The elephant in the kitchen

Dare Obasanjo, of Microsoft, just pulled the ad hominem card. In debate class in high school the teacher would instantly award the other side a win if you ever pulled that card. Why? Because it demonstrated you lost your cool and couldn’t win through sheer logic or through a rational demonstration the other side was wrong. And, at minimum it just draws attention to your debating tactics rather than what we were supposed to be debating about anyway.

Hey, maybe that’s why Dare pulled the card out here and slapped it on my kitchen table.

To keep us from looking at the elephant in the kitchen! Brilliantly played sir Dare!

But, since I’m childish, narrowminded, and egotistical or whatever else Dare tried sticking me with, let’s just get back to the elephant in the room, shall we? 

What does Microsoft do when it says “we have the most blogs?” Or, when it says really ANYTHING about its Internet services?

It takes them to advertisers and says “pony up, we know you paid MySpace ‘XXX’ and we have the most now, so we want ‘XXX+y’.” See, the little game we’re all playing in this Web 2.0 world is advertising.

The other little dirty secret of advertising? Not all readers are the same. Unfortunately if you’re an A List blogger it’s egotistical (and elitist) to point that out. Since Dare pulled out the ad hominem card already might as well slap this elephant in the ass and make it sing!

Quick. Is Jeff Jarvis worth more or less to an advertiser than this guy? Or this? Or this?

I’ll tell you what executives from big companies (like Kraft, Procter and Gamble, GM, and others) who were at MSN’s OWN ADVERTISING CONFERENCE told me. An influencer is worth THOUSANDS of times more than a non-influencer (influencer is someone who tells other people stuff, which is why blogging is getting so much advertising attention lately). That’s why Google is charging more per click than MSN is (Google has more influential users). That’s why Federated Media is closing advertising deals left and right.

And, why Microsoft’s shareholders are totally uninterested in the fact that Live Spaces has 70 million spaces (you’d think that with such rapid growth that shareholders would be cheering and would be preparing for an advertising profit windfall and that they wouldn’t have balked with Ballmer told them “I’m spending $2 billion of your cash.”

You’re right Dare. Maybe I’m childish. But I’m tired of being told that bloggers don’t matter. Which is what the Live employee told me yesterday. And it’s what you and Mike are saying today. Mike even repeated it just today on his blog. Read his post very carefully. He is saying that bloggers don’t matter. Why did he do that? Well, he’s trying to take the high road and trying to tell people that his service is hip and for them, not like that lamo “MySpace” thing, which is for kids and musicians with weird hair. Not like that “blogging” thing, which is for those elitist “A listers.” He’s positioning Spaces for normal, everyday people.

Which would be great if his marketing department didn’t run counter to his positioning by showing up at BlogHer (totally explains why Live Spaces’ presentation was totally derided by people who were there) and by his executives who try to position Live Spaces to advertisers as “blogs” so that they can get the high CPM ($$$ per thousands of viewers) that bloggers are getting right now.

This is why I’m being called childish, narrow minded, and petty right now. I dared to not let them have it both ways. Either they have most of their inventory done by “normal, everyday people” that’s empty, like every single blog on their service I found today, or they have a “hip, cool, influential” service, like WordPress, SixApart, Flickr, Technorati, and Blogger have.

You can’t have it both ways. Well, actually, Six Apart is getting it both ways. They have Moveable Type and TypePad and they have Vox, which is aimed at “normal, everyday people.”

Well, this childish, narrowminded, egotistical blogger is heading off to bed. It’ll be a fun day tomorrow when I get more ad hominem attacks hurled my way.

Why my ego never gets out of control…

Cause if it does get out of control everyone jumps on it and kicks it in the groin. Like this:

Jeff Sandquist: “Seriously Robert, get over yourself already. A blog that is private is still a blog.” Well, that might be true, but then every Web page out there is a blog cause we can’t define what a blog means. Most people I hang around know what you mean when you say “I just blogged.” And, no, most people don’t think that you put a page up for your mom only to read after she types in a password.

Jeff, is an intranet page the same as an Internet page? So, why shouldn’t there be a different word for a blog that lives inside a corporate or personal firewall?

