Tag Archive for facebook

Blog Comment Solutions

Last month I wrote up a big post on Insight into Blog Comment spam and this article carries that theme forward by looking at what are some of the top comment platforms used and how well they perform. The data set I used was only 17 respondents but they were all experienced and well known bloggers so they have both a large audience of readers and audience that spammers would be more likely to target their blog.

What is the current Blog comment platform you use?

It wasn’t a massive surprise but 65% of the respondents to my survey showed a strong preference for using the default WordPress comment system which is preferred because it obviously requires no effort to setup.

Blog comment platform used
Would you change what Blog comment platform you are using? If so what would be the alternative?

It was also interesting to find out that a 53% of respondents did not plan on changing comment platform.  But what is interesting is that 4 out of 5 current users of Disqus said they would not change their platform where for WordPress it was only 45% that would not change their platform.

What blog platform

 How do you find the current blog comment platform for dealing with spam?

Just under half (47%) of respondents found their current blog comment platform was performing above average.  Once again Disqus more than out performing with the ratings all “above average” and one “excellent”.

Dealing with Spam

How do you find the current blog comment platform for dealing with moderation?

I surprised to see that webmasters feel that a majority of the blog comment platform quite well for moderation with 58% ranking their comment platforms as above average and 35% ranking them as excellent.  I think the problem with this question is the definition of moderation is likely interpreted differently between respondents.

Dealing with comment moderation

How do you find the current blog platform for dealing with self-promotion?

It seems that while the current blog platforms are good with moderation but average for dealing with self-promotion. It seems based on the respondents that the blog comment platforms pretty much suck for dealing with self-promotion, this could also be that it’s very hard to define what is self-promotion sometimes.

Dealing with self-promotion

How do you find the current blog platform for engagement?

Both Disqus and WordPress got 2 votes for “excellent” and also 1 vote each for “below average”, but I was surprised that there was a fairly positive view for both platforms.  I had expected to see Disqus slightly higher because of the social interactions and votes but maybe with a larger data set that might shift.

Platform engagement

How do you find the currently comment platform for dealing with abuse?

Seems a majority of platforms don’t currently do well with abuse, but Disqus did seem to perform better as it received no “below average” votes unlike WordPress.  Again the definition of abuse is a bit vague as someone swearing in a comment might be abuse to some authors but not to another.  I assume that most respondents might have struggled to interpret what I meant by “abuse” and some blogs might get more abuse within comment threads, towards the blog owner or the writer of the post.

Dealing with abuse

Do you also use Akismet to reduce spam?

It seems that most people use Akismet but not everyone uses the professional or enterprise version, but those using the Free version don’t always have the most negative experience based on their responses.  I would think that blog owners should consider testing/trialing the professional version of Akismet if comments are a problem.

Do you use Akismet

 What about SEO benefits?

It seemed that Disqus comment plugin did appear to perform better for SEO.  But this question could have been easily split into several questions to drill into what SEO benefits they feel they receive as it could be improved onsite content, improved referral links, cross linking between profiles & comments and more. The problems with many other comment plugins is that you don’t own your data or the comments and are mostly not indexable/crawlable by Google.

seo-comments

Who helped contribute to this data?

Some of the bloggers & marketers that contributed to this survey that I wanted to thank was Bill Slawski, AJ Ghergich, Barry Wise, Alan K’necht, Chris Gilchrist, Kate Morris, Stephane Hamel, Branko Rihtman, Chris Burgess, Brad Geddes, Dixon Jones, Jason Mun, Tad Chef, Bill Sebald, Lyena Solomon, Jonathan Allen, & one anonymous blogger.

What are the other comment plugin options?

I see from the responses that like myself there are several bloggers that responded to the survey that are open to moving to a new comment plugin.  So I looked into several of the features/benefits of each of the primary blog comment plugins and detailed them below.

