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Jan 2, 2009

CLIP: How To - Move From WordPress.com To WordPress.org

WordPress To WordPressMoving a Blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org is something I’ve had a lot of questions about - today Jeff Chandler shares tips on hwo to do it.

Everyday it seems like I find a story or two from a cities local online newspaper which delves into the topic of blogging and what it’s all about. The story usually goes through a mini backlog of history surrounding the term, what blogging is and at the end of the article, there is usually a list of suggestions on how to get started with the most popular suggestion being WordPress.com. Using WordPress.com is a great way to introduce yourself to blogging but if you decide that you want to turn blogging into a full time job or just want more control over your work, you’ll need to move.

Thankfully, the move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org (WordPress.org being the self hosted version of WordPress) is painless thanks in large part to a great export tool.

Tools ImportTo start things off, login to your WordPress.com account and browse to your administration panel. From the menu on the left, click on TOOLS - EXPORT. At this point, you have the option to confine the export to a particular author or all authors. Using the export tool will compile yourposts, pages, comments, custom fields, categories, and tags. This information is placed into a WXR file or, WordPress eXtended RSS file. Essentially, this file is just a normal XML RSS based file with a couple of custom fields added to it which makes it specific to WordPress. Once you’re finished, click on theDownload Export File button and save it to your desktop.

Once you have that file on your desktop, you can breath a little easier considering your half way through the content migration process.

The second part of this guide refers to an installation of WordPress 2.7. Login to your self installed WordPress administration panel and from the menu on the left click on TOOLS - IMPORT. From the list of blogging systems click on WordPress. Next, click on the Browse button and locate the XML file you downloaded earlier. This will upload the XML file into your WordPress installation and will unpack all of the data the file contains. There is one caveat though regarding this entire technique.

Importing WordPressMost webhosts for whatever reason still have their PHP.ini configured in such a way where end users can only upload files with a maximum file size of 2MBor smaller. Although it takes quite a bit of content in an WXR file to go over 2MB, 2MB is not a lot of head room. If you find yourself in the position where your WXR file is larger than the maximum file size, I highly suggest submitting a trouble ticket to your webhost and asking them to increase the limit. If they choose not to, then ask them if they can import the file for you. If that doesn’t work, you can pull a trick from your sleeve by uploading a custom php.ini file to your webhosting accounts root folder. This is what my host did for me and afterwards, I took a look at the php.ini file and noticed it had this line in it:

; Maximum allowed size for uploaded files.
upload_max_filesize = 7M

Apparently, the php.ini file overwrote the settings on the original file and I was able to bump my limit up to 7 Megabytes. This trick is not guaranteed to work. As a last ditch effort, you can also try adding these lines to your .htaccess file. Just replace the pound sign with a number that is above the size of your WXR file.

#set max upload file size
php_value upload_max_filesize #M

#set max post size
php_value post_max_size #M

Once the WXR file is unpacked on your self installed version of WordPress, you’re ready to walk through the gates of freedom without skipping a beat!

P.S. This strategy also works for those wanting to go from WordPress.org to WordPress.com.

CLIP: JPG Magazine Folds, And With It A Radical Idea In Publishing

from TechCrunch by 

It’s not a good time to be a print magazine right now. Even a crowdsourced magazine with a stripped-down staff that relies on the contributions of it more talented readers. JPG Magazine and its parent company 8020 Media is shutting down after running out of money and not being able to find any new investors. The seed investment had come from Cnet founder Halsey Minor, who apparently also did not want to put in any more.

JPG was an attempt to create a photography magazine that relied on its readers for its content and included them in the editing process. Nearly 200,000 photographers have submitted photographs for consideration to JPG, many of them via Flickr. The site itself was able to attract about 300,000 unique U.S. viewers a month (Quantcast), but its business model relied on selling print ads. And that’s a business you don’t want to be in right now, especially if you are a startup with an artsy photo mag that was never very appealing to advertisers.

But it was a worthy experiment nonetheless. 8020 Media was founded upon the belief that a print magazine publisher could be viable if it stripped out most of the costs and created a community of readers to help in its production. Perhaps the flaw was in sticking to a print magazine as its final product. In reality, the print magazine was nothing but an artifact of the Website and the community that created it. The value of JPG was in the online portion—the process by which the best photographs were commissioned, curated, and selected with the help of other reader-photographers. It is a model that I believe we will see more of in the future because talent is everywhere. We just need a better way of finding and highlighting the very best of it.

