About a week ago, another blogger initiated a little web 2.0 experiment: She is gathering BlogCatalog.com users to create a bit of community buzz for the site. The idea is to have a disperse group of people post a little review in a synchronized fashion on May 14th to spread the word about the services on BlogCatalog.com
This sure sounds like a fun and interesting idea, and I’m obviously in, even if it’s mostly to see what the outcome will be. So what’s BlogCatalog all about? What does it make stand out?
BlogCatalog does just what the name says: It’s a catalog of blogs. However, below this rather stale sounding idea and quite a bland page design lurk some pretty useful features and design decisions. It is conceptualized less as a blog search engine or promotion tool such as Technorati, but rather as a blogging community platform. Its main competitor is the Yahoo-owned MyBlogLog, which offers a similar feature set. Incidentally, a substantial update to MyBlogLog has also been announced today.
Among the key features is the tracking of other BlogCatalog.com users that visit your blog as well as the creation of so-called “neighborhoods”. Rather than just sending a few faceless readers over to your blog, you can get an idea of who’s visiting and possibly discover other blogs that might be of interest to you by either checking out what else your readers like or what they are writing themselves. Similarly, you can join a “neighborhood” to which you think your blog is relevant, too. This is definitely a smart feature, considering that you are more than likely sharing interests with your readers. To further expand on the social features, there’s also some sort of shoutbox mechanism and a discussion list.
The catalog structure itself is put together quite well, too: You can browse by tags (more like topics in this implementation), country or language. Since BlogCatalog doesn’t have an overwhelming amount of blogs listed at the moment, this kind of organization makes it easy to just randomly look through some potentially interesting blogs and maybe discover a gem or two.
Granted, BlogCatalog doesn’t excel at any specific usage scenario, but it doesn’t have a particular weakness either. It’s simple, yet useful. There are no geeky features to it. It’s much like the blog searching and cataloging tool your mom would use.