March 23, 2006 Site Updated

We added some new content to the Weblog Improvement website for the first time since it was launched in November 2004. The new information on that site includes:

  • the methodology we use to build and enhance weblogs,
  • a partial list of our clients,
  • additional contact information.

This is the first in a series of enhancements to that begin to incorporate the design techniques that we first used on our clients' sites.

March 3, 2004

Charles Galgac's Movable Type Tip Compendium

Dave Aiello wrote, "I'm planning to make some template changes to Operation Gadget soon. In doing the initial research leading up to these changes, I found a useful page of Movable Type tips on Charles Galgac's site."

"There's lots of good stuff in that list, including articles about moving existing Movable Type blogs with customizations from one web host to another. I thought there was some information about running and restoring backups, but it's just links to cPanel documentation. Bummer."

February 23, 2004

Dan Farber of ZDNet Produces an Excellent Summary of State-of-the-Art Blogging

Dave Winer pointed to an article by Dan Farber of ZDNet called What's up with blogging, and why should you care?. In it, Farber names the leading weblog publishing tools but focuses on cutting edge uses such as political weblogs and technology-oriented weblogs written by people like Dan Gilmore of the San Jose Mercury News and Robert Scoble of Microsoft.

Farber also points out Feedster and Technorati, key Blogosphere infrastructure sites that have been around a while, but are still being discovered by a lot of weblog readers. This is an important service to the community, because a lot of ZDNet readers are corporate IT people who could probably use some guidance to sites like these.

Normally, ZDNet columnists like Dan Farber produce very high level pieces aimed generally at the corporate world. But, this article hits a sweet spot: lots of useful information for both insiders and newbies. It seems like he "gets it" with respect to what's going on in the weblogging community, and a lot of journalists coming from his perspective still don't.

December 11, 2003

Gizmodo Does a Redesign

Dave Aiello wrote, "I got up this morning and checked out our friends at Gizmodo. Looks like they've done a redesign that includes new graphics and a change in the way the archives are organized. It looks better than it did before."

"I checked a couple of links to content on their site, and it appears that they have not broken individual archive links. Seems like whoever did the redesign is on the ball."

"The most interesting development is that they have put each Movable Type category on a separate virtual web server. In other words the Home Entertainment category is at I bet this lets them serve more distinct Google AdSense ads to each visitor."

"Another thing they've done is put a Deals category up that separates information about good sales at on-line merchants from their straight news. We'll see how well they do with this."

"On the negative side, they've adopted the same home page layout that they are using on other Gawker Media websites. This reduces the amount of content that visitors get to see. Not sure people will like that."

"Most of the good design changes that they've implemented make their site look better in comparison to Operation Gadget, but, they still have a way to go before they reach feature parity."

November 4, 2003

Sometimes Bloggers are on the Same Wavelength, Without Knowing It

Dave Aiello wrote, "Earlier today, Doc Searls talked about a discussion that he had with his son while riding somewhere in the car. Doc's memory of that discussion was prompted by his reading of Self-Reliance, an essay written in 1841 by Ralph Waldo Emerson."

"By conincidence, I picked up a copy of the 1967 edition of Self-Reliance published by The Peter Pauper Press when I attended the Friends of the Princeton Public Library used book sale a couple of weeks ago. I finally started reading it last night as my wife and I were going to bed. I remember saying to her that this book was too difficult to read without devoting my complete attention to it, because the vocabulary Emerson uses is difficult for my non-liberal-arts-trained mind."

"I find it interesting that an Emerson meme has made it around the weblog world this summer, finally ending up on CTDATA almost by accident. Chris Lydon delivered a spoken essay singing Emerson's praises in honor of his 200th birthday. Dave Winer pointed to Lydon's essay, bringing it to the attention of many in the weblog community. Doc Searls talked about the predecessors of weblogs possibly being the works of Benjamin Franklin and Emerson, and Searls mentions Emerson again today."

"I sometimes wonder about my own emotional maturity, stumbling as I do into the works of authors like Emerson or even Lance Armstrong. Their writings should begin with some sort of disclaimer: 'Don't start reading this unless you have the depth of character to adopt our principles.' But, I see titles like
and Every Second Counts, and I say to myself, 'Yea, that's for me. That's the kind of person I am.' More accurately, that's the kind of person I want to be."

"I see why the weblog community has adopted Emerson as a sort of patron saint. Everyone who does this sort of writing has their own purposes in mind. Some are more successful than others. Most are talking to a world-wide audience, offering strongly-held opinions, and trying to make the world a better place. That's certainly the case with many of the things that I write."

"But, I'll go on wondering why I skimmed the writings of Lydon, Winer, Searls, and other webloggers this summer, never bothering to dig into what they were writing about. I'll puzzle over how I managed to buy a near fine copy of Self-Reliance for 50 cents as a used book sale was closing-- it having been picked over and left by far more literate people than me. And, I'll marvel at the fact that a prominent weblogger mentioned this specific Emerson essay again on the morning after I started reading the book."

"Maybe this is what they meant when they coined the term synchronicity."

October 24, 2003

Spammers Target Movable Type Comment System

Yesterday, Wired News reported that spammers are now targeting Movable Type-based weblogs by submitting comments containing links that are irrelevant to the original posting. These bogus comments are being inserted in order to fool search engine spiders into thinking that the sites referred to by the embedded links are hot topics in the weblog community.

For example, a spambot may place links to a site where oxycontin is available without prescription on several popular Movable Type-based weblogs simultaneously. If the comments stay on the weblogs and a spider from Google visits the sites, it may increase the PageRank of the site to which the spambot-placed links point.

The fact that Movable Type is the target of spammers indicates how widely this toolset has been deployed. This is what a lot of people who are not programmers would consider a "good problem". But, keeping spam out of Movable Type weblogs where comments are generally permitted is going to be tough until an effective solution can be developed.

Ben Trott, the primary developer of Movable Type, commented on the comment spam problem about two weeks ago. The bottom line is that third party solutions are under development, but it appears that an enhancement of Movable Type that will "prevent" this problem from happening is not likely to be released soon.

October 20, 2003

ESPN Violates Cardinal Rule of Web by Deleting Articles by Fired Columnist

Lots of people in the weblog community have reported that Gregg Easterbrook has been fired by ESPN for using his weblog to make a prejudiced statement about Jewish entertainment executives in a negative comment about the Quentin Tarantino film Kill Bill.

The facts that:

  1. both ESPN and Miramax, the film's distributor, are subsidiaries of The Walt Disney Company, and
  2. both Michael Eisner, Disney CEO, and Harvey Weinstein, head of Miramax, are Jewish and criticized by name in his piece

... did not seem to concern Easterbrook before he was fired.

The most interesting recent development in this ongoing story is that has apparently deleted all of the articles that Easterbrook ever wrote for them. This is a violation of a cardinal rule of web publishing. Selective purges of website content written by a person no longer associated with the site owner often gives readers the impression that something Orwellian is taking place.

The other problem with pursuing a strategy like this is that search engines like Google maintain large caches of content from many websites in order to improve Google's performance, as well as to provide a second source for temporarily unavailable published information. So, many of Gregg Easterbrook's articles are still available in the Google cache.

ESPN is within their rights as an employer to fire Easterbrook. But, they undermine their credibility as an on-line publisher when they delete Easterbrook's articles in an atypical way. Even The New York Times handled recent staff dismissals better.

If you run a business weblog, you need to think carefully about the implications of a situation like that which ESPN faced with Gregg Easterbrook before it happens. What will you do if an employee who has written for your site embarasses the company, and he is subsequently fired? Will you systematically delete all references to him? We suggest that this is not the best approach in many cases.

October 7, 2003

Matt Haughey Describes a Creative Strategy for Building Profitable Weblogs

On Saturday, Matt Haughey published an interesting article on that describes how Google AdSense made his website PVRblog profitable. AdSense is a syndicated advertising service that allows small website operators to share advertising placement revenue with Google. PVRblog is a weblog about TiVo and ReplayTV personal video recorders.

The most interesting aspect of this article is the section labeled "Tips for a successful AdSense site", where Haughey outlines how to build a site that maximizes AdSense revenue. These are best practices for making weblogs pay for themselves. His suggestions are:

  1. Pick a topic
  2. Consider your topic as it relates to the web
  3. Be passionate and write your ass off
  4. Designing for Google and your audience
and equally important:
  • What not to do
This is a great article for anyone who wants to start a weblog that revolves around a hobby and wants to try to make it slightly profitable. These techniques may also apply to business weblogs, although it is not clear if ads from competitors can be screened out of the inventory that can be placed on participating sites.

September 30, 2003

Presidential Candidates Make Serious Use of Weblogs to Motivate Grassroots

Earlier this week Editor and Publisher ran a story on how weblogs are changing the way U.S. presidential campaigning is done for the November 2004 Election. The article cites a number of weblogs that have been launched, including Howard Dean's so-called Blog for America and a blog covering campaigning in New Hampshire, called

It is hard to put these political weblogs into perspective, because the majority of the current activity is on behalf of those opposed to George W. Bush. A lot of commentary on Howard Dean's use of the Internet has been very positive, although a few hardcore bloggers like Dave Winer and Doc Searls have put his effort into perspective.

We are in the early days of the use of weblog technology for national political campaign purposes. So far, the most successful applications seem to be fundraising related. One day, the aides to political candidates are going to figure out how to harness the technology. Then, they will be able to get their message out without media filtration.

It's far more difficult to judge how long this relatively sophisticated, rapidly evolving technique for grassroots politicking will take to arrive at the state and local level. Based on what arrives in our mailbox and what we hear over-the-air in New Jersey, it may take a couple of years for weblogs to be effectively utilizied here.

