Okay, bLaugh is up and running – including a great gag on the Friendster patent today. I’ve been using FeedBurner to manage the feed, which has (for the most part) been a good experience. To make bLaugh fully PSP compatible, I had to create enclosures for the comic images – which can only be done with a direct hyperlink to the image itself. In doing so, some of my non-Friendster friends are telling me that two images are showing up in each bLaugh feed item. The reasons are simple: (a) the news aggregator is ignoring the HTML I’ve set to hide the image link from plain view; (b) the news aggregator is rendering the enclosure inline for your convenience, as well as the image that’s pulling in directly via the IMG tag. So is anybody really to blame here? Wish I knew. FeedBurner has allowed me to infuse the Flickr images tagged “bLaugh” with my regular ol’ blog feed – allowing my tens of thousands of subscribers to get the day’s gag without having to subscribe to the separate bLaugh feed. Still, others are saying that my feed in Bloglines is giving them fits. Argh! Can I just blame the dog?!
Until a few more legal loopholes get closed, I won’t be able to expand much further upon the whole “I’m offering you a stake in TagJag” concept; I’d rather underpromise and overdeliver on this idea. I’m on the lookout for some kind of hip lawyer who can help us get it wrapped up. It’s a community-building effort, so I’m hoping to find someone who understands what that means. I should probably talk to Buzz and/or Denise, eh? No matter, I have to show you a couple of emails before I explain why I did what I did with Brad, Jeff, and Rick (the VCs) at Gnomedex.
Today I launched the second version of Omgili, an innovative, advanced search engine for discussions. The new release presents many new features and technology innovations that make Omgili the leading search engine for information rich discussion forums. I have been using Gada.be (now TagJag) for a while (mainly for research) and really enjoyed it. It’s simple, smart, effective and does the job! That’s why I think Omgili’s results will be a great addition to TagJag. Omgili covers tens of thousands forums and millions of discussions (including Google and Yahoo Answers), adding it to TagJag will contribute to the richness of the fantastic TagJag service.
I know it’s still too geeky, but that’s one publisher who understands that we’re helping him get his set of unique results out there. The filtering and sorting are coming – and after Shayne read Matt’s post on the matter, he believes he knows how to make “it” work better. The audience feedback wasn’t challenging, it was enlightening and reassuring (as I had been thinking along the very same lines, but lacked more than a single developer to execute upon them). Here’s the second email, from Brian Dear:
I’m sitting here watching your TagJag presentation at Gnomedex… I noticed that there are “EVDB” results under “Entertainment” – cool! Could you rename the “EVDB” to be “Eventful”? That’s the name we’re using these days as the main brand (EVDB is the underlying business-to-business brand).
They’re not the only “smaller” publishers who understand the concept of leveling the search playing field while still retaining their original identity, results, and feed link. Again, sorting and filtering are coming – but it all starts with the growing list of publishers. A few weeks ago, Brian Carrozzi emailed me asking… “With whom can I speak in regards to getting our videos indexed from http://videos.gabcity.com ?” They know they’re not a “YouTube,” so they have to use every means necessary to spread their brand.
Ponzi has some fantastic ideas for the next iteration, and I’ve gotta get a few more things organized before impending efforts can roll forward. What you see is not what you’re going to get – and the question asked at Gnomedex was clearly answered. Should TagJag get funded? As I learned by sticking my neck out: NO. Does it need more resources? I already knew the answer to that question: YES.
Don’t expect every one of these searches to yeild results, though. The output was generated by a single OPML file and the Optimal OPML WordPress Plugin. Looking for other easy ways to display the OPML from Gada.be right now. Hell, entirely new sites could be built on top of the OPML we produce – much like RSS, it’s a poor man’s API.
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.