Amatomu is a blog search engine and article aggregator, which focusses predominantly on blogs published in South Africa.
It was founded in March 2007 by local web entrepreneurs, Matthew Buckland and Vincent Maher, while working for the Mail & Guardian.
Since its creation, both Buckland and Maher have moved on in their careers, with Maher currently taking up the position of chief product officer at Mxit, and Buckland as CEO of digital agency and online publishing business, Creative Spark.
Creative Spark inherited the site which, according to Buckland, hasn’t shut down, but is plagued by technical problems that have persisted for 7 years.
“Creative Spark inherited the site and is essentially doing a holding job, meaning the platform is now very dated,” Buckland told MyBroadband.
On Monday (12 Agust 2013), trying to gain access to the site called up a connection error which has been prevalent for at least a month. This is a result of a technical error, Buckland said.
“Amatomu has been experiencing these types of errors for the past 7 years and is regularly up and down,” he said.
According to the CEO, Creative Spark is focused on its digital agency and publishing business and has other priorities – which does not include Amatomu; hence, the company “steals” time to maintain it.
“Amatomu was a pre-Twitter and Facebook era creation. We are uncertain of its strategic direction given how the internet has moved on and evolved,” Buckland said.
“Also, Google’s dominance in search – which includes blog search – has also reduced the business case for Amatomu.”
Challenging Google and failing
Aggregators, and South African aggregators in particular, have struggled to maintain ground on the web in the face of Google.
On 1 December 2011, popular social media aggregator, Afrigator, was also shut down by its founder, Justin Hartman, citing declining revenue and a shift in focus for the four shareholders involved with the site.
Afrigator ran an ad service, Adgator, which was a product similar to Google’s Adsense. The service shut down in September 2011, putting further strain on the aggregator service, ultimately resulting in its closure.
However, Buckland maintains that it’s not yet the end for Amatomu.
“There are no plans to close it, but maintain it until we find a new strategic direction for it,” he said.
By the time of publishing, Amatomu was back up and running, with a message stating that it’s “busy with some upgrades” to its server and database.