Alternatives To The New PPS Changes

There was a little buzz over the weekend about the new changes to Malaysia’s first blog aggregation site, Project Petaling Street. The new ownership and new direction of where the site looked to be heading didn’t settle well for more than just a handful of people, some of which spent the weekend exchanging intense displeasure as well as thoughts and ideas on what to do and how to do it.

The truth is, there is nothing any of us can do about it. If the exchange was legal then by all means, whoever owns is has the right to do whatever they please with it. The problem is that for a greater part of PPS’s existence, the site was built on for the Malaysian people with Malaysian bloggers in mind. Yet even though PPS was previously left to rot in a corner, devoid of any real changes, these new steps look to take away that ideal, hope and freedom, for good.

By banning a blogger and nonchalantly threatening to ban me from the aggregation site for reasons that stem from personal provocation, this move goes against everything a blogger stands for. While it would be easy for me to invoke the freedom to say the things we want, I wouldn’t do it just yet. The act of doing such a thing alone hints a behaviour you only hear in forums peppered by teens and tweens who are high on something other than their inferiority complexes, that itself doesn’t even compare to the more serious note of censorship on a whim.

For the younger Malaysian bloggers who don’t know why we’re so against the new changes (aside from the threat of censorship), here are some snippets from the past between the new owner and the rest of the Malaysian blogosphere which was also big enough that it hit the papers at one point. However, if like me, you’re an veteran Malaysian blogger who grew up on the the spirit of what PPS was, there are a few alternatives you can work on in spite of these new changes. I can’t guarantee that they will do any good, but it’s still an idea better than none.

  1. Other Malaysian Blog Aggregators – Most people I know are opting for the boycott of PPS, which I think is a little too extreme. Although there are plenty of other Malaysian blog aggregation sites out there, PPS remains popular by reason of “being there first”. It’s why a lot of clone sites in its wake has never surpassed the popularity of PPS. If there are any alternatives to date, they have to the “Facebook” to MySpace rather than the Pounce” or “Plurk” to “Twitter”.
  2. Block Ads – It’s the route I’ve decided to take at this time. Seeing that PPS now and the future of PPS had been machine gunned with ads, that does not run well on my sense of aesthetics, practicality and hatred for money and ad-centric sites. So what do I do? Use Firefox with the Adblock Plus Firefox addon. The result? A page devoid of ads as PPS was before. I can almost believe that big brother ain’t watching us. Almost.
  3. Feeds For Advanced Users – Another alternative that people have been suggesting have been using RSS feeds to update us on the latest blog posts. While that works for blogs that you know, there are two problems with this idea. One is that this assumes that a lot of bloggers use and are familiar with RSS feeds which is not true especially for a lot of casual bloggers. Two, is that feeds work on blogs you already know rather than the ones you don’t. The beauty of PPS was that local Malaysian blogs we don’t usually pay attention to or don’t even know can be read on a whim. That’s part of how a lot of us established our names in this local niche at one point. Even with feed recommendations, that also relies on the use of people using the particular feed reader and that doesn’t specifically cater to the local scene.

So really even if don’t like where this is headed, there aren’t much working alternatives at this point. So you can either close one eye, pretend it all never happened and let it be or you can do something about it and hope for the best. Personally I like to see a more positive change for it because despite how I might look, I do know more than a thing or two about community sites that work well and I can’t stand to see the equivalent of a historic monument twisted and defiled with a Starbucks and Mcdonalds around the corner.

I wish I had that chance or the resource, but I don’t. So I write this instead and hope for the best. Whether you want to listen or not, is a choice I leave entirely up to you.

14 thoughts on “Alternatives To The New PPS Changes

  1. Yah don’t forget innit, there are a couple of others too.

    We’ve never made anything like ping.sg or tomorrow.sg, but then that’s the nature of the blogosphere and the Malaysian mindset in general. People don’t like to interact so much here, and they really don’t get the concept of sharing information (digg/slashdot/kuroshin etc) they only like to push out their own URL and not even bother reading/voting on anything.

    That’s why PPS has been eternally popular.

