Sep 25, 2007 by Matt | Posted in Domains
“All the good domains are taken!” is one of the most common exclamations among new bloggers. They’re partly right. You have to be real creative when you register a .com or .net domain these days. Domains are taken for legitamate reasons most of the time, but millions of domains are in the control of “domainers.”
Domainers, for the uninformed, are people (or groups of people) that register large quantities of domains with the intent of reselling them for substantial sums of money. Have you run into a domain owned my a cybersquater (domainer)? Usually the page displayed is generic, and contains ads. Most of the time there’s also a link to make an offer to buy the domain. Yeah, it sucks that the domainers┬ taking half of the good domains and not utilizing them, but they’re not about to stop anytime soon. They’re making hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars off the domains they sell.
So how can you get a good domain with all of this going on? You have three options:
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Sep 19, 2007 by Matt | Posted in Services and Tools
People have been bashing BlogRush for the past couple of days, because they haven’t yet delivered their promised “rush of traffic.”
After releasing statistics to their users, everyone started blogging about how they had x impressions of their headlines, but only a few clicks. Darren Rowse even. He’s had over 70,000 impresions, but only 35 clicks or so.
Well, BlogRush has just sent out an email to all of their users. If you’re not in the program, here are some excerpts.
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Sep 19, 2007 by Matt | Posted in Featured, Monetization
Last month, some idiot decided that commercial websites should block the Firefox web browser because some Firefox users (read: 87% of Digg users) utilize the Adblock extension to block advertisements from being displayed. The arguements continue. Though most people (most sane people, anyway) agree that it’s immoral to block a web browser entirely, the debate about Adblock continues.
First of all, why do websites run ads? To make money. I, and most other people, don’t have any problem with this. We’re used to it. You have ads in magazines, commercials on TV, billboards on highways. I place ads on my websites as well.
Why do people block ads? Because some websites cross the line between making some money, and going crazy. I can tolerate some AdSense blocks, and other unintrusive ads. However, most commercial websites are so ad-heavy you want to scream. They don’t just load their pages with banners, but they employ such annoying ads that there’s no doubt why AdBlock came into existence. Here are some examples:
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Sep 13, 2007 by Matt | Posted in Services and Tools
Technorati recently introduced a new feature known as Topics. In a Digg Spy-like manner, it shows recent postings from the blogosphere.
Today, Technorati redesigned their homepage. The old page content is gone, swapped for the topics feature. See it here. To the right of the scrolling posts, you have lists of popular tags and search terms (no more tagcloud, unfortuantely). I’m not sure if I like it or not.
Aug 20, 2007 by Matt | Posted in Services and Tools
You’ve seen them on the web. You may even use them on your blog. Snap.com’s Snap Shots system quickly spread across the web, infiltrating many popular and semi-popular blogs. Some people like them, others loathe them. The question is: Should you use them or not?
It depends. Snap recently introduced more functionality into the Snap Shots lineup. Some of the features are actually useful, while others are just annoying. Let’s take a closer look.
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Aug 9, 2007 by Matt | Posted in Services and Tools
Do you run a blog or website with interesting content? Would you like to gain a little more exposure, and help others do so as well? You could join the NTugo Network.
How does it work? To join, you must link to the Network page (linking guidelines available on the site), and then request inclusion in the Network. If you are accepted, you’re site (with link and RSS feed) will be added to the Network page. Also, your posts will appear on the page (and the NTugo home page) as well as in a feed of the most recent posts from the networked sites.
It’s free and kind of cool. This blog is a member of the Network, along with a few other sites.
Jul 19, 2007 by Matt | Posted in Services and Tools
Pageflakes has just released their new “Blizzard Release.” Still going head-to-head with their competitor (Netvibes), Pageflakes has been busy. The new build has not just caught-up with Netvibes, but it’s gone beyond it.
You can now customize the heck out of your Pageflakes pages, changing themes and creating your own. You can change pretty much any theme element…and even edit the CSS if you choose to. To top that off, you can make themes publicly available to other users.
Also introduced is the new Pagecasts feature. It’s sort of like the Netvibes Universes, but anyone can create one. See for yourself, here’s the NTugo Network pagecast. You just add a new page to your Pageflakes account, add some content, choose or create a theme, and choose the “Make Pagecast” option.
Take a look at Pageflakes’s updates. Even if you use Netvibes, you may consider switching. The speed on Pageflakes seems to have increased significantly, and with all these new features…
Personally, I don’t really use either. I read my feeds with MyNT, and I don’t have much need for most of their features. I use Yahoo Widgets, and that offers most of what the web-based thingies do.
Jul 11, 2007 by Matt | Posted in Monetization
Run a search on nearly anything (especially related to books) and Amazon is likely to be in the top three results. How did they do that? They’re SEO (Search Engine Optimization) experts. It all has to do with links.
First of all, people naturally link to Amazon. If you write an article about a book or other product, you naturally link to a place where you can buy it. There are tons of book review sites that link to an Amazon page for every book they review.
Second of all, you have an interesting little scheme service known as Amazon Associates. How does it work? In short, Amazon pays you to link to them. You read that correctly.
Suppose you review a book or other product on your blog. You link to the Amazon page so your readers can buy the book. In that link, you include an ID code that represents you. Whenever someone clicks through the link over to Amazon, the mega-shopping-giant starts logging what the visitor is doing. If they buy anything in the next 24 hours, you get a 2.5-8% commission. The big bloggers do this a lot, and make a considerable amount of money.
How does this help Amazon? Number one, you’re convincing people to buy stuff from them. Number two, that’s another link pointing to their domain. Once you realize that there’s a huge amount of people in the Amazon Associates program, it’ll hit you. Each one of those affiliates may have hundreds of referral links scattered throughout their sites. Multiply that by the thousands (if not millions) of Amazon Associates members, and…that’s a lot of links.
Don’t get me wrong, Amazon Associates is a great service. I’m just pointing out how much it’s benefiting Amazon. If they can do something like that, so can you. All you need is a valuable resource, and means of convincing people to link to you (I doubt you can afford to pay linkers, so I suggest coming up with something else).
Jul 1, 2007 by Matt | Posted in Marketing
Googlebombing, as you may already know, is a prank where massive amounts of links alter Google’s results for (generally humorous) reasons. It used to be that if you googled “Miserable Failure”, you’d be taken to the George W. Bush bio on the White House website.
It seems that Google has been “un-googlebombing” sites. Sure enough, all those famous Googlebombs have been altered. They claim that their intervention was not manual, but a change in their ranking algorithm.
Is it ethical though? Technically, the search results were that way because of genuine links. Despite their “Don’t be evil” motto, they’re tampering with the results. Should they be doing this? What do you think?
Personally, I think they have a responsibility, as the most widely-used search engine, to not fiddle with their algorithms for frivolously “fixing” things such as Googlebombs.
Jun 25, 2007 by Matt | Posted in Services and Tools
So, you’re not serious enough about blogging to host your own blog? You’d rather use a free blogging service? Are you sure? You can get a domain and hosting for only $3.99/month. No? Okay, then I guess we can get started.
Okay, here’s how this fill work. I’m going to compare Blogger, LiveJournal, and WordPress.com. We’ll see what free blog provider is the best. Let’s start with LiveJournal.
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