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Technorati: Updating from Web 1.9 to Web 2.1

CEO Richard Jalichandra talks about new blog discovery and ad network

Entrepreneur interview by Bambi Francisco Roizen
September 8, 2008 | Comments (2)
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/3ea

In the beginning there was Technorati. New media relevancy was measured by Technorati - the place to discover what was happening right now on the Web. But the waters didn't stay parted long for Technorati, before a number of services ranging from Google Blogs to Digg, and now Twitter's Summize came flooding in.

After taking on a bit of water, Technorati appears to have plugged the leaks and has reinvented itself to not only be a simpler place to search for blogs, but a place that helps monetize them too. It's such a natural move. New CEO Richard Jalichandra took the helm last year and appears to be embarking on the company's biggest attempt to monetize its index of 70 million blogs to date. 

 

Through Technorati Media, Technorati hopes to leverage its search index database to be a top advertising network.

At first blush, one may think of Technorati as following in the footsteps of Google: Leverage the search engine by automating advertising based on keywords. But that’s not the direction that Technorati is taking at all. There are no plans to automate ads based on keywords typed into search engines, a business that’s driven online advertising for years. 

Rather, Technorati’s approach is a bit more like Yahoo’s, particularly now that it’s bought BlogCritics, a blog network with some 2300 contributing bloggers. I say Yahoo because as a portal, Yahoo has focused a lot on display advertising and has dabbled in the content game. It’s always been Google’s mission to organize the world’s information whereas Yahoo has dabbled in the creation of it.

In like vein, the purchase of BlogCritics does move Technorati into the content creation game, even though Richard believes Technorati is not departing from its raison d'etre.

“They have a similar mission to us. Technorati has always been about helping bloggers, and people who read blogs,” he said, in the first part of three interviews with me. “BlogCritics help bloggers get a bigger platform to express themselves and they help people who read blogs find great stuff all in one place.”

BlogCritics is made up of a community of 2300 bloggers who’ve contributed about 73,000 articles. BlogCritics displays relevant blogs editorially while Technorati does so algorithmically.

BlogCritics is one of the 35 to 45 sites that Technorati is now working with. Others include BlogTalkRadio, BlogCatalog - a fast growing social network for bloggers, BlogTV - user-generated live programs, Daily Blog Tips, GPS Magazine, GeekAlerts, Nerd Approved, Technabob to Icanhascheezburger.com. All told, the sites along with Technorati.com will have 40 million unique monthly visitors, said Richard. Today, Technorati alone has 10 million unique visitors, he said.

What is the value of Technorati Media over general and broader networks, such as Federated Media and Gorilla Nation, and over vertically-focused ad networks, such as YardBarker and Glam? I asked.

Richard said it comes down to the data. The best way to target an audience is to have more data about them than anyone else. Richard said the data being captured by Technorati is threefold. Technorati indexes 70 million active blogs and has the largest database of tagged content, which could be used as contextual keywords. Technorati also understands the relationships between bloggers, or as he refers to it the "link graph of the blogosphere."

Now how Technorati uses that data to better target ads for its ad partners and raise CPMs for its blogger publishers is yet to be seen. It sounds like a good plan. It seems like things are a bit less soggy over at Technoratri right now.

(Note: Watch for our next interview in which Richard talks about Techorati's business model, competitive landscape and new changes to its platform)

 

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Comments

Comment_gbg
dominique lahaix, on September 10, 2008

Very interesting interview. A couple of remarks:

Even with all technorati tags and graphs, I doubt that you'll ever find your relevant audience in one click, even more the right message for this audience, not to talk about building the trust in the community so that your advertising message is well accepted and you don't risk backslash.

It takes time to listen to communities, refine targeting strategy, understand and engineer the right message for the right community.

Example: there are hundred of blogs talking about personal finances, from kids to frugal people to financial professional, to commercial blogs featuring all kind of products and there is no one-size-fits all shortcut. Which tag and social graph will ever help you advertize with laser sharp relevance in this space?

That's the value of the Glam, Yardbarker, FoodBuzz and to a certain extend Adify: they selected a target and spend months &, sometimes more agreggating the properties that fit their domain and target and they secured these properties with deals that are better than what they could get elsewhere.

(note, Glam, Yardbarker are somehow superior to Adify network as they start with a strong strategic intent and style, which you can't build bottom up).

This is something that any advertiser can do... with more than a few clicks, provided they value more "relations" and not "impressions" or "the last click".


Comment_gbg
Bambi Francisco Roizen, on September 10, 2008

Interesting comment, Dominque. I just interviewed Frank Addante from Rubicon Project. I asked him which ad networks were performing well. He said the vertical ad networks that are focused on a particular industry are the ones that are doing a great job raising the CPMs for their publishing partners and improving the targeting/effectiveness for their advertising customers.


Marc Dangeard
Marc Dangeard, on September 10, 2008

Technorati may have a lot of data, but I am not convinced by how they use it: I did a search on "Guy Kawasaki" to test (Guy just posted a great article on the plan B for fundraising, so he is my interest of the day), and what came back was not impressive.
Worse, Guy's blog, which should come back first really for a search on his name, was not in the list of results (I gave up after looking down 3 pages of results). Obviously they can do keyword search on blog posts, but I would not call this blog search. And if this is how they do with search, what can we expect from whatever else they do with the data. I am curious to hear the next interview to see what they are cooking...


Comment_gbg
Bambi Francisco Roizen, on September 10, 2008

Thanks, Marc. There's been some criticism across the blogosphere about Technorati's platform. So, in the next interview, we do address how the company is improving the platform. We also dive into the changes in the company's biz model.


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