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Twitter To Offer Commercial Accounts…For A Fee


The fact that Twitter has had, well, issues, coming up with a way to actually make some money off their service has never been a secret.  The fact that they’ve been desperately needing a way, also, has never been a secret.  Looks like steps have been taken for Twitter to do exactly that as it appears they are going to be offering commercial accounts sometime in the upcoming future.

Could this be the way to a profitable future?  Perhaps.  As Microsoft just recently rolled out ExecTweets using Twitter technology, Twitter is hoping to bring in some much needed revenue by offering accounts that are aimed directly at commercial users and give them some expanded features beyond the standard free accounts we all enjoy.

No price points or even what features that will be added to spruce up the deal have been even hinted at, but I’m thinking that in order to get companies to actually spend money on accounts, they must be pretty substantial.  The question remains, as long as the free service is offered, why would businesses pay money to open up accounts?  What features could lure them into that?

The fact is, micro-blogging and Twitter style updates are becoming much bigger and more prevelant in the world of business as a way for companies to interact much more directly with their customers and the public at large.  The time is now to get on board, as new research is showing that “By 2011…some 80 percent of social software platforms will include enterprise microblogging as a standard feature.”

So, what do you think?  Will people pay?  Will they stay for the free account?  All of these questions are big ones and all need answers.  The financial future of a lot of these companies could be at stake.

Blog World Expo Headed To Blogwell


BlogWell - How Big Companies Use Social Media - Chicago, IL - January 22nd

I’m headed on Thursday to Chicago to check out Gas Pedal’s Blogwell event. The event is described more fully on their site as:

Unprecedented insight on social media from Walmart, The Home Depot, Allstate, H&R Block, Mayo Clinic, Sharpie, Procter and Gamble, and the U.S. Coast Guard. Measuring ROI, managing teams, legal issues, B-to-B, working with agencies and creating great content. This is the best opportunity available for anyone looking to get started or improve their corporate social media efforts. Learn from the world’s top companies who are already doing it well. Get practical, how-to advice, a lesson on tricky disclosure issues, and loads of ideas and examples for just $200. From GasPedal and Blog Council.

I attended the first event held in San Jose last year and if the event in Chicago is anything like that, it will be well received by those attending. I am most interested in getting a chance to talk to some of the corporate social media type and find out what their plans are for 2009. We will be approaching many of the corporations out there for them to attend our event this year in Las Vegas in October. I hope that we can get some of these corporations to come out and talk to the rest of the blogosphere about what they are doing and to also find out what the blogosphere is doing themselves. I will try to get some posts up about some of those conversations and perhaps my flip camera will come in handy when talking to some of the attendees.

Technorati State of the Blogosphere 2008 Now Available Online


BlogWorld attendees were first to see this data courtesy of Technorati’s CEO Richard Jalichandra who opened the 2008 BlogWorld & New Media Expo with the highlights of this report. Today Technorati has released part 1 of 4 of the complete report.  Three more segments will be released this week.

My biggest take away from this report?

More bloggers are able to make money from their efforts. As the medium builds in readership

Blogs are Profitable

The majority of bloggers we surveyed currently have advertising on their blogs. Among those with advertising, the mean annual investment in their blog is $1,800, but it’s paying off. The mean annual revenue is $6,000 with $75K+ in revenue for those with 100,000 or more unique visitors per month. Note: median investment and revenue (which is listed below) is significantly lower. They are also earning CPMs.

Bloggers are sophisticated in using self serve tools for search, display, and affiliate advertising, and are increasingly turning to ad and blog networks. Many bloggers without advertising may consider it when their blogs grow – the inability to set up advertising will not be a factor.

I think this is what Technorati means by the medium going mainstream. Obviously we agree here at BlogWorld.

One of the smartest social media experts I know Marshall Kirkpatrick doesn’t.

Erick Shonfeld at Techcrunch doesn’t believe the self reported earnings from bloggers:

The $6,000 a year I can believe. The $75,000 figure is harder to swallow, especially with only 100,000 visitors a month. But directionally there is no doubt that blogs are bringing in more cash.

I am not statistician but maybe serious bloggers who earn income are more likely to respond to the survey?

More thoughts at CNET, Mashable, VentureBeat, A VC,

Blogworld Speaker Interview: Joel Mark Witt


Q: In two sentences, highlight your background and professional experience to date. One bonus sentence: how’d you get started blogging?

