Friday, September 16, 2005

Blogging with Word

Test of post with Word Blogger now has an add-in for Microsoft Word to allow Blogging to Blogger without leaving Word. I assume you can add color, links and other Word formatting.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Blog posts double

Technorati stats are showing that the number of blogs posted are doubling.

Posting volume has doubled this year alone - between January and August, in part due to the growing number of mainstream blogging tools such as MSN Spaces, AOL Journals, Blogger, and LiveJournal. At the end of July, about 37,500 posts were being created every hour.

Posting volume is likely a better measure of blog activity than the number of blogs being created, and a better indicator of whether blogging is just a fad or a sustained activity. -MarketingVox

Thursday, July 21, 2005

BlogPulse updated

BlogPulse has updated its site to include more updated blog data.

BlogPulse now ranks the top blogs, blog posts, news sources, and news stories daily. "With this new edition of BlogPulse, marketers and bloggers can gain a much deeper understanding of how key bloggers are shaping, catalyzing, and influencing broader perceptions about brands, products, services and everyday issues," said Intelliseek CEO Mike Nazzaro in a statement.

This update also enhances searches conducted through the site for blogs. Query results will be sorted with a combination of data and blog rank contributing to that order.

If you visit the BlogPulse site, note the box that shows how many new blogs were created in the prior 24 hour period. When I visited, it was more than 56,000!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Google raises bar?

Several times a year Google goes through some major tinkering with the algorithms it uses to rank Web sites. These major changes are different from the close to monthly changes you will see in positioning of sites. Around a year ago there was a very major change that dropped most sites by at least one notch. That is, from 6 to 5 --or whatever. The most recent change was almost as dramatic.

In the past few PageRank updates it has become quite apparent that Google is continuously raising the bar on PageRank. In their defense, with all of the reciprocal link building, link renting, etc. going on this was a natural reaction to the growing number high PageRank sites that attained those ranks simply by building or buying hundreds and thousands of links. -- Search Engine Journal

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Using AdSense

Some pretty good tips on using AdSense in your blog come from SelfSEO, like this:

Internet users are "trained" to look in certain locations and ignore things that are outside of thier narrow scope of vision. People can look to the sides for information, but the propensity for them to click your ads becomes significantly lower. By putting ads directly "in thier face", you have a greater chance they will click it.

Here's a few more tips:

I use a white background instead of a color background.

I remove the border on adsense so it does not look like an ad and make sure it matches the background.

I keep the Title and the Hyperlink "Blue".

I keep Adsense "above the fold", so they are the "FIRST" things that people see when they arrive at the site.

I try to keep the ads "left" aligned.

I use the 160X600 vertical for people to see when they move vertically down the website page.

I try to place images near the google ads. Images draw the eyes near the ads.

I keep the site concise, clean and focused.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Relationship searches with Grokker

Search engines help you find sites based on relevance to your search topic. For example, if you search on "Blogger Forum" (without the parentheses) you get a linear list of results based on the sites' importance.

Now, suppose that instead of a linear result you could get a 3-dimensional result. Suppose further that instead of a return based on a site's importance in relation to your search topic, you got a result based on the relationship of sites to not only your topic, but to each other. It is a lot easier to see what I mean than to try and explain it. So, here is the same "Blogger Forum" search, but done with Grokker: Once you play with this for a bit, try entering your own search topics.

You will notice that you have relationships that are loosely connected and relationships that are within "neighborhoods" of related topics. You can see that Blogger Users is a neighborhood that includes Blogger Forum as a site and Blogger Family as a neighborhood that also includes Blogger Forum. However, the relationships within each neighborhood is a bit different. If you then click on one of the sites, the relationships change depending on the choices you make.

Warning: you may find you are spending hours investigating these relationships and discovering sites you never knew existed because a new relationship was suggested to you by Grokker.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Getting dropped by AdSense

Now that Google has opened AdSense to a larger base (bloggers), there seems to be more reports of Google dropping people from the AdSense program for alleged abuse.

