Monday, 23 October 2006

Technorati, tagging and problems: update






As many of us know too well, the major blogosphere engine Technorati unfortunately has continuing problems in relation to displaying all tagged blog pages on their tag pages (the main things that could go wrong are summarised here; if you aren't familiar with Technorati tags see this intro).

Indexing glitches

You may recall I reported previously that:
It seems that sometimes Technorati have index glitches where they've picked up your tags from your post correctly, but then lost them. To compound the problem, their system treats the post as having been indexed before (because it has been - they've just dropped the tags afterwards on their system) - so they won't pick up the lost tags even when you update your blog, not even if the problem post is still on your main page (Technorati only indexes content that's in your feed i.e. on your main page). If you can't get them to find the lost tags or pick them up again before your problem post disappears off your main blog page, you're stuffed - the tags in that post will never ever appear on Technorati's tag pages.

The tag problems still persist - my detailed tutorial post on WidSets did not get picked up by Technorati at all; see the Widsets tag page on Technorati and that post isn't even there (though another related post is).

So it looks as if I've again been the victim of the infamous index glitch.

One possible solution to Technorati tag problems worth trying...

Now one thing puzzles me. Janice Myint of Technorati support told me of one possible fix, at least if the post has been indexed by Technorati but the tags haven't: edit your post body (just a minor edit) and republish the post. It seems that if there was a "brief tag index outage" when your post was being indexed, such that the post was picked up but the tags weren't, that should get their spider to see it as an update and pick up the missing tag. She said:
"Usually, if the post has been indexed before, but no tags picked up, then the tags should be picked up with a post edit."

Unfortunately, that still didn't work in my case "due to an[other?] indexing glitch". I think if I hear the phrase "index glitch" again I shall tear my hair out! Or someone else's...!

Still, if your post is indexed on Technorati (do a search for it, perhaps narrow it to your blog's URL for speed) but the tags aren't, you could try the edit/republish as a possible solution.

Remember though that you MUST do this while that post is still on your blog's main page and thus in your feed (see these notes on why, they need a bit of updating for this Technorati post but are broadly correct) - if it's fallen off the main page, it won't get indexed even as an update.

Editing tags bug - fix soon?

The good news is that Janice told me in relation to the bug where, if you edit your tags after you publish a post, the edited tags don't get picked up by Technorati even when the post is still on your main blog page, that the bug "has still not been fixed yet, but the solution is in progress that we hope to implement very soon".

Thoughts on tagging and KM

I have to say that while I'm a Technorati fan, I feel strongly that they should be focusing their resources efforts 200% on fixing these tag bugs and tag index glitches rather than, e.g., a "daily vlog". To me, tagging is what truly differentiates Technorati from the crowd - once Google's Blog Search introduces tag indexing, particularly if (as as I hope they do) Google manage to combine that with their standard Google index which includes the text of OLD posts, Technorati will really face stiff competition.

I think there is huge potential for the use of tags to spread, particularly in enterprise. Google is doing well selling its search technology to businesses, and I can foresee someone who perfects tag indexing/searching doing the same thing with tag technology, given the increasing need for knowledge management in organisations and the lack so far (in my view) of a simple yet effective system that provides what users need: taxonomies don't seem to be working too well, or at least not if they're too complex and rigid. Tagging I believe may well be the KM answer: and if Technorati don't get their act together on tagging and make use of their relative "first mover" advantage, someone else (like Google or Delicious) will.

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