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Concerned about your Facebook privacy?

Back in the 90ies, more than a dozen search engines fought for the user’s attention. A couple of years later (almost) only Google was left. Do we face a similar development in the field of social networking? Taking a look at the latest Facebook figures, I’m inclined to answer this question with yes. Yet their ever-growing social graphs make more and more users nervous, and even though Facebook in my opinion is doing a good job giving the user control over his content, Reclaimprivacy.org might come in handy. Read more

When Content Partnerships smell funny

Funny job descriptions turn up these day – have you ever heard of a “blog relations consultant”? I sure did today, and I can’t say it was an enjoyable encounter. Just know this: unloading your backlink-ridden postings upon a popular blog is not called a “content partnership”. I would call it backlink scraping, but that sounds a lot more unfriendly, doesn’t it?

Could it be there are altruist blog angels, interested in leveraging your popularity rank for utterly unselfish reasons? Unlikely, even though the first paragraph might sound tempting to some:

We’re currently reaching out to bloggers like you to form a content partnership, or a guest blogging partnership, where our Professional writes can contribute guest blog posts on your blog once or twice a month.

Hang on, it’s getting a lot funnier:

Our Writers would not be writing marketing material, but would like to provide Unique content for your blog. Please fill out this form if you are interested so that we can set up an editorial calendar.

Two note-worthy facts:

a) I had no idea that the difference between marketing and “great” content lies solely in the “uniqueness” of the latter.
b) This difference between the two mentioned content categories sounds even weirder considering that the person who sent me this e-mail works for a company which is “marketing” in its name.

So, sadly, I’m not going to start a “content partnership” with you. But I have a free consulting advice for you: set up your homepage before you start pestering innocent bloggers. Somebody might actually take a look at your URL, and read the following sentence:

We will use a unique combination that will allow you to fully utilize the Internet.

And then he might click around the bit and start to wonder, if a completely empty homepage is indeed “he latest trends of marketing that will literally put our customers first”…

Contenture – Support the sites you love

Usually, I don’t get too excited about new ad networks – but since Contenture has been developed by the team behind Clicky, I’m quite sure that this service deserves a closer look. The idea is simple: by paying a monthly flat fee to Contenture, users help webmaster make their sites sustainable. Via a JavaScript-Snippet, the Contenture networks measures users’ visits to participating sites and spreads the money accordingly.

Basically, Contenture is reversing the classic ad model: instead of generating indirect revenue streams via AdSense and affiliate banners, webmasters profit from their regular users. I think that Contenture enters the stage at a quite early time, but basically the financial sustainability will become one of the key questions of the future web. There are some caveats involved though: such a network can only bring benefit to its webmaster if enough users are willing to pay – since most surfers are even reluctant to pay for online-services, I doubt that the big rush will take place instantly.

contenture anti-ad network

But the team has obviously kept that challenge in mind and came up with a *very* tempting idea:

Contenture is a new way to monetize your web site. Ad revenues are poor, unless you’re a big name – and even then, they’re still not that great. With Contenture, you make money for every visit to your site from a Contenture user. Furthermore, Contenture makes it dead simple to add premium level features to your web site with very little work. Think of it as a way to take your site Freemium. For example, you could give paying users priority access to new articles, exclusive access to your archives, an ad-free experience, and more. These features are built right into Contenture, but you can do even more with a little work on your end.

Now what’s so special about that? Think about it this way: during the last weeks, a number of big affiliate networks – especially Clickbank – have got into a struggle with several kinds of malware-clean-up software: once those programs start deleting CB-cookies, the fun part is over. Contenture offers a much more stable system and establishes a monetization system which doesn’t require any ongoing user actions. Once a couple of popular bloggers start posting mini-tutorials or premium contents (Twitter reports are still pretty hot), Contenture will experience a massive grow:

Contenture offers web sites the ability to (optionally) add premium level features to their web site. One of these features is to remove ads, but that’s just one of many. For example, a site could give paying users priority access to new articles, exclusive access to their archives, special commenting abilities, and more. These types of features are built right in to Contenture. In other words, we’re bringing the Freemium business model to the masses.
Here’s another way to look at it. Contenture is the first that lets content providers create premium “micro services” throughout their sites. This is a crucial variable that other micropayment services have failed to implement.

And this is just the beginning – there are more features to come, like pay-per-article, tools for subscription-based models and much more. In this respect, Contenture not only is the first “anti-ad-network” but at the same time a valuable toolkit for developing micro-payment models.

