Sunday, August 28, 2005

blog search engine debate

Blog Search Engine Debate

Have you ever wanted to get the latest buzz on an issue, but wanted only blogospheric sources, not MSM, website, or other non-blogginess?

Have you ever wished you could find high quality blogs on a given topic?

Have you ever been overwhelmed by the sheer number of blogs...

...and underwhelmed by the relevance, reliability, or richness of their content?

Have you ever found a blog directory that was valuable?

Have you ever done a search on a keyword and seen in the results list only blogs that had a sentence or two, with a link to another blog on that topic?--thus, these blogs were of no value at all, yet ranked high on SE results pages?

Mark Cuban to the Rescue?

Mark Cuban of Blog Maverick is trying to solve this problem with his Ice Rocket blog search engine and blog tracking service. I need to explore this site more, as I think it now has BlogPulse type features in it.

A debate is raging in the blogosphere: how should blogs be ranked?

According to how many other blogs link to it in blogrolls or posts (link popularity)? Or according to how many high traffic blogs link to it (traffic popularity)? Or according to how many credible, authoritative blogs link to it (link authority)?

I vote for link authority criteria, and I am opposed to all other criteria, but I am also still examining this issue, and cannot make any iron-clad, etched-in-stone pronouncements yet.

Great Articles on This Topic

To begin to understand this issue, check out the very smart posts on Blog Maverick:

"The however many"

"A splog here, a splog there"

"How many bloggers love me"

Incestuous (or) Clinking Blogs

One of the unethical strategies some bloggers use is called "Incestuous Linking", which I have called "clinking" or clique linking. These blogs link to each other as a matter of policy, and refuse to acknowledge, blogroll, or post about other blogs. You have to be in their butt kissing clique for them to affirm your existence.

Not only is this a sleazy tactic, what makes it worse is that these blogs are content-poor. They simply promote themselves and their clique.

A clinking, or incestuous, blog is full of references to the blogger's personal life, professional achievements, and offerings. Not much practical information is dispensed. Posts are endlessly promoting conferences, speaking engagements, seminars, e-books, consulting services, etc. ad nauseum.

When one clinking blog does manage to post a little relevant content, the other blogs praise it and link to the article. The clink-bloggers also swarm the post with comments, always postitive, of course.

Guess what?

These conferences are merely mutual admiration gatherings of other clink-bloggers. Not much substance is presented in their precious, highly hyped "speeches". If they can think of some "controversial" issue to unexpectedly unleash, even if it has nothing to do with blogs, they'll unleash it...with lots of fanfare.

I'm no expert on search engines, but I would imagine that one way to stop these empty, one might even call them "pseudo blogs", is to penalize such monstrosities in search engine results.

The way to penalize them is to give far greater weight to authoritative blogs.

Authority Ranking for Blogs

Here's a possible solution:

Weight the search engine results to favor any references to a post, any links, that come from established expert blogs. What are these blogs? Who are the real authorities of the blogosphere?

Some of the blogs I respect most include:

* Evhead (Evan Williams)
* Tom Peters
* Seth's Blog (Seth Godin)
* Hello, my name is Scott (Scott Ginsberg)
* Crossroads Dispatches (Evelyn Rodriguez)
* Tinbasher (Paul Woodhouse)
* Photo Matt (Matt Mullenweg)
* Edelman (Richard Edelman)
* Ad Rants (Steve Hall)
* Intuitive Life Business Blog (Dave Taylor)
* Joho the Blog (David Weinberger)
* Tinbasher (Paul Woodhouse)
* Blog Write for CEOs (Debbie Weil)
* Blog Maverick (Mark Cuban)
* Micro Persuasion (Steve Rubel)
* Plastic Bag (Tom Coates)
* Security Awareness Blog (Greg W. Hoffman)
* Ensight (Jeremy Wright)
* Naked Conversations (Robert Scoble, Shel Israel)

...and many others of this caliber.

This is by no means an exhaustive, comprehensive list of reliable business blogs and bloggers.

These blogs are also not perfect, not always in agreement with my way of thinking, and not always brilliant. Sometimes I scratch my head over what I consider frivolous topics. But over the long haul, they have a much better track record than most other business blogs.

For more, see my blogroll and Triumphalist Blogger Honor Roll in the right sidebar column, including Digg and Lockergnome.

You may certainly have your own list of blogs you trust, respect, and honor. Those blogs should be in your blogroll, or in a "Daily Reads", or other type list, so your readers can find them, and can benefit from reading them.

But be sure to cite and link to other blogs, not just the ones in your blogroll. Avoid clinking, or incestuous linking, at all costs. If you don't, it may come back to haunt you, or bite you in the butt.

For another post that addresses this issue, see "My Top 40" by Greg W. Hoffman:

DISCLAIMER: Vaspers the Grate is in this list. I have no idea why. LOL.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate



Blake Rhodes said...

Give us a try! Let me know what you think.

Blake Rhodes

steven edward streight said...

Well, that is good customer relations, to discover my post and to post a comment on it.

I like IceRocket. I tried it about a year ago, and didn't get good search results on my own blog titles, but it's better now.

You have a list of Celebrity Blogs that fails to include quite a few, like dumbass Tony Pierce, like Hillary Clinton, like Jeff Bridges.

So that list could be improved. Just do searches on every celeb name you can think of, and see what happens.

Thanks for the comment. Give my regards to your boss, Mark Cuban, my re-discovered hero.

I'm re-evaluating my blog allies, and inspirations, and reformulating my blogroll categories.

Mark Cuban
Richard Edelman
Tom Peters
Seth Godin
Scott Ginsberg
Evan Williams

...and others are going to be high on my new list, and I will be posting more articles about my blogger allies/heroes.

Zafufilia said...

It seems a litte phallic.

steven edward streight said...

I guess we have to stop eating carrots and cucumbers now, too?

If it was Ice UFO, with symbolic flying saucers, I guess we could complain that they're too yonic.



Anonymous said...


Eat more donuts!

Disgruntled Car Salesman said...

I get more hits on google...

There is also this website that rates blogs. They do it based on links inbound and outbound (links of caliber). You linking to me is worth money (thanks steven streight)

Nice site though....

Disgruntled Car Salesman said...

Excuse me...

check it out

Paul Woodhouse said...

I have to say that I don't care in the least so long as I can find out about who is say what about whom.

I found this post by looking on Icerocket. isn't too bad either as it provides blog search results for blogdigger, blogpulse, daypop, technorati and feedster.

I've yet to find the same results on any two services.

steven edward streight said...

I am aware of Blogshares, Clusty, and many others.

I mainly use Google.

But I'm going to experiment, again, with some others.

The worst of all, in my personal experience, is PubSub. I subscribed to search results for my blogs, and my name, and all I usually get are long lists of posts, with full text and images, of my own posts that refer back to me.

Or "no results...yet" BS that is stupid.

Robert Scoble uses PubSub and loves it. I have emailed him repeatedly about how crummy they are in my experience, and he is baffled.

Karen said...

"I've yet to find the same results on any two services."

Me, too!

It's really frustrating because at one time all you had to do was type in my name and I was on the first results page. It was easy to find my blog. I think this when I first started blogging (before the big TypePad backlash where Google removed TypePad blogs from the results). It's not so easy anymore. Depending on the search engine, my blog may not start to appear until the second page! :-)

Thanks for the Clusty link. I haven't come across that search engine before. It's pretty cool and I'm going to bookmark and use it.