I actually came into blogging from the podcasting angle. I worked as the Communications and Advertising Manager at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. The Zoo had been experiencing some financial and attendance challenges. I decided to start the video Podcast MarylandZoo.TV to begin extending the Zoo from simply a destination to an actual experience online and off. As a result I began blogging on my own — at Joel-Mark-Witt.com — to talk about the changes happening in the new media and podcasting industries. Online video has definitely driven my blogging efforts.

Q: How often do you blog? What platform do you use? Why?

I try to post at least once a week. Writing original content is a very difficult job. I would rather post less and push for quality than just post for posting sake. I know there are some who would disagree with this. But I will post when I feel I have something to say. Not find something to say because I have to post.

I use the WordPress platform right now because of the diverse themes available. I also like the community that has sprung up around this platform.

Q: How often do you leave comments on other people’s blogs? How do you find their entries in the first place?

I use Google Reader to monitor over 50 different blogs. I will also check out recommended posts from my friends using Reader. These have led to some neat discoveries of new and fresh content.

I will comment about once a week on a post that I find particularly engaging – more sometimes if I feel the need. I try not to make “me too” comments – but rather add value to the current post or further the discussion.

Q: Tell us a bit about your talk at Blogworld Expo. Topic, key points you’ll cover, etc?

I am teaming up with Michael Hoffman from See3 Communications for our session talk entitled “New Media From Inside The Organization.” Michael has many years experience helping non-profits develop online media for their organizations.

In this session we are going to lay out a roadmap for executives and managers to follow. How to use new media to create feedback among customers, re-purpose content for other uses, and ways to start using new media from the inside.

Q: How do you recommend new folk best experience a major conference and expo like Blogworld Expo?

Limit the number of sessions you attend. Spend as much time meeting people and talking in the hallways. The sessions are recorded – the hallways and networking times are not.

Q: Easy ones: Mac or PC? Ipod or Zune? Iphone or Blackberry?


I actually use a lttle $50 Creative brand mp3 player. Never owned an iPod. Blasphemy – I know.


Great stuff, Mark. Thanks!  Looking forward to your talk at Blogworld Expo at the end of this week!  Man, that’s soon!  🙂   [Interview by Dave Taylor]

Blogworld Expo Speaker Interview: Shama Hyder


Q: In two sentences, highlight your background and professional experience to date. One bonus sentence: how’d you get started blogging?

I run a small online marketing firm based out of Dallas called After The Launch. We specialize in helping professional service firms market themselves online. I started blogging a year ago because I wanted a platform to share my expertise. What better way to do that than blog?

Shama Hyder, Principal, After the Launch

Shama Hyder, Principal, After the Launch

Q: How often do you blog?  What platform do you use?  Why?

About 3 times a week. I’d like to blog more, just need to find the time! We use WordPress. LOVE It! Wouldn’t use anything else. It’s constantly evolving, and you have so much flexibility to customize it how you want. Plus, it’s great for the search engines. Some of our posts get picked up within hours! We build ALL our client sites on Word Press.

Q: Point us to one or two recent postings on your blog that you think were superb, and tell us a bit about your writing process. How long did it take for you to come up with the topic?  How long to write?

Hmm. Good question! Okay, here is some shameless self promotion.

Top 7 Resources You Had No Idea Existed: I like finding cool hidden web secrets and sharing them with my readers. There are some amazing things out there!

Our most popular post has been: Top 10 Ways to Use Facebook to Promote Your Business For Free . I chose the topic (Facebook) because it’s something I am VERY comfortable with. I have been using it for over 3 years. Both posts took me about 30 minutes to write. Writing comes fairly easily to me.

Q: How often do you leave comments on other people’s blogs?  How do you find their entries in the first place?

I have blogs I frequent, and will comment anytime I feel really moved by a post-which is often when it comes to my favorite blogs. I find entries and new blogs through 1) Twitter and 2) Google Alerts. I follow the coolest people on Twitter-and they are always sharing great links! Then I have Google alerts set out for terms I think are key. Example: Social Media Marketing. So, I’ll follow such terms and the blogs they inevitably lead to.

Q: Tell us a bit about your talk at Blogworld Expo. Topic, key points you’ll cover, etc?