A typical email from Google goes like this:

Hello xxxx,

It has come to our attention that invalid clicks have been generated
on the ads on your web pages. We have therefore disabled your Google
AdSense account. Please understand that this step was taken in an
effort to protect the interest of the AdWords advertisers.

The Blogger_user_support Yahoo Group has a thread now on the subject:

Just wanted to share that after a 14 day application process, I was approved for Google AdSense and began using it. I was surprised and happy to see the money I was earning. I also began using site meter at the same time and was surprised at the number of hits I am getting per day, about 100 per weekday. However all of a sudden on day 3 of AdSense my revenue was 75% less than before and then 4th day it was zero and 5th day I received an email stating I was booted out of the program.

Their email seemed to be a standard letter in which they accused my account activity as looking like I am using a robot program or an automated ad clicking program or other computer programs to artificially inflate my clicks. Therefore they closed my account and won't even pay me for those 3days. I am miffed and frankly, offended.

How do you avoid being accused of AdSense manipulation? Take a look HERE for a good article on the subject. It goes from the obvious (don't click on your own AdSense links) to the less obvious.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Yahoo guidelines on employee blogging

Now that Yahoo has it's own blogging feature (Yahoo 360), the company has come out with official guidelines for it's employees who choose to blog. Company guidelines are essential since so many bloggers have been fired or otherwise disciplined without any warning in advance as to company policy on the issue.

In essence, the policy states that no employee may blog about any company issue unless the issue has already been made public by the company. This would probably be a given in any standard-form blogging guideline that a company might want to implement. Taken a step further, what about companies that have official blogs?

"Some companies have a two-tiered blogging scenario. On the official level, they employ marketing people such as Microsoft's Robert Scoble and Google's Michael Krantz who are specifically tasked with evangelizing via the short form."

"Meanwhile, well-known employees often write personal blogs in which they have to constantly remind readers that they're not speaking for the company." -InternetNews

So, it can get pretty hairy out there deciding not only what the guidelines should be, but whether the employee is an official blogger, official blogger but blogging on his own time, or just an employee who mentions the company. Three sets of guidelines, perhaps?

Friday, May 20, 2005

Dear Blogger: a wish list

Fredrik Wacka sums up what all of us have been talking about for about two years (since Google took over Blogger). His open-letter to Google starts out with a statement we have heard over and over again here at Blogger Forum: "I have tried to find ways to switch from Blogger to another publishing system, but there are problems I'd like to avoid. So I figured I could try influencing you to improve Blogger instead."

Here's what Fredrik wants, and it's a short, reasonable list:

1. Categories -- it's standard in almost every other blog publishing system. Now that categories automate Technorati tagging too, I really need them.

2. An integrated TrackBack function -- it's an extra burden to do it manually, and I often skip that part I'm afraid. Give me Pingback too while you're at it. You don't have to be embarrassed that you didn't invent it. Who cares?

3. Comments that are as customizable as the rest of the templates. And please stop asking people to sign up for a Blogger account as your default option. It makes many choose not to comment (I use Haloscan instead).

Speaking of comments, take a look at some of the comments Fredrik's article has received from Blogger users.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Possible Blogger enhancements

Blogger has been quiet for quite some time on what will be next in the world. With the persistent problems in performance, Blogger users would first like to be assured that more effort is being put into developing a more stable and reliable base product.

However, there is talk about other enhancements in the development or "We're thinking about it" stage.

Here are some ideas that Blogger is looking into as reported in Computerworld:

Native image uploading. The ability to upload images directly through a native Blogger interface instead of through indirect methods.

Private groups. Although it is possible to password protect blogs with third-party products, Blogger does not support private blogs or private areas. This would allow Blogger users to control who can view their blogs.

Gmail integration. This would be a natural. However, everyone is a bit fuzzy at this point as to what integration would entail and exactly what benefits this would bring to Blogger and Gmail users.

Mobile Blogger. Google introduced the latest enhancement to Blogger last week, when it launched Blogger Mobile, a feature that lets users create a new blog and post to it from mobile devices. "There's lots of people walking around with little blogging appliances which others may call mobile phones." --Biz Stone

Monday, May 09, 2005

Using a blog for promotion

One of the busiest guys around and an expert at self-promotion is Phil Town. Phil is a motivational speaker and has a new book coming out on investing for the small investor.

