Constructive Changes to BlogRush

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Finally, BlogRush has put their words into action. Now, you can change the border color of the BlogRush widget to match your blog. Another important change is to control which post links from your blog will be displayed. BlogRush provides a post filter that you can use to filter out posts with certain keywords. John Reese, Founder of BlogRush has written a long letter to all the BlogRush members to address all the concerns raised. Read it for yourself, the full content is displayed below:

TO: All BlogRush Members
FROM: John Reese, Founder of BlogRush

ARE YOU READY? Because *everything* is about to change. Forget everything else up until now…

PREPARE FOR *BIG* CHANGES! (TWO MAJOR CHANGES ARE NOW LIVE.)

BlogRush CAN’T EXIST if we’re not sending you a lot of ongoing, targeted traffic. We fully recognize this and that’s why this is our ONLY FOCUS.

The BlogRush team has been hard at work making major improvements for you and we won’t rest until BlogRush is running 100% smoothly and sending you tons of targeted traffic! This is OUR MISSION. Please know that our entire team is working around-the-clock to make improvements and fix any problems AS FAST AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE.

(We sincerely appreciate your patience.)

We’ve encountered some problems since our historic launch just over a week ago, and we fully recognize that we’ve made some real ‘goofs’ with the system for our Public Beta release…

For example, our data center provider (one of the largest in the world) had a short, temporary outage (they had to replace a network switch) two days after our launch. We had no control over this outage but want to SINCERELY APOLOGIZE to those that saw this message on their blogs (where the widget should have been):

"We are currently experiencing some technical issues and the site will be back online shortly. Please come back in a few minutes."

We were completely *EMBARRASSED* when we realized this happened. That simple message was part of our application code and was meant to appear only on *OUR* WEB SITE PAGES if we ever experienced an outage. This was accidentally ‘marked’ to be a global error message for ANY outage — including if our widget ever had a problem loading. This was a major GOOF and we’re willing to admit it. Our code was planned so that in the case of a problem with our widget, NOTHING WOULD LOAD in its place. So a visitor to your blog doesn’t see an error or anything wrong should the widget ever have any technical issues.

This was quickly corrected and is now working properly. Should the widget ever have any problem loading in the future, your blog will be served a transparent space (which will show whatever background your blog design has) and your blog readers won’t really notice anything.

Again, our sincere apologies for our major goof. It was quite embarrassing.

NOW ONTO SOME SERIOUS ISSUES…

We also realize that we completely underestimated the number of unethical people that would sign up and proceed to CHEAT and try to ‘game’ the BlogRush system. These cheaters ruined the click-rates of many of our members (and burned through a lot of their credits using automated ‘exploit’ methods) and hurt BlogRush’s ability to send maximum traffic to our honest members’ blogs.

BUT ALL OF THAT IS ABOUT TO BE ERASED… LIKE IT NEVER HAPPENED.

In the next several days to come, we’re going to be rolling out MAJOR changes to BlogRush. BIG changes. And these changes (again) have just ONE primary purpose — to drive more ongoing, targeted traffic to your blog.

We’ve listened to your valued feedback and constructive criticism and we have been working in TURBO MODE to make the changes you want ASAP…

—– HERE’S WHAT’S COMING IN THE NEXT 48 HOURS —–

100% MANUAL BLOG REVIEW.
Our team is going to be manually reviewing every single new blog that registers to participate in the BlogRush Network.

We’ll be applying some quality guidelines and criteria to our decision-making process. (We’ll be publishing these guidelines very soon.) If a blog does not meet our guidelines and criteria, THEY WILL BE REJECTED from the network and not allowed to join — i.e. they won’t be able to serve our widget, refer other users, or have their blog posts distributed across our network. They will have no access to any BlogRush services.

Our members, like YOU, made it LOUD AND CLEAR to us… BlogRush needs to only have members that have quality blog content — not blogs filled primarily with ads and other spammy looking JUNK.

The only accurate way we’re going to keep these junk blogs out of our network is to REVIEW EVERY SINGLE ONE BY HAND. And we’re willing to do it to protect the integrity of our network. I don’t care what it costs us to hire more people (if we need them) to review 100% of any blog trying to join our network. We will be reviewing ALL OF THEM from here on out.

