Jory, Kevin, Andru, and Stan all small business bloggers. This is a huge thing. Blogs and small business go together like peanut butter and jelly. Of course when you go from just talking about your life, to talking about your work as your life this is a big thing. When money starts coming into play ... then you have to start worrying about the shill question. Can you be bought. Can someone buy a good (or bad) word from you. Andru is addressing this at the moment, and this has been a theme all day. Interesting times. This wasn't talked about last year. This wasn't even talked about three months ago ... at least not the the extent that it is right now.
Content. If you start a personal blog that becomes a work blog, what about the old content, what about the content you might like to write about? I would think about before making your personal blog work ... just start a new work blog. But remember that the two will become intertwined and linked whether you like it or not.
Kevin: Experts sharing content. This is so key. For consultants, lawyers, etc. blogs are, hands down, the way to get noticed and noted in your field as an expert. Kevin was being cited as an expert in law blogs (or blawgs) six weeks into blogging. Yes you read that right. Why? He happened to start blogging in a niche without much (any) competition.
"No how small you may be today ... if you have faith in your idea ... if you have a service you can offer ... you establish a price and can present clearly what you do (note to self ... clarify self ... just what do I do anyway?) ... you can do it." Post, link and write. Steve Rubel's advice ... FLEE
- Find the Internet discussion on your topic
- Listen to the discussion
- Engage in the discussion, link, comment
- Empower people to market for you. Link to your content ... leverage your content ... this is your currency
Stan: "Blog and podcast ... hmm they don't seem like deep sea fisherman to me ..." I think Stan was showing Chris and Ponzi a house, but I'm not sure ... he had asked what they do and was told they were bloggers ... the quote above is classic and so true. What does it mean when our terms seem so alien to most people? Stan, who was Robert and Maryam Scoble's real estate agent. Stan was relating when Robert and Maryam put their house up for sale. OMG, can you imagine?
Revenue models ... advertising? No Okay a little advertising will help pay your hosting fees. But then the question is "would you sell your soul for beer money ... " depends on the beer! But seriously it isn't a small decision you do have to think about the perception of having Adsense on your blog. There isn't a right or wrong per se, but ... ask a blogger. We'll tell you.
Here comes the blog ... a small business that sells wedding favours but also has a community of brides talking about their weddings.
Kevin has made an awesome point ... small companies (law firms are his example) cannot be nimble enough to out blog you to out write you.
Do you have to blog about your business? No, make sure you blog about your industry to show that you are an authority and guru in your industry.
This has been one of the best and informative sessions, well except for mine of course ;-).
Chris and Andru ... Is Adsense the answer? Came in a bit late to the session here (I realized that you dear readers might be more interested in earning money than corporate blogging policies) and it sounds like Adsense did some juggling and people are earning less via Adsnese. Dave Taylor is earning decent money, like $300 a day, on one of his blogs.
Generally we're talking CPM (cost per mill ... thousand) in the dollar-ish range.
In a crowded space, say gadgets, you have to be creative and adding value in your posts. The doing the standard "me too" post or just re-blogging what everyone else has written.
Calacanis is saying (as an audience member) that the cost of entry of blogging and getting to the top is much higher than it was a short time ago. Podcasting and video blogging is an open field.
Success in the blogsphere is related to the amount of work you put it. You hustle, you can succeed and win.
Weblogs Inc moved to a rev share model early on to per post pay. It started low, but now it's about $10 a people. He did go on to say that some bloggers earn more.
What is the cost of blogging like this? How much to you have to blog (read work) to really earn a living. Yeah, think about it (Andru gave this example) ... you earn $20 a month with Adsense. How many hours did you put in?
Verticals that work: HD TVs, mortgages, travel.
Experiment with different easy to implement ad services. I use Text Link Ads and am trying Performancing ads. Of course, I 'm not earning a huge amount, but that's okay at the moment.
The advertising sessions are very interesting. But for me the interesting thing is listening to the folks like Dave Taylor and Jason Calacanis talking about their past and present ad models.
Chris: "Email is still dead" ... RSS and search engine driven traffic to his sites.
RSS advertising. Chris has been doing it since day one is giving it a thumbs up. Okay I have to hear how this is working ... ah he's not talking about Adsense for feeds or Pheedo ... he's talking about selling his own space in the feed. Ah now I get it. That makes sense cause I've tried Adsense for feeds and it was pretty much useless.
Full feeds .. are they dead? Chris does full feeds. Will the aggregator companies start monetizing our content and not share? Or would there be a blogger revolt?
Now are feed readers beyond most folks? Ah a question for another day.
