Google Screws Up My WordPress Ping List

This post is likely to cause a little controversy, but it is my honest opinion that bloggers have been led astray for long enough regarding how many services you really should send a ping notification to.

My Advice

Ignore all the other ping lists published – they are frequently irrelevant and could potentially highlight you as a spammer.

But read all the article… things are not so crystal clear.

This is my current WordPress Ping List

http://ping.feedburner.com/

http://rpc.blogcatalog.com/

To be honest, I have only just added Blogcatalog to the list though they have had an interface for a couple of years, as it seems they need a little bit of a nudge on occasion.

Feedburner Have A Pingshot Service

Feedburner Pingshot used to provide a list of services to ping. Now you just switch it on

Feedburner Pingshot used to provide a list of services to ping. Now you just switch it on

The Problems With Current Ping Lists

  • Replication – There is no need to ping a whole load of sites, which all then subsequently re-ping all the same services
  • Current – I have seen many ping lists that include services that stopped accepting ping notifications 2 or 3 years ago
  • Safety – You are only sending a ping to Feedburner (plus 2 optional services) and allowing Feedburner to handle notifications correctly.
  • Reliable – despite the occasional problems, over 4 years of blogging I have never had a major problem with Feedburner that couldn’t be fixed with a nudge (resync). I would hope their back end is smart enough to cache pings for services that they know are offline, retry problems etc.
    These are things a WordPress plugin just can’t effectively replicate.
  • Membership – a lot of the sites featured on ping lists are for members only – you need to have your blog listed before you send them pings.

Only add to the list if you find a specialist site that isn’t covered by Pingshot (but read on… it is important)

Various WordPress Ping Plugins

There are various plugins for WordPress that handle pings, preventing a re-ping on a post edit.

I am going to be frank – rubbish (I kept it polite)

If you update a post, you want it to be re-pinged unless it is a very minor edit (there is a minor edit plugin). Minor edit prevents the data/time of the post changing on an edit, a much more significant feature for your feed readers.

If you are using the Tweetmeme plugin, in theory updates are re-pinged – if they don’t pick it up, you might need to use their re-ping interface.
This is important for when the message and title of a story change.

Ping Lists For Niche Sites

I wouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket, use multiple Feedburner accounts, Gmail accounts etc.

If all you are creating is spam sites, you lose the potential positive signal of Feedburner legitimacy, matching Google Analytics, Website Optimizer etc, plus of course the utility.

Feedburner’s 2 Year Google Screwup

I suggested a long time ago that Google buying Feedburner was a major disaster for users.

7+7 Reasons Why Google Buying FeedBurner is a Match Made in Heaven & Hell

The pingshot feature is one item of many that has been sorely neglected through half-implemented progress.

Progress?

The Google Feedburner team supposedly are meant to be implementing an “open directory” of all the services that are supported by Pingshot – that is why they removed the ping list.

What makes PingShot different from other solutions?

You mean other than PingShot girl? Well, PingShot is an open directory. Any third party can register to participate.

And for you publishers, the service is automatic by simply activating it once within the Publicize section – just set and forget it. (You can come back and deactivate it whenever you want.) Also, our super high-powered extra strength feed management technology ensures that only changes in content trigger notification. So, there’s that.

The problem is that the directory has never appeared, so you don’t know where they are pinging.

This isn’t new, Google have been talking about this “directory” for at least 8 blinking &*%$$ months

Every contact link on the Feedburner Help site redirects to this page.

Support questions regarding Pingshot are totally ignored in the Google groups, and when a member of the community does forward a question to the Feedburner team, no answers come back.

Feedburner is/was a great service, but Google is killing it. I PAID for Feedburner with a pro account, and would have gladly paid more if they had continued to innovate.

Google Stealing My Readers

Unpaid-Google-Advert

Now Darren might not mind that advert for another of Google’s services, but he is not being paid for it. It adds to his subscriber count, but often email subscribers are more responsive than RSS readers, especially with people abandoning RSS in favor of Twitter.

People don’t abandon email totally.

I don’t have as many readers as Darren, but if someone wanted top and bottom placement in every one of my blog posts (in the feed), it would likely cost them $1000+ a month, not that I would do it, and that is based upon my current irregular posting schedule.

I wouldn’t accept Google reader as an advertiser, because it is a negative on my ability to market in the future

Well… maybe for $5000/month

Sneaking advertising into email subscriptions could even be looked on as an endorsement. A false endorsement – if Google want me to promote Google Reader, they should pay me.

