30.11.07

Is This Herd Mentality Or Judgmental Decision?

There's a lot to be said about herd mentality. In the Blogosphere, the bane of herd mentality will never go away so long as there's a continuous flow of newbies coming into blogging. If they have no one to guide them such as a mentor, then they will fall in with the crowd and move along with it. That's a general view of what's going on in the Blogosphere.

I guess we have to live with this kind of mindset for as long as we are blogging.
There's no running away from it.

An old adage that comes to mind is "if you can't beat them, join them". But would you join the crowd if it's something that goes against the grain? This is when you have to make your own judgmental decision on whether to jump on the bandwagon or go your separate way.


Being able to think through a situation is not as easy as it seems. We are all human beings and we have tendency to be idiosyncratic or indecisive at times. Some of us undergo vacillation until the cows come home. Others simply take the plunge without giving it much thought and live to regret it later.


However, as pointed out by one seasoned blogger, sometimes you have to take risk because it's better than sitting on the fence and missing the boat. After all, you can always pull back if you sense something is not right. In this case, you can say you're just making a
judgmental decision and NOT getting caught in the herd mentality mindset.

The Rush That's Just A Trickle


An example in this case would be
BlogRush. This widget received one of the most talked about hypes when it was first launched and many bloggers signed up. After the initial euphoria, reality set in and many users started to drop it when they saw there wasn't much traffic to speak of using the widget although others reported an increase in traffic.

I had the widget on my sidebar earlier on but it's now cast aside.
Sure, I was beginning to have doubts about the usefulness of BlogRush.

The Bucks Stop Here!


WidgetBucks
is another case where it seemed to be the "next Adsense" with many users taking the plunge to sign up. Users were reporting positive results as they saw the dollar signs adding up in their accounts. Then one fine day, the cunning folks at WidgetBucks dropped a bombshell, stating that they were cutting off bloggers from outside the U. S. of A and Canada.

Many accounts were unceremoniously suspended. There were reports of the amount in the account being reduced mysteriously or simply disappeared. Whether those actions were taken because of invalid clicks or not remain as mere conjecture. But the public relation image of WidgetBucks can be said to be severely damaged. Later, they started to do some damage control to get back on the international scene.

Getting Hip With 125x125 Ads

For now the 125x125 banner ad seem to be the trend. Once started by some well-known bloggers almost every other blog started to follow suit. Mostly, they have them plastered on the top right corner of their pages. Wonder when people will get tired of looking at them and start to think of something different to be unique?


Some blogs are so plastered with favicons and 125s at the top right corner it's starting to look like your favourite dumping ground for ads that are "sold" or "unsold". When people first saw these "new looks", they all went "oohs" and "aahs" about the whole affair.


If you look carefully at most blogs going in this direction, would it be right to speculate that blogs no longer look like blogs - more like the traditional websites filled with banner ads?
Remember you used to be told by some gurus to be mindful of banner blindness? But who cares, put the banners on and let the advertising dollar roll in! Leading bloggers have made this move as "politically correct" and the floodgate is now open. Herd mentality!

To Subscribe Or Not To Subscribe?



Subscription to an RSS feed or an email is another area where much discussions have been bandied around. It has a lot to do with herd mentality, too. You might be wondering how some blogs have got RSS subscibers in the hundreds while others are just struggling below the 100 mark. Of course, the usual A-list suspects can boast of subscribers in their thousands.


It seems the herd mentality can play a big role here in influencing the number of subscribers to your blog. It has been said that once you have a huge subscription base, it will become much easier with more and more people wanting to subscribe to your site.


But if you have a pathetic subscription figure, then it's gonna be a forlorn wait to see more being added to your RSS feed.
The same can be said about comments on blogs. It's all a case of herd mentality with a great dose of popularity bias thrown into the mindset.

You may have good, readable content on your blog but that does not equate with a ton of subscribers. It all boils down to numbers. The bigger the number, the greater the attraction. Is that the law of attraction?


Like it or not, that's the make-up of the Blogosphere.
Go with the flow if you can't make judgmental decisions of your own.



25.11.07

Why Blogging Smarties Are Coming On Strong With Smorty

When Smorty came on the scene to provide opportunities for bloggers to get paid to blog the company was considered a "small fry" trying to gatecrash the party that its more established competitor was having with its blogging posties. Bloggers who signed up early with Smorty found that paid opportunities were few and far between because it was still early days. Smorty found few companies willing to advertise on blogs via its services.

