Written on April 22nd, 2005 at 08:04 am by Darren Rowse

Feedburner Changes Ahead

Blogging Tools and Services 6 comments

In the comments of my previous post on the FeedBurner service Duncan, a representative of Feedburner, left the following comment which has a few interesting revelations in it for Feedburner users about upcoming features.

Hi Darren, You can always tell if your FeedBurner feed is in synch and up to date just by clicking on the xml button on your site. We see your feed as having been in synch and up to date with no interruptions in our logs, and I thus suspect it was a reader that may have fallen out of synch on polling. Nonetheless, YOU should not have to guess at this stuff! One of the items on our to do list is to notify you via your personal FeedBurner feed when we see polling discrepancies or when your source feed is invalid (thus preventing us from making some transformations), etc. That way, we can be much more proActive about helping you stay up to speed on how your feed is “performing”. Always feel free to shoot us a feedback note if you have any questions. Oh, and coming in two weeks or less will be stats on how any commerce in your feed is performing. this stats table will be embedded in your feed’s daily stats page.

Written on April 21st, 2005 at 08:04 pm by Darren Rowse

Guess the Blog Topic

Pro Blogging News 9 comments

Guess-The-BlogOk - lets play a little game.

Here is a stats graphic of a blog that I’ve been watching for a month or two now. Its the last month’s stats - pretty pattern (click to enlarge it).

Can you guess what the blog is about?

I’ll give a few hints over the next day or two. No prize (unless someone wants to donate one - this could be a regular game) - just the satisfaction of being the smartest enternetusers Reader.

I will say that this is not one of my blogs or a part of the network I’m part of. I’ll also say that these figures are on Australian time and we’re ahead of the rest of the world by a few hours - when its Thursday here its Wednesday in other parts of the world for a lot of the day.

Leave your guesses in comments.

Written on April 21st, 2005 at 04:04 pm by Darren Rowse

Firefox Adsense Notifier

Adsense 8 comments

If you are a Firefox user and run Adsense ads on your site you’ll probably want to try out the new Adsense Notifier extension which came out a day or two back which automatically checks your Adsense statistics for you throughout the day.

I’ve installed it and it works well (although it did seem to slow my system down a little yesterday). I don’t think I’ll use it much because I’m pretty much in the groove of using Safari as my browser of choice.

So if there are any Safari developers out there - maybe its time for a similar extension to be developed!

Written on April 21st, 2005 at 02:04 pm by Darren Rowse

enternetusers RSS Feeds

enternetusers Site News 3 comments

Thanks to those who’ve emailed and commented to let me know they’ve had problems with my feedburner RSS feed. I know that so many of you access this site via RSS that it concerns me that some of you are missing my many daily posts. Whilst feedburner provides me with great stats and other options it is a bit useless if you’re missing every few posts.

So if you’re one of those missing posts feel free to use the default feeds supplied by WordPress - the RSS and Atom feeds.

Written on April 21st, 2005 at 09:04 am by Darren Rowse

FeedBurner Review - Work Boxers

Blogging Tools and Services 7 comments

Scrivs has just posted a review of the RSS Feed Management tool Feedburner.

I’ve used it on two of my blogs for a few months now and have not really had any big problems with it. I love the stats feature which shows how many of your are accessing this site via RSS and am interested in how they seek to give those with feeds an income stream using Amazon (and for some Overture).

In terms of the Amazon ads that appear in my RSS feed - a number of you have asked how it performs - I can honestly say I have no idea. The weakness of this system is that there is no way of determining where Amazon sales come from or how many people even click on these ads. I’ve not noticed any real increase in Amazon sales since making the move.

Some people on Scriv’s post comment that they have timing out issues with Feedburner - I’m interested to hear if that is an issue with any of my readers. Feel free to add your experience of Feedburner below - either as a publisher or a feed reader.

Written on April 21st, 2005 at 02:04 am by Darren Rowse

How Adsense Click Fraud Will Impact Publishers

Adsense 0 comments

Click Fraud is a growing problem for Adsense and other Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising programs.

The challenge that Google has with Adsense and click fraud is that they’re at risk of it happening from a number of angles.

One of the potential fraudulent activities if obviously from publishers clicking on their own advertisements (a big no no). Many publishers have been banned from Adsense for this. However another emerging problem is coming from Advertisers themselves - some of whom are developing systematic program for clicking on other advertisers ads to drive up their bills. Google are currently taking legal action against at least one advertiser for this reason. The Washington Post reports:

”The problem, according to a lawsuit filed last year by Google, is that Auctions Expert began clicking on the ads itself, artificially inflating the number of clicks and driving up the bills sent to advertisers.

