Roland Tanglao asks some good questions about watchlists

Roland Tanglao, a blogger I respect, asks some smart questions about Technorati's new advanced search features and keyword watchlists. I already commented on his blog, but I think the questions are good, and I want to comment further about it here:

Roland wrote:

I must be suffering from baby induced sleep deprivation :-) but didn't Feedster and PubSub have this from the very beginning? In other words, isn't this a feature Technorati should have had long ago? Regardless, my ongoing unscientific comparison of a Technorati versus PubSub versus Feedster search for "roland tanglao" reveals nothing has changed: PubSub has the best (fastest and most accurate and free unlike Technorati which only has three free watchlists) results followed by Feedster (again free) with Technorati being in the rear. I really don't understand why people continue to use and hype Technorati. The foks at Technorati are very cool and very friendly but I still find PubSub and Feedster much better.

DISCLAIMERS: During PubSub's brief existence, I have exchanged emails with them and have become friends with Bob Wyman, the CTO and Salim, the CEO. I also have met Scott Johnson of Feedster and think he's a cool and smart guy.

Here's my response, which is slightly edited from the comment I left on Roland's weblog:

Thanks for the comments. Of course, feel free to use whatever search you like. However, here's some comments:

First, When you do a search using Technorati, you'll get every post since the beginning of time (well, actually about 2 years ago onwards), not just the results from the moment you created the watchlist. I like PubSub, but they don't give any indication of what happened before you create your search. Also, I think you'll find that Technorati's results have the fastest updates.

Second, not all people who have RSS feeds have full-text feeds. Technorati actually indexes the full content of a post, not just the partial text that is often in the RSS feed.

Third, have you tried comparing results from advanced searches (using booleans and the like) when using Technorati watchlists compared to others? An advanced search is something like a search that allows you to group or use phrases, for example, like:

tsunami AND (phuket OR thailand OR "sri lanka") or
("six apart" OR sixapart) AND (livejournal OR "live journal") and so on.

In our testing, we've found that our advanced searches are more accurate and timely.

We also provide links to the cosmos of each post in the watchlist, as well as the relative authority of each blog, so you can get a quick indication of how authoritative or influential the blogger is. I personally find this quite useful.

Technorati is also indexing over 5.5 million blogs (and growing by over 20,000 per day!), both blogs with RSS feeds, and those without RSS, which is orders of magnitude more than some other services that only track RSS feeds.

We also have cosmos watchlists, which let you quickly and easily track who is linking to your blog or any URL you care about - your company, your blog, an interesting article, whatever.

And the limit to 3 watchlists is actually old cruft on our site - you actually can subscribe to as many watchlists as you like. Expect that text to go away shortly.

And of course, your criticism that Technorati should have had this long ago is quite accurate - we've been growing like crazy, and building out all the features we've wanted to build out has taken time. We also had some scaling and response time issues in the past, and we really wanted to make sure that we nailed the most critical issues with the service first. Note that we still have bugs (e.g. we are still seeing some link count glitches), and we're still going to continue to fix them at the same time we're rolling out new and useful features for our users. And there's lots more to come.

So please, continue to use the fine services from Feedster and PubSub! And please continue to try out and use Technorati watchlists as well. May a thousand flowers bloom.

I'm always happy to discuss this further as well, please feel free to drop me a line at dsifry at technorati dot com, or my direct line is 415 846-0232...