There aren't too many websites that irritate or annoy me other than the usuals; MySpace and the like. Unfortunately, I am adding a new site to that list today, Guy Kawasaki's latest venture called Alltop. Since Uncov.com is no longer around, I will critique Alltop on their behalf. It's horrible, or as they would say, FAIL.
Alltop is bad in that it offers no real value. It's a bunch of RSS aggregators. These already exist in useful forms like popurls but Alltop takes a great concept and ruins it by overdoing it. Alltop consists of many pages of aggregation modules showing off headlines from various feeds. If that wasn't bad enough there's even a page showing recent updates from Twitter "celebs". It's not logical for someone to sit and scan through hundreds of headlines presented with similar weight on a single page. It's pure and simple information overload.
I don't think RSS is so hard to use that people will resort to checking Alltop daily. Guy Kawasaki says the goal of the site is to cater to those who don't use RSS or custom start pages (like Pageflakes, Netvibes, etc). RSS is a growing trend with FeedBurner totalling around 70 million subscribers alone, even casual Internet users are getting the hang of RSS, especially the types of people that read sites aggregated by Alltop.
Mashable reports that Kawasaki launched Alltop for 10,000. He seems set on launching half thought-out ideas for cheap, similar to the forgotten Truemors. Similar to how I commented on Truemors' launch, a site such as Alltop could have been built (better) by a college coder, or just about anyone on Hacker News, with some free time.
I'm not even sure what else to say.. Alltop just gets on my nerves. It's helplessly bad. A general rule of thumb before launching anything: flesh out the idea at least a bit before building it. Here is a top-secret transcript of Alltop's first and last brainstorming session:
Person 1: Hey! We should build an awesome Web 2.0 app. Person 2: That's a great idea! Think we can do it for 10,000? Person 1: No problem, we'll just launch with no features and overpay someone to use open source RSS aggregation tools to grab headlines. Person 2: I like it. When's launch? Person 1: Is tomorrow good for you?
What are your thoughts on Alltop.com?