What's That Noise?! [Ian Kallen's Weblog]

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20081201 Monday December 01, 2008

System Gaming and Its Consequences

Technorati's authority metric is based on a real simple concept: the count of the unique set of blogs linking to you in the trailing 180 days constitutes your authority. By its very nature, it's a volatile metric. The top 100 of a few years ago bears little resemblance to the one today. When some folks observe their authority rising, they twitter w00ts of joy; when it's falling they complain bitterly that Technorati is "downgrading" them.

Authority is not a perfect metric (crawl coverage variations, etc) nor the only important measurement of a blog (traffic and comments are other metrics we'd like to measure), however it is one that Technorati has been objectively calculating for years.

What I find surprising is the surprise (or denial) that some people find when they learn there are consequences to gaming the system. On a fairly regular basis, someone comes up with the wholly unoriginal idea, "Hey, add your URL to my list of links, re-post it and urge others to follow suit to make your Technorati authority explode!" Or some variant of a viral link exchanging scheme. Some folks take the news graciously, "Oh, that's not OK? I had no idea. It won't happen again." But some of these folks get downright hostile, as if the blog authority metric is their god given right to game. These are probably the same people who expect appreciation on their home's property value to be a god given right. News flash: it's not. Since it's (apparently for some) not obvious: the attention you garner in the blogosphere and the price someone will pay for your house are driven by market forces. If your authority is dropping, create posts that are link-worthy. There's no shortcut. Blogs engaging in viral linking schemes stand a good chance that indexing will be suspended or the blog removed altogether from Technorati's index.

Use the blogosphere to converse, to entertain, to teach and to learn. We'll do our best to measure it and to build applications with those measurements. If you want to play games, get a Wii.

( Dec 01 2008, 10:40:34 PM PST ) Permalink