Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year

And A Happy New Year!


If You're Lazy, Here's How To Pick A Web Host

Do you have common questions about web hosting?

Well, http://www.webhostingchoice.com is a kind of learning center for those who need to know more about certain aspects of web hosting. Nagging questions like "What is web hosting?", "What is virtual hosting?" and "Do I have to change my domain if I get a new host?" will be answered for you at this site.

In fact, this site has a "learning area" where the basics of web hosting are explained: How you can get cheap web hosting, why there are two parts to a domain, and a host of other specific issues related to getting your own web hosting on the way.

I guess you can say that WebHostingChoice.com is a useful resource for web hosting information. The guys there even give you the lowdown on how to avoid web hosting scams where such companies use "tricks" to sign up with them. They also have a web hosts directory for you to hunt down the web host of your choice and a web hosting plans directory as well.
If you are a newbie with a blog on a free platform like Blogger blogspot or WordPress.com and thinking about moving to your own web hosting, you might want to check out WebHostingChoice.com.


Scratch My Widget, Please!

We have got news the ScratchBack widget is undergoing some changes this year. They will come in smaller sizes and the widget also have "personalized tipping 'buy' pages". I guess Jim Kukral is listening to suggestions from users.

The present 200 pixels wide widget may look all right on some blogs but blog designs vary. Other blogs will want a smaller size to fit into their designs.

The customized tipping "buy" pages as explained at the Scratchback site means that when someone goes to tip you, and click on your tip link, you will now be able to add a custom message to that page, as well as an image.

But is Scratchback any good at making money online? That depends on a number of factors.

How much are you calling for your tips? The minimum one buck is attractive for other bloggers to tip you and get a slot on your TopSpot. Unless you have a very popular blog, calling for a bigger tip may put off some people. As you can see I'm not doing very well here. I'm doing better at my other blog, The NextPost, and you'll see why.

How good is traffic to your blog?
I don't see Scratchback as a great vehicle to drive traffic, so don't depend on it. But if your blog already has good traffic, the possibility of getting someone to tip you is greater than at a site with low traffic.
In most cases, I've noticed sites with the Scratchback widget but still waiting for someone to give a tip. In a sense, it looks like it has not really caught fire yet.
You can have one Scratchback account and use it for any number of sites that you have. That way you will have all your tip money in one "jar" so you'll reach the payment threshold faster. Payment is made to your PayPal account.

At the end of the day, the bottomline is how people perceive your blog - quality or crap - before they decide whether to tip or not. Of course, it may not ring true for some other reasons.

Of related interest:

Scratch My Back And I'll Scratch Yours

Ouch! It Hurts But You Learn From Blogger Unleashed


Blogging Year-Ender: The Top 10 Happenings

Around this time most newspapers will be preparing their end of year reviews of the major events that took place around the world during the year. They call it the "yearender" which is usually a special pullout section recollecting those news events.

Similarly, a retrospective view of some of the "major events" that took place on the wired world of the Internet will help to jolt memories (good and bad).

The year 2007, up till now as I write, is not without its fair share of controversial issues and other shenanigans on the Net. It has been a year of corporate takeovers of Internet ventures, an awakening of blogging savvy among the newer comers, and the proliferation of bloggers with a keen eye on making money online.

That's my view of it and I'm sure other commentators will have their own takes on the happenings on the Net during the year.

When I started blogging back in mid-2006, the only controversial issue I knew then was about those bloggers who are "political activists" playing on the minds of their readers about good governance, corporate transparency, freedom of speech and so forth.

The blogging experience widens its scope as I read up on other English-language blogs from all over, and soon came the realisation that there are countless, diverse opinions about blogging and its objectives.

"To each his own" is probably the best way to describe the blogging experience.

So, here's a list of some of the events and developments that have sparked off heated debates and conversational sideshows, and also created a blogospheric impact on bloggers in one way or another:

1. The Google PageRank Slapfest

This was the blogospheric tsunami that swept away the pageranks of hundreds, if not thousands of sites that were supposed to have paid links with DoFollows and other "taboos" not favoured by the "Do No Evil" empire of Google. The Google slapfest was one of the most talked about topics.

2. The Rise of Social Networks

Photo Credit:
luc legay

Social networking sites have increased in numbers and are considered the "in" thing for bloggers. Many see it as a great way to drive traffic.
To be seen and heard within a community has become a trend that will continue into the new year.

3. The Blog Re-Design Fetish

Photo Credit: .renato querra.

New-look, new lease of life for some "fading" blogs. When A-list bloggers re-designed, the rest followed. For better or for worse, pay a visit to those sites that underwent a redesign of their blogs and see for yourself.

