Alltop: Welcome to Web 1.0

Six alliterated reasons why the new content aggregator Alltop is not for me:

1 Source

As best as I can tell from Alltop’s FAQ the content is pretty much chosen based on some folks ‘gut’, which ‘gut’ can be persuaded based on an email. I don’t know any of these folks.

2 Social

Why wouldn’t I instead get my content based on democratic voting (Digg) or friends recommendations (del.icio.us).

3 Structure

There really isn’t any.

Supposedly blogs move to the top based on: credibility, high-quality content, Alltops friends and blogs that Alltop considers underdogs. Not sure why this elite aggregation site would have any posts that are not credible or don’t have high-quality content. So that basically leaves nepotism and kitsch factor.

Plus - the order changes all the time! Meaning nothing will be in the same place tomorrow as it was today.

Also, you can’t make custom changes to the structure. Alltop’s FAQ assumes: that this is something a few people will ask for, and nobody will use.

4 Sight

Alltop provides no at-a-glance way to see what content has been updated and what content I’ve read. Check out the Social Media page. Right now there are 61 feeds with 5 posts each: 305 posts! It hurts my eyes to look at and boggles my mind to remeber what I’ve already read. There isn’t even a A:visited style.

5 Search

The top post for Mashable right now is about Firefox 3 being released. Mashable is filed under Social Media. A conundrum: on one hand if I come to Alltop and want to find something about Firefox I won’t look under Social Media; on the other Alltop can’t create a category for every conceivable interest w/o further watering down usability. Long ago we discovered that the Web does not fit into categories. (For further reading please see: Everything is Miscellaneous.)

6 Syndication

I can’t get an RSS feed of any of this?

Obviously I don’t (& won’t) have to use Alltop… but getting down why it doesn’t work for me helps me to think about some ‘musts’ for on-line services. And maybe I just don’t yet get it, it took me awhile to figure out how to get benefit out of del.icio.us. If you’ve got some idea they are more than welcome in the comments.

If Guy Kawasaki leaves a message it’ll probably be something like:

Q. Couldn’t I build my own custom aggregation using a feed reader, customizable home pages, Netvibes, etc?

A. Yes, you could—knock yourself out.

Let me assure you, it’s not that difficult. If you need a boost check out my Netvibes Universe.