Thursday, October 30, 2003

Will subpoena to Blog*Spot reveal user?

There has been a long-running feud between two parties. Who they are and the nature of the feud are unimportant. You can read about it here if you want.

What is important to bloggers is the threat to reveal an anonymous blogger by trying to force Blogger's Blog*Spot site to fess up the real name and address of it's user. In an email threat, one side said: "Determining your identity for the purpose of making service of process can be easily accomplished through a subpoena to" Will Blog*Spot cave under the pressure? This will be something to watch as two parties that you ordinarily could not care less about force some real privacy issues on the blogging community.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

I got mine. Did you get yours?

Those who paid for Blogger Pro were offered a Blogger sweat shirt in compensation for Blogger going to just one flavor of free blogging. If you subscribed to Blogger Pro and did not get an offer for the sweatshirt by email, contact Blogger to see if the offer is still good.

Monday, October 27, 2003

A blog with two million visitors?

How would you like to run a blog that has had two million visitors? Well, apparently it can be done. Randall Van der Woning claims that his blog has hit the 2 million mark. Of course, a big part of his success is that he has been blogging for five years.

Like we have told people who ask for tips at Blogger Forum about how to get popular: "Write, write and write." All the bells and whistles to make your blog fancy don't amount to a hill of beans if you don't have good, consistent content.

And if you get successful, maybe you to can get your blog featured in a CNN report the way Randall did.

Blogger Forum down

As of this morning, the Blogger Forum site is down because of a server problem. The problem seems to be a missing MySQL database which holds all of the Blogger Forum information.

If this is a server-related problem, it had better be worked out fast or we will need to find a more reliable server. If it a hacker problem, then our faith in the nature of human beings just went down another notch. We'll report back as soon as possible.

Friday, October 24, 2003

What would Google IPO do to Blogger?

There is plenty of talk around about Google going public sometime early next year. Google doesn't need money, according to Google owners. I guess they just want money.

So, once a company goes public and has shareholders, and once shareholders demand that a company be as profitable as possible, where does that leave Blogger? Blogger is definately not profitable to Google. I don't know what use Blogger is to Google other than the public statement about Blogger "fitting in" with Google's search strategies. I only know that Blogger is not going to ever be a profitable part of the Google company. That's fine if you are privately owned. I predict that if Google goes public, there will be immediate pressure to spin off Blogger.

Maybe bloggers in general should offer to buy Blogger from Google. There's a thought: Blogger owned by bloggers.

Spammers attack commenting system

Although Movable Type's commenting system is the main target, we are all coming into the sights. The fact is, it is extremely easy for spammers to invade any blog's commenting system and clog it with spam instead of legitimate comments. MT's commenting system does not require logging in to leave a comment. Although the blogmaster can ban IP addresses, this is easily avoided by the spammeisters. WiredNews has the full story.

Will blogs ever be profitable?

The guessing goes on about the Google purchase of Blogger. It is clear that current revenue from blogging is not a factor --the money just isn't there. The fact that one of Google's first moves was to drop pay per year Blogger Pro in favor of an across the board free Blogger shows that cash flow is not a consideration. The speculation goes on as to what will happen next. Take this, for example:

Still, privately held search engine bought blogging pioneer Pyra Labs in February of this year for an undisclosed sum, a move that prompted the mainstream media to look more closely at blogs. The business logic of the purchase is hard to see, but in a rare reversion to pre-dot-bomb business priorities, the company said that the acquisition was based on strategic rather than on revenue considerations. The fact that blogs are rich in content and links seems to fit well with Google's goal to find and organise the information on the Web.

Here's where I think the profitability problem is going to come in: bloggers are cheap. I'm sorry, but they are (I include myself). At this point in time we are all used to a free ride and any attempt to charge any significant fees would probably result in a mass exodus away from Blogger. "Moreover, although there are many blogs, few blogs are maintained to a point where bloggers would pay to keep them on-line. Of a total of 4.12 million blogs on eight blog services, more than two-thirds, or 2.72 million sites, have been either temporarily or permanently abandoned."

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Polling service for bloggers

Here's what could turn out to be one of the most interesting add-ons developed for bloggers this year. QuestionPro has announced Q-Blogger, a system to track blogger opinions and then host the results on the QuestionPro server. From their news release:

QuestionPro has recognized a growing need to publish surveys quickly and easily to a relevant audience of Internet users. The QuestionPro Q-Blogger will automatically publish a Blog entry to the user's Weblog containing a link to their electronic survey hosted by QuestionPro. QuestionPro's Q-Blogger effectively creates a real time mechanism for gathering opinions and feedback from Blog readers. Responses are automatically tabulated and available in real time at

Future of Blogger

There's an interesting interview with Evan Williams, founder of Blogger, at C/Net. We keep asking at Blogger Forum "where is Blogger going?" This might provide a little insight:

Q: What would be a sensible way to blend blogging in with the functions of a search engine?

A: We're not really focused on that. We're pretty heads-down in making Blogger a better publishing platform. Most things published through Web logs and Blogger get into Google; there's sort of a free integration there by virtue of Google's goal to search the whole Web.

