A new life for BostonBlogs.com

I bought the domain for BostonBlogs.com back in 2002 2001 after being inspired by pals who started up the Dallas Fort Worth blogger website at DFWBlogs.com. Seemed like we could do something like that in Boston: connect to each other’s websites, get together for a social outing now and again, etc.

Fast forward to 2006 and the site is now taking on a whole new life thanks in no small part to Adam Gaffin. Part of his Universal Hub website is joining forces with the Boston Blogs website to create a new hub for:

  • Boston Blog Directory
  • Boston Blog News
  • Boston Blogs Network
  • Events (share expertise about podcasting, video blogging, etc.)

So, what about the Boston Blogs Network? The idea is to gather a subset of bloggers from the directory who write a lot about Boston (though not exclusively). We’ve set up an advertising network for advertisers who’d like to promote their product or service to people who read Boston area blogs. It’s a new, local option. We’re starting off with text ads and there will be other options later.

The initial group of network participants include the following Boston area bloggers:

Ryan Gantz is helping us with a website makeover so you’ll see a snazzier design sometime in the next few months.

For more information about the project, Adam posted information about the new Boston Blogs.com over on Universal Hub a few days ago.

Author: Sooz

I'm Sooz.

25 thoughts on “A new life for BostonBlogs.com”

  1. Hi Dan, thanks for stopping by my website. I don’t think we’ve had a conversation here before.

    Regarding your first comment: I think we started to use the phrase “Boston Blogs Network” prior to when you purchased bostonblognetwork.com and bostonblogsnetwork.com. I just checked the whois record for each and the creation date is noted as April 26, 2006 for bostonblognetwork.com and bostonblogsnetwork.com.

    Regarding your second comment: I’m sorry you feel it is misleading. We were trying to convey that BostonBlogs.com has been around for a long time. As far as I can tell, there were no similar projects prior to the date BostonBlogs.com came to life back in 2001.

    Regarding your third comment: The ad network is brand new. I’ll update my entry here to explain that we will be selling ads and also using the adspace to promote member websites.

  2. you purchased boston blogs before any similar projects yes. but the concept of a boston blog network was clearly pioneered by Boston Web Properties, in fact i’d say the timing of your network was quite, uhm, coincidental? I remember the first post adam made about BWP where he said essentially “I have multiple websites, doesn’t that make me a blog network?” (I may add that only Universal Hub sort of qualifies as a blog. And yes I purchased those domains recently, to protect BWP’s standing as the first Boston Blog Network. I think you’ve misinterpreted my third comment, i was referring to sites like boston-online and UH, where the vast majority of pages are either merely rss aggregation of other sites (with ads) or blockquotes and a link (with very little unique content). I believe google has even noticed this and de-listed universal hub.

  3. Hi Dan: My guess is that Adam had the same template running on all UH pages with included a right sidebar with ads. I don’t think you’ve uncovered a conspiracy; but I’ll ask Adam to offer an explanation.

  4. i don’t think its a conspiracy, since thats not even close to what the word conspiracy means. (conspiracy is used in this context as a way to dismiss an assertion)
    i just think it was the most pure example of what UH *is* at its core, the re-purposing of other people’s content for commercial purposes, with laughably little unique content, as I said before, google has apparantly noticed this and taken action.

  5. Hi Dan: Oops! Comment #5 was held in comment moderation for some reason. Comment #7 was written before I noticed.

    BostonBlogs.com has been a project since late 2001/early 2002. And Adam and I have been talking about expanding the network idea for about two years: *long* before we ever knew about you. Regardless, I’ll talk to Adam about removing the word original in homepage’s title tag. It’s the *only* place that description is used, FYI.

    You seem hell bent on exposing conspiracies that don’t exist. Me? I’d use a more cooperative approach. We are all independents here.

  6. see, can you define the word conspriracy in that context? you seem hell bent on asserting that i’ve said anything about a conspiracy.
    http://www.bostonblogs.com/node/52
    that post would imply that at least as of january 18th there was no “boston blog network” outside of BWP and boston ego. But thank you for removing the word original.

