Lazyfeed Is Not Serving Sushi. It’s All Spam!

Lazyfeed boasts that is is like a conyevor belt of sushi.

Have you tried Conveyor belt sushi? At a conveyor belt sushi restaurant, sushi plates are automatically delivered to you literally on a conveyor belt, so you don’t have to move around.

Lazyfeed is Conveyor belt sushi for your interest. Lazyfeed is all about letting you watch live updates on every topic you care about. Just add the topics you are interested in and start watching. Real-time updates on those topics will continuously flow in automatically.
Don’t surf. Let the web come to you.

I love sushi and I love the internet, but while others may love Lazyfeed, I find that the vast majority of the result served up by the service are nothing more than spam and splogs. There is no curation, no moderation and no apparent form of spam filtering of any sort. Some of these results are more than obviously spam, they are down right blatant.

In the 10 minutes I was on the service tonight (I’ve been using Lazyfeed for a long time, well before the new conveyor belt design), almost all of the results I clicked through too were splogs.

It would appear that the real “lazy” in lazy feed is the filtering and because of that I won’t be going back.

What we need is a curated system that points to good quality articles at their source (and a little birdy told me that one may be on the way).

Lazyfeed spam

It's not sushi on the conveyor but predigested spam!

How Do You Gauge Credibility?

Trust me!

Trust me!

An interesting question was inadvertently raised by @SabrinaDent (Sabrinas blog) earlier when responding on Twitter to my post “The FCC, TSA, @MyBottlesUp And Why Bloggers Can’t Be Trusted”.

How do you judge credibility online?

Credible bloggers are taken plenty seriously – TheStory.ie is an example. This woman has no credibility and never built any.

How do you judge the credibility of someone you’ve never heard of?

It’s relatively easy to judge the credibility of someone you’ve been following online for a long time. You get to know them, get a feel for them and you usually can see them being mentioned by other people who you also associate with online.

If you’re part of the same community you’ll see their name appear in the same forums, see other people linking to them and mentioning them and generally they become known to you by word of mouth.

The more you see someone mentioned (in a positive light) and the more you see people you know interacting with them the more likely you are to take them as a credible source.

The best gauge of credibility for me is the interaction of my peers. I tend to give a lot of weight to the those who have the ear and attention of my peers.

It’s a very different story when you don’t know the person and don’t move in the same circles. So how do we judge?

Well, you could do a search on the person and see what other people are saying or read through multiple posts on their blog and try and get a feel for them, but seriously who ever does that. Most of us are just clicking through to something that caught our eye and moving on, with perhaps a quick press of the retweet button.

The sad fact of the matter is that the internet has a sheep mentality. People will follow you just because other people are. It has a knock on effect and is something that bloggers (as one example) have been using for the longest time to get you to subscribe to them.

Almost every blogger proudly displays their RSS subscriber count and sometimes their email subscriber count. The reason for doing this is simple. It’s like saying : “Hey look at me, I have 2000 followers, you should follow me too” and sadly enough, for a lot of people that is enough.

Sometimes you will have more information to go on. A good design helps to put us at ease as it makes us feel like someone is at least being diligent and doing their housework with regards to their blog!

On Twitter a high follower to following ratio gives a good impression as it eases suspicion that the user may be a spammer and that other people are paying attention to them.

A good Pagerank and a good Alexa rank are indicators that people may be linking to them and that their traffic is descent which reinforces the idea that they are credible, but at the end of the day they are all only indicators in a situation where most of us make a snap decision about credibility.

I’ve met some high profile bloggers in my time who appear to be very credible but in real life I don’t think I would trust them to organize dinner never mind consult or run a business. There are others like Steven Hodson, who could blog that the moon had been stolen by little green men and I probably wouldn’t go to the window to look out and check, I’d just take him at his word because since I’ve known him he’s proven to be sincere, trustworthy, cranky and credible.

So how do we judge if someone is credible or not! Most of us have neither the desire nor time to really dig into the details of someone online before deciding to retweet their post. Most of us make this snap decision many times a day?

What indicators do you use to judge if a post or blogger is credible in what they say? Or how about a twitter user, especially one with a blog?

The Social Media Guru (Video)

Used Car Sales man

Trust me!

Social media experts, gurus and witchdoctors! You can’t turn a corner on the internet without running into 10 of them. Each and every one of them pimping their own regurgitated brand of “unique” insight that will do everything from save your business to turn you into a superstar with all of the perks and track marks as proof!

They’re like pigeons around old people at the park – annoying, everywhere and covering the place in shit.

Have you ever wondered what it is most of these so called “social media experts” actually do for companies? This video tells all…

Hat tip to “New Pair Of Goggles

Why Ask A Question If People Can’t Answer?

gagged I’ve always believed that blogs were about conversation.

