The Value of Ego Feeds

“Ego feeds” are essentially searches via a blog search engine (such as Technorati or Feedster) for your name, or the name of a product, etc. top see what’s being said about it.  You can subscribe to these feeds using your RSS aggregator, so you have a very near real-time update of who is saying what about you–new and updated results show up as such in your reader as teh search results change, which is frequently in some cases.  At the very worst, hope your ego feed is quiet.

In the continuing saga of Sony’s DRM, E-commerce Times has this nugget in an article today (

Gilliat-Smith and Sony BMG spokesman John McKay said the technology had been on the market for about eight months and there had been no major complaints prior to Russinovich’s blog post.

“No major complaints”??  Baloney!  Doing a quick search in Feedster and sorting it by date shows this has been going on for over 5 months!  Here’s a page from my search:  When I ran this search, this results page had Mike Righi’s post, and a few comments left by him on some other posts, as well as one entitled “Der horror von Sony DRM“.  I don’t speak German, but that’s not a necessary skill to interpret that title.

Had Sony or First 4 Internet had an ego feed for themselves, they might have seen this storm coming and been able to head it off long ago.  Instead, they’re dealing with a pretty serious PR crisis.  My first point here is that an ego feed is probably a pretty good idea to watch if you’re in business.

This story has been festering for a while, but is a good example of just how fast a story can grow when a significant voice starts to speak.  We biologists refer to “explosive amplification” to describe the dramatic growth period of a virus after it infects a host.  This story has certainly gone through a period of explosive amplification this week, with Mark’s post seemingly being the point of infection into the mainstream.

Bottom line: use an ego feed, because it’s easier to head a problem off at the pass than fight the fever.

(Yes, I know I’m mixing metaphors today–deal with it.)