Where do you find bloggers writing about your topic? Well if you're reading this blog you probably know this.
Technorati blog directory search ... focus on authority, subscribe to RSS feeds.
I have to say that while the talk was really good, my brain is a tad full and tired.
That now said, the theme that I'd like to continue is the RSS is still too geeky. I think I've also written probably way too much on this topic, so I think I'll let it lie.
Now, Mary Hodder talked about and re-enforced many of the things I talked about in Andru and my talk about audience. Essentially when looking at this blogosphere you need to look at the whole group of factors of links, and comments, and number of posts to assess the authority of a blogger. This is especially important when a blogger starts to slam you.
RSS, love it or hate it, it certainly makes my data and information gathering life easier.
Let me take a moment to thank contributing blogger Tris Hussey for doing an excellent job on blogging the Blog Business Summit conference. Tris, you're doing an amazing job -- I salute you with a filet mignon on a flaming sword!
This is a quick note to let you readers know that I've got more posts about the Ajax Experience conference, and that said notes will cover more than just the swag at the conference (cool as it was).
I'd like to thank the organizers for putting on one of the best conferences I've ever attended. I could go on about how good it was, but I thought this photo of a projection visible from the lobby of the conference hotel, the Westin Boston Waterfront, would capture my feelings about the Ajax Experience:
Yes, I finished my talk. Yes it went really well. Thanks to Andru for being a great co-speaker. So, yes someone blogged my talk (and I found it via Technorati ... which ties into the current talk on RSS) ... you can judge for yourself how we did then. Slides? Here's the MindMap version and a PPT export. Enjoy!
Thorny path? Yeah. Minefield? Not so much. But there are some things to know ... and I'm capturing the tips as they come (and I know I've missed a few ... so readers, pls fill in the gaps). Janet, Buzz, and Halley are on stage.
- Send irrelevant material to me to write about.
- Send materials without links to what you want me to write abot
- Send a huge, detailed e-mail for me to read about you want me to write about
- Send my an 8 meg PDF about your product (at least without warning)
Read the blog for about a month to get to know them ... do your homework.
- Tools, RSS aggregator
- Be honest why you're asking for my help
- Remember this, bloggers are people, we do have lives (sometimes even outside of blogging ... which is an odd concept, I'm not sure that it is ;-) ).
- Read the comments on blogs in your topic area too ... you can find smart people who are talking about your topic too
- Build real relationships with bloggers. You have no idea how valuable this can be for you
- Follow your company on the blogosphere so you can find the good and bad stuff ... fast (hint use RSS)
- Be customer sensitive
Jim Turner turned to me just now "This is the best session so far ..." Hmm maybe he write a post ... oh yeah the power cord on his laptop is wonky and he can't fully charge it.
The Blogosphere is free market intelligence and focus group (Dave talked about this too) ... you need to leverage this (see point 6 above under Do's).
In the spirit of Jason Calacanis' keynote, I want to let all you readers know that Tucows sponsored me to come to Blog Business Summit and blog. Why? First, I wouldn't be able to come, even as a speaker, if I didn't get this support. Second, I think Tucows wanted great conference coverage on their blog.
Yes, Blogware has been the sponsor of my blog for about two years. Yes, I will and do tell Ross and Joey what problems there are with Blogware, I do give them the heads up if I'm going to blog it (it's courtesy, not editing).
So, Tucows isn't guiding any of this content. No, I really don't like Typepad (this is no secret), yes I do recommend Blogware as a hosted blog system.
There it is. Ahhh, I feel better now.
Jason Calacanis, love him or hate him, is a poster boy for making money from blogs. Weblogs Inc, now owned by AOL-TimeWarner of course, is one of those storied parts of the blogosphere. I think (I hope) there is going to be a complete recording of this session because the stuff Jason is talking about is cool. Very interesting. Ah he's telling stories because he didn't prepare a presentation ... the truth comes out. Lots of intersections ... Nick Denton and Gawker, MySpace, Mark Cuban, selling to Time.
OMG! The YouTube moment of the day ... Calacanis doing Nick Denton. God I hope it makes it up.
Jason relating about telling AOL, you can't edit bloggers. Social misfits who couldn't make it anywhere else ...
Be an A-list blogger:
- Go to Techememe
- Blog something intelligent about the top story of the day
- Link to and mention all the people who have said something intelligent
- Repeat for 30 days
- Go to a couple conferences a month
- You're an A-list blogger.
The blogosphere is the ultimate meritocracy ... "It's not broken, you suck" (when someone complains that they don't get traffic).
You write, you write well, you post often (that really is the key), leave good comments on blogs ... you will succeed. Yes, this is very true and actually good advice.