Google+ Comments Plugin for WordPress

  • Imports prior public comments made across Google+
  • Platform offers moderators limited filtering comments options
  • Easier sharing of posts on Google+
  • Offers easy interaction with Google+ audience
  • Google+ users can reply directly within Google+ comments
  • Moderators can Flag & Remove Spam Comments
  • Google+ Comments doesn’t paginate comments
  • Google+ doesn’t load all comments by default
  • Google+ comments don’t appear to contribute towards onsite content
  • It forces users to comment with their personal social media accounts
  • You balance the hassle with the hope of getting increased referral traffic from Google+

Facebook Comment Plugins

  • Facebook comments limit comments to those with a Facebook/Yahoo!/AOL or Hotmail account
  • The default comment setting is “post to Facebook” that drives self-promotion and encourages referral traffic
  • Back in 2011 TechCrunch moved to FB which dropped the number of comments but also killed off the low quality & troll comments
  • TechCrunch have also now moved to Livefyre from FB comments after 2 years
  • Facebook comments force users to comment using their personal accounts
  • After making Facebook comments you can get a flood of notifications
  • Facebook controls all your data and you have no option to backup/export or edit existing comments if required and strengthen your dependence on Facebook.
  • Facebook comments are apparently confusing to moderate

Livefyre Comments for WordPress

  • Real-time comments can be hard to moderate (spam issue)
  • Users can now link to external websites instead of their Livefyre profile (spam issue)
  • Liking a comment creates a DoFollow link back via their avatar (spam issue)
  • You don’t own the comment content it’s owned/controlled by Livefyre
  • Posters can tag other users in their comments
  • When they post a comment users can share notification to Twitter/Facebook to drive more engagement and referral traffic back to your post
  • Twitter feeds can bring in irrelevant comments into your comment stream
  • There is limited filters in place on the social conversation feature
  • Moderation of comments not a two-way street between Livefyre and WP comments database.
  • Users can follow “listen” to a conversation which can lift engagement
  • Poor moderation features and no bulk option
  • Replying to comments can be more tedious than other platforms
  • Lower engagement due to requirements to signup to Livefyre platform
  • Limitations with comment formatting and styling of comment box

Disqus Comment System for WordPress

  • The leading third party comment system for blogs
  • Mobile friendly comments and app for site owners for moderation
  • Allows for rich media to be attached with comment (photos, links, video)
  • There is free and premium versions available
  • Users can flag comments for moderation
  • Multiple registration support (Guest, OpenID, Facebook, Twitter, Google)
  • Platform supports word filtering
  • Platform supports blacklists/whitelists
  • Site can display social media reactions (Tweets)
  • Integration with Akismet
  • When importing WP comments it does not support Gravatar images associated with existing comments
  • Seems more SEO friendly as comments can count towards your overall onsite content

IntenseDebate Comments for WordPress

  • Created by owners of WordPress & Akismet
  • Offers reputation points to drive higher quality discussions
  • When they post a comment users can share notification to
  • Twitter to drive more engagement
  • Comment responses sends email notification to bring users back to the site
  • Users can flag comments for moderation
  • Supports widgets to show off comment stats
  • Multiple registration support (OpenID, Twitter, Facebook, WordPress.com)
  • Plugin APIs allow for adding Polls, YouTube videos

Which Platform won?

It’s a hard decision but it seems that Disqus might be the best solution if you are thinking of moving away from WordPress’s default comment platform based on the average ratings were far higher than respondents using WordPress default platform.  There is certainly an advantage using Disqus or WordPress default as your comment plugin if you get comments and want them to contribute towards your overall onsite content.

While Facebook seems to be the easiest solution for brands with large Facebook audiences but most blogs seem to dump them after a while and go back to their old platform and only one blogger did consider Facebook as a possible alternative to their current platform.

I’ve done several tests and found the blog will show in Google when you search for reader comment quotes with Disqus & WordPress but not for Google+, the original Google+ comment can rank but I didn’t see the blog ranking when I searched for the comment.

I think unless you are really wanting to push Google+ down the throats of your users I would say Disqus seems to be the sensible solution and seems to be the solution I would consider migration towards.

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Facebook expands link blocking

While Facebook has been progressively censoring links from sites that might contain illegal material such as Torrents they have been progressively expanding this security technology to also track onpage content. This expansion may not be a bad step forward a majority of the time as it reduces the number of spam and malware spread via it’s platform my issue is that it’s reading the page for any suspect or reported links and not allowing you to share the link on your page. This is a massive move forward by Facebook in it’s process of cleaning up the web and potentially censoring any content that it feels is illegal or unsuitable for it’s 700,000,000 members.  The potential risk for user-generated content providers and open discussion platforms is one of a concern and what is the potential impact for publishers?

