The thing I love about RSS, and by extension web services, is that they allow people to take publically available data and combine it in ways never thought of by the originator of the feed. The internet is awash with examples of this, from useful services such as Feedster to useless amusements like I despise you and your so-called taste, the most insulting extension of the Amazon API I’ve seen to date.
Hot Links is the neatest new serice of this kind I’ve seen in quite a while, spotted a few weeks ago thanks to a vanity PubSub subscription. Hot Links subscribes to a bunch of RSS feeds for link logs (or blogmarks or whatever you want to call them) and watches them for newly linked sites. When it spots one, it grabs a thumbnail sized screenshot using khtml2png and posts it along with the description cribbed from the link log. Sites linked to from more than one link roll are promoted, allowing Hot Links visitors to restrict their “level” and view only sites with a certain minimum number of citations.
Syndicating link logs like this is a smart idea, and the people behind Hot Links have pulled it off in a stylish manner with great attention to detail. I particularly like the ability to view links from just my blogmarks as it provides a neat visual reminder of the sites I’ve recently recorded.