One-Minute Book Reviews

September 4, 2008

My Post on How to Fight Sploggers Has Been Stolen by a Splogger

Filed under: News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 10:27 pm
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My Sept. 4 post on how to fight sploggers has been stolen by a splogger. It did not last 24 hours on WordPress before getting pinched. The new thief isn’t the representative of the great country of Poland who has stolen all the other posts. The latest con artist is apparently an American. And unlike the Polish splogger – who covered his or her tracks well enough that I would have missed the scam if I hadn’t checked Technorati – this nut linked to my site to show me that he had plagiarized 100 percent of the contents of my post.

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

Warning to WordPress Book Bloggers: A Splogger May Be Stealing Your Posts – A Victim’s Tale, or My Fight to Keep My Site From Turning Into a Really Bad Polish Joke

How to protect yourself from a spam blogger targeting WordPress literary sites

If you write about books or literary topics on a WordPress.com blog, watch out for sploggers who may be stealing your posts. Sploggers are spam bloggers, people who “scrape” posts off your site (typically using the RSS feed) and post them on their own. They may then sell advertising against your posts, so they earn money from your work.

Worse, sploggers keep people from reaching your posts through search engines, because their URL appears on your posts instead of yours with no link. If this happens, you pay a double price: Your work is stolen and you lose the traffic you would have had if your work had appeared under its own URL on a search engine.

Any blogger can become the victim of splogger – the risk isn’t limited to literary or WordPress bloggers. But if you are both of those, you have a reason for extra caution right now.

Since August 12, my posts on One-Minute Book Reviews have been aggressively scraped by a Poland-based blog that claims to offer “books and reviews from all over wordpress.com.” The splogger appears also to be lifting text without linking from many WordPress blogs besides mine, including Stuff White People Like, which recently earned a widely publicized book contract for its creator.

I can’t link to the offending splog, which would send traffic to it. But if you’d like to get a sense of how the scam works, go to Technorati www.technorati.com and search for “Janice Harayda” (not “One-Minute Book Reviews”). Look at the URL for any of my post–Aug. 12 posts, such as those about the children’s books Read All About It! and Lyle, Lyle Crocodile. You will see that my URL oneminutebookreviews.wordpress.com doesn’t appear on these posts (as on pre-August 12 posts) — the splogger’s URL appears with no link to my site. The splogger’s fake posts have preempted my real posts, so you can’t here from there.

This mess remains unresolved. But in trying to protect my work, I’ve found that you can fight sploggers. Here are some tips based on my experience or on ideas from WordPress Forums or Support:

1. Search for your site on Technorati and other blog search engines at least once a week, ideally every day. Use the “Contact” form on Technorati to report copyright violations or other abuse.

You may also want to:

2. Go to stolen.wordpress.com to report the abuse or learn more. WordPress may be able to provide an e-mail address for the host of the site if there’s no contact information on the splog, as there usually isn’t.

3. Send a “Cease and Desist” letter to the site if you can and, if not, to the host or a search engine that lists it. You can find sample letters for the different parties here: www.plagiarismtoday.com/stock-letters/.

4. See the responses to my cry for help on the WordPress Forums for other helpful ideas: en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/technorati-refusing-to-recognize-valid-wp-url?replies=7

5. Get in touch with support@wordpress.com if you are still having trouble.

6. If the splog has advertising from Google AdSense or another agency, use the contact information the agency’s site to report the abuse. To do this with AdSense, search the site for “Report a Policy Violation” www.google.com/adsense/.

7. Search the Internet for terms such as “fight sploggers” or “protect yourself against sploggers” for more ideas.

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

September 2, 2008

Are Blogs Inferior to Books? (Quote of the Day / Sam Anderson on ‘Ultimate Blogs’)

Filed under: Quotes of the Day — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 3:38 pm
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Snobs and throwbacks may see blogs as inherently less worthy than even the worst books. But the gifted critic Sam Anderson made a sturdy counterargument in a review of Ultimate Blogs: Masterworks From the Wild Web (Vintage, 368 pp., $14.95, paperback) nymag.com/arts/books/reviews/44480/, an anthology of writing from 27 sites that captured the interest of editor Sarah Boxer. The lesson of Boxer’s book, Anderson said, is this:

“The best blogs set fire to the dry abstractions of official culture — Greek myth, affirmative action, cosmology, presidential politics — with the spark of immediate, personal enthusiasm.”