Facebook Blocked Link

These new notifications appear to be part of the expanded Web of Trust platform that moved beyond re-active into pro-active screening of everything shared.  This new Web of Trust platform thereby offers Facebook real-time monitoring of what is being shared across it’s platform, since the beginning of last week. The question is what is next for social censorship? Can you no longer share content if the context of the discussion does not fit within Facebook’s vague guidelines or impacts on their commercial agreements?

So what is being blocked?

The link that I was trying to share was a YouTube clip, which in it’s description actually contained a Bit.ly link that pointed to a free web hosting account that before being suspended could have possibly have been sharing torrents of the song for download or loaded with advertising and affiliate links. The broad messaging from the Facebook notification was that the link was being blocked for being spammy or unsafe but this is very vague and there is no easy process for appealing your content if you have been added to their blacklist….

You can see the link is not a central part of the content and would not be clicked or noticed by most users watching the YouTube clip but because it’s featured on the page you are not allowed to share this YouTube clip via Facebook.  The other issue is that you might need to manually check your content can be submitted to Facebook and how unreasonable it is to block content based on any links that might be listed as part of the content. The implications on how your content will be censored based on the content around it seems to be a bit broad and obviously very based for YouTube as most popular clips feature similar links.

Blocked YouTube Clip

So what is the implications?

The issue is that Facebook is reading and tracking the content on your pages and potentially the any spam comments that might be automatically approved.  This is one of the strongest reasons why you should be moderating your comments and removing any spam or unknown links otherwise you might find that your content may no longer be able to be shared on Facebook. There is also another reason that you might not want to approve pingbacks on your content as it could jeopardise the ability for users to share your content via Facebook.

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Facebook + Skype = Videocalling

Skype Facebook LogoFacebook has finally announced its long-awaited videocalling platform that allows its users to call using each other within its messaging platform which quickly closes the likely growth of Google+ Hangouts and Gmail video chat. Facebook’s audience of close to 696,000,000 users allows Skype to double it’s audience and market share in a single announcement to bring the total user base to well over 1 billion accounts worldwide.

While the announcement is rumoured to be a little rushed in response Google+ hangouts the platform is certainly welcomed by a number of users who have never enjoyed the Skype interface and the simplification will certainly make videocalling much more attractive to everyone and the platform has likely been in development for sometime.

Microsoft’s buyout of Skype makes sense

Microsoft’s recent buyout of Skype now starts to make more financial sense as it now has the largest communications platform in the world and places it so far ahead of Google and Apple that it will become the dominate communications platform over the next few years.  There is already talk of premium features being rolled out around the new communication platform that could include options such as group chat, higher quality video and the ability to save your video chats forever within Facebook. There are a number of platforms such as Goto Meeting that might have a bit of a concern as the platform has potential to shake up their business model as Microsoft will surely expand it’s business functionality over the next 6-18 months across its operating system and Office suite.

Facebook wins on scale again

Already invited? We've temporarily exceeded our capacity. Please try again soon.The platform is slowly being rolled out to everyone over the next few weeks but unlike Google+ if you don’t want to wait you can jump the gun and enable it here, this is unlike the Google+ experience that is still in a limited field trial and struggles to scale up quickly enough.

So while a number of people have found the new Google+ project a great experience the issue is that the very nature of how many people can’t access the platform including those with premium paid Google Apps accounts they might have missed the boat again.  There are an endless number of complaints from people who have invitations to the new Google Plus platform but are unable to access it yet and there is also a stream of spam and malware related sites that are seeking to take advantage of consumers by offering them “invites” this includes online pharmacy scams first reported by Sophos.

Another annoying aspect to Google+  is that a number of work arounds that have been discovered by users are being progressively disabled by Google as they are discovered, there is also new rules that forbid companies/brands from creating an account.  There is certainly something missing in their thinking on how to attract users away from Facebook by locking down access but they are also taking some insight from Facebook who has always banned companies from creating personal pages but Google is apparently working on that so who knows.

So it almost seems that unlike Facebook which is encouraging people to use its new features via shortcut links and then progressively upgrades everyone, Google Plus is just meant for an exclusive number of people and I see this as one of the many reasons platforms like Google Wave failed… it didn’t have enough scale….

