Every week, there’s a note in my This was the week that was posts – an update on the US Blogs community on Bumpzee – in fact, if it wasn’t for the US Blogs community, there probably wouldn’t be a This was the week that was post if it were not for the community. However, there has been something amiss with the site for quite a while now, and I am wondering if anyone even notices the site’s errors anymore?
First off, you may have noticed that I’ve dropped their widget from my sidebar. The simple reason is that it has been loading very slowly for months now. In addition to that, for the longest time (around the time they took off the site stats part of the widget “to improve performance” ostensibly, but it didn’t), the widget had been showing me as a visitor to my own blog – something that neither Mybloglog or BlogCatalog do or have ever done. However, where things really start to go wrong is at the main site.
For the longest time now, the site loads excruciatingly slow – even when doing simple things like going to the home page. Sometimes I can let it go for a long time with it loading nothing more than maybe the top navigation bar. Other times the site dies completely – I’ve gone to the home page many times only to be faced with a completely blank screen, only the basic elements showing up – no list of recent posts in the site, no list of recent visitors, etc. As I said on Monday, it’s not even funny anymore. In fact, here is what the site looks like when this happens. Note that not 5 minutes before this, I was logged in and everything worked okay.
Leadership – or a lack thereof
So, that begs a question – what are the owners of the site doing to solve these problems? Well, and I hate to have to be the one to say it, but it has to be said, it appears they’re doing nothing. The last time that the Bumpzee blog was updated was October 15th – over 4 months ago. The last time that Bumpzee was mentioned on the owner of the site’s blog? September 27th. In fact, if you take a look, the last time he logged into the site was in January.
As anyone will tell you, it’s poor form to simply disappear without leaving a note, but in this case notes are being left constantly. Just look at his site – new posts every other day or so. The only problem is that none of them even mention Bumpzee, except for in a comment on a post, but even then he doesn’t acknowledge the site, just the other part of the text in the comment. Recently, I was exchanging messages with one of the members who was having issues with changing the address of a blog they owned, and I was asked if the owner was still in charge. Honestly, I don’t know.
Where to from here?
One thing that I don’t want to advocate, as it would be an extreme action, would be to abandon the site completely. I think that it still has a lot of potential, especially with the community function the site has. Applied properly, it is a trump card that could make Bumpzee become competitive with both MyBlogLog and BlogCatalog, and even have the ability to overtake one or both of the sites. However, when you have leadership which gives the appearance of not caring about the state of the site, that is where you begin to run into trouble.
I know and understand the fact that people get busy and might not have the time to dedicate to projects anymore, but there comes a time when you have to make a decision – either say that yep, there are problems, but we’re going to take some time and get them sorted out, or you can say just to “keep on keeping on” and continue to fend with the problems of the site and ignore them. Of course, there are more drastic options (change of ownership, quitting), but surely a site that has been around for over a year deserves to keep up the great work it’s started.
Another issue to address
There is one other major issue that needs to be addressed, but this is something that is common to all community sites – the quality of blogs in the site. Really, a site doesn’t have to be a blog (for example, I’ve seen sites on Squidoo submitted for approval to the US blogs community – while they have RSS feeds, as far as I can tell, they’re not blogs) to join the site or to join a community. As the owner of the US blogs community, I am fairly strict when it comes to blogs that I accept. For example, if a site is loaded with affiliate links, or if it doesn’t appear to be a blog, I’ll reject it.
Of course, if someone who isn’t in the US submits their blog, I reject the submission – it’s fairly straightforward to spot them, though – they usually submit to every community out there. Unfortunately, I think I’ve been snookered by one person who claimed to be in the US, but as far as I can tell, they’re not.
I also don’t appreciate content scrapers – if I look through your blog, and I find that it is filled with articles which I find readily on other sites in a search – you get rejected. It’s not that hard to come up with fresh content on your own, but I guess for some it’s just too much to handle, so they have to copy and paste everything.
What do you think?
I’m curious to hear your opinions of the goings on at Bumpzee – is it time to abandon ship, or is it worthwhile to stick it out for the long haul. Personally, I think it’s worth sticking out, but over time (and I think this is something reflected in their Alexa rankings, with a continual downward trend ever since November), the site will slowly fade. I know that I don’t get as many applications to the US blogs group as I had in the past, some of that is lack of advertising, but a lot of that is due to the site not being as dependable as it was.
In any case, the fact that the site seems to take a lax attitude towards fixing problems that have been going on for a while certainly counts in the negative column on their side…