Welcome to The Blog Report

I'm so glad you stopped by and hope you find this blog an interesting read. I've been blogging since April of 2006, currently the author of six public and two private blogs. In the beginning I knew absolutely nothing about blogging. Over the years through trial and error, frustration and elation, and a few tears I've learned a lot. However, the learning process when it comes to blogging continues to evolve. Here you will find a hodge podge of my blogging experiences, useful codes and how-tos, sprinkled liberally with my opinions. Enjoy!

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Building Traffic Without Blog Advertising Networks

With the news of Adgitize closing I had a bit of a panic moment.  I have already seen my blog traffic decrease with CMFAds closing and have no desire to go back to Entrecard.  So I am left with a bit of old school traffic building to do for my blogs.  Surprisingly there are many ways to build traffic that do not rely of blog advertising networks.  Some are better than others and all take a bit of work but so did the blog advertising networks.

I've been blogging for over six years and now author six fairly successful blogs.  Here are a few ways I build traffic for my blogs:

  • traffic exchanges - BlogExplosion, Expose Your Blog and other traffic exchanges can get you some rather descent blog traffic.  They can open the door to a large audience beyond the blogosphere giving you a good increase in readership.  The only caveat is do NOT use a traffic exchange if you are using Adsense as that is against their TOS.
  • social networking - Facebook, Twitter, Digg and StumbleUpon are wonderful ways to meet other bloggers while promoting your own blog(s).  Add your RSS feed to Twitter and Facebook so your friends will see each time you update your blog.
  • directories - Submit your blog(s) to every directory possible.   The only caveat here is do NOT submit your blog url to a directory that has a lower PR rating than your blog.
  • magazines/newspapers - Anytime you get a chance to share your blog url with a magazine or newspaper, do so.  I submitted one of my blog urls to our local radio station and saw an increase in traffic immediately because local folk tend to support local folks.
  • business cards - It is quite easy and inexpensive to make business cards using nothing more than your computer and printer.  Be sure to put the url of your blog(s) on your card.  Hand out your business card as well as place it on business bulletin boards.  Some establishments hold a monthly business card draw so it is a good way to get a bit of traffic to your blog using an old fashioned business building method.
  • ping your blog(s) -  With the demise of two of the best blog advertising networks it is very important to ping you blog each time you add content.  This will ensure that the search engines continue sending organic traffic your way.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Blog Advertising Networks Going By the Wayside

This has been a bad year for blog advertising networks.  BlogExplosion has been dying a very slow and painful death with the site down more than up sometimes.  CMFAds closed down in October and Adgitize just announced it was closing with no new advertising being accepted after December 27 and a final closing date of January 31.  Reports have been coming out that there are problems with Entrecard as well.  I personally had expected Entrecard to close down three years ago when the incompetent Graham was still running the show but it was sold and for a while looked rather promising but now it is taking months to get a blog approved.  Word has it the site is running itself with problems going unattended and no response from the owners so it is just a matter of time before that blog advertising network folds as well.    That leaves two lesser (in numbers) networks to use for blog advertising.  They are Along for the Ride and Expose Your Blog.  Expose Your Blog really is a traffic exchange so should not be used if using Adsense.  So 2012 is looking like it will be a year of changes for many bloggers looking to promote their blogs without the tried and true of blog advertising networks.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Adgitize to Close Down

On the heels of CMFAds closing down in October of this year, I was once again saddened to get the email from Adgitize saying they were closing down effective December 27.   Ads will no longer be accepted after that date.  Publishers expecting a payout will receive it on the normal schedule (about Jan 7) and those using the credit system will receive a payout as well.  There is a $5 processing fee for those requesting a cheque but no charge for using PayPal.  Those running advertising that expires after January 15 will receive a prorated refund.  All services through Adgitize will cease as of January 31.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Decorating Blogs For The Holidays

I started blogging in early 2006 and by the end of the year had four blogs up and running.  At that time it was a blogging trend to change the entire blog template to a holiday theme for the Christmas holiday season.  Some even changed their theme for Easter and Thanksgiving as well as special days like St. Patrick's Day.  I went with the trend creating special holiday templates.  Then a couple of years ago I stopped.  Creating and changing templates can be a considerable amount of work but the main reason I stopped massively decorating for the holidays on my blogs is the same reason I now say Happy Holidays rather than Merry Christmas - political correctness. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Downward Trend on Adgitize

I have noticed a bit of a downward trend on Adgitize.  The total points in the system is an indicator as to how many advertisers there are.  The points usually range in the high 90,000 into the 100,000.  The start of the December the total points were 93,951 and two days later dropped to 85,535.  Yesterday morning they were down to 79,767.  This downward trend surprises me especially after CMFAds closed down.  I certainly hope this is temporary, due to the busy holiday season and perhaps a bit tighter funds for blog advertising.

I do the opposite during the holiday season by increasing my advertising, running two ads for my cooking blog and two other ads for a total of four ads.  During the week between Christmas and New Years a lot of folk have a bit more downtime to spend online so increasing advertising for that period makes sense.  It's also a time of year I have a bit less time for active traffic building so keeping my ads out there for the exposure makes a lot of sense.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sit On Your Hands

A few nights ago we went out with another couple.  During the conversation the main complaint with Facebook was rather inappropriate comments being made.  I made the comment that you should sit on your hands.   If there has ever been anything I have learned over my internet experience it is sit on your hands.  What this really means is think before you post and quite frankly if you can't make a post that won't get you in to trouble in some fashion the sit on the hands.  Don't reply, don't comment and definitely don't write a post.  This is very important when it comes to Twitter or Facebook where posts can easily be made in the heat of the moment without really thinking it through.

I honestly can't count the number of times I have been so ticked off, wrote a blog post then saved it in draft mode rather than allowing it to go live.  Nine times out of ten the post never goes live.  The thing is writing the problem out is a good way to get rid of all the negativity but clicking the button to make the post go live is a good way to get a lot more negativity so sit on the hands.  Write the post then let it sit in draft mode for awhile.  Ponder on it then only post if you are really sure that is what you want to say in public.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Blogging Income

Bloggers seem to fall into three main categories with respect to monetizing.  The first group does not monetize at all.  They have no interest in blogging for financial gain of any kind.  They may advertise but they don't display any ads or paid posts on their blogs.  The second group monetizes enough to cover their costs like ISP and advertising.  They display a minimal amount of advertising, seldom if ever do paid posts, and may accept the occasional paid link.  The third group monetizes with the pie in the sky ideal that they are going to make a living via blogging.  They display a heavy amount of advertising including pop-up and peel-back ads.  A good portion of their posts are paid posts and they have a large number of paid links.

The bottom line is blogging does cost money in terms of ISP costs, advertising, design and time.  The reality is the only bloggers that make money from their blogs are those in the second group.  Those in the first group aren't interested in making money and those in the third group run the risk of being labelled a splog (spam blog) or even being banned by Google and other search engines.  The bloggers that will stand the test of time will be those in group two.  Their basic blogging expenses are being met and yet blogging still remains somewhat of a hobby, an enjoyable activity to indulge in as they see fit.

Garden Gnome

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Blogging Year is Winding Down

The year is quickly coming to an end.  Looking back on the year is has been a fairly decent blogging year.  It has not been as productive as I would have liked but a lot of life events including an injury, my husband being quite sick, moving and three vacations lessened the time I had for blogging.  I started of with a bang, managing to get a new post each day for all six blogs. I was able to keep up that pace for a few months but after that I have just been trying to keep regular not necessarily daily posts.

I have a lot of plans for the upcoming year with respect to blogging.  Now that the house is settled and we are moved, I plan to set up a blogging routine.  It was impossible to set up a routine with the house on the market due to the showings.  Since moving I've been trying to blog during the mornings, freeing up my afternoons and evenings for other activities.  What I am planning on doing is scheduling a one hour period in the morning for blogging only.  During that time I plan to focus only on blogging, as in the actual writing only.  Most blog posts can be written in 15 minutes but the shorter posts like Kitchen Quick Tips and Wordless Wednesday only take about 5 minutes.  In the period of one hour I could get a lot of the short posts scheduled to go live at a later date, taking a bit of the pressure off while reducing my online time.  I also plan on scheduling a half hour period each morning to work on building traffic.  On a good day, focusing on Adgitize I can finish up in about 10 minutes which will leave me 20 minutes to utilize other traffic building methods.  I'm looking forward to the new year!  If all goes according to plan 2012 will be an excellent blogging year :)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Using Facebook to Promote Your Blog

Some bloggers are using Facebook to promote their blogs.  There are three ways to do this.  First, set an RSS feed into your Facebook news feed.  Each time you update your blog and notice goes into your news feed for your friends to see.  I do this but my Facebook is set to only friends and family.  They tend to stop by my blogs anyways so for me Facebook isn't really promoting my blogs much.  The second way to promote your blog on Facebook is to create a page.  The link is at the bottom of the news feed page.  They do move the link around though so you may have to look for it.   The third way to promote your blog is advertise through them.  It does cost money but you can determine how much you want to spend daily.  You can do a full campaign with a set budget, pay for impressions (CPM) or pay for clicks (CPC) as well as target your audience.  I have not advertised with Facebook so I cannot say how effective it is.  It does appear to be less expensive than advertising though Adwords though and given Facebook has a large following it would be reasonable to speculate that a well orchestrated advertising campaign would give rather decent results.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Blog Advertising Networks Skew Traffic Stats

Shortly after I started blogging I discovered BlogExplosion where I met several very nice bloggers.  Then I joined Entrecard, Adgitize, CMFAds and Exposure Your Blog.  It didn't take long to realize that some of the bloggers from BlogExplosion also participated in the other blog advertising networks.  Herein lies the problem of blog advertising networks.

