Saturday, March 6

BlogExplosion 2010 Problems in the blogosphere

blog explosion

Anji, one of my co-blog-reviewer-approvers on blogexplosion, recently wrote a few posts on problems that we've been having since the loss of contact with the blogexplosion owners and senior administrator.
BlogExplosion: Problems logging in and surfing

This post is a message for her and all others who might be having the same concerns.

Anji, I did manage to locate some older blog posts about BE having this same problem sporadically over the years. It seems to occur every couple of years. 2006, 2007, Blog posts complaining of no support/admin responses and thumbnails not being updated, etc. Those posts correspond with changes in ownership and management.

I have a feeling that what has happened is our senior *volunteer* admin finally gave up trying to keep up, particularly in light of the fact that he was working for free -- He maintained the site. Dealt with server and script issues. Added new blogs. Updated thumbnails. Created new ideas to keep the site fresh and interesting (He did a great job there, but that had to be majorly time consuming.) Responded to emails. Checked every forum post and deleted the spam. Checked each site that received a *flag* for content. Responded to member complaints about other blogs or comments that had been left by members on their profiles.

I have a feeling that the straw that finally broke the camel's back was the constant complaints and gripes at him from us, the members. Complaints that 'admin' and 'support' were not responding to emails and thumbnail requests quickly enough. That sort of thing...

I know there were others helping him before, but they didn't appear to last long. I had no idea that 'admin' and 'support' was really just one guy, trying to do it all alone-- and for free, until you told me. He never said anything about it on the forum or in email responses. I think we all would have been a bit more patient had we known that. And a bit more appreciative of his efforts to keep the community happy and the site interesting.

I'm sure the in-boxes for support and inquiries are over-flowing with duplicate email requests sent multiple times by the same people-- and spam. I don't think he'll ever look in there again. I don't think he'll ever come back. He obviously got just as much support from LiveUniverse as we did. None. And he has a job and a family.

I think what will happen (as portended by the past) is that ?LiveUniverse? -- or current owner -- will eventually do a spot check (probably an annual or bi-annual audit of sorts, or to pretty it up for sale, again) to make sure everything is up and running. They'll see there is no senior admin and take back control of it.

They'll probably delete all of our approval accounts without notice--we just won't be able to login one day-- they'll clean out the support requests and admin emails (they know that there are thousands waiting for approval and more coming in every day, if someone needs support badly enough they'll send a fresh email when they see there's new management) They'll add new advertisements and apps. maybe even give the whole place a shiny new look.

Then suddenly a new admin group will appear. They'll set about fixing what needs to be fixed and BE will take off again with a re-newed enthusiasm...
until the next break down or sale.

Don't fret Angie Baby. These things are cyclic. We're just feeling the same stress that our 'admin' felt; like we're personally responsible for each and every member's satisfaction and all of the guilt that comes with not being able to keep everyone happy.

I'm kicking back and enjoying the time I have left to approve blogs.

Information For New Members

I'm thinking we should create a standard email we can send to new members as we add their blogs. Just to let them know that BE is in a holding pattern, and to be patient. That support is not currently available, and they should not make any site purchases until further notice.

But they should log into their accounts and go to 'surf member blogs' to start earning credits and that they need to go to the 'assign credits' page after each surfing session to move the new earned credits into their blog account. They can also choose the option to have those credits automatically assigned -- then they won't have to do anything except have fun surfing blogs and meeting new bloggers.

blogexplosion assign credits dashboard
(click to enlarge)

I'm making my predictions based on information from the web and in old newsletters I received from BE about how these problems occurred, and were resolved, in the past. I've listed the BE NEWSLETTERS that I think are significant, but you might want to read them all for their historic value. The changing personalities of the owners, admins, and the site as a whole.

Sept 28, 2004 Meet Thomas and Jeff: The guys who created blogexplosion issue their first email newsletter.
April 24, 2006 Blogexplosion Sold: BlogExplosion has been sold to Stephen Sartain.
May 3, 2006 Under New Management: Meet the new blogexplosion management Lewis Johnston and Stephen Sartain
June 9, 2006 Ooops and Ouch: BlogExplosion is up for Sale again
June 17, 2006 Blogexplosion Sold (Again): "The new owners are a large group." This is where the mystery begins... a large group of what?

I have one more piece of information I'd like to share for people who have submitted a blog at blogexplosion for review and have not yet been approved.

In 2008 the senior administrator and resident geek Chris created an algorithm to move those who are serious about becoming community members to the top of the approval list. Here's what he had to say about it on the forum.

Hi Susan

It sounds like you may have been caught by my blog verification algorithm. If a user does not attend (log in to) blogexplosion for more than 30 days their blog is moved to another queue.

The idea of this is to ensure only blogs with active owners are reviewed. With such a huge backlog I had to find a way to bring legitimate blogs to the front of the queue.

For an idea of whether it works or not there is still over 4000 in the queue waiting for their owners to come back.

They will not be processed unless the owners return and log in at BE -- because you came back your blog was automatically rushed to the front of the queue.

Once the queue drops to less than a 30 day backlog all blogs will be reviewed in the order they are submitted



Currently Reading: What Will Happen in Eragon IV by Richard Marcus
Look for the review soon on my blogcritics writer profile page.