Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks


Is your WordPress Blog Hacked?

Posted by geeknews at 4:18 PM on April 7, 2008

If you have not updated in a while you may want to have a look at your templates and upgrade your installs. If you read the linked article don’t skip the comments.

This is another of many reasons why this site has remained on MovableType.

On a couple of my wordpress installs on other domains I have been negligent in updating the installs and have had issues in the past. It’s to bad that wordpress users continue to suffer from security holes in older versions. [Deep Jive Interests]

The DeCentralized Me!

Posted by geeknews at 2:36 PM on March 30, 2008

Over the past 4–5 years in writing this blog I have always been concerned about services that cause consumers of this content to get connected through a third party service.

As many of you I have signed up for most of the social networking services, for me anyways as more as a point of interest, that connects me with the family of consumers of this content, that I, and my team produce. If you read this blog on a regular basis you will know it is intermixed with Rich media containing Audio Podcast, Blog Post and Video.

While I realize their are a variety of ways and software tools that one can get to our content, down deep I hope that everyone comes here first. Geek News Central is, and always will be the primary point of presence for anything that I, and the contributing editors feel the need to post on.

With the invention of Twitter, FriendFeed, and several other services out their that is commanding a lot people’s attention. I have slowly come to realize that many people are only getting part of the ongoing  conversation, which in a sense is breaking the very thing I have tried to prevent over the past 4–5 years.

Part of it is my own fault for not making sure that the Twitter conversation and everything else I haphazardly post on is not also syndicated on this site.

I am torn though, as I am sure I could setup a widget and import, my flickr post, all my tweets etc..,  but I am also pretty positive not everyone wants to see all my tweets, after all why would you care that I am writing this post from LAX? You don’t but I did tweet I was in LAX, this trivial information has no added value to the content here, but at times I do have important things to say that could be carried here as well as being sent out on Twitter.

I think this is going to continue to be a hot topic for a while, as we all want the eyeballs here first, or people consuming the content via the primary RSS feeds, I am going to look into a way to easily get the content that is important onto and in this my primary content stream.

As a side note. This is one of the major things we took into consideration at RawVoice with our podcast publisher. We have built a great tool that does not de-centralize the conversation. [Loic Le Meur]

Journalists morphing into bloggers

Posted by todd at 6:49 AM on March 19, 2008

An interesting post on Wired about the way journalism is changing in the face of new media. Not that unexpected a perspective from a magazine that has morphed into something more like a blog itself. The gist is essentially that news media is becoming more of a service than a product with the major news publications being more of a consolidator that directs readers/watchers to where the news is located.

To me this is tragic, but also reveals that the old media doesn’t have the business sense to deserve to survive. The news media was caught with their pants down, thinking they controlled the market and only had themselves to compete with they became less news, more current affairs, then more gossip and speculation offering opinion over insight. Blogging came along and suddenly there was an alternative and better method for people to get their gossip, opinion and even some current affairs. Better because they could also be part of it, offering their own opinions and helping determine the relevance of particular pieces.

Faced with this, the ‘old’ media had a number of options, but by this stage was too used to taking the easy road and finding better profits down them, at least in the short term. Rather than try and re-invent themselves, use their structural difference to build some sort of differentiation from the new entrant, they tried to emulate their new competition in the false belief that they could take it over. A bit like Microsoft came into the Internet game too late and tried to take control. This will probably have the same success.

It is tragic because we have lost truly objective investigative reporting that was an important part of the checks and balance on power and privilege. It is not too late for them to change path. Corporate media cannot compete with Blogs and social networking on new media’s terms so they must find a new purpose if they are to survive, what better as a new purpose than the one they used to fill. Blogs have not been able to fill this place yet as true investigative journalism needs time and resources and does not work well to deadlines and daily posts. The gap will not be open very long though. Look at some sites like Groklaw that produces great insight on some of the legal wranglings, or some of the detailed analysis that is appearing on sites like TechCrunch. Not all Bloggers will morph into real journalists, but some have the ability to and will given time.

