Monthly Archive: May 2017

May 18 2017

Top vBlog 2017 – slight delay but still coming soon

I wrote in my last post that voting for Top vBlog 2017 would be kicking off this week but I have a slight delay as I work to find a new survey tool that can meet my requirements. The survey tool I had used for years, SurveyGizmo worked great for me but they recently changed their plan pricing and it would of cost me 10x more than usual as the features I need are in their most expensive plan and you can no longer buy it on a monthly basis. I thought I had found a replacement with SurveyMonkey but after signing up for a year plan and trying to setup my Top vBlog survey that’s when things quickly fell apart.

SurveyMonkey did support the one must have feature for me, piping between questions, many survey tools do not support this. This is needed so after someone selects their 12 favorite blogs I can pipe them to the next question so they can rank therm. However, many of the other features that I used with SurveyGizmo weren’t there on SurveyMonkey, I couldn’t bulk import html answers, didn’t allow for indicating maximum selection of multiple entries (you could select more and it gave a vague error), most of these weren’t ideal but I could work around, but the big kicker for me they had a max limit on their answers at 200, we usually have way more blogs than that participating. Overall I found there survey tool a bit difficult to use and lacking so I requested a refund and continued to search for another tool.

After looking at dozens of survey tools, requesting trials and asking questions I think I finally found one, QuestionPro. After talking to their support it looks like their Corporate plan will do everything I need, I haven’t set it up yet so I have my fingers crossed, so after a slight delay I should hopefully have the voting open next week. Stay tuned and get ready.

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May 05 2017

Introducing Top vBlog 2017

It’s that time of year again, well a little later then usual, more on that later. My annual Top vBlog contest will be kicking off in about a week and anyone can vote on their favorite VMware & virtualization blogs. I first want to introduce our awesome official sponsor of Top vBlog 2017 which is Turbonomic again this year. If you can take a moment and give them some love, follow them on Twitter, check out their Cloud Native edition and download a free trial to see what you are missing out on.

We’re running a bit later then usual this year, a big reason for that is the survey company that I have used every year, SurveyGizmo, changed their rate plans and I can no longer purchase it on a monthly basis and it would of cost me about 10x more than before. I’ve evaluated a whole bunch of options including buying professional plugins and looking at other survey companies but almost all of the plug-ins that I looked at are too basic and wouldn’t meet my needs. I’ve finally chosen SurveyMonkey to host it going forward, I still have to buy it on an annual basis but the cost was a lot cheaper and included all the advanced options like piping and drag/sort that I need.

With a new survey company though I have to start from scratch as all my saved forms and data were at SurveyGizmo. I’ll be building out the forms next week and should launch the public voting shortly afterwards. I already have opened the category nominations a few weeks ago, I built that out using forms on my own site, so if you haven’t nominated your blog for certain categories that it might fit in you still have a few days left to do so. So the tentative key dates are voting will be from 5/12 – 6/2 and then the live results show will tentatively be the week of 6/19, that could change though based on what happens with my daughter’s surgery which is the week prior to that.

Now for some changes this year, I wanted to add other factors into the outcome beyond just public voting, that included private judging, # of posts published and Google PageSpeed scores. I didn’t have time to put together the private judging this year so the total points that a blog can accumulate will be based on 3 factors:

  • Public voting – 80% – total points based on how many people voted for you and how they ranked you
  • # of posts published – 10% – points awarded for how many posts you had in 2016, more posts = more points, aggregators excluded
  • Google PageSpeed score – 10% – points awarded for how well your blog is designed and how efficient it is which makes for a better experience for readers, the better you score the more points awarded

You can read more on this in this post. These factors combined make up the 100% of total points a blog can score and determines how you end up ranked in the final results. Some other changes and rules this year:

  • Again this year you can pick 12 of your favorite blogs (instead of 10) and also rank them in your order of preference after you pick your 12. The results will be weighted with a #1 ranking getting 12 points and a #12 ranking getting 1 point.
  • Again this last year there is again a minimum blog post requirement to be eligible for Top vBlog voting, any blog that did not have at least 10 blog posts in 2016 is not included in the voting. Read more about this here.
  • Again this year we also having voting in special categories to help distinguish certain types of blogs. The choices of which blogs to include in the categories was the result of this survey and my best guessing. The categories are independent of the general voting.
  • Duncan Epping and Frank Denneman are stepping down this year, they have both been in the top 10 for many years and have decided to not participate this year. They still support the voting and this will make room for some new people in the Top 10 and in particular the #1 spot.
  • We’ll be doing a special commemorative lapel pin this year, I always liked the coin but it limits how you can display it in public. A pin will be fairly similar to a coin, just one sided and you can wear it anywhere including at events like VMworld. It will be color with different metal types (gold/silver/copper) about 1.5″ in size and have a magnetic back for attaching so you don’t have to poke holes in your shirts.

So stay tuned, Top vBlog 2017 will be starting very soon!

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