And, OK, I’ll grant you that my ego is out of control. Blogging is something I’m a weeeeee bit of an expert on. Do you listen to anonymous jerks who come in your office and try to tell you what a good community is or what good software looks like? So, why do you quote such when trying to argue against me?

You wouldn’t THINK of using such a wishywashy quote to convince Bill Gates of something (and you would have kicked me out of your office if I said “this anonymous guy over there said you’re wrong”). Why do you allow such on your blog but not in your office?

UPDATE: Maryam just said “I think you’re full of it. I think you’re picking on the Spaces team because they are easy to pick on. Why don’t you go pick on someone who is hard to pick on?” (She was just screaming because her Mac didn’t display her blog properly).

“Where’s the blog?” in Windows Live Spaces?

Remember those old Wendy’s commercials where an old lady yelled “where’s the beef?”

Well, let’s play “where’s the blog?”

First, let’s pull up a list of the most recently posted Windows Live Spaces. I did at 8:29 p.m., which is where this list came from. It didn’t really matter, though. I’ve been watching for the past few hours and the results are pretty much the same.

Aside: as a “blog service” Live Spaces is DAMN SLOW.

http://amerinriocranival.spaces.live.com/blog/ SAYS “there are no entries in this blog.”
http://brandenbrandenpilot.spaces.live.com/blog/ has one entry for August. None for July.
http://ebad1978.spaces.live.com/blog/ has only one entry.
http://attractive55.spaces.live.com/blog/ SAYS “there are no entries in this blog.”
http://tukisasmith.spaces.live.com/blog/ SAYS “there are no entries in this blog.”
http://fangxiaozheng.spaces.live.com/blog/ SAYS “there are no entries in this blog.”
http://bebe-1407.spaces.live.com/blog/ SAYS “there are no entries in this blog.”
http://xacskater.spaces.live.com/blog/ SAYS “there are no entries in this blog.”
http://irishyankeegirl75.spaces.live.com/blog/ has only one entry, not narrative, though.
http://wwwsu357wut.spaces.live.com/blog/ SAYS “there are no entries in this blog.”
http://kazkazy.spaces.live.com/blog/ has only one entry (an eighth grader).
http://alejandrajara2000.spaces.live.com/blog/ SAYS “there are no entries in this blog.”
http://jasminefarfar.spaces.live.com/blog/ has only one entry, a photostory with no text.
http://guozhichina.spaces.live.com/blog/ has only one entry, a single line of Chinese text.
http://msstarryeyes.spaces.live.com/blog/ FIRST TWO POST BLOG! But one is about how much the poster loves her cats.
http://ingridcita281.spaces.live.com/blog/ has only one entry, but it’s a grouping of photos, no text.
http://dukezh.spaces.live.com/blog/ SAYS “There are no entries in this blog.”
http://givemeheal.spaces.live.com/blog/ SAYS “There are no entries in this blog.”
http://zuki21sr.spaces.live.com/blog/ SAYS “There are no entries in this blog.”
http://ccnaples.spaces.live.com/blog/ has only one post saying he’s not going to keep going if Microsoft’s terms of service say that Microsoft owns his content.
http://stbrcks.spaces.live.com/blog/ has two entries, both photo groups. No text.
http://pebblesstone.spaces.live.com/blog/ has one entry, but first thing that actually looks like a blog. But, low octane post all about her kids.
http://joanajusto.spaces.live.com/blog/ has one entry with nothing in it but a comment in Spanish.
http://soccerluver7.spaces.live.com/blog/ has one entry with one line of text which cracked me up: “I’m bored” it says. Tell me about it! Nice soccer background, though.
http://elchekojando.spaces.live.com/blog/ SAYS “There are no entries in this blog.”
http://jay-braaks.spaces.live.com/blog/ SAYS “There are no entries in this blog.”
http://brisoncar.spaces.live.com/blog/ SAYS “no friends have been added yet.”
http://7debora.spaces.live.com/blog/ SAYS “There are no entries in this blog.”
http://yjiang20.spaces.live.com/blog/ SAYS “There are no entries in this blog.”
http://hmsgurl.spaces.live.com/blog/ has one entry that says “Hey!” Hey yourself and write a post.
http://alwayswiggles4u.spaces.live.com/blog/ has one entry that says “two brats are better than one.” No, you got that wrong. Two posts are better than one!
http://kakakakakkfheg.spaces.live.com/blog/ has one entry that says “I love Cortnie.” Why, did she post to her blog?
http://muayad86.spaces.live.com/blog/ SAYS “There are no entries in this blog.”
http://montoyita16.spaces.live.com/blog/ SAYS “There are no entries in this blog.”
http://sarah0720.spaces.live.com/blog/ has three posts, but none originally done, just reprints of “this day is your birthday” kind of stuff.
http://nancynuke.spaces.live.com/blog/ SAYS “There are no entries in this blog.”
http://psyct-up-space.spaces.live.com/blog/ SAYS “There are no entries in this blog.”
http://delreepy.spaces.live.com/blog/ SAYS “There are no entries in this blog.”
http://lilsuntych07basketball.spaces.live.com/blog/ SAYS “There are no entries in this blog.”
http://ten2downtown.spaces.live.com/blog/ has two friends, but no blog. Isn’t that special?
http://yhosvelito.spaces.live.com/blog/ SAYS “There are no entries in this blog.”
http://whoisyourdaddy0.spaces.live.com/blog/AccessDenied.aspx?space=whoisyourdaddy0 access denied!
http://09151989.spaces.live.com/blog/ has one post that says “this blog is intentionally left blank.” Oh, thank you! I might have gotten confused about that and thought it was blank by accident.
http://bibliofly.spaces.live.com/blog/ has one post, just a repost of something on MSNBC.
http://rasiya.spaces.live.com/blog/ has one post, just a group of photos.
http://emythepiggy.spaces.live.com/blog/ has one post, just says “first day of school was stupid.” Yes, apparently.
http://tf-live.spaces.live.com/blog/ has one post with some naughty words.
http://carbendink.spaces.live.com/blog/ has one post with one word: “hey.” Is this code for “Scoble is stupid for trying this.”
http://anandthakker.spaces.live.com/blog/ SAYS “There are no entries in this blog.”
http://campbell1959.spaces.live.com/blog/ has two posts about summer vacation and the poster’s dog.