You put your ideas out there and people give you feedback. Sometimes they agree, sometimes they disagree, sometimes they end up ranting like a loon but you always have conversation.

Needless to say I’m one of those people who believe that a blog without the ability to comment, isn’t!

Sara posted a link to Psychology Today, where Satoshi Kanazawa was spouting conspiracy theories about the Joe “You Lie!” Wilson photograph published after he embarrassed himself during Obama’s recent speech.

The title of Kanazawas post was “Who took the picture of Joe Wilson? And how?” and the final sentence of the post was also a question. Yet for all their questioning, they don’t have anywhere for readers to respond. They don’t have a comment form.

My question is simple: Why ask people a question if you’re not going to give them the opportunity to respond?

Is it that they are:

  • Afraid of being wrong?
  • Afraid that someone will question their assumptions?
  • Too lazy to engage readers in conversation?
  • Pretending to be involved in social media while simply talking at, instead of to people?

Am I missing some other possible reasons?

You may have boobs and kids, but you aren’t a mommy blogger!

It doesn’t matter who you are, we all feel the need to be part of a group, part of a collective which we can identify ourselves with. It gives us a sense of purpose, a sense of belonging and direction.

In the blogging world, this is a great thing. Groups create influence and help drive recognition and traffic, however, it all goes to hell in a hand basket when that group gets infiltrated by marketers.

That’s what has been happening with mommy bloggers recently and they’ve been having a rather public crisis of faith as they attempt to define what a mommy blogger is.

It all came to my attention when Sara wrote about the storm surrounding the idiotic idea of a “Blogger PR Blackout”, and came up again today when Stephanie Azzarone asked:

One wonders what would happen if the marketing world instituted an extended “Blogger Blackout” in return — no samples, no giveaways, no coupons, no trips. And readers would then keep going to those blogs because … ?

Kind of shines a light on what the PR world really thinks of bloggers, right?

Mommy bloggers are facing this issue because some of them appear to feel the need to, as Maria from Mommy Melee puts it, “lump together every blogger with a vagina and a child”.

Are you female, do you have kids? Then you’re a mommy blogger!

It’s as bad as being a Roman Catholic! No choice is given, they take you as soon as you’re warm.

As I see it from the outside, the mommy sphere consists of two distinct types of blogger (and those who straddle the fence of course), the actual mommy bloggers who talk about their kids, their lives, their experiences plus anything else that interests them and then you have those who use their blogs as a marketing tool to shill products and services to other mommy bloggers.

Now before I go any further, let me make it clear that I know plenty of women who are mothers and do not identify themselves as mommy bloggers. They are not being talked about here. I’m only talking about those who identify themselves as such, not those who are identified as such by the defensive and needy mob.

I have no problem with monetizing your blog. I attempt to monetize this one.

I have no problems with mom bloggers doing product reviews and giveaway’s.

What I do have a problem with is identity.

Once the focus of your blog stops being your own content and your own ideas you stop being a mommy/tech/sports blogger.

When posts that are your own exclusive content start becoming filler posts between the next marketing article, review or giveaway, you stop being a blogger.

When the sidebars and content of your blog contain more adverts than the personals section of a cheap tabloid rag, then you stop being a blogger.

Do you know what it is you become? You become a marketer! If driving products and profit is your primary goal with your blog, then you are a marketer.

I would suspect that the most ardent voices within the “mommysphere”, fighting to say that blogs full of product reviews are acceptable as mommy blogs are those who have transcended blogging into marketing.

They know that by being identified as mommy bloggers companies will give them more products to hawk and by being a so called mommy blogger they have a built n market.

Remove the mommy blogger association and all they’re left with is a blog that would otherwise be considered a splog – a spam blog.

The “mommysphere” has split into two groups – the mommy bloggers and the “mommy marketers” and the sooner it realizes that, the better off it will be.

My biggest flaw as a blogger

My biggest flaw as a blogger is that I don’t comment enough on other blogs.

I read hundreds of blog posts a day and while I may have a reaction to them, I am usually too busy to comment on them.

Instead I either share them on my link blog and /or Twitter with every intention of revisiting them to comment.

I rarely get around to it.

Not commenting on other blogs is hurting me as a blogger.

While I may be sharing and twittering the content of bloggers that I follow and find interesting, I’m not a part of the conversation.

By not commenting, I’m not exposing myself to (no pun intended) the readers of the bloggers I follow. They, and the bloggers I follow, have little or no motivation to come to my blog because they don’t really know I exist.

After all, if you don’t speak up in a crowded room you will never be heard.

I’m also damaging my blog from a SERP point of view as ever comment not posted on another blog is one less incoming link for O’Flaherty.

Now I’ve shared my biggest flaw as a blogger with you, what’s yours?

Can you buy a blog community?

