Baseball

Stowe gives Toby Bloomberg a gentle nudge to start tagging. When Toby and I met last week in Atlanta we talked about tagging. One of Toby’s concern was that blogging and the tools used to create blogs are becoming too complicated.
To paraphrase (please correct me if I got this wrong Toby): Blogs started out at these easy things to use, but once the web geeks got a hold of things they started to get complicated. Add a feature here and a feature there and it’s no longer a simple tool.
I agree with her. All I need to do is look over the list of plugins and hacks I have installed on MovableType. There will always be the simple tools like Blogger but MT is becoming quite the little CMS tool.

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Tagging Help

On September 29, 2005, in Blogging, Folksonomies, RSS, Tagging, by Josh Hallett
2

Elizabeth is fed up with tagging. She says, “Tagging is too much work.” In the past few weeks I have had a number of conversations with people who share the same opinion.
Like many TypePad users, Elizabeth is limited in tagging solutions. Yes you can use your categories to tag your content, but anything further requires inserting the proper HTML into your posts.
Moving to MovableType or WordPress is the best option, but not always feasible. A few months ago I documented how I can easily tag my posts within MT.
I know that tagging my posts has led to increased traffic from Technorati and other search tools that support tags. Granted it is very easy for me include them in my posts.

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FeedBurner Launches PingShot Notification Service

On September 22, 2005, in Blogging, RSS, by Josh Hallett
1

Over at the Burning Door, FeedBurner has announced PingShot a service that notifies aggregators and search engines when your feed has been updated. On the post there is an FAQ about the new service.
A quick check of my FeedBurner account shows the new option (click image for larger version):

PingShot from FeedBurner - Options Menu

The default services listed are Technorati and My Yahoo. You can check: PubSub, Ping-o-matic and NewsGator and then add up to three other services which include: Feedster, Icerocket and Weblogs.com
If you have a FeedBurner account you will need to activate this service via your control panel. Outside services such as web directories and search tools may submit their name to receive notifications of updates.

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Google’s Blog Search – Quick Thoughts

On September 14, 2005, in Blogging, by Josh Hallett
2

Google has finally launched a blog search tool. The new service is available at: www.google.com/blogsearch, blogsearch.google.com, search.blogger.com/ and your Blogger dashboard.
There is a lengthy blog search help page that details the nuances of Google’s new toy.
By default the search results are shown by relevance, although you can switch over to ‘by date’. A search for Katrina on Google showed the most recent post being 3 hours old. The same search on Technorati returned posts that were 5 or 6 minutes old. On a related note, it will be interesting to see ‘Google Blog Search’ as one of the ‘Top Searches’ on Technorati later today.
It looks like Google is also offering a serivce similar to PubSub with their RSS subscriptions to searches. From the help page:

Can I subscribe to search results?
Yes. At the bottom of each page of search results you can find several links, offering the top 10 or 100 results as either Atom or RSS feeds. Just grab the links from here and subscribe to them in the news aggregator of your choice and you will get updates whenever new posts are made that match your query.

In addition, the Advanced Blog Search offers the standard options for narrowing your search quite a bit.
Other reviews: Dave Winer, Search Engine Watch, Charlene Li, The Blog Herald

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Further Analysis of Technorati’s Blog Finder

On September 2, 2005, in Blogging, by Josh Hallett
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After my initial review last night I have spent some more time playing around with Technorati’s new Blog Finder service. I have also read other reviews by Neville, Tris, Michael and BL Ochman on the new service.
To be fair David Sifry did comment on my original post that they’re working on some of the issues I noted.

Continue reading »