If there were any blog advertising to be written, the payment for a 150-word post was just a miserly five bucks. Cheap skate. That was not attractive enough to win over posties who want to get paid to blog.

More opportunities in the marketplace

But in recent months, if you are a signed-up postie, you would have noticed that more and more opportunities are appearing on the Smorty marketplace.

According to Smorty, blogs with a higher score based on its unique ranking system will be paid a higher rate.
It also depends on PageRank to value a blog. Obviously, the higher PR you have the better your chances of getting more higher-priced campaigns.

New referral program

In addition, Smorty has also launched its affiliate program which will give added incentive for member posties.


It's becoming quite attractive for Smorty smarties to focus on this company. The average minimum payment for an approved post is now $6 which is at least one buck better than the market leader who is still paying that miserly five bucks for "low-ranking" opportunities.


Smorty's higher paying opportunities are catching on, too, with higher PR blogs and there's no "segmentation". As with other blog for money companies, Smorty, which is free to join, requires that your post must be unique and using correct grammar and English.

18.11.07

Will RealRank Turn Out To Be A White Knight?







Have no fear, RealRank is here
. If your blog has been one of the "victims" that got cut down to size by the recent Google slapfest, maybe this new metric from Izea, the parent company of PayPerPost, will bring new hope.


So what is Izea RealRank?


Izea believe they have a solution (RealRank) to gather "Real" traffic information and rank sites based on their standing within the network.


Here's their "relatively simple" formula that will provide bloggers and advertisers a measuring yardstick:


  • 70% weighted towards visitors per day

  • 20% weighted towards amount of ACTIVE inbound links per day

  • 10% weighted towards pageviews per day
It appears like RealRank is going to be a traffic-centric measuring system. Of course, we are always looking for a better mousetrap, but is there something missing from this idea to gauge the standing of a website or blog?

Traffic is an important factor - you bet, it is.

As an advertiser, you would be asking if a traffic of 5,000 daily visitors who glide in and out hardly noticing anything on a site, would it be worth placing an ad there?

Or is it better to advertise at a site with 500 unque readers per day who would notice your ad and read your content? Lars-Christian puts forth this thought regarding the traffic issue in his post RealRank -- A Stillborn Idea From Izea.


If "500 unique readers" is a better proposition, then obviously that particular site must have "quality content" to boot in order to attract these kind of visitors. They will have some kind of affinity with the site and are likely to be repeat visitors. That's where we come back to PageRank and understand that "authority" status is as much a consideration in the measurement of ranking.


Moreover, there is always the question of "traffic buying" that could turn this whole thing into a farce and puts us back to square one.


Following the Google pagerank slapfest that has antagonized a great number of webmasters, Izea RealRank may look like a white knight riding to the rescue to some people at least - but I'd rather have some reservation about it. It is expected to be released within two weeks, then we'll see how it works out. Don't bet too much on it.



Of related interests:
Are You One of 85,000 PayPerPost Bloggers?
The "Do No Evil" Empire Strikes Back


14.11.07

Are You One of 85,000 PayPerPost Bloggers?


What more than 85,000 bloggers love best is to get paid to blog. These are the number of Posties (that's what they are called) who have signed up with PayPerPost (PPP) and I'm sure most of them are enjoying getting paid when they write reviews about products and services in the PPP marketplace.


Some of the top earners are making from $10k to $18k since they started writing for PPP. The PPP marketplace represents over 11,000 advertisers, making them one of the biggest draws for paid post sponsors.


The company has always being at the forefront of marketing innovation since it launched last year. PPP have not looked back since and they are still continuing to expand their operation. The latest was the news that they had formed a parent company by the name of Izea.


Despite detractors who frown on PPP, the company has managed to sail through rough waters. The PPP people have shown that they have the chutzpah and publicity flair to deliver smart ideas under the leadership of Ted Murphy.


Although I did sign up with PPP, I have been very selective of post opportunities. I only picked opportunities that I feel could be made relevant to this blog.


In the beginning, the opportunities for this blog were few and far between because this site was a PR0 then. Since attaining PR3 I had more opportunities but still I've to restrain myself from grabbing every opp that's available.


For a short period recently during the Google PageRank hoo-ha I noticed PPP ranked my blog as a PR5. That gave me the opportunity to accept higher paying opps.


Well, it was only for a short while, and now I'm back at PR3.


