Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Something's Rotten in the State of Technorati....

Update 6/14/08: According to Silicon Valley Insider's Dan Frommer, Technorati has raise $7.5M
and has, once again, crashed. Joseph Weisenthal in PaidContent.org wonders why anybody would ante up that much for a company that's demonstrated "an inability to effectively evolve the product." Have to agree with Joe--they must already have "some chips in the pot" over there--but as I mention below, the cachet of Techonrati is going down among some of us who, while not the huge A-listers, are the folks for whom Technorati has been very important over the years for both personal and career-building reasons. I am not sanguine on this cash influx being able to help Technorati to help us much. The purpose of Technorati seems to have changed...end

A few months back, my friend Marianne Richmond noticed that Technorati was broken when her blog lost a ton of links over a few days.

She never got them back.

Recently, my friend Ronni Bennett had a birthday. She wanted to find all the folks who linked to her and sent her birthday wishes. Naturally, she went to Technorati--and didn't find as many as she'd hoped.

I suggested doing a Google Blog search. She did, and it helped, a little. But the results weren't as clean as the ones Technorati used to generate...and between both of them she still missed a number of links...

And then another friend, Chris Brogan, also noticed that things weren't right in the state of Technorati. Chris mentions that Technorati used to be a great place to go to explain tagging, as well as to find out who's talking about you.

Not so much these days...

This was around the same time that I noticed my blog had lost more than half of its links. I dipped from a high of about 146 links to a mere 62 over something like a two-day period--something similar to what happened to Marianne. I couldn't believe what was happening. Since then, I have steadily lost more links. It's not, though, that people haven't been linking to me. On the contrary. When I post regularly, I'm still getting linked. Technorati, though, doesn't seem to be finding lots of those links. When it does, it also drops them in a day or two after finding them--nothing's accumulating. Except for splog links. Those are always, ubiquitously there....

Actually, I do better finding who's linked to me by doing a Google search on my URL. Although none of this is accumulated into any sort of rank, and lots of blog links are missed there as well...

So, in thinking about this, it seems there's been a real shift away from what bloggers used for years to keep up with each other--namely, Technorati--and more of a kind of "underground" movement that's more about who's reading you or tweeting about you than linking to you. Many blogs are now sporting little chicklets to tell you how many folks have subscribed to their Feedburner feeds. That's great if you use Feedburner--but what if you don't? There may be some tool that will tell you how many different subscribers there are that use the various kinds of feed readers out there, but I'm not aware of that tool. So, I may have 36 subscribers in Bloglines, but who knows who's reading in a Google reader or other kind of reader...

It's now more of a lurker's world...where a blog may have more readers than folks who link. Or Tweet--although Twitter, while not good for overall rank, is great for traffic boosts (thanks Chris, Valeria and a couple of other folks....

Bottom line is, the whole thing makes me pretty sad. I used to enjoy being able to check to see who's linked to me. Now, the only way I can tell is by going into my Sitemeter and checking the referrals. On some level that's great--it makes me click though to see if I'm on a blogroll or if I'm in a post. But I'm not thrilled about it. There's a strong sense of having lost touch with the larger community of bloggers that I might find again only via social networking of some kind.

Oh, well... things move fast out here in the blogosphere...

2 comments:

Ronni Bennett said...

Back in the old days when it worked, Technorati was a singular service and I wondered even back then why they had no reasonable competitor.

Ranking was nice, and BTW, my ranking has recently gone up by a point although it's hard to believe it means anything given that the rest of the service is so broken.

But the best use for me was being able to track blog posts that were sparked by something I wrote - being able to follow the conversation around the blogosphere.

The birthday greetings people sent me were a kind of test case for Technorati because they were all posted on the same day and many left comments on my blog directing me to their blogs. There were dozens of those. Technorati listed - are you ready? Wait for it: ONE.

So nothing can now be trusted on Technorati - and I miss it. Google isn't as thorough as Technorati (when it was working) and stat service referrers are not the same thing. Often people are clicking a blogroll link and it's not then about the convrsation.

It seems to me that Technorati is ready for TechMeme's dead pool.

Valeria Maltoni said...

Thank you for the shout, Tish.

Technorati has become such a hit or miss place! Yet many still use it to base their lists on, along with other metrics that are quite broken. If I want to find out who linked to me I use a combination of things. There is not one tool that is reliable anymore.