For 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.
If you switch to a 7 day view, you will see that Blogcatalog overtook MyBlogLog 24th January.
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 numbersâ€”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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I am fascinated what it will take to finally get some mention of Blogcatalog on Techmeme and possibly some wider exposure.