How not to request a link exchange

Step 1 in ensuring your link exchange request fails is to make the email as impersonal as possible.

Step 2. Sign the email with a fake name.

Case in point (links removed):

Hello Webmaster,
As a part of an ongoing campaign to increase the Link Popularity of our client’s web site I am looking for some related web sites like yours to exchange links with. I would like to request you consider linking to our site.  In exchange, we will link back to your site. Please add our site at to a page with a page rank of at least 2.

Details of my site are as follows:-

1)-Url:- link removed

Title:- Giveaway

And I will post all your links on above sites :-

link removed

link removed

link removed

link removed

When our link is up, please let me know. I will add yours soon.
Also, please forward me the Link Text/Description to be used while placing your links at this site.
Thanks 

With warm Regards

smithjhon

Caught unprepared on Ustream

OFlaherty, live on Ustream Chris Pirillo caught me unawares tonight when he put my Ustream stream on live.pirillo.com resulting in me ending completely unprepared for a flood of users.

I’ve only been experimenting with my UStream channel so haven’t anything formal in place and was figuratively caught with my pants down.

Still it turned out to be a great experience to have 80+ people in the chat room asking me questions for an hour, even if my camera did decided to commit suicide and jump off the desk no less than twice.  :)

As I said I was experimenting so didn’t have the camera set up on a stand yet as I was playing with camera angles and stuff.

Anyway, I really must say thanks Chris because that hour was a lot of fun!!

You can see the video from tonight here. It’s almost an hour long, but I’ll get around to editing it into smaller chunks once I find some software which will convert Ustreams FLV files into AVI or MPEG.

Ad Blocking Hypocrites

I was just chatting on instant messenger with a good friend of mine who was shocked to discover that I ran ads on my blog.

She’d been running an ad blocker in Firefox and (like AdBlock Plus) and had forgot all about it (she’s since turned it off).

I obviously gave her a slagging off for using an ad blocker as we’d only recently been talking about various advertising options on her site.

This got me thinking about how many people actually use Ad blockers, and how many of those users are hypocritical enough to knowingly use then while running advertising on their own blogs?

I’m sure there are many who do this, but what is the motivation?

I know that removing the ads from other sites can provide a smoother and less intrusive browsing experience, but when these ads are many bloggers only source of revenue from the blogs what makes you think that you have the right to come and read their content  without their advertising.

If you don’t want to see their ads read the content in an RSS reader, if the publisher allows you to do so.

Even worse, what make some people think that they can block others ads, yet expect others to view theirs?

I do not and will not run an ad blocker when browsing the web.

I run ads on my blogs and on Bloomer and expect that when I visit a persons site it should be displayed as they intended it.

If you visit my site you see the advertising that I run. It’s that simple and that’s how my site is supposed to be displayed. 

My RSS feeds are advertising free and serve a purpose. The purpose is to allow readers to consume the content in the hope that they’ll click through to the site and hopefully click on some advertising.

I wish there was someway that I could detect browsers with ad blockers installed and deny them access to my site.

After all, you can already get my content for free via RSS so why rob me of any potential income from advertising by using an Ad blocker?

Fake it to make it

There’s been a number of posts going around in the past few weeks about the supposed benefits of faking the number of subscribers you have to your blog in order to increase popularity.

Faking your FeedCount may help you increase your RSS readers as some people prefer to subscribe to a blog only after they find that it is already being read by many people.

The concept here is that people are like sheep. They flock together and if it appears that a large number of people are reading your blog then the "me too" syndrome kicks in and people subscribe.

Now, we all know that it’s really easy to fake your Feedburner numbers just by saving an image of the counter and spending a few minutes in Photoshop. Then putting the new image back up and linking it to your feed. You can instantly make it appear as if you  have 1000 or 20000 readers!

The problem with the Photoshop approach is that smart readers may notice that your feed count never changes until you finally reach the 1000 goal and replace the fake count with a real one.

A smarter cheater may be to opt to edit the code of the counter itself in order to fake it.

