Blog Link Tracking

Last week I wrote a short post saying I had taken Technorati off my blog.

I should have elaborated and explained what I have been using Technorati for.

When I started blogging, I asked Jeff Jarvis how to find out who was linking to my blog.

He pointed me to Technorati and for the first year of this blog, I checked Technorati every day to find out who was linking to me.

When you are an active blogger, its important to know who is linking to you, what they are saying, and why.  It extends the conversation, which is what blogging is all about.

If you clicked on any of those links above to Technorati, you may have gotten the following result:

Sorry, we couldn’t complete your search because we’re experiencing a
high volume of requests right now. Please try again in a minute or add this search to your watchlist to track conversation.

That was happening to me all the time and so I figured it was time to take Technorati off of my blog.

But I still need to know who is linking to my blog posts.

So I decided to take a close look at the three other options for link tracking.

They are:

PubSub
IceRocket
Feedster

There may be others, but these are the three that I know of.

I want to pick one and put a link to it on my blog so that I can easily click thru to see who is linking to me and more importantly so my readers can do the same.

I’ve spent a bit of time looking at all of them and here is my assesment of each of them.

Technorati – Used to be great. I believe they invented the concept of link tracking fro blogs.  But it is now is unusable for link tracking.  It does a lot of other things now and maybe link tracking is no longer strategic to them.  But it still is for me.

PubSub – They do an amazing job of tracking all the links and compiling a huge amount of information on the links.  But I find it very hard to decipher all the data and get to the one thing I really want to know, which is who has linked to me in the past 24 hours?  While I recognize the quality of the data, I can’t deal with the presentation.

IceRocket – The newcomer and fast follower of the crowd.  They picked up the ball from Technorati and ran with it.  I like their UI the best and the data is pretty good.  I don’t think they are comprehensive becuase Feedster finds links they don’t.  But they are a pretty decent solution for link tracking and I like them a lot.

Feedster – They have been the number two after Technorati in link tracking and I have always checked them out from time to time, but never made a habit of it.  I think they may be more comprehensive than IceRocket.  But I don’t like the UI as much.  One thing I do like a lot about Feedster is their link tracking goes back a lot farther in time, so they have 2,867 links to my blog whereas IceRocket only has 735.

I should take a minute and say that I think tracking all the links from all the blogs in close to real time is an extraordinarily hard job and maybe no company can nail it at this point (including Google).

But given that I need a sense of who is linking to me, I have no choice but to continue to use one or more of these services.

For now, I am going to use both Feedster and IceRocket.  I’ll put them both on my blog and try to use them both for the next month or so. 

At that point, maybe one or the other will be good enough that I can pick one to standardize on.  But for right now, I don’t feel like I can do that.