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Propeller’s Funeral is OldDogg’s Baptism

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Tomorrow we will celebrate a funeral and a baptism of sorts.  OK, perhaps “celebrating” a funeral is not the best choice of words, but today is Propeller‘s last day.  (But “celebration” is a great word for OldDogg‘s baptism!)  If you’ve been around social media for only the past couple years, you might be asking, “What is Propeller?”  and “What is the big deal”.

FIRST, the funeral…

propellerOnce upon a time, Netscape – remember Netscape, the most popular Web browser in the world until Bill Gates got it in his sights? – set up a social bookmarking service to rival Digg and Reddit.  It began to grow and looked like it might be a contender, until Netscape itself began to wither away.

Eventually, when there was not much left of Netscape, with its last dying breath (OK, it didn’t quite die, just sort of whimpered into limbo), Netscape sold its social bookmarking service to AOL.  Yay, a big, successful company to revive the still thriving but pretty-much-orphaned site.

AOL took immediate action.  It creating new branding for the site under the name of Propeller.  It gave light.  It gave hope.  It gave a spare corner of a dusty old closet in the basement.

Oops.

That was 2007, and ever since, Propeller has slowly been withering away.  Just a year ago, it would still take at least 12 votes on  bad day for a story to make the front page.  A few months ago, we started seeing  stories make the front page with a single vote.  In the past couple months, it was rare for a story to need more than one or two votes to make the front page.

Propeller was dead, but still it walked on.  Or crawled.  And tomorrow the euthenasiaists finally do their dirty work and put the zombie out of its misery.

THEN, a baptism…

olddoggjpgFor those diehard Propeller loyalists and for others seeking a place to go, a new social bookmarking website was born – OldDogg.

The “others” I am referring to are most specifically refugees form “New Digg”.  A month ago, Digg resolutely decided to ignore the lessons of Coca Cola, and launched a new version whose main intent was to pull the rug out from under the 20%-or-so of its most loyal and regular users, its very heart and soul….and give it to Big-time publishers.  

Suddenly, there was a significant group of passionate social bookmarking fans in search of a place to go.  Overnight – literally – Phil Mitchell in his UK home office (a 12 foot by 12 foot room with two monitors and a 3.5ghz 4gb ram computer) put up a brand new social bookmarking website called OldDogg.  If that was not impressive enough, for his next act he wooed the Digg refugees over.

Let’s be clear.  Old Dogg was basically a Pligg clone with some new skin.  It was – and still is – no Digg.  And many disgruntled Diggers are returning to Digg.  But Phil laboured away, coding faster than the speed of Tiger Woods at a sorority party, and the site has really come together since those early days just a month ago. 

olddogggraph
In the first 25 days the site had clocked up over 27,000 votes and 1,500 comments.

  • Diggers who are returning to Digg don’t seem to be leaving OldDogg.  At least for now, they are keeping one foot on each site.
  • Every day, OldDogg is getting new members from pretty much all over the place.
  • Over the past week I have seen a significant Propeller diaspora showing up.
  • I should note that I see a healthy dose of my Mixx friends on OldDogg, too.

Born one month ago, it’s time to hold a baptism and say that here we have both a refuge for fed up Diggers and a homeland for lost Propellerheads (sorry).

What does the future hold for OldDogg?  It is hard to say.  It all depends on whether Phil can make it scalable.  I had given him this advice: “There are always a gazillion ways 2 improve (everything Digg used to have, I guess), but right now IMHO you need more non-power-users first.”

He seems to be doing just that, and the timing of Propeller’s funeral is a stroke of luck for OldDogg, as it has added a very active group  members.  But with more members comes the need for more complex coding (I can’t follow what my friends submit , as I can on Mixx and used to be able to on Propeller and Digg, for example).  And Phil Mitchell will need to assemble a team that is bigger than just Phil Mitchell.

These are more than the ramblings of an uneducated observer.  Unlike Phil’s instant success, I have been running Zoomit.ca totally on my spare time (exactly!), and I don’t do PHP coding (so I have to empty my pockets to make upgrades).  With time and money both in short supply, I’ve been doing a slow motion version of what he has done with OldDogg (but watch in the next couple weeks for some exciting upgrades to Zoomit.ca, too!).

From what I have seen over the past month, Phil is probably up to the task.  Keep your eyes on OldDogg; I predict it’s here to stay.

