What’s Next in Vertical Analytics: Blogs

If you’ve seen my About page, you know I don’t pay attention to my blog stats. I mean, I do care about visitors and referrers. I get referrer info from places like PubSub, so they show up in my RSS reader. I don’t really care about visitors as much as I care about participants. If you comment, via my blog, your blog, or email, or hit me up in person, that’s enough for me.

However — that’s not true for many bloggers. They invest a lot of themselves, and want to see a return on their investment, even it’s just the satisfaction that they are reaching an audience.

At the Search Engine Strategies conference a couple of weeks ago, I got a sneak peak at an early-stage project for tracking and reporting on blogs. Between then and now, a number of blog-tracking related projects have emerged, in one form or another. For example, there’s

There are more, but you get the picture. In fact, Brad Feld lists all the blog metrics tools he’s been using, and fantasizes about a dashboard that could pull them all together.

They each have their own spin on tackling the problem. Nothing’s been announced about any of them, although that doesn’t stop the hyperbole.

A couple days ago, the person who showed me the demo at SES said they’ve expanded their vision and are continuing with development. Seems like we’re in for a new round of vertical analytics.

What’s Next in Vertical Analytics: Blogs

What I Did on my Blog Vacation

Well, I see that after a long slumber, A List Apart is back, with a new look and a new outlook. So I’m back too.

I updated to the latest version of WordPress, and changed the look of the blog. That default was ready for a change. There are dozens of things about the new look that I want to change, and there are some outright problems with it — but I only have so many hours in the day. If you’re reading via RSS, the only thing to note is that you’re missing a sidebar of photos from Flickr.

Speaking of which … I upgraded to Flickr Pro. Click Click!

I hung out with some web analytics folks who were attending SES in San Jose; even got my picture taken with Ram Srinivasan of FireClick:
Bob and Ram

I watched as Yahoo! Search announced they had tons more stuff in their index, while others tried to prove they didn’t (with some amazingly bad methodology, if I may say) and only ended up proving that Yahoo prunes spam pages better than G. One of the Yahoo engineers responsible for extending and validating the new index was amused.

I prepared (and delivered) too many presentations. I got the book Beyond Bullet Points, and read the associated blog but I can’t say I really applied the concepts .. always preparing presentations on deadline – no time to do the up-front design required. But I like the book anyway.

I stopped reading blogs for a few weeks, and realized that I wasn’t missing much. I fired up my RSS newsreader (NetNewsWire) and retired about half of the blogs I was reading. I’m under 190 feeds now, many which I ignore except for maybe a monthly check-in.

I tried to get into Getting Things Done. I guess I subscribe to the Christopher Walken theory of GTD. Don’t futz around with labelers, hipster PDAs and Moleskine notebooks – just get it done. Of course, maybe I just need the right pen, or software, or …

I re-decorated my office and learned Morse code. OK, kidding.

I saw Black Eyed Peas and the Dave Matthews Band. Before I saw them, I really wasn’t a fan of either. Seeing them live didn’t change anything. Maybe Dave knows Morse code.

I bought a Spyder 2 colorimeter and tried to profile my monitors. The PowerBook display is still too blue, which is OK as long as it’s not next to any other monitors.

Maybe more. The usual raft of work-related fires. If you wrote to me and I didn’t write back, my apologies. I’m still catching up.

What I Did on my Blog Vacation

Reading Feeds

RSS 2.0 RSS XML Feed RSS Valid Atom Feed
According to this NYT article,

Visitors to nytimes.com via R.S.S. feeds has soared from about 500,000 a month at the end of 2003, to 7.3 million last April, said Toby Usnik, the New York Times Company’s director of public relations.

Note it’s the PR director. All companies should make company news available via RSS — clearly there’s a market for it. With the next version of Windows supporting RSS and Atom natively, even the technology laggards will have reading capabilities. This popularity is one of the reasons so many firms are trying to capitalize on RSS and Atom (with ads in feeds, etc.).

It’s a shame companies like Apple and Microsoft say “RSS” when they mean “RSS and Atom” but nobody has really come together on a decent name, so one is better than two (or three, if you count Rdf). And for dawg’s sake, get rid of the ugly orange XML buttons. I think the Firefox ‘feed available’ button Feed has promise, except for the color. Maybe something like iTunes 4.9 new Podcast podcast button (but obviously not a microphone).

My name and color gripes aside (I guess I need my coffee fix), I’m surprised we haven’t seen more web analytics vendors announcing RSS features (analyzing the feeds, or making the results available via RSS), like we did when we saw everyone pile on other trends like Linux and mobile devices.

All the branding buttons — sheesh.

BloglinesNewsgatorMy YahooMy MSN

Reading Feeds

My Head Is Buzzing

Yahoo! Buzz OK, I admit it. I’ve never understood how Yahoo! Buzz works. I’ve just decided it’s one of those things I’m not supposed to understand, like financial accounting. I think my math skills should transfer, but they don’t. Maybe Swaroop C H can explain it to me (Buzz, not accounting).

Given that, Buzz did something with blogs. I think. So “Fark” gets the top spot on Y! Search, but it’s only #5 on Technorati?

I’m sure there’s something cool and insightful I can glean from this. Maybe about the different demographic profiles of Yahoo! Search and Technorati users. I’ll think of it, I swear.

My Head Is Buzzing


Another cool little service: TagCloud. It uses the Yahoo! content analysis engine to search your RSS feed, analyze the content, then uses Javascript and CSS to produce a little cloud of clickable tags that you can embed on your blog (or wherever). I tried it on my RSS feed, but there’s not enough content here for it be useful (e.g. many terms it displayed only show up in the feed one time). FYI, here it is: