Scobleizer Weblog

Daily link Sunday, September 19, 2004

50 years ago this is what they thought a home computer would look like.

Makes me wonder how weird the world will turn out in 50 more years. If I live that long I'll be almost 90. (Thanks to Rich Manalang for bringing us that look back at the past).

That's just one of the hundreds of items I dropped on my link blog this weekend.

Update: this photo is a hoax, my readers have pointed out. Proves you can fool me, but you can't fool everyone.

11:11:54 PM    comment 

I really like Flickr, from Ludicorp. Stewart Butterfield's company. But today I went looking for an RSS feed. I can't find one. For any of this stuff. Neither could NewsGator. Stewart, what's up? You have the coolest new photo sharing app on the planet. Where are your RSS feeds for your company's Web site? Can you make them easier to find please?

Am I just blind?

9:00:08 PM    comment 

Shelley Powers, on my post about how to get your blog discovered: Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong.

I'm going to add #9 to the list: criticize a blogger.


Personally, Shelley is right on. Do what you do cause you want to do it, not cause you think you're gonna get some traffic. If you do it for superficial reasons you'll come up short. People can smell through that, and anyway you won't keep your blog going cause even if you get the traffic it won't be fun.

Hint: I do this cause it's fun. More fun for me than almost anything else I can think of doing.

8:52:14 PM    comment 

Marc Canter deals with the death of his father.

I can't imagine. I haven't lost anyone in my family close to me yet.

Don't know who Canter is? He founded Macromind, which later became Macromedia.

8:38:41 PM    comment 

Adam Curry was an MTV VDJ in the late 80s. But lately he's been doing some wild stuff on his new audio blog (he calls it your daily source code). Dave Winer yesterday told me I was missing out by not listening.

Damn I wish I had Adam's talent.

It's an MP3. What else?

Update: if I was rating this, I'd rate it PG 13 for drug humor and playing a George Carlin humor clip.

Update2: I fixed an error that Roy Green pointed out in my comments. Thanks Roy!

8:12:05 PM    comment 

Brent Charbonneau takes the lazy way to getting his blog noticed.

2:43:00 PM    comment 

Mike Manuel, another PR blogger, says "[Scoble is] not like any other employee at Microsoft."

Thank Allah!

Just think how boring the world would be if all 800 or so of Microsoft's bloggers all pointed to stuff like this really cool TabletPC-generated blog post.

What the heck is that? It's Inkable Type. Read more about it here.

You know, isn't it dangerous when PR people start to praise you? Hmm, I wonder if I'll be able to avoid the disease that's hit so many people in the past: believing your own PR.

Maybe I should pay Steve to write some anti PR about me. Dang, where's Gentoo or Jeremy Allison when you need them?

Update: Neville Hobson writes "Having said that, I do hope that Robert's inimitable personal style continues and doesn't get pushed into some restrictive corporate box."

If I get put in a box, it'll be blogged here first. Well, unless it's the other kind of box, and then you'll read about it on the death blog.

2:20:30 PM    comment 

Steve Rubel, the NY PR blogger, who is the PR guy for and Weatherbug, says that my posting of my press policy was a significant event in the corporate blogosphere.

He also says other nice things. I'm honored, too, to call Steve a friend.

1:44:51 PM    comment 

Funny cartoon:

Neville Hobson linked to that, via Joana Filipa.

1:12:47 PM    comment 

Just loaded a whole bunch of stuff up on my link blog. Including this link from Iggy Kin:

Tablet PC used by South Korean president. Now THAT'S influential!

Speaking of influence, how do you get noticed among the geek crowd? Win a contest. There's two coming up that are worth developer's consideration:

1) The Topcoder Open computer programming tournament.

2) The Imagine Cup -- for student artists and programmers.

Good luck to all! I hear the US National finals for the Imagine cup will be here in Redmond next May. I'll definitely be there. Hoping I'll go to the final in Japan. Last year's contest had unbelieveably skilled entries (watch the student video categories, very inspiring).

1:07:41 PM    comment 

Jeff Sandquist goes backstage at the Farm Aid Concert and takes us along.

11:52:13 AM    comment 

Dave Winer: what is moblogging?

Hint: I am not moblogging right now. :-)

10:51:24 AM    comment 

Mikal makes a very common mistake about weblogs: "if no one has linked to [my blog], then it might take Google forever to find it."

This is absolutely not true, but it prompted me to write a blog on all the ways your blog can be discovered.

First, why isn't it true? Well, if you're using a modern weblog tool your tool will ping a weblog ping server. There are at least two that I know about:


Update: Karsten Schneider says that Pingomatic is even better cause it'll automatically ping 14 different places.

Your weblog is really not a weblog unless you ping one of these two sites. Make sure your blog tool pings at least one of these two sites (and I'd recommend pinging both). This is one of five things that make weblogs different from standard old Web pages. (I've written about the five rules of conversational software before, but they are 1) Easy to publish. 2) Discoverable. 3) Social (track linking between sites). 4) Viral (permalinks are built for each content component so that content can be IM'd or emailed around). 5) Consumable (blogs should publish RSS feeds so that readers can easily subscribe to your content).)

How does a ping server make your blog discoverable? Easy. If you've published in the past few minutes you'll be listed at

Very few people understand this site's role in the bootstrapping of the weblog world. Let's go back to 2000 when I first started blogging. There were only a small number of weblogs back then. Dave Winer showed me how he built his weblog. He'd visit this page every day and visit every link on that page. That's how he got cool stuff on his blog before almost anyone else did.

