Huffington Post Going Strong – 1 bn Page Views, New Hires, Head Spins….

Huffington Post

Huffington Post

For anyone that wonders why AOL got into bed with Huffington Post, here is your answer. People use the site. At least, that is what HuffPo says and we believe.

Last month, Huffington Post claimed they hit 1 billion page views in the month of August. With as much diversity that the post has, I wouldn’t be surprised. With the growth of the site in the last 30 days, I wouldn’t be surprised if it hit 2 billion a month by early next year.

So how are they doing this right?

Sites with Communities

This seems to become a new trend – divvy up a site into several niche markets. Make the site feel like it caters to what you like. If you cannot group people in one big circle, make little circles and put all the numbers together in the end.

The announcement also talked about the purchase of “Localocracy” – an “online town common where registered voters using real names can weigh in on local issues.” This could bring the HuffPo to your local community. Get news and comment on it.

The HuffPost 50 is another good example. They call it the “Internet Newspaper”. You can get a little bit of everything on this page. You can scan the front page, find the one thing you like, read it, and move on.

Top Name Site Hires

This is how part of the press release reads:

The Huffington Post Media Group announces today the launch of four destination sites: Huff/Post50 (www.huffingtonpost.com/50), HuffPost Gay Voices (www.huffingtonpost.com/gay-voices) and HuffPost Weddings (www.huffingtonpost/weddings). Each offers HuffPost’s unique combination of real-time news and opinion, and passionate communities powered by a leading social news platform.

HuffPost/50 — whose Editor-at-Large is actress, producer and writer Rita Wilson — covers the challenges, complexities and joys facing the boomer generation, now 77 million people strong. It spotlights boomers who fearlessly tackle new challenges in the spirit of reinventing themselves, regardless of age, and encourages boomers to question conventional wisdom about aging. Topics being covered include: longevity, relationships and sex, politics, the intense “sandwich” pressure of simultaneously taking care of aging parents and children, retirement, spirituality and religion, friendship, politics and dying.

Not only did it announce new communities in LGBT and Wedding categories, it also put a staff together that includes comedian Margaret Cho, Heidi Klum, and other celebrities in their respected fields.

Engagement

It’s amazing to see how many people “Like” an article. Whereas a site has a good day with 34 likes on an article, HuffPo good post would see 1000x the traffic. For example – their “Arrested Development is back” post produced 79,000 likes.

Integrating the Facebook Factor really helps. Then again, their social comment section also adds community response, which – in turn – can be posted back to the social networks. I guess the day of the forum is really dead.

So in a nutshell, Huffington Post is a community site. You can go to get your tech fix, political fix, LGBT fix, and more. It  has news, commentary, pictures, video and so much more. Of course, it’s staff of bloggers and reporters is pretty impressive. So 1 billion page views is not surprising. With addtional website acquisitions, the 2 billion view mark a month is very possible.

GNC #706 Netflix Debacle

No hiccups during tonight’s show, this one went off without a hitch. Plenty of tech content tonight and of course I have to talk about the big mess over at netflix. What an absolute mess they have made over these past couple of months and it is not going to get any better.

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Credits: Jack Ellis – Executive Producer

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Does The Cloud Have A Dark Side?

Does The Cloud Have A Dark Side?For some time we’ve been hearing about the virtues of cloud-based computing.

Certain functions seem to lend themselves to the cloud. Online word processing, spreadsheets, etc. can seem to make sense in some situations, such as collaborating with others.

In everyday use scenarios, does the cloud really make sense in more traditional private computer-use situations? I contend that it does not.

Right now I’m typing this into Microsoft Word on my MacBook Pro. At the moment I have rather lousy Sprint and Verizon connectivity, even though 12 hours ago at this very same location I had really good connectivity from both. The only thing that changed is the time of day. If I was currently limited to using Google Docs chances are I would be unable to write this. Network demand constantly fluctuates depending on the time of day and location.

Is there enough bandwidth available? With the tsunami of smartphones that are on the immediate horizon, will the carriers be able to keep up with the average five-fold bandwidth demand increase that the average smartphone user pulls from the network? Can carriers keep up with a smartphone-saturated public all trying to pull down data at the same time?