September 17, 2003

Washington Post Discusses Weblogs as Business Building Tools

Lost in the run-up to the anniversary of September 11 was an article in The Washington Post discussing the idea of using weblogs to increase business revenue. Earlier that week, a meeting had taken place in Tysons Corner, VA, where best practices were discussed. According to the article:

One theory tossed around at the New Media Society event Tuesday night was that e-mail marketing is dead and business blogs are rising up as the replacement. While the medium may not be in its grave yet, powerful spam filters that block out corporate e-mails have certainly limited its effectiveness. But some proponents of blogging say the new business-development tool can succeed in ways e-mail never could.

It's much harder to run a successful email marketing campaign than most business people think. The pitch has to be very focused, and mailed to a well-defined group of people-- preferably who have already "opted in". Email marketing should also be coordinated with additional information on a website, since people who are interested in the message will probably want more information.

Putting all of this information into a weblog is often a better alternative. Only one tool is necessary to post your information. Summaries of the information you provide on your website can be distributed to other websites using syndication technologies like RSS. Your website can collect information about current and potential customers, and that information can be funneled to salespeople at your company for followup.

Once you start telling a compelling story on a website, an audience for it can easily develop. Over the past year, people interested in business weblogging and web services have come to visit again and again. But, the key to increasing our business has been to keep the pointing out that the technologies we use can expand our customers' businesses.

So, by adding a weblog to your company's website, you can develop new clients and sell more products and services to your existing clients. By using existing web services interfaces to businesses like and Google, you can increase the revenues generated by your company's website.

September 8, 2003

Article Relates Weblogging to Other Technology-Driven Trends and "Amateurization"

Dave Aiello wrote, "One of the longer, more thought-provoking, and link-filled articles that I've read recently has been published by Tom Coates on In (Weblogs and) The Mass Amateurisation of (Nearly) Everything, Coates goes a long way toward explaining how weblogging tools dramatically increase the ability of individuals and organizations to inexpensively create structured document repositories."

"Weblogging tools have not only succeeded in providing a well-understood means of adding new content to a web site, they have also given rise to a series of best practices that revolve around site layout and organization. Over the last two years, many people have reorganized web sites into a weblog format that lists the highlights of recently-created site content in reverse chronological order. This form of organization was found to work well with search engines like Google, but also gave rise to a host of information discovery tools that feed off the weblog infrastructure (such as, Blogdex, and Technorati)."

"This article relates the development of weblog publishing systems to other revolutionary, computer-based knowledge creation tools that were perfected earlier: word processing and desktop publishing. It also correctly points out that the evolution of each of these publishing toolsets eventually led to an increased level of knowledge of their efficient uses. The ad hoc support communities that sprang up around word processing, desktop publishing, and weblogging led to an almost Darwinian evolution of state-of-the-art uses for each of them."

August 28, 2003

Editor and Publisher Touts RSS Over Email

In the latest Stop the Presses! column at, Steve Outing says that email is becoming an unreliable way for publishers to reach their audiences. This article is written to reach an audience of newspaper and magazine executives, but applies equally to the managers of companies who publish email newsletters.

Who'd have thought that things could get this bad? E-mail -- long touted as the "killer app" of the Internet and the best online channel for publishers -- is rapidly being decimated by spammers and virus writers. Yes, "decimated" is an accurate word. The evidence is quickly mounting that e-mail is no longer an efficient means for ethical publishers to reach subscribers....

Information design consultant Michael Fraase in a column last week wrote, "The spammers won. E-mail, for anything other than communicating with individuals you know already, is useless. ... Online publishers are struggling with the loss of the spam war, because e-mail was one of the best publishing tools the non-corporate media has ever seen."

Alternatively, Outing suggests summarizing information posted to a website by using RSS, the XML-based headline syndication standard. He says:

RSS allows potential readers of a Web site to view part of its content -- typically headlines and short blurbs -- without having to visit the content directly (unless they want to click through to it). Viewing is done with a piece of software separate from the Web browser, the RSS aggregator, which the consumer uses to subscribe to "feeds" produced by favorite Internet publishers. The feeds are constantly updated as the publishers add new content.

Of course, the easiest way to produce RSS feeds that summarize the content of a website is to use a weblog publishing tool to create the website's content in the first place. Tools such as MovableType, TypePad, Slash, and Manila are good choices, although their features and target audiences vary widely.

If you work for a company that produces an email newsletter, and you find that newsletter is generating less business recently, CTDATA can help. Contact us and we will be happy to discuss ways that you can migrate your message to a weblog-driven website.

August 15, 2003

Article Provides Great Roundup of Best Practices for Weblog URL Naming

Dave Aiello wrote, "Previously on CTDATA, I have discussed the problems that can occur when a weblog is migrated from one weblog management system to another. The biggest problem that I have identified so far is that the URLs for content pages often change when the new weblog software regenerates these pages."

"Last week, Brainstorms & Raves published an excellent roundup of information on this subject called Friendly, Lasting URLs. This article includes pointers to the information sources that we highlighted in our article Changing Weblogging Tools Can Be a Royal Pain, plus a number of new resources."

"I spent several frustrating hours yesterday trying to write a CGI program to redirect visitors to our sites from the old URLs to the new URLs, once the new weblog tool is up and running. It should not be as hard to write this program as it has been for me, particularly because I have made extensive modifications to our existing Slash-based content management system which is far more complicated than the redirector."

"Here on CTDATA, I will provide updates on my progress toward completing a URL redirector. If you are interested in the issues I am dealing with, feel free to contact me at dave_aiello at"

August 5, 2003

TypePad Goes Live with its Preview Release

Yesterday SixApart started started accepting signups for the Preview Release of TypePad. TypePad is a new hosted personal publishing service based on SixApart's widely used system called MovableType. TypePad adds several new features, however, including integrated site statistics, photo albums, and wireless updating (moblogging).

One site that has already been implemented on TypePad is PVRBlog, a weblog about personal video recorders such as TiVo.

A lot of bloggers have been watching the development of TypePad closely. It will be interesting to see how quickly the service builds a client base.

July 31, 2003

Changing Weblogging Tools Can Be a Royal Pain

One of the banes of a weblogger's existence is the lock-in you feel to the weblogging tool that you currently use. This is a serious issue for CTDATA. We have over 1,500 pages of content spread over three weblogs currently.

While we can quickly move the text of articles from two of our Slash-based weblogs to Movable Type, the URLs of the article pages would all be different when the site is regenerated. This would have the effect of breaking all of the external links to our weblogs, as well as most of the internal links on each site.

The reason we are talking about this openly is that this sort of problem can be avoided or at least minimized with careful up-front planning. When you start your weblog, make sure you think about the future value of your content, and what you will do to preserve that value if you ever have to change weblog tools or migrate from one server to another.

Mar Orlygsson has published two really useful articles that talk about this issue from the perspective of the Movable Type web publishing platform. His first, Movable Type's Non-permanent Permalinks, talks about the problems with the URLs that Movable Type chooses for individual archive entries by default.

He followed up that article a couple of weeks later with Howto: Future-proof URLs in Movable Type. This article discusses the idea of using the posting date as the key portion of the URLs for archived entries.

July 25, 2003

Article Says Movable Type Templates Can Substitute for Static Pages on a Web Site

One of the more interesting articles we stumbled across this week was published on, explaining how to use Movable Type templates as static pages on an MT-driven web site. According to the article:

The secret is simple: create new templates that hold your static content. Although templates were designed to feature output by the MT weblog content engine, there's no requirement for that, and this is a easy tweak of the system.

The article goes on to demonstrate how to build an "About" page for a web site in this fashion.

While it's a slight bit tedious to setup each static page in this way, you will gain the convenience of being able to update any page on your site directly within MT. You can continue creating as many pages as you need, such as a page for your resume, a page linking to your photo galleries, a contact page, a search page, and/or a links page.

This is a powerful idea and a slightly different approach than we have used here on (which is, at the moment, not powered by Movable Type). We have made every content page on this site an article in our content management system. This means that all of the pages use the same page template. We will consider adopting the approach proposed in this article, when we migrate this site to Movable Type.

July 23, 2003

Why Most Successful Weblogs are Tightly Focused

Dave Aiello wrote, "Everyday I find more evidence that a single weblog cannot serve multiple purposes well. The latest indication of this is the huge traffic spikes that has experienced around its stories that mention Lance Armstrong during the running of this year's Tour de France."

"At the time I started talking about Lance Armstrong on this web site, I had no idea how relentlessly people would seek information about him. I began to realize the strength of this phenomenon at the beginning of this year's pro cycling season, but, I kept posting information that I found interesting. This past week, the article Lance and Kristin Armstrong Working at Marriage Reconcilliation passed my resume and became the most requested article in the history of our website."

"The popularity of our Lance Armstrong articles actually has no bearing on the accessibility of other articles on this web site. It's still easy to find my resume via Google. The problem is that potential customers who access a site like CTDATA via a search engine might be confused as to the nature of this site."

"Is a personal weblog? Is it a site about cycling, or the War on Terror, or politics? Not really. is actually a corporate site, and CTDATA builds database-driven web sites and weblogs."

"This is the reason that I announced that would be refocused on business topics and later said that I would start a new weblog called I intend to put the postings of personal interest on my personal site, and reserve for business purposes."

"There is little point in deleting the articles that already exist on One of the most valuable parts of running a weblog, after all, is its archived content. But, we can always refocus and fine tune the content mix of the site as our business focus changes. This is critically important in order to maintain the relevance of this site to its audience, and something I would strongly recommend to anyone who is running a weblog for business purposes."

