October 15, 2005

Some miscellaneous things about blogging.

1. I love Blogger! Nothing has malfunctioned around here since last May, and it's free. There must be a lot of people who left Blogger and regret it. How irritating it must be to have more traffic cost more. On Blogger, more traffic is unalloyed fun.

2. I really have meant all along to redo my template into something more distinctive, but lately, clicking around and seeing other blogs using Minima, I've started to feel that we have a kind of kinship. We are the Minimalists.

3. I must confess I've never understood trackbacks. I'm fairly sure Blogger blogs can't receive them, and I have no idea how to give them. I just quite simply regard trackbacks as something other people do.

4. I don't understand Blogshares, and I don't want to understand it. My interest in understanding it did not increase when I read this on the page about my blog:
Althouse suffered a huge setback with several analysts urging their clients to ditch the stock as it suffered a public relations disaster. The exact nature of customer dissatisfaction was not known but Txapulín was rumoured to have had a hand in it. Industry insiders suspect a Judge (artefact) was involved. Althouse share price dropped from B$7,667.73 to B$3,373.8.

The hell?


Doug said...


A word on Trackbacks. Blogger blogs can receive them, but you have to use Haloscan, or something like it, in order for that to happen. Haloscan has a commenting an trackback system similar to Blogger's.

Be warned, though, if you sign up for Haloscan you will lose ALL of the comments people have posted on Blogger's comment system. You might be able to sign up for just the trackback's but I didn't look into that. Fortunately, my blog was young when I did this and I only lost a few comments.

Doug said...

And, oh yeah, I don't really get Blogshares either.

Dave said...

I agree with all of your sentiments.

However, something about the costs associated with blogging on a non-free service needs to be mentioned. I pay $140 per year to blog through typepad.

If I average 1 post a day (not entirely unreasonable) then my blogging cost per post is $.38. It decreases towards zero as the number of posts per day increases. You average around 7 posts per day. If you were blogging through typepad, your blogging cost per post would be about $.05.

However, the true cost of blogging occurs when you calculate how much your time is worth and multiply that cost per hour by the numbers of hours you spend blogging a day.

When you add up all the time you spend blogging per day, you will quickly see that even blogger is not "free."

Nonetheless, I would argue that, for all active bloggers, the actual cost (i.e., cash paid out, not time costs) is either extremely marginal (as in my case) or non-existent (as in your case).

Meade said...

"Althouse share price dropped from B$7,667.73 to B$3,373.8."

As my financial adviser guy would say: "that looks like a strong buy opportunity," you know, as in "buy low..."

Dave said...

A clarification about cost: the "time cost" to which I refer in the above comment is really called an "opportunity cost." The time spent blogging represents time that could have been spent doing something else; it is an opportunity foregone.

Of course, it goes without saying that anything we do incurs opportunity costs because, for any given decision, there are infinite other choices that could have been made (i.e., I could have finished the book I was reading rather than taking a nap, etc.)

Ann Althouse said...

Lmeade: So maybe this Txapulín character was manipulating the market, defrauding other traders and haphazardly slurring me. Why wouldn't everyone do this? Does Blogshares have a regulatory system of some kind?

Meade said...

Gee, Ann, I have no idea. But if I were you, I'd be very careful not to engage in any insider... blogging.

I know, *groan*

Lance Burri said...

Must've been a bubble.

One thing about blogger - they're doing a great job of blocking the spam comments. Even my low-traffic blog is getting a ton of them. I get the notice in my email, but they don't make it through to my blog. And I don't have the word verification thing.

Ann Althouse said...

Lance: Thanks for the tip. I'll turn off word verification for now and see how it goes. (I'm terrible at getting the typing right.)

Dave said...

FWIW: trackback as explained by Wikipedia.

Ann Althouse said...

Uh... that lasted for about 2 minutes. Word verification is back on!

Barry "iPod" Johnson said...