It’s going to be awesome. : ) Well- I am planning for it to go that way anyways. My talk will be on Facebook. How to strategically use Facebook to leverage your business, brand, and blog. I am going to be covering a few key case studies and hopefully leave the audience with an action plan for how they can make the most of Facebook for themselves.

Q: How do you recommend new folk best experience a major conference and expo like Blogworld Expo?

Sneak into the speaker’s lounge! Okay, kidding-but they have good food there. : ) I’d say spend time in sessions and the lounge. Don’t be shy-go up and say hi to people. Last year was the first time I went and I had JUST started the blog. I remember coming up to you Dave and being “star-struck!”-but I did manage to say hi. : )

Having something that’s a conversation starter also doesn’t hurt. Whether it’s a funny shirt or a cool piece of technology (NOT the Iphone). My laptop has a sticker with our company name (After The Launch) on it, and it ALWAYS gets people talking. I love that!

Q: Easy ones: Mac or PC?  Ipod or Zune?  Iphone or Blackberry?

Hehe. I am going to get into so much trouble for this I know. PC (gulp). Ipod or Zune- neither. I listen to stuff on my laptop which I take EVERYWHERE. Iphone or Blackberry? Yea… an old T-Mobile Samsung. My new(ish) Tmobile dash was chewed up by Snoopy the Puppy (err…office mascot). So, I am not big into gadgets. I am much more on the business applications and marketing side of technology.

Thanks so much for your contribution here, Shama!  I’m sure that your talk will be great and look forward to it in just a week!

This interview was done by Dave Taylor, who has been blogging and involved with the Internet since Heck was a Pup. You can find his early cave paintings on tech support and business blogging and you can, of course, follow his adventures on Twitter at @DaveTaylor.

Blogworld Expo Speaker Interview: Rich Brooks


Another of our speaker profiles for the upcoming Blogworld Expo. It’s not too late to join us in Las Vegas and hear amazing speakers like Rich Brooks!

Q: In two sentences, highlight your background and professional experience to date. One bonus sentence: how’d you get started blogging?

I started building Web sites back in 1997 because I didn’t want to work for the man any longer. As time went on I got more involved with Web marketing to help grow clients’ businesses: search engines, then email newsletters, and finally blogging.

I had a client enamored of Howard Dean and his Web marketing savvy; he asked me to start a blog for him, so I tried it out as well. Never looked back.

Rich Brooks, Flyte New Media

Rich Brooks, Flyte New Media

Q: How often do you blog?  What platform do you use?  Why?

I blog three to four times a week in four primary blogs. Most of my posts are at the flyte blog, but I also write a more basic Internet Marketing 101 blog for the local newspaper, which helps me reach a different, more localized market.

In addition, I started an SEO blog with our new search engine marketer at flyte, and we have an internal, not-quite-ready-for-prime-time, NSFW flyte crew blog as well.

The flyte blog is on TypePad, which I still feel is a great blog for business people who don’t have a coder on site and just want to blog. The Maine Business blog is on a platform they coded themselves. The Maine SEO blog and our flyte crew blog are both on WordPress.

I’ve always recommended TypePad or WordPress, but until recently I found TypePad’s UI to be better for the average user; cleaner, easier-to-use. However, the last few iterations of WordPress have made it a favorite of mine.

The bottom line is I can strongly recommend both TypePad and WordPress; both have nice features, both are great for business blogs, and neither will prevent you from succeeding on your blogging career.

Q: Point us to one or two recent postings on your blog that you think were superb, and tell us a bit about your writing process. How long did it take for you to come up with the topic?  How long to write?

Geez, superb? Now you’re making me self-conscious. How about just solid?

I wrote about Technorati Tags here: Do Technorati Tags Matter Anymore?

I liked this post b/c for years I’ve been promoting the benefits of tagging along with a great anecdote. However, as I looked at my own stats, I realized I got very little traffic from tagging. So, very publicly, I questioned myself and what I had been telling people.

That goes towards my “warts and all” belief of blogging honestly, plus I hope it will help a number of small business owners with their own blogs.

Q: How often do you leave comments on other people’s blogs?  How do you find their entries in the first place?

A few times a month, not nearly as much as when I started. I find it’s a great way to generate more traffic to your blog, and it shows an interest in the networking aspect of blogging. However, it’s tough to find the time to publish my own material, run a company, be a dad and find time to respond to other people’s posts. These days my commenting is more organic; I comment if I feel an urge to voice an opinion, and less as a marketing exploit.