Facebook expands its message platform

The Facebook blog has published a short overview of the new platform along with some other updates including group chat and a new always on chat sidebar that always lists your most common contacts, bringing the Facebook platform closer to a single message platform. The new updates provide some added benefits but the always on chat sidebar is a little distracting but is smart enough so that it only shows on larger screens so as to not annoy it’s users by trying to squeeze too much onto one screen.

MSN Messenger already integrates with Facebook Chat

Microsoft last year enabled MSN Messenger to integrate with Facebook chat so this is just one more custom integration between their two platforms that make it harder for Google or Apple to entice users away so is this the final chess move before checkmate?

Facebook chat in Messenger

I have done a quick video review of the new Facebook videocalling platform below.

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Google Plus +1 for Websites goes Live

Google Plus One

It has taken some time but finally Google has rolled out their +1 button for websites, it was leaked early and it hasn’t been a well-kept secret but its already starting to cause concern among both bloggers, webmasters and SEOs on what it all means for them.  The obvious big point for bloggers is that it offers you one extra way that people can show their appreciation for your blog or article by voting it +1 but will it dilute the clicks you previously attracted to your other social buttons?

Webmasters are likely the biggest losers in this game as they are the ones that have to work out how to implement it dynamically quickly but also ensure that it matches with their social media strategy plans and their designers don’t have a breakdown when they see how the button destroy their carefully balanced world.  SEOs are probably the most cautious about the new button and I haven’t heard of many who are happily clicking the +1 button linked to their Google account just yet… it’s going to be a massive trust issue to give their social media graph to Google on a silver platter.

Early Issues with +1 Button
TechCrunch shows how it’s going to be a nightmare for webdevelopers who will have to look at changing their websites to accommodate the extra button but also make sure it plays nice with all the other buttons. The other issue is also trying to get the button centred it seems to have a preference for ignoring the code and choosing to be left justified.  You can see below that until you elect to like that particular page or website you will be presented with a shitty visual experience that because it’s an iFrame you don’t have too much control over at this point. Much of the button chaos was previously solved by ADDTHIS which was an easy way to add in multiple buttons or use a combination or image and buttons but recently it’s fallen out of favour as website narrow down the number of social media services they really care about and choose to focus on just one or two.

Google Plus One IssuesWordStream has also highlighted the issues with websites now having to deal with half a dozen buttons which all have different actions, sizes and even purposes.  The confusion of the consumer is likely and it seems early installations of the button is showing issues of the button vanishing even with users are opted into the +1 experiment and logged into their Google account. Early bugs and issues might shake the confidence of the launch partner websites as it seems a number of them have not bothered to roll it out just yet.  They have got some free publicity by promising to roll it out in the near future but also have time to sit back and evaluate how extensively they will roll it out and when that might happen.

The big issue I can see is that the style of the button doesn’t really fit in and it will take a fair bit of good will to get publishers to start promoting it as heavily as they do with Twitter or Facebook.  If you visit HuffingtonPost you are greeted with a popup requesting you should connect with Facebook, I struggle to think how long it will take for publishers to have that same popup saying Why don’t you login via your Google Accounts. The Connect with Facebook platform and message works well with consumers the login via Google Accounts just doesn’t have the same appeal to most users.

Ray of Sunshine from Mashable?

The only ray of sunshine is from Mashable who are very heavily promoting the +1 feature below its Mashable share widget, while the article is possible skewed in asking for a response there are 10 times the number of +1 than there is Facebook likes. The only thing that is not clear is if the placement of the button by Meghan Peters in the middle of the article got a majority of the +1 votes, but Linkedin got 25% more shares than +1 and Twitter got almost 3 times the amount of shares as +1.  So it’s interesting that the Mashable story was more popular to share via Twitter and Linkedin than it was via Facebook or even +1 buttons the article was focus on, but it makes sense as what is the current benefit of +1 is not yet visible.

The article about the +1 button launch over at TechCrunch got a massive number of votes and again around 10 times the number of Facebook likes and had the button in the standard spot with the rest of them, but Twitter didn’t fare as well so maybe the platform is more suited to Technology blogs than the social media types that Mashable attract.

Social Media Share Buttons

Should Facebook be worried?

