A Message to the Sphinn Community

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Message to the Sphinn CommunityYesterday, I posted "My First 'Sphinn' Submission" on Search Marketing Gurus and received some interesting feedback. What I find interesting is that Debra and Lyndon seem to agree on the the idea that one has to game the Sphinn system in order to be successful - or in this case generate a large number of "spins". I have a few thoughts that I'd like to share in regards to that.

A Message to the Sphinn Community

Yesterday, I posted "My First 'Sphinn' Submission" on Search Marketing Gurus, which featured a few notes on my recent experience with the Sphinn platform, and I received the following interesting comments:

"Karl - I've found you need to get a submission "hot" so it's taken to the first page of the site where it has potential to take off. Giving it a little push by contacting friends to Sphinn helps get that process going. Good content should take it from there." -- Debra Mastaler

"Sphinn is interesting because I think people use it in different ways. As a way to drive targeted traffic and raise profile in the industry I think it's very useful. However, there is a bit of manipulation going on with friends voting each other up, which is fine and dandy. But when it pushes sub standard content to the fore it reduces the quality of the whole site." -- Lyndon Antcliff

What I find interesting is that Debra and Lyndon seem to agree on the the idea that one has to game the Sphinn system in order to be successful - or in this case generate a large number of "spins". I have a few thoughts that I'd like to share in regards to that.

My Thoughts

First of all, Sphinn, as most of you know, is a pretty big deal for us in the search marketing community. While the idea of submitting a story and having a community vote on its worthiness is not exactly an original concept - need I mention Digg or Slashdot - Sphinn is unique in that it is a social community specifically for search marketers.

With that said, my question is this: Why would there be a need to "game" Sphinn for votes? For the sake of a little extra traffic... a few extra spikes in one's Google Analytics report? It just doesn't make sense. Granted, Sphinn traffic is indeed targeted, no doubts there, but in the end it doesn't lead to any sort of monetary conversions. Well, that is unless stroking one's ego is some how profitable.

Sphinn is our community, and while the fact remains that we are a community of marketers and have a natural desire to leverage such social mediums to gain maximum exposure, doing so in a community filled with other marketers just doesn't seem necessary. For search engine marketers, attaining traffic from Sphinn is the equivalent of buying booth space at SMX. Sure you're probably going to have a lot of visitors stop by and shoot the breeze, but at the end of the day you're not going to sell search marketing services to a group of search marketers. My point being... there is no really benefit for getting one's stories spun, other than to contribute to community, so there shouldn't be a need to "fix" the voting. It should be understood that if a story merits a "spin", than the community will provide it.

I think Lyndon was dead on when he said a community where friends voting each other up pushes sub standard content to the front and reduces the quality of the whole site. That maybe ok for Digg and other social communities, but not for our own. Sphinn is a relevant resource... we should do our best to keep it that way.

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Book Review: "Naked Conversations"

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Book Review: 'Naked Conversations'Naked Conversations by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel is a book on the effectiveness of blogging and, more importantly, how businesses are now utilizing blogging as a way to carry on conversations with their customers. The term "naked conversation" simply implies that a conversation is open and free, as opposed to one that is hidden behind corporate barriers.

Book Review: 'Naked Conversations'
"Whatever happened to honesty in business? That's what your clients and customers are asking, even if your company's integrity is above reproach. Because, for decades, corporations have talked at their customers and called in communication. Now comes the blog - an opportunity for you company to talk with customers and let them talk back. Using more than fifty interviews with people at all levels in all types of businesses, these experts demonstrate in a fresh and though-provoking way how blogs can repair corporate image and rebuild lost trust. And they show you how to do it right. Can your organization afford not to blog? Read this book and then decide."

Naked Conversations by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel is a book on the effectiveness of blogging and, more importantly, how businesses are now utilizing blogging as a way to carry on conversations with their customers and target audiences. The term "naked conversation" simply implies that a conversation is open and free, as opposed to one that is hidden behind corporate barriers.

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Book Review

I was interested in this book for a couple of reasons. First, it came highly recommend as a must read for business-bloggers. Second, I am always interested in improving my own blogging efforts and strategies and believed this book could assist me. I am pleased to report that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.

Overall, I thought that "Naked Conversations" was a fantastic read complete with well-rounded tips and advice. In the early chapters, Scoble and Israel go so far as to point out the dos and don'ts when blogging and then progress in later chapters with examples of how blogging has changed the way businesses communicate. Their approach is pretty simple and straight-forward.

Furthermore, I would recommend this book to business bloggers looking to improve upon their blogging efforts. This book has helped me to become a better blogger, and I encourage all to give it a shot. ... meaning I see no reason why anyone, bloggers nor non-bloggers, will have trouble grasping the concepts presented within this book.

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