* We realize that several non-English language blogs blatantly ignored our “ENGLISH BLOGS ONLY” warning on our Registration page. Rest assured, though, they’ll all be PURGED from the network when we do our QUALITY CONTROL AUDIT over the next several days (you’ll read about it in a moment).

As I’ve said several times before, BlogRush isn’t some passing “fad” or short-term service. We’re dedicated to building an incredibly valuable resources for bloggers FOR MANY YEARS TO COME.

We’ll also be doing a QUALITY CONTROL AUDIT of all of our existing member blogs. We’ll be reviewing every single blog that’s currently in our network (or that registers before the Manual Review Process becomes active.) And we’ll be completely *REMOVING* any blogs in our network that don’t meet our quality guidelines and criteria.

As you can probably tell by now, we’re not messing around. We have put a lot of hard work into the development of this service and we will continue to bust our butts to make it one of the best Internet services in the world. COUNT ON IT.

We’re also deploying several new Anti-Cheat measures to SHUTDOWN AND WIPEOUT the cheaters and unethical users that have abused our network. Sorry, crooks, but THE FREE RIDE IS OVER.

We’ll be dedicating an entire department to stay on top of any abusive behavior in our network. We believe that our new measures are going to instantly eliminate most, if not all, of our system abuse. It’s going to take us a few more days to roll-out all of these measures (and to complete our entire QUALITY CONTROL AUDIT) but rest assured, BlogRush is about to go through a major TRANSFORMATION.

And a quick word to any ‘cheats’ that might be reading this letter… it’s very possible that you may come up with something extremely creative that temporarily gets by us, but you should know something… IT’S NOT GOING TO BE WORTH YOUR TIME. And I’m not just talking about the tiny amount of traffic that you’ll receive before we shut you off.

You see, we have other plans in the works…

If you attempt to cheat or abuse our network in anyway, shape, or form, we will not hesitate to come after you. Our company is well funded and has plenty of resources. And we WILL use them to punish you to the fullest extent of the law (and civil court process). Oh, you think you can just hide behind some anonymous proxy IPs? Sorry, it’s not that easy. ANY reason you’d have to try and cheat the BlogRush network for traffic and any attempt you make to monetize that traffic will lead directly to your front door — whether it’s AdSense, any affiliate program in the world, any online pharmacy, porn site, casino… ANYTHING. We will follow the trail and it WILL eventually lead to you.

Our hard-working company provides the income for MANY families. As the CEO of our company, I take this very seriously. I HAVE TO. People that attempt to abuse or cheat BlogRush are affecting the livelihood of all my employees and their families. And I will do everything in my power to protect them — it’s MY DUTY.

So for all you cheaters that joined BlogRush and had your fun trying to siphon off some traffic, hopefully it was fun. And I’ll go ahead and make this statement right now… IF you were one of the people that has been cheating our network I’m going to give you ONE opportunity… quit now and we’ll pretend it never happened. I think that’s more than fair.

BUT… if you continue after this point, all bets are off. We WILL eventually discover what you’re doing, where you’re trying to send traffic, and we will prosecute you. I GUARANTEE IT. Sorry, but WE HAVE NO CHOICE NOW.

* If you’re one of our valued, HONEST users, I’m very sorry you even have to read stuff like that. I know it’s a waste of your time. Unfortunately, there are unethical people in this world that attempt to abuse and take advantage of others.
MOVING ON…

—- ALSO COMING SOON! —-

**** A LOT MORE CATEGORIES! ****
You asked for it, and you’re getting it!

We’re going to be greatly expanding our directory of categories to increase the relevancy of post links appearing in the widget on your blog — this will also increase click-rates (and traffic) for all members.

* Stay tuned over the next several days for more news about the addition of new categories.

AND…

**** IMPROVED REPORTING! ****
The current Dashboard stats are being under-reported for all users right now. This is the reason that users show discrepancies when looking at Google Analytics data (or other stats packages). We’re currently sending more traffic to our users than we’re reporting in the Dashboard because we are giving all users bonus credits everyday. We’ll soon be reporting all bonus credit activity so all the numbers will be accurate.