The pricing seems rather reasonable to me – the minimum fee is $6,99. Users can pay more on an optional basis. Contenture keeps 20% of the revenues, which is very low compared to the standard 50% of most ad networks. Contenture works with all types of sites, but there are plugins for WordPress and Drupal – the integration is one in two minutes. There is no approval system, but Contenture reserves the right to delete accounts.

Conclusion: Contenture arrived a little early, but the idea is great and from my two years of Clicky experience, I definitely know that these guys understand how micro-traffic analysis works. There are no downturns involved – I activated the Contenture plugin on datadirt today and I’m not expecting a massive income stream yet, but I expect this to grow quite big. So it’s probably a good idea to jump on the band-wagon as soon as you can.

More reviews:

Stefan Jacobasch on Contenture [in German]
Micropayment-Based Freemium Models For All. (If People Use It.) on TechCrunch
The anti-ad network
Monetize content without ads?

Weekly Blogistan Round-Up no. 23/2009

Step in, ladies and gentlemen – welcome to the weekly Blogistan-round-up! It’s my duty to entertain you (and sometimes maybe even piss you off), but who cares – it’s all in the blog, st00pid! From Google Wave to the sluttiest brides in 2008, the blogosphere is here to cover your every information need.

Google announces Wave

The buzz is on – Google has announced the release of their newest project called “Wave” later this year. The stakes are high, as Wave claims to redefine the way we communicate and collaborate on the web. E-Mail, contacts social networks – Wave will tear down the boundaries between documents and dialogue:

A wave is equal parts conversation and document. People can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.
A wave is shared. Any participant can reply anywhere in the message, edit the content and add participants at any point in the process. Then playback lets anyone rewind the wave to see who said what and when.
A wave is live. With live transmission as you type, participants on a wave can have faster conversations, see edits and interact with extensions in real-time.

Google posted a couple of screenshots, future beta testers can sign up here. This in-depth presentation from Google I/O waters my mouth; and btw: Wave will be completely Open Source.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_UyVmITiYQ[/youtube]

So much for Twitter’s trending topics

“But all good things, they say, never last”, sang prince. And now TechCrunch is saying the same about Twitter’s trending topics:

Up until recently, Twitter’s trending topics – which are prominently displayed on their Search homepage and now also in the sidebar when you’re using the Twitter website – were an awesome way to get a feel of what was buzzing on the Web, in a way that virtually no other web service was able to do.

+

But then came the pirates and Michael is really pissed!

Today, when you look at Twitter’s trending topics, you’ll notice that the large majority of trends are memes started by a single user or a group of users, with the main goal offering entertainment rather than spreading information. That’s all fine and dandy – no harm in having fun – and I realize well that Twitter’s trending topics are not necessarily required to be giving you and me an overview of stuff that really matters, but I can’t help but think it’s a pity that that list is starting to turn into the top 10 of chain letters people used to circulate through e-mail messages in the late nineties.

Oh dear gosh, I wish more people would recognize that manipulating social media platforms is so much more fun than obeying their “laws”…

The real name problem

Many native Indians have names like “Robin kills the Enemy”. Their name is in their passport, the same applies to people with exotic names like Lisa Strawberry. But if your name sounds like made up (but actually isn’t), you might have trouble keeping your Facebook account. An article on Spiegel Online [in German] reports that a couple of users got deleted without any previous notice. Facebook’s policy requires you to use your real name, and with the ongoing success of the platform a lot of users are running multiple fake profiles with strange names. Removing these might be a good idea for FB in terms of scalability and reliability, but the collateral damage has become so big that the group Facebook: don’t discriminate against Native surnames!!! already has more than 4.000 members, among them the likes of Linnie Birdchief, Carl Fourstar jr. and Sandy White Hawk. Facebook speaks person Barry Schmidt admitted mistakes, and the said accounts have been reactived, but the waiting period is quite long as only 850 people are on the payroll of the world’s largest social network.

Russian investors buy a share of Facebook

New York Times reports that Russian internet investment company Digital Sky Technologies acquired 1.96% of Facebook for the sum of $200 million:

Digital Sky won because its founders Yuri Milner and Gregory Finger have strong experience running Internet properties in Eastern Europe and Russia, and “a deep, advanced understanding” of social networking technology, Zuckerberg said.

We all know that FB is burning money at an amazing rate, but Zuckerberg still plays it cool – after all, he is running the largest social network in the world. Yet still numbers have gone down: when Microsoft purchased 1.6% in 2007 they had to pay $240 million – during the last two years, the overall value of the platform has decreased from $15 to $10 billion despite the growth in user accounts.