Auctions Expert allegedly recruited as many as 50 people to click on online advertising, generating about $50,000 in ad revenue. The self-clicking was “worthless to advertisers, but generated significant and unjust revenue for defendants,” the Google lawsuit said.’

The problem of Click Fraud will become a bigger and bigger problem despite PPC programs instituting more sophisticated methods to monitor it.

‘Jessie Stricchiola, a click fraud expert who frequently represents advertisers seeking refunds from Google and Yahoo, estimates that click fraud accounts for as much as 20 percent of the clicks in some industry sectors. The president of AlchemistMedia.com, Stricchiola said tens of thousands of advertisers, who pay Google and Yahoo by credit card, are being overcharged daily, adding that neither search engine has a large enough staff devoted to monitoring the problem or fielding complaints.’

How will Click Fraud impact us as honest publishers? It is really yet to be seen - however one could speculate that there will be a number of flow on effects including:


• less advertisers - one of the biggest worries for Google with click fraud is that advertisers will become more and more disillusioned with Adsense and will put less money into it. Less advertisers means less competition for the keywords you and I target - which in turn means small payments per click.

• smaller share of revenue - it is becoming more common for click fraud disputes to end up in court - either with Google taking legal action out against fraudulent publishers or advertisers or with them defending action taken by advertisers. Their legal bills must be on the increase for these types of cases and the money has to come from somewhere - lets hope its not from a decreasing percentage of revenue being shared with publishers.

• risk for publishers? - I have spoken with one or two Adsense publishers in the past few weeks who say that they have been innocent victims of of click fraud occurring on their sites. Whilst I have no way of verifying their stories - they claim that Google has banned them from Adsense for reasons of suspicious activity on their accounts (ie clicking on their own ads). They argue that they did not do this and that someone else (possibly advertisers like the one’s mentioned in the article above) was responsible for the abnormalities in clicks on their ads. Once again I have no way of knowing if they are just making excuses for their own stupidity or if they are innocent victims of the fraudulent activities of others - however I see that this might become an increasing problem for publishers.

Only time will tell what the impact of click fraud will be upon PPC publishers - lets hope Google and other PPC providers keep on top of things and that the increased competition that Yahoo brings with their entering of the PPC market will keep things on the up and up for us all trying to make an honest living from PPC.

Written on April 20th, 2005 at 06:04 pm by Darren Rowse

enternetusers - Helping Bloggers Earn Money?

enternetusers Site News 13 comments

This afternoon I’ve been spending a little time thinking about how to brand enternetusers - ‘Helping bloggers earn Money’ is probably the most descriptive catch cry I can think of but I thought I’d throw it over to you my wonderful readers to see if you can come up with anything better.

Any ideas? What is enternetusers to you? How would you describe it to another blogger?

It needs to be short, sharp and descriptive. I’m hoping to use it in some advertising as well as here on the site.

Feel free to have a bit of fun with it if you like.

Written on April 20th, 2005 at 01:04 pm by Darren Rowse

enternetusers Newsletter Edition 1

enternetusers Site News 2 comments

I’ve just emailed out the inaugural enternetusers.net Newsletter. If you signed up for it and didn’t receive anything it either means that you:

  1. subscribed with the wrong email address (spelling mistake)
  2. are blogging email from my server for some reason
  3. havn’t yet confirmed your willingness to receive it (after you subscribed you would have been sent an email asking you to confirm your desire to receive it - a double opt in program).

If you didn’t get it simply re-subscribe and you’ll get the next one. If you want to see the first one contact me and I’ll send it to you.

For those unsure if they want to get it the first email included:

  • a summary of the hot posts on enternetusers this week
  • an earnings update (readers have asked for updates on how my own blogging is going - I give an indication of how I’m going)
  • a enternetusers tip (that won’t appear on the site)
  • a note about some recent posts and a mini preview of a post that will go up later today

If you are one of the hundred or so subscribers let me know how you found the first newsletter in comments below. I wanted to keep it simple (ie its not a html email), reasonably short and as helpful as possible. Your feedback on how well I did will be received with thanks.

PS - sorry about the spelling mistake - I really don’t want readers to ‘bare’ anything….

Written on April 20th, 2005 at 10:04 am by Darren Rowse

Generating Traffic for your Blog - Think Ahead

Miscellaneous Blog Tips 6 comments

In a great example of thinking ahead - Rogers Cadenhead registered the domain name BenedictXVI.com a couple of weeks ago.

