Roll-Your-Own Reputation Monitoring System in 30 Minutes

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This one's for the reputation conscious and those that relentlessly track specific keyword mentions in the blogosphere, forum-sphere or traditional media. What you'll see in the following paragraphs isn't nearly as comprehensive as full-blown reputation monitoring and management systems (of which there are plenty of costly options) but rather gives you an opportunity to monitor pretty much any source of content that is provided in RSS feeds using WordPress and a plugin called WP-O-Matic. I should emphasize here that this micro-project is not intended to generate traffic (although it might be a secondary benefit).

For the purposes of this demonstration I set up a domain on the topic of Coffee at SuperCoffees.com. It might be helpful to take a look to see the end result. Note that all of the content for this site has been brought in to Wordpress using the system outlined below. The only time I've spent was in selecting the feeds to be used.

To roll your own reputation monitoring system, you must first have a Wordpress weblog set up and install the WP-O-Matic plugin - which automatically creates posts from RSS/Atom feeds that you provide it and organizes them into campaigns. For the purpose of the demonstration, I imported a feed from Google news on "coffee" and a Twitter feed using search.twitter.com which returns every mention of "coffee" on the popular micro-blogging network. This process is often called auto-blogging and WP-O-Matic makes it a snap.

The plugin has a very easy to manage interface (complete with loads of Ajaxy goodness), features imaging caching, word rewriting and word re-linking - it is a very well thought out plugin and one you really need to see in action to believe. Perhaps the most helpful features is that WP-O-Matic allows you to import OPML files - so hundreds of individuals feeds can be added to campaigns instantly. When it comes to adding the actual feed content, WP-O-matic has both Unix cron and Wordpress cron jobs to make the fetching process simple - or you can just hit the "fetch" button and manually import the latest posts from the feeds you have collected.

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3 comments

Dan Lambert, MBA 09-07-2008 11:13 AM

It's a decent idea, and for the most part it does a good job of properly crediting the sources of the entries.

You should be careful however, to change the "Written by CoffeeBoy..." entry below every title. I'm sure this is just an automated entry that was overlooked, but it should be changed to something like "Retrieved by CoffeeBoy..." to make sure no one gets the wrong idea.

I'm not sure how this would be viewed by Google with regard to their distaste for duplicate content. I would be a bit worried that it would have a negative effect on ranking.

Regards,

Dan Lambert, MBA

Freelance Copywriter

BackupWriter.com

Peter A. Prestipino 09-09-2008 9:34 AM

All very valid points - I will change the "Written by" to "Posted by" shortly. I would agree that it could have a negative impact on ranking but that's not necessarily what it is intended for - instead, I think it is well suited to monitor what's happening with your brand, keywords you are interested in, the competition etc. on the Web. One possible solution to the duplicate content issue would be to place the WordPress installation in a password protected directory and disallow crawlers from accessing the folder through robots.txt.

DanL 09-11-2008 9:30 AM

It would be a shame to lock it away in a password protected area. I think it could be a great tool to work toward getting “authority” status. There could be a lot of potential for others who are less web savvy yet still interested in monitoring the developments in the topic you select. For someone who has a blog, they could have this running on the same domain as the blog, giving their readers more on-topic content. It might even attract other bloggers to leave comments on your blog and trackbacks to your site.

The duplicate content issue actually seems limited to you having the content duplicated on your own site (for instance a printer friendly version of the page), so it might not have any effect here. Even if you erred on the side of caution and tagged the page “no-follow,” then people who visit your site for other reasons, from existing customers to those who arrive via pay-per-click etc, would see this real-time collection of information that they are interested in and might link to it or subscribe to a feed.

Not being the original author doesn’t mean that you don’t provide value by accumulating the information and taking care of the collection’s hygiene. In a nutshell, that’s what Google does; you’re just doing it for a niche.

Regards,

Dan Lambert, MBA

Freelance Copywriter

Backupwriter.com

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