The Cool Thing About Relevant Links and Subscriber Traffic

Today my 5 day old theology blog was picked up by a big theology blogger. That little blog that was getting less than 25 uniques a day, shot up to over a hundred in just a few hours. Now, that may not sound like much, but it took me from one subscriber to 13 subscribers.

So, while the reference is small, the impact of having your blog featured on a topically relevant well-respected blog is profound. Compare that with traffic I got a while back from Digg (15K-ish in an hour before my server crashed), when I gained 1 subscriber and no advertising impact, and you can see that I actually came off better with the 100 hits link than with the 15K hits link.

Digg is full of people who really don’t play well with others. And, a vote from Digg is not necessarily a vote of confidence. Sometimes it can be a vote of disdain. Anyway, just had to share with all of you. Woot for me. 🙂

Feedburner? Where are my subscribers?

I have about half of my subscribers, subscribing via my Feedburner feed. The rest go through the main RSS2 feed produced by my WordPress blog.

Of those at Feedburner, they usually total 100 subscribers. However today when I logged on there were only 60-something showing up. I poked around in my Feedburner control panel and found out that the numbers that are logging aren’t showing up as the ‘actual numbers’.

For instance, when I look at the 7 day outlook, the screen says:

feedburner error

But when I look at the average from this week I get this:

feedburner error

Now, look at today’s stats (oddly enough, yesterday instead of the current day):

feedburner error

Where are all the folks from Bloglines? NetNewsWire is also being missed. I’m assuming this is a Feedburner reporting error and all will be well very soon. The forums aren’t talking about it, but it’s sad for me. 🙁

Gaming Technorati

Now, for some of you this is not new information, but for me it was a ‘duh’ moment. I knew that people were (gasp) gaming technorati, but I didn’t know how.

The way Technorati works is that you end up, in a search, in order of when you most recently published. Now, that’s default. Some people change that preference when they search, but the vast majority don’t. This creates a very easy and very successful way to game the blog search engine.
So, if I do a search on ‘business blogging’, the blogs that come up *should* all have either just posted on the term or be generally about the term. However, what happens is people use press release feeds to auto-post to their site. Then, after a few minutes (however long the ping process takes to let Technorati know they’ve updated) they automatically remove the post.

That’s why you’ll often do a search on a term and the results won’t match even a tad. I’ve always wondered why that happens, but after reading this article at SEORockstars, now I know.

Monetizing Your RSS Feed

Feedvertising is going to take the web by storm. While it’s cool that you can have Text-Link-Ads sell ads on your feed, the fact that you can directly manage your RSS ads. You can actually touch your own ads.

There is no other service that allows you to do this.

If I want to draw attention to my new forum, I’ll place an ad for it in the RSS feed. I can rotate it with other ads for my own sites. Or, I can place affiliate advertising or have them sell text links for me to monetize the feed.

The only thing that comes close is the RSS footer that Blogger allows you to insert, but it’s not really designed for ads (useful for ads though). I’m off to sign up for the service, so expect to see some pimping of my other sites in this feed. If you decide you want to sign up, I’d appreciate it if you took this link to sign up (affiliate link).

As always, feel free to ping me if you need a hand. Oh, and please do register at the ProBlogWriters forums. They’re not officially launched yet, but I’m telling my friends about it (and that certainly includes my readers).

Popular RSS to Email Newletter Site/App, Zookoda, For Sale

Zookoda is for sale. Their reasons are that they are a 2 person company with limited resources and they feel they’ve taken it as far as they can. And an admirable job it has been thus far:

Zookoda has been a great success since its launch on 13th March 2006. Over 5200 blog publishers have adopted Zookoda as their blog marketing tool of choice with a total circulation in excess of 1.2 million. is ranked in the Top 1% of URLs across the net (according to and has a rolling 3 month average ranking of around 15,000. According to there have been over 700 articles written about Zookoda.

It appears to be an ideal acquisition for Yahoo, but they seem to be busy with their FaceBook convo. I can’t see Microsoft interested, but Google may want an addition to Blogger that would offer them even more real estate for Adsense (not putting that down, just commenting that it’d be a smart move). For any blog platform, this would be a great addition.

