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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The new face of PPS

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Updated @ May 7, 2009: A mistake in misspelling the company name the company name that acquired Project Petaling Street has been amended, as pointed out by MENJ in his recent posting. Typos do happen, and any bruised egos as a result of this one is regretted. Not much, but regretted.

Not to make a big deal or anything, but myAsylum quietly celebrated its 3rd year in the bloggerhood earlier this year on January 21st. At the time, Walski was so caught up with the goings on in his real world, that he forgot all about it, too.

The new PPS logo, image hosting by Photobucket But this is not an anniversary post, or anything of the sort. A tad bit very late now, anyway. Walski only mentions it in passing, but for a reason. And that reason is Project Petaling Street, or PPS for short, at the time the leading Malaysia-centric blog aggregator.

As a fledgling blogger, PPS did help to provide exposure to this blog, and help it gain a foothold in the congested bloggerhood. For that, Walski will be forever grateful.

About around the third week of March, the Malaysian bloggerhood was abuzz with news about PPS having a new owner. As it turns out, the new owner is none other than MENJ, via his company VCTech Network.

Well, those of you who’ve been following this blog long enough will probably know that MENJ is not exactly Walski’s most favorite person in the world. That said, Walski would like to congratulate him anyway, and hopes that Project Petaling Street continues its success under his ownership.

What was quite disturbing, however, was that the first thing MENJ did was to ban a blogger with whom he had been having this long-lasting feud, ShadowFox. In addition, MENJ also claims to have filed a police report against ShadowFox, who has since gone on indefinite hiatus.

Many in the bloggerhood felt that what MENJ did was totally unprofessional, because the banning was based on something personal. While MENJ has given his word that ShadowFox will be the only blogger banned (he did casually threaten to ban another blogger, Kamigoroshi of Footsteps In The Mirror), it’s left to be seen whether or not the guy will live up to his assurance.    
(alternatives to PPS, and more, in the full post)

In fact, a few bloggers have even called for an all-out boycott of Project Petaling Street, namely Jed Yoong and Alexallied.

Well… whatever.

Here’s the thing, though. PPS was kinda wallowing miserably even before the acquisition by VCTech Network, and so far, MENJ has managed to spruce up the site considerably. But cosmetics, and turning the aggregator into an ad-filled wasteland, will probably not help bring PPS back to its grandeur of old. At least not in the immediate term. What it needs is to build back its reputation, particularly after the ShadowFox incident, because from the looks of it, quite a number of Malaysian bloggers are pissed off, and probably are staying away from PPS on purpose.

The bloggerhood has changed considerably since 2006 (when Walski started blogging), and so has technology. Because of these factors, PPS doesn’t really contribute a lot in terms of traffic to myAsylum anymore, like say about a year ago. It used to be that Walski would religiously ping PPS after (almost) every post. Well, he stopped doing that earlier this year – but NOT entirely, though. Being that this blog is hosted on Blogger, pinging PPS means having to do it manually.

For starters, RSS (which stands for Really Simple Syndication) plays a big role in how traffic comes to this blog nowadays. If you’re a blogger and don’t already know what RSS is, or how it works, well, let’s just say it’s high time you did. The delivery mechanism of choice for Walski happens to be Feedburner (now owned by Google), which provides a few options as to how readers can subscribe to RSS-based feeds.

And then, there are other blog aggregators apart from PPS, to which Walski has, over the years signed up with, or have picked up myAsylum on their own:

  • SARASara who? This site is one designed for a wider more regional South East Asian audience, although a quick glance will show that many Malaysian blogs are part of the collective. The nice thing about SARA is that once you submit your blog, updates are posted automatically, using RSS as the base technology. Walski signed up a long time ago, around about the same time as he started pinging to PPS.
  • Other Malaysian aggregators – and there are a few, such as Xblog, Malaysiakita, Planet Malaysia, Beras Padu and Beras Terpilih. Some of these provide listings across the board (like SARA), while some are more focused on Socio-Politics (or SoPo). 
  • Malaysian Blog Listings – in addition to aggregators, there are also blog directories that focus on Malaysian blogs, such as Blog Malaysia, Malaysia Central, and the more niche SoPo ones like SoPo Central of Malaysia and the CAIR Site, listing 50 Malaysian SoPo sites.
  • Localized Digg-alikes – Digg is a popular social bookmarking platform, that has spawned a whole host of lookalikes, including some that have been launched specifically for localized markets. For Malaysia, the most well-known Digg-alike would probably have to be But in general, these sort of sites haven’t really taken off very well because Malaysian bloggers (well, in general) have this habit of only wanting to promote their own stuff, and don’t bother to share interesting posts from other sources, or sometimes don’t even bother to vote for those links posted – which is one reason why Project Petaling Street has maintained its popularity all these years (source: comment at Footsteps in the Mirror by blogger Shaolin Tiger).

There are more, of course, but if you’re a new blogger, in addition to PPS (if you still wish to use it), you should also investigate these other options that can help you extend your reach. The best practice is to use as many as possible, to maximize your reach.

PPS, however, remains a good place for new bloggers to be get discovered. And despite all that’s happened between Walski and MENJ in the past, he has no beef with the man, and wishes him great success with PPS. In business, however, pride and emotion should not be brought into the mix, and hopefully, the backlash from the ShadowFox incident has taught MENJ a thing or two.