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Technorati Deletes Index, Hopes Customers Won’t Notice

Just two weeks ago Technorati was praised left and right for “returning to their roots”: reinstating charts and the authority filter in search. The most telling title: Technorati Fights Off Irrelevance With Return of Charts.

Today they are back. To irrelevance. smile_sad

When I first noticed I could not find posts older than 6 months, I had doubts if I tested enough, and even if I did, was the issue system-wide, and “by design” or just a glitch. Then I got confirmation from Technorati’s Ian Kallen:

We’re in the midst of some economization, performance fixes and retooling that have required taking some data offline. The data is not lost but our priorities are to prefer keeping recent data online. Most people don’t notice :) We’ll probably be bringing that data back online but I don’t have an ETA yet.

First of all, thank you, Ian, for responding so fast. Second, it’s a sad post comment: you just condemned Technorati to irrelevance. Your new CEO says:

The core of everything we do is in blog search – without question, we must do that very, very well

Hm… and the first step to providing quality search is to take the index offline… 6 months is not “remote past”, significant events were reported / analyzed by blogs, often better than mainstream media, and now they are nowhere to be found! Here’s the result of a search I performed for background to my next story: Technorati (0 results) and Google (83 results). I can’t use Technorati if it does not remember “yesterday”… and you don’t even have an ETA on restoring the index.

But the worst part isn’t the poor performance It’s the attitude: silently take it offline, hoping “most people don’t notice“. Yuck. In the age of transparency. I’m afraid Dennis Howlett is right:

@Ian: “We’re in the midst of some economization, performance fixes and retooling” – in other words – we’re totally messed up and are trying to figure out what to do next. That would be closer to the truth don’t you think?

Update: Any hopes of users not noticing are up in smoke: it’s on TechCrunch, TechMeme and a bunch of blogs including hyku | blog, TeleRead, Susan Mernit’s Blog, Deep Jive Interests, Data Mining, WinExtra, Kevin Burton’s NEW FeedBlog, and The Last Podcast.

Comments

  1. Hi Zoli,
    Your post was actually the first bit of feedback on the index shuffling we’ve been doing, I just want to say: Thank You for noticing!

    Just to clarify: we’re *not* deleting any indexes but we’ve been taking portions of the data offline while we realign some infrastructure. I really commented in that previous post (and here) in an effort to provide some visibility into what you’d observed. As to the index age, Google Blogsearch’s index doesn’t go back forever either, but yes the oldest hit in their index for that search is 14 months ago, much older than the 5.5 months of the age of our oldest hit. When I said most people “don’t notice” it’s because most folks aren’t using us for historical research; they’re using us to find the most recent posts and links. Google’s main index has pretty good coverage for historical pages. I’m curious what data set time frame for blog search is important too you (and Dennis)? If we operated with a 18 month index, would that be sufficient? Do you need a historical blog search archive?

    Thanks again,
    -Ian

  2. I blogged about this a few weeks ago and blognation germany did as well.I have emailed them… no reply. Let them be damned. Within a month of Sifry’s departure it was going belly up. They might have a new CEO – but he is making all the wrong noises.

  3. Hi Ian,

    My whole point is that this should not be *noticed* by me or anybody else. Again, I appreciate you coming her to comment, but let’s face it, my little blog is not the proper forum to give this issue visibility.

    I don’t know what the proper timeframe is, or in fact there should by any time limit at all. What appears to be a 14-month limit on my sample Google search is simply due to the fact that the startup I was researching did not exist before.

    I think most “historical” searches would not pruduce such black and white results, and if my search returns SOME, but not all entries, the problem is, I can never be certain about the quality of what I am getting. It all comes down to expectations. I guess you couls declare it’s six months only, but that’s exactly what you have to do: declare. Very-very publicly, since it’s a huge change. Then people would clearly know what to use Technorati for, and when to turn to Google.

  4. A related problem: if you look at the Technorati forums, you’ll find user after using whose content doesn’t show up after pinging, or whose tags don’t return their posts in results. The Technorati people offer very little response. In my case, I’ve e-mailed, faxed, and posted in the support forums, with no replies.

  5. I’d just forget about them… They are irrelevant when compared to Google. Today I can post something in my blog and have it on Google about 10 minutes later.

    Technorati can not provide the relevance or scale the services as required…

  6. Sorry Ian – all the wrong noises yet again. Rank and authority have been 2 key features since I can remember. They don’t work. It means Technorati is broken. You avoid the issues, distract us with irrelevancies. The lack of conversation here is plain arrogance! To use the blue monster credo “change the world or go home”. I don’t hate you guys. But you are wasting everyones time. Go home!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] that he couldn’t find anything in Technorati’s index that was older than 6 months. He emailed them for a response, and a reply from Technorati’s Ian Kallen confirmed it: We’re in the midst [...]

  2. [...] Technorati has elected to ignore a ton of great postings for the sake of expediency, and worse yet, not really even tell anyone about it, perhaps thinking that no one would notice — even if its ‘temporary’. It is doing [...]

  3. [...] ne pouvait rien trouver sur Technorati antérieur à six mois. Il leur envoya un email pour obtenir la reponse suivante de Ian Kallen de Technorati: Nous sommes au milieu d’une série de mesures afin [...]

  4. [...] why holding 6 months worth of data, we didn’t worry about it until Techcrunch, Kevin Burton and Zoli’s blog all opined, dug deeper, then suddenly our “truth” was revealed as an economizing procedure, not [...]

  5. [...] qu’il ne pouvait rien trouver sur Technorati antérieur à six mois. Il leur envoya un email pour obtenir la reponse suivante de Ian Kallen de Technorati: Nous sommes au milieu d’une série de mesures afin [...]

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