Maybe you’ve heard of it, maybe you haven’t. Guy Kawasaki (author of one of my favorite books, The Art of the Start) recently launched Alltop.com, which he has branded as "the online magazine rack" for information from the "top publications and blogs". I’m sure in a lot of circles (okay, maybe most circles), there has been zero buzz about Alltop (I guarantee my wife, my friends, my dad, my in-laws, general public have never heard of it…I would venture that no one I have been in contact within the last week has heard of it). In the world of bloggers and technologists, there has been much discussion, and of course if you subscribe to Guy’s twitter-feed (what in the world is twitter?) you would know that just about every other tweet has something to do with Alltop.
Does this picture look interesting to you? This is "push" not "pull"
…then you might like Alltop. If being inundated with information and you like "browsing" then Alltop will provide a great place to browse and start getting information. Alltop gives ("pushes" from a consumer standpoint) all of the latest headlines from around the Internet. The "magazines" are arranged into categories and sub-categories (like work, living, people and within those maybe career, food, and egos). If you don’t really know what you’re looking for, this might be helpful. However, the "magazine" most useful to you may not be available on this "magazine stand" because the information for "sale" is being determined by the magazine-rack owner.
The people that probably most need Alltop don’t know about Alltop
Referring back to the people I mentioned that don’t know about it–my wife, dad, general public, etc.–these are the people that are less inclined to use some kind of RSS aggregator to subscribe to blogs. Understanding blogs and the technology and usefulness behind them is not easy for this group of people. They could benefit from finding this magazine rack of headlines from different blogs to start finding useful information. However, since all of the buzz (as far as I can tell) about Alltop mostly exists within the community of bloggers and people that are already living in "this world", then the people that need it the most are still missing out.
The people who know about Alltop probably don’t need it
Guess who’s talking about Alltop the most? The people that have been featured on Alltop! Wouldn’t you? I suppose I might have a completely different opinion about Alltop if I was featured on it. However, I would surmise that generally these people do not need Alltop because they are probably already to subscribing to the information most relevant to them. I can’t imagine any of them would actually spend much time "browsing" the "magazine-rack" at Alltop.
I want the stuff delivered to my front door: "pull"
I contend that people who still want the information delivered to their "front door" will still use RSS aggregators. I want to subscribe to the information I want ("pull") and not have to fish through everything else to get what’s most relevant to me. I don’t want 200 magazines dropped on my doorstep everyday that I have to waste time fishing through to find the things I’m interested in.
When would I use it
Okay, having said all that, there are instances I would use it. Old-school instances would be like the old days of going to the public library or accessing some other reference material. For example, if I suddenly took an interest in cooking, I would probably start at food.alltop.com to find some useful information. However, I would never make food.alltop.com my browser homepage. I would find the sites most relevant to my needs and then subscribe to things I would want updates on.
If you normally spend a lot of time at the airport or on a street corner staring at the endless choices of publications available, then Alltop is your online substitution. If you are busy and want to use your limited time to get information most relevant to you, then stick to your preferred method of subscribing to online resources.