November 29, 2006
This article reprinted from the the TypePad Hacks Weblog. The original article can be found online:
© 2008, John T Unger
Authorati is a new service which allows readers to rate blogs or individual posts in terms of authority and authorship. Authority is rated on a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being "A little authority" and 5 being "Lot of authority." Authorship is rated from 1 to 10, 1 being "Poor" and 10 being "Outstanding."
I found Authorati via a quick link from Steve Rubel this morning and was intrigued enough to go set up an account. As advertised, it really does take "less than a minute" to set up the account itself. If you'd like to see what it looks like, click the little button below and let me know how you rate TypePad Hacks:
I like the idea of the service on a few levels. It could be a great source of feedback for bloggers to learn which posts are most useful or interesting to their readers (in addition to comments and stats). It reminds me a bit of MajikWidget's blog post rating widget but has the advantage of being able to rate the whole blog or individual posts. Better yet, Authorati is supposed to get integrated into FeedBurner's FeedFlare which would mean that you don't have to add it individually to each post. Being able to set up the service to automatically show up in post footers makes it a more attractive and useful service,
Having tried it out, here are a few ideas, concerns and questions:
- The badge code provided by Authorati was flawed, and when I added it to my TypeList, it prevented the blog from loading posts until I removed it and cleaned up the code. I think the issue was that the auto-generated code for the link was overlapping the style informationâ¦ but I eventually got tired of fussing with it and just coded my own badge. If you want to put an Authorati badge on your blog, I recommend either writing it yourself or viewing source to see how I did it in my sidebar.
This was pretty annoying really, and if I hadn't been so curious about what was broken I probably would have bailed on the service right there. It's a big mistake to make "out of the gate."
- Maybe this is picky on my part, but I would expect to see a link to a company blog displayed prominently on Authorati's homepageâ¦ If you're going to provide a service for bloggers, it makes sense to have a blog where you can keep them up to date on developments. There are a few pronouncements on their site about what's coming in the next version, but I kind of expect web 2.0 companies to talk about what's happening with what's happening.
- In a similar vein, there's no mention anywhere on their site of who is actually behind the company. The TOS lists Agate llc, and I suppose I could look that up, but I would think that a service which provides reputation-based services would have a prominent and public face for the company.
- At the bottom of the page that provides info on linking to your Authorati page there's a link to FeedBurner's flare catalog which suggests (well, actually says) that you can add Authorati to your blog using FeedFlare. Umâ¦ not so much. We're apparently not there yet. It would be a lot better to provide the link as a coming attraction. I checked the flare catalog three times over to make sure I had not missed the Authorati flare unit and was pretty annoyed when I realized I'd wasted my time.
- Authorati bills itself as "a portable ratings system" but there's no real description of what "portable" means in this context anywhere on their siteâ¦ Are they planning to integrate it with other online reputation systems like OpenID? Do they plan to expand to other reputation based ratings? I have no idea. It certainly sounds cool and sexy, but when I don't know what it means, it ends up sounding like an empty buzzword.
So at this point, you're wondering why I've even brought the service to your attention, eh? Well, because I think it has a great deal of potential. And because I'm hoping that the folks at Agate llc will stop by to answer some of the questions above.
Update: See the comments below by Murali Narasimhan, creator of Authorati… He's addresses the issues above and has started a blog for Authorati. I've traded a few emails back and forth with Murali, and he's a great guy. I think Authorati will turn out to be pretty cool as it develops, especially since he seems to be so open to hearing from his users about what they want.