2000 Bloggers and Hypocrisy

I actually applied only recently for Tino Buntie to add my name to the 2000 Bloggers collage. I thought it was a cool idea, although the SEO benefit is probably minimal simply because although massive cross-linking is happening, it could be looked on as:-

2000-2000=0

If everyone grabs all the images and sticks it on a page on their site, it is effectively like a link exchange directory which people have been doing for years. Google can certain filter links like that out with no problem.

Obviously it is not quite so simplistic, and it should be noted that there is a level of editorial in this. It is real blogs created by real people, and Tino visits the sites to check.

It is also important that these in general are not site wide links – someone with any sense if they did post a full collage would do it on a page a little deeper on their domain, just because of page load times.

Unfortunately this apparently has upset the balance at Technorati, and I am actually happy about that, because it brings lots of things out into the open.

Technorati

Technorati has great prominence in the search engines using other people’s content that people willing let them index, but the reason they have such prominence for all those cool keywords is because they have created one of the greatest linkbait systems on the internet, Technorati tags. The microformat even defines:-

The destination of a rel=”tag” hyperlink is required to be a tag space (a place that collates or defines tags), where the last segment of the path of the URL is the tag

Unless you have your own tag pages internally, there isn’t a huge amount of tag spaces to link to, and the default choice is Technorati for most people, though there are a few other options such as Wikipedia and a few PPC sites.

A while back Technorati started to use “nofollow” on their links to their sources of information to stop benefiting splogs, but if search engine rank wasn’t important to Technorati, they would create all their widgets and links with the nofollow code. But business is business and Technorati make money from advertising.
It is quite possible that Google and the other search engines have already had to take action to devalue the weight of Technorati tags, not too much, but enough so that the top search results for all those terms frequently used wasn’t always Technorati, which might be full of untrusted user generated content.

Technorati created their own importance in search results – they are one of the few “search engines” that appear in natural search results. Using robots.txt would solve that, but Technorati like the traffic.

I actually love Technorati, but I think this is making mountains out of molehills. There are bigger issues which effectively ensure that the z-listers have no chance of rising to the surface without some creative effort.

It should be noted that Technorati haven’t issued any kind of penalty to the participants in the 2000 Bloggers meme, as I just read over on Design Sojourn in a comment by Ian Kallen of Technorati.

Just to clarify: Technorati is not taking punitive measures against 2000 Blogger participants. What was announced was simply an adjustment to our indexing to filter out copy-and-pasted sets of links since our ranking is premised on links that are more conventional social gestures such as replies and citations. There is certainly a good deal of FUD being posted elsewhere about elitism, coercion, and so forth but given what was actually announced, I hope you’ll see through the subterfuge and feel assured that there’s no heavy hand to be scared of. We’re here to serve you and help you make your voice heard, we’re listening.
best regards,
-Ian

Blog Networks

2000 bloggers, it is only a single page on most of the blogs that might be affecting the Technorati ranking results. With blog networks small and large, all those sitewide sidebars also affect Technorati in a major way, and so does preferential linking to same network sites.

Employee Networks

Robert Scoble has discussed Microsofts internal blogger mailing list and the way they can effectively Googlebomb any product for a brand name. Whilst they might not have everyone on their blog roll (3000 bloggers), I am sure there is a lot of internal linking.

Widgets

There are a lot of widgets out there that give real links back to their creators, and whilst this might not affect blogs it certainly affects search results. The thing is the links in most cases are justified because they go to information pages about the widget.
Links are just pointers as Carsten recently discussed over on Search Engine Journal.

If I tag something with the word “WordPress”, it often ends up in a sidebar RSS feed on a blog tracking wordpress, or someones shared feed reader stream that is being indexed. That link appears in Technorati’s index, even if it is temporary.

Syndicated Content

The web, and Technorati are full of syndicated news stories, press releases and articles.

Some of my blog content occasionally gets syndicated, and that appears in Technorati reselts. Some of it is on popular sites, “legitimate syndication” – other times it is “illegitimate syndication”, which would be classed as legitimate if it was on a PR7+ site, but because it is a new site collecting snippets of blog posts on a single specific theme, they are referred to as splogs. At least most of them link back to me with a live link to the source, and if they pick it up directly rather than from Technorati, they get links in the content as well.

I have seen uncliamed RSS feeds in Technorati in the 5-6K range simply because the feed was being syndicated.

Other Tag Farms / Indexes

The good new is it seem that Technorati already filter out feeds from places like the WordPress.com tag index. It is quite likely that index still affects other search results in a big way. WordPress.com don’t use nofollow for their links to/from the indexes as I have previously discussed.

