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May 29, 2008

Blogger Bitching

Well, here's a winner of a post idea. It will either a) not appeal to you in the slightest or b) offend you in one way or another. Who knows, though, maybe there are some other options as well, like c) you'll agree and change your dastardly ways or d) you'll call me on my bullsh*t.

Anyway, the crux of this hinges on one simple fact: I visit a lot of blogs on a daily basis. Regardless of my LAMB shepherding, there are a number of sites that I enjoy reading frequently. I won't call out any specific names, but if some of these bitches apply to you, don't be too offended - just appease me and fix whatever the problem is.

Bitch #1 - Comments
Would it be too hard for you to have comment subscription? I'm fairly certain that it's an easy plug-in/option for all blog hosting services (it's ridiculously easy with Blogger; in fact, I don't even think it's a choice - it's automatic), and it's probably the central component in driving back return traffic. If I (or any other yahoo) care enough to leave a comment about how I loved or hated your review of Patch Adams, I probably care enough to hear your reply back.

Now, you might be saying to yourself, "Well, why don't you just visit the site in the next day or two?" To which I would say that "Yeah, I probably will," though in the midst of visiting 75 blogs today and leaving 15 comments, do you really want and/or expect me to keep track of every post that everyone writes, much less which ones I left comments on? And then I'm supposed to check back daily to see if you said "Thanks for the comment" or something, only you only log in once a week, so I have to check back six times just for those four words?

I think not. Just let me subscribe, goddamnit. Thanks.

Bitch #2 - More about comments...
Unless you get 1,000 spammers a day, please tell me why you have Comment Moderation and Word Verification and require my Social Security Number and Date of Birth to leave a friggin' comment. You get 15 visitors a day if you're lucky - are you really that much of a control freak? Are you that afraid that someone might disagree or say something disparaging to you? If so, maybe blogging isn't for you. Check out the responses to my IMDb Top 250 post from a couple months ago - I was called nothing short of the antichrist for daring to not love old movies. Flamers happen; embrace them for the humor they bring.

And besides, those word verifcation things are really a pain in the ass to read. I'd have better luck with some of them if they were in braille.

Bitch #3 - Greatest hits?
Again, unless you're a nationally syndicated columnist or get 1,000 unique visitors a day, who the hell are you to think that you're eligible to publish a "greatest hits" (aka recycling) post every now and then? Just because you're too lazy and/or uninspired to come up with some new material doesn't justify your rehashing some crappy post from a year ago and repurposing it as something new.

(Oh wait - maybe this one's just for me.)

Bitch #4 - RIP Dead People
Look, I understand that some of you aspire to run a "movie news" site, complete with 10 posts a day about who has inked a three-picture deal with Paramount and box office updates every 10 minutes. You all are excepted from this bitch.

No, this is intended more at the people like me who write mostly reviews and lists and such, yet feel that every time some actor drops dead that a post is warranted and/or needed to commemorate that person's career. Listen, I liked Sidney Pollack as much as the next guy (which is to say that I found him to be a capable director and an actor that constantly "classed up the joint"), but really, I'm not a friend or member of his family - who cares what I have to say about his passing.

Sure, the shocking death of someone like Heath Ledger (or River Phoenix) certainly might warrant some additional emotional outporing from those that don't typically cover "celebrity news" (births, deaths, marriages, etc.), but when a septugenarian (or older) dies, I'm not cold for saying that it's not news, so please don't treat it as such.

Bitch #5 - Diarrheadvertising
Your experience may be different from mine, or maybe your expectations are different. But really, unless you're making greater than $50/month (minimum) on your blogvertising, is it really worth it to make your site look like something out of NASCAR?

Sure, I've got a couple text link ads both here and at the LAMB, but I'd hardly say that they're eyesores. Really, it's a bit of a wonder that I've even kept them, considering that I've made less than $30.00 in probably more than a year, despite some super high-traffic days courtesy of IMDb.

Though maybe I'm just bad at attracting top-tier advertisers. Sure - that's it.


