I have a blog named Just Add Water Silly where I wax poetic about art in general, my own artwork, other amazing artists I come across and NEW COOL TOOLS for the Savvy Blogger. That's what I'm guest blogging about today!! I came across a VERY NEW Cool Tool just two days ago, only one day after it's launch. Here's a bit of background, before I leap into an effusive endorsement of the New Follower Tool.
I heard an awful rumor last week that Google Friend Connect, the most used platform for following blogs, was being discontinued by GOOGLE (along with a bunch of other Google products). Well, as I'm sure you're doing, I kinda panicked. I hurriedly Googled it (pun intended, I mean, I googled Google, LOL.) YES, it was true... with one caveat, they were only discontinueing it for NON Blogger blogs. WHEW, I'm a Blogger Blog! Yea!! I was safe. THEN the other shoe dropped a couple days ago. I read on another blog that in actuality, Google was discontinuing GFC for BLOGGER Blogs too! (By the end of the year) NOW WHAT??!?
I started thinking about my experience with Google. I used to love GOOGLE. I loved it's neat ideas and I'd seen t.v. programs about how they treated their staff, wow, great company. Don't get me wrong, Google is my GOTO search engine. I use Google images etc. all the time... But, lately? I was feeling a little watched. Here's what happened.
I've was really ill late last year. I ended up in the hospital for a week in September then a few day trips back for electrolyte/blood transfusions in the months to come. (Don't worry, I'm muuuch better now, thank you for asking, lol.) The stress that my illness caused on my body had an unexpected side effect. This month, my hair started falling out in clumps. (I know, it's just a stress reaction to the illness & it'll grow back, but dang!) I did some research using GOOGLE and found a product called Viviscal that when taken as a pill twice a day makes your hair grow back. It's a dozen years old, time tested, herbal and it WORKS! Well, what I found was that now, every time I went to a blog or site that used Google, I saw targeted ads for VIVISCAL!!! I'm thinking, HOLY COW!! I'm being watched! I am a little sensitive about my seriously thin hair and really didn't want to have everyone who used my computer to see that I was using Viviscal. I mean THINK about it, what else have you Googled in the past that you don't want to share? Ya, scary. For serious.
I decided I didn't want to use ANY platform that would use or sell my private information. So, who had a tool that allowed me to have followers but didn't break my privacy rules? Brent Riggs, THAT'S WHO!! Brent is well known across the Blogosphere and has never sold or used the info he gets when a blogger signs up to use his tools. He's a really nice man and even answers his own email within hours of receiving it! (I've emailed him a couple times with questions or help needs and he's helpful, friendly and funny!) He's also one guy, not some huge conglomerate. I like that.
Brent was contacted by a group of women who blogged and had heard the terrible rumor about Google Friend Connect. They begged and cajoled him into building a new LINKY FOLLOWER tool. It was beta tested by that wonderful group of women for Brent and the new tool was launched February 1st, 2012! I found out about the new tool on the 2nd and ended up being the 173 sign-er-up-er, lol. Yesterday I signed up another blog of which I'm a member Inspiration Avenue and IA end up being the 789th blog signed up! The list of user is growing exponentially and I've been inundated with thank you emails from friends and bloggers saying they are THRILLED to have this new tool. It's so refreshing to have a tool that does only what it should. We just want to connect to our followers. We don't want mail from affiliate sites or Facebook friend requests or targeted ads on every connected site!
I am now a HAPPY CAMPER, do you see my smile? Yes, thank you Mr. Linky (Brent Riggs) for saving us. We, the blogosphere, L♥VE You. For Serious!