Visit Teten.com and ScottSocialMediaAllen.com for Latest Blog Posts

My coauthor Scott Allen and I continue to write about online networks, but for simplicity we’re not doing it here at TheVirtualHandshake.com.  To keep up with our research, visit Teten.com and ScottSocialMediaAllen.com for our current writing.

The More You Say, the Less You Leave for Others to Say

Back when I was blogging for b5media, we were having a discussion at one point about how to get more comments on our blogs. Blogger extraordinaire Liz Strauss shared her experience that she deliberately left posts “open-ended”, even “incomplete”. She pointed out that if you say everything there is to say on a subject, you leave little room for others to comment.

This topic came up again in Sunday night’s #blogchat session on Twitter. In particular, this thread:

Dannybrown-12k-avatar_normal

dannybrown: @servantofchaos I hear you – sometimes we say the better things when we don’t say anything at all

Twitter_normal

hacool: @dannybrown @servantofchaos not saying anything would be an unusually zen way to post! 😉

Dannybrown-12k-avatar_normal

dannybrown: @hacool @servantofchaos I like it – a nice blank canvas for anyone to add to in the comments 🙂 Nite guys

I take no credit for the idea – I was just the first to go put it into action:

This Space Intentionally Left Blank for Your Comments

Fascinating experiment. Comments welcome.

Giving Away 50 Free Guitar Lessons to Bloggers

1077302_playing_guitar_2 I posted this on my new personal blog on Friday, but as we all know, big announcements really should go out on Monday, so I saved it for here until now. 🙂

I’ve been hinting on Twitter for the past couple of weeks about my “big new venture”. Well, this is it! I’m the new Director of Online Marketing for American Guitar Academy. Cool story, in brief. I met the founder, Andy Harrison, at an event where I got introduced to him by my friend Ann Collins (who I met on Twitter). Andy and I talked for a couple of hours that night, one thing led to another, and here we are! (See.this stuff really does work!). This venture brings together my love of music and my experience with social media, working with people with whom I’m philosophically/spiritually aligned – doesn’t get much better than that.

And as my first official order of business, I get to give away 50 free guitar lessons!

Have you always wanted to learn guitar? Or did you start and then drop it because you weren’t learning fast enough? Or maybe you already play and want to take your playing to the next level? No matter what level you’re at, this offer is for you.

American Guitar Academy has trained thousands of guitarists and bassists in the Portland, Oregon, area over the past few years using their patent-pending learning system, which has been shown to be as much as 8x faster than other methods at helping you achieve your learning goals.

AGA now wants to take this method to the world. How?

Skype!

That’s right – live one-on-one lessons in the comfort of your own home. Personal attention from a patient, compassionate guitar coach who will help you achieve your goals faster than you ever thought possible.

Here’s what one AGA customer had to say about her experience:

“I had tried several teachers before working with AGA but was frustrated with the results. I love the one-on-one attention vs. the classroom setting, and my AGA guitar coach seems to understand how I feel as a beginner – he’s very encouraging and supportive. AGA’s online lessons are very affordable compared to the local teachers. The convenience is great, too. I used to drive 45-60 minutes each way for guitar class. Even the closest option is 15 minutes each way – I was spending more time driving than learning. I’m still a beginner, but for the first time I’m really happy with the progress I’m making.”

– Jonalynn, Hawaii

Now I could go on and on about how great the AGA learning system is, but why? The best thing to do is just let you experience it for yourself.

So here’s the first offer.

The first 50 bloggers to call (503) 430-1484 get a free 30-minute lesson to try it for yourself. Now there are some eligibility requirements:

  1. You must have a guitar available to you (duh!). Actually AGA provides guitars for the free lessons in their Portland office, but that wouldn’t be very practical in this case. 🙂
  2. You must have a working webcam and Skype. These lessons are interactive. YouTube videos can’t give you feedback.
  3. You must have an active blog, i.e., 4 or more posts within the past month. Honestly, I’m probably not going to check it. Honor system.
  4. You must speak English fluently (but you can be anywhere in the world). We may hire guitar coaches for other languages in the future, but for now it’s just English. Also, if you’re not in North/Central America, we’ll do our best to find a mutually agreeable time, but we can’t promise at this point.
  5. All levels and ages (well, let’s say 10 and up – we’re not sure yet how well young kids will work with the webcam) welcome! AGA’s system starts with the very basics and goes through highly advanced techniques on both acoustic and electric.