July 9, 2003

Marketing Web Site Gives Five Reasons Why Businesses Should Run Weblogs

Dave Winer of Scripting News pointed out an article on by Debbie Weill called 5 Key Questions (You’ve Been Dying) To Ask About Business Blogs. This is a good introductory article for businesses who are looking for justification to add a weblog component to a corporate site. Weill says:

... just maybe, blogs are the next killer app of online marketing. Technology evangelists like Chris Pirillo are saying that “email marketing is dead.” Killed by spam and clogged inboxes.

Will business blogs replace e-newsletters as the most powerful, cost-effective tool for communicating with customers? Should every company be adding a blog to its site—or replacing a static site with an ever changing Weblog?

She then goes on to ask and answer five good questions that any business person who does not yet understand weblogs would ask.

NY Times Says Some Businesses are Succeeding at Using Weblogs for Internal Communication

Art Iger of J.P. Morgan Chase pointed out a New York Times article that appeared in the Monday edition called Blogs in the Workplace. This article, written by William O'Shea talks about successes that certain companies have made using weblog technology as internal corporate communications vehicles. The article cites companies like Community Connect, Google, and Verizon as successful users of the technology.

The article talks about how companies that successfully implement internal weblogs use them to improve the flow of communication among employees. Here is an example:

At Community Connect, Mr. Tang's engineers use a service called LiveJournal to post updates about tasks like fixing server computers or configuring software. Hitting the upload button sends the text to a private site, viewable by the authors and their managers, including the date and time of the postings and, often, links to relevant Web pages.

O'Shea goes on to talk about tools such as LiveJournal, Userland Manila, and TeamPage that are a few of the possible choices for software with which to manage blogs.

June 30, 2003

Weblogs Working as Business Drivers in Minnesota

The two major newspapers in the Twin Cities areas of Minnesota have discovered that businesses are using weblogs. The St. Paul Pioneer Press ran an article on Friday called "Blogging for Business" that says that area entrepreneurs and politicians are using weblog technology to keep adding new and interesting content to their web sites. The article talks about the weblog being run by Ray Cox of Northfield Construction Company where Cox says:

It is good that the general media is picking up on blogs.... I really like the easy format that I can {use to} "talk" to folks and get information and opinions out quickly.... {The} main reason I started using a blog was because it is easy to use and allows me to update information in a timely fashion. I find regular webpages that have outdated information very frustrating.

The Pioneer Press article goes on to quote Andrew Eklund, a web marketing consultant, as saying:

Most corporate Web sites are still annoyingly dull.... Essentially, most are outdated repositories of unkempt content (without a) compelling voice. A blog can help change that.

For some reason, the Minneapolis Star Tribune published a remarkably similar article in their Sunday edition, quoting many of the same people. It's hard to fathom why they chose to do it. Whether they began working on their story and got scooped, or they felt that this was a particularly hot topic in the area is not clear.

The important aspect of using weblog technology on a corporate web site is that it increases the authenticity of the information. By attaching a name to each piece of information, potential customers see who works at the business, what they know, and the things that they think are important. You get even more bang-for-the-buck by writing in first person.

If blogging is done properly, the frequency of content updates is dramatically improved. The technology makes it easy to add things to the site, so why not update it on a daily or at least a semi-weekly basis? At CTDATA, we post things on our site almost every weekday. As a result, the site has a regular audience that communicates with our company and comments about what we post.

Whether you want to completely makeover your site using weblog technology or simply add a weblog to an existing site, CTDATA can help. Get in touch with us and we'll start making suggestions.

June 27, 2003

New Google Toolbar "BlogThis" Button Upsets Weblog Tool Developers has done a nice roundup of an emerging controversy over the Google Toolbar 2.0 Beta. At issue is the so-called BlogThis button which allows users to automatically start a posting on their weblogs about the web page they are currently viewing.

The problem with this feature, from the perspective of competing weblog tool developers and users, is that the BlogThis button only works with Blogger. Google purchased Blogger back in February. As Dave Winer noted on Scripting News yesterday, the BlogThis button could have been implemented with the Blogger API.

The Blogger API has been implemented by several competing weblog developers to facilitate the development of user-level publishing tools. If Google had chosen to build the BlogThis functionality atop the Blogger API, it would have allowed users of Radio Userland and Manila from Userland, Movable Type from Six Apart, and P-Machine to leverage this new feature as well.

There's nothing stopping Google from modifying the BlogThis button in subsequent betas of the Google Toolbar so that it works with the Blogger API. But, by releasing it without true API support, they have raised suspicion in a community that has been one of the keys to their past success.

June 26, 2003

ClickZ Founder Forms Company, Purchases and

Last night, reported that Andy Bourland, founder of ClickZ, has formed a new company and purchased two business-oriented on-line services, and Adventive. The new company called Up2Speed will apparently focus on on-line advertising and marketing. is a business-oriented weblog covering on-line marketing. According to PaidContent, it was launched in March of last year. For some time now, people following the business weblog / nanopublishing space have been saying that weblogs with a business focus and a measurable audience might be acquisition targets under the right circumstances. It looks like is one of the first proofs of that.

Adventive is the operator of about a dozen of mailing lists on topics as diverse as copywriting and wireless technology. PaidContent suggests that Adventive is the less valuable of the two companies, but, its mailing lists have tremendous reach. One of its smaller ones, I-Wireless, reportedly has 12,000 subscribers. A service like Adventive could be a driver of more business to Up2Speed's other on-line properties in the future.

June 24, 2003

New Format for Weblog Content Syndication and Why CTDATA Is Not Yet Interested

Dave Aiello wrote, "A number of prominent webloggers are writing about a proposed new standard for syndicating weblog content to replace the current format, called RSS. RSS began as a simple mechanism to allow one website to display headlines from another, complete with a link to the body of the article on the original website. It has evolved into the basis for a whole host of information management tools, including search engines, news aggregators, and statistics services that track weblog popularity and interlinking."

"Use of RSS began at the grassroots level, and this is part of the reason that there is some effort to replace it now. It is considered a fragmented standard, with numerous versions that are not logically evolved from each other. Some people say that a big reason to move away from RSS is that a few early webloggers have undue influence over its status as a de facto standard."

"I'm not in a rush to jump into the fray that is going to take place if another content syndication format is developed. Back in the Year 2000, this type of dispute took place over the creation of the so-called RSS 1.0 standard. That debate turned out to be largely a waste of bandwith. RSS 1.0 failed as a standard is that it was considered too complex by many people who were running weblogs back then."

"I am sure that the creation of a new standard will be just as ugly as revisions to RSS have been. Any new syndication format will have to be much better than what exists today, because tens of thousands of weblogs and dozens of infrastructure applications will need to be upgraded in order to support it."

"I encourage anyone who is primarily interested in running a weblog for communications or public relations purposes to stay away from the debate over new content syndication formats. Only true gearheads will be interested until after the dust settles."

June 23, 2003

Beta Test of TypePad Apparently Underway reports that a beta test of TypePad is apparently underway because some weblogs have received trackbacks from a server that appears to be TypePad.

TypePad is a forthcoming service from Six Apart that incorporates the features of Movable Type in a fully-hosted environment. This service has been talked about extensively in the Blogosphere because it is expected to lower a few technical barriers that sometimes cause people to choose Blogger over Movable Type. As such, the TypePad service can be thought of as an analogue to BlogSpot.

June 22, 2003

NY Times: The Corporate Blog Is Catching On

On Sunday, The New York Times reported that weblogging is catching on in corporations among senior executives. Examples of cited in the article include Alan Meckler's weblog for Jupitermedia, Halley's Comment by Halley Suitt of Yaga, James Horton's weblog at, and Tim O'Reilly's weblog on

The article focuses narrowly on CEOs and other senior executives, mostly at large companies. In a brief discussion of legal considerations, it mentions Groove Network's corporate weblog policy articulated by Ray Ozzie, along with the comment that "some experts suggest allowing only trusted employees to engage in the activity".

But, the article leaves out any mention of more broad-based efforts like Macromedia's weblogs. As such, it's showing a subset of the blogging activity in Corporate America. However, it's a coherent presentation, free of any apparent bias. This article is a good introduction to weblogging as a new business process.

Update: Rick Bruner of made a couple of interesting points in his coverage of this story. Many of the blogs cited use non-standard software, some lack permalinks, and one is ugly in his opinion.

June 21, 2003

Feedster Merges with rssSearch

Thursday, Feedster announced that it merged with rssSearch and that a new company called Feedster, LLC was formed as a result. Prior to the announcement, Feedster and rssSearch were competing weblog search engines.

Both Feedster and rssSearch were developed shortly after an article appeared on CTDATA called The Internet Needs a Search Engine Driven Off RSS Feeds. As the press release announcing the merger implies, Feedster had "first mover advantage" in the market, while rssSearch had technical superiority. Most people who thought that an RSS-based search engine was a good idea will probably consider the merger announcement a win for the weblog community.

In many ways, it is truly astounding that a free-standing company has been formed to operate a search engine for weblogs. This is an indication that innovation happens quickly in this market, in spite of otherwise difficult economic conditions.

June 20, 2003

Watchblog, A New Weblog About Politics

Dave Aiello wrote, "A new political weblog called Watchblog: 2004 Election News, Opinion, and Commentary was recently launched by Cameron Barrett of Camworld. Watchblog has already attracted a lot of attention in the weblog community. I think this is appropriate in light of Cameron Barrett's status in the weblog community and the novelty of the layout of the site."