 


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Contest: The Mixx baby is napping

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

This being April Fool’s Day, you might be expecting me to post some kind of prank or hoax.  I don’t have a prank for you, but it might be time for a “fun” post, which hasn’t happened on this blog since Bugs Bunny came to visit a year ago.

I was recently trying to submit something to Mixx, but I kept getting that napping baby screen. 

mixxnapping

After a while, I thought to myself, “Hey, this Mixx baby has been napping for quite a while.”  And sure enough, when I looked at the photo, I discovered that it had been napping for quite a while.  Have you ever seen a fuller diaper?

So today, I am running a photo caption contest.  Who can come up with the best caption for this photo.  I suggest you post your entry here and also at Mixx .

The rules:

  1. There are no rules. 
  2. The winner will be chosen totally arbitrarily based on how I feel when I choose a winner, the alignment of the stars and the percentage of starfish in the Indian Ocean who say they prefer honey to jam on their toast.
  3. There is no deadline.  At some point, probably after the Easter recess, I’ll pick a winner.

The prize:

One Mixx submission.  I will submit something for you to Mixx, assuming you have something interesting (again, my arbitrary decision).  There are no guarantees implied with this prize.

With so much on the line, I hope you’ll come up with some creative and unique captions.

You can easily share this post by clicking on reTWEET this.

 


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Comradez for social bookmarking

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Comradez for social bookmarking

If you plan to promote your website and it’s great content through social bookmarking and other social media, you probably fall into two camps:

  1. You submit every blog post and every article to each of 5, 10, 20 or more social bookmarking websites.  Then you leave…and show up the next time to repeat the process.  If so, you typically get a single vote (your own), driving no traffic and creating negligible ripples in the search engine rankings.
  2. You submit your own content, you make friends and submit their content, you vote for and comment on others’ submissions and become an active member of the community.  If your content is good and you are a consistent friend to others, you are probably building a following and incrementally increasing your traffic.  You are also probably gaining a lot of reasonably valuable links for the search engines to include in their ranking of your website.

comradezIf you fit into the latter category, there is a fairly new service available that will help you reach a wider audience: Comradez.net.

 

Comradez is a social community of people who want to boost exposure to their submissions at various social bookmarking websites.  It works on what I call a non-binding reciprocity basis, which I like.

  • Reciprocity, because if you ask people to vote up your submissions, you are expected to do the same for others.
  • Non-binding, because nobody is checking who votes for whose submissions, so you are free to vote for the ones you like and not to vote for those you don’t. (Sorry, if I think the submission is crap, I don’t vote for it).

People are organized into groups.  For instance, if you join the StumbleUpon group, you can ask folks to ThumbsUp your blog post or article.  In the Digg group, you can ask people to digg your submission.  This is just one more way to reach other serious users of the same social bookmarking service, and expand the number of votes your submission is likely to get.  Remember that success in most things is a matter of having good substance and letting people know about it.

A few tips on how to use Comradez.

  1. Fill in your complete profile.  This is the kind of place where people check you out to see what other opportunities there might be for collaborations.  Those opportunities might be guest blog post, submitting your content for you, link exchange, joint venture, etc.
  2. Give first.  Like every social website, the number 1 rule is give first, then ask.  If you are about to ask for a Mixx or a Reddit, check out other people’s Mixx or Reddit requests.  Remember that you don’t have to vote for something you truly don’t like.  And you shouldn’t.  Trading votes is in fact against the terms of service of most of these websites.
  3. When you post a request for support, tell us what the title and/or topic is.  Why?  Because if I see a few dozen requests in several groups I belong to, and four of them give me an idea what they are before I click, I am more likely to click on them and ignore the other 20 requests.  It’s a pretty well-proven principle that “click here” (or in this case “please Digg”) is much less effective than giving people a reason to click.  See samples below.
  4. Make sure to thank the people who mentioned that they supported you.  This is networking, and in all such situations people like to be appreciated.
  5. If you are worried about getting banned on Digg or any other service, you will be comforted to know that all links posted links Comradez automatically convert to bit.ly links. This includes diggbar and su.pr links.  So all the social bookmarking site sees as a referrer is a bit.ly link. You can also delete your post after members finished voting it, if you wish
comradezgood

comradezbad

 

Comradez should not be your only tool to expand your exposure.  Most social bookmarking websites have internal share tools, so you can share with the network you build up.  You should also use Twitter and/or FaceBook.  You should also make it easy for people to vote for your content right from your blog or article pages (We offer a free tool to make this easy: TheBookmarketer).  Comradez is a handy service that should also be part of the mix.

