Berbatov – A Rare Reason to Be a Proud Bulgarian

Like Dimitar Berbatov, I am Bulgarian. It’s not the easiest country to be proud and patriotic about. We are small, eastern European, involved in organised crime all around the world, classified as the most corrupt country in Europe, our lovely beaches and seaside support a recent explosion of alcohol-related tourism and most recently, we have been ranked as the most unhappy nation relative to the money we earn.

Despite all this I do like to feel proud about my people and birthplace, even though I have not lived there for most of my life. True, I like to feel proud about South Africa as well (another place often associated with more bad things than good), but when asked where I’m from, I always say “Bulgaria”.

Moments to be proud of my country include singularities such as the 1994 Football World Cup when Bulgaria reached the semi-finals and Hristo Stoichkov got the golden boot. More generally I am proud of things such as our beautiful mountains, forests and seaside and the world-famous Bulgarian yoghurt and cheese.

Compared to some countries, you would think that when we do have an opportunity to be proud of our nation, we take it by the horns. Well actually, no.

Take our most famous recent football export – Dimitar Berbatov, for example. He appears to be, at least in public, a modest guy and true professional. He carries himself well and I personally have not once seen a scandal relating to him in the press. He has had a topsy-turvy start to his Man United career but no one can dispute that this season, he has been one of the star players of not only United, but I dare say, the world. Look at the Bulgarian press and you see a different image. Hatemongers spew out one criticism after another; the press for the most part ignores his successes and only blurts out his short-comings and that all famous team of 1994 seems to be playing a major role in ensuring that no one, not Berbatov or any other rising star ever emulates their success.

Excuse me for generalising, and as someone who hasn’t lived his whole life in Bulgaria, I may make some assumptions that others will dispute. I do however know that a people’s shortcomings are often reflected in the jokes we say about them. It comes as no surprise that there are numerous jokes and anecdotes of this “if your friend is successful you better pull him right back down” mentality which is engraved in the Bulgarian condition.

From the moment Berbatov scored 3 against Liverpool to claim a late victory for United, or when he almost made a new record by scoring 5 against Blackburn, or even last night when his 2 goals helped us stage a dramatic comeback against Blackpool, people around the world have talked about this man, this Bulgarian who lead Manchester United to victory. Football fan or not, United fan or not… Berbatov is another reason to be proud of our country and I personally hope he goes on to become the most famous and well-regarded Bulgarian footballer of all time.

Some Interesting Discoveries – part II

A few new sites I think are interesting, useful or both.

Here’s a 10 second overview of each one and why you should check it out:


I have recently become more interested in getting visitors to my site to act, than getting those visitors in the first place. Why? Because there are many ways to get people to your site, but once they are there, if they don’t buy or use your service, then you don’t really have a business now do you? Here’s a tool that makes links to your site VISUAL with a small thumbnail preview. This helps with getting traffic as people who see a link to your site will also see a site preview.

But what about conversion? Well one of the biggest problems webmasters face is “how to decrease the bounce rate?” What if your internal linking also had previews, making sure people STAY on your site, and hopefully end up committing or purchasing.

The fact that so many companies and websites are using this tool tells me there are more benefits… soon to be checked out.


I looked at social bookmarking a few years ago but then abandoned it – somehow it felt unnatural to be posting hundreds of links on different sites as bookmarks and I was worried that Google would penalise sites that do this.

Social bookmarking has since come along way with loads of different sites specialising in different ways. OnlyWire is an aggregator, automatically posting your news, blogs or links to about 50 different services, and you can easily post only to the specific site you want, without having to log in each time. Seems to be a useful tool for link building (to help with SEO) if used with moderation and if you know which sites would work for each particular link you are posting.  

investment required: loads of time
return on investment: automatically use 50 different tools which bookmark, organise and promote your links to different communities; building links and making your information more accessible. 


Think iGoogle but much, MUCH better. I love Google and use so many of their services, but I am afraid NetVibes is everything iGoogle could have been and more.

In my opinion, NetVibes has two main uses:

  1. Use it as your browser homepage – with all the information you want to see when you first come online: mail, facebook, twitter, weather, news, blog feeds etc. This profile is private and only accessible to you.
  2. Use it to promote yourself, your company or an interest. Think a combincation of, squidoo and iGoogle. Here is my unfinished public NetVibes profile:


We recently bought a new Canon G12 from Camerabox, and while it is yet to arrive, I can say that this site is by far the cheapest (we looked at many sites and different models), unless you can get your camera from the States, which is even cheaper. Also, they provide a 5 year warranty. Can’t wait for it to arrive.

Two weeks and no camera. Camerabox may be cheap but their customer service is nothing near the level we have come to expect from an e-commerce business. Next day delivery… FAIL. call-back request…. FAIL. promises to fix their mess… FAIL. Buying from them again… NEVER!

Let me know your thoughts.