Musicblogocide 2010: Google shuts ’em down

When Public Enemy released their classic hit Shut 'em down, they were criticizing authorities. Yet recently, Google has given the track's title a completely new meaning: without any prior warning, the company shut down at least six renowned music blogs hosted on Blogger/Blogspot. Or, as Paidcontent.org puts, it, “wiped them from the internet”: Read more

How to impress a French girl

I'm not a big fan of Google in general: there services are not that great, but there's no alternative. But it regularly frightens me how this machine works. Today, European director Steve Rogers told an Austrian newspaper: “When a company gets bigger, it is seen as intransparent. But we try to be as transparent as possible.” Right after that Mr. Rogers showed what he really means when he answered the next two questions about Google's situation in China: “I'm not allowed to comment on this.” (Kleine Zeitung, February 9th 2010, page 29). Temper, temper! Read more

Videocamp Vienna 2010 Pictures

Thanks and shout-outs to all sponsors, visitors, talkers and hosts at Videocamp Vienna 2010! Organizing the event together with Austrian television station ATV and Datenwerk was a great experience – and we're all very satisfied with the premiere of Austria's first online video barcamp. Knowledge was transferred, experiences were shared, a lot of visitors had to update their “met in real life” Twitter list – just the way we like it. I'm already looking forward to Videocamp Vienna 2010!


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No bright future for Google Wave?

When Google launched their latest gadget “Wave”, everybody was so keen on getting an invitation – I've sent out about 60 invites via my blogs, yet I haven't been using Wave a lot. Neither in the beginning nor lately: it's lame (even when used with Chrome, large multimedia Waves are basically unusable on netbooks), it lacks a lot of important features and – most important of all – it's generally quite unsexy, According to Silicon Alley Insider, I'm not alone with this opinion.

Their Chart of the Day clearly shows a rapidly decreasing number of users, even geeks seem to have abandonned the ship for now. It won't probably sink any time soon, but it definitely won't replace e-mail (that's on of Google's idea behind the system) in the near future.

This kind of launch scenario is pretty unusual for the big G: usually, when a new service gets launched, an immediate success story follows. Just remember Gmail or Analytics – those products basically took existing services like web statistics or web mail inboxes, improved them in a major way and gave them away for free: Gmail offers nearly unlimited storage, Analytics is a mighty tracking tool (I still prefer Clicky by far though – it's all about the realtime), but Wave is actually the first genuinely new service which Google has ever offered.

So I wonder if we're just witnessing a temporary decrease in usage numbers, or if Wave just offers the wrong bells and whistles. Because this might be the first #fail in the company's history… So what's your opinion on the future of Google Wave?

Video Camp Vienna 2010: Moving online pictures

Vienna's first VideoCamp ever (a BarCamp specializing in digital video) takes place at Media Quarter St. Marx on the 30th of January 2010. ATV, Austria's leading private tv station, Datenwerk Innovation Agency and datenschmutz (aka my German-language blog) are extremely proud to invite podcasters, tv professionals, video-freaks and other moving-picture geeks to join an intense day of sessions and discussions.

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WordPress 2.9.1 – Minor Updates, Simple Tags Hack

WordPress 2.9 is still quite fresh, but today the team released a new version including some minor bug fixes. WordPress 2.9.1 fixes scheduling-errors which occurred on some hosts. The update can either be triggered via the admin or you can upload the files via ftp, no database update necessary this time.

But there's another plugin-related issue: since the upgrade to 2.9, many WordPress bloggers miss Simple Tags: the tag management plugin just stopped to work, but worry not: it's just a hard-coded version check, a simple hack makes the plugin work again. Read more

Just in case you need a Google Invite…

I got 30 more invites left. Just drop me a note and I'll send one to the e-mail address you provided. But please don't ask what to use your newly-won realtime comfort for. Frankly speaking, I have got no idea yet. But I said the same thing about Twitter when I registered my account there, so I'll keep waiting for the wave frenzy to happen. What's your opinion? Are you already surfing the wave?

foursquare.com + formspring.me = fourspring.me

I admit: this equation does indeed have more than one solution – the result could just as well have been formsquare.com. But it wasn't. And that's why the maximum mash-up for all geeks trying hard to keep up with the latest hype(s) enters the stage with a noisy, frightening BANG. There are many old sayings perfectly describing this delicate situation: An RSS feed in the aggregator is worth two in a web / A site and its RSS feed are soon parted & Better a big aggregator on a little domain than a little content on many sites. Can you smell where I'm getting at? Indeed: datadirt proudly presents: fourspring.me!

