Technorati made a fresh round of promises this morning, assuring users that the service will be less awful soon once a new anti-spam program is put in place. The company says it sees nearly 10 million unique visitors each month but we cringe a bit every time we visit the site. It doesn't have to be that way.Blog search engine
Blogsearch in general is rife with spam and Technorati is at a real disadvantage compared to other blogsearch engines, but that's not the company's only problem. What would you like to see Technorati do in order to be relevant again? Below is our wish list.
The number one problem with Technorati is definitely spam blogs showing up in search results. Ask.com's blog search does a decent job of limiting spam by priortizing search results from feeds with a number of subscribers in the company's popular feed reader Bloglines. We could write a whole other post about what we wish Ask's blogsearch would do to improve too, though.
Google Blogsearch could take a similar step for spam control by referencing subscriptions in Google Reader. It may already have done so, but there's little evidence of active developement in Google Blogsearch.
Yahoo Pipes and filtering out items with relatively low inbound links or from sources with a lot of spam on a given topic. That's not a lot of fun to have to do, but we sure appreciate those numbers being made available in the company's feeds.When using Technorati, we've taken to running search feed through
Technorati has issued some new guidelines for being included in less spammy search results, but we'll see how well they work over the coming weeks and months. Some of the guidelines seem fairly arbitrary, like publishing a full instead of an excerpted feed and pinging Technorati directly instead of through a 3rd party. We assume that pings from Feedburner will still be welcome.
Technorati returns a "we're sorry, there was an error - try again later" message far more than the other blog search engines do. The first several times we tried searching for inbound links to the new spam control announcement today we got that message.
Return sort by authority to blog directory and elsewhere
There was a time when Technorati's Blog Directory was a pretty good place to discover top blogs on any topic. It displayed blogs that had been tagged by authors as relevant to certain topics and let you sort the list by most inbound links in the last 6 months. Inexplicably, the sort by authority option was removed months ago and the blog directory is now under emphasized in favor of various bizarre options for browsing blogs topically. It's now relatively unusable.
If I'm interested in discovering the top blogs about cooking, for example, it sure would be nice if I could navigate directly to http://technorati.com/blogs/tag/cooking and find them in some intelligable order.
Possibly the most annoying thing about Technorati these days is that search results aren't easy to navigate. From the front page of the site you're taken to full text search results but the headlines on the page don't link to the posts, they link to a Technorati page about the posts. The actual post links are small and grey below the headlines. That's absolutely contemptable.
From other pages, searches will bring you to other search results. The whole thing is ridiculous.
We'll leave complaints about poor, messy site design alone for now - the service has enough other problems. The company is moving its emphasis over to providing an ad network and letting its basic functionality fall by the wayside. Investors have been complaining for some time about Technorati's performance and we're all suffering as a result. Are there not enough ad networks in the world already? Technorati should make its own traffic grow by serving its users better and monetize that. The company tried a number of functional partnerships with other publishers, like the Washington Post for example, but apparently couldn't figure out how to make money from that. That's a shame.
Come on Technorati - we're honestly cheering for you! There's a huge need out there and you could be filling it.
What would readers like to see Technorati do in order to become relevant again? Leave your thoughts in comments, the company is sure to read them and maybe something positive will happen.