Thursday, January 19, 2006

One more thing about

I read with substantial interest Mike Arrington's thoughts on the aforementioned

There is one way in which I disagree with Mike, and another way in which I think people are missing the boat on what's wrong with Gather.

So, I disagree with Mike about preferring tags vs. categories. I've been open about the fact that I don't get or love tagging. Just recent;y I ranted a bit about how "social search" fills me with ennui over at the Browster Blog.

Any multi-blog network that relies on user tags to create their searchable index is going to run into trouble, IMHO. Why? Because:

a) most of us still aren't into tagging. So your super-cool Web 2.0 crowd will love it, but your regular folks will find it aggravating.

b) tags can easily become garbage in/garbage out. Mis-spellings, plural vs. singular and other minor little differences can create a mess for the user who doesn't want to wade through. Or it can mean some great stuff gets missed or doesn't "bubble up."

And what Mike doesn't mention is the illogic of creating closed networks and soliciting bloggers to blog exclusively on your network. It almost guarantees you wind up with bloggers who don't have followings of their own on their existing blogs (because such bloggers will be much less motivated to abandon their existing blogs and blog only on your network.) Now, there's nothing wrong with wanting to start from scratch and build an audience...but your path to revenue and profit is going to have to be a longer, more arduous one, right?

I like something Dave Winer said a while back: "People come back to places that send them away. Memorize that one." He contends that those who send people away to cool places on the web are the ones who end up making the money. it's completely counter-intuitive if you're from the school of thought that you get 'em on your site and keep 'em there. But I think there's something there.

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