We often think of the 'calm before the storm', but rarely do we recognize or even witness the 'calm after the storm'. This sunset occurred less than an hour after a severe storm, near Otter Falls, MB, that brought down a hundred trees near a cabin we had rented. The clouds became soft like cotton balls (mammatus clouds) and the sky was at peace.
I normally don’t like making predictions, and blogging about American Idol may be a tad off topic for me, but young father & singer songwriter Andrew Garcia is such an amazing talent.. he is going to win. As a music lover, amateur musician & blogger I wanted to do my small part to spread the news and encourage everyone to vote for Andrew to win!
I’m sure you’ll see plenty of him on TV, but found this gem of a video he did with a friend on YouTube.
No, I’m not talking about Microsoft Outlook vs. Google Gmail. If that’s what you were looking for, LifeHacker just did a great post on the top 5 email clients you can read here: 5 Best Email Clients
Instead the question today is, are the e-mail wars vs. social networking still raging? Is e-mail as a business marketing tool still relevant?
Let’s try and answer these two questions:
The e-mail war indeed rages on! What I mean by this is that although social networking, micro blogging and instant messaging have taken the main stage the last several years, we ALL still rely on email as the main stay of a significant percentage of our time on the Internet and or mobile devices. Despite giving up a percentage of time to social networks, email is still the preferred communication tool on the Internet for the majority. The war rages on, with all of these additional social communication tools still requiring us to have a valid email address before we can use them! Heck, email even notifies us when we should be logging into our social networks. When Twitter or Facebook no longer depend on email addresses, then this will be the signal that the E-Mail Wars are coming to an end! This will happen one day, the world is just not quite ready for a Facebook or Twitter operating system just yet.
Is e-mail still relevant as a business marketing tool?
After conducting a seriously unofficial survey of many business owners I know, email is still by far the easiest way for them to reach out to all their customers the fastest! Unfortunately, for social networking, many, many SME business haven’t even graduated to email newsletters, such as Aweber or Constant Contact, let alone trying to create effective campaigns on social services such as Facebook or Twitter!
Word of caution to all of you tech company owners! Unless you are tech to tech B2B, then there is still a ton of educating needed on the ‘basics’ for a good number of SME clients and prospects (opportunity is alive and well in North America). Those companies that educate or automate… Will continue to win!
The email wars rage on and they are far from over.
If you are a small to medium sized business and want to read up on email marketing, I would suggest getting advice from the bloggers & professionals at companies that deal with email marketing on the front lines, day in and day out! Even more importantly, read the comments on these blogs as their customers often create light bulb moments you can take to the bank.
If you are a business or entrepreneur that has already figured out email marketing, and are ready to graduate to marketing on social networks. Then as far as I am concerned, there is only one person you need to study & learn from and that is Trust Agent:
Thought I would do a little self promotion, considering I have cracked the TOP 20 of Canadian Twitter users on www.WeFollow.com. If you are using Twitter , WeFollow is a great way to see where you rank for one of three categories you choose to TAG yourself with.
If you are not using Twitter, well then I only have two words for you… “Why Not?” (Jump on over to www.Twitter.com and see what all the fuss is about!) If you are using Twitter please connect with me and my fellow Canadians.
Here are the TOP 20 Twitter Users tagged #Canada on WeFollow as of August 2009.
I have three daughters so this issue is very important to discuss with my family, but when you get emails from friends and family freaking you out that girls are dying and having adverse affects from a vaccine created to protect our daughters from cancer… confusion and anger sets in.
Do we trust the medical doctors, the naturopathic doctors, the FDA or do we trust people like Jenny Thompson who is neither?
