Pinging lets services that index blogs know that your site has been updated, and that they should take a fresh look at it. If you turn on the option, Blogger will automatically ping weblogs.com when you republish. There are many more indexes and engines trying to keep track of your prose now, though, and recently a number of ping tools have been created that let you increase the exposure of your site. These include:
KingPing is also worth a look. All these tools will let you bookmark the results page after you ping. For one-click repeat pinging, simply select the bookmark again.
Finally: I guess that when a few people were pinging, there was a comparative advantage in it for them, because their sites got crawled more often than the rest of us. I think the new advantage is in Google sitemaps. If you've set your site up to be crawled by the service, that's your new number one ping.
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