You can download back issues in PDF form before the site goes down on Monday.

Halsey Minor's User-Generated Mag Venture 8020 Goes Bust
from Silicon Alley Insider by 

halsey_minor.jpgThe online readership numbers of 8020 Media's two user-generated (professionally edited) magazines were off to a good start at 5 million pageviews a month. But the company's real business was print, and those numbers apparently weren't goos enough. Investor Halsey Minor has pulled the plug.

The NYT's Brad Stone:

8020 Media was backed by Halsey Minor, the founder of CNet Networks, and located in the San Francisco office of his investing firm, Minor Ventures. It had an unusual, low-cost editorial structure that many media and technology pundits pointed to as a model for the future. JPG Magazine had a small staff but solicited contributions from amateur photographers and asked its community of readers and contributors to vote for the best pictures, which then made it into a bimonthly print magazine. The company's similar travel magazine, Everywhere, ceased publication in August.

JPG had a circulation of around 50,000 and had recently secured some prominent space on newsstands around the country.

But ultimately the money ran out, and Mr. Minor declined to invest more, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. 8020 was attempting to either raise more money from other investors or to sell itself to big media names, including Meredith Corp. and Conde Nast, but with no success....

The 18 employees who worked for 8020 were given the holiday week off. On Tuesday, they received individual telephone calls and e-mail messages telling them that the company had exhausted its options and was shutting down.

8020 CEO Mitchell Fox:

In the face of these extraordinary economic times, in a devastated advertising climate, we can no longer continue to operate the business due to lack of funds, and hence we have to close 8020 Media effective immediately.

There is no doubt that our company has done what no others have yet to do that is, prove that the web and print can work effectively together, one supporting the other.

We've also proven that community generated media CAN be a powerful thing and it can create spectacular media.

The riddle of having a sound web platform support that drives interactivity with a print product has been solved, however, none of us could have predicted the global economic collapse we've witnessed in the past few months. So our timing to grow the business and bring it to profitability through even the smallest amount of additional funding could not have been worse.

So, while we sit here at the precipice of profitability, the negative marketplace forces are too strong to overcome, and we must take this regrettable action.

It remains undeniable that the publishing industry MUST find a new model, and mass collaboration and participation in the media property is certainly now proven it can be the foundation of this new model (NOTE: This is NOT citizen journalism).

We've cracked the code on marshaling a community around a media property online and in print .and helping them become active , loyal, and engaged participants in both.

We do owe a debt of thanks to Minor Ventures for believing in us, and funding us to this point and to have even given us a chance to make this business successful, and for that confidence we'll always be grateful.

8020's description of itself:

About 8020 Media

We are a revolutionary new hybrid media company, bringing together the best of the web and print. We harness the diversity and depth of online communities to create printed magazines that are uniquely relevant and insightful with an incredibly engaged audience. Started in June of 2006, and publishers of the award winning JPG Magazine and Everywhere Magazine, 8020 Media is backed byHalsey Minor, founder of CNET.

The Process

8020 Media empowers its communities to participate in all aspects of the magazine's content creation, thereby dramatically increasing reach, lowering costs, and engaging a knowledgeable, global community. By opening the field, we're blurring the lines between professional and amateur, inspiring photographers and writers of all types to engage in the process. What was once 'the audience' has been invited to participate in and lend its expertise to the editorial process by contributing content and critique online.

The Best of the Web and Print

The web is superior for organically growing real communities, connecting people to one another and housing and culling data. Magazines better provide serendipity and have a tactile, experiential element.

8020 Media takes the best of both worlds by empowering online communities in the process of creating beautiful, printed magazines. The editorial staff, freed by this pioneering reformulation of traditional roles, then function as curators; gleaning the best and most unique content from the vast pool of materials submitted by their contributors. The editorial role shifts from its traditional heavy-handed function, allowing the editors to peer into the collective and capture the perspective of their readers rather than over-stylizing the content. The results of this bottom-up approach are relevant, refreshing publications integrating editor, reader, advertiser and community.