A blogger who actively used all five blog advertising networks could technically send five hits to your blog each day.  Looking at the stats it would show five unique hits, one from each of the networks but in reality it was only one visitor.  Multiply this by 50 bloggers doing this and your traffic could be inflated by 200 hits per day or more!  Your stats show those extra visits by the same person with different referral urls depending based on which advertising network they enter through.  I know a lot of bloggers combine Entrecard and Adgitize.  CMFAds is no more, BlogExplosion has been slowly dying and Exposure Your Blog hasn't gained much in popularity yet.

If you advertise in only one blog advertising network then there will be no skewing of visitors.  If you participate in more than one blog advertising network, there is no way to circumvent this from happening.  It is a catch 22 though because the more you advertise, the more exposure you get for your blog which ultimately means you need to advertise on more than one blog advertising network.  At the same time, you do need to keep in mind that with the click redundancy, the hits recorded in your stats is not a true reflection of actual traffic.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Responsibility As a Blogger

Do bloggers have a responsibility as a blogger?  The simple answer is YES!   I think when bloggers start blogging they really don't think of the responsibility that comes with blogging.  There is actually a blogger's code of ethics.  Many new bloggers don't realize this.  It does tick me off sometimes when I see paid posts that are only about making the money without any regard to the ethics at all.  They don't care whether they are blatantly lying or thinly veiling the fact that they know anything about the product they are blogging about.

As a blogger, you do have a responsibility to your readers.  If you are doing a paid post or being paid in any manner, you have the responsibility to include full disclosure as well as write the post in a truthful manner.  If you don't have experience with the product, don't write about it!  While you can basically write anything you want, you should not slander as that could get you into hot water.  You have a responsibility to not promote hatred or promote illegal activity of any kind.  In fact, the latter two are part of the TOS for all blogging platforms.  You have a responsibility to not interfere with the rights of others to enjoy the internet.  Doing so is against the AUP of all ISPs.  This means you should not use your blog to stalk, harass, attack or otherwise negatively affect another person via your blog(s).  You have a responsibility to ensure your blog remains free of malware, viruses, and harmful scripts.  If you find any of this type of thing on your blog you have a responsibility to disable the blog and fix the problem before allowing it to go live again.  If you accept advertising on your blog you have a responsibility to both your advertisers and readers.  Be sure to include a disclaimer notifying your readers that you are being paid in some fashion by displaying the ads.  You have a responsibility to your advertisers to promote your blog in such a fashion as to get them the best possible exposure for their ads without inflating traffic.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Be Very Careful What You Blog About

Crystal Cox of Oregon authors several blogs. When she decided to critically blog about The Obsidian Financial Group, they sued her and an Oregon judge ruled she is not a journalist so is not protected as a journalist would be thus she was fined $2.5 million (full story here).  Essentially the court ruled she was a blogger, not a journalist so media shield laws did not apply.  What is interesting is had the case been tried in Washington, she would have been protected.  This should be a warning to all bloggers to be careful what you blog about and how you blog about it.  It pays to know what the rules are in the province or state as well as country from whence you are blogging.

I know I have been very critical in some blog posts.  My understanding that unless it was slanderous or malicious, it was your personal opinion.  Perhaps when writing a post that has the potential to get you into hot water, a disclaimer is in order but even that may not be enough as it could be viewed as an admission of guilt.  In most cases, I think the courts would be reasonable.  If it was one rant, and providing it was clear it was your own personal opinion, I doubt there would be a problem.  However, if there were a series of posts as in the case of Ms. Cox bashing the company/person then there could easily be cause for a lawsuit.

Now, just because you are sued as a blogger doesn't mean you will lose but consider the hassle of it all.  If you bash a firm for making telemarketing calls to you even though you are on the DNC list, and the facts are that firm was calling you, well they have no case.  Just be careful about what and how you blog about certain things.  If in doubt, do a bit of research before blogging about it.  Get your facts straight.  If you go with facts combined with your opinion without bashing (eg. let the reader get the point subtly), there should never be a problem.  Just realize that freedom of the press and not revealing your sources does not apply to blogging in some jurisdictions.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Setting Up a Laptop

My husband bought a new laptop on our last visit to our vacation home so I get his old laptop to use mainly at the vacation home.  It is an older Toshiba that is a bit sluggish but still suitable for blogging and doing any online activity I need to do when there.  That will eliminate having to cart a laptop when we fly.

He removed anything he did not need on the old laptop then I set about cleaning it up a bit removing programs no longer needed.  I updated AVG then ran a full computer scan, ran a few updates and installed Google Chrome.  I really like using Camino at home on my Mac but also use Safari so was using Safari on the old laptop but Chrome is quickly becoming my browser of choice.  I bought a copy of Photoshop Elements 9 and installed it for editing my photos.  It is not as advanced as the Photoshop CS I'm used to working with but will be fine for what I need for blogging.  So far so good.  The old laptop is running smooth all be it a little slower than the new one but that's to be expected.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Free Wi-Fi

I have heard of a disturbing trend that spells the end to free Wi-Fi at US airports.  Apparently you have to create an account on the new Wi-Fi Boingo system that costs as low as $1.99 for 15 minutes to $7.95 for one 24 hour period of access or setting up a monthly subscription for $9.95.  It used to be totally free meaning the time spent waiting for delayed plans could be put to good use by blogging and doing other online activities at the airport.  I think it is ridiculous for them to charge for Wi-Fi service in the airports.  It isn't like you are there long enough to use enough bandwidth for any charge.  Even though what time package you buy through can be used at any airport using the Boingo system as well as on any airline using the system during flight, it is not worth the price for the average, vacation style traveler.  Is this a sign of what Wi-Fi hotspots are migrating to?

The truckstops all have Wi-Fi but there has been and $8.95 daily charge for quite some time.  Marinas in our area charge the same daily rate for Wi-Fi but many of the local restaurants surrounding the marinas remain free.  The going daily rate for internet access in your motel room in Las Vegas is $12.95 which is expensive but there are still places like Krispy Kreme and Starbucks that offer free Wi-Fi.

Free Wi-Fi was a courtesy businesses extended to their customers as an incentive to get them to linger a bit longer, translating into buying more of their product.  The airports don't have to worry about this though because let's face it you are captive like it or not until your plane boards.  Whether you are happy about a delay or not is not really their concern.  If you don't buy internet access of which they likely make a bit of money if you do, you will likely buy something at one of the restaurants or stores in the terminal.  The airport has no incentive to attract you to fly into or out of their terminals because that is conveniently determined by your proximity to their location.  In short, the airports have absolutely no reason to offer free Wi-Fi, much to the dismay of the regular, vacation type of traveler.  

However, according I did do a bit of research to find that even though the pay as you go Wi-Fi is becoming the norm in airports, even in major airports using Boingo, there is still free Wi-Fi available.  Our past year's experience being in five major airports does not support this as we were only able to get free Wi-Fi in one of them earlier in the year so by not that has likely changed as well.  This means that my blogging while waiting to board planes when traveling to and from our vacation home are pretty much over.  If we were delayed, we would sit in one of the airport pubs enjoying a snack or two as well as a couple of drinks while watching the free television.  We would check for free Wi-Fi but if it wasn't available I would simply wait to find a free Wi-Fi en route or until we arrived at our destination where I know I would have high speed internet.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Attracting Spam Comments

Today, I opened my email to find five spam comments.  Well, really that isn't bad if you think about it.  I have noticed that my personal blog seldom attracts spam comment, my cooking blog sometimes but my gardening, homemaking and Canadian blogs attract at least one or more spam comments every couple of days.  The bottom line is these blogs likely attract a bit more spam because the spammer is trying to sell something through the links included in their comment.  Needless to say I don't approve these comments but it is interesting to see the different angles someone trying to sell their product or services can take.  Of course there is occasionally another blogger spamming their blog but that tends to new bloggers not realizing this is frowned up.  Some of the comments are rather creative though, down right humorous at times.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Blog Traffic is Down

I can't believe it is December already!  Where did 2011 go?  The holiday season is upon us resulting in a decrease in traffic since the American Thanksgiving.  I didn't notice a decrease after the Canadian Thanksgiving (October 10) or Hallowe'en but definitely have noticed a decrease since last week.  It doesn't help that CMFAds closed the end of October either but I had not been using it since the first part of October.  This trend likely means folks are out shopping which is good for the economy or they are busy getting ready for Christmas and New Year's Eve.  At any rate traffic is down.  I'm sure it will pick up once folks have a bit more spare time.  I'm not too worried about traffic building at the moment but rather focusing on writing blog posts. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Naming Images for Use on Blogs

I came across an interesting article dealing with search engine optimization quite some time ago.  One point that was mentioned was the naming of images for use on blogs.  Digital cameras usually give a name for the image that reflects the number of the picture for ordering purposes.  For example P1180592.jpg is an image downloaded from my camera.  This name is useless for search engines.  It says nothing as to what the content of the picture is.  Someone looking for what the picture depicts is not going to search for that number they are going to search by the name of the content.  This photo is a picture of garlic and herb mashed potatoes.  When I edited the image, I named the image garlicherbmashed.jpg and added the alt="garlic and herb mashed potatoes".  Now if someone is doing an image search for garlic and herb mashed potatoes, my image will show in the results resulting in the potential of that reader clicking the image to read more about it.  Using descriptive names and alt tag  for images used on blogs will help generate more organic traffic.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Lookback at 2011 That is Quickly Coming to an End

Oh my gosh, I can't believe 2011 is quickly coming to an end.  Looking back at the start of 2011 I had such high aspirations for blogging.  My goal was to have a daily post for each of my six blogs but somewhere along the line life happened.   I was injured and laid up for a couple of weeks, discovered Facebook games, had the house on the market, hubby was quite sick for awhile,  finally moved and now am just getting back into blogging gear.  The fact is life happened and despite my blogging aspirations, they didn't happen.  I don't think I did too bad but I did not reach my goals.  I will continue plugging along, hoping to get my blogs back to daily posting and so it goes.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Power of Blogging

As a blogger we have a lot more potential at reaching a wider audience then ever imaginable.  In fact our audience is worldwide.  This comes with great responsibility but at the same time can be put to good use to find missing children, capture criminals, and even out shady business deals.  I purposely have an Amber Alert ticker on two of my blogs for missing and exploited children.  Blogger can have raised funds for charity events, spread the word about events others are interested in and served to warn others of devious or unethical practices all for nothing.  Bloggers don't get paid to do this, they do so simply because they love blogging and quite frankly the blog fodder doesn't hurt either. 

