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Amatomu has fallen off a cliff and hurtling towards its untimely death.

Jul16

Written by:
2009/07/16 09:16 AM RssIcon

We have, or we used to have two great blog aggregators in South Africa. One was Afrigator, and the other was Amatomu. These two services were essential and vital for bloggers to get their posts out to the masses of Africa and South Africa. But sad to say, Amatomu has failed in its mission. It has let the South African Blogging community down. In fact it is on a self destruct course to oblivion.

Amatomu is run and owned by Mail & Guardian. A respectable print and online news agency. Yet for some reason they have lacked the responsibility to run Amatomu as a competitive business and service. Over the past few months the staff at Amatomu have changed, many have left. Well at least the folks that I have been in communication with.

Lets Leave Amatomu

A few months ago, I read and participated in a blog post by @chrisM from Imod.co.za entitled I’m tired of unfulfilled promises from Amatomu – goodbye!. There Chris voiced his disappointment in Amatomu, their lack of fulfilling their promises. He tried to garnish some support and proposed that all leave Amatomu in an effort to get their attention. He received many responses. One of them being me.

I too was a bit frustrated with Amatomu at the time. It was very slow, and sometimes completely dead. Having their JavaScript code embedded in my site, would at times cause my site to run extremely slow. In the imod post I stated that perhaps we should just hang on there for a while. Give Amatomu another chance. Being a programmer and developer I know what it is like. trying to find bugs, under pressure.

I subsequently did remove the Amatomu code, and found that my site did run a bit faster. But being the optimist that I am, I wanted to give them a second chance. So I put the code, right at the end of the site. Doing this caused my entire site to render first before the Amatomu code. This gave the illusion that my site loaded completely and did not hang if Amatomu was out.

Amatomu Fails Again

But sad to say Amatomu is up to its tricks again. Over the last two-three days, Amatomu rankings have dropped. In fact they report zero (0) visits to sites. Their “Hot Right Now” tab is completely useless as there is nothing showing, it is empty. Their “Latest posts” tab is also broken not being updated for a while. Fortunately in the Technology section, it seems I was the last update to get through, as of this writing.

So what now. After emails to the M&G, they told me first that the stats only update every 24 hours. Rubbish, it never used to be like that. Anyway, once again my good nature gave them a chance. I waited 24 hours, only to see that the situation never improved, in fact it got worse. They then told me that they are in the process of rolling out a new version. Well if that’s the case, then the new version is also completely broken.

Where do we go from here

What do we do? I might just have to concede and give in. I might just have to agree with ChrisM on this, and do a clean breakaway. But that is so sad. We will only be left with one aggregator. No competition. I am sad because with competition comes responsibility and quality.

Clearly the people at the Mail & Guardian either have no one who knows what they are doing or they just don’t care. Is there any one who can take up the mantle and run with it? I would love to take over Amatomu, I am certain I will get it right. But I just don’t have the financial backing to do so. New Servers, new hosting, bandwidth, etc. If I could find some sort of backing I would go for it. Perhaps not do another Amatomu, but perhaps another aggregator.

Amatomu, Mail & Guardian, WAKE UP, you’re losing precious resources, namely users. For now I am sticking with the faithful and responsible, namely Afrigator. They seem to know what they are doing.

Have you been affected by this? What is your position? Do you want to can the Amatomu code? Have you already jumped ship? Let us know in the comments below.

Related Reading:

Amatomu So Slooooooooow, You're killing me.

Amatomu: South African Blog Aggregator - Hurry up and wait.

Which Aggregator is best? Amatomu vs Afrigator.

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