It makes you wonder who you can REALLY trust as an information source on the internet these days. I don’t normally post information like this but felt compelled to see what other people think. I’m not vouching PRO or CON the speaker, but below is the video. I would also suggest you look at this article that claims the video is a mixture of accurate and inaccurate information. http://www.snopes.com/medical/drugs/gardasil.asp
Section 4: How To Stay Ahead of the Curve and Profit
The internet is still in its infancy, and although blogging is here to stay it will get progressively more difficult to stand out in the crowd with a traditional blog. New and existing bloggers will not only have to innovate to stay ahead of the curve, they will have to adapt daily to the new technologies being created at the speed of light. This last and final section of ‘Traditional Blogs Are Dying’ will focus on:
What web properties to keep a close eye on to stay ahead of the curve.
How Multi Media Blogging & Social Networking is no longer an option, but a bare minimum.
Utilizing Micro blogging & the next wave of Micro Video Blogging
Profiting from the death of traditional text blogs
Web Properties You Need To Watch to Stay Ahead of the Curve
There are a select few websites that continuously stay on top of technology affecting the new blogosphere. It is imperative that you stay tuned to what these sites are not only writing about, but implementing on their own multi-media blogs and micro-blogging accounts.
If you take a little time each day to say abreast of these sites, and jump on top of implementing new technologies first, you will stay ahead of 99% of traditional blogs.
As you will see the new wave of multi-media blogs are seamlessly integrating audio, video, micro blogging and social networking.
http://www.mashable.com/ (All That’s New On The Web) This is ‘THE’ site to stay on top of social networking and new start-ups. Visit Mashable Daily or signup for daily updates, and you will stay ahead of the curve.
This will help you stay on top of WordPress, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and more…
http://lifehacker.com/ Life Hacker Blog is a great site to watch for new tips & downloads available across the web, of which many are mutli-media related.
http://scobleizer.com/ Pay attention to what Robert Scoble not only blogs about, but how he seamlessly integrates audio, video and micro blogging into his WordPress Blog.
Some Additional Sites You Should Watch
http://googleblog.blogspot.com/ Google’s Official Blog is a necessity to watch, as whenever they release new products or update features, you want to be in the know.
How Multi Media Blogging & Social Networking Are Becoming The Bare Minimum Standard
As of today, many will disagree with this Quasi-White Paper and that is to be expected. Staying ahead of the curve has always meant doing things differently than the masses.
Just think of how you consume information today, as compared to just a decade ago. Google has been around really just over ten years now, and as video technology has vastly improved in the last few years, it is quickly becoming the preferred medium online. Just look at the popularity of YouTube and other video sites. This reality is why many bloggers are choosing to innovate with audio & video to set themselves apart from traditional bloggers.
It is now easy to include Video and or audio on most major blogging platforms online; Blogger, WordPress & Live Journal just to name a few.
Here are a few links for various blogging platforms that make adding multimedia easy:
While video blogging has been around for many years already, many bloggers and companies have shyed away from the technology for various reasons; technology confusion, personal disclosure & implementation in the past have been to blame. It is now easier than ever to implement the technology, and internet users expectation of a more personal internet experience require content providers to bare their faces and voices to the masses. It is this expectation that will cause countless traditional blogs to die over the coming years. Those blogs that fail to recognize the paradigm shift to multi-media will fade into the obscure grave of millions of traditional text blogs.
Here are a few recommended resources for video & audio (podcast) blogging:
Utilizing Micro Blogging & The New Micro Video Blogging
http://twitter.com/guykawasaki Guy Kawaski has over 68,000+ people following him on the micro-blogging service Twitter. He drives millions of clicks to his traditional blog (http://www.guykawaski.com/) and anything else online he is promoting, by simply making very short micro blogging posts which are immediately seen by his interested readers.
A micro blogging post is limited to the same amount of characters that a text message on a cell phone, which is approximately 144 characters.
e.g. Guys inputs a short message online or over his cell phone, and it becomes immediately available to his followers.
Not only is Twitter micro-blogging, it is also direct communication with readers. For example I sent Guy Kawaski a question on Twitter, and with in less than 40 minutes he had responded with his answer.