What is the value of the O’Flaherty community? If the prices was right could I sell it?

Those two question have been on my mind since Chris Brogan asked "is your community for sale?" in his reactionary post to Andrew Baron putting his Twitter account up for sale.

What value would a purchaser take with them if they purchased the O’Flaherty outright, including my live show locations and  social network accounts.

What would somebody purchasing my name outright (or yours) be getting?

Obviously they’d be purchasing access to my audience. They would be forking out cash for my direct access to my RSS subscribers, the folks who visit my blog, follow updates on Facebook, watch O’Flaherty Live, everyone who subscribes via email.

In short they’d be paying for access to you!

Yet I think that such an investment would ultimately be a wasted investment regardless of which blogger you managed to purchase.

Blogger’s tend to have a unique community which is not the same as they community for a larger social site.

On a larger site such as say a popular forum you could actually purchase the community  because you wouldn’t be removing or replacing any aspect of the experience of the site. It’s the users interaction with each other around a topic that makes the community the community.

With blogs, once you’ve purchased a blog and remove the original author (or authors) you’ve taken away the key thing that made that site valuable in the first place.

On blogs it’s not as much about the users interaction with each other (although this is till very important) but more about their interaction with the author.

Blog readers become loyal to a blog because they typically become engaged by content. They feel an affinity towards the authors style of writing and personality.

This is something which can only very rarely be replicated. If you have a successful blog with a high reader count, the chances are that replacing the original author could result in a max exodus of readers.

Change the author and you change the readership.

Like print authors who are successful regardless of what publisher they use, good bloggers will take their audience with them to whatever new domain they decide to blog at leaving the original domain with little value except for the page rank and incoming traffic which may eventually die off as people stop linking to the site and the value of existing links diminishes.

Ultimately you end up paying for a very short lived period where you have the brief attention span of the original authors audience with diminishing return over time.

But what about a Twitter account, as in Andrew Barons case?

I would here that all you would be purchasing is the ability to spam the community for a brief period of time.

If other Twitter users are anything like me then they quickly stop following accounts that become spammy and I’m sure that the clicking of the "un-follow" button will be vastly accelerated once followers realize they are no longer following who they thought they were.

At the end of the day can your really buy a blog community? I don’t think so.

Another problem with and how to benefit from BlogNetNews

Queen of Spain has brought to a head all of the problems with BlogNetNews because they are scraping her content without permission.

Erin has successfully had her feed removed from BNN (good on you for doing it!) but, the more I think about it, the more I can see an opportunity for bloggers to gain from the fact that BlogNetNews is playing the scraping game.

As far as I see it the only problem with BNN syndicating the content is that they are not returning the link love to the original sites because they are passing the title link and the […] (read more) link through a redirect.

Here are the advantages I see for the bloggers currently on the network:

  1. Exposure – Your blog is being promoted to new readers without you having to do any work.
  2. They are only publishing a partial excerpt from the post. If a reader wants to read your content they must click through to your site to read it. Click throughs = traffic.
  3. You can’t comment on BNN. Again readers must click through to your post to leave a comment.
  4. They do not employ rel="nofollow" in on their site. This means that your feed can still be used to send plenty of Page Rank back to your site.

So all you need to do, to make this a win win situation for yourself as a blogger is to customize your RSS feed to include a simple "This post originally appeared on YOURBLOGNAME HERE" as a link at the top of each post which appears in your feed.

That link can point directly to your article. You can even optimize it so it says something like: This post (linked POST TITLE) is originally from (linked BLOG NAME).

Now you can happily let BNN scrap your content, safe if the knowledge that each post scraped will not only be sending you traffic, but also a share of the page rank from BNN.

You can achieve this on most blogging platforms by using a plugin such as "Better Feed" for WordPress or by manually editing your feed template (example is for WordPress).

Sure it may take a little work but it really is worth it to take advantage of the scrapers rather than expending the energy to fight them every step of the way.

Make them work for you.

Now, for my problem with BNN

My biggest problem with BNN is their tagline:

the blogosphere’s front page

How can any site purport to be the "front page" of the blogosphere when it limits itself only to the U.S. market.

Wake up call for you people: The blogosphere and the internet is NOT just the U.S.!

Today, between one service (who shall remain unmentioned until the respond to my email) not letting me sign up because I’m blogging on a ".dk" (Denmark) domain and idiots like this claiming to be the "front page of the blogosphere", I’m really starting to sympathize with the groundswell of resentment felt outside the U.S. towards the way in which many U.S. web sites and services marginalize or exclude people from outside the border.

I’m also starting to really consider what will happen when internet penetration levels increase in places like China and India and suddenly the English speaking world finds that it is in the minority of online users.

The US has almost 70% internet penetration so has not much room for growth, however Chinas has has only around 12.5% penetration and India has around 3.5%.