‘Cadenhead, an author of 20 technology “how-to” books with titles like “Movable Type 3 Bible Desktop Edition” and “Teach Yourself Java in 21 Days,” said he registered the names for $12 each from Internet address seller Bulkregister.com.

“I couldn’t resist the chance to have some skin in the game. Someone else already has JohnPaulIII.com and JohnXXIV.com, but otherwise I put a chip down on every name of the past three centuries,” Cadenhead wrote on his Web log at Cadenhead.org.’

Source: Fla. Man Secured BenedictXVI.com Weeks Ago

In fact Rogers secured six domain names which that all could have corresponded with a new pope’s new chosen name.

This is a wonderful illustration of my previous advice to think ahead about not only what people are searching for now - but what they’ll be looking for in a few weeks or months time. This is what I was doing when I started Pope Watch - but Rogers certainly trumped us all with his move! Congratulations to him.

Written on April 20th, 2005 at 10:04 am by Darren Rowse

Donation Buttons on Blogs

Other Income Streams 5 comments

Jeremy Wright has a good post answering the question - Why I Don’t Have a Donate Button? His answer:

‘Because: my users already donate to my well being by simply reading this blog and clicking on various ads. I already trade against my reader’s goodwill by displaying ads. To me, having a donate button on top of that is very … ucky. I’m already making money off of your attention, so making money off of your goodwill seems to be “double dipping” to me.’

Donate buttons are definitely a way of monetizing your blog that many bloggers utilize (to different levels of success - see Andrew Sullivan and Jason Kottke for two who have had some success with it). In my experience this approach only works in one of two situation (or a combination of both):

High Readership Levels - Only a small percentage of your readership will ever donate to a blogger - no matter how good they might be. One of the obvious ways to increase the numbers of those donating is to have a lot of visitors to your site. This is a similar principle to that of a good Adsense (or other advertising) strategy - only a small percentage of readers click on ads - get more of them you get more clicks (its similar to an ‘increase impressions type strategy’ that I often talk about with Adsense.

• Devoted (Obsessed) and Loyal Readers - Another obvious way to increase your chances of getting donations on your blog is to have a loyal readership who feel strongly about you and your topic. Obviously these regular and loyal readers are more likely to feel the desire to help you out with some cash than the one off Search Engine generated reader. If we want to continue the comparison with Adsense strategy this one is more about increasing your Click Through Rate. The main difference here is that with Adsense its your Search Engine Traffic that is more likely to generate you an income than your loyal readers (who tend to become blind to your ads).

Of course there would be other ways of increasing your chances of donations including the placement and presentation of your donation button and the way in which you introduce it (most successful bloggers using this method tend to have a short period of time when they work hard on generating sponsors for the year and then don’t talk much about it for the rest of the year). However the above two factors of high traffic and devoted readership are probably two things you’re going to want before you quit your day job and become a fully paid blogger from this method - unless you have a couple of very wealthy and generous readers who are going to bankroll you.

I personally have not gone down this path for a number of reasons:

• I don’t have blogs like I’ve just described - most of my blogs have smallish readership - and the bigger ones rely upon Search Engine Traffic. (Actually enternetusers is probably the one that would be most successful at the donation model because its repeat reader factor is higher than the others).

It is difficult to sustain a donation based income stream - One of the things I’ve observed from a number of people using this strategy is that it can be difficult to maintain a support base over a number of years. You run the risk with this approach of disillusioning your readers if you’re constantly mentioning your donate button - some like to give a one off donation one year to cover future years - and some donators are dependent upon what stance you’re taking on your blog (Andrew Sullivan is one example of this - his donations go up and down in proportion with what he’s writing about).

Changes the Dynamics of your Blog - Whilst I’ve got nothing against donation income streams, something inside of me reacts against them. I find it hard to put my finger on it but I wonder if it would change the dynamics between an author and their reader/supporter. In a sense your reader becomes your boss which could bring up all kinds of tricky dynamics - do the people paying you to write affect what or how you write? - of course similar issues can arise from taking on Advertisers.

• I don’t need the money - I guess this is the main factor - my advertising revenue is enough to live on and I wouldn’t feel right in asking for more at present. There is only so much a person needs to sustain themselves - to ask for more from readers right now would be greedy in my mind.

I’m interested to hear your thoughts on donation buttons and asking for financial support from readers - leave a comment below.



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