Getting a book published is expensive and takes a good bit of time to get up and running. A blog, on the other hand, can be up and running in a day. Then it is just a matter of having something to say.

Phil apparently never has that problem. He is motivated. If you take a look at his site,, you will notice a few things. First, he has a catchy tag-line that lets you know right away what the site is about: "I teach people how to get rich no matter what happens in the market. Rule #1 is: Don't lose money!"

Phil decided to use TypePad as his blog platform. Take a look at his blog and analyze his layout and how he presents information. Use your browser's ability (View, then Source in IE) to drill down to his source code to see how he has headings set up for the search spiders. Phrase-rich statements surrounded by "h2" get more attention from Google and the other engines than just plain text. One of his phrases is "I teach people how to get rich no matter what happens in the market." I have no doubt that within a short time his site will be on the first page of any search for combinations of that phrase.

Take a look at the site. It is rich source for learning how to set up a blog to promote yourself or your business.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Blogger Forum tries out Serendipity

Our own sample blog on Bloggerforum has always been on the platform. However, there are certainly many other platforms out there to choose from. So, how do you make a decision as to the best blog platform to trust your scribblings to?

Obviously you want something dependable, easy to use, and nice-looking. Oh, yes, also with all the bells and whistles chronically lacking with We decided to run the same blog postings here in 3 platforms: Blogger, Serendipity, and the internal "News" module that is part of this site. Actually, the New section is, in essence, a blog and it works quite well.

As to the decision to run Serendipity as the third choice, that was almost a natural. Serendipity is extremely easy to install and run (you need your own server, however). It also has what Blogger lacks: categories, RSS feeds, calendar archives, themes you can change on the fly, plug-ins, etc. etc.

We will be running our sample blog in both Blogger and Serendipity for the immediate future so folks can see a side-by-side comparison. We may add other blog platforms. Also, we will have our "Blog" tab give you a choice of which blog you want to see. Meanwhile, you can see the blog in two places (besides our own News section). Our Blogger based blog, and our Serendipity based blog. Enjoy.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Blogger reveals juicy Disney tidbits

Blogger Jim Hill has been blogging about Disney for years at Although Disney is his favorite subject, Mickey and his friends probably were not terribly happy with everything Jim had to say about the Disney corporate world on his site. Things got a bit nasty when Jim blogged on the the well-known dispute over management:

Hill butted heads with the multimedia giant once before, at the 2004 shareholders' meeting in Philadelphia. Hill, who had been covering the leadership battle between Disney chief executive Michael Eisner and Roy Disney, was quoted in a Wall Street Journal article accompanied by a sketch of him. When he arrived at the meeting, Hill said company officials pulled his credentials. The incident happened in front of the press corps and he was on cable news the next day. Then as now, Hill's blog saw a Space Mountain-size spike in hits. Chicago Sun-Times

Hill ran into problems more recently because of an unofficial Disneyland tour he was arranging through his blog.

Once again, this demonstrates that it pays to find your blogging niche if you want to develop a large following.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Serendipity .8 released

One of the best and most overlooked blogging platforms out there was upgraded on April 15.

Finally, after about 8 months of hard development and 6 beta releases the Serendipity Team is proud to finally release version 0.8 of Serendipity.

Many new and important features have been introduced, the core code has been made much more flexible, our code is polished up and many bugs and security issues were addressed.

Serendipity is one of my top five blog software programs. Take a look HERE for a list of the many features and then download a copy for yourself. It's free and it's good.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Is your blog PC?

Politically correct, that is.

Do you have an obligation to make your blog accessible to the handicapped? What if a blind person wants to read your blog. Do you have a way to reasonably accommodate your blind readers? It isn't as far-fetched as you might think. Southwest Airlines has already been sued because they have not made their Website accessible to the blind.

