Interesting discussion going on about M-listers – the middle crowd, somewhat known bloggers but not quite A-listers – crosslinking to each other, eventually elevating some to A-list level. “In time the M-lister who is most prolific on this subject, but not necessarily the best writer or scobler, acquires even more links. Eventually this blogger becomes the authority on the subject, and even A-listers take note and deliver links. The resulting accumulation of links are enough to reach A-list status. Thus we have a slow bubbling up from the middle, rather than the overnight success story so often told by analysts.”
Let’s take it a step further: it “pays” (the currency being links) to “link down” as opposed to sucking up. Why? When you link to an A-lister, and let’s be nice, it’s real reference, not just sucking up, your trackback may show up but you will likely not be specifically mentioned / linked, since you are one of the crowd. (Notable, original content may be the exception: I had my content “lifted” without credit on top blogs, but I also got actively Scobleized for “discovering” a company first. Steve Rubel also tends to credit such posts.) But back to our subject, a trackback on an A-list blog will likely result in a temporary spike in traffic for 1–2 days. That’s not too bad, but does not last. Of course out of a few hundred extra visitors you may pick up a few subscribers, or a few links, so linking to the A-blog may indirectly increase your rank.
What happens when you link down? Let’s say you have 100 links and you link to someone with only 15? For that blogger YOU are Scoble… chances are while you will not see increased traffic, the other person will actively link back to you. So with a balanced strategy of “up and down” linking you build both traffic and links. And remember, Daddy Technorati counts the number of different blogs, not the number of links. 1000 links from 100 blogs isn’t any better than 120 links from 100 blogs.
Tactics apart, the primary reason for linking should be to place your story in context, which may very well come from either direction.
And now I share my secret: I will always remain a Z-lister. Just look at my name.
- Adam Green on the M-Listers
- Limpeting the M-list
- Scoble and Shel on blogging at the Washington Post…
- Have Blogs Peaked? Of Course Not!
- Clean up on aisle three
- The (Rising) Long Tail
Disclaimer: in the course of writing this post I have committed the acts of sucking up, peer-linking, M-linking, Z-linking, Linking down. My tag-list looks like major sucking up.
Update (3/1): The Z list helps with email overload This is an example of: a different kind of Z-list; me sucking up; Scoble giving credit and link-love where it’s due.
Update (3/4): Wow, my thoughts in writing… and I did not have to type it: Bloglogic and the Litmus Test for Link Love
Update (3/18): Here’s the post Guy refererred to in his comment below: The Art of Sucking Down. – in the real world, not the blogospher. Unlike for the “sucking up” article, I don’t think you’ll take any flak for this one, Guy, the world would be a more pleasant place it we all acted like your post suggests.
Robert Scoble agrees – I can attest, he is one of those often giving credit “down”, so he probably acts similarly in real life. He has scolded Guy for his previous suck-up article, rightfully so, I migth add:-)