Sunday, February 13, 2005

Blog Blotching

*****


selfishness, cause of emptiness (from "the causes of suffering" tathagata series, copyright 2004 by steven streight) Posted by Hello

BLOG BLOTCHING

With millions of blog sites available to view, we must all become skilled at detecting Blog Blotching.

Blog Blotching is about as polite as I can describe the untrustworthy, inept, self-serving, and outright malicious blogs that haunt the web.

"blotch" = 1. a discolored patch or eruption on the skin. 2. any large, irregular blot or stain. (Webster's New World Dictionary)

Blog Blotching means the blog author has "stained, smudged, polluted" the blog by commiting a blatant violation of usability, courtesy, or credibility.

No blog is perfect.

All blogs have limitations imposed by the author's technical expertise, the host site, and the blogging software being used, among other factors.

I'm not saying all blogs must please me.

I'm not saying all blogs must be have the same features, or that all blogs must slavishly follow all my guidelines.

Blog Blotching refers to what seems to be deliberate malpractice or willful negligence(third paragraph under "Revolutionary Nanotech Products" subhead). The "Don't Worry, Be Crappy" or "ship shoddy now, improve it later" approach advocated by Guy Kawasaki in Rules for Revolutionaries.

If you think I'm joking or over-reacting, think again.

See my "Lightning Strikers Manifesto" at:

http://www.streightsite.blogspot.com/
2005/02/lightning-strikers-manifesto.html

Check out some of the mediocre blogs that now exist.

It almost seems, in some cases, like sleazy con artists and spammers have decided to start blogs. Blotched Blogs, that is,

It's not hard to find these Blotched Blogs. But I won't tell you how to quickly get to them, because I don't want to drive traffic to these sites. That would just encourage them.


Some Common Varieties
of Blog Blotching:



1. No "About Me" page.


What are they hiding? If you don't know who is the author or founder of the blog, why visit it?

No one is willing to take responsibility for the contents. The blog is anonymous, cold, alien, a mysterious stranger lurking in the cyber-shadows. No specific name is provided as the author. Therefore, it has no credibility.

A nameless blog is creepy. It's similar to getting an unsigned letter. Or a phone message on your answering machine, from an unnamed voice that you don't recognize.

2. "About Me" page is out of sync with blog contents.

The "About Me" page is impressive. You respect the firms where this person has had grand titles and responsiblities. He has been a keynote speaker at many prestigious events. All his ducks are in a row. Everything seems fantastic. Great accomplishments. Big names dropped here and there.

But...the blog is loaded with amateurish graphics, poorly written content, merely linking to other resources with little commentary, or other things seem out of whack. Something doesn't add up here.


3. Blogroll is restricted.


The blogroll, I mean, that list of "Blogs I'm Reading" or "External Resources", the collection of other blogs, usually running down the left or right side column, that blogroll is restricted.

In other words, if this is a Blogitup.com blog (I just made up a hypothetical company name), all the blogroll blogs are also and exclusively Blogitup.com blogs. This makes me think the blogger is a partner with the Blogitup.com company and doesn't want anyone going to any other blogs.

A restricted blogroll is a violation of the purpose of linking. Links are to direct users to reliable relevant content, not to your friends who also link to you (reciprocal linking) or only to blogs in which you have a financial interest.

4. Sleazy "Sponsored Links."

This is about as bad as it gets.

Everything seems fine, until you suddenly notice that the blog is crawling with sleazy Sponsored Links. At first, it looked like a new form of spam: Sponsored Link Spam.

Here are some the dubious, inappropriate "Sponsored Links" that were found in the right hand column of an alleged "new journalism" type blog, that contains stories on media events and news:

* Casino Games
* Best Online Casinos
* Poker Online
* Payday Loan
* Online Bingo
* Home Equity Loans
* Prescription Drugs
* Sports Handicapping
* Consolidate Credit Card Debt
* Party Poker Bonus Code
* Texas Holdem
* Fast Cash Loans
* No Download Casino Gambling
* Online Payday Loans Cash Advance

...and more.