That’s it – no strings attached!

Try it out. Of course, we’d greatly appreciate it if you blogged about your experience – good, bad or neutral. This is a new program and we want the feedback as much as the buzz.

If you love it and want to learn more, here’s offer #2.

If you decide you want to continue your learning, you’ll be eligible for a 50% discount off the regular price. When we launch this program in full, the standard price will be $99 a month, with discounts for longer commitments. If you participate in this pre-launch event, you’ll be eligible to be locked in at 1/2 price – $49 a month (1/2-hour weekly lessons) for as long as you want to keep working toward your learning goals. Only one catch: to be eligible for this offer, you’ll need to:

  1. Post a link to your blog post about your first lesson in the comments here, AND.
  2. Tweet a link to your blog post about your first lesson to @AmerGuitarAcad.

One more offer (that’s #3).

WillBlog4Guitar OK, I’m not going to call it a contest, and I won’t insult your intelligence by calling it “free guitar lessons for a year”, because there is an exchange. So let’s call it an audition. Simply put, we’re going to pick one (or two or three) people to keep blogging about their experience in exchange for lessons. No length requirements – just blog about your lesson every week. No money out of your pocket, just a few extra minutes of your time.

If you’re interested in blogging for guitar lessons, same requirements as offer #2 above – post a link to your blog post here and tweet a link to @AmerGuitarAcad.

So are you ready to start learning guitar faster than you ever thought possible?

All you have to do to get started is call (503) 430-1484 to schedule your free lesson.

And please. feel free to tweet this, blog this, etc., if you think it would be of interest to your friends/readers/followers.

Top image: Jesse Therrien @ stock.xchng
Bottom image: Txt2Pic.com

Joe Rogan on Connecting Virtually

Over the past few days, I’ve gained a massive amount of respect for comedian and TV commentator (Fear Factor, UFC) Joe Rogan. One of the things that has impressed me most is his very raw, open, heart-felt blog. I was especially touched by this passage in this post commenting on the death of former UFC middleweight champion Evan Tanner:

Sometimes when I write, it’s like I’m reaching out to an old friend without a name or a face. I think of it as some new form of non-physical intimacy.

I’m trying to find my consciousness and merge it with yours, and as weird as it sounds I feel that connection with every myspace message and email I get.

We’re both alone and interfaced with a monitor in silence, and as I craft my sentences and express my ideas my intention is always for you to get an unfiltered view into my thoughts. I want you to take them with you.

I’m opening my head to merge my thoughts with you, and the only way that really works is if I’m 100% honest.

Well said. We don’t have to see people in person to connect at a deeper level. We just have to open ourselves to the possibility and, as Joe said, be completely honest with each other. Even the smallest little deceptions cause us to be more cautious and create barriers to building deep, meaningful relationships.

Joe’s blog and humor are pretty crude. Fear Factor is tame in comparison. If you’re easily offended, skip it. If not, then start reading his blog, look him up on YouTube, and enjoy.

My New Favorite Blog

I’ve long been fascinated by the economic approach to human behavior, as described in books like David Friedman’s Hidden Order: The Economics of Everyday Life, the popular Freakonomics and the collective work of Nobel prize-winning economist Gary S. Becker.

Prompted by a conversation on MyLinkedInPowerForum about the relative value of LinkedIn vs. MLPF — not to the owners, but to individual participants — I was Googling Becker and discovered The Becker-Posner Blog, a collaboration between Becker and legal/economics expert Richard Posner.

Besides the simply brilliant thinking and writing of these two individuals, the blog is intriguing because it’s also frequently a conversation between the two authors on the same topic, and they’re not afraid to take on some pretty controversial topics, or to take an unpopular stance on them. For example:

These guys are also doing an amazing job of sparking conversation. 514 posts have generated 11,840 comments — that’s a 23:1 ratio! Not many blogs have that.

I encourage you to check it out, as well as the Freakonomics blog and David Friedman’s blog.

