It Be Talk Like A Pirate Day 2008 Arrr!

International Talk Like a Pirate Day

Image via Wikipedia

Here be ye Piratey online booty fer International Talk Like a Pirate Day:

Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!  I’ll be updatin’ if I find ye some more treasures, now back to yer stations ye dirty sea dogs!

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Touting Today’s Top Tech Triumph, Toluu Tackles Tagging!

Toluu’s tags, totally tremendous!  Today’s timesink: tagging Toluu totality!  Ok, enough of that, this really is great news.

Caleb Elston, Toluu’s founder, tells us that tagging was the most requested feature for Toluu.  I’m very impressed with the implementation as tagging really permeates the site now, it’s feels like a true integration, not a hacked together add on.   When adding tags, the auto-complete will cut down on typos.  Along with tagging you’ll see better sorting options on many pages.

A word of warning, if you reimport your OPML you will lose your exsisting tags so you’re gonna want to sync everything before you get started and then use the bookmarklet (or single add) to add new feeds to your Toluu account.

Let’s take a look at some screen shots:

Top Used Tags for a users now on their Profile

Top Used Tags for a user now on their Profile

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You can click Top Tags to see all of a user's tags, notice the sort options

You can click Top Tags to see all of a user's tags. Notice the new sort options.

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Click a tag to see all feeds a users has tagged with it

Click a tag to see all feeds that user has tagged with it

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Quickly add tags from My Feeds, hover to get add button, click for tag dialog

Quickly add tags from My Feeds, hover to get add button, click for tag dialog

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Click a tag and see all the feeds with that tag

Click a tag and see all the feeds with that tag

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Click a feed and goto it's tab menu for all sorts of tagging goodness, including suggestions

Click a feed and go to it's tab menu for all sorts of tagging goodness, including similar feeds to check out

I’m sure I missed some things but that’s a good rundown of some of the most important additions.  This is a big upgrade in usability for Toluu but it relies on Toluu users taking the time to tag their feeds, something that provides only a small amount of additional functionality for themselves.  As people use the tagging system you’ll see Toluu making changes to get the most bang out of it.  I’ll go ahead and predict that grouping of tags that are similar except for extraneous characters and plurals will be added.   Enough of me, go play with it yourself and get tagging – I need to find some new podcasts!

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Google Adsense Knows, Taunts Me

I thought Google wasn't supposed to be evil?

I thought Google wasn't supposed to be evil...

In an attempt to drive me mad, Google has been posting adsense ads for both Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and for Pedometers to my site. This juxtaposition of doughy temptation and a capitalistic encouragement of my weight loss attempts is the height of evil! Google knows that it can appeal to either side of my nature, and either way my willpower goes, still profit (or maybe they just want me to walk to Krispy Kreme).

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The Reports of KillerStartups Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

In my very own “Dewey Defeats Truman” moment last week I published an article “KillerStartups Killed?” and used various analytic services to show KillerStartups current status versus competitors like Crunchbase.  Obviously, the title implies that KillerStartups had been surpassed and the Google Trends data seemed to back up the assumption.  The article was then picked up by Cyndy Aleo-Carreira @ The Industry Standard, shared by Lois Gray, Robert Scoble, and finally got the attention of KillerStartups’ co-founder Gonzalo Arzuaga.  Gonzalo pointed me to this useful nugget showing direct traffic measurement and KillerStartups retaining it’s title as the king of everything startup.

Quantcast graph of daily vistiors for Killerstartups and Crunchbase

Quantcast graph of daily vistiors for Killerstartups and Crunchbase

I botched the article because I wasn’t aware of Quantcast, so to verify that the service was legit I popped it into a friendfeed search and came up with a great article on the Inquisitr giving a brief rundown of web metric services.  The thread in friendfeed started off with a comment from the knowledgeable Charlie Anzman of SEO and Tech Daily:

Quantcast is the only one on the list with code embedded in the site making it positively the most accurate. 

