Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Alltop: Wine Blog News Stand Rack

Have you visited Alltop.com’s wine page? It’s been around for a while so perhaps I am not telling you anything new, but I wanted to write about it today.

If you aren’t familiar with the site, here is a reprint from their “About” page that gives you a better explanation than I ever could:
We help you explore your passions by collecting stories from “all the top” sites on the web. We’ve grouped these collections — ”aggregations” — into individual Alltop sites based on topics such as environment, photography, science, celebrity gossip, fashion, gaming, sports, politics, automobiles, and Macintosh. At each Alltop site, we display the latest five stories from thirty or more sites on a single page — we call this “single-page aggregation.”

You can think of an Alltop site as a “dashboard,” “table of contents,” or even a “digital magazine rack” of the Internet. To be clear, Alltop sites are starting points — they are not destinations per se. The bottom line is that we are trying to enhance your online reading by both displaying stories from the sites that you’re already visiting and helping you discover sites that you didn’t know existed. In this way, our goal is the “cessation of Internet stagnation.”
I like the “digital magazine rack” description they use. In the case of the Alltop wine page, it’s a "digital wine blog rack.” What I like about the site is the aggregation of several wine blogs (74 as of when I am writing this). But more importantly, the titles of the most recent five posts from each blog are displayed, and when you point your cursor at any particular title, a popup appears that displays the first few sentences of that post.

That feature right there is valuable. It’s like flipping through magazines at 7-11 looking for things that are of interest except no one tells you to stop reading unless you’re going to buy something. This is more like Barnes and Noble or Borders where people sit down and read the books for free all day except here you can’t mess up the covers so that it becomes unsaleable. The blog titles and the most recent five post titles stare at you, and you can confirm whether it is worth visiting by pointing at it for a teaser sample.

And, clicking on each post opens a new tab (or window, if you are still using a backwards browser that doesn't have tabs - like the stone age pre-7.0 Internet Explorer) so you don’t have to press the back key to return to Alltop.

Nice little idea. So where is OneWinePerWeek on that page? Just below the screen print I did (see picture at top).. as of this writing it was sitting in the 16th position. Now how’d it get there? You got me. There’s a discussion of how they determine the order on the About page but there’s such a subjective element thrown into the picture I must conclude that perhaps one of my long lost relatives works there and pushes me up when no one is looking. Because there’s plenty of worthier blogs than mine that are further down the page. Maybe it’s Guy Kawasaki. Oh, yeah, maybe because our folks might have been in the same camp during the war!

If you haven’t already visited Alltop’s wine page, I highly recommend checking it out and perusing the entire page. There’s lots to see. Then there are other pages dedicated to other subjects so check those out, too. Between this and YouTube, you probably won’t get anything else done that day.

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