Category Archives: Networking

Blog Action Day!

We ask all blog publishers to help bring awareness to the world today on the dire situation with climate change and the need for action!

Why Climate Change?

Climate change affects us all and it threatens more than the environment. It threatens to cause famine, flooding, war, and millions of refugees.

Given the urgency of the issue of climate change and the upcoming international climate negotiations in Copenhagen this December, we think the blogosphere has the unique opportunity to mobilize millions of people around expressing support for finding a sustainable solution to the climate crisis.

Suggested Posts

We encourage you to write about climate change in the context of how it relates to the topic of your blog. To help you start thinking, here are a few ideas about how you might connect climate change to things that you might already write about:

* A Technology or Business blog might write about emerging clean tech and how innovative companies might be able to help address the problem of climate change.

* A Health or Lifestyle blog might write about how climate change will affect our children’s health and daily living.

* A Nonprofit or Political blog might write about how climate change is deeply connected to many other issues – such as poverty and conflict.

* A Design blog might write about new trends in eco-friendly or sustainable design.

* A Travel blog might write about the places you want to see now before climate change makes them difficult to access or, well, under the sea.

Please join the 7,037 blogs in 135 countries and 11,211,921 readers in uniting over this urgent issue!

Blog World Expo Business Cards

Over the course of Blog World Expo, I was fortunate enough to meet many new people, and one of the interesting aspects of heading to a conference like Blog World is the number of business cards you pick up.

I wanted to give a quick shout out to the people that gave me their card, and the companies they represent.

Thomas M. Vail – Cart-Away Concrete Systems
Over in the corner of the exhibits there was a concrete mixer, and two guys with very bold green shirts. They were there promoting their business outside of its normal niche, and in doing so, became one of the highlights of the event for me. It made me wonder if other businesses will begin to catch on that Blog World Expo could be an amazing opportunity for businesses that don’t normally interact with bloggers to find a whole new group of potential customers and if nothing else, be noticed by a crowd that is well connected online. Check out their Typepad blog.

While they weren’t giving away any concrete services, not that they service Canada anyways, it was still really great to see them there, and their approach was amazing. I really hope that they do well as a business just because of their outreach to us bloggers.

Zac Johnson – ZacJohnson.com
Out of all of the affiliate marketing experts that were at the event, Zac Johnson was really the only one that talked to me at any reasonable length, despite not really knowing me before the conference. He was an approachable guy, with a very calm attitude. I don’t think he realized how much of a celebrity he has become for a very wide group of people online, as some of the things he has done with integrating advertising and products has been far ahead of the curve. It was a real pleasure to have met him.

Thomas J. Hoehn – Kodak
One of the coolest things that I learned while at Blog World Expo was information on how big name brands and companies are integrating social media, blogging and online story telling into the corporate culture, and while Kodak might have been considered slow in really fighting for the digital camera scene, they are jumping in with both feet with regards to the web. Thomas was great to talk to and really seems to understand blogging as a form of story telling over top of just a marketing tool. I was really impressed with his insights and hope to hear more of Kodak and their online efforts over the coming months.

Sarah East – The Pop Crunch Show
I am a married man, but I still have a horrible crush on Sarah East, the host of the Pop Crunch Show. I hate celebrity news, but I watch it anyways and so when I found out she was at Blog World Expo, I wanted to meet her. We both work for the same person, but I have to admit, I had a little bit of celebrity worship going on when I met her. She was very down to earth, funny, and charming. In the short conversation I got to have with her, she really seemed to know her stuff outside of just the online video realm, and understood the business of producing content.

Angela Lauria – Commission Videos
If there is one person that I recommend every blogger, blog network, and online thought leader seek out, it would be Angela. I had met her before in Vancouver at Northern Voice, and I was impressed with her then, but she has continued to step up her game and Commission Videos looks great! I really enjoyed talking with her and if you are putting video on your site and not monetizing it, then you are getting it from the wrong source, and I recommend checking out Commission Videos. Angela understands advertising, business management and their interconnections with the web, and is building products where her limiting factor is not the advertising side, but finding enough publishers, and in my opinion, that is a great problem for and advertising service to have.

Eric Golub – The Tygrrrr Express
Aaron Phillips – FastServers.net
Mario Phillips – gooseGrade
Greg Kuiper – layeredtech
Debby Phillips – Market Leverage
Kate Heffernan – outbrain
Jack LeVine – Uncle Jack’s VeryVintageVegas.com
Rion Morgenstern – mindtouch
Connie Bensen – Connie Bensen
Becky Jutzi – SodaHead
S. Neil Vineberg – Vineberg Communications
Michael Rubin – gaspedal
Angie A. Swartz – Six Figure Moms Club
Scott S. Lawton – Blogcosm
Dana Rockel – Content Robot
Ezra Butler – Ezra Butler
Andraz Tori and Jure Cuhalev – Zemanta

Blog Advertising Difficulties: Blog Network Doesn’t Mean Big Money

There is a great set of posts and videos going around right now talking about advertising and blogs, and I wanted to chime in with my two cents.