Based on these two articles it’s likely the biggest loser in this social media war might actually be Facebook in the short-term, but I would prefer to allow people to easily share my content with 600,000,000 Facebook users at this stage. The only loser I can see at this point is the number of blogs willing to also include the Facebook “Send” button once they add the Google +1 button, but until Google rolls out some analytics around the impact of the button to match Facebook’s analytics it’s going to be a tough call to make either way.

Social Button overload?

follow the lost agencyFollowing on from Twitters Tweet button there is now the one-click Follow button which does now offer the ability to keep users within your website rather than sending them away to Twitter, it also means that you know need to consider offering two buttons on your website just for Twitter.  The benefit of the Tweet button is that it promotes sharing of content even amongst your existing followers where the follow button just increases your followers who may share your content at some point in time.  It should be fairly easy for twitter to follow Facebook’s lead and use an iFrame and sense if you are an existing follower and then only show you the Tweet button but if you are not following them you get first shown the Follow button. It is a big step beyond using third-party platforms like ShareThis or AddThis but it’s a very much a stop-gap solution but it’s also likely to be used differently in a site such as next to the article authors replacing the previously used @Thelostagency hyperlink.

If you want to add the one-click follow button you can find the resource here but the downside you don’t get any Twitter analytics but you can easily tag up the button with web analytics. I’ve tried to change some of the settings such as the colour background to be used and if it should show the follower count but it really seem to do what it wanted and appeared to alternate between showing and not showing a follower account.

Social Sharing Widgets are dead?

It will be interesting how AddThis and ShareThis integrate the new Google +1 button as it’s a much smarter solution than having to decide which button you are going to keep just in case people want to click it and which button is going to get used by your visitors.  It might be the case that they actually grow their market share as it’s going to be much easier to replace the chaos that see above with a simple widget so don’t discount them just yet.

Facebook Share better

Facebook has long had the monopoly of Like buttons that have spread across the web but the recent addition of the “Send” button seems almost redundant as when you select to like something you can share it on your wall but the use of the share button works on the expansion of Facebook’s messaging platform.  Instead of just sharing within the Facebook platform you are able to share to an email address which moves beyond Google +1’s limit audience of those logged into their Google account. As not many people yet understand the potential of the button or even how to use it there is a relatively low-level of adoption and even big sites are still struggling to see its benefits over just having the “like” buttons.

WordPress.com blogs left out

Again as with many scripts you try to a widget WordPress.com automatically strips out of the code, it’s moves like this that will slow the adoption of the +1 button across the massive WordPress.com blog network.  It might be in time that WordPress rolls out an official feature you can enable Google buttons on your blog as they did with the Twitter share button.

Update: WordPress has now updated their Twitter widget to allow you to easily enable the Twitter Follow button so it’s again another step ahead of Google & Facebook, only downside is it’s having some teething issues right now so you might just see an error message on the right side of this blog.

Open to Mischief?

The only thing that button does rely on is a trust element as you can specify the URL that is getting the vote so you could take liberty with that and place it elsewhere on any site to gain votes for another site.  It’s likely there are some safeguards in the Javascript but it’s likely going to be a fun week for the early adopters who have a bit of technical understanding around the javascript it uses to power the button.

Google Products soon

With the rollout it seems the promised updates to start to show Google Plus One data in your account has not yet materialised so the question is when will this data start to show in your webmaster tools.  Also according to the official blog post +1 buttons are apparently been progressively rolled out across Blogger, Google Product Search and YouTube but nothing has been seen just yet….

Add +1 to your pages to help your site stand outHow to add Google Plus One?

I’ve published a quick guide with tips on How to Add Google +1 to your website.

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New Facebook Ads Manager

likes-ad-managerToday I noticed while looking at the data from some current Facebook ad campaigns that there was a notification at the top of the page but also a new link to a feature called “creative library”. The notification was an update to Facebook Ads Manager interface with new enhanced visuals and new campaign performance data, my account had been upgraded to take advantage of the new advanced metrics and graphs to better understand my Facebook Ads.

