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BlogWorld Conference Program Now Available

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Thats right the BlogWorld conference program has been published. We are really excited about the conference and hope you are too. Please take a look at the schedule and let us know what you think.

Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks as we announce more speakers, but just to give you an idea of the amazing group of bloggers and podcasters and new media experts we have lined up here is a small sample:

Om Malik, Charlene Li, Jory Des Jardins, Aaron Wall, Paul Dunay, Jim Kukral, Hugh Hewitt, Jerome Armstrong, Tyler Bleszinski, Maggie Fox, Jeremy Wright, Dave Taylor, Professor David Perlmutter, Brett Trout, Leesa Barnes.

And that is just the beginning.

Why we use VOIP

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Yesterday Daniel Berninger of GigaOM posted a great piece on Vonage. In it he explains why they are not going away just yet despite the best efforts and wishes of land line and cell giants like Verizon.

Anyway, the loss of this patent case is not as desperate a situation as most think. In the most recent quarter, Vonage used only $28 million of its $500 million cash reserve; so paying Verizon $58 million (if the companies don’t settle for less) does not threaten bankruptcy.

Secondly, Vonage gets $16 per month of incremental margin from each subscriber addition, so an injunction requiring payment of 5% or $1 per month per line does not destroy the prospects for profitability.

If you ever use a telephone you should read the whole thing.

After I read it, I thought it might be interesting to explain why we use a VOIP system at BlogWorld. We use a company called Packet8.

First of all my office / house is about 70 miles from Los Angeles, Everyone else in the company lives in San Diego in different locations and they all work from home as well. We need to communicate regularly several times a day. Our system allows me to dial any of their extensions and they pick up like they were in the office next door. We can conference each other or customers in no problem. If we are on the road as we often are attending / working other shows and events it forwards our calls to our cell phones.

All for a fraction of what a traditional phone company would charge us. Oh and our local phone companies never called us back when we tried to find out of they could do the same thing at a competitive price. Our VOIP company has been very responsive in helping us add new features when necessary.

For example, my office for the other show I work on is in Los Angeles. We were able to add a separate phone line with a (323) extension with a separate voice mail. If you call me in LA it rings me here. If someone in LA wants to transfer you to me no problem.

Finally we are a new media company producing a new media conference, tradeshow and media event. We felt it was important to walk the walk.

It’s not all wine and roses. We do have call quality problems from time to time but I would say no more than a normal cell phone and certainly much better than cell phones were in the early days.

As Berninger’s piece points out the big bells still maintain monopolies on our local calling. VOIP offers the hope of competition to consumers. As new media has shown competition is a very good thing for consumers.

Blogging News and Community Spotlight

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You may have noticed a couple new items on the menu bar. Blogging News, and the Community Spotlight.

Blogging news is currently focusing on what other bloggers are saying about BlogWorld, and there are quite a few talking about it already.

As we all know the blogosphere is made up of tens if not hundreds of thousands of different communities. We thought it might be fun and interesting to highlight some of them here. For you sports fans out there we are currently featuring college football blogs.

Forgive me for taking a moment to celebrate USC going down in flames today. Both feeds were developed by our good friends at TTLB.

We plan to add another feed soon featuring interesting news about new media. If you see any posts out there about the show, have a community you would like to see featured, or have some interesting new media news, or another feed you think we should carry, please comment here or send me an email to rick@blogworldexpo.com

The latest blogging for dollars story

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is titled Going pro and it apeared yesterday at Economist.com.

Until recently, there were two main kinds of blogs. Most of the 57m blogs in existence are personal diaries that happen to be online. These blogs have tiny audiences and make no effort to sell advertising.

But according to Pew, an American research organisation, only 7% of bloggers say their main motivation is to make money.

The second main kind of blogs are, in effect, niche magazines that choose to publish in a blog format. These blogs are explicitly run as businesses, with paid staff doing the writing and sales departments selling advertising.

Now, however, a third category is emerging: the mom-and-pop blog.

One big reason why his blog works as a small business, says Mr Malik, is that an ecosystem of support is appearing. Like Ms Armstrong, he farms out advertising sales and administration to a firm called FM, launched last year by John Battelle, who once ran magazines such as Wired and the Industry Standard.

There is a new media industry emerging here and blogging is just the tip of the iceberg. In the next five years thousands if not tens of thousands of new media content creators, online journalists, internet magazine publishers and radio broadcasters are going to start making a living, or at least a part time income on their efforts.

At BlogWorld & New Media Expo bloggers who want to try and join this emgerging industry are going to be able to learn from their successful peers, and exhibitors representing the support network referred to in the Economist article.

Steve Rubel offers some well considered caution.

Can you make a good side living? Heck yea. But the folks who make six figs from blogging as their sole source of income will be few and far between. This will especially become apparent when there is an advertising slowdown – and there will be.


Jason Calacanis is optimistic about the future of online advertising
and has stats to back it up.

Is the spike over the past year another bubble? I don’t think so, I think the curve is getting more steep due to the following facts:

a) there are more advertisers online today.
b) it’s getting easier to spend money online
c) Google Adsense/Adwords (a huge part of part B above)
d) Yahoo, MSN, AOL, and Google reaching scale, which in turn allows major advertisers to reach comparable audience sizes to TV
e) audiences shifting from TV, radio, and magazines to the Internet.