This isn't the first lawsuit alleging that the ADA applies to the Internet. In 1999, the National Federation of the Blind sued AOL alleging that its service was inaccessible to blind users. Earlier this year, Access Now sued Barnes & Noble and Claire's Stores alleging that both websites violated the ADA. Both cases settled out of court. WiredNews

But here's the question I've not been able to get answered after looking at these pending lawsuits: how exactly do you make a site accessible to the blind? I mean, come on, what technology are we expected to employ?

Apparently, all you have to do to be able to sue is make the claim that a site discriminates simply by virtue of the fact that the visually impaired cannot see it. So what suggestions are made for ways to make the Internet accessible to those who cannot see it? None that I can find. I suppose if you required all Web site to have streaming audio for everything that is displayed, including audio descriptions of all graphics, maybe that could work. Of course, it could also put the Web pretty much out of business as ways to handle the bandwidth demands and the expense are dealt with.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

"Blogger sucks" gets 6,500 Google hits

Despite some claims that searching on "blogger sucks" (with the quote marks) will get 700,000 hits, the point is still well taken. The fact that Blogger is getting so much bad press should prompt the Blogger/Google folks to take some action.

It's getting a little nasty out there.

In a post called "Blogger Stinks," Ryan McReynolds, who shares his views on life, God, intimacy, politics and media philosophy, wrote: "I'm getting really tired of all the glitches and hiccups of Blogger. You may have noticed double posts at times on this blog. That's because you never know whether clicking something on Blogger will actually accomplish what is intended. Lately it seems like clicking does nothing but bring up a 'document contains no data.' Maddening." --WiredNews

Friday, April 08, 2005

Fake Windows update circulating

There is apparently an email campaign going on to infect your computer with a new virus.

The legitimate looking email seems to come from Microsoft and invites the reader to go to the Microsoft update site to get access to the latest security updates. The site seems to be a good copy of Microsoft's Web site and lures the visitor into downloading a Windows security patch.

But should unsuspecting users download the bogus patches, they will infect their computers with the Troj/DSNX-05 Trojan horse, according to Sophos. That, in turn, will let the attackers remotely take control of the infected PC. ZDNet

Microsoft is quick to point out that they never contact users by email for security updates.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Gmail goes to 2 gigs

Google announced recently that the one gigabyte storage limit for Gmail will be increased to two gigabytes.

Of course, the big question is "When is Gmail going to be public?"

Makes you wonder why they keep improving the service, but make people beg to get invitations to use the service. Wouldn't it make more sense to move out of the "beta" stage before doubling the storage? Google will not discuss when, or even if, Gmail will be public.

Asked whether access to Gmail accounts would ever be totally open, Harik declined to answer. "We keep looking for ways to make it more broadly available to people who want to use it," he said. --PCWorld Australia

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Blogs in Action feature

There is an interesting (and long) article on blogging via Corante. The article is by Suw Charman and basically is what she brought home from the Blogs in Action seminar put on by the Six-Apart folks. One of the seminar speakers was lawyer David Carr who had this to say about libel:

In 97, someone pretending to be one Dr Godfrey posted to a Usenet group and said lots of horrible things about him, the real Dr Godfrey took the view that the comments were libellous. Faxed Demon internet, and asked them to take it down. Demon said it's nothing to do with them, they were just hosters. Godfrey took Demon to court and won - Demon said they were innocent carriers. But that only works up to the point that they have received notice of the libel. Because Dr Godfrey had noticed them, and not taken down the posting, they lost their defence.

Law does not require you to police your comments - if someone leaves a libellous comments, you are not necessarily obliged to do something about it unless someone notifies you, and then you must take it down. Difficulty is what is a plausible complaint and what is silly and frivolous. Puts blog owners in difficult position, because they will remove the offending item rather than face a lawsuit, although implication that someone wrote something libellous could also be interpreted as libellous.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Yahoo joins blogging

Yahoo announced a beta version of its new blog service called Yahoo 360. The release will be by invitation only at first until some testing is done.

There was talk about this back when Microsoft released MSN Spaces. Spaces, as you may recall, got some big publicity at release time and then faded into obscurity. I'm not sure how Spaces is doing these days. One problem with Spaces is that it has a "me too" feel to it.

