Tim Yang’s Weblog

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New definition of a weblog

Aug 2005

Apparently, the Mac’s new built in dictionary defines a weblog as “Blogs run by twenty-something Americans with at least an unhealthy interest in computers“.

Banning Google ads from Blogspot internet marketers

Aug 2005

I started noticing that ads from “marketing gurus” promising untold riches have been appearing in my Google ads. I also noticed they were all hosted on Blogspot.com sites. Listen, if you’re too cheap to buy a decent domain and host for your site, you’ve got zero credibility as an internet marketer. You don’t deserve to be seen. I’ve gone to my Google Adsense ad filter and zeroed you out. Get back under the rock you came from and stay there.

New wishlist sites

Aug 2005

Two new wishlist sites have come about recently. TheThingsIWant.com and MetaWishlist.com. Unlike Amazon.com’s wishlist, these are not site specific and you can list items you find on any shopping website. Both of them work very similarly. You can share your wishlist publicly or privately both on the website and in RSS feeds. Both of them supply bookmarklets for easy updating of your list. TheThingsIWant.com supports user-added tags, but neither service has a recommendations engine like Amazon.com does. But I’ll bet they’re both looking into it.

Via the RSS Wiki

Blog broker agent?

Aug 2005

I wonder if there’s a blog broker agent out there yet? Someone who sources blogs with sales potential and matches them with buyers and vice versa. It wouldn’t be a difficult kind of business. It’s already fairly simple to judge the sales potential of a blog — based on the blog’s cache of loyal readers (RSS readers), blogosphere credibility (link-ins), current and projected traffic, current and projected Adsense earnings, size of archive and likeability of the blog. The seller would have to sign an exclusive contract with the agent. And the agent makes a sales commission from one party or both. Might be worth looking into now with so many marketers trying to break into blogs and so many bloggers wanting to make money.

Been blogging long?

Aug 2005

You’ve all heard the current numbers of the blogs and the amount of growth per day. But from the blogger perspective, has it been that long? Well it has when people start sticking “blogging since” labels on their blogs.

Marketers should communicate more with server managers to prevent service failures

Aug 2005

A study called the Internet Campaign Effectiveness Study in the UK found that a lack of communication between marketing and IT is one of the key reasons why serious site failures occur. Site failures might mean slowing down of responses or errors in processing due to timeouts because of heavy traffic.

The study puts the blame heavily on marketers, suggesting that a lack of planning and goal setting coupled with a lack of understanding of the processing power required to service a block of visitors is creating unnecessary stress on existing processing power. I think this is quite unfair because it is notoriously difficult to gauge with any degree of accuracy the number of people who visit a site during or after a marketing campaign. Yes, a seasoned marketer using conventional media can estimate the degree of generated interest based on reach and persuasiveness of the message. But even if he were to supply those figures to a server manager, the manager wouldn’t really be able to tell how much processing power would be required to service the expected visitors. For instance, can anyone tell how many requests a thousand online visitors will make in one hour? And what kind of requests would those be? Database requests or static page requests?

I think the key problem occurs when marketers engage in a heavy burst campaign and don’t tell server managers to have extra power on standby. In a burst campaign, a great deal of effort and money is spent to create an attention explosion toward a website. It would therefore be unreasonable to expect zero server failures with the resulting burst response. Adequate contingencies can always be prepared, but only if the manager is expecting to have to make them.

Handhelds favoured over laptops by companies

Aug 2005

Here’s an interesting development: companies that used to give employees laptops are now finding out that it’s cheaper to distribute handhelds since they found that employees only use three types of applications: e-mail, browser and IM. The exact same three that handhelds are popularly used for. The regular computing is done with desktops (and it’s probably cheaper to maintain desktops since nobody goes and drops them into a puddle by accident). While the handhelds (which are also cheaper than laptops) handle all the mobile computing.

Has the notebook-to-handheld conversion begun? | CNET News.com

Howto: Using Feedburner to get rid of Google RSS ads

Aug 2005

Here’s an undocumented feature of Feedburner’s summary burner. Basically the summary burner “strips hyperlinks, truncates content, adds teaser message to each feed item”. In an ironic twist (since Feedburner inserts Google Adsense ads into approved feeds), I found that the summary burner also removes Google Adsense ads.

Here’s the Feedburner summarised feed I made of the RSS Weblog from Weblogs Inc. Normally the original feed from the RSS Weblog has Google Ads inserted into every entry. Not with the Feedburner one. They’re gone. Then again so are the hyperlinks. If you dislike those ugly ads more than not getting the feed with links, this is the way to go.

UPDATE: Dick Costolo of Feedburner writes in the comments that one of the TOS policies of Feedburner is that you must burn only your own feed. I scanned over the TOS and I’m not sure but I didn’t see that. If it isn’t there, maybe they’ll clarify that now.

Howto: Skip all the other floors when riding in the elevator

Aug 2005

Somehow I always knew this was possible. I’m sure I did this as a kid. But for some reason, I’d forgotten it until I saw this post again.

If you want to avoid stopping at all the other floors when you’re in the elevator, just press the floor number and the door-close button at the same time. All elevators apparently have this “Express” mode built into them.

via TheDamnBlog.com

Truncated RSS feeds do not make sense for Adsense

Aug 2005

I was re-reading the transcript for the Google Adsense webinar again. One thing that struck me was that the conventional thinking from Adsense is that return visitors suffer from “ad-blindness”. When they’re so used to the layout of a blog, they don’t click on the ads. The ones who do click on ads are more likely to be first time visitors, driven from search engines or inbound links.

One of the main arguments for truncated RSS feeds is that excerpted feeds drive traffic to your blog, assuming the visitors will click on your ads. But these visitors, according to Google Adsense, won’t do that. In fact, they probably lower your adclick ratio when they drive up your adviews without clicking on the ads.

So if your main goal is to drive traffic to your blog for the purpose of monetizing your blog, truncating your feeds for your loyal readers isn’t going to help. It’s going to hinder. On the other hand, having full posts in your feeds might increase your likeability to your loyal readers.

I’ve decided I don’t need traffic as much as I need loyal readers. So from today onward, I’m going to stop the practice of truncating my feed. But I will offer a truncated feed on my site to give readers a choice depending on what suits their reading habits better — skimming excerpts or remote reading from their feed reader.

(Ironically, for the very reason of ad-blindness, Adsense in RSS feeds doesn’t make sense either. The layout of the content and ads in feed readers is so standardised that people will just find it easier to ignore the ads.)



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