Anderson added:

“A print anthology of blog writing seems, at first, to be a deeply paradoxical genre — roughly the equivalent of a cave painting about digital photography, an eight-track guide to ripping MP3s, or a Claymation documentary about the high-tech magic of CGI. In a book, hyperlinks are dead on arrival, animation is frozen into grainy stills, emoticons are ruthlessly suppressed, comments are disabled, and updates take years instead of minutes. And yet, for some of us, the combination makes a certain intuitive sense …

“Most of Boxer’s selections don’t read like a new species of writing, but very like close cousins of the once-venerable print genres that have been forced out of public discourse by the shrinkage of major American media: passionate arts criticism, critical theory, colorful polemics, and above, all the personal essay. Sometimes it seems like blogging is just the apotheosis of the personal essay, the logical heir to 500 years of work by proto-bloggers such as Montaigne, Charles Lamb, G.K. Chesterton, Dorothy Parker, and E. B. White. I see no reason for drawing an artificial line between screen and print.”

Read more about Ultimate Blogs here www.randomhouse.com/vintage/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780307278067.

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.
www.janiceharayda.com

May 23, 2008

The Ruthless Book Club – Starting June 1 on One-Minute Book Reviews

Filed under: Reading Groups — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 1:39 pm
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Want a place to talk about books that nobody else seems to be talking about?

Not long ago, I learned about a book club in my town that operates on a different principle from most others: Instead of having everybody read the same book, the club asks each member to talk briefly at every meeting about a book – love it or hate it — that he or she has been reading recently.

I like this idea for a lot of reasons. One is that avoids forcing members to read a book even if it feels like a penance. Another is that it sidesteps a common problem that undermines many clubs: Members hesitate to be ruthlessly honest about a book for fear of hurting the feelings of the person who proposed it, and this leads to uninspired discussions. Yet another reason why I like the idea is that it allows people to share literary discoveries – or vent about overrated books – even if they don’t turn up on a club list.

So I’m going to try having an online version of the club on One-Minute Book Reviews from June 1 through Labor Day. I’ll keep the group going the fall if enough people take part. I’m calling it the Ruthless Book Club because this is a place where you can say anything about a book as long as you don’t make personal attacks on the author or other unfair comments (spoilers or misrepresentations of content, for example).

Here’s how the Ruthless Book Club will work:

On the first day of each month, I’ll put up a post encouraging you to comment briefly on a book you’ve read recently. I’ll start the conversation mentioning a book I’ve reviewed in the past few weeks that left an especially strong impression for good or ill.

You may leave a comment about any book you’ve read even if it has nothing to do with any books reviewed on One-Minute Book Reviews. Other visitors may comment on your post or mention another book at any time during the month, or until a new discussion starts on the first day of the next month.

You may not comment on any book you’ve received for free from the author, agent, publisher or anyone else connected to the book. Book publicists are barred from taking part in the discussion.

You may also not comment on a book by a friend, enemy or anyone else with whom you might appear to have a conflict. The Ruthless Book Club will follow the rule observed by journalists: You don’t just avoid conflicts of interest but the appearance of conflicts of interest. That’s another reason the club is called “ruthless.”

Other than that, you may comment on any kind of book – children’s or adult, trade or scholarly, in-print or out-of-print. The idea is: This is a place to talk about those books that you think about a lot and would like to share with others.

How does this sound to you?

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

April 23, 2008

A Quarter of a Million Visitors for One-Minute Book Reviews … With Never Any Pictures of Grammatically Challenged Cats

Filed under: News,Uncategorized — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 2:41 pm
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Need some good news to cheer you up after all those gloomy articles about the economy, negative campaigning and dying book-review sections?