However, for the sake of argument let’s say that mobile Internet connectivity isn’t an issue.

What if the Internet is turned off due to a declared cyber attack and all of your documents are online? What good would the network appliance approach to computing be then?

Can e-books be revised after the fact? If government can simply decide to turn off the Internet, then it’s not that much of a leap to imagine laws and regulations being passed banning certain types of blogs or even books that have been deemed dangerous or seditious. There have already been books sold such as “1984” by Amazon that were deleted from Kindles after the fact by Amazon when it was determined that Amazon didn’t have the legal right to sell it in e-book form. What if instead of banning books, they were simply rewritten to remove the offending parts? What’s to stop instant revision of e-books that have been declared dangerous?

Is CNN Calling For Curbs On Free Speech?

On July 23, 2010, CNN anchors Kyra Phillips and John Roberts discussed on air the idea that bloggers should be somehow “held accountable” or perhaps regulated in some way. Here’s the video of that exchange.

It’s no secret that CNN and other so-called mainstream media outlets, both broadcast and print, have had for some time now an ongoing loss of viewers and readers. A number of traditional journalists from time to time have had and expressed an almost open hostility towards bloggers and the Internet. They perceive the Internet as a threat to their business models, and their vaunted self-appointed job as information “gatekeepers.”

If you look back over the past few years, almost every major story, particularly scandal stories, originated first on blogs. In many cases the mainstream media were dragged kicking and screaming into reporting stories. The clearly forged National Guard documents that ultimately ended up forcing CBS to fire evening news anchor Dan Rather comes to mind from a few years ago. Bloggers quickly picked up on the fact that the supposed National Guard documents had been typed up in the default template for Microsoft Word and then ran through a fax and/or copy machine a number of times to make the documents look dirty and/or old. The trouble was, Microsoft Word didn’t exist in 1973. If it weren’t for bloggers, this story would have likely never come to public light, and what is clearly a forgery and a made-up story would have passed into the public mind as the truth.

Should free speech be curbed? Should bloggers somehow be licensed or officially regulated in what is purportedly a free country? Should we be forced to get our news from “professional” or even “licensed” journalists?

FTC to Monitor Blogger Claims and Payments

Bloggers beware the FTC is about to start watching what you say and failure to disclose that you have been given a product or paid to blog about a product or service could find themselves with a FTC violation.

Disclaimer: Geek News Central and it’s writers will always disclaim in the blog post if a product has been provided by the manufacture or if any other type of compensation has taken place.

Disclaimer: The FTC has not paid for this blog post :)

Anyway it could get real ugly out there for bloggers who have been notorious for writing reviews of products, services and sites and never disclosed that they have been compensated. We will keep an eye on what the guidelines coming out of the FTC will be.

Blog World Expo Day 2 Live Blogging

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

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.

Microsoft gives Laptops to Bloggers with Vista Loaded!

The first question I have for those that got Laptops from Microsoft is this. Have you ever been critical of the company? My guess is that just like Santa Clause checking his list to see who has been naughty and nice, my guess is that those bloggers that got laptops have been pretty nice to Microsoft.

Don’t get me wrong I think companies sending out software and hardware is a terrific idea but usually when I get gear like that their is a 30 day time limit and I have to send it back. I hope that these bloggers all disclose the gift and manage to stay objective in the opinions they write.

The question is do these bloggers now have to disclose the gift on every article they write about Vista? It will be a interesting experiment to track the blogs and see how they report on Vista thats for sure. [Wired]

SpeciaL Live event at TechPodcasts.com!

I think the gang over at techpodcasts.com have really outdone themselves working through the agenda today we are going to have a really awesome event. If you are available on Saturday Sept 24th at 1:30 pm Pacific you will want to join us and our 3 guest for this live event.

This will be a comprehensive 90 minute event covering Podcast Hosting, Advanced BitTorrent, Weblog Setup for podcasting using Drupal, Movabletype, WordPress and Radio Userland we will also discuss Coral and Dijer.


Signup Today

Guest include Peter York from downloadradio.org, Dave Chekan from libsyn.com and Stephan Uebelhor who will be showing us how to get Drupal podcast ready!