Newsweek's Newsweekopedia vs. Times' Topics
Newsweek.com's Topics a great idea, poorly executed.
With its recent redesign (which I like), Newsweek.com cloned one of the lesser known but truly incredible parts of the New York Times Web site: an encyclopedia-like organization of its archivesâ€”including in most cases, an introductory overviewâ€”called â€śTopics,â€ť that can be found at the easy-to-remember URL, http://topics.nytimes.com. Newsweek calls its clone Newsweekopedia but uses the Times-like URL: http://topics.newsweek.com.
Thatâ€™s where all similarities end.
Newsweek broke rule #1 of building an encyclopedic resourceâ€”or anything that is "-opedia"-ishâ€”they didnâ€™t seed it properly. In fact, they barely seeded it at all. Compare, for example, the letter â€śHâ€ť on http://topics.nytimes.com to the letter â€śHâ€ť on http://topics.newsweek.com. The image above doesnâ€™t do justice to the 1,000-plus entries on the Times site, but since Newsweekopedia has only one entry, I think you get the point.
Newsweek also broke cardinal rule #1 of anything you do on the Web: Donâ€™t claim to be something that is drop-dead simple to disproveâ€”like, say, that you have an â€śunmatched knowledge resource.â€ť
My geek friends have a word for something like this: FAIL. (But please, keep trying.)
-- Rex is the founder and CEO of Hammock Inc., a Nashville-based custom publisher. He blogs about publishing, new media and other topics at the popular Rexblog.com.
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