So, that’s 50 posts. None of which have anthing like a blog that I usually read, but let’s assume I’m an elitist toad and that I should read any blog with two posts or more. That leaves one blog out of the past hour’s worth of posts! That, for those doing the math at home would come out to 2%.

I’m tired. These things took more than an hour to do because the service is so slow. Gotta do other work. I’ll try to do the same for the other blog services (will need to take the posts off of weblogs.com cause they don’t expose their most recently posted the way Live Spaces does).

The blog counting game

Question: do these count as blogs?

http://isbeliamoorehead.spaces.live.com/
http://loveableleonamae.spaces.live.com/
http://lno-nd.spaces.live.com/
http://rocoko0525.spaces.live.com/

Question: if you’re an advertiser what kind of person do you want to reach? People who publish empty spaces like those? Or folks who publish real content and have real audiences?

So, when Microsoft says “we have the most blogs” does that even matter to ANYONE?

No. Advertisers see through that smoke screen. That’s why more and more money is pouring into real blog networks like B5 Media and Federated Media Publishing and AdBrite.

Just wondering how Microsoft defines “blogs” if they get on stage and say “we have more of them than anyone else?”

Are all blogs the same? Even ones that have no content in them? (By the way, a very high percentage of the “most recently published Live Spaces” are empty like this — I’ll give you a better count in a few).

Scoble says half of all Live Spaces aren’t blogs*

Update: Mike, in my comments, thinks my headline is sensationalistic and says he didn’t say they aren’t blogs. We disagree on what a blog is, which is what this whole post is about so I changed it to say that I said that half of all Live Spaces aren’t blogs.

Mike Torres of the Live Spaces team just said that more than half of all Live Spaces are private. Um, Mike, you DO realize that private Web spaces are NOT blogs, right?

