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Blogging Presentation at Association of Legal Administrators' Annual Meeting

I'm just back from Montreal where I had the pleasure to speak at the Association of Legal Administrators Annual Meeting on Monday afternoon. As promised, here are the PowerPoint slides from my session. "Blogs: The Hot New Technology for Communication and Information."

I thought that the session was very well attended and was pleased to learn that it was the session of the day. There were some great questions from the audience members, which included none other than Nathan W. Burke from lawfirmblogging.com Larry Bodine of Larry Bodine's Professional Services Marketing Blog.

In a post on his blog, Larry picked up on something that I said in the session: "Blogger is being overrun with spam blogs and readers avoid it." That sounds a bit more controversial than I meant it to be. While it is true that "splogs" (machine generated spam blogs) account for 9% of all new blogs created, and that most of these take advantage of Blogger because it is free, I didn't mean to imply that Blogger was "bad."

Before I explain, I'd like to make the distinction between blogs that both use the Blogger "software" AND are hosted by Blogger (look for "blogspot" in the URL) versus those that only use the Blogger "software" while being hosted elsewhere. As Bob Ambrogi points out in a comment to Larry's post, the latter is not problematic. My concerns about Blogger apply to those hosted by Blogger using the blogspot domain. I apologize that I didn't make that clear.

I simply meant that blogs hosted by Blogger have a harder time establishing credibility than those that don't. The fact is that some readers are put off by the blogspot url either because they have been scared off by too many Blogger "splogs" or, more likely, they believe that "if this blogger was serious, they would have shelled out a few bucks on their blog." Valid or not - there it is.

Are they some very popular, professional blogs that are hosted by Blogger? Yes. But, I still contend that if you created one today, you'd have a more difficult time being taken seriously than if you hosted it elsewhere. Why take that chance when there are other relatively inexpensive (or free in the case of WordPress), more respected alternatives?

How's that for a long-winded explanation?

ALA members who are interested in learning more, I invite you to participate in the post-conference forum about blogs and their place in the firm. You ask questions and I'll (try) to answer them.


Hi Bonnie. It was a pleasure to meet you at the conference. I just wanted to chime in on the "splogs" discussion.

It seems that any time a free media is released, it will be exploited. It's sad but unfortunately it is the truth. Since blogger is free, spammers can very easily sign up for a blog, pack it with keywords, and repeat the process. It's gotten so bad that some blog tracking services have stopped indexing .blogspot.com posts. Their motive? PageRank.

Here's how they can do it: 1. you have a blog that is actually maintained and gives information to humans. The blog exists to make money through ads.

2. Since the blog isn't particularly popular or useful, it's pagerank is very low (could be 0). This results in poor search engine rankings.

3. You decide to create a multitude of splogs that link to your blog. This helps in that it raises the number of incoming links to the blog. Google sees that there are blogs linking to yours, and they up your blog's page rank. This in turn, ups your search engine results rankings, bringing you more traffic, and presumably more ad clicks.

When sploggers see that this often works, they decide to keep going, making more blogs, more splogs, etc. Until Google can find a way to efficiently find and disable splogs, this will continue.

Awesome explanation, Nathan. I hope that helps clarify "splogs" for everyone.

You have some coverage over at Slaw.

Congrats on the presentation, I wish I could have been there. Isn't Montreal a wonderful place! :-)


Thank you for sharing, Bonnie! I wasn't able to attend the conference but appreciate seeing your excellent slides.

I have used Blogger for over two years and it has stood me very well. However, the way I explain it is that it is akin to using Hotmail for your work email. You could do it, but it just isn't as polished or professional as using WordPress or Typepad.

Keep up the great work!


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