RSS, OPML and the XML platform.
Copyright 2003-5 Randy Charles Morin
Things have changed drastically since the last time I wrote about blogosphere search. For the better? Not really. For the worse? A bit. The biggest change is that Technorati and Google Blog Search now enjoy pretty much co-dominance in this domain. Other players like PubSub have disappeared with Bob Wyman denying problems all the way to his company's grave. I'd point you to a blog entry, but even Bob's blog has disappeared. Bloglines search has dissolved since purchased by Ask.com. Feedster lost both of their founders and all their users. BlogPulse, Blogdigger, Sphere and IceRocket have all had similar problems and are rarely heard from these days. Yahoo! blog search never really got out of the garage and has been replaced by Technorati provided results (I smell another Yahoo! acquisition). That's a lot of bad news.
But worse, I don't really like the results being returned by anybody these days. I'll stick with the top three; Google, Technorati and Bloglines. These are the only three that received minimal good results in my recent survey of blogosphere search engines. The most common searches I perform are vanity searches for my domain (www.kbcafe.com) and my name (randy morin). Let's examine the results returned by each.
A vanity search for my domain on Google blog search returns quite a bit of easily identified splogs. In fact, a blog called Flaccid Penis seems to be permanently in my results. This guy is a big gay porn splogger who happens to use the kbcafe.com tagspace. Unfortunately, Google indexes these links even though they are clearly marked as tags. Not that anybody else does any better. Further, any internal links in my blogs are reported in their results. I hate that.
A vanity search for my name on Google blog search is actually pretty good stuff, both the name and link search in Google blog search miss a lot of post and that forces me to rely on a secondary blogosphere search engine; Technorati and Bloglines. On the good side, both searches are fast and respond in sub-second all-the-time.
Technorati continues to fall behind Google and I use them today only to supplement the Google results, which aren't anywhere near perfect. Technorati is very slow with searches taking several seconds and as many as several dozens of seconds. Let's examine the search for my domain on Technorati. Technorati, like Google, continues to index tags and since I use my own tagspace, my blog entries are reflected in this search. But worse, Technorati doesn't really index RSS or blogs, but rather web pages. Some blogs that have me in their blogroll fall into these search results with every one of their blog posts. Add these problems to splog results and you end up with more bogus results than anything else.
Moving onto my name vanity search on Technorati and ... waiting .... waiting ... this is simply too slow. Doh! The Technorati Monster escaped again. Yawn. Technorati seems to be down again. There we go. Finally! It seems my biggest promoter is none other than uber-splogger Elliot Back. This guy has been the #1 splogger for months now and his domains are still getting indexed by Technorati. Do they even have a splog team?
Bloglines, like Technorati is slow and often down for the count. Why am I even bothering. 100% of the kbcafe domain search results in Bloglines are reflections of my own blogging. Either blog entries on my blogs or legitimate automated syndication or bookmarks. Onto the name search results in Bloglines. This is so slow I'm about to give up. Hello? Anybody at Ask working on this? Once the Bloglines SERPs return, they aren't that bad.
I'm using Google blog search as my primary blogosphere search engine. Mostly because it returns results immediately and is integrating directly into my favorite web search engine. One click and I switch between blogosphere and Web SERPs. Technorati and Bloglines are the only two other engines that can claim to be working. They are extremely slow and don't provide better results. They do supplement my Google results, but that's not saying much. It looks like Google wins, but this time it's not because they are great, it's because everybody else sucks.