It’s time for 23musings.com to die (in its current form). I won’t be updating this blog anymore as I have a new home on the web at www.steve-e.co.uk which includes a blog www.steve-e.co.uk/blog.

I will be moving over some of the more popular posts from here (and deleting them off 23Musings. Sadly WordPress.com doesn’t offer a redirection option.

Thanks for reading 23musings over the years, I hope you’ll read my musings over on my new site.

So, you’re not happy with search engines (Google in particular) for exposing your content to an audience who aren’t paying for it. You don’t like the way they include snippets in their search results of your stories and you definitely don’t like them referring visitors to your websites (unless they are paying customers). You seem aggravated with aggregation and less than happy about linking. So here’s a suggestion for you.

Google themselves (yep those folks you keep moaning about) have kindly provided a really easy way for you to get your content out of their search index, and you can just block the news search crawler if you want now too! It couldn’t be easier. Let’s take a fictional website http://www.rupert4google.com. In the very first directory where the website files are stored (the root) you’ll find a text file called robots.txt (so that file lives at http://www.rupert4google.com/robots.txt). All you need to do is find that file, open it up in Notepad (or a text editor of your choosing), and add the two lines of text below to it. Save it and your Google problems are over (if this all proves a bit tricky, get one of your lovely web developers to help you (while you’re at it why not ask them if they think it’s a good idea too?).

User-agent: Googlebot

Disallow: /

Job done, give it a couple of weeks and none of your pages will be in Googles index anymore. That troublesome traffic will be no more. Satisfied?

Now come on, thats not the answer is it? Here’s an idea for you. Why not devote your time, energies, finances and skilled personnel into coming up with a new model to make all this free traffic and advertising work for you? Rather than moan about it, find a way to make it work for you. It’s about time someone made some advances in the world of online display advertising and I’d have thought that with all your web properties you’d be just the man/organisation to do so. The possibilities are endless, start to tap into the rich data you can glean from the tracks your web visitors leave each time they visit. Learn from it, find ways to encourage repeat visitors and new channels to monetise them through. Of course you may want to reconsider my earlier recommendation first, otherwise you won’t have enough traffic to benefit from any improvement to your advertising and other revenue streams.

If you can design experiences that encourage visitors to become loyal users of your content maybe you could even sell them something? Maybe (just maybe) if you make your sites engaging enough some might even subscribe! There are so many ways you could make more revenue from so much traffic. I’ll be available in July 2010 to help if you haven’t worked it out by that time…

What are you going to do? Just block the traffic, alienate potentially loyal users and try and get people to pay for your content? Or move forwards proactively, embrace the fact you get so much traffic to your sites (it’s a good thing, honest) and work out a really viable model to monetise it properly.

Personally, I’d go with the latter (with so many pages, so much content and so much traffic you have endless possibilities). The former just strikes me as the reactionary moves of an industry with so much promise in the digital world that gives off an impression of being on it’s last legs.

This post has been moved to my new home on the web www.steve-e.co.uk. The post itself can be found here. 23Musings is going to remain dormant for now and some of its more popular posts will be transferred to the blog at my new site.

My reason for moving and not taking the years of posts with me is the need for a fresh start, 23Musings had been dormant for long enough for me to feel it was time to start my blog from scratch.

Don’t forget to check out my new blog! www.steve-e.co.uk/blog

This post has been moved to my new home on the web www.steve-e.co.uk. The post itself can be found here. 23Musings is going to remain dormant for now and some of its more popular posts will be transferred to the blog at my new site.

My reason for moving and not taking the years of posts with me is the need for a fresh start, 23Musings had been dormant for long enough for me to feel it was time to start my blog from scratch.

Don’t forget to check out my new blog! www.steve-e.co.uk/blog

This post has been moved to my new home on the web www.steve-e.co.uk. The post itself can be found here. 23Musings is going to remain dormant for now and some of its more popular posts will be transferred to the blog at my new site.

My reason for moving and not taking the years of posts with me is the need for a fresh start, 23Musings had been dormant for long enough for me to feel it was time to start my blog from scratch.

Don’t forget to check out my new blog! www.steve-e.co.uk/blog

It will be a sad day tomorrow as GeoCities is closed down for good by Yahoo. Thousands of websites will disappear offline tomorrow and along with them all the links pointing to other sites. Imagine if your website had more than 50% of its incoming links coming from GeoCities. Is your Page Rank going to suffer in the coming days once those links no longer exist? Quite possibly!

It’s difficult for anyone to know whether this will have any impact on their search rankings. I’ve measured over a hundred links to one of my sites from different GeoCities sites so I’ll be keeping an eye on it and hoping those site owners move their pages elsewhere. Of course, many GeoCities sites won’t be resurrected elsewhere as they are often dead and haven’t been updated in ages so from tomorrow those links are gone. What impact all this will have on SEO and search engine rankings will play out over the coming weeks as Google and co. re-index sites and take into account the missing links.

More importantly than any inbound links though is the fact that a piece of internet history is dying. Jeremy Keith sums it up well so I suggest you read his post on the subject.

The Nielsen Families. A group of selected households (mostly in New England I believe) who are used by Nielsen (the rating’s folk) to give a picture of what the U.S. nation watches on television. Long thought to be a less than random selection of households, some would say a chosen few, the watching habits of these families influences what TV programmes get made, where the advertising dollars get spent and what series gets a second run. Now Nielsen have announced (via Media Post) their intention to start monitoring the same families internet usage. They want to provide a single source measurement of television viewing across both traditional TV and online media which makes sense.

What they watch isn’t so interesting to me. I’d rather hear about how their watching habits differ between TV and online, whether the knowledge that their internet was now being monitored changed their habits (maybe moving them to watch more TV on the web and thus biasing Nielsen’s data) or whether it’s the younger or older viewer who likes to watch TV online. That kind of demographic data on user behavior is much more interesting than what soap opera they watch… Still at least they aren’t measuring their internet usage and they still do that at ISP level where you get broader, more representative results (of course depending on the ISP’s selected), at least I hope they aren’t.

Surely there must be a better way to measure television consumption in these digital days? Can’t they just measure TV through cable, digital and satellite channels at the provider end thus giving them a totally unbiased (depending on the provider) view of a large segment of the population’s television viewing? If decisions on quality/popularity of programming, who to place adverts with and who deserves a second series are being made by TV execs then surely the opinion of 600 homes in New England is not representative enough?

The best, most salient opinion piece on the Nielsen Families comes from one of my favourite authors Robert Anton Wilson have a read of page 59/60 below (just search for Nielsen in the Scribd doc) just for jokes :-)

View this document on Scribd
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