Wednesday, April 05, 2006

My Bid to Take Over the World

Like many bloggers, and writers generally, I'd like my words to be read and appreciated by as many people as possible. I want to spread my Blochery goodness throughout the globe, amuse and inform and inspire. Is that too much to ask?

To that end, I've had several encounters today with sites outside this blog that should result in increased readership, somewhere, somehow. One was my idea, one was a surprise, and one was an attempt to fix a glitch. The fourth was from a friend.

Wikifying the Toros

I happened to look up the Tucson Toros on Wikipedia last night, to see if the team had an entry. It did, very obviously written by a fan who feels pretty much as I do about the Toros vs. the Sidewinders. It was short on facts (and overall), highly subjective, unorganized, and lacked internal links to other Wikipedia articles. A notice at the top of the entry called for someone to "Wikify" it, meaning to make the article conform better to Wikipedia styles and conventions.

I figured that someone might as well be me. Who else cares enough about the Toros, online research and the English language to do the job?

So tonight I broke it out into sections, added few pictures and a lot of facts, and toned down the subjectivity just a bit, more by addition than subtraction. I wrote a history of the team, based on a chronology in a 2002 Sidewinders program, and added a lot of links to other Wikipedia articles (minor league baseball, Tucson, etc.). I even added a list of notable ex-Toros who were in the major leagues as of 2001, and references to sources other than the original article author's web site. I spent hours on it. I did a good job.

That Wikipedia article probably won't lead a single person to this blog, but people will be reading my words, probably more than do so on this page. And it turns out that at least a few people are already reading my words elsewhere as well...

Contributed by Aggregation

Thanks to Georganna Hancock's link in Writer's Edge to something called Copyscape, I found out today that a site called TucsonsNews is posting the feed of Outpost Mâvarin. The site is an aggregator, mostly of Tucson based blogs, with some local news thrown in. I'm not on their front page as I write this, but clicking on my blog's name in the list of sources shows stuff I've written all the way back to my John Manynames entry. When I hit "publish post" on this entry, it will soon be on the TucsonsNews front page. Ironic, huh? Because I'm about to gripe about them.

Here's my problem. On one hand, I want people to read my words and look at my pictures. I've deliberately made Outpost Mâvarin entries available in full via FeedBlitz and Bloglet and Bloglines. Is a Bloglines feed so different from a TucsonsNews feed? Really? Shouldn't I be happy that five to seven people a day are reading me on a Tucson news aggregator?

On the other hand, I knew about Bloglines and the others. I didn't know about this one. The others link to the blog, so you can go there and read it directly. TucsonsNews doesn't. (Actually it does, but only from certain screens.) Furthermore, their page says that my entry is "contributed by" me. That implies consent, even active participaton. But I did not consent. I didn't even know about it, until today. And the charm of the local angle is somewhat diminished when I learn that the "Whozis" points to Scottsdale, not Tucson, and that the site is affiliated with a similar one in Atlanta, and one in Nashville, and on and on. It's all still in beta, but it's clearly a commercial venture, and I'm providing free content for it.

The site has an opt-out policy. All I have to do is ask, and I'm outta there. But is that what I want? I kind of don't think so. What I want is for them to ask people before using their words, even if it's just a one-time permission to carry the feed on a regular basis. And I want them to take the cutesy clip art off the top of my articles. It shows a woman at a desk with a coffee cup. Sorry, but I don't want people thinking that clip art is my idea. If I don't pull my feed - and I probably won't - I'll want to send them an alternative image to replace the woman at the desk.

Grumble, grumble.

Last Updated 120 Days Ago

I came home at lunch today and called Technorati on the phone, having previously emailed them repeatedly with no response. Their listing for this blog now says that it's been 120 days since Outpost Mâvarin was last updated. You and I know that's just not true! The nice woman on the phone took town the URL and my email address, and said the customer service manager would get back to me. I'll believe it when I see it, but at least I tried. Again.

Thinking and Linking

And DesLily (Pat) linked to me again today, in connection with her own "brush with fame." It's a cute entry, and not because of the link. Go take a look!


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julie said...

Yeah, that's kind of a poorly-done site, IMO. They do appear to have a tip jar for bloggers, but why would I not be surprised to find out that their aim is to plaster the site with ads, making money off of YOUR content?

I'm having my own Technorati issues as well. And google "technorati ping problems" (without the quotes) and you'll see that we're not the only ones.

DesLily said...

thanks for the mention Karen..but i don't mention yours or anyones blog so that they will mention me lol.. i just like to give credit to the one that gave me my reason for that days blog..

i stay away from as many things that can give me problems as possible!.. good luck with Technorati

Georganna Hancock said...

IMHO the TucsonNews is plagiarizing your work. I found a foreign aggregator slurping up and spitting out my stuff, too, and I can't even get any identification info on them. We should be able to put something in our feeds that prevents this crap! No, that would be too easy. Wait, doesn't the feed include the metatags? I have a copyright notice in mine...

I noticed Technorati getting behind in my updates, too. When it got to four days, I started pinging them directly. Then I found Ping-O-Matic, which will ping them and a whole lot more. Still no automatic pinging found. Blogger only does one service.

bea said...

Karen, I tried to go to Outpost Mavarin by clicking on the Outpost Mavarin link in this entry, but it sent me to but I have your link on my favorite sites, so I'll go that way. Thought you'd like to know!! bea