Amatomu – the cat took the bag with it

The open secret is a secret no longer. We have our very own Technorati (in a way) in the form of Amatomu.

Amatomu is a Mail & Guardian property and was developed largely by Vincent Maher, an all round media genius. It is intended to emulate (in many respects) the international Live Web search engine, Technorati, as well as innovate for the local market. Vincent has just blogged about Amatomu on his blog and it is a must read if you are interested how the site came about and some of his plans:

This project has been on my todo list since I joined the company but it was originally scheduled for some time early next year and it was a single line item with no description of what it would be. The general idea was that we wanted to provide some sort of destination for our readers that would give them an organized perspective of the South Afrian blogosphere, and offer some useful services to bloggers without treading on the toes of existing services like Muti, which we support completely.

The interface is pretty striking and full, while not being too cluttered. It is really indicative of the various forms of information the site is handling and presenting to users.

Amatomu

There are a number of things you can do on the site:

  • monitor the latest and most popular blog posts;
  • monitor the newest blogs;
  • monitor the top blogs in the last 24 hours, 7 days and month;
  • see which tags are the most popular and (through a new feature added in the last day or so) add a tag cloud draw from the blog to your site (this is a del.icio.us type feature which makes a lot of sense in a site like this).

For blog owners there are a couple handy tools on the back end to monitor your blog’s progress. The stats service is pretty handy and this screenshot clearly shows we are just not giving enough chili luvin’ to you, our readers:

Amatomu stats

The stats and updates are made possible through tracking code which you need to embed in your blog like you would with Technorati tracking code and other bits and pieces you have on your blog. This means you need to have access to your blog’s code one way or another.

I have been using Amatomu for a little while now. You may have noticed from the banner image that the site is still in Alpha (yup, before Beta). Initially the early testers were asked to keep it quiet till the major bugs were ironed out. I love Vincent’s account of this:

Matthew and I invited about 30 people we know to take part in the first phase of alpha testing and I would like to say thank you at this point to everyone who provided feedback and helped us to work on this site. We have over 50 comments and suggestions, all of them really constructive and everyone seemed genuinely enthusiastic.

In the original email we sent, we asked people not to blog about it and we were surprised to see that no-one actually did. It wasn™t easy keeping quiet either. Every day Matthew and I would give each other a stern talking-to. It would something like this:

Matthew: Vin, if you blog about this thing I will fire you
Vincent: Okay Matt, if you blog about this thing I will er¦ never make you coffee again

And so it went on.

We managed to keep it relative secret until Tyler Reed (a whole new hotness in SA blogging) broke the story and prompted the cat to leave the comfort of the bag and take the bag with it on a short trip around the corner. Tyler has a great review on his blog. Other bloggers who have posted reviews include SA RocksNic Haralambous and Vinny Lingham.

Amatomu is a great site and I have to keep reminding myself this is just the Alpha version. I am looking forward to seeing what Vincent and his team add to the mix in the lead up to a 1.0 release. Great job Vincent.

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Paul

Enthusiast, writer, strategist, web developer, and photographer. Passionate about my wife, Gina and #proudDad.

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