Friday, June 4, 2010

Reblogging, Advertising, Wordpress, and Blogger

Buzz Speaks
Last December there was an article in the Official Buzz From Blogger describing how Blogger was enabling easy integration with Google AdSense and with Amazon Associates.

I didn't pay much attention at the time because the Blogger templates were so rudimentary that my Blogger blog was languishing in the back of my mental 'cupboard under the stairs' - the one that has all the things in it that I mean to clear up one day.

Yes, I know that there are people outside Google who were (and are) designing templates and I tried a few. Maybe it was the cheapskate in me, but I only tried the free ones.

However, every time I looked under the hood to take a peek at the code, there would be something in the layout that made me want to back off. You may have had a different experience, but that's where I was.

Since then however, Blogger has introduced Blogger in Draft with a whole raft of new and better templates. This blog uses one of the new templates and I think it is pretty good and a huge improvement on what went before.

To access these templates just go to Blogger In Draft.

Before you do though, you may want to think about what you want to do when you get there, because if you have a Blogger blog and have not activated Blogger in Draft, you will be asked whether you want to do that.

That may not be something you are expecting, so be prepared.

Back To Pixels Ate My Homework
So I set up this blog, Pixels Ate My Homework using one of the new templates, and it has been fun tweaking it to look the way I want.

I have also set it up so that anything I post to my Hotpixel Posterous Blog is automatically posted on here - autoposting as Posterous calls it.

With Posterous it is easy to capture information off any webpage you happen to be on. Posterous has a bookmarklet that is way beyond a simple capture. It enables all kinds of formatting and the ability to add comments.

It always builds in a link back to the original article so that proper attribution is given, and you would have to go out of your way to remove the link.

This is a form of reblogging, or passing on content that one comes across, whether it be a news item or anything else.

Re-blogging is a feature that is promoted on Tumblr and which has just been introduced on Wordpress-Dot-Com as discussed in the recent Wordpress article We All Like to Reblog.

Not everyone is in favor of reblogging, especially when the reblogged post does not give proper attribution.

There is a very good thread discussing this over at Timethief's blog One Cool Site Blogging Tips.

Timethief did a test with a Wordpress reblog whereby a friend of hers reblogged one of her posts using an extract, and then reblogged it onwards to another blog of his. The attribution links back to the original blog disappeared with the second reblogging.

The result is that the original producer of the content has lost their post into the webosphere and is effectively a victim of copyright theft encouraged by Wordpress.

Perhaps this is all a reflection of the new way we are supposed to think about content on the web?

An Excerpt Or The Whole Thing
I normally reblog only an excerpt from the original article, and not that if I see a 'do not reproduce in whole or part' notice.

I don't reblog articles wholesale unless I think they are of general public concern and I want to make sure that the original text is preserved. I have done this with some newspaper articles.

The last time I did it was for a recent report by the American Society For Microbiology about its current findings on the causes of colony collapse disorder in honeybees.

I have set up a Google Alert to tell me whenever anything is published about colony collapse disorder, because it is a subject that affects everyone and because I want to add my voice to making sure that information about CCD reaches as many people as possible.

Having spent some time looking at bees in the hive and out collecting pollen, I think they are just phenomenally interesting and appealing.

If I re-blog I always link back to the source so that proper attribution is given. That works very well with the auto-post from Posterous to Blogger but it does not work well with many of the themes on Tumblr.

Tumblr themes often just cut the post after a certain number of characters, and that means that the link back is broken. Not good.

Advertising and Amazon
So now I have decided to activate my Amazon Associates account here on this Blogger blog.

It took less than one minute to set it up - just clip some html code and paste it in before the end-body tag of the theme template.

If you are not familiar with what an associate account with Amazon is, then for the word associate just think of the word affiliate. In other words, if someone clicks a link to a product, the affiliate (the blogger) gets a referral fee that is a percentage of any sale that results from the referral.

Back here in the guts of Blogger I can see a new Amazon Associates section over to the side of where I am writing. It is picking products that have something in common with what I am writing about here.

Perhaps if I were writing a product review it would have an easier time of it, because at the moment it seems to be struggling to find anything relevant, suggesting several books and DVDs as well as an HDMI cable.

I see I can change what is being searched for by typing text in the search box...

I have now put  photography books in the search box because that is a subject dear to my heart.  It has brought up stuff that I can't say anything about because I haven't read these particular books.

So now I have put the name Don McCullin into the search box because I was just reading about him in the new website of the British Journal Of Photography  - a site that is well worth a look if you are interested in photography.

I have been following Don McCullin's photography for years and saw an exhibition of his at the National Media Museum in Bradford, England.

He has photographed war all over the world but - and this is the easy bit to overlook because the subject matter in his photos is so strong - he is a master of composition. His photographs take you right there but all the time he must have been thinking of how to frame the subject and where the light would fall and all the other things that master photographers do in a heartbeat.

So here is my first foray into the Amazon Associates on Blogger, with a tribute to Don McCullin.

That looks a bit lonely and so to round things off, here is a link to another of my absolute favorite photographers, Werner Bischof.

He is an altogether different kind of photographer. He has produced some of the most poetically beautiful images I have ever had the pleasure to look at. Take a look at the photograph on the cover of this little paperback and you will see what I mean.

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