Proud to announce: The Wadi

My associates and I are proud to announce today the launch of TheWadi.com. This new blog aims to cover all the news from Israeli web companies and startups. In addition to bringing the news, we have a company index which will constantly expand in its coverage and depth.

After months of thoughts, research, meetings and last minute tweaks, Gal Mor, Doron Gez and myself are launching TheWadi today. Gal is the editor in chief, Doron is in charge of business development and yours truly is the main writer, and also does some technical stitches. So if you see a bug, talk to me…

In the many talks we had before starting to work on the site, we found that there isn’t sufficient coverage for cool Israeli technology in English. Yes, some major tech sites occasionally cover Israeli startups, but this is too rare. We aim to provide constant and maximal exposure to our readers and followers.

Enough said here. Check out the About page, the Team page and the home page of The Wadi.

Me on TV

I try not to mix between this personal corner on the web and my professional forex blog, but here’s something I wanted to share. I was interviewed on Forex TV, a live broadcast.

I’m not very experienced with live media appearances, but I think it was OK. Feedback is welcome.

My Bloggers Code of Ethics

Following a few incidents I had, here are 6 simple rules that comprise my code of ethics. They are simple straightforward and logical. I’ll be glad for feedback:

  1. No spam.
  2. Comments: Please respond to the contents of the post.
  3. Credit for help: If I’ve helped you with something on your blog that required significant attention – more than answering a single question – please thank me with a small link to the blog.
  4. Picture usage: Use freely and credit with a small link to the blog.
  5. Content usage: Want to quote / copy /recycle my content? Please copy no more than two paragraphs and link to the original post.
  6. No insults: No unnecessary insults, to the blog owner, guest writers, or commentators.

That’s it! I’ve probably sinned more than once, and broke my own rules, here and in other blogs. Please tell me, and I’ll fix it immediately. Electronic media allows easy fixing…

What do you think? Did I miss something? Am I too strict?

Last time I wrote about it was almost two years ago, and in Hebrew – here.

* The last rule was added after a comment from the Guinness Bartender.

Of courae, this also applies to my Forex Trading Blog.

Free Lunch 2.0

After complaining on Twitter that a meal of noodles wasn’t tasty, the restaurant contacted me and sent me again the dish I ordered. 

I’ve mentioned before that I began using Twitter (@yohay), and I use it more frequently now. Due to the growing popularity of the #fiddme tag (thanks @yosit), I occasionally post my experiences from various meals that I eat.

Last Wednesday, a colleague of mine and I ordered some Asian food to the office, from a restaurant called Giraffe. We ordered their “Spicy dish” of noodles with meat and vegetables. We both felt that it wasn’t spicy, nor hot, nor warm. It didn’t have too much of a taste. I usually order other dishes from this restaurant, and I’ve always been pleased. I guess it’s a matter of taste.

I complained on Twitter, saying that it was a disappointment. On Sunday, I suddenly got an email from a guy from the restaurant, saying that he saw my complaint, and that they’re taking it seriously.

This guy monitors the Twitter account of the restaurant, and he reached my mailbox via the contact form in my blog. My blog is linked in my Twitter account. Web 2.0 magic!

After a few emails, he asked for my phone number, saying that the restaurant’s manager wanted to speak to me. I told the whole story to the manager. He just asked if I’ll be in the office in the next 40 minutes, saying he’ll send the dish again.

After 30 minutes, the dish arrived at the office. They also sent a dessert. My colleagues helped me with eating up all the food. Thanks Gil and @taltalush This time it tasted really good!

I ran lots of tweets when the story unfolded. @lisang urged me to write a blog post about this story in English, so that Israeli Anglos that are used to appalling service, will see an example of good service. Not only good service, but also sophisticated means of communication!

Here’s the dessert, courtesy of Taltal:

Web 2.1 – The Resurrection

The weak economic environment is also hitting Web 2.0 companies. Two of my favorite companies went under, but managed to survive somehow. There is a light at the end of the tunnel!

JPGMag: This is a website that lets users upload quality pictures and vote on them. The best pictures are printed out in a monthly magazine. I also submitted my picture to this site, and called my readers to vote for it.  My picture didn’t get enough votes, but I kept on visiting this site. 

The picture was of a homeless man sleeping on a bench near a bright globe, part of an exhibition of globes on Rothschild avenue in Tel Aviv, an exhibition praising globalization.

Anyway, on January this year, JPGMag “went under”, stating it had failed to raise money to keep it running. O was sad to read their goodbye letter…

During January and February, they went into serious negotiations, and finally got themselves a new owner and new funding. This process was pushed by the community, that made a lot of noise over the web. Anyway, I’m happy they’re back.

Picli: This is a “Photo Digg”, which ranks photos that the community uploads in a similar upcoming/popular style like Digg. I wrote about them twice, first time saying how they could be gamed, and the second time about how serious they are in responding to the community

They launched their site 2 years ago, but struggled to get out of the beta phase.The development stalled on Picli and so has traffic.

Now, they have gone out of beta, and launched a redesigned site which is beautiful and full of cool features. It’s amazing that the site is solely run by two guys from London, without strong backing. And they ride on!

Talking of Web 2.0, also my employer Metacafe, has undergone a site redesign. Bigger changes to come. Follow them on Twitter: @metacafe.

And talking of Twitter. You can follow me at @yohay.

What updates are suitable for Twittr? And which for Facebook?

