If you were to ask anyone who knows their way around cyberculture about the blogosphere, Technorati would undoubtedly be top-of-mind. Technorati used to be a genuinely useful and colossally large index of blogs.
On May 29th, 2014, Technorati removed millions of pages from the web, deleting their entire blog directory and all associated information.
What’s more interesting is that they performed this action rather stealthily, without an announcement of any kind. Technorati’s motive behind this sudden decision is presumably related to their increased interest to focus on developing their advertising network.
As someone with design, programming and statistical skills, I frequently wrote scripts that scraped information from Technorati in an effort to analyze and visualize trends in content. Last week I visited my favorite directory to find that it was a very different site from the one I had come to know and respect. It was a downright surreal sensation. Like visiting New York City and discovering that the Statue of Liberty had been removed.
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Even more curious was the fact that no major web publications have covered Technorati’s abrupt transformation. I rummaged the Internet for signs that I wasn’t the only one seeing this sudden disappearance of millions of pages and hardly found any reputable sources covering it. Perhaps no one noticed?
Over the past decade Technorati had become a staple on the web. Unlike other directories it focused on content, rating and sorting blogs on a 1000 point scale using its “Technorati Authority” algorithm. For many bloggers, hitting the Technorati top 100 was an ambitious dream—and those who realized that dream gained celebrity status on the web.
It’s understandable that Technorati was probably feeling the weight of its enormous database. Back in 2007 Technorati was amassing a terabyte of data each day, doubling its then-hundred-million indexed blogs every 6 months. At that rate, even if their growth rate gradually plateaued, they would have been well over a few billion blogs in. That’s the kind of operation that takes tremendous resources to support, let alone scale.
I’m sure Technorati didn’t make their decision to do what they did lightly. That sort of major paradigm shift requires a great deal of thought and internal debate. And I’m sure they’ll find themselves reaping more immediate profits as a real-time advertising network (their current endeavor). But I can’t help but feel that they’re now “just another ad network”, where before they were something unique: A true landmark of the Internet.
And who knows, their ad network could see noteworthy success and set itself apart from others, but that still won’t make it the same Technorati that was once arguably the best directory on the Internet—not to mention an incredible source of data.
Update: I contacted Technorati for an official statement and they referred to this post on their blog. They do suggest that they’re redesigning their directory, but dont go into much detail. Excerpt below.
[blockquote]“You won’t find our blog claim process or authority index on this new website, as that technology is being redesigned and optimized to help publishers get discovered by advertisers and earn more for their highly-valued content.”[/blockquote]