The Promises and Risks of Social Networking in the Information Industry, Oct. 31, NY

I’m happy to be participating at a Software and Information Industry Association lunch /webcast on October 31 in midtown New York, on “The Promises and Risks of Social Networking in the Information Industry”.

The event is on “how your enterprise can profit from social networking: in promotion and marketing, in the development of new products and content creation, and even by making communities one of the services your business offers as an ancillary to content products.”

The other panelists are:

Leslie Forde, VP of Strategic Alliances, Communispace;

Kim Kobza, President and CEO, Neighborhood America;

Scott Parry, General Manager, Reuters Advicepoint

Karen Christensen, CEO, Berkshire Publishing Group will moderate.

Some of the questions that will be addressed include:

• How can we make our communities persistent and sustainable?

• What increases the value of a community to its participants?

• What social media are appropriate for my business?

• Does it really make sense to use existing free social networking communities like Facebook and Second Life?

• Can we develop our own unique social networking systems with open source technologies?

The event costs $50 for non-SIIA members. Alternatively, the event will be available via webcast. Register here.

Carnival of the Capitalists 9-24-2007

Welcome to the September 24, 2007 (well, depending on your time zone) edition of Carnival of the Capitalists. Sorry for it being late — I had the joy of spending the weekend figuring out why my laptop was overheating and shutting down after 20-30 minutes of use. Once I got it working and reassembled, I had a couple of days of catching up to do. Anyway, please excuse my rambling rant and give your attention to this week’s worth words of wisdom:

Start Here

Charles H. Green presents The Cancer of Short-term Thinking posted at Trust Matters, saying, “Short term thinking in American business has become so endemic, and so harmful, that it is essentially a cancer – destroying otherwise healthy businesses and damaging the economy.” This is such a great post, and a topic that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. In fact, you’ll see several other posts in this edition tied to this theme, so I highly recommend starting with this one and letting it provide context for the rest of your reading.

Economic Policy

Leon Gettler presents Interview with David Rosenthal, Managing Director of Curtis-Rosenthal on subprime posted at Sox First, saying, “The fallout from the subprime debacle is likely to take three to six months, according to this interview with David Rosenthal, MD of Los Angeles based real estate consultancy Curtis-Rosenthal. That’s regardless of what the Fed does.” The result of more short-term thinking from the decision-makers.

James Hamilton of Econbrowser takes a look at exactly what “Helicopter Ben” Bernanke has done over the last 6 weeks in Money creation and the Federal Reserve. I sure wouldn’t mind having James in charge of the Fed.

Ian Welsh presents The Economic Outlook posted at The Agonist, saying, “My short take on the economy as it stands right now: the US is going into recession.” Or at least it’s going to feel like one.

Stirling Newberry presents Hi. Can We Talk Greenspanism? posted at The Agonist. This is a great bit of storytelling used as an instrument for a scathing review of Greenspan’s less-than-stellar track record.

Madeleine Begun Kane presents Curb Your “Age Of Turbulence” Enthusiasm posted at Mad Kane’s Political Madness. At the other end of the spectrum (lengthwise, that is), Madeleine cracked me up with her brilliant haiku summary of Greenspan’s "self-serving, history-rewriting The Age of Turbulence".

Steve Faber presents Tax Breaks for the Wealthy posted at DebtBlog. I like the fact that Steve is thinking systemically about the possible unintended consequences. But Steve… is it really "punishing" the oil and gas companies to be removing industry-specific corporate tax breaks? Or just rectifying something that perhaps should never have been done in the first place?

Numerian presents Mortgages as Derivatives:How Abusive Practices Destroyed the Mortgage Market posted at The Agonist. Yet another example of unintended consequences and the importance of systems thinking.

Personal Finance

Aundi presents Complexity Theory and Economies posted at Queercents, saying, “Aundi at Queercents writes about how it makes simple economic sense that if demand changes, the product naturally alters; and, well, everything, including love and relationships, is an economy. Aundi came up with a few ideas about how we might alter our biochemical bodies and our governmental bodies… and this in turn would impact our economies.” I love her writing. More on systems thinking (recurring theme) from a very personal perspective.

