Many public relations professionals, like myself, use Technorati (and its RSS feeds) to track posts on blogs for our clients. So, when the big engine makes changes, they are particularly vexing for us.
Today, Dave Sifry reports about a new interface and functionality for Technorati that I am still sorting out. I went to the blog when I saw the change made. He talks about the features, which included collapsing search by keyword, tags and URL in to one interface. The interface has seven tabs: Features, Posts, Blogs, Videos, Photos, Music and Events.
I am seeing two major problems with this new interface that are particularly troublesome from my perspective.
Technorati Drops Ranking
I reported last week that Technorati has hung its hat on its “Authority” metric, and today Technorati again went down that path further by dropping the rank number in its searches. So, now you only get authority – unless you are on the Top 100 blogs list.
I am still tying to make sense of this “authority” number, which is simply the number of blogs that link to your blog, no matter the context. Case in point is the Engadget story, whose “authority” ranking was greatly enhanced over the last week or so due to the sheer number of people who linked to them after they ran with a story about Apple that tuned out to be false. How this makes them more of an “authority” is ironic at best.
Ranking isn’t perfect, but it did help balance where a blog sits in the relative food chain. The good news is that every 90 days all of this “authority” cycles out. Idea for Technorati: What would be very cool, and possibly make the “authority “ measurement somewhat relevant, is to be able to see the authority number over time on a graph, which would help with context by benchmarking the performance of a given blog against itself over time. As an aside, I also wonder if this will affect ToddAnd's Power 150 algorithm – since one of its measures is rank.
No more Search-Specific RSS Feeds on Main Site
From what I can tell, Technorati has dropped its dynamic RSS feeds for searches by URL, one of the main ways that I search. Even my watchlists no longer show RSS feeds as an option, though they used too. Luckily, Technorati has put together a stripped down version of its site (s.technorati.com) where you can still get an RSS feed for URL searches. If you do a keyword search, the RSS subscribe button is still around if you click on the blogs tab; however, if you want an RSS feed of photos, videos, music or any of the other tabs, you are out of luck. This would be an incredibly useful addition to the search results.
In other Technorati news that could explain the rework of the site, Om Malik passes on fact that Technorati is looking for a new chief executive (Dave Sifry will stay on in a product development role).
With so much change going on at Technorati, it behooves those of us that depend heavily on the service it delivers to do our jobs to keep up with the news. Will there be a buyer for the service? It remains to be seen.
Update: Technorati adds rankings back in, was this just an oversight?