Technorati may not be the big giant we once thought they would be, and they will need to have some consistent successes to become a blogosphere darling again, but they are back in the conversation and worth watching.
Before getting into the meat of this post, let’s look at what actually changed:
- A new authority algorithm that “will better reflect the fast-changing nature of the blogosphere”. Basically, 6 months was too long, and things are changing way faster than that.
- Topical authority is added as a ranking in a specific topic, like Technology.
- Search has changed “to deliver the most relevant results from authoritative sources while still acknowledging timeliness.” The fact that relevance was not weighted more than timeliness is interesting and concerning.
- The blog directory has changed as well. Everyone gets a category and you can get ranked in the category.
- You can now contribute content to Technorati directly as they are now a content provider as well.
- Technorati Charts and API have been temporarily shut down.
- The UI has also been spiffed up a bit too.
Overall, they did a very nice job of updating things. Granted there are some quirks and issues with the new interface, but that should be expected in a new release.
The problem here is that Technorati was stagnant for what seems like an eternity, over 2 years in calendar time. There were no major threats to their “authority” dominance. However, people realized that the general authority number was not exactly what they wanted. The users wanted more, they wanted what was relevant in a specific topic, and wanted to know who the authorities were in those topics. We now have that, but these features have been requested for at least 2 years.
Is this too little too late? Normally, I would say yes, but Technorati has made some other interesting moves. They have kept themselves afloat with Technorati Media and AdEngage and that looks like the real future of Technorati. As much as they changed the core site, it is still lacking given what has happened to the internet over the past two years. There is still limited blog discovery ability, and I am not about to page through the rankings. The search may have improved, but what about social media? There is little to no mention of Twitter, Facebook and Digg on Technorati in general, and when it comes to authority you must include what is being shared on those sites and possibly others.
Then there is the problem of focus. The core product of Technorati is “authority”. Granted, this is a bit too small and needs to be expanded upon into a larger product. They could easily transition into social media monitoring given the amount of blog data they currently have. They have also created Twittorati which follows the “highest authority blogger” tweets. I understand that they wanted to capitalize on the Twitter hype like everyone else has, but this type of idea fits perfectly into what Technorati should be. Keeping the two offerings separate does not make a lot of sense. Lastly, there is the original blog content. They have been providing a service to blogs for years, why start providing content now?
Technorati may have made some significant changes, but I think far more changes are really needed to keep them relevant. If they merge Twittorati into Technorati and start working with more social media content, they could be a major player again. Besides the advertising products, they need to focus on their core product of Technorati and give us a reason to visit every day. The authority number is a nice statistic, and the new UI is very pretty, but what else really changed?