What’s wrong with Technorati

Updated on August 27, 2008

In episode #373 of the FIR podcast last week, Shel and I discussed what’s wrong with Technorati.

This turned into quite a lengthy discussion, initially prompted by Dan York’s report in that episode in which he talked about what’s wrong with Technorati.

There seems to be a growing feeling that something’s wrong with Technorati.

In my recent experience, this is manifested through searching for something and always getting an error like this:

technoratierrorresult

So my perception of Technorati now as a blog search tool is that it isn’t reliable any longer (although to be fair, I did a search just now, which did work). I end up Googling which, let’s face it, always works.

And so I don’t use Technorati any more as a primary place to search. I still refer to Technorati when researching influencers online although I sometimes wonder how reliable that core aspect of its service really is, things like authority and ranking.

Anecdotally, I’m hearing more and more such views about Technorati. Joe Thornley sums it all up very well:

[…] I am throwing in the towel on Technorati. I no longer receive benefits that justify the time to go to the site and conduct a search. Google blog search reliably provides me with more complete results. So, why spend the time setting up and reviewing search results from a second service that has proven itself so unreliable?

And as I have come to doubt the completeness of Technorati’s search results, I’ve grown ever more reluctant to place any reliance on Technorati Authority.

So, at the end of the day, I find myself rarely going to Technorati.

The end of an era?

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Kris Hoet

    Totally agree with this one. It’s a lousy blog search engine and the authority ‘thing’ is just ridiculous. I hardly ever check anything on Technorati these days, whereas it used to be a quite regular destination in the past. I remember Derek Gordon (Marketing at Technorati at that time, but left soon after) to explain in a comment at my blog about some upcoming innovation… maybe you’ve seen it. I haven’t at least, that comment was over a year ago.

    http://crossthebreeze.com/2007/07/31/technorati-wheres-the-innovation/

  2. neville

    I can remember Technorati founder Dave Sifry dropping in to my blog from time to time to comment, back in 04/05.

    Maybe the innovation you’re referring to is re news recently about Technorati and advertising/blog networks as reported by CNet News yesterday: http://tinyurl.com/674jbv.

    Great, but what about making search trusted again?

    Just seen a good post on RWW by Marshall Kirkpatrick on “How Technorati Could Become Relevant Again”: http://tinyurl.com/6cx4ck.

  3. Adam

    Agreed.

    I’ve been getting error messages about 40% of the time I do research over on the main site, and seen my authority steadily drop even as my traffic grows.

    It seems a deeply odd move from them to try and become Yet Another Ad Network, when their key tag aggregation/search tech seems to be decaying daily and the ad market is in a slump…

  4. Ian Kallen

    The blogosphere of 2005 looked very different from the much larger, more spammy one we see today. Some the problems along the way are certainly the stability and coverage problems mentioned. Assumptions about the ecosystem and the technologies to understand it have required re-examination. We want to continue to be of service to you and your readers and appreciate the feedback you’re providing when we’ve fallen short on that. We’ll be blogging about the retooling of our back-end systems to better adapt to today’s blogosphere in the weeks and months ahead, stay tuned and feel free to contact me directly, ikallentechnorati.com to let us know how we’re doing.
    thanks,
    -Ian
    Technorati

  5. Marshall Manson

    When we first started doing online monitoring programmes at Edelman, built first and foremost to deliver actionable insights within 24 hours of posts appearing, we relied on Technorati. But since they launched their redesign and broadened their remit to all things conversational instead of staying focused on blogs, we’ve found their data less and less reliable. So we really stopped using it on that basis. (The errors you and others have mentioned have come since then, and are even more debilitating.) These days, we have to look elsewhere for tools to help us with listening. And that’s too bad. Technorati had the opportunity to be a vital niche tool that everyone relied on. Indeed, they had really achieved that position, but then, it seems to me, they just turned their back and walked away. I for one just don’t understand it.

  6. neville

    Ian, thanks for your comment. Couldn’t agree with you more that things are very different today to what they were in 2005. Great to know that you’re fixing the Technorati back end. Are you too little too late, though, as far as trusted search goes? I think Adam’s point is a good one re the new things you’re getting into while neglecting your core. And Marshall’s comment is a pretty damning indictment of how far Technorati has fallen.

    That’s interesting re declining authority, David. I see that on a great many blogs, including mine. I reckon it’s a consequence of things like Twitter: more micro-blog posts and less ‘real’ posts on a blog would mean less connecting to the blog (little new to connect to) and so declining rank on Technorati over time.

    This makes sense, I think, as I’ve seen my Twitter URL increase its Technorati rank over the same time period as this blog’s decrease. Mind you, it’s dropped recently, so I may be wrong! Or the ranking/authority is unreliable.

  7. Brendan

    I recently looked into how Technorati Authority scores had fared over the past few months for a core set of PR blogs (http://tinyurl.com/649bjt).

    I too noticed that there was a disparity between authority, and viewing figures. I have about three times the number of subscribers since the start of the study (from November 2007) and yet my authority figure remains fairly constant.

    I agree with Neville that this could reflect the changing nature of online presence, through microblogging, Friendfeed and so on.

    So, that’s personal anecdote and theory. However, increasingly I’m finding people express lack of confidence in Authority as a credible means of measurement.

    Technorati could change its algorithms to focus more on the signal than the noise (depending on what you class as ‘signal’!).

    However I also think Technorati has a great opportunity here. The PR/social media world is on the hunt for good metrics and, given that Authority was once held up as an example of this but is less so now, perhaps it’s a chance for Technorati to take the lead. I know I’d be delighted to have access to publicly available, API-enabled metrics that offer more insight into, say, sentiment analysis.

    In the same way Yahoo has a key app outside of its search engine offering – Yahoo Pipes (which incidentally doesn’t work with Google Blog Search) – perhaps this could be Technorati’s new, and killer, USP?

  8. David Brain

    Neville. Congrats on this post. You obviously hit a nerve with a lot of us on this and I for one will be watching to see how Dave Siffrey’s guys develop the offer. I have met them a couple of times and we did a joint project with them a couple of years ago and I do have faith that they will fix this or explain why what they do is a valid approach. They seemed a pretty dedicated lot.

  9. Robin Capper

    Was interested to read this as while tweaking my blog design looked at the Technorati search/link in my sidebar and thought;

    “How long since I last went there?”

    If I don’t use it, does it deserve a place on my blog. Still debating that one

  10. PR2Peer

    Technorati a des ratés…

    Grandeur et misère des moteurs de recherche. Il fut un temps, il n’y a pas si longtemps, ou Technorati regnait en maître sur la blogosphère en ébullition. Qui parmi vous, lecteur communicant, n’a pas utilisé dans une slide powerpoint les…

  11. " » Social Tools that let us down" from Pro PR

    […] Neville Hobson, who started the discussion with Shel Holtz on the FIR podcast 373 offered, “So my perception of Technorati now as a blog search tool is that it isn’t reliable any longer (although to be fair, I did a search just now, which did work). I end up Googling which, let’s face it, always works. And so I don’t use Technorati any more as a primary place to search. I still refer to Technorati when researching influencers online although I sometimes wonder how reliable that core aspect of its service really is, things like authority and ranking.” […]

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