  7. Dan, I wrote my second note about conspiracy at the same time you were correcting me. I appologize for using the wrong word. I’m optimistic you know what I meant.

    Regarding your link about the existence of the Boston Blogs.com Network: It is true Adam didn’t mention what we were working on to revamp BostonBlogs.com in that entry. I don’t know why but I don’t think it’s a big deal either. I’ve always described bostonblogs.com as an informal network of Boston area bloggers. Mostly that was conveyed via the blogroll and our get togethers via the Boston Blog Meetup (meetup.com) and other events. It is now a more “formal” network, for lack of a better way to say it.

    If you want to truly be the Original Boston Blog Network I recommend you trademark that phrase and the additional domain name of originalbostonblognetwork.com.

    Regarding “thank you for removing the word original.” I did not say we were removing it, I said I’d talk to Adam about it. Personally, I am in favor of removing that word.

    About Adam running ads on the aggregator page: hopefully Adam can offer an explanation to that.

  8. Congratulations, Dan, you’ve managed to break the secret code and figure out that Universal Hub is an aggregator.

    If the “Feeds” page didn’t work when you tried it, it’s probably because you happened to hit the site at the same time as a lot of other people and/or bots. I’ve enabled the Drupal “throttle” control for it, i.e., when the site gets a lot of HTTP requests at once, the aggregator gets turned off until the traffic subsides. I did this because I know the aggregator consumes a fairly high amount of system resources and since it doesn’t get a ton of usage, I’d rather have it shut off during heavy usage than have the rest of the site taken down. Thanks for letting me know it works.

    As for the content in it, since you have some time, you might want to take a look to confirm that it never shows more than 255 characters of content from any one post, as a way to encourage people to click to the post. However, if you feel this is still too much, by all means let me know, and I’ll delete any of your sites it might now include and make sure none of them are ever included in the aggregator – or, if you prefer, anywhere at all on Universal Hub.

    Thanks.

  9. adam, you love making those “i’ll cut you off from my traffic” threats, this is the second time now.
    So you are going to continue to serve ad on pages that contain nothing but other people’s content? I mean most of UH is just that anyways, but these aggregator pages are the purest examples of that.

  10. I can’t help but wonder what Universal Hub’s aggregator has to do with my entry here about the latest developments with Boston Blogs.com. I think that if you want to critique UH, Dan, you should do it in email with Adam or on one of your own websites. Or a new entry at UH?

  11. You now seem to be suggesting websites beyond Universal Hub with the word “sites.” Can you please list the websites you consider to “do little more than serve ads on other people’s content”?

    Also, are you suggesting that all of Universal Hub is serving ads on other people’s content or certain parts of Universal Hub? If the latter, please do us a favor and cite specific URLs. For example, the aggregator is at http://www.universalhub.com/feeds

  12. The main function of universal hub is, as adam puts it, to be a “human aggregator” that is he copies chunks of posts from other blogs, links to the original post and posts it to UH. 90% of the posts on UH add nothing to the original content, google has noticed this and delisted UH (notice the lack of pagerank and the fact that only two pages from UH are indexed). This only slight shades away from the pure rss scraping that is the UH aggregator, one is merely human and one a script.
    Adam has also done a wonderful job of showing us that his blog selection has more to do with personal politics than with post quality.
    BostonBlogs.com is currently just a duplicate of UH, but this one hasn’t been removed from google (yet, perhaps thats why the move is occuring)
    the “wicked good conference” is a forum, by definition full of other people’s content, but this is more widely accepted than pure rss scraping.
    Boston-Online also features duplication of the UH content, but the rest of it is unique content (hence the high pagerank and google ads)

  13. Dan,

    I’ve been running a Boston blogs aggregator for something like two years now and nobody’s complained about ads (and yes, before our network I had ads of one sort or another on the pages). You’re the only person who’s ever had a problem with ads next to links and blurbs (I wonder: Have you complained to Google or Technorati? They run ads right next to links and blurbs, too). I’m simply offering you a way to end your particular problem.

