Time Magazine’s out with a Top 25 Blogs list, I learned tonight on Techmeme. Curious, I went to look for it. As expected, finding an actual list of all the blogs was impossible. OK, not impossible — eventually @thedelicious twittered me the location. Thank goodness, because Time certainly didn’t make it obvious.
I know, I know. The magazines do it for the pageviews, as @jenstar among others pointed out. Hey magazines, are those pageviews making up for how much you’re pissing off online readers who come to your sites? I got a stream of Twitter responses from others who seem just as annoyed as I am.
I don’t have time to screenshot just how badly Time failed. So I’ll just write up how terrible the experience was. Read carefully, as math on tape is hard to follow. Sorry, that’s a Real Genius reference. Rent that movie, by the way, it’s a classic.
Techmeme linked over to this page, called “The 2008 Time 100.” The URL looks like this:
See the part I bolded? I’m thinking, “What’s up?” Is this a recap of the best blogs based on all of 2008, written for the beginning of 2009? Or was this written in 2007, as a start to 2008?
No idea! I start looking around for a table of contents link. There ain’t one. All I can see is a picture of Michael Arrington (hey Mike) as page 100 of 101, with the ability to either Previous or Next my way through the top 100.
Seriously, this is how I have to navigate the list?
Down at the bottom of the page, I see a link to “Joel Stein’s TIME 100 Red Carpet.” That’s no help. At the top of the page, there are a bunch of category links that don’t help me. Argh! If the URL for all these things were something like:
The maybe I could chop the URL and get to the table of contents that way. But nope, things aren’t organized that way.
Next up — figuring I’m seeing last year’s list (with no link to the current one or any table of contents of ALL such lists), I go to the Time home page. Here, I see a big headline that says “Times Best Blogs of 2009.” So I go there.
Argh! I’m back in Time’s version of one of Dante’s circles of hell. I get a page for the Talking Points Memo blog that loads with NOTHING that I can see that leads to a table of contents for everything. Instead, I have to Next my way page by page, if I want to see everything.
No, I’m not that interested. I gave it a pass and twittered my disgust. As I said, thanks to the miracle of Twitter, I was informed there WAS an all in one page. It sure didn’t seem easy to find. @thedelicious told me she found it because you get it only after going through the entire list, apparently.
It’s stupid. It makes much more sense that the first page I got to from the Time home page for this list should to an intro page that listed everyone or clearly pointed me at such a list. And any page in the series should link back to that overview page.
Forbes stumbled it in a similar way when their Web Celeb 25 list came out last month (personal side note, I made the near miss list). I think everyone was pointed to this page about the list. I remember having to follow the link at the bottom of the article that made me go through this annoying slide show to see everyone. And if you want to link to someone on the list? No permalink. You’ve got copy the URL before the slide changes, then clip the “thisSpeed” parameter at the end of it. Joy.
In writing this up, I went back to the Forbes list via a Google search. That brought up this excellent example of how the page should have been done from the start. Nice intro page. Nice list of everyone on the list. Nice list of the subcategories, such as crossover stars or celebrity near misses. But sadly, that’s how it was done for 2007. Two years later, that format either was abandoned or it’s out there in a location I can’t easily find.
I’ve had to go through any number of lists like this over the years from print magazines, and it’s maddening. I deal with them because I’m trying to see how various search engines are now ranked on some Top Companies To Work For or Richest People or some Other Important List. It’s time consuming.
Of course, it’s also opportunity. As @gaberivera pointed out, the magazines’ failures are opportunity for someone else to do it — then shoot their own URL off to Digg and other places, then watch the traffic roll in.
But you see, the magazines could get that traffic directly. By not giving the easy-to-find lists, I think they irritate existing readers, especially irritate new visitors and cause others to detour into places that make their information easy to find.
Please, I’m begging. Enough is enough — if you make a list, show me the actual list.