On a personal note I seriously detest telemarketers so I have no problem blogging about them.  A few months ago and despite blocking every number they used Centennial Windows got through once again.  I called them back, blocking my number to tell them I was on the Don't Call List aka joke of a list by the CRTC, reamed them out without giving my phone number, filed a complaint with the CRTC then blogged about it complete with their phone numbers.  Hmm, a couple of days later and checking my stats I noticed the CRTC had been poking around but we haven't had a call from them since.  Today, I walked to the grocery store.  I am making a point to find some excuse to walk daily so anyway on the way back I dang near got ran over by a lady texting while driving.  That is illegal in Ontario.  The next time this happens and there will be a next time because some people feel they are above the law I am seriously going to blog their license plate number!  Perhaps through the power of blogging there will be less telemarketers and idiots, not likely but it could happen ;)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Ever Present Spam Folder

Very few can get away without having a spam folder on their email account.  If you have any kind of online presence you have spam.  Spam arises from spammers deliberately harvesting your email address.  As soon as you use your email address it's out there.  We tend to keep our email address through our ISP offline as in not used on forms unless we know who we are dealing with.  The problem is some businesses sell their email lists while innocent friends or family hit reply to all without hiding the email address so despite the best of intentions, a private email address does get out there for spammers.  With any luck though, your primary email address through your ISP can be kept relatively spam free. 

For most online activity I use Yahoo and Mail.com both of which have nice, customizable spam filters.  Even Blogger has nice spam filtering abilities for comments.  The problem with spam filters is sometimes they catch false positives meaning a message gets marked as spam and is diverted to your spam filter even though it is not spam.  It is important to go through your spam folder on occasion just to be sure.  Remove any message that is not spam and delete the rest.  I find it easier if I don't let the spam folder get much more than 100 messages which takes about a week on Yahoo.  Simply deleting the spam folder without scanning through it could mean you miss good blogging opportunities as advertising offers are quite often diverted to your spam folder.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Reported Entrecard Problems

Close on the heels of CMFAds closing down, many bloggers are reporting a lot of problems with Entrecard.  They either can't log in to their accounts or the widget is showing connection errors.  One comment I read said the owners of Entrecard didn't care.  Well, why should they?  Let's think about it, Graham aka Asshat  aka diaper boy came so bloody close to losing Entrecard a little over three years ago.  I left Entrecard during that fiasco and haven't looked back.  The problem is Entrecard has always been a glorified traffic exchange meaning it is quite contrary to Adsense TOS.  It still is and is definitely grounds to get your Adsense account cancelled.  But Entrecard with it's 300 drop per day policy in order to get the most hits back to your account is mind numbing, robotic like traffic driving, let's increase our bounce rate traffic.  Quite frankly three years ago I was routing for Graham to go belly up but these new investors who seem to know nothing about blogging took over so they have managed to keep Entrecard afloat long enough to milk a bit of money off of bloggers so now they don't give a hoot.  They've made their money and it's time to move on.  I feel sorry for the bloggers relying on Entrecard for traffic but in reality their time would be best spent elsewhere.  There are so many ways to build blog traffic without the time commitment of Entrecard so I don't understand why other bloggers don't use them.  Ah well, at least Entrecard is not my problem.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Shake it Off

We bought our first computer, an Amstrad in 1989 shortly after I started university as an adult student.  Our kids were well versed using computers but not us and I refused to give up my electric typewriter in favour of the fancy new word processor.  It wasn't long before I ran into a course where computer use was mandatory so I struggled learning the ropes of Pine, Archie, saving files and that type of thing.  It was bad enough on the computers in the library with black screens and green text but the Macs in the computer lab were a whole new ball game.  Meanwhile at home I began to do a bit more experimenting on the Amstrad, discovering a whole new world via Internet in a Box.  Back then even the chat rooms and newsgroups were kinder and gentler but trolls did exist.  Fast forward to current times and trolls are everywhere with newsgroups and forums over run with them.  Surprisingly they have spilled over to blog comments as well.

The recommendation is to have contact information on your blog so a reader can contact you should they wish not to leave a comment.  I fail to see why someone would prefer to contact you privately but I can see a benefit with respect to advertisers and special offers.  The problem is some use your contact information simply to send a nasty message simply because they can and the fact is some people feel they can be as nasty as they want online because no one can do anything about it.  My blogs are not controversial enough to attract much in the way of nasty comments but I've heard some bloggers have a real problem with this type of thing especial those writing about religion or politics.

There's a saying on newsgoups - Don't Feed the Trolls!  The best response to these types of comments is no response.  If there is no response the troll quickly moves on to pester someone else.  Shake it off and don't let it bother you.  Put the comment in the trash where it belongs.  If at any time a commenter becomes agressive or threatening, report them to their ISP.  You can usually track them down via your stats.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Monetizing Your Life

I came across a rather interesting question while bloghopping a couple of days ago.  The question was "Is it right to monetize your life?" obviously meaning via blogging but not really clear.  There are a couple of problems with question with the first being anytime the word 'should' is used it becomes an ethical or moral issue.  The second problem is ever since mankind came to be humans have been selling themselves in one or more ways - physically, emotionally, intellectually.  The workforce depends on the selling of manual and/or intellectually abilities.  The employee sells his/her services while the employer buys these abilities.  It's a commodity all based on supply and demand!  So let's assume the person asking the question was implying earning money from a blog that talks about your daily life, your kids, your family and you know the things you feel like blogging about.

Well here, in my opinion the waters get a bit muddied and yet making money from your 'life events' is not a new concept either.  If it were, all those nice afternoon talk shows (eg. Jerry Springer, Oprah, and etc.) would never have become a hit.  The people sharing on those types of shows certainly were not doing it out of the kindness of their hearts.  They were compensated and quite generously in many cases.  If selling your life story that ultimately includes parts of your daily life were not acceptable, autobiographies would not exist.  The tabloids wouldn't exist and the paparazzi who revel in revealing ever single little detail about the lives of the rich and famous would be out of a job.  This past year I was following the Casey Anthony trial, a very sad case that will at some point go to print with one or more of those involved profiting from telling their story and you can bet it will be rather down to the daily comings and goings leading upto and after the death of little Caley Anthony.  People have a natural, almost morbid curiosity about the lives of others because it makes their lives seem not quite so bad. 

In light of that, bloggers who blog about tidbits of their lives and receive a little and I do mean little compensation for it are doing nothing wrong as long as they are doing so in good taste.  The only ones that bother me are some of the mommy bloggers who really are exploiting their kids with current pictures of them posted almost daily which has the potential for further exploitation via those who wish to do harm.  Other than that, saying we stopped here for dinner then writing a mini critique can be rather benign.  On the other hand there is the issue of too much information such as blogging you are away from home or home alone.  If you want to blog about these type of things it's best to blog about them after the fact.

The bottom line is I don't feel that monetizing your life via a blog is wrong depending on how it is done.  Using your blog to exploit others for financial gain is ethically, morally and may even be legally wrong but that is a whole other issue...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What Happens to a Blog When the Blog Author Passes Away?

Life happens so it goes without saying that sometimes a blogger (blog author) passes away so what happens to their blog?  Technically, unless there are extreme circumstances and even if there are the blog host does not have to remove the blog.  A couple of years ago I came across a blogger who had committed suicide.  It was a very sad case.  She had blogged about her emotional pain right up to the point of death.  Despite pleas from her family, the blog host refused to take down the blog.  The reason being unless the blogger gives direct authorization in the even of their death or has left the login information with a trusted friend or family member, the blog host does not have the right to remove the blog providing it is following the TOS. 

The easiest way for a blogger to deal with this issue if he or she wants their blogs removed is to leave detailed instructions complete with the login information with a trusted friend, family member or lawyer who can either delete the blog or set it to private for family members only.  I will stress trusted as I know of one case where the blog was to be deleted upon death but the person trusted with this task actually took Otherwise the blog remains as is, simply not being updated.  At some point, readership will drop to zero but that is no guarantee especially if there is good content that warrants the attention of search engines.  In short, the blog simply becomes part of the vast number of blogs in the blogosphere that have died off for any number of reasons including being abandoned. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Holidays and Special Days

When I first started blogging I tried to acknowledge every special day and holiday.  I even made custom made graphics and animations for some of them.  Now, I don't do that much.  The reason being aside of Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving we don't celebrate much and even those celebrations are low keyed.  We don't celebrate birthdays and anniversaries in a big way even the milestones.  That is reflected in my blogs.  I always pay tribute to Remembrance Day and Canada Day but on some of my blogs it is also low keyed. 