One of the interesting features of Yahoo 360 is the ability of the blogger to restrict who can view their blog. I know at least a few people are interested in this feature since it has been the topic of a few posts here at Blogger Forum.

Available March 29, the free test will integrate Yahoo's existing products, such as instant messenger, photos, local search, music and groups with new offerings such as blogs, mobile blogs and sharing tools for recommending movies, restaurants and other items. --CNN

Both Spaces and Yahoo 360 are geared more towards the personal blog meant for sharing within circles of friends.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

World view of bloggers

Here's one of the fascinating aspects of blogging: seeing "unofficial" opinions of the world from new viewpoints.

For example, the view of Iran from Venezuela.

VCRISIS, with the tagline "Venezuelan News and Analysis, has a recent blog about the visit to Venezuela by Iranian President Khatami. Outside Venezuela, people might wonder why Iran's decision to go forward with it's nuclear capability is officially supported. Sometimes it takes a blogger to get the unofficial view:

"Fresh from insulting people's intelligence in France, Chavez arrived in the same mood to receive Khatami, calling his visit a 'blessing' for Venezuelans. Well, not this Venezuelan blogger who can hardly see how a theocracy ruling a country where it forces women to wear veils and limits all sorts of Human Rights can be a blessing anywhere. But it seems that in the Chavez new world order, enmity toward the US is the high mark of civilization. Indeed, Iran's Khatami, a failure in his promise of moderate liberation at home, eventually caving in to the conservative Mullah, is certainly not going to criticize the repression being installed in Venezuela where the press is getting its tchador as bloggers wonder if their fate will be like the Irani bloggers."

Monday, February 28, 2005

Blog graduate course

I suppose this had to happen, the University of California at Berkeley is supposedly offering a graduate course in blogging. The course would be part of the school's college of journalism.

Is blogging a form of journalism, a form of self-satisfied egotistic key-tapping, or some mix? Judge for yourself and take a look at Sales Master World for one take on this and then at ktheory for a blogger's perspective.

While you're looking around, see if you can find any substantiation for the existence of the class at Berkeley.

The Sales Master World has some good reading including this: "To a large extent, bloggers are more interested in a point of view or the power of an idea than they are 'readers.' While the thought of a worldwide audience is certainly an ego rush, many bloggers would continue blogging for an audience of one. Think less about what I can do for you and more about what you can do for me."

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Blog history 101

Time for a little history lesson on blogging in general and Movable Type in particular. After all, most of what we take for granted with blogging can be traced to Mena and Ben Trott, owners of Six-Apart, LTD. Just a few short years ago, when both were 20 years old, Mena got into blogging while Ben followed not as a blogger, but as the programmer of the family. Today, after their acquisition of LiveJournal, the couple's privately-owned company has about 7 million customers. Here's an excerpt from the Boston Herald article which warrants a visit and complete read:

None of it would have happened if Mena hadn't grown bored during the post-boom doldrums of early 2001 and decided to write her own blog.
"I really needed a creative outlet," Mena said. "I figured I wasn't going to be famous in the real world, so I may as well try to be famous in the online world."
Mena gradually won fans with a quirky journal called Dollarshort. The blog shared the foibles of her youth and mused on eclectic topics like her disgust with people who clip their fingernails on public transit and her obsession with the 1972 disaster movie, "The Poseidon Adventure."
It was the kind of thing her taciturn husband would never do.
"Ben is shy and gets uncomfortable when people talk about him," said Andrew Anker, Six Apart's executive vice president of corporate development. "Mena gets upset when everyone is not talking about her every day."
As Mena blogged, Ben became frustrated in his search for a decent computer programming job. While unemployed, Ben began to work on the computer code that became Movable Type.
When 100 people downloaded Movable Type during the first hour of its release in September 2001, the Trotts decided to run their own business from their bedroom, drawing the inspiration for the company name from their nearly identical age - Ben and Mena were born six days apart in 1977.
"We were just looking for something to subsist on," Ben said. "We figured if we ever got 3,000 users, we would just close the (TypePad) service and make it invitation only."

