Alltop Launches, Do We Need Another News/RSS Aggregation Site?

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Guy Kawasaki has launched his new news aggregation site, Alltop. This service from Guy’s very own words is an “online magazine rack” that displays news from selected top online publications and blogs. Aiming to satisfy the needs of the 99% of Internet users who never use an RSS feed reader or who would not bother creating their own mashups/startup pages,  Alltop boast of itself as providing an aggregation without the aggravation.

In a nutshell, Alltop gathers the top five posts of selected blogs and publications, group them into forty categories, displays the first few lines of the opening paragraph of each posts and directs you to the blog where the articles was written by a click of the mouse.  Sounds plain and simple, which is what Alltop is all about. Guy calls it the RSS for the masses. I call it a chocolate cake minus the chocolate icing.

There’s no doubt that Alltop can be or is actually a useful site. But having branded the site with the word “top” to signify that the items came from selected top blogs and online publications, we can’t help but wonder how Alltop determines which site to include or not. Is there a special algorithm that determines a blog or site popularity to be called top of its niche and hence be included in its respective category in Alltop?

One of the items in the Alltop About page was on how a blog can be included in the Alltop index of sites? And the answer given was that a convincing email should be sent by blog owners to Alltop. Another question was how to add other favorite blogs of users which were not included in the index. The answer was, “Please  send us an email and we’ll consider them.”

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not questioning the blogs/sites that were pre-included in the initial launch of Alltop. In fact, it was good to see SEJ as one of the top blogs/sites under the SEO category. But the question again is who selected and determined that SEJ should be included in the SEO category?

[I did Arnold, thanks – Loren]

I’ve already asked too many questions. Maybe I should stop here lest I be called an anti-Alltop  or an Alltop hater.

I am not, because I really find the site useful but certainly not revolutionary.  I would have to agree with Richard of RWW that Alltop is far from being the RSS for the masses, because it should not only  the top sites in each categories, but cover other blog/sites as well.

Incidentally, if you check out Alltop’s SEO category, one of the site listed was a news site about  SEOContest2008, which is a recycled  site used for joining  various SEO Contest.  Just check out its About page and you’d know what I mean. Now how did that site did end up in the  list of  top SEO sites?

Arnold Zafra
Arnold Zafra writes daily on the announcements by Google,, Yahoo & MSN along with how these announcements effect web publishers. He is currently building three niche blogs covering iPad News, Google Android Phones and E-Book Readers.
Arnold Zafra
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  • Loren Baker, Editor

    Nice write up Arnold, and I’m sure Alltop will appreciate the critical points.

    I think there is space on the market for an all in one RSS aggregation system.

    My favorite automated RSS aggregator is the Google Desktop Sidebar and I’m surprised more and more RSS offerings aren’t doing something similar.

    Sidebar actually monitors the blogs that you read, and adds RSS feeds to your readers absed on the frequency and categorization of those blogs.

  • Richard Burckhardt

    Very nice, but I find the main page to the site confusing. It looks like a directory. There’s no explanation of what it is other than the bar across the bottom of the screen, which I find kind of annoying ‘cuz it never goes away.

    Anyway, I’ll bookmark the SEO page and try it out for a while. Keeps me from having to log in to iGoogle all the time.


  • Dan

    I went to the site yesterday…it is very odd. I did find a few sites that i never heard of…and were somewhat decent…but hitting this daily? not really sure I would..i can get my iGoogle to do somewhat the same thing and have it customized to my liking.

  • Nick Wilsdon

    Hi Loren/Arnold,

    Not sure if you have seen our attempt at this – It’s more dynamic than the others, as we take votes from the blogrolls of over 120 marketers (including your blogroll here at SEJ). The more votes a site has, the higher it appears in the rankings. So, maybe you find that a more democratic way of choosing who is shown Arnold? 😉

    If your blog appears in the system you can claim it and add tags, which will make it appear on a unique tag page too. This gave us the ability to have lots of niche aggregators, such as ‘PPC’ or ‘Link Building’.

    We’ve just started out, but I’d be interested in any feedback you want to give us.

  • Jeff

    I use sites like these all day long instead of wasting time keeping up my reader… for sports for web20 for social

    Time saver for me for sure…

  • Arnold Zafra

    Loren – Yeah, call it a constructive criticism. 🙂

    Richard – The site’s simplistic interface could actually work both ways. Either you find it useful or confusing. I agree, the lack of about/help page adds to the confusion as well.

    Dan – My point exactly.

    Nick – Thanks for the tip off. Will check the site later.

  • Zoran

    We are more then happy to be included in category and interesting thing, for clicks we got from that source we had fantastic number of page views/visit and 0% bounce rate.

    You should understand that real value of site like that is it filters people and let them choose by their affinity what they want. It makes 1 cent user worth bucks.

  • David Bradley

    I think they’re basically aiming at the people who don’t yet know what those little orange icons mean. Regardless, I’m happy, they added my site to the science section (above the NYT!)


  • Gerard

    Like Zoran, a couple of my sites got placed on AllTop – not because I approached them, but an avid reader who knew of the service got in touch with them. I was pleased to be involved, and I do think there’s room for this kind of service as an extended kind of PopURLs for certain niches.

    That’s not to say people won’t have their own custom Netvibes and iGoogle pages to cater to their specific needs, but the magazine rack is a good analogy.