Sphere Blog

February 29, 2008

Journalists? Bloggers? Micro-Publishers?

attack.pngMark Glaser has an interesting post on the narrowing gap between bloggers and traditional journalists. As Mark points out, the distinction is less relevant more than ever. Traditional journalists blog, they write shorter articles, they post more frequently and they invite comments – all things the bloggers first demonstrated had appeal. Big blogs have Editors, Sales professionals and operate more like savvy publishers everyday.

I don’t even think of the big blog sites as blogs, they’re more like micro-publishers. They’re businesses. They worry about page-views, their brands and they sell sponsorships/ advertising on their sites at very high CPM’s. From our vantage point, this all makes sense. Why should the media industry evolve any differently than other industries where we’ve seen this phenomenon before (Music, Consumer Package Goods, Grocery Stores just to name a few)? In our widgets, we’ve already started adding some “micro-publishers” into our Related Media quadrant, thus moving them out of the Related Blogs quadrant. We’re not sure that’s the right approach but we feel like it gives some “traditional” blogs a better opportunity for exposure while not penalizing traditional media sites nor the larger blogs.

How do you think about this?

February 20, 2008


picture-14.png Recently, the Washington Post introduced Sphere It results throughout their site. While an honor for Sphere to partner with such a venerable publisher brand, it’s also another great opportunity for bloggers to join the conversation as well as reach a broader audience of readers than the early adopter blog crowd that has been immersed in blogs since 2003. Always a good thing.


You can find Sphere links under the Who’s Blogging module in the middle left column on all Washington Post articles. As an example, go to this article – Obama takes Hawaii and Wisconsin – click on the “Links to this article” and our Contextual Widget will open up, displaying blogs linking to the article as well as blogs writing blog posts that are contextually relevant to the article. Here is a screen-shot of the Washington Post Contextual Widget.

Washington Post has been one of the most progressive publishers in recognizing the value blogs add to the conversation – in addition to empowering bloggers to link to their articles, they’ve launched a growing list of WP blogs and have established an ad network for a select group of blog partners. Thanks to Atil Erkin, John Alderman, Brendan Monaghan and Jim Brady for embracing the blogosphere and for their unwavering support in partnering with us.

October 12, 2007

All in the ‘Sphere – Get It Now!

Filed under: Sphere Contextual Widget — sphere @ 3:03 am


You can now get the Sphere Related Content Widget for just about any platform. Go to Sphere.com and click on the big “Get it now” orange button, you can’t miss it. Once you tell us your blog platform and some other useful bits of info, we’ll tell you the best way to get the widget for your platform (for self-hosted WordPress blogs, and a few other platforms, we have plug-ins, for other platforms we have detailed instructions).

If you’ve requested the Sphere Related Content Widget in the past, we really appreciate your patience. We’ll be sending you an email in the next few days with a link to instructions where you can get the widget NOW, or you can go and request it again and you’ll get instant access.

For those of you using FeedFlare, we’ll continue to support the fine products from our friends at FeedBurner, but you can now install the widget directly without using the FeedFlare. The main difference evolution vs. the FeedFlare is that it includes the Sphere Related Content Icon link plus it gives you more control over icon placement.

August 22, 2007

Nifty New Sphere Related Plug-in

Filed under: Sphere Contextual Widget — sphere @ 4:29 am


If you’ve downloaded our Plug-in from WordPress.org or through Feedburner’s FeedFlare, you’ll notice that we’ve update the look & feel of our “Classic” Sphere Related Content Plug-in. Our goal is to (more…)

August 18, 2007

40 WP’Sphere

Filed under: Sphere Contextual Widget,WordPress — sphere @ 4:41 am

I wish this was in reference to my age but the clock moves forward, not backward (:

Sphere Related Content is now the 40th most downloaded plug-in available in the WordPress.org Plug-in Directory. Over 10,000+ WordPress.org bloggers have added Sphere Related Content to their sites (6,000 from WP.org and 4,000++ directly from Sphere). If you’re blogging on WP.org, you can download the code snippet here. We’re very flattered by the number of WordPress.org bloggers who have added Sphere Related Content to their sites – thank you.

August 6, 2007

Sphere Related Content for POLITICS

Filed under: Sphere Contextual Widget — sphere @ 10:21 pm


On July 4th, we introduced a new plug-in focused on politics. This is a really great way to make connections with lots of different points of view, left, right, on the fence. Here are a few blogs – 186k per second and A South Dakota Moderate – that have added this plug-in to their content – I really like (more…)

July 4, 2007

Kicking off the 4th!

Filed under: Sphere Contextual Widget — sphere @ 4:29 am

We’re all talking about the 2008 Presidential elections, who we like, who we don’t. Several of our partners have asked us to work with them on a plug-in that is focused on the upcoming election campaign. The goal of our Politcal plug-in is to (more…)

June 3, 2007

FeedFlare in the ‘Sphere – Emptying my In-box!

Filed under: Feedburner,Sphere Contextual Widget — sphere @ 7:38 am

feedflare.pngWe’re all BOOYAH (that’s FeedBurner speak) over here about enabling a broader set of bloggers to add Sphere Related Content to their blogs via our FeedBurner FeedFlare. Since we launched our Sphere Related Content Plug-in at Web 2.0, we’ve had thousands of requests from a broad range of bloggers. Early on, we built, tested and launched a plug-in for WordPress.org bloggers – adoption has been really impressive, nearly 5,000 since making it available in early March. During that time, lots and lots of requests piled up in my Oddpost (technically Yahoo Mail but it’ll always be Oddpost) in-box which went from flattering to panic in a hurry as the number went up and up, faster and faster. Making the plug-in available for other platforms proved to be a bit more challenging as many of those platforms, such as Blogger or TypePad, require us to be integrated into the platform templates. Feedburner presented us with a great opportunity to offer the service through a FeedFlare, so we jumped on it.

As with WordPress.org, we spent several weeks testing it before (more…)

June 1, 2007

Sphere Related Content Launches via FeedBurner FeedFlare

Filed under: Feedburner,Sphere Contextual Widget — sphere @ 9:58 pm

picture-23.png In order to make the Sphere Related Content widget available to the maximum number of bloggers, we’ve developed a very simple solution that makes it available as a FeedBurner FeedFlare. Last night, we finished testing it and want to open it up to all bloggers.

You’ll find it super-easy to implement – it shouldn’t take you more than a minute or two to add to your existing FeedFlares. Just follow these steps: (more…)

May 15, 2007

WordPress.org + Sphere Related Content = 2,000+

Filed under: Sphere Contextual Widget,WordPress — sphere @ 2:39 am

picture-31.pngThe number of WordPress.org bloggers integrating Sphere Related Content continues to grow quickly, topping 2,000 late this afternoon in a few months. Our team let out a collective Woohoo a little while ago!

Since being added to the WordPress Plugin Directory a month ago, over 700 sites have (more…)

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