Weblog favorites reborn at Technorati

I was looking for an article I knew I read about using the bottom of the page in web design, and found (again) Derek Powazek's weblog. Here's the article I was looking for: Embrace your bottom!

Then I went to Derek's home page and found this:

Powazek: Just a Thought: Technorati, Favorites, and Moving Forward

"I outlined an interconnected, personalized world of blog reading. A lot of this stuff if obvious (show me when sites I like update), but Technorati's the one place that can track all the connections and make it searchable in a snap. The idea wasn't just to build another aggregator, but to create an environment where users could get a more personal connection with the blogs they read and loved."

Here's the article on Technorati about it...

Technorati Weblog: Got Favorites?

"Here at Technorati, we want to make the world of weblogs accessible, searchable, and fun for everyone to explore. Today we're taking another step in that direction with a brand new feature: Technorati Favorites.

It's really very simple. Just tell us who your favorite bloggers are and you'll get a custom page that lets you monitor, search, and share your Favorites!"

It's amazing how timely that is, just yesterday I was chatting with Seth about my old Weblog Favorites system. I said (in not so many words) I wished I had taken it further. It was and is a great idea and while in some ways it's frustrating to see an idea of mine that I didn't follow through with, it's nice to see the idea seeing new life. The available data is much richer and more plentiful now so it's even more interesting.

I went to the Internet Archive to find my prior art... here it is:

About the Travel button's 'Favourites Browser'

Who Reads the most Weblogs?

Who Has the Most Readers?

If you click on one of the blue triangles on those last two pages you'll get to browse the weblogger favorites graph.

As an example, these were my favorites and those who said my site was one of their favorites. Notice that it also showed when the site last updated (the green/yellow/red dots are related).

This system used the data provided by the first (and best, IMHO) iteration of weblogs.com. When it started you could register your weblog and list your favorites weblogs. This data was made available in freely available XML files. My system downloaded these files (every hour I think), parsed and processed them, and made the data available in this form.

I'm proud of it, but like I said it's a reminder that success requires determination, follow-through, and foresight. When weblogs.com stopped making the data available, I discontinued the service. At the time I was also a little upset that shortly after implementing this site, which UserLand had advance knowledge of (since the first version was a Manila plugin they promised to host for me), UserLand basically cloned it on weblogs.com and gave me no credit for the idea or the design (which they basically copied). Kind of ironic that Dave Winer's fought so long for credit for RSS and podcasting. But I digress...

I could have set up a site that would let webloggers maintain that data going forward, but I didn't. There's no question I had the skill, time and resources to do it. To be fair, back then there were very, very few weblogs and there certainly weren't the opportunities for a site like that then that there are now. I believed in weblogs back then but I didn't expect them to explode in popularity as they have. Back then I wouldn't have been surprised if there were a hundred thousand weblogs in 2006, but over 28 million? Didn't see it happening at all. Congratulations to those that made it happen.

Written on February 24, 2006