Sunday, January 15, 2006
It all began with a simple, innocuous, question: What are people like me subscribing to online?
Search tells me what content is available. Social networking largely tells me about the interesting individual posts that some people flag. Blogrolls tell me what a single blogger thinks is interesting or important. But short of emailing everyone everywhere, how do I figure out the trusted content that the silent majority tracks? Where are we all flocking to, the people like me, day in and day out? We know all about bloggers, the supply-side of Web 2.0. What's the demand-side - the consumers of all this content - really up to?
Well, emailing them all and asking them to share what they're subscribing to is pretty much the only way to find out. But you don't have to email everyone to ask them, because FeedBlitz is doing it for you.
Introducing FeedAdvisor from FeedBlitz.
FeedAdvisor analyzes the FeedBlitz subscriber database and maps your individual subscriptions to everyone else's. A proprietary algorithm then lists up to three new content sources based on the aggregated behavior of people who have the same subscriptions as you do. No individual preferences are revealed (that's obviously very important!), but the aggregate, emergent behavior of the entire population is boiled down to the top feeds that you seem to be missing. And it's easy. One click to preview. One click to subscribe. One click to reject. So it's both pretty darned cool and useful.
Here's FeedAdvisor at work for "Burnham's Beat":
The binoculars preview the result, the green check mark subscribes you, the red cross tells FeedAdvisor to ignore that result next time. Whether you see the same links or not depends entirely on your current subscriptions. FeedAdvisor's results are tailored for and unique to each subscriber, and are recalculated daily with results delivered in real-time when your update is sent. You do nothing except look for the links - if any - at the foot of each update.
It's incredibly powerful and, frankly, just downright interesting to follow the links. Start by previewing a FeedAdvisor feed (either from a link in an email, or from your FeedBlitz dashboard at http://www.feedblitz.com/f/f.fbz?Feeds ). And then preview away - it's fascinating to see what crops up, where the closed loops and cul-de-sacs appear, and where the commonalities and off-ramps take you. It's the Subscription Web, created by you, the readers.
FeedAdvisor is available now. It's part of the standard and premium services, and so is available to absolutely everyone with a FeedBlitz subscription. There's more on FeedAdvisor, including a comprehensive set of FAQs, up on the FeedBlitz site. So explore, have fun, and look out for further features and analysis based on the FeedAdvisor algorithm.
UPDATE FeedAdvisor is now available from your FeedBlitz dashboard, from sent emails, from feed previews, or from FeedAdvisor.com. Just look for the blue FeedAdvisor logos.