Tag - rss

Listening to the web: 8 free tools for reputation management

Whether you’re an individual, brand, or company, it’s good to know when people are talking about you. It’s even better to know what they’re saying.

The last thing you want is to find out that there’s a firestorm of negativity about your latest post, product, or brand when a forest of media microphones are thrust in your face and the media trucks are camping out just off your property. Instead, you want to be in tune with what people are thinking and saying, and you want to be able to enter the conversation with your perspective.

Here are 8 quick, simple, free tools for listening online:

  1. Best and easiest: Google Alerts
    Set up an alert. Set it to be emailed to you at the frequency of your choice. Wait for the messages to hit your inbox. Could it possibly be simpler?

  2. Most immediate and fun: Twitter search via RSS
    Enter your search items. Grab the RSS feed. Save it in your RSS Reader (Google Reader, or any offline reader). Watch the items get pushed to you every 15 minutes – or however often your reader updates.

  3. Web 2.0 old-skool: Technorati
    The fact is, Technorati is not what it once was. But it can still be a useful tool to electronically eavesdrop on what millions of bloggers are blathering about. Go, search, subscribe to the RSS feed. Simple.

  4. Comment search: backtype
    Pretty much the same as above, except this search engine focuses on what opinionated people – the 5-10% who comment on blog posts – are saying. Visit, enter your search terms, and get email alerts.

  5. Reviews, etc.: Omgili
    This can be particularly helpful if you’re in packaged goods or electronics and you want to check out how you’re being reviewed (example: Panasonic TV). But you can just visit the home page for generic search and cast a wider net.

  6. Really old school: Google, Yahoo!, perhaps Live
    Maybe, if you want to know what people are saying about you, you should just search the web. What a thought! Alas, you actually have to do it yourself, although you can set up some automated searches too … but it’s a good idea to do it weekly or so.

  7. Social media ear to the ground: Facebook, MySpace, Friendfeed, etc.
    More and more people are joining social networks, meaning a lot of the web’s conversation happens behind closed doors. But you can get in … perhaps with your own profile, perhaps just with judicious searching, perhaps by joining conversations … and hear what’s going on that’s important to you.

  8. Yes, discussion boards still exist: BoardTracker
    Online discussion boards still exist, despite their low profile in the web2.0 era. Even though they’re one of the oldest forms of online community, they are in some cases still growing. BoardTracker is a good way to search these often thinly sliced vertical niche sites. And yes, you can set up alerts to come to you,

So … that’s 8 ways of listening to your clients and your community that won’t cost you a dime, and in most cases not even much time.

Feedyes? Feedno! Finding a working YouTube RSS Generator

I’m trying to create a feed for a page that has no feeds:http://youtube.com/results?search_query=serious+games&search=SearchFeedYes is supposed to be able to do that … but annoyingly, the site continually has technical errors that prevent me from making a feed. First of all, it doesn’t show steps 3 and 4 … after showing steps 1 and 2. And secondly, after following the instructions in step 2, it tells me that the URL is invalid … after just using it to create a perfectly good list of recent videos.Arggh …Dapper has issues as well. In fact, in total, I probably spent about 45 minutes fooling around with FeedYes and Dapper before finding a service that actually worked …The best I found for YouTube RSS is actually YouTube RSS Generator, which looks decided low-tech but gave me a perfectly functioning feed in about 25 seconds.

humble pie

The worst righteousness is self-righteousness. I know this from personal experience, since today, in recompense, I had to eat a wacking plateful of humble pie.

This morning I sent a fairly energetic letter to David Sifry. It wasn’t rude, but it was intense. The perceived problem? For the last 3 days, Technorati has not been indexing my content. I was not happy about it – especially since Technorati has been fixing its problems lately.

However, Technorati was not at fault
Three days ago, I added a RSS feeds link to my blog’s top-level navigation. Unfortunately, I named it simply “feeds.” When WordPress creates a page, it gives that page a URL that is exactly the same as the title of the page … unless a page already exists with that name.

Well, in WordPress, one does. But it’s not a user-created page … it’s the default location of your RSS feeds when you have full-text URLs turned on – as I do. So my new page was the exact location of WordPress’ RSS feeds. And it took precedence.

So when Technorati was trying to index my site, it did. It indexed exactly what it should have indexed: a page with nothing on it but but some subscribe to my feed information.

David Sifry to the rescue
So here David – CEO of an important corporation – gets this not-nasty but not-very-happy email. And here David goes and checks my site. Checks source on my site. Discovers the issue, which is that the place WordPress stores feeds at has been over-written by my new page. Emails me back – nicely.

I’d send you a longer message, but I’m extremely busy right now and wanted to get back to you quickly. Did you know that your feeds don’t currently point to your content?


These are the feeds that you point to in the of your blog, and since they are broken, Technorati isn’t indexing your blog.

When you fix it, please ping again, and things should work fine. For example, if you are using feedburner, then put this in your element:
< link rel=”alternate” type=”application/rss+xml” title=”RSS 2.0″ href=”http://feeds.feedburner.com/bizhack&#8221; / >

and take out the other ones. Then re-ping.

(I also had to delete the feeds page – just changing its title does not change its URL – and create it again with a new name: get fed. But Dave’s comments were the clue I needed.)

I feel about 2 inches tall. Thanks, Dave, and sorry for the trouble.

Humble pie is very much like Fisherman’s Friend – tastes awful … but it’s probably good for you.