Got a bitch of your own, for me or some other (non-specific) site? Put your complaining pants on and let me hear it.

35 people have chosen wisely: on "Blogger Bitching"

Nick said...

If I'm on this list, it's for number 1 (I'm not even sure if I have comment subscriber)... though if I do, awesome... I'm home free! I'm so blogger illiterate.

I do agree about #2. Word Verification and such is annoying.

Ric Burke said...

Yikes! Fletch is not a happy man.

Seriously, I feel quite a lot of this is valuable, especially to a newer blogger (such as myself), I've picked up some good 'hints' here.

I'm going to try to apply some of these ideas, still not sure what you mean by bitch #1 though. Do you mean that option below the comment box (on blogger) that you can tick to e-mail follow up comments?

Couldn't agree more about the level of advertising. In fact it puts me off any site that has too much, I rarely go back for a second look.

Fletch said...

Yes, that's the option I'm talking about, Ibetolis - it's one of the best things the folks at Blogger have installed. Likewise, Nick - you're in the clear.

Glad you found some info valuable. Take it all with a grain of salt, please.

TALKING MOVIEzzz said...

Fletch, I agree with some of your points.

Unless you are on your computer 24/7, comment moderation shouldn't be used since it really can slow down the discussion. I've posted something, been away from my computer, and come back to all sorts of discussions that wouldn't have happened if I was moderating.

And comment subscription is indeed a great feature.

But word verification at least is a must. There are spambots out there that leave countless comments if it wasn't there. Even word verification doesn't stop it. I've gotten plenty of comments like "Hi, I love your post. Check out this site for (some unrelated thing)".

However I couldn't disagree more about the RIP notices. Maybe it is because I am guilty of it, but for a film blogger, it is an important way, at least for me, to put their whole career in perspective.

But then again, when it comes to film blogging, I guess I am more of a "careerist" than any other type of blogging.

And yes, on some blogs advertising goes overboard, especially if you aren't making anything from it. I've been lucky enough to make at least something with it so I continue, but you go to some sites and there is more advertising than content, more widgets than posts. It gets ridiculous.

Anil Usumezbas said...

Hey! Prestige is better than Illusionist! And how the hell can you not watch old mov...


Sorry, this is the other post.

Well, ok, every time I read posts like this I'm scared shitless that I'm doing something which is a huge cliche or a huge turnoff. Or both. I guess I came out clean from yours, which makes me happy.

I have realized that every complaint you have boils down to the same problem: People thinking their blogs as something much greater than what it actually is (i.e. precautions for a huge amount of traffic when in reality it's not the case) The ads, the word verification, comment moderation and greatest hits 'bitches' are all related to this, shall we say, fantasy? (Not the comment subscription though)

Oh, and I agree with all of them (since I'm clean, I guess I should say that)

Fletch said...

moviezzz - as it pertains to word verification...I can see this as being somewhat of a different experience for everyone. As for me, I've had this blog for a year and a half (and the LAMB for 6 months), and I think they get fairly good traffic, including some big spikes due to IMDb links or other stuff. In that time, I've been BOMBED with spam just once (on the LAMB - I got about 110 comments in the span of a few minutes). Outside of that, it's onesy-twosys that I either delete in about 10 seconds or forget about and leave them there.

In other words, I haven't had much of a problem with spam, and I don't have comment moderation or verification. But to each his own - I'm speaking more to the user experience anyway.

And yes, I'd agree that your site is exempt. Basically, if you're in the top 10 of my "Most Active" list in Google Reader, you're exempt. ;) ) It shows you as posting 1.4 items a day, good for 6th place.

Anil - turns out you're not clean...you have word verification. ;)

Good insight on the larger theme - it's pretty true. I'd like to think I do alright, but when I consider my ad revenue and number of visitors compared to so many more popular sites, it seems quite small.

As for my guilt with the greatest hits, I justify it by posting things from about a year or more back so that they really are things that newer viewers (like yourself) haven't seen before. Makes me feel better about it, anyway.

Rachel said...

Fletch, I agree with every single one of your points, though I do like your "Recycling Rocks" as it gives me the chance to read some of your older stuff.

