Catching Up on Technorati Tags

I’ll admit… thanks to my chronic state of learning overload, I haven’t yet gotten around to fully exploring and implementing a much-touted tool called Technorati tags. I know, I know, I should have been all over this one months ago… but life and paying work intervened.

Anyway, today I was gratified to learn that in a recent Social Customer Manifesto blog posting and podcast entitled The “newvoices” Tag: Throwing On The Floodlights, PR/communications guru Christopher Carfi highlighted and graciously complimented my weblog CONTENTIOUS. (Thanks, Chris!)

I think this “newvoices” tag strategy is intriguing and worth a shot. So I’ll bite the bullet, learn more about Technorati tags, and give it a try. However, I have a couple of reservations and questions about Technorati tags in general…

Bear in mind, everything that follows clearly reflects my personal lack of firsthand use of Technorati tags. If I’ve misunderstood anything, please feel free to correct me in the comments.

ISN’T THIS HIGHLY SPAMMABLE?

It strikes me that if any particular Technorati tag, including newvoices were top become the basis for a popular feed, then it might well become a major spam magnet.

That is, if lots of people start subscribing to the Technorati newvoices tag feed, wouldn’t that tempt unscrupulous people to add that tag to irrelevent postings simply to attract eyeballs? And wouldn’t that defeat the purpose of newvoices – or any tag?

HOW RELIABLE IS TECHNORATI, REALLY?

In a followup post yesterday, Chris Carfi noted that blogger Pete Scott used the newvoices tag in a posting.

Well, I just subscribed to the newvoices feed, and the only posting I see on there so far is Carfi’s. Of course, at the moment I don’t seem to be able to hit Pete Scott’s blog at all, and I don’t know whether temporary server outages or other site-access glitches affect how Technorati processes and displays tags.

UPDATE JULY 29: Pete Scott’s blog is now up, and his item has appeared in the feed for the “newvoices” Technorati tag.

Coincidentally, just today my friend and current houseguest Koan Bremner posted an item about how Technorati appears to be flaking out, particularly regarding tags. People who commented on Koan’s post reported similar problems.

I’d love to hear more perspectives on the reliability of Technorati tags and the overall reliability of Technorati in general. I realize it’s a free service, and I respect David Sifry greatly. However, Technorati has become recognized as a crucial part of the infrastructure of the blogosphere – so I think it’s important for bloggers to have a frank discussion about that service’s true benefits and limitations.

Personally, I often recommend Technorati to people who are learning about blogging. I’ll continue to do so – I just don’t want to oversell it.

CAN TECHNORATI TAGS BE USED BY OTHER AGGREGATOR SERVICES?

Again, this may reflect my ignorance, but… It seems to me that, in theory, Technorati tags in feeds could be recognized and used by any similar service – like BlogPulse, Feedster, Blogdigger, PubSub, etc. Right?

I mean, just because Technorati started the blog-tagging thing doesn’t mean that other services can’t capitalize on that infrastructure. Right?

I raise this point because, if for some reason Technorati’s technical infrastructure can’t support the volume of processing required by tagging, maybe another system can do it better. (Again, that’s not to trash or undermine Technorati.)

I believe that a functional, timely, tag-oriented blog aggregation services is vital to the public conversation. Somebody should be able to fill that role capably.

I’d hope so, at least.

Thoughts?

7 thoughts on Catching Up on Technorati Tags

Comments are closed.

  1. Tags are the New Black…. actually plaid is the new black. Technorati uses them, Flickr uses them, Yahoo!’s MyWeb 2.0 uses them, del.icio.us uses them, geocoders use them, furl uses them, backpackit uses them. So yes, many many services can and do use tags. A centralized repository though? Too many people, too many tags. Subscribe to an rss feed for the tag “innovation” and you’re going to get a ton of crap, yes. BUT… it’s quick crap at this point, and the pearls hidden in it can be very worthwhile.

    Not surprisingly, a whole discipline (generally called ‘folksonomy’) has/is emerged/emerging around tagging, and issues of spamming, limiting acess, and so on are being discussed. It’s not the new black, but it IS one of the threads in the plaid that is Web 2.0.

  2. Thanks, Gary.

    I do realize that other services use tagging. For instance, I’ve written extensively on Furl and del.icio.us before.

    That said, I’m wondering whether other services could specifically leverage Technorati tags, which are created in this format:

    Does anyone know about that?

    – Amy Gahran
    Editor, CONTENTIOUS

  3. Hi Amy,

    Yes, other services could do the same thing as Technorati, it’s just a matter of no one doing it with as much effort as they have. For example, Google would just need to look for links with the ‘rel=”tagname”‘ tag and give those some sort of priority in its search results to become a tag-enabled search engine.

    You’re right, though, if there is no gatekeeper, spam can become a big issue. Even with a gatekeeper of sorts making sure that only legitimate blogs are allowed into the results, there’s still the possibility that users will become a little anxious that they’re not using the right tag and the tagged results becoming irrelevant.

    Although, the same thing could have been said about RSS – or webfeeds, or site feeds, or syndicated XML, or… 🙂 – when they first started out. “If someone aggregates all of these, won’t they just become riddled with spam?” Yes. Their true value has proven to be users subscribing directly to them so they receive only the feeds they’re interested in. If someone would build searching by tags into a feed reader, we would have one more way to filter data.

    After all, that’s what all of these new technologies are supposed to be helping us do: get to the data we want/need more quickly. An aggregated tag list is neat to see current trends, but their real use will be people like me and you using them to cut through the information we’re sort of interested in to find the information that we really want.

  4. Amy,

    I’ve watched my post appear and disappear from that technorati tag page about fifteen times in the last couple days. Can’t say for sure it is Technorati’s fault (though i’m showing up just fine over at Icerocket), since i’m not 100% sure i’ve implemented my tags in the best/recommended/proper way. I got a headache reading the XML-RPC specs and i custom-wrote all my stuff (meaning i don’t have some of those fancy blogger tools), so as far as i know Technorati could simply be choking on my implementation.

    Anyways, I’d like to see Google get a handle on this. I’m assuming blogger.com supports tags, so Google would seem a likely cantidate to get the indexing down.

    So there’s that.