Blogcatalog SezWho Partnership – Passes MyBlogLog Traffic

 

Blogcatalog SezWhoFor the last few weeks Blogcatalog have been driving full steam with new features, and today announce a partnership with SezWho, the comment and reputation ranking platform.

I have been slacking a little over the last month on the updates, so time to play catch up.

First of all some big news, Blogcatalog has now surpassed MyBlogLog in traffic levels, if you believe Alexa data. They are in exactly the same niche, and share plenty of users, so whilst I don’t trust Alexa data extensively, this is a significant achievement considering it wasn’t long ago when people had trouble differentiating the two services.

Blogcatalog Alexa 3 year

If you switch to a 7 day view, you will see that Blogcatalog overtook MyBlogLog 24th January.

Blogcatalog passes MyBlogLog on Alexa 30 day

The observant will also note when looking at a 3 year chart that MyBlogLog had much more explosive growth over a short 3 month period, were purchased by Yahoo, and since that time has been a little bit in decline which is a shame because I still love MyBlogLog, and if I have a choice between MyBlogLog and Google Analytics for stats checking, I am more likely to have a glance in MyBlogLog than Google Analytics.

BlogCatalog has had a much more gradual growth, working to differentiate themselves by introducing lively discussion forums and member groups, and bringing bloggers together to support good causes with Bloggers Unite.
The growth has been viral, “grass roots” growth, with from memory one mention on Mashable, one mention on Marketing Pilgrim, and very little if any coverage on large technology blogs. Blogcatalog would be a great example of what Guy Kawasaki was talking about yesterday.

Forget A-list bloggers. Lousy reviews by them cannot tank your product. Great reviews cannot make it successful. Focus on big numbers—any Technorati 1,000,000 blogger can be a channel to reach people. If enough people like your product, the A-list bloggers will have to write about you.

Some key recent enhancements (click through to see working examples on some of these widgets)

Blogcatalog Discussions & Groups

Discussion Forums and Groups

There are frequent enhancements to the features in the various discussion areas, the latest one being a new widget for the discussion groups you have joined – other features include practical enhancements to the discussion features, in many cases making them more useful than Facebook, where it is very hard to track discussion in the groups you join.

BlogRank Buttons (just released)

This was announced just a few hours ago
My BlogCatalog BlogRank

BlogCatalog ratings are based upon various metrics including votes using a widget on your site, voting on the site, visits from Blogcatalog to your blog, and overall Blogcatalog activity in various forms.

Communities Widget

This is a way to display your profile on other social media sites introduced in December. Quite simple, and useful if you don’t want to give juice to the sites for reputation management.

On this one I am not sure who got there first, as MyBlogLog also launched a similar widget in December

There actually seems to be some bugs in the code generated, or maybe it is just my laggy connection, but I couldn’t seem to get a version that displayed both the names of a service, and icons next to them.

BlogCatalog API

I am not that great a programmer but I have managed to play around with the Blogcatalog API and create some simple applications (still to be released) by combining data from Blogcatalog with data from other APIs. Blogcatalog has had their API available for some time.

MyBlogLog should have had their API launched months ago by my reckoning, and it finally entered beta a week ago. It seems like it might have more features than the current Blogcatalog API, but once you have opened up, opening up a little more isn’t too difficult.
With wider adoption (the tech bloggers have been wooed by MBL in the past) the new MBL API is being greeted as the possible saviour of Yahoo.
Sure, it is possible MyBlogLog have more data stored, I am not sure what data Blogcatalog collect, have a wider audience, and MyBlogLog have the “social starfish” available via API, but it isn’t much more work for Blogcatalog to allow access to that data.
MyBlogLog have however been working on infrastructure heavily for the last… 12 months – I would hope their API is now ready for some heavy usage.

I would love to have seen some cool apps made with the Blogcatalog API by now

Support For WordPress.com, Myspace, or Yahoo! 360 Blog?

This is something that MyBlogLog have had for some time, Blogcatalog announced support for WordPress.com, Myspace and Yahoo! 360 yesterday.

Recent Readers

View My Profile
View My Profile
View My Profile
View My Profile
View My Profile

Who knows, maybe you can even see my recent visitors in a feed reader, in fact that would be an interesting addition.

Tagging & Reading

Quite a few months ago I wrote about Blogcatalog parsing tags from your feed items and then listing your content on varous tag pages, just like Technorati. At the time they only offered support for a few blogs, using a specific format for tags and categories. I noticed a couple of months ago that they now have my blog being picked up and fed into tag feeds

In addition on your profile pages it is now possible to read the feeds of the blogs you have added to your neighborhood

Ok now for the big one…

Blogcatalog SezWho Partnership

Blogcatalog today have just announced a partnership with SezWho, who provide special plugins to integrate with Plugin Systems on various blogging and discussion forums.
The good things from my perspective:-