One of my bigget turnoffs is a blog that is nothing more than posting someone else's works. All the blog owner does is post lists or articles from another website. "Here's [insert website]'s list of the Top 100 Movie {insert random noun]" or check out this insightful article on Movie {insert random noun]." That's all they do! They don't give their opinion or any insight into the list or article, but just say "Here is an excerpt and see the entire list or article here," with a link. Get some flipping creativity and come up with something (a list perhaps) of your own! And then link these favorite websites in your sidebar and your readers will check it out if so desired.

Sorry for the rant. *Meekly steps off soap box and gets back to work.*

Anil Usumezbas said...

Before I forget, here is Thirteen Blog Clichés by The Coding Horror. I think essentially, the idea is similar to your 'bitches' so these can be considered as a follow-up.

It appears, I wasn't clean after all. The thing is, it never asks me for verification so I had been automatically assuming I didn't have it. Will see about that (Damn!)

Jason Soto said...

The only thing I can see that would apply to me is the word verification and screened comments thing. At first I just had the word verification thingy on but I wasn't aware that I was getting comments, so I figured if I had to unscreem them I'll know I got comments. And...I just forgot to turn off the verification thing.

So thanks for pointing it out, it's off now.

And I was getting spam comments like whoa, or just plain ignorant ones that said something about raping my mouth. I dunno, people are weird.

Patricia Perry said...

I have to disagree with you about the "RIP" posts, but maybe that's because I'm 48. I didn't get around to doing a post on Sydney Pollack, although I wanted to; his films have been part of my moviegoing experience for 35 years. I enjoy reading other blogger's remembrances of late stars and directors, too. Nothing wrong with sharing our collective memories of these artists when they pass.

Anonymous said...

Fletch -

One of the reasons why I was a Wordpress convert is that the template I have automatically should let you feed on comments and posts (at the top of the page). It also only requires that you enter your name and your e-mail address to comment. Also, Wordpress automatically sends me e-mail alerts when people comment.

I respond to almost every single comment unless they're odd (I got one the other day that literally made no sense). Also, Wordpress has the Akismet spam filter, which successfully filters out spam with the readers having to do very little. The only downside is that sometimes regular comments get jammed up in the spam filter, but very very rarely.

I agree with everything you said here.

I think the biggest gripe I have is that sometimes, people forget to be themselves, or forget that no one wants to read an endless cavalcade of top ten this or that or things you can find most anyplace. I try and limit that on a whole, or do it rarely but do it in a different way than most do.

Mainly, I just try and be myself and have a nice, clean, somewhat streamlined and accessible blog. I hope that's what's coming across. ;)

Anonymous said...

Hey, Fletch:

Come on over to the dark side ... as Caitlin points out, WordPress has Askimet spam filtering, none of that other Blogger nonsense that takes forever to make a comment. And the minute I started up my blog, before I had any readership at all, it was catching spam-bots.

I'm of two minds about comment moderation ... if you do a lot of commenting, it can sure clutter up your feed-reader. My site allows it, however.

But I think you're off base about the RIPs ... maybe it's like Pat ... I'm about her age (actually just a smidge older, old enough to say "smidge") and I like to read the odd obit. And because -- like you! -- I use a feed-reader, I can just mark it as read if I don't wanna read any more about dear old 2nd Unit Director Marvin. I suspect you could do the same!


Anonymous said...

P.S. I suspect all these rages against the (blogging) machines are functions of age as well. As you get a bit of age on you, you tend to mellow out and let the foibles of others roll off your back.

You also tend to fall asleep in your easy chair in mid sen

joen05 said...

Haha... I bet I might be on it for 1 and blogvertising. Does it count if I make more than $50 per month? Hey I still enjoy reading Blog Cabins, and this is one of those reasons.. those "other" posts :-).

PIPER said...

Why you little bitch.

