For a long, long time I've been silently complaining at the less than stellar reliability of Technorati. Today I read the long list of complaints that Jeremy Wright has posted in the past few days: Leaving Technorati Behind, Technorati: Too Quick, Too Fast and Doc Searls Calls Me Out. As well as Technorati is dying by the Blog Herald and a flurry of citations to The selling of the Blogosphere by Tom Foremski.
Jeremy's posts triggered a response from David Sifry, CEO of Technorati: Scaling, performance, and plain old bug fixing. I immediatly thought of comparing indexes between Technorati and Bloglines but Scoble did it in Sifry's comments (the Lazy Web is improving, you don't even need to ask now):
Technorati search for Dave Sifry's blog reveals 735 links.
Bloglines Citation search for same thing reveals 2,644 links.
Dave, that's what you need to fix. Bloglines is building a better index and, at the end of the day, that's what's gonna matter.
Technorati has a nicer design, though.
[P.S. July 17, Scoble's comparison is misleading, see this follow-up] Technorati has a nicer design. Ouch! The various look & feel redesigns of Technorati have been the most visible changes in the past year or so, along with the addition of APIs and new features such as tags. But reliability, speed and accuracy of the index, which are absolutely vital to the credibility of the company, have not been improved. At least not visibly and not in a sustainable manner (there were some improvements in the past, but they didn't last long). When last year my gripe was that searches took ages to return results, now nine out of ten searches result in a "Zero Sized Reply" proxy error (or this morning with a nicer "we're experiencing heavy load, sorry" message, except that it was 10am CET in Paris, i.e. 4am in NYC or 1am in California, not exactly peak time). And I pass on the issue of blog spam overwhelming the index, which IMO explains the strange trends at work here.
Unlike others, I don't see any issue with Technorati and alike trying to make a buck out of their work. After all, they filled a gap in providing a fast search service to the fast content-producing blogosphere, where Google still needs ages to update its index (with respect to the blogosphere warped sense of time). For me as an information whore Technorati did raise lots of expectations and when I look at how much we pay for a press clipping service at my company, there is obviously room for a similar business on the internet. But only if there is value and accuracy above what one can get for free already. For Technorati to take my business, cosmetic redesigns and "we feel your pain" messages aren't going to cut it, not after years of the same painful story. Especially when I get better results from others.
Oh, and one day the Really Big Guys -- Google, Yahoo! and consorts -- will wake up.