Mar 8, 2012 by Matt | Posted in Internet
Back in the spring of 1997, Dave Winer launched a website known as Scripting News. It was one of the first sites that would come to be known as weblogs, or simply “blogs.” Mr. Winer is famous for his involvement with the development of blogging, RSS, podcasting and Content Management Systems.
Of course, the real “first blogger” is hard to pin down. While it may have been Winer, Justin Hall’s Links From the Underground, which launched in 1994, is also a contender.
Meanwhile, TidBITS.com is over 21 years old. It wasn’t exactly a blog when it was started in 1990 as an “online newsletter and Web site” about the Macintosh, but it has slowly adopted that format. It’s one of the oldest still-updated websites on the internet.
As for domain names, the first one to be registered with a .com TLD was Symbolics.com, followed shortly by the other 99 oldest domains registered from 1985-1987.
The first website on the first web server ever would, of course, be info.cern.ch. The original page that was hosted there has been replaced over the years, but it’s still something of a historical landmark. Incidentally, the trend of hosting websites on a www subdomain was accidental, and caused by the CERN site.
Dec 5, 2011 by Matt | Posted in Domains
There has been a sudden outbreak of design and development blogs having their domain names hijacked and held for ransom. It seems to have started with David Walsh’s site, when his domain name was mysteriously transferred from GoDaddy to Name.com and from there to 1and1. The DNS records have been pointed back to Walsh’s host by 1and1 while things are sorted out, but for now the domain is still not under his control.
About one day later, the same thing happened to Chris Coyier’s CSS-Tricks.com. Someone gained access to his GMail and GoDaddy accounts and moved the domain to PlanetDomain. From his detailed chronicle of the events, it’s a possibility that he may have a keylogger on his computer, as the miscreant has been able to get around password resets of the GMail account, and may have even accessed the Media Temple server CSS-Tricks is hosted on. Coyier also received the impeccably-penned threat “pay 2k to get ur domain back.”
This has recently happened to a few other big-name sites in the same field, including Abduzeedo, Kirupa, Design Shack and InstantShift. Abduzeedo was able to catch the transfer and stop it, though. (Interestingly, it has been almost exactly four years since the same thing happened to logo designer David Airey.)
Just to be on the safe side, you might want to do a quick WHOIS search on your own domain and make sure it’s still on your registrar.
Update, Dec 5: Planetdomain is reversing the transfer, and moving the CSS-Tricks.com domain back to Chris Coyier’s GoDaddy account.
Nov 9, 2011 by Matt | Posted in Design
Traditionally, blog themes have placed the form to leave a new comment below the listing of existing comments. This still holds true in most WordPress themes to date. However, many sites now have the comment form above the comments. Notable sites include Mashable and Reddit.
I was pondering the reasoning behind this recently. The obvious answer is that it encourages more comments, as someone who just finished the article is prompted to post while the content is still fresh in their mind. Meanwhile, having the form below the comments requires that a user read (or simply scroll past) others’ messages—perhaps even seeing like-minded comments and deciding against leaving one.
Assuming this is true, you could promote a higher volume of comments by placing the form higher up, or on a higher traffic site, promote a higher quality of discussion by putting it toward the end. I assume someone has done tests, but I couldn’t find any publicly-posted results.
Jan 31, 2011 by Matt | Posted in Domains
WoW Insider is perhaps the largest World of WarCraft blog online. As part of the Weblogs Inc. network, it has similar traffic numbers and weekly post counts to Engadget, TUAW and Joystiq. It also shares the misfortune of being owned by AOL.
In their latest dubious management move, AOL corporate commandeered WoW Insider’s first-rate domain name — WoW.com — and used it to launch a Groupon clone.
WoW Insider now resides at
If you’ll pardon the pun, wow. I can hardly believe that anyone would think that a good move. It will hurt WoW Insider — in terms of possible search engine penalties, dead links, and confused users wondering why the domain stopped working with little or no warning — and there will be little advantage.
Someone at AOL obviously heard about the strange success of Groupon, and figured it would be easy to emulate it. Frankly, I’m surprised Groupon managed to do as well as they have been, monetarily. I highly doubt that, despite the simplicity of the service in itself, AOL will be able to replicate it. And it’s really dumb to re-purpose a domain like that. It reeks of bait-and-switch, like their plan to market the new Wow.com service is to trick a bunch of World of WarCraft fans into accidentally visiting it.