None of this pertains to me so I'm really fucking cool. Except the unknowing Lazy Eye Sponsor... a little something I call The Slingshot Monkey. I'll advertise that shit 24/7 and because I have given a shout out to The Slingshot Monkey, I have brought it back from relative obscurity and put that sumbitch front and center for all to behold. The company has contacted me, thanked me and paid me in full with 1,432 Slingshot Monkeys.

I am currently writing this whilst wearing a suit made completely out of Slingshot Monkeys while laying in a hammock made out of Slingshot Monkeys. I have also been able to bring Slingshot Monkeys to life and taught them to make one hell of a martini. Shaken, not stirred.

Ms☆Go said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nick said...

I think Piper is drunk.

Ms☆Go said...

And the choir says AMEN!!

I am right with you, on all points, EXCEPT for the deaths thing.

Sidney Pollack may not mean much to you, but if you can understand why some might do a Heath Ledger RIP post, then you should understand why a movie buff (aren't you one of those?) might want to post about legendary actor/producer/director Pollack.

You cannot be a movie-buff and dis Pollack. It's an oxymoronic move.

PIPER said...

Who tha? What? Where am I? I just woke up in a pool of my own vomit and there's permanent marker all over my body.

Reel Whore said...

I agree Fletch. I'm fairly certain I have comment subscription but no moderation or word verification. I can't read half those images and anyone that feels motivated enough to comment on my site, be they legit or a "your site of interest great to me. Please look here.." post I'm happy to let it come through.

As for the RIP, to each his own. I am sure when one of my icons pass, it will be a week-long post-a-thon.

Daniel said...

Well done, sir. You've made me go out and get a comments subscription button.

Fletch said...

@ Rachel - thanks. Glad you enjoy my occasional slacking (recycled posts). :)

Love the rant - I don't mind those aggregators all that much; even if there's no value from their side, at least it's more exposure to your site.

@ Anil - thanks for the link - that was a good read (even though he broke so many of his own rules ;) ).

@ Jason - wow, that sucks. Must be your "genre" that attracts those unsavory types. :)

@ Caitlin - Boo me; I wasn't specific enough. Huzzah to you and other that have RSS subscription feeds for your comments, but I was referring specifically to email subscriptions. It may suit others just fine, but the last thing I need is two feeds per site - I find it much easier to scroll through emails for comments.
And yes, your site is streamlined and accessible.

@ Rick - It's much too late for me to switch over to WordPress; I feel like I'd be starting over and I just can't do that. Though I've pondered it for the LAMB...

See my comment to Caitlin above in regards to comments and feeds.

And I gotta disagree about age. As I get older, I fully plan on yelling at the kids to get off my lawn and such. There will be much more bitching, not less...

@ All in terms of RIP posts - first off, of course, to each his own. My opinion is that when Heath Ledger dies, it's news. When Pollack (or Harvey Korman) passes, it's not really news. And of course, people are free to post their feelings - it's just that when I see 50 posts about someone that I'd not previously thought of as being all that loved, it starts to feel disingenous. That's no knock on anyone in particular, just a feeling I get.

@ Joe - you're getting there, that's for sure. $50/month is nice...though be honest, is that just from I@W, or from all your sites? Also, I've told you this before, but I love your site re-design; it looks much better and the ads go down smoother.

@ Piper - whenever you're ready to send me a slingshot monkey, I'm ready. I could use more diversions from work...

@ DC Girl - no disrespect to Pollack. See above for more explaination.

@ Wayne - I think you're assisting my point by saying "when one of my icons pass." I totally agree - if Chevy Chase were to drop dead today, I'd probably do a post about it. And again no disrespect to Pollack (he's just the most recent example), but really, to how many people was he an icon to? Who knows, though, maybe I'm way off base here and my finger ain't on the pulse of the community.

Fletch said...

By the way, Caitlin...just for you (ok, and me), I'm subscribing to a comments feed (yours) for the first time. Not sure if it's for me, but I'll give it a shot.

Clive Dangerously said...

I have no idea what you guys are talking about; could someone please explain once more comment subscription?

Rachel said...