The past decade has taught us that when politicians and business do not fear the public eye some will test those new limits and we all are worse off for it. I’ll avoid the controversy that mention of some of the political ones would create but highlight things like the dot bomb, Enron, and the current mortgage crisis. All of these might had been avoided if there were investigative journalists still around rather than gossipers and mouthpieces.

Blogenomics

Posted by todd at 6:14 AM on November 27, 2007

The discussions about PPP over the past weeks have me thinking about how Bloggers can turn their effort into reward.  The difficulty that smaller bloggers have in monetising their blogs is no secret, and while there is no reason that any blogger should be able to make money from their content it would be better if there was some link between quality of content and reward.

I understand there is some link, major blogs like Engadget, BoingBoing and GigaOm did not get to their position by luck, but by recognising the potential early and acting on it with good content.  They are getting rewarded for the past quality of their content.  It is hard for new entrants to work their way up the chain and become a new Engadget.  Second tier blogs seem to be able to make enough to get by, although I have not been able to find much info on the sorts of revenue they can pull.  For a new entrant, even if you have a good level of content it is hard to get commensurate reward

This was brought into focus for me when Scott Adams announced he was cutting back on his blogging.  The main reason being that it was not rewarding him in relation to the effort he was spending.  The Dilbert blog has a huge readership, a selection of easily defined and great to target demographics and regular content for 2 years.  If these advantages were not enough to turn a buck then what hope the rest of us?

I believe that the key lies in post quantity.  Even with its regular daily posts, the Dilbert blog is best read with an RSS reader.  This is much more convenient for the reader as they get the updates from multiple sites at once.  While easier for the reader it reduces the ad displays and therefore clickthroughs, compromising that revenue model.  I see this on my own site, where most of my traffic comes from RSS readers, but most do not click through to the actual site.

The major blogs and blogging companies have multiple writers and many posts per day.  I cannot keep up with sites like BoingBoing in my RSS reader, I end up missing too much. It’s better for me to go to the site itself.  The money making sites become those that offer enough content, and wide enough coverage of news to become destination sites.  If you do not, or cannot attract people to actually come to your site you are less likely to make money from your content.  Without RSS though, few people would even bother reading your content.  The thing that gets you noticed is also what limits the value you can claim.

In my opinion this is going to drive two trends.  The first is more and more alternate revenue models like PayPerPost and the like. Some bloggers want/need to make money from what they do and there are companies out there who would like to make a cut for enabling that.  The second is greater consolidation of individual blogs into networks.  The meta sites don’t cut it as the content sources are too unpredictable for bloggers to rely on.  The future is probably networks like Weblogs Inc or GigaOM, where multiple bloggers team together to create location blog networks.  This may happen organically or via large company buy-outs/employment of smaller blogs.  Hopefully GNC can become one of these network locations.

TechCrunch RSS Advertising is the Worst

Posted by geeknews at 10:02 PM on November 12, 2007

Tonight while getting ready for my Podcast I removed a RSS feed from my regular reading list because of excessive advertising in the feed. I’m serious — the stupid ad TechCrunch has after every article in the feed measures 612 pixels in height.

Nothing like being stupid and making me see it after every article. This is abusive and I refuse to read his feed with that crap in it.

My BlogWorld Expo Wrap up Thoughts

Posted by geeknews at 10:04 PM on November 10, 2007

It appears there was some serious mis-communications in regards to Michael Arrington’s appearance at Blogworld. One of the reasons I attend some of these events is that I come to hear specific people speak. The mix up in Michael and several others that did not show did not concern me but I was somewhat surprised and others were disappointed.

This was not the case with BlogWorld I went to meet bloggers, potential and existing podcasters and make business relationships. Overall I am very happy with the three main reasons I went to blogworld expo.

One thing that did disappoint me was some of the sessions that I attended were made up largely of those that had booths at the event. Surprisingly company reps that had booths there were sometimes on more than one panel.

