Posted January 31, 2007 9:57 am by with 28 comments

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Steve Rubel managed to capture a screenshot of a new site called WTF (Where’s the Fire), before it was taken down. It appears to be the work of Technorati, the well known and trusted blog search engine.

Boy, I’m excited to see this move by them. Digg has become a very closed community, and it’s virtually impossible to have your site featured, if the top users decide they just don’t like you. Combine that with a very tech-focused audience, and Digg becomes less compelling as a resource for readers or those being featured.

WTF is likely to be a huge hit, combining the trust of Technorati and the features of Digg (and maybe a dash of Techmeme). I’m looking forward to the official word – this is a community I think I can finally get behind.

UPDATE: We have an updated post on the launch. Here’s the update for the benefit of Digg visitors.

So what exactly is WTF?

When you see a top search with an orange flame next to it, it means at least one person from the community has written their view as to why that topic is hot – right now. The community is also invited to either write their own explanation or vote on the WTFs they view as most helpful. Based on a combination of number of votes and timeliness, the top WTFs by search topic appear on the top of the results page.

What’s interesting is Technorati’s open invitation for members to submit as many WTFs as they want. If you think you have a better angle on a breaking story, go ahead and submit, and get your friends and readers to vote. You can see it in action, with a search on Technorati for “windows vista“.

I said yesterday, I’m excited about this new angle for Technorati. I spoke to Jeremiah Owyang and we agreed that Technorati has not been as valuable in recent months – too much noise. Sifry et al have recognized this and brought some “fire” to the service by bringing in popularity and voting that have helped sites, such as Digg, flourish.


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  • Andy, I agree that Digg is an elitist group and would love to see a site like WTF that focuses more on topics as the item that gets the votes instead of individual URLs. I don’t think that this will carve into Digg’s installed userbase immediately, but will be a dose of healthy competition in the long run. People once thought Slashdot had an impossible barrier to entry too.

  • It won’t carve into the hardcore userbase, but it will carve into the casual, of which there are many more.

    The biggest difference might be the quality of users with the traffic having more value, even if that value is represented by things like mind share, leverage, brand etc.

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  • Hi Andy,

    Technorati WTF is not in direct competition with digg. It has a slightly different take on it. Please see this:

    As per Technorati: It isn’t only about explaining the hot searches or buzziest topics going on in the blogosphere at any moment. You can also write a WTF on any topic that someone would search for, and provide information and resources to them about that topic or subject. So, you might want to write a WTF about yourself or your friends names, or your company (or maybe even your competition!)

  • I agree Vikas, now we have more info, I added a new post earlier today.

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  • If anyone is going to compete with Digg, it’s Zoints with their distributed model. They’ve taken Digg and added it to forums then mirrored it across them. See:

  • Will WTF likely be a hit? Absolutely not. Technorati can’t even keep their Search service working properly (works about 50% of the time for me) so what makes you think their Digg rip-off will do any better?

    The premise of WTF is broken. Why do people want to annotate exactly *why* they searched for what they did. They search and that’s it. I don’t understand why Technorati just can’t do a better job of quantitative analysis on the top searches and present the list more effectively rather than rely on their users (who have been leaving for greener pastures) to add content.

  • I think its a good idea, over time I think it could definitely establish itself as a better community. Thats the one thing that digg lacks really and I think could keep them from being aquired, there really isnt a community to say much.

  • Now that it is live, it appears to me that WTF is closer akin to Squidoo than it is to Digg.

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  • This site sounds very promising. A number of sites have tried to compete with Digg but as yet no one has succeeded. If Technorati are behind this effort then it’s probably the best placed site to really challenge Digg. We wait with baited breath.

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  • dnn

    Why not, its a good idea.

  • theme site lince looks nice..

  • I think that there needs to be more niche Digg-clone sites, not just more sites. THe problem with these sites, is that all too often it is difficult to find new stories, and they are buried under all the “hot” stories. I am sure that some people use these sites to market their own websites, and there must be groups that work together to ensure that their sites are high on the rankings.

    Also, any one site could easily be taken over by people with similar interests. So before long, WTF could just be a site full of celebrity related stories, if these are the ones submitted most. With niche sites, such as ones powered by Pligg, you know that there will always be something on your topic.

  • The theme of the website is pretty cool

  • Well, according to Alexa, digg is going down. What better time to introduce this type of service.

  • Digg is going down? What do you mean – it is becoming less popular, or it is going to be taken off line?

    Do you have a link to the Alexa article?

  • In reply to the above comment, Digg isn’t going to be taken offline. I can assure you Digg is going nowhere for a long time. I think the buzz is slowly wearing off, and therefore not bringing in as much traffic as before – but I’m sure it’s still enough to provide the team with a lifetime supply of meals 🙂

  • wow, Digg going nowhere for a long time, that’s something.. i just joined Digg recently.. i get a few people coming to my blog though..

  • I read yesterday that Pligg may be selling out – in fact the administration has decided to open up for bidding –
    Now, I assume that whoever buys it will believe that the current format can continue and make profit, but then again, what does it mean for the future of home grown Digg-clone sites?

    Saying that, I have been playing with Drupal recently, and it seems that it can do what Pligg and Digg do OK. So maybe no fear, we can still make our own article sharing / voting sites if we please.

    It will be interesting to see what happens to Pligg though.

  • Digg is on its way out I think. Its kind of ‘fad-ish’ in my opinion.

  • has announced that it is closing its social networking / story sharing site. Netscape is very similar to Digg, and for about 18 months it is been functioning as a social site, but they have announced that they plan to wind down, or shut down, or move the whole site elsewhere. Netscape is owned by AOL, so they obviously have bigger plans for – maybe a new search engine?

  • Technorati parser is much too legible – this appears for [fensi] but not [google fensi]

  • Well every website reach his top then begins falling down if there is no new ideas to make him grow more or at least to stay at his top level.

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