Archive for 'RIP'

Blogging Questions & Answers 24

I hope you guys had a great week, and to close it in style, here comes the Blogging Questions & Answers.

I am answers the questions on batch 19 already, so stay tuned if yours has not been featured yet. You can leave a question for me by writing a comment below.

questions and answers

1. Lax asks:

Why webmasters ask people to not copy their content?

They will get traffic with that copying also right?

I wouldn’t feel bad when some one copies content from my blog.

This is a hot topic, and I am glad you asked it Lax.

First and foremost, I think it is wrong copying someone else’s material without permission. Both on a legal and on a ethical perspective. If the person took the time to write it, the minimum you could do is to ask permission, and if you can’t find the author don’t assume it is public domain either.

Now on your question you are probably talking about the cases where a blogger will copy an article and give credit to it with a link right? Well just keep in mind that only some people do that, there is a large amount of scrapers out there that will rip your content, put on their blog with no credit at all, and won’t display any contact information whatsoever.

On those cases, you can clearly see that the guy is in bad faith, knows he is doing copyright infringement, but doesn’t care because he thinks you will never catch him. This is the worst scenario you can have, and when it happens to me I consider getting a lawyer on the issue.

When the other person seem to be in good faith though, and puts a credit to the original, I will just contact the author and ask him politely to remove it.

Sure, it could send some traffic my way, but honestly the problems related with this practice are much larger than that small benefit.

Here is why: blogs that copy and scrape content are usually very small, so the traffic they will send my way is negligible.

The duplicate content effect is not that small, however, and is many small blogs do it Google will start noticing, and will possibly put a filter or even a penalty on my site or on some of my articles.

2. Yawza asks:

I wanted to know how do you set up contracts for guest bloggers or bloggers you may hire? Also can you provide an example?

For guest bloggers you don’t need to have a contract, just a policy. Establish what kind of guest bloggers you are looking for, what content you need, what kind of byline they can use, how many links they can include and so on. Have that information written down, and whenever someone contacts you about guest blogging, you can just email it to the person.

Alternatively, you can also create a special “Write for Us” page on your site where you would display that information.

You asked for examples so here is my policy with guest bloggers:

  • I do allow guest bloggers on DBT, but only once per week at most
  • The guest blogger just need to email me his article. If I like, I will publish
  • The content must be unique, never been published before, and useful to bloggers
  • The guest blogger can have a byline in the bottom
  • He may include one link to his site, and one link to his RSS feed

Hired bloggers and writers are a whole different matter, however. You will need to clearly describe to them every detail related to your blog. Your goal is to make sure that their content will match exactly what your audience is looking for, and that the style will be aligned with you have been doing on the blog too.

Additionally, you will have to agree on the posting frequency, post length, on who answers the comments, and on the payment rate.

3. Saurabh asks:

I have a blog and I aggregate links with some of my commentary. Now I think that I am boring my readers (if any!) and am just aggregating links with my old commentary. How do I write some original stuff? Or aggregating is OK?

Interesting question.

Let’s answer the latter question first. Aggregating can work sometimes, but rarely for blogs. In other words, if you want to aggregate news, make it a news aggregator website (doh!), and not a blog. Techmeme is the classic example of a successful aggregator.

Keep in mind that making a successful aggregator is a tough task, tough. First of all because there are established ones on most niches already. Secondly because it is difficult to offer something different and innovative. News aggregation is a digital commodity, if you will.

I would rather suggest that you keep working on your blog therefore, and focus on original content, which brings us to the former question.

How do you write original content? Find a topic that you either love or have a good knowledge about, open and word processor, and start writing!

Is there any opinion, idea, criticism, commentary or guide that you would like to share with other people? If the answer is yes, just write about it. If the answer is no, hmmm, then I am not sure if blogging is what you are looking for.

4. Tejvan Pettinger asks:

How big can a mysql database become? After 9 months, I have 500 posts. I’m wondering after 9 years, how manageable the mysql database will be.

I don’t think this is a problem bloggers need to think about. MySQL databases are pretty robust, and the number of entries that a blog will generate, even a popular one, is very manageable. Just think that many large websites run on MySQL too (including Digg if I am not wrong), and they arrive to generate millions of entries.