While could not attend all sessions there was a fair amount of pitching going on those I did attend. I think Roxanne Darling said it best in a Twitter of mine while I was live blogging and providing commentary on Twitter.

She said at some conferences attendees would be holding up yellow Bull Shit cards that Attendees are given, when something crops up in a session that is obviously false or when we are being pitched versus taught something valuable.

From now on I am going to walk out of any conference that has sessions in which I get pitched and not taught actually taught something in relation to the session topic that my valuable time and dollars that I invest in the event expects.

So here is how I grade the event.

  • Vendor/Exhibitor Area B+ for First Year

I was flabbergasted that companies like SixApart did not have a booth and the only time we saw major blogging company reps was when Anil Dash was given some time during Leo Laporte’s keynote where he talked about Open ID. How is the blogging world going to continue to support these companies if they do not show up at events where there end users are. Really sad and SixApart was not the only blogging company that was not there.

  • Sessions C-

One of the questions I was asked by people sitting around me is who is this person, and in fact even I had to Google some of the panelist that were in podcasting sessions because quite frankly I have never heard of them before, and I thought I knew everyone in the podcasting space.

There also some to be a lot of emphasis on direct marketing type activities in the sessions I went to. Their were even what I consider highly un-ethical practices being promoted by panelist. While it was good to see what the mentality of these companies were it disturbed me the length some people will sell there souls to earn money.

  • After Hour Event A-

The after hours event at the Hard Rock was great, food was great, drinks were over the top, the only bad thing was the music was to loud for a social event and the biggest comment I heard is what kind of music is this. 

My advice to anyone working in the Blogging and Podcasting Space in putting on events like this. Make the break out sessions a commercial free zone, make them interactive not death by power point and moderate pimping of ones product or events.

Simply by putting a session moderator in the room that can stop a session and chastise a company for pitching will stop the activity once and for all.

If I want to be sold your services or hear your elevator pitch I will find you on the show floor. A general introduction is cool but don’t continuously sell me your product during the sessions it lowers the value of the conversation.

Finally: If you are a company and you are going to quote some supposed facts in a session that go against logical thinking of other experts in the field, be prepared to defend those comments in the blogging space. As soon as the audio archives of this event is available I am going to share with you some incredible statements made by company representatives, that I am going to expect them to back those comments up. But I want the Audio clips to get their statements quoted back accurately before I proceed with the hammering away at the commentary.

Blog World Expo Day 2 Live Blogging

Posted by geeknews at 10:39 AM on November 9, 2007

Ok folks here we go for day two of the Blog World Expo. Thus far my impressions is that even though the organizers had tracks for podcasting the folks exhibiting and in the sessions appear to be bloggers looking at podcasting.

The number of podcasters here are hard to say but with Libsyn, Podango having booths and of course me here from RawVoice I think we guessed that the number of actual podcasters number under 100.

I think though this show has huge possibilities.

08:45
-Change Anil Dash is gonna go before Leo Surprise Speaker

-He is talking about open standards and about giving people being able to control who gets access to read what one post in regimes where people write in fear of being prosecuted by the government. This discussion into a pitch for OpenID and SixApart being one of the companies playing in the space.

-I really hate it when organizers drop in different speakers and eat up time of the other speaker. I came to hear Leo not Anil. Anil and MovableType has largely not been listening to the community, thus why should he be given time to talk here.

-Hopefully, Anil will hang out long enough to chat with people about MT. I wonder if MT is here today because the wordpress folks got some big press yesterday. Once again they are not here supporting the community with a booth. Very sad blogging company not supporting a blogging conference.

