Pingoat – The stable of all pings

Pingoat is a new ping-service, since the 21st of July. Or as they put it:

What in the world is Pingoat! ?
Pingoat is a service that pings or notifies a number of services that keep track of weblogs and publish them. By pinging, you let the services know that your blog has been updated and hence, they crawl and index your site, publishing your blog contents, thus increasing your blog’s popularity.

I’m giving it a try because Pingomatic is down to often. So, as much as this is news, it’s a test. Let’s see how this one fares. 🙂
I’ve replaced the ping-option in WordPress with ‘http://pingoat.com/goat/RPC2’. See the Pingoat RPC help.

Google Sitemap creator

But wait, there’s more fun. For those who use blog software that can’t generate sitemaps they offer a Google Sitemap creator. Just enter your URL and Pingoat will create a sitemap. It even has the option of uploading the sitemap to your domain using FTP and pinging Google in the process. What more do you want?

Update: Well, I see the usual bots drop by and some I haven’t seen before. So the ping must have worked. 🙂

Talk Digger – Blogpost Metasearch

Talk Digger is a (beta) service that let’s you search for your blogposts instantaneously in the likes of Bloglines, Technorati, BlogPulse, PubSub, Icerocket, Feedster, BlogDigger, MSN Search and Google. It returns the number of occurrences with details on click and a trend. You can use a bookmarklet, enter a URL or make a direct link.

Try it for yourself or see the result for this post (probably none ;-)).

Yahoo! Finance & Corporate Egosurfing

Yahoo! Finance now offers Company News via RSS. Great for some Corporate Egosurfing. 🙂

Just go to the Yahoo! – Company News via RSS page, enter your stock symbol or symbols and cut & paste the generated feed in your aggregator of choice.

See also: Corporate Egosurfing, or how to get market info for free.

FeedBurner’s Link Splicer

People viewing my feed will be relieved as of today. I will no longer use the FeedBurner ‘Link Splice’ option, which added my Furl into the main sites webfeed.

Why? I was getting fed up by the constant ‘there’s a new item’ notice in Bloglines and FeedDemon. Also, I don’t see an added value merging feeds together. 🙂

So, if you want to keep up-to-date with what’s happening at ThinkLemon and already were subscribed to the main feed. You’ll have to do NOTHING. How’s that for a change?

For those who didn’t already or want to keep the Furl. Here’s how (click on the desired link):
ThinkLemon updates: http://www.thinklemon.com/feed/ (Add to Bloglines, My Yahoo!, My MSN or add with feed-protocol)
My Furl updates: http://www.furl.net/members/cvdlinden/rss.xml (Add to Bloglines, My Yahoo!, My MSN or add with feed-protocol)

IE’s dead, hail the new King!

… and the new king is ‘Longhorn‘!

Well, not exactly, it’s RSS!

I’ve watched the video, scanned Technorati, clicked on TechCrunch, taken a look at the IE Blog, re-visited C|Net, shivered at the Creative Commons Blog, read the last Gnomedex’r story, …

What’s left? I say, Redmond got the idea late in the game. But as usual they took a run with it. Not in a bad sense! It’s just… too overwhelming.

The team formerly known as the IE team apparently renamed itself The RSS team. And they’re considering promoting RSS to be the main glue in the new upcoming Windows. … I’ve got to let this sink in. Amazon wishlists, sorting feeds, OS handling of feeds, RSS aware applications OS, all application use ‘Common Feed List’, Microsoft doing a Creative Commons Share Alike, …

Let’s not forget, it’ll be available officially in 2007. So what does it mean now? I don’t know. What I’m sure of. I got to take a different look at RSS and enclosures.

To Watch: Microsoft to Add Ordered List support in RSS?

Microsoft has a history of inventing proprietary things. So when I found this announcement on C|Net I was a bit sceptical at first.

What’s the deal? It appears Microsoft will announce an extension to RSS (2.0?) today at Gnomedex for a better support of ordered lists in feeditems. Big deal! Everybody is putting lists in their feeds already. Why need an extension?

Here’s the catch. Dave Winer has posted about it on his blog on wednessday and he was somewhat impressed. So maybe there might be something interesting in the Microsoft offer? We’ll see today.

(via The RSS Weblog)

BTW: Maybe we’ll see a glimpse of the upcoming IE 7 today when Microsoft reveal their plans today?
BTW2: Maybe Winers interest is fueled by his Instant Outliner?

Technorati out of beta

TechnoratiIt seems that Technorati is out of beta. If you go to Technorati, the ubiquitous RSS/Feeds search engine, you’ll see a totaly revamped lay-out. Sure, it was visitable on beta.technorati.com for some time now. But somebody threw the switch tonight.

In Short:

  • Improved the user experience
  • More Tags-stuff
  • More powerful advanced search features
  • More personalization
  • New Watchlist capabilities
  • Removal of duplicat entries
  • And some performance improvements

That’s quite a list. 🙂

More info about the new Technorati here.

Addendum
: Oh and for those in the vicinity of San Francisco *wink wink nudge nudge*. There is a Technorati party going on wednesday.

Google Sitemaps is working

Google Sitemaps As I’ve posted previously, I started ‘testing’ Google Sitemaps last week. So what have I done? I added my feeds first. They were there already so that didn’t take any effort. Next I added a plugin to my WordPress installation that would generate a sitemap automatically and added that one also.

