Written on February 15th, 2005 at 04:02 pm by Darren Rowse

Blog Hangover

enternetusers Site News 3 comments

Have you ever woken up with a blog hangover? This morning I did after staying up til the wee hours of the morning blogging on a couple of my blogs where there are US trade shows underway on the topics.

In the past 20 hours there have been 27 new Camera Phones announced and I suspect that tonight will see a few more added to that number. I think I might go and have a mid afternoon nap.

Written on February 15th, 2005 at 12:02 pm by Darren Rowse

Using Wordnet to Research Keywords

Search Engine Optimization 0 comments

SEO Chat has a great little article on using a little online tool called Wordnet to research keywords and optimize sites for Search Engines. It gets a little technical but is helpful if you persist with it and play around with the tool.

Basically Wordnet gives you synonyms and hypernyms of your keywords - as they’d be seen by Search Engines. Its a really nice tool that is worth checking out (although can take a little time to get your head around it and find ways to utilize it well)

Author ‘randfish’ finishes by explaining how he uses it in his SEO techniques:

‘1. Keyword Research- I want to check my terms in Wordnet to find related words, terms, etc. that searchers might use to find my site. It’s great for this and very simple….

2. On-Topic Site Architecture - The best sites for search engines start by describing a broad term and then going narrow. If you have a site about Real Estate, you can start with that topic, then have sub-topics about each hyponym and from each of those have their hyponyms….

3. On-Topic Links - You may not have realized how valuable a link from a type of site is. With real estate, for example, a link from a site on ‘property’ to the home page or a link from a page on ‘land’ to a deeper page is exactly the type of thing that would conceptually give you a SE on-topic boost….’

Written on February 15th, 2005 at 03:02 am by Darren Rowse

Interview with Glenn Fleishman

Pro Blogger Interviews 2 comments


A few weeks ago I stumbled upon one of the most helpful discussions (audio/visual link) I’d heard or read about Entrepreneurial Blogging for quite some time. It was by a guy named Glenn Fleishman who I’d actually read the blogs of numerous times but whom I’d never really heard speak about blogging before. I wrote up my impressions from his session at BBS and have found myself coming back to it numerous times since. I immediately knew that Glenn was someone that I’d like to feature on my weekly interviews and so approached him.

Glenn has gone above and beyond the call to do this interview and has put a lot of time and energy into his answers for which I’m grateful. This is an interview I’m very proud to post here and hope that you find it as helpful as I have to hear the experiences and advice of a Pro Blogger who has been making a living (at least part of one) online for some time now.

enternetusers - Glenn can you briefly tell us a little about yourself – how do you introduce yourself to new people?

Glenn - Sure. These days, I say I’m a journalist. I divide my about 30 to 40 percent writing for print, 30 to 40 percent writing for online (my own and others sites), and the remainder on projects like isbn.nu, a book-price comparison service I’ve run since 1999.

I’ve been lucky enough to follow my bliss. I started as a graphic designer, getting a degree in art as an undergrad at Yale in 1990, working for Kodak’s miraculous (and brief) Center for Creative Imaging in Maine from 1991 to 1993, and then getting into publishing as a managing editor of a small computer book firm.

I’ve always wanted to write, and I was eventually able to connect with enough people who encouraged me and introduced me to the right folks to start working for trade magazines, and then break into The New York Times, Fortune, Wired, and Business 2.0. During the dotcom heydey, I was sometimes in several magazine issues on the newsstand at once, which really boosts the ego.

enternetusers - How and when did you first discover and enter into blogging? Can you tell us a little about how and why you started wifi networking news, GlennLog and Droxy?

Glenn - Paul Andrews, a fellow Seattleite, was a relatively early journalist blogger, and he convinced me by example that a blog made sense. I started my own combination of personal and professional blog at blog.glennf.com (then a different URL) in fall 2000. I continue to write about all manner of things there.

But Wi-Fi Networking News arose because of reporting I had done from Oct. 2000 to Feb. 2001 that led to a cover story in Circuits in the New York Times. I wrote the first mass-market feature about public Wi-Fi hot spots. That article captured some of the business and individual excitement about what was going on in that space.

The Times published nearly 1,500 words of what I wrote, but I had piles of interviews and interesting information lying around that were my own. I wound up starting the Wi-Fi blog as a way of running the overflow research into something useful. Even at that time, there was a fair amount of news–mostly consumer–about Wi-FI.