4. The Over-Hype of BlogRush

A syndication network widget that rushed in and created one of the biggest Internet hypes of the year and it could well end with a whimper.

5. The Proliferation of Money Blogging "Gurus"

There's a surge of blogging newbies and wannabes coming on stage, and in no time, they are preaching and teaching other bloggers how to make money online. To these "dime-a-dozen gurus", welcome to the Blogosphere! May the truth triumph in the end.

6. The Mystery of CashQuests

A blog riddle that has caught the imagination of most bloggers. Who is the actual individual behind this popular make-money-online blog that was eventually sold for $15k? And where is Kumiko now?

7. Blog Memes & Link Love Buzz

Photo Credit: Randy Son of Robert

It was a big buzz in the first half of the year when almost every "Tom, Dick and Harry" blog was jumping on this bandwagon. Linky love was the name of the game. Do you still have your linky love list on your blog? Just don't let Google see it.
8. The Guest Blogging Mania

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Credit: Hyla

Somebody got this bright idea to invite guest bloggers to write on his blog. In no time, the idea took off and became a craze. It's all about getting backlinks and free publicity. Guest blogging wannabes were not in short supply. The host blogger sits back and enjoy some quality time. Please pass the bubbly!

9. Parody & Comedy: JohnCow.com

This upstart cow rides on the fame of Big Beef (aka JohnChow.com) and successfully mooed its way to celebrity status. The herd really poured on the milk. Give it to the guy with great cowsense.

10. The Mike Arrington Tirade Against Paid Posts

Photo Credit: molleyeh11

This guy from TechCrunch has got something against paid posts and PayPerPost posties. Whenever he gets the chance to shoot off his mouth, he gets a fusillade of the same in return. You know what I mean.

Note to newbies and noobs: If you're still wet behind the ears and can't tell a splog from a blog, then I would suggest you visit more sites especially the good ones and do some reading to widen your blogging experience.
Disclaimer: If I had missed out some other great blogging happenings of the year, I was probably not there to witness them and, therefore, not in a position to describe them. Maybe I'll make it a point to be at the right spot at the right time next year.

Of related interests:
Is This Herd Mentality Or Judgmental Decision?
Zen And Blogging: Are They Aligned?The "Do No Evil" Empire Strikes Back
BlogRush Making Waves On The InternetRumblings About Guest Blogging
It's The Year Of Blog Re-Design
Link Popularity: How, Why, & What To Do About It
There's A Lot Of Cow Sense At JohnCow.comMad Cow Disease - A John Cow Sequel
Social Networking: Tailing The Long Tail
How To Succeed Online? Have The Right Focus
Sayonara CashQuests! Sold For $15,000


OpenID Commenting Comes to Blogger.com

At first, people thought Blogger.com must have gone bonkers. Some even thought the "evilness" of Google PageRank slapfest has taken hold at Blogger.com.

I'm sure WordPress and other non-Blogger users would have noticed the sudden change when they wanted to leave a comment at a Blogger site.

"Hey, WTF, how come I can't leave my blog address here anymore?"

That would be the most likely reactions from readers to this new surprising experience at Blogger sites. I was initially disappointed, too, after reader BlueBeaverBeer brought it to my attention in his comment in my previous post on this blog.

It would be "doomsday for comments" at Blogger sites if that was for real. But after further investigations, it turned out that Blogger.com is using Blogger In Draft to implement this latest feature that's called OpenID Commenting. Blogger In Draft is Blogger.com's experimental version that does "test drives" of new features that are being added to the Blogger platform.

The new OpenID Commenting feature can be activated now and I've done that to this site. (See screen capture below)

According to Blogger In Draft:

BlockquoteThis feature is in Draft because we'd like to hear feedback about the implementation, and to test it further before moving it to Blogger's main site. We're also working on functionality to let Blogger's URLs (both Blog*Spot and custom domains) be used for commenting elsewhere on the web."

With OpenID services enabled, users such as those from WordPress and LiveJournal can now comment on Blogger blogs using their own accounts rather than having to register with Blogger/Google accounts.

To sign in, you use
the dropdown-menu
to select

your blog platform

Of course, if you are a Blogger user, you have to activate the OpenID Commenting feature first. And for users of other platforms, they have to acquire their OpenIDs.

What does OpenID do for you? With it, you only have to authenticate yourself once and be able to post comments not only on Blogger sites but also on other platforms without having to show your credential all over again.

The powerful aspects of OpenID is that you can do away with multiple usernames across different websi
tes. Your online experience is simplified. The technology is not proprietary and it's free.

To know more about OpenID, you can head over to OpenID.net for a more comprehensive explanation of this new technology that may well be an industry standard in the near future.

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