Issues with my Lijit Search Wijit

by Maskil on June 5, 2008

I can’t recall who should get a hat tip for putting me onto the Lijit Search Wijit; I would have seen it on someone’s blog and bookmarked or e-mailed it to myself for further investigation.

Initially I was totally impressed with the product and everything behind it. Lately, not so much. Here’s why:

Links in weekly updates

Each week, on receipt of my Lijit Weekly Stats e-mail report, I would click on the Go to My Stats page link and marvel at my handful of visitors. Some weeks back, however, the link stopped working. Instead it would open a Windows dialog box and look for an executable file. Like a good Net citizen and product user, I reported the error to Lijit. Instead of the expected “we’ve identified the problem and will fix it before next week’s mailing” reply, I received “one of those” replies suggesting it had to do with my e-mail client and proposing various workarounds. I replied suggesting that this was a general problem with these reports. Once again I was fobbed off. The issue remains unresolved. I wasn’t impressed that a cutting edge Web 2.0/technology company could simply brush off a technical issue like that.

Here’s how the original e-mail link looked:

http://www.lijit.com/users/Maskil/stats

This is what it looks like now. Can anyone else spot the problem?

outbind://76/users/Maskil/stats

Primary blog is not part of My Content

A few days ago, I used the Lijit Search Wijit on my primary blog to search for the post page of something I knew to be there. The expected results didn’t appear on the SERP, however. I queried this with Lijit, who confirmed that the primary blog (listed under Your Blog URL) is NOT included in the search results for My Content. As I’d configured the Wijit to default to searching My Content, that explained it. The confusing thing is, the primary blog is captured and listed under My Content throughout the website and on the Wijit itself. Check your configuration!

I’m still not sure how to work around this whole issue…

Lijit Search Wijit set to defaults

Speaking of Configuration Options, have you checked those for your Search Wijit today? Mine were mysteriously reset to the defaults yesterday! While it shouldn’t be difficult to restore them, this is a concern, especially as I’d only checked them as part of the process of writing this piece.

How I’d like it to work

The four options (My Blog, My Content, My Network and Web) are presumably all mutually exclusive in the Lijit model. I would have preferred that they be treated as concentric circles, with My Blog being at the centre and Web on the perimeter, e.g. searching My Network would also include My Blog and My Content. My Blog should always be the current blog on which the widget is installed, rather than what’s defined in My Content.

Alternatives

I guess the alternatives are:

  • To persevere and attempt to configure or workaround the constraints of the Wijit. (I was thinking of creating a placeholder blog to use as my primary blog, then setting the Default search tab to My Content. That would have the advantage of making the Wijit portable across all my blogs, which is not the case at the moment. Can anyone see any pitfalls with this?)
  • Go back to Google Custom Search Engine (I believe they’ve made a lot of improvements to the user interface)
  • Try out Blogbar. I did evaluate it initially, but Lijit appeared to offer more. The support for Adsense is a plus.

The attitude towards customer service and just plain getting their stuff to work is just such a HUGE contrast to the one I encountered at AideRSS that I can’t help being disappointed.

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  • Publishers Union of Bloggers

    Lijit sounds handy, but is it tracking user data transparently? We at P.U.B. consider the safety of the information any app or widgets may be gathering, unbeknownst to the unwitting Publisher who installs them.

    P.U.B. [Publishers Union of Bloggers] has pending inquires to Widget Providers concerning how they generate their income and what percentage of this income goes to the Blog Publisher making the critical decision to allow a Widget on their site for their readers. In addition we are requesting transparency on the critical issue of how the private statistic from Publishers Blogs are being used, hopefully with the Publisher’s permission!

    P.U.B. expects to heard back from Lijit on these financial and private statistics issues from P.U.B’s inquiry we sent to Lijit in mid April 2008. When we do we will let great Blog Publishers like you know their deal. Currently we are also working with Blog Publishers to track performance hit evaluations of Widgets too. Let us know if you have any follow up on any of these important issues for the blog community.

    Will publish these results to keep the community of Blog Publishers informed on this critical component of Widgets on our Blogs.

    Sincerely,

    Barney Moran for P.U.B.

  • Publishers Union of Bloggers

    Lijit sounds handy, but is it tracking user data transparently? We at P.U.B. consider the safety of the information any app or widgets may be gathering, unbeknownst to the unwitting Publisher who installs them. P.U.B. [Publishers Union of Bloggers] has pending inquires to Widget Providers concerning how they generate their income and what percentage of this income goes to the Blog Publisher making the critical decision to allow a Widget on their site for their readers. In addition we are requesting transparency on the critical issue of how the private statistic from Publishers Blogs are being used, hopefully with the Publisher’s permission!P.U.B. expects to heard back from Lijit on these financial and private statistics issues from P.U.B’s inquiry we sent to Lijit in mid April 2008. When we do we will let great Blog Publishers like you know their deal. Currently we are also working with Blog Publishers to track performance hit evaluations of Widgets too. Let us know if you have any follow up on any of these important issues for the blog community.Will publish these results to keep the community of Blog Publishers informed on this critical component of Widgets on our Blogs.Sincerely,Barney Moran for P.U.B.

  • Maskil

    Thanks for stopping by Barney, and thanks for the informative comments regarding the PUB and your enquiry to Lijit. Lijit doesn’t currently share revenue (e.g. Adsense for Search) with bloggers, but I understand from their blog that they are planning to do so. I’m trying to work around my problems with their search widget at the moment, but if that fails (or they’re unwilling to change their model) I will have to go to Plan B and find a new widget.