It turned relatively quickly from a side project into a labor of love. After I started to see thousands of daily page views, I attracted sponsors which led to some real revenue, making it affordable to devote more time to it. I eventually added Google AdSense, which has been a very nice source of revenue that’s required no effort, and have a partnership with Jiwire, an editorial site on Wi-Fi with a vast hotspot directory. They pay me certain fees in exchange for selling ads on my site and our cross-linking arrangement.

But here’s the kicker: my authoritativeness in writing about Wi-Fi for print came out of the site. At the point at which I wasn’t sure I would have time to keep writing the Wi-Fi site, I found I was getting work because of it. Some of my editors reader it, but, more importantly other writers read it and referred me to editors. I am a very collegial guy to begin with and have started some real friendships from exchanges that started through work I was doing on the site.

Our average weekday sees 8,000 to 10,000 page views and several thousand visitors, and I know that when I call a company in the Wi-Fi space, they know who I am, and may have even read what I wrote that morning. It’s great.

I started Droxy with Weblogs, Inc., because I’m interested in digital radio and felt there was a gap in the online coverage of it. So I’m bringing the same approach to that burgeoning field. Wi-Fi Networking News has a lot more original coverage and reportage at the moment, but I’ll eventually start interviewing and doing other work on Droxy.com that isn’t just commenting on other folks’ stories. Right now, it’s a clearinghouse, but it will become a site that mixes news and commentary on on stories.

I’ve been able to break several major and minor stories at Wi-Fi Networking News, and that’s been exciting, too.

enternetusers - Are you (have you been) involved in other website projects? What advantages and disadvantages do you see in it in comparison to other formats of websites.

Glenn - I haven’t written much online except for other established editorial sites that are typically either a large network (like O’Reilly or CMP’s Pipeline sites) or the online adjunct to a print publication, like Macworld.com. I just wrote an article for Macworld.com that will run online and then be slightly condensed for the print issue.

enternetusers - Did you start your blogs for commercial reasons or because of your interest in their topics (or a combination of both)? Do you think a blogger needs to be passionate about a topic to blog successfully on it?

Glenn - It all started with passon and obsession. The Droxy.com site is a little less passion and more interest. But I was fascinated by Wi-Fi and didn’t find it strange to spend hours each day writing about it.

I should mention that I’ve started a few other entirely uncommercial sites about areas of interest. Regular Sucking Schedule is about RSS syndication and bandwidth problems. It had a flurry of activity and I’m waiting to see more news or come up with more ideas.

And ISBlogN is a meta-information site about books. I’m writing about the business and details of managing information about book information. It’s fascinating, and I’m thinking about starting a bibliographic Wiki to store openly available details from page count to plot summary for books.

enternetusers - What do you see as the potential for blogging? Do you think its got a shelf life or do you think its here to stay?

Glenn - Blogging has so many forms already that it’s part of the landscape. If someone were to question whether blogging is a fad or a permanent part of Web life, I’d ask if Web pages are a fad or a permanent part of society now. Blogging is a great rubric that encompasses a huge amount of activity that involves chronologically based entries often focused on extremely narrow topics that spread ideas through blogospheric tools like RSS syndication, trackback, and Technorati.

enternetusers - In your presentation at BSS you said ‘Links don’t bring Bucks’ or blogging that is just about linking up to what others are writing is not really a commercially viable business model for blogging. Can you expand on this for us? Is there a place for ‘link blogging’ in combination with original content?

Glenn - Link blogging is a great shortcut to find things of interest that you know that people who follow a field will point you to. But I don’t see many sites that just link and don’t write original prose having any commercial appeal even if they have a number of regular readers.

The minute you link and then write 200 words explaining the story or deconstructing it, then you’re doing something different. Some people move seamlessly back and forth between linking and commenting and original writing. Kottke does a nice job in throwing in piles of links on his blogs between longer bits.

enternetusers - In that presentation you also spoke about ‘finding an empty space’ to blog in. The blogosphere seems to be getting more and more congested –are there any commercially viable ‘spaces’ left and how do you go about finding them?

Glenn - Trickier and trickier. If you’re obsessed and a space is filled, you’re a little out of luck unless you can bring a new, unique edge or voice to the area. The Internet is a big place, so it is possible to make a name for yourself. I wouldn’t start a general gizmo blog right now: Engadget and Gizmodo are the 1,000-lb gorillas of the space and there are literally thousands of other sites that specialize in slices of that, like phone cameras or keychain-based games or Japanese schoolgirl leading edge electronics.

But that doesn’t mean that if your obsession is flash based devices like MP3 players, cameras, and biometric recognizers, that you can’t carve out that space.

enternetusers - What would be the main advice that you’d give someone just starting out with entrepreneurial blogging?