 


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Who owns your Twitter account?

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

So here is a legal conundrum.  You’ve been active on a number of social media websites, such as Twitter, FaceBook or Digg.  You have amassed a number of friends and followers and built a certain amount of credibility.  You leave your job – take a better position elsewhere, move to another city, get laid off or fired – doesn’t matter the reason.

Who owns your Twitter account?  Your FaceBook account?  Etc.

I thought it was a very straightforward question, too.  If it’s in your name, it’s yours.  If it’s in the company’s name, it’s the company’s.  Period. Or maybe not period.  Maybe question mark.

A legal viewpoint has been sought and diligently reported on by Glenn Gabe.  The comments, which are not to be taken as legal advice, came from lawyer Mike Pisauro.  He covered five scenarios, which I’ll list here but you can go to the original post to read the details.

  1. Grandfathered Twitter Accounts
  2. Twitter Account Already Established, But Employee Has Agreed That Twitter Will Be Part Of His Job
  3. Twitter Accounts Set Up While An Employee Is Working At A Company
  4. The Employee Is The Official Social Media Marketer For The Company
  5. The Employee Is The Official Social Media Marketer And Has Set Up The Account As Part Of The Marketing Effort

For what it’s worth, I think a key point is missing.  In whose name is the account set up?  Let’s take a scenario where Mary Wilkins is hired to do communications for ACME . and she is told that she needs to tweet nice things about the company, but to set it up in her name, not in the company’s name.  There are a number of reasons ACME might want her to tweet in her own name, rather than the company’s.

  • They might be trying to avoid liability for what an employee might publicly say.
  • They might want her comments to have an air of objectivity.
  • They might not want to be held to anything she tweets.
  • Thjey might want people to connect with a real human being, not an impersonal company.

All these reasons have one common element – they all imply that the company does not want to be associated with the account.  They all are purposeful actions to refuse ownership of the account.  I have a very hard time believing, legal genius that I am not, that any court would be able to ignore that fact if the real owner — the employee – articulated that argument well.

On the other hand, if the account was set up in the company’s name by the employee, overtly being the ACME account, I cannot imagine for a moment that a court would award ownership of the account to the employee.

The only place I see as being murky is if the account is personal in the person’s name and that person is the official spokesperson for the company and promoted as such.  For isnstance if a Twitter account is @MaryWilkins and the ACME logo is used as the background.  Situations 4 and 5 above could fall into that class.

Of course, my legal opinion and a dime will buy you a drink at the public water fountain, so if you are a) hiring someone who will be running social media accounts on your behalf or b) being hired by a company wanting you to run its social media accounts, get the prenuptials down in writing ahead of time.

So now, the real burning legal issue:

Q: Who owns the Twitter account?
A: Twitter.

 


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Ethical SEO or SEO Spam

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

You cannot always believe what you read, and in SEO you have to be very careful.  Take for instance the good folks at OutsourcingforSEO.com .  They repeatedly spam Zoomit Canada with non-Canadian submissions.  I have deleted several dozen accounts, but they keep creating new ones.  They don’t seem to get the message or they are gluttons for fruitless work.  They also seem to have figured out a hack to add many more tags per submission than the form allows.  One day last month they even created accounts with names like danysulivan8 and leeoden4 and johnbatele4, mimicking the names of high-profile SEO consultants (I know these colleagues to be reputable, but imagine what can happen to their reputations if such accounts are being created elsewhere!).  I suppose they thought I might let their submissions pass if I thought somebody respectable was doing the submitting.

seo-spammer

Of course, this all must be part of their “Ethical SEO Website Traffic Services”, as seen in the screen capture below that I took just before deleting another of their spam posts.

SEO spam to the extreme

I think this is the first time I have ever called out another SEO company. It’s not that I haven’t seen plenty of pure spam and plenty of questionable stuff, too. But it’s a slippery slope and I’m not big on rating other SEO consultants. But these guys are so determined to keep spamming Zoomit Canada, over and over and over and over, that I’ll make an exception. If anybody knows of a spammer award, I would love to have this company submitted.  After that, committed.

