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.
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]
Thanks for the article, it’s a very interesting piece of news. I’m surprised that larger sites like Techcrunch and Mashable haven’t noticed this
this really sucked. One day it was there and the next it was gone and yes, it surprised me as well that it was near impossible to find any coverage of this? This is pretty big? I used Technorati as a source to help me find blogs of interest, see who was rising or falling in rankings, etc. This is nearly as huge as when Google Reader decided (wrongly) to shutter their doors… Ugh! Do you know of any alternatives or similar sites like Technorati USED to be?
If anybody else knows alternatives, I’d like to know as well.
No, there doesn’t appear to be. There are some pretty diverse directories out there, say DMOZ. However these aren’t exclusive to blogs and aren’t programmatically curated using an authority algorithm.
You can browse through this list, but I didn’t see anything that was quite like Technorati from a surface inspection. http://www.moreofit.com/similar-to/www.sphere.com/Top_10_Sites_Like_Sphere/
Why would they take it offline while “redesigning” it? Every relaunch ever keeps the preceding version up until launch date. Seems like there’s more to the story than Technorati is telling us.
Not just that, but accounts have also been summarily deleted without any notification whatsoever. While there is nothing wrong in deciding to chart a new course, a tiny effort to at least notify users (and particularly those having accounts) of the impending changes would have been appreciated.
I agree. I did later discover that they had a blog post that mentioned the transition the day they did it, but the mention was just an afterthought, buried within the article.
I wonder why they decided to make their move under-the-radar like this.
There’s nothing like insulting the group you’d like to get to carry advertisers on their sites. Whoever their head of marketing/pr should be shot. Trust is the most important factor in a business relationship and they just said, “So what. We don’t care.” It will be interesting to watch how they recover and roll with this virtual slap in the face to their once loyal blog base. Google does ahve a “blog search” of sorts: http://www.google.com/blogsearch, but I don’t think it’s a focus of much.
Thanks! I forgot about the blog-specific section of Google. I just checked it out and found that it pulls a lot of non-blog content, including from article repositories.
the “intitle” operator helps to make the search a little more category based, but it’s still tricky, as the titles of each page on a blog are searched (as opposed to just the home page, which would be a better indicator of the niche).
Here at Technorati, we value the hard work creators do to build content that informs, entertains, and connects us all. After making creators of great content discoverable and relatable, we chose to undertake the harder challenge of rewarding them financially for their efforts. We have turned our authority algorithm into a value accelerator for their advertising impressions. We use it to connect the best content creators with advertisers who truly value their content and the loyal readership they’ve accumulated. There is a new way to “join” Technorati, and this one pays out directly.
Our website, Technorati.com, is still free and now home to an authoritative team of contributing writers. Many of our writers are publishers themselves who want to help each other maximize their readership and impression value through sharing success stories, strategies and best practices.
Shani Higgins, Technorati CEO
With all due respect, Shani Higgins, I believe you’ve shot yourself in the foot. I don’t understand why you think your ad network is any different, or for that matter, any more unique than other ad network currently out in the marketplace today. You’ve alienated the vast majority of your contributing writers (which you pay nothing) and somehow you have the temerity to say that you value “hard work.” How is Technorati’s ad network any better or superior to VentureBeat’s? Or Techcrunch? Or Mashable? You’ve completely shut down any creative for Technorati by focusing on two of the least interesting topics I can imagine, display advertising and “programmatics.” I can only presume it was some sort of data telling you that this is what your advertisers wanted in terms of content but I can tell you right now, it won’t make Technorati a success. I’m sorry you didn’t listen to others on your staff who had more progressive ideas about what direction Technorati should take as a publisher. What’s sad is how you’re so not interested in building creative content and instead you’re just another typical CEO. It’s all about dollars and cents. My, you are a wonderful example.
Worst decision ever!
Translation: the site that was once useful to the blogging community and consequently put Technorati Media on the map has been converted to something not directly useful to the blogging community but it will continue to poll your websites to come up with opportunities for Technorati Media.
Nice thank you to the community that helped you get your business off the ground.
I noticed this in May when I went to check my rank and couldn’t find any word of it on the web.
I completely agree about the surreal feeling on discovering it’s complete disappearance! One has to wonder if not acknowledging this change is good or bad for business.
If anyone knows how to get your articles that I wrote for technorati back please let me know.
DO you have the URL’s of your content? If so try using the Wayback Machine to see if they were cached http://wayback.archive.org
Here are their terms of service from 2013 to April 2014: http://web.archive.org/web/20140403203145/http://technorati.com/terms-of-service/
Unless you see all of your articles on the same sites, it’s likely they were just syndicated by bots. A lot of sites repost content that originated elsewhere.
I am very saddened that they are gone. Technorati was indeed unique, it seems there is no real alternative to Technorati for bloggers.
Thanks for covering this! I was like oh what happened. I used to write for them, I think I only wrote about 3 pieces but I felt so honored they would issue like queries to folks on their list on a topic. I was so proud, then I fell off somehow and went back to look and it was a totally different website- like boom! Weird.
Less than 2 years after, it has been proved that this wasn’t a smart move. Since now, Technorati is on the way to be completely disbanded:
A company that, in its best years had a net value of over 32millon dollars, was sold, for mere “3millon cash”.