy “Aware RSS Users” prefer to access RSS feeds via user-friendly,
    browser-based experiences (e.g., My Yahoo!, Firefox, My MSN).

  • My Yahoo! has the highest awareness and use of any RSS-enabled product.

As a tool, it is working best when people do not know (or care) what the tool is, just what it can do for them. Convenience and ease of use are the sellers. Make the nuts and bolts invisible and just let it happen, make it easy and seamless for people to subscribe.

Another study out this week is the Edelman/Technorati study of bloggers. A self-selecting survey, it looks at why people blog, the trust factor that can be engendered thought the use of blogging and the interaction between companies and bloggers. Over 800 bloggers responded, over half from the US, and over 90% from English speakers so the use of results for business blogging can only be for certain markets. Unfortunately, there’s no analysis yet, but that is supposed to be coming.

In answer to why people blog, the biggest reponse was about being an authority in the field, followed closely by a record of thoughts (this blog obviously falls into the 2nd category, there being no ‘field’ here!) But when it comes to company interactions, people appear to want interactions – or at least free product. The contact would be trusted more if direct from the company, reflecting on PR being perceived as spin; the moot trusted contacts would be those employees who blog. Agree – I’d be happier talking to someone who believes in the product (they still work for the comany!) rather than those who are paid to promote it in a second way and also the contact would be better coming from soemone who understands the blogging world and how it is made up of people instead of consumers.

Finally, Google have released their RSS aggregator. Still feels very much in beta, I’m just not getting a feel for it. The lack of organisation in the listing pane, with new articles presented in date/time order as a single stream would not suit the number of feeds I read, I prefer to read sections separately instead of everything in order. I don’t see a way of rearanging the view or arranging the subscriptions. One ot keep an eye on, but no instant winner.

Oct 04

ReStyle Part 2

OK – i’ve worked my way through the rest of the templates, tested in the three browsers I have and from what I can see it’s working OK. Thanks to everyone who commented – did I miss anything?

Oct 02

ReStyle time

I’ve been playing around with the templates and the style-sheet for the blog. So now, hopefully, the layout works in IE. and the colours are a little warmer. I’ll probably continue to mess around for a few days.

Sep 30

Blogging Changing Lives

Via Problogger, a story of how blogging can impact lives. By updating an ad format, a blogger increased her daily income by nearly 400% wh5ch has the potential to really change her life (coming off benefits, etc). So here’s a story of what appears to be an ‘average person’ (who’s not a hairdresser) not only knowing about blogs but using them to change their lives.

Sep 16

Interaction and Trust

Nicole Simon is over in London, visiting PodcastConUK. A little difficulty with a lost purse lead to her needing a small loan, so after she’d dried out from walking through the wonderful wet London autumnal weather we got together for a meal and a chat. Thinking about the situation in my half-asleep haze this morning, I reflected on the establishment of trust in a virtual world. Trust is usually established through a series of personal interactions; in this case I’d only met Nicole once before. But the online interactions, through Blog and emails facilitates the development of trust; as important is the ability to observe other people’s interactions with her, online and through the podcasts, as reputation is established and maintained.

So nothing new in that observation, but it is my brain getting working earlier tthan usual!

Sep 13

Annoying Milestone

This blog is passed a milestone today; only 10 months old and it’s had over 10000 spam trackbacks and comments blocked by MT Blacklist. (and that doesn’t count the ones that get through before I ban them) I hate them all

Aug 31


By general consensus, it’s Blog Day, so here’s a few blogs I read and like, in no particular order.

Josie Fraser’s A Girl and A Gun – one of three blogs she runs, this one focuses on movie reviews.

Podchef Show: a podcasting chef who runs a blog and has great Flickr Food photos

Billy Mernit’s Living the Romantic Comedy. Story telling that you just have to keep going back to.

Thinker’s Room – M from Kenya who has a lovely line in satire.

And I have to throw in Global Voices as a key stepping off point into lots more different viewpoints.

I’ve deliberately avoided what i call my ‘regulars’ -these are the ones the when I’m short of time I read first, a combination of sites of differnet genres and people I know. ! Im planning to put these in a site blogroll in the next few weeks but they’re always on Bloglines.

Tecnorati Tag: BlogDay2005

Aug 27


One of the new plugins from MT is Stylescatcher, a simple way to apply new styles to your blog from a library. There’s a simple interface to ebale style choice andit;s obviously easy to add further libraries.


However, for me, it’snot working. On first application, when the style sheet is linked from the default library, I get no style at all. If I copy across the CSS, then I get the colours but no page layout. Which means I think I need to go and rearrange the layout, which is slightly screwy anyway, in order to use this nice plugin. Then I can do a new style every day ;o)