09:00
-Leo Laporte on Stage and he is surprised by the number of normal people in the audience and he is happy to see aka mainstream people here

-He is not going to focus on podcasting, but instead all new media. He does say everyone should be doing all three mediums Bloggers need to Podcast/Videocast and Podcasters need to be Bloggers as well. This is a point I have been harping on for the past three years sadly most podcasters ignore the important aspects of the blogging portion of building their audience and following.
Leo Laporte Keynote

-Leo is moving 40-60TB a month and did $250,000 in advertising last year. I am feeling WAY good about how my show stakes up!

-The thing that has changed in the media is we are in a two way conversation. Unlike this conference which is a traditional conference the shows like podcamp etc are two way conversations. But I must say that some of the podcamps are morphing into death by PPT which suprised me at Podcamp Boston as some sessions we were talked to and their was not always a conversation.

- The thing that is changing though about the online new media via blogging and podcasting and I agree with Leo, its about the conversation, why do you think I spend 20 minutes on listener Voice mail and Email on my show. My audience is part of my community.

-Video aka TV stimulates our Monkey Mind aka stimulates the emotions.
-Blogging reaches the Cerbal Cortex makes your think
-Podcasting is intimate and your in their ear and talking to them.

-This is why Audio Podcasting is about engagement where the audience really engages and this is why podcast ROI advertising has been so over the top.

-Leo says we have hit the wall in numbers of Podcast listeners and as listeners grow podcasting space will grow. He says his biggest show has about a 120k listeners.

-In my position I know what the numbers are for a lot of podcast and I think Leo may be on to something here as many shows peak to a certain level and barely goal.

-To grow we all have networks and the goal is to be the center of your network and to do well you participate in other hubs. AKA communities. This is why TechPodcasts.com and our communities are thriving.

10:15
-Advanced Blogging Monetization Session

-Ted Murphy from PayPerPost is here give me a break run this guy off the stage get me some some eggs to throw at this guy. Can’t wait for the question and answer.

- Neil Patel is up.. Ohh boy he is selling us some snake oil, says to sell text links and put them in your content, not on the sidebar. Disclosures??? He is also saying to sell memberships because people forget to cancel. He says run a false ad campaign and then approach their competitors to get them to sign? What? I don’t want anything to do with this guy and if he in fact is working with the top 100 bloggers then we are in trouble

- Next sales oil salesman is Blogitive – they pay bloggers to write about press releases they pay $5.00 per post GAG!!! I am sitting here in disbelief.

- I think i will have a statement versus a question in that I am going to say that their is no way I would do business with any of these companies.

-Next up is Kontera with in text advertising and the pop up advertising which most of us really hate. He is claiming that some of the clicks are

- PayPerPost is up, there are actually 20+ bloggers in this room that raised their hand and said they are working for them. The say they have 85,000 bloggers and 11,000 advertisers. They say that they are now requiring disclosure.

- Blogitive does not require disclosure and but encourages it. Sorry you can’t have it both ways. I guess if bloggers want to sell out, and not disclose that they are getting paid to play and that is extremely unethical.

-Now several panelist are trying to JUSTIFY some of the tactics they use. I have heard the word honest at least a 100 times.

- Neil Patel is saying you don’t have to follow the rules. He says he will pay triple if people do not disclose

-The Blogitive CEO says it is not his companies responsibility to essentially set a bloggers ethics policy. They do not want to dictate whether a blogger discloses or not. I will say straight up that RawVoice will always have a full disclosure statement on ANY ad deal we do where podcasters and videocasters are compensated to do so would go against every ethical fiber in my body.

15:00
-Bloggers for Hire/Hiring Bloggers

-This session has a huge number of people that are blogging for a living. I am surprised but he did not break it down into whether those that are blogging have any other supporting income.

-They have stated that Blogger Networks don’t pay well

-Short Job Description of a Blogger for hire- Writer, Videocaster, Livecaster, Podcaster

-35-55k a year Bloggers making salary similar to Corporate Communication Specialist which is about 40k a year which in my opinion is crap

- A company here no name on badge says her company has hired 10-15 bloggers that blog on their own daily, but they have to post articles about said company x times monthly no-disclosure and get paid $1500.00 each. This is simply amazing!

