Web 2.0 Way Ambiguous

This is funny. If anybody else reading here feels frustrated about the presumtion that everybody “knows” what’s being talked about with the phrase Web2.0 Here’s a few bits of info:

The Wikipedia definition is a good one:

“Web 2.0 refers to a perceived transition of the World Wide Web from a collection of websites to a full-fledged computing platform serving web applications to end users. The proponents of this thinking expect that ultimately Web 2.0 services will replace desktop computing applications for many purposes.”

That’s a good wiki article that can be accessed via http://wikiwax.com search “web” and check out the other results.

If interested, I did post about some common traits of applications referred to as web2.0 oriented titled “Web 2.0 is Exploding.”

OK, most hilarious link about this issue that I’ve found so far is “How 2.0 Is…”

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MSN Search Beats Google on Inbound Link Search, Destroys “Blog Search” Engines

The director of The Committee to Protect Bloggers (for whom I am a technical consultant) sent me an email tonight asking what the best way to find inbound links to their blog was. The results of my investigation were so interesting to me that I thought I’d post the email I sent in response.

How many inbound links total, like to tell people “we’re linked to by this many sites”? I am thrilled to say that the best way to find out is NOT to search in Google for link:http://committeetoprotectbloggers.civiblog.org (455 results). Strange as this might seem, I am happy to report that Microsoft’s search (MSN Search, http://search.msn.com) comes back with 15,525 results. And they look pretty damned valid. Update: As of the middle of the night MSN search is now up to 17,500+ results for this search.) Now I am certainly no fan of Microsoft, but it is a happy day for me when I can say that the best search engine for your particular need is NOT Google. Unfortunately, the “blog search” engines all suck…some so bad that I emailed them asking what’s up.

So if I’m understanding your question right, I’d say in this case to use MSN Search and tell people that the NEW CPB site has been linked to 15,525 times as of this most recent search.

If you look at the MSN results you’ll note that a large number of them are from blogs, so why do these supposed “blog search” engines not find these links? Is this related to the fact that my traffic monitor is a much better way to find who’s linking to me than are Technorati, PubSub and Feedster combined?

You know what the coolest thing is? There’s an RSS feed available for MSN Search results for web search. Who else offers RSS feeds of their search results – not of news, or of blogs, but of the whole web. Nobody I know. You have to use 3rd party, subscription based GoogleAlerts.com to get an RSS feed of Google web search results. If I can get this from MSN search, do I need Technorati?

I swear I really am cheering for Web 2.0, but I’ve been super frustrated with some performance issues lately. Just to balance out the complaining, I’ll tell you I’ve been having great experiences with Newsgator (for RSS reading), Blinkx.com (for podcast search) and Del.icio.us for rebound lovin’ post breakup with Furl.net, who hasn’t returned my email or blog post – despite some one from parent company LookSmart having a Firefox tab open on this article (Furl, I Can’t Take it Anymore!) for 5 hours today. But I’m not all about complaints!

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2 Great Del.icio.us Tools

Just came upon two great tools for the social bookmarking service Del.icio.us. The best is a del.icio.us link backs bookmarklet, which you can drag and drop into your toolbar and then click at any page online to see who has bookmarked it and their tags and descriptions. Great for evaluating the Web2.0 hipster interest in any given URL. And for finding people of like mind. And for getting an instant review of any page online. All the more reason to use your description field to share concerns about bad sites, too.

Tool number two is almost a toy for geeks. It’s LiveMarks, where you can see the most popular and the most recent items tagged in del.icio.us appearing live on the page as it happens. It’s like TV for web nerds. I found several things of interest to me there, and I discovered it after several people visited my site from Live Marks.

The community of creative people around it is one of the reasons Del.icio.us is so compelling (and so much more so than Furl.net) Check out this list of Del.icio.us plug-ins and mashups that have been created, many of which are not part of the basic program. How many other social bookmarking services have that kind of community, culture of innovation and corporate responsiveness?

Related: Here’s my del.icio.us archive.

Furl: Help! I Can’t Take It Anymore!

Update: I just had a good conversation on the phone with the CTO of LookSmart, the parent company of Furl. He was very responsive and interested in this and other feedback. I am excited to see some changes that he says are coming up.

I have used Furl.net as my social bookmarking and archiving service for as long as I’ve known such things existed. But I am fed up. The following is an email I sent to Furl tonight. In the past they’ve responded to about 50% of my emails, but never the ones that address these issues in particular. So we’ll see if they respond. I hope they do. I hope they tell me “we were just about to start doing everything in an awesome new way that reflects the best of what the new web has to offer.” Otherwise I’m going to be exploring my bookmark-exporting options here in a hury. I know I’ve been complaining a lot lately, and I don’t intend to focus on criticisms, but this is important to me.

