First new digs offline, now a new site. I think its interesting from a square footage perspective how much of the front page they've dedicated to Typepad versus the other services. LiveJournal is a little box under the fold, and the main LiveJournal.com hasn't changed at all. Its not as "menu"y as I would have expected and LJ doesn't really appear as a tier in the structure. Nonetheless, its yet another thing to follow in this company's interesting story. The site is much more professional overall. They're really putting together quite a bench there.
The big question for me now is whether to shamelessly submit my blog as a featured site. Perhaps after I get a Blogmoxie redesign. Speaking of which... I need to ping them again to see if they have an opening for me.
Question: Am I a sellout for putting the strip of Google ads at the top of the page on my personal site?
To be perfectly honest, I debated this for a while. I've had ads up on the Success Blogging site since the beginning, and the site has basically paid for itself in the first month. However, that, while still not entirely a business, is more of a pseudo commercial venture, so ads seemed not entirely inappropriate there. But this is my page. Am I crossing the line by pawning the space at the top?
I don't think so, and here's why:
1) The ads don't cost you anything, not even in terms of the annoyance cost. They don't drop cookies, pop up, make sounds, or drop spyware on your PC. They just sit there, white on black with a little grey, seemlessly blending into the color scheme of the page. (PS... I've decided the format needs an upgrade... that's like Project #7 on the list... too much to do.)
2) They may actually provide a service for you. Perhaps they link you to something useful.
3) A good deal of the traffic on my site isn't necessarily from friends and people I know. I get a lot of random traffic passing through. I know that because I can see where people are coming from. I think 10% of my traffic comes from people Googling "Gmail Notifier" or "Stanford MBA". I think of my ads like a commuter tax for those people. You don't live here, but you use the content. Why shouldn't you contribute?
One thing is bothering me, though. There's an ad at the top that directly competes with Success Blogging. In fact, the website has a very similar name. Of course, there's plenty of room for consultants and speakers talking about how blogging can make you successful, so I'm not that worried, but still, if I had the choice, I'd rather not be advertising for a competitor on my site. Or, perhaps his success will help my own and vice versa. Anyway... I'll keep you posted on the progress.
Remind me again.... Is it the third, or the fourth sign of the Apocalypse when two mobloggers capture the same exact moment? In this case, its the Six Apart folks (not surprisingly): Ben and Barak. Where was Andrew when all this was going on? Clearly, he dropped the ball on the moblog trifecta.
From Steve Rubel... Great quote...Link: Micro Persuasion: How Not to Pitch a Blogger.
Back in my early career my mentors used to tell me never put anything in email to a journalist that you wouldn't want on the front page of The New York Times. Well, nowadays you need to think bigger. I say, never put anything in an email to a blogger that you wouldn't want to stick on your own forehead for life!
We had an interesting discussion yesterday about blogging. In particular, we talked about my blogging in relation to my employment at Union Square Ventures. Blogging is a very powerful medium, and you never know who is reading. While its very easy to put up a "My opinions aren't that of my company" note, that doesn't mean that there won't still be some entrepreneur who reads my blog and decides that USV isn't the kind of firm they want to work with. Of course, my penchant for flip commentary and shooting from the lip doesn't help that. Now, of course, flip commentary about baseball or kayaking is unlikely to have that kind of effect, but opinionated commentary about companies and technology might.
In addition to my potential for saying something out of line that isn't reflective of my firm, I'm more concerned about putting myself out there as more of an expert on something than I am. Its so easy for blog content to proliferate around the net, and perhaps I'll post some kind of groundbreaking insights that everyone will want to trackback to. (It could happen!) All of the sudden, I've put myself out there as someone who knows something more than they really do, and, at this point, that's not something I'm particularly comfortable with.
Therefore, I've decided to institute some new policies around here, in the form of a policy statement:
- I am employed by Union Square Ventures as an analyst, not a partner. The opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily reflective of the opinions of other employees of the firm, nor of the official positions of the firm (if there are such things) and should not be construed as such.
- I have decided not to post my opinions, for the foreseeable future, on technology and venture capital related topics in terms of their viability or potential success as a business. From time to time, I reserve highlight what technologies I find useful from a technology consumer standpoint or point out what features I would like to see added to existing products as a consumer.
- I will not be posting any discussion about companies that Union Square Ventures is looking at for a potential investment or is currently invested in. However, I may actually use or link to some of their publicly available services on my blog as a user. Obviously, if we like a company enough, its not unlikely that we would use their services.
- I will not be posting any internal business and technology related discussions, whether it be with Brad and Fred or with any companies I might speak to. Fred can post on such discussions if he so chooses on his own blog, and Brad, well, I'm sure Brad will cave eventually on the blogging.
- Please send any business plans you might have to Union Square Ventures through our website, and not directly to me. This is my personal site and while Charlie as a person is an analyst for a venture capital fund, this site is not about that fund and mention of its activities are incidental to descriptions of my life.