Am I A Six Apart Project? Are they ‘watching’ me?

Don’t worry. I’m not paranoid. This is probably an example of good practice – something very innocent and innocuous. I just found it interesting that when I upgraded the blog and went through areas I had not visited in a long time (to see if they still work) this came up. It isn’t often you find your site listed as a part of someone’s “projectz.”

In my WP-Stattraq plugin (which works in 2.0, by the way), I found a link from Six Apart’s subdomain site in the referrals. Interesting.

and tracking comments about your company
is a very good idea… resolves to Typepad’s site. The site – – is password protected, so I cannot see what the link is referencing. I also cannot tell what post it is pointing to, either.

Now, my best guess is that they either have a RSS tracker of all posts about Typepad running there – or, they have a blog where they are writing about people that are criticizing/praising Typepad. I have written about them, so it makes sense that the link(s) might show up in their RSS search results.

I give them praise, if either of those possibilities prove true. It means they are watching the memes about their company and paying attention. Good job, Six Apart, if that is what you are doing. Can you tell us, please?

The interesting thing will be to see if (a) they are still watching, (b) this post shows up, and (c) if they come here to comment about it. Now that would be quite a revealing transparency experience, wouldn’t it? The only thing I would suggest is, whatever you are using for your tracking, it must be pinging something – like me. You are tipping your hand, Six Apart. If you want stealth, um – stop pinging as a referrer. 🙂


0 thoughts on “Am I A Six Apart Project? Are they ‘watching’ me?

  1. Anil

    Sorry to debunk the (admittedly amusing) theory, but is one of the options for hosting TypePad blogs. For example, Variety magazine’s TypePad blogs are at . So, someone has a password-protected TypePad blog, and probably linked to you. Nothing nefarious or secretive on our part at Six Apart.

  2. Anil

    Oh, I should mention that we do, of course, follow blogosphere conversations about our products and services. I personally use Technorati, Feedster, PubSub, IceRocket, Google Blogsearch, and a few other tools to track conversations, but most folks in the company just follow one or two of those, especially in regards to the projects/products they work on.

    We don’t get to every mention of our work (it’s not uncommon to get hundreds of posts in a day that could merit a response) but we do try to be active in the community and we certainly keep track of conversations that should influence what we do.

  3. Robert

    Thanks, Anil. Well, as I said, I did not think that there was anything bad going on. And I certainly didn’t think there was anything ‘wicked’ taking place either.

    It is interesting to learn that you sell hosted blogs using the domain. I did not know that. Care to share any others using that service? I see that the URL seems to be a place-holder leading to the five Variety blogs.

    I am also glad to hear that you don’t think tracking blogs is all that amusing, as your 1st comment suggested, but your 2nd comment debunked.
    Glad you found this one and kindly stopped by to comment. Thanks for answering the questions and providing us with a bit of transparency re: your practices and who is using parts of  Thank you.

  4. Anil

    Robert, there’s thousands and thousands of TypePad sites hosted on * domains, I’d click around on the Recently Updated list or the Featured Blogs list on TypePad and you can check some out.

    Tracking blogs is hard work, honestly, especially when a lot of what I end up responding to is jumping into conversations where not everyone has all of the information they need. On the other hand, it leads to some really rewarding and interesting dialogue, and that’s too valuable to neglect. It can be a challenge, because always having millions of customers (and millions more interested bystanders) giving us feedback feels a little bit like drinking from a firehose sometimes.

  5. Robert

    Interesting analogy and visual – “like drinking from a firehose sometimes.” I am sure that is true.

    I appreciate that you took the time to drop by here. That makes me, and I’m sure any other ‘interested bystander’ that chimes in, feel a bit differently about Six Apart.

    I guess the only other question I’d have right now, should you drop by again, is to see if you have any employees – outside of upper level management – whose sole purpose (or partial purpose) is to strategically monitor the conversations. And, what tools are they using (if any) beyond “Technorati, Feedster, PubSub, IceRocket, Google Blogsearch” that you mentioned earlier. Do you have an internal (intranet/extranet) aggregator, for instance, that any employee can check out with searches for Six Apart issues? I’m interested in the strategies you may be employing.

    Finally, if you do not have any roles like that, then (a) why not and (b) what is the rationale for not doing it.

    I do not assume that there is a right or wrong answer to any of those questions, rather I’m interested in the thought process behind either answer. I would like to share the rationale with my students.

    Thanks, Anil.

  6. Robert

    An update. I was contacted by the owner of and the owner shared that the blog is a private site that had simply linked to me. No big deal.

    THe blog is in no way connected with Six Apart. They simply provide the blog hosting for the blog’s owner.

    The upside to all of this? Two things.

    Anil Dash dropped by and shared some interesting info about his blog tracking practices.

    I made a very good contact with the owner of the new blog – who, by the way, is a very nice person. It was a kind of “six degrees of separation” thing, actually. Blogs, it seems, make the world smaller and the possibilities greater.

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