Technorati Moving Closer To Irrelevance?

Having trouble claiming your blog at Technorati? Getting a “Sorry, we can’t find that blog” error message? It’s difficult to say what’s happening at Technorati these days – their discussion forums have apparently been closed for almost two months and even their own blogs are barren. Precious little information has been released regarding the disastrous results from a decision to consolidate the server farm and reduce the “footprint.”On April 20, Richard Jalichandra (President and CEO) reported in the Technorati Blog that Technorati had become the third ranked blog media property. Perhaps this press released angered the gods of social networking. VP of Engineering, Dorion Carroll, reported ten days later that the company had been planning a move of over 600 servers for quite a long time, apparently to save costs to reduce the amount of “floor space” currently being used in one or more colocation facilities. Regular status updates were promised to be reported in the support section – so far so good. But then silence for the next week until May 8, where the one and only update in support appears – Carroll announces “you may experience slow results and intermittent errors.” That would appear to be an understatement, Captain.

On May 12, Carroll reports that the servers now exist in two separate facilities, there are problems, but by the end of the day, a “major portion” of the servers will be under the same roof. Not quite sure what that means but on May 13, another update states that there are some expected glitches, and while some blogs appear to have been lost, all data is still intact and 3 move phases were completed. (How many phases were planned for this move?) At least there is a daily account. Forward to May 17 and the report is now that 2/3 of all the servers have been moved. So if you do the math, does that mean that there should be 12/3 more phases left? I’m not quite sure but, after all this time, it’s quite apparent that several people are going to need to find new jobs (and perhaps a good attorney.)

Complete silence for the next two weeks – that’s right, two weeks. Carroll announces on June 3 that the move was completed two days earlier and that the move of 900 machines has saved 50% of their rack footprint. The plan was apparently for “only five weeks” but the cost savings was well worth it, giving the company a serious chance to succeed moving forward. Sure there is some cleanup necessary but (wiping sweat from his brow), Carroll assures us all it was worth it and it’s Miller Time for the incredible Technorati Team. Not so fast, Dorion. Things still aren’t working properly (in fact, I can’t even properly complete the claim and setup of this blog as of June 14.)

It’s silence again, this time until June 12. Now we hear from Jen McLean, VP of Marketing. When reporting is passed to the marketing group, you know something serious is going on behind closed doors as the company seems to be moving the wash into full spin cycle (but is apparently still all wet.)

“It’s been a tumultuous month. For us – and unfortunately for you. We’re sorry for the frustration and the less than great service. While not an excuse, here is the reason:”

Yes, it has been a very tumultous month with numerous outages and problems… and absolutely no support for blog owners to have an idea of what is actually going on.  But wait a minute – didn’t we hear the reason for this move many weeks ago?

“We changed co-location facilities. We, well the four members of our ops team, moved 1,000 servers and ALL of our real-time search infrastructure. Things are now returning to normal, although slower than we would have liked.”

Quite a herculean effort!!  I think we went from 600 to 900 to over 1,000. Actually, I think Carroll’s exact words were “We have successfully moved nearly 900 machines…” just a few days earlier. Regardless, I don’t think many Technorati users want to hear what an incredible effort it has been – they just want to be able to gage expectations.

“We haven’t lost any data – so when things are back to normal your link counts and authority will be exactly where they should be.”

That’s great but you’ve been repeating yourselves for the past several weeks… two months on the Internet is like two centuries in dog years… or something like that.

“We’ll follow up in more detail so you have information on exactly which services have been affected and how, and when they’ll be completely functional again.”

I don’t know how to tell you this, Jen, but the problem is that all your users know the problems – what they need to know is an understanding of when there will be a solution! We certainly hope that the good folks at Technorati can finally get the service back to full working order. But these embarrassing and long lingering technical problems at Technorati and the complete abandonement of all support makes Twitter look like a fine tuned, well oiled machine. Point made. In the meanwhile, get this feed from Feed burner!

Michael M. Wechsler, Esq.

Internet / Mobile entrepreneur since 1989, Intellectual Property attorney since the mid 1990s, former in-house counsel at iVillage.com, Senior Vice President of Business Strategy at Zedge, Co-Founder of the IDT Internet Mobile Group, E-Discovery expert and legal consultant with Kroll Ontrack, and owner and operator of TheLaw.com

Michael M. Wechsler, Esq. – who has written posts on The Law Professor.


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