By doing that he built a resource that brought more and more people into the blogging world. I remember distinctly that his first link to me brought about 3,000 visitors.

How did that bootstrap the weblog movement? Well, other bloggers who started up figured out the same thing. So we soon started visiting links on to try to find the cool new site or blog before anyone else.

By the end of 2001, though, that approach was quickly becoming too hard. Why? There were too many weblogs!

About that time is when sites like Technorati and Feedster and Daypop and Blogdex (and later Pubsub) started to appear.

All of these sites, along with the major search engines, now visited regularly to "spider" these sites.

Today a new blog only takes a few minutes to get into Technorati. Don't believe me? This was tested at the O'Reilly Emerging Technology conference earlier this year. Dave Sifry, founder of Technorati, asked the audience to blog his talk. It took three minutes for the first post about the talk to appear in Technorati's engine.

Google and MSN, while glacially slow in comparison, have sped up quite a bit. It used to take a month or maybe even longer for a blog to appear in Google's main index. Now it takes only a day or two. Same for MSN search. I haven't been using Yahoo search lately, but I'd expect they work just as fast. Maybe someone should do a test to see how speedy all the search engines are with new blogs.

But, that's the "automatic" way that blogs can be discovered. What are some other approaches for a new blogger to get discovered?

1) Link to other people. Lots of them. And then click each link on your own blog. Why does that work? Well, because good bloggers watch their referer logs. That shows bloggers who has linked to the blog, and how much traffic they've sent to it. Believe it or not, but I read my own referer page from the bottom up. Why? Because I want to find the blogger that doesn't have much traffic yet. Everyone knows about Dave Winer. But how many people know Alex Mallet (the guy who currently was at the bottom of my referer page)? Where am I most likely to find a news scoop? On Dave's site? Or on Alex's?

2) Email a blogger you like. Note that I didn't say "an A-list blogger." Don't just go for the traffic. Go for the quality. If you like Alex's writing and/or content but don't like Dave's, isn't a link from Alex better for you? Plus, if you think the content you have on your blog is better for Alex then for Dave, aren't you more efficiently using everyone's time? That said, if you think you got something that Dave would be interested in, feel free to email him. One rule: don't beg for a link. Just say "here's something that I think you might be interested in." Let Dave or Alex decide whether or not it's good enough for their readership.

3) Put your blog in your email signature. I've visited many blogs after someone wrote me a real interesting email, even on a totally non-blog-related topic.

4) Put your blog in your forum profile. For instance, if you post something over on Channel 9, make sure your blog is in your bio and listed under your name. I find a lot of cool blogs that way. Same thing on newsgroups. Just don't spam the group and say "visit me." Instead, post something that'll be interesting to the group. Copy and paste it into the newsgroup so people don't need to leave the newsgroup, but feel free to put your blog URL at the top of the message.

5) If you're IM'ing, feel free to tell your partner you have a blog. I get a lot of IM's and I like to read the blogs of the people I'm IM'ing with.

6) Hang out with smart (or at least interesting) people. For instance, Alex Mallet is working in Drew Endy's lab at MIT. Now, Drew is the guy who blew us all away at FooCamp last weekend. Just the fact that Alex can hang out with Drew and understand what Drew is asking for makes him far more interesting. Subscribed without even reading another post. Figure out who the "connectors" in your community are and find out how to hang out with them. If they get to know you, chances are they are looking for new people to link to. For instance, if you're a political blogger I'd be trying to figure out how to meet Glenn Reynolds or Andrew Sullivan. These two guys alone have hundreds of thousands of readers per day.

6B) Go to a user group and get known to people. Many people meet at my geek dinners who I hadn't been reading before. After getting to know them over beers I found them to be doing interesting things and I wanted to read their blog. "Do you have a blog?" That's your in. Do you have business cards with your blog address on them to hand out at parties or dinners or other social events? Why not? Do you attend user groups? Why not? Meetups? Why not? Have you spoken at a user group? Why not? Get up on stage. It'll change your life. Volunteer to help run a meeting. Bring donuts or pizza for everyone. Make an impression. Get people to figure out who you are and why they should talk to you. Remember eBay's Jeffrey McManus? At FooCamp he served everyone martinis. Total investment? Maybe $200. But everyone will forever remember who he is and what company he represents. And he's already gotten two links on my blog.

7) Write comments in other people's blogs. But make the comments smart and interesting. How did I find Mikal? In my comments. Yeah, eventually he would have shown up in my referer log, or on Feedster or Pubsub or Technorati sooner or later, but every comment that gets left on my blog is emailed to me so I read them all. Don't forget to use your real name and leave your blog's URL there too.

8) Appeal to your favorite blogger's Feedster and Pubsub searches. Good bloggers are building lots of Feedster and Pubsub searches (the searches build RSS feeds that you can track over time). Learn how these work.

There are probably a few other ways that you can get your blog discovered too. Anyone have any other good ones?

Update: Biz Stone says he just wrote a blog entry on promoting your blog.

Note how Biz and Karsten just turned comments in my comment area into links on my blog. Yes, Dennis Pallett, one of my Pubsub and Feedster searches is for my last name.

10:47:09 AM    comment 

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© Copyright 2005
Robert Scoble
My cell phone: 425-205-1921
Are you with the press?
Last updated:
5/11/2005; 12:57:00 AM.

Robert Scoble works at Microsoft (title: technical evangelist). Everything here, though, is his personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. No warranties or other guarantees will be offered as to the quality of the opinions or anything else offered here.

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