Archives for May 2005

Press Release RSS Feeds

Steve Rubel notes that Google now offers a atom format feed of its press releases. His comment says it all: “It’s more efficient for journalists when PR professionals post press releases themselves in a timely matter and simultaneously generate opt-in RSS alerts.”

Danny Sullivan lists additional notes along with the feeds offered by Yahoo and MSN.

This is one of the most efficient applications of RSS and I think we’ll see a lot more on this topic over the rest of the year. In fact, I just posted about using press release RSS feeds last week with a list of applications outside the distribution of the feed itself.

As a distribution format, RSS feeds are perfect for press releases, newsletters and article marketing. Benefits range from unfiltered and near real time updates to subscribers as well as a method of improving link popularity and search engine rankings.

Google Page Rank Dead?

I noticed a Webmaster World thread this morning regarding the Google toolbar showing a grayed out PageRank for all sites.

Quite a bit of discussion on various search engine forums as noted by Search Engine Roundtable

– WebmasterWorld
– Search Engine Watch Forums
DigitalPoint Forums
Cre8asite Forums
SEO Chat Forums
– HighRankings Forums
– SEOGuy Forums
IHelpYou Forums
WebWorkShop Forums
SitePoint Forums

Also with some interesting coments by Aaron Wall, of SEO Book:

PageRank is cheap marketing for Google.

PageRank gives the average webmaster very little useful data while giving Google tons of marketing at a cheap cheap price, also inflating link costs for naive webmasters.

Vote – Marketing Sherpa Blog Awards

I’m very pleased to mention that Online Marketing Blog was included in the “” category for MarketingSherpa’s 2nd Annual Reader’s Choice Blog Awards.

I hold in very high esteem as the single best resource for marketing case studies and practical marketing tips.

Please take a moment to in the Blogs on Online Marketing category.

Overall Categories:

General Marketing/Advertising blogs
Group Weblogs
Blogs on PR
B-to-b marketing blogs
Blogs on small business marketing
Blogs on online marketing
Blogs on niche marketing
Blogs on search marketing
Blogs in other languages

Some of my favorite blogs were also nominated. Please watch for them and vote:
AdRants
Seth Godin
Marketing VOX
PR Machine
B2B Lead Generation Blog
Duct Tape Marketing
Small Business Trends
Search Engine Lowdown
Search Engine Roundtable

Does your business really need a blog?

The truth is, not all businesses need to have a blog. Blogevangelists might have you believe otherwise, but there are always enthusiasts that make blanket endorsements for up and coming technologies.

The back and forth between blog pundits and critics reminds me of all the noise people used to make in the mid nineties about web sites. There were as many critics on the need for a web site then as there are about blogs now. Half of all SMBs still don’t have web sites today, but does anyone question the value of a web site?

Blogs are tools. People are keen to criticize things they don’t understand. Most people that blog don’t understand the potential uses of blogs and RSS, let alone blog critics.

Google Fusion

During the Google Factory tour yesterday Marissa Mayer pitched a for the Google home page. A suggests the new portal looking, customization feature was developed as a way to assembled the various features of Google in one place: Gmail, news, weather, etc.

This initial version offers links to various Google services as well as RSS feeds from several major news sites (BBC, the New York Times, Slashdot, Wired). Some nice features include drag and drop editing and dynamic sizing.

Mayer commented, “We’ve seen that there were users who wanted more on their home page… and this is a way to give them more access to their information. I feel this is different my MyYahoo!. The fact that some people may say it looks like it’s aimed at MyYahoo! was not the reason.”

Google Friends Newsletter Revived

I just received an email from the long dormant Google Friends group.

“We didn’t plan on having such a long hiatus from this newsletter, and for that we apologize. Aside from other projects we’ve worked on lately, we’ve revamped this newsletter. Each month from now on you’ll see an insider’s roundup of Google tips, insights into our products, plus stuff that inspires us.”

This discussion group was previously hosted with but moved last year. Now it’s hosted with Google Groups (beta). If you want to keep up to date with happenings at Google you can subscribe to here.