5. Danny Cooper asks:

Why do you think RSS readers have become a popular metric for blogger success, after all RSS readers have less chance of actually viewing your website.

I think that the number of RSS readers became a popular metric for measuring the success of a blog because it represents the number of people that deliberately decided to get updates from that blog. It is like those subscribers gave a vote of confidence for the blog in question.

This number, therefore, should give you an idea about the quality of the content on that blog, and about the overall traffic levels, because the higher the traffic, the more people will end up subscribing.

The fact that RSS readers have a smaller chance of viewing a website does not affects its legitimacy as a metric for measuring the popularity of blogs. Sure it might be a point that the blogger or the webmaster will take into consideration, but the general public does not care if your subscribers will visit your site or not, and if your ad revenue will suffer from that or not.

Finally, I am not even sure if that is the case. I think that even if you offer a full RSS feed, the long term effect will be more and not less traffic on your website.

6. Transcriptionist asks:

I notice that you have put “Disallow: /feed/” in your robots.txt file.

Question 1) Do you know that you can put a “noindex” to your feed at “Publicize/NoIndex” at your FeedBurner dashboard and then remove this “Disallow” in your robots.txt and the “nofollow” that you have put everywhere on your blog to your feed and email subscription calls?

(For your information: View the source code of email subscription call landing page, it already has content=”noindex,nofollow” by default. Then why the “nofollow” to email subscription calls also?)

Question 2) Won’t too much of nofollow by author be stamped as over optimization and penalized by search engines? (While nofollow for reader generated contents like comments, irrespective of count, is accepted by search engines as optimization.)

Question 3) You have put “Disallow: /trackback/” in your robots.txt. Your URLs are either redirecting to their original URLs for single posts and pages or returning 404 for categories if trackback has been added to their end. Then what is the use of this command?

Answer 1) First of all I did test with no-indexing my Feedburner feed in the past, but I had better results with letting it be indexed, because it would rank well for some keywords, and send a good amount of traffic to the main website.

Secondly, the nofollow attributes on all my RSS feed and email subscription links is not to avoid those pages getting indexed, but rather to don’t have my PageRank flowing to Feedburner on ALL the pages of my site. A sitewide link carries a lot of link juice, so I add a nofollow tag when that link is not editorial.

Finally, notice that even if your Feedburner feed page is no-indexed, your WordPress /feed/ page or xml versions could still be indexed, and that is something you want to prevent as well.

Answer 2) I don’t think so. As long as you use the nofollow attribute with the purpose of not following links that you don’t trust or that are not editorial links, you should be fine. That is what Google recommends after all.

Answer 3) I recently removed the trackback pages from the blog, so yeah I guess I could also remove that line from the robots.txt by now.

7. Ben Moreno asks:

How many hours a day do you spend on writing posts?

What is your strategy for finding content to write about each day?

I would say that I spend anywhere from 2 up to 6 hours a day writing content. It depends on the period. Some weeks are slow, and I just write my daily posts, so it takes 2 hours a day. On others week I will be working on a larger piece or on a new project, and on those occasions I write a lot.

As for finding content, I think that the best strategy is to have ideas and drafts saved way ahead of when you will need to write them.

For example, I have around 50 draft posts for Daily Blog Tips saved right now. Most have just the title and a brief description. When I don’t know what I am going to write about, I just open that list and pick one.

How did I arrive to have such a big list of drafts? Every time an idea strikes me, big or small, dumb or smart, I write it down.


Copyright by Daily Blog Tips.

Blogging Questions & Answers 24

Pop-up Mania! Will They Come Back To Vogue?

A couple of weeks ago Darren Rowse posted an article where he shared a technique that increased his newsletter subscription rate by over 700%, from an average of 40 news subscribers per day to 350!

He probably could not have foreseen the mass effect that the post would trigger!

After that post, in fact, dozens of bloggers started using pop-ups to promote their newsletters, from John Chow to Shoemoney and many smaller bloggers, too.

The trend is so noticeable that I often find those pop-ups coming up on random sites that I am visiting over the day.

So what happened to the “pop-ups are the ultimate evil” motto that we had going on around the Internet?

