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2000 Bloggers Gaming Technorati and Google

There’s a crazy meme going on which has the potential of turning Technorati ranks upside-down. Now, that may sometimes be good, giving fresh views more visibility, like Seth Godin or Steve Rubel’s recent initiatives. The new 2000 Bloggers craze is nothing comparable though: it’s random, viral, and has to potential to turn links, the glue of the blogosphere completely meaningless.

If you blog, there’s a good chance you’re one of the 2000: when Tino Buntic launched his project he seeded the initial collage with photos/links of 300 or so bloggers. The initial roster included A-listers like Robert Scoble, Guy Kawasaki, Ross Mayfield, Matt Cutts, Doc Searls, celebrities like Donald Trump, Rosie O’Donnell and “regular” bloggers like yours truly. The rest of the slots got filled on a sign-up basis.

It may all have started innocently: “let’s discover our blogging neighbors”. Several bloggers I respect embraced the idea, pointing out the “social networking” effect. Most of the A-list remained silent, but France’s top Blogger, Loic Le Meur welcomed it as a “cool initiative“. I’m amazed that no one seems to recognize what this project really is: blind, unselective, dumb link-exchange.

Links are good, but they are supposed to refer to content. Not here. No-one can seriously claim that we’re really “discovering” 2000 bloggers this way …. the whole game is not about checking out new blogs, it’s just an efficient copy/paste link-generation machine. I can somewhat understand the enthusiastic response the 2000 Bloggers scheme received: who would not be happy with hundreds of new inbound links, a major improvement in their Technorati rank? But if you think *that* will make you an A-lister, think again…and again.

First, what’s the point of getting a few hundred or even 2000 new inbound links when everyone else has it? Your link-wealth will be worth less and less as the 2000 Bloggers do a good job of devaluing their currency. Word will get out and unless Technorati finds a way of ignoring these inflated link-counts, the whole value system based on links and Technorati ranks becomes a joke, and will collapse. Now, that’s my doomsday scenario, my bet is that Dave Sifry and team will find a way to disarm the monster soon. Update (2/5): They did. Even so, any service that lists inbound links has just become useless: I now have to sift through pages of crap to find the links that I care about – which is when people actually red my posts and found them interesting.

And don’t think it’s only Technorati – this is gaming Google and any other search / indexing service, too. It can backfire, too: I wouldn’t be surprised if Google’s almighty algorithm decided the entire 2000 bloggers neighborhood was a linkfarm and penalized the sites accordingly.

Earlier I said this whole project may have started “innocently”. Well, on second thought, perhaps not: Tino Buntic’s blog is all about linking, SEO, blog-advertising, he certainly knows what he is doing. But I do believe most of the 2000 community is just going along for the ride, without realizing the consequences. If you’re one of the 2000, all I ask you is think. Think and draw your own conclusion.

Update : I wrote this post late Friday and planned to release it on Monday. In the meantime I’m glad to report to have discovered the first signs of sanity: Jeremiah Owyang rejects the scheme, and I suppose so does this French-language blog, too – if I guessed the title right. Anybody else? Hello, World!!! Update (1/6): Apparently I missed crediting Amy Gahran for being first to raise the linkfarm issue.

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Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    I suppose I some what agree with your overall assertion here, but unlike you, I strongly feel that the top 100 blogs badly need to be shaken from their selfish claims. The top 100 blogs only link to each other and surfing OUT of their sites in search of information is virtually impossible because they fear losing their positions by linking to non top 100 blogs.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Eric, we agree, that’s why I welcomed some of the initiatives to that end – but it should be based on real merits, i.e. good content.

  3. Anonymous says:

    True. Very true. But how does the blogosphere collectively achieve this? If you require the top 100 blogs to break out of the shell in order for others to break in, then does it not go to say it simply isn’t possible with the current ALGO’s and ranking methods?

