Flag day

Someone should organize an international blogspot flagging day (all about flagging blogspot sites). We could pick a day, say, a saturday in September, then collectively cruise blogspot through the “next blog” button, flagging all the spam blogs that contain 10 links to a single site in every post, loaded up with keywords.

I’ve been spending a futile 30 minutes each night flagging spamblogs this week, and last night I hit a site I had previously flagged days earlier, and was kind of dismayed to see it still around clogging blogspot and google. I bet a movement of bloggers flagging obvious abuses at blogspot would work just like a “clean up your local park” day might.

All new, all the time

If anyone reading this knows the group at Yahoo that recently purchased and is in charge of my favorite blog update service and aggregator, blo.gs, could you let them know the system is completely broken now?

For some reason, every blog I’ve ever tracked with it is showing that it has updated. Even a blog that shut down and hasn’t had a new post in over a year. Sometimes the blogs listed as updated actually did, but it’s maybe 1 in 10, with 9 false positives.

Imagine waking up and everytime you check your email you get all your recent messages that claim to be new, and you keep getting them all day, over and over again.

I suspect someone at Yahoo changed the way it figures out what has updated, not relying on pings to the server, but probably sending a bot out to look for changes and getting false positives from things like a new comment or a flickr photo changing in a javascript include.

I’m being forced to move my blog tracking to a RSS service now.

As a side issue, since the day Yahoo took over on blo.gs, they removed the key feature that tracked read/unread status through the use of a last visited cookie and link colors. Please put it back, Yahoo.

Marketing shills

This Boston Globe article about blogs that shill products without disclosing their connections is an eye opener. I suspect that as underhanded SEO techniques become more obvious to Google, companies will move into this sort of hidden message marketing by paying bloggers to load up entries with fake testimonials for products they’ve never used.

Take a look at Jeff Cutler’s old blog entries by scrolling down here. You see obvious keyword linking that jumps out like “Credit Cards” and “Funeral Flowers”. Of course, Jeff doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong and the article closes with “In our opinion, paying bloggers is no different than Tiger Woods getting money to wear the Nike logo.”

Of course there is an obvious difference: Tiger Woods actually uses Nike products. Also worth noting is that it may very well violate FTC guidelines. [via]

New interview

Rebecca Blood started a new feature on her site, setting out to interview bloggers about how they got started, why they do what they do, and what others can learn from that. I was lucky enough to be the first one, and she’s posted part one of our interview (part two will be posted Friday).

If you also blog, you’ll probably find something useful in it. It was good to talk to Rebecca and get into some hearty questions (mostly in part 2). I’m used to doing interviews with reporters writing for a general audience so it was refreshing to get really specific weblog-oriented questions directed at me.

Oh mY! god

My favorite weblog update service in the world, blo.gs, was down for a few hours today and I was lost. I could read some of the blogs I track via bloglines, but without all the personality of their site designs (not to mention all their sites’ features).

It came back after being down for a few hours, and I instantly noticed something new: the favicon was Yahoo’s Y!. That’s odd I thought, until I saw the copyright notice along the side: “Copyright © 2005 Yahoo! Inc. All Rights Reserved.”

Jim was vague about who was going to buy it, but congrats! I’m happy to see it falling in good hands.

Lifehacking

For some crazy reason, I (along with K-Rob) will be trying to fill Gina‘s doc martens over at Lifehacker this week.

I’m using it as an excuse to do a brain dump of all the little hackery ideas I’ve been brewing for the past few months, but too lazy to write up. Thanks to Movable Type’s posting to the future, I’ve already put a few in the can that will start up tomorrow.

Keep a close watch on Lifehacker this week — you won’t be disappointed.

New rule

I’m usually not one to throw around ultimatums, but here’s a new personal rule: If you use the term “MSM” in a unironic way to denote the “Mainstream Media” I will write you off as a quack, unsubscribe from your RSS, and stop reading your blog.

There is no “mainstream” media that is well-defined as Them, nor are webloggers suddenly Us. The term “The Media” is so nebulous that it includes us all. The line between the imagined “Us” bloggers and “Them” media outlets is so gray that it can’t be drawn. Media outlets in all forms are absorbing blog format, subjects, and culture and blogs of all forms are absorbing media outlets’ format, subjects, and culture at a speed so swift it will soon be difficult to tell one from the other, if it hasn’t happened already.

You are the media. I am the media. Blogs are a fixture in the mainstream. So when you decry the “MSM” as an imaginary villain, I know I’m done with your site.

It used to be pretty easy to avoid mentions of “MSM” as only a narrow swath of blogs used the term but more and more I keep seeing it show up on the pages of technologists that should be able to see the big picture instead of propping up strawmen to slay on their sites.

Still not with me?

We are the media:
jarvis.jpg

Stories about blogs abound daily:
guckert.jpg

And we make up TV shows:
cnnblogs.jpg

Even dorks like me:
mecnn.jpg

So get over yourself and drop the “MSM” bullshit, please.

update: an update, for those new to this site.