I had to eat a little crow this morning. Yesterday I recommended that CNET One More Thing Apple blogger Tom Krazit use CoverItLive to liveblog the Steve Job Macworld keynote (see review: Ultimate Liveblogging Tool: CoverItLive). He declined. And good thing, too, since CoverItLive choked during the keynote. The failure was because of a minor programming slip-up, not the platform's inability to scale to hundreds of thousands of users, CEO Keith McSpurren told me. But it doesn't matter. In the liveblogging Superbowl, CoverItLive "tripped over its own laces," McSpurren admitted. Bloggers burned by the outage included CrunchGear, Fake Steve Jobs, MacDailyNews, and about 25 other blogs. Some sites posted messages sending their readers elsewhere, including to Twitter.
Which also failed.
With CoverItLive and Twitter out of action, traffic continued to pour into other, more traditional blogging platforms, many of which were already reeling under the load of having, basically, all of their regular readers hitting refresh every 5 seconds looking for updates. CNET's own blogging platform, which hosts the One More Thing blog as well as Webware, struggled and collapsed, generating error pages 23 percent of the time. Engadget failed, too.
To its credit, Gizmodo stayed up, although it did get slow, according to reports I got. I did not get any reports of TUAW failing, and people I know say that MacRumors' special liveblog site, MacRumorsLive, which has its own home-grown AJAX-based liveblog platform, did great.
This year's Stevenote liveblog fiasco reminded me of the 2004 DARPA Grand Challenge, in which the majority of the robot car contenders drove into walls or otherwise failed. Of course, in the second competition, in 2005, several cars finished, some spectacularly. Liveblogging is like that. The idea is great, the world wants it, but most of the platforms need more tuning.