"Camworld is one of the most successful weblogs in history, and was one of my early favorites. It went silent for about six months beginning in the Fall of 2002, but it never really lost its status in the weblog community during that time. I used Camworld as the example of a weblog that was popular in spite of its lack of freshnness in my essay The Long Shadow of Past Blogging Prowess written in late March. This essay was a critique of the blogrolling policies of many A-List weblogs, but may have seeemed like a rebuke directed at Cameron Barrett himself. Camworld made a fairly strong comeback in May and has been interesting since then, although I am just catching up with it after having removed it from the CTDATA blogroll and deleted my browser bookmark for it."

"Getting back to Watchblog, the big question in my mind when I look at it is: Will it work as it is currently designed? It's got a couple of novel design elements worth thinking about:"

  1. Three sub-weblogs laid out in a three-column format. It will be interesting to see if this works because the side-by-side nature begs the reader to compare the content in each column. But, length of each post and chronological (rather than topic) orientation will make comparisons difficult.

  2. Implied political orientation of each column. The Democratic and Republican sub-weblogs appear as the left and right columns, respectively, while the Third Party sub-weblog appears in the center. This dovetails with many people's assumptions about the polarization of American politics. The question that springs into my mind is: How big an assumption is it that third parties in this country occupy the ideological center? My initial answer is: That's a pretty big assumption.

"Other issues that will play a key role in on-going interest in Watchblog are:"

  1. Are the contributors for each sub-weblog equally matched? If there is an imbalance in rhetorical strength or posting commitment, this site could get boring quickly.

  2. Can a single weblog effectively cover the entire political spectrum? I think that most successful weblogs that have touched on politics have succeeded by having a clear point of view. Watchblog flies in the face of this notion.

"Several months ago, I decided to move away from politics, and I'm staying with that policy. Watchblog is worth mentioning, however, because of its unique design and the attention it's getting in the weblog community. It will be interesting to see if Watchblog continues to enjoy the amount of interest that it has initially attracted."

June 19, 2003

Glenn Reynolds on the Difference Between Good and Bad Weblogs

Dave Aiello wrote, "On Tech Central Station, Glenn Reynolds talks about what he thinks are the key differentiators between good and bad weblogs. In short, he thinks that good weblogs have personal voice and rapid response times. By personal voice, I think he means that most articles on the site are written in first person."

"Reynolds goes on to talk about the typical differences between weblogs written with personal voice and those written with institutional voice, and why personal voice may be a better choice for weblogs. He sees a direct relationship between the use of personal voice and the speed at which new content is posted to a weblog."

"He seems to be getting at the sense of ownership that an individual has in a weblog written in personal voice. However, it's hard to say that group weblogs like Slashdot and Marketing Fix are less timely, simply because they are not written by an individual."

"Some business people think that their entire web sites must be written in institutional voice. At CTDATA, we have tried to mix institutional voice with personal voice, and we have achieved some success. Strongly opinionated articles on our website are often written in personal voice, so that it's clear that these are the opinions of one person. Other articles are written in institutional voice, generally because they are more news-oriented. In the future, we intend to deepen this distinction by creating personal weblogs for some of our employees."

"It's important to understand that either approach is fine as long as there is some consistency to the style of the site. However, the more weblog-oriented the overall site is, the more likely it is to be written predominantly in personal voice."

June 18, 2003 Says Specialization is Key to Success in Weblogging

In the latest Alertbox, Jakob Nielsen says that the key to success in operating a small website is to focus on a very specific topic, and to dominate it. He says that this is particularly true for weblogs, and provides a number of statistics to back this up.

This article suggests that the range of information and opinion on the Internet creates many opportunities for web sites that have a unique point-of-view. And, carefully focused sites can attract an audience that becomes a committed user community.

Nielsen also points out that a lot of successful small web sites get a significant percentage of their traffic from search engines. We talked about this same idea in an article that appeared on in May, when we said:

It's clear from reviewing our referer logs that upwards of 25 percent of our daily traffic comes from casual Internet users using these search tools to locate information... that interests them.

This is where the importance of focus comes into play. Read on to learn why....

Continue reading " Says Specialization is Key to Success in Weblogging" »

June 17, 2003

Hiawatha Bray: Corporate America Has Discovered the Blog

Dave Winer pointed out an article by Hiawatha Bray in The Boston Globe called Companies Get into the Weblog Act. This is an excellent article focusing on the evolution of the weblog concept from a hobby into a methodology that can be leveraged by serious businesses. Bray says:

An idea this useful can't be left to mere hobbyists. Companies have begun to recognize the potential power of what buffs like to call ''the blog-

osphere.'' Consider: Every business needs to know what its employees know. Companies are crammed with experts on various topics whose knowledge goes to waste -- because nobody knows what they know. Now give these workers an internal corporate blog, and encourage them to use it. Let them natter away on every topic that intrigues them. Harvest and index the results. You've mapped your workers' brains. With a few keystrokes, a manager can find out who's been blogging about skiing or bowling or restoring classic cars -- just the thing when you're trying to sell something to an avid collector of '64 Mustangs. The company's hidden experts will cheerfully reveal themselves, and the firm's institutional memory gets an upgrade.

The key to successfully harnessing this movement on an Intranet is to allow it to evolve from the ground up. Trying to implement it from the top down, a process known as knowledge management, has been a hot idea in some large companies for years. The problem with knowledge management is that it has never achieved the potential that its evangelists expected.

The weblog movement, on the other hand, began modestly and is growing by leaps and bounds. Blogs can be great sources of information within a company, or a great channel of communication to a company's customers. The key success factor, more often than not, appears to be focus.

Bray cites Rock Regan, CIO of the State of Connecticut, as someone who knows how to get value out of blogging in his organization, and quotes him in the article.

June 16, 2003

Sydney Morning Herald Publishes Comparison of Blogging Tools

On Saturday, The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia published an article comparing several of the leading weblog authoring tools including Blogger, Radio Userland, Live Journal, Movable Type, and Greymatter. The author, Nicole Manktelow, carefully categorizes the tools discussed in the article as hosted services, do-it-yourself server-based tools, and desktop weblog authoring products.

Mankelow chooses one of the tools she mentions, Radio Userland, as her favorite. It might have been better to have chosen a tool in each category, and then designate a "best of the best" solution. Nevertheless, this article is quite valuable to people trying to understand the weblog market space, or people who have decided that they want to start a weblog, but haven't chosen an authoring tool yet.

June 13, 2003

"Introduction to Business Blogs" Presentation was Worth Attending

Dave Aiello wrote, "Last night I attended the Intro to Business Blogs panel discussion put on by the E-commerce Special Interest Group in Manhattan. I had mentioned this panel discussion on CTDATA yesterday."

"This was a good presentation, with material relevant to the stated subject, and panelists in substantial agreement about the fundimentals of blogging. If you know a thing or two about blogging already, you know that basic agreement on the later is sometimes difficult to achieve, particularly among veterans of the field."

"I think Rick Bruner of Executive Summary Consulting did a great job putting the panel together. Andrew Calimano of Integrated Direct Marketing deserves a lot of credit for asking Rick to recruit the panelists and moderate the session. Read on for further comments...."

Continue reading ""Introduction to Business Blogs" Presentation was Worth Attending" »

June 12, 2003

E-commerce SIG to Present Introduction to Business Blogs Tonight in New York City

Dave Aiello wrote, "I should have posted something about this event when I first heard about it, but.... I'll be attending the Intro to Business Blogs panel discussion being put on by the E-commerce Special Interest Group tonight, June 12, in New York City. A number of A-list bloggers are on the panel, including Rick Bruner, Anil Dash, Elizabeth Spiers, Aaron Bailey, and John Lawlor."

"I've been thinking to myself that there is something wrong if I am not attending events of this nature in New York City, given my relatively close proximity to the city. I was unable to attend the dinner in New York that Doc Searls organized at the beginning of May, and this is the first thing I've seen far enough in advance that I still had time to RSVP and attend. So, I'm going."

"Sorry I didn't post this sooner, for all of you CTDATA readers. It would have been fun to have several friends there. Instead, I'll have to mingle...."

May 21, 2003

Microdoc Documents the Lifecycle of a Story in the Blogosphere

Yesterday, Doc Searls pointed out that Microdoc News has done some interesting research into the dynamics of a story that is widely reported in the weblog community. Microdoc analyzed 45 different stories that appeared on several weblogs, and found several different evolutionary patterns. These patterns show the ways that weblogs influence each other.

The degree of influence that weblogs have upon each other is definitely the most interesting feature of the community, from the perspective of many analysts. It is obvious and well documented because the weblog community is entirely on-line, and meaningful statistics can be gathered both by automated means and by human observation.

Influence of one "traditional media outlet" over another is harder to measure in this fashion. It is argued by some media analysts that the national news programs on NBC, ABC, and CBS often broadcast stories that are derived from articles that appeared in The New York Times earlier in the day. But, such conclusions appear anecdotal because the Times puts a lot more of their best current content on the Internet than the broadcast networks. Also, broadcast news sites do not generally link to the New York Times or any other media outlet to show an explicit relationship between their story and what appeared in print elsewhere.

Doc's article points to the Microdoc research piece in the context of a continuing thread on mainstream media complaints about the influence of weblogs on results from search engines like Google. In order to appreciate what he is saying, it may be necessary to go back to several previous stories, including the aricle called "Printwash", where he discusses the possible loss of influence by major print publications like The New York Times because they place recent news stories in archives that are not accessible unless a fee is paid.

May 13, 2003

Fun With Blogshares

Dave Aiello wrote, "I noticed that CTDATA was listed on, a fantasy stock market for weblogs. So, I joined and claimed the site as mine. As a result, my virtual net worth rose from $500.00 all the way to $786.87."