Q: Tell us a bit about your talk at Blogworld Expo. Topic, key points you’ll cover, etc?

I’m looking forward to both panels. The first I’ll be moderating on How to Plan, Build and Promote a Business Blog. I’ve got three great panelists with me, John T. Unger, Des Walsh and Denise Wakeman. We all have experience working with businesses on a consulting level on building a more effective blog. We’ll be talking strategy and answering questions on how blogging fits into a broader marketing campaign.

The other panel is about getting buy-in from decision makers. I think this will be helpful to internal marketers who realize the values of blogs, but need ammunition to convince their company’s decision makers.

Q: How do you recommend new folk best experience a major conference and expo like Blogworld Expo?

Get off your track. Experience at least one seminar that you would never think of going to. Business bloggers should check out a milblog seminar; Godbloggers should go to a monetization seminar. Plan to have your eyes opened and your mind expanded.

Q: Easy ones: Mac or PC?  Ipod or Zune?  Iphone or Blackberry?

Mac, iPod, and iPhone. Are they still making the Zune? Didn’t it turn out that it led to tumors?

I don’t know about that tumor part, Rich, but thanks for sharing with us!

Interview by Blogworld Expo co-host Dave Taylor, who is also going to be giving the opening keynote speech, a talk on blogging and SEO, and popping up elsewhere during the show. Dave is a prolific blogger and writes about tech support and business blogging, among other topics.

Blogging as a Marketing Tool


Companies are starting to realize exactly how powerful blogs can be, especailly as marketing tools.  According to Geoff Livingston, a PR strategist and social media expert, “It’s a phenomenal promotion vehicle for a company, or a great crisis tool or a great customer service tool.”  Microsoft is using a blog for Windows 7 with the hopes of building an overall better product that satisifes customer needs and wants.  In fact, there are a lot of fortune 500 companies that are using blogs to engage with and interact with their users.  Some of the fortune 500 companies with blogs include:

  • Sun Microsystems
  • GM
  • Cisco
  • Raytheon
  • Oracle
  • Starbucks
  • IBM
  • FedEx
  • and many others

An article by the Washington Post quotes Bill Marriott as saying: “that’s the importance of public relations, of advertising, of everything we do and this [blog] is just another channel.”  A blog also shows the personal side of a company leader.  People like and appreciate the human side of corporate America.  It’s not always about business and when a company leader opens up a bit, readers respect that.

A blog is indeed a powerful medium with many benefits such as:

  • allowing readers or prospective employees get a sense of the corporate culture or work environment
  • creating an online presence that builds brand equity and awareness
  • allowing readers to post feedback directly on issues or features that they may or may not like
  • shows the personal side of a company or a company leader
  • let’s companies and individuals build quality relationships with loyal readers or users
  • allows companies or individuals to make important news or event announcements

These are just a few of the many ways that companies can use a blog as a valuable marketing and relationship building tool.

How are you using your blog?  How is your company using it’s blog?

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Microsoft Launches Blog for Windows 7


Just recently, Microsoft launched a new blog devoted to Windows 7.  Per the new blog:

“We strongly believe that success for Windows 7 includes an open and honest, and two-way, discussion about how we balance all of these interests and deliver software on the scale of Windows. We promise and will deliver such a dialog with this blog.”

The blog just went up a few days ago and already has hundreds of comments.  A lot of folks have backlashed against the new Windows platform for not being able to work well with other software packages.  Hopefully the two way discussion in the Windows 7 blog will make sure that the new release will be well accepted.  The fact that Microsoft is using a blog for it’s new operating system is a great testimonial to the fact the blogs can be used for many things apart from just posting news or thoughts, a blog can also be used for:

  • product development
  • focus groups
  • relationship building
  • product marketing
  • feedback

I hope that the new Windows 7 blogs does indeed serve to open the line of communication between developers and users.  So far it seems to be working as hundreds of readers have poured in to discuss Windows, not just with Microsoft, but with each other.

Let the conversations begin…

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Are Fortune 500 Companies Adopting Social Media?


This study was conducted by The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research and is a follow up to a similar study they conducted in 2007.  209 companies participated and were asked how familiar they were with blogging, podcasting, online video, wikis, and social networking.

According to the results of the new study, social networking was the most familiar among the companies that participated in the study.

