Muschamp Rd

MyBlogLog Widget

January 9th, 2007
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MyBlogLog is one of many companies and websites that have sprung up to serve the blogosphere. It doesn’t hosts blogs like Blogger, but like Blogger you create a profile. It is not a blog search engine nor a feed aggregator. They are closer to an online social network based around bloggers.

I learned about it through one of the blogs I follow. Ed Sim’s BeyondVC introduced me to MyBlogLog, his VC firm isn’t an investor, I was informed of my mistake by a member of the MyBlogLog team. Ed often writes about companies he invests in and I must have not remembered correctly… I did some Googling and found Ed’s original post, sorry about that Scott Rafer and crew.

One of the services MyBlogLog provides is web statistics. I briefly installed the script then decided I didn’t need a third tracking script, I already have Google Analytics and Mint. I uninstalled the script and never went back to the site after originally signing up until I got an email.

A blogger sent me an email through MyBlogLog, adding me to his ‘friends‘ or the MyBlogLog equivalent. This blogger was someone who I had heard of through SEOBlackhat, I don’t know if he is an A-list blogger, I don’t know what his Technorati ranking is, he isn’t Chinese so he is ultimately doomed, the Chinese will probably take over much of the Technorati Top 100. His blog is likely more popular than mine, most are. I don’t even know my own Technorati Ranking. I don’t blog to be popular. I left a message on his profile thanking him and took a second look at MyBlogLog’s services.

One service they have is widgets, which will work with WordPress but I had to modify my theme and sidebar. I got one of their widgets to work. I spent a lot of time working on it prior to one of my recent phone interviews, because I’m focused. :-/ I’ve also looked at my statistics, I can not look at today’s stats on MyBlogLog, I also only get my top ten most popular referrers, posts, and outgoing links. It is the latter that is most interesting. Mint doesn’t really provide much on this, at least how I have it set up. And I haven’t looked at Google Analytics in months it seems, but MyBlogLog showed a disturbing trend. One of my more dubious posts is still one of my most popular so I deleted a bunch of the outgoing links as I don’t want to be responsible for sending strange people to other people’s blogs. I figured if I could find it in Google others could, but that is not true, some people know how to search the net a lot better than average.

Now all this wasn’t why I decided to finally post about MyBlogLog, the widget I did install shows the last five MyBlogLog members to view my site. It must use cookies and it is in an opt-in service, but it still has privacy issues.

Maybe there is a more sophisticated way to monitor it, maybe this is a value added service, or a good candidate for a value added service. Anyway after my last post on my recent lack of guitar playing I noticed that a JHuba had viewed my blog. This is none other than Jackie Huba co-author of “Citizen Marketers: When People Are the Message?. Now most people would be happy that the author of the only book you’ve ever reviewed took the time to read my review. Maybe I should have sucked up more. ;-)

I was surprised, but also a little worried. I’ve made my share of impulsive posts and I worry about what kinda first impression this may give to my future boss, but what I’m really worried about is MyBlogLog’s cookie. In my review of “Citizen Marketers” I wrote how voyeurism and the anonymity that some people think they enjoy online is a factor in the success of Web 2.0 darlings like Flickr and MySpace. Now because I decided to install a widget just to see what it would do I now know Jackie Hubba viewed my blog and I know people had previously clicked on the link to Todd Sampson’s MyBlogLog profile and they very well may click on Jackie’s.

What worries me and maybe I’m the only person who thinks this way, I always come up with the worst case scenario… Let’s just say if my blog was truly dubious, it doesn’t have to be pornographic, as we all know my blog isn’t, but what if I was some kinda of white supremacist or anti-Semite. Just by visiting my site, possibly even my accident, you click on a link, you type the wrong term into Google and click “I’m feeling lucky.” Voila your face is on that blog and I have no idea how long they stay there. I think it shows the five most recent people so Jackie Hubba will have to wait until five more people with the cookie from MyBlogLog visit my site until she is back to being anonymous.

People like to be anonymous online sometimes and I don’t think people want their name and face on someone else’s website especially if it appeared beside some really dubious content.

Scott Rafer also informed me:

If you go to a blog that has our widget and you want to stay out of it, just mouse over your own face. A little red X appears. Click it and no one else can see you.

I always wondered what the little X meant, I thought it was some sort of weird mouse over/CSS cross mojonation. You can spend a lot of time trying to get the box to fit into your sidebar esthetically. I’m still not totally satisfied, I wish I could shrink the text at the bottom, but I think they don’t want you messing with that too much. Also my fonts/links seem to chop everything below the line, so letters like ‘j’ and ‘y’ look wrong. But I had a job interview…

I’m going to have to investigate MyBlogLog further, maybe I’ll email this shoemoney or Ed Sim to get their opinion, I can definitely see how people could get pissed that they suddenly lost their anonymity and their face was smack dab on someone else’s blog.