I think it is starting to get questioned (which is not necessarily a bad thing, mind you).

Basically Darren found out by testing that the increase in the conversion rate of his newsletter was huge, while the drawbacks of adding the pop-ups were not so big. A couple of people emailed him complaining about the intrusiveness, but that was pretty much it.

Of course we need to take into consideration the people that got annoyed with the pop-ups and quit the site to never come back again, without letting Darren know about it. But will this effect be eve noticeable on his traffic trends?

Pop-ups remain one of the most intrusive and annoying promotion forms, but are they capable of hurting your traffic tangibly if you provide quality content?

Here is a question for our poll: would one pop-up offering you a newsletter subscription be enough to make you stop visiting a website? Assume you would see the pop-up only once, and not on every visit at that site. (RSS and email subscribers might need to visit the site to see the poll)

Would one pop-up offering you a newsletter subscription be enough to make you stop visiting a website?
( surveys)


Copyright by Daily Blog Tips.

Pop-up Mania! Will They Come Back To Vogue?

Blogging Idol 2 Scoreboard Is Live Again

Sorry for the trouble yesterday guys, looks like Feedburner had blocked my IP on their API. I can’t blame them either, I was sending around 125,000 requests per day….

Anyway now I am hosting the script on a separate page, and pasting the results on the scoreboard. Now it is basically a normal HTML page, so it should load pretty fast, and work 100% of the times.

The comments are working fine on that page also.

Click here to see the live scoreboard. There are some nice changes in the numbers today, including a new second position with 197 new RSS subscribers.

Thanks for Muhammad Syiab for helping me out on the issue.


Copyright by Daily Blog Tips.

Blogging Idol 2 Scoreboard Is Live Again

BlogRush: RIP

ImageChef.com - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

Here is an email that I (and a lot of other people) received from BlogRush John Reese:

After careful consideration, we have decided to shutdown the BlogRush service.  If you have the widget code on your blog you will need to remove it.

When BlogRush launched in late-2007 it spread like wildfire all over the Web.  Thousands of bloggers were talking about it and the service exploded to become one of the fastest growing free services in the history of the Web.  During the first year of the service it successfully served 3.4 Billion blog post headlines and the BlogRush widget could be found on blogs all over the world; even up until the moment we closed down the service.

BlogRush didn’t grow without its fair share of problems — from security issues to abusive users trying to ‘game’ the system to much lower click-rates than expected.  We also had some problems with trying to fairly control the quality of the network, and in the process made many mistakes in deciding what blogs should stay or go.  All of these issues, ultimately, limited the service’s full potential.

Our team worked very hard to try and build a service that would truly help bloggers of all sizes get free traffic to their blogs.  This was our primary focus.  Not once did we ever try to monetize the service with ads or anything else.  BlogRush never made a single penny in revenue.  We wanted to be able to help our users FIRST and then worry about monetizing the service later.  Unfortunately, the service didn’t work out like we had hoped.  (It happens.)

I want to say “Thank You” to all of the great bloggers that at least gave BlogRush a test to see if it would work for them.  We sincerely appreciate you giving the service a try.

We have received several offers & inquiries about acquiring BlogRush, but we are choosing not to go that route.  While many might think this is crazy, we truly feel it’s the ‘right’ thing to do for our users.  Believe it or not, it’s not always about the money.  In fact, BlogRush will have lost a small fortune when it’s all said and done, and it was by choice.  There were many things we could have done to monetize the service but we wanted to make sure it was going to benefit our users first.

Last but not least I want to say that I hope the failure of this service doesn’t in any way discourage other entrepreneurs from coming up with crazy ideas at 4AM (like I did with this one) and from “going for it” to just try and see if something will work.  Without trying there can be no success.  And as we all know, ideas are worthless without action.  The Web wouldn’t be what it is today without entrepreneurs trying all sorts of crazy ideas.

On behalf of the entire BlogRush team, we wish the best of luck to everyone with their own blogs, ideas, and crazy ventures.

Sincerely,

John Reese
http://twitter.com/johnreese

RIP (more…)

The Winner’s Curse is a term used to describe auctions whereby the winner will overpay because he/she overestimates the item’s actual market value. This tendency to overbid is due to factors like incomplete information or other market participants. Recent research show that people also overbid because of the fear of losing in a social competition. 