One-Minute Book Reviews recently had its 250,000th visitor … with never any pictures grammatically challenged cats.

There, now don’t you feel better?

[I’d love to know how to translate the number of visitors into hits, which should be much higher. Anybody know how to do this? Jan]

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.
www.janiceharayda.com

January 19, 2008

Are You Undercommunicating the Vision of Your Blog ‘by a Factor of Ten’?

Filed under: How to,Nonfiction — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 2:17 pm
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Explaining your goals more often or clearly may help you build your site

 

By Janice Harayda

Not long ago, I wrote about a paperback on how organizations change, which I recommended as a holiday gift for managers. But the more I’ve thought about the book, the more it’s seemed that the Harvard Business Review on Change (HBSP, $19.95) www.hbsp.harvard.edu makes a point that could also help bloggers who want to build their sites by attracting more visitors, gaining more links, or generally becoming more competitive. The point appears in an article by John Kotter, a professor at Harvard Business School and an expert on corporate turnarounds. Kotter lists eight reasons why organizations fail to make changes that would help them stay competitive, including “Not Establishing a Great Enough Sense of Urgency” (Error #1) and “Declaring Victory Too Soon” (Error #7).

But the point that caught my eye was “Undercommunicating the Vision by a Factor of Ten” (Error #4). Kotter argues that the leaders in any field don’t spell out their vision once or twice and hope that people will buy into it (or worse, fail to articulate a vision at all and hope people will figure it out.). Leaders “incorporate messages into their hour-by-hour activities.”

Kotter’s advice might sound comically absurd to many bloggers. How can you weave your vision into your “hour-by-hour” activities if you post once or twice a day, as I do, or less? And yet, Kotter has a point. Most bloggers seem to convey their vision pretty much the way I did when I created One-Minute Book Reviews http://www.oneminutebookreviews.wordpress.com: I described my aims on my “FAQ” and “About” pages and hoped that visitors would click on the links to them.

But these pages got much less traffic than others on my site, far less than 10 percent of the most popular posts. Based on that figure, Kotter was right: If I wanted people to understand my vision, I was undercommunicating it by a factor of 10. Worse, I can’t compensate for this adding information to the header on my blog, because I can’t customize the template.

So after reading the Kotter’s article, I made a few changes with the aim of conveying my vision better. These three seemed especially helpful and might work for you, too (though if could customize my header, that might be best of all):

1) Add a regular tag line to the bottom of posts, explaining what your site is “about.” Mine consists of just one sentence, “One-Minute Book Reviews is for people who like to read but dislike hype and review inflation.”

2) Update your FAQ and post the changes both on the FAQ page and as a regular post, so visitors to your site will see the questions without having to click.

3) Keep visitors up-to-date on changes in your mission. If your thinking about your vision has evolved since you put up your FAQ or “About” pages, explain the changes in a regular post.

Have you taken any steps to communicate the vision of your blog that you think would help other bloggers? If so, why not share your views by leaving a comment?

Janice Harayda recently was named one of 25 “Women Bloggers to Watch in 2008″ by the site Virtual Woman’s Day virtualwomansday.blogspot.com/2008/01/women-bloggers-to-watch-in-2008.html. One-Minute Book Reviews is the sixth-ranked book-review site in the world on the Google Directory of top book-review blogs www.google.com/Top/Arts/Literature/Reviews_and_Criticism/.

© 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

www.janiceharayda.com

January 9, 2008

Janice Harayda of One-Minute Book Reviews Named One of 25 ‘Women Bloggers to Watch in 2008′

Have you been visiting One-Minute Book Reviews since it was running around in Pampers just over a year ago? Consider yourself a visionary.

