Other people are using your site, and you don’t know it. They may be doing so as part of a mashup. They may be running search engine crawlers to index your content. Or they may be competitors checking up on you. Whatever the case, you need to track and monitor them.
Your site may offer formal web services or Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to let your users access your application programmatically through automated scripts. Most sites have at least one trivially simple web service—the RSS feed, which is simply an XML file retrieved via HTTP.
Most real web services are more “heavyweight” than syndication feeds, but even the most basic web services need to be monitored. If letting people extend your web application with their own code is important to your business, monitor the APIs to ensure they are reliable and that people are using them in appropriate ways.
Some RSS management tools, like FeedBurner, will showcase “unusual” uses of your feed automatically—for example, someone who is pulling an RSS feed into Yahoo! Pipes for postprocessing, as shown in Figure 3-20.
Figure 3-20. FeedBurner’s Uncommon Uses report can show you ways in which others are using your RSS feed
If your web services include terms of service that limit how much someone can use them, track offending users before a greedy third-party developer ...