MoneyMan presents A Look at Salary Data (from an MBA perspective) posted at Watch Your Wallet, saying, “A blog entry that takes a look at a recent MBA salary data survey and compares the hourly base salary of someone in the highest-paying category (MBA consultant) with someone in the lowest-paying category (Someone with an MBA working at a nonprofit/government organization).” Factoring in the work load really changes your perspective on salaries.

Moneywalks presents Car Gas Experiment: Regular or Premium? posted at moneywalks. Can premium gasoline actually save you money by getting better gas mileage? Apparently not on older cars, but the jury’s still out on newer ones. Just run the experiment yourself and see.

Phil B. presents The Best Mortgage Comparison Website is Bankrate.com « Phil for Humanity posted at Phil for Humanity. This reads like an ad for Bankrate.com, but in light of Phil’s posting history and the fact that I can’t find any connection, I think he’s just a genuine fan.

The Financial Blogger presents 6 Ways of Increasing Your Cash Flow posted at The Financial Blogger, saying, “This could be useful to many readers as I am pretty sure that we are all looking at increasing by one way or another our monthly disposable income.” Common sense, but sometimes we all lose touch with that, don’t we?

Dan Melson presents The Affordability of Property in San Diego September 2007 posted at Searchlight Crusade. Get in while it’s still a buyer’s market.

Marketing

Steven Silvers presents Bury my rant on the Internet. posted at Scatterbox at stevensilvers.com, saying, “Consumer advocates take issue with SEO companies that get paid to push legitimate product reviews down into the clutter. But relevance is not the Internet’s obligation. It’s a commodity to be bought and sold, manufactured and manifested out of thin air. And eventually modern Internet users will figure it all out.” Really insightful — highly recommended reading.

Gabriel presents Facebook Practices Search Engine Reputation Management posted at < a href="http://seoroi.com">SEO ROI Consulting, saying, “Search Engine Reputation Management is a cutting edge practice in the field of SEO, which consists of controlling as many spots as possible in the SERPs. Sometimes you can’t directly control it though, so you need to do PR with someone who has one of the spots. This post is a case study in Search Engine Reputation Management done properly.”

Jason Koeppe presents How To Optimize My Site – 10 Best On-Page Search Engine Optimization Tricks posted at Strategic Internet Marketing Blog, saying, “Learn the top 10 things you can do to your web site to optimize it for the search engines and why they work. These whitehat principles will get and keep your site ranked high in the engines. While your competition is still looking for the next new sneaky trick to fool the search engines, you’ll be optimizing more pages and getting more sites ranked!” I’m not sure I agree with his order — my experience shows directory structure and domain name to be of much higher importance. Still, it’s a good list, especially if you’re trying to bump up those last few places in the rankings.

Yvonne DiVita presents Women are Readers – Talk to Them in Text posted at Lip-Sticking, saying, “Women and words – it’s a winning combination. Talk to us and…you’ll win us over. Listen to us…and we’ll fall in love with you.” Is the flip side of this that men are more visual? We know that’s true when it comes to sex, but does it also apply to marketing? I don’t know… but I’d like to.

David Kam presents Screensaver for Promoting Your Company posted at MarketingDeviant.com. I have to admit I’d never thought of this one, but I can see how it would make sense for some companies. I think, though, that the images used in the screensaver need to also be in line with the branding of the company.

The Relationship Economy

Jay Deragon presents Quick Fix Factors posted at A Relationship Economy….. With Whom & What, saying, “Getting improved economic results from social networks is an issue of methods.” Companies looking for a quick solution as to what to do with this whole Web 2.0 thing are in for a surprise.

Anita Campbell presents 100 Small Business Audio Podcasts posted at Small Business Radio | Small Business Experts, saying, “Being interviewed on podcasts, and interviewing others on your podcast series, is a fantastic way to network (I’ve met tons of people through my own podcasts). This post makes it easy for you to find other podcasts. We’ve collected over 100 different podcast series and given a brief description of each in this master list.” Obviously you can’t listen to 100 shows every week, but this is a great resource for finding relevant podcasts both for listening and for approaching as a possible guest.

James Cherkoff presents Packing Up The Big Top posted at Modern Marketing – Blog by Collaborate PR & Marketing, saying, “How marketeers can regain their corporate mojo…” Cluetrain redux.

