Given the amount of comment spam that is flying around on blogs, Typepad has just announced the addition of CAPTCHA technology to reduce it. Turning this on in your blog configuration will add one more deterrent to automated comment spam programmes. This is the same technology that Yahoo! uses to reduce spammers using Yahoo! accounts.
Even though Amazon posted record earnings for the last quarter, Business 2.0 reckons that the corporation has now set its sights on blogs, videos and ebooks.
Jeff Bezos has a plan, however. If you read between the lines of the
Web site's seemingly unfocused forays into blogs, video, and e-books,
you'll actually see that he's doubling down on selling books, CDs, and
DVDs -- the mainstay of his media sales.
On Wednesday, Amazon.com announced a blog
feature on its Web site for published authors to communicate directly
to fans on the Amazon.com homepage and on the pages where Amazon lists
their books. Nelson DeMille and James Patterson are among the
Business 2.0 sees this as Amazon's way of connecting authors and readers, much like book signings and readings do in the offline world. This may well send shivers down the spines of magazines and newspapers, as people may turn to Amazon for their fix of book reviews instead of getting it from traditional media.
Over the past week Robert Scoble and Shel Israel's book Naked Conversations has hit the bookshelves and they have been busy at book signings and the like across the States. According to the publishers:
"If you ignore the blogosphere... you won't know what people are saying about you," they write. "You can't learn from them, and they won't come to see you as a sincere human who cares about your business and its reputation." To bolster their argument, Scoble and Israel have assembled an enormous amount of information about blogging: from history and theory to comparisons among countries and industries. They also lay out the dos and don'ts of the medium and include extensive statistics, dozens of case studies and several interviews with famous bloggers. They consider the darker aspects of blogging as well—including the possibility of getting fired by an unsympathetic employer.
What's different about this book is that much of it has been out in the public domain for quite some time, in draft format. Robert and Shel have allowed drafts of each chapter of the book to be posted on their weblog -
Red Couch Naked Conversations - and then allowed people to add their own comments. They have invited people to submit their own case studies and observations:
Of all the things we need from bloggers are examples of how companies have been helped or hurt by blogs.
The weblog first came into life in December, 2004, when Shel Israel pronounced:
Welcome to our book blog. This is where Shel Israel and Robert Scoble will create a book. Really. An entire book will be done interactively right in front of you and WITH you. So, subscribe to the RSS feed here. Welcome.
The final chapter was posted on the 14th August, 2005 and it went into print a short time after the pair even aired their thoughts on the selection of the publisher online.
Though not an Open Source project in its purest sense, of allowing the public to completely write the book, it still has many elements of co-creation. And why shouldn't a book about blogging have some important input from bloggers through a blog. The truly wonderful thing about the blog is that it has developed a devoted following over the past year, many of whom are well regarded in their own fields - PR, search engine optimisation, advertisng, blogging - and who are acting as unpaid evangelists for the book. Throw in the thousands of 'ordinary folk' out there who will each influence their smaller circles and you have quite a powerful marketing campaign, run on a miniscule budget. Absolutely, brilliant.
The other interesting thing to note is that even though many thousands of people have read the book online, the same thousands of people will BUY the book online and offline.
I look forward to seeing how Shel Israel and Robert Scoble develop the blog once the book launches and parties have died down. I also look forward to seeing my book arrive from Amazon UK!
On the 16th March the Business Blog Summit guys will be holding a one-day Essentials of Business Blogging Seminar. Held at the Westin Los Angeles Aiprot, Anil Dash (of Six Apart) will be amongst the speakers on the day. Here's a brief overview of what you'll learn for your $295:
- What is a blog. Discover how blogs differ from a regular Web sites, and the key advantages they offer.
- Why blogs are getting so much attention. See why something that started as
a system for creating online diaries has evolved into a powerful
platform for business.
- How to take advantage of blogs. Get all the "how to" instruction you need to start blogging now.
Here's a taste of the article:
The wild, wild west of the Internet will evolve to more consolidation
of the biggest brands at the top and an infinite number of tiny
fragments at the bottom. The public will have neither the time nor
interest to consider all of the options available to them--so the role
of editor, both human and electronic, will increase in importance as
people look for experts to help sift, validate and organize the
infinite sources of content. In any case, the need for information,
entertainment and motivation will be as strong as ever.
President of the National Geographic Society's magazine group
But the economics of the industry must change. Kleiner Perkins VC
Vinod Khosla said at the Web 2.0 conference that the model of "top-down
content is no longer relevant." It's a bottoms-up world where, he
predicted, the winning media companies will be "the most adaptable, not
the biggest or the one with the most content." The winners will be
"aggregating audiences in interesting ways."
So take that as advice from the bottom up: Find ways to aggregate
people and capture the wisdom of that crowd. When the public edits that
"infinite number of tiny fragments at the bottom," as you put it, they
do it well: The best photos at Flickr.com/explore rival even those in
National Geographic. The people have intelligence and taste – or they wouldn’t be buying your magazines, would they?
Jeff Jarvis, Consltant and Blogger at Buzzmachine.com
"which a guy rants about why life is so full of stuff to do and how it would be so much nicer if there was, well, zero to do."
The blog, which they say is written in typical creative style, initially, had no mention of Coke at all and even had fake, supportive comments. What's more:
"While the blog's archives indicate the site's been up since June, 2005, Whois information tells
a very different story. Not only does the information reveal the site
is a product of Coke, it clearly states the domain for the site was
registered November 21, 2005, a full five months after the site,
according to its archives, launched.
Just to make sure, Adrants checked both Technorati and BlogPulse and found no record of earlier postings. It would appear that to counter neagitive reaction they have placed a Coke Zero bottle on the home page. Adrants states what many of us think about this form of cynical advertising:
"In creating The Zero Movement, Coke has lied, misled and
misrepresented. Some would call this reprehensible and irresponsible.
We'll just call it stupid."
The Zero Coke Movement
There's an interesting article on the Harvard Business School website, entitled Does Your Company Belong in the Blogosphere? Written by Katherine Heires, it looks at how "skillful blogging can boost your company's credibility and help it connect with customers".
Heires identifies how corporate blogs can achieve the following:
- Influence the public "conversation" about your company: Make it easy for journalists to find the latest, most accurate information about new products or ventures. In the case of a crisis, a blog allows you to shape the conversation about it.
- Enhance brand visibility and credibility: Appear higher in search engine rankings, establish expertise in industry or subject area, and personalize one's company by giving it a human voice.
- Achieve customer intimacy: Speak directly to consumers and have them come right back with suggestions or complaints—or kudos.
She further goes on to say that corporate blogs can deliver benefits, providing they:
- Have a distinct focus and goal
- Feature an authentic voice
- Are open to comment
- Are update regularly
This article should trigger some thoughts, and stimulate discussion, for both those thinking about developing corporate blogs and even those who have already gone down that path.
Technorati have recently launched a new tool called Technorati Mini. It allows users to do a search for their favourite terms and, once you have launched the pop-up, will refresh information every 60 seconds. Great, if you're looking to be bang up-to-date on the latest news and events in the blogosphere.
Technorati Tags: technorati mini
'State of the Blogosphere' from Technorati
It may still be 5 weeks to Christmas but Santa is already blogging about it and offering podcasts through his Santa's Journal site. It would appear that this is the very first time that he has broadcast from the North Pole and he will be:
"keeping everyone informed on the latest happenings at the North Pole.
As well, he has a story that must be told, how Christmas was saved by
two unlikely friends, not long ago. This nine part story will be
released part by part with the final instalment on Christmas day."