  • SezWho doesn’t require any form of browser plugin
  • This doesn’t replace the existing comment system, thus a blog owner retains the content on their site, and if they choose, can remain dofollow. That isn’t true of other replacement comment systems with similar features.
  • No browser plugin is required – I often had problems using various browser based comment tracking with incompatibilities, and I also had problems with their plugins, though I must admit I haven’t retried with cocomment recently, maybe that situation has improved. Comment tracking that required me to click a button was always awkward, and subscribing to RSS feeds for comments on individual posts just became a chore – we will see how this works in the long run
  • Comment ratings – this could be likened to the thumbs up / thumbs down on SEOmoz where you gain points, but this is a distributed rating system that means you gain in reputation for leaving high quality comments across multiple blogs – I am not sure whether this gets gamed heavily, but Ihope that it will encourage better commenting, especially on dofollow blogs.
  • Warning:- I may be more inclined to just delete a URL from a spam comment rather than deleting them totally, so that other readers can also vote your comment down
    yes, sometimes there is a little evil in me

Negative points?

  • Only support for WordPress self-hosted and Moveable Type – in many ways I would look on this as a plus, as it might encourage more people onto their own hosting, though I hope they can come up with a solution for my many blogging friends on Typepad.
  • Installation is a little complicated for a novice, though there is a WordPress widget (regular readers know I don’t like WordPress Widgets though for SEO reasons)

I should also point out that as I am writing this I haven’t tested the integration on this blog with the threaded comments, but I don’t expect there to a problem, and by the time many people read this I will have everything up and running.

Setting Up SezWho

Log into Blogcatalog, go to your account and manage your blog

You will see just after the feed management section a big button to create an account on SezWho. |Click it, wait a moment or 2, and you will be issued an API key, and you will be given a link to click to download special versions of the SezWho plugins.

Special Blogcatalog SezWho Plugins

Goodbye MyAvatars

I have been using the WordPress plugin MyAvatars for over a year now, but it is time for it to be retired.

MyAvatars uses images from MyBlogLog, and unfortunately on popular content it is starting to cause me problems on page loading times. This isn’t something that was a major problem for me before, because I had a very fast connection, but it has started to cause me real problems, maybe because MyBlogLog switched over to the Yahoo image platform, or maybe it is a problem that always existed.
MyBlogLog Avatar Image Size

This doesn’t prevent people viewing my content quickly, because avatars and widgets are generally loaded in parallel, but on a slow connection it can start to hurt a little.
When your total page sizes can reach over 1MB, and most of that is avatars on comments, it is time to reconsider.

One caveat, I am not sure if the SEZWho Blogcatalog plugin will add avatars to trackbacks, I will have to take a look.

Benefits

Big immediate benefit for Blogcatalog is press coverage, as SezWho are in California. I think it is a good match as both are heavily aimed at promoting discussion between bloggers, both on blogs and off them.

I am also not a fan of applications that try to do too much – SezWho seems to do just enough to be worthwhile whilst leaving me in control of content left on my blog, and commenter ratings will certainly help in making the decision on whether a commenter is generally well behaved. I don’t mind short jokey comments or great post Andy if it is from someone legitimate, it is when someone comes in as a first time commenter, you rarely know if they are genuine.

About Blogcatalog & SezWho

My blog has in the last 9 months grown into quite an in depth resource on all things “Blogcatalog“. I first started writing about them when they relaunched around April 2007 with an initial investment of $40000 to purchase the existing property.
Full coverage of Blogcatalog can be found by browsing my Blogcatalog tag.

Primary competitor for Blogcatalog is Mybloglog

SezWho when they received $1M investment from KPG Ventures back in October 2007 were given quite a luke warm reception on Techcrunch.

Competitors to SezWho include Disqus, Intense Debate and coComment

Specific Disclosure – I do some consulting with Blogcatalog on a very much low key, part time basis, though I also give coverage to their competitors and try to remain impartial – I have given MyBlogLog extensive coverage as well, most recently in a joint interview with Ian Kennedy on Collective Thoughts

Further coverage no doubt on the Blogcatalog blog though the press release isn’t posted yet.

Update

I had planned to have the widget code working within a couple of minutes of posting, but it seems not to fully like my theme or maybe some other incompatibility.
This is what it is meant to look like.

SezWho Blogcatalog

Update 2

There is now coverage on Techcrunch, Mashable Rex Dixon Tom Drapeau (AOL / Propeller), Blogstring and Jitendra is compiling a list of blog mentions on the SezWho blog.

I am fascinated what it will take to finally get some mention of Blogcatalog on Techmeme and possibly some wider exposure.

 

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Comments

  1. says

    I found your site on google blog search and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. Just added your RSS feed to my feed reader. Look forward to reading more from you.

    - Sue.

  2. says

    Andy

    You say….if I have a choice between MyBlogLog and Google Analytics for stats checking, I am more likely to have a glance in MyBlogLog than Google Analytics.

    Can you give some reasons behind this?Or is it because Google penalized you in the October PageRank updates?

    • says

      With MyBlogLog the stats are real time, and they are fairly good for seeing a quick overview of what is happening.

      I look on Google Analytics as better for more in depth analysis when you are trying to spot overall trends, filter results on specific landing pages or keywords etc.