Twitter is at the forefront of the micro-blogging world, and some very famous traditional bloggers have chosen to move away from the old style blog and focus on micro-blogging instead. One such example is Jason Calacanis http://twitter.com/jasoncalacanis.%20Jason’s%2040,000+ followers watch his every move and communicate with him in real time.
Twitter provides an amazing direct connection with readers that just doesn’t exist with the commenting systems on traditional blogs today (it’s coming though). It is this speed and connectivity that readers and internet users are flocking to. Bloggers today, who want to stay ahead of the curve, must integrate micro-blogging into their process.
Micro Video Blogging is Ahead of the Curve
There are two services that you will want to not only keep your eye on, but as well jump into and integrate into your process.
Seesmic brings conversation alive through video. It allows you to see and hear people share their experiences straight from their webcams.
People record a video directly on Seesmic’s website, or upload an existing video straight from their computer, or link to a video posted on a social network, then viewers respond by recording a micro video of their own.
Micro Video Blogging again can be stand alone for some, or if tightly integrated with you main site, Twitter and social networking accounts, will set you apart from the crowd and connect with readers and users in away that just is not possible with a traditional text blog.
http://12seconds.tv/ is another Micro Video Blogging service that is currently in Alpha. Keep an eye on this one, and request an invitation to join as they are not open to the public as of today.
Profiting From The Death of Traditional Blogs
The end goal was to show you or your company how to stay ahead of the curve and profit as the blogosphere makes a fundamental shift from traditional text blogging, to integrated multi-media & micro blogging. The fact is that a large majority of existing and new bloggers simply won’t make the shift. They will keep toiling away at writing great text only content, that as each day passes will get drowned out by the billions of other blog posts that go unnoticed.
So simply by adding multi-media, micro-blogging and micro-video blogging to a traditional blog, will one profit from the death of traditional blogs?
YES, you will ABSOLUTELY stand out amongst the crowd of traditional text blogs, and that alone is the first step to profiting from the death of traditional blogging. In the end, gaining more readers and more viewers, will translate into advertising sales, direct sales, affiliate sales or however you choose to monetize your site.
So as you have read you might already have come to some personal conclusions as to what the major problems currently are for businesses and professionals in the blogging world right now. But, apply the math and future projections and these problems will only compound.
(A) OVERSATURATION-Traditional Text Blogs are drowning themselves based on current growth rates, making it harder and harder to stand out in the crowd.
(B) SPLOGGS-Spam blogs are a constant problem trying to snuff out relevant web content, making it even harder and harder to stand out in the crowd, and as well chewing up valuable time dealing with spam.
(C) Customers and readers are becoming dismissive of the impersonal old fashioned websites, and are flocking to companies and bloggers who innovate with blogs that connect on a more personal level delivering TRULY GOOD CONTENT with video, audio and micro blogging, which are quicly becoming the new base standard.
So what does this all translate into?
This means for companies and individual bloggers that don’t try and stay ahead of the curve, it is likely that they will achieve moderate to little success from traditional blogging.
The amount of effort that is required in promoting a traditional blog to massive popularity is becoming akin to a musician landing a recording contract or an actor trying to land a major Hollywood role. Is it possible, Yes. Is it likely for 99% of bloggers, NO! It is an unfortunate truth in the blogosphere, as there are many, many talented bloggers who will largely go unnoticed because they didn’t innovate and stay ahead of the curve.
A few years back it was almost as simple as throwing up a blog, creating some quality content, and watching the traffic magically appear. Now days, more and more bloggers are spitting out fantastic content, but are having to devote just as much, if not more time to traffic generation.
Here are some traditional methods bloggers use to try and drive eyeballs to their blogs (of which each day that passes become less and less effective):
The above methods are just scratching the surface, and are currently resulting in mediocre results for the majority of bloggers. They are having to go to more and more extreme methods to try and stand out from the crowd and get noticed.