    I’m certainly not saying we should “cheat” the system, but it’s clear that a growing number of bloggers are becoming concerned with the attitude of top bloggers. I believe the blogosphere was founded on the idea of social networking, or complete interactivity within those who are online. So it could be seen as a very bad thing when one small group controls the voice of the overall group, and the small group has a financial or political agenda. I fear this 2000 Bloggers project is the first of many similar schemes and will not go away until the blogosphere is restored to its original state.

    Just thinking here…

    Thanks for the great post!

  4. I think Technorai also doesn’t count links generated from the WordPress themes for the similar reasons.

    And it’s believed that Google treats reciprocal links differently, so chances are that it will be at least buffered down, if not (as you’ve said it) treated as a link farm and hit for massive damage.

  5. I’m not familiar with the WordPress issue you’re describing. Technorati just shut this scheme out of their index (see update in post). As for Google, well, it’s reciprocal and identical content in hundreds of sites, so yes, it may hurt big time.

  6. Opting Out Of 2000 Bloggers

    This 2000 Bloggers thing is definitely an inspired idea, a combination of the Million Dollar Home Page and MyBlogLog. Essentially at this 2000 Bloggers site, there’s room for 2,000 blogs to sign up with a photo of yourself, and a link to your bl…

  7. Anonymous says:

    “I’m amazed that no one seems to recognize what this project really is: blind, unselective, dumb link-exchange.”

    Good catch, thanks. It’s “link pollution”, no?

    It seems different than the original A-list “blogroll” scam only in scale, however. Linkcount should just mean linkcount, and shouldn’t be assumed to stand for other things.

    We need *ideas* to compete and evolve, that’s the main thing… us greedy personalities are actually just along for the ride…. ;-)

  8. Anonymous says:

    Well many WordPress themes have a link in the footer, like “theme created by whoever”. From what I understand, those links don’t count towards Technorati’s top 100 list (although they are recognized when looking up stats for a specific blog… I think)

  9. Anonymous says:

    Ok that Technorati blocks this, but are they able to block all kind of mini-projects like this that are specially done in the purpose of artificially change the rank??

    Tino Buntic had a great idea.

    But most of bloggers only see the bad side?? jealousy?

  10. Anonymous says:

    I’ll be honest I put my name down for it and I am on there somewhere and thinking about it I can see what you mean about the link exchange now that I give it a little bit of thought (which I evidently didn’t when I put my name down.)

    I have found it fun to dip in and out and find different things to read and it’s responsible for e being here, but I suspect not everyone is using it like that as you point out, although adjustments by Technorati mean that, that is all it’ll soon be good for.

    Personally I am a bloger unconcerned by things like pagerank, etc. I have a few regular readers and some passing trade so this talk of the top 100 bloggers for me is quite entertaining, after all it’s normal for “power groups” to emerge in most social systems and then to try and consolidate their positions, with others trying to break though.

    Frankly looking at it the “scheme” was likely to be rumbled quickly and countermeasures taken due to it’s size and obviousness to any one that thought before signing up. Anyone that tries “jumping” a queue is going to get spotted unless they try and employ some subtlety, after all as they say you have to walk before you can run.

    Personally I do feel that I have gained from the 2000 Bloggers list as I have found a few other sites worth visiting as to the idea of sour grapes, it sounds like the people with the real sour grapes might be the ones that worry about pagerank etc and have damaged theirs because they didn’t think it through.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Vincent,

    The three bloggers, including me, who saw and voiced the “bad side” were all included in the collage – without our approval – , so how could it have been jealousy?

    But you’re right, there will always be “mini-projects” that go unnoticed, just not on a massive scale like this. Well, at least in those “mini-projects” there is some effort, some communication, even reading each other’s posts….etc > not just blind copy/paste.

  12. I joined the 2000 blogger project without even knowing that it would effect Technorati rankings or whatever. I just liked the idea of finding new blogs to read outside my usual very small community (which I built up the old-fashioned way by reading and linking to blogs I liked) I have seen no change in the amount of people coming to my blog and I don’t care about that. I have no interest in becoming an A lister or top 100 blogger or whatever. I think it’s sad that many of us who did innocently sign up are being made to feel like we are trying to cheat or something. Anyway, some more “important” bloggers and Technorati have put a stop to it now and put all of us small fry well and truly in our place. And you know what, I’m sure most of us don’t care.