With both Twitter and Facebook at my hands now, I’m deliberating where to update which statuses. 

I recently began using Twitter. It all began after a colleague of mine took me to a “tweetup” – a meeting of the Israeli tweetup community, or at least the ones that consider themselves social media experts, and a few others.

Anyway, this tweetup was at one of my favorite bars in Tel Aviv, Norma Jean, so I was highly motivated to go to this meeting – Did anyone say Belgian beers? When I arrived, I was asked about my twitter username. I didn’t have one then, but it didn’t stop me from drinking.

So, peer pressure and a couple of beers got to me to finally register. So, I began tweeting under @yohay. I follow people and they follow me. OK.

At first, I connected my Twitter account to my Facebook account. I thought that if Ill update Twitter, it’ll automatically reach FB, and I can broadcast everybody that way.

But when I got replies in different places, it was confusing. The discussions, sometimes with the same people and sometimes with different people, were messy.

So, I decided to separate the accounts. I post different nonsense on each tool. 

Currently I post weird thoughts on Facebook, and day to day stuff on Twitter. For example, yesterday I wrote on FB “Yohay is in the right place at the right time” and on Twitter I wrote that I’m warming up at home. Well, it was cold outside…

I still prefer Facebook over Twitter – I prefer the structured Status-Comments in Facebook, rather than the non structured list on Twitter.

For those of you using both services, how do you separate the statuses? Are there any rules? Is it random?

Out of the shadows

I haven’t been writing too much lately. The main reason was that my site was declared by Google as a “Reported Attack Site”. Well, this was removed after 12 dark days.

This wasn’t due to a political post they didn’t like or something that criticizes them. As I figured it out, it was probably a spam comment that I didn’t delete promptly.This contained some malicious script that pointed to evil sites. After removing the spam comment, I saw that Google visited my site every day, and since the day of being darkened, the malicious script wasn’t found again.

This had an effect on site visitors from Google. According to my statistics (Google Analytics, yep, Google again), about 50% of my visitors come search engines, mostly from Google. It also had an effect on visitors from Firefox who saw a scary message instead of seeing my humble blog.

In terms of traffic, I used to receive about 100 to 120 visitors every day on days that had no posts published on them, and when Google banned me, it got down to around 20 visitors a day. The numbers went up again immediately after the ban was lifted, before I wrote a new post.

You can see below my visitor statistics for August.

Banned by Google

The days between August 17 to August 26 are dramatically lower than the rest of the month.

So, I got to see, on my flesh, how Google effectively polices the Internet.

Sudden Drop in Feedburner Subscribers

The number of subscribers that Feedburner reports hs suddenly dropped. Here, from a total of 153, it dropped to 92. This includes email subscribers and RSS subscribers to the different feeds I provide.

I’m addicted to statistics. I know that staring at numbers is usually a wste of time, but I can’t help myself. During the last months, I’ve seen the number of subscribers to my blog steadily grow. The subscriber numbers are updated every morning (Israeli time), and I check them out as part of my regular morning routine. This morning, I was disappointed…

Checking out some other blogs that publish their stats, I found that their numbers have dropped as well. I guess that one of the big web RSS readers such as Google Reader, Bloglines or Netvibes suddenly stopped reporting the number of subscribers.

I hope that the numbers will get back to the higher level…

Post post: Beth updates (in the comments) that the drop is related to Google’s RSS readers, probably the desktop reader. Thanks Beth!

Wordcamp Israel was Great

The first ever Wordcamp conference in Israel was a great success! 150-200 people attended the event, that was organized by volunteers.

Wordcamp Israel

All the pictures from Wordcamp Israel 2007. Start slideshow.

Many aspects of blogging and WordPress were discussed throughout the day. The technical issues ranged from installing and basic configuring of WordPress, through a small dip into designing with CSS and up to speeding page loads in WordPress.

The non-technical lectures featured Lorelle VanFossen as the keynote speaker. I enjoyed her lectures, which were interactive, funny and insightful. The Israeli speakers and panelists talked about WordPress as platform for expressing yourself in cultural issues, as well as marketing and knowledge management.

Legal issues, podcasts and even Facebook were also discussed along the day. The only bad thing that I can say about the event was that it was much longer than expected. The last lecture was 90 minutes late. Since I wasn’t in any hurry, I didn’t bother me…

Wordcamp Panel

Except listening to interesting lectures and panels, such events consist of lots of mingling. Since it’s Israel, and most of the participants aren’t into making a business out of their blogs, I can’t call it networking.

Anyway, this time I only revealed one or two faces that I haven’t sen before. All these blogging conferences and parties in the past year or so really made a community out of these independent bloggers. A good community of good people that I enjoy meeting.

Well, enough said. Special thanks go to Tal Galili, Hannit Cohen, and Ehud Keinan for organizing the event. Many other assisted.
If you want to dive into the details of the lectures, just explore the conference’s website.

Going to Wordcamp Israel

This morning I’m off to Wordcamp Israel 2007. It’s actually the first conference of this kind in Israel.

What’s it all about? The conference will deal with blogging issues related to WordPress. It also aims at bringing more people to this wonderful blogging platform. On the other hand, the conference will try not to be too technical. Not only for geeks.

I’m acquainted with the organizers, and I know many of the speakers. My expectations are high. I took a day off from work in order to attend the event.

Anyway, enough said, gotta go. Since the vast majority of the participants write solely in Hebrew, I’ll make my writeup from Wordcamp in English, probably tomorrow.