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Hoosgot Time For Another Technorati Experiment?

Posted by Dharmesh Shah on December 30, 2007 6 Comments

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.