  • Labor burnrate of 18 or $300k/month
  • Revenues from 50k subscriptions, advertising did not cover print costs
  • Online revenues were small from skyscrapers and sponsor spots - can't cover direct selling costs
  • Community of photographers; failed to draw beyond immediate community
  • Good execution, poor productivity as measured by revenues per labor cost

Dec 31, 2008

CLIP: Revolutionizing business markets with games

from VentureBeat by 

David Edery and Ethan Mollick are co-authors of Changing the Game: How Video Games Are Transforming the Future of Business, published in 2008 by Pearson Education. Edery, the Xbox Live Arcade games portfolio planner at Microsoft, wrote this piece, about the trend dubbed Funware in our past stories, for VentureBeat.

Over the past several years, my co-author and I have watched as video games have become a powerful tool through which organizations teach, persuade, and motivate people. For example, medical schools have used game-like simulators to train surgeons, reducing their error rate in practice by a factor of six. America’s Army, a recruiting game developed by the U.S. Army for just 0.25% of the Army’s total advertising budget, has had more impact on new recruits than all other forms of Army advertising combined. Google is using video games to turn its visitors into a giant, voluntary labor force –  encouraging them to manually label the millions of images found on the Web that Google’s computers cannot identify on their own. And of course, it’s remarkable how quickly video games have evolved from scapegoats for childhood obesity into the next great fitness craze.

The use of video games as advertising vehicles is one of the oldest and most common business uses of games in general (we’ve identified good examples from the early 1980s.) One of the most remarkable and relatively recent examples can be found in the fast food industry. For decades, multinational titans such as McDonald’s have generally attacked the market in a very traditional way — with expensive television advertisements and short-term promotions. But in 2006, Burger King changed everything by recognizing the increasing popularity of home video game consoles. The company developed and released three packaged games that were explicitly designed to promote the Burger King brand. Each game incorporated Burger King’s highly-recognizable characters, such as the King himself, and the Subservient Chicken. The results of this promotion exceeded everyone’s expectations.

Over 3.2 million copies of these games were sold in Burger King restaurants for $3.99 each, which resulted in one of the most effective promotions in the history of the franchise. So many consumers dropped by their local Burger King to purchase these games (and eat a meal while they were there) that during the period of this promotion, the company’s quarterly profit jumped by 40%. Better still, many consumers continued to play the games long after the promotion ended, which effectively meant free long-term advertising for Burger King. Compare that to the typical TV advertisement!

Of course, the executives at McDonald’s have taken notice of Burger King’s success, and have escalated the war for the hearts and minds of the gaming public by launching a virtual world centered around the McDonald’s brand. (Or as their website once noted, “The happy meal has gone digital!”) Children are encouraged to become citizens of this world, which contains a variety of gameplay experiences, and their sense of belonging is enhanced through customization features like the creation of their own avatar, and the opportunity to vote on the name of features within the world — not to mention the very name of the world itself. (The kids ultimately voted for “McWorld,” which suggests how, er, “creative” McDonald’s was with the choices.)

The overlapping space between business and games has become so active that we hear of interesting new projects on a near weekly basis. In the short time since we finished writing Changing the Game, we have learned that over half of the teams in the NBA are using NBA Live 2008, a popular basketball game, to simulate potential trades and evaluate personnel. That games are being used to significantly reduce the pain and suffering experienced by burn victims. That the US Army is using games to help prevent suicide. And that Allstate is using games (not driving simulations, but specialized casual games) to estimate the driving skill of people over the age of 50.

The big question is no longer “will businesses ever leverage the power of games?” That question was answered years ago. The question now is, “what major market will be revolutionized by video games next?”

Dec 30, 2008

CLIP: Digital Revenues Fall at New York Times Co.

Digital ads just won't suffice to save the struggling newspaper business. That's been clear since early this fall, when the Newspaper Association of America reported its members' second quarter revenues shrank for the first time in Q2, following weak Q1 growth. Those revenues declinedagain in Q3, shattering the pipe dream that rapid Web growth would support the publishers' huge cost structures.

So perhaps it shouldn't come as a shock that The New York Times -- itself an NAA member -- is also feeling a digital ad pinch. Long known for its culture of innovation, particularly at NYTimes.com, the company last week reported results for November, and were they ever bad. The dismal report includes a 21.8 percent overall revenue drop, led by spending declines in a bunch of major sectors and in all its divisions.