There are currently 3,950,000 Google Results for “blogging ebook”
There are currently 10,600,000 result for “blog traffic”
Whole industries have developed around traffic generation, and strategies range from simple and clean, to highly suspect and likely to get your blog banned from Google or other search engines.
The problem with most of the above method(s), in Figure 1.61 is that in combination with the growing number of blogs, and the growing number of bloggers trying to implement silver bullet style solutions to generate traffic, it is causing even more dilution in an over saturated market.
The core illness or symptoms in the blogosphere that are killing traditional blogs are; oversaturation & sploggs. It will be up to the blog community to bury their dead, innovate and move on.
If you don’t begin to change now, you will be left behind!
… Please Come Back Later This Week to Read The Final Conculsion of Traditional Blogs Are Dying- Part 4‘How To Stay Ahead of the Curve & Profit’
Using Technorati’s math of 133 Million Blogs worldwide, and disregarding the generally excepted 180 Million blogs number (often quoted online) I did a simple growth chart. As you will see in figure 1.51 below, if blogs were just to simply keep growing at the pace they are now of about 94 Million blogs added each year, by 2018 we will have over 1 Billion blogs online.
The reality is that growth is speeding up, not slowing down. If blogs did not speed up their growth and are currently posting about 7.4 Million articles every 120 days or over 22 Million per year, then by 2010 there will be over 50 million blog posts being added each year.
Let’s consider if growth compounds.
By 2013 there could be over 1 Billion Blogs online.
In all likelihood, the compound growth scenario in Figure 1.52 is probably most accurate considering 78% of the 6.6 Billion people on the planet aren’t online yet. As you will see in Figure 1.53 below, over 1 Billion new internet users came online in just the last 8 years, many of whom decided to blog. So, if the annual growth rate of new internet users’ stays constant or grows, then this means even more competition and dilution for the current 133 Million blogs.
Figure 1.51 LeeRaito.com Simple Growth Projection (Blogs growing at 94,608,000 blogs per year)
Figure 1.52 LeeRaito.com Compound Growth Projection (Blogs compounded growth of 50%/year)
Figure 1.53 World Internet Net User Statistics http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats2.htm
Traditional Blogs are Dying & Why You Need to Stay Ahead of the Curve to Profit
This is part one of a four part quasi White Paper I have put together on the changing and controversial landscape of traditional blogging. My hope is to create a conversation on whether people agree or disagree that traditional blogs are dying, and what the future holds for the blogosphere.
Intro: The Blogosphere’s Problems Are Your Opportunity
Section 1: Current Stats on the Blogosphere
Section 2: Long Run Projection Rates
Section 3:The Problem(s)
Section 4: How to Stay Ahead of The Curve & Profit
Conclusion: The Death of the Traditional Blog Is Your Opportunity To Stay Ahead of The Curve
Intro: The Blogosphere’s Problems Are Your Opportunity
What is the problem?
The blogosphere needs some form of birth control, as with current growth rates by 2010, there will be approximately 300 Million blogs online making it next to impossible for 99% of regular companies, professionals and personal bloggers to benefit from traditional blogging. There is not going to be a magical pill to stop the growth.
3 Blogs Are Born Every Second
As you will see through out this White Paper there is a fundamental paradigm shift going on in the elite circles of the Blogosphere towards multi-media blogging & micro blogging as the death of traditional blogging takes hold. This shift is occurring because it has to, in order to keep blogs alive and relevant. The statistics that you will read in Section 1 and projected growth rates in Section 2 will astound you, and you will begin to understand why the old school style text blog is a dying breed (Only A Select Few Will Survive)!
Section 1: Current Statistics on the Blogosphere
Many of the statistics you will see here are cast in a positive light, as they were drawn from over 1000 bloggers who took part in Technorati’s.com 2008 State of The Blogosphere Survey. I am highlighting the positive aspects, because I want to be very clear that the opportunity for blogging, into 2009 and beyond, is nothing short of amazing. But as you will also see, there is a darker side of the Blogosphere that Technorati did not delve into. It is this darker side, and overpopulation of new blogs that pose the majority of problems that will need to be overcome in the coming years and decade.