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While battling reliability and scaling issues Technorati is forging ahead with new services. David Sifry announced the launch of their Blog Finder service. The basic premise is to rank blogs by category or technically speaking, by tags. David says in his blog that new service answers the question, “How can you find authoritative blogs on a subject?” This is what Robert Scoble was asking for on Monday.
I took a quick look around at the new service this evening and here are my initial impressions.
The initial version of the listings was built by using category and tag data that blogs had already submitted. Right out of the box, the lists are very BETA. For example, some bloggers use the category ‘PR’ instead of ‘Public Relations’. As such, Neville Hobson’s blog is listed as the Most Authorative blog on ‘PR’ but is nowhere to be found on the list for ‘Public Relations’ blogs. This blog is listed as the 11th Most Authorative Blog for ‘Public Relations’ and ‘PR’. Jeremy Pepper would get a kick out of this since he and I have talked about the fact that I’m not really a true PR blogger :-)
I am also listed as the Most Authorative blog for ‘Orlando’ even though I rarely write about Orlando. Why? I guess becuase I have tagged more posts Orlando than other bloggers.
There are other issues as well. In the ‘PR’ search, Neville’s blog is listed in three places, under three different URLs. (nevon.net/nevon/, nevon.typepad.com and nevon.typepad.com/nevon/) This is due to the fracturing of data within Technorati’s index. If you remember Neville discovered this when he was having problems with Technorati’s search tool.
Also Steve Rubel is not listed under ‘PR’ or ‘Public Relations’, but he is second for ‘Podcasting’ behind Dave Winer.
If you have a Technorati account and have claimed your blog, you can specify the tags you want associated with your blog. I looked at this option and it does allow you to specify up to 20 tags for your blog. One problem I noticed though was it didn’t always save my changes. I removed a few generic tags such as ‘Stuff’ (one of my categories) and replaced it with something else. A few minutes later I returned to the entry screen and a number of tags were repeated and some of my original tags were no longer there. Hopefully they’ll fix this.
Overall this should be a very talked about feature. The initial bugs I noticed should be able to be cleaned up. We’ll see how the rest of the blogosphere reacts in the coming days. And unfortunately, we’ll also see how soon the spammers begin to manipulate the results.
Update 9.2.05 #1 Robert Scoble has noticed one of the issues I saw last night. Robert was able to make his blog the Most Authorative blog about ‘Apple’.
Last night I entered the tag ‘Tampa’ for my blog via Technorati’s configuration tool and I became the Most Authorative blog about Tampa, even though I never write about Tampa.
Update 9.2.05 #2 BL says she’s surprised that her blog is #1 for ‘Public Relations’.
Update 9.2.05 #3 Tris Hussey has his review/thoughts on the new service.
Update 9.2.05 #4 I’ve posted some further analysis on Blog Finder.

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Using Blogs to Find Customers

On August 24, 2005, in Blogging, Public Relations, by Josh Hallett
3

One of the often overlooked aspects of blogs is the ability to find customers. This is especially powerful with specialized topics. Remember blogging is not always about writing! It’s about listening.
I have a friend that sells support materials for women who have suffered a miscarriage. She was advertising via Google AdWords on the keyword miscarriage. Now she can do a blog search for miscarriage and find thousands of women talking about the subject. That’s her target market. She can directly engage potential clients via their blogs. Yes, she must approach carefully, but leaving comments offering some basic suggestions and support is the start.
In many cases when I am speaking to organizations about blogs I show them how tools like Technorati, PubSub, Feedster and IceRocket can identify potential customers/partners.
At a recent lunch-n-learn a company executive said, “I don’t see how we’d use a blog for any marketing purpose.” Before he could finish his sentence I did a search for a keyword within his industry and identified a few hundred bloggers. I then asked how they currently market their product. They were using traditional advertising in a number of publications. How much was the advertising costing? and what were the sales returns? I didn’t really matter, becasue in 30 seconds and at a cost of $0.00 I identified 160+ leads. What other method can match that?

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List of Blogs Nobody Reads but Should and Other Lists

On August 22, 2005, in Blogging, by Josh Hallett
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I, like many others, am tired of all the talk about blog lists and rankings. Technorati has the Top 100, Feedster has the 500, BlogPulse offers a ranking as part of their Blog Profile.
How about these lists:
- Bottom 100 Blogs Nobody Reads But Should
- Top 1000 Overrated Blogs
- Top 10 Blogs From Bloggers Who Shouldn’t Blog
Or on an individual level:
- Blogs I Don’t Read Anymore and Why
- Blogs I’ve Never Heard Of (kinda tough to make that list)
Yes there will always be the top blogs in certain sectors, but the power of the blogosphere is that the next great idea can come from a blog ranked 675,214 by Technorati.
During BlogNashville Dan Gillmor said, “Just think if people in nursing homes could blog, what would we learn?” At first my thoughts were of exposing nursing home abuse, but I think Dan was talking about knowledge transfer. All those people with all that knowledge and experience, but nobody to share it with.
Update 9.1.05 Technorati has launched Blog Finder, a tool to rank blogs by category.

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Fun with Homonyms – Branding

On August 10, 2005, in Branding, Tagging, by Josh Hallett
0

Ahh homonyms, they’ll sneak up on you sometimes. The other day I was checking the tag branding on Technorati. On the results page, pictures tagged branding are pulled in from Flickr. If you are used to the term branding in the marketing and communication sense, you will quickly be reminded that branding also means:

A type of body modification that is applied to the body with heat with the goal of producing an artistic and aesthetically pleasing scar.

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David Sifry & Technorati on Spam Blogs and Fake Blogs

On August 9, 2005, in Blogging, RSS, by Josh Hallett
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In the latest of his ‘State of the Blogosphere’ posts, David Sifry of Technorati addresses Spam Blogs and Fake Blogs. David talks about why he differentiates spam blogs from fake blogs:

I should note that some fake blogs may very well contain interesting and relevant content, which opens a debate onto how useful or valuable they are. This is why I don’t include fake blogs in with Spam blogs (as defined above) because it is debatable that these systems are actually providing readers some value.

