Topsites are terrific. At least, I think they are. I appreciate the special combination of promotion and social proof that the right topsites can offer that I created the Nature Blog Network just to make sure we nature bloggers had one to call our own. Clearly, NBN has grown beyond the preliminary topsite but the list itself still gets much more interest than the blog, map, calendar, or any other page or feature we cook up. Obviously, I’m not the only one who thinks topsites are terrific.
Unfortunately, one important element of online society appears less than enamored of topsites. Webhosts hate them. At the best of times, topsites seem to chew up critical CPU cycles, clogging up servers and burning through bandwidth. Even worse, Turkish spammers and Russian hackers alike agree that messing with topsites can be fun; I’ve been on the losing side of both brands of malfeasance.
Webhosts hate topsites so consequently, the Nature Blog Network has moved around a bit. Now that a webhost dedicated specifically to hosting topsites had to shut down due to the aforementioned problems, we’ve come full circle to arrive at my favorite host, Downtownhost. With hope, our stay here will be long and pleasurable. But if the topsite component of the NBN begins to bring our newest server down, we’ll be faced with some difficult choices. So I’d like to get a sense from you, the community, about how essential you think the topsite component of this network is.
Please answer the following poll honestly and elaborate on your preference in the comments section. If you’re wondering, my preference is to keep the topsite as long as possible. This is what I’ll fight to do even if it means moving to another host down the road.