John Battelle on PubSub and Why I Like PubSub Better Than Technorati and If You Found This Post by PubSub Drop Me a Comment on the Term

John Battelle’s Searchblog: Grokking PubSub and Data Lock In PubSub is one of the greatest tools I have found on the web to date. John Battelle has a nice write up linked above about their service and a recent conversation he had with Founder Bob Wyman about their technology.

Like Technorati, PubSub tracks the ongoing conversations on the internet in real time. You can create various PubSub subscriptions for just about any term imaginable. Obviously this is really helpful for ego tracking and keeping track of where you are being talked about or linked on the internet. But beyond this, PubSub offers the door to finding interesting and new bloggers blogging about things that you care about. At present I subscribe to about 300 RSS feeds. These subscribed sources represent an amazing wealth of information for me but it’s the same old people. By subscribing to PubSub searches for things like “TiVo” or “MCE” I find that PubSub consistently delivers good and new conversations and content to me virtually every day.

Although I like Technorati as well, PubSub is in my mind much better. It mainly has to do with the results. Although I get much fewer results from my PubSub searches, the results I do get back are really high quality. Technorati has a lot of noise: duplicate posts, dated posts, less relevant content, non English stuff, etc. PubSub’s results are very clean and typically very relevant. Although I use both as both seem to pick up things that occasionally the other misses, I like PubSub more.

I’m not sure exactly nor would I most likely understand technically how their search methods differ but whatever PubSub is doing to find relevency, they are doing it right.

My only gripe with PubSub is really not a gripe with them but a gripe with NewsGator my current RSS reader of choice. For some crazy reason NewGator does not publish PubSub headlines with the feeds. It’s maddening because a lot of the time you have no way to go back to the original post when you want to blog it or find the author, etc. I’ve mentioned this to Bob Wyman Founder of PubSub in the past and I’ve blogged about it and sent it to the NewsGator help desk but still they can’t seem to get this one right.

So in addition to NewsGator I still regularly go to my Bloglines account where they do correctly publish the PubSub headlines. Bloglines feels kind of naked for me these days because I’ve removed all of my feeds there except my PubSub searches. I wouldn’t need to use Bloglines at all if NewsGator could get their act together on this.

Just out of curiousity, if you found this very post you are reading now through a PubSub search drop a note what the PubSub search term was in the comments.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I’ve passed this along to our dev team to take a look at this…if it’s NewsGator’s fault, we’ll fix it. –Greg Reinacker

  2. Bob Wyman says:

    Thomas, I found this entry via a PubSub subscription. The query string was: “bobwyman” OR “Bob Wyman” OR

    One reason you get fewer posts from PubSub than from Technorati is probably that you’ve used the “default” search on our home page. Default subscriptions have a LinkRank filter that limits results to only those blogs that have a significant number of inlinks in the recent past. This is a “relevance” filter. If you want to control or eliminate the filter, create a focused search by using the weblogs specific search page which you can get to from links in the upper left of our home page. (i.e. go to )

    Greg: The problem with Newsgator is that PubSub feeds are aggregate feeds. Thus, to discover the original source of an entry in a PubSub feed, you need to read the “ps:source-feed” elements that we insert into the feed. These elements are the predecessors to the “source” elements that will be a standard part of Atom V1.0 when it is published later this year. Since this stuff will be standard in a few months anyway, it would make sense I think, for Newsgator to start processing the data now… Frankly, every aggregate feed generator should be putting this kind of detailed attribution and source information in their feeds… Send me mail for more detail.

    bob wyman

  3. Anonymous says:


    This is no longer a problem.


    Ronnie Gilbertson
    NewsGator Support