Technorati Tips

I had the pleasure to talk to Ryan King of Technorati at Tag Camp this weekend and our conversation included a couple of things I thought I’d share with readers here.

  • Spam Blogs I saw Alex personally zapping splogs by hand from Technorati search results while we were talking! Apparently they have a variety of algorithms to do this automatically as well, but it was nice to see him care enough to clean things up when he had a minute. He also told me about having conversations with some of the big search engines about how to deal with this problem. So contrary to Dave Winer’s bizarre statement in conversation this weekend that RSS feeds for search were worthless because of the spam – I have faith that the problem is being mitigated as we speak. One way or the other, the last thing I’m going to do is give up on search-to-RSS! It’s absolutely invaluable, even if I have to take some extra time to construct less spammy queries. Unfortunately Winer was just one of several older men who were so full of themselves they had a hard time communicating with anyone around them. They didn’t contribute much either. To step back from that, I found several people who agreed with me that results are amongst the most filled with spam.
  • Indexing I’ve been conversing with several people who are having trouble getting their Typepad sites indexed by Technorati, and thus are not seeing their tags show up in tag searches there. Alex showed me the header tag that could be changed to reflect the Feedburner RSS feeds people are using. I’ll work on that and hopefully the problem will be solved.
  • Tagging Turns out that when they say they are indexing everything with rel=”tag” in the link code, they mean it. I asked what sorts of things this made possible and Kevin showed me how instead of just putting his Technorati Tags at the end of blog posts, he sometimes adds the rel=”tag” after the a href=”” in links mid-post. For example, when he linked to a definition in Wikipedia he made that link a tag as well. Try it out, I’m going to with this post.
  • Satire A side project Kevin is doing is and the blog. Mea Culpa: Kevin is collaborating on these projects with Eran Globen. It seems to be all about mocking the most absurd tendencies of the Web2.0 inner circle and related hype. It’s pretty funny, sometimes. If you’re looking for stuff like that, check it out.
  • Vertical Search If you go to Technorati proper (not tag search) you’ll see that they are not offering vertical search, or search within a subject. The categories don’t seem very differentiated and the results appear limited, but it looks like a good idea and one I’m sure they will improve. I used it just a minute ago to search for blog posts about Looksmart’s product Furl without getting results filled with random blogs that happen to use Furl for archiving. I liked that I could search inside blogs about the Web, about the Internet and about Technology (?). Unfortunately, I didn’t get many results. So we’ll see. It does seem like a helpful step towards improving blog search results. And that’s important.

So that’s one conversation I had at Tag Camp, I’ll be discussing more over the next few days. For now I have to finish up here in S.F. and get back home.

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Bookmarklet Overload? Check out Blummy

Ok, I don’t know about anyone else but I’m dealing with a serious bookmarklet explosion. Web 2.0 is full of bookmarklets! These links you drag up to your toolbar can do amazing things, but there’s only so much room on the toolbar.

Enter Blummy. The concept is simple and brilliant. You create an account (free, I think just a user name and password if I remember correctly) and then with relative ease you can create a Super Bookmarklet. You can drag and drop from a menu of the most interesting bookmarklets other people have contributed, into a box that you size yourself. Then, you drag your Blummy bookmarklet link to your toolbar.

Ok, get ready for this: when you are bopping around the web and find a site that you want to know more about or do something with – you just click your Blummy bookmarklet and all of the sudden your personal bookmarklet box drops down with all of the bookmarklets you put into it inside. This is way cool; given the explosion of awesome services usable by one-click javascript bookmarklet the browser is going to have to change. To be honest I wouldn’t be surprised if Firefox started doing something just like this soon, and then 3 years later Microsoft’s Internet Explorer will begin doing it too. But for now, I think you’ll love Blummy.

Just to give you an idea of the possibilities, here’s what I’ve got in my Blummy Box:

  • Bookmark to
  • Add to Newsgator (subscribe to the RSS feed of the page you are on)
  • (save in both Furl and Delicious – something I would love to do but have never been able to make work for me on any computer anywhere. Now being no exception. It doesn’t work!)
  • Furl This!
  • Check Uptime – evaluates how often a website is unavailable. I great idea, but there isn’t enough data out there yet. Or something, I have not found a single web site it finds data for yet (including so I’m going to remove this one. I’ll just drag and drop it out of my box)
  • WayBack – awesome service of the Internet Archive that shows you what the website you are on used to look like last time their spiders indexed it. Invaluable. Great for “fixing” other peoples’ broken links, or finding things taken offline for a variety of reasons.
  • Google Who’s Linking – very nice. Search in Google to see who has linked to the site you are on. Great for discovering related content and organizations.
  • Whois – this is how you find out who owns the site you are looking at, and a variety of other information about it. I use this a couple times a week.
  • Wikipedia look-up. Great idea, looks up anything you have highlighted in your browser in Wikipedia. The version I drug and dropped doesn’t work, at least in Safari browser.
  • Gmail send, nice. Click this puppy and a pop-up window appears from your gmail account with the URL of the site you are on in the body of the email ready to send to some one. The title of the page is the subject line, and my email signature is there! This beats Furl’s email function.
  • look-up. One of my favorites. I use it daily. Pops up a window with all the tags, descriptions and the users who have applied them to the site you are on in the social bookmarking site Reminds you that the description field is important to fill out!! I can’t just talk about that bookmarklet without giving it to you right here: Del.lookup – try it out, you’ll love it.
  • Google What’s Similar, another search function I use often when doing promotion or outreach online. Nice that it’s available in one (or two) clicks.
  • View Scripts – nice idea, should show me any “scripts” being run on the site I’m looking at. Doesn’t work for me.

So that’s what I’ve got in my Blummy box so far! It’s also not too hard to create your own bookmarklets. I just grabbed the above from user contributed ones, many of which I had seen before.

The downside: It’s ugly. I don’t know why we aren’t allowed to tell blummy how many cells we’d like to populate and drag+drop bookmarklets into those cells, rather than the sloppy free-form space it now offers. It looks less professional than it could. But really, the functionality is so rad that I’m not losing sleep.

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Google Foil Sold on eBay

One of my favorite search engines,, was just sold on eBay for the modest but comfortable sum of $110,100. Check out the auction here, it’s pretty interesting!

Jux2 performs an invaluable service by demonstrating what search results Google misses and Yahoo! or find. You can also use it to find the “best results” those found by all three big search engines. This is great for several reasons. First, many people use Google exclusively for their web searches. Jux2 can help fill in the gaps so you don’t miss important information. Really, go try out some sample searches – Google misses some important stuff!

Second, Jux2 is good because people need to know that Google isn’t omniscient (whether it’s benevolent is another question.) Before we become so awestruck by the power of the most succesful search engine in the world and hand over every data finding function of our lives to it – it’s good to know it’s limitations. If only in a spiritual sense!

Thanks to Sid Yadiv at whose write up on this alerted me to the sale last night. His site is another one readers here may enjoy giving a look. He and I have been reading each others’ blogs for some time now.

Related: People interested in advancing their search capabilities may also find Soople and Xtra-Google of interest.

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RSS Syndication: What, Why and How?

RSS Syndication is a key element of the emerging Web 2.0 world. Once you start using it to keep up with your favorite organizations, news sources, current events issues and other online phenomena – you will never want to go back to the old habits of “surfing” the web. Neither will the people who visit your organization’s site. Thus it is very important to make RSS feeds available for your news updates and other updated matierial. This will keep users up to date and coming back to your site, helping focus them on you despite the huge number of options available to them online at any time.

If you have never seen what the inside of an RSS aggregator loooks like, I’ve set up a seeded demonstration account over at that you can view. Username is “marshalldemo” and pass word is “welcome”
Check out some of the feeds coming into that account to get an idea what sorts of things are consumable via RSS.

Various Concept Intros

Introduction to RSS (my intro)

Alexandra Samuel’s RSSTocracy (A general resource site, with introductions)

Why You Should Use an RSS Reader (Another intro)

Examples of RSS in Use

Order From Chaos Via RSS

More Enterprise RSS Examples (how a variety of organizations are using RSS, plus this site is a great resource in general. The podcasts are super interesting.)

Update on the NPTech Attention Stream MetaFeed
Check out an RSS feed that’s collaboratively created by and for non-profit technologists! I’m the publisher of this MetaFeed.

Tips on Using RSS

Getting Your Feed Reader Organized My article on info-overload and how RSS can help.

Adding One-Click Subscribe to RSS Buttons to Your Site (One example)

RSS Tools You’ll Want to Use

The best RSS feed hosting service, also has lots of great supporting features like automatic pinging and subscribe by email.

Feed Digest (for splicing multiple RSS feeds into one, turning a feed into an automatic HTML display for you site, and lots more)

FeedFire creates scraped headline feeds of sites that don’t have their own RSS feeds. A little clumsy, but works way better than nothing.

Ok, I hope this is helpful and interesting. I do hope you’ll check out the world of RSS, it’s really revolutionary and will dramatically increase your effectiveness if you use it well.