Hoosgot Time For Another Technorati Experiment?

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Hoosgot Time For Another Technorati Experiment?


I just read an article on David Sifry's blog announcing a new service called called Hoosgot.

It has something to do with the LazyWeb (because that's what's being "resurrected"). I have no idea what the LazyWeb is. In any case, the service allows allows you to ask "who's got" what you're looking for by posting via a blog post or Twitter post. You tag the content with "hoosgot" and this the process.

I have no idea whether anyone will actually use this. For all I know, it could be a brilliant idea (assuming that people use Technorati tags, which for the most part, they don't). That's not my point. My point is that this is the next in a series of distractions that Technorati has been plagued with as it struggles to remain relevant. Too many distractions is one of the common reasons startups fail.

I've been watching Technorati for a while. Over the past couple of years, I've seen them continue to try and roll out new features, some related to the core business and some not. This is all while the basic functionality of Technorati has had challenges keeping up with the growth of the blogosphere. Though it may not seem that way sometimes, Technorati's core business is to track the 100+ million blogs that are out there, provide some search capabilities and provide the still widely cited Technorati ranking.

If you disagree with my position that Technorati's basic functionality is "not quite right" yet, just do the following: Take a blog that has not yet been claimed and "claim" it on Technorati and see how long it takes to get a credible Technorati ranking and have it actually find the inbound links. This was very painful about a couple of years ago, now it's just moderately painful.

I personally find it hard to criticize smart folks like David Sifry when they innovate and try new things. I'm guilty of this kind of "distraction" myself (not a week goes by that I don't have yet another crazy idea). But, the pragmatic entrepreneur in me has to wonder whether yet another whacky experiment is really going to help Technorati succeed and remain relevant.

What do you think? Am I being overly harsh? If you were a stakeholder in Technorati, would you encourage this new "Hoosgot" service (even if it did only take 48 hours to build)?

Update:  David Sifry (founder of Technorati) was nice enough to leave a detailed comment clearing up a few things:  1.  He's no longer CEO of Technorati.  2.  Hoosgot is not affiliated with Technorati, it just happens to use some features of Technorati.  As such, my criticism of Hoosgot (from a startup distraction) perspective was misguided.  My best wishes to David on this and future projects.


Posted by Dharmesh Shah on Sun, Dec 30, 2007


Thanks for your thoughtful comments. First off, while I'm the founder of Technorati and was its CEO for its first 5 years, I'm not working there day-to-day anymore. This is a project that is completely outside of Technorati, doesn't have anyofficial relationship with Technorati, it just uses some feeds that Technorati produces to help track the blogosphere. It is an application built using Technorati (and also Twitter Scan, for now).
Technorati's got a team of people who do work there every day and who are focused on providing the best spam-free, easy-to-use blog search tool on the planet. It's hard work. And there's a team of very talented people who are working on it, full time.
But I'm not one of them anymore - so while there's lots of work to be done, I'm very happy with the new CEO and the team at Technorati.
Anyway, that's what's up. I know a lot of people still think of me with regards to the daily workings at Technorati, but times change, companies change, and people change. And I still go to board meetings and help out whenever the team needs me. :-)
By the way, just to clear up some misconceptions about hoosgot - It's not some grand new business scheme, it's a site I whipped up in a total of 48 hours or so of coding, to fill a need I wanted for myself. And a correction to your impression - you don't need to tag your posts or tweets - simply mention "hoosgot" or "lazyweb" in the content or title of your post/tweet and hoosgot should find it.
Thanks again for your thoughts and criticism, it's always appreciated.

posted on Sunday, December 30, 2007 at 4:13 PM by David Sifry

David: Thanks for taking the time to comment.
Thanks for clearing up that Hoosgot is not affiliated with Technorati. You're right. Even though we know that you're not the CEO anymore, it's hard to separate you from Technorati.
In any case, good luck with the project and in light of the fact that you're on your own now, experiment away!

posted on Sunday, December 30, 2007 at 4:19 PM by

How *will* our children ever learn to spell? I still remember missing a 100 on a spelling test because of donut vs doughnut. Now "hoosgot" .....
It also strikes me that I must use the internet very very differently from other people as this is a service that I find very puzzling. Of course Facebook and Twitter seem strange to me too.
Vivi experimentation, though.

posted on Sunday, December 30, 2007 at 4:32 PM by Oliver Taco

First, I have been a diligent user of Technorati tags for years. I manage about 30 assorted blogs and I always recommend to bloggers that they use them as well. Sometimes, they simply don't work. I have had items tagged with a unique tag and then found NOTHING in Technorati with that tag. (May have to do with authority.)
Second, regarding "spelling," there are several obvious potential reasons for the spelling "hoosgot." It's de rigeur in the Web 2.0 world to use deliberate misspellings, like Digg, Tumblr, Flickr. This is most likely driven by the dearth of good .com domains with real English words, these having either been snapped up by domain name speculators, or already owned by defunct Web 1.0 entities.

posted on Sunday, December 30, 2007 at 4:49 PM by joel

Okay, so unless I am horribly missing a major use of this, I think its hugely cool , think of how this can be used! A fast track down of most anything, with no laborious searching.

posted on Sunday, December 30, 2007 at 5:02 PM by lisa Coultrup

hoosgot means thoughts about technorati?
Oh, I have ... well ... "complaints", in the form of bug reports. (How come so many blogs on my list show "No updates" but I go there and find updates? Latency is one thing; bad data is quite different.)
And I have ... *cough* ... concerns about response time with Feedback and questions. (Hey, I'm used to DreamHost ... call me spoiled.)
But what bothers me most is that this gives rise to ... gawd, it's New Years, I don't even want to verbalize sad thoughts!)
Have time for it? Deff ... calls for a bit of clear thinking and /maybe/ even rewards same i.e. variants of lucidity will float up through the typical noise.
FWIW: After reading an item (yet another in an endless stream) on hoosgot.com that was a wandering comment rather than an intentional query, I tweeted "@akbmcndo Did you mean "Who's got opinions about hosbot?" or "hoosgot opinions about this service?" Operationally different."
Now, fact is, I don't think @akbmcndo was aware/mindful<strike>/conscious</strike> when s/he<strike>it</strike> keyed the comment ... so likely my response will elicit some form of "WTF<strike>FTW</strike> reaction ... but such are the rewards of activity in the public domain, yes?
Play on, dsifry! This old WillowBear roars his assent.
p.s. tech? cognitive ergonomics? what's effective? sure would be nice to have a preview function ... can I expect 0 typos in such a long comment? I can, because I must, because I have no choice. Now, compare difficulty of a) post comment form on blog, and b) technorati. ^4? ^10?

posted on Sunday, December 30, 2007 at 5:33 PM by Ben Tremblay

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