July 21, 2004

Politics from Technorati? How About a System That Works First?



Coming soon from logo_new.gif

Ye olde "Under Construction," but without the digging man we have grown to love over the decade.

Well, okay, but the URL "politics.technorati.com" leads one to believe dire things are afoot. After all this is the Ito-annointed blog tracking company that spends more time heaping projects and developments on its plate than it does coding. That it is getting ready to bumble another huge chunk of the Infosphere should give us all pause.

It should give us pause because it is "by their fruits that ye shall know them." If Technorati actually worked hossanahs would be heard resounding off the star-specked domes of known space. Alas, as most people who use and have bought the service discover, the functionality of Technorati is a sometimes thing.

Instead of perfecting the political universe, perhaps Sifry and his sidekicks should think about learning to write some software and construct a web farm

that actually scales before they take on politics. Let's face it, if Ebay functioned like Technorati, you couldn't give away sex. After all, if you can't trust Technorati to have their computers count accurately and remain stable, how can you trust them to have anything to do with politics. Unless, of course, inaccuracy is plus in politics. It is? Who knew?

Signs that Technorati is consistently less than advertised already abound.:

  • The first is the downtime,
  • the second is the number of times the servers return gibberish,
  • the third is the fact that something new is always being launched by the biz before the issues with the old projects are being resolved.

    This is the "keep growing and they'll never notice we're feeble" business plan. It involves a lot of flying around and lot of chatting up developers and, really, just keeping the buzz buzzing hoping that the bottom doesn't fall out before you actually make something that works. Sort of like, well, the Kerry-Edwards campaign.

    Oh, and the number one sign that politics.technorati.com is a woofer in the womb?

    "Something is brewing at Technorati. Blogs all the way. We kick butt! " -- Dave Winer,
    in his tedious rant today about the Blogspasm he's about to lead at the Democratic National Convention.

    If Dave thinks it will be cool, you know it will be a scruffy, fleabitten hyote .

    When blogging comes of age like this, it is past time to get a new hobby.

    UPDATE: Ah, the veil of mystery is lifted and it turns out that Dave S. will be sitting in a chair in the CNN booth in order to bring the "buzz o' the blogs" to the breathless minons within and beyond the blogsphere.

    Yes, the company that brought you the information that the blog you updated half an hour ago had not been updated since the Bronze Age is getting into the "real time" analysis biz of the... "political blogsphere." Added to this will be Sifry's on-air commentary on what bloggers are saying about politics, which should compete well with the Paint Drying Hour on HGTV. Look for lots of Joi Ito blathering about online democracy while being interrupted by Dave Winer discussing how to quit smoking, invent the blogsphere, standardize RSS and date Joe Trippi at the same time.

    Sifry says: "We're incredibly humbled by this opportunity. It provides us with a great way to serve all of you who make this amazing new medium possible. We take this responsibility very seriously and hope to make you proud."

    Well, the proof of the pudding will be in the pounding, but one way to serve those of us who do the content and not the counting in this 'amazing new medium' would be to provide a service that works, rather than be off on the flavor of the week every other day. (And I should also note that I've never met a person who said they were 'humbled' who didn't mean they were having a toga party in their brainpan over the whole deal.)

    I guess that the Democrats won't be the only ones seeking the Fountain of Funding at the Convention after all.

    Why do I think this is much more about Sifry, Ito, money and Winer than about the 'amazing new medium?' Don't know, but I'm not getting that fair, balanced and giving vibe from this crew. I'm hearing the talk, but I'm not seeing the walk.

    Except for Winer, who has recently been shown to be a mole for the Republican Party (More on that later.).

    For now, the duh is cast and we will just have to kick back and see if TechnoCNNrati is a "slam dunk" or just another Tower of Blather.



    Posted by Vanderleun at July 21, 2004 4:45 PM
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  • Comments:


    "It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

    Bravo! Until now, it almost seemed as if there were an unspoken blogosphere rule against frank discussion of the service best summarized as "garbage-out, garbage-out".

    Posted by: Mike M. at July 21, 2004 7:42 PM

    Thanks a lot for the great feedback. I'm sorry that the service hasn't matched your expectations, there's really no good excuse for it. Our #1 priority is keeping the site up and dealing with the issues that recent popularity has brought upon us - dealing with reliably scaling (and dealing with the caching and backend failures in the process) and making absolutely sure that our results are correct and up-to-date. Getting an opportunity to work with CNN was just something that we couldn't pass up - and we're all going to be burning the midnight oil to make sure that the service stays up and that the results are correct.

    Keep up the good work and the great blog. You're helping to keep us honest, and you've given me and the team even more reason to work harder to get things right, 100% of the time. I'm going to make sure that everyone in the company reads this post as well. Thanks again for the honest feedback and criticism.


    Posted by: David Sifry at July 21, 2004 11:17 PM

    That was a month ago......

    Posted by: SubWolf at August 27, 2004 6:38 PM