So here we have a person who has apparently legitimate content on his blog, then turns around and loads it up with questionable, detrimental, or undignified "make a quick buck" type links.


5. No email address is listed, and site contact form is broken.

Maybe they had recurring avalanches of spam email, so they refuse to publish their email address. But no worry--there's a "Contact Us" page, you click/select it, and are greeted with a "hidden email" web contact form. The "From:" text entry box really wants your email address, but you don't know that, and type in your name. Rejected. You go back to the contact form, which is blank now. You re-type your message, type in your email address in the "From:" box, and press Submit button.

Later, when you check your email, you see an "Undeliverable" message regarding the contact form mail you sent.

Result? The blog is "uncontactable" and thus, loses all credibility and value.


6. No monitoring of comment spam.


You read a blog post. You enjoy it. You feel like adding your own comment to the post. But when you click/select "Comments", you're greeted with a few legitimate user comments, and a long series of what is obviously blog comment spam, probably deposited by a non-human string of code "spambot".

Result? Since the blog author has no concern for the quality and legitimacy of user-generated content (comments), the relevance and value of the site decreases, along with its credibility and appearance of professionalism.

Comment spam boosts results page ranking on search engines, for the spammer.

Comment spam pollutes a blog's content.

A professional, serious blog will delete comment spam immediately and routinely.


7. Isolated Island Blog: No blogroll. No hypertext links in the content. No commenting enabled.

When a blog has no blogroll, it ought to make you wonder: why do they not recommend resources for further exploration?

When a blog has no hypertext links in the content (articles, posts), it ought to make you wonder: why does the author ramble on without providing any substantiating evidence or examples or references? (Hypertext links are a blog's "footnotes".)

When a blog has no user comment posting function, it may mean the author had a lot of trouble with comment spam, and in frustrated resignation, just withdrew that function.

I can't think of any other reason why a blog author would not want to allow users to add comments. If there were too many irrelevant comments? Too many flame wars of users attacking each other? Too many abusive comments, filthy language, unfair assertions?

But when a blog seems to be cold, detached from user comments and the blogosphere itself, when it seems to be an isolated island, this could be a symptom of arrogance or apathy toward users.


8. Chat Room Abbreviation/Teen Talk Blogs.

If teenagers start these to talk secretly with friends, I'm not going to go on the warpath against them and raise a hundred kinds of hell.

But I thought I'd mention them as "blotchy" because rather than being merely private code talk, they may indicate the author really can't spell or speak correctly.

You know you've landed on a Chat Room Abbreviation/Teen Talk Blog when the content is written with such conventions as:

TEEN TALK

"sumtink" = something
"sowie" = sorry
"tomolo" = tomorrow
"fwenz" = friends
"skewl" = school
"gd nyd" = good night
"aite" = all right
"bin" = been
"tt" = that
"tts" = that's
"dae" = day
"cuzin" = cousin
"lub" = love
"juz" = just
"wif" = with
"n" = and
"gd" = god, good

CHAT ABBREVIATIONS

ADN any day now
AFAIK as far as I know
AS another subject
ATSL along the same line
AYOR at your own risk
BTW by the way
OT off topic
WOT way off topic
WOTAM waste of time and money
ESAD eat sh** and die
HHIS hanging head in shame
IBTD I beg to differ
FWIW for what it's worth

...and so on, LALOT (loads and loads of them).

Plus you can make them up as you go along, if you want to be mysterious, and share them only with your "fwenz".

For an example of this type of "blotching" (from my POV, but teens may love it), see:

Shazie's Blog

http://www.shazana.blogspot.com

A real problem with this blog, besides the language, vacuity, and falling snowflakes ("innocent tears" from Blogskins), is the insidious manner in which the cursor of my browser is disabled.

When I try to mouse click such functions at the top, like "Blogger.com", "Start Your Own Blog" or "Next Blog", nothing happens. I've tried clicking at every angle, every slightly askew position on the links, but nope, nothing.

Shazana is attempting to make her blog a "mouse trap": one from which there is no escape, she doesn't want visitors to leave, which any right-minded web surfer will want to do within 1.17 seconds.

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