-Companies are spending a lot of money to get their Google Ranking up

15:00
Mark Cuban Keynote

- As many know mark started blogging because of injustice in a article but the response was that the newspaper could no longer just say anything.

-The response was the motivating factor in that he got feedback.

- Blog Comments has made him realize so far as the mavericks go how the fans were and their passion. I hope i got the quote right in regards to Maveric fans “I dont own the Dallas Mavericks, Dallas and Fort Worth does, I’m just the care taker”

- Mark says you have to brutally honest in your blogs. “I Agree”

- You have to stay brutally honest and resist the temptation to pander for audience numbers.

- You have to put in the time in blogging. If your not part of aggregation network you have to work much harder and do the work to stand out! Note: This is why Podcast Networks work and sometimes people have to realize they cannot do the work all by themselves

-He says honesty is number-one and if your not honest people are going to see straight through you in your blog writing.

-Mark says Blogging is turning into a corporate network and you have to understand where you fit in

- Then a decisions has to be made whether you are full time, if you do and your working for someone else you will loose ability to be 100% honest

-You have to resist being combative with those that attack you, the Internet is forever and the wars of today will not be important later.

-He thinks his using facebook and his blog helped drive votes for dancing with the stars but has no real proof as only one person knows what the votes totals where.

-Mark Cuban Google’s job applicants but it is not so much that but you have to remember the Internet will define who you are in the future.

-He writes his own blogs because it’s faster he does not have anyone write for him.

-One of his Goals when he starts a business he wants to know his business and industry better than anyone else.

-Question: How far are we away from having the disparity on blogs today on High Def Today? He says never and it because of simply the lack of bandwidth. But until we get 1gb to the home we will not have the disparity of content.

-He is going after YouTube now saying Google is hiding behind the DMCA

All finished folks

Live Blogging the Blog World Expo

Posted by geeknews at 10:37 AM on November 8, 2007

Live Blogging Blog World Expo

08:44
-First thing huge number of Bloggers and No Power Strips
-Keynote area is going to be standing room only

08:54
-Matt from WordPress is is rehashing how WordPress got started I am not sure why a bunch of bloggers need to be told about the wordpress history are we not all bloggers and supposed to know this stuff.

-18 WordPress Staff support a 100 million impressions across there hosted solutions I wonder how many servers it takes to run that.

09:14

-BlogWorldExpo needs a back channel lots of bloggers but I am not seeing tweets or many blog post.

-Matt says get your User Model before you get your business model While I do not agree a 100% their is a need to make sure that when you are launching a web property you need to think about the users.

-Political Blogger wanted to know how to monetize, the short answer start planning two years in advance. But a side discussion has broken out on the ethics and disclosure of those political blogging and the harm it could cause to the blogging space.

10:00
Attending the Corporate & CEO Blogging session

-Corporate number 1 fear is that the corporation will criticized and that they will loose control. They also are worried about the amount of time it is going to take away from their staff to support the blog

-Kodak Rep is talking about their corporate blog and one of the things that surprised me is that they post their customers comments largely un-edited.

-HP Policy on Corporate Blogging is that the each group or person within the company can have a HP blog but their has to be a marketing or way to interact with the various groups in the specific technical industry.

-The corporate blogging session is somewhat a sleeper

-Southwest Airlines bloggers say blogging is a huge commitment, but it has been a huge media bonus for them. They are using their bloggers as conduits into the press. The goal with the blogs were the way to reach their customers and have used the blogs as a way to get focus group feedback. They talk about their handling of the Mini-Skirt issue and say that they did not do a good job. But they said they learned some lessons from that event and

-Southwest, Moderates their comments but they don’t allow personal attacks and or customer service issues. Most surprising that they also moderate all topic post. Thus they completely moderate the entire site. They have PR and Senior people looking at each post. Thus they are controlling the conversation in a big way.