A smart VC could also do a great deal with this established app. I know I’d pay $5 a month to handle my few hundred subscribers. A subscription model would scale well. Or, how about a newsletter directory w/advertising on board? It could be the go-to place for deals newsletters, blog newsletters, parenting newsletters, etc. There’s so much you could do with this thing…
Check out more details here. (via)

FaceBook Faces RSS-feed Backlash

A seemingly helpful feature Facebook unveiled this week has created a furor amongst the members of the social network. Earlier this week the student-dominated Facebook organized friend information into convenient RSS feeds. A friend, who liked the idea, showed me her login screen yesterday that had the RSS feeds on your greetings page. Now the same info is on your profile page:

yesterday's greetings screen at facebook

Here’s today’s revised greetings page, stripped of friend info. However, once you’re on your profile the same RSS feeds are there still, with all your friend updates.
today's greeting's screen at facebook

By this morning there were more than 554K members (35k comments) who had joined the group, “Students Against Facebook Newsfeed.” That is a substantial number of people, especially when you consider the extremely short time that had elapsed and the fact that Facebook has less than 10 million members, which is, by no means, inconsequential, it’s an astounding number. Even with MySpace’s 107 million members, 554K joining one group in 2 days would be enormous.

The main fear with users is that their info, which is on their own profile page will now be broadcast to all people they are connected to, even if they are only acquaintances. Case in point:

One of my friends connected with a friend of a friend, just because they had a mutual acquaintance. He sent her a friend request and she allowed the connection because they both knew Steve. Well, let’s say she’s got some emotional stuff going on and while she’s ok sharing it with her close friends, now Steve is alerted to her emotional ramblings, and they barely even know each other.

Of course, you could take it even further. She could be describing any semi-private affair, and while Steve could certainly have clicked on her profile and viewed her writings, he probably would never have done that. However, now he probably will become almost a voyeur as each day he gets the RSS feed on his startup page detailing her love life.

3 Possible Outcomes to this debacle:

1-Facebook Caves
It appears they are already considering what to do and stemming the flow of anger in the meantime by going with newsfeeds on signin. However, you still get your friend update page when you get to your own page, so members will certainly not be appeased. I hope they cave and apologize. Smartest move…
2-Facebook Becomes Friendster
Don’t think this couldn’t be deadly for them. Friendster’s mass exodus was due to their inability to listen to their users.

3-Facebook users become superficial
So many users are open and prolific on Facebook. They create silly group names and poke each other repeatedly. Will that stop now that everyone will be daily reminded of your goings on? Will spammers invade now that RSS if offered to conveniently give out their info? Will this page become as useless as the bulletin feature on MySpace (which is, incidentally, a user-initiated process)?

What do you think?

Learning to Vidcast

I’ve just posted my third vidcast and here’s what I’ve learned so far about the medium.

1.  Think small

My first one took me 3 weeks of my time, which thoroughly discouraged me from repeating the process.  My second and third took about an hour or two each (between planning, recording, editing and uploading) and that’s really about what it takes me to do a podcast and it’s a much more manageable outlay of time.

Also, in the same vein, I wanted to do HD to begin with and I wanted to do a great deal of geeky transitions and picture-in-picture editing as well.  I found that it was just as interesting to film straight and add in some footage about what I was discussing and that HD, at this stage in the ballgame was a little unrealistic for me.

Plus, since the videos need to be seen on YouTube/Google Video, I need to make sure they are still enjoyable, even if seen at a poor resolution (very little on-screen text can be read that way), so the less I mucked around with the vidcast, the better.

2.  Promotion means networking
There is a tight-knit community of vloggers out there and they love to embrace new vlogs.  However, these guys/gals are highly savvy and you can’t ‘market’ to them if you want to be treated well.  You must be a contributing member of their society, and that’s what I hope to become.  I’ve been lurking in the videoblogging group on yahoo for 9 months now and I’ve tried to learn as much as I can in that time.

You do have to promote at times, though, so I joined these communities to promote and take part in the vlog world.

1.  BlipTV – Free video hosting and is particularly focused on the needs of the videoblogger (not like YouTube).  I host my files there and link to them from my videoblog.  Were it not for this I would not be able to have a vidcast.  This is the file that is downloadable and my RSS feed delivers this ‘rich media’ to vlog-catchers.
2.  YouTube – Free video hosting with promotion aimed at the general public.  I link to the files on YouTube from my videoblog as well. YouTube’s ownership is too great for many vloggers so they avoid YouTube, but I need to reach the people there so I consider it a trade-off.  I’m actually a YouTube director, which sounds cool but it really just means I can add videos of longer than 10 mins and I can customize my profile a little more (still not to the degree of MySpace).

