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Headlemur, sploggers, Rex and why its good to commuicate September 2, 2006

Posted by Pontiff in Big Media, Blogroll, chronicnews, Pontification, RSS & Media, RSS Applications, splogger John B.
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Rex Hammock has a post that perfectly sums up the situation I’ve been facing over the last few days and nights (its a blur).

Thank you Lemur and Thank you Rex.

I’m going to try to explain it in one place and hope a few people care after the

I’ll let Lemur speak for himself but I appreciate these words. He explains our intent better than I ever have.

The Idea of a network of City Specific Websites who primary news sources are bloggers who live there is really a quite good idea. In addition to the elegance of the software he built to aggregate and present posts and the overall design, it is astonishingly good, and as I demonstrated in my previous postings, fast.

He also has a number of features such as forums, a blog, an ad server, for monetizing the network, because despite the fact that it is a home grown effort, the electric bill never stops.

With a good opt-in system and participation this can be a quite nice addition to the internet.

Whether or not there will be any revenue sharing opportunities,should not be your primary motivation should you decide to participate. Nor should traffic to your site. Like everything else in life, you must make your own choices based on your belief and enthusiasm.

Also I think its important to clear up two things as soon as possible. My group of programmers / CMS coders nor I have never made a penny off any of this and I regret ever putting Google Adsense in the applications. (I just got $30 from Text Link ads in my Pay Pal account which is more than Adsense pays [there are some interesting limitations to Googles Adsense algorithm when the page consists of many different ‘voices].). We make our living providing similar types of systems and functionally to thrid parties for a fee. The whole network and the rest has been a good demonstration of what we do but nothing more. In this regard my reaction to Lemur was not unlike the guy who found out his agent was sleeping with his wife when told they were spotted running without clothing from his burning house. “You mean my agent actually came to my house?” On learning the I was being accused of being a splogger a part of me was thinking it was nice to be appreciated even if it wasn’t exactly what we had in mind.

While we hope it could become more we especially hold no delusions in this regard. This stuff is really really hard. It takes a lot of sweat and luck just to get where we are which is really nowhere.

The purpose of the whole thing began to change when we realized that in order to attract and keep good content you had to create an enviorment that gave control and reward to the content provider. As Lemur notes we’ve developed a fully functional ad server thats feature rich and extensible There was no other point to creating a tipping system that allows users to directly ‘tip’ content providers with a single mouse click. (The only entity making anything of the transaction is Pay Pal.) The bloggers/content providers can login and input their Google Adsense info to have Adense ads offered with their content (good luck on getting anyone to click on one). All this is available right now on any of our sites.

The Headlemur correctly analysed some other things about the system and while I hope next time he chooses someone esle’s operation to analyes I have to note he proved his point. Some of the other stuff regards how feeds can be individually tweaked for display with thing like logos and teaser breaks. Plus keywords can be attached to the feed’s items.

He also noted the Google calendar functions that we’ve been able to bring in using the Google supplied API. Anyone in Nashville can publish an event and have it searched or automatically appear on anyone’s calendar. For the time being I can pretty much guarantee that if you use the Google calendar and overlay ours (or just enter it into ours either one) your event will be in the top 3 or 4 when someone searchs for Nashville. (There are more than you can believe) They can be anywhere Google offers calendar search which seems to work best from inside the calendar itslelf. Anyone who wants to add just needs to click a calendar and send a request once.
The ad server which includes the ability to inject text ads, banner ads and video insertions; the provider specific adsense and Pay Pall Tipit have all ben available for some time. Additionally and very importantly we needed the ability to email the comments made on the blog posts directly to the bloggers themselves.Adserver_screen_2 All this works well. What we’ve not had time to do is bring it all together under one interface. As it is now the blogger has to login to the adserver, create the ad and generate the insertion code. Next step is to login to one of the sites and insert it in the feed or a specific item or both. As to Adsense and Tipit it is the same without the Adserver step. But you can see and example of the adsense functionality on Flixya which is a site we worked on and very nice I might add. (Before anyone starts its true I’m trying to extract some benefit from an otherwise unfortunate occurrence.)banner

Most importantly and somewhat obviously we lack a coherent communication system. Uhm.. I got the message now. The point of the thing is to be low overhead while feature rich, graphically malleable and good at offering RSS feeds in a way that is web viewable. Its not to be anything like a splog (Wired has a very good investigative piece on splogs that will be online in 2 days). We’ve found out the hard way a system that can centrally manage group mailing lists is more prone to erratic behavior than the ad server functionality, PayPal,Adsense, RSS feeds aross multiple domains all rolled in one.

Sometime on Monday (Saturday Sept. 4th) you can see a crude demo of the all in one management system by going to http://Chronicblogs.com and creating a fake user account with any email address.business punditt

Its an aggregation system that is different, not better, just different than others. We don’t comment on posts or excise the text of the feed or otherwise purposely change the original order or sense of things. The bad thing is there is no human making these decisions on a minute to minute basis. The good thing is there is no human making these decisions on a minute basis. Take your pick. Ther’re both right . The former way certainly gives more control over what people are willing to say and provides for a more uniform type of posting no matter what the stated policy of the medium its still making choices based on content. Slashdot is good example of this and it works better than any.

I don’t think some of the comments I saw elsewhere are factually accurate regarding this. I’ll check some more.

Also its important that people realize that a site like this is not competition for established old media outlets (or related blogs) nor been intended that way. The old ‘stick it to the competition sort of thinking sort of breaks down here. Or it should.

As I said there has not been one blog aggregated in the last 6 months, if not longer, that we don’t have a letter in the file. For those that don’t we’re freezing the feeds sending letters and anyone who wants to stay please do. After a week with no notice we’re removing their items, then the feed. We thought about just deleting them — much easier — but that might appear spiteful and despite some of the statements otherwise the links are real and no doubt have some benefit. The way we plan to work this is by invite or request and we need to have the other bloggers vote the content in or out for after all it will affect them and to do otherwise is an invitation to becoming a splog for real.

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