The moral of the story is to be very careful who you hire for SEO services.  This company is submitting its client websites, too, exposing them to potential sanctions from the search engines and being banned by other social bookmarking websites, too.  You don’t want a purposeful spammer representing your website.

 


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Furl Removed From TheBookmarketer

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

The BookMarketer<br /> Free bookmarketing power tool

The popular social bookmarking website Furl, one of the originals, has been removed from TheBookmarketer.

Why have we taken such a harsh step? Because Furl has folded; it no longer exists.

Why have you not heard about it from other social bookmarking services? Because TheBookmarketer keeps its database updated better than most other social bookmarking aggregators.

Last month we removed Magnolia, when it also folded.  Not all social bookmarking aggregators are keeping up on the comings and goings of social bookmarking services.  In fact, some still feature Spurl, a service that discontinued a year ago.  And very few have added Tipd or Zoomit or Plime, three up-and-coming social bookmarking websites.

 


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The Bookmarketer adds Tipd, Plugim, Plime

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

Financial bloggers finally have a social bookmarking tool that includes Tipd.com, the niche social bookmarking website for financial news. Now there are five excellent reasons to add The Bookmarketer to your blog:

The BookMarketer<br />Free bookmarketing power tool

1. It is the most up-to-date social bookmarking service, including emerging social bookmarking websites such as Tipd, Plime, Plugim, Shoutwire, Stumpedia, Socialogs, PostOnFire and Jamespot. (I am user “amabaie” at all of these; come be my friend.)

2. It is the least out-of-date social bookmarking service. Many others still have Spurl, which discontinued public services a year ago, and Magnolia, which folded earlier this year.

3. It displays more popular social bookmarking icons on your blog post, increasing the likelihood your readers will use it and bookmark your posts.

4. Finacial bloggers finally have a social bookmarking tool that included Tipd.

5. Canadian bloggers finally have a tool that includes Zoomit Canada.

The Bookmarketer is a free social bookmarking service to help increase the readership of your blog or website, and increase the links you attract from other websites. Just cut-and-paste the code, and off you go. Toy can see The Bookmarketer in action at the bottom of this post.

 


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Twitter Success for SOHO Small Business

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

A lot of small business owners are thinking about social media marketing, but are not sure if or how to do it.  A lot of them have heard about how Twitter tipped the balance in the last US election.  But many business owners still are not sure.

Yesterday I was meeting with a group of SOHO entrepreneurs.  To give you an idea of the crowd, there was…

  • A local real estate agent
  • A local gift catalogue agent (who can sell across Canada)
  • A virtual assistant (Drop me a line if you want her contact info)
  • A local mortgage broker
  • A local home decorator/renovator

Notice the word “local” appears a fair amount?  Can a local business, such as these SOHO folks effectively do social media marketing.

Yes.  I advised them all to sign up for Twitter.

So, without further ado, here is David Leonhardt’s crash course in Twitter for SOHO business.

Pick a smiling avatar.  At networking meetings, you need a firm handshake, a smile and eye connection.  On Twitter and other social networking sites, your smile does all the heavy lifting.

Find people to follow who broadcast good information in you niche, such as links to articles, blog posts, other experts to follow, tools, etc. These people will do almost all the research you’ll need to keep up on new tools, new developments, new resources and more in your field.  Congratulations! You have just hired a research department that won’t even ask to be paid.

If your business is local, follow as many people as possible in your area.  Go to Twellow and search for a location.  Some people will show by country, some by state, some by town, so you’ll want to do multiple searches.  Follow these people, at least long enough to see which ones follow you back.  If your business is not local, you can search by pretty much any criteria.

Remember that anything you type into Twitter will be read by just about anybody.  It’s like a worldwide networking meeting with a microphone over your head, so be tactful and be professional.  On the other hand, Twitter is a medium where people like to know you as a human being, so polite informalities are a plus.

