Alternatives to Technorati

I’m sitting in a session here at New Media Nouveaux which is geared toward PR types and marketers. A statement is made by one panelist that using blogs effectively is about knowing what people are talking about and suggests Technorati as the source of market research.

While Technorati is A source, a better idea would be using Google Alerts or Google Blog Search. These really have become key for me in the past year as I’ve moved away from favoring Technorati. Many niches also have sites devoted to “following the conversation”. For technology bloggers, there is Techmeme and it’s sister site for politics, Memeorandum. Tailrank attempts to track the “long tail” of conversation on many topics including entertainment.

There’s many ways to track conversation. My advice to marketers is to not be an outsider. When you join the conversation, the conversation will develop in front of your eyes. You’ll spend far less time doing “market research” and far more time cultivating relationships with your consumers and partners.

Technorati Authority the Authority?

It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve logged into Technorati to examine what they think of this blog. To be honest, I’ve come close to giving up on Technorati. A few years ago I realized that their window into the blogosphere was schizophrenic at best. At the time, it revolved around scaling issues as Technorati seemed to be continually unavailable or at least perpetually slow. That changed, props to them. It had to or they were going to die a slow agonizing death that made everyone else suffer. They made some other improvements along the way too by enhancing their user interface, introducing new features (such as WTF – I know their endgame is to be ranked #1 in Google for WTF – by my estimate, they are at #5 which is not bad for an acronym that means something completely different!).

Still, they are better but they are not there. Technorati CEO David Sifry puts out his quarterly reports regarding the blogosphere in an effort to cement themselves as the authority. Still, they are not the authority. We are prepared to replace all Technorati data with Google Blog Search data at b5media, for instance, and why would we do such a thing if we believed in Technorati as the authority?!

Today, I logged into Technorati to take a look at this blogs statistics courtesy of Technorati and I noticed a change. They had replaced the verbage that read “884 blogs linked here” with “Technorati Authority: 884”. Fascinating! What are they up to, your intrepid blogger thought as he clicked deeper into that definition. Interestingly, this is an excerpt of the May 4 blog post on the Technorati blog that explains what actually went into this (and by the way, this snippet is courtesy of Clipmarks)

On Fri. May 4th, we updated to include the Technorati Authority for blogs listed on the Blog page and in search results. This update changed the earlier references of “N blogs link here” and “X links from Y blogs” with the single Technorati Authority number. On the blog page, we also show the Technorati Rank.

Technorati Authority is the number of blogs linking to a website in the last six months. The higher the number, the more Technorati Authority the blog has.
Technorati Rank is calculated based on how far you are from the top. The blog with the hightest Technorati Authority is the #1 ranked blog. The smaller your Technorati Rank, the closer you are to the top.

So really, there is no actually change here. The only change is a verbage change that is creatively implemented to make you think theres a change. It’s also conveniently self-important. Your thoughts?

Applescripting Technorati and Skype

I’ve been watching my Technorati ranking over the past few weeks and I’m happy to say it’s been climbing. In other news, I’ve been wanting to learn Applescripting. So, I put the two things together this evening and came up with my first practical AppleScript.

The script does one thing. It queries Technorati for my ranking, and updates my Skype mood message with a little ditty skype.jpg about my ranking: Technorati Ranking: 2426.

To pull this off, I dug out my Technorati API key and grabbed the satimage XML library for Applescript (very useful!) and set about to write this script:

set trati_apikey to "xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx"
set myblog to ""
set trati_URL to ""
set trati_xml to do shell script "curl -G -d url=" &amp; myblog &amp; " -d key=" &amp; trati_apikey &amp; " " &amp; trati_URL

(* Uses the SatImage XML Parser from: *)
set trati_xml to XMLOpen trati_xml
set the_root to XMLRoot trati_xml
set tapi to XMLChild the_root index 1
set doc to XMLChild tapi index 1
set weblog to XMLChild doc index 2
set rank to XMLChild weblog index 8
set rank to XMLGetText rank

tell application "Skype"
    send command "SET PROFILE MOOD_TEXT Technorati Rank: " &amp; rank script name "skypetechnorati"
end tell

Now to set about doing more cool Applescripting. :)