"In case you hadn't noticed, Blogshares assigns a theoretical value to of just over $1,400. In times like these, it's nice to know that this site has a positive net worth by some public measure."

"Anyone can join Blogshares and get in on the speculation. I'll try to look at it from time to time, and report back on whether it's added some fun to my life."

Commentary Argues Against Likelyhood of Google Removing Weblog Content from Main Search Results

Dave Aiello wrote, "Doc Searls linked to CTDATA earlier today, in his piece called Enough Already. This takes us, and a number of others, to task for concluding that he believed that there was a possibility that Google would remove content on sites that are considered weblogs from its main search results, and segregate that content into a separate collection. If this were to happen, weblog content would be treated similarly to content that is considered news."

"For the record, Doc was pointing to an article in The Register, a British technology web sites, and commenting on the likelyhood of this actually coming to pass."

"I wrote the article on CTDATA that pointed to Doc's comments. The CTDATA article began:"

Last week, Dave Winer, Doc Searls, and some other A-List Bloggers suggested that Google may separate weblogs from other types of web sites when returning search results....

Dave Aiello continued, "I also put a link to Doc's article in that sentence."

"I'm sorry if I got the nuance of what Doc said wrong. I was simply trying to tie the discussion of a possible change in the way Google handles weblog content to a set of stories that appeared on CTDATA a month or so ago about RSS-specific search engines, and how such things would help the weblog community."

"I also discussed what weblog content segregation would mean to a site like I think that this sort of impact analysis might be helpful to people who are trying to understand the implications of such a decision, if Google ever decided to do what The Register article suggested."

May 12, 2003

Some Bloggers Suspect that Google Will Segregate Their Sites

Last week, Dave Winer, Doc Searls, and some other A-List Bloggers suggested that Google may separate weblogs from other types of web sites when returning search results. This would mean that, for all intents and purposes, Google would be creating a weblog-specific search engine, similar to the one that we envisioned in the article The Internet Needs a Search Engine Driven Off RSS Feeds.

This original article generated a tremendous amount of flow from other weblogs. The developers of Feedster and rssSearch also referred to this article as being critically important to their respective decisions to build their search services.

If Google actually removed weblog content from its general search results, we think it would not have as much of an impact on A-List weblogs as it does on smaller weblogs, like CTDATA. A-List weblogs have, by definition, a critical mass of regular readers. These weblogs have also developed a tendency to link to each other; Many of the authors of the technology-related weblogs know each other and support for each other in a "web-of-trust" sense.

On the other hand, sites like CTDATA get a lot of their traffic from search engines like Google, AllTheWeb, Yahoo!, AOL, and MSN. It's clear from reviewing our referer logs that upwards of 25 percent of our daily traffic comes from casual Internet users using these search tools to locate information about recent news topics that interest them. For examples, look for references to the CTDATA web site in the Google search results for lance armstrong separation, Naudet film, and Trenton post office.

Many of these casual Internet users seem to go to search engines, type a phrase, and follow the search results. These users will probably never look at the results under a "Weblogs" tab, if one existed on Google. Yet, we would not be disappointed if users stopped coming to us for information about Lance Armstrong's marriage. There are many sites that are more informative, if you require such information.

On the other hand, is both a weblog and the main corporate web site for Chatham Township Data Corporation. As such, we want at least some content from this site to appear in search engines' general results. So, if Google and other search sites segregated weblogs from their general search results, we would probably separate the CTDATA weblog from the CTDATA "brochureware" content.

April 12, 2003

Now Running Newsmonster Under Mozilla 1.2.1 for Windows

Dave Aiello wrote, "Last month I wrote about the initial release of Newsmonster, a cross-platform news aggregator that requires Mozilla and Java. I suggested that this would be a great alternative to products like Radio from Userland or Amphetadesk, because it is more cross-platform than Radio and more integrated into Mozilla than Amphetadesk."

"I bought a license for the Pro version of Newsmonster. This is the one that's supposed to be ad free and easier to install than the free version. It's definitely a breeze to install on Windows. But, I couldn't get it to install cleanly on my Red Hat 7.2 laptop."

"This is frustrating, but I understand Kevin Burton's emphasis on getting it right on the high volume user platforms before he really starts a significant effort to support the geeks. I'm going to try to use Newsmonster on my Windows 2000 desktop and report on its usefulness sometime next week. In the meantime, I would say that Linux users should be warned that there may be a good deal of head-scratching to do to get Newsmonster running. I have given up on getting it running on Linux for the time being."

April 1, 2003 Makes Several Changes to User Interface and Features

Yesterday, Jason DeFillipo announced that he has rolled out a series of changes to He notes that he has automated the PayPal interface for subscribers. This means that the advanced features that are available only to paying customers are accessible immediately after payment. This is a significant improvement over the previous mechanism, which required administrator intervention between payment and access to the advanced features.

DeFillipo has also made a number of user interface changes. One important change is the removal of the blogroll list from a registered user's home page. The blogrolls have been moved to their own page, accessible via the tabbed interface.

The biggest issues with the new user interface are the width of the graphics at the top of the page, and the placement of the home button on the far right of that graphic. On at least one computer that runs Mozilla 1.0.1 on Red Hat 7.2, the "BLOGrolling" graphic and the home icon beneath it are partially beyond the window's edge. If it were up to us, we would switch the home icon with the "Log-out" link. But, on balance, we like the new UI, and continue to recommend the service.

March 30, 2003

The Long Shadow of Past Blogging Prowess

Dave Aiello wrote, "CTDATA is a pretty good weblog. Sites like Scripting News and The Doc Searls Weblog link to us fairly regularly. I started a small wave that swept across the Blogosphere recently with The Internet Needs a Search Engine Driven Off RSS Feeds-- an article that contributed to the creation of Feedster and rssSearch."

"With all of this recent attention, you'd probably think that CTDATA is fairly high up the food chain in the Weblog community. Think again. Most of the sites that track weblogs, such as Technorati, BlogStreet, and TTLB, show an uptick in interest in this site whenever we publish an article that gets popular attention. But within a few days, we are languishing in the 'Insignificant Microbes' section again."

"The reason this happens is that big time bloggers link to us if we publish a good story. But, their attention to our site only counts in the blogging community for as long as that link appears on their home page. None of the major weblogs blogrolls us. Getting on the blogroll at one of these major weblogs is the surest path to a permanent improvement in a site's statistics."

"One of the impediments to up and coming weblogs, in my opinion, is sites that have fallen significantly from past glory but somehow still manage to show up on the blogrolls of influential sites. An example of this, and I can see the thunderbolts from Mount Olympus coming now, is a site like Camworld."

Continue reading "The Long Shadow of Past Blogging Prowess" »

March 28, 2003

RSS-Search Adds New Features

Dave Aiello wrote, "Earlier today, Francois Schiettecatte wrote to update me on, and I thought I'd pass the information on to our readers:"

Just wanted to let you know that I have made some changes to RSS Search. You can now download an RSS file for the results as well as subscribe to a news feed if you are using Radio Userland. You had specifically mentioned that in your article {referring to Head-to-Head Comparison Between rssSearch and Feedster, published March 20}.

I also added the ability to set searching preferences, so these are retained
across sessions.

Dave Aiello continued, "Francois is referring to the Search Preferences page on RSS-Search, not the controls that appear on the main page of the site itself. It took me a little while to figure out what he meant."

"Preference setting is definitely a useful feature if, for example, you want to see more search results per page. I think Google offers similar preference setting capabilities for its search engine. It's nice to see that the RSS search tools are reaching this level of maturity so quickly."

March 25, 2003

BlogStreet Does a Major Site Upgrade

BlogStreet recently released a major upgrade to its site. One of the biggest features of the upgrade is a major update to its database. Many other weblogs (including CTDATA) are now included.

BlogStreet was one of the earliest sites to show relationships between weblogs. It includes cutting edge features such as Visual Neighborhood which provides diagrams of the relationships between weblogs. BlogStreet also provides a text representation of weblog neighborhoods, and "BlogBack" which shows the blogroll relationship between weblogs.

Now that the database has been updated and includes CTDATA, it is far more useful to us. No doubt we will be visiting it on at least a daily basis.

March 21, 2003

Technorati Adds Current Events Feature to its Blogosphere Analysis Tools

Doc Searls scooped everyone yesterday with his story about Dave Sifry's latest addition to Technorati. This is a feature Sifry is calling Current Events in the Blogosphere. Sifry explains the design of this new feature on his own weblog. He says:

It is a list of the top links to "professional" news sites by bloggers in the last two hours, along with comments and analysis. I created it because, like most people, I've been following the progress of the war, watching and reading the mass media, and I wanted to know what people out there were saying about the news. What are the most important stories? What is real, and what is propaganda? What is not being reported, or is being underreported?

In our opinion, this type of current events aggregator is a great application of RSS. A lot of webloggers write about current events. The keys to getting value out of browsing an aggregation of current events articles from weblogs are:

  • immediacy of the information (hence, the 2 hour aggregation window)
  • relevance of any commentary that surrounds the link to the story

It's already obvious that you are going to get a wide range of opinions related news stories through this service. This makes it a complement to Google News.

This raises the inevitable question: Why didn't Google roll out a feature like this within days of the Blogger acquisition?

March 20, 2003

Head-to-Head Comparison Between rssSearch and Feedster

Dave Aiello wrote, "I've attempted to do a head-to-head comparison of the two new RSS-based search engines that have gone live recently. Both search engines have interesting features that set them apart from each other and from search engines that came before them."