There is a temptation to switch blog services, but I'm one of those minimalist bloggers who will stay with Blogger.

I have 12 blogs and a free blog service is important in my "blogxperiments."

Ann Althouse said...

12 blogs? Apparently, there is a subcategory of obsessive blogging that involves starting lots of different blogs. Not saying it's bad! I assume that whoever's writing Harriet Miers's Blog, for example, has lots of other single-idea blogs. That's one way to blog. I used to have a separate blog for my overflow ideas, mainly the most frivolous, lightweight things, where I let myself ramble and digress much more self-indulgently. (More like my "comments persona" here.)

Too Many Jims said...

Just a note on Blogger, trackbacks and comments. As someone said before, if you want trackbacks you have to go through Haloscan (or some other service). Haloscan gives you the code and tells you where to put it. The code does set up so that you have haloscan comments as well as trackback, but you can edit the code so that you have Trackbacks but you still use Blogger comments.

I doubt that you would derive many benefits from trackbacks (other than having a handy way of seeing what selected otheres are saying about you) but it may provide some benefits to others. At any rate, Technorati is much more exhaustive, if not quite as handy.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks, Jim. No way am I going to fiddle with Haloscan. The main way I see who's linking is with Site Meter referrals. And I actually pay the extra money to have the premium version of Site Meter, which lets me see a lot more information. It saves me a tremendous amount of time compared to Technorati. Technorati shows who's linking, but Site Meter shows who's sending readers over.

Lars said...

I'm grateful that you prefer a minimalist format. It is so much easier to read uncluttered, black-on-white text.

ambiguous wanderer said...

Just stumbled onto your blog from a post about this entry.

I'm a BlogShares player. The share price of your blog dropping could be done to lower the price per share value of your blog. So each share would be more valuable at a lower price rather than costly but less valuable. There are many other reasons why that person wanted to lower your blog share price. That's just one.

BlogShares is also a good way of promoting blogs because blogs which are actively traded get more visitors checking into the blog. :)

Lance Burri said...

And...as soon as I write about blogger doing a good job keeping out the spam, I find two spam comments over at my blog.


Jonathan said...

Your blog looks fine. I don't think you should change. And I'm glad Blogger works well for you.

I had bad experiences with the old Blogger and decided that I didn't want to be hostage to a proprietary blogging/hosting system, and that I would henceforth arrange my own hosting and maintain the blog myself, even though it's a pain.

Blogger's continued kludginess for readers suggests that Google/Blogger is still mismanaged. For example, little things: the "publish" button is on the left when you first enter a comment, but it's on the right in the preview window. More than once I have published a comment prematurely because I confused the buttons. And what's with having to click "are you sure?" every time you want to navigate out of someone's comments page? That's just stupid. I mean, Google is willing to piss away a zillion dollars on charity grandstanding but they won't invest any effort to improve the UI of one of their products? What's up with that.

But chacun a son blog. Obviously Blogger suits many people.

Jim said...

First, the good news: BlogShares is akin to "Fantasy Football."

And now, the bad news: I don't understand "Fantasy Football."

I guess, if your shares drop low enough, they trade you for a third round draft pick, and "a player to be named later."

PS: I don't think anybody'll be tradin' you anytime, soon. Keep on bloggin' & sloggin' along.

Ann Althouse said...

Jonathan: I've never noticed either of the problems you mention. It might ask "are you sure" if you're clicking away from unsaved material. Basically, I've found Blogger to be great in the last few months, and I really trust Google to stick around in the long run.

downtownlad said...

I was ready to dump blogger until I read that Google purchased them. I figured it wouldn't take long until blogger leapfrogged all the other hosting sites. Google is hands-down, the best run software company out there.

Glad I stayed with them.

Jonathan said...


