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Archive for February, 2005

“News paper” bites “blog”

by henrycopeland
Sunday, February 13th, 2005

Great blogger meeting yesterday at UNC. Organizers expected 20 or 30 and 120 showed up. Moderators did a superlative job of keeping the Socratic focus on the participants rather than themselves.

The issue of credibility kept coming up. Are newspapers more credible than bloggers. I find it remarkable that anyone thinks any soulless, artificial, born-and-bred-for-profit corporate fiction is more credible than… a human being.

Speaking of credibility, I noticed the New York Times (a news paper) reverted yesterday to writing about “web logs” in explaining the discrediting and resignation of CNN news executive Eason Jordan.

Why does the Times persist in using “web log” an unrecognizable neologism for a phenomena that is commonly refered to everywhere as “blog.” NYT usage varies, but seems to be swinging against popular opinion. Does the NYT really have no style guide?

Score to date in the NYT (since 1996):

Blog: 249 articles.

Weblog: 75 articles.

Web log: 147 articles.

“Internet web log”: 1 article last summer.

Hey, you folks running the style sheet at the NYT! Here’s what everyone else is doing, at least according to Google, one of your journalists’ favorite sources for anecdotal pop vox ledes:

“Blog” appears 176 million times.

“Weblog” appears 44 million times.

“Web log,” your obscure neologism, appears only 4 million times.

And “internet web log” appears 1280 times.

Stick with an uncommon usage and people will be tempted accuse you of willfully seeking to remake reality rather than just reporting it. Oh, wait, they already are accusing you of that… anyway, over to you Dan Okrent.

Piano man

by henrycopeland
Thursday, February 10th, 2005

I’m attending a funky secret meeting of Internet entrepreneurs here in Dallas. Huge fun. I’ve never been around so many freaks who I can relate to. Even on the wildest tangent, each session sizzles some psychic nerve.

The hotel here has an electronic player piano in the lobby playing, of all things, “Piano Man.”

I stayed with Aunt Lila and Uncle Tom last night and saw cousins Todd and Lauri. We leafed through the family album Lila has recently pulled together. I saw one photo of HJC on a bike, another in a baseball uniform. Also a photo of EDC’s father’s bank — huge empty floor space.

Gotta get tix…

by henrycopeland
Saturday, February 5th, 2005

NYTimes theater review:

…a monologue that runs just over an hour and requires minimal stagecraft, is as unassuming in its means as it is astonishing in its impact. It’s one of those treasured nights in the theater – treasured nights anywhere, for that matter – that can leave you both breathless with exhilaration and, depending on your sensitivity to meditations on the bleak and beautiful mysteries of human experience, in a puddle of tears. Also in stitches, here and there.

Speechless, in any case.

It nearly defies description, and yet invites embarrassingly vague panegyrics, the kind critics like to think they’re above. Are above. Except for this one occasion. Really. So here goes: Run, don’t walk. Four stars. Plus an extra. If you care about theater, blah blah blah. If you only see one show Off Broadway this season, etc.

Uh-oh. Mr. Eno’s voice is so jaggedly quirky, crisp and hypnotic that it seems to have co-opted my own. Forgive the hysteria. Or the faux hysteria.

Anyway, “Thom Pain (based on nothing)” is, as noted above, a solo show. But don’t turn the page just yet. Mr. Eno and his performer, the actor James Urbaniak, hereby reinvent that seemingly moribund theatrical genre. Mr. Urbaniak, a much-employed Off Broadway actor, also establishes himself as a significant artist with his sly, heartbreaking, exquisitely calibrated turn as Mr. Eno’s antihero/narrator/master of ceremonies. Before going farther it’s only fair to include the evening’s director, Hal Brooks, among the triumphant; his work, too, is witty, sensitive and close to perfection.

Cat blogging blogads

by henrycopeland
Thursday, February 3rd, 2005

An interesting advertiser is considering an ad themed around cat-blogging. I must confess that, since I’m a dog person, I’ve developed a blind spot to these posts. Any feline-o-philes care to remind me who among the blogad community catblogs? (Are there any dog-bloggers I can align myself with?) If you don’t want to leave a comment in the spam-fortified system below, drop me an e-mail.

New labelling guidlines draft

by henrycopeland
Thursday, February 3rd, 2005

There have been questions about several sports adstrips running in parallel on larger nonsports blogs.

On the one hand, I don’t want to stifle experimentation and innovation. Lots of the blogosphere’s most interesting features come from stretched envelopes and burst expectations.

