See the ugly row of badges on the right rail of this blog? They link to blog directories that, in theory, aggregate the “best” blogs and present their content in a way that organizes the vast, incoherent blogosphere for easy consumption.
Nearly all of them suck, including the ones whose badges I display. Go ahead, click on ’em [on the rail, not above]. Or don’t click; I have nothing at stake. These directories deliver very little user value and, contrary to their claims, are hardly worth a moment’s notice. [I stuck them on their a couple months ago so I can see whether having my blog listed directs any traffic my way. Answer: Hardly a trickle, though blogcatalog has trickled the most.]
Which brings me to blogs.com [which must be one of the most valuable URLs in Electroland]. The site has been relaunched by its owners, Six Apart, the corporate unit behind the blog platforms TypePad and Movable Type. My observations are preliminary, but it looks awfully good to me.
Unlike many directories, blogs.com has sentient beings picking the most worthy content. Evidence suggests these beings are literate, smart and funny.
Blogs.com lives somewhere between About.com [which uses human “guides” to select content], Alltop.com [an increasingly annoying aggregation site which launched with a similar idea as blogs.com but increasingly delegates its picks to legions of Twitteurs, with results I consider disastrous] and the old-school content directories of Yahoo in its callow youth. [This Yahoo comparison is made in the TechCrunch preview post about blogs.com.]
Three favorite things about blogs.com
Though it’s a product of Six Apart, it features plenty of blogs on other platforms. God love ’em for putting users ahead of crass self-interest.
The top entry of the day weaves together a bunch of blog entries with wit and smarts. If blurb is a verb, these folks blurb extremely well.
Its list of Top 10s are ecumenical and tightly edited, a mix of picks by blogs.com editors and various Electroland personages [Craig of Craigslist’s 10 Favorite Blogs, Glen Abel’s Top DVD Blogs for Smart People]
Perfect? Of course not. Spend half an hour and you’ll find plenty of crap to scrape off your shoes. But the signal-to-noise is pretty high, and I find that blogs.com’s main topic pages function as daily “news” reports that cover the basics in each area but are full of wiggy surprises.
Say, I wonder if I can get a blogs.com badge for my blog?
n.b. My blog is now proudly displaying a “featured blogs” badge on the sidebar.–Sept. 9