Aggregation site roundup.
March 23, 2003 3:56 AM
There are more and more blog aggregation sites every month (and I'll miss many of them in this post). Rootblog seems to be the newest, and weblogs.com seems to be the most useless (to me anyway). Here's a list of these sites and a brief explanation of what they are trying to do...
- Like I mentioned, weblogs.com seems to be completely useless due to the fact that it only tells you who recently updated. As a consumer of blog media, I do indeed care about who recently updated, but a list of hundreds of blogs placed in order of their update timestamp is not helpful.
- NewsIsFree is pretty cool because it lets you know who updated recently, what kind of blog it is, and where their RSS feed is. The Directory of blogs and news sites, etc is good for discovering more of the types of blogs and sites you want to find. Also, if no RSS feed exists for a given site, NewsIsFree goes thru the trouble of scraping one together.
- Syndic8 is pretty much the same deal as NewsIsFree, but has an XML-RPC interface for extracting information in more sophisticated ways. That's pretty cool, even though I won't be using it (for now anyway).
- Rootblog takes the tact of reading RSS feeds and listing who has updated recently, and listing the recent posts with their short descriptions. This is more useful to me than weblogs.com, but I think there is more Rootblog can do. I'd like to see some sort of info architecture that lets me know what sort of content is at the recently updated site. Maybe that means everyone should be using Dublin Core metadata and pings should carry that information.
- BlogTree isn't really an aggregator, but it does contain more semantically rich organizations of blogs by allowing authors to associate their site with others. You can say "this blog over here inspired my blog" and that gets leveraged by showing which blogs are children blogs, siblings, and parents. Very cool, but it's not much better than randomness for finding engaging blog content that you are interested in.
- blo.gs let's you know who recently updated, and if known, shows you a link to the RSS feed for that blog. That's certainly more useful than weblogs.com, and better yet, you can set blogs to be watched, and there's a listing of the most watch blogs. Popularity as an index can be useful in terms of finding quality. There's a mechanism for finding blogs that are related, but that is "determined by who other people who have added it to their list of favorites." That's anecdotal relationship building that can be useful.
- Technorati is kind of cool, but kind of promotes a High School popularity contest mentality, and is a manifestation of the blog power curve. Outside of that, I like the features of the site that allow you to see who is linking to a given blog, and consume that as HTML or as RSS. I read my server logs every day, and carefully look thru the referrers and follow them back to see who is linking to me site. Very often I find good sites that way, and I like that Technorati makes that useful information to anyone.
- Blogrolling.com "is a web service designed to take the hassle out of updating lists of links on your website or weblog. By using simple "bookmarklets" with one click you can add links immediately on your website. No pesky HTML to edit everytime you want to add someone new." I don't use it, but I see referrer links coming from it every day now, so someone likes the idea of avoiding "pesky HTML."
- AmphetaDesk "is a free, cross platform, open-sourced, syndicated news aggregator - it obediently sits on your desktop, downloads the latest news that interests you, and displays them in a quick and easy to use (and customizable!) webpage. With thousands of channels available, AmphetaDesk can shave hours off your day." It's important to note that you run an application and select blogs to aggregate and then view that aggregation thru a browser, so it's still sort of a website, but kind of an application. I use it.
Knowing that someone recently updated their site is good to know, but it is not the nexus of what compels me to go read that blog. I want assistance in finding new blog content that is interesting to me.