Category Archives: mybloglog

MBL loses user due to forced account merge

I was browsing with firefox earlier over at MBL and decided to edit my profile. It was at that point the login screen was forced on me asking me to sign up with my Y! ID or if I didn’t have one the option to create one. I didn’t want to do this so I guess that for as long as my IE7 cookie lasts, I’ll be able to browse about and respond to PM’s and all that stuff. I did use the mass message tool to tell people I was offski and that I could be reached, followed, networked or whatever else you want to call it at, Bumpzee, Sphinn, StumbleUpon, Digg, and Blogcatalog so there thats that.

I knew it was coming, but today it happened. It’s no big deal, but I’ve decided not to merge my Y! and MBL identities. 

Why? Well, no real reason other than I don’t want to and to be honest MBL had kinda lost its sheen for me. I’m sure that a lot of the people there still love it to bits and get a great deal of use and satisfaction from it and well,  good luck to them too, it’s just no longer my bag. 

I don’t like having things forced upon me, I like choice and options, I don’t get why they felt the need to make this a mandatory thing.

Call it grumpy, call it what you like.

 I’m sure they’ll cope just fine without me! ;)

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Mybloglog messaging system and why I think it sucks

I just noticed the mybloglog mass message system thing. I don’t like it, it reminds me of that annoying myspace and orkut mass message thing. It is a recipe for spam spam spam and time wasting silly messages just filling up my inbox.

If every member of every community I’m in uses it just once a week, I’m in for a hell of a lot of reading and emailing/deleting.

Anyhow,  of course I had to try the thing out I so I mass messaged my 108 community members to see what they thought about it, I even told them that it was a one time message and apologised in advance too.

Here’s the kicker, I got a few responses, most agreeing with me. So I try and reply to their private messages and get this!

Message:* Now just slow down there, rock star! It appears you’ve become a bit overzealous with your messaging, or at least that’s what our new algorithm thinks. But we’re still fine tuning it, so if you think this is a mistake, just hit customerservice@mybloglog.com with an email and we’ll get you sorted.

Um…no, I don’t think so. If I get a message froma community member responding to something I sent them, I SHOULD be able to reply!

Come on guys, you’ve made some nice changes over there but this one is just asking for trouble.

Free advice time.

Drop the thing, or at least allow people to choose whether or not they can get these things. auto opt everyone out of it, and let them opt in to it.

Stick little checkboxes next to community members so we can selectively message certain people en masse.

If you go with an opt out system, then only show me members who have opted in on any mass message page.

One other thing, ever heard of letting people know about such things before you implement them?

I like MBL, I visit it daily, but things like this just give me negative chuckles .

Update:

Ive read a number of posts from people in the  mbl community who are annoyed about this. Ive had PMs on my mybloglog message page, but due to the way it works I get that silly message as outlined above, so have been unable to respond. Seems my one time mass message has put me into instant spammer terrority, or maybe it was because I once labelled myself a ‘schmoe’.

Anyhow

Avi puts it into a historical context of bloopers and avoidable slip ups

Andy makes his usual spot on observations

Meg too, tells it like it is.

John at disassociated explores a few of the issues experienced 1st hand and makes a few suggestion of his own too.

MBL have found themselves twisting in the wind and…well, just go and read it yourself.

Changes will no doubt be made in response to the criticisms out there. Why they have to wait a week to implement a few minor sensible changes, is quite frankly very puzzling. But hey, maybe they feel they have enough community capital to ride this one through too.

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Blogging and continuing missed conversations

Continuing the conversation on your blog

This post isn’t really aimed at the hardcore experienced blogger, its more aimed at those just starting out, people like me in fact. I’m fairly knew to all this and tend to blog from a search centric POV. Whilst its generally true that its search engines that will give most bloggers their traffic, there are nonetheless a variety of other  ways you can drive traffic and build the conversation within your sphere.

Blogging is popular for many reasons. Be it a tool for self expression, a tool for self promotion or just a general communication medium, its a fantastic way to reach out and have a conversation with people with similar interests.

Most of us are aware of the fantastic tools and platforms out there that enable us to see who is referencing us and in what context.

Trackbacks the process of ‘pinging’ a blog automatically is one such way. Checking your technorati stats is another. Using other 3rd party plugins or embed code is another still; Feedburner, Google anlaytics, Webtrends, Clicktracks to name but a few.Not to forget of course, the old trusty web server log files. Oh and lets not forget the ever increasing number of social media blogging communities that have sprang up recently. MBL, BumpZee, SpicyPage and my current favorite of course, BlogCatalog.

The really great thing about these is that they enable you to put a human face to your readership, letting you see who recently visited you, seeing new faces, clicking through to their sites or pages at their community and seeing what they have to say about whatever it is they do. Ive found some great blogs this way, that I otherwise may simply have missed.

I started blogging as ‘robwatts’ in January 2007. Yep, thats not so long ago at all. If you want to read my figures and stats here they are.

