By maurizio | September 3, 2007
Several month ago I was wondering how to attract people to my blog. I remember reading a lot of tricks about link baiting and stuff like that. I usually don’t like to act like a sheep and beg for links in a stupid way; I prefer the creative way. My idea was to use a Mosaic creator software to create mosaic about someone. My first “target” was John Chow because his blog was the first I started to read regularly.
The problem I was facing is that I didn’t want to have a huge crowd of people for a couple of days and then again 10 readers; so my first idea was to wait until I have enough good content to convince people to subscribe to my feed or bookmark my blog.
I think now is the right time to show what I did. Actually I wanted to show it earlier but I had 2 problems:
- Someone had a similar idea and sent John Chow a photomosaic
- I didn’t wanted to show it during August
I am not that worried about the “copycat” because I’m not just creating a mosaic of dishes, I’m creating a mosaic of readers!
I use MyBlogLog as a list of readers for every photo’s owner and then I build the picture with all of them on it. Well..not everyone. I tried hard to make them all appear on the pictures, but unfortunately AndreaMosaic, the software I’m using, doesn’t have enough options to force that, so I had to make several copies until I got bored and just gave up.
Some mosaics looks more “blocky” because I was trying hard to put as much people as possible on them.
. Some other looks too similar to the original image, that’s because the image didn’t have enough colors so I had to let AndreaMosaic modify the colors of the thumbnails a bit.
How to get readers’ pictures
This is the interesting part of the project. To get all the pictures by hand it will take a lot of time (Michael Arrington has more than 2700 readers on MyBlogLog). This time I am using my php skills to get every link from the person’s community to create a list of pictures for AndreaMosaic.
It’s not that difficult. If someone want to see the code, just leave a message and I’ll post it with some explanation. Suffice to say that you just have to look for div object with the attribute “class” set to “p_profile” and then get the inner <’ IMG’s “src” link. You can use curl to download the images then.
I decided to create mosaics of the blog I read the most, so after John Chow and Darren Rowse, here are Paula Mooney, Jeremy Schoemaker, Andy Beard, Michael Arrington and Richard Cunningham (In no particular order other than “ladies’ first” :) ).
The fun part
Wait.. I was forgetting this part. The fun part of the “linkbait” is that I am not begging for a link to me, but a link to every person on the thumbnails! Every single little image is linked to the owner of it! So basically I’m sending those 7 persons an html with links to all their fans! Actually not all of them. I tried hard but I didn’t manage to put them all on every image. The sad part is that even my Avatar is not on every image :)
This was again another PHP trick I did by saving images AND url on the aforementioned application. I just had to modify AndreaMosaic’s webpage output.
If you really like those images, feel free to make a donation to Andrea, the author of AndreaMosaic here; don’t forget to mention that I sent you there. If you make a donation you can ask him to improve his software so I can make a complete mosaic with everyone on it.
If you like what I did just subscribe to my feed or just read my blog often. (or buy me a pizza :) )
I am not posting the full images (yet). I send them to the respective “owner”. Maybe they will post them with the full map of link, maybe they will not. I will probably post some of them next week, but I’m a bit scared because every page is 1Mb html + 300kb of image.
Click on them to see bigger images.
Andy Beard posted his big Mosaic on his site. check it here. (If you are a site scraper you’ll have a lot of fun because that article is linking this one so you’ll end in an endless loop :) )
Paula Mooney posted his mosaic here. Her posts are poetry for my eyes..
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