I honestly cannot believe how much time and effort some bloggers have put into the spirit of Hallowe'en.  They have decorated their blogs, blogged about everything Hallowe'en related possible and some of them will likely win a municipal award for best dressed house of the season.  Me -> I did nothing on my blogs for Hallowe'en but I did put up a few removable stickers on our windows.  I have a costume that I may or may not actually wear and I managed to remember to buy candy to give out.  Two houses ago we got at most 10 trick-or-treaters and last house a whole 4!  Apparently here according to the neighbours we should get about 100 so I'm prepared but aside of one blog I likely won't blog about it at all.  I did blog about our Thanksgiving (October 10) but just barely.

Do you blog about holidays and special days or do you just continue blogging as normal?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Forming a Kinship With Other Bloggers

I started blogging in the spring of 2005 and shortly after that got involved with BlogExplosion where I had the wonderful opportunity to meet other bloggers.  It didn't take long for me to develop a bit of rapport with a few of them and over the years that relationship has grown.  They are friends even though we have never met in real life.  Not only do I make it a point to visit and comment on their blogs, I chit chat with some of them on Twitter as well as a few forums.  I've even got to know a few well enough that we chat back and forth via email.  What is nice is even though some of these bloggers no longer blog or are barely blogging they still stay in touch.  I think that is one of the great benefits of blogging!

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Big Mac Clean-up

About 90% of my online activity is done on my iMac.  Unlike a Windows based PC, the iMac removes a lot of the online security issues but it is not without it's own issues.  My iMac started slowing down but because I was using about the most horrible internet service available (Xplornet) I blamed the slow down on the service.  Now where I really noticed a huge slow down was after the move when we got real high speed DSL.  Don't get me wrong as the majority of the problems were due to Xplornet but it was clear that my iMac needed a little TLC.

I was trying to blog the other day and spent more  time looking at the pizza wheel than I did blogging.  The pizza wheel is the system trying to work and sometimes it results in an unresponsive program to the point the program needs to be forced quit then restarted.  After about five Camino crashes while writing a post I decided to trouble shoot.  Ok, so I'm a packrat keeping way more files than I need but that shouldn't be an issue as I also have an external hard drive.  Yesterday I bought macTuneUp then installed it and within a few clicks my iMac was feeling much better.  Then I checked out Adobe Settings Manager and oh my gosh, obviously there must have been a conflict as I went through all the websites listed either reducing what they could store on my computer or deleting them entirely and all of a sudden my iMac was in tip top shape!  Blogging will be a lot easier without seeing that pizza wheel :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Busy Day But Not For Blogging

I spent much of the day unpacking and working on my pantry.  In hindsight I should have had a notepad in there with me as I came up with several great blogging topics only to forget them by the time I was finished for the day.  I know many authors keep small notebooks to jot down ideas as they pop into their heads.  At one time I kept one by the bed because I often wake through the night so would write down any interesting thoughts when I was doing extensive research.  I even used a voice activated mini tape recorder to catch all those thoughts even during the day.  I'm still doing research but not to the degree I was doing before so the tape recorder isn't seeing a lot of use.  It might be a good idea to pull it out to record a bit of blog fodder!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hit or Miss Blogging

My gosh!  I didn't realize I had run out of scheduled posts for this blog which just goes to show how chaotic things are with getting settled into our new home.  Blogging has become rather hit or miss.  I either get a stretch of two or three hours to do online work in a day or get no time.  There doesn't seem to be an in between.  There have been utility installers, repairmen and we have hosted three large events since moving in.  Today, a good friend of ours who does custom carpentry is installing a custom made medicine cabinet and mirror trim in the upper bathroom as well as a custom made shelf for some of my cookbooks in the kitchen.  I thought I would get a bit of blogging done while they worked but then a friend dropped by for coffee so there went that plan.  The worst part is I'm running out of blog fodder for a couple of my blogs.

There is little to do in the gardens other than a bit of clean-up which really isn't all that interesting to talk about on my gardening blog.  So, I'm talking about houseplants and indoor gardening.  I've been keeping the cooking simple and we are still in eating out mode meaning I am scraping the bottom of the barrel finding something to blog about on my cooking blog.   On the other hand I have copious amount of blog fodder for my homemaking blog but not enough time to get blog posts.  Here's hoping things get settled down quickly so I can get a bit more blogging time in!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Are Bloggers Their Own Worst Enemy?

In the little over six years that I've been blogging I have seen blog advertising networks wither up and go away.  So far there has been the beer widget, 125exchange, BlogRush, BlogExplosion, Spottt and there were likely others.  Now CMF Ads is folding effective October 30 but essentially it is finished now.  The common cause cited for the closing of these blog advertising networks is lack of support from bloggers.  So are bloggers their own worst enemy by not supporting blog advertising networks?  My answer is no, but let me explain.

Bloggers fall into two basic categories - those trying to make money with their blogs and those not trying to make money with their blogs.  Let's say it is an even split of 50:50 so 50% of bloggers are trying to make money with their blogs so a blog advertising network is beneficial in gaining them more traffic that should increase that income.  However, of those bloggers trying to make money, a good 50% of them use Adsense that clearly says you cannot use a traffic exchange.  That leaves a total of 25% of bloggers to support the blog advertising networks.  But some of those blog advertising networks charge actual money to advertise your blog something many bloggers cannot afford to do.  Essentially, the blog advertising networks are trying to stay in business with income from less than 10% of the bloggers in the blogosphere.  It does not take a lot of calculation to realize the economics of this.  Clearly less t 10% of the bloggers in the blogosphere cannot possibly support all the blog advertising networks so there are bound to be casulties.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Removal of CMF Ads Widget

About midway through the first week of October I started noticing the absence of CMF Ads widget on many of the blogs I visit daily.  I had removed the widget from five of my blogs earlier in the week.  It was sad to see the widget go but I saw no point in advertising a site that was closing down nor advertising their referral link for Project Wonderful when I have my own referral link.

Over the years of blogging I have reduced the number of widgets I use across all my blogs.  While I am sorry to see CMF Ads go, I'm not sorry to be able to reduce the number of widgets once again.  Less is more with respect to widgets.  Fewer widgets means less chances of scripting conflicts.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

When Do You Blog?

I currently do not work outside of the home but that does not mean I have 24 hours a day to do nothing but blog.  At the same time I''m not blogging as a source of income other than to make enough to pay for blog advertising so I have no real set time for blogging.  I tend to blog when I'm in the mood to blog and believe me that can be anytime during a 24 hour period.  I have blogged in the wee hours of the morning when I can't sleep but for the most part I tend to do my blogging in the mornings after doing Adgitize and playing Cityville and a couple of other 'villes on Facebook while enjoying my morning coffee.  As I slowly wake-up and it is slower these days with getting older things pop into my mind that I want to write about so usually by about 9 AM I have written one or more blog posts.  By about 10 AM I'm ready to go about my daily chores, do a bit of cooking, work on genealogy and basically anything that doesn't involve the computer.  After dinner we watch Coronation Street then I have a little nap but then may or may not do a bit of blogging in the evenings.  I'm trying to get away from doing that at our new house and we can't get Coronation Street at our vacation home other than on YouTube.  So basically most days I'm blogging in the morning before mid-morning.  When do you blog?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Meeting Other Bloggers

I am the only blogger in our circle of friends.  I get a lot of questions, support and a bit of good natured ribbing about blogging.  While I have virtually met a lot of other bloggers and even become virtual friends with them, I have yet to meet another blogger.  I know there are blogger conventions but have never been to one since they tend to be in California and my travel funds are destined for Las Vegas and Florida.  In our previous very small rural community we were about the only ones out of about twenty families that even had internet access at home.  Moving into our new urban community doesn't sound all that promising for meeting other bloggers either.  Do you know some of our friends actually do not have internet access and others go days without using the internet?  So in our small, community meeting other bloggers is not looking too good.  I would certainly love to meet up with other bloggers.  I think it would be a great way to build a bit of blogging community as well as make new friends!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Blogging is Cheaper than Therapy and a Heck of a Lot More Fun

My very first blog was my gardening blog followed a few days later by my cooking blog and well the rest is history.  Little did I know when I started blogging that putting my thoughts and feelings into words was a good thing.  There have been days I've been so upset about an event, yet blogging about it gives a calming effect.  Believe me there have even been days where I have written one of the best rants you have ever read but by the time I wind up the post, I am calm enough that I save it in draft mode then go back and read the posts a few days later to see if it is still something I really want to share with the universe.  Quite often the answer is no so the beautiful rant is deleted but I feel better and it cost me nothing!  The best part is I can write a post anytime I want even in the middle of the night without ever having to leave my home.  I'm telling you if more folks blogged there wouldn't be a need for therapists ;)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

How Long Do You Spend Composing a Blog Post?

My non-blogging friends are always asking questions about my blogging.  One common question and the subject of many a conversation is "how long do you spend composing a blog post?"  The answer to that varies greatly for me.  If I am on a roll with a lot of good blog fodder it takes be fifteen minutes or less to write a blog post.  That timing usually applies if I have a number of edited images ready to blog about or something has happened that is fresh in my mind that I want to blog about it immediately.  On the other hand I have had days where it really has taken me much of the day to finish a blog post because of distractions or blogger's block.  Then there are the posts I've started and didn't complete.  Those happen sometimes especially when the thought was a good one at the time but the post itself wasn't.  So how long do you spend composing a blog post?

