Thursday, April 17, 2008

My Thesaurus Is Broken


This week's update is running behind.

You see, I may have a vocabulary that ranges somewhere between moderate to decent, but I also have a brain that ranges somewhere between erratic and completely useless, so to write my posts, I rely heavily on the online thesaurus to find that one perfect word that is right on the threshold of my memory, and for which I know every possible synonym, but that I just can't recall until I see it. Unfortunately the online thesaurus I use stopped being anywhere near reliable.

I used to be able to type on a word, such as "cut," and I would get blocks of related words for each definition, and I would get multiple pages full of scores of these blocks. Granted, many of the synonyms would be repeated throughout the results, but there was always a great chance that I'd find the one perfect word plaguing my brain. Yesterday, that stopped. Now if I type a word like "cut" into the search box, I'll be lucky to find two entries of maybe a five or six total synonyms that are essentially the exact same words between them.

Why the sudden change? The website started offering a "premium content" service described as "a new and better way to experience" the website. No, it's not "new" and it's not "better." It's just that now you're charging $19.95 a year for people to get the same service they've grown accustomed to over the past several years for free. The only thing that's "new" is the fact that you've made the website absolutely useless to people who don't pay you money, and the only thing it's "better" than is the crap you've done to the website to encourage people to pay. What are you, NetZero?

I really don't know how effectively I can write without this valuable resource conveniently at my aid. I sometimes spend so long trying to recall that perfect word that once I do finally remember it, I discover I've can't remember how I was going to phrase the rest of the sentence. So I have a decision to make, whether or not I want to resort to paying for the same service I was getting for free two days ago. The money is not the issue. It's a matter of principle. I think it's shitty of a service not to make money by offering incentives, but instead by changing the pre-existing service to a substandard condition.

An interactive thesaurus may not seem like that big of a deal to most people, so I really don't see how they think they'll generate a lot of revenue by pissing off an indeterminate demographic of casual users that would probably be just as satisfied with any of the other less sufficient services the Internet has to offer. They're targeting the miniscule demographic of people whose brains are so dysfunctional that they need the service like a drug to survive. And, unfortunately, I'll probably end up swallowing my pride and begrudgingly paying them to re-establish my peace of mind. I just think it sucks that they've left me little choice.

How about any of you out there reading, whether you be friends, loyal fans, lurkers, or people who just found this blog through a random Google search result for hot thesaurus porn? Would you pay? Is this not as big a deal as I'm making it? Do you know another reasonably adequate online thesaurus that produces a wide variety of well-organized results?


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