"Here are the results of a quick feature comparison I did earlier this morning. YMMV, and I would appreciate it if you would send any comments or suggestions to me by email at dave_aiello at"

Unique rssSearch features:

  • visible relevance scoring
  • detailed "Search Report" for each search, including:
    • database statistics
    • equivalent search parameters
    • result summary for each part of the search term
  • similarity searching based on key attributes of one indexed document

Unique Feedster features:

  • "filter out" capabilities, to remove a given blog from search results
  • dynamic RSS generation, based on search parameters
  • visible display of number of links in article
  • direct link to comments on articles in search results, in some cases

"At the moment, rssSearch appears to be the more statistically-oriented of the two pure RSS Search Engines. But, Feedster seems to have an edge on Blogosphere-integration with its dynamic RSS feature. This looks like it is definitely worth an experiment or two."

"I am specifically not commenting on the relevance of the search results displayed by either search engine at this time. I have not had time to compare them."

"This is a fluid environment, and I expect lots of competition between these two search engines, and Daypop, which is more well known than either of them and has RSS search capabilities as well."

FS Consulting Enters the RSS Search Engine Fray

rssSearch is another RSS-based search engine developed by Francois Schiettecatte of FS Consulting. CTDATA has known about this development effort for almost two weeks, but, we were asked not to mention it until some data quality issues were worked out.

Francois has begun a new weblog called that discusses developments at his company. Yesterday, he published specs for the server on which rssSearch runs. It's interesting to read about the infrastructure that people use to run weblog-related services.

March 17, 2003

Dan Bricklin Makes the Case for Small Business Weblogs

Dan Bricklin (of Visicalc and Trellix fame) wrote an outstanding essay for his web site called Small Business Blogging that was published last August. It came to our attention because Doc Searls pointed to it in a list of links associated with corporate blogging.

Bricklin's essay almost lays out a business plan for companies that want to sell blogging to businesses like bed-and-breakfasts, specialty stores, companies that have technical support as part of their business, as well as companies taking part in major projects or that find themselves in crisis.

The article also articulates the purpose of the weblog features of fairly well:

Consultants are already very common users of blogs.... A blog is a way of showing your expertise and establishing yourself as a trustworthy authority without the travel. The time necessary to maintain the blog comes out of the time that would have been spent at some of the meetings. (A blog is an excellent way to build up your "authority" to move up politically in a trade association, too. Your readers would be others in your field, not customers.)

March 14, 2003

The Search Engine Formerly Known as Roogle Comes Up With a New Name

Dave Aiello wrote, "I'm a little out of the loop on this, but, I am asking myself why Scott Johnson changed the name of his RSS Search engine to Feedster from Roogle? What's the difference? Wouldn't a name like Feedster also set off alarm bells in some Intellectual Property circles?"

"Prior to Feedster, there was Napster, Aimster, Madster, and several others. Most of these were peer-to-peer file sharing communities that were subject to intense litigation. Why would anyone want to take the risk of being lumped in with that sort of site?"

"I think that there is some risk of confusion and a somewhat higher risk of building a brand that is impaired from the outset. What do I mean by confusion? Well, the Feedster home page doesn't even say that the site is an RSS search engine anymore."

Update by Dave Aiello, 2:52pm: I noticed that the title tag says "RSS Search Engine", but it's not visible in the body of the page. Where's Jakob Nielsen when we need him?

"Scott spoke about the futility of corporate naming exercises on his weblog:"

... I think everyone would rather have us making you the best possible RSS search engine NOT doing the corporate naming exercise.

"I would have picked a name that either described an RSS search engine in no uncertain terms, or, one which is as unique today as Google was when it went live on the Internet."

March 12, 2003

AP: Blogging Goes Mainstream

On Monday, The Associated Press published an interesting summary of recent developments in the weblog community. The article points to the blogging phenomenon as the next great hope for entrepreneurial activity on the Internet: more people have embraced the concept, what once seemed like a passing fancy has morphed into a cutting-edge phenomenon that may provide the platform for the Internet's next wave of innovation and moneymaking opportunities.

This article goes on to draw parallels between the so-called Blogosphere and the Borg, a collective intelligence that appears in the television and movie series Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek Voyager, and Star Trek: First Contact. Although this concept is introduced by reference from someone who played a minor role in Google's acquisition of Pyra Labs, it is a bit of a digression from the other points in the article.

Todd Copilevitz from Richards Interactive is also quoted extensively in the article:

With blogging, all you really need is an articulate point of view and some dedication to reach a very broad audience.... If you read these sites long enough, you see points of intersections where the opinion makers gather. It's a phenomenon that's not on the mainstream radar quite yet, but it will be in six months.

These observations are interesting since they come from the group that has reportedly developed the marketing campaign for Raging Cow, a new milk-based soft drink to be released by Dr. Pepper in April. This marketing effort has been extensively discussed on weblogs for the past 10 days, and current thinking is that the publicity generated by it will not be that favorable.

March 9, 2003

Ask and You Shall Receive, I Guess

Dave Aiello wrote, "A hat tip to Dave Winer for making The Internet Needs a Search Engine Driven Off RSS Feeds the most widely quoted article in CTDATA history. I've never posted anything that generated nearly that response."

"Scott Johnson from The Fuzzy Group jumped on this idea and developed an RSS Search Engine that he initially called Roogle. When he told me about this, I responded as follows:"

Glad you got a little inspiration out of my essay. I appreciate the simplicity of your interface. In many respects, that's what I'm looking for. But, I think you are making a mistake by taking Google's UI and making small mods to it. I wouldn't want to answer "cease and desist" letters....

"I think that Scott Johnson deserves credit for moving quickly and implementing a new weblog service that obviously has a lot of initial interest. It will be interesting to see what he can do with this opportunity, from a business perspective."

March 6, 2003

The Internet Needs a Search Engine Driven Off RSS Feeds

Dave Aiello wrote, "A number of bloggers have pointed to the article Unearthing Dirt in Weblogs Still a Black Art by Mark Glaser. Glaser rightly points out that sites like Google News exclude almost every weblog from their search results, instead focusing on sites operated by the mainstream media. He goes on to say that Blogdex and Daypop have more references to mainstream media web sites than to weblogs."

"I could argue that Blogdex's, and to a lesser extent Daypop's, primary function is to glean what weblogs are talking about, not specifically what they say. Nevertheless, I think that many weblogs contain valuable information, useful analysis, and commentary in their own rights. This information is hard to get at unless you use a broad search engine like Google or AllTheWeb. But then weblog results are co-mingled with information coming from all sorts of sites that have nothing to do with the genre."

"One of the things that I had hoped was that Google would launch an RSS search engine after it acquired Pyra Labs, the company that developed Blogger. Many webloggers, such as Dave Winer, have given up on this. But, I see no reason why a pure RSS-based search engine would not be a valuable addition to the Internet. There is no question that it is technically possible."

"Such a search engine would make it possible for news hounds to go straight to the source of grassroots buzz that often results in stories published in The New York Times or The Washington Post, or on Slashdot, two or three days later. It would also segregate the results of weblogs from more 'edited' sources of news-- that still clearly matters to some people."

"I think the blogosphere has reached a point where people would like to be able to search for information that has specifically been published on weblogs. I think the metadata already exists for a blog-specific search engine (in the form of RSS), the infrastructure is fairly obvious (see,and the auto-discovery mechanism makes it easy for a search engine to work without requiring blogs to register themselves."

"The big question in my mind is who will develop a pure RSS-based search engine with the same sort of simplicity for which Google is already famous?"

Continue reading "The Internet Needs a Search Engine Driven Off RSS Feeds" »

March 4, 2003

Is Slashdot Part of the Weblog Culture?

Dave Aiello wrote, "One of the questions I've been thinking about recently is whether Slashdot is a full participant in the weblog culture? Of course, Slashdot is referenced on weblog service sites like But, at times Slashdot is oddly out of sync with the buzz in the weblog community as a whole."

"A recent example of this is the Slashdot article about the Raging Cow beverage and the plan Dr. Pepper has to use weblogs to promote it. Although the story points to a Newsweek article, in the recent past many people who live on the web would have learned about its existence from Slashdot. But now that stories are moving through The Weblog Community at lightning speed, Slashdot is sort of late to get to the story."

"Take a look at the Technorati Link Cosmos for the Newsweek story. Note that weblogs who pointed to the Newsweek story earliest were fully two days ahead of the first Slashdot article."

"Admittedly, this is an anecdotal analysis. Slashdot ran 18 stories on March 4, and most of the current event stories probably got up there more quickly than this one. But, this situation suggests that Slashdot's readers don't watch other weblogs very closely and suggest stories based on what they read. Either that or Slashdot editors are making assumptions about the timeliness of the stories in their submission queue that may be worth questioning."

"I'll have to pay closer attention to this for the next couple of weeks, and see if it's a trend."

March 3, 2003

Dr. Pepper Will Reportedly Used Weblogs to Promote New Soft Drinks

Newsweek is reporting that Dr. Pepper plans to use weblogs to promote a new milk-based soft drink called Raging Cow. The product, to be made in several different flavors, is expected to be launched in April.

This article is very short and only introduces the strategy. But, it contains a comment from Doc Searls that calls the strategy into question.

If Dr. Pepper attempts to use third-party weblogs as a promotion vehicle, they will probably use weblogs operated by high school and college-aged people. It's unlikely that technically-oriented weblogs will be part of the program.

Blogosphere Echosystem Relaunched on "The Truth Laid Bear"

In our periodic scan of Blogdex, we noticed that attention was again being paid to The Blogosphere Echosystem, one of the original attempts to measure the influence of individual weblogs. In an article on The Truth Laid Bear called The Ecosystem Returns, N.Z. Bear explains that the new version of the Echosystem is automated and based on PHP and mySQL.