With three new blogs coming online every second it is hard to fathom the numbers. With Technorati’s 133 Million blogs on record, one way to measure the statistical significance of the all the new content coming online is to look at ping statistics. A ping occurs when a blog posts a new article.
As you will see in Figure 1.11 below, 93% of Spinn3r’s hourly pings are from spam blogs. Technorati safeguards itself and its members from this spam, but the blogosphere increasingly has to fight this new reality.
If you are a blogger, whether corporate or personal this is a major problem which is costing you or your company time and money.
What Are Spam Blogs?Sometimes referred to by the neologism splogsare artificially created weblog sites which the author uses to promote affiliated websites or to increase the search engine rankings of associated sites. The purpose of a splog can be to increase the PageRank or backlink portfolio of affiliate websites to artificially inflate paid ad impressions from visitors and/or use the blog as a link outlet to get new sites indexed. Spam blogs are usually a type of scraper site where content is often either inauthentic text or merely stolen (see blog scraping) from other websites. These blogs usually contain a high number of links to sites associated with the splog creator which are often disreputable or otherwise useless websites.There is frequent confusion between the terms “splog” and “spam in blogs”. Splogs are blogs where the articles are fake and are only created for search engine spamming. To spam in blogs conversely is to include random comments on the blogs of innocent bystanders in which spammers take advantage of a site’s ability to allow visitors to post comments that may include links.Figure 1.12
Why are spam blogs so pervasive? Simple answer… its profitable!
Here are what bloggers are writing about:
So why do bloggers blog anyways?
Considering only 21% of bloggers make any money at all, it appears many of the remaining bloggers will at some point try and monetize their blog. As you will see in the next section on Long Run Projections, this will be a very difficult task with fierce competition from not only the existing blogosphere, but the millions of new internet users that will choose to blog.
Yes, blogging can be lucrative.
If you find yourself in the top 1%, then your blog is responsible for over $200,000 in revenue each year. These top earners also skew the numbers, and as a result have many traditional blog newbie’s chasing a carrot that is 99% unachievable.
Having said all that, the future of multimedia and micro blogging is bright… it just won’t be with traditional text only blogs.
The future of bloggingBloggers peer into their crystal balls and prognosticate:”Andy Warhol said that in the future, everyone would be famous for 15 minutes. His point was that we would shift from having a few famous people for a long time to many famous people for a short time. I think the number of blogs will grow, but the average life span of a blog will shorten.”Scott Sheppard labs.blogs.com“There will be more blogs used in education, particularly among K-12 students and teachers. Bookmarks will merge with blogs for those of us who use our blogs as note-pads or filing cabinets. Blog archives will be viewed as a rich source of cultural history. Blogs will be a means for more collaborative team work. People will expect businesses, media, and print organizations, even government organizations, to have some form of blog, in order to promote communication. Blogging will also help to provide insight to businesses about their consumers.”Lynn Marentette interactivemultimediatechnology.blogspot.com“This is just the beginning for blogging. People are getting better and better at this skill set, quality is improving, and we will soon have millions of people generating great content around the clock.”Brett Bumeter softduit.com“There’s a lot of sploggage out there now, and tons of “make money” type bloggers which glut the playing field. It makes the searching and finding of good content difficult. I think the individual or group blog or blogging group networks will simply be a part of the warp and woof of the Internet. There’s no better way to communicate with a large number of people than blogging.”
“Blogs will eventually morph – some will break off into hybridized news sites, others into password-protected ‘personal diaries,’ with others going on to offer products and services (home businesses).”
