Home Rating the Meme Trackers – Memeorandum still tops, but Topix and TailRank up there too

Rating the Meme Trackers – Memeorandum still tops, but Topix and TailRank up there too

TechCrunch recently rounded up a list of Memeorandum
, or what Don Dodge is calling meme
(I like that term). Seeing as I was one of the first off the blocks with a rave memeorandum
back in September 05, right behind Robert Scoble, and
I’ve been gushing about it ever since – I thought it’s only fair for me to analyze the
raft of contenders that have arisen since then. 

This whole ‘space’, of real-time news clustering, is one that I anticipate a lot of
growth in this year. As I wrote back in September:

“My bet is that mainstream news media organizations will be beating a path to Gabe’s
door to either invest in it or license the software.”

I’m actually somewhat surprised that mainstream media hasn’t taken more notice of this
space already – perhaps they need to hire someone like me to keep on top of these 2.0
things for them 😉 Anywho, here’s my impressions of the current crop of meme trackers,
using their Technology tracks as a comparison point.


Has 6 distinct categories so far, including a newly launched ‘Television’ category.
Plus ‘World’ and ‘Health’ are on the way apparently. Interface needs more work – they
don’t cluster results and some topics appear more than once in different places – e.g.
currently Engadget’s Citizen’s
reversible atomic clock
post is at number 13, 14, 15 all at once.


The Annotated New York Times tracks blog postings that cite articles published by The
New York Times. Interesting way to remix the NY Times and bring in external citations. I
especially like the “On the move…” column on the homepage, for stories that are
increasing in popularity. Has a large array of topics, but somehow the NY Times filter
makes me feel like I’m missing out on breaking news…


Desperately needs to work on their layout – pretty plain list format. Also there is no
topic focus. Features I do like: most clicked on in BlogsNow; most linked to flickr
pages; most linked to in the IMDB (but why is Groundhog Day currently #2?!!); most linked
to wikipedia pages. All in all, some promising features – but needs more focus and better


Nice layout, seems a little bit slower than tech.meme – e.g. Sifry’s State of the
Blogosphere is number 7 here but currently #1 on meme. The inclusion of excerpts doesn’t
really work for me – makes the page too busy (even though hidden behind an
expand/collapse button). I like the tag cloud and inclusion of Flickr pics.


Megite is very comprehensive, but I think it needs to find ways to reduce the
‘busy-ness’ of the page. The #1 FON story (at time of writing) totally dominates the page
and it took me 3-4 scrolls to get to number 2 on the list! Megite needs to learn how to
layout its clustering, a lesson which Memeorandum learnt back in September. You know,
people diss meme’s layout – but when it comes to cluster layouts, Memeorandum is still
streets ahead of its competition.


Well I feel a bit guilty now for once again showing my bias towards Memeorandum. But
note that it’s not a bias towards Gabe (who is a friend, I admit), but towards the
technology. It’s just faster and better presented – currently – than its

Newroo (pre-launch)

er, nice kangaroo… Nothing else to report thus far.


Has Superbowl #1, Sifry #2, FON #3 – which is pretty good. I’d rate this number 3
behind Memeorandum and Topix.net (see below) right now, but again I have issues with the
layout. Too much information. The excerpts are a nice idea, and presented fairly well on
TailRank, but to be honest they quickly become a blur. My intention with a meme tracker
is to quickly scan information – and excerpts just get in the way. However TailRank at
least tries to minimize this… maybe just needs more refining.

I suspect it needs more topic focus too, but then it seems to be aiming for this with
its tagging feature. I dunno… I like TailRank and what it sets out to do, but I just
feel it isn’t quite there yet. 

Technorati Kitchen

Has a wide variety of topics, as you’d expect. Not really a clustering service as
such, so unfair to compare it to memeorandum or tailrank. Ranks articles by “Recent
Authority” by default, so is biased towards A-List blogs. But I use Technorati’s tag
features quite often to find new stories, so for what it does Technorati Kitchen is very

Tinfinger (pre-launch)

Empty pages currently. Hurry up Paul! Less talk, more action 😉 I know, pot calling
kettle black…


My number 2 pick behind meme. I haven’t written enough about Topix.net, but I love
this service. The mix of ‘official’ news and blogs is now very compelling. And the Tech
page for instance has a wide range of techie topics covered – Linux, security,
programming, etc. I give Topix.net high marks for coverage and it is also
presented nicely. If anything, I’d like to see more done with story clustering – especially now that it includes blogs. An under-rated resource, IMO.


This is one of the forerunners of news clustering sites and is mainly focused on
politics and non-tech subjects. But the techie meme cluster servcies listed above could
take a few notes from TLB – nice 3-column layout on its topic pages, interesting use of
graphs too.


All in all, Memeorandum still comes out trumps in terms of clustering layout, speed
and relevancy. Topix.net and TailRank are strong services too. Also I suspect Chuquet and
Megite will pick up the pace once they’ve enhanced their interfaces. A very interesting space to watch!

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