From a personal perspective I cannot imagine controlling the conversation this way. While it looks like they are trying to be fair, I am not so sure that I would like having to go through corporate PR for each and every post. I wonder if this is really blogging this is more like PR controlled spin masters.

Show Floor

No Lunch visited with Vendors. The show floor has a fair number of vendors lost of ad companies. Think I made the folks at Kontarea made when I told then inline advertising is evil and users hate the pop ups piss people off

Lots of vendors and had some great discussions. There are a number of Affiliate marketers here as well along with a lot of vendors that are pushing services for bloggers.

13:30
Attending the Secrets of great video production and Vlogging

-Sorry this session is for beginners a true 100 level presentation. The Presenter is using some purple background death by power point that is boring and hard to read.

-Lots of information being put out in this session and the presenter is all over the place. Death by Power Point in this one.

-Why do presenters continue to make people think that they have to have Feedburner it really drives me crazy.

2:45
Monetization of Podcast

-Well I am not sure why I am sitting through this, but it is always nice to listen to other companies ideas.

-Be a Podcast Consultant thats the first thing that has been covered

-Jason VanOrden is pimping tele-seminars and webinars. Sounds like Network Marketing and something I would buy on late night TV

-Nice Mention with of Talkshoe/Blubrry partnership and also a nice mention from the folks at Podango very gracious

-Non Tangible rewards like swag and products to review.

-Some discussion about the need for sponsorship disclosure and through product mentions. The main point is you need to be honest and disclose. Do not be afraid to tell your audience you need to get paid for the art.

-A show got a six figure grant not a sponsorship from a pharma company.

-Recommendation from the panel to join a network and let those companies running networks to find sponsors for their podcast.

-One problem I am seeing with a discussion here, is that they think ad insertion and being able to rebuild the shows on the fly is king. But the problem is 95% of shows do not have a long tail. Thus 95% of the shows out there have no reason to use technology that rebuilds the show.

-Podcaster should have a Newsletter period.

-Steve Boyett claims his podcast does 40TB a month in traffic? Interesting

-John Havens says the landscape is changing and that things that were once free will soon no longer be free. But the problem with that is most people don’t want to pay for anything and a generation has grown up not having had to pay for anything.

Off to Blog World Expo see you in Vegas!

Posted by geeknews at 6:53 PM on November 6, 2007

I have had a few of you reach out to me on meeting up in Vegas during Blog World Expo. I will be in Vegas from Wednesday morning till very late on Friday. 

Don’t hesitate to call me and arrange a meet up time 808–741–4923

Todd

I have questions about Blogrush!

Posted by geeknews at 2:33 PM on November 6, 2007

Last week I installed the Blogrush applet here on the website, and for the past week I have been monitoring how much traffic the applet is bringing to the website.

After a week of utilization and careful examination of log files and statistics I saw no inbound traffic being generated, which made me do some investigating.

What I found is that some of the sites with links on the applet don’t appear to be running the Blogrush applet on their own pages, yet somehow their articles are being listed in the Blogrush applet on my blog.

The way it is supposed to work is for each page load you have you get a reciprocal listing on another site and vice versa. I am questioning how people are getting links in my applet with no apparent blogrush applet running on their own site.

For example, this link on Mashable which showed up on my GNC applet has no Blogrush applet loading. I assumed they were getting credits from their home page or other Mashable page. When I went to the Mashable home page their was no BlogRush Applet on that page either.

In fact I looked all over the Mashable website and I did not see the applet any place. Maybe I am missing it somewhere but how is Mashable getting a link in the Blogrush Applet if they are not running the Blogrush applet on their website? I could have missed the applet but I looked at a lot of pages.

While this is just one example, there are a lot more sites like this that I came across. Are the Blogrush folks allowing people to pay to have their articles listed? Are sites abusing the system somehow and racking up credits?

I can accept no inbound traffic — that is part of the game — but it looks awful fishy to me when I can’t find the applet on some participating websites that are getting listings on my own blog.