Top Blogs on WordPress

WordPress LogoMany things attracted me to WordPress. Many things I discovered when I got here have kept me here. One of the things I discovered when I got here was the “Top WordPress.com Blogs of Today” that is displayed on the dashboard. It gave everyone the chance to be “featured”. I feel this is now a thing of the past.

The top blogs of the day feature is great and it used to be better. It used to be that anyone with a blog hosted on WordPress had the chance of being featured right there on the “homepage” when you logged into WordPress. I was excited about the fact that anyone could end up there and you did not have to be an “A-List” blogger. I am interested in what people have to say, especially that which is well written or of note. Now the list of the top four blogs on WordPress.com are usually VIP Blogs that are popular because of who they are.

[Note: Non WordPress.com readers can see the top blogs for today on WordPress here.]

Scoble and his blog Scobleizer has been hosted on WordPress for some time. WhenTop Blogs on WordPress Screenshot I joined it was always on the top, everyday. It doesn’t matter what he wrote it was on top. But, every now and then one of us not so well known bloggers piped Scoble off the top dog spot. These were the posts that really got me interested, mainly because it was because the content was worth looking at. It got my attention. So what has changed?

In late September WordPress started to off a new service for VIP bloggers. For $500 setup and $250 per month the WordPress team will set up a blog, maintain it and you get some nice VIP features. You become a VIP blog on WordPress. This is attractive for companies and “A-List bloggers” that make their income from blogging. They need a reliable service, with WordPress they get that. WordPress is a great service and offers great reliability and stability along with expertise that keep everything going and always rolling out new features. It can also handle the bandwidth required if a post ends up on Digg or Slashdot. So how does that affect me?

Now that we have VIP bloggers on WordPress like Anousheh Ansari’s “Space Blog”, Om Malik’s Web Worker Daily and more recently the Official Linden Blog, they are the Second Life people, they are always featured on the top blogs of the day. The sheer popularity and reach of these players now make the possibility of anything that I write have zero possibility of getting on the top blogs list.

I do not resent the fact that WordPress is inviting VIP’s to blog on WordPress, it makes very good business sense and I appreciate that it gives them exposure and respect within the blogosphere. But I don’t want to see a top blog list of bloggers that I could go to Techmeme and see! I want to see the “average Joe” have the opportunity to be listed as a “Top Blog”. I could not care if I never got on the list again, but I would like to think that there was always the opportunity that I could be. At this present time I have zero to none chances of making the cut. In addition this list should be dynamic and change all the time. At the moment it is like “Ground Hog Day”! Same blogs there day after day with no change, or very little. So what do I think should be done?

I think that the answer might be for the great guys at WordPress to make another list on the dashboard. Sure keep the “Top WordPress.com Blogs of today”, make that for everyone, who knows we might be able to get the traffic required to get on the list with the “A-listers”. Have another list that is formulated by taking out the “A-List” blog factor. That is; a list for the rest of us. At least then it would feel fair and not impossible to be a “Top WordPress.com Blog”.

How do other WordPress.com users feel about this idea? Is it something that you think you would appreciate? If so let the WordPress guys know and maybe we will see it. I do not think that it would be that hard to do. So how about it?

Where are the Australian Investors?

Last week it was announced that PodShow has secured 15 million in funding. So what I want to know is where are all the Australian investors?

Sure PodShow is a large podcasting network who report themselves to have over 1000 shows. They have been there since the start (as close to) and they have indicated that they plan to move into the U.K. That is big in anyone’s book. They will not talk about what sort of revenue they are generating from their 1000 shows, but I would think that it was not as much as you might think. At the moment there is not a lot of money in independent podcasting. Networks of podcasters certainly makes a difference and a few big names help. But input is disproportionate to output. Not to mention the opportunity cost of your time that it takes to put together a show. That is not counting the hours spent marketing, blogging and monitoring comments and staying in touch with listeners. Maintaining that level of commitment from your hosts on a network is difficult. But I digress.

With all this bloody cash being thrown around I don’t see any Australian investors or big companies seeing the potential of podcasting. I am not saying that they should invest 15 million but a couple of million would not be wasted. Podcasting and on-demand media is the future of entertainment, news, gaining and keeping the attention of listeners, viewers and watchers. I want to know where all the forward thinking and revolutionaries in the broadcasting and communication industry are.

There are some great Australian businesses out there that need your investment and we are yet to see a substantial commitment to new media and the future of broadcasting in the world within Australia. I don’t want to see Australia become a late adopter and be left behind and the inevitable laughing stock of the world. The support of Australian companies means that they stay here and a part of our culture. At present they regret that they are here because business and investors appear to be backward and slow to adopt. This is partly due to the backward Internet connectivity we have in Australia and the strangle-hold grip companies like Telstra have on the minds of the Australian public.

Having said that I admire the likes of Exploit Prevention Labs that have been quick to show confidence in the medium through practical support of podcasts based in Australia. These are baby steps and with companies like PodShow taking 15 million dollar steps and making it fairly clear they are wanting to be more than distributors of podcasts; we had better get going, fast. I fear that we are going to loose the future and have it dictated to us by one or two; but isn’t that how it always is?

Disclaimer: Exploit Prevention Labs are a sponsor of The Global Geek Podcast of which I am a co-host.

Update: A perfect example of the state of affairs from Cameron Reilly

I am Still Looking

I just finished recording The Global Geek Podcast. This was Sebastian’s last show, that is disappointing in itself. But more disappointing is the fact that I am still looking for a co-host to replace him.

I have had some offers from people I know to host one or two shows, for which I am thankful and really appreciate. But I think that to be fair to the show and to me, a permanent co-host would be ideal. I said today on the show that I am not looking for the perfect person. You don’t have to have the voice for it (I don’t!). You might be interested but don’t think you are capable, don’t worry I felt the same way. I have improved over time and now I don’t think I get nervous or anything I just get in and talk. The other thing is that you might be interested in podcasting and want to do something but don’t know how to get started, why not join an established podcast?

Please, contact me if you think in anyway that you might be interested, or if you just want some info about what it involves and what you have to do.

If you are concerned about the commitment of time, realistically I think that about 2 hours (give or take) a week would cover it. We might have to have the odd chat through the week but that’s it. Show notes and resources to your door… well your inbox.

This is a genuine offer and I will consider anyone, I don’t care where you are from what your background is, male or female. Think about it. My contact details are in the sidebar. This is getting to crunch time and I am starting to get worried… So think quick!

Thanks Sebastian for your efforts, support and all the fun that we have had on the show. I greatly appreciated you being a part of the creation of the show and I wish you well in your career and future.