September 12, 2008

Alltop – The Digital Magazine Rack


Five years ago, when newscasters and journalists began talking regularly about something called the “blog-o-sphere,” it wasn’t always easy to find the blogs you might enjoy reading. You might love getting the scoop on environmentalism and education, but aside from Googling these topics and hoping that one of the listings among the articles, commercial sites, and personal pages was a blog or online newspaper on the right topic, there might be no easy way to find regular updates. Alltop makes this process much easier, providing a smart and simple site that allows users to see the most up-to-date and popular blog entries available on a given topic.

Alltop updates its feeds every ten minutes, moving the most recent and most read headlines to the top of the list. When users hover over a headline, a window shows a brief preview, and clicking the link will open the original source content in a new tab, keeping Alltop open for further browsing. Because Alltop organizes content so easily and updates so regularly, it’s become a popular resource for market researchers to get a finger on the pulse of the public, seeing at a glance the most popular news items and blog discussions under a given subject. Alltop is also useful for those of us not in marketing, though – including those who are new to RSS feeds or to blogs in general. For us, Alltop works a little like a digital magazine rack, where we can browse and let our curiosity lead.

Practical Uses:

  • Get news each day specialized to your area of expertise or your interests.
  • Read and comment on blog postings without committing to a subscription in an RSS feed reader
  • Use Alltop to get a quick overview of the major blogging voices on a given topic, as you prepare a press release or promotional invite

Insider Tips:

  • To view the first paragraph of a story within Alltop before committing to clicking on the link, just scroll over the title, and a pop-up will appear

What we liked:

  • Alltop provides frequently updated feeds of stories
  • The sites listed under each category are always relevant, especially when compared to what you often get in the top 10 of a Google search
  • The interface is clean, free of visual distraction, and oh-so-simple to use

What we didn’t like:

  • Alltop’s categories are general, so if you’re looking for something specific, say ‘philosophy’ or ‘criticism,’ you’ll have to go elsewhere
  • What makes the cut on the home page of categories may be arbitrary. For instance, Alltop does have “Rugby” and “Mixed Martial Arts,” but no “Tennis.”
  • The banner at the bottom of the page can take some getting used to


Company Info:

  • Launched: March 2008
  • Privately Owned by Nononina, Inc.
  • Headquarters: Palo Alto, CA
  • Founded by Guy Kawasaki, Will Mayall, and Kathryn Henkens
  • Web site:


  • Free