A first look at Sentinel

sentinel1.png Sentinel is a product of Blogwerx. The point is basically to monitor blog feeds and then takes that content and looks at other feeds on the web. If duplication is found, then Sentinel will send DMCA notices and e-mails against splogs (spam blogs).


Interestingly enough, about the same time that this comment from Tony M. showed up on VentureBeat:

Interesting, I find that scraping and plagiarism are huge within the blogosphere. Thus, I developed a solution that would pin-point duplicate content from a blog that had been plagiarised. What I am finding is that the community as a whole doesnt seem to see it as an real issue.
Thus, Blogwerx and its first offering Sentinel will focus more so, when a blog post has been written, it will pin-point who is discussing your blog post utilizing some of its textual content.
Is the blogs content placed on another blog? If it is then Sentinel would find it and pin-point it as duplicate content.

A similar one from Tony Moura, chief visionary officer of Blogwerx, was also in the comments of one of Scoble’s posts. (Unfortunately, Scoble’s search doesn’t allow searching of comments). At the time, having dealt with and looked at Bayesian filters, I was peeved at how some of the current blog spam block do not do a good job at comparison checking. If you look at most trackback spam, the wording of pretty much all of it is repetitive in one way or another. It’s unlikely you get multiple sources that repeat the same thing. It’s all about the mathematics. But no one bothered to listen. Tony did pipe up about his Sentinel project and how it would revolutionize the spam blocking. Being cynical, I personally was very hesitant on whether it worked or not but I was willing to take a look. So we waited for the launch of Sentinel.
Lo and behold, January 30th was the launch date after the private beta as announced by Plagiarism Today. Note that in these launch announcements this particular line: “When Sentinel formally launches it will be a final release, not a public beta.” Then there was the Scoble announcement of the tool following the launch date. Obviously everyone would be curious right? Final release and all.
The Test. So with the final product, the big turn is the test. How does it compare? Is it usable? Well, the registration was simple. You filled out some information along with your blog feed. The system e-mailed you and you were done. Unfortunately, there were issues with registration:

  • There is no confirmation code from the e-mail. Thus, you can sign up anywhere and use anyone’s e-mail and there is no check.
  • There is no confirmation of blog feed. Rob La Gesse mentions this foremost and he raises a good point. There is nothing stopping anyone from registering a huge feed such as Slashdot, Digg, Engadget, or BoingBoing as their own.

Curious that this registration issue wasn’t caught during the beta. Not a good sign for a product that is supposed to be final release, but no matter. Onward with the interface.

You can tell that it’s the typical Web 2.0 look and feel, where it’s pretty clean and good color choice. But there was zero functionality at the time of the test. Every single link was linking back to the homepage of Sentinel.
Curious as to whether or not there were delays to product launch that contributed to these obvious errors. Obviously the site isn’t working 100% and we haven’t seen the workings yet. Unfortunately, the Blogwerx blog doesn’t say anything and it sounds like they’re excited about it going live with DEMO.
From the perspective of a user waiting for a final launch date and having it not work on that day, there is definite disappointment in the product. It’s like waiting in line for the Nintendo Wii a couple months back and finding out after you waited in line, that you only got the pretty box it came in. From a technical perspective, we would like to see how it works. So far, the look lives up to the hype, but will the technology? When it comes out, we’ll let you know. Until then, only time will tell.

  • Blogwerx Sentinel

    I’m reading Robert Scoble as I often do first think in the morning and he mentions Blogwerx Sentinel which is…

  • Blogwerx Sentinel

    I’m reading Robert Scoble as I often do first think in the morning and he mentions Blogwerx Sentinel which is…

  • Darkmoon,
    I wanted to thank you for your insight into Sentinel and some of the things that in the essence of time were unable to get completed before Demo.
    I should have also mentioned that by registering, the user is registering for the free version of Sentinel and not all of the functionality would be there. This wasan oversight on my part and will be corrected. The free solution also has some limitations such as a 2 week turn around time for Sentinel to make matches and send out its emails.
    I knew in the design and development of Sentinel that it wasn’t going to be perfect and that the community would be quick to let us know. We had to build a solution that would evolve as the community started to utilize it and give us feedback.
    I never claimed it was the end all to be all solution. It’s my attempt at a start to what I noticed was a problem, maybe not for all but at lease a solution that could be used for free if nothing else.
    Tony Moura

  • Darkmoon,
    I wanted to thank you for your insight into Sentinel and some of the things that in the essence of time were unable to get completed before Demo.
    I should have also mentioned that by registering, the user is registering for the free version of Sentinel and not all of the functionality would be there. This wasan oversight on my part and will be corrected. The free solution also has some limitations such as a 2 week turn around time for Sentinel to make matches and send out its emails.
    I knew in the design and development of Sentinel that it wasn’t going to be perfect and that the community would be quick to let us know. We had to build a solution that would evolve as the community started to utilize it and give us feedback.
    I never claimed it was the end all to be all solution. It’s my attempt at a start to what I noticed was a problem, maybe not for all but at lease a solution that could be used for free if nothing else.
    Tony Moura

  • Tony, glad you took it as advice. Wasn’t trying to rain on your parade, but a lot of people looked to a loss of functionality on the “full release” to be a partially developed product.
    Still looking forward to see the technology function whenever you get the links actually up and passwords protected.
    Another note to make. If you’re expecting people to pay and the functionality of the “free version” isn’t there, especially on part of security, it doesn’t exactly throw all sorts of trust and dependability of a paid product that has more features. If this was my own product, I would change those issues as soon as possible.

  • darkmoon

    Tony, glad you took it as advice. Wasn’t trying to rain on your parade, but a lot of people looked to a loss of functionality on the “full release” to be a partially developed product.
    Still looking forward to see the technology function whenever you get the links actually up and passwords protected.
    Another note to make. If you’re expecting people to pay and the functionality of the “free version” isn’t there, especially on part of security, it doesn’t exactly throw all sorts of trust and dependability of a paid product that has more features. If this was my own product, I would change those issues as soon as possible.

  • Darkmoon,
    Yes, those issues are huge and we are working on them as fast as possible.
    Took it as advise I did and wanted to thank you and those that pointed things out as issues. Being small, getting ready for Demo, I’ll admit. There are things, that slipped through the cracks.
    We’ll get them ironed out. I also invite yourself and others to share with me anything that you feel is needed. Either in a public forum or via email.
    Tony

  • Darkmoon,
    Yes, those issues are huge and we are working on them as fast as possible.
    Took it as advise I did and wanted to thank you and those that pointed things out as issues. Being small, getting ready for Demo, I’ll admit. There are things, that slipped through the cracks.
    We’ll get them ironed out. I also invite yourself and others to share with me anything that you feel is needed. Either in a public forum or via email.
    Tony