Friday, October 7, 2011

September Was Brutal on Blogging

I started of 2011 with the high hopes of writing one blog post per day for each of my six blogs.  On average if each blog post takes 15 minutes this would be a time commitment of on and a half hours daily.  In reality when I'm on a blogging roll I can easily write eight or more posts in a day meaning that some of the extra posts could be scheduled to go live at a later date.  So the good days ideally would make up for the days that I don't feel like blogging or can't blog.  What I didn't consider was the disruption that moving would make.

The house was on the market about eighteen months before it sold.  Showing the house took it's toll but the actual moving period was worse because actual internet access was affected, as in we went six days at the new house without any internet and spent on very short periods of time each day at the old house.  What I did was write a few blog posts and edited pictures during my down time so I could do a cut and paste during the very short periods of internet access I had throughout the move.  Then to make matters a bit more interesting we left for our vacation home on September 19, only four days after of official closing date for our new house even though we were able to move in two weeks earlier.

September was just a brutal month for blogging all the way around.  The thing is there really was nothing I could do about it other than adjust as best as possible.  All in all, it could have been worse.  Now that we are back home from our vacation home, I'm looking forward to settling into our new house as well as getting back to a bit of a routine!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Just Blogging

I started blogging a little over six years ago using a PC desktop running Windows 97.  Since that time most of my blogging is done on a Mac but I still use my husband's laptop when traveling.  I've blogged using an iPod Touch and on public computers.  I've blogged in train stations, airports, restaurants, motel rooms, marinas, libraries, club houses and at our kids' homes.   I've blogged indoors and outdoors, sitting in gorgeous locations while enjoying beautiful some of the most beautiful eye candy as blog fodder.  The weirdest place I have ever blogged is on the guest bathroom floor of our vacation home during our first trip there.  The carpets had just been steam cleaned so were still wet and I wanted to blog.  I have even blogged from a cemetery but I don't  consider that very weird since I was blogging about genealogy.  I don't have any kind of set schedule for blogging.  I like to blog when the mood hits and ideas pop into my head.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Should Blog Advertising Networks Offer a Cash Payout?

I have participated in several blog advertising networks.  Some allow publisher who display the widget but never pay into the system in the form of advertising to earn a certain amount of money based on participation.  The problem with this is the publisher is consistently taking from the ad network rather than supporting it.  Don't get me wrong as I do feel the space the widget takes up should be compensated in some fashion but I really don''t feel taking money from the system is the way to go about it.  I have religiously supported both CMF Ads and Adgitize.  I've never cashed out on CMF and anything I've earned on Adgitize has gone directly back into advertising.  What bothers me is some were only participating to make money which means some of my advertising dollars went to line their pockets.  These publishers have no problem complaining if their earning potential lessens and quite frankly don't give a hoot about the blog advertising network unless they aren't making money.  In all honesty and I am being quite frank is some of these publishers are not worth having your ad run on.   So it is a waste of advertising dollars all away around!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Blogging for a Cause

Other than a focus on all things Canadian, I really don't blog for an actual cause. While I do not blog for an actual cause I mention my causes in the sidebar under 'in the community' or directly in the post.   I know some bloggers do blog for a cause though.  The problem with blogging for a cause is causes come and go and not all readers support your cause.  In fact some readers will take offense to your cause to the point of posting nasty comments or even stalking you.  It really doesn't matter what the cause is because someone, somewhere is going to have a problem with it then they make it your problem.

Whether or not you blog for a cause I have noticed those blogging for a specific cause tend to not be long lasting blogs.  Perhaps they tire of the negative comments.  I can count on one hand the number of blogs I met six years ago when I started blogging that were blogging for a cause that are still blogging.  Given that the lifespan of any blog is 3 months that's still rather good.  But still, cause blogs are few and far between anymore.  It's not that they can't be successful it's more that the niche is just too narrow.

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Few Problems Blog Advertising Networks Face

Last month it came as a surprise to many when Ben announced that CMF Ads would be closing effective October 30.  I think CMF Ads is three years old or close to it.  The reality is anyone starting a blog advertising network has a lot of long hours and hard work ahead of them.  Most who start a blog advertising network were are are bloggers themselves which does not always equate into having good business sense.  There is a large initial outlay of expenses to get a blog ad network up and running.  Even with the generous help of volunteers, friends, and relatives working for free the cost may still be prohibitive and there's guarantee of any kind of payback.  Many bloggers will not pay for advertising or if they do it is a pittance of what is necessary to run an advertising network.  They are quick to complain if the widget or site doesn't work properly and fickle about their loyalty.  At the first sign of problems many bloggers will simply move on to another ad network resulting in a further decline of the network they left behind.

It would be extremely hard for one person to run a blog ad network given that it needs to be up and functioning properly.  They need to approve new members, check for TOS violations, and in short keep a good working relationship with their publishers and advertisers.  They need to deal with any problems swiftly while listening to their clients wants and needs, adapting and updating as necessary.  They need to be available 24/7 or at least have someone who can deal with problems as they arise if they are not available.  In this poor economy, unless one is working home it would be quite difficult to run a blog ad network.  Even if they are working at home they aren't getting paid much for the work they have to put in.  The bottom line is a blog advertising network is a business and the only way to stay in business is to make money!  Many bloggers are trying to make money not spend it so paying for advertising is at the bottom of their list of priorities.  That ultimately means any blog ad network is in for a long struggle just to make ends meet as well as justify the time spent.  At some point, the network has no choice but to close.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The End Draws Nigh for CMF Ads

I checked CMF Ads yesterday.  Both spikes and firework ads have been disabled.  What I did notice is once the ads scheduled to run on my blogs were finished the house ads automatically started which seems a rather moot point.  Why run ads advertising an ad network that is closing down?  Any balance over $1 is to be paid out if requested before October 23 but the payment is not immediate.  It will be paid sometime between the 23rd and October 30.  The nice thing is there will be no PayPal fees on the payout but there is still the 10% tax.

Some bloggers are quite concerned over finding a replacement for CMF Ads.  The main replacements if using Adsense are: Project Wonderful and Adgitize.  A possible replacements if using Adsense is Entrecard but it may get you into trouble.  If you are not using Adsense then Expose Your Blog may be a good choice.  It is quite similar to the old Blog Explosion and you might even get a bit of traffic from BE if it is still up and running.  I have checked lately.  Ben from CMF Ads recommended Bloggeries, a paid blog directory.  It starts at $49.99 then quickly rises in price.  The question is whether it will deliver the traffic or not.  There is a forum so I might check it out and do a bit of research on their ability to deliver traffic.

I am not going to look for an immediate replacement for CMF Ads.  We just recently moved, have been on vacation, and need to get settled before the holiday season approaches.  Goodness, it's hard to believe that our Canadian Thanksgiving is only 8 days away!  Another reason I am not looking for an immediate replacement is many of the blog advertising networks have come and gone in the six years I've been blogging.  Some of the free ones like Blog Rush and 125Exchange just disappeared.  Some of the paid blog advertising networks have failed to deliver or decided to call it quits (eg. CMF Ads).  I know I definitely do not want to pay high dollars for blog advertising that doesn't perform or folds up before I get my money's worth.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Dealing With Image Copyright Infringement

When I first set up a personal website eons ago the whole idea that someone would steal your images was rather foreign.  I found out more about this problem when I started blogging over six years ago.  You certainly cannot stop this from happening but you can set things up so if your images are stolen you can file a DMCA cease and desist notice.  If the blogger/webmaster stealing your image was dumb enough to use a direct link, changing or deleting the image can send a very effective message as well.  In fact, for awhile that was a common way of dealing with the problem throughout the blogosphere.  Some bloggers have caught on so they simply steal the image.  Here are a few things you can do to prevent that:

  • use low resolution, saved for web - The image is basically useless if not used in it's saved format especially if they try to enlarge it.
  • use a watermark - There are all kinds of methods of adding a watermark to your images.  A watermark is very, very faint but will interfere with any attempted future editing and allow you to identify your image if necessary.
  • use a copyright notice -  The copyright notice should include the © and your blog url.  Be sure to add a drop shadow to the notice to discourage removal.
  • use some type of frame - The use of a frame forces anyone who wants to use your image without your permission to crop it causing a bit of distortion.  I like using frames that are subtle like bevel and emboss for many of my images but a one or two tone stroke works nicely too.
  • flatten your image - Edited images may consist of two to several layers with each layer having a particular effect.  For example, the copyright layer is a transparent layer with nothing more than the notice and layer effect.  Flattening the image prevents anyone who lifts your image from simply removing that layer leaving the rest of the image intact.
  • add animation - I have noticed some bloggers are adding animation (eg. twinkling stars, flirting butterflies, etc) to their photos.  This can be effective at preventing theft of your photo but in general should be avoided.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Some Bloggers Simply Don't Think

