In the past, I’ve mentioned “the other side of SEO”, involving spreading the word faster than search alone can provide. Thanks to tools like Technorati and Google Blog Search, no blog-post is an island. This has elevated blogging up to the role that doing submits used to occupy in SEO. Every blog post sets off a flare, lights up a beacon, signaling ambush-hunter news crawlers to pounce upon the site, grab a blurb off of the data feed, and bring it back to it’s baby—the parent site (so it can be found by subsequent searchers). But even that process is oh-so-slow in this new instant-everything world of ours.
As a compulsive, nearly OCD, blog-monitoring fanatic, I see posts as fast as these predatory crawlers allow, as Alex Pooley mentions in his observations about my monkey-comment. So, that’s a case where today’s tools worked. But also as an active blogger, I see the time-lapse, and even the oversights, of these blog monitoring tools. I, like so many others, use Technorati because it was first, is quite good, and has developed a sort of loyalty in me. They provide XML-feeds that I can subscribe to on my mobile phone, and they include many things. Monitoring through Technorati is a good application of the 80/20 rule (80% of the benefit from the first 20% of the effort). And it making me fancy myself as “technorati” doesn’t hurt.
But to fill in the remaining 20%, I’m always ferreting out what’s new. I want faster. I want better. I want my posts to show up in their monitoring tools as fast as I hit the submit button from Blogger. Of course, that leads us to consider blogsearch.google.com, which I also use regularly. And there’s a newcomer on the scene, named Sphere, which appears to be also be picking up blog-like pages that are not actually blogs, making it the most unique results of the three, and filling in some of that remaining 20%.
Of course, there’s unlimited blog monitoring tools, like Ask, BlogPulse, Feedster, and the rest. Problem is, the all (most?) work off of the same ping-alert-systems. What one blog search engine knows, they all know. And what one doesn’t know, none of them know. And therein lies the problem. That’s a lot more than anyone cares to acknowledge. Unbeknownst to most, there is an invisible blogosphere—one comprised of Xanga, MySpace, FaceBook, and many other blogging systems that don’t ping the Yahoo-owned blo.gs or the Google-friendly, Verisign-owned WebLogs (not to be confused with the once-Jason Calacanis-owned Weblogs, Inc,).
But for the invisible blogoshpere to be included, one of two things must happen. Either these pinging services must be smarter about harvesting up the new-blog-post alerts, or these ambush-crawlers must take their cues from something smarter than these pinging services. Both tasks are difficult, because it’s a chicken-and-egg situation—complicated even more by the login gates of social networking sites such as MySpace and Xanga. Crawlers must not only know that a new post has been made, but they must have sufficient permission to get to the data.
Anyway, this leaves a big hole and wonderful opportunity for some new startup because the value of a truly real-time blog monitoring tool has never been clearer. It’s the other half of the successful website formula (with mainstream search-influence being the first half). You must be in it for the slow, steady burn with traditional SEO, and the gradually growing snowball of traffic that comes from persistent blogging—even if you think your blog is an island. But then, there’s the spiky acceleration of traffic that you can garner from your friends and fans in the blogosphere—if only you could know everything. In that spirit, I’m always on the lookout for the fastest blog monitoring tool. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Are you listening?