Happy B-Day, Mr. Shoemoney!

Jeremy Shoemaker turned 35 this week – congrats, man! I love your blog and there you’re the person who taught me the most valuable lessons about online marketing and blogging – thx for your excellent posts and keep up the great work! You definitely got a fan in Vienna :mrgreen:

This week’s href=”http://www.shoemoney.com/2009/05/29/friendshirtme-free-shirt-friday/”>T-Shirt of the week is also definitely worth a look: it was printed by Friendshirt.me. And the comments say it all… when I saw this app I instantly had to order mine!

What is a Micro-Scobble?

Robert Scobble is a tech evangelist and twitter legend. Disqus blog published and interesting interview with man responsible for the tweet-frequency-unit “Micro-Scobble”:

I grew up in silicon valley, I had no choice. My Dad was an engineer and I grew up in Cupertino about a mile from Apple Computers. I had an Apple Computer in 1977, in my junior high I was in the first computer club , and I got a tour of Apple when they were one little building. So yeah, I’ve always been around tech.

My bride is not a slut. She just looks like one.

Judith sent me this great article – thx! Take a look at the Top 5 Sluttiest Wedding Dresses Spotted In 2009! Even though is nearly breaks my heart that Miss Carey is no longer single, I have to admit that with this elaborate sense of taste she’d get a job in any brothel in the whole world:

The Mariah Carrey slutty wedding dress certainly doesn’t leave anything to the imagination. Fully equipped with garter belt, stockings, and a main fashion piece better off worn under the dress or on the wedding night, this dress starts us off with its moderately tame slutty fashion.

Video of the week

This one goes out to the Open Source Community – I usually don’t publish ads as the video of the week, but in this case Redhead has done a fantastic job – and with over 3 minutes, in these short-clip times this is almost an online feature movie. Congrats to Peter Novak on this fantastic job!

Pic of the week

New to my weekly round-up: starting this week, I will publish a “pic of the week” – no special topics whatsoever. Since I started digi-SLR myself my appreciation for those perfect shots has grown immensely. Choosing the proper pic wasn’t easy at all, but this Manasquan Reservoir by Joisey Showaa is one fantastic shot:

manasquan

And that’s about it for this week – thx for visiting my blog, see you again next week!

Input for weekly round-upGot any news you’d like to read about in my weekly round-up of current blogosphere events?
Don’t hesitate to contact me! Of course I’ll include a backlink to your original story.

So don’t hesitate – just click here for the contact form and give me an update on your issues: Give me input!.

Weekly Blogistan Round-Up no. 02/2009

tweetbacksNothing like listening to old-school dubstep mixes and surfing the net on a lazy Sunday afternoon – even though I have to admit that turning up the music is kind of my only option right now, since the new Samsung LCD screen I bought yesterday experiences some kind of identity crisis, confusing itself with some kind of alien sound-device by producing a constant annoying noise. But enough complaining, let’s turn our heads and look back on the 7 deadly sins of online-marketing compiled by Shoemoney.

Include the twitter juice!

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to include tweets about your postings directly into the comment thread? tweetbacks by Smashing Magazine does just that:

This plug-in imports tweets about your posts as comments. You can display them in between the other comments on your blog, or display them separately.

The implementation requires a bit of template-fiddling, but the explanations outlines the necessary changes very well.

One for the Lohas

“My paper shredder cuts 100 sheets per minute!” “Mine only cuts 0,02 sheets per minute, but it’s hamster powered!” This fictional dialogue could soon become office reality, as London design consultant Tom Ballhatchet invented the prototype of a “Hamster Powered Paper Shredder”: it takes the little fellow about three quarters of an hour to tear one DIN A4 sheet to pieces, which then become his bedding – the Lauging Squid knows more.

Mind the Tweet?

In the last week, Twitter’s security loopholes have been discussed everywhere: tweeters are used to performance problems (“fail-whale”), but the recent hacks of popular accounts, among them Britney Spears and Barack Obama, created awareness for the basic problem: there is no Twitter API, most 3rd party mash-ups require you to gladly hand over your login to some total stranger. Nick O’Neill posted some interesting thoughts on allfacebook.com:

Why would developers build for a platform that has only a few million users when they can build identical tools for over 140 or 150 million users? Yes, Facebook can keep the statuses private, and all comment replies as well and theyll continue their phenomenal growth rate. They clearly dont have the development resources though to build tools around their status updates internally. If Facebook opened up statuses tomorrow, Twitter would essentially become a ghost town.

