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 thatâ€™s broken on their site before launching a new service?” A fair point.
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.