Thursday, 9 June 2005

Technorati: claiming blogs pt 2, and Technorati support

Previously I posted about what it means to claim a blog on Technorati, the blogosphere search engine; why you'd want to; and how to claim a blog - plus some concerns to do with the blog claiming process and security/authentication.

Niall Kennedy of Technorati commented regarding the security issue and offered to let me try to claim his blog and see if that worked!

Now the reason for my concern was that I'd tried out claiming a blog (a new one of mine), and noticed that Technorati reported the blog as claimed by me even before I put the required code in the blog. It was not only on the members' only page that it said my blog was claimed - I'd also seen (although I didn't spell that out before) that on doing a Technorati search where posts from that blog appeared in the search results, my profile pic appeared against those posts - again confirming that the blog had been successfully claimed by me.

The disappearing claim

Interestingly, after my previous post, that profile pic no longer appears against the entries from that blog (which at the moment just duplicates entries from this blog, a little behind as I haven't got round to copying the recent ones yet). See for instance this search page and scroll down to the blog called "Improbulus": there are no profile pics against those entries any longer. Yet on my members' page it still says my claim to that blog has been successfully embedded.

I speculated in my previous post that this premature successful claim could be due to my trying to claim that blog by just posting the Technorati code (without filling in their claim form), and when that didn't work I removed the code and tried to fill in the claim form alone (without the code being in my blog) just to see what happened - and perhaps Technorati then read an older cached version of that blog which did have the code, so it treated it as claimed. But then it caught up with the code removal and no longer shows the profile pic... I don't know what they did really, as the claim is now said to be recognised on the members' pages but not when you do a search.

Since my last post I've tried claiming another blog I created for the purpose (I thought I'd spare Niall any hijack attempts!), by just filling in the claim form but not including the code, and Technorati now won't let me claim it - so that's great, that is obviously a lot more secure. I would still be interested to know if just including the code in my blog (with the link direct to my Technorati profile, not the special unique ID which Technorati provide on completing the claim form), but without filling in the form, works to claim a blog eventually. I hope Technorati will answer that question - Niall or Kevin Marks perhaps? - i.e., do you have to include the Javascript with the unique ID for the member/blog to complete the claim, or can you just link to your Technorati profile (because that's really all the script adds to your blog page: a link to that profile and your pic etc). For security's sake, I hope the answer is Yes - it has to be the unique ID, not just the profile link.

I'd also like to know whether, if just posting a link to your profile works, someone could claim a blog just by posting the link in a comment on a post in that blog (and filling in the Technorati claim form). I'm hoping that they've fixed it so that a link just to a member's Technorati profile isn't enough, it now has to be to the unique ID code they generate which then redirects to your profile, but that's not been entirely clear.

No more quick claim?

Also interestingly, since my previous post, Technorati appear to have changed their claiming procedure. The last time I tried (after my previous post on the subject), when you fill in the claim form they give you the code to put in your blog or blogroll or sidebar, but now (or at least the last time I tried!) they don't seem to offer a quick claim route where you enter your blog username and password.

That's a shame - I know some people may be reluctant to give their user details to Technorati but I think that can be dealt with by Technorati clearly stating to members that they will use their details only for the purpose of verifying the claim and won't store the details afterwards (or will store them securely). That way people will have the option, they can choose to rely on that privacy policy statement if they wish to. Other services do take user details, e.g. Haloscan require it if you want to do an auto-installation of their commenting/trackback system.

One useful thing is that if you try to proceed with your claim after you've filled in the claim form, but haven't put the code into your blog, they send you an email explaining how to post the code. (Interestingly, the button to proceed with the claim has now disappeared from my Claimed Blogs page, maybe they're still tinkering - that's a pity as I thought it was a very useful innovation from a user viewpoint, that if someone doesn't know what they're doing and hits the button, they then get an emailed explanation).

Technorati support

Don't get me wrong - I'm a big fan of Technorati, and so are many others. I think part of the issue, from the feedback I've had regarding my previous post (and see comments about not understanding various aspects of Technorati or about Technorati support in the Blogger forum), is that the Help pages could be written more comprehensibly and clearly, and the support responses more timely and to the point (I've heard some people don't get any response at all - admittedly it's a free service, but failing to respond is of course not good for building up a reputation).

Obviously there is a resource issue for Technorati - Technorati don't seem to have many staff despite their high profile - but in terms of building up a user base and, in the notoriously fickle world of the Net, developing and maintaining user loyalty so that people won't abandon Technorati for the next blogosphere search engine which comes along that does provide better support (and better searching as well, people aren't daft!), I think Technorati could do worse than beef up their online help as well as their support service. (If the online help was clearer, people shouldn't need to contact Support as often).

A couple of people had kindly said on my last post that my explanations made more sense than Technorati's, and that Technorati should put me on their payroll! I certainly wouldn't be averse to writing more about Technorati and its workings if only they'd give me the information and full answers I needed in order to do that. And while I wouldn't be so blatant as to say "Gizza job, Dave!" to David Sifry (the Technorati CEO), if Technorati were to offer me (as well as the info) some money and an interesting job title to go with it, I don't think I'd say no...

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


Niall Kennedy said...

We have recently had some turnover in our support staff and we are hiring if you are interested. If you send the URLs of any weblogs you are having difficulty claiming to I can take a look at our database and see what might be causing troubles. If you have any suggestions for documention you would like to see please let us know by sending us an e-mail at Thanks!

Kevin Marks said...

"Successfully embedded" just means that the javascript was loaded and viewed from somewhere; it does not mean that the blog claim has been validated as belonging to your blog, which requires a visit from the spider to your URL. We do need to clarify the language there.

Improbulus said...

Niall, apologies for not replying before. I'm not really a "Is your computer plugged in? Is it turned on? Is your monitor switched on?" kinda person, I'm more of the documentation type (plus I don't think Technorati would be offering enough to induce me to move to the US!) though as I suggested in my later post you might try luring Truckspy, he's really the business on the support front. I may send more suggestions re. docs by email though many are in my posts (and attribution would be nice, in the absence of dosh!).

Epeus/Kevin - yes I agree, especially if you're trying to make Technorati more friendly for non-techie types, you probably should just say something like "We've noted that the step you took in X [ie the code in the blog] was successful, so now to complete the process of claiming your blog please go to [page] and enter your blog's URL and click Submit" or whatever. (A lot of non-techies won't even know what "ping" means!)

Zataod said...

I've been trying to claim a blog on technorati for weeks now, keep getting an error, and am getting no replies from technorati support when I pose a question. For some reason, it appears that my blog isn't listed on Technorati, even though it's listed on all the other major search engine sites.

Improbulus said...

Zataod, claiming a blog isn't the same as getting it indexed on Technorati. I can see from your Technorati profile that you have claimed one blog successfully there, Zen and the Art of Dreaming, but your other blog isn't shown as claimed and isn't indexed on Technorati either. A blog claim can get dropped on Technorati if you don't put the code they require into your template soon after you first try to claim the blog so you could try to claim it again and see.

On your blog ont being listed on Technorati I'm sorry but I can only suggest you keep trying Technorati support. For what it's worth, they've stopped indexing my own blog too...

Anonymous said...

There is definitely something wrong with the Technorati Cache-ing mechanism. Looks like they do not update enough. I had deleted my blogclaim and tried to reclaim it (ALL in efforts to get indexed). Now I can't even claim my own blog ! Go figure.

their ping form says that I have not updated my blog in more than 2 weeks. Even after spoon feeding them with tags!

If you delete a claim, how long do you have to wait for it to clear their cache ? Cause I changed my blog title and reclaiming does not pick up the new title. Which MEANS that the spider is looking in its cache which is dirty. And there is no sign of it getting updated.

Improbulus said...

Sorry you're having such a tough time Kreaper, I don't know how long between deleting and reclaiming you can try again. Have you tried Technorati support? (By the way the URL you posted only has a blank page?).

dan said...

Now at the end of 2006 and nothing has changed at Technorati. If you're having trouble claiming a blog you may as well give up rather than try and get any support out of them - there simply isn't any.

Improbulus said...

Dan, Dave Sifry the Technorati CEO has (in a different context) invited people to email or call him direct, for details see this post.

Of course, it could mean that you get a different person at Technorati ignoring your emails! But giving his cellphone number, that's something... so you can always try that. Do let me know how you get on!

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