Is tracking links dead?

Filed as General on February 23, 2005 3:53 pm

by Duncan

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Duncan Riley> One of my favourite pastimes when I first set up The Blog Herald was seeing who was linking to what I was writing. There was something uniquely satisfying about visiting Technorati or Daypop and checking the links, a not to dissimilar buzz to that checking how many visitors your blog has had. It’s something I still enjoy doing from time to time, although not with the zeal I once had for it.

That was the good old days, when there were a lot less blogs and the duopoly of link trackers, Technorati (general) and Daypop (News) did a really good job.

Fast forward to 2005, and I ponder: is tracking links dead?

Daypop is still there but only tracking about 60,000 blogs, which whilst useful in terms of knowing what the bigger sites are talking about, doesn’t provide much in the way of link tracking.

Technorati, which I recently wrote was broken, despite the great service and response from the team there in rectifying it at the time, seems to be broken again, with no sites having had new incoming links for 24 hours (tested at the time of writing on Movabletype.org, TypePad.com, Fark.com, Scripting.com, Ensight.org and blogherald.com) and the counter which indicates the number of sites and links into blogs has pretty much been broken for months, with only intermittent updates, itself disappointing as this count is used by Technorati to track the top 100 blogs.

New kid on the block Pubsub, that surprised many by passing Technorati on the number of blogs tracked, although not providing as thorough a service as Technorati, was still providing a useful service. Guess what: it’s broken. A message on the site reads: “LinkRanks is temporarily unavailable. We’ve had to roll back our data to Wednesday, February 9. Please bear with us as we get things sorted out.” Their “Pubsub Matching Engine” is also down.

Feedster is often quoted as the third in the current crop of link readers. Personally, whilst I like and am happy to provide support to the Feedster team and product, link tracking is not their speciality, and the results given suffer from their lack of tracking as many blogs as the others, and a search engine that is often inaccurate in its findings.

So where to now? Is tracking links dead? I really hope not, for those that will come after us will miss an enjoyable aspect to the blogosphere that really deserves better attention to detail and quality control than it is currently receiving. We can only hope that Technorati and PubSub get their acts together, and shortly.

Update: deprived of links I just visited Daypop for a link check, the Blogstats feature was down with a 500 server error!

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