Technorati foot-shooting again: WTF?

by Mathew on January 31, 2007 · 5 comments

So I saw Steve Rubel’s post about Technorati launching a new buzz-tracking, Digg-like thing and the first thing I thought was “WTF?” I know that’s the name of it — or was, since it’s apparently been yanked now — but I meant it in the original blogosphere/instant messaging sense of “what the f**?” Among other things, why would Technorati bother trying to reproduce something like Digg this late in the game?

Unlike some people, I’m totally okay with the name (which apparently stands for “Where’s The Fire?”). It plays off the other meaning of WTF, which could add to the buzz, and I think it’s kind of funny. But why? And not just why launch something that appears to duplicate Digg — like dozens of other copycat sites, many of which use the Pligg open-source Digg platform — but why launch something that seems to have taken its servers down with it?

After all, it’s not as though Technorati has been sailing along as smooth as glass. There continue to be regular system issues, unexplained and sudden down-time, complaints about technorati’s blog-ranking numbers and so on. As someone commented at Darren Rowse’s Problogger: “How about they fix everything else that’s broken on their site before launching a new service?” A fair point.

Update:

The site seems to have re-launched, with an explanation from Dave Sifry about how it works. If I understand it correctly, it seems that Technorati is asking users to write an explanation of why a particular search topic or subject is important, and then other users can vote that explanation up or down.

  • http://www.louisgray.com/live/ Louis Gray

    Matthew, the comments on Technorati needing to fix what’s broken before introducing new features are spot on. The instability of the service has just about caused me not to rely on it. In another twist, when was the last time you saw Google “go down for scheduled maintenance”? Web companies should learn how to debut new products without taking users off the map for a few hours. We’ve seen it recently, not just with Technorati over the last week, but with YouTube. If you’re down, your customers are just going to go somewhere else.

  • http://spap-oop.blogspot.com tish grier

    hi Matt…whether or not Technorati “fixes” anything (or makes it so magic middle bloggers and the a-list are aggregated on parity) and their launching of new popularity measuring sticks are, I think, two different issues. One is customer serivce–the other is to drive traffic to the site by giving people something they think will be fun. I thought there was a problem when they launched the “Technorati Favorites” thing myself–even though Kevin Marks and I talked about how it might not have any affect on non-a-listers (and I was pretty right about that–although I don’t think Kevin will admit it ;-) I gave him the benefit of the doubt and stopped calling them the Evil Empire though…) I sometimes think Technorati’s just trying to put as many things out there to see what works–and then they’ll sort the effectivensess of each app out much later.

  • Mathew Ingram

    That’s a fair point, Tish — and I for one wouldn’t want companies to stop “throwing things at the wall” and experimenting, least of all Technorati. But I think there’s a fine line between doing that and losing touch with your core service, and that is a risky path to go down for a company in such a competitive market.

  • http://spap-oop.blogspot.com tish grier

    totally agree, Matt. but think, too, that it’s the competition thing that makes many companies try weird things.

    Although I must say they’ve been aggregating my links much better these days–esp. since 2000 Bloggers started…

  • Alisha D Herron

    nice article! nice site. you're in my rss feed now ;-)
    keep it up

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