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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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

Distracted

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!


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Borderline Offensive Ad Images

As mentioned yesterday I have participated in as many as five blog advertising networks at one time.  All blog advertising networks have their own TOS.  What I don't understand is some allow ads with borderline offensive images (eg. scantily clad people, suggestive images, etc).  The reality is, sex sells.  What these bloggers are doing is using these types of ads almost in a bait and switch to get more clicks on their ads.  Another member will click the ad figuring they are going to a blog with pictures of pretty but scantily clad women when what they end up getting is some rather dry posts about making money online.  I don't feel this is a fair tactic.  It is nice that the blog advertising networks allow the option to reject these types of ads.  I need to be comfortable with any content on my blogs including ad images so being able to reject any ad that doesn't meet my criteria or leads to an offensive blog is a good option!


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

An Annoyance on Blog Advertising Networks

I have at times participated in up to five blog advertising networks that involve visiting other members' blogs.  One of the biggest annoyances I have come across while visiting other blogs in the system is loading issues.  Some consistently will not load period while other partially load before the loading error occurs.  I know that this is not just an issue with my computer (Mac) or connection (satellite) as the problem persists with these blogs on my husband's laptop (PC), my husband's office computer (PC) and connections at his office (high speed) and our vacation home (DSL).  I even made a list of the most problematic blogs in these networks so I could purposely test them out on other systems.  One of them is particularly noticeable as it won't even load on my iPod Touch.  What is the point of advertising your blog on a blog advertising network when you have loading issues?


Monday, August 1, 2011

Judging Other Bloggers

I follow a couple of blog advertising forums.  Recently a question was asked as to what defines a blog.  You know what I am tired of these types of judgmental questions.  Every blogger has an idea and somewhat of a plan as to what direction they want to take their blog.  When that blogger signs up to a blog advertising program by default they agree to follow the terms of service (TOS).  The blog advertising program admin should enforce the TOS.  Members are encouraged to file complaints but quite frankly a) I am paying for my advertising,  b) I don't have the time and c) it ticks me off when I do spend my time complaining to see nothing done.  That means I have made the executive decision to not complain to admin and if I see these blogs still going against the TOS I will simply take my advertising dollars elsewhere.  The thing is admin needs to use more than one browser when testing blogs in the system.  Just because the problem is not showing up on one browser doesn't mean they aren't happening and given the amount of money I am paying into the system I am not about to start doing their job. 

Now in the forum where members can have their say, there are members voicing what they think constitutes a blog.  It is rather hypocritical to accuse another member of not having an actual 'blog' when in fact it is and when your own blog is nothing more than a make money site!  I'm really not happy about this.  If you don't like someone's blog don't visit or advertise it but you don't have the right to say someone's blog is not a blog.  If it is meeting their definition of a blog then move on if you don't like it.  You can block their ads or simply block their site from ever loading if you accidently click on their ad.  Making comments about other bloggers on forums, judging them behind their back is not cool and it won't gain you any bonus points in the blogoshpere.  What it will do it turn bloggers away which likely is not a good thing for blog advertising networks.  I'm just saying...