While grim, that big picture pain is less disheartening than this tidbit: Online ad revenues for the month contracted 4 percent compared with November 2007, owing to the continued flight of real estate and job classifieds advertising. The collapse of those two bedrocks of its ad model appear to have trumped all the company's smart synchronized banners, its surround sessions and its 10th place ranking among the largest Web players (Nielsen Online). Even for the Grey Lady, it would appear based on these numbers that rapid adoption and innovation in new channels just aren't enough to sustain a business mired in old ones.

CLIP: Facebook Connect Boosts Gawker's New User Sign-Ups, Comments

Three weeks after it launched, about 100,000 people have signed up for Facebook Connect, the social network's service that allows members to use their accounts on participating third-party sites across the Internet.

The numbers are according to AllFacebook.

100,000 users is not much -- about .07% of Facebook's 140 million active users.

The main hold-up? Large Web publishers Hulu, Digg and Twitter, which say they plan to implement Facebook Connect, haven't yet.

For now, the largest publisher on the authentication service is TV-on-the-Web video site Joost.com, which has 13,000 users signed-up through Facebook Connect.

Next, there's the Gawker Media blog network, with six sites in the top 25 and some 9,000 Facebook Connect-using members. IAC video-sharing site Vimeo has 6,000.

If Facebook is going to build an ad network on the back of Facebook Connect and finally earn revenues to justify a $15 billion (or even a $4 billion) valuation -- as everyone assumes is the company's plan -- it needs to quickly put the 100,000 user milestone in the rear mirror.

We believe it will.

Gawker Media tells us that since implementing Facebook Connect, user registrations are up 45% week over the week. Comments are up 16%.

It's hard to imagine that after hearing those kinds of numbers, publishers won't scramble to hook up their sites to Facebook's 140 million active users as fast as possible.

CLIP: Content Sites Bracing For 50% Revenue Slowdown

The U.S. economy has likely been in recession for a year, and tech companies have been bracing for a big slowdown in growth. But the fact is that revenues for most Internet-based companies haven’t dropped yet. Amazon, in fact, was able to issue its annual “best year ever” press release the day after Christmas.

That’s all about to change, at least for content sites, starting this week. Display advertising revenue is going to fall of a cliff in January according to a number of content sites I’ve spoken with who rely on advertising for revenue. “Sales through December were mostly strong as advertisers used up their marketing budgets,” said one sales exec. But, he added, “there are few buyers for this next fiscal quarter, and those few that are buying are looking for steep discounts.”

Just how bad will it be? I’ve heard estimates of 30%-80% revenue drops over the next three months from companies that serve a variety of content (games sites, tech news, celebrity news, political news, etc.). The median pessimism point is around 50%. The people I’ve spoken with work at large public companies and small one-person blog shops. Absolutely no one I spoke with said they expect an up quarter.

Some of the companies that survive the next few months will be leaner and stronger when this ends. That’s the upside. But everyone is cutting the fat, and your boss just may think you’re expendable.

Anyhow, on a more upbeat note, guess the movie the image is from, first comment to get it right gets a TechCrunch tshirt.

Dec 29, 2008

CLIP: What are the Benefits of Social Media Marketing?

Looking to make the case for why your organization or clients should be using social media marketing? A survey last month, highlighted today in eMarketer, outlines the benefits that marketing executives cite as reasons to embrace the medium:

Not surprisingly, customer engagement takes the top spot, with 85.4% of respondents citing it as a benefit of using social media marketing (perhaps the better question is, who are the 15% of respondents who didn’t see that as a benefit?). More interesting is that direct response – defined as “great lead generation source” in the list of benefits – was only cited by 21% of execs, implying that most execs don’t see the medium as having a direct impact on sales.

Will that make it harder to make the case for social media marketing as a part of leaner ad budgets in 2009? With 51% of respondents also citing “low cost” as a benefit, I think the case can still be made that social media marketing is a viable medium for driving customer growth next year. But, it could be challenging, given the more immediately tangible results you can see (or not see) from more traditional online ad buys like pay-per-click or affiliate marketing.

What are you citing as the main benefits of social media marketing with your company and clients? Are you optimistic for ’09? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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