Some bloggers seriously do not think when leaving comments on other bloggers' blogs.  I author six blogs.  The other day a rather NOOB blogger from the age and construction of their blog left a comment on one of my blogs.  It was what I would consider borderline spam but just barely.  As I went through my comment moderation for my other blogs I found this blogger had also left comments, also borderline spammish, on my other blogs.  He obviously reached my other blogs by clicking on my blog links from the first of my blogs he was on and continued to use this method according to my stats to reach each of my blogs.  Borderline spam is annoying but in this case since I have set my blogs to not give backlinks for comment it was really no harm.  I was going to allow the comments until I got to the one blog comment awaiting moderation saying "update this blog already!"  Excuse me?  If he had actually read my blogs he would have seen we recently moved and that I was quite sick prior to and during the move.  Now I know he didn't read the blog post he tried to leave the comment on because it talked about us moving.  So his inconsiderate comment caused all of his comments to be filed in the trash can.  At some point if this person wants to continue being an active member in the blogosphere he will realize that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.  I don't mind constructive criticism but for Pete's sake read the post!  If you can't say anything nice or at least constructive criticism don't leave a comment.  Seesh!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Digital Cameras

I rely heavily on digital images for my blogs.  I started out with a small Fuji digital that held 15 pictures with no flash then moved to a Fuji with a flash then two Canons and now my Panasonic Lumix (10x optical zoom).  As a point a click camera the Panasonic is lovely.  It has a metal case rather than plastic and takes rather nice quality photos.  BUT when we were shopping for my husband's new laptop I spotted a couple of SLR camera that I know are cheaper than what we paid for the Panasonic.  The thing is a new digital camera is not on my 'want to purchase' list just yet not because we can't afford a new camera but because I am rather attached to my Panasonic.  It does precisely what I want and it does it well.  We have a spare back-up Canon digital.  Now, my husband who is an award winning photographer hobbyist would love playing with an SLR digital camera.  I can't say I wouldn't like playing with one either ...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Photoshop Elements Software

I am a huge fan of Photoshop.  I personally prefer it over some of the free photo editing software and it does a much nicer job than the limited photo editing included with most digital cameras.  It took a few years to learn to use it and the driving force for learning how to use it was blogging.  I use Photoshop pretty much daily.  The main problem with Photoshop is the price that will cost about $700 plus to set up on a new computer.  The real work-around is Photoshop Elements.  At under $100 is is affordable and performs quite nicely.  You can import your own custom brushes, filters, styles and that type of thing with a bit of working knowledge of the program.  For the most part Photoshop Elements will give you all the tools necessary for editing photos for blogging and scrapbooking.  Oh sure there are less tools but for the average Joe Blow, Photoshop Elements is more than sufficient.  I bought PSE version 9.0 for the laptop after using the trial version for 30 days.  The trial version is fully functional and free to use for that period.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mac Cravings

Oh good gosh, I'm blogging from my husband's ancient Toshiba laptop.  I normally blog from my beloved Mac desktop.  So I complain to my husband slightly and I do mean slightly then casually mentioned he could use a new, updated computer for his office.  We went shopping and he's now sporting a new Toshiba.  I'm using the old Toshiba while he complains I haven't tested out the new one.  See, I'm tired from the move so anything else new is not overly welcomed at the moment.  I want to sit, relax, do a little blogging and catch-up on some of my Facebook games.  I don't want to have to type in my passwords or do anything beyond the non-thinking category of life.  BUT, I just might have to take it for a test drive...

Oh and the plan is to strip the old Toshiba of anything not necessary then leave it at the vacation home.  This means there would be one less thing to carry through the airport or on the plane.  I have been eyeing up a sweet little iPad that would fit in my purse for traveling.  Perhaps it is time I treated myself, except I'm not in the mood for anything new.  I'm on official downtime...

Friday, September 23, 2011

CMF Ads Replacement

I was seriously saddened to hear that Ben and Turnip are pulling the plug on CMF Ads with the final close date of October 30, 2011.  Now on their site they recommend Project Wonderful as a replacement to CMF Ads and I am sure that Project Wonderful loves the referral but quite frankly I don't think this is a good replacement.  Project Wonderful is great and I do use it but it will not give you the traffic that CMF Ads did.  I cannot in good faith recommend Entrecard.  In my opinion, Adgitize is about the next best thing to CMF Ads without being a PTC blog advertising network.

Next to that, I'm seriously not looking at replacing CMF Ads on my blogs.  While I am sorry to see them go, there's nothing I can do about it and in all honesty nothing will replace CMF Ads.  So for the time being, when CMF ads cease to be displayed on the widgets on my blogs, I will simply remove the widget without worrying about finding a replacement.  It was good while it lasted and I do wish Ben and Turnip all the best.  Here's hoping they come back with another blog advertising network to replace CMF Ads!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bidvertiser Rolls Out It's New Slider Ads

A little over a month ago Bidvertiser announced their new slider ads.  If running the Bidvertiser widget these ads will appear on your blog unless you have indicated not to show them.  While I haven't seen any of these ads myself yet, there are reports of the slider ads appearing on some blogs within the Adgitize ad network.  These ads, like peel backs and pop-up ads are of course against the Adgitize TOS.  In addition to that, some may find the slider ads that apparently are advertising 'hot singles' offensive.

In most cases the blogger is not aware of the Bidvertiser slider ads especially if they have not updated their blog in awhile.  It is common in the blogosphere to let blogging slide (no pun intended) when there are more pressing life matters to deal with.  It is also quite common to have several blog post scheduled to run while on vacation where there may not be internet access so the blogger has no way of checking their blog or even email.  So in fairness, some of these slider ads will slip through until the blogger notices them or are made aware of them.  Guaranteed the readers won't like it but if taken care of within a reasonable time it should be fine.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Horrid Start to My Blogging Day

Oh good gosh!  Have you ever had one of those days where you would like to chuck every piece of computer equipment out the window then go out and buy new?  Well this morning I was dealing with that very temptation. Normally I am blogging from my Mac but when traveling or on vacation I use my husband's Toshiba (Windows XP) laptop.  The thing is getting to be slow but I have a plan of buying a new laptop for my husband's office, possibly taking my iMac to our vacation home while replacing it with a new iMac and after this morning giving his old laptop to the grandkids to play with.

I've encountered so many problems this morning that it really is more like a comedy of errors.  First the router wasn't working properly so I did a direct connect to troubleshoot.  After getting connected, Adgitize was very slow and the games I play daily on Facebook still won't load even though they worked fine on the laptop previously.  Then there's the Photoshop issue.  I had PSE 8.0 and PSE 9.0 trial versions on the laptop but needed to buy a license to continue using them.  I was going to buy online for $99 but Walmart, according to their site, had PSE 9.0 for $69 but when we got there it was $90.  Still, I saved $9 so can't complain.  I uninstalled both copies of PSE that took forever to complete and installed the new copy of PSE 9.0.  Then I emptied the recycle bin and ran AVG for the third time in two days.  I know I should check the disk clean-up and then do a defrag but there are three more programs I think can be uninstalled except I want to confirm with him that he isn't using them.  I moved my blog folder from the laptop to a portable stick just to free up a bit of room.  I will be going through this computer with a fine tooth comb to get it back to the way it should be.

In the meantime it is now almost 2 PM and I am well behind on my blogging!  After dinner I think we are going to make the trip back to the store where we saw a laptop for an excellent price.  Then I may even do an Office Space move and bust the snot out of this computer.  The whole thought of doing so at least gave me a chuckle!  Off to do a bit of blogging.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bloggers by Nature are Adaptable Folks

One of the most valuable lessons I learned in my early days of blogging, is as a blogger you must be adaptable if you want to survive in the blogsphere.  There's no two ways about it.  It's not as simple as starting a blog, adding a few posts here and there, then letting your blog mature.  There's blog advertising to consider, updating blog designs and templates, constantly finding blog fodder and just oodles more to do.  What works one day won't work the next and those secondary sites you depend on change sometimes causing them to be ineffective on your blog.  More importantly a site you used to drive traffic to your blog may suddenly close down with no notice or a widget you used may suddenly start triggering anti-virus alerts.  Affiliate programs change their terms of service or may become an ineffective use of your blog real estate.  As a blogger it is essential that you can quickly adapt to these sudden changes to keep your readers happy and your blog earning potential at it's peak.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

CMF Ads to Close Down

It was with great sadness I read about the closing of CMF Ads.  Features are being disabled effective September 16 with the planned site closing date of October 30.  'Tis a very, very sad announcement!  Over the past couple of years I have gotten to know Ben who I met during my Entrecard days.  When Ben and Turnip left Entrecard, I left as well to support their new blog advertising network, CMF Ads.  It was a small network but they ran it professionally and with integrity.  There is nothing bad I can say about CMF Ads.  It was a very effective blog advertising network.  When the introduced the Atomic Ads, I jumped right in, proud to say I was their second buyer of those ads. 

I sincerely wish Ben and Turnip all the best in their future endeavours.  I know they will continue to be active members in the blogosphere.  'Til we meet again, old friends :)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Downside to Social Media

For awhile there the big blogging hype was using social media like Twitter and Facebook to promote your blog.  Well it does work but only if you are consistent.  The problem with being consistent is it eats up a lot of time that could be used for blogging and other methods of blog promotion.  I never really used Facebook for much in the way of blog promotion but I did use Twitter.  I even experimented using Twitter with ten blog specific links daily for a month just to see if it would generate traffic.  It did but with the move and basically life, I don't have time to sit on Twitter all day.  Now things are calming down, I am going to try pushing Twitter a bit more but only if I have the time to do so.  I'm thinking if I get active again it will be with a lot of restrictions rather than leaving TweetDeck open all the time. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Alexa Shinnigans

I have been rather busy with the move, too busy to pay attention to all the various stat numbers.  One of my blogs was hovering around the 120,000 mark for Alexa ranking.  Yesterday, I noticed that that particular blog was now just over the 300,000 mark.  As Alexa ranking goes this is not good!  But how could that be?  I picked up 3 new followers over the past two weeks and according to Statcounter my traffic is up on average by 100 per day.  So my traffic and followers are up but my Alexa ranking declines?  The only thing I can think of is Alexa has changed the way they are calculating traffic. 