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

#1 looked up word for 2004: "Blog"

This probably wouldn't surprise anyone who blogs, but The Merriam-Webster Online Web site named “blog” its No. 1 word for 2004, based on the number of people looking it up.

“Blog, noun – short for weblog (1999): a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments and often hyperlinks provided by the writer.”

The explosive growth of blogging has led to an equally explosive growth in blog readership. A recent survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found blog readership jumped 58 percent in the United States last year, representing about 32 million people, or roughly 27 percent of all Internet users. -- Journal Gazette

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Yet another blogger fired

But this time, can you guess what corporate employer fired their blogging employee?

None other than Google, owner of Blogger. That's right folks, Blogger has fired a Blogger employee for blogging because they didn't like what he was blogging about. Something or other about not being especially happy with Google's renumeration package. Whatever.

As pointed out by Suw Charman, Google/Blogger apparently doesn't even have a written policy or guideline for their employees to go by. What's allowed? What's frowned upon by the corporate high geeks? Apparently saying anything about being unhappy, even in passing, gets you a ticket out the door. Sort of the same way North Korea runs things.

If you want to show your support, Mark Jen's site is here. Go take a visit and see what he has to say about being suddenly unemployed.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

MySQL virus reported

For you folks with WordPress and all the other blogs based on PHP and MySQL, here's something new to worry about. A virus called MySQL bot or SpoolCLL (the name of it's executable file) is reported to have infected around 8,000 computers so far.

The worm takes advantage of the administrator's use of weak passwords by making a brute force attack with a list of common passwords. If a password matches, it takes over the database.

The worm gets initial access to a database machine by guessing the password of the system administrator, using common passwords. It then uses a flaw in MySQL to run another type of program, known as bot software, which then takes full control of the system. "A long list of passwords is included with the bot, and the bot will brute-force the password," the Internet Storm Center said in its advisory. --ZDNet

This would be a very good time to go into your system and beef-up your database access password.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Getting traffic for your blog

WebProNews has an interesting article on driving traffic to your blog. The title is Three Overlooked Ways to Get Hundreds of Links and Prospects to Your Blog. OK, I admit the title is a bit over-blown. I suspect the title is geared more towards the search engines than the readers. That is probably a lesson in itself.

The first overlooked way is commenting. I don't think this area is really that overlooked, but the author's take on commenting together with some new ways to combat comment spamming are worth a look.

The interesting overlooked way is trackbacks. Most people don't understand this in the first place, which is why a detailed explanation is worth the price of admission. Moreover, the author points out that Blogger does not support trackbacks. Not to fear, there are third party suppliers who can fix this problem for you --as the article points out.

"It's harder to estimate an exact number of visitors that come as a result of trackback links. But if you posted five days out of seven, and was able to get a trackback link to your site three times a week, by the end of the year you'd have almost 150 topical links back to your site, which are more valued by search engines than a typical link trade with an unrelated site. "

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Picasa 2 released

If you aren't familiar with Picasa, it is one of those programs you have to see and use to be able to appreciate.

Google, the owner of Picasa, has released version 2 of the program. As before, Picasa is totally free and can revolutionize the way you organize and manipulate photos on your computer.

Picasa is software that helps you instantly find, edit and share all the pictures on your PC. Every time you open Picasa, it automatically locates all your pictures (even ones you forgot you had) and sorts them into visual albums organized by date with folder names you know. You can drag and drop to arrange your albums and make labels to create new groups. Picasa makes sure your pictures are always organized.

Quite a few improvements have been made in the new release:

The new version of Picasa released by Google includes advanced editing tools like 12 photographic filter effects, color and lighting adjustments, red-eye removal, photo cropping and straightening; backup capabilities like archiving photos from a computer to a CD or DVD, saving photos on an external drive, and creating gift CDs with personalized slideshows. The latest version also has improved organization and sorting of images. Users can add captions, search across all photos on a computer and attach labels and stars for better photo organization, reorder pictures and clean up cluttered folders. --Techtree

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Blogger canned for criticizing employer

Well, it finally has happened in Britain: a disgruntled employee with a blog is fired for speaking his mind.

