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July 2007

Jeremy Wright on making money from your blog

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As a note of disclosure, not only have I known Jeremy for years, I am a b5media blogger so Jeremy is my boss, of sorts.  Jeremy also gave me my start in pro-blogging (I was the first employee at Inside Blogging, oh years ago).

So we’re able to make money from blogging.  This is true.  It is also true it is work. Real work.  Hard work at that.

Jeremy got three people from the audience to be on an impromptu panel.  The pro-blogger is from the LOL cats site (gotta find that link…), the semi pro writes on SEC fillings, the third is a fellow Canadian who is starting a blog about cottaging …

The first question was picking a topic for ads.  The thing is that if you pick a topic solely to make money…your blog will suck.  Period.  End of story.

Is there an evil (bad) ad system.  Adsense is generally reviled, why?  Because the ads aren’t well targeted and the payouts are less than stellar.  Gotta say Adbrite was pretty bad too.

Control.  Control can be hard with Adsense, but easier with selling your ads yourself.

Blogging and advertising can, and should, support other activities (consulting, speaking, selling something you make).

Having been a pro-blogger for a while so while I’m not learning anything new, it is good to know that everyone who pro blogs has the same challenges.

Oh yes, I’ve noticed that the this blog’s homepage is busted.  No I don’t know why…yet.  But I’ll get to it in a few.  Come on, I’m tryin’ to live blog here!

The power here, in this new paradigm, is that bloggers are starting to hold a lot of cards.

Gotta have to get Jeremy’s tips offline instead of trying to type like a banshee.

Jeremy did this session right.  Instead of trying to fill the hour himself, he got us to contribute and made a panel of volunteers.  I like it and would like to see more of it.  I was primed to get on stage if needed, but I’m glad I didn’t because it’s great to get new voices out there.

Of course…the best thing about being here is meeting new people and finding more feeds to read.  Yeah, I live on the RSS drug and I like it.

Oh I love this tip…make one thing on your blog 1% better each week…and your blog will just grow and so will you.

Jeremy, great session man!  And I’m not just sayin’ that ’cause your da boss!

More discussion: Jeremy (from the horse’s mouth), Stephanie, Daniel, and James

Lorelle VanFossen blogging content is about the connections

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Lorelle started off her talk a few minutes early by wandering through the audience and asking people about their blogs and such … and connected up several folks who were doing related things…building on the idea of content and community.

Most blog posts look like they were written in 10 minutes by:

  1. Can’t type
  2. Can’t think
  3. Released for the day or the institution got computers

This is from Lorelle’s friend in Israel. So Lorelle’s advice on content…say something in a new way, with more information, and in a better way. Look for what’s missing in the existing content. Is it the problem or the symptom. What’s missing, what’s the blank?

Ask why, there is always another way, another answer.

When was the last time you looked at your content? Really looked. Where are the bits you haven’t written about?

Lorelle is chiding us feed addicts (guilty) for trying to post first, etc. Unless you cover the news, sleep on it. Giving it time gives you perspective. Distance. Time to think. This is a truism about blogging. Blogging in the moment, you lose the sage wisdom, the thinking. I did this about Parakey and Facebook, somewhat unintentionally, but because I let my thoughts perk a bit, I think it came out better than if I posted right away.

Liz Strauss’ Successful Blog is an example of this new relationship paradigm. Liz, and Lorelle, say blog for one person…you. I tend to blog thinking of a friend. I’m tying to write to you. Now, live blogging is a bit of a brain dump. Lorelle’s point is that you need to make readers comfortable.

How do you know when a blogger is faking it:

  • factual errors
  • too many ads (all about greed)
  • no real content … just not adding to the whole
  • reposting their Twitter stream

“Too many of you are still blogging for their eighth grade teacher…”

Leave gaps in your post, on purpose, in complete thoughts, let your readers complete them.

This might be the best advice no how to generate more comments. If you give readers an opening, they will step up to the plate.

Stop using “So what do you think…” Make your readers finish each your sentences.

BTW…Lorelle is funnier and more interesting in person than she is on her blog. If you miss the chance to hear her speak…more fool you!

Methinks I shall be listening to her more (as in reading her more closely).

Comments are content so say something intelligent/interesting because people will follow your link to your blog. I do this all the time. You leave a comment, I’ll go read you. Link to me, I’ll go read you. Chances are, I’ll even subscribe to you.

Interesting point…comment like you should blog…leave an opening for others to comment.

Timeless content…is what’s latest bestest?

If you divorce your content from time, then the content can live beyond the day-to-day ups and downs of the “news”.

Lorelle’s inspiration is really that she is so, so passionate about writing. So passionate about helping others and sharing.

Dern my ADD, I zoned out for a moment. Crap. Okay the discussion about what you write and staying on topic.

