Digital Content

The Mail and Guardian's latest online project, a South Africa-specific blog aggregator called Amatomu has gone live. Built to provide a platform to expose local bloggers to a more mainstream audience, the project has been in secret testing mode for the past week. A handful of local online publishers were asked to take part (secretly) in the testing phase , but, bloggers being bloggers, it wasn't long before someone blogged about it. And so, with that, Amatomu moved into public testing mode.

Update: Tyler Reed contacted Tectonic following the publication of this article to offer the following clarity: "[The article] suggests that I leaked Amatomu and broke the trust of the Amatomu creators because I broke the news about Amatomu. This is far from true. I was not invited to test Amatomu so I had no knowledge that it was to be kept a secret," said Reed.

On his own blog, developer Vincent Maher, announced the public alpha of Amatomu:

"As about 35 of you already know, Amatomu was in a closed alpha testing phase for roughly a week until some clever people figured it out. ... Then Tyler Reed, one of SA's hottest upcoming bloggers, broke the story yesterday afternoon and the floodgates opened."

"This project has been on my todo list since I joined the company [M&G] but it was originally scheduled for some time early next year and it was a single line item with no description of what it would be. The general idea was that we wanted to provide some sort of destination for our readers that would give them an organised perspective of the South Afrian blogosphere, and offer some useful services to bloggers without treading on the toes of existing services like Muti, which we support completely."

"Matthew [Buckland] and I invited about 30 people we know to take part in the first phase of alpha testing and I would like to say thank you at this point to everyone who provided feedback and helped us to work on this site. We have over 50 comments and suggestions, all of them really constructive and everyone seemed genuinely enthusiastic.

"In the original email we sent, we asked people not to blog about it and we were surprised to see that no-one actually did. It wasn't easy keeping quiet either."

Amatomu allows bloggers to register their site(s) on the site and provides a feed-tracking service as well as a listing of top SA blogs by visitors. There has been some dicussion on the local 'blogosphere' regarding the process used to count which South African blogs are the most popular. Currently Tectonic is listed second for the month. Blog traffic to each site is counted using a javascript script on each site to log page views.