Yahoo Does Tags

Yahoo today posted in their blog about Tag Soup du Jour From YSDN. It’s a creation from the Yahoo! Search Developer Network (YSDN). What this shows you is how popular a tag is. The more it’s being used, the bigger the font size. It’s a quick overview of the most popular news stories on Yahoo News currently. Unfortunately it just grabs tags from Yahoo news at the moment, however these tag maps are popping up all over the internet. I was hoping that this was a creation as the main search engines have pretty much ignored tagging. I’m hoping that Yahoo or can create a better, more relevant, searching system with tags someday.

MSN revives RSS aggregator and bookmarking tools

MSN blog posted an entry with links to the start.com/1 RSS aggregator and start.com/2 bookmarking tools. I first noticed these Online Marketing Blog/2005/03/msn-rss-aggregator-startcom.html”>earlier in the year and it was interesting to see what would come out of it. The urls have been dead for a while but are now back online.

As a web based RSS feed aggregator, start.com/1 actually works pretty well – allowing you to add individual RSS feeds or import an OPML file easily or you can click on the preselected feeds on the left that are organized according to tabbed categories along the top.

However, to “start” using it, you need to click the “show” link. I don’t know why that is, the options should display first.

Business Blogs and Marketing

eMarketer has issued a new report on blogging for businesses: “The Business of Blogging

The report “looks at the implications of the blogging phenomenon for businesses, scans the corporate world’s blogging activity, and offers recommendations for business users.”

Interestingly, “just 4% of major US corporations have blogs available to the public ¬ó and even fewer produce active sites with the link and feedback features that most readers associate with true blogs.”

The rate of blog readership in general is not growing as fast as it was during the political race last year, but as a business communication tool, business blog creation and readership is definitely growing. Read Anita Campbell’s post, 10% of Small Business Marketing Plans Include Blogs where she describes a study by HP on small business owners.

RSS – A non-technical introduction

There has been a lot of talk in the web world about RSS lately and there are lots of web sites that tell you what it is, however I’m going to try and explain it in an easy to understand way.

means “Really Simple Syndication” which is basically a way for a web site or blog to provide content in a standard format that you can subscribe to using a RSS reader. There are hundreds of RSS readers out there for Mac and PC. Some are based online, like Bloglines, others are programs you run from your computer. [Mac Readers] [PC Readers] [More Readers] Some free, some cost a little. I use Sage RSS reader as part of my web browser. It’s free and works on both Mac and PC.

Google Acquires Dodgeball

I’ll be honest, I had not heard of Dodgeball.com before and they offer the service here in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Google has acquired Dodgeball as of today. Basically, it’s a mobile social networking service using your text-messaging-enabled cell phone/pda/whatever.

Here’s a description of Dodgeball from New York Magazine:

“When Dodgeball users “check in” at a given locale by sending out a text message, it goes to all their preselected friends, as well as any friends of friends within a ten-block radius. A photo is sent along with the alert-which helps with identifying near strangers. Introductions are made, beer is poured, and then hookups can occur-casually, and in a low-pressure environment, all under the guise of knowing someone in common. It’s Friendster, except in real time and in the real world.”

Google to integrate Gmail with Blogger?

A recent article in InfoWorld references an interview with Blogger’s Biz Stone regarding enhancements to the Blogger service.

Updates may include:

  • Enterprise blogging
  • Create private groups
  • Image uploading directly to blogger.com
  • Integration with Gmail

The article also mentions efforts made to improve the performance of blogger as well as the recent moblogging enhancement.

There are a lot of enhancements I’d love to see in blogger. Fortunately, I’ve been able to use 3rd party tools to compensate including Haloscan for trackback, Bloglet for email subscriptions, Feedburner for an RSS feed and Hitslink for site visitor statistics. Another welcome improvement would be the ability to associated posts with one or more topical categories.

With enhancements like these, I would be a lot more inclined to recommend Blogger as a blogging platform.