A team of NYU neuroscientists and economists conducted brain imaging studies and discovered that the striatum, a part of the brain’s reward circuitry showed an exaggerated response to losses during an auction game. When a group was told that they would lose $15 if they failed to win an auction, they consistently bid higher than others who were told they would win $15.

The difference lies in way the auction was framed. When simply reminded of what they had to lose instead of what they stand to gain, participants responded with higher bids.

While there have been investigations of overbidding which have attributed the phenomenon to either risk aversion or the ‘joy of winning,’ it was the use of imaging data which allowed us to distinguish between these conflicting explanations and actually arrive at a new and different one, the ‘fear of losing.’…We were able to use neuroimaging results to highlight the importance of framing, and specifically the contemplated loss, as an explanation for overbidding during experimental auctions.”

This ‘fear of losing’ seems to be triggered by competition with others and perhaps, attachment to the value of the item. A interesting takeaway point: instead of only highlighting the benefits or promise for a product/service, it would be beneficial to indicate what the buyer might potentially lose by not making a purchase or taking action.

People implicitly understand that they’re  dealing with other consumers because of factors like exclusivity and scarcity. The one who acts swiftly will get to purchase and enjoy the benefits of the product, while others may not. The call-to-action is much intense in an auction, because the actions of others occur in noticeable real-time. Competition is in the forefront of the mind.

This study reminds me of how much competition is almost intrinsic to human society. You see competition between individuals, groups and countries in business or sports. It is perhaps, both an evolutionary necessity and a learned behavior that one develops in order to survive or thrive within a social environment.

We are all familiar with the pleasure of competition. Many of you have bought items from Ebay, an online auction marketplace.  Often, your decision to make or abandon a purchase is rushed along on a subtle but tangible undercurrent of excitement during the process and a feeling of minor elation for having won an item at a favorable price.

Could there be a way to transplant the fear of losing and the pleasure of winning into a non-auction scenario? Perhaps the use of a competition as a backdrop where each consumer’s individual drive can play out against others. Make them interact and challenge one another within a superstructure that helps YOU fulfill specific end goals.

Let the Competitive Instinct Flourish Within a Social Environment

CompetitionImage Credit: Swamibu

Businesses or marketers should think about how to create a social environment which encourages the natural competitive instincts of their audience. Interaction within this sphere motivates each individual consumer/participant. This helps to increase the level of audience engagement and automatically enhances the value of the product/service/site.

Social news sites like Mixx.com proudly highlight their top users by displaying them on a leaderboard or giving them specific awards/badges. This symbolic segregation of a group of users from others and the conferring of exclusive emblems of acknowledgment enhances the visibility/reputation of these individuals. This becomes something others can strive towards.

Not everyone will lust after awards or a higher user ranking. In fact, most casual users won’t care or bother to go after greater recognition. But owners of these communities know that there will always be a segment of hardcore users (the more competitive or goal-oriented ones) that will work extra hard so they can improve their score or rank higher on the leaderboard.

This addicted 1% of users enjoy a sense of achievement and are often enough to generate enough activity to make your site grow. This effect is even more prominent when the community itself is the main attraction. Take the example of video games with online features: players will gladly pay for a monthly Xbox Live subscription or WOW account so they virtually cooperate or compete with other individuals. Inter-user competition becomes an value add-on.

Such a social environment is not very difficult to create: there are a few fundamental elements involved. For starters, users should be able to interact freely with one another, through the site’s main features or separately in an standalone environment. Also, bind user profiles and on-site activity to awards, rankings, points, recognition, rewards and achievements.

Allow people to form sub-groups to pursue a diverse level of interests. Facilitate inter-user contact and interaction by organizing open competitions or one-off events that everyone can join. These special events can be plotted on an established calendar of regular activities which involve the community or its sub-groups.

The general theory is simple enough: Think about creating social environments that are conducive for your overall business objectives. Apart from simply marketing your site, we should look at giving our audience the ability to connect (and compete) with each other.

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Fear of Losing: Using Competitive Instincts to Your Advantage

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