AbouThiSite: Smart Weasel, Useless Data

abouthissite-logoMashups, like any other technology, have the potential to be used for bad and for good. They can hurt Webmasters when done incorrectly or help them when done right.

AbouThiSite attempts to be one of latter kind of mashups, providing valuable information about a target domain at the click of a button.

But how useful is it in the real world? The answer, sadly, is not very much. It won’t be a part of my arsenal, not unless it adds some additional data. Still, there is much that can be gleaned from it, if others are willing to listen.

What it Does

abouthissite-sidebarThe idea behind AbouThiSite is very similar to WhoIsHostingThis and Domain Tools in that you punch in a domain and receive back vital information on it. But where Domain Tools is targeted at those who are familiar with networking tools and WhoIsHostingThis focuses on making the process of finding a site’s host simple, AbouThiSite attempts to provide a different set of information in an easy to approach manner.

This includes the following:

  1. The IP Address
  2. Other Sites Likely on the Same Server
  3. The location of where the site is hosted.
  4. The PageRank/Traffic of the Site
  5. Information About the Colors and HTML of the Site

This information is then displayed in a colorful and easy-to read page that includes a Google Map of the estimated server location, a preview of the site and a link to subscribe to the site’s RSS feed, if it has one.

It is indeed incredibly easy to use, but, for Webmasters dealing with content theft or abuse issues, it is a fairly useless service. In fact, outside of some limited SEO purposes, I have a very difficult time imagining why anyone would favor AbouThiSite over other sites.

Missing Details

The most useful aspect of AbouThiSite is the SEO elements. Having the PageRank, rough traffic and IP information in one place is useful. Though the traffic stats seem to underestimate every site I punched in, the relationships between them made sense.

However, you can get most of this information elsewhere, the only advantage with AbouThiSite being that the information is very cleanly laid out and easy to read. Whether that is worth the trip is up to each Webmaster to decide.

For those wanting to deal with abuse issues, this site is missing critical information that one needs including Whois information, information about the actual host of the site (other than its location) and provides no easy means to obtain it.

Since all of the useful information can easily be procured off another site and you will have to go there regardless to get the information you need, there is little reason to make AbouThiSite a stop at all.

Lessons

This isn’t to say that AbouThiSite is a bad tool, just that it doesn’t fill any needs that I have. There is still a great deal it does right and others may find it useful.

What I sincerely hope is that other sites, especially Domain Tools, might take a look at the way AbouThiSite displays information and glean a few lessons from it, namely how to put a lot of information about a site in front of viewers in a clean, attractive manner.

Though appearance is definitely not everything when looking for tools to help you get the information you need, it does count, as WhoIsHostingThis has showed us. The easier a site is to read, the quicker we get the information.

Likewise, though WhoIsHostingThis is laser-focused and clean to use, it could also benefit from some additional information, such as the location of the host (at least the country) and, perhaps, the whois data.

The bottom line though is that AbouThiSite offers a glimpse of what a good domain information mashup could be without actually being that mashup.

Conclusions

The bottom line is that, if AbouThiSite has information that you find useful, then by all means use it. It’s a fast, user-friendly site that is easy to pick up and add to your toolbox. I, personally, don’t have much use for it nor do I see how others might.

That being said, it appears to me that the site is more of a proof of concept than a finished product and, with that in mind, the concept it does show is valuable.

The Web may not have a lot of use for this site, but there is a lot it could learn from it, if one is willing to listen.

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