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Thursday, February 1, 2007

Technorati WTF

Blog search engine Technorati – continuing the eternal search for their own site’s purpose – added a new feature called WTF (short for “what the fuck,” though Technorati claims it means “where’s the fire”). It works like this:

  1. Every registered Technorati-user can add an explanatory article on any subject (like a popular search query in the blogosphere). The article will be Creative Commons licensed (you can fully copy it in non-commercial environments, if you attribute the source). You can’t use HTML, but you can type URLs, which will then be auto-linked.
  2. Users can then vote for this “WTF”, digg-style.
  3. The best WTF’s climb to the top spot of the overcrowded Technorati search result (say, you’re searching for Paris Hilton, a special “onebox” will show a snippet + link from a WTF article).

For testing purposes, I’ve added a WTF about Google Fensi, the rumored Google project. Because it only got 1 vote so far, it’s not visible in search results for fensi.

Technorati’s Dave Sifry calls this new feature a risky social experiment, saying “we’re putting our highest-value real estate – the topmost search result – in the hands of our community.” I think the idea is fairly nice, but right now the whole system seems pretty abusable: something like 6 votes within 6 days allows user AdamHertz to inhibit the top spot for Paris Hilton. Of course, that’s an issue with any Digg-style approach in the beginning – time will tell if Technorati can get a real community behind this feature to make it successful. Also, this latest move has a vague reinventing-the-wheel feeling about it; why should users start posts at Technorati instead of their own blog – and why should users vote for posts at Technorati instead of at Digg?

[Via Steve Rubel.]


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