Monthly Archives: November 2007

Entertainment Gathering

Even though I swore off conferences for the rest of the year, I’m going to be making one final exception for the Entertainment Gathering in Los Angeles, which will be going on December 2-4. I’ll be going outside my normal role and attending as the official blogger for the conference, covering all aspects of the sessions, speakers, and attendees armed with a laptop and camera. If it sounds like your cup of tea, I think there are a handful of seats left.

Giving Back

In August of this year I started thinking a lot more about philanthropy and giving back. I was raised with a strong emphasis on civic responsibility and volunteering and though I’ve been very lucky in this world but haven’t found a way to connect back philanthropically beyond sporadic donations to open source, freedom, or music organizations I’m passionate about. There are a million places you can give money to, but it’s tricky to identify where it’ll be best used and have the biggest impact.

Spurred on by a lunch I attended with Peter Diamandis talking about the prize-based philosophy behind the Xprize and goading from Tim Ferriss I’ve stepped things up in the latter part of this year, starting by matching Tim on First Giving (something I hope to continue though he’s ahead right now). If you’re thinking about dipping your toes in giving back, Donors Choose is a great place to start.

Al Gore Hacked

The Register is reporting that Al Gore’s climate change site hacked. I looked at his WordPress blog and it’s running version 2.0.4, which was released in July of 2006, about 16 months ago. I wonder if these people want to upgrade but just need help, and if there’s something as a community we could do to assist them? Like install4free but for upgrades. What’s unfortunate is that people see this as an indicator of WP security, they’re judging us by bugs that have been fixed for more than a year.

TechCrunch’s Social Responsibility

Mike Arrington on TechCrunch did an interesting thing a few days ago, he asked their readers if they should accept advertising from PayPerPost/Izea. Their readers made the right decision and voted that it would be disingenuous to accept advertising from a company that, in Michael’s words, pollutes the blogosphere. He also notes that TechCrunch is being held to a higher standard than most mainstream media would:

The comments that are most interesting to me are the ones that say we’re selling out if we take their advertising. I understand that we are held to a certain standard (and we hold ourselves to that standard), but it’s interesting that we supposed to do things that would never be asked of MSM.

While I’m sure there’s mainstream media which turn away advertisers because of social reasons, the point that we should hold flagship blogs to high standards is a good one.

On that point, I would encourage the crew at TechCrunch to re-examine their advertising and implicit endorsement of Text Link Ads, which pollutes the blogosphere in the same way PayPerPost does, by selling links with the intention of gaming Google. Just as PayPerPost “posties” were recently penalized by Google and Pagerank was one of the criteria that advertisers looked for when choosing which bloggers to give money to, Text Link Ads has been doing the same thing for years, they’ve just been more explicit about it. (And their corporate site has been penalized in Google for a long time.)

I should also note that if TechCrunch decides that the same reasons it decided to not accept advertising from Izea also apply to Text Link Ads, it’ll be operating at a higher standard than Google itself, who even though its business is directly impacted by the search engine spamming both of these companies practice allows both TLA and PPP to advertise via Adwords and Adsense.