In case you have any questions about this new mash-up (which is so fresh and cool that even TechCrunch hasn't mentioned it yet) there is a dedicated contact address. I made an old dream come true and got me an e-mail address which is really easy to remember. (if domain.length < 63 chars than domain = NOT):

ritchie.blogfried.pettauer@I-have-a-longer-email-address-than-you-because-size-does-matter.org

In case you want an address (as a forward to an existing mailbox), just drop me a message.

datadirt Geek Supplies: Background-Template for formspring

Foursquare.com is getting gold: hype-searching geeks are moving on, and these days their favorite URL is formspring.me: it's a really simple q-and-a platform – kind of like Twitter, but without the 140 character limit. The service lacks a lot features, it's still in a pretty early stage, which didn't keep me from registering though: formspring.me/datadirt.

formspring.meThe setup just takes a minute: like on Twitter, there's the avatar pic, the homepage URL, a short description and that's it. When it comes to eye candy, formspring.me offers a couple of templates, but the more brand-aware user can also upload their own background pic – now in 2 minutes, because I've compiled a Photoshop-template that speeds up the process of creating a custom formspring template a lot. Read more

Synchronizing online marketing efforts

Traditional companies often have a hard time dealing with social media marketing – for many reasons. One of them lies in the difficulty of properly “synchronizing” their various online marketing activities. The following anecdote shows that in some cases public relations and marketing heavily disagree when it comes to chosing the right business partners.

Act 1: An online retailer is planning a PR event. The PR woman contacts me to tell me that this event is very interesting for my readers and that I should consider publishing a preview post. Happens all the time – but amazingly enough, in this case she was right.

Act 2 / different stage, same play: A couple of weeks before I had applied as an affiliate with the same company – they were listed with a large international network, the application itself just requires two clicks. Just a few minutes after the e-mail about the PR event (which was related to their product portfolio) and a couple of weeks after my application I received the following (text-module based) notification:

Your application for the partner program ‘XXXXXXX” with your URL-account ‘datenschmutz blog' unfortunately was denied.

Possible reasons:
* Your site does not meet the merchant's content requirements
* Your site is in an unfinished state or is not working properly

Indeed… the second argument is very true: my blog will never be finished, it's an ongoing project :mrgreen: I'm fully aware of the fact that two different people are responsible for these two fields – yet successfully “synchronizing” a company's online activity range is one of the main web 2.0 marketing challenges. This has a lot do with internal knowledge management and communication structures, and these factors have played a vital role long before social media existed – but there is one huge difference: social media points out short-comings in this area most effectively.

I know this may come as a bit of the shock: but the marketing, the advertising, the PR, the IT and all the other departments must start talking to each other and focus on a common strategy. Great remuneration awaits: it's called authenticity.

News on FastBlogFinder: Version 3.0 available next week

I started using Fast Blogfinder almost exactly one year ago. And I've used this genius dofollow-recherche tool quite intensely as no other SEO software helps me generate hi-quality dofollow links that fast. (Check my in-depth review). Automated commenting system are nothing but spam tools – at best, they don't damage your Google ranking. FBL however does not post any comments, but it's an effective tool to identify related postings in your topical niche, but the commenting itself is done manually. The new version 3.0 will be available on 10th of December and I got some first-hand details.

Also, working with FBL does have some highly welcome side-effects: I constantly discover interesting postings – and every time I run a search I always find a lot of input for my own articles. FBL 2.6 worked very well, but the upcoming version is adding even more precision – and some crowd wisdom:

Fast Blog Finder v3.0 has a new engine which recognizes new blog platforms and finds much more DoFollow blogs than the earlier version. When developing the v3.0 we spent many hours for manually verifying hundreds of blogs to ensure that the program determined the blog type correctly.
Despite this, we don't expect the program to be 100% accurate in analyzing the blogs. So, we added the “Report Wrong Blog Type” option to the program. Using this option you can send us the URL of the blog that was determined incorrectly by Fast Blog Finder. We'll check it out and make improvements in the program engine.

Julia did an in-depth comparison of version 3 – and the results are very convincing. Here's a screenshot of the new version:

Fast Blogfinder 3.0 Screenshot

How much does the upgrade cost?

As soon as I twittered the news, some of my contacts inquired the upgrade-price for existing users. I believe the pricing model is really fair:

  • New customers who haven't been using FBL before pay $99 for Fast Blogfinder Version 3.
  • Users who bought their existing license within a 90-day timeframe before the release of the version get the upgrade for free
  • Existing users with an older license pay $25 for the upgrade until Christmas holidays, after that the upgrade costs $44,50.

If you like to try before you buy, download the trial version – but I guess no pro-blogger can afford not to use FBL these days! :mrgreen:

Fast Blogfinder trial version [*.exe file, 150kB)
Buy Fast Blogfinder (If you buy the current version now, you get the update to 3.0 for free next week)