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Newsweek's Newsweekopedia vs. Times' Topics's Topics a great idea, poorly executed.

Rex Hammock By Rex Hammock
06/24/2009 -09:37 AM

With its recent redesign (which I like), cloned one of the lesser known but truly incredible parts of the New York Times Web site: an encyclopedia-like organization of its archives—including in most cases, an introductory overview—called “Topics,” that can be found at the easy-to-remember URL, Newsweek calls its clone Newsweekopedia but uses the Times-like URL:

That’s where all similarities end.

Newsweek broke rule #1 of building an encyclopedic resource—or anything that is "-opedia"-ish—they didn’t seed it properly. In fact, they barely seeded it at all. Compare, for example, the letter “H” on to the letter “H” on The image above doesn’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: Don’t claim to be something that is drop-dead simple to disprove—like, say, that you have an “unmatched knowledge resource.”

My geek friends have a word for something like this: FAIL. (But please, keep trying.)


Rex Hammock By Rex Hammock -- 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

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