It's been a tough week to be a Blogger user. Is it time to move Apogee Weblog and this blog to a new platform, perhaps MovableType or WordPress? Or, should I wait until Blogger Beta has FTP publishing? I do understand what it's like to endure a server crisis. A little over 10 years ago (geez, gettin' old), I remember pulling an all-nighter while a software engineer at AOL. The usenet server was crashing regularly and the lead developer was on leave. Couldn't re-create the bug in a test environment, so I ended up hopping on a production server with the gdb debugger and found the problem.
Speaking of blogging problems, what's up with Technorati? Is it not listening for Blogger updates or is Blogger not sending them? I do have Blogger set per Technorati's instructions. Lately, even manual pings don't work. Haven't seen Technoratibot in the server log for awhile. Are there alternatives to Technorati, both in terms of a good blog search engine but also as a means for increasing visibility of your own blog posts? Are IceRocket and Google Blog Search viable alternatives? Are there better blog search (and "be found") solutions? I've been including Technorati tags when posting, but it feels like that's just helping Technorati. Clever of them, I suppose.
I have noticed the BlogsNowBot seems to visit shortly after Blogger updates. If they're getting the updates, why isn't Technorati? Incidentally, I like BlogsNow. Simple interface but useful information. Technorati looks great and has all kinds of interesting features, but if its most basic features don't work adequately and consistently, what's the point?
It'd be great to know: 1) What's the best blogging platform? 2) What's the best blog search engine? 3) What are other essential blogging tools?
TagMan is about the tags, not the photos. The Flickr photos are like a prize for guessing the tag. Part of the idea, too, is to "give back" to Flickr. Instead of simply using their data (tags + photos) and creating a game, the point is to encourage people to go to the Flickr site to explore the tags. When you win a game, you see some photos for the tag and can either go and visit that tag on Flickr.com or play a new game. The game is a fun way to browse the popular Flickr tags, a different sort of front end to Flickr.
On the non-video advertising front, Google could easily supply contextually targeted ads based on keywords added by members when they upload the video. However, as you have probably noticed, YouTube is also filled with keyword spam, where members stuff a huge amount of keywords into their video descriptions so they show up for terms the video has nothing about.
What if instead of relying on the title, description or tags provided by the video uploader/creator, Google instead relied on the intelligence of the crowd to determine the relevant keywords for a given video? Presumably, popular videos are bookmarked on web 2.0 sites like del.icio.us. When bookmarking, most users take advantage of tags to help organize the information for later retrieval. Those tags could be more reliable than the information provided by the video uploader since the bookmarker would need the information to be highly relevant to be useful for finding the video at a later date. Google could identify the common, overlapping tags that users create when bookmarking. A simple example might help. See this video on YouTube:
Here is the user uploaded information:
Title: Real Life Simpsons Intro
Description: Someone went through a lot of trouble to very accurately depict the Simpsons intro with real life actors.
Tags: Simpsons Intro Opening Credits Real Life Actors
That's probably a sufficient amount of keywords for Google to match content ads to keyword lists in advertisers' AdWords ad groups. The question, though, is whether this information could be manipulated by spam techniques such as keyword stuffing. Let's look at some tags for this video created by del.icio.us users (I'm just randomly grabbing 8 users' tags because, after all, "eight is enough"):
video simpsons funny humor tv
video simpsons funny fun tv
video simpsons fun humor movies
video funny tv simpsons humor
video simpsons funny youtube humor
simpsons video real
video humor simpsons
Looking at the tag distribution for these social bookmarks:
What if Google simply used the core, common keywords for contextual matching? Would these sponsored links (simpsons + video) be relevant to the video? Using a couple more tags, would Google's contextual matching algorithm have enough data to work on if it used simply these keywords: simpsons + video + funny + humor? Maybe their domain parking program which "delivers targeted, conceptually related advertisements to parked domain pages by using Google’s semantic technology to analyze and understand the meaning of the domain names" might be a better fit. That's a bit of a hybrid between search advertising and contextual advertising, anyway. Presumably that primarily looks at the keywords in the domain name. A handful of relevant keyword tags chosen for bookmarks might be just as relevant or even more so than a domain name.
Particularly for popular videos, this technique might work since there would likely be a large pool of users who socially bookmarked the videos with meaningful tags. The popular videos would be the ones Google and YouTube would want to run relevant, contextual ads alongside anyway, so this would be a virtuous circle. Let me know what you think. (Or just play a game of TagMan.)
With all the speculation swirling around a potential Google + YouTube deal, I noticed that TechCrunch was mentioned on CNBC. On Friday's episode of Fast Money, Guy Adami interrupted a conversation about the possible deal, looked down at a sheet of paper and said:
Let’s talk about this guy that scooped this thing today - Michael Arrington. Tech… CRUNCH?!
He was visibly perplexed and obviously had no idea who Michael Arrington is or what TechCrunch is. His tone was clearly sarcastic and he seemed to think it ridiculous that the source of the story was a blogger. As I was watching the show, I'm thinking to myself, "Now, who's this Guy Adami guy? Everyone knows who Michael Arrington is and what TechCrunch is." I wonder if more people read TechCrunch than watch Fast Money. Anyway, had to "rewind" my DVR a few times to catch precisely what his comments were. Did anybody else notice this?