Implement Technorati/Feedster pinging
Short, concise description of the idea
Add option to automatically notify ('ping') the Technorati / Feedster sites, on posting a new entry. It'd mean those who want to notify them won't have to do manual stuff instead. 'Pinging' those type of sites lets journallers interact more with others who have weblogs; particularly people outside LJ.com.
Full description of the idea
By enabling it via the edit personal info page, LJ.com allows (paid) users to notify ('ping') weblogs.com when updating with public entries
[LJ.com FAQ]. After being first asked about in 2002, it was again suggested in 2003 and its implementation was announced around that time. Around that time owlfish explained it well: link.
It's good for people interested in seeing how their journal connects with other blogs, especially non-LJ weblogs, across the 'net. All these tools - Feedster, Technorati, Weblogs.com and the services that depend on them can do interesting things but need to know when there're updates. Having them check individual sites for updates themselves could overload sites, so (if implicitly enabled by the user) when a user updates they can ping those services at the same time.
However, weblogs.com has a fairly widespread reputation of being quite unreliable. So, allowing the Technorati and Feedster sites to be 'pinged' independently would mean that those who want to can better participate in the blogworld / analyse attention their journal gets, and have more accurate & up-to-the-second Feedster searching.
An ordered list of benefits
Some example sites that use weblogs.com data are technorati.com, feedster.com, and BlogShares (fantasy stock market for weblogs).
- Technorati shows the crosslinks between blogs and can tell you which other bloggers are linking to you, and what people are saying about you and your blog. It can also tell you which bloggers are most influential on certain topics, by tracking which bloggers are being most "listened to" (or linked to). Some very popular writers even have a link on each entry that can tell the user/anyone how many people have linked to that entry.
- To be indexed most frequently with Feedster, the weblog software (LJ.com for us) needs to notify one of the change registries like weblogs.com or blo.gs. If the weblog site doesn’t update any change registry, or if the one used (weblogs.com) isn't working properly, then Feedster uses a separate scheduler which checks at intervals feeds that haven’t told it recently they've updated. That's not as sophisticated, or accurate.
An ordered list of problems/issues involved
- Some generic clients (LJ supports the Blogger and Atom APIs so that some generic weblog clients can be used to post journal entries) like ecto and w.bloggar might include options to set up directories to ping. The advantage of the website doing it though (apart that a generic client might be incompatible with LJ and most people only use LiveJournal-oriented clients as they support LJ features like Moods, userpics etc) is that there's no need to worry about configuring it.
- A limited amount of people will want this, some users may not 'see the point' (or perceive/have a need for using it); because of limited developer time that is a factor. It makes sense to make it work the way existing weblogs.com pinging does: turned off by default and a paid members option (also limits amount of new pings to the sites so they aren't swamped).
- Techier users who want pinging for their new entries may have already written a program to do it. That's out of reach for non-coders.
- UI bloat. As this would mean adding two more options to the already crowded Manage Info screen this is an important point.
An organized list, or a few short paragraphs detailing suggestions for implementation
I think implementation could be in two phases:
- 1) Converting the existing code we use to weblogs.com for pinging Technorati/Feedster. As we can already ping weblogs.com, structure for notifying an outside site is already there, meaning less work. The ping support would just need extending to implement this.
- 2) The second phase is the UI side; particularly important given the risk of UI bloat. Currently the Manage Info screen reads: "Notify Weblogs.com of updates | Select this option if you would like to have Weblogs.com list your journal when you post new public entries." That could be adapted to Notify Aggregator/Directory services of updates | Select which option you would like to notify when you post new public entries.", followed by a tickboxes arrranged horizontally for weblogs.com, technorati.com and feedster. Wording could be tweaked later.
1) Technorati Ping Configurations
2) How to ping Feedster: Articles with a round-up of ping services give the address as http://api.feedster.com/ping. It seemed valid when tested manually with http://api.feedster.com/ping.php?u=http://exampleusername.livejournal.com/data/atom.
edit: see also detailed information, by way of Wayback archive, at Feedster.com wiki page.
3) blo.gs gets its data from weblogs.com. Blogger & Movable Type both support pinging it directly though, so it might be worth considering for adding as well.
05/2007: Re-checked links while making recent comment below.