Scott Allen (that’s me) presents Why Apply Different Rules of Connecting on LinkedIn? posted at Linked Intelligence. Different social networks have different ways of connecting with friends/contacts and different consequences of being connected. Context creates meaning, and since each site is its own unique context, connecting with people on one site has a different meaning than connecting with them on another, and that’s OK.

Edith Yeung presents Should I Refer You? posted at Edith Yeung.Com: Dream. Think. Act., saying, "You are who you know. If the person you refer sucks, does it mean you suck too?" That explains very succinctly why I don’t connect with anyone and everyone on LinkedIn.

Sue Kleiner presents Blogging? What is it all about? posted at Trade Show Display Exhibits. This is a great first-hand account from a blogging newbie of the power of blogs as a relationship-building tool.

lecentre presents Google Maps Reversed = Spam el Goog posted at SEO Montréal SEO: Specialist’s Consulting Services, saying, “Local SEO expert Mike Blumenthal discovered some Google Maps spam on a huge scale!”

Investing

Asset Manager presents Small Company Investing – Scrumping For profits posted at Asset Manager, saying, “Those pesky small company profits. How do we get them?” Ahh, the joys of investing in penny stocks. If you can figure out how to beat the odds even just a little bit, the potential returns are enormous. I’m pretty familiar with this space, as one of my clients works heavily in the OTCBB markets. It’s a really misunderstood market — the redheaded stepchild that the SEC would just as soon see disappear, which is too bad, because it’s really a great opportunity for both business owners and investors.

NCN presents Learning A Little Bit About Dividends posted at No Credit Needed. Stocks growing in value isn’t the only way to realize returns on your investment. A solid, profitable company may be able to deliver dividends as well.

Matthew Paulson presents Don’t Invest Money in Your Company’s Stock posted at Getting Green. Generally I buy Matthew’s argument. The only problem is that he overlooks the fact that often employee stock purchases are made at a significant discount, e.g., 15%. That mitigates a lot of risk right there. Still, your portfolio needs to be diversified.

Silicon Valley Blogger presents Deciding To Sell Or Keep Your Employee Stock Options posted at The Digerati Life. Even if you’re fortunate enough to have stock options rather than just employee stock purchase, you still need to consider diversifying. You may want to cash out and move some of that potential somewhere else.

Babak presents Sell Something: Dow High Relative To Moving Average posted at Trader’s Narrative. Babak looks at the recent market volatility and what that means to your investing strategy.

nickel presents Vanguard Reduces Barrier to Entry for Voyager Services posted at fivecentnickel.com. If you have the money, Vanguard offers even better ways to make more.

Sports Business

R.Pettinger presents Irrational Behaviour and the Economics of Football posted at Economics Essays, saying, “Football is big business, but it doesn’t necessarily conform to rational economic analysis.” Just so you know, that’s British football, aka soccer, but the analysis holds true for just about every top-tier professional team sports.

Mark presents The Jake May Get a New Name posted at SportsBiz, saying, "The Cleveland Indians have selected a firm to explore naming rights opportunities for Jacobs Fields. Is there a market rate discount for used stadiums? Will the Indians have to settle for less than a new stadium would have received as a result of built-in brand recognition of The Jake?" Who knows? When the new Enron Field was (understandably) rebranded as Minute Maid Park, the naming rights actually went up in price about 70%.

Management

Carmen Van Kerckhove presents If diversity training doesn’t work, why do companies do it? posted at Race in the Workplace – how race and racism influence our working lives, saying, “Studies show that diversity training doesn’t reduce bias or increase managerial diversity. So why do companies continue to spend millions of dollars on it every single year?” According to Carmen, "[M]any diversity trainers actually teach people to hide their racism." That’s a scary thought.

John Crickett presents Selling To The Supermarkets posted at Business Opportunities And Ideas. While this is specifically about supermarkets, the advice here could really apply to any small supplier dealing with a large customer.

Customer Service

Todd Earwood presents How CYA is a Sign of a Slow Company posted at Todd Earwood, saying, “A recent client discussion smacked me in the face that CYA is a tell-tale sign of slow company.” I appreciate what Todd is getting at, but in the example he cited, I also don’t think the employee was out of line. At least she took it in an email and didn’t require him to actually put it on paper with a signature. Now that would have been really annoying.

