Technorotten

July 6th, 2006

Update: Just a couple short hours after posting this entry, Technorati did in fact come to my rescue. I’ll be damned, it worked! Many thanks to Janice Myint for causing such a swift resolution to take place.

Chances are if you’re reading this blog you’ve heard of Technorati, the leading service for “adding up all the links” to the millions of blogs in the world.

There’s a mass joke of referring to the site as “Egorati” which is totally true and totally funny. Basically, it becomes addictive to go look at your own listing on the site and see whether your “rank” has gone up or down. I don’t really need it to see who’s linking to me, because I use Mint and that tends to catch things a lot more thoroughly and quickly than Technorati. But I still want to see my ranking!

The ranking has more than just ego-stimulation purpose. It helps you to get more readers who are looking for what you happen to be blogging about. While my ranking will never put me in the Top 100, there are many categories for which a relatively modest ranking will earn you a top billing for the category. So while I may not make it to the Top 5 Apple Blogs with John Gruber and Merlin Mann, there are other categories where I should be able to stand out a little bit.

Take for example the Top Cocoa Blogs. There are some real recognizable names in there. Brent Simmons and Steven Frank lead the category, but in contrast to the astronomical linkage numbers of Daring Fireball or 43 Folders, their blogs are actually “within my reach,” at least in terms of Technorati ranking. While I am nowhere near as popular or significant as either of those two men, my numbers add up. Even by Technorati’s current measurement, I should come in at third place in the Cocoa rankings, but I don’t show up at all. Why?

My entire Technorati existence has been plagued with bugs from day one.

Take a look again at my page, and you’ll see that Technorati thinks my blog hasn’t been updated in 78 days. This is in spite of repeated attempts to “ping” them with news of my changes. The bugs are deeper than that. Even back when it appeared that they noticed my updates from time to time, they would never “hook me in” to the Blog Finder results. I’ve configured my blog with a bunch of keywords, including Cocoa, but my listing never shows up. My content is also not being indexed. Take a popular recent blog of mine, the “Apple phones home” one. If you type the phrase into Google, you get my page as the first result. Type the same thing into Technorati, and you get a bunch of other blogs talking about my entry, but my entry itself is nowhere to be found.

Because I’m stuck in Technorati bug land. I’ve been there for several months and I can’t get out. So why am I complaining to you, the reading public? Because I’ve tried too many times with Technorati and received no reply or even acknowledgement that they’d look into it. So I figure in this crazy new world, maybe my only hope of getting in touch with Technorati is to actually write about them on my blog and let them somehow find it. Ironic, but it might just work?

I understand that Technorati must face a huge support dilemma. But if they’re going to simply not respond to support requests, it would be better to take the option to submit them off the page. When you submit a request ticket at Technorati, you get an automated email which contains the first sign of rotten-ness in the form of this sentence:

If you don’t hear back from anyone within a few business days then please let us know and be sure to include the subject and ticket number, “[Feedback] Web Contact: Blog Finder #33035], ” in your note so we may properly track your issue and its progress.

Translation: “support requests regularly get lost and go unanswered, so the onus is on you, the consumer if you actually want this to be tracked responsibly.”

I’m no expert, but if I was building a business, I would see this as a huge, red flag. If you have to build your apology for bad support in to the automated response then somebody is doing a terrible job or you haven’t hired all the people you need to in order to conduct a proper business.

The first couple times I submitted requests, I just waited patiently. Who am I to presume that my little indexing problem is worth rudely following up on the request. I’ll just wait it out. Surely they’re working on it. After a couple months or so I decided maybe their system requires you to actually go through the follow-up phase to turn into a “real ticket.” I responded to one politely and noted that things hadn’t been improving. No response.

I give up on your rotten support system, Technorati. It doesn’t work. It’s a black hole. Nobody responds and it makes me feel like an idiot. It’s rotten! You’ve got a great system and a great site but if you can’t patch up the mistakes then it’s worthless to me, and misleading to your customers.

13 Responses to “Technorotten”

  1. ssp Says:

    Technorati seem to have about the least reliable web site on the net. While they have recently improved my attempts to ‘ego google’ led to about 80% non answers (aka ‘try again later’) from their side (which is down to about 20% but still way beyond acceptable). And, as you say, their results seem quite random anyway. Some days there’s a lot of spam in there, on others there isn’t, so it’s not exactly useful or a great tool or anything.

  2. Chris Clark Says:

    One thing it’s useful for: associating blog URLs with author profiles and graphical avatars. (Daniel, upload an avatar to your Technorati profile)

  3. Janice Myint Says:

    Hello,

    My name is Janice. I head up Customer Support at Technorati. Please accept my sincerest apologies for our delay in getting back to you. We’ve been experiencing a backlog in support and are working hard to address everyone. I’ve taken a look at the issue regarding picking up your pings for “www.red-sweater.com/blog”. After making a small adjustment, I’ve sent our spiders to revisit your page and your blog has been indexed with your most recent posts, as well as link count.

    http://technorati.com/blogs/www.red-sweater.com/blog

    Everything now appears to be working as it should, but please let me know if you experience any problems in the future. Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any other questions. I do apologize for any inconvenience. Thank you for using Technorati!

    Best Regards,
    Janice Myint
    Customer Support Specialist
    Technorati

  4. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Oh my god it worked! Janice, you\’re my hero. Thanks for fixing this!

  5. Simon Says:

    Hehe. And now you’re #1 in the Cocoa category. I guess the “writing a blog entry” thing worked.

  6. Andre Stechert Says:

    Not only did it work, but time-to-response-via-blog-entry was about 2 hours 20 minutes. I’ve been on hold longer than that.

  7. Scott McNulty Says:

    I imagine Technorati would be pleased if you updated this entry. ;)

    I’ve always felt that Technorati is somewhat of a blackhole as well, so it is lucky I don’t really care about my ranking on my personal blog. TUAW’s ranking, on the other hand, I care about. Good thing we’re in the Apple Top 5. :)

  8. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Good idea Scott, I should update the content of the entry to reflect the resolution. Doing it now …

    also a good opportunity to see if my ping really updates at Technorati :)

  9. fnkmstr Says:

    Red flag, or red sweater?

  10. Hawk Wings » Blog Archive » Hawk Wings: First birthday, problems Says:

    […] Entirely by coincidence Hawk Wings celebrated by breaking through the 10,000 mark in Technorati’s blog ranking system. (Like Daniel Jalkut I find Technorati disturbingly addictive. No doubt that’s part of the secret to the site’s success). […]

  11. stevenf Says:

    What’s weird is I don’t really even blog about Cocoa.

  12. Conor Dearden Says:

    You should have know that Technorati monitors blogs, hence support for Technorati should be in the form of a blog post. You now know the truth that the support email goes to a black hole, but a support post on your blog take only 2 hours to fix the issue. Good job in rising to the top of Cocoa so fast — even past Scott, now you can set your aim on John Grubber in the Apple section.

  13. Case-Notes from the Artsy Asylum Says:

    Technorati Changes and Challenges…

    Dave Sifry of Technorati was recently interviewed by Guy Kawasaki which is an entertaining and informative. Also swirling around in Dave’s world are Blog rankings which he lets us know about in a post to Sifry’s Alerts where he notes that these may j…

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