Video of the week: The 3 Rules of the Internet

A song is much easier to remember than a simple text – even heralds in medieval times were aware of that fact. And the same applies to this beautiful beautiful song by Jonathan Mann: “The internet is a less than physical space, containing a multitude of opinions on a wide variety of subjects… written by mostly assholes.” [via monochrom]
[youtube] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWSP2c9J8CQ[/youtube]

So that’s about it for this week – the New Year’s Eve aftermath has worn off (hopefully) and the blogosphere is buzzing again. Let’s see what 2k9 has in store – have a great Sunday, see you next week.

Input for weekly round-up

Got some news?

Got any news you’d like to read about in my weekly round-up of current blogosphere events?
Don’t hesitate to contact me! Of course I’ll include a backlink to your original story.

So don’t hesitate – just click here for the contact form and give me an update on your issues: Give me input!.

Pillar-Content: How to write a blog sentence

Yaro Starak, the Aussie “make-more-money-online-you-dimwit” guru tells me I gotta have pillar content for my blog. These articles constantly are going to drive unwanted traffic to datadirt. And Yaro says that How-to postings are a good way to achieve a strong pillar effect, so first I wanted to blog about how to blog (how to find the proper topic, that is.), but then it suddenly hit me: first things first, mate! All postings consist of proper sentences in the first place, so I decided to go on rambling about how to write a blog-posting sentence. I hope this will drive all desolate creatures out there – SEO dogs, bloggers and the like – to my blog for eternity.

Maybe I’ll tell you how to find proper topics later on. And thanks for the reminder, but yes: I know that all sentences start with words, but I’ll tell you how to find the proper word later. Maybe this is even going to turn into a pillar-content-series. No fillers, promised! (But there’s tons of affliliate links to come.)

So first, we gotta ask ourselves: what exactly is a sentence? English teachers tell us it’s basically a big or small bunch of words, thrown together in proper order and finished by an infinitessimaly small dot. Or a question mark. Or an exclamation mark. Generally, it’s a good idea to first choose a proper stop-mark for your sentence in order to let the read know that a new sentence is about to begin. Once you’ve managed to complete this extremely important task, you should now go for…

The first word of the sentence

There are many words, you can find some of them online. But be careful: not all words are apt as a starting point. Like “crud”, which is a word but yet again a whole sentence in itself. Or cunt, which is not so good for more obvious reasons. Personally, I prefer words beginning with the letter A or T, for example “Asfixation” or “Tourette Syndrome”. If you’re totally undecided, you can always go with I – but not every time, as changing the so called ferstwerd (author slang) is vital. Sometimes it’s even enough to just change the ferstwerd and put add a simple “,too” at the end of your second sentence:

Asfixation kind of sounds like ass fixation. Tourette Syndrome kind of sounds like ass fixation, too.

Young sentence builder, you’re good to go now: once the first word has been written down, it’s very easy to complete the sentence. Don’t get distracted by style guides and know-it-alls you tell you to put focus on the verb. The verb totally doesn’t matter. For the first couple of weeks, “to be” will do:

I am being totally happy. Christmas is this year.

That’s what pros call the “ontological writing style”, which is totally uber-important for all pillar articles, as you’re trying to define something here, right?

Multi-sentenced sentences

Once you advance in writing level, you’ll probably want to start using commas as well. But be carefull though: stick to one sentence whenever possible, or you’re bound to confuse your readers:

I am suffering form asfixation, I am suffering from Tourette syndrome, too, I decided to write this article, I hope you are now reading it.

Most writers tend to over-use new tools, it’s basically the same problem with people who start using word and insert a wordart graphic on every single page. Just keep these advices in mind and your sentences will rule supremely over anybody else’s!

Wanna know more? Enlist in my online course “How to write other sentences than all most other people.” The course covers a variety of vital topics (sentences that don’t start with I, other verbs besides “to be” to name just the two most important ones.) It’s just 300 dollars a month, or you pay me 3.000 dollars upfront – and you’ll see where this gets you. Just look at me. If I hadn’t paid for my own course, I could have never written this many sentences! And don’t forget: once you know how to write succesfull sentences, the money will come back to you. No, it will flood you. You’ll wish you never made so much money as you gonna need a way bigger flat to store all your brand-new 100 dollar bills. And a bigger car to transport them. And a bigger anus to stick your own head into, as you gonna be so self-satisfied that it actually hurts.

Don’t even think of blaming me if you scheme won’t work. It it doesn’t, it’s purely your fault, you dimwit. Didn’t I tell you to stick to simnple sentences for the first few weeks?

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