a node at the edge  

October 28, 2002
TechnologyRSS Feed Pings from weblogs.com

There's now an associated RSS feed with weblogs.com. With this, aggregators could check the feed to know when to poll an individual weblog RSS feed. On the face, this sounds good: stop all that polling and all those hits to our RSS fies. However, the problem with this approach is that it's centralizing what is now a decentralized service.

Centralization means becoming dependent on one service for new information. If the service goes down, you would then need to make sure your aggregator reverts back to the old polling procedure.

There's a second problem to centralization -- control. If one organization controls the RSS feed, there's nothing to stop that organization filtering weblogs -- and the RSS feeds associated with the weblogs. The issue of weblogs.com being filtered has been discussed here before.

Finally, a third problem: As it is, I have to wait too long for the trackback and whatever pings to occur when I do an update to my weblog. Yet another 'ping' is just an annoyance. I'd rather just have well behaved aggregators that only check every hour.

bow.gifBetter, yet: I'd rather have you all click the blogroll entry with my name on it -- it's B-u-r-n-i-n-g-b-i-r-d in case you've forgotten -- and wait with a smile of anticipation on your face as my page loads, rubbing your hands together in excitement. Kind of like a kid opening a present during the holidays. Think of this weblog wrapped in a bow if it helps.

And this approach can't be spammed, hacked, or broken.

Posted by Bb at October 28, 2002 01:52 PM

Trackback Count (1)


RSS readers are cool but remove far too much from the browsing experience. They are stocktickers to the site addicted. me thinks.

I always know within an hour of your updates because of the service blo.gs provides. It took daves idea to the logical end and yes it goes down, yes it slows my page sometimes but thats a fair trade to not have to check someone's site incessantly or rely on a reader to check for me.

centralization is not always evil. Not always. Sometimes it makes more sense to centralize something if you can cut down on the used resources of a group to accomplish it.

Posted by: ruzz on October 28, 2002 02:08 PM

A few months ago I started a discussion on a mailing list about whether or not it would be possible to decentralise the service provided by weblogs.com, by allowing blogs/aggregators to "subscribe" to each other and get an XML-RPC ping whenever the blog in question updated. To prevent popular blogs from having to send out hundreds of pings every time they were updated I thought about a system whereby a blog pings only a small number of other blogs and asks them to "pass it on".

I came to the conclusion that the system I had designed would be an ideal platform for launching DDoS attacks on blogs, so I dropped the idea. You may find the in depth explanation of the problem and the proposed solution interesting though:


Posted by: Simon Willison on October 29, 2002 06:05 PM

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