One use for these MyBlogLog pictures is to replace Gravatars. Although it was a lot work, the Gravatars I set up in my comments haven’t worked for a long time. OpenID never worked, the comments portion of my theme is a bit messed up. There is some sort of migration going on to Gravatars 2.0 and it has been going on for a while. I’ve grown tired, it looks like my theme/blog/website is busted and this time it isn’t my fault.

Another new version of WordPress has been released, I haven’t upgraded yet, first I think I may change some of my plugins maybe install a few more widgets. I’m not trying to track my visitors, but I’ve always been curious about search engines. I also like my webpages to load quickly so too many gee-whiz features and image bloat will be avoided, I don’t want it to look like a MySpace page. ;-)

Maybe something I picked up from Maggie Wang, emoticons or whatever they are called. I once left a comment on her blog saying I’d never seen so many in my life. :-P I just checked and she has some whistling smiley face on her most recent post. She has a million different ones, maybe it is a female Chinese thing, Danna was always complaining my instant message client didn’t have enough of this crap.


  • http://www.muschamp.ca/ Muskie

    Maybe I should have done more Googling, it appears Yahoo has bought MyBlogLog for 10 million. There is a big thread on Mashable.com, there must be a posting on BeyondVC or perhaps there will be shortly.

    It was mentioned several places, but perhaps it is an out of control rumour…

  • http://www.muschamp.ca Muskie

    Maybe I should have done more Googling, it appears Yahoo has bought MyBlogLog for 10 million. There is a big thread on Mashable.com, there must be a posting on BeyondVC or perhaps there will be shortly.

    It was mentioned several places, but perhaps it is an out of control rumour…

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  • http://www.muschamp.ca/ Muskie

    This post is surprisingly popular, or one of my other recent postings, that may be a disappointment for some to hear, but I’m actually gratified as it isn’t dubious. It also isn’t negative, there is too much negativity on my blog. People have complained about it and I can fix it. I just have to be more ruthless and more selective.

    Two things, notice the trackback above, that is from a ‘scraper site’. Kevin Burton regularly complains about his content getting scraped as soon as he posts it. It doesn’t happen to me that often, but when it does I usually leave a comment in the spamblog. I must have hit a nerve as I got a reply last night. He claims I must provide my content to a referral service, but I don’t think I opted in to that. Ah what the hell here is what Tod Kilgore wrote:

    You info ..is part of a feed that i got from ..rss gen website ..maybe you should not publish stuff that can be synidicated

    I will remove your stuff ..EVEN tho it is labled with your info and link to you ..
    Original post by Muskie and software by Elliott Back

    That all that is asked is to specfical have a link to you ..and it ONLY excerpts ..not the articles. So really I am in my rights to publish content that is avalible to ANY ONE. :0)..My guess most go to you and not to the ads ..lol

    Keep that in mind when you tell the next person who grabs a feed that has your specifed keyword.

    I never forced him to take it down, but maybe a little personal attention will shame a few of these AdSense sites, I think the search engines already got their eye on them to a large degree.

    The reason I think this post was scraped was the tag. I’ve noticed whenever I use say “WordPress” as a tag I get scraped. The software that does this must look for specific tags. I don’t write about WordPress that often and my blog isn’t that popular but it still gets scraped. I frequently link to my static content and through Technorati and Google Alerts I get notified when my content gets scraped. I told Kevin about this, but if everything you post is scraped by multiple sites, my personal comment isn’t so effective. I sometimes get a link back out of all it, sometimes it is deliberate, sometimes not so. Spam Karma 2 must have had no problems with the above Trackback.

    The thing I was thinking about last night was my privacy concerns with MyBlogLog. I try to be me online, which has its good points and bad points. I do use two browsers though. Opera is my primary browser, but some sites don’t work in it, or I want to use a Firefox Toolbar say for LinkedIn.com, so I use Firefox. I try to avoid IE only sites as IE isn’t made for the Mac anymore. Perhaps a person who used two browsers could have one for his/her professional surfing and one for more dubious online pursuits. I know on the PC there are so called anonymizers. You could also go for a separate login or even an entirely separate computer if you were really worried about cookies, spyware, and you browser history filled with .sex domains. Is the .sex domain working now? I can honestly say I’ve never visited a .sex domain.

    I did visit a porn site at work once, while at GVC. I didn’t know it was a porn site, it was a typo on http://www.espn.com For sites I visit regularly I type them in rather than use a bookmark, Opera seems to remember the last few I visited so I only need to type a partial URL, but ESPN is short and I must have gotten it wrong. I was really worried and kept trying to close the browser windows that popped up. I told Chuck, my supervisor who sat next to me. He found it funny. These typo sites exist and a webmaster who is a real asshole could install this MyBlogLog widget then my face would appear on a porn site. Hopefully not too many porn sites use this widget.

    Thankfully my computer had no sound at work, webpages that start playing video and audio are the bane of work surfers, lucky I’m unemployed. But every now and then my mom will ask what the noise is and it is usually MySpace or YouTube. It is tough because sometimes you want to hear the dialogue, but other times your taken by surprise by the noise.