Darren had a few other requests / complaints as well, but this is a deal breaker for me. My email is moving.

If Google don’t fix things, I expect I will be pinging Feedblitz instead soon, and I am still undecided on email. None currently offer all I need, which is why I haven’t switched, and have constantly encouraged innovation.

http://www.feedblitz.com/f/f.fbz?XmlPing

I am sure Phil from Feedblitz will see this, who if anyone does Feedblitz ping?

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Comments

  1. phollows says

    Hi Andy:

    That ping is a ping sink; we don't currently repeat the ping out.

    But we could.

    We've a couple of things in the queue at the moment but drop me a note on this and anything else that would help you make the decision to switch.

    Phil

  2. says

    Hi Andy,

    Now here's where I'm concerned. I have a bunch of ping services listed. I rank high in the keywords I want. I'm afraid that if I only go for two ping services I'll lose my ranking. Am I being nuts?

  3. says

    Well it is an interesting topic that I have never really thought about. I am however at little confused since you start off saying to only use the two pinglists and then ditch Feedburner/Google. :)

  4. says

    That is why I placed a few encouragements to continue reading in the post

    If Google/Feedburner were giving some correct signals… hell any signals that they cared about Feedburner, I think my post would have been titled differently.
    e.g.
    “The Ultimate WordPress Plugin List”
    “Best WordPress Plugin List”

    Unfortunately Google doesn't give me the chance, though the problems highlighted in the post still exist.
    They also exist with other services.

  5. says

    The tone of my message is to apply thought to what you are doing, but that Feedburner potentially is the best solution… but you can't see where they ping.

    As an example there are ping lists that include Google Blogsearch… 55 different versions – plus they also have Feedburner.

    When I ping Feedburner, my content appears in all versions of Blogsearch (though there might be a delay across datacenters, it isn't something I have tracked.

    Is it sensible to ping Google 55 times + have Feedburner do it, plus most likely other ping broadcast services on the same lists.

    I remarked on Twitter that this is similar to using a sledgehammer to open a door.

  6. says

    It is more a case of how strong an emphasis I can place on recommending just using Pingshot.

    Pingshot may be enough – it is all I use and the problem exists with every other list I have seen

    Unfortunately I had to cover the negative aspects of relying on a Google service that is in the twilight zone.

  7. says

    If you write posts that are anything to do with news, titles change all the time.

    As an example I picked up a problem with Bit.ly being labelled as Phishing by OpenDNS – I quickly researched a post so that it was substantive, and had value even when things got fixed, with a balanced view, but I also wrote a title to gain a reaction.

    I was unfortunate in many ways that both parties are very much on the ball, and had it fixed within 30 minutes.

    What did I do – I changed the title, ammended the leader to the post to ensure any reader knew it had been fixed.

    It was actually fixed within 5 minutes of me posting the article

    The meta title is used in all kinds of ways, such as by Tweetmeme retweet buttons.

    Even more recently, this post was published with a typo in the title, and permalink, which I subsequently fixed within a couple of minutes of publishing.

    Fortunately Google allow for this, pick up changes quickly, and determine themselves if the change is substantive

    As for other services, I highly doubt any of them are as trusted by sites accepting pings as Google, and if they finally get their act together, Pingshot is a killer app.

    Michel Fortin asked about Pingler.com on Twitter but they are one of the services that by default list 55 Google Blogsearch ping sites, along with Feedburner. If they were a trusted service, surely they would have direct contact with Google/Feeedburner, and know that isn't necessary.

  8. says

    With minor edits, the biggest problem isn't pings, but the article appearing as new in a feed reader. Just after publishing I wouldn't look on that as being a problem, later on it is.

    I can't tell you whether all of those services are covered by Feedburner, but most of them used to be, before they simplified the interface, but didn't publish their “directory”

    Feedburner suggests in their information that they are sophisticated enough to determine whether a post needs to be repinged, or just refetched for your readers to read the correct version.

    I can see lots of negatives with using the MPO plugin if you are just using Feedburner for pings.

    If you use a huge ping list, I can see a reason to use it, but it seems like 2 negatives doesn't make a right

  9. says

    Pingoat closed their remote ping service before John Reese took it over, so it has been closed for over 2 years.

    I have considered adding the major search engines to the list just in case, but then I would be faced with the dilemma of minor edits and pinging them

    Pingshot used to ping Pingomatic, though I can't remember whether that was just optional. It is probably superfluous.

