TagCloud a good idea that needs help

In my constant quest for new plug-ins and gizmos for my blog, I try out just about everything I come across, including the Quimble survey creator, which I quite like. I came across one called TagCloud that has been around for awhile and decided to try it, in part because I think tag clouds are a handy way of seeing patterns in large amounts of information. Del.icio.us has them, and someone just set one up for Google News that is kind of cool, called Newzingo.

Mike Arrington wrote about TagCloud when it first came out, back in June, and said he liked the idea, but was concerned about how long it took to generate the tag clouds. His concern was prescient, because TagCloud is now taking days to update a cloud. I set one up almost a week ago and there is still no data in it.

When I sent an email to TagCloud, I got a response saying the company was having server issues, and pointing me to this comment by founder John Herren at a Yahoo group related to TagCloud, in which he says that “the size of our userbase has grown to the point that we have a backlog of feeds to analyze,” and that updating can take several days. He says the company is changing hosting providers and hopes things will be resolved soon.

All of this is fine, and understandable — and not surprising, given the issues that companies such as Typepad and Bloglines and even del.icio.us have suffered from in recent months — except for the fact that the TagCloud website still says it will take a few minutes to update a cloud, and there is no mention even in the news section about it taking days, or any of the server-related issues Mr. Herren mentions. I would suggest that that’s not a great way to get your new users, or potential new users, to cut you some slack.

Update:

As you can see if you read the comments, John has responded to my comments within a couple of hours of my posting them, and admitted that TagCloud has been remiss in not keeping people more informed about the problems they’re having, even though it is a beta service, which he said he has been working on as a side project. Thanks for the quick response, John, and best of luck at getting TagCloud up and running again.

Update 2:

As of December 11, still no data in the clouds I created, and no info in the “news” section of the website.

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