At one time Technorati, Alexa and Google Page Rank were the top three rankings to aim for.  As a blogger it was important to get ranked by these top three.  Now I'm not so sure.  Technorati very seldom sends traffic and I haven't seen much if anything from Alexa.  Google has been and remains to be very good to me.  From what I have seen Alexa is basically going to a paid service.  So if you pay them a fee per month they will monitor your site/blog.  My speculation is if you don't pay them they won't do much in the way of monitoring and I did notice somehow my category was switched to computers/internet then placed into bloggers so that might explain the drastic change.  Their monitoring is expensive at $149 per month for a site audit which is a little too expensive for this blogger's pocketbook. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Settling In

We did the last of our moving last night.  My gosh, moving has to be one of the most disruptive things you can do!  It sure reeked havoc with being able to get blogs posts written.  Now we can start settling into our new house and get back into a bit of a routine.  I want to get back to my normal 7 AM posting schedule for my blogs.  A side benefit with the move is it gave me copious blog fodder!  I sure can't complain about that.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Phone Line Filter

We haven't been getting many phone calls on our new phone line so it took me a couple of days to notice that when the phone rang the DSL disconnected.  I got an error message saying I needed to put a filter on the phone line portion of our service to prevent this from happening again.  The phone line filter goes between the phone jack and the telephone.  I know I have a phone line filter floating around as I kept it from when we had DSL several years ago.  I even recall seeing it recently when I packed it in a box with emergency lighting supplies.  Unfortunately I can't find the box!  My husband has a couple extra filters at the office so is bringing me one when he comes home for lunch.  That should solve my minor connection problems.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My New Internet Service

Bell was supposed to be here between 8 am and 5 pm for our sat tv service and 12 pm and 5 pm for our internet service.  Talk about annoying!  Here was a whole day one of us had to be here waiting for them to show up.  Well the internet, the most important service was apparently delayed as the serviceman didn't show up until 4:45 pm then proceeded to be slower than molasses in January and from the looks of it had never seen a Mac in his life.  He told me to get the wireless router working I had to delete Airport!  I firmly told him to step away from my Mac watched him drive away then called tech support.    It took a bit of maneuvering but thanks to Emily (Bell's friendly automated service) I finally got the internet working and guess what?  I didn't have to delete Airport [majorly rolling eyes!]  So I am up and running ready to start blogging again.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Pluggability of Mac

A few years ago I switched from Windows XP to Mac and haven't looked back.  The nice thing is even the Mac desktop just plugs in and is ready to go.  I have taken it down to our vacation home and even with this move there is nothing special to have to do.  There's no towers or extras to have to deal with.  It's what you see is what you get.  I move the computer over to the new house tonight but won't have internet service until sometime tomorrow.  I can't wait to blog from real high speed internet!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

In the Process of Moving

We are on day 3 of our  move.  Let me tell you going back and forth between two houses with no internet at the new house is a bit of a pain but we are managing.  I am reduced to only an hour or so access until Tuesday but it's better than nothing.  At least I can get a blog post or two out and do my Adgitize so that isn't too bad.  Besides we don't have tv access at the new house until Tuesday either so at least I get to watch Corrie while packing a bit. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Moving and Blogging

This is the second move we've made since I started blogging.  The last move was hectic at best with the computer connected almost to the end.  The move was a one day move and honestly those really are a lot of work!  Our buyers were trying to move in while we were trying to move out.  The idea of trying to do any blogging that day was squashed!  This move is technically over a period of fifteen days.  Our legal closing date is September 15 but we have access as of September 1 so can take our time moving our possessions from our old to new house.  This really means that I will have time to blog each day during the move.

We started moving things today.  The internet is still live at our old house until the fourteenth.  The new internet service (Bell) is being hooked up on the sixth.  From that point I will be blogging from the new house.  Once the Bell service is connected I can call back Xplornet and tell them to disconnect that service or leave as is to be able to use the laptop at the old house if need be.  In reality though once everything is out of the house there is no need for internet service at the old house even for the laptop so I will likely call to disconnect early.  I don't anticipate being down for internet service much more than four hours if that.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I've Changed as a Blogger

It is a given that the longer a person blogs there are going to be changes in their blogging style.  Today I was removing old private advertising links when I realized that my blogging style has really changed over the past year.  In many ways it is maturing to the point the all of my blogs have taken on a more serious note.  Out of curiosity I went back to the very early days of my blogs.  Back then I was timid in my blogging, aiming always to please the reader and when in doubt relying on something benign and cutesy.  Now, I am confident in what I want to write about and how I want to present it.  While I want the reader to enjoy what they are reading, it really is more about me.  I've realized it is ok to blog outside the box so to speak.  It's ok not to do paid posts, exchange links, run contests or even allow comments.  Blogging doesn't always have to be cutesy but at the same time it doesn't have to always be serious.  I think I have come a long way as a blogger over the last six years!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cable Verses Bell High Speed Internet

I will have the choice of cable or Bell high speed internet at our new house. I could keep satellite Internet but I already gave them their marching papers. I'm leaning towards cable as we can switch our phone to cable at half the cost of Bell. We have been told cable is the best way to go. I'm looking forward to enjoying real high speed internet! It will make blogging and tasks associated with it considerably faster.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sick and Tired

I've been sick for the last two weeks.   Part of it is from the infection and now that the doctor has me on the 'butt arse ugly' antibiotics I actually feel worse.  So we are going into week three of this infection and so far all I can say is I'm sick and tired.  That is affecting my blogging but it can't be helped.  I hope everyone understands.  Oh and as if that isn't enough we start move next Thursday.  Right now all I want to do is sleep!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Too Much Information

I do a lot of blog hopping throughout the blogosphere and oh my gosh there are seriously days that I shake my head.  Do some bloggers even realize what they are doing?  For example, some of the mommy bloggers have no problem  posting current pictures of their children, the name of the school their children attend, where they shop, and a multitude of personal information about their family.  What this really does is make their children and even themselves sitting duck for any online stalker or child predator out there.  I honestly do not believe this is their intention but the fact remains they are putting their entire family at risk.  Some things are better left off line!  Don't forget, once the information is out there, you can't get it back so don't put it out there in the first place.  When it comes to putting personal information online in any form it is best to take a paranoid approach.  I actually got that piece of advice from an online expert on CNN a couple of days ago.  I think it is extremely sage advice!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Bidvertise Announces Slider Ads

Just a heads up for those who detest pop-up and peel back ads, there is a new duck in the water.  It's called slider ads and they will be equally obnoxious.  I still have a BidVertister account but haven't displayed any of their ads in well over two years so I needn't worry that their new slider ads will ever be displayed on my blogs.  However, as a member of a few blog advertising networks and one who has been very vocal against pop-up and peel back ads, I find the idea of slider ads nauseating!  I will be treating any blog using slider ads with the same distain reserved for those inconsiderate bloggers using pop-ups and peel back ads.  Here is the correspondence I received regarding the slider ads:

We are happy to announce that starting September 1st 2011, BidVertiser will be supporting Slider Ads.

Slider Ads are ads that are sliding up from the bottom of the screen and show on top of the page. This ad format is incredibly popular and it generates extremely high revenues. Slider Ads are showing up only once per 24 hours per user, are completely non-intrusive and have a small close button right above them.

The great news are that we have been testing Slider Ads with our top publishers for the past months and results are fantastic, generating a revenue growth of over 200%.

The revenue payment for the Slider Ads will be listed as part of your Conversion Revenue.

As always, quality of traffic makes a difference in this case as well and publishers with high quality traffic will enjoy extended Conversion Revenue payments.

Important Notice: Slider Ads will be automatically enabled for ALL Publishers, unless disabled, starting September 1st 2011. If you wish to disable them, please follow these steps:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Use Caution With StumbleUpon

I managed to pick up a persistent borderline stalker.  The person is usually not vocal or problematic but appears in my stats daily and occasionally sends me private email despite being asked not to contact me.  He follows me to every Yahoo group I participate in.  I'm sure he would follow me on Facebook and Twitter if he could actually find me on either something that is highly unlikely to ever happen.  What surprised me was getting an email from StumbleUpon saying this twirp is following me there.  So I went over to my privacy settings and guess what?  You cannot stop someone from following you on StumbleUpon.  This is just wrong!  In real life you have the option of interacting with those you want to and if someone is a problem there are restraining orders to keep that person away from you.  Twitter and Facebook allow you to be as private as you want to the point you can block those you don't want following you.  Blogger allows you to block other Blogger members from following your blog and if you really want you can take the blog into private mode where a reader needs a password or has to be pre-approved to read your blog.  StumbleUpon should not be allowing someone you don't want following you to follow without your permission.  Food for thought...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What is the Point?

In life outside of the blogosphere there are rules and regulations with consequences for non-compliance.  Consequences range from minor fines to the death penalty and everything in between with stiffer penalties for repeat offenders.  Laws are not enacted if there is no intention of enforcement.  Parents, teachers, and other authority figures do not make rules if they don't intent to follow through with the punishment for non-compliance. 

