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the big blog company | Administrative
“Oh wow, that's a big blog you've got there!”
Some important bloke on some important blog.
Administrative
February 22, 2006
Wednesday
Good things come to those who wait
Adriana Cronin-Lukas • Products & Services • Brand blogs • Administrative 
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Rachel tells the world about the new Guiness Blog.

She gives some interesting background to trying to get a major brand management company to introduce blogs. Thumbs up to the effort, I know it wasn’t easy:

It’s been a long journey from idea to reality for this site; long and varied conversations with the legal teams to ensure that a site would comply with our Marketing Code and allow the brand team to have a conversation with their consumers that would follow the principles in the document.

On a different note, Rachel mentions that she is with her old company for another two week and will be setting out as a freelance project manager. Well, we hope to use her expertise extensively in the immediate future and, in fact, can’t wait. grin

January 03, 2006
Tuesday
Goowy spam faux pas
Adriana Cronin-Lukas • Administrative • Personal 
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This morning I found an email from Dennis Howlett whom I finally got to meet at Les Blogs 2.0 last month, recommending something called goowy as a new email client. The invitation was to set up an account and then let him know what I think. I like Dennis and know he gets involved in interesting ventures, and the way the invite was worded I thought he was somehow involved in this project. Also, as it was an early morning email-check (having gone to be at 3am the night before), I wasn’t thinking about matters too much and proceeded with setting up the email to test it.

First of all, it’s built in Flash, which is pretty but a bit of an overkill to say the least. But perhaps mainstream users like a graphically designed interface, so be it. Not everybody has to be a fan of gmail style simplicity. I moved on.

Secondly, when you sign up, you get to import all your contacts from your main email client. I use gmail and the import was smooth and effortless. Too effortless in fact, as I was clicking through the steps, there was a line at the bottom of the (visible) screen with a box checked, which only flashed before my eyes, as I was clicking ‘continue’. It said ‘send invitation to goowy to your contacts’ or words to that effect. With horror I watched as responses (mostly out of office replies) started piling in into my new shiny inbox. You may say that I should have been more careful about proceeding to the next stage in the set up but you’d be wrong. I was setting up a simple email client, which is something I do all the time, when testing various new applications coming out of the blogosphere.

This is the real killer and the message is - You. Do. NOT. Check. Anything. Intrusive. By. Default. For. The. User!!! I am now incredibly pissed off at goowy for effectively spamming all my contacts. I did send an unhappy email to comments@goowy.com and I know I’ll be watching the fallout from this with growing unease. David appeared on my IM asking about goowy already as he received invitations from two of his contacts. He commiserated while I was fuming, offering the opinion that they don’t deserve to stay in business… And in true blogosphere fashion, he already blogged about it. I second that and may you burn in spam hell, goowy.

And now, what do I do? Send a link to this post to all my contacts? Groan.

cross-posted from Media Influencer

June 10, 2005
Friday
Latitude and gratitude
Jackie Danicki • Marketing & PR • Administrative • Personal 
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As you may have read elsewhere, I accepted an offer this week to join Latitude, the world’s largest and most successful search engine marketing company, as their head of marketing.

It is not the case, though, that I left the Big Blog Company for Latitude. In fact, I told Perry and Adriana about a month ago that I felt the time had come for me to move on from our shared mission of teaching companies how to converse with their customers, potential customers, and industry peers. (Actually, we were doing a lot more than just that, but for brevity’s sake, I won’t detail every single way in which we’ve been trying to change the world.)

I have been itching to do something that would let me affect the big picture of which blogging is only one very integral part. I had no idea what that something would be, but I knew I had to try to find it. But it found me, in the form of the offer from Latitude, within a very short time of my decision to leave full-time work with tBBC. (To those who were horrified when I replied, “I don’t know” when you asked me what I was going to do next, and who thought I was insane not to have a ten year plan or whatever other rigid schemes you think people need in order to live well: The way this is working out is a good example of what we at tBBC refer to as the benefits of the emergent.)