  • Maskil

    Thanks for stopping by Barney, and thanks for the informative comments regarding the PUB and your enquiry to Lijit. Lijit doesn’t currently share revenue (e.g. Adsense for Search) with bloggers, but I understand from their blog that they are planning to do so. I’m trying to work around my problems with their search widget at the moment, but if that fails (or they’re unwilling to change their model) I will have to go to Plan B and find a new widget.

  • losborne

    Hello Maskil,

    Thank you for taking the time to outline your troubles with Lijit and sorry that we’ve failed to meet your expectations so far. We’ve done some additional investigation into the Weekly Stats email link and your Wijit resetting itself; we’ve identified a couple potential bugs there and will look to get them fixed as soon as possible.

    Thanks also for your feedback on the confusion around your primary blog being listed as content, how you’d like to see your search results work, and your desire for a more portable Wijit. It’s great to hear a fresh perspective and we’ll certainly keep it all in mind as we work to make Lijit better and better over time. We’ll also get back with you directly today to ensure we get your Wijit configured as optimally (to suit your needs) as possible.

    Thank you again for your comments and we hope to return you to being a happy Lijit user very soon.

    –Leslie Osborne, Sr. Dir. of Products and Operations for Lijit

  • losborne

    Hello Maskil,Thank you for taking the time to outline your troubles with Lijit and sorry that we’ve failed to meet your expectations so far. We’ve done some additional investigation into the Weekly Stats email link and your Wijit resetting itself; we’ve identified a couple potential bugs there and will look to get them fixed as soon as possible.Thanks also for your feedback on the confusion around your primary blog being listed as content, how you’d like to see your search results work, and your desire for a more portable Wijit. It’s great to hear a fresh perspective and we’ll certainly keep it all in mind as we work to make Lijit better and better over time. We’ll also get back with you directly today to ensure we get your Wijit configured as optimally (to suit your needs) as possible. Thank you again for your comments and we hope to return you to being a happy Lijit user very soon.–Leslie Osborne, Sr. Dir. of Products and Operations for Lijit

  • Maskil

    I won’t dwell on the broken links in the weekly update e-mails and Wijit configuration being reset to the defaults. The first is a minor technical issue, the second something that sometimes just happens even in the best technical environments.

    I do want to spend a little more time on the portability and My Content issues. Not because I expect Lijit to make major architectural changes to satisfy one user, but because I think these are issues that will affect every user with either more than one blog, or who makes the same invalid assumptions that I did. (Many of the bloggers I read have or contribute to more than one blog, although most also concentrate on one particular one.)

    Portability

    The Lijit model allows you to create only one Search Wijit per user. That’s fine; I would rather create one widget and deploy it wherever it’s needed. The problem is, though, that you are required to define one “primary” blog, My Blog. I didn’t see this as a problem initially. I do concentrate most of my efforts on one particular blog, and simply loaded that as My Blog. I then made searching My Content the default, thinking this would allow the visitor to any of my blogs to search across all My Content, including My Blog.

    To me, the answer here is another tab/option “This Blog” that allows the visitor to search on whatever blog/site the widget is installed on. The My Blog/My Content options could remain unchanged, although I would suggest that they be merged.

    My Blog/My Content

    As mentioned in my previous correspondence, I assumed that each tab encompassed the previous tabs, e.g. My Content also included My Blog. I am happy that this not be the case for My Network and Web, but I would like to see the distinction between My Blog and My Content disappear. From the user interface (presented to both the user AND the visitor), My Blog appears to be part of My Content, and to me this seems logical. From the point of view of a search, the choices would then be:

    – Search This Blog/My Blog only
    – Search My Blog plus everything else listed in My Content

    To work around the issue (as I see it) I put my test blog in the place of my primary blog as My Blog, and made the primary blog just another URL under URL / RSS / OPML Feeds. Visitors can now search all of my content using the default My Content tab. The only downside is that I have now lost the automatic generation of My Network…

    Thanks to everyone at Lijit for taking the trouble to read and respond to my comments.

  • Maskil

    I won’t dwell on the broken links in the weekly update e-mails and Wijit configuration being reset to the defaults. The first is a minor technical issue, the second something that sometimes just happens even in the best technical environments.I do want to spend a little more time on the portability and My Content issues. Not because I expect Lijit to make major architectural changes to satisfy one user, but because I think these are issues that will affect every user with either more than one blog, or who makes the same invalid assumptions that I did. (Many of the bloggers I read have or contribute to more than one blog, although most also concentrate on one particular one.)PortabilityThe Lijit model allows you to create only one Search Wijit per user. That’s fine; I would rather create one widget and deploy it wherever it’s needed. The problem is, though, that you are required to define one “primary” blog, My Blog. I didn’t see this as a problem initially. I do concentrate most of my efforts on one particular blog, and simply loaded that as My Blog. I then made searching My Content the default, thinking this would allow the visitor to any of my blogs to search across all My Content, including My Blog.To me, the answer here is another tab/option “This Blog” that allows the visitor to search on whatever blog/site the widget is installed on. The My Blog/My Content options could remain unchanged, although I would suggest that they be merged.My Blog/My ContentAs mentioned in my previous correspondence, I assumed that each tab encompassed the previous tabs, e.g. My Content also included My Blog. I am happy that this not be the case for My Network and Web, but I would like to see the distinction between My Blog and My Content disappear. From the user interface (presented to both the user AND the visitor), My Blog appears to be part of My Content, and to me this seems logical. From the point of view of a search, the choices would then be:- Search This Blog/My Blog only- Search My Blog plus everything else listed in My ContentTo work around the issue (as I see it) I put my test blog in the place of my primary blog as My Blog, and made the primary blog just another URL under URL / RSS / OPML Feeds. Visitors can now search all of my content using the default My Content tab. The only downside is that I have now lost the automatic generation of My Network…Thanks to everyone at Lijit for taking the trouble to read and respond to my comments.

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