Make sure you are tweeting the right things, things that will advance your reputation and your business. Things that will build credibility. Things that will create opportunities. Things that will attract more people toward you. Sooooo many people tweet the music they are listening to, the food they are eating or preparing, the trouble they have getting out of bed – I suppose they are trying to get intimate and help followers feel like they are right there with them. But so many tweets on those topics make one’s eyes gloss over and reduce your value to the majority of followers (my opinion). Here are a few things you can tweet:

  • Tweet your successes.  That reinforces both what you do and your competence.  This builds your credibility as someone who is effective at what you do. Don’t brag, but do brag just a little.
    Just sold another home.  It was a tough one.  Required extra effort.  Feels good. 
  •  Tweet profound or quick facts that your followers might find interesting.  That also makes people want to keep following you and builds your credibility as a knowledgeable person in your field. 
    56% of Americans never read a nutrition label.  How often do you?
  • Tweet useful resources related to what you do.  That also makes people want to keep following you and pay attention to what you are doing.  It also makes you the person they come to when they need advice, which might lead to business for you.
    Helpful guide to pre-workout stretching here: [URL] 
  • Occasionally – very occasionally – ask for clients.  Why not?  A little self-promotion is accepted by most people.  And if you lose three followers and gain one client, it’s worth it.
    Booked until end of March.  Know anyone needing party planning  in April or May?
  • Ask questions.  This is a great way to do research and make yourself more knowledgeable about the market. This tends to work best when you have a large number of followers.
    Trade-in of keep it running – what are your car plans for the next few months?


Use Twitter to network, but if you start an in-depth conversation (which is good), take it off-tweet.  Phone, email or even Twitters DM (direct message) feature are preferable.  Your other followers don’t want to be bombarded by one side of a conversation they are not party to.

Remember that in all social situations, it helps if you give first.  People give to helpful people, so send ideas, referrals and pats on the back to people following you.

There are also tools that can make Twitter more effective, but not really useful for a newbie.  If you start getting really into Twitter and find you are following too many people, download TweetDeck and set up groups of people you wish to follow.  For instance, you can set up a group of most important prospects that will appear in one column (so that you never miss the chance to respond to their tweets) and a group of your industry idols whose information you don’t want to miss.

Should a local SOHO business be on Twitter?  Yes.  You can do a year’s worth of networking in a week.  You can find leads, referrals and clients.  You get an instant research team.  Go for it!

P.S.  You can follow David Leonhardt on Twitter or retweet this post to your Twitter followers.

 


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Free SEO Book For Twitter Followers

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

ANNOUNCEMENT: I am offering a free copy of Don’t Get Banned By The Search Engines to new Twitter followers. All you have to do is follow me and you will receive a special URL to download the book without having to pay the $40.

Why am I doing this? It is a good question, and one that I have wrestled with. I have been critical of the “look how many followers I have” syndrome, where people are fixated on the size of their audience. It’s almost a self-esteem issue in some cases.

Yet I watch some people with several thousand followers ask questions and get a flood of great answers in no time flat. Meanwhile, with just a few hundred followers, I get much fewer responses. I also see how there are times when I would like people to know about something interesting on Digg or Sphinn or Mixx, that this would be a great way to let more people know — not just about my stuff, but about all sorts of great items.

For instance, on Sphinn recently, I posted:

Awesome 404 Error Pages by Smashing Magazine
DoFollow versus NoFollow links by The Minority Report
Why You Should Trade Links With PR0 Pages (OK, that one was by me)

I would love you to Sphinn these, too. With more Twitter followers, I know I can share these gems with more people.

So for a limited time, I am offering all my new followers a free copy of Don’t Get Banned By The Search Engines as an incentive and a thank you for taking the time to add me to your follow list. I am looking forward to meeting you at Twitter.

Follow David Leonhardt on Twitter

 


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Social Media Interview with Danny Brown

Monday, December 8th, 2008

Imagine what “social media” might be like in five or ten years…

Hmmm…I wonder what Mom has in her fridge…let’s check. I see. Ooh, she has some good stuff. Let’s just send her a message here… “Hi mom. Thinking of doing anything with that lasagna? I’m free to come over for dinner.” I suppose I should copy my brother on that one.

That’s just one of my wild fantasies I discuss with social media guru Danny Brown when he interviewed me on what I thought about social media.  He asked me how I define social media, how I use social media and where I thought it was headed. 

This is an important issue for anyone interested in SEO because increasingly the lines between various aspects of online marketing, including SEO, will be blurred.  In fact, that is one of the foundations on which my free eBook Sticky SEO was written.

I encourage you to read the full interview, and at the bottom of the page Danny has added links to previous interviews in the series, all of which will shed further light on how you can use social media to help promote your website.

 


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