One thing to remember though about YouTube is that just linking to the YouTube file will not allow download via RSS because YouTube’s file is not downloadable, but streams (heh heh, but streams).

3.   FireAnt, MeFeedia, VlogDir – I joined these public blog directories.  I’m going to spend some time, as I do on YouTube, viewing and commenting on other’s hard work.  They’re more likely to check out my work if I have checked out theirs.  Blog spammers should take note here.  We want to check out your site, but you need to leave more than “me too, check out my site” to get noticed amongst all the chatter.  People are more likely to check out your stuff if you leave a great comment (ie thought provoking) on their site.

I also put myself on the vlogmap.

4.  MySpace – I also uploaded the videos to MySpace and I sent out my first MySpace bulletin last night (after almost 2 years on the site) letting my friends know I was vidcasting.  Not sure if this will be helpful, but I’ve already gotten three comments from acquaintances that they liked the vidcast, so they must have watched it (’cause it is good LOL).

The video encoding and all that is easy, because once you look at it you can tell if it looks good or bad.  As I said before I have chosen to settle for less than perfect here.   The main thing I really have to do now is get the videos in the correct format for iTunes (mp4) so that I can tackle that market as well.

Hope this was helpful for some of you aspiring vidcasters.  I’ll keep you posted on the success of the venture.

Yutter Feels Server Pain

Some of you are no doubt users of the RSS-to-Email service, Yutter.  As I was surfing to the site earlier today I found a ‘site down’ message that was shocking, to say the least:

As many of you may already know, Yutter experienced a a chain of events that has taken us down for the time being.

  • On July 27th 2006 the backups of our databases were on a hard drive that experienced total failure.
  • On August 2nd 2006 our server host SteadFast Networks completely deleted our server. They did so on the premise that our bill had not been paid. This was a reporting error on their behalf and it has been acknowledged by them.
  • On August 3rd 2006 I personally contacted the owner of SteadFast Networks on numerous occasions to try and save some if not all of the data. The owner, Karl Zimmerman, refused to take any action to try and recover the data that they had accidentally deleted for anything less than $4,000 USD.
  • On August 3rd 2006 Yutter and SwiftBlue (our parent company) contacted our lawyers and this is where we stand as of now.

They’ve taken a bit of an email from the server’s President and pasted it on the page as well.  You might want to check it out.
I hope they are able to recover soon.  Yutter was certainly a promising web 2.0 company and the service was well loved (and deservedly so) by it’s users.

OneUpWeb Announces PodGarden

Add OneUpWeb to the list of companies trying to get in on the podcasting action.  However, they are really targeting the corporate market (virtually untouched at this point). They offer voice talent, copy writing, podcast tracking (interesting), hosting, SEO, etc. for companies that want to reach podcast listeners.


PageFlakes Launches RSS Reader

I know I am days late in reporting this, but life has been busy… PageFlakes, one of the cooler customizable start pages, funded by Benchmark Capitol, has announced the release of their RSS reader. Now, I would not normally be talking about this as a company releasing an RSS reader is no longer news (doesn’t everyone have their own version of an RSS reader at this point in the game?), but their take is particularly interesting in their customization (from the press release):

+ In Outlook View, the screen is split into three panes, letting users read their RSS feeds in a similar way like many users are used to read their emails.

+ Newspaper View puts all articles on one large virtual sheet of paper. By scrolling down, users can quickly navigate through the daily information overload.

+ Last but not least, the innovative Website View lets users view postings in their original context and formatting.

Assuming it does not interfere with your ability to use another reader as Outlook 2007 does (it launches Outlook at the default RSS reader once you install it, even if you’ve been using another reader forever), it will probably be a welcome addition to the variety we now have in readers. And, while you CAN get your RSS feeds on many customized start pages, this appears to be more of a ‘real’ feed aggregator rather than just an addition to your start page. Your headlines appear on the start page but clicking the headline does not take you to the page but to the full aggregator’s rendering of the RSS.

I’m impressed. I’m not a ‘start page’ kind of girl. I like to start Firefox with a blank page, but I know most of you will want to keep your Netscape start page… 😉