But as I have written previously, I wouldn’t have the expertise to do what I’ll be doing at Latitude if I had not spent the last year soaking in tBBC. Most businesses pay lip service to ‘company values,’ but it’s no exaggeration to say that the values I cultivated thanks to Adriana and Perry (and our good friends like Alan Moore at SMLXL) are ones over which I’ve become obsessive in my wish to honour. Engagement not interruption. Pull not push. Individuals not ‘consumers’. Value for value. The benefit of the emergent. Your behaviour is your brand. Sneer at the Cluetrain purity of it all, but don’t doubt our sincerity. All of us from tBBC, and the people we gravitate to (and who gravitate to us), are individuals who do not like to be pushed around, who reject attempts to control our behaviour, and who resent few things more than a company that thinks it can get money out of us by pushing us around and attempting to control our behaviour.

Those are the values I’m taking to Latitude, and which will be core to my efforts there. The opportunity to bring those values to an established, highly successful company that is surrounded by the stalwarts of traditional, intrusive, push marketing is very exciting to me. Just as tBBC has been instrumental in me landing such a great gig, I hope to be instrumental in making the mentality of marketing in the UK (and beyond - if that’s not too much to hope for) one that is much more receptive to the values I learned with tBBC.

And when I say tBBC, I mean Adriana and Perry, the two people with whom I have been immersed in this stuff for at least three thousand hours over the past year. After logging that kind of time, there’s no way I can completely extract myself from what they are trying to do. Plus, we’re still friends and I still talk to Adriana on pretty much a daily basis. So you’ll probably continue to spot the occasional post from me on this blog.

So thanks, Adriana and Perry, for changing my life. Not only do I now know exactly what I want to accomplish in life, but I also have a finer appreciation for the humble hippo than I did before I met you. I could not pay you a higher compliment if I tried. 

April 20, 2005
Wednesday
Smitting the spammers with blacklists
Perry de Havilland • Blogs & Blogging • Administrative 
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This blog ‘only’ gets a few trackback spams per week but we are well aware that some folks have been getting hammered pretty hard by those parasitic vermin.  The site Samizdata.net, of which I am chief editor, is a high volume site and thus attracts the spammers rather more regularly (as in about 2,600 trackback spams in the last 48 hours alone).  Let me pass on a trick that makes using the various forms of Blacklist designed to keep the spammers at bay work more effectively.

If you get a couple trackbacks with ‘payload’ URLs of (say) ‘goatsex.poxyspammer.com’ and ‘texasholdem.bandwidththief.com’, you can of course enter those URLs into your blacklist and all future incidences of trackbacks with those URLs in them will be blocked.  Alas, the vile spammers are rather too smart to make that effective, because next time their spambots are sent out to dump their garbage on your blog, the URL may look like: ‘goat-sex.poxyspammer.com’ and ‘texas-holdem.bandwidththief.com’ and next time ‘goatsex.peabrainspammer.ru’ and ‘texasholden.commoncriminal.pl’.  So…

When adding to your blacklist, rather than adding the entire offending URL, add the data thusly (using the examples above):

goatsex
goat-sex
poxyspammer
texasholdem
texas-holdem
bandwidththief
peabrainspammer
commoncriminal

That way just partial matches will trip over the blacklist and minor alterations to the payload URL will not let it avoid detection.

Spam is intolerable, so do not just delete it, fight back and defend your private property (i.e. your blog)!  If you do not have anti-spam defences in place, you really must install them… the tools are available but you need to spend the time to learn how to use them effectively.

November 01, 2004
Monday
The righteous job of smiting spammers, no matter how they manifest themselves
Perry de Havilland • Administrative 
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We got hammered by trackback spammers over the weekend but we have the tools and techniques to fight them off and we do seem to have stemmed the flow. Most likely as more and more blogs set up hard to penetrate anti-spam defences for their comments (such as Turing tests or TypeKey), spammers are forced to resort to other tactics to keep their vile businesses afloat, such as generating trackbacks to their ghastly porn sites.