In the blogosphere there are rules and regulations starting with those set by your ISP in the form of Terms of Service (TOS) and Acceptable Use Policy (AUP).  Furthermore if you are using a phone line to access your ISP there may be additional rules and regulations as to what you can do.  Once into the blogsphere your blog hosting site, affiliate programs and blog advertising networks have their own TOS.  In most cases the TOS are enforced.  The million dollar question is why have a TOS if you aren't going to enforce it?

That is precisely what is happening in some blog advertising networks.  In fairness, once a blog is approved for the network it is difficult to police.  Admin ususally discovers non-compliance via complaints from other members.  But what happens when a blog in the system is reported for non-compliance on multiple occasions but nothing is done about it or if something was done about it, the blogger only temporarily complies?  In my opinion it should be the three strikes and you are out rule similar to what I've seen on many traffic exchanges and some blog advertising networks.  What this means is they are notified to comply then go onto the watch list after the first complaint.  If there is a second complaint they are notified to comply with the warning that the next complaint will result in removal from the network.  If a member gets three complaints for the same infraction they are removed from the network without further notice.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Two Blogsphere Irritations

I can fully understand that some bloggers have monetized their blogs as I have done to some degree.  However, I have not monetized my blogs to the degree some have done.  I'm not trying to make a living off of my blogs.  If I make enough money each month to pay for my internet services I'm happy and if not oh well.  A disgusting trend has risen in the blogosphere where some bloggers are so driven to make money online they are using pop-up ads and redirects to full page ads.  Both of these tactics show a lack of respect for others in the blogging community.  Both are rude and inconsiderate.  They force readers to view ads whether or not they want to.  In some cases the pop-ups and redirects lead to malicious content, computer viruses, malware and spyware.  Any blogger using pop-up ads or redirect to ads should not be allowed to participate in any blog advertising network under any circumstance!  Their blogs should be boycotted!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Adgitize is Out the Door

I've been with Adgitize for a very long time.  I've been very loyal.  What really ticked me off is over the last couple of weeks I have complained about  bloggers in the system clearly using pop-up ads.  The first reply came back that the pop-up was not being generated in their browser so I started taking screen shoots and actual pictures.  There's one 'blog' in the system with multiple pop-up!  I know Adgitize is hurting but screwing the loyal users is not the way to get back on top.  I'm not renewing any of my ads.  They will run their course then I'm done.  I honestly feel like I have been betrayed by Ken and his team.  I supported them from the start and now it is reduced to this?? 

Crossing the Line

From day one, from the moment I started blogging I've been a blogger in the true sense.  I use my one content and if on the rare occasion I don't I give credit where credit is due.  Now in the past couple of days apparently a Boston blogger (David Portnoy) decided to go against the ethics of blogging.  This seriously is not cool and may even be illegal.  What he did was post the picture of New England's Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and supermodel Gisele Bunchden's 18 month old son's nude pictures on his blog with a bit of ad lib. Now quite frankly Tom and Gisele are not innocent as they have been encouraging the paparazzi BUT David Portnoy did not take the picture he posted nor did he have a release to use the photo.  THEN he made lewd comments on the photos directing viewers to the toddler's genetial?  Ok, as a blogger this is just about as wrong as wrong you can get!

  • ethics - Bloggers for the most part have ethics and that means there is a fine line you don't cross.  For most of us that means NOT STEALING PHOTOS then ALTERING THEM  to DRAW ATTENTION TO A TODDLER'S GENITAL!  Can we say pedophile???????? (Personally I expect to hear more about David Portnoy by the talking heads but how any blogger could condone this is well beyond my scope.  This is one sick pervert if you ask me!)
  • copyright - Regardless of what David says there are copyright issues.  It was not his picture, he didn't take it and did not have permission to use it so he has committed copyright infringement.  Perhaps they will make an example of David (I'm just saying...)
  • legality-  Ok, these are celb parents who should do what it takes to keep their kid out of prying eyes.  They didn't mean it but Mr. DickHead Blogger thought it was a great picture mess with and apparently to gain traffic hits.  The fact that this picture got out there really affects the child BUT if that knowledge and disclosure can be shown to cause irrepratible harm to the child then the child has every grounds to sue.    So can this child after his nude picture has been splashed around the internet sue?  You know what a savvy lawyer might just be able to do that.  I don't know.  I do know that this kind of nonsense needs to stop.  A pedophile takes a  picture then posts it online gets caught and is convicted.  How is that anything different other than David has done but not been convicted but he is a pedophile none the less.  He is a pedophile!  He has breeched that little boy's privacy, invaded his privacy, mocked at his privacy and has been a total dickwad of a blogger.  But consider, just when David thinks life is treating him well he gets hit with a lawsuit and I think the statues of limitations in the US are rather legthy  for something like being a pedophile.  Now the little one that you had to draw attention to their genitial comes back to haunt you.  But that should be much of an issue give copyright infringement.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


A week ago we officially sold our house and the following day officially bought our new house.   Everything with house sales work on a chain of action so one event has to be completed before the next event is completed so it can be long, drawn out and very stressful.  Then when the reality hits that everything is a done deal there is a bit of a let down followed by going into overdrive mode.  As a result I am about as distracted as I can get especially when it comes to blogging.  I sit down to blog then something, anything distracts me to go start to pack a box or clean out an cabinet but then I get a good though for blogging so bounce back.  And so it goes that I am bouncing back and forth between the two going from one distraction to the next.  I am getting things done with respect to blogging and packing but my gosh the distraction is really not a good thing!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Flip Off With the Cookies

I do a lot of blog hopping so this really does tick me off - cookies.  I'm sorry you don't need to track where I have been, where I am coming from or where I am going.  That translates into I don't care about your tracking method other than it is an invasion of my privacy so guess how many times I will visit your glog again?  Now tracking cookies are fun or should I just tell you how I really feel?  Flip off and I'm not kidding.  This is precisely why anonymizer/proxy services survive because some folks don't like the tracking cookies.   Seriously, if you want to maintain readership get rid of the cookies.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Dealing with Wackos

The general recommendation is to have some type of contact information on your blog.  That way a reader or potential advertiser can contact you directly without having to go the comment route.  At the same time it opens the gate for any wacko, troll or stirring the pot type to contact you as well.  For that reason, my suggestion is to always use a toss away email account like Yahoo or Hotmail.  Never put your good, personal email address online especially as a contact on your blog.  Ok, so yesterday I did get a wacko who thought it was quite appropriate to email me privately to ream me about my cooking blog.  I honestly had a few ways to deal with the first email - ignore, respond politely or tell the person where they could go and how they could get there.  I responded politely to which I received a nastier response to which I had the same three choices.  Again I responded politely with one simple sentence then proceeded to ban the person's IP.  If I receive any further communication from this person is will be forwarded to their IP with a cease and desist notice. 

The thing is as bloggers, it is our blogs, our ideas, our writing style, our time and our effort.  No one is forcing anyone to read our blogs so the bottom line is if someone doesn't like something on a blog they do not have to read the blog.  Pure and simple.  They do not have the right to ream the author of the blog nor do they have the right to make any kind of demands on the author.  The do not have the right to tell us how to blog or what to blog about.  They really don't even have the right to email us if we provide contact information.  As bloggers we do not have to put up with any abuse from anyone online with respect to our blogs. 

Should this happen to you the first reaction is anger but bite your tongue.  Choose one of the three options: ignore, respond politely or respond telling them where to go and how to get there.  If you feel you cannot respond civilly and politely then choose to ignore.  Hit delete and carry on.  If you want to open a dialogue with the person, keep it polite.  If the dialogue is going nowhere and that's rather easy to tell, end it without replying.  If the emails bothered you go to the email and get the originating IP.  Go to your stats and label that IP for tracking purposes then block the IP from accessing your blog.  Realize that an IP block is only a deterrent and a persistent problem maker can get around it if they know how but in most cases an IP block will be rather effective.  If the person for whatever reason makes you feel uncomfortable or threatens you or persists in annoying you complain to their ISP as well as the upstream provider.

Friday, August 5, 2011

I Just Got Reamed Big Time!

Good gosh, I seriously just got reamed big time from one end to the other, left to right, inside and outside about how I author my cooking blog.  The person emailed me and it was on the nasty side tearing a few more holes in my body than I really need but I replied while taking the high road maintaining being civil and polite.  She responded to that reply a bit nastier telling me she was a heck of a lot more qualified than me and she was going to write a food blog as well.  I bit my tongue, thanked her for her reply and wished her good luck on her blog.  It was a one sentence reply.  I was quite proud of myself for not letting my temper get in the way.  Then I checked the full headers of her email and headed to my stats where I labeled her IP.  My final stop was adding her IP to my IP blocker.  Now she doesn't have to worry about ever reading my blog again.  Problem solved :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pop-Ups and Peel-Backs

I have noticed an increase in pop-ups and peel-backs on members blogs within some of the blog advertising networks.  I find these ads to be rather annoying.  At best they are an inconsiderate nuisance and at worst they cause loading issues or even cause the browser to crash.  I don't know of any blog advertising network that allows them and yet there they are.  I'd love to see both style of ads eliminated from any blog participating on a blog advertising network.  Oh sure you can report them which takes time and effort as well as being discouraging when seeing the complaint didn't solve the issue.  The worst part is the blogger can get their blog approved then place this type of ad on their blog where it will remain ticking off other members until the admin actually does something about it.  These ads are an ongoing problem not only for members but also for admin for this very reason.  I'm at the point of simply blocking these blogs.  They know the ads are not allowed and they know where to find the TOS yet ignore the TOS.  That translates into inconsideration and lack of respect for other members who visit their blogs!