I just checked and the "are you sure" prompt does not appear if I am already logged in to the Blogger commenting system. I think the annoying prompt must appear only when I am not already logged in. I suspect that this happens because my Firefox browser automatically inserts my login info into the appropriate fields on the commenting page, and that Blogger interprets these inputs as my having entered text in the comment box. Given how many people use Firefox that's a design flaw on Blogger's part, though not as big a flaw as I initially thought.

I'm sure that Google's ownership of Blogger is a good thing. There are always alternatives, however, and they are improving with time, so there's no need to feel invested with Blogger.

Ann Althouse said...

Jonathan: I'm glad there is competition for Blogger -- for one thing, it will keep pressure on Blogger to be good. But I think Blogger is the best bet. People told me to switch during the time of tribulation last May, and I'm so glad I didn't.

Judith said...

I got MT through my hosting service, which added $2/mo. to my monthly bill of $10. They also set it up and have provided occasional tech help. This is a version that allows multiple blogs, whereas the one-blog version of MT is free.

I love MT. The interface is much more user-friendly than Blogger. It has many more options, so it can be more complicated, but I like having them available.

If Blogger is more reliable now that's great, but for the 3 years I used Blogger it was frequently down, which was very frustrating.

Ann Althouse said...

Judith: I've used MT when I've guest-blogged at Instapundit and found it basically the same as Blogger. I actually prefer Blogger because the print is clearer to me in the compose window.

Kathy Herrmann said...

I like BlogHarbor's hosted service. It's fee-based but reasonable and easy to make mods to the plethora of templates they provide.

Also fabulous tech support (with blog-specific suggestions) and a well-moderated forum with both BlogHarbor and user suggestions.

My only regret is that I didn't set up my own domain from the beginning.

amba said...

WTF is Txapulín?? It sounds like an Aztec demon.

Beldar said...

I chose TypePad two years ago because it was just coming out, and because I'd read so much good stuff about the Six Apart folks who were offering it, they being the brains behind Moveable Type. I believe that was before Google acquired Blogger; I read lots and lots of awful stuff about Blogger being unreliable around that time, and had had trouble accessing some blogs that used Blogger, but I gather that its reliability has improved markedly since then.

Because this has been a high-traffic month for my site due to interest in the Miers nomination, I've used so far 31.3 gigabytes of bandwidth, which is 313% of my monthly bandwidth allowance on Typepad, and it's projected to go to 607% if my traffic this month were to continue at that rate. BUT: TypePad so far has declined to impose the surcharges for exceeding one's monthly allowance. So far, then, TypePad has cost me no more than the normal fixed monthly fee. I've been very, very happy with how quickly the TypePad customer support people have responded with some fairly technical questions I've asked, and for better or worse, every detail of my site -- from colors to fonts to proportions and spacing and everything graphical -- is how I've chosen and I want it to be. So I've been very happy with TypePad. For the present, it appears that both Blogger and TypePad can afford to accomodate the few higher-traffic blogs without charging for that higher traffic, which is indeed nice (and I hope it lasts).

I do disagree with you about TrackBacks, though, Prof. A. I also rely a lot on Sitemeter to see where my traffic's coming from. But unless I were very compulsive about running down every one-hit wonder, I would miss some new and/or low-traffic blogs who've linked me, some of whom I very definitely would hate to miss. The trackbacks also benefit those who've sent them to me, as they become sources of traffic back to their blogs from people who by definition are interested in some of the same topics, but not necessarily from the same angle. I try to always send trackbacks when the bloggers I'm linking have them enabled, and I particularly enjoy the resulting traffic I get from blogs whom I've linked on the left, precisely because that shakes up the mix of traffic I ordinarily get and generates more interesting comments and dialog. One can try to roughly duplicate the same benefits of trackbacks by manually leaving a comment and a link back to one's own blog -- "link-whoring," which, as that nickname suggests, seems more desparate and less savory.

The biggest downside to trackbacks as far as I'm concerned: It's potentially another source of spam.

Nick said...

You can sign up for Haloscan and do just trackbacks. I successfully did it on my blog with great success.