  13. My picture was included in tino

  14. I believe most of the bloggers who joined did so just as “innocently” as you did.

    And you know what? Technorati did not kill the 2000 Bloggers project, they just ingnore it in their index – you’re still free to discover the 1999 others, and everyone is still free to repost the collage.  I just wonder how many are still interested, now that the incentive is gone.

    Tino pulled the code – he is no longer interested. If you have any doubt on why he launched it in the first place, this interview is an eye opener.

    • Hey there, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues.
      When I look at your blog site in Chrome, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer,
      it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up!
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  15. SearchCap: The Day In Search, Feb. 6, 2007

    Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web:…

  16. SearchCap: The Day In Search, Feb. 6, 2007

    Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web:…

  17. Anonymous says:

    hello

    I am the author of: http://blog.accessoweb.info/?2007/02/03/1199-la-credibilite-du-rank-technorati-risque-de-chuter#c4353

    I did not know either the impact that 2000 bloggers would have on the blogosphere.

    I believe that Technorati made well block the entering links.

    In France, Rank Technorati does not have the same impact only with the US one.

    But it appears important to me to continue has to gain links thanks to the appreciation of the readers.

    Excuse English of a french blogger;)

  18. Anonymous says:

    As a fellow 2000 blogger I did not take part in an effort to generate links. I did not even add the code to my blog, however I think Tino had a great Idea. I looked at it as “social networking” a way to meet my fellow bloggers.

    I have to admit that I had some concerns with all the incoming links and though I was seeing an increase in traffic, I did not see one in readership so I wonder what would be the outcome of the project. I also had some concerns with Google thinking it was a link farm. I still do.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I think Elaine (http://www.elainevigneault.com/) hit the nail on the head with the comment found here.

    http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2007/02/03/i-dont-deserve-this-technorati-rank-and-the-other-1999-of-you-dont-either/

    “Many of us took part in the 2000 Bloggers Project as something fun and different to do. And we met some cool people along the way – I now have a few more blogs I read regularly because I found out about them through the 2000 Bloggers Project.

    We liked that the only requirement was that a real person who was willing to show their face was behind the blog. TECHNORATI NEVER TOOK THAT KIND OF CONSIDERATION INTO IT’S ANALYSIS OF BLOGS.

    Of course it’s artificially changing your Technorati rank, but that change SHOULD be temporary if Technorati is worth it’s salt. The problem is with Technorati, not with the 2000 Bloggers Project. The Technorati system was flawed from the beginning: links don’t accurately measure traffic or authority. Moreover, their method can easily be abused by link banks. It’s happened in the past and it will continue.

    So A listers can create ten blogs that link to each other and Technorati rewards them. But now, when someone wants to PUT A FACE to blogging, you and Technorati get your panties in a wad.

    Anyone who thinks blogging is democratic isn’t paying attention. There is just as much elitism and classism in the digital world as there is off the web. And I for one am glad such a simple project as the 2000 Bloggers one could unveil and unravel the elitism of Technorati.”

  20. Come on; there are millions of blogs. 2000 is what % of those? People that are willing to put their face on their blog are for the most part sincere and the real thing, not spam blogs. And yes helping serendipity can be an important function.

  21. Even though I’ve been writing about it, I think this thing is getting way too much air play.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Zoli what no way, according to an anon coward we all signed up for 2000 bloggers. LOL

    There is a comment posted on Deborah Ng’s blog that says “Um…Rose….since you actually had to request to have your blog included, it’s hard to believe yours was used without permission. Tino wasn’t just browsing the blogosphere pulling out random blogs. You asked to be included.” This was in reply to my asking to be removed from 2000 bloggers and was left by an anonymous person who did not have the guts to post under their name.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Tino answers this and more himself in this interview.