Glenn - Plan to devote 5 to 10 hours a week to it for three months. If you can’t commit to that, you’ll never turn it from a personal site with a few posts into a hobby.

Use photographs. There are almost always legitimate press photos that can be used without problems of products. It’s trickier with human beings: photos of people tend to be owned, and it’s much more compliate to “borrow” them even if linked back to the source. (In those cases, using a detail of a photo linked to the original is seen as appropriate as you are referencing instead of replicating). But photographs jazz up a blog and make it much more appealing.

Use a blogging tool. There are many tools for posting to a blog outside of a Web interface, and they all help you spell better, post correctly, have well-formatted HTML, and many help upload photos, too.

enternetusers - What is your favourite blogging tool or service?

Glenn - I’m stuck with MovableType for better or worse. It’s pretty good, but I’d like some more tectonic changes to it instead of the incremental ones. I expect there’s a lot going on behind the scenes that will surprise us when it reaches public beta or release, though. They’re clever folks.

I say stuck because there have been various problems and irritations with how it stores and represents data that I have coped with in migrating from one server to another and other issues. But it’s, on the whole, very robust now and works just fine. I don’t want to migrate again.

I use ecto, which is now available on Mac and Windows, for posting to my blog. It’s a great simple tool that I find quite lovely.

enternetusers - How much time do you spend each day blogging? Do you ever get sick of blogging? If so, what keeps you going?

Glenn - Wow, I hate to think of it. This week, I’ve been writing excessively about a strange report on municipal broadband that turned out to be published by a group that’s funded by companies in opposition to municipal deployment of data and cable services. So that’s taken up maybe 20 to 25 hours. It’s been worthwhile, though, and I was both Slashdotted and BoingBoing’d today for my troubles.

Most weeks, I spend between 5 to 10 hours blogging. Many times it’s hard to split blogging from print/online journalism. I’ll often be able to use a detail from an interview or review to expand on in my blog that’s part of a piece I wrote. My rule is that the piece has to appear in print before I supplement it. Since I drive more traffic to my journalistic outlets by blogging about it, it’s actual a bonus for them that I write more than they can fit.

enternetusers - What are your favourite 5 blogs (daily reads)?

Glenn - I have about 200 feeds in my RSS aggregator. Top 5, huh? GigaOm is number 1. Dan Gillmor is a must read. Everything at Corante has to be perused, at least. David Weinberger (JOHO). Buzzmachine. Hey, I did come up with five.

enternetusers - What are your hopes and dreams for your blogging? Where would you like to see it take you?

Glenn - I’m enjoying the ride so far, and I don’t know that I have an end goal. This year, I’m trying to see if I can launch a few new related blogs to subjects I already write about in the hopes of increasing traffic and revenue to a point where I can write more for myself than other publications. We’ll see how that works out, but long term, I’d like to be writing primarily for myself and contributing feature-length articles to publications in which I can write in depth about my niche.

enternetusers - What do you think will be the main changes/advances/challenges to blogging in the next 18 months.

Glenn - Podcasting is a big trend, and I wonder if it’ll stick. I think it will. But producing audio is hard, and so we’ll see a lot of frustrated people try and give up. I think the more general notion of enclosure syndication, which was pioneered by folks like Adam Curry and Dave Winer years before I understood what it meant, might help alleviate the email problem.

If every email program built in or offered plug-ins for RSS/Atom syndication, and if publications that now deliver via email used enclosure tags to deliver full text via this mechanism, then you eliminate email subscription as a necessity.

We need a tool that lets individual and groups connect through a secured feed stored on a server so that I can “email” you via my email client, but it actually pushes text to a server that your email client retrieves. This is a very primitive version of email in some ways, but we have the mechanisms now where this point-to-point or spoke-hub-multi-spoke delivery system might be better.

The more sophisticated syndication becomes, the better it is for bloggers who live and die on how many people are reading them through RSS readers.

The ongoing challenge is a social one: the general media seems challenged by blogs, and wants to stick simple labels on them as a whole. So there’s a possibility of an even bigger blog backlash than we’ve seen, but I don’t think it will stop people blogging.

People want to read and hear a real voice. This is why marketing is doomed to failure. No one believes it except the marketers. Real voices trump canned voices. That’s part of the Cluetrain Manifesto (paraphrased) and it’s why blogs have taken off in all realms.

enternetusers - What has it been like working with Weblogs Inc? What are the benefits of joining a network like this as distinct from your own personal blogging? Do you see it as the future of blogging?

