Ask.com RSS Search – NOT!

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Okay, I’m not making this up, folks: Ask.com’s RSS Search isn’t outputting RSS properly. Actually, it is and was – according to the RSS 2.0 spec, the link element is completely optional – though I must admit this was the first time we had encountered an RSS 2.0 feed that lacked the link element altogether. I completely stand corrected As with any Web service that outputs RSS for search queries, I immediately integrated it into Gada.be results. You’ll certainly find Ask.com listed on Gada.be today, but the links to results aren’t working properly (a discovery pointed out by a few of our regular users). I looked at the source, and it seemed normal to me. When Shayne went to troubleshoot it this morning, he came up with an amazingly ironic discovery: “This may sound stupid, but when I tried to filter Ask.com to work using my methods… I came to find out, they’re not putting a <link> node in their RSS!!!” Okay, now that’s just too funny. ROTFLMAO funny. No, what’s funny is that I didn’t realize the link element was optional – because to me, it would seem to be obligatory, and I can’t help but wonder if other news aggregators had issues with Ask.com RSS feeds. I’ll be sending a note to my friends at Ask.com immediately, as I can’t imagine this being a difficult fix. Wasn’t really a fix, but they did update it to include the link element rather quickly – speaking to the dedication and understanding that’s happening behind the scenes over there. There ya go – Gada.be makes for an excellent troubleshooting tool sometimes (as it also discovered feed discrepancies in MSN’s feeds a few months ago). Boo-ya! Here’s a screen shot for posterity. Just to show I’m not completely nuts – only partially. If it’s possible to be right and wrong at the same time, I did it.