Linkbait

This interview with Tino carried out by Li Evans is now been highlighted as proof that Tino was doing this all just as link bait.

If you create something cool, people link to you. Lots of people create cool things for links and don’t get slammed. Lots of people deliberately highlight controversial stories over and over again just to get attention. Hell even I am writing this hoping I might get a link or 2 from people interested in a different opinion. (and I don’t have nofollow on my trackbacks)

What Tino didn’t expect is that people would carry the thing one stage further and copy all the images with links to post on their blogs.
Tino has suggested a widget, for the future, but that could easily be created with Ajax so that it doesn’t affect results in Google and Technorati, and is just there to give people somewhere cool to continue their browsing, human selected.

Even Matt Cutts believes in good link bait – I wonder what he thinks of 2000 Bloggers…

Conclusion

2000 Bloggers was just a blip, or a small bush fire easily snuffed out.

2000 Bloggers Lives on

For some reason every single link on Tinos blog is now nofollow – I didn’t think that is possible with blogger as many thing are included automatically – was such action really called for?

I am going to dedicate this post to the shared stance I have with Dane Morgan on Nofollow. If you don’t understand what he means by “Pink Boxes”, this post I wrote a while ago on nofollow will help.

Update: I have done some more snooping and it seems that a number of sites hosted on Blogger have the following added:-

meta name=”ROBOTS” content=”NOINDEX,NOFOLLOW”

I don’t know anyone that would do something like that deliberately to a blog they had worked on for months / years.

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Comments

  1. says

    Nice write up Andy.

    Im in that 2000 bloggers thing. I didnt even realise until I noted a huge spike in my inward links and alexa rankings.

    I even blogged about it briefly too, cos thats what this whole blog thing is, talk and discussion of things that interest us and make us think twice on a subject or two.

    I think it was an excellent piece of creative thinking that people liked and wrote about and that should be that. Labelling it as linkbait for some reason, gets people all hot under the collar.

    Technorati and stumbleupon and every other SM platform out there, built by ordinary users generating content for free, which they then subsequently milk and earn coin from, really do need to just relax a little and spread a little love.

    As you so rightly point out, what with all those little pink boxes plastered up everywhere, it really is a lot of hypocrisy, especially when you check out their very own lack of participation in the awful ‘dont trust anyone’ experiment.

    I guess they might be a little concerend perhaps that lots of copycatters will follow suit and subvert their finely honed ranking al gore rhythms! Well, so what, thats life, its how humans work.People always will continue to look at ways of rising to the top. Society both encourages and restricts it too. Maybe they might even learn a little from the exercise. Maybe they need to build a ‘reduce mass multiple inward link efficacy by date time and anchor text’ construct and bolt it on to the side of their algo. Or maybe they just need to chill and accept it for what it was/is.

    Boo to nofollow, yay to 2k Bloggers; a harmless peice of fun that got peoples attention and generated a link or 2, a fire in a bin somewhere that will just burn itself out anyway.

  2. says

    This is great actually…I just registered myself just to see how the results are.

    This is a very viral concept and I believe it will only evolve into something new and cool.

    I think this concept evolved from (but didn’t come from) the concept that others were using before like, 500internetmarketers.com.

  3. says

    meta name="ROBOTS" content="NOINDEX,NOFOLLOW"

    Some people write private blogs, or friends only blogs and don’t want stuff showing up in search. The old blogger didn’t have any mechanism for making a blog private other than deleting it, so blocking the spiders was the best you could hope for.

    One thing I’ve noticed is that DOFOLLOWed comments contribute to Technorati ranking… If the DOFOLLOW trend takes off then it will be the next “2000 bloggers”.

  4. says

    I know of a number of blogs where I noticed that noindex, nofollow which certainly do want the traffic and indexing, I just didn’t point the finger at them.

    I know many blogs that use nofollow for comments and also affect Technorati rating. A lot depends on how frequently Technorati check for new links on a page before it disappears from the front page or the feed.

    coComment also has a similar effect

  5. says

    Thanks for the great advice. WordPress is such a great platform isn’t it – and the wide range of plug ins make it really exciting.

    One of the best ones I found the other day was click tracking. Which gives you a heat map of your page showing where visitors are clicking most… rather like crazyegg does.

    Very cool

    Keep giving us great stuff – thanks

  6. says

    Definitely nothing to do with Yahoo.

    This one is all Technorati, and the people who complained about 2000 Bloggers, most of whom have something to do with blog networks.