I normally include a disclosure at the end of my posts relating to Blogcatalog and MyBlogLog, because I want to preserve as much impartiality as possible.
I have always tried to give them equal coverage, and whatever financial benefit I gain from working a little closer with Blogcatalog behind the scenes I try not to influence my opinion. If I was writing paid reviews about them, or had accepted direct advertising, I would have earned a lot more than I will probably receive long term if you factor in associated risk.
I do benefit potentially from long term promotion of Blogcatalog and by giving their competitors equal coverage I also gain a benefit, because if for instance MyBlogLog becomes a massive success, the value of competitors as a viable business also increases.
Thus it is actually with a very heavy heart that I am going to write what might be my first ever critical review of MyBlogLog.
It is my hope the MBL guys take this as constructive criticism, which I haven’t honestly seen on any other blog over the last couple of days since the features were announced, other than what seemed to be a universal yawn.
What Is Wrong With The Activity Time Line?
MyBlogLog have so far added 42 services, and I am only looking at a few of them.
However based on a comment over at Brian Solis the LifeStream currently supports
- Yahoo Answers
Here are some quick annotated notes in a quick screenshot
Sadly, this feature has been ready to launch since June of 07, when it would have been a pioneer instead of a follower. Regardless, Iâ€™m psyched that the rest of the team had the temerity to stick it out at Yahoo in the belief that they would get to start launching killer features.
If this has been ready for 8 months and just needed pushing out of the door, you would expect a few refinements.
I have seen a few comments on the Techcrunch article suggesting that there is a lack of control of what you see in the timeline, either for privacy or information overload.
It is true that Blogcatalog have this side of the feature set more refined, but at the same time I am not a great fan of micro-management, and it is not needed with the current maximum of 40 people you follow… possibly because not enough people have added their services yet.
The way MyBlogLog has tagging implemented has always bugged me – all tags on the site still lead only to people and communities that have been tagged manually in the MyBlogLog system, rather than using the tags supplied within content with rel=”tag” or categories.
Here is an example
Those tags from Matt’s delicious feed lead to MyBlogLog’s internal tagging system, not where you would expect… either Matt’s or the global tags on Delicious. Very annoying.
It is equally annoying when you click similar tags below RSS items and again you are not presented with content.
No Mentions of Blogcatalog
Here are some reports on the MyBlogLog new features, but they ignore Blogcatalog
Best of all, Read Write Web did a round up of 35 Life Streaming sites, and for some reason Blogcatalog didn’t make that list either.
I know everyone is talking about FriendFeed which has some useful viral ideas to encourage everyone to sign up, and their Facebook integration really kicks butt.
I have a problem with FriendFeed – it is trying to grab the conversation from the various services with an internal comment system. I am not sure that is healthy.
MyBlogLog have added some kind of blog comment monitoring system, that is a good idea and something I have nudged the Blogcatalog guys about a few weeks ago, but moving the comments to FriendFeed? I am not happy with that.
If you want to compare, here is the current list of “LifeStream Supported” services on Blogcatalog
Amazon Wishlist, Delicious, Digg, Facebook, Flickr, Last.fm, Myspace Blog, Sphinn, StumbleUpon, Twitter, YouTube
I believe there are 15 others on the way soon.
There are some inherent problems with all of these platforms… information overload and lack of specific topical areas or niches. Once you go beyond your core friends, the noise increases.
I really want to throw a wide net for information retrieval, but I only want some of it.
For those unaware of some of the features introduced by Blogcatalog over the last 6 months here are some links to relevant articles.
For the programming geeks, you might be interested in the BlogCatalog API which was introduced August 2007
If you are looking to differentiate between MyBlogLog and Blogcatalog, I wrote this article back on July 2007 and it covers many of the differences which are still true today.
More recently, Blogcatalog partnered with SezWho to enable a comprehensive comment feedback system. At that time they also surpassed MBL on Alexa, though as everyone knows Alexa stats are not the most accurate to go by, and the unique differences between the services create a different usage profile.
To compare social graph features, I would suggest my article from when Blogcatalog introduced their dashboard 2 weeks ago. Of particular interest for many are the very specific controls available to protect your privacy, or to control which information you receive from different people.
p.s. I don’t class the problems previously with the messaging system as a negative review – I think that was more a general outburst from the whole blogosphere.