Over the last four years, since we started Blogger, there's been a tremendous amount of development on the publishing side. There's not been as much progress on the reading and finding-stuff side. That's Google's forte. That's where we see we can add value to the Web log world--helping people find good stuff--hopefully with Google's technology.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Downside of blogging

"He's already lost a big chunk of his income and is under incredible fire, all because of three stupid sentences that demonstrate the dangers of blogging -- that is, posting your raw opinions online, almost immediately, without an editor."

This is a very good assessment of the Gregg Easterbrook situation. If you don't know, he is (was) an editor of the New Republic who lost his job over a statement he made in his own private blog. For the original article that lost him his job, go here. For his apology, go here.

Telling us what we already know

Mainline business publications are starting to get on the blogging bandwagon by acknowledging the importance of blogs. In a Michael Gartenberg interview, EContent made note that:

but Gartenberg believes it will take a move by the big three—AOL (word about the beta testing of a blogging tool leaked out at the beginning of July), Yahoo!, and Microsoft—before blogging enters business in a big way. He says, "The notion of using a weblog for enhanced communications is very, very appealing [to businesses]. It will be interesting to see as companies like AOL, Yahoo!, and Microsoft begin to start offering some of these tools and make those things available." He adds, "I think it's safe to say if there is a way to make money in this space, these folks are going to want to go after it."

Microsoft has already made it pretty clear that the next edition of Windows (Longhorn, not Windows 2003) will have a blogging component built in. It's interesting that many feel business does not jump into something until is supported by the mainstream. Meanwhile, others have been blogging as part of their businesses for years.

History of blogging

The Columbia Journalism Review has an interesting article on the history of Weblogs. "The growing power of Weblogs, or "blogs," has hardly gone unnoticed" is the starting sentence.

To show you how fast things have changed, the article points out that Pitas was the first blogging software which was developed by Andrew Smales and went online in 1999. The blogosphere has gone from dozens to millions in a very, very short time.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Blogger road kill

And check out this on-target article

"The 'blogosphere' is littered with blogging roadkill: blogs that were set up using the easy to use blogging software and then hastily abandoned as it became obvious A) no-one was reading them; B) they're a lot of work to maintain; and C) you very quickly run out of things to say about your cat or pot plant or conspiracy theory."

This is absolutely true. If you want to blog, don't bother unless you are willing to put some time into it. The lifespan of many blogs is one day.

"Freedom of Screech"

The Advertiser, which is an Australian journal, has referred to US bloggers as having "freedom of screech." Using the rants bloggers tend to sink to, especially over the California recall, the article went on to explain:

"Like the Sunday soapbox speakers at London's Hyde Park Corner, blogs are platforms for self-anointed pundits, providing online journals that can be updated throughout the day. Like most corners of the Internet, the quality of blogs varies tremendously from the terribly erudite to the barely literate."

It's a good article that concludes with this observation: "...the sheer volume of content online means you may have to hunt around to find something worthwhile."

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Porn blogs?

Why not? Sex is everywhere on the Internet, isn't it inevitable that bloggers get into the porn scene?

Tech TV has an interesting article with the appropriate links.

Monday, October 13, 2003

The most influential blogs

Bloggers seem to spend most of their time discussion other blogs. It is therefore very interesting to see what "influential" bloggers think are "influential" blogs. The Online Journalism Review has an article on just this subject.

"This past year has seen the world of Weblogs, aka the blogosphere, grow in power and stature, if not to the general public, then to the other media. On Iraq. On Trent Lott. On The New York Times scandals. So we've created a graphical depiction of what I believe are the most influential blogs, pushing the direction of media coverage and perhaps even public policy. These blogs are either focused on the business of media, current events, politics or some combination of the three. They cover the media or have been covered by the media."

For a really good analysis of how blogs influence each other, be sure to check out the "mouth" charts at the bottom of the article. Each mouth takes you to a blog showing it's own influential mouths --can't explain it, you just have to go there and look.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Japan Sucks blog

Well, we now know that Scotland has it's own blog. How about blogs that are against a country instead of about a country?

Take a look at Why Japan Sucks blog. To quote from the byline: "A blog about the never-ending frustrations of an American living in the nightmare known as modern Japan....the whole truth and nothing but the truth!"

Friday, October 10, 2003

When a country blogs

Scotland has its own blog. Check it out at ScotBlog.

From today's blog: A 12-year-old Scottish girl called Alicia Roland, has won a national competition to become the new voice of Britain's Speaking Clock telephone service. Apparently, in the 67 years since it began, the speaking clock has never featured a Scottish voice.

"You, too, can be a blogger" article at

A article on the basics of blogging is an interesting read --especially for someone brand new to blogging. The article suggests using Blogger to get started in the world of blogging. "If you're new to blogging, my advice is to sign up for a free blog just to test the waters. You can do that by visiting"

The article is somewhat misleading to new bloggers by saying that Blogger has extra services that are required for popular blogs that cost $50 per year. This leaves the impression that at some point you need to pay. I'm not sure if they are referring to the old Blogger Pro paid service that no longer requires payment or to the Blog*Spot Plus services. The article should have mentioned that you can also use Blogger on your own server or host.