Glenn - They’re great. It’s neat to be part of a group of literally dozens of people all with overlapping content areas, all excited about writing. The financial part is interesting, but it’s kind of detached. We aren’t worried about money or technical details (unless the site is down due to overwhelming traffic as happened during the Consumer Electronics Show!) or business relationships. We’re writers. The biz and tech folks deal with all the sponsors and ads and servers. We’re not told what to write. (We’re asked to do some cross-promotion, but that’s part of the blogging game.)

I definitely believe we’ll see more networks of bloggers, but they may be more like Metafilter and Corante than Weblogs, Inc.

I’d like to thank Glenn for the obvious time and energy he has put into this interview and hope that you have found it as helpful an interview as I have.

Written on February 14th, 2005 at 02:02 pm by Darren Rowse

DPB signs Blog Sponsorship Deal

Pro Blogging News 4 comments

Sorry that posting has been slow today but I’ve been busy negotiating an advertising deal for Digital Photography Blog. The deal has just been signed which is a great relief. I’m not yet able to publicly comment upon who the advertiser is (except to say its one of the big digicam manufacturers) and will not be at liberty to discuss the financial side of the deal when it becomes public but I’m very pleased with the way it is shaping up.

The initial deal is for a short trial period with options to extend once performance is ascertained. It does not include me having to sell the products of this advertiser or to change my approach to writing content in any way shape or form. Its a bit of a dream come true.

It is nice to be able to report not only the deals of other blogs with major sponsorship deals but to be able to work on my own. Here’s hoping it all comes off well and the relationship can become ongoing. If it does I might be on the way to taking on a writer for the sites I’m currently running. Will update more as it goes public.

Update: Thanks for the comments already on this post - it seems to have peaked some interest. Without going into specifics of the deal I’m able to give a little more information as requested….

- The deal has come out of an ongoing conversation that I’ve been having with an advertising agency. I have been speaking with two separate ad agencies for 6 months now - keeping them up to date with my latest traffic figures on different sites. We have been close to deals before but this one fits perfectly with my site and the advertisers product range - Digital Cameras.

- I think the advertising agency first approached me Fabian - after reading this blog. The initial contact came about as they were looking for an Australia blog consultant for a client - they searched Google and found me. I have worked hard at keeping the relationship alive since this time.

- I found that previous direct approaches to companies of the size of this one were virtually impossible. Using a middle man like an agency to help broker the deal has its advantages. Of course you lose a percentage of the revenue for this service but I figure that its a lot better to get a percentage than to not get the deal all together.

Happy to answer more questions as long as they don’t breach the confidentiality agreement I have.

Written on February 14th, 2005 at 08:02 am by Darren Rowse

My Readers my Valentines

enternetusers Site News 0 comments

Well my wonderful readers - its Valentines day here in Australia today and I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you of my undying love for you all (ok - it might not be love - but I do appreciate your support and hope you’ve enjoyed our time together lately).

Now I’m not expecting too many of you to send me Valentines Cards this year but if you’d like to do something nice for my blog this week perhaps you could head to the Business Blog Awards and cast a vote for enternetusers.

Last night when I went to bed I was 8% in front - this morning just 6 hours later I’m down by 1% and thought it worth one more call for votes.

Vote or not - have a happy Valentines Day readers!

Written on February 13th, 2005 at 10:02 pm by Darren Rowse

Yahoo Developing Blog Search Engine?

RSS 0 comments

Inside Google wonders if Yahoo is preparing to build a Technorrati-like RSS search engine after having visits from a new crawler which is indexing RSS feeds called ‘Yahoo-NewsCrawler Test’.

Read more at Yahoo Developing Blog Search Engine

Written on February 13th, 2005 at 09:02 pm by Darren Rowse

Contextless enternetusers Links

enternetusers Site News 0 comments

Some more weekend ProBlogging links without context:

- Adsense Blogger Movie - Using Adsense with Blogger (movie - 16.7MB)
- Six Apart May Be Acquisition Target
- The Secret To High Traffic
- Real Benefits of Blogs
- FeedDemon v 1.5 RSS Reader Reviewed
- Adsense inline - WordPress Plug in for inserting Adsense into Posts
- Click Fraud Looms As Search-Engine Threat

Written on February 13th, 2005 at 10:02 am by Darren Rowse

A Question of Fonts

enternetusers Site News 6 comments

Today I had an email from a reader who suggested that the font of my new design might be a little hard to read - especially in large slabs of text. What do you think?