Although the system is now automated, it does not appear to be using's changes.xml to determine what to crawl. This probably reduces the amount of bandwidth that rebuilding the Ecosystem consumes. But, it also means that most weblogs need to be added to the system manually. Weblogs can be added to the Ecosystem using TTLB Blogosphere Echosystem: Add Your Weblog form.

February 25, 2003

Daypop Adds Word Bursts to Their Toolset

Over the weekend, Daypop announced that it had implemented a word burst reporting tool. According to the announcement that Dan Chan made on his weblog:

Shortly after putting up the Top 40, I realized there were plenty of memes that make the rounds that weren't accompanied by links. Either the meme was a topic of conversation that had no link, or it was a meme that had no single, authoritative link. Catching heightened word usage is a natural extension to the Top 40.

I kept the idea on the back burner until very recently, when I realized Joe Millionaire was the buzz, but there were no authoritative links to anchor the meme. There was the one link to the Joe Millionaire site but few bloggers linked to it when writing about the show....

Chan goes on to say that he heard about word burst research done at Cornell and published in New Scientist, that this brought it altogether for him, and as a result he produced the Daypop Word Bursts function.

It's amazing that Daypop produced this function so quickly. But they had the infrastructure to do it quickly, took a shot at it, and will undoubtedly improve it.

Dave Aiello wrote, "FWIW, Dave Winer pointed Daypop word bursts out on Scripting News a few minutes before I began writing this story. Thanks for jogging my memory."

February 24, 2003

Now, The BBC Promotes Mobile Blogging

The BBC has run an article about mobile weblog writing. This has resulted in another round of attention from webloggers, like CTDATA and Slashdot.

You have to marvel at the white-hot nature of this technology concept, when so many major sites are willing to give attention to software in such early stages of development.

For what it's worth (FWIW), the first article posted on from a mobile device appeared on March 5, 2002. This goes to show you that the traditional editing interfaces for weblogs have been available to mobile users for a long time. The technology to connect to websites from cellphones has existed since CDPD-enabled phones and micro web browsers debuted a long time ago.

February 21, 2003

WiredNews Talks About Tools Under Development for Mobile Blogging

Wired News reported that a number of tools that are under development to allow weblog writers to update their sites using mobile devices. Among the tools available are Manywhere Moblogger, Wapblog, FoneBlog, and Kablog.

Some of these tools are prototype quality at best. But, it is astounding how quickly developers are announcing product ideas in this space. It's almost as if everyone with any development skill in the weblog community thinks that it is time to publicize their ideas, now that a major acquisition has been made in this part of the market.

February 20, 2003

Another Reason Google May Have Wanted to Buy Pyra

Danny Sullivan of suggests another reason why Google may have wanted to buy Pyra, the provider of Blogger, blogs may be an ideal distribution platform for Google's AdWords. According to Sullivan:

The Blogger network features plenty of high-quality web sites where Google could place contextually-relevant paid listings.

Huh? How can Google put its paid listings, which are generated by search requests, out on pages where no searches take place? Simple. Google just needs to make an educated guess as to what a page is about. That's easily done in various ways. Google could analyze its search logs to see which sites in the network are coming up for particular queries. In other cases, the content of the weblog makes it obvious what it's about.

Newsmonster Under Development as Cross-Platform Weblog Management Tool

Doc Searls pointed out that Newsmonster is under development. Newsmonster is a cross-platform reader/manager for RSS-enabled sites. This looks like a great product for people who would like some of the functionality of products like Radio and Amphetadesk but don't run them because of platform or workstation configuration issues.

Update: Jason DeFillippo noted that Newsmonster doesn't play too well with other applications that also use Mozilla. YMMV.

Building a Blogroll with is Easy

Dave Aiello wrote, "Many weblogs have 'blogrolls' that are sets of links to other weblogs that the author consults frequently. Lists like these can be tedious to maintain, but a service called makes it much easier."

" is a simple service that lets you flag the home pages of weblogs you visit (using a Javascript-enabled browser bookmark), and retrieve the blogroll via RSS or a piece of Javascript code."

"I built a blogroll by revisiting my browser bookmarks, hitting the Blogroll this button on my navigation bar each time and filling out a small dialog box. Then, I added an RSS Slashbox to the home page, and I had a working blogroll."

"It actually took longer to write the story describing the process of building a blogroll using than it did to build and integrate the blogroll in the first place. This service is highly recommended. I wish I'd thought of it first...."

February 19, 2003

How Weblog Monitors Automatically Discover RSS Feeds

Dave Aiello wrote, "I noticed that BlogStreet had no idea that CTDATA, RCNJ, and AAHArefs exist and I decided to figure out why. One reason appeared to be that BlogStreet uses a mechanism to automatically discover the URL for the RSS feed for a website."

"In the BlogStreet FAQ, I found an entry explaining how BlogStreet discovers the RSS feed for a website:"

The easiest and confirming to standards {sic} way is to include the following meta tag on your blog's index page:

<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="RSS" href="__YOUR_RSS_URL__">

RSS Discovery has other algorithms to identify a blog's RSS feed but the above mentioned is the best manner to do so.

Dave Aiello continued, "Once I found this information, and changed the websites' headers accordingly, I wondered how long this standard had been in existence. I googled a portion of the meta tag, and found reference to an update to the standard on on June 2, 2002. So, this standard must have been developed around the middle of last year."

February 18, 2003

Natural Size of Weblog Audience May Be Around 150 People

Steve Mallett wrote another provocative article for O'Reilly Network called Community <= 150. In it, he draws upon information in Malcolm Gladwell's
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
by Steven Johnson to suggest that the natural size of a weblog's audience may be as small as 150 readers:

I've found that bloggers are outpacing slashdot for innovative topics and conversation and I don't think it's the blogging mechanisms that achieve that as much as the natural selection of bloggers they connect with. The number of blogs that I read hovers around 150. Beyond that many start to contain the same voice as others and/or are equal replacements for ones in my list already and so don't add any value....

Consider another phenomenom we've all experienced. You join a community, whether it's an email list, website or other and it gains some popularity and so the members in the community grows into an unmanagable size. When I say manageable, I mean self-managing. And so you leave or become frustated and you lament the 'good ole days' of what your community was.

February 17, 2003

Microsoft Wants Web Communities Like the Democrats Want Talk Radio

About 10 days ago, Robert Scoble wrote that Microsoft is jealous of Slashdot and Scripting News. In his article, he quoted a marketing person who works closely with Microsoft as saying, "Microsoft wants to help webloggers and others build strong communities like Slashdot around {Microsoft} products." Scoble then went on to give 9 reasons why this will not work.

This seems quite similar to the effort by Democratic Party activists to create a talk radio network that emphasizes the left wing viewpoint to compete with established hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Michael Savage.

Both Microsoft and the Democratic Party have virtual monopolies in areas of American bureaucracy that are key influencers of public opinion. Microsoft nearly owns the IT departments of mid-sized corporations, and dominates the retail distribution sector of the computer industry. The Democratic Party has the mainstream media and most of academia in its back pocket.

You'd figure that both of these institutions would know that they can be the dominant force in their parts of American Society for years to come if they remain patient, cater to the true believers, and keep convincing a significant percentage of newcomers that their ideology is correct. By taking their eyes off the ball and courting the natural constituencies of their competitors, Microsoft and the Democratic Party have given their competitors unexpected shots at legitimacy.

Let's hope that these trends continue.

February 16, 2003

Why Post Comments on a Weblog When You Can Roll Your Own?

On O'Reilly Network, Steve Mallett pointed out an obvious side-effect of the momentum of the blogging phenomenon: the deterioration of the comments sections of all but the largest weblogs. This is so obvious, but rarely discussed in print:

Let's say that there is a really interesting story on Slashdot about a subject close to your heart. You wish to contribute to the conversation taking place, but have not commented in the first 200-300 comments. You're voice is generally lost among those already written....

What I've noticed is that people are choosing to have their conversations among themselves via weblog and have taken their conversation to a different level insuring their voice is heard. Among conversations between five to ten people each will make commentary from their own personal soapbox, their weblog instead of commenting in someone else's space.

The implications of this phenomenon are profound. If you haven't considered this web community evolutionary megatrend, you should definitely read the article.

Google Buys Pyra, But Why?

Dan Gillmor of the San Jose Mercury News broke the story that Google has bought Pyra Labs, better known for its Blogger weblog software and services. Our big question about the acquisition, not answered to our satisfaction in Gillmor's otherwise excellent article, is why?

The most obvious reason we can find for Google to buy Pyra is to get access to the referrer logs of thousands of actively updated weblogs. This would give Google some insight into news that is resonating at the grassroots level. Often such news is not yet hitting the major publications that it indexes with Google News.

Is that the reason they did the deal? Who knows? But, the other factor to consider is price. They may have been able to do this deal very cheaply, given the valuation that free services like Blogger have these days.

February 13, 2003

Dave Aiello Quoted in O'Reilly's Online Catalog

Dave Aiello wrote, "I Googled myself a little while ago, as I do from time to time, and found that I am now quoted on the reviews page for the book
Running Weblogs with Slash
. O'Reilly's web site quotes me as follows:"

if you have a desire to build a web site running on Slash and you don't want to spend the months that it took me to read the code line-by-line, 'Running Weblogs with Slash' is a good place to start...I would strongly recommend this book to you if you plan to build a Slash-based site and you want to develop a basic understanding of the Slash software as quickly as possible.

(The passage originally appeared in my review of 'Running Weblogs with Slash' that ran on Slashdot about a year ago.)

"This is one of the happiest discoveries I've made recently. To the folks that run, thanks for quoting me."