When India reaches the the same levels of penetration it will account for over 789 million internet users.

So, right now, any U.S. only site that not only manages to piss off it’s U.S. users but also piss off people from outside the U.S. can only be destined for serious trouble.

Lets not go down that road (again)..

Stop Sign My good friend Scot Duke (the author of “How To Play Business Golf“) took some time out to drop a rather lengthy comment on my post “I’m beset by idiots!“.

I know Scot won’t mind me promoting his comment and my response to full post status but I think Scot raises a point here which needs to be addressed.

Paul,
Now that we got the weekend out of the way lets get busy on this one issue… I took a moment away from the sabbatical I am taking to write on my next book to jump back online on this issue since what you and your posse have saddled up to pursue is a growing concern out here in cyberspace. Time is being wasted; bandwidth is being burned up by the fraudulent attempts of these kids who have too much negative energy.

Truthfulness is something very foreign to a number of these SEO’s site’s developers. Why is that? I like what Elaine had to say about the propaganda and how Tachnorati is using up a lot of bandwidth. For WHAT?

There needs be a sign or emblem a quality site could put on its front page or home page that indicated that it has been checked out and is legit?…OH, did I just give away an O’Flaherty Business Plan?. Since your analysis of several of the SEO sites we have reviewed together has been on target…I could go with an O’Flaherty Seal of Approval…

That’s dangerous territory Scot, and while your kind words are appreciated it’s something I’d have to suggest we stay away from.

The idea of somehow policing the internet and deciding which sites are legit or not is something I’ve talked about many times before.

What you are suggesting reminds so much of Tim O’Reilly’s attempt to introduce a “Bloggers’s Code of Conduct” with silly little  badges and rules for how people handled comments on their blogs.

I was against that. I still am.

Not because his heart wasn’t in the right place but because it involves imposing standards on other sites and people to which they may not wish to conform.

Tim’s efforts  actually lead me to crafting my own set of policies for O’Flaherty which Rex Dixon adopted and dubbed “The O’Flaherty Doctrine“. 

I strongly believe that sites should have a clear policy, but it should be THEIR OWN policy. It should be written by them to reflect how they want to do things.

If they do that then their readers /users know exactly where they stand but the site owners haven’t had an arbitrary code imposed on them. They simply setting their own rules and are free to grow and adapt them as their site evolves.

Tim’s “failure” (it succeeded in getting us all talking about the issue) thought the blogosphere a valuable lesson. If we impose rules and regulations on the blogosphere en mass we loose the very thing which makes the blogosphere what it is.

We loose our independence, innovation, creativity and restrict our freedoms with the only upside being that we give the folks who promote the “nanny state” the feeling /illusion of being safer.

Make no mistake that the feeling is just an illusion. No “twinkie sheriffs badge” or seal of approval will ever change that.

You can expand this beyond the blogosphere to the internet as a whole as well. As soon as we start deciding what we think is “legit” or acceptable and imposing our will on others then it’s end game for freedom on the internet as far as I’m concerned.

Now, Scot, I don’t wish to sound mean here but Elaine hasn’t got a clue what she’s talking about. She’s very passionate when she talks about this stuff but hasn’t got a clue:

The update: Technorati banned me from adding more favorites and then they deleted all my favorites. They did this to a number of blogs. If you think their ranking system is accurate, you’re wrong.

I have since removed my account. Interestingly, my traffic has INCREASED since I started boycotting Technorati.

The people who matter are the blog readers, the group of people Technorati never bothered to care about. Technorati has yet to prove themselves valuable to anyone but propagandists.

and

Boycotting Technorati was one of the best things I’ve done for my blog.

Like I said before, I think their “service” isn’t one. They don’t provide any actual value.

When was the last time you read a great Technorati article? When was the last time they sent you a valuable reader and not just another spammer? When was the last time Technorati showed you someone who wasn’t a scraper or spammer or linkwhore had linked to your blog? When was the last time you trusted the Technorati search to provide you with accurate information?

Technorati is for spammers and propagandists. Simple.
Let them be ruined by those who profit in the “value” they sell. Technorati and Google created this link economy, they can deal with the consequences. Either improve the system and create VALUE or get out.

Her comments above are, I suspect, the direct result of her being banned from the Technorati Faves service.

A quick search of Technorati shows that they are still tracking her blog (and her coComment feed for that matter).

So while she may be boycotting them, Technorati certainly haven’t stopped providing link tracking and sending traffic to her blog.

Also she says that Technorati is for spammers and propagandists. This from the same woman who argued so vehemently against me in defense of the “Technorati Favorites Exchange” meme.

This from the woman who was convinced it was her right to game the Technorati Faves for her own gain.

Yep, I guess that makes the rest of us spammers and propagandists.