Wayne Hurlbert presents Customer service: Putting clients first posted at Blog Business World, saying, “Customer service is one of the most important aspects of any business. Without customers to purchase the business’s products and services, the company cash flow dries up faster than a rain shower in the desert. While most business people instinctively understand the importance of customer service, they all too often forget that customer service is part of every employee’s job.”

Personal Development

David B. Bohl presents Driven to Succeed, Prisoner of Success, Workaholic, or Someone Who Can’t Say ‘No’? posted at Slow Down Fast Today!. As someone who doesn’t say "no" very well, this particularly struck a chord with me today.

Christopher J. Brunner presents What Successful People Do – Part 1 posted at GreatFX Business Cards, saying, “Part one in a two post series – According to Dr. Henry Cloud’s book, 9 Things You Simply Must Do to Succeed in Love and Life, successful people exude similar qualities that make them a success.” I’m a big believer that you should "become like that which you wish to be". If you want to be successful, do those things that successfuul people do. This is a good start — I’m looking forward to Part 2.

savingadvice presents Why Money Is Not the Root of All Evil posted at SavingAdvice.com Blog, saying, “If any major religions truly pointed to money as the root of all evil, a lot of people would be trying to be as poor as possible.” Hmm… I love money – does that make me evil?

Miscellaneous

Raj Sheelvant presents Globalization of Labor – II posted at IT Strategy, saying, “The role of Labor is changing because of globalization.” It’s true. The ability for small business owners like me to outsource affordably overseas changes everything. Me personally, I like it, but American and Western European knowledge workers are going to be in for a shock as their job functions are outsourced to increasingly qualified professionals in every corner of the globe.

Dax Desai presents WSJ is free today! posted at Dax Desai, saying, “What is Rupert Murdoch up to with The Wall St. Journal. Explains his media strategy and plans. also talks about how this will benefit the Wall Street Journal.” With so many good free sources out there, is there still even a place for paid subscription content on the web?

Joe Kristan presents Compared to This, Private Tax Collection by Phone Isn’t So Bad posted at Roth & Company Tax Update, saying, “How the IRS once took the Fuller Brush sales route.” A little frightening to consider, but ultimately our "volunary" tax collection system is backed up by armed forces breaking into your house and hauling you away at gunpoint.

Golbguru presents Buy A BlackBerry For $10.5 Million, Get A Private Island Free posted at Money, Matter, and More Musings, saying, “Smart advertising for rich people or really lame stuff to get attention? Check out Sprint’s advertisement in TIME magazine.” Funny, if a little bizarre. Wouldn’t it be easier to just buddy up to Richard Branson and spend a few weeks every year at Nekkar?

That concludes this edition. Thanks to all who participated. You can submit your blog article to the next edition of Carnival of the Capitalists using the carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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A Bloggers Union? No Thanks!

There’s some talk going around the blogosphere, being pushed by David Krug of Telegraphik, of unionizing blogging. Krug makes it sound like this is the predominant sentiment in the blogosphere, but in reality, reading the backlash in the blogosphere, it seems that most bloggers are overwhelmingly opposed to the idea.

b5media founder Jeremy Wright offers his ensight, er, insight on it, explaining that the economics of turning bloggers into traditional employees simply wouldn’t work. My fellow b5media blogger Mark W. is a little more vehement about it, calling the idea freaking insane. I think Shane of Zoomstart, commenting on Ryan Caldwell’s post, said it most succinctly:

Blogging is an entrepreneurial endeavor and a creative endeavor.

Here’s my take on it. The way I see it, bloggers fall into five categories:

  1. Rock stars – the handful of people who can make a living at it in the free market purely on their own merits.
  2. Corporate bloggers – people who blog as a small part of their corporate (or small business) job.
  3. Professional writers – people who write for companies that can’t blog for themselves.
  4. Experts – people who use blogging as a way to build their personal brand, demonstrate their expertise, grow their business and advance their career.
  5. Hobbyists – people who are passionate about their topic and blog as a way to express themselves and share their passion with others.

Group 1 doesn’t need a union – they’re already doing fine financially.

Group 2 doesn’t need a union – they’re already on salary and benefits.