The Queue: Why did WoW Insider switch domains, again? [WoW Insider]
Dec 13, 2010 by Matt | Posted in Internet
Envato has just opened up two new blogs in their AppStorm network. Adding to the existing Mac, iPhone and Web app blogs, the new Windows and Android sites deviate the most from the network’s current audience. Some readers have voiced concerns that the new sites betray the audience and make the network too generic. (Personally, I just say they should subscribe to the individual AppStorm blogs that interest them and leave the Windows one to the unenlightened.)
Also, the AppStorm main page has received a redesign. It’s simple, matches the rest of the site, and I like the icons along the top.
Sep 20, 2010 by Matt | Posted in Blogging
Here’s an easy way to write a blog post that will rank well in search engines and net you some quality traffic: solve a common problem. Find the answer to an issue that plagues many people interested in your niche. Supply a solution in a to-the-point post. Providing you picked a title that contains the sort of keywords frustrated searchers would be entering, it shouldn’t take too long for you to start ranking.
You may get lucky and have a major increase in traffic, or you could just make a smaller group of people very happy. (Which might lead to repeat visits…) If you do this a few times, the traffic will add up. Having ten posts that bring in 200 visitors every month is better than one post that brings in 1,000.
As an example, observe this recent post. As soon as Apple released iTunes 10, Twitter was abuzz with complaints about a minor design “improvement” that was made. Luckily, there were a couple of Terminal commands that would revert the change, for Mac users at least. I ended up writing a quick blog post with the solution and a small rant about how Apple was blatantly disregarding their own design guidelines. In a few hours I was on the Google result page for “itunes 10 vertical buttons,” and at the top of it within a day or two. I’ve done this plenty of times, and it has incrementally boosted my numbers.
Sep 1, 2010 by Matt | Posted in Internet
Envato, the company behind the Tuts+ blogs, has launched a new marketplace for buying and selling premium tutorials. Running from $3 to $7 apiece, the tutorials include the ones available under the Tuts+ subscription as well as user-submitted ones unavailable elsewhere.
It’s certainly an interesting idea, though I wonder if it might take away from the blogs a little bit? The Tuts+ blogs pay a lot of money upfront to their regular authors, but infrequent contributors could be more attracted to the promise of recurring sales.
May 17, 2009 by Matt | Posted in WordPress
A new service called Blogs.mu sprang-up recently. It’s kind of like “WordPress MU in a box.” With a very WordPress.com-like setup, you register to become your own blog provider. So you can setup a topical blog community.
Continue reading →
Dec 16, 2008 by Matt | Posted in Blogging
Automattic, the company backing the WordPress blog platform, recently purchased the hosted commenting system IntenseDebate. Like they did with Gravatar, they will likely make it ridiculously easy to make the service work with your WordPress blog, while keeping it open to other platforms. Gravatar had a big leap in usage after Automattic purchased the service, perhaps we’ll see a similar effect with IntenseDebate?
Now why is this important?
If you create an account with IntenseDebate (totally optional when you comment on IntenseDebate-equipped blogs), you are given a profile that keeps track of your comments. This means that you can easily see where you’ve commented, allowing you to go back and read followup comments.
Continue reading →
Nov 17, 2008 by Matt | Posted in Blogging
Many new bloggers wonder why RSS subscribers are such as widely referred-to statistic, seeing as a lot of them don’t visit the actual site, but read the article in a feed reader, therefore robbing them of traffic and ad impressions, and reducing the likelyhood of commenting. Sometimes that idea pushes them to use partial feeds to force people to come to their website.
Darren Rowse has come up with the best response I have seen so far.
A subscriber that never visits is better than a one off visitor who never returns.
I had one blogger recently tell me that he’d removed the option to subscribe to his blog via RSS from his blog because he didn’t want to ‘give away’ his content. He wanted people who read his content to ‘pay’ him by visiting his blog (and earning him money from his advertising) and he saw RSS subscribers as ‘freeloaders’.
My response to him was that I’d rather have a subscriber who rarely visits my actual blog than a one off visitors who never returns because they have no way of keeping in touch.
RSS subscribers are your most loyal readers. When they subscribe they see every single one of your posts (though they may skip reading one here or there if they’re pressed for time, or just not interested). They may visit your blog some days, if they want to leave a comment or browse your archives. The point is: If your blog is good enough your RSS subsscribers will visit the website now and then, and more frequently than most non-subscribers probably.
They read your posts, and that’s the real point of blogging.