Janice Harayda, editor-in-chief of One-Minute Book Reviews, has been named one of 25 “Women Bloggers to Watch in 2008″ by the site Virtual Woman’s Day, which aims “to bring together women from around the world to network together, learn together and grow together” virtualwomansday.blogspot.com/2008/01/women-bloggers-to-watch-in-2008.html. Heidi Richards, creator of VWD, also publishes We, a quarterly magazine about women.

One-Minute Book Reviews has had a policy since its launch in late 2006 of devoting at least 50 percent of its posts to books by female authors.

(c) 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

www.janiceharayda.com

October 27, 2007

Are You Spending Enough Time on Your Blog to Get the Results You Want? Quote of the Day (Deirdre Day-MacLeod)

Why do some blogs succeed and others fail? Part of the answer may lie in how much time their creators spend on them, Deirdre Day-MacLeod suggests in her new book for teenagers, Career Building Through Blogging:

“According to a study of bloggers conducted by the University of Massachusetts, 31 percent of bloggers spend one to four hours per day doing research for and writing their posts,whereas 65 percent spend less than one hour. The study concluded that: 1) blogs take time; 2) blogs should be planned; 3) blogging is about interaction; and 4) the writing in a blog should be clear, real, focused, and above all, interesting.”

Deirdre Day-MacLeod in Career Building Through Blogging (Rosen Publishing, $29.25) www.deirdredaymacleod.blogspot.com. Her book is a part of Rosen’s Digital Career Building Series for teenagers, which also includes Career Building Through Digital Photography, Career Building Through Interactive Online Games and Career Buidling Through Podcasting.

(c) 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

www.janiceharayda.com

October 26, 2006

Karyn Bosnak, Godmother of Internet Panhandling

Filed under: Memoirs — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 6:18 pm
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A compulsive spender tells how she got out of debt by asking for cash from strangers on the Web

Save Karyn. One Shopaholic’s Journey to Debt and Back. By Karen Bosnak. HarperPerennial, 444 pp., $13.95, paperback.

Still wondering how you’re going to pay the credit card bills for the vacation you took in August? Or for that flat-screen TV you bought when it looked as though the Mets still had a shot at the World Series? How about posting a notice on the Internet asking people to send cash — no strings attached — to your PayPal account?

If that idea sounds bizarre, consider the experience of Karyn Bosnak, a pioneer in the field of Internet panhandling. In her late 20s Bosnak ran up more than $20,000 in debts for bikini waxes, BCBG T-shirts, meals at Zagat-rated restaurants and other necessities of life for single women in Manhattan. Unwilling to blight her credit rating by declaring bankruptcy, she appealed for cash on her Web site www.savekaryn.com and her plan worked almost too well. After newspapers began writing about her, Bosnak got hate mail from people infuriated that she wanted help paying for her Princess Tam-Tam underwear. (After all, she had rationalized at Saks, “how ‘out of style’ can underwear go?”) Other people sent euros, Chilean pesos, and Korean wons.

With her liquidity further enhanced by a movie deal, Bosnak tells her story in a chatty, exclamation-point-strewn memoir that needs to be read with some caution. Bosnak admits she lied about her age on her site and has “taken certain liberties to help move the events along” in Save Karyn, which leaves open the question of whether it has invented scenes. Even so, her disarming frankness about her appeal — and how she got into such a mess — shows a kind of genius for self-promotion. How many other authors would have the courage to show copies of their credit card bills at the beginning of each chapter?

Best line: “I do not like the name Internet panhandling because I choose to think that I provided loads of entertainment to people, and in exchange they gave me some cash to show their gratitude for making them laugh.”

Worst line: “I couldn’t flip through the racks quickly enough. Surely my blind date would fall in love with me if I wore an outfit from here! Then we’d live happily ever after!”

Recommended if… you enjoy reading about people who are even worse at managing money than you are, especially if they sound like Valley Girls and buy shoes at stores with cute names like Otto Tootsie Plohound.

Editor: Alison Callahan

Published: 2003 Bosnak also wrote 20 Times a Lady: A Novel (HarperPaperbacks, 2006).

Posted by Janice Harayda

(c) 2006 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

www.janiceharayda.com

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