Aaron Brazell started me thinking about this thanks to a video on his blog Technosailor about blog consolidation.

Then I saw a post on Inquisitr talking about what Aaron said and Duncan added his own thoughts and opinions on bringing blogs together under one flag to sell advertising as a group.

These are both people that I highly respect, and who probably have more knowledge about the business of blogging than I do, but in this area, I don’t think they know what the heck they are talking about.

I am the co-founder of Grand Effect, a great blog network, with great blogs, written by great bloggers. We were all independent and came together for the purpose of passing traffic to each other, as well as a bit of link juice and of course banding together for network wide advertising sales.

I assumed because there would be a great deal of higher quality, focused blogs that we could get some high advertising rates, and when you bring our traffic together, we have a fair bit of page views, but still the advertisers aren’t running to our doors. I’ve shopped around the network a bit to some companies trying to gauge their response, and so far it has been a really lukewarm response.

We just don’t have the five or ten million page views that the big brands are looking for, or a tight enough demographic or the required star/networking power to make those big deals with friendly companies. We also aren’t high enough currently on the thought leader chain in the blogosphere for certain brands, making things even more frustrating as we work hard to show how powerful our brands have become.

While we have a lot to offer an advertiser that can come in with a three to five dollar CPM rate, we haven’t been able to secure that yet across the network of nine sites, and so bringing together a few blogs under a banner is definitely not enough to entice companies to sign up and tap into that combined traffic.

Also, I have found that the more page views that you bring together, the lower these companies want their overall CPM rates to be. So while a 50,000 page view blog might be able to sell some advertising space for a consistent $2 CPM, or $100 per advertising spot per month, a 500,000 page view blog, won’t instantly get $1000 for the same advertising positions.

Everyone also seems to be forgetting the time and effort that needs to go into selling these companies on buying advertising from you. This can take an immense amount of time depending on the company and it can also be difficult when the coalition is young and thus the brand everyone is flying is unknown. I always thought 9rules should have done something to help its membership make money through a network advertising service, but I realize now, in working with Grand Effect, that it just takes so much time.

You either have to develop an advertising platform, use one that already exists (thus giving them a cut) or do things manually. Development costs a fair bit of time and/or money. Using one that already exists can be frustrating because it might not have the features you want, and they’ll want their cut. Doing things manually can take huge amounts of time, and lends itself to mistakes.

How does everyone expect to manage network wide advertisements? Who will take the lead to create relationships with companies and sell them on advertising positions, and does this person get extra money? Who will handle the receiving and disbursement of advertising payments?

The information that the others have put up don’t really cover the important questions, instead lingering on about other less important things like freedom of creative control on your own blogs, and trying to quickly pull everyone under your wing in hopes of selling big advertising blocks.

Too many unanswered questions. I think people are going to jump in with both feet, only to find themselves disappointed. Doesn’t anyone plan things out properly in the blogosphere anymore?

Building a Blog Network is Expensive

Right now I am participating in two different blog networks, Grand Effect, where I am a code-monkey and co-founder and Digital Life News, where I am the owner. One is somewhat expensive on time, and the other is expensive on time and money, but the real question remains: which one is worth more to me?

With Grand Effect, I am part of a group of very exciting, very prominent blogs that talk about technology and the web. The hard part, building the sites, is basically done. The new issue for Grand Effect is to help these blogs promote themselves, and help find ways to monetize them more effectively. I am also trying to make sure I give each member some of my time, so that they can get help with anything technical, and I would love to help them all with hosting needs in the near future.

With Digital Life News, I am building blogs from scratch and paying through the nose for writers. Because I was once a blogger myself, I feel bad if I am paying my writers too little, but I also realize that this is a bad business practice, as the sites aren’t making enough to be sustainable, and the sustainable level of income versus payments is still a very long ways away. With this type of system, I am spreading myself too thin. I am working on setting up a managing editor for the network who deals with promotion, basic WordPress administration and helps manage the writers, and content produced, but this means more money, and that is something I don’t really have a lot of at this point.

With Grand Effect, I could quickly and easily make a part time income by spending four hours a day marketing the member blogs, working on advertising, and developing new features for the network site, but in order to do this, I will have to slow down on other projects.

With Digital Life News, I own a blog network, but the amount of time and money I have to put into it before it repays me is huge, and the repayment date is measured in years rather than months.

Blog networks are expensive to build, whether you are devoting just time or time and money towards building them. Never underestimate this fact, or you are doomed to frustration, if not failure.

Live Meetings

Sometimes the best way to really get to know a person, and share ideas, thoughts and work together is to meet in real life. I recently had the opportunity to take the train to Toronto and meet up with PicScout, the makers of the amazing photo service PicApp, and Jeremy Wright of b5media.

After coming back, I couldn’t be happier that I went. I really got to talk to both groups and interact with them in a way that would have took ten times longer through e-mail, instant messaging or even the phone. When “they” say that so much of communication comes from body language and facial expressions, they aren’t kidding around.

I was taking in much more information than what was being said, or even how it was being said, and I think that while our world is depending more and more on virtualization, there is something to be said for a face to face meeting.