Is Bigger Better?

They say that size doesn’t matter. No, I do not know who “they” are. Still I think that this site might be the exception.

I found this by a link from a link, from a link. I was actually following a lead from a story for the podcast. Basically that is me saying that I can’t remember what the source was. You might be wondering what the screenshot is of…

Now my RSS button on the lower left of this blog would be considered “big” but it is no match for the world’s biggest RSS button (unconfirmed). If you find one bigger then let me know. Just for the novelty factor in this instance bigger might be better. Building a bigger one just won’t cut it. These things can usually only be done once.

From all appearances yes it is an RSS button with a feed attached.

The Worlds Biggest RSS Button

How I Read a Blog

I was reading an article about AdSence optimisation, the case at hand was about Guy Kawasaki’s personal blog, How to Change the World. The fact that his blog had traffic that ranges in the millions and yet generated relatively little revenue as a result. The entry goes on to talk about optimising layout for the best ad revenue result.

I disagree with their assessment of the typical “blog reader”. Well it is certainly not me that is for sure. Here is the description that I am referring to:

“A typical blog reader behaves in the following manner – he will first read the entire blog article [provided it interests him]. Then he will either head over to the comments section to leave his feedback or look for links [at the end of the story] to external sites where he can learn more about related products or services.”

Guy Kawasaki Still Leaving Money on the Table [Adsense Case Study]

That would have to be so far from the truth as far as I am concerned (referring to myself that is). The pattern that I take when reading a blog is this. I usually read any blog from my RSS reader. Generally I don’t open up links in my reader as it uses Internet Explorer as the shell. There are at least 284 reasons why I don’t use IE.

So I open the link up in Firefox and take a look. Lets assume it is a blog. I skim read it, never read anything in full anyway. Plus I speed read most things as I have to get through about 3000 articles a week. The content falls into one of two categories. One, a good blog worthy of further attention. Two, good for the primary reference but not going to be a source of primary information around my interests.RSS Logo Large

Any blog that falls into the first category, I will go straight for the RSS button, feed link or whatever to subscribe. I then go back to the Feed Reader. Especially, since that is what opens up now with feed support in Firefox 2. I then finish the subscribing process and continue either reading the blog or what I was doing before the diversion. I may never visit the blog website address ever again and often don’t.

So for me the whole ad placement optimisation is wasted. I can not remember when I last clicked on an ad anyway, either on a blog or in an RSS feed. In addition to this I just don’t like reading blogs from the homepage. I am used to reading RSS, I like it. RSS might be ugly but it is the useful information without the crap and yes that includes ads. Anyway they don’t call it Really Simple Syndication for nothing.

One other thing I would ad is the fact that the blog reading demographic is such that I am surprised that advertising to this group is even effective. They are usually a tech savvy crowd that are far less inclined to click on any advertising. The reputation that advertising has is enough of a deterrent for anyone in my opinion.

But then again these techniques must be effective for bloggers to be talking about and they are mentioned a lot. So who then is it aimed at? I just know that it is lost on me, I am the valued religious reader that gives your subscriptions a boost. Personally I really value these readers as they are the ones that are genuinely interested in what you are saying.

In summary, I am not your average blog reader, given the above description. I am also not saying that these techniques do not work, they must. I would also question the target audience, is it the average blog surfer or reader or is it the accidental tourist? Or does this whole thing mean that I am not average and the argument is pointless?  What are you or who are you?

Marketing Our Podcast: A Challenge Issued!

TPN LogoWe are having some trouble at The Global Geek Podcast HQ! We need some kick-arse marketing strategies and quick. No, I am not doing what my brother suggested:

“…Tattoo the URL to your penis, photograph it, then post it on your blog, digg the article.”

While this strategy might spike some interest and probably work; it was not really what I had in mind when I asked him if he had any ideas about exposure! So I am asking the faithful readers of my blog to do a couple of things that will help.

  • If you have not checked out the podcast, head on over to The Global Geek Podcast homepage and at least have a listen to the show, if you like it SUBSCRIBE to the RSS feed.
  • If you like the podcast or you think someone else might then tell them.
  • If you have a blog then why not give us a bit of a plug or put the podcast in your blog roll or links. I can get you a logo or graphic if you want it to look good.
  • We reviewed a site called Folkd in the last podcast it is a great “Digg” type site but very, very good and looks awesome, I have posted our podcast on there so that it can be voted on. If you like the podcast then Register and give it a Folkd! (vote/”digg”).
  • Same for Shoutwire and Newsvine
  • If you have a Digg account then why not Digg the latest episode? (doesn’t look so good if we do it…)
  • Let us know what else we might do to spread the word about the podcast.