On the other, I’d like the Blogads.com order pages to provide transparent, apples-to-apples information that is useful to advertisers and Blogads staff as we prepare proposals. So I’ve drafted these guidelines for the information that appears, going forward, in Blogads.com order pages. [Stuff in brackets denotes new wording since original post.]

— any adstrip running on more than one blog should identify the blogs contributing to our [the adstrip’s] traffic tally.

— labels like “Premium” should be used sparingly, either denoting exclusivity or ads priced at some multiple to “standard” ads on the same blog.

— if an adstrip is one of several posted in a blog’s HTML, the quantity of adstrips should be noted; something like, “the first of three adstrips,” or “third of five adstrips” or “middle left of six adstrips” or “one of many.” (From Blogads perspective, two or three adstrips per page [blog] are easiest to understand and sell.)

— every adstrip should appear adjacent to content or functionality.

— adstrip names suggesting topicality should deliver audiences focused on those topics. If a blog’s focus changes, rename the adstrip.

— adstrips listed in our topic-specific pages should deliver audiences focused on the respective topics.

— one adstrip should not be posted multiple times on the same page.

— [other advertising should not appear in the column above blogadstrips.]

Any suggestions or critiques to these guidelines will be welcome, either in comments or by e-mail. It may be that we want to settle on the rubric of “describe your blog accurately and put ads beside content” and only split hairs when people ask for details.

I use “guidelines” because we can’t afford to spend a lot of time policing blogs. If adstrips don’t fit the spirit of the guidelines, we’ll do what I always suggest bloggers do when an ad is updated and bothers them — unpublish the item in question until its revised.

Call me a libertarian or anarchist or utopian, but I believe (or hope!) well-designed communities, like organisms, do well (or best?) with few rules. (See this fun article about Dutch roads without speed limits or stop signs.)

The lesson for me is that we need to continue to work on the infrastructure for our own marketplace. The order page is increasingly unwieldy and the current logjam is a sign of this. The key to growing the blogads network, both in number of blogs and advertisers served, is coming up with new ways of handline information and allowing the community of buyers and sellers to stay organized and functional. And we’re working hard on that technical infrastructure right now behind the scenes.

(Warning: my comment system is egregiously spammer unfriendly and requires registration before commenting. So e-mail if you like.)

Fitting blogging into life and life into a blog

by henrycopeland
Thursday, February 3rd, 2005

Instapundit: “My usual strategy is like the old story about filling the can with rocks and sand — if you put the big rocks in first, there’s plenty of room for the sand to flow around them, while if you put the sand in first, the rocks won’t fit. I try to schedule the big stuff first, and blog around it. And when the rocks won’t fit, even by themselves, there’s still room for the sand.”

Matt Welch: Guit-artiste. Don’t miss the comments.

Ken Layne goes fishing in Baja: “Being stupid, I imagined our outdoor sleeping would take place somewhere along the 3,000 miles of available Pacific beachfront, where crashing waves and cool breezes would lull me to slumber. Hah. We were in a boatyard next to the stagnant edge of a shallow bay. A halogen security light burned my eyes and mosquitoes feasted on my scalp. Luckily, dogs were barking the whole time. After three or four hours of miserable half-sleep, I developed enough common sense to climb inside the Suburban and use the backseat as a bed. It was great.”

Finally, watch the richochets on this story. Speaking at Davos and quoted on a blog, CNN news head Eason Jordan, “asserted that he knew of 12 journalists who had not only been killed by US troops in Iraq, but they had in fact been targeted. He repeated the assertion a few times, which seemed to win favor in parts of the audience (the anti-US crowd) and cause great strain on others.” Journalistic chit-chat hits the blog-fan.

Sony buys bespoke blog

by henrycopeland
Tuesday, February 1st, 2005

Nick Denton is doing a new bespoke blog for Sony called Lifehacker. (Bespoke is British for hand-sewn.) I’m amused to see Adage’s coverage of the story headlined “Sony pays $25,000 a month for Gawker blog” since this is exactly the number I geustimated on the record for reporter Kris Oser, extrapolating from average consumer electronics CPMs, Denton’s stirling reputation and other Gawker blog traffic. Chris tells me she got the number from somebody in the know.

The deal sets a great benchmark for companies who want to spend a LOT of money on blogs. Here at Blogads, without all the overhead of Gawker Inc and Black Ink, which arranged the deal, we’ll continue to offer a cheaper, grass roots alternative. Want to spend $15K a month (or $10.00) — visit our blog advertising for a taste or to gorge yourself on vibrant, already running blogs with passionate audiences. Or let Nick build you one for 25K! Given the fact that there’s currently $250 billion a year in US advertising, there’s still lots for us all to share.

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