      Mybloglog is also fairly easy to grab screenshots from to demonstrate something quickly.

  3. says

    This is the second time this week now that someone has taken a screenshot of my avatar or banner just when I happened to visit. Ahh if images were only links. :-D

    One of the few things I don’t like about BlogCatalog is the lack of a block feature to stop repeat spammers, or a means to hide avatars. There’s been one or two avatars that have shown up in my widget that I probably wouldn’t want my mother to see, and I have no means to block them like I can with MyBlogLog.

    Other than that, this new SezWho based feature looks fascinating. It reminds me of Amazon’s comment system, and it’ll be interesting to see what kind of impact it will have on blog traffic.

    • says

      That is actually a live HTML based widget within the post – not a screenshot.

      I am sure if we nudge the BC guts we can get some filtering on Avatars.

      I actually have some bugs with the plugin on this site currently, but then I am using threaded comments which can cause lots of problems.

      Currently if I switch on the rating display and avatar box, then the image doesn’t display, and I have some sidebar problems.

      • says

        That is actually a live HTML based widget within the post – not a screenshot.

        Well don’t I feel like an idiot. I need some coffee.

  4. says

    Andy, I am not sure if you are aware but it looks like that SezWho widget is not compatible with your “dofollow” plugin.

    I have not been on MyBlogLog since they began to ask you to login with your Yahoo id. Was that an attempt to look like google?

    This is off topic, but I am having an issue with the threaded comments plugin on a post with 160+ comments. Sometimes it take really long to load. Any tip?

    • says

      I have been switching in and out various code snippets looking to solve the probelms. There are 3 pieeces of code to add to the comment form, and all 3 seem to have some overlap and maybe incompatible.

      With threaded or any comments, the biggest problem seems to be load from avatars.

    • says

      Andy,

      Let me know if you need any help sorting through the issues…The blog seems to take forever to load the profile popup seems to work well but the images are having some issues…Let me know and I’ll be happy to look at the issues and address those for you…

      -Jitendra

    • says

      Vlad, the rel-nofollow you see is added by SezWho’s JS code. Check the source to see that search engine crawlers still get clean links.

  5. says

    It seems like having the SezWho one each comment gives more interaction to all the comments. Now I feel like I need to read all of them all before I comment.

    On your last post I read I think I spent more time in the comments section than I did reading the post. :)

    But a good way to keep users involved.

  6. Mark says

    I’m surprised that no one has mentioned Entrecard, which is now doing more pageviews that MyBlogLog AND BlogCatalog, and its less than three months old:

    log.com&site2=blogcatalog.com&y=p&z=3&h=300&w=610&range=6m&size=Medium

  7. says

    ..if you believe the Alexa numbers..

    I’ve seen some small volume sites where I know the traffic stats, and have seen how far off Alexa can be. But, when the sites are biggers – Does that mean Alexa is multiplying the inaccuracies? or lessening them? Sometimes I wonder.

  8. says

    Wow, this thing is scary in what it can potentially track. After registering, it picked up comments I made 6 months ago on ReadWriteWeb.

    This seems to effectively “Slashdot” your comments system. The ratings seem a bit rudimentary right now, and I’m not sure how many people would be thrilled to have to fill in their email address yet again to a third party service just so they can rate someone.

    It’d also be nice to have the option of keeping my current avatar plugin instead of now seeing two avatars (I use Gravatar, which ever since it’s been snapped up by Automattic has been pretty reliable and fast).

    Being able to customize the style would also be nice, but I’m actually quite amazed at how neat my comments still looked once I activated the plugin.

    Weird thing though, some kind of loop is occuring here where the page keeps trying to load something, and when it does the comments form here freezes up. Could that be related to the SezWho plugin?

    In any event it’s a new toy to play around with. :-D

  9. says

    Lincoln, We are looking at addressing the issue of needing email for rating…We are going to provide different ways for people to identify themselves so that we can provide proper weight to their ratings…Keep the feedback coming.

    -Jitendra

  10. rhei, writer surefirewealth.co says

    Wow! I am surprised on how blogs became so important to people nowadays. I do like to comment on people’s blog and all but this article really surprised me. Anyway, I really do enjoy reading articles on blogs and it really helps me pass my time on lazy days. More power to all of you bloggers out there!

  11. says

    If Jeremy Gislason wants to comment on my blog in person he is more than welcome, but if he has hired you for link building for his blog, I look on it as breaking my comment policy.

  12. says

    I had a hard time to remember where I’ve heard of this SezWho, and when I saw those little red squares at the commenters, I remembered that I’ve joined SezWho last year, only to completely forget about it afterwards.

  13. says

    I’m a little late to the SezWho thing and also to the BlogCatalog thing, but I did appreciate your review and it was one of the reasons why I finally signed up to both of them. So Thanks : )

    Actually it was your Alexa ranking comparison that intrigued me. The trends have flattened out since then and BlogCatalog doesn’t seem to be booming as much, but it’s still one of the best tools for new bloggers.

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