Fletch, I have no qualms with mentioning blog buddies in a post and then linking to them-that's all well and good. I'm more peeved at bloggers who just post about big websites' articles, like EW or Premiere, that already have an adoring public. Every now and then is fine, but with some people that's all they post. And like I said it'd be fine if the blogger gave his/her opinion on the article or list, but I've seen some that just say "Check out Premiere's list of the Top 1,000 Zombie Lesbian Dramas of All Time." It's like they're are a running advertisement for that entertainment site, which is unnecessary, IMO.

Anonymous said...

Aha, Fletch! I KNEW IT! I knew I could get you suckered in.

(Psst. Wordpress has a feature that will let you import posts from Blogger, if I remember correctly...so you can move your blog over to Wordpress. If you're considering for LAMB and all, that way you're not losing anything. The only difference is that the Widgets sidebar are a little funky and twitchy.)

Boo me; I wasn't specific enough. Huzzah to you and other that have RSS subscription feeds for your comments, but I was referring specifically to email subscriptions.

Yes, god bless comment subscription. Otherwise I'd freakishly troll every post every day to make sure I responded to everything!

Fletch said...

@ Clive - when you make a comment on a Blogger blog, look down where it says "Choose an identity." There should be a check box that says "Email follow-up comments to..." - I know it's there if you have a google/blogger account (which you do) - I'm not sure about the Open ID/other stuff.

@ Rachel - I misunderstood. I thought you were talking about those sites that do nothing but re-purpose and package blog posts (from sites like ours) - they do it automatically, but it's made to look like a person's doing it.

You're talking about a real person's blog where they do that. I gotcha now. Yeah, that's pretty damn pointless. Either you have something to say or you don't. Don't post just for the sake of posting.

@ Caitlin - yep, I've already done that for the LAMB. I like the way it looks, but I'm not sure if I like the overall results (I'm PISSED that Wordpress wants to charge me to edit the CSS - WTF is that all about!?!). Here I thought Wordpress was the groovy "you can do whatever you want here" site. I'm gonna need a bigger selling point than an Askjeeves (haha) spam filter, I'm afraid.

Nick said...

WHOA! 1000 Zombie Lesbian Dramas?!

I'm totally there!

Anonymous said...

So is it wrong of me to link to a DVD's Amazon page or a film's IMDb page if I happen to mention it in my blog article? Is that going overboard with the advertising?

Concerned Blogger.

P.S. I'm taking the bitching with a kernel of ungrounded black pepper in lieu of the unhealthy grain of salt.

P.S.S. I admit I use the word verification as a way to reduce the intrusion of spambots. If you would like to post on my blog site, but choose not to because of the word verification can you please let me know?

Fletch said...

@ DJ - I have no problem with Amazon boxes or widgets like that, so long as they fit nicely into one's template. Usually, they serve as a nice companion to the pieces (like the ones that say "here are the films discussed in this piece"; if anyone's interested, that's a nice, subtle reminder).

Hey - everyone needs sodium. Don't knock salt. :)

No, I've never let word verification keep me from commenting when I wanted to; I just find it to be a hassle sometimes, especially when I have to do it like three times cause it's hard to read (not that you have much control over that).

I know it's not available to everyone (at least, not without a hack or something), but I think the best kind of anti-bot comment widget is something like The Critical Critics have - it's just a simple math equation (what's 2 + 7?). Easy to read and solve...

Nick said...

2+7? Um... 13, right?

Clive Dangerously said...

It bugs me that on Cinematical you have you wait for a confirmation e-mail with a link before your comment shows up. Half the time, I go to write a comment there but quit once I remember that a 30-second sentence is about to turn into 3 minutes of waiting for my inbox to load.

Joe Baker said...

Well jeez... who woke up on the wrong side of the blogging bed today? Just for that rant, I'm going to re-enable all my comments moderation and word verification. Plus, I'm just about to pound out the 14,567th post about Hedley Lamar or whatever the hell his name was. Take that.

Anonymous said...

I sense a great deal of pent up frustation, young padawan. Careful, it may lead you to the dark side...

THN said...

How do I run subscriptions to comments? I'd do it.