In a ThinkWeek paper, accepted by Bill Gates, and discussed with him before MSN even started publishing Spaces (more than two years ago), we (not just me, but MS researchers too) defined blogging as having five things:

1) Easy to do reverse-chronilogical content display. Type in a box and hit publish. New stuff goes at the top of the page. Old stuff moves down.
2) Discoverable. Through search engines (I listed Google, Technorati, MSN, Yahoo, and a few others). I specifically mentioned a ping server as infrastructure too, ala Technorati or Weblogs.com. IE, blogs are public. I would go as far as saying that a site that does not ping a pingserver, like weblogs.com, is NOT a blog (private Web sites don’t ping weblogs.com and are NOT discoverable by search engines).
3) Social. I can track when you link to me from another domain, either through search engines, through trackbacks, or through my referer logs. (I can’t be social with private cross-domain spaces).
4) Permalinkable. I can send you a link directly to a post. (I can’t do that with private spaces).
5) Syndicatable. I can use a news aggregator to read your content, which lets me read a lot more blogs. (I can’t do that with private spaces).

So, half of all Live Spaces are NOT blogs. They are something else. How about we make up a name for them? “Plogs.” Not to mention but “blogs” got their name from Pyra’s Blogger, which complies with all these things.

I feel so strongly about this stuff that we put this into our book as a common definition of why Blogging is hot. If your tool or service doesn’t comply with all five of these things it might be very cool (and there might be a LOT of them) but you shouldn’t be able to claim that they are blogs.

Oh, geez, Marc Canter show remix

Hi Marc Canter! Yeah, I see you posting weird videos to blip.tv. Trying to distract me from exposing Live Spaces’ lack of real blogs. Getting in the way of real journalism. Can’t have THAT here on the blogs. ;-)

Yeah, you can distract me by writing “Scoble” on your blog. Technorati is an evil thing. If you link then you distract me twice. Once in my ego search in Technorati (Maryam watches there too) and once in my referer log which shows up everytime I go to WordPress.com’s Dashboard.

It’s Sunday evening, though. Hope you’re similarly distracted!

Hmmm, who do I want to distract? Bhuvana Sundaramoorthy. He wrote an awesome post on common interview questions and went straight from the “Z list” to the “A list.” How do you do that? He caught a ride on the Digg express!

Oh, why not pander to the A list? I saw Kevin Rose, founder of Digg, at TechCrunch on Friday night. Distracted Kevin?

How about Doc Searls? I was just reading his blog and Seth Finkelstein and Dave Rogers are saying he’s some kind of gatekeeper of the “A list.” Wait a second, Doc didn’t link to Bhuvana?!? I guess that gatekeeper job isn’t as good a deal as Seth and Dave make it out to be.

I need Excel help, off to Amazon’s Mechanical Turk

Update: I already got the cleaned file, thanks to several of my readers! Appreciate the help!

OK, I downloaded the latest change.xml file from weblogs.com. If you don’t know what weblogs.com is, this is a service that most weblog tools will “ping,” or let know that someone has just published.

In the early days of blogging Dave Winer and other bloggers would watch this page like a hawk since it would display when new people had just posted. Remember, when I started blogging there were only a couple of hundred bloggers with only a few dozen posts a day. You could read this page just like many of us read TechMeme or TailRank now.

Anyway, I just downloaded the last hour and there were more than 60,000 entries in that file. Whew! OK, I went through brute force and cleaned up just the “As.” Brute force means I just went through and deleted them by hand, not using any macro or scripts.

It’s taking too long to do it by hand (60,000 URLs is too many) and, anyway, it’d be fun to redo this test over and over to see if the numbers of blogs done from each service change depending on the day of week and time of day.

Anyway, here’s what I need done. This is a perfect job for Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. That service lets you spec out a small job, and get someone who has a little extra time to do it to do it for you for a reasonable fee.

On the other hand, I’ll also ask here. Here’s what I need:

1) Take my Excel .XLS file (I’ll clean it up and put it into a column for you) and delete all the URLs that don’t come from blogspot.com; wordpress.com; livejournal.com; spaces.live.com; typepad.com.

That’s it. Easy, huh? Should take one of the programmer types here a few minutes to write an Excel macro to do that. If you’d rather me just hand you a comma-delimited text file, I can do that too. Or, you can just go get the file yourself from weblogs.com (it’s an XML file) and clean it up yourself. I just need the URLs, I don’t care about anything else.