I currently have a little over 110 subscribers -  a technorati authority score of 208 with a rank of 19,424 and an alexa rank of  102,721 My Google PR is 4.

In comparison to other sites these numbers are very small beer, yet to be frank, I didn’t start blogging to win any popularity contest or acquire willy waving look at how big I am type scores, yet it is nice to know that people are interested in some of the things I have to say, and that these are beginning to be reflected in the various metrics fore-shown.

Its funny, but when you initially start out talking about whatever it is you discuss, you realize that, by and large you have a very small audience indeed. You might well write the most fantastic of stuff, yet if you don’t have the readership or eyeballs on your content, then not many people are going to be able to see or comment upon it. can you do anything about this? Sure you can…Ive already touched on one such automated way, but for the benefit of those who may have missed it, I’ll cover it again.

Catch your Tumbleweed

If your blogposts are blowing about in the wind, wailing away crying for a little attention then maybe you just have to let people know they are there.

I guess this was one of the thoughts that swam around in the depths of my subconscious which with a prompt or 2 pushed me in the right direction.The creative process is one of those things that can just sneak up and bite you on the behind. I was thinking about some of my posts that hadn’t received comments, and half jokingly blogged on it back in April.

I challenged the blog community (or my tiny growing readership at the time)  to calculate what their ‘tumbleweed’ score was for their blog and added as an afterthought, that I might even develop a plugin to help people automagically display their scores. Some bloggers like Andy responded, and made me realise that actually, this could well be a handy little addition to the blogging productivity box. The idea was that by having a visible metric, you could see how your posts were being responded to over a given timeframe, as well as show old posts that your newly aquired readers may have missed. So was born the tumbleweed plugin for wordpress.

Its nothing incredible of course, it just uses a little SQL and some basic maths. It may not work on all WP setups either, but it should work on most.

As for people using other blogging platforms, the short response at the moment is that it just will not work on your set ups. Blogger is kinda restrictive in terms of how it enables you to interact with the back end so my hands are a little tied. If I get enough interest or requests I may well look at creating something similar for platforms like Typepad,Drupal etc.

If youv’e written stuff that you think was good and think that people might benefit from seeing/reading again and want a little prompter to help you see how you are performing in a fun light hearted way, then tumbleweed could well be the thing for you.

Meantime, whatever it is you are doing or writing about, enjoy it!

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Discontinuing MyBlogLog visitor tracking

Due to improvements and upgrades to the server architecture that hosts this site, I regret to say that I’ll be discontinuing the mybloglog visitor tracking script.

Ive noticed that the scripts aren’t perfoming how I expect them to and I just don’t really have the time to recode it all so that it works.

I’ll be emailing existing users to advise them soon.

I hope you aren’t too inconvenienced by this, but in its current state it just isn’t really working too well at all. Inaccurate stats are about as useful as a dinghy in a desert.

For those that played, thanks for doing so. :)

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Lazy ubiquitous everywhereiness

Ok this isn’t what I do, but its something to think about, especially when you have one of those widget things that have sprung up here there and everywhere on your blog.

Only the other week, I noticed that the same guy appeared to be on my blog all of the time. I wondered why, he never posted, just came by and seem to always be there. He doesn’t do it anymore, so maybe he got bored, but it got me thinking as to the hows and the whys and lead me to believe that he probably set up some kind of auto refresh thing.

Here’s how I think he might have done it.

  1. Create a profile at a number of social network sites that run a widget photo thing.
  2. Link it through to some product you are looking to promote
  3. use a compelling image to attract clickthroughs
  4. Identify a lot of blogs that have these widgets on them
  5. Create a file and call it lazy-bastard.htm
  6. Open the view source option.
  7. Paste the code with links to your target blogs.
  8. Save it.
  9. Run it in a browser window somewhere
  10. Go down to the pub and have a beer

<html>
<head>
<meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”120″>
<title>Lazy Busy Blog hopper</title>
<meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”text/html; charset=iso-8859-1″>
</head><frameset rows=”*,*” cols=”*,*” frameborder=”NO” border=”0″ framespacing=”0″>
<frame name=”cornerFrame” xsrc=”blog1/”  >
<frame name=”topFrame” xsrc=”blog2/”  >
<frame xsrc=”somebusyblog3″ ><frame xsrc=”somebusyblog2″ ></frameset>
<noframes><body bgcolor=”#FFFFFF” text=”#000000″>

</body></noframes>
</html>

Personally I’d like to see a system that minimised the ability to do this as it could just spoil it for everyone else, not to forget that it could also be a huge bandwidth whore.

From a selfish bastard use and abuse perspective, its a good way of getting free advertising on high visibility, high trafficked sites, as to what can be done about it, hmmn, I guess thats up to to the backend coder guys on the respective widget sites. Maybe install some little time delay to prevent the images or urls being displayed more than say once in any 120 second time frame perhaps, longer even god knows. Things like this seem just too easy. I ve only used 4 urls in my example but it could theoretically contain 100′s if not 1000′s of domains.

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