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.