I’ve been working on a project to visualize the flow of information through media sites and across channels. My goal is to capture linking data and timestamps to show the origin of a story (whether through an outlet, blog, tweet, whatever) and then to plot who links to that original content, who links to the linkers, where the story crosses into different channels, etc. Sort of like this:
(I know there are tools that do this or something similar already, but I am trying to find a more customized approach so that I can layer on other data.)
What I need to make this happen is a good linking search tool. I like Topsy for Twitter, but blog/online linking is a problem. Here are a few tests I ran early this week, using an Engadget post as my test case. Posts were considered relevant if they were: original content (no reposts) and linked to Engadget in the text body or citations (no ‘related posts’ or ‘around the web’ sections). I also skipped forum content, to keep my life easier, although that might be something to keep in mind for later.
Google’s Link Search
Returned Results: 0
Comments: Zero results? Seriously? I don’t get it. Tried both the Advanced Search box and the link: operator. Sigh.
Google General Search
Comments: The good news is that Google had a few good forum results, although I could have used a service like Boardreader to capture those links. The bad news – none of the four top tier outlets I knew had linked to the original post appeared in the results.
Comments: BlogPulse included many many reposts, which were excluded here. Also, this is blogs only, and only blogs indexed by BlogPulse, which is a fairly limited set, imo. It did return the top blogs I had previously identified.
Yahoo Site Explorer
Relevant: 2 in the first 100 entries
Comments: Ok, I got lazy and only looked at the first 100. But here’s the thing – it included at least a dozen results that posted before the Engadget article, sometimes YEARS before. I’m not comfortable with that.
Frustrating results overall, although BlogPulse wasn’t bad. What other linking tools am I missing?