Charlie was kind enough to let me pick his brain on the subject a little more by e-mail:

While it appears that Google Ad Planner is not (yet?) the ‘Comscore killer’ that so many predicted, my personal preference would be to use a service that has definitive metrics.  Most, if not all, of the major web measurement services buy surfing habits from ISP’s as well as major sites that use tracking cookies.  These numbers can be seriously skewed.  I have a tendency to create my own sets using analytics from individual websites and blogs that I have access to.  The reason I continue to mention Quantcast is because their numbers are definitive as they are the only one that require tracking code directly on your website as well as verification.

I find this all to be very interesting and I’ve learned a lot from my mistake.  I still felt that I needed to dig into this a little more to find out what happened to KillerStartups’ traffic.  Pepe Amorin, VP Marketing for KillerStartups was kind enough to answer a few questions for me:

- All the stats services show a drop in June and the services with more current data show a large climb, what caused the slump and how did you climb so quickly out of it?

During June we had most of our URLs changed in order to make them friendlier for our users and search engines. That slowed the traffic for a bit, and we knew it would happen. We’re constantly improving our site in all aspects, and SEO is one of them. So every time we do one of these changes, it’s like going to the Doctor for us. It might hurt a little, but we know everything will be better and these slumps are the preface of great improvements.

- There have been some questions raised about the validity of even Quancast’s direct traffic statistics, have you noticed any discrepancies?

Quantcast is the source we prefer for traffic statistics. Let me tell you why. The way Quantcast works is that the website owner or webmaster pastes a code in every page of the website. This is a script that sends information to Quantcast every time someone visits your website. Basically, it works just the same way as Google Analytics, only the results are public. The only flaw I can find in Quantcast is that it requires the website owner to paste the script on all pages, but if they do (most people do, and I recommend everyone to do it), it’s as accurate as it gets.

- How has the Digg ban affected your traffic and have you ever gotten a good explanation for it happening?

Frankly, I don’t know why Digg has banned our URL from being submitted. We sent a few emails to them, but their customer service is far from being their best feature. Anyways, they’ve banned our URL shortly after we started back in 2007, and after the second email they didn’t reply, we gave up. Since we were never allowed to be submitted to Digg, we don’t have any numbers to compare with and see how it affects us. We’d probably have more traffic, since many of our stories are very “Diggable”. But we get a lot of traffic from several other social bookmarking tools such as Delicious, Reddit and StumbleUpon. We’re more than happy with the 50,000 visits we’re currently getting every day.

Let me again offer my apology to the team at KillerStartups, thank you for your understanding and your time. I would also like to apologize to everyone that reshared this and all my readers, the article was poorly researched due to my ignorance and it turned out the premise I was putting forward was incorrect and I hope this post will help clear up any misconceptions I created.

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KillerStartups Killed?

*Please note the important update at the end of this post

One way that a new blogger can get story ideas and make a name for themselves is to report on new and interesting startups, the problem has been how do you find out about a startup early enough to get the scoop? The main service that I was aware of was KillerStartups.com, they saw the need, the niche, and acted with great success.  The problem that appeared was the sheer amount of new startups interested in the publicity made it impossible for detailed coverage of any of them.  The cookiecutter information that became the standard fare on KillerStartups, while still useful, left open a door for competition that could do a better job providing coverage.

TechCrunch’s Crunchbase has been steadily gaining users in this arena and with the recent addition of an API and KillerStartups’ decline, has taken the lead according to Google Trends (it’s recent integration into Zemanta means you’ll see more of it from me):

Google Trends Data for Startup Info

Google Trends Data for Startup Info

Still, it’s hard to scoop TechCrunch with their own database, so other startups have entered the field, two that I’ve used and think are notable are TradeVibes and YouNoodle.  If you check out the Alexa data you can see that YouNoodle is enjoying a spike in traffic among Alexa users.  And while Alexa data is generally considered less than ideal, in this case it might be a better indicator of where web-savy users are getting their information:

Page Views by Alexa Users

Page Views by Alexa Users

The Alexa data also seems to show some hope for KillerStartups, but the Google Trends data is showing a clear flatline.   So, we get back to the title of this post, does the way KillerStartups delivers information still have a place?  Can they bounce back or has KillerStartups been killed?

*Update! – Please be sure to take a look at the comments and note that the Quantcast directly measured results back up what the Alexa results show, a significant bounce back up in traffic and a hefty lead in readership over Crunchbase.

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