Podcamp Toronto - Review

On Saturday, I had the pleasure to attend the first day of Podcamp Toronto. Unfortunately, a scheduling conflict prevented me from attending day 2 of Podcamp Toronto. If I had known when I planned my schedule how exceptional Podcamp would be I would have made sure to have kept my Sunday open as well.

Attending Podcamp here in Toronto reminded me and many other attendees of the buzz that surround the web back in 1997 or 1998. I even took that feeling one level further and noted that the conference and speakers were truly throwbacks to the earliest days to the web, when like minded people would get together and share everything in order to spread the word and perhaps change the world.

Podcamp speakers were quick to share tips, code and techniques. All speakers made their slides publicly available via the conference Wiki. To my surprise, the whole event was broadcast live. I took advantage of this by tuning into a couple of the Podcamp presentations on Sunday when I couldn't attend in person. While I was able to get the info from the presentations, there is nothing like attending an event like this in person. As I always say about conference, you can separate a good conference from a great conference by what happens between sessions and in the hallways. On more then one occasion, I was late or missed an entire session because I was involved in great conversations in the hallways.

My how this technology has change over the years, while to me it seems like only yesterday that people were conceiving the idea of broadcasting events live over the Internet and when my wedding was the first wedding ever broadcast live 8.5 years ago, it seem just so radical. Now the cost and the technology to do live broadcasts is within virtually everyone's reach.

So I learnt a lot about podcasting. Sessions covered everything from hardware, to software, how to publish your podcast, how to market your podcast and much more. There were even a few sessions on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and your podcast. While these sessions covered the basics, for a seasoned SEO professional like me, I saw a lot more opportunity.

Absent from the conference however were speaker egos, copyright notices on slide presentations and costs. Yes Podcamp Toronto was free to attend. Thank you to all the volunteers, speakers and event sponsors for not only putting on an incrediable event, but for allowing everyone to attend regardless of their financial abilities. I can't say I got my money's worth, but I can say that Podcamp Toronto was worth investing my time in attending and I can't wait until the next Podcamp.


Google Loses Belgium Court Case

Several months back I posted an article on how a group of Belgium newspapers were suing Google over listing headlines and snippets of stories in Google News. Well the court has ruled and Google has lost.

It turns out that the bigger issue besides the headlines and content snippets (which in itself contradicts the Belgium copyright laws) was the storing of copies of articles in Google's cache. Like most newspapers they offer recent stories for free, but then place them in an archive and charge for access to the archive. By allowing searchers to access the articles through a cached copy, Google was taking away potential revenue from the newspapers.

As with all big law suits, it is never over until someone gives up. On that note, Google is planning on appealing.

Read the full story.


Checking Backlinks in Google

Checking Backlinks in Google

As all SEO professionals know, the back link checker offered by Google (link:yoururl), has been intentionally broken for some time now. While there have been many reasons discussed for why Google broke their own application, it has left SEO professional with a broken tool for checking backlinks on the most poplar search engine, until now.

As of last week, Google has added a new tool to its set of extremely helpful tools available as part of its Webmasters program. According to the Google post on its blog, "Now you can use webmaster tools to view a much larger sample of links to pages on your site that we found on the web. Unlike the link: operator, this data is much more comprehensive and can be classified, filtered, and downloaded".

The good news is that everything Google promised in its post is true. You can now check backlinks to every single page in your web site instead of just the domain. There is a treasure chest of information just waiting to be discovered with this new tool.

The tool does come with some limitations. First and most obvious, you need to sign-up for the Webmaster program (not a big deal and it is free) and secondly you need to verify yourself and the domain you want to check backlinks for. This second step isn’t a big deal either, but it does require that you publish some code to the web site that you are interested in.

So go on and register and check out all the free features of Google's Webmaster service at http://www.google.com/webmasters

Remember if you have questions about this or any other post you can contact me by simply clicking on the Bitwine Icon in the right-hand column.


Video Blogs - BlogTV.ca

For Canadians interested in taking blogs to the next level comes BlogTv.ca.

BlogTv is currently in beta and it allows anyone with a web cam to broadcast live and even record the broadcast for later streaming. This is a free service and for now restricted to user in Canada.

I've just registered with a test account and will give it a try. I can see the potential of this type of service and am currently trying to differentiate it from the already established world of Podcasts.

So far by poking around the site, I've yet been able to find how I can download these broadcasts to my personal computer or video iPod. I'd love to see a subscription service to specific individuals or channels, so I don't have to visit the site every day. Perhaps that is something that will be forth coming as BlogTV moves its way through the beta process, but for now they are relying on Shockwave for streaming the videos.

One nice feature is they allow you to link your video into your blog. So here is a link to my first very basic test.

If you've ever wanted your own TV show, but just couldn't break into the industry here is your chance.

More details about BlogTV can be found on CBC.ca at www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2007/01/31/tech-blogtv-20070131.html