In Which I Unwisely Bite the Hand That Feeds Me

First, let me say I’m delighted that Time.com has selected this humble blog among its Top 25. I apologize to the many superior bloggers (I counted this morning, and they number well into the thousands) that did not make the list.

But now Time has put me in a bind. Having been described as author of a blog that’s “a welcome counter balance to the relentless pom pom waving of folks that cheer anything called Web 2.0.,” and having “what appears to be a permanently cocked eyebrow on the use of 2.0 tactics in mainstream Web sites,” I am tasked with the responsibility of. . .cocking that very same eyebrow at Time.com’s Top 25 list itself.

The Verdict: Time’s Top 25 is a user-experience mess– mostly because it puts its own interests above the users.’

Look, I’m no happier about this than you are.

Point No. 1. See the logo-of-logos of all 25 top blogs? One expects to click on an individual logo and go directly to that blog. Um, no.

Okay, so you click on the logo-logo and you’ll go to a list of all the winners, right? Um, no.

Just like the screen grab I’ve pasted below, the image connects you to the writeup for the first blog listed, the Huffington Post.

Time\'s Top 25 Blogs

Yes, maddening. I know.

Point No. 2: If you’re wondering why Time.com would do such a thing, you haven’t been paying attention to the darkish world of web commerce. Planking out a complete list of all the winners right on the front would prevent people from clicking the “enter” prompt–from which they need to click through the entire freakin’ list, one by one, to see all the Top Blogs. Which of course generates (wait, let me do the math. . .) 25 page views. I’m no CPA, but I believe 25 page views are more valuable than the five or six that would be generated by a scannable list of all winners.

Let me rush to say that I am not the first to point this out. The excellent Valleywag blog (one of the many thousands of blogs superior to mine that did not make the list!) put it thusly, quoting the intemperate Drew Curtis about the whole Top Blogs enterprise:

Fark.com’s Drew Curtis sums it up: “That’s the point — pick shit people don’t agree with, generate controversy, SPREAD THE FUCKING THING OVER 50 PAGES WITH NO INDEX, profit.” We suspect if Fark actually showed up on the list — nah, Curtis would still tell ‘em they were hosers. Here, we’ll make it easy for both you and Drew. Rather than clicking “next” two dozen times on Time’s page, just read our one-page version. . .

Point No. 3. To be fair–and as a Top 25 blog we strive endlessly to be fair–you can get at that whole list at Time.com. Just scroll down the page, past a [maddeningly coldlinked!] box titled The Top 5 Blogs, then click on a text link reading “See the Complete List.” [Why not “See Complete Top 25 List”? Usability Team, Code Blue!]

But here the blogs are ranked in order of highest-rated by the Wisdom of the Crowds. Finally: a 2.0 feature! Time.com has spoken, now the readers can speak back.

As of this writing, the highest rated blogs, tied with an average rating of 9, are Indexed and Reverse Cowgirl (!). This humble blog, meanwhile, is mired in the low-middle with an average rating of 5.

I would of course do nothing to discourage true fans of this humble blog to go to the site and nudge my rating up a bit, so at least I don’t fall below the basement-dwelling Andrew Sullivan.

Or I can bask my incredibly good luck, take whatever good mojo comes my way, keep my eyebrow cocked like a Beretta in a Texan’s back pocket–and wonder. . .whether writing this entry was such a good idea.

I’m just guessing here, but this humble blog may not be among Time.com’s Top 25 next year. After all, there are thousands of blogs that are better.

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16 Comments on “In Which I Unwisely Bite the Hand That Feeds Me”

  1. James Ashley Says:

    I believe the real click-through generator will be Time’s decision to rank Slashdot as the most _overrated_ blog. Slashdot has a rather large following, the kind that brings other blogs to their knees, and pretty soon, they’ll all be going to Time.com to see what all the fuss is about.

    -J


  2. time throwing mud on slashdot isn’t one of their smartest moves. folks may very well go out of their way to not submit time articles to slashdot that otherwise would have gone there; readers will look for the story elsewhere that they had originally viewed on time, find it, and submit that article to slashdot.

    I didn’t know about slashdot until I was slashdotted (I live in a cave). Being slashdotted and have the article get raved on over there… think of it as your blog experiencing a coffee enema.

  3. carvedstars Says:

    Heh heh heh. Good points! News websites are for the most part maddeningly designed, and now I might have a reason why besides lazy designers. XD


  4. […] 25 pageviews and encourage them to keep breaking up lists into this annoying format (Hey, even one of the blogs on the list was annoyed by the format, but then, that’s in its mission statement). And it appears to be […]

  5. T_ConX Says:

    I love the descriptions provided for Slashdot and Ars Technica. Both are on the lines of ‘too much tech talk’, which translates to ‘we are too dumb to understand things like DRM and bitTorrent.’

    But the Venn diagram site… oh, that’s something they can understand.

  6. theprlab Says:

    Blogs, schmogs. I’ve just about given up on the whole Web 2 thing. But they do make looking at students’ essays easier.

  7. mihnea Says:

    Was gonna say about Drew.. Time really just summed up 40% household, 20% debateable and another 40% niche and called it the blogosphere.

  8. Craig Stoltz Says:

    Thanks for the comments, all.

    Mihnea: I think you’ve got the Time formula dead-on. I’m just a lucky beneficiary of their calculus.

    dissfunktional: “coffee enema” made my day.

  9. Char Lyn Says:

    I’m new to your blog thanks to the Time article, and thoroughly enjoy what I have read so far. I agree with you on many counts, but like your post on Harper’s (which they quoted), I’m guessing they’ve met their goals.

  10. Heidi Cool Says:

    I discovered this article thanks to, yet also in spite of, the Time article. It was a maddening thing through which to navigate. Like the fellow posters I’m a bit surprised by the way they trashed Slashdot and Ars Technica, but between that and their interface design they’ve done a nice job of showing that Time doesn’t yet get Web 2.0.


  11. […] Ir por lana y salir trasquilado. La revista Time ha publicado en su web una lista con los 25 blogs más destacables y los 5 más sobrevalorados. Desgraciadamente, no puedes incluir a un weblog como  Web 2.Oh. . .really? y esperar que pase de puntillas por tu listado de 30 páginas imposible de terminar. Según este blog, la cosa obedece a porcentaje de visitas. […]


  12. […] a chore to navigate and filled with some odd selections yet is also where I I discovered his blog.http://2ohreally.wordpress.com/2008/04/07/in-which-i-unwisely-bravely-bite-the-hand-that-feeds-me/rochester, NY pets classifieds – craigslistcraigslist pets classifieds for rochester, NY. … Four […]

  13. FunnyDevil Says:

    It was certainly interesting for me to read this post. Thank you for it. I like such themes and everything that is connected to this matter. I definitely want to read a bit more soon.

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  14. Syble Curren Says:

    I like this blog a lot!


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  16. […] and Web2.oh…really? both commented on what seems to be a way too transparent tactic to get page hits (one of them was […]


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