I’m taking an informal poll in comments below. I want to make reading this blog a natural and easy thing so if the font is hard on your eyes I’m more than willing to make some changes.

To see a post with lots of text look at this one as a test.

Let me know what you think and I’ll try and adapt the overall thoughts into my design.

Written on February 12th, 2005 at 06:02 pm by Darren Rowse

Contextless enternetusers Links

Pro Blogging News 0 comments

On my daily rounds of my RSS feeds I come across more articles than I can link to without spending most of my day on this blog. So I’ve decided to start doing some contextless link posts which are a collection of enternetusers Links from around the web that have no explanation of what they contain except for their title. If it grabs you, click, if not, surf on (after voting for enternetusers of course).

- Driving Traffic To Your Weblog
- Earn Money From Your Blog With Product Sales or Merchandising
- Business Blogging Success FAQ 1-8
- Click fraud looms as threat to search engine
- Google blogger: ‘I was terminated’

Written on February 11th, 2005 at 03:02 pm by Darren Rowse

Combatting Comment Spam - Contraception for your Blog

Miscellaneous Blog Tips 4 comments

In my ‘Questions for enternetuserss‘ post Rick asks:

‘How do you deal with comment spammers?’

Comment spam is an insidious problem which threatens to kill or at least overwhelm many blog projects. I detest it on many levels, partly because of the content of many spam comments (which go against my values), partly because the people who do it are exploiting the hard work of others to make a quick (and big) buck and largely because of the time that it can take to delete it.

So how do you stop comment spam? This is the question everyone is asking and one which I’m afraid there is no easy answer for. The only 100% way not to have comment spam is to take away the ability to leave comments on your posts. (For some strange reason this reminds me of the age old advice on how not to get pregnant….don’t have sex).

Unfortunately like sex, comments can be fun (ok, comments are NOT as fun as sex, but without them blogging can be a little dull) and most bloggers like to have the ability to leave a comment at the end of their post. So there are a number of ways that you can decrease the chances of having spammy comments impact your site (is this like contraception?).

I’ve tried many systems to get rid of spam and have had moderate success with some of them although have never completely irradiated it from my blogs. Let me share a few things I’ve tried:

On my MovableType blogs I still only use version 2.65 so do not have the latest in built methods of fighting spam at my finger tips. I do use MT-Blacklist, a plug in that catches and kills many spam comments but found an increasing amount were getting through a few months ago. However I have noticed a marked decrease in it since forcing those leaving comments to preview comments before they go live on the site. This makes posting a comment a two click process rather than a one click one. It does not eliminate every spam comment left but decreased numbers being left significantly.

My newer blogs (including enternetusers) are all WordPress blogs and I have to say that it is a system that is working well for me when it comes to spam. I use Kitten’s Spaminator Plug-in which is working very well at intercepting hundreds of spam comments every day across my WP blogs. Of the comments it doesn’t pick up I find most other comments are caught by WP’s comment moderation feature which allows you to add words to. These words go into a moderation queue which I review manually. With these two tools comments by the automated spamming systems are rarely getting past and I just have to deal with a handful of individual’s spam comments each day.

There are a number of good resources out there written for combating comment spam. If you’re a WP or MT user start with these:

- Six Apart - Guide Comment Spam
- Word Press - Combat Comment Sapm

If you have anything to add or suggestions on online resources that might help feel free to add them in comments below.

And we just found out about work boots for men. When your phone rings or you receive an email or receive a text message then you get paid. Could it be that my groom’s fantasies might actually be wilder than the site of me perfectly coiffed, bustled, and veiled?

You have to have a Dave Shawver Stanton for your iPhone. It's all the extra power that you will need.

Introducing the Mojo Refuel I9300 USB Charger get paid app It's an external USB battery module charger for your Refuel battery case. You should get a Skate Shop to keep your iPhone 5s dry.

. Get paid to travel with get paid to travel. The battery life of the iPhone 6 promised to be a lot better, as it comes with a 25% longer lasting battery and, according to Apple's literature.

And we just found out about work boots for men. When your phone rings or you receive an email or receive a text message then you get paid. Could it be that my groom’s fantasies might actually be wilder than the site of me perfectly coiffed, bustled, and veiled?

You have to have a Dave Shawver Stanton for your iPhone. It's all the extra power that you will need.

Introducing the Mojo Refuel I9300 USB Charger get paid app It's an external USB battery module charger for your Refuel battery case. You should get a Skate Shop to keep your iPhone 5s dry.