How Weblogs Inc Games The System

It just occured to me: You know those posts Weblogs Inc feeds us about once a week, the ones that tell us “The Best Of Weblogs Inc”? They’re all gaming Technorati.

See, the latest one of these “posts” contains 69 links to other Weblogs properties, and Technorati counts every single one. And since these posts are replicated across all of Weblogs properties, getting seven links in the post (as Slashfood did) can translate to well over a hundred links in just one day.

Consider HD Beat. On Technorati’s results, every single link on the first page is from another Weblogs Inc property. Does Technorati recognize these posts and elminate the link juice from them? It sure doesn’t seem that way, since they are starting to litter the blogosphere. I can understand Jason Calacanis wanting to point out good stuff on his other blogs, but it needs to be done in a method that search engines recognize and ignore. We can’t have results being gamed by an automatic posting system like this. How high would HD Beat (248 sites linking) rank if it couldn’t count on hundreds of links from other Weblogs blogs, links that are not editorial in any fashion, but promotional.

This is something all the blog search engines need to work around, or that Weblogs needs to stop doing until they do. It is wrong to congratulate yourself on having your blogs in high positions on link-based lists when many of those links are self generated. Its that gray area between link spam and editorial linking that this falls into, and I’d like to