Sunday, April 24, 2005

Final skunk-dog interaction report

Well, it's been two months and two days since our dog Bachelor got sprayed by a skunk. This happened at about 5 AM when Bachelor insisted that I take him outside. It was dark, and I didn't see the skunk--but Bachelor certainly did!

Those who read earlier posts on this subject may recall that over the course of a week or so my husband and I tried all sorts of remedies--from the traditional tomato juice bath to regular shampoo to special formulations I found on the web.

They all helped a bit, especially cumulatively. But the fact is that two months later Bachelor STILL is not completely free of skunk odor. Evidently, the skunk sprayed him most strongly in the face and in the ruff (sp?) of his neck--and that's where the smell remains. It's not terribly strong; you can only really detect it when you get down and hug Bachelor. Since this is something I do often--what else are dogs for?--I'm regularly reminded of his earlier encounter with a skunk.

May it be his first--and last--such encounter!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Weblogs by average daily traffic

I just learned that there's a web site that tracks daily average traffic on quite a number of blogs. It's The Truth Laid Bear ( I have no idea how they determine traffic rankings, or whether the rankings are accurate.

Have any of you heard of this site?

Monday, April 18, 2005

Personal update and information about a blogger who is transforming her blog into a book

I've just returned from four days in Seattle. The main reason for going was to attend the Pacific Northwest Writing Centers conference--but my husband and I also got to visit both my sister and her family and our nephew and his partner. We got to hear my sister's bluegrass band (Looking Glass) rehearse, visit the new Tacoma Glass Museum and Tacoma Art Museum, and tour the fabulous new Seattle Central Public Library. Thanks to our nephew Michael and his partner Kyle, we also saw an amazing performance of contemporary American ballet at the Pacific Northwest Ballet. It was a wonderful time!

Even so, it's good to be back in small town Corvallis. Since it's been a while since I've posted to my blog, I thought I'd share an informational item. I recently learned that Julie Powell, who hosted the Julie/Julia Project blog for a year--has been able to turn her blog into a full-time, money-making career. Since a significant portion of my readership (that would be you, Hope) is interested in making money through blogging, I thought I'd pass this along.

Powell is a secretary who decided to cook her way through every recipe--yes, every recipe--in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She wrote about this is a blog. Her blog became wildly popular among the gourmet cooking set and eventually led to the opportunity to publish in journals like Bon Appetit, The New York Times, and Health. Powell quit her secretarial job and is now revising her blog into traditional book format. Her book will be released next January.

This just shows that it is possible to turn blogging into a money- and career-making venture.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Something of interest to folks who hope to make money blogging

This news item just showed up in a goggle alert I received today. I thought I'd paste it in since it offers hope for making money through blogging.

This story was printed from ZDNet News, located at --------------------------------------------------------------
By Alorie GilbertURL:

Most people who write blogs just do it for kicks--as a way to vent, be creative and connect to a community.

But profit motive may soon be added to the mix., a nationwide network of 6,000 local news sites, is planning to share its advertising revenue with thousands of volunteer writers.

The idea is to reward and motivate contributors whose stories and photos generate the most traffic, which in turn fuels ad revenue, said Edgar Canon, chief executive of the San Francisco company. He hopes the quality of contributions improves, too.
But it's also the principle of the matter. "I think the writing-for-free thing is kind of demeaning to content producers," Canon said.

It's a smart move, and a concept that may catch on among more commercial blogs, said Steve Outing, a senior editor at the Poynter Institute journalism school., recently acquired by The New York Times, also pays volunteer writers, he said. But he expects noncash compensation, such as T-shirts, mugs or free classified listings, will be more common.

"You've got to figure out a way to entice people to contribute," Outing said.
It may also further blur the line between professional journalists and amateur scribes--a line already made fuzzy by the rise of blogging.

For the time being, however, most people will likely find it difficult to eke out a living as a "citizen journalist"--a fact that may never change, Outing said.
At GetLocalNews, which started in 1999, it helps to be established. In its earlier years, the company had little left over from its start-up costs to pay writers.
Now the company will pay writers half the net ad sales their stories garner, Canon said. That figure is based on each story's "page views," or the number of times visitors view its Web page. Canon expects it to work out to about $2 to $5 per 1,000 page views. The company will send checks quarterly to all writers that rack up $25 or more in payments, he said.
GetLocalNews posted a further explanation, including how it will deter cheaters who try artificially boost their payments, on its Web site.

The company publishes up to 4,000 stories on a good day, nearly all of which are submitted by amateurs from across the country. Its most frequently visited site,, covers the San Francisco Bay Area suburb of Benicia, Calif., and gets as many as 5,000 page views per month, Canon said.

Friday, April 08, 2005

An Introduction to Literary Blogs

Two posts in one day? I guess this shows that I've got the blogging bug, especially since my readership (or should I say reader) is so limited.

But I've just been doing research on literary blogs, so I thought I'd post some information here.

Readers already know that there are blogs about just about everything, so it's hardly surprising that the genre of literary blogs exists. Literary blogs tend to be a mix of publishing industry and book talk, reviews, personal musings, and whatever else the blogger wants to write about that day.

