Google engineers as well as independent developers have done some interesting things with the Google search technology API. Others, like Dave Sifry find that Google’s usual two-day lag time for news and current item indexing (like blogs, for example) is just two long. Dave built some amazing technology using RSS. If you don’t know what RSS is, don’t worry. This isn’t meant to be a techno-geek post. Simply, think of RSS as a broadcasting system that websites can use to send out signals. These signals can be picked up by newsreaders, news aggregators, websites, blogs and more.
The blogging world is excited about RSS. It’s adaptation and acceptance is growing dramatically. Sifry’s Technorati websites take these RSS signals (streams) and can decipher and deliver a bunch of cool data. Doc pointed me to Sifry’s latest implementation “The 100 most interesting blogs”. And on this page you’ll see that Sifry is pulling in Hot News from MIT’s experimental site “BlogDex”.
But some marketers and unfortunately the type that propogate from the spamosphere of web marketing have figured out (it appears) how to manipulate and undermine the technology. Fancy marketing? I think not. Case in point comes from the BlogDex and Technorati sites. Check out the number one ranked news. News it is not. It’s simply another form of Spam. Columbia House and/or its marketer is the culprit here and has figured out how to send its direct marketing offer (looking for 4 DVDs for only 49 cents?) through RSS and somehow getting it ranked as a hot news item on BlogDex. In turn, it shows up on Sifry’s Technorati — and who knows where else.
This is a problem. And this is, in my opinion, abuse. Imagine what’ll happen once the adult sites, herbal Viagra sellers, mortgage lenders and poor Nigerian businesses looking for US bank accounts get hold of this slick technology. It could curb efforts like Sifry’s and others to find, experiment and use technologies, API’s and more to innovative and exciting web applications like Technorati. This also jeapordizes the “free” or otherwise low cost applications that make the web community so enticing and innovative.[click on thumbnail images for larger full frame images]