It is very important that blog administrators stay abreast of ‘best practice’ in the fight against spammers as this medium is far too valuable to allow it to be hijacked by a bunch of scammers, parasites, criminals and fraudsters (do you get the impression I do not like spammers?).  Trackback is a very useful tool and fortunately with a bit of care it can be protected against misuses by malevolent third parties.

P.S. please let me know if there are any residual trackback ‘nasties’ let that I missed on any articles.  I think I stomped them all but you never know!

October 26, 2004
Tuesday
The reason for the strange silence at tBBC…
Perry de Havilland • Administrative 
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Our blog has been rather quite lately for a very simple reason… the Big Blog Company’s band of intrepid bloggers have either been afflicted with whatever this nasty bug is that seems to be afflicting anyone within coughing distance of London… or have been in France on business.

But do not fear, we are all still (more or less) alive and shall be returning to the fray shortly.

October 05, 2004
Tuesday
Waste ‘em
Henry St Luc • Administrative 
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It’s that time of the year work again. After weeks of design, code and test, we have just opened up the New and Improved tBBC blog. And we are now out to hunt the gremlins.

One of them was apparently spotted by some visitors in the facility, roaming free and eating little babies’ heads and Granny’s ice cream cone (no, I mean the gremlin). Unfortunately, they failed to provide us with enough details to track and eradicate the bastard (yes, I mean the gremlin).

Consequently, and assuming this is not the man who saw the man who saw the man who saw the gremlin in 15px Verdana, I invite you to join the stalking. Don’t worry, it’s fox hunting that was repressed banned. As far as gremlins are concerned, the ROE are “fire at will”.

But wait for my order.

This is a gremlin-free big blog (well, at least a screenshot of it), and this is how we see it by default on different PCs running Internet Explorer 6.0.2900.2180.xpsp_sp2_rtm.040803-2158, Firefox 0.8 and 1.0 PR, as well as Macintoshes’ Safari.

If - again, by default. Yeah, that means before you click anything at all - you see anything else, then please tell us what you see - and make sure you tell us which browser/version you’re using. Coz that would be gremlins.

So Fire at will. Secure the area.

For the sake of little babies and granny’s ice cream, let’s waste ‘em.

UPDATE:

Okay, I think I found and squashed it already, though I could still use confirmation from those who saw it eating Granny’s ice cream.

If that was indeed the one we’re talking about, it was very small really. Nothing to scare little babies about. Its erratic nature made it a bit difficult to hunt though--and that’s not mentioning the fact that we couldn’t reproduce it (yeah, we do breed gremlins. Hunting them is fun.)

All right stalkers, before you tell me “it’s still there”, please make sure you forcefully deleted tBBC’s cookie. Clearing your browser cache could help, but that’s just to be on the safe side, and shouldn’t be mandatory.

October 04, 2004
Monday
A brand new blog design - with a hippo in it
Adriana Cronin-Lukas • News • Administrative 
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The Big Blog Company blog looks a bit different today. Well spotted. Let me tell you what we have got. This is the blog. Then there is much content and juicy goodness around that can be accessed via the navigation bar and any place you care to click. We have info about our products, about us, with pictures (I know, I know), some background info about blogs and the blogosphere and blog related stuff. And probably an extensive range of twidly little bugs and things that probably don’t work quite right, but a magnanimous person like you will not make a big deal out of that, right? Why? Because we have a hippo at the top. It’s round and cuddly (unlike us) and has a story behind it. A good story in fact, a kind of story every company should have. And a clever metaphor. So go and read the story. It’s great. Did I mention how good the story is…

Oh, and no comments moderation other than captcha and our eagle-sharp eye for manually entered spam. So fire away. Be nice. At least to start off with.

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