It's understandable that everyone seems confused about what is offered and the cost. Blogger's own knowledgebase says: Can I order Blogger Pro or Blog*Spot Plus? We've stopped taking orders for these products as we are retooling our product offering. The features of these products are still completely supported and we are providing priority support to Pro and Plus users.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Blogs respond to recall

The California Insider blog of reporter Daniel Weintraub has some interesting insight on the Arnold triumph in California. In an interview with Sheila Kuhl, a Democrat politico, Kuhl had this to say when asked what exactly the California Senate would need to save California from:

KUEHL: From ignorance. This guy has no idea how to run a state. One of two things will happen. He'll have his own ideas and no way to carry them out. I mean he has already proposed three things that the governor cannot do. He wants to roll back the car tax on his own by fiat, which he can't do. He wants to tax the Indians, which he can't do. He doesn't know anything about running the state. So either he will propose a lot of stuff he can't do and we'll have to govern, or he'll be pretty well manipulated by people who have an agenda, very much the way I think the president of the United States has been handled by people who are really telling him how to do these things.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

New survey shows over 900,000 active blogs

The Perseus study of blogging may not be accurate, according to a new survey by NITLE (National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education).

The disparity between the Perseus research and NITLE's figures apparently lies in the type of blogs that were analyzed. The Perseus survey analyzed the estimated 4.12 million sites that have been created on blog-hosting services, such as Blog-City, BlogSpot, Diaryland, LiveJournal, Pitas, TypePad, Weblogger and Xanga, while the NITLE index includes standalone blogs as well as hosted.

It is interesting that NITLE chooses 8 weeks of inactivity as the benchmark to declare a blog inactive. I suppose if I had to pick a figure, I would choose about two months as well. The new survey also takes into account sites that are "test" sites.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Will Microsoft integrate blogging into Windows?

Dan Gilmore had an interesting post in August about Microsoft's entry into the blogging world. That is, the expected official entry. Dan pointed out that Microsoft has started using blogging as an employment description in a few job offerings. For example, a new position for software development engineer contained this in the job description: "You will work with a team that will build services that power scenarios like personal and shared spaces, blogging and roaming storage. What you build will also make Longhorn come alive by enabling it to seamlessly sync and share their data. We are just starting to think about and design these services..."

Longhorn is the next windows generation expected in about 2005. It's interesting that Microsoft is interested in blogging as being a potential key part of the next Windows. Given the speed at which blogging has taken hold, it looks like the blogging world in 2005 may be somewhat different than we see today.

Saturday, October 04, 2003

Blogosphere to reach 10 million, but most will be dead

In what is touted as the first comprehensive study of blogging, Perseus has concluded that by 2004 there will be 10 million blogs, but that most will be dead.

Perseus is a research company that based its finding on a study of over 3,000 blogs. Perseus finds blogging is most popular with teenage girls. More than half of the weblogs surveyed are run by teenagers and 91.1 per cent are under 30. "Blogging is many things, yet the typical blog is written by a teenage girl who uses it twice a month to update her friends and classmates on happenings in her life," the report notes.

A large number of blogs are abandoned after a day. Most seem to be gone within a year. "Perseus' study doesn't see a 'community' as much as a graveyard. The average weblog is only updated once every fourteen days, and Perseus concludes that 'the majority of blogs started are dissolving into static, abandoned web pages.' Well, maybe people have simply got better things to do."

The survey found that most bloggers are: female, age 13-19, and that the growth rate in new blogs will drop from 606% in 2001 to 105% in 2004.

I guess Perseus is reporting something that all bloggers who stick with blogging already know: writing anything takes work. Who cares if millions of teenage girls get tired of blogging after one day? I think that whole segment of blogging can be ignored.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Broadband cost going down

In the "good news for bloggers" category, the trend to lessen the cost of broadband is still going down. SBC has announced that the cost of DSL is now $26.95 and Comcast has also announced lower prices. Verizon had already announced a reduction to $29.95 per month.

With the prices coming down into the range of dial-up services like AOL, it's going to be real interesting to see where things end up over the coming year. Once you taste speed, you'll never go back.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

British journalist takes blogging as assignment

"The technology editor's assignment seemed easy for a veteran tech hack like me: explore the much-hyped world of the weblog, set up my own blog and report back the findings. Seemed easy - but wasn't."

It's interesting to see how someone with computer experience, but completely new to the world of blogging, starts out deciding how to blog. Andy Goldberg first step was to see what blogging was about. Then, he had to take the plunge and create his own blog. "A quick Google search of the word 'blog' was all I needed to get started. I found dozens of browser-based programs that promised to get me posting my pithy commentaries within a couple of minutes." Andy chose Blogger and hosted his new blog on Blog*Spot.

"But I soon discovered that such an undertaking takes a lot of work to do properly - and I already had a job. There certainly was no way I could realistically envisage my blog becoming a money-making concern."

Reality step #1 had set in. To find out more about Andy's experiences, visit the independent. To visit what remains of Andy's weblog, go here.