Oh well, let's wait and see....



12.11.07

Of Zen And Blogging







I'm not one for pretentious mission statement like this..."I blog, therefore, I am". When I see this I cringe. When you travel far and wide in the blogosphere, you're bound to come across all sorts of idiosyncrasies coming from bloggers. Tricks and treats are everywhere.


Let's face it, there's always the good, the bad and the ugly side of blogging, being the "free-wheeling" kind of space that the blogosphere is today. But let's look at the brighter side of blogging where the dissemination of information is freely given.


Bloggers who don't hold back in sharing their knowledge are the ones that really make the whole blogging experience something to be appreciated and worth the time spent doing it.


It's a positive attribute -- and spreading the goodwill can only be good and beneficial to the blogging community.


The best part of blogging, especially for those seeking to enhance their blogging experience, is to be able to build a community and network with people who have similar interests.


If you have achieved the status of celebrity bloggers you can establish your credibility as an expert or thought-leader in your field. What else can they be but to be leaders of the pack.


When these bloggers write a post, the flood of comments that pour in says a lot about their popularity and status. They get tons of RSS and email subscribers. They are usually on top of major blogging issues.
Some of the qualities you find in these bloggers are that they know how to use personality, opinions, expressions as a way of drawing readers to read their content.

In blogging you got to know the art of writing for blog readers. These so-called thought leaders do have some tricks up their sleeves, and they know how to use them and keep us coming back for more.


Recently, Maki of Dosh Dosh wrote one of the most profound articles on blogging -- "The Secret to Building a Popular Blog" -- which is so comprehensive in its presentation it caught the attention of many bloggers. The lengthy article -- a brilliant piece of work, if I may say so -- created a huge buzz.


What Maki's detailed article boils down to is that you can overcome the barriers by spreading your wings to build a popular blog. It's all about following the right process, using strong tools, and applying smart networking to reach your objective.

The kind of blogger you are...
Author and blogger Seth Godin may prefer to switch off "comment" on his blog. Kumiko's blog at CashQuests did the same for a spell but decided to switch "comment" back on again. They have their reasons for doing what they did.

For Godin, he took a lot of flak for his surprising view that he no longer wanted to see comments on his blog. One irate blogger put it down as "a movement among the self-impressed in the blogosphere to toss up walls around themselves to avoid having to interact with the unwashed masses."


Some bloggers are so choosy about commentators that they put up "comment roadblocks" so that they can filter those people who come over to their blogs by requiring them to register first. No matter what excuses these bloggers give, they are just a big turn-off for most visitors who will most likely not come back again.


The very fact that we blog is to build bridges with other bloggers. If you're a blogger and keeps a "closed door policy" a better place to be would be a mountain cave. As they say, blogs without links are not blogs, they are the creations of arrogance and vanity.


Then there are other bloggers who behave like snobs. You can try to be friendly with them by leaving comments on their site but they never reciprocate in kind. For whatever reasons, you might think they feel you're not good enough to mix with them. Or basically, they prefer to stay within their own clique or kind.


Linkbaiting is another form of blogging trickery that some bloggers venture into to attract traffic. It can be effective but usually it is looked upon as something
associated with "underhand tactics".

Can We Be Zen-wise In Our Blogging?
Bodhidharma. Woodcut print by Yoshitoshi, 1887

From a holistic point of view, would it be right to link that meditative word "Zen" with "blogging"? Copyblogger took that holistic approach when he wrote about "Zen And The Art Of Remarkable Blogging".


Brian Clark succinctly expounded in that post that "blogging and Zen are closely aligned".


Of course, he was not trying to teach you Zen Buddhism as pointed out by him. He was writing that post to "provide some insight into effective blogging, or, at a minimum, gets you to think differently about your current notions regarding content and the attention you seek with it."


He went on to discuss "The Four Noble Truths Of Blogging" -- (1) Get over your "self"; (2) Free your mind; (3) Detach from results; and (4) It's up to you.


Zen comes from the Sanskrit word Dhyana. It means a meditative state in the Buddhist tradition. Zen practice is a state of mind.
It is about self-development, about experiental practice which helps us to see life directly and to act with wisdom and compassion.

BlockquoteZen encourages practitioners to learn from teachers and other students to better understand how to attain truth through direct experience. The blogging community offers a similar environment," writes Brian Clark.
Would you follow the Zen path to successful blogging? Is there such a path in the first place?

Lazada Malaysia