There was a link to a pdf document to learn more about the new Facebook Ad Manager that offered a brief tour of the new features including

  • improved campaign performance graphs
  • new real-time measurements
  • inline ad management

Click to view the PDF Guide to the New Facebook Ads Manager

The new updates highlighted that you can see an audience performance graph that show you how many people your Facebook ads do reach compared to the total audience you can target over the last 28 days.  This is important as it can show what elements of your campaign are under delivering and guides on where you can improve your campaign to reach more of your audience including more social reach or increasing your CPC bids or campaign budgets.

new facebook ads dashboardThe new metrics are also constantly updated so offer almost real-time results of your campaign providing you campaign metrics to understand how Facebook users are responding to your campaigns, and adjust them constantly.  The metrics have almost been simplified as there is now clicks and connections (conversions) which enable advertisers to understand if they are failing to target the right audience by not getting any new fans, app installations, or RSVPs to your events. You can quickly also divide the number of connections into number of clicks to get the campaign conversion rate which helps spot potential failing campaigns quickly.

The new Facebook ad campaign metrics are

  • campaign reach – the number of individual people who saw your ads in this campaign during the date period selected, this is different to impressions which includes people seeing your ad multiple times
  • frequency – the average number of times each person saw your campaign ad
  • social reach – the people who saw your ad with the names of their friends who liked your page, RSVPed to your event or used your app
  • connections – the number of people who liked your page, RSVPed to your event or installed your application within 24 hours of seeing your ad
  • clicks – the number of clicks this campaign has received
  • CTR – the campaign click thru rate
  • spent – the amount of money you spent on Facebook ads
The new Facebook audience metrics are
  • targeted – the approximate number of people seeing your ads based on the targeting options you have selected
  • reach – the individual number of people who saw your Facebook ads
  • social reach – the number of people who saw your Facebook ads because their friends like your page, RSVPed to your event or use your app

Facebook introduces inline ad management

One of the issues with the previous interface was the time wasted loading when clicking back and forward to manage your individual Facebook ads.  Now you can quickly click one of the ad rows in your Ad Manager screen and the ad will drop down allowing you to quickly preview the ad and click-through the various elements of its individual performance without leaving the Ad manager.

Facebook inline ads

Facebook offers Creative library

Similar to a number of bid management and ad serving platforms Facebook has created a central database of all your campaign creatives allowing for scalable campaigns and also the re-use of previous ads in your new campaigns.  The platform allows you to view all campaigns creatives, by campaign but also those campaigns with no adverts yet created, and you can also search via keyword to quickly find that perfect ad. There is 3 options you can edit that creative, preview how it will look on your profile page and click to use that creative in a new or existing campaign.

Facebook Ad Creative Library

Facebook will be releasing the new Ads Manager to all advertisers by the 25th May 2011, so keep an eye out in your account for the new dashboard.

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Trunk.ly – Link Engine

Trunk.ly LogoEveryone know the pain in having to search back through hundreds of past tweets trying to find exactly what was that link URL that you ReTweeted that you need to use right now or want to help out friend request on Twitter as someone looking for that exact URL. Well Trunk.ly has created what I term as a “Link Engine” where you are able to make all the links you have shared socially to be search-able.  Most people freely admit that Twitter’s search functionality is fairly limited and and most platforms don’t allow for searching across multiple data sources from a single search window but Trunk.ly appears to have solved that issue.

It was highlighted today in a Tweet via Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz who made the bold prediction that this platform could get big.  I would have to agree with his statement as I was able to create an account, follow a few suitable friends it suggested and add in my RSS feed from my blog and all my previous tweets in less than 5 minutes.  The point is that the website got the usability down to a fine art and my account is created and progressively expanding my history of links. It was covered by RWW back in December last year but didn’t seem to make that much press elsewhere until more recently when a number of members in the SEO and Marketing industry such as Rand started promoting their use of the tool.  While Trunk.ly was first created to deal with the pending death of Delicious it also emails you to start to manage the ever growing mountain of links shared via social media in a personal link engine.

Trunk.ly Interface

You can see below a partial screenshot of the interface with the ability to tab between your own links or those friends you chose to follow with a enhanced search as you type module to find links via keyword. Their search platform is very powerful and allows you to conduct a search via keywords, phrases, partial domains extensions, link urls, link title, text of the tweet and even text on the linked page. That’s right if you share a link but can only remember what is the content on the page you can now discover this using Trunk.ly along with who else shared the link, total number of shares, ability to delete the link or edit the link details.