    As for our traffic, you’re completely wrong about where where “the huge majority” of our traffic is coming from, but a) I don’t particularly feel like discussing our data with you and b) It’s a really nice day out and I have better things to do. Don’t you have your own network to run or something?

  14. Dan wrote:

    “BostonBlogs.com is currently just a duplicate of UH, but this one hasn’t been removed from google (yet, perhaps thats why the move is occuring)”

    No, that is not why part of Universal Hub is moving to Boston Blogs.com. I tried to convey in the entry of this post that our websites are collaborating and joining together in some areas. It is a work in progress.

    I’m sorry you find concern over our work. I do not think there’s anything we can do to appease you. It seems like a good time to end this conversation.

  15. Oh no, just when things were getting interesting.

    I’m not sure I understand Dan’s point(s) which seem to be that he started the first Boston blog network and that it is somehow wrong to aggregate other’s content to generate income.

    But the reality is that both an ad network and aggregation of content are services and as such have value to both readers and advertisers and to the generators of content. So, what’s the big deal? Blogs themselves are ideas from around the web, aggregated and spun. There is no such thing as original content. Maybe the next step is aggregation aggregators with big ads. Who knows?

    That leaves the question of Who was first? The answer: It doesn’t matter and who really cares?

    So to sum things up from my viewpoint, this is a pissing contest between two competitors and (disclosure, I’ve joined with Adam’s network) it looks like Dan kind of gratuitously threw the first punch on a meaningless point. Competition is good but cooperation is better. At this point it doesn’t look like that’s happening.

  16. As a historian, I can tell you that Hydrox was the original filled chocolate sandwich cookie, not the Oreo. There is little virtue or reward in being “first”. There are those who will claim that Hydrox was superior to the Oreo, but there are also folks who believe the earth is flat. It all comes down to quality of product, although I will disgaree with John when he says “there is no such thing as original content”.

    People may wish to look at my post on the early history of newspapers, in which I claim (tongue in cheek) to be the oldest blog in existence: http://bostonhistory.typepad.com/notes_on_the_urban_condit/2006/04/happy_302nd_ann.html

    Those first newspapers were the original content aggregators and they understood, as John notes, that content aggregation benefited the newspapers, their readers, and advertisers as well.

  17. i don’t consider us competitors, blogging is not a zero-sum game, that is it is not nessecary for one blog to “take” readers from another, people can read more than one blog.
    and yes the meaningfulness of which blog network came first is questionable, but the intention behind decietfully labelling bostonblogs the first is not. that is a flat-out lie, and I wanted to take whoever was responsible for that to task. I believe making that statement (that bostonblogs.com was the original boston blog network) was in fact the first punche, because, afterall, who was that comment aimed at?
    and on the blog-scraping for profit issue. I think google has very nicely shown how much value UH adds to the internet (notice the PR 0 and the lack of indexed pages).

  18. i would add that if any of you are familiar with google’s concept of “bad neighborhoods” that is websites they deem to be guilty of various offenses, should note that linking to an obviously penalized site like Universal Hub, is risky.

  19. Dan wrote:

    “and yes the meaningfulness of which blog network came first is questionable, but the intention behind decietfully labelling bostonblogs the first is not. that is a flat-out lie, and I wanted to take whoever was responsible for that to task.”

    Dan, we put that on the new title tag of the homepage a LONG time ago. *BEFORE* your network launched in March. However, we did not publish the new pages/network until *AFTER* you launched. No slight was intended. There is no questionable situation here.

    As I said, I will talk to Adam about removing the word “original” from the title tag. I don’t believe the word “original” is used anywhere else.

    This conversation has now ended.

    Good night and good luck.

    Update 4/30/2006 @ 4:53 PM: Dan emailed me to point out his network started December 2005. I noted March based on the press release I saw yesterday dated March 13, 2006. I don’t remember when we first entered “the original” on the title tag of the new bostonblogs.com. It was behind a password protected directory for a long time.

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