Blogging also received an enormous jump as more and more fortune 500 companies are understanding the value of a blog.  This is definitely great to see!  According to the study 77% of the companies that participated in the study reported using some sort of social media.

The graph below shows that blogging is definitely becoming a staple in the social media strategy for the fortune 500 and the growth should only continue from here.

In 2007 when the companies were asked how important they viewed social media, 26% of the companies said that social media was “very important.”  In 2008 that figure rose by 18%, 44% of the companies now say that social media is “very important.”

The results of this study show that social media is continuing to grow among the fortune 500 companies.  This means that events like Blog World Expo are going to continue to be a haven for for companies and individuals looking to learn about blogging, social media, and the value of the conversation. If you want more information check out the full study.

Are you going to Blog World Expo?

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Should Bloggers Blacklist PR Firms?


I agree with much of Stowe Boyd says in his post about PR Spam but I am going to be the devils advocate here and I am hoping we can agree on what I am about to say.

If you are a professional journalist, or editor covering a particular industry or topic then part of your job is fielding PR pitches for products in that industry.

Think of it like a buyer working for a major department store. Let’s say they buy mens clothing. That person’s job is to buy things from people they know, and people they don’t know. In fact a good buyer is actively searching for, and appreciatively receiving unsolicited emails and cold calls from people they have never met who are trying to sell them some new line of clothing they have never heard of. Why?

That new line of clothing just might be the next big thing.

It is that buyer’s job to diligently review that line and listen to that sales pitch to decide if buying that line would give his company a competitive advantage.

A buyer who only buys from his friends and buys lines he already knows about is lazy and should be fired for not doing his job.

In Journalism and PR it is the same thing. Journalists and editors should be actively seeking new stories, from new companies about new products and learning about them with enthusiasm to give their publication an advantage by breaking stories before their competitors.

Will you occasionally get pitched something that is irrelevant to you or that is personally uninteresting to you? Of course. Too bad. Get over it or get a new job. Now if the same PR firm keeps sending you irrelevant information it is entirely appropriate to contact them and politely ask them to knock it off. If they keep “spamming” you then you should complain about them publicly until they get a clue.

Now here is the difference and the fine line between bloggers and “real” journalists. If blogging is a hobby for you and you don’t really consider yourself a journalist, or you don’t really know what journalism is or means then it is understandable that you might be offended when you receive an email from a stranger pitching some product you have never heard of.

Stowe offers some great advice in his post:

I also suggest to bloggers and journalists to do as I have done, and post a persistent link on your blog called ‘How To Pitch Me’ or the like, and state how others ought to — and ought not to — pitch you.

By the way small companies are the ones who are most hurt by being ignored. Big companies will always find ways to get their message out. They have the money and resources to change tactics and to kiss and make up to whoever they have offended. And don’t try to tell me that publishers don’t forgive when they are adequately sucked up to after being offended.

Small companies do not have access, do not have the resources or the cash to pursue every single media outlet in the world that might cover their product individually. It is impossible. So if you get what you consider to be “spam” from a small company take a moment to send them a polite email and explain that you don’t like the way they pitched you and offer them some free advice. Most likely they will appreciate the advice and you might just get the inside scoop when that company makes it big.

If the polite approach doesn’t work you can always blacklist them. It’s your blog you can do whatever you like 8).


Todd Defren defends his ably defends his firm and his profession.
Infopinions points out the difference between Lifehacker’s reaction and Chris Anderson’s.

Jeremy Pepper prefers OG PR.

PR Interactive says They aren’t teaching this kind of stuff in school:

While I can’t speak from the professional side, I can agree with him from the academic side. As a recent grad, I can tell you that I have had minimal exposure to pitching the media. This is, obviously, very difficult to do in the classroom setting, and most of my internships would let me pitch only when everyone else was swamped with bigger clients. For many of my peers, ,

Brian Solis says:

>Nowadays, any mistake made in PR is really an occupational hazard where one wrong move can cause a domino effect that has the potential to eradicate months or even years of hard work.

What Brian says is true but it is also wrong and shame on bloggers who hold PR professionals to an unreasonable standard. Show me a blogger who hasn’t posted inaccurate information one time or another or flamed someone and later had to apologize for it and I will eat my hat. We all make mistakes.

Btw Brian nails it in defining SPAM. It is not any email you deem to be unwanted.

Broadstuff disagree’s with Brian’s definition…..He’s wrong.

more to come I am sure.

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