Daylife: The pitfalls of high expectations

I missed the big rush of posts that hit Techmeme about the launch of Daylife yesterday, but from what I can gather just about everyone — including Mike Arrington of TechCrunch, a prominent investor in the project — is underwhelmed by it, if that’s a word (gratuitous Sloan reference). I wonder if the next shareholders’ meeting is going to be a little frosty 🙂

Paul Montgomery of Tinfinger says that he thinks Mike’s response could have something to do with his well-publicized dislike of the New York Times, which is a lead investor in the site, and Paul also notes — as do other blogs that have looked at Daylife — that mainstream-media content is featured awfully prominently on the site. In which case, why not use Topix or Newsvine or even Google News?

Some of the only kind words have come from Steve Rubel, who says in a response to a comment on his post that we should “put on our anti-geek glasses” and see it from the point of view of someone who doesn’t read Techmeme or visit dozens of blogs a day. Which is a fair point, but again I have to ask why we wouldn’t point someone like that to Topix or Newsvine or Google News.

daylife.jpg

I think a big part of the problem is that Daylife has been in stealth or development mode for a year or more, and it has some pretty high-profile people involved, including Jeff Jarvis — who seems to be taking all the criticism pretty well so far — as well as Craig Newmark, Dave Winer and the NYT. So I think the expectation was that when it launched it would be significantly different than Newsvine and Topix and so on. And it’s not.

Does that mean it won’t ever be any good? Hardly. From what Jeff says, more improvements are planned (including RSS, which does seem like a pretty major hole), so I’m willing to wait and see how the site develops. I hope it finds a way to add more interaction — comments, blogs and so on — in an interesting way. We could use some more experimentation in that department, and Jeff has the chops to be able to deliver it.

More commentary comes from David Weinberger at Hyperorg, Scott Karp of Publishing 2.0, Rex Hammock, Liz Gannes at Gigaom and Tony Hung at Deep Jive Interests. And for a totally unvarnished and skeptical take, as usual, watch a video review from the inimitable Loren Feldman of 1938media.

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