I think that we have a reasonable podcast and that our content is good. So now we need exposure. We are trying to do that but we need your help! If you listen to the podcast and reckon other people should as well then tell them, or at least another two people, then tell them to do the same. It is greatly appreciated.

So I also issue a challenge! Read on…

If one person truly blows me away by something that they do to give us some major exposure (that we can see results from – like more downloads), I will personally fund a prize for that person! That’s right I’ll send you clobber. Don’t expect anything too amazing, we are not making money you know, but it will be cool and practical – cause that’s what you do when you don’t have much cash!

And you are on the show (if you want to be) to tell everyone what you did!

If there are any podcasters out there or anyone else for that matter with some great ideas then let me know by dropping me a comment or you can also send us email at The Global Geek Podcast. Thanks everyone I appreciate it and so does The Podcast Network!

The Global Geek Podcast: http://www.globalgeekpodcast.com

RSS Feed: http://globalgeek.thepodcastnetwork.com/feed/

Correction to Newspapers Not Having RSS

I was talking to Sebastian today about the story that I posted yesterday. He does not entirely agree with me. But that aside it appears that I was wrong about the newspaper websites being totally devoid of RSS feeds.

So to put things straight, I will always admit when I am wrong. Newspaper websites do indeed have RSS feeds. However, I will say this; they do not make them easy to find among a few other issues I have that are along the same lines of what I said in the previous post.

So they are not easy to find. In addition to that, only the major national newspapers are featured as having an RSS feed and then news stories based on region. This does not in my opinion make an RSS feed for a Newspaper. It is the equivalent to a Google News Australia, major stories RSS feed for example. In addition to that they are often only the headlines and snippets and not the full story and it does not include the whole paper. That given the feeds are only released on publication time, so not until the paper is released to the public. So the news you get is old.

As far as being hard to find, nowhere on these sites do they advertise the fact that they have RSS feeds anywhere? No. I also had to go through 3 pages to find the RSS feeds. That seems a little backward to me.

So I stand by my previous comment that no single newspaper in Australia offers a dedicated RSS feed for that paper, for the contents of that paper either payed for or not.

What’s with “Link Dumping” and Invisible Advertising?

I subscribe to a lot of RSS feeds. I have noticed a bit of a change lately and I am not sure I like it. I am not sure if it is because people are stuck for things to write about in their blogs or they are just using a new feature. But what I am seeing is the practice of “link-dumping” getting a bit out of control. It is almost RSS spam.

Every other post that some bloggers are doing is just a list of links. While these links are usually related to del.icio.us or something similar and related to their area of interest and maybe mine. I just do not see the point. I am not really that interested in what they have bookmarked for the week or day. In addition if I was interested in what people are bookmarking I can always subscribe to their del.icio.us feed. As this is usually the tag that is added. Why cross post their links on their blog and del.icio.us?

It does seem like an excuse to post rather than something useful to say. I realise that they think they are providing their listeners with useful information or curious content, I would rather no post than a “link dump” thanks. It would seem that the proverbial social bookmarking phenomenon is taking over the world.

Something else that angered me this week was a nasty trick that some RSS feeds seem to be employing. It might be an error but it has occur more than once and I am starting to think it a ploy. What has been occurring is “invisible” adverts. In other words an embedded ad that you can not see but if you hover over it there is a link there in the feed-reader screen display. I think that for most the temptation to click would outweigh leaving it alone. While there is nothing wrong with clicking the ad – who wants to? In addition yesterday I accidentally clicked one and I was so annoyed at myself for doing it. But perhaps they are banking on that too.

Adverts in RSS was always going to happen but when companies try to trick people into clicking their ads I believe that to be wrong and uncalled for. The best way in my opinion to combat this as users is to not click anything, make the ploy ineffectual or boycott the feed until they shape up. I don’t mind the advertising but please lets be sensible and abstain from trickery and nasty ploys of entrapment.