Sphinn Doctor: Adding Sphinn It! (with Sphinn counts) to your feed and website posts

You have probably read about Sphinn – the Digg-like, social media site for search engine marketers. Almost every SEO/SEM blog has talked about it. If you haven't, Rand's post is an excellent introduction.

Instead of trying to explain why it is important to get on the Sphinn home page – that is covered in other blogs – I will focus on how to make your posts more “sphinnable” by adding a Sphinn It! link to the end of all your posts. You can do that by using FeedBurner FeedFlares.

In my previous posts on the website and feed you have probably seen something like this:


If you are a regular reader, you probably noticed that beginning yesterday there is a new FeeFlare allowing you to submit my posts to Sphinn.

I first saw this in SearchEngineLand. Strangely, the FeedFlare file was not easily accessible in the public tools section of Sphinn, nor in the FeedBurner Catalog. Creating a similar one was very simple, however. This is the file for the FeedFlare I used yesterday:


Feel free to copy it to your own site and add it to your FeedBurner's FeedFlare list. It is an example of a static FeedFlare, which means that you only get to submit the post. If the post has already been submitted, you get an error. Not very efficient.



(It seems that someone else had the same idea. Look here: http://sphinn.com/story/955 )

Today you can see that I am using a smarter FeedFlare for my blog posts and my feed. It displays the number of sphinns already tallied if the post has been submitted, and lets you submit it if it hasn’t. The link also let's you sphinn them, which means that you increase the vote count.

Here is the file you need. Feel free to copy it to your site and add it from there to your FeedBurner FeedFlare list.



For the technically inclined, let me explain a little bit how it works. Everything you need to do is detailed in FeedBurner's FeedFlare API

I simply created the XML file mentioned above and specified that the FeedFlare is dynamic.

<DynamicFlare xhref="http://hamletbatista.com/sphinn.py?url=${link}"/>

As you have probably guessed, the interesting part happens behind the scenes. FeedBurner passes the URL of the post to my CGI script and the CGI script does the following:

  1. Checks if the post has previously been submitted

  2. If submitted, it collects the sphinn count and returns the URL to add more votes

  3. If it has not been submitted, it simply returns the URL to submit the post

Pligg – the platform that Sphinn uses – does not have an API as Digg does, so for the moment I am scrapping the results. I only do a single request to get all the information I need. If I have the time I will try to find out how to get the number of comments of the post as well and add that to the FeedFlare.

Please let me know if you find this useful!

3 replies

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply