Thursday, July 14, 2005

Monitoring blogs to find the good, the bad and the ugly

Recently Shai Coggins complained about some weird entries that were showing up in her ego-fee subscriptions.

What an ego-feed subscription? Well, I've talked about this before. I subscribe to various keywords at Technorati, Feedster, Blogdigger, PubSub and Google to be notified when any blog or site mentions me, my company, my clients, my blogs etc. I get a lot of repeat notifications, but I don't feel any tool is the leader yet in being both fast and comprehensive.

So, Shai was noticing an entry that repeatedly showed up for a site called "The News Show."

I have noticed the same thing, so I went over to her blog and commented that it seemed like an advertisement being inserted into key word subscription feeds by Feedster. I said I thought it sucked and was annoying. (It's annoying because when things show up in your ego-feeds you naturally go to the site and try to find the reference. And of course you can search and search, but you won't find a reference on these inserted sites.)

Shai responded to my comment by saying she too found it annoying, especially because what looks like the same entry keeps showing up as unread again and again.

Well, as is only fitting given the business they're in, Feedster obviously tracks their own mentions in their own version of an ego-feed (I wonder if they insert ads in their own ego-feeds?) Co-Founder Scott Rafer also commented on Shai's post and it's textbook good customer service communication:

-He apologized that we felt annoyed.
-He said that they're constantly trying to increase the relevance and decrease the intrusiveness of their ads
-He explained how it's supposed to work, and asked us to send him a screenshot if we were getting something outside that scope.

This last point is interesting because he said that theoretically the new entry/ad is only supposed to show up as unread again if you have something else new in the ego feed. I will keep an eye on that because I feel like sometimes the ads just show up on their own, but of course I have nothing new in there right now.

But let's recap: sure it's nice to monitor your web/blog presence to find all those time people call you a genius. And yes, sometimes you're going to find someone snarking away and decide that they are better ignored rather than engaged. (You can argue with me, but I'm not inclined to engage with someone who's behaving in a purely troll-like manner.)

But, think about the good Scott did with this brief interaction...he elevated his company several notches just by engaging.

I've posted laments about having trouble with Flickr, with Haloscan, with NetNewsWire and other products/services on my Personal Blog before...and while individual users have sometimes posted to help me, the companies never bothered.

Good on Feedster is what I'm trying to say.

Thank you for noticing. Several of us obsessively monitor Feedster as a term in our own system, as well as ego feeds, of course. We're not perfect about responding to complaints, but we do our best.

I'll be at BlogHer if either you or Shai will be and want to grab coffee.

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