For more info, see my Furl archives on Social Bookmarking and Tagging.

To: Furl@furl.net
Subject: Help! I Can’t Take It Anymore!

Dear Furl feedback, I have been a vocal advocate for Furl for some
time now. I teach all my web 2.0 consulting clients to use Furl. I
push for the inclusion of Furl in every tag-based attention stream I
find. I post comments to other peoples’ blogs about how great Furl is.
I’ve had Furl in my email sig for the last 6 months. I used to
advocate for Furl almost every day. But I can’t take it anymore.
Where is your blog? Where can I read about what you were thinking
with your recent UI changes? WHY has “Furl news” on your front page
and RSS not been updated for 3 months?

Most importantly, what were you thinking when you changed your UI and
failed to change your awful “topic” option?? You’re a social
bookmarking service – everyone uses tagging now. Why is the default a
single “topic” and why does the drop-down SHRINK when I select
multiple for multiple topics? Have none of you ever looked at
del.icio.us? Or Spurl or anyone else out there? I just broke a
minute ago when I wanted to Furl an AJAX enabled, web-app word
processor (itself a genre that’s becoming cliche.) I wanted to TAG it
word_processor AJAX web_apps but it was such a pain in the ass I had
to write you this email instead. It would have been a breeze, fun
even, with del.icio.us.

I have stayed with you for several reasons, but primarily because of
your cache of each page I Furl. That is wonderful but it’s not worth
it anymore. Del.icio.us is catching up to you in feature set (where’s
the Furl API?).

Please help me out. I want to stay with Furl. I want your service to
be usable to me and the rest of the world. But it feels less so every

Marshall Kirkpatrick (username:marshallkirkpatrick)


Check out my new website at http://marshallk.com

Training and consulting in new tools for effective web use.
Research, communication, promotion – for individuals, organizations
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RSS, Search, Blogs, Wikis, Folksonomy, Podcasting and more.

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Technorati Acquisition? News or Just Query?

Quick note here, I’ve had two folks come to my site today via a Technorati search for “Technorati acquisition.” Both from users in San Francisco. Hmmm… Now I know that the Web 2.0 conference is going on in S.F. right now, and given the flurry of buy outs this week maybe it’s just a logical query. But you have to wonder. Who would you prefer, MSN or Yahoo!? Since the recent creation of Google Blogsearch that most discussed possibility appears out of the running. Sure wish I was in S.F. More than that, I sure wish these Web2.0 companies would be satisfied with their own success and continue creating a new web. If it’s all about innovation, what will the consequences be of a Web 1.0 buyout of Web 2.0? Or am I over reacting?

Update: There are some critical comments similar to the thoughts here over at PaidContent.org, the folks who broke the AOL-Weblogs Inc. story.

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Reputation Tracking and Inbound Links

Update: I’ve added a list of recent places I’ve been quoted over on the sidebar using the following tools: Furl.net to tag links as “citations” and FeedDigest to turn the RSS feed of that tag into a javascript-to HTML code snippet in my sidebar template. So now when I find places I’m quoted I can just tag them and they will apear here automatically. Pretty cool, huh?

I was excited to wake up this morning and find visitors coming in from News.com, where I was quoted in a story about the blogosphere’s reaction to the AOL purchase of Weblogs Inc. I think that’s testimony to the idea that stepping out on a limb to share your opinion about something can really be appreciated. I was concerned that readers would consider my take on acquisitions like that (“is independence no longer a viable business model?”) naive or silly. But I felt that way, so I said it, and apparently it sticks out enough in the discussion to have been quoted elsewhere. Fantastic. Admittedly I also stayed up too late last night reading about and writing that post, so early poster’s advantage might be part of it.

I thought I’d take this opportunity to share some links to a number of places I’ve been cited or linked to lately. This is the sort of thing that bloggers are supposed to be able to tell via blog search engines – technorati, pubsub, feedster, google blog search, etc. You search for your URL and then subscribe to the RSS feed for the search. I’ve created a separate folder in my RSS reader titled “Rep tracking” that holds all the above search feeds and lets me know (in theory) whenever anyone else links to me. It often does work, but just as often I find out first by checking my traffic logs and seeing where visitors to my site are coming from. Sometimes traffic logs show me first and the search feeds catch up hours or days later. A combination of both methods works best for now, I believe.

This is something I set up for all my clients who use RSS as well, and sometimes I track inbound links myself for clients who don’t use RSS and just notify them of anything interesting. The blogosphere is all about interconnected conversations and rapid response and this is a key way that happens.

So, who else has been citing me or linking back to this or my old blog lately?

That’s a snap shot of how you can use a blog to participate in online conversations. Linking, reputation tracking through search to RSS and traffic monitoring are all keys to that participation. But so is having something to say and not being afraid to say it.

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