Now the big question. Is it working? It seems so…
At the Google Sitemaps ‘Control Panel‘ I see that the feeds and sitemap are being fetched every 12 hours or so.
Looking at my serverlogs I see Google spidering like crazy in the past 24 hours or so. Their spider jumped from a third to the first place in the bot-list. So spidering is great. What about the indexing? Seeing a spider is one thing, being indexed another.
Well, great news on that front too. If I lookup my pages in Google I see that a lot of them are cached on june 12 and 13. (That’s like yesterday)

In conclusion: Google Sitemaps looks like the tool to keep your pages in Google fresh. Now if other searchengines would follow, that would be nice. 🙂

Some reservation: It could be that Google is doing an all out spider-run which may (or may not) indicate a Google Dance is underway and we’ll see some updated PageRanks. Time will tell.

Corporate Egosurfing, or how to get market info for free.

Keeping track on what is being said in the media is somewhat of a luxury for big companies. They can afford to allocate people and time in special departments (PR, Communications, …) to track the news, journals, internet, measure campaign effectiveness, etc. Smaller family run companies don’t have that kind of resources. Their time is mainly consumed by running their businesses. There’s hardly any time to stop and look what is being said about them (positive or negative).

Enter the internet anno 2005. I know many of you type their names into Google, hence the term Egosurfing, to see what is known about you. You may want to go over to Yahoo, MSN or Altavista to check what’s being said there. But running around all those sites is time consuming. And time is something some people don’t have. Now, with some RSS-magic and a little time to set-up we’ll automate this task and spare ourselves some valuable corporate time. Best of all, it costs nothing!

Requirements

  • A browser.
  • An hour or so to set things up.
  • An aggregator.
  • A whole lot of feeds, more on that later.
  • A few minutes a day to check up on things.

So here we go.

Step 1: Get a browser

If you are reading this, you have browser. What kind doesn’t matter. So step 1 is taken care of.

Step 2: Get an aggregator

For this ‘Corporate Egosurfing’ to work you’ll need an aggregator. Say what? An aggregator! It’s a tool that lets you collect several sources at once and quickly scan through the latest news.

BloglinesFor this example I suggest you sign-up for a Bloglines account. Bloglines is an online aggregator so you don’t have to install anything, its available on any pc you work on and best of all it’s free. (http://www.bloglines.com/)

Once set-up your account is empty, apart from the ‘Bloglines | News’. Next we’ll add some feeds to go ‘Corporate Egosurfing’. You can add feeds using the ‘Add’ link on your ‘My Feeds’ tab. Bloglines offers some ways to easily add feeds, but for this example we’ll find and add our own feeds.

Our Company

For this example let’s say we are a small family run company that builds custom motorcycles. Or choppers as we call them. Our name is ‘Orange County Choppers‘. We have some internet-presence, even had a documentary on the Discovery Channel. 🙂

Step 3: Add Yahoo! News

Yahoo! NewsGo over to http://news.yahoo.com/. Enter the name of your company or see our result.
Now the important bit. In the right sidebar you’ll see ‘View as RSS’ with an orange XML button. Click on it and don’t be scared. You’ll see a lot of strange code in your browser. This is what a feed looks like on the inside. Now go to the addressbar and copy the URL.

Go over to your Bloglines and click on ‘Add’ under the ‘My Feeds’ tab. On the right hand side paste the copied URL in the ‘Blog or Feed URL:’ and click on ‘Subscribe’. On the next page click ‘Subscribe’ again and your set.

Congratulations! You’ve added your first egosurfing feed. Everytime you’ll login to your account you’ll see the latest additions. You can scan the headlines, read some summary info and/or click on the headings to see the original article.

Step 4: Add Google News

Google NewsOn to the next one. Google. There’s one problem with Google. It doesn’t offer any feeds. 🙁
But no problem, there is this other site that does what Google doesn’t. 🙂

Go over to http://www.justinpfister.com/gnewsfeed.php. Enter your companyname and press ‘Create RSS’. Next you’ll see another page with the same ‘weird stuff’, so did we. Just copy the URL from the adressbar and add it to your Bloglines account. Just like we did with the Yahoo! News feed.

Step 5: Add MSN News

MSN SearchGo over to http://search.msn.com/news/. Again, enter your companyname. You’ll be presented with a normal search result set. (Our result)

Now go hunt for that orange RSS/XML icon, yes it is on the bottom of the page. The page you’ll see when you click on the button is something we haven’t seen before. Instead of a lot of ‘weird stuff’ we’ll be presented a nice page. MSN offers a direct link to add this feed to your bloglines account. Just press the grey/white ‘sub bloglines’ button. That’s all. 🙂

The nice people of MSN Search also offer feeds for their normal search. So go back to the normal results and click on the ‘Web’ link on the top of the page. Now go to the bottom and click on the ‘RSS’ button. Just add this feed using the ‘sub bloglines’.

Step 6: Sit back and relax

Now you’re set with the top 3 search engines and you’ll be up to date to what’s being said in the ‘press’. Now close all your browsers and come back to your Bloglines account tomorrow. You’ll find it pretty easy to be kept up-to-date with just one visit instead of three.

Or don’t stop here! There are many, many more sources out there that you can add. All you have to do is when you find a nice orange ‘RSS’ or ‘XML’ button on your favorite site, remember to add it to you account.

Or how about keeping a track on what’s happening with the competition? Like for example those West Coast Guys. Just repeat the steps above but with a different companyname.

Now you have a free, custom built, news service about, well, you! How’s that? There’s more, but I’ll save it for later I guess.