David Sifry

Boston Photowalk Tuesday Feb 20?

I'm heading to Boston next week for the upcoming Public Media Conference. I'll be speaking there on Wednesday morning, doing a keynote conversation with Doc Searls, who, as a former radio DJ, has far more qualifications than me to speak to a bunch of Public Radio and TV execs, but we always have a good time. I'm looking forward to it.

I'm also bringing my camera, and looking for anyone in Boson who wants to get together and go for a photowalk around the city. I'll be arriving Monday evening, so that's a possibility, but more likely would be a walk around Tuesday evening, perhaps starting an hour or two before sunset, and going through to twilight. Anyone up for it? If so, leave a comment below with a suggestion on where to meet and if you're willing to help organize things. So far I've done this in Paris and in London, and it is always a really fun time.

See you in Boston!

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Watching the WTFs roll in

I've been addicted this morning to the list of new WTFs that people are writing - really interesting stuff! You can see the explanations that people all around the web are making on topics that they know about. We're also getting LOTS of great feedback from all of you out on the web about the new feature, and we're listening really carefully.

First off, performance and continuing scalability of the core Technorati service is still job #1. We've actually been growing pretty significantly over the last few months, so lot of our time and energy is being spent on continuing to build out the core service, and make sure that searches work well, all the time. We're also continuing to expand our work at finding and eliminating spam from our indexes, to make sure that your feeds are only filled with the best and most interesting results, not spam or plagiarism.

Now that WTF is out, we're redoubling our efforts on that front, and the recent search comparisons have helped to shed some light on areas where we need to continue to improve. Thanks for that.

We're also working very hard on making Technorati's services more relevant and timely and easy to understand for the non-blogger - the person who isn't a hard-core blogger, but wants to know what's gong on around a particular item or topic, and to be able to participate with a community of like-minded people as well. Hopefully, that participation will make everyone's experience better, and make Technorati more useful to everyone.

Keep all the great comments and feedback coming - this conversation is really important to us, especially when you tell us what you don't like, it's the best way for us to learn about how to better be of service to you. Sometimes it is a humbling experience but in the end, this is all about serving you, and providing you with the best possible service.

In the end, we're a startup of 40 people, and we're working on some pretty ambitious stuff to help make your experience of the web a more fun, satisfying one. So, I apologize for the glitches and issues, we're going to continue to make the service better, faster, and more glitch-free. And we're also going to continue to roll out new products and services that lead the way around exposing the Live Web - the real-time web. I hope that you enjoy and use WTF, it is just one of a long list of changes, features, and improvements that you're going to see coming from Technorati over the coming months. Stay tuned!

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Technorati Joins Startups in a Viral Ad Campaign for the Big Game

Remember when Web 1.0 companies of the late nineties ran all those expensive ads during the Superbowl? Well we Web 2.0 companies like to think we've moved beyond that irrational exuberance to something much better: rational exuberance. Or maybe we're just not as rich!

But at any rate, we’re definitely not buying the same TV spots during the Big Game that companies like Webvan and Pets.com did a few years ago. Times have changed, and so have methods. So when a company called Meebo asked us to join their viral Super-Bowl ad campaign, we were all for it.

Meebo, Meez, Multiply, Plaxo, RockYou.com and Technorati have all banded together to produce some of our own citizen Super-Bowl ads, and we're not running them on TV, we're running them on YouTube, of course.

We took the opportunity to promote our new feature, WTF, but frankly, it was just a lot of fun. So follow the link, watch our ad, and those of our fellow startups! We hope you enjoy it as much as we did, because after all, our goal is always to be of service, even if it’s just making you laugh.

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WTF? It's a new feature!

Great news - today we launched a feature I've really been looking forward to and that I hope you'll come to love as much as I do. It's called WTF (no, not that: It's "Where's the Fire.")

We've been doing a lot of thinking and planning lately about how we can help to make Technorati more useful to more people. Of course, we're constantly working on improving our core search areas, staying the most comprehensive live web search engine, being the fastest and most responsive engine, pulling out the most spam and splogs so they don't show up in results, and providing you with as much information as possible about the topics you care about.

One of the things that we've found is that as the blogosphere and the Live Web in general has become more and more active, it's increasingly difficult to immediately discern why any given topic is a top search on Technorati. This is especially true when it's a topic that pretty regularly shows up in our top searches (for instance, MySpace or iPhone or Paris Hilton). Folks who use Technorati a lot have consistently shared with us their desire to quickly and efficiently get to the really relevant stuff fast.

That's why our team developed Where's the Fire. When you see a top search with an orange flame next to it, it means at least one person from the community has written their view as to why that topic is hot - right now. The community is also invited to either write their own explanation or vote on the WTFs they view as most helpful. Based on a combination of number of votes and timeliness, the top WTFs by search topic appear on the top of the results page.

But it isn't just for the hottest searches or the stuff with the biggest buzz - in fact, one of the things that I like the most about WTF is that you can write an explanation about any search or topic, and if you get the most votes, your explanation goes in at the top of the results page for that search. You can write a WTF on any topic that someone would search for, and provide information and resources to them about that topic or subject. So, you might want to write a WTF about yourself or your friends names, or your company (or maybe even your competition!)

If you think that you've got a better explanation than the one that shows up on top of Technorati search results for a term, no worries, just go and write your own, and get your friends to vote for it. When you write something great, tell your friends to go and vote for it - for example, please go and vote for my explanation of WTF itself if you think it succinctly tells the story of the feature, and the voting system will take care of the rest.

In many ways, the most valuable real estate a site like ours has is our search pages. So, we're taking a pretty big risk with this. WTF is a big experiment; we're entrusting the most valuable real estate to you - our community - and we think it's going to be a powerful way to make Technorati more useful to you.

So check it out and give it a try. And, as always, please share your thoughts and ideas with me - we really want this to be a useful and engaging new service for all those who use Technorati.

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