Forces of Evil (gee hope I'm not one of them ... don't think I am, am I) ...
I'm not because it's Pay-Per-Post. You take money or stuff and don't disclose it, that's lying. And I totally agree. I do get free software licenses to try. Sometimes I like them, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I like the software, but decide not to use it. You know what? I'll tell you when I do (examples: MindManager ... use love ... would buy, ActiveWords ... used, liked, stopped using it, Propaganda, use, love, would buy, GyroQ, use, really love, would buy).
The whole basis of the arguement, again which I agree with, is that requiring only a good review, requiring non-disclosure, that's wrong. Yes, Dave I know there are shades to all of this, I'm talking about the specifics of above, not all the stuff about are you nicer to the companies your friends and family work for.
YouTube: Maybe they should give some of the money back to the content providers. And I totally agree with that.
Final quote: "Don't let anybody (speaking of advertising) get into the blog post, it's sacred." A perfect ending to an awesome keynote.
Breaking News: Jason Calacanis to podcast for Podtech and give money to send needy kids to good schools
Fast breaking news ...
Jason Calacanis will do CalacanisCast with Podtech sponsored by GoDaddy. They will also get $100,000 a year to put needy kids in the best private school in New York. I might get the details wrong, but this kind of philanthropy ... is awesome.
Now to be fair, Jim Turner turned to me and said "Blog this now" and that's how I got it up first
Is blogging so yesterday? Is something coming down the road that is going to blow it all away?
Jeremy Pepper, Jeanette Gibson (Cisco), John Starweather (Microsoft) having a panel on what we should be watching on the horizon. I'm having the feeling that this audience isn't quite ready for looking at what's next, when they are still grappling with what's now.
And the questions being asked, bear this out.
The best question I've heard is what metrics can be used to determine ROB ...
Let's have a quick wrap up of my posts from yesterday (Workshop day):
- Opening sponsored blog
- Dave Taylor's Keynote
- Blog Advantage
- Setting up your first blog
- Writing your blog (ghostwriting and editors)
- Podcasting and video
- Law, blogs, and bloggers
The pre-conference workshop days are interesting for the new bloggers (and that's the audience). There is so, so much for people to absorb in just one day. The whole soup to nuts of getting a blog going. Today? Today is where the rubber hits the road (and I hit the stage).
Putting stickers on your laptop is (was?) a hip thing to do. About 90%+ of the back of my laptop is covered (some are either going to get covered or removed this conference, I fear). While I think it's very cool, the average person doesn't get it, I fear. Sitting here in the lounge area I get a lot of long stares. Since I figure they aren't looking at me ... it must be my Web 2.0 cluttered laptop.
Ah well the price of esoteric coolness, I guess.
Tags: laptop stickers
Tucows is holding a "Best Dressed Squishy Cow" competition as part of our Hallowe'en fun and games. The contest is only open to staffers, but I thought you'd like to take a look at Ian Hall's submission on behalf of the retail services team..
Yes - that's a *real* 5 milliwatt laser and a *real* plasma backdrop (voice activated even). Ian actually did all the work, but the retail team is definitely jumping in to share the credit :) It looks like there's going to be some stiff competition this year. We're also holding a pumpkin carving contest as well. I'll definitely post some more video and photo's of the various entries as the competition progresses as I'm sure others will as well.
In this article, I continue with my look at the dot-com-bubble-esque swag and prizes being given away by the organizers and vendors at the Ajax Experience conference. If you haven't seen part 1 in this series, it's here.
Helmi, who bill themselves as "the only open source Ajax-based RIA development platform" were giving away the fanciest pens at the conference. The Helmi pens house a green LED, which gives off an eerie glow through their transparent barrels.
Also present in the exhibit hall were Google, whose booth was essentially a recruiting booth. Instead of literature about their APIs or developer-centric events like the Summer of Code, they had half a dozen different pamphlets about job opportunities for Java back-end coders, UI and rich internet application developers and researchers.
Swag-wise, these were their offerings:
- Google gum: Haven't tried it yet.
- Google pen: This one was pretty popular.
- Google key fob: Optimizes searches for your house keys.
- Google post-it notes: Handy for reminders, comes with subtle recruiting ad.
- Google notepad: With lenticular cover that shows a different image depending on your viewing angle.
I asked if they were giving away the heated toilet seats for which their offices are now famous. They would've come handy in the Boston Westin Waterfront's aggressively air-conditioned conference rooms.
Apparently, if you asked really nicely, the folks at the Google booth had some of their coveted long- and short-sleeved t-shirts to give away as well.