  2. Though I’m no more blogging within the Malaysian blogosphere, I do keep in touch with what’s happening through PPS. When I first read about the sale, my gut feeling told me who the buyer would be and when it turned out to be true, it left a bad taste in my mouth. However, I did gave him the benefit of doubt and even believed what he wrote in his clarification after the sale. The comment and the arrogance he exhibited in your previous post erased whatever little passion I had left for PPS.

    No, calling for a boycott is not extreme at all. In fact I have deleted all traces of PPS from my bookmarks. What’s so great about PPS anyway. It does not even leave a traceable link for Google when I was around a year ago. At least my pings at ping sg, gets ranked in Google Search and I get indirect search hits via those listings.

    I remember there used to be a few similar aggregators before. Are they all dead now? Buthen what the hell. I have all the blogs I want to read bookmarked or in my feeds. I don’t need PPS. Neither do everyone else.

  3. Naoko: That may be true, but there is something about using a service run by an ad company that disturbs me greatly. Good though for people already using it.

    ShaolinTiger: Isn’t Innit part of Nuffnang ad services or something like that? Yeah that makes me uncomfortable to use it. You’re right. The interacting isn’t so much of a problem when all people want to do is to promote themselves. Still, it works on so many levels, we get to choose what we read and we don’t have to bother playing nice all the time, that makes it worth it and it saves time.

    Hongkiat: Now to put it into practice.

    Ah Pek: It doesn’t matter about backlinking and all that SEO crap. It matters that it was a place where blogs can be discovered. That’s why I mentioned that feeds don’t work because you won’t discover someone new, at least someone locally, especially if they are not used to using feeds. Aggregation sites like PPS represent blogs trying to breakthrough into a huge niche. After all, who would subscribe to your feed if no one knows you exist? That’s the problem that most people fail to see and PPS fills in that problem.

  4. Ahh… sorry.
    I forgot you guys are still “bloggers”. Seems like a long time ago I stopped being one. LOL.

  5. hahaha in my old lingo, i’d say – it’s all so sien … wtf…

    that’s why i just don’t care anymore.

    its better to live life in the outside. PPS, errr… wtf is that?

  6. Ah Pek: You say it like it’s a bad word.

    Minishorts: Well if you don’t care then it really wouldn’t matter one way or another for you right? Let it be then and leave it to people who do care about it.

  7. I first discovered PPS when I was browsing through Kenny Sia’s blog. PPS opened me to the world of Malaysian bloggers and that’s where I discovered gems like your blog, Lilian’s, HongKiat’s etc. That was also the place where my blogs gained their readership numbers. Back then, even adsense was unobstructive and there were no pop-up ads. Now, we see ads before everything else. It’s sad to see how this place might eventually turn out into but it’s his prerogative. We don’t own it. He owns it and he decides what he wants to turn it into.

  8. I wonder what are the odds people donating some of their money to run a new ping site like PPS. Probably we could get some good bloggers who do hosting business to draft out a package and we do a fund raising campaign. I certainly wouldn’t mind donating few hundred (not at one go, of course) for a free-for-all (as in no banning) ping site.

    As for the domain, pps.org. 😀

  9. Pablopabla: Which is sad because whatever he believes goes against everything that PPS was built up upon no matter what he says right now, his actions speak otherwise. Nothing we can do but to deal with it, which isn’t much to begin with.

    Jason: He will no doubt either refuse to sell or raise it to a ridiculous price if he intends to sell. He knows how important the site is for some of us and he’ll want to make a profit out of this. More to the point, can any of us really afford it? Malaysians aren’t known for their hard work to get something like this done you know.

  10. on the issue of free for all, it’s not that welcomed too since you’ll just be looking at pay per post articles and make money articles all the time!

    anyway, i am open to the idea of alternatives, and I can host it too. Just no time to make one.

    But we have so many already! Like SARAwho.com, which also has a popurls clone focussed on sopo blogs – gila.sarawho.com & sopo.sarawho.com, Then, we have mamakk.com which is kinda like a tomorrow.sg clone. And then, recently we have the kopitiam one, beras terpilih, etc.

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