Dave Winer reports that TV Guide has ‘launched a blogging community‘ and it’s a pretty interesting endeavour to be sure:
Over 65 entertainment blogs are now live on the site, featuring expert reporting and commentary from writers and editors from both TV Guide magazine and TVguide.com. Each blog allows TVGuide.com users to post comments and interact with the site’s critics. In addition, every user can create his or her own blog about entertainment using TVGuide.com’s simple blogging tools. [emphasis me]
Well, from a cursory look I reckon they’re about half way there. The blogs look pretty well written and seem to be engaging a fair few readers, although there are some strange linking behaviours taking place as well, checkout this post where every link is to a search of the term on the tvonline.com dbase… bizarre.
But while it is pretty exciting that they’re offering readers blog spaces too, this is where they also fall in a fairly crumpled heap I’m afraid.
First, you get a blog by default when you sign up (there’s nothing telling you that this is what you’re getting, it just appears there), then you have no control whatsoever over templating – in fact you have no control over anything – even your previous posts as far as I can find. Add to that a pretty basic posting systems, no rich media options, an afterthought of a poll creator and a working environment that ‘usability test me, please!’ – it’s a pretty painful experience.
However, there are a couple of redeeming features – the full integration of RSS across the site might not make for a great deal of use for tvonline reader but at least it’s there and it won’t do them any harm in search terms if it’s linked up to a ping service. Also, while clunky, there’s a nicely conceptualised email subscription service to keep up to date with latest updates on writers & users blogs – although there’s a good debate to be had about the value of email as opposed to or alongside a web based aggregation strategy built into the site.
And heck, at least they’re giving it a shot… a bit of a glorified forum / blogs in 2002 shot… but it’s great to see this sort of thing being trialled and it’ll be fascinating to see how it does / doesn’t work and develops over the next year or so.