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.

Blogging To Infamy

You may have noticed some of the negative blog posts which have been floating around the web today with regards to Blogging to Fame, a project run by Indian blogger Divya Uttam!

It all came to my attention when Antman from Cre8buzz messaged me this morning asking for my opinion on his post “A scam or not a scam…

I was going to launch into a devastating attack and lay waste to all in my path but stopping to open a nice bottle of wine gave me the time to finally pause today and think about all this.

The resultant thought may not please anybody.

Okay before I get to explaining that thought (probably the only one I’ll have for the week) I’d best give a little background.

Sara from Suburban Oblivion believes that Blogging to Fame is a scam of some sort.

Antman does a fairly decent job of surmising her argument:

Spelling mistakes
Poor grammar
Only contact info is in India
Chicago Seminar Link is dead
Copyright is Worldnet Labs, and she can’t find em on Google
See’s Blogging To Fame as an SEO and Linkbait site

Needless to say Divya, from BTF, had her own things to say about this. She posted comments in multiple paces but I’ll just post the email she sent in reply to me asking her about the posts:

Hi Paul,

I know about the negative attention Blogging to Fame is getting from a few in the blogosphere, I had put in comments clarifying the doubts Sara had but guess she was in no mood to publish it. We started Blogging to Fame at an early stage to get the things rolling. As for World Net Labs, we are coming up with the site which will be there in two days. We had also put in about our team, and specified our States Representative’s address. I have been constantly in conversation with many of our members and would be putting Jury section soon, which would include good names of internet. I think that will bring enough credibility to the contest.

I cannot put at stake the love I have got from my readers for a linkbating technique, and my team has worked day and night for this project. I do not know what they think when they compare junk emails shot to millions of accounts from an anonymous yahoo email address to a site we had put our hard work into. Anyways registration is free, we do not compel to put widgets to be in the competition, People who trust us can be in the contest and be a part of revolution.

I have put in a Comment at: http://www.cre8buzz.com/blog/2007/06/05/a-scam-or-not-a-scam/
You can have a look at it if you wish to. I am thankful to people who trust me and believe in the project. I promise that this Contest and Seminar would turn up in a big way, the way it is being projected by us.

 
Thanks Paul for your support,

If you have any further specific queries be sure to contact me, and best of luck for the contest.

Regards,
Divya

Now, I don’t know Divya personally.

My only exchanges with her have been via email after I had registration problems with BTF (she fixed the problem personally) and we’ve crossed sabers on some blog posts in the past.

My impression of Divya is that she is on the level and I believe that this is not a scam.

People do nut usually invest as much time and effort in a scam as she has in BTF. Divya’s blog used to be awesome. It’s suffered a terrible decline in quality since she’s diverted her attention to BTF.

So, who’s wrong here?

EVERYBODY IS!

Divya’s is pouring her heart and soul into BTF but has made a few mistakes a long the way.

Those mistakes could justifiable give rise to concerns expressed by Sara at Suburban Oblivion.

Sara got it wrong as well. Her post is a little xenophobic and shows a complete lack of research before announcing to her readers that BTF is a scam.

I’m not picking a fight here. I’m guilty of not doing as much research as I should from time to time.

I’m going to climb on to the back of a moral horse here. It’s a horse on which I do not deserve to sit myself, but there is a point to be made here about dealing with this.

Sara’s concerns are genuine, but her handling of it was off.

Contacting Divya is really easy to do and one or two exchanged emails, or a quick phone call, would have cleared all of this up without any of the drama.

Also, Sara didn’t approve the comments Divya posted to Sara’s blog in response.

This was wrong. Yes Sara did repost the comments in a post all of their own but she should have let them stand where they were as well.

Worse still is that Sara did not approve Antman’s comments and also re-posted them in a post along with Divya’s.

Antman’s comments were then somehow, misunderstood by a host of Sara’s readers and Sara herself, resulting in yours truly having to step in and clarify after a number of Ant bashing comments were made.

The reason for Antman’s post not being allowed to stand is, apparently, because he is “an online acquaintance of” Divya’s.

That’s just not right!

If you’re going to call somebody out you have to allow them make their statement and their comments, right or wrong, just like everybody else.

You shouldn’t treat people some peoples comments differently just because it disagrees (or you think it does in this case) with your theory.

We’re bloggers. As a group we’re always complaining about how we should be taken seriously and how we should be given more mainstream acceptance.

This incident is exactly why we, as bloggers, should NOT be allowed main stream acceptance.

It’s proves we are sitting at the back of the class only to be let out into a fantasy world where we can play journalist / reporter.

A little research, an email or a phone call would have gone a long way to resolving this issue.

It’s something that we, as bloggers, tend to neglect to do in our hunt for the next big Digg or Techmeme traffic rush! (I’m not suggesting that was Sara’s motive. She appears simply to have been concerned BTF may be a scam which people could get sucked into)

Divya made mistakes with BTF. Sarah made mistake with handling this.

That is the nature of things.

Divya has already admitted to her fault. I can only hope that Sara will, at least, tell her readers that another side exists to this story.

As for me? Well, I wish Divya the best with BTF. I believe it “does exactly what it says on the tin”.

I also wish Sara the best. I’m going to subscribe to her blog once I’ve finished writing this post.

I just hope that we, the blogging community, learn from this. I hope that we, don’t repeat the same mistakes.

We have a responsibility to our readers to check the facts as best we can before printing. We’ll never be taken seriously other wise.

Do we want to the blogosphere to be considered the equivalent of a  bunch of tabloid rags relying on titillation, innuendo and shock to maintain an audience or do we want to be consider on par with the Times?

I know which I’d prefer! How about you?