PayPal Account Started for Replacement of Doc Searls' Laptop

Dave Aiello wrote, "Chris Pirillo announced that he started a PayPal account to buy Doc Searls a new laptop. This is a nice idea and an even better PR move for Chris. This story made me review what I know about Doc's situation, and a similarly expensive loss that occurred in my area recently."

"Doc said that his laptop was stolen from his car. So, some insurance should pay for replacement of the equipment itself."

"I know of a high school hockey player here in New Jersey that had all of his goalie equipment stolen from his parents' car-- also a small four-figure replacement cost. When I asked him how the loss was dealt with, he told me that his parents' homeowner's insurance paid for replacement."

"Assuming that this coverage is not unique to New Jersey, I would expect that Doc would get his laptop replaced in that manner as well, unless the computer was owned by a company rather than him, personally. If the computer is owned by a company, then all bets are off regarding replacement-- it depends on how much insurance the company has and what it covers."

February 11, 2003

Excellent Weblogging Article Published in March 2003 Edition of Linux Journal

Doc Searls and Dave Sifry wrote an excellent article in the March 2003 issue of Linux Journal called Building with Blogs. If you want to read the article today, you'll have to buy the magazine, because LJ doesn't put most of its content on the web (at least immediately).

The article has a great overview of blogging systems, discussion sites, content management systems, and wikis, as well as a list of 10 criteria that can be used to determine whether the configuration of any one of these software platforms qualifies as a weblog.

February 10, 2003

Doc Searls' Laptop Stolen

Dave Aiello wrote, "Doc Searls, the Senior Editor of Linux Journal, reported that his laptop was stolen on Saturday. Searls said, 'Pretty much my whole life was on it. I'm not even sure what to do next....' You're telling me. I'd be dead if this happened to me (figuratively)."

"I wrote to Doc and expressed my sympathy. He was the only prominent weblogger to pick up my story about astronaut Mike Mullane's book and the eerie way Mullane predicted the disintegration of a shuttle due to reentry problems. I wish I could do more for him, but all I could do was say:"


I'm truly sorry to hear about your laptop. This made me go out and get a copy of Arkeia Light for the server in my office and start backing up my laptop....

Dave continued, "Let this be a lesson for the rest of us. Get with the program and back up your digital life. I'm humble enough to say that I have a problem with this sort of disaster preparedness, and I'll do what I can to mitigate the problem before the end of the week."

February 3, 2003

Dave Winer on the U.S. Space Program and the Web as a News Source During Crises

Dave Winer speaks for a lot of people who believe in the "big goals" approach to space exploration:

Space travel is more important than the seven people who died and the billions of dollars that were lost. Every time we've gone to space there were benefits that we didn't know about before, that we reaped later. The computer you're using right now is a product of lots of space missions. This is where the moon mission style of development came from. I'm a big believer in it because it produces results. Declare an impossible mission and then achieve it. Then take stock. There's a pretty good chance you invented something important along the way. But you were too busy to notice.

Winer's essay also calls for an effort to document problems that people had in getting information quickly on to the web in the aftermath of the Columbia disaster. This is not so much a request for a catalog of access problems, if any occurred, but, for a discussion of issues with the efficiency of weblog publishing tools. This is a good idea.

Doc Searls Produces an Excellent Series of Links on Columbia Disaster

Doc Searls has a lot of interest in space exploration. Check out the large set of links he created to information about and reflections on the Columbia disaster.

January 18, 2003

New York Times Profiles Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit

On Thursday, The New York Times profiled Glenn Reynolds, a law professor at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville who is better known to the world as the author of Instapundit. This article is an interesting look at the life of one of the world's most famous weblog writers.

Is it every webloggers dream to be profiled in The New York Times? Probably not. But, if you are going to spend as much time on your weblog as Glenn Reynolds spends on his, it couldn't hurt.

December 19, 2002

Washington Post Highlights Practical Limits on Some Webloggers Freedom of Speech

The Washington Post has run an article in today's edition that provides an overview of some of the hazards of publishing potentially sensitive information in a Weblog. The article talks about situations like violating the letter of a nondisclosure agreement, and writing about office politics even if certain elements of the story are fictionalized.

The article also did not mention the possible impact on one's career that publishing politically incorrect viewpoints on the Internet might have. We see this as a significant risk associated with blogging as well.

This article is more useful to people who are very familiar with the structure and content of a typical weblog than it would be to someone who is casually interested in expressing himself on the Internet. There are definitely risks associated with telling the world what you think. But, someone who is not already a weblogger may not be able to put those risks into proper context after reading this article.

November 22, 2002

Earthweb Publishes IT Manager's Introduction to Weblog and Wiki Tools

We noticed that Dave Winer of Scripting News pointed to an article on Earthweb called Give Your Users the Power of the Press With Weblogs and Wikis. This is a good article for corporate IT managers to read if they are interested in providing basic web publishing tools to their users.

We haven't talked much about Wikis here on CTDATA, but they are useful knowledge sharing tools if they are structured correctly. According to the Portland Pattern Repository, a popular Wiki:

The ideas of 'Wiki' may seem strange at first, but dive in and explore its links. 'Wiki' is a composition system; it's a discussion medium; it's a repository; it's a mail system; it's a tool for collaboration. Really, we don't know quite what it is, but it's a fun way of communicating asynchronously across the network while dynamically sharing your ideas.

The Earthweb article says that in wiki originator Ward Cunningham's
The Wiki Way
, "...companies as disparate as Motorola and The New York Times are reported to use wikis for everything from workflow management to troubleticketing to collaborative documentation projects."

October 22, 2002

Latest Sign that Weblogging is a Fad: Doonesbury Strips on Blogging

We'd be remiss if we didn't point out that yesterday's Doonesbury comic strip was about weblogging. The story continues today, with a suggestion that webloggers are plagiarists. Not exactly subtle social commentary on Gary Trudeau's part.

Also, note the fact that the characters are gathered around an iMac. Is this a subtle criticism of the iMac or a plug?

Slash Book Author Writes on Development of Online Communities

Dave Aiello wrote, "chromatic, one of the authors of Running Weblogs with Slash, has written an excellent piece for The O'Reilly Network called Building Online Communities. In it, he discusses the intangibles that help to turn a website into an online community. These include letting the website have a simple and clear purpose, and the power of referrals from already successful online communities."

You'll know you have a healthy community when users comment publicly that "this is the best site I've ever used," "I came here because of the goal, but stay around because of the people I've met," amd "No other place on the Internet is like this." Happy users tend to talk in terms reminiscent of Manifest Destiny and settlers in a little-p paradise. It occurs in almost every healthy, somewhat-social community. Strongly-technical communities, like software development mailing lists, tend not to exhibit this behavior.

Dave Aiello continued, "I read every article of this nature with interest. This is because two of the websites CTDATA manages, AAHArefs and the Rensselaer Club of New Jersey, are online communities whose success can be measured by how often the sites' core users return and how much new information they contribute. "

Continue reading "Slash Book Author Writes on Development of Online Communities" »

August 27, 2002

Myelin Produces an Improved Version of the Weblog Ecosystem

Earlier this month, pointed to two metadirectory of weblogs that attempt to relate the major weblogs to each other. In our original article we said, "Another take on this concept is myelin: blogging ecosystem. Not sure how Myelin differs from The Truth Laid Bear, actually."

It turns out that The Truth Laid Bear's Blogosphere Ecosystem is the static output of a program last run in July, while Myelin's Blogging Ecosystem is actually the product of a daemon written in Python that is rerun periodically. On that basis alone, we recommend that weblog fans use the Blogging Ecosystem as a tool to better understand the interrelationships between weblogs.

One question remains, however: why aren't or any of the other weblogs we run part of the Blogging Ecosystem dataset?

August 25, 2002

Wired News Suggests that Many Weblogs have Short Lifecycles

Wired News reports many new weblogs are created by the former authors of older weblogs, and that the lifecycle of weblogs is shorter than many recent mainstream media articles have implied.

The article points to F***ed Weblog, an offshoot of Davezilla that is a weblog following the demise of other weblogs. This is modeled after F***ed Company, a very successful sited that has tracked the demise of many Dot Coms.

Another idea for a website is a content syndication site in reverse. It would monitor the RSS feeds of weblogs, looking for a long gap in publishing. It would somehow sort the weblogs by length of outage, or a ratio of total stories published in the 90 day period prior to the last update and the length of the outage. It could be done programmatically, but no one has done it, as far as we know.

August 20, 2002

Steven Levy Writes about Weblogs in Newsweek: Does it Matter?

Dave Aiello wrote, "In reading a number of the major weblogs, I've seen links to an article by Steven Levy in Newsweek called Living in the Blog-osphere. Levy is a famous technology columnist and author, but I'm wondering what new information he's bringing to the table. Let's look at a few comments from somewhat famous bloggers to find out:"

Glenn Fleishman, Levy on Blogging: "I like this Newsweek story by Steven Levy . It captures the encompassing blobbiness of blogging, and he doesn't fall into any of the old monolithic warblogging/techblogging/navelgazingblogging traps. Way to go! I'm mentioned only vaguely...he mentions a variety of kinds of blogs including those on 802.11 wireless networking."

JD Lasica, Newsweek's Levy on life in the blogosphere: "Levy's written about blogs before, and the column is accompanied by video clips he did several months ago."

Nick Denton, Steven Levy does blogs: "Levy's months behind his competitors in covering weblogs, but he's on the savvy side."

Dave Aiello continued, "The encompassing blobbiness of blogging? Let's face it, some of these big time bloggers fall asleep sometimes. I'd rather leave CTDATA without an update than write something that looks completely stupid when taken out of context. And, it wouldn't matter if they mentioned me or not."