“I’ve loved watching how some of the Big Dog corporate bloggers adopt the characteristics that make the best personal blogs so effective: personality, passion, smarts, usefulness, humor. ÊBlogging and other forms of social media are changing corporate-think and driving a revolution in how companies do business.”
Debbie Weil Blogger and author of The Corporate Blogging Bookdebbieweil.com
In short, the blogosphere is clearly changing and although the stats are very clear the opportunity is great, there are severe problems to overcome from overpopulation and the increase of spam blogs.
** If you have Stumbled Upon this blog after the contest has closed please post your comments below or subscribe to our email list as we will be doing more in the future!!!!
First Place – Suwari (Comment 41) Second Place – Yang T (Comment 31) Third Place- Nicola (Comment 49)
We will update which Charities benefited once the winners have indicated where the $$$ is going!
We have to make a special note of Nicola who desperatley tried to bribe the judges by sending the photo on the left. We hope they will enjoy the suprise bonus. Also, our oldest daughter Emma really wanted Yang T to be the top winner, as the story of ripping a dollar bill in half really had her chuckling. As you will see in the below video, the results of the contest were 100% random, and although you needed the judges vote to get into the final 10, it was all luck after that.
Well our first blog contest has sadly come to an end, but you can be sure this won’t be the last.
My wife and three daughters have simply been amazed that entries have come from the furthest reaches of China, Italy, the United States, Africa and many other countries. Many contestants were very creative and even wise in attempting to bribe the wee judges. Everyone has a worthy charity to support and we truly wish we could support them all!
Thank you to everyone who took part and we look forward to ‘Paying It Forward’ more in 2009.
Video Proof of Random Draw of 10 Finalists:
*** CONTEST IS OFFICIALLY CLOSED*** Thank you to all contest entrants, after tabulation the results will be posted here: /charity-blog-contest/
WIN MONEY FOR YOUR CHARITY & A FEW GOODIES FOR YOU
This contest is brought to you by my daughters Emma, Hanna & Grace in the spirit of giving. Two of my beautiful daughters survived and thrived after heart surgery. It’s time to start giving back and paying it forward! If you have Stumbled Upon this contest, then we hope you will take a moment to enter and tell your friends!
Update 12/31/2008: It’s New Years Eve, and as we get ready to say goodbye to 2008 and usher in a New Year, we are very excited that 35+ people have entered our ‘Pay It Forward’ contest. With so many heart felt comments, my girls will have a very tough time selecting the 10 finalists. Less than a week left to go…
1st Prize $500 To The Charity of Your Choice, 8G iPod Nano ($135 Value)
2nd Prize $100 To The Charity of Your Choice, iPod Shuffle ($70 Value)
3rd Prize Mystery Prize (Unknown Value)
We wanted to keep it as simple as possible and give everyone a chance to win great prizes that will make a difference. Extra kudos will be given for creativity, humor and individuals who have a ‘pay it forward in the spirit of giving’ mentality.
How to Enter:
1. Simply comment on this post below with “WHY’ you feel you should win, or creatively choose a way to comment that you think will set you a part. 1 entry
2. Post about this contest on Your Site. 2 entries
3. Pay It Forward by telling three people about this contest. 3 entries (Just put the words ‘Paid It Forward’ at the end of your comment and we will trust that you did!)
Each entrant can have a maximum of 6 entries only.
Start Date:Contest Officially Starts Now & Ends Jan.5th/2009 23:59 CST
Yes, that’s it folks! Put your creative thinking caps on and have some fun. We will post updates as frequently as possible.
Rules: On January 6th/2009 three winners will be randomly drawn from 10 of the best comments and reviews. The 10 best will be selected by a panel of three highly trained professionals; my daughters Emma (9) Hanna (7) & Grace (3). Once the ten are selected, we will randomly draw for the prizes using random.org and announce the winners as soon as they can be contacted.
Sponsors: If you are interested in adding to the prize pool, please contact me directly at leeraito @ gmail.com We would love to have you participate, and will proudly list you as a sponsor.