Group 3 is maybe the only group that could use a union, but even so, in the vast majority of these cases, they’re being paid just fine.

Group 4 doesn’t need a union – the blog is a marketing vehicle for them. The fact that they’re getting paid to market themselves, rather than paying to market themselves is more than compensation enough. Those of us in this category make our money from selling products and services, speaking engagements, etc.

Group 5 doesn’t need a union – these people would already be blogging anyway. The fact that they’re getting paid for it is icing on the cake. And basically all they have to do is commit to posting volume.

So you either do it because you love it, or you excel at it and make some decent money from it. What I certainly don’t want to do is be supporting a bunch of half-assed hacks on basically some kind of blogger welfare.

Those who blogging doesn’t work for economically should go find another job. It’s not like anybody is sticking bloggers in a sweatshop and forcing them to write for pennies for blogging networks.

I Made the Blog A-List! (And You Can Too)

A-List BloggerIt’s official, as of last week — according to Technorati, and to Kineda’s cool A-List Bloglebrity tool which uses it, I am now an A-List blogger:

Now, that might not be all that interesting to you, except that I’ve spent some time analyzing my results and I’ve explained on my blog exactly how I made the A-list, and without working at it nearly as hard as Technorati and others suggests you might have to (Posting twice a day??? Who has that kind of time???).

Anyway… I want to help YOU do this too, so I’ve set up a thread on my forum there to help you make the A-list. You can post your current authority ranking, ask any questions, share any tips, and…most of all…share your progress! We may not be able to get everyone on the A-list, but we should at least be able to move everybody up a notch or two.

Comments / feedback welcome here, but if you want to participate in the project and boost your blog authority, you need to go post on there — I can only fragment the conversation so much. 😉

By the way, you might want to also take a look back at How to Become an A-List Blogger – 3.5 years old and still timely.

Blog Comment Signatures Can Boost Your Traffic

This week, Jason Alba is doing a series of posts about his blogging secrets. This is a great guide for how to effectively build relationships and your personal brand with your blog.

One of the tips that came up in the comments on his Day 1 post was the matter of using a signature in your post when you leave comments on other people’s blogs. Typically, if you leave your name and URL in the comment posting form, it ends up linking your name to your site, e.g., Scott Allen points to TheVirtualHandshake.com (or LinkedIntelligence.com or Entrepreneurs.About.com, depending on the context). However, that’s a) usually at the top of your comment – people don’t scroll back up once they’ve read your comment, and b) it’s non-obvious that it actually links to your blog.

Jason explains, as well as sharing his hesitation about using comment signatures:

ALso along these lines, I have since started to leave a new signature:

Jason Alba
CEO – JibberJobber.com
.. self-serve job security ..

I’ve been trying it out, and with different tag lines. Putting a URL in the comments makes it really easy for readers to just click over to my website, and the tagline makes people curious.

Sometimes I’ve hesitated before putting the signature on the comment, especially when no one else is, but I figure it’s better to risk than pass up the chance, and if someone says they don’t like that then I’ll make note of it and leave the signature off for later comments.

But Pete Johnson reassured him, sharing the success he had after learning the tip from The Virtual Handshake:

As I learned from Scott Allen (and am writing about later in the week), the post signature is huge. On one techie site in particular, I got 10x more traffic when I went from this:

—Pete
http://nerdguru.net

to this:

Pete Johnson
HP.com Chief Architect
Personal Blog: http://nerdguru.net

The second one even got me an unsolicited email from the editor wanting to know if I wanted to write a case study based on HP’s web architecture, an opportunity I wouldn’t have dreamed of otherwise.

This is a great example of co-opting a brand. “Nerdguru” isn’t a household name, but HP.com sure is. Pete is able to leverage his position to build his personal brand.

But what if you don’t have a big-name brand to co-opt? Even a simple signature can serve you well. Which is more likely to get your attention and make you click?

Scott Allen
LinkedIntelligence.com

or

Scott Allen
Linked Intelligence – Home of 80+ Smart Ways to Use LinkedIn

Or how about:

Scott Allen
TheVirtualHandshake.com

or

Scott Allen
Coauthor, The Virtual Handshake: Opening Doors and Closing Deals Online

*Sigh*

I need to remember to follow my own advice! 🙂