  • http://www.muschamp.ca Muskie

    This post is surprisingly popular, or one of my other recent postings, that may be a disappointment for some to hear, but I’m actually gratified as it isn’t dubious. It also isn’t negative, there is too much negativity on my blog. People have complained about it and I can fix it. I just have to be more ruthless and more selective.

    Two things, notice the trackback above, that is from a ‘scraper site’. Kevin Burton regularly complains about his content getting scraped as soon as he posts it. It doesn’t happen to me that often, but when it does I usually leave a comment in the spamblog. I must have hit a nerve as I got a reply last night. He claims I must provide my content to a referral service, but I don’t think I opted in to that. Ah what the hell here is what Tod Kilgore wrote:

    You info ..is part of a feed that i got from ..rss gen website ..maybe you should not publish stuff that can be synidicated

    I will remove your stuff ..EVEN tho it is labled with your info and link to you ..
    Original post by Muskie and software by Elliott Back

    That all that is asked is to specfical have a link to you ..and it ONLY excerpts ..not the articles. So really I am in my rights to publish content that is avalible to ANY ONE. :0)..My guess most go to you and not to the ads ..lol

    Keep that in mind when you tell the next person who grabs a feed that has your specifed keyword.

    I never forced him to take it down, but maybe a little personal attention will shame a few of these AdSense sites, I think the search engines already got their eye on them to a large degree.

    The reason I think this post was scraped was the tag. I’ve noticed whenever I use say “WordPress” as a tag I get scraped. The software that does this must look for specific tags. I don’t write about WordPress that often and my blog isn’t that popular but it still gets scraped. I frequently link to my static content and through Technorati and Google Alerts I get notified when my content gets scraped. I told Kevin about this, but if everything you post is scraped by multiple sites, my personal comment isn’t so effective. I sometimes get a link back out of all it, sometimes it is deliberate, sometimes not so. Spam Karma 2 must have had no problems with the above Trackback.

    The thing I was thinking about last night was my privacy concerns with MyBlogLog. I try to be me online, which has its good points and bad points. I do use two browsers though. Opera is my primary browser, but some sites don’t work in it, or I want to use a Firefox Toolbar say for LinkedIn.com, so I use Firefox. I try to avoid IE only sites as IE isn’t made for the Mac anymore. Perhaps a person who used two browsers could have one for his/her professional surfing and one for more dubious online pursuits. I know on the PC there are so called anonymizers. You could also go for a separate login or even an entirely separate computer if you were really worried about cookies, spyware, and you browser history filled with .sex domains. Is the .sex domain working now? I can honestly say I’ve never visited a .sex domain.

    I did visit a porn site at work once, while at GVC. I didn’t know it was a porn site, it was a typo on http://www.espn.com For sites I visit regularly I type them in rather than use a bookmark, Opera seems to remember the last few I visited so I only need to type a partial URL, but ESPN is short and I must have gotten it wrong. I was really worried and kept trying to close the browser windows that popped up. I told Chuck, my supervisor who sat next to me. He found it funny. These typo sites exist and a webmaster who is a real asshole could install this MyBlogLog widget then my face would appear on a porn site. Hopefully not too many porn sites use this widget.

    Thankfully my computer had no sound at work, webpages that start playing video and audio are the bane of work surfers, lucky I’m unemployed. But every now and then my mom will ask what the noise is and it is usually MySpace or YouTube. It is tough because sometimes you want to hear the dialogue, but other times your taken by surprise by the noise.

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  • http://www.muschamp.ca/ Muskie

    Someone thought it was a bright idea to invite hundreds possibly even thousands of people to be co-authors of their blog. I couldn’t figure out the point but I clicked on the link, then I became pissed as I had nothing to do with the blog and couldn’t seem to get it off my profile. This was done to many MyBlogLog users who were also taken in by this prank.

    I have no idea why you’d want to have people listed as co-authors of your blog you’ve never met. Obviously this person thinks this will gain links and fame for their blog, but it is mostly going to be negative. I know I was tempted to muck up the sites settings but I think someone already did that.

    If you want to know how to piss off a good portion of the blogosphere you could always ask the folks at http://www.blogmemes.be/ for advice. I think I will be making them the butt of my jokes for a long time.

  • http://www.muschamp.ca Muskie

    Someone thought it was a bright idea to invite hundreds possibly even thousands of people to be co-authors of their blog. I couldn’t figure out the point but I clicked on the link, then I became pissed as I had nothing to do with the blog and couldn’t seem to get it off my profile. This was done to many MyBlogLog users who were also taken in by this prank.

    I have no idea why you’d want to have people listed as co-authors of your blog you’ve never met. Obviously this person thinks this will gain links and fame for their blog, but it is mostly going to be negative. I know I was tempted to muck up the sites settings but I think someone already did that.

    If you want to know how to piss off a good portion of the blogosphere you could always ask the folks at http://www.blogmemes.be/ for advice. I think I will be making them the butt of my jokes for a long time.

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