Some well-known literary blogs are BookSlut (, Slightly Foxed (, and The Elegant Variation (

BookSlut and The Elegant Variation are well enough known that they were discussed on an NPR report on how blogging is influencing the publishing industry.

I'm writing from the northwest--Corvallis, OR to be specific--so I thought I'd mention a northwest site: MoorishGirl, which comes out of Portland Oregon ( It has many helpful links, including a list of literary blogs.

The author of MoorishGirl participates in another new literary blog site, The Litblog co-op ( This coop includes members who have their own literary blogs. The group has agreed to "meet" four times a year to select "a book from obscurity, an overlooked literary gem" that they would bring to the public's attention, both on their own blogs and on the co-op blog.

There's certainly lots going on out there! Surely this can only help the future of literature and of publishing.

A brief summary of the Edelman/Intelliseek report

Here's a brief summary of "Trust `MEdia': How Real People Are finally Being Heard. I'm posting this because my one faithful reader was unable to pull up the report. Also, trying to summarize the report will help it become clearer to me.

Before I continue, I do encourage readers to access the report yourselves. Even if the URL in my earlier post doesn't work, I expect that if you google the title the report will come up. The version I have is printed from the online report.

And now for the summary:

The first thing readers need to know is that the report markets itself on the first page as "The 1.0 Guide to the Blogosphere for Marketers and Company Stakeholders." This gives a good sense of the report's agenda, which is to help stakeholders better understand what the report terms "New communications and word-of-mouth marketing."

The executive summary of the report states that an Edelman 2005 Trust Survey found that "peoples' trust has shifted from authority figures to `average people like you.' In fact, 56% of Americans trust only the opinions of physicians and academicians more than they trust the opinions of people like themselves" (2). The summary goes on to note that blogs are both driving and benefiting from this shift.

[A side comment: if folks surveyed knew more academics, they might not have included them with physicians as authorities they still trust!]

The report provides basic info on blogs--information that I'm sure anyone reading The Writing Way already knows. One of the most interesting sections to me was the one on "The Impact of Blogs: Challenges, Opportunities and Changes." Here the report discusses:

--How blogs can serve as new sources of market research.

--How tracking blogs can benefit companies.

--About the development of adverblogs, such as Nike's Art of Speed adverblog.

--How blogs can serve as early warnings systems for companies. (An example of a company that failed to take advantage of this is the bike lock maker Kryptonite, which failed to respond quickly enough to a video posted on a blog that showed how to use a cheap pen to pick these expensive bike locks)

--How mass marketing is shifting to targeted, relationship, and word-of-mouth marketing.

--How blogs in the future are likely to be less text-heavy and more multi-media oriented.

Other sections of the report give what it terms "the new rules of engagement for the blogosphere" and raises "key questions for marketers and communications professionals."

The general conclusion of the report is that blogs are here to stay--and that business, industry, and the professions should take note.

Monday, April 04, 2005

News Bulletin: Edelman and Intelliseek have co-published a first-of-kind report on the impact of blogs

I just received a Google alert about a new report on blogging that looks to be interesting.

(In case you don't know, google alerts is a free service of google. You indicate terms you'd like Google to send you information on, and it provides daily on weekly depending on how you set it up. I have Google alerts for "blogs" and "customer reviewers."

Here is the URL to the press release about the report:

Embedded in the press release in the URL for the full report, minus a few sections that are reserved only for clients of Edelman, which is according to the press release the world's largest independent public relations form. (Intelliseek is a marketing intelligence firm.) I wanted to include the URL for the full report in this post, but for some reason the cut and paste function wouldn't remember its address.

The Report is titled "Trust `MEdia': How Real People Are Finally Being Heard."

Some examples of online citizen review sites (book reviews)

As some readers of The Writing Way may remember, I set this blog up both to gain experience in blogging and also to support a current research project, which is to study what I'm calling online citizen reviewers. As a quick reminder, these are folks who publish reviews on or or on personal web sites.

Lately, I've been trying to get a sense of just how many online citizen book review sites there are. I've now got the answer.


Definitely more than I could ever hope to visit or catalogue.

But I can try to give some sense of the range of sites.

There are the obvious sites that I just mentioned:,, etc.

Other large sites that include book reviews by (generally unpaid) citizen reviewers include: (This site uses a 7 page form that reviewers fill out.) (This is more on an online forum than review site)

The Complete Review is a very valuable resource not so much for its reviews--though it does have them--as for its links. It has links to print and web-based book review sites, literary weblog lites, international literary sites, and publishers' sites.

The Complete Review helped me to identify some personal book review websites. The following are just a few examples; there are many more:
Steph's Book Reviews (
Blether (
Kristen's Book Reviews (

I'd be very interested to know if readers know of other online book review sites that depend on unpaid citizen/customer reviews for content.

I'm also interested in review sites for products other than books that depend on citizen/customer reviews. Craig's list ( is a good example of such a site.

Are there online book review sites that you regularly visit that I have not listed here? Please send them my way. Are there other sites that depend either on citizen reviewers or on reputation-building (I'm thinking here of sites like EBay and Epinion, where those who use the site rate those who sell things or provide opinions about them) that you like? Again, please send them my way.