  10. says

    Right. I knew about Pingoat, though I've never removed it. But I don't rely on Pingshot to ping Pingomatic. The fact they don't list ping sites worries me somewhat. So I'd rather play safe.

  11. says

    Based on some of the ping lists I have seen, Technorati would be pinged 5-10 times every time you post.

    People are pinging Google 50+ times – the others you mention are pinged by Feedburner

  12. says

    Andy,

    The WordPress by default comes with Ping-O-Matic pre-installed, it was if I ma not mistaken one of the services Feedburner use to have on the list. Why not use just Ping-O-Matic?

    You can't beat Feedburner's price as far as e-mail subscriptions go. But as they say when you pay peanuts you get monkeys…. or something like that.

    As far as Google Reader goesI guess it all comes down to profits. They can not show ads to your e-mail subscribers unless you let them- with reader they don't need your permission.

  13. beasiswa says

    The WordPress by default comes with Ping-O-Matic pre-installed, this easy to increase traffic or SEO.

  14. says

    That screenshot was from an email subscription to Problogger, thus Google are advertising Google Reader in emails without any notification or consent.

    Pingomatic was one of the options but unnecessary replication

    No paid services currently provide what I want – still waiting on access to Getresponse Beta to see if it is more useful than the current one which I have had a few problems with.

  15. says

    I have never used long ping lists. I figured that what came with WordPress was good enough. I have been thinking about switching the email portion of my subscribers over to Aweber but I don't know if they have auto delivery or not.
    I also thought that pingomatic also pinged feed burner, but I believe you are talking about pinging your actual account right?

  16. says

    If you are using Feedburner to host your feeds, I think it is highly important they have picked up your feed before pings are sent to other services.

  17. says

    Andy:

    How do you test to see if a ping service is no longer active or like Pingoat has closed their remote ping service?

    Robert

  18. says

    Well with Pingoat they had a blog post about it

    Some only accept pings from recognised services such as Feedburner

    You could use the Max Blogpress Ping Plugin to test, or just write a simple PHP script and check the response code.
    Ultimately the easiset way is to just use Feedburner

  19. says

    Great post Andy and I can't agree more on Ping List. People do so many duplications and don't even realize it. I will have to investigate deeper into FeedBurner list, I ping them in addition to about 4 others on my list but since they stopped providing info on What other services they ping – it made me wonder.

    Thanks for info!

  20. says

    Well with Pingoat they had a blog post about it

    Some only accept pings from recognised services such as Feedburner

    You could use the Max Blogpress Ping Plugin to test, or just write a simple PHP script and check the response code.
    Ultimately the easiset way is to just use Feedburner

  21. says

    Great post Andy and I can't agree more on Ping List. People do so many duplications and don't even realize it. I will have to investigate deeper into FeedBurner list, I ping them in addition to about 4 others on my list but since they stopped providing info on What other services they ping – it made me wonder.

    Thanks for info!

  22. says

    interesting i didn't realise that Google bought feed burner. good thing a like about blog sites is that there is more resource of information. thanks Andy

  23. says

    I have had the same thoughts about ping for a while now! Good to see you blogging about them!
    Yahoo is the way forward, google page ranking is much toostressful!

  24. says

    I ping about 20 places.
    After I post, Google usually indexes the new post with in an hour, sometimes with in minutes. Why would I want to change what already appears to be working?

    If it is true that I end up ping Google repeatedly, it would appear that it is doing no harm. I still don't seem to be catching the point of why it would be worth changing.

  25. says

    “I couldn't be more sick of Google and their page rank, search engine ranking, slapping, black hat and all the other crap that no one really knows the truth about…”

    Your not kidding, I forsee months of my life being wasted keeping up with Googles cloak and dagger rules.

  26. cakey2k says

    I tend to use the standard list that comes with WordPress but I assume from your posting I should be changing that. Like you say there are lists and lists out there so as someone starting down this journey your advice it helpful.

    Thanks

  27. makemoneyathome says

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  28. says

    I was about to recommend that you get a longer ping list for your blog… and then quickly realized that I have no leg to stand on when it comes to giving you advice! Sounds to me like you get a billion hits a month.

  29. says

    i'm getting tired of the “googleopoly” and don't like any ONE company dominating a necessary industry.. look at microsoft.. any choices other than Mac X? i'm rooting for bing and facebook

  30. webdesigning says

    yes i agree if you have longer ping list of blogs Google will ban you so you have to be careful!this post is very good so keep it up!

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