Update: In the frenzy to cover this breaking story, we had high hopes for a Six Apart announcement that emerged today. After seeing the soon to be relaunched Blogs.com site, our hopes were dashed. See the update to the end of this post for a screenshot and reaction.
Blogs.com sounds like a great URL, right? All these years it's just been used to sell Typepad blogging software, but this weekend SixApart will relaunch the site as a comprehensive directory of blogs around the web, organized by category.
We hope that it will include an automated and well organized list of top blogs in a wide variety of sectors, similar to what Technorati tried to do with its blog directory before the company blew up. Earlier this year we wrote about different ways to find top blogs in any niche and though all of those solutions were imperfect, Blogs.com could prove invaluable if it really nails it.
Why This is Important
From tech to medicine to real estate to art to the sciences, an easy way to identify the most respected blogs in a niche vertical is a huge time saver and valuable resource for everyone.
Even though Technorati has nearly fallen apart in its ability to fill this need, it has still been one of the most valuable services that company provides. After blogsearch got taken over by Google Blogsearch and the excellent Ask.com blogsearch, Blogs.com could well be the last nail in the Technorati coffin. They may slide now into the background as a 3rd rate ad sales network.
To be fair, we're calling Blogs.com a Technorati killer without having seen it yet (see why below) but the fact is we just hope Blogs.com does a much better job than Technorati is right now in indexing top blogs by topic.
There are more than 2 million Typepad blogs already hosted on blogs.com, but the new site will feature among other things "favorites" lists from CEOs and other web celebrities. That will be little more than a curiosity. SixApart is one of the most innovative technology providers online, though they rarely get credit for it. We have high hopes for Blogs.com.
Unfortunately, we haven't seen the site yet. We'll have a briefing any minute now and will update this post with details and screenshots. The site was supposed to launch on Monday, but the press embargo was broken, ironically, by a member of the mainstream media. It was the second embargo broken in a week for the biggest blogging software company in the world, SixApart. Further proof that members of the blogging community can't trust mainstream media! (We say this in jest because that's what mainstream media says about us bloggers all the time.)
Will Blogs.com deliver? Check back here later this afternoon for a more detailed preview.
Update: Blogs.com Not What We Expected, Hoped For
We just got a demo of the site and it's not what we hoped for at all. It's a very tame collection of "top 10" lists on selected topics. The company calls it a "clean, well lit place" to find content. Thankfully it won't just be limited to blogs on Six Apart platforms.
It's like Top Ten Sources but Six Apart says it will be more successful because they have more experience with blogs. We like Top Ten Sources for what it is, but we were hoping that as a long time technology innovator Six Apart would offer some technology that would fill a widespread need for blog discovery.
Blogs aren't scary any more. As we wrote earlier today, they have been widely adopted by many of the biggest businesses in the world. Safely aggregating selected content in a handful of niches is something everyone is doing now - we talked to a mainstream reporter just yesterday about why on earth everyone seems to be doing it these days.
Six Apart says they never intended Blogs.com to be a technology site as opposed to a media site and that they will expand their categories in time.
That's ok, but it's no big deal, and we had high hopes. With all of its direct traffic with a URL like blogs.com, this site is going to be little more than a classy landing page to throw ads up on. It will probably be a decent traffic driver for the chosen blogs, but our dream of a thorough, well organized topical index driven by a clear, relatively objective criteria and technology has been deferred for other companies to fulfill. That's a real shame.