An explanation of my obsession with MyBlogLog

Fred Wilson explains the power of the tiny bit of code (he calls it “the reader-roll widget”) that enables the photos of those registered on to appear over on the right hand column of my blog and a growing number of other blogs, and now, MySpace pages. (Here’s the neo-pop-culture-figure Eric’s post on the same topic.)

Quote from Fred:

“In the case of MyBlogLog, I don’t know how the service could work without the reader roll widget. It’s the front door and the reason the service is popular. So going from basically zero impressions in at the start of the fourth quarter to over 1 million this week is a great accomplishment.”

I’ll add another observation. The “reader-roll widget” has probably also increased the traffic on the blogs of those who are participating. I know that I click through to the blogs of new people I see showing up on this blog. I’ve discovered more new blogs in the past month that way than from any other way. Also, at the Nashville blog ‘meat’-up last Saturday, I met off-line the first person I’ve met online via MyBlogLog. In other words, I think the benefits of the service allows all who participate to win in some way. [Later: I feel the need to make clearer what I just said. If you are a blogger, your photo on another blog is like an ad for your blog. It will enable people who visit, say, this blog, to see a picture of you and, to perhaps click over and see your blog. It’s like advertising where the only price you pay is dropping by other blogs. (Actually, on an esoteric front, we could explore the ‘privacy capital’ you are spending, but that’s for another day.) Don’t abuse it, however, as with one click, a blogger can easily ban you.]

Also, as someone who has used the service for six weeks or so — and who has observed it closely during that period — I have seen them address some concerns I raised publicly. First, they added a way to easily block someone who I don’t want to appear on my blog — a link-spammer, for example. And they seem to have addressed a performance issue that caused me to remove the reader-roll for a day.

Since they seemed to respond to those other suggestions, here are some more:

1. Update the “Help” page with explanations of how to use the service — or set up a user wiki so your fans can help build a “knowledge base.” If such a thing existed, for example, I would know how to add the reader roll to my MySpace page. I know I can do it, but I don’t know how — and I don’t know where to go to find out how.

2. I think I’ve seen it mentioned, but you need to explain more prominently how a registered user can do “private browsing” — there are some blogs a person may want to visit but not have their photo show up there.

3. You need to have a place on your site where I can post future suggestions as I doubt I’ll be using the rexblog again as a MyBlogLog suggestion box.

While I’m talking about it, don’t forget to join the rexblog community on MyBlogLog.

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  • Rex — Thanks as always for the wonderful insight and suggestions. Here are some brief responses to what you wrote:

    1) It’s sad how out of date the Help page is. We agree that the Wiki is the right way to go and we’re getting
    one set up this week. Now we just need to make sure the world knows about it when it’s up (hint hint 🙂

    2) We’ve had a couple people mention that they would like to go dark for a bit while browsing. Short answer is “we’re putting some cycles into figuring it out”.

    Long answer is “I’m not sure how to build it”. To some degree, I’m mainly worried that people will go dark and then forget to turn their faces back on. We’re committed to making all our features as mindless as possible, because people already have too much to joggle and we want to add value by being one of the rare things that just work whether you think about us or not. This is especially true if you have to go to in order to turn the hide function on and off. Yuck. We could always implement a browser plugin, but as a co.mments user, I can attest to the fact that I never remember to track comments. I probably will forget to track this one before I post this comment. Any ideas on how this might work?

    3) See 1). The wiki is going to be our new suggestion box, although you’ll always be able to send things straight to me at and the tech team at

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  • The Wiki is now live at — please feel free to post future suggestions there.