long live the strategists
that just isn't compelling - the social dud

technorati's new direction - the changes needed for success

Technorati logo This morning, countless bloggers around the globe received an email from Technorati about four updates - A. a survey for their latest State of the Blogosphere Survey, B. Changes in Technorati ranking, C. Technorati's new direction as a content hub, and D. a reminder about email settings.  Emails from Technorati used to be exciting.  Aside for their State of the Blogosphere study, the other 3/4 of the email didn't excite, or inspire much confidence in the brand.

Technorati was once the golden child of the web.  They were the go to solution for blog search, the #1 ranking of blogs and the definitive guide to the blogosphere.  Then they went through an identity crisis.  At one point they were building a social monitoring service (similar to Radian6), at another point they were building RSS ads, at another point they were building social campaigns and websites.

The one time category leader is now sitting at the back of the bus.  Their authority ranking has failed to keep up with the times, with no coverage of links from Twitter or FriendFeed (not to mention scores like average engagement, on-topic engagement etc) and a seriously flawed blog update system (who wants to ping them every time you have new content?).  Two years ago I visited Technorati.com at least once a day.  More recently, I log into Technorati.com once or twice a month.  The conversation has shifted, and Technorati hasn't kept up.

Other than serving as a decent blog listing service, Technorati has brought one fantastic peice of equity to the conversation every year, their State of The Blogosphere study.  For last year's study click here.

However, before gaining access to the survey, Technorati asks you to take a survey that highlights the strategic flaw in their services.   The survey asks questions like "Which of the following activities do you participate in to attract visitors to your blog?"  Firstly, Technorati doesn't say "engage" it says "attract visitors".  Secondly, none of the options include Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook or any of the other conversation platforms.  These are included in a separate section.  This may just be me, but the lines in my life are fairly blurred.

And therein lies Technorati's fundamental flaw.  Blogging is no longer about the content so much as it is the role of the content in the conversation.  Blogging is a placeholder, a personal homepage of content and opinion that serves as an owned landing environment for the blogger's social footprint, a footprint that more often that not extends far beyond the blog itself.  We as users have evolved.  The conversation has evolved.  Blogging has evolved.  I'm not sure that Technorati has.

Call it experienced skepticism, but I don't see Technorati succeding as a traditional content aggregator. However, if they can bring a human, conversational touch to the content they could set themselves up for a rebirth.  Lord knows, we don't need another aggregater.  However, if they can bring a series of well known and respected Community Managers and Social Advocates to the conversation, attending conferences, participating in the industry dialogue by vertical or topic, highlighting great content, generating provocative content and being a good social citizen, they have a chance.  

Technorati was born in web 1.5.  Content alone won't bring them to the promised land.  It's time for Technorati, one of the original social offerings to become truly social themselves.