This is the Feedburner code for the feed counter:

<a href=http://feeds.feedburner.com/YOURFEEDNAME>

<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~fc/FEEDYOUWANTTOBE?
bg=99CCFF&amp;fg=444444&amp;anim=0&amp;label=listeners"
height="26" width="88" style="border:0" alt="" />

</a>

Now this is the feed address for Problogger which has over 37,000 readers:

http://feeds.feedburner.com/ProbloggerHelpingBloggersEarnMoney

If I wanted to have Problogger’s numbers and an updating counter I’d  replace the "FEEDYOUWANTTOBE" with "ProbloggerHelpingBloggersEarnMoney"  from the Problogger feed address.

See how easy that is? You can see it working on the top right of this post.

If you only have 50 readers and wanted to implement this approach you might be safer using the numbers from a blog with 500 to a 1000 readers as your readers will notice a lack of comment activity.

But why would you want to lie to your readers and do this?

Well the obvious answer is to gain more readers. But for me this is a very dishonest way of going about things.

If you start out by lying to your readers you’re starting down the wrong road and likely to continue doing dishonest things in order to promote your blog.

Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.

- Master Yoda

Not to mention the fact that if someone discovers your deception and outs you, your real readers will most likely loose faith in you and unsubscribe leaving you back at square one.

I really believe that you should never engage in this kind of trickery simply to get a few more readers. Instead of focusing your energy on manipulating the numbers you should focus on your existing audience and growing it naturally. If your putting out great content and engaging your readers they will keep coming back for more and others will follow.

I’m not going to get into how to do that as there has been a billion post written by countless other bloggers on building an audience and engaging your readers.

If you’re really embarrassed by your reader count simply don’t display it.

Hoover Hack

This video contains a simple little "hack" for getting dust off of your suit jackets.

It’s just something that popped into my head the other day while I was playing with Ustream.

As a matter of interest.. I couldn’t get this video to upload properly to YouTube. Anybody else experiencing issues with uploading Ustream videos to YouTube?

Ustream chat bugging me?

It’s been a busy ten days around here and my feet have hardly touched the ground, hence the drought on blog posts.

I’m trying desperately to catch up with my RSS reading this morning and you can actually watch me do it on Ustream :)

While I enjoy playing with Ustream the built in chat room for it has been bugging me because it fails to recognize the fact that me keyboard is Danish and as such has a different layout to a US keyboard. This is because of the extra letters (æ,ø and å) in the Danish alphabet.

Most applications don’t have a problem with this, even online ones, as they just take the characters as passed to them, but not Ustream.

Now, I know that 99% of the time I’ll be responding in audio over Ustream, but occasionally I want to clarify something by typing it in. That gets mighty awkward when every time I hit the "?" key I get a "+" and other such weirdness.

Hopefully the guys a Ustream will get this little bug sorted fairly soon :)

Who the Hell do you think you are?

Arrogant gits! Yep, once again the money men decide to lord it over us with the choice of name for their new corporate bloggers organization – The Blog Council!

The Blog Council, a professional community of top global brands dedicated to promoting best practices in corporate blogging, officially launched today.  Founding members include the leading companies from a diverse range of business sectors: AccuQuote, Cisco Systems, The Coca-Cola Company, Dell, Gemstar-TV Guide, General Motors, Kaiser Permanente, Microsoft, Nokia, SAP, and Wells Fargo.
The Blog Council exists as a forum for executives to meet one another in a private, vendor-free environment and share tactics, offer advice based on past experience, and develop standards-based best practices as a model for other corporate blogs.

In many senses I think this is a good thing for corporations to have some sort of guidelines and a forum where they can talk about their blogging practices, problems and issues related to having a corporate blog and employees blogging.

But the name?? Please, come on!!

Could they be any more condescending to the average blogger and could they possibly be any more transparent about how they wish their entity to be see in the future?

They have said that they may not be blogging much but I’m reasonably sure that an organization who deals with corporations and intends to teach ethical best practices and produce a standardized blog terminology glossary , will produce white papers and guidelines for their members to follow.

The guidelines will in turn be filtered down through the corporations to their bloggers and will make their way out onto the blogosphere. They will be seen as “best practice” by many (and they may well be) regardless of their merit solely because they come from a corporate community called “The Blog Council”

The idea is good for those involved but for me, the little blogger, I don’t see the name “The Blog Council” as reminding me of a “Jedi Council” for bloggers.