  24. Zoil…knowing a small amout about how they do things at Technorati, it’s not a perfect system. Unless you are a heavily-linked A-lister, not all of your links will be counted. Technorati skews in favor of blogs that have high link numbers because they are easier to count. I’ve found my blog linked on a number of blogs that *never* show up in Technorati because they’re not registered with technorati or are too low-ranked to be skimmed regularly….

    Further, nobody’s going to unseat the A-list from 2000 bloggers. Many A-lister links have accumulated over years and years–there’s no way for a blogger outside of Asia or who’s just one person to unseat anyone in the A-list (further, perhaps Technorati should review the links of the 12 Asian blogs that made the A-list in ’06)

    Technorati’s a fine system but as many have said it should not be the be-all-end-all of blog ranking sysems. It is flawed in its own ways (never updating pings on a timely basis, not counting all links) So perhaps worrying about it is really like worrying about whether or not Big Media will survive in an age of blogs.

  25. oh, and what about Seth Godin’s ridiculous “Z-list”–that ended up being all about the A-list when all was said and done? that little meme did nothing to unearth bloggers that were unknown.

  26. I hope you’ll reconsider your post when you see all the unintended consequences of the 2000 Bloggers Project. Even if Tino began the project as an attempt to “game” Technorati what does that matter if the response to the project is that people create communities and art projects and “meet their neighbors” and so on? I don’t know if Tino did or not intend to disrupt Technorati’s system and I really don’t care what his motivation was because that’s not what it’s about anymore. We’ve moved on. See for yourself at http://www.2kbloggers.com

  27. Elaine,

    I’ve seen your site before, and I certainly welcome the “meet the neighbor” initiatives. And when those “neighbors” who really met, i.e. bloggers who discover and actually read each other link to each other, that’s perfectly fine.

    However, on your site you’re still talking about re-distributing the code. Now, let’s be realistic: how many other blogs will a typical blogger discover and follow? A handful? Dozens? 100? Whatever that number is, you probably don’t believe yourself that it will be the entire 2000. So when you start-redistributing the code with 2000 links, it will be yet another linkfarm, and everything I discussed above will apply to your project, too.

    Without the copy/paste link-machine, 2kbloggers would be a nice project.

  28. OK, I get the sarcasm.

  29. A lot of us have not posted (and will not post) the 2000 links code but still continue to be involved and interested. I think that’s great.

    I don’t think you’ve done badly out of this, have you?

  30. Scratching Head 3

  31. Oh come on.

    Repeating my phrasing and the “innocently” in quotation marks. You don’t believe that most of us are innocent and you are making that known.

    Anyway, end of conversation. You are obviously on your own trip and (seriously) this is the first time I’ve lost my temper online and I don’t like it.

  32. Who cares if it’s only 10 or 100 and not the entire 2000? Do you go to parties hoping to make friends with EVERYONE at the party? Do have tea with everyone who attends your church?

    It’s not a copy/paste machine. There are NO MACHINES involved. We are people. We add whatever we want to our blogs. I put up videos, photos, stories, and links… If that upsets your paradigm, well then, sorry. You just have to deal with the fact that the blogosphere evolves and changes.

    Those who develop mechanisms for assigning value to things that evolve and change (Technorati and Google) have to adapt to how we use the web.

    It’s our web and we’ll use it how we want to.

    No one is going to fear monger me into censoring myself to the point that I don’t give credit where credit is due. If I post a picture of someone on my blog I’m going to damn well link to that person’s blog. Plain and simple. It’s called attribution and it’s the ethical thing to do.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Technorati counts those footer links. Check out ratified.org ….the top 4 all have WordPress themes to “share”.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] The thought crossed my mind about creating some kind of photo montage of bloggers who have joined in, but that got me thinking back to the 2000 Bloggers project, and I know a lot of people thought it was gaming Technorati through link-farming. [...]

  2. [...] At least it’s not 2000 Bloggers. There was once a service called 2000 Bloggers that acted like a kind of link exchange. You linked to lots of other bloggers in order to get links [...]

  3. [...] 曾经有一个类似的服务叫做 2000 Bloggers,一样是出于增加 Blogger 之间联系与交流的目的,不过由于 Technorati [...]

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