There’s a lot to like and lot to criticize about Buzztracker. Hopefully they”ll continue to refine the service and address the shortcomings. I always encourage people to launch early and take the criticism as free product feedback.
The things I like about the service is the breadth of content that it addresses. You can see buzztrackers on topics as diverse as food, Boston Red Sox (and every major sports team), videogames, diet and fitness, stocks, and of course, music. I counted 41 topics plus every major sports team. The breadth of the service is very ambitious and Al told me that they are eventually going to let their users create their own topics which will be available to everyone.
I also love the fact that you can subscribe to each and every buzztracker as an rss feed, the inclusion of topic specific most buzzed Flickr photos and YouTube videos, and email and digg integration.
But there are some shortcomings to the buzztracker service. First, I think it lacks the feed density it needs. if you compare the techmeme front page and the buzztracker tech front page, you’ll see that techmeme does a better job with that category. Of course, you’d expect that to be the case since techmeme has been around for a while and buzztracker is just launching. But it’s even true on the music page where buzztracker music is missing almost all of the top hypemachine music blogs. I spent some time trying to find a place to suggest a new feed and categorize it for them and it wasn’t anywhere I could see it.
I also find the design jarring. Way too many google ads and way too much stuff happening on the page for my taste. Both can be solved with a good UI design which Al tells me is coming.
Bottom line – Buzztracker takes buzztracking to a whole new level in terms of content covered and has the potential to become a very interesting service to a much wider audience. I’ve subscribed to the front page and a few of the topic pages in MyYahoo and plan to monitor it closely in the coming months.