Trunk.ly LinksThe downside is that at this stage you can only view Friends links and cannot search through them as a whole group but can click on a user and you can quickly search through any of their links from all the sources they have connected to Trunk.ly.  You can see in the screenshot below you can see you bio, one web link, location and the total number of your links that are now searchable via Trunk.ly and anyone you are following or following you.  The image is powered by Gravatar.com which makes it easy to ensure you have a consistent profile picture across a number of web 2.0 properties, but it is slow to update and may require a click on the “check this gravatar” to speed up the refresh.

Trunk.ly Profile

What about no results?

It’s kinda cool that Trunk.ly thought outside the box when it provided the zero results screen as it encourages users that if they just connected it may take several hours to process your initial links but you should also connect to some social networks.  The more data they have the better your results will be and the more data they will have to refine their search algorithms and suggested users you should consider following, but it would be great if it then could allow you to click and search the links of those friends you are following.

No Trunk.ly Results

Who else shared the Links?

Trunk.ly offers a far more advanced understanding of who has shared a particular link, but is limited to those who are Trunk.ly users.  But you can start to see the potential of the platform as you can start to see how the value of the link stats will grow with more users joining Trunk.ly, including how many people shared the links, when it was first shared and who first shared it. This can be useful to complement platforms like Bit.ly for measuring your social media campaigns as many users may select to share links generated by other shortners such as TinyURL or FB.me or via a standard link and the sharing data could not be captured.

Shared by the following Trunk.ly users...

Edit Trunk.ly Links

It is possible to retro-actively edit links stored within your Trunk.ly platform to fix incorrect titles, update URLs, descriptions or add tags to improve the search results.  It’s important to note that any #Hashtags used in a tweet will be automatically added as a tag for the link saving you time, but also making it possible to search based on Hashtag later to see what related links you shared. While it may not be used much it is useful as often a link URL Title might not be accurate or the note/text related to the tweet might be incorrect or scrapped from a site’s meta description providing no real value on what the link relates to.

Edit Trunk.ly Links

Trunk.ly supports what platforms?

It’s great that one of the key benefits of the platform is the ability to connect multiple social platforms, book marks and even RSS feeds. Trunk.ly makes it easy to import your blog URLs for a searchable record of what links you included and when you added those links and has tested it with WordPress, Posterous, Tumblr & Instapaper. It is likely that other platforms such as Reddit, Digg, Linkedin and email might be added in the future as the platform expands it’s userbase and demand for alternative platforms rises.  Most websites these days do provide a public RSS so it’s easy to add these to your Trunk.ly connections and you could potentially add your favourite RSS feeds to monitor what links are being shared/promoted without having to read the article.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • RSS Feeds
  • Delicious
  • PinBoard

Trunk.ly Connections

You can easily load your links from 5 main networks within just a few minutes via their authorisation page but at peak times Trunk.ly advises you might have to wait a few hours.  I found that this was not the case and unlike a number of other web 2.0 platforms within just minutes I had access to both everyone link I have ever included in this blog and also every link I have tweeted via @TheLostAgency.  This was a great start to using a new platform and now that I have authorised these 2 accounts Trunk.ly will continue to check these services for new links every few hours.

Existing Trunk.ly ConnectionsYou can see above that as part of the transparency of the Trunk.ly model it lists what connections you have linked to your account, when it was last updated, when it was last checked and the type of connection it is.  This is useful in your search results as you can see what platforms that you might have shared that link by including Facebook, Delicious, Twitter or Pinboard.

Trunk.ly Limitations & Privacy Warnings

When you first connect Trunk.ly to Twitter they can store your last 3,200 tweets but you are unable to search any links prior to this due to Twitter limitations but can capture everything from that point forward.  If you delete or unfavour a tweet once it is in Trunk.ly this will not automatically remove it.  You cannot currently extract with the Facebook API any links that you just selected to Like but did not comment on, also no privacy settings are followed so any links you share will be stored and available to all Trunk.ly users. If you don’t wish to have your links that you share public you can set your Trunk.ly profile to private. The advice from the developers is that Trunk.ly will continue to grow and look at privacy features but you can read about it in more detail here.

Discover my Shared Links

If you find that you want to see what links I have shared on this blog or via Twitter you can see my Trunk.ly links here, and don’t forget to signup and test the platform for yourself.

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