SPECIAL NOTE TO ALL LOW-TRAFFIC MEMBERS: In the near future we’ll be giving our low-traffic members (those that need more traffic the most) the BULK of our bonus credit allocations. You’ll get a ton more bonus credits than high-traffic members because you really need it. It’s only FAIR!

* Also we apologize to anyone that has seen a “negative” credit balance for their account. This is a minor bug that we’re taking care of. It doesn’t mean anything and you can just ignore it for now. We apologize for any confusion.

**** IMPROVED NETWORK DISTRIBUTION ****
A few of our users have noticed that they're building up credits faster than the system is using them. This will eventually balance itself out as the network continues to "adjust" to the growth levels and traffic patterns of each category — because our network provides syndication distribution based on daily average "cycles" and then adjusts moving into the future; so it's able to accurately predict how fast to use a certain user's credits, etc. — as compared to just using them all "as fast as possible."

—- AND HERE ARE *TWO* BRAND-NEW ADDITIONS THAT JUST WENT LIVE!!!! —-

**** BLOGRUSH “FLAVORS” ARE NOW ACTIVE!
You can go login to your account, click the “Settings” tab and then select “Flavors.”
You can choose from (13) different widget colors. You no longer have to only use our original “black” widget design that many users thought was ugly! (Hey, just don’t let our lead designer hear that… he thought his black design was “really cool.”)
Now you can select a color that more closely matches the look of your blog. Our users have been asking for this since we launched our Public Beta, and we’ve taken action to offer these new options.

* We have future plans for further widget customization but we’re working on one “stage” of improvement at a time! Please bare with us. We’re fully aware of the request for a more narrow widget as our current one doesn’t fit on some blogs. We’re trying to produce a solution and should have some news soon.

HERE'S THE BEST PART…
You don't have to copy and paste new code to your blog. Just go to that "Flavors" section for your account, select the flavor you want, then hit the "APPLY FLAVOR" button. That's it! Reload your blog in another browser window and take a look.
And if you want to see what a different flavor might look like, just pick another one, hit the "APPLY FLAVOR" button and reload your blog. PRESTO!

AND LAST BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST…

***** BLOG POST CONTROLS *****
Under the “Settings” tab you’ll also find a new option called, “My Post Control.” Here’s what this awesome new feature does…

You can create POST FILTERS for your blog posts…

For example, you can add a keyword or phrase and create a new post filter. If you ever create a post on your blog (while you have that filter active — and you can add/delete them at anytime) that contains one of those keywords in the TITLE of your blog post, that post…

WILL *NOT* BE SHOWN ACROSS THE NETWORK. And you won’t use any of your syndication credits!

All bloggers post "off-topic" stuff from time to time, or short posts that don't have a ton of great content. Well, now you can easily keep any of those types of posts from using your valuable syndication credits and from being shown across the network!

This is GREAT for you because now you can control exactly which posts of yours will be syndicated. This can help you maximize your CLICK-RATES and, ultimately, the traffic you receive from the BlogRush network. AND it can help retain NEW READERS for your blog (your ultimate goal that can grow your blog’s traffic on a day-to-day basis.)

Here’s Why…
By selecting which posts get syndicated (by simply adding filters right BEFORE you publish a post on your blog that you don’t want to be used; or having setup one well in advance) you can make sure that you’re only syndicating your BEST POSTS. The ones with top-quality content. Your posts that a new visitor to your blog will enjoy and be much more likely to make a “YES!” decision to become a regular reader for you!

AND OH YEAH, ONE MORE THING…

This is only the very beginning for BlogRush. We have so much great stuff in store for you! As I said at the beginning of this letter… we will continue to work VERY HARD to make improvements and add-ons with ONE PRIMARY FOCUS…

To drive more ongoing targeted traffic to your blog.

I want to personally THANK YOU on behalf of our entire company for your interest in BlogRush. We’ve received a lot of criticism from many bloggers on the Internet, and we’ll be the first to admit we’re not perfect and a lot of it was WELL-DESERVED.

But please know, we’re busy working around the clock FOR YOU. You have our word on it.

Now go login to your account and try out some of the new “Flavors” for your blog! And also start setting up some Post Control Filters so you can start maximizing your content syndication.

I’ll be in touch when I have more "news" to share. Thanks for reading this long letter. I had a lot to tell you about.

Best Regards,
John Reese, Founder of BlogRush

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