I find the fake blogs to be more aggravating since they often get you to click-thru from a search result, only to find you’ve wasted your time. His highlights from the article:

- Along with the explosive growth in the blogosphere, there has also been a growth in spam blogs and fake blogs
- These blogs are almost always created by automated programs, not by people
- They are usually created with an economic incentive – to get better search engine rankings, or to create affiliate or advertising revenue
- Technorati has been working closely with major toolmakers, search engines, and hosting providers to quickly identify and stamp out spam and fake blogs
- The key to reducing blog spam is to eliminate economic incentives, and we are working with major advertising and affiliate programs to create roadblocks for spammers and creators of fake blogs
- Industry players including Amazon, AOL, Ask Jeeves, Drupal, Google, MSN, Six Apart, Technorati, Tucows, and WordPress and others are getting together in the second half of September for the second Web 2.0 Spam Squashing Summit.

Related Posts: Spam in RSS, PubSub’s Thoughts, Tag Spam in Technorati, RSS and Blog Spam: A Losing Battle?

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Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere: Part II

On August 2, 2005, in Blogging, RSS, by Josh Hallett
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Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere: August 1, 2005

On August 1, 2005, in Blogging, by Josh Hallett
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David Sifry of Technorati has posted the most recent State of the Blogosphere update. This new update comes six months after his previous update. His summary:

- Technorati was tracking over 14.2 Million weblogs, and over 1.3 billion links in July 2005
- The blogosphere continues to double about every 5.5 months
- A new blog is created about every second, there are over 80,000 created daily
- About 55% of all blogs are active, and that has remained a consistent statistic for at least a year
- About 13% of all blogs are updated at least weekly

It’s a good read. David says he’s going to talk about post volume tomorrow, but what I am looking forward to is this:

Later in the week I’ll also describe the rise of tags, spam (or fake) blogs and SEO

Doc Searls just asked about this.

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I am in the process of updating my Guide to Media Monitoring I wrote back in January of this year. I am planning on including all the new blog search tools and custom RSS watchlists/feed services. There will also be some information about tags, specifically dealing with monitoring tags via Technorati/del.icio.us/Flickr, etc.
The guide is mostly geared towards communicators, but just about any user can learn something from it. Anything you think I should include? Perhaps some service that I might not have heard of? Leave a comment.

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A few friends have been having some issues including Technorati tags in their blogs so I thought I would put together a how-to of what I’ve done.
The simple modifications I have made to my MovableType software makes sure that any tags I include are quickly indexed by Technorati and other services that utilize tags. Using Blogger? Richard Massoner sent me a link to a Greasemonkey script that helps put tags in Blogger.com blogs.
Common Mistakes
- Include Tags in Your Post (RSS): The tags must be included in the post and not just a part of your blog template. That’s the problem that MindComet has with their blog. They’ve just listed the tags on the blog template and not the individual post. Only content that is part of your post is included in your RSS feed. Items that are part of your blog template are not included in your RSS feed.
- Publish Full Text in RSS: If you are not including the full text of your post in your RSS feed the blog index tools will not see your tags. This is because most people put the tag code at the end of the post which is often not included in a partial feed.
- Failure to Ping: You have your tags coded correctly, you’re publishing a full text feed but still nothing? You might not be pinging the blog index tools each time you publish a new post. If you are using MovableType of TypePad your blog should be configured to automatically ping Technorati. If you are unsure you can always use Ping-o-Matic!
- Technorati is Not the Only Game in Town: There are other blog search tools that are starting to use tags. IceRocket is another blog search that you can ping with your tagged posts.
Background Info
You can review Technorati’s help page on Tags to get the basics. The two most important items are:
1. Including the proper code in your RSS feed or blog post
2. Pinging the blog index such as Technorati
Failure to do both of these will result in your tags not being indexed. Every time a friend contacts me with an issue it’s because they have a problem with one of those items.

Continue reading »

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One of the interesting features of NetNewsWire is that it tracks the changes to items in RSS feeds. If an author edits a post the new items are presented in green and the deleted items in red. Most of the time the changes are spelling corrections or minor edits. Mark Cuban is one great example. Mark will usually make a number of small edits shortly after he originally posts an item.
Every once and a while a major edit will take place. The following screen shot is Dave Winer’s post about the Technorati situation.

rssbeforeandafter2.gif
Click photo for full size

As you can see there have been quite a few changes to the post. At first is was a rant by Dave against Technorati.

We’ve all cut them an enormous amount of slack for a long, long time, Doc. I don’t know about the rest of you, but they’ve been taking my data, and snarking behind my back. Everyone says they like Technorati, until you admint that you don’t really, then they fess up that they don’t really either. One too many stabs in the back. Too much snark, not enough perf. They take from the commons and don’t put back.

Now it just quotes Doc Searl’s post. Should Dave have made this major change? Obviously he was a bit upset when he wrote the original post, then thought about it, and made the edit. Perhaps he should have kept the original item up and posted a ‘further thougths’ in the same post?

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