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February 2008

Michael Ricci By

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Dear fellow AAJ contributors,

We have some important information to share since our previous newsletter. Please read on...

  1. Traffic and Read Counts Up!
  2. Our First Teleclass: CD Review Writing Tips
  3. Best of 2007 Results
  4. Get the Alexa Toolbar
  5. Comments: You'll be Notified
  6. Musician Profile Editors Wanted
  7. 2008 Projects: Sneak Peak
  8. Mixed Bag: CDs to Review and Oddball Characters

Traffic and Read Counts Up!

The boys down in R&D spent a great deal of time creating our RSS feeds, developing our live content boxes, and making it easier for readers to access AAJ information beyond the website—and it's had a huge impact on traffic. For instance, readers with a My Yahoo page or an iGoogle page can place the CD Review, Article, and News boxes on their home pages. Thanks to these handy new features, we've upped our page impressions by 79% over the last two months—quite an accomplishment considering we've been around for 13 years.

Our First Teleclass: CD Review Writing Tips

Ever wonder how writers approach the daunting task of writing CD reviews?

On Thursday, March 14, 2008 at 7:30PM EST, join AAJ Senior Editor John Kelman and Senior Contributor Troy Collins for an informal teleconference on the process of review writing. Not meant to be a tutorial or, for that matter, the final word on the subject, it will provide insight on how these two particular writers—two of AAJ's more prolific reviewers—approach the task. They will also discuss AAJ's general approach and style guidelines.

John and Troy will provide a brief introduction about how they approach the task—information just as likely to identify the differences in their approaches as it does the consistencies. Moderator Robert Middleton will then follow up with a series of questions, after which he'll open things up for a Q&A, where you can ask Troy and John specific questions.

This will be fun and give us a chance to meet each other as well. We'll be recording the teleconference and posting it here for those who can't make the call.

Sign up here if you have an interest in joining the teleclass.

Look forward to meeting you all on the call!

Best of 2007 Results

Thanks to everyone who took the time to fill out the "best of" form. We compiled the picks, tallied the results, and in case you missed it, published the top vote-getters. We also created a separate page and listed individual picks by some long time members. If you didn't get a chance to participate this year, please partake next year.

Get the Alexa Toolbar

Download the handy toolbar to get a snapshot overview of a website, track its traffic patterns (reach, rank, and estimated page views), and discover its related links. If you use Firefox or Internet Explorer, you can download the Alexa toolbar (which occupies a small strip of space at the bottom right corner of your browser).

Alexa ranks up to ten million websites and AAJ has been steadily increasing in popularity over the last three months with a current rank of 35,669.

If you visit AAJ often, please download this free tool.

Comments: You'll be Notified

We're overhauling how we handle reader comments in an effort to increase participation, and will include an auto-notification feature to let you know when a MY AAJ member posts a comment to your article. You can reply accordingly or simply follow the thread.

Musician Profile Editors Wanted

Building the Musician Center has become a priority and we're looking for help from everyone to create profiles.

If you've written a review of a musician or band that is not listed in the musician center, please add their profile. You can create a new profile by clicking the "Submit Profile" link on the Musician Center landing page—it only takes a minute. Your help is much appreciated as we currently have only a handful of active editors.

2008 Projects: Sneak Peak

Our ambitious 2008 project plan is already off to a great start: We finished our RSS feed project where we read and post feeds from other websites to the AAJ News Center, we created an RSS feed and a Live Content box for musician birthdays, we've added several new fields to a MY AAJ member's profile, we've made it easier for MY AAJ members to access their login info, and we've improved the overall security of the site.

We're in the process of revamping how we handle website comments and we're in the midst of launching the AAJ CD store through JazzLoft, replacing our external search with, launching a ticketing store, launching a new poster store, and building a new jazz advertising network so international advertisers can reach several jazz websites with their campaigns from one point of contact.

We have several other projects planned for the year and we'll keep you up to date along the way.

It's shaping up to be another exciting year for AAJ!

Mixed Bag: CDs to Review and Oddball Characters

Everyone who requested CDs to review will be getting a package shortly. I apologize for the delay, but I recently moved and experienced other setbacks.

We are well aware of the oddball character problem currently plaguing the articles. Please replace smart quotes or other rich text characters with plain text characters for the immediate future.

Thanks for reading.

Michael Ricci


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