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Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2019 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk



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Today's treasure, tomorrow's trash

7 July 2006

The Net is a fickle place. Trends come and go, overnight successes become dead and dying sites just months later, and even the most venerable of URLs can die if not enough attention is paid to meeting the demands of a highly mobile audience.

In the overnight-success arena we have such websites as the one which auctioned its pixels to advertisers. This was such a novel approach that it caught the interest of the media and advertisers alike. These days however, I suspect that nobody bothers to visit it or (like myself) can't even remember its name.

Another attempt at this one-hit wonderness has been launched by a Kiwi scientist and it's called A Novel in a Million.

Aditya Kesarcodi-Watson has set up the website with the goal of selling words and individual characters to advertisers for a dollar each. But wait, there's more...

The idea is also to create a set of kind of self-extending stories, based on the contributions of users and advertisers.

Now while I wish Aditya well and admire his drive for self-promotion, I have to wonder how quickly this will dissolve into a worthless blur of senseless prose. Perhaps something along the lines of:

"He reached for his viagra and the evening's entertainment began.

"But Cialis is better" exclaimed a tall figure lurking in the shadows.

"No, you should use my herbal potency pills exclaimed the dwarf hiding under the bed"

I think you get the picture :-)

However, as I said, it's not just the one-hit wonders that dwindle and eventually become almost dormant URLs, sometimes it happens to sites that have had a long and dedicated following too.

Perhaps the most current example of this is the way that the news and discussion website Digg has really begun to eclipse the long-time king, Slashdot.

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There was a time when most Slashdot entries received many hundreds (or thousands) of comments and to have your site "Slashdotted" meant almost certain server melt-down.

However, in just a few short months, Digg seems to have stolen an awful lot of Slashdot's audience and now the tables are very much turned.

Quite a few of the entries on Slashdot's front page today struggle to make it into three digits worth of comments -- while over at Digg, there are stories well into four-digits (ie: thousands) of comments and most are well into the hundreds.

So what's wrong with Slashdot?

Not much really -- although the editors seem to be tiring of their roles and an increasing number of duplicate posts, thinly disguised self-promotions and other bits of dross have begun to sneak onto its pages over the past 6 months or so.

In short, Slashdot has committed the ultimate sin on the Web -- it's been resting on its laurels too long.

Will Slashdot continue to wither and eventually die?

I doubt it -- but I do think that, in its present format, it's now past its best-by date and some significant surgery will have to be performed before it's able to go head-to-head with Digg and score any winning blows.

Have you spotted any one-hit wonders or slowly dying websites on the Web recently?

Is Digg really better than Slashdot?

Do you still visit or comment at Slashdot as regularly as you used to?

Have your say on this...

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