Why do you blog?

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That’s the question of our first poll. Please take a moment of your time to answer it. The reason we put the question up there is we want to develop the education program to focus on the topics that our attendees will be most interested in. So please let us know why you put so much time and effort in to your blog, podcast, internet radio broadcast, or social networking efforts.

As for me I’m guessing my experience was similar to a lot of people. I started on a message board talking about a computer game I played far too much of, then another message board when I was travelling to Europe and looking for suggestions on places to see, then blogs came on my radar screen. It was just for fun, but I realized pretty quickly just powerful new media could be.

One link from a major blogger might earn you a big day or two but if you posting real content people are interested in, some of those one hit wonder readers are going to come back and you are going to start building your own loyal readers.

So why do you blog? Are you trying to advocate some social or political position and influence other peoples decision making or motivate them to take action? Or maybe trying to promote your company’s product or service? Maybe promoting your self as an authority in your field. Are you trying to generate income either directly or indirectly? (The Pew internet study completely missed indirect blogging sales imo) Maybe you want to improve your writing skills in general. I can’t think of a better way to practice where you are getting real feedback from real people who are interested in the same topic your discussing.

By the way something that is completely overlooked is how you learn to research a given subject that you blog on frequently. If your blog is dedicated to a particular topic in a relatively short amount of time you will become something of an expert on the subject.

So please take a moment and answer the poll and tell us why you spend as much time and effort as you do creating new media content. Or share your story about how you started, and progressed in the comments section below.

Webmaster World / Pubcon

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Yesterday was my first trip to Webmaster World’s PubCon. Lots of great people, some interesting booths, great speakers, signed up a couple of exhibitors, but the highlight was definitely the Yahoo party in the Playboy fantasy suite. I would have taken a picture of the giant outdoor jacuzzi overlooking the Vegas strip but I couldn’t figure out how to use my camera phone on my new treo (.

Back to the show today.

Here we go

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About 5 months ago I was blogging away and something struck me “there is no tradeshow for blogging!” At least not a tradeshow for all bloggers that I could find. (I produce very big tradeshows for a living). Sure there were lots of great events but they each addressed a particular niche BlogHer, the Blog Business Summit (a very cool event btw), or Yearly Kos for example. I wanted to go to something that had everything any blogger could ever want. From publishing platforms, to broad band providers, to lap tops to badges, widgets and plug ins, to a dozen other things I could think of off the top of my head. It seems everyday I come across some new product or service that Bloggers use /want/need.

Of course I would also want all of my blogging questions answered like how do I get a certain plug in to work right, How do I work this newsreader thingy?, What exactly is RSS and why does everybody tell me I need it? How do I get more people to read my blog? And thats just the basic stuff. Analytics, Search Engine Optimization, Affiliate Programs, Ad networks, it goes on and on.

I think you see where this is going. I told a very good friend, former boss and one of the best tradeshow people I know about my idea and her response was “I want in and we have to launch this show right now!”

We held our idea very closely but we had to approach several important vendors before we made our announcement. We also needed to find a couple investors. It didn’t take long before we recognized a pattern. Every person we told about this idea had the same response “I Want In!”. Now when everyone you know in your professional life has this kind of reaction to your idea, especially when many of them have heard a million ideas and worked thousands of shows you know you are on to something.

We named the show BlogWorld right out of the gate. It’s just something us tradeshow people do. There is a world for just about every industry you can think of.

When I started telling a few of my closest blogger friends about the idea they were all excited as well. However several people told me you have to include all new media. The techy bloggers and business bloggers said you have to include social media. Sounds good to me. It’s all related and blogging is really just the tip of the iceberg. Vlogging, podcasting, internet radio, social networks, and who knows what in the future is going to continue to change the way people get their news and make buying decisions.

So the name has evolved to what you see today. BlogWorld & New Media Expo.

In the upcoming days I will be posting more about how this show came about and dropping a lot of names of people we have gotten involved. But I will sign off for now and look forward to hearing what my fellow bloggers have to say and to seeing all 57 million of you in Las Vegas next year. Particularly the 30 million sploggers out there. I never met a robot before and I’m curious to see what you guys look like.

Oh by the way, it seems like good karma to me that Confabb launched yesterday. From Marshall @ Tech Crunch:

Confabb is a new service launching today that offers a centralized place to find information about all kinds of conferences. The site offers everything from speaker and event reviews to photos of the events after the fact through integration with Flickr. It’s an impressive full service site that could become the go-to spot for at least tech conference attendees and possibly a wider audience.

and from Scobleizer:

Since I’ve been involved in planning, attending, or speaking at dozens of conferences and expos and other events this was very interesting to me.

Is this a cool demo? Nah, not like last week’s Photosynth. Will it put Microsoft out of business? Nah. But is it something that you will probably use? I think so, at least if you’re going to go to a conference.

I’ll definitely use it to update the CES 2007 site on Confabb and add mention of our BlogHaus, which will be in the Bellagio there (Seagate, Microsoft, and AMD are sponsoring that).

I have of course already submitted BlogWorld & New Media Expo.

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