Funny thing is, his job was selling other people's opinions in funny little things called "books".

Another funny thing, probably nobody knew about the blog until he was fired. Now Joe Gordon and his employer, Waterstone's, both have an international degree of fame they did not have before.

Even though Joe offered to withdraw the comments and quit blogging, he was fired regardless.

Gordon's criticisms in his blog, or online diary, were read by a small community of fellow bloggers until he was fired and were re-printed in national newspapers and read aloud on national radio. Indeed, the last time he appeared on BBC Radio Scotland, before the recent publicity, it was in his capacity as "expert bookseller from Waterstone's" and now he's "sacked bookseller from Waterstone's". Waterstone's have declined to comment until after the appeal process is complete. --The Herald

I wonder if Waterstone's is perhaps a bit dismayed over all the negative publicity they have created for themselves. This brings up yet again a very good question: what right does an employer have to control what you say or do away from the job? Assuming what was said was true (mostly comments about not getting time off after Christmas), can an employer summarily fire you for stating an opinion? What if he made the same comments to a group of friends and was overheard?

My blog was something I ran for fun, for therapeutic value and because I enjoyed the fact I entertained some friends with it and made new friends via it. Small-scale and mostly read by friends and friends of friends and the occasional person who would come across it somehow - just another (darkly humorous) blog among many tens of thousands around the globe. Now it is being discussed for good or ill by a large number of people around the world - other bloggers, fellow booksellers (in and out of my former company), publishers, fellow reviewers and writers and even journalists. --Joe Gordon in his blog, the Woolamaloo Gazette

Monday, January 10, 2005

Can you trust blogs?

Here's an interesting question: now that blogs have gained some degree of influence, will we now start to see "black-blog ops" in the blogosphere? That is, deliberate disinformation from influential blogs.

It could be just a matter of time before some of the old-time bloggers start getting offered big bucks to take a particular side or slant a particular story. Or newer "mole" blogs that report fairly, get a following and reputation for fairness, and are then turned to some particular agenda.

Here is good comment on the possibility:

The personal voice in which even most anonymous blogs are written tends to inspire trust. But is that trust deserved? Sometimes, but not always. When Iraqi blogger Zeyad reported crimes by American troops I trusted him because he'd been reliable in the past, and now there's been a conviction in the case. His report could have been bogus, of course, with his earlier truthful posts merely a ruse to gain credibility, but I didn't think so, and apparently I was right. Track records matter. (Mitch Berg thinks you should look at bloggers' day jobs in assessing their credibility, though I'm not sure how much I agree with that.) Still, as Hugh Hewitt warns, "black blog ops," aimed at disinformation, are an inevitability and there are probably some going on right now. A while back, in the context of a much less significant effort to manipulate the blogosphere, I quoted scientist Thomas Ray, who once observed that "every successful system accumulates parasites." The blogosphere is successful enough now, and enough people have noticed that success, that it can expect to attract parasitism. --TCS

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Six Apart to buy LiveJournal

I don't know why blogging should be any different than other businesses, but you just don't expect the kind of consolidation in the blog world that we have seen in the last year. It wasn't that long ago that Google bought Blogger from Pyra Labs. The latest move by a big player is the coming purchase of LiveJournal by Six Apart.

LiveJournal is one of the original big blogging platforms and has a reported base of 5.6 million blogs. TypePad, owned by Six Apart, has closer to 1 million.

With Microsoft trying to be a big player in the blogosphere and with Blogger holding most of the cards, it is not suprising that the other players are looking for ways to hang on to bigger shares of blogging customers.

The acquisition gives the San Mateo, Calif.-based Six Apart a major boost in the blog publishing business and a legitimate shot at staying relevant in the face of stiff competition from Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Motley Fool's blog discussion board

The Motley Fool added a blog discussion board to its site.

There is also an interesting article on Motley Fool about whether blogs are blooming or not. According to the article, 62% of the population has never even heard of blogs or blogging.