Fighting comment spam by working together. So true.

And … thus ends the wisdom of Lorelle. Go in peace to love and blog the world…

Podcasting and podPress

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Dan Kuykendall, the author of podPress, is talking about podcasting. He has a skookum mic and external mAudio box for pulling the audio in. Me, I’ve almost always used the basic audio in and a basic mic. Dan spent about $200 on gear … if you have a line in/microphone port … $15 should get you a basic headset-microphone combo and Audacity (which is one of the app I use) is free…so you’re’ there.

Dan started podcasting … well because he liked to do it. The origin of podPress came from ipodcatter … the original WP plugin for podcasting.

[Side note…I need to steal some time with Dan to get some podPress tips…I just don’t get it sometimes]

One of the things I really like about podPress is its support for video now, which a friend of mine is using for his new blog FuneralGurus.

If you have a WP blog and want to use media…just use podPress. Regardless of my comment above, which relates only to tweaking it, it is so bloody easy to use. Upload content, point to media file and bingo bango you’re done. Gotta like it. In fact, most of the time when I’ve been using it, it’s so easy that I don’t think it actually worked.

Little interruption in the Net connection (to be expected), but Dan answered a few of my questions already!

BTW…Josh Hallett already has pictures up.

Dan’s most interesting part of his talk is the props he’s giving to the WP community. He’s right. While WP might be getting flack for not developing fast enough, Dan gives us insight that as he’s developed the plugin, the WP folks have added the features he needs into the core. He puts features into the plugin that he needs, but then those features get put into the core. Nice.

Category casting and premium feeds, these are two new parts to podPress that I haven’t tried, but I appreciate because I know I will in the future.

Why is podPress free? Well because Dan loves podcasting and he wants to keep his programming skills sharp (between trying to break into websites for a living–eek, scary).

Dan’s complaints about FeedBurner…interesting. I haven’t had a lot of trouble with it, but …who knows.

Aaron comments on the number of releases in a given time. Yeah! Seems like every time I visit my blogs (especially the one’s I manage)…

Breaking news: Matt has just told us that in WP 2.3 there will be a feature/function for a plugin to check WordPress.org for update and update automatically (if possible)…notify the user at the least.

Media files showing up in the feeds…playing inline…there is the enclosure property in RSS2, but the support in aggregators is slow (FeedDemon has it).

Podcast hosting…this is a big one. Solutions? Lots out there, but I’ll save that for a later post. Up next … John Dvorak and Om Malik!

Update: More on Stephanie Booth’s blog…good pictures too!

Peet's Coffee and Power Plugs…things you need at a conference

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Back from getting coffee.  Bumped into Lloyd Budd and his wife.  Yeah, Lloyd and I live two blocks from each other in Victoria but we meet in San Fran…go figure.

Peet’s coffee.  Chris Pirillo raves about it and now I know why.  Might have to bring some back with me.  Dark and strong.  Blogger fuel, that’s what I call it.

Power plugs are always a premium commodity at a conference.  I stake them out early when I sit down for a talk.  Pays to get here early.  I sat right by the plug.  Now, I also have a surge suppressor (travel sized) for my laptop and my conference friend maker…a three-plug power strip I got from Ikea.  I think I’m now the keeper of the plug (plugging it back in when someone kicks it watching for smoke…no I’m not kidding…lot’s of folks plugged into this wee little outlet).

The first session of the day is on podcasting and what is podcasting on WordPress without podPress!

Peet’s Coffee and Power Plugs…things you need at a conference

Author:

Back from getting coffee.  Bumped into Lloyd Budd and his wife.  Yeah, Lloyd and I live two blocks from each other in Victoria but we meet in San Fran…go figure.

Peet’s coffee.  Chris Pirillo raves about it and now I know why.  Might have to bring some back with me.  Dark and strong.  Blogger fuel, that’s what I call it.

Power plugs are always a premium commodity at a conference.  I stake them out early when I sit down for a talk.  Pays to get here early.  I sat right by the plug.  Now, I also have a surge suppressor (travel sized) for my laptop and my conference friend maker…a three-plug power strip I got from Ikea.  I think I’m now the keeper of the plug (plugging it back in when someone kicks it watching for smoke…no I’m not kidding…lot’s of folks plugged into this wee little outlet).

The first session of the day is on podcasting and what is podcasting on WordPress without podPress!

Good morning from WordCamp 2007!

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Reporting from lovely San Francisco …

Okay enough of that. Things are just getting going here. I’ve picked up my t-shirt, few new stickers for the laptop (of course). Still need another round of coffee and some food-type thing still. Regardless it looks like it’s going to be an awesome day.

WiFi is good (for now….crossing fingers, toes, and knocking on wood). Sat right by a power outlet (plan ahead, always plan ahead) and met Lorelle! THE Lorelle. More on that later…

Time for mingling and coffee.

If you’d like to follow along with the fun… the WordCamp 2007 site has the schedule. Rumour is that Jeremy Wright is going to pull me into the pro-bloggers panel.

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Pownce, Twitter, Blogs…So many places to update, so little time, does it matter?

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Scoble makes an interesting point about the proliferation of presence apps:

I?ve been watching my friends and they have just been copying and pasting their messages between their various accounts. I don?t like that trend, cause it just means more noise. I must admit I?ve done it a few times when I wanted everyone to know about something.

At some point I?d like to go through my membership on all the above and see how many people are members of all of these (and add in Facebook for good measure). Based on a very cursory look there?s a LOT of overlap. Source: Post to Pownce, Twitter, Jaiku, Tumblr at same time ? Scobleizer

Okay, I’ve done this a couple times, but I think the real key here is to understand the inherent value of each tool.  Blogging…something longer, richer, with more thought and feeling.  Twitter, short and to the point.  Pownce…somewhere in the middle.  I like to use Pownce to announce things to the larger world quickly.  Twitter is, pretty much insular.  Sure I’ll do something like Twitter and Pownce when Jim and I are going doing a Mediasphere Radio show (Tuesday at noon PDT, btw, is the next one and we have the CEO of BlogTalkRadio on!), but I send out an event notice on Pownce followed by a link, on Twitter … it’s just a tweet isn’t it?

What we’re seeing is the explosion of ways to connect and contact each other, but haven’t quite gotten to the point of understanding which ones we like best for which purpose.

I think there will be some consolidation of these apps soon.  Maybe Facebook will buy Twitter and 8apps buy Pownce.  Then Microsoft will buy one and Google the other.  Yahoo, will, sadly, miss the boat.

Right after WordCamp is Gnomedex which means lots of awesome blogging to come

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At the end of the week I’m heading down to San Fran to WordCamp and will, of course, be live blogging it here on BlogWorldExpo. Then there’ is one of my favourite conferences, Gnomedex. Blog Business Summit is my favourite, I think, because it’s where I had my breakout as a blogger, but Gnomedex is a close second. I’m not the only one who thinks this either…

But, here?s why I love Gnomedex:

1) Every attendee uses a laptop computer during the event. It still is one of the few events where I?ve seen that happen.
2) No press passes.
3) I haven?t been asked to speak since 2001. Heh. Not quite true, cause I was on a Gillmor Gang panel last year, but I don?t count that as speaking.
4) It?s geeky, but not developer geeky. User geeky.
5) It?s not over your head or over your pay grade like TED or PopTech.
6) It?s in Seattle in one of their two sunny months.
7) Ponzi. Ponzi. Ponzi. Source: Why I love Gnomedex? ? Scobleizer

Now if Chris would ask me to speak…well Gnomedex might just vault to #1. ;).

In any case, it’s going to be a fun few weeks. Might wear out this poor laptop, not to mention my Passports. I did, finally, invest in a decent backpack-style laptop bag so carrying my laptop around doesn’t become an exercise in pain after about 15 minutes.

And, yes, if you’re wondering, I really do like live blogging. It’s a thrill for me. I love trying to break the news first or at least catch the witty phrase someone used. More on WordCamp later, maybe my list of people I want to meet up with. What am I saying…I’m looking forward to hanging out with everyone!

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Facebook faced with a serious legal challenge

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Turns out that Facebook might be the biggest piece of homework copying in history.  Turns out there is an allegation that Mark Zuckerberg stole the code for Facebook from Harvard:

A long-standing dispute over the origin of Facebook looks set to haunt the growingly popular social networking service as it heads towards an IPO.

A lawsuit due to come before the US Federal Court later this month alleges that Facebook CEO and Founder Mark Zuckerberg stole the original code for Facebook

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra, accuse Zuckerberg of stealing the source code, design, and business plan for Facebook in 2003 when he worked in the Harvard dorms as a programmer for their own tertiary education focused social-networking site HarvardConnect.com, now known as ConnectU. Source: The Ghost Of Zuckerberg?s Past May Haunt Facebook IPO

This reminds me of the Italian Job where one of the characters alleges that he invented Napster and it was stolen by his roommate while he was napping.  Regardless of art and life in spiral imitations, this is a big problem for Facebook.  And since this has been dragging on for three years, this isn’t a fly-by-night, get-rich-quick lawsuit.  You have to think that after the big investors have smacked Mark around for a while for not finding a way to resolve this sooner, it will be resolved in short order.  I’m guessing within three months.

If not, Facebook is going to die the most spectacular death the online world has ever seen.

Update: I was this on Valleywag as well.  Man this is going to be messy.  In discussing this with a friend tonight we agreed this isn’t about winning or losing, it’s how much it will cost to be made to go away.

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