06 November 2010

BlogCatalog loses functionality

BlogCatalog used to be a halfway decent social blogrolling tool until a couple of months ago.

Then someone who had never heard the old adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" decided to fiddle with it, and as a result it's lost a lot of its functionality. Instead of doing what it used to do quite well, it's now trying to do what Twitter does, and does it very badly indeed.

We've already got Twitter. We don't need a third-rate imitation.

And now we no longer have BlogCatalog. Or at least we have it in a very truncated and crippled form.

The part that still works is the widget that shows who's visited this blog.

Oh, and the messages from people who don't visit my blog, but still tell me they want to be my "friend". That I could do without.

What's missing is all the features that made it useful for finding interesting blogs to read.

What used to happen was that I would click on one of the people who visited my blog, and get to see their blog, if they have one, and then some blogs that were similar to theirs, chosen by some mysterious algorithm that seemed to work, more often than not, to show some interesting blog. But that's gone now.

There was also a facility for creating groups or communities of bloggers with a common interest, so that you could see a group of blogs that deal with a topic you were interested in. No longer.

You can't find blogs that you are interested in. You can only find blogs that the people at Blog Catalog want to show you because the blog owners have paid them to do so. In other words, it's become a vast junkmail advertising site. Instead of opening your horizons to the wider blogging world, it now tries to rub your nose in stuff you aren't remotely interested in.

I really don't mind if sites like BlogCatalog have banner ads, or better still, discreetly-placed ads. I know someone has to pay for the service they provide. But when they stop providing the service, I think fewer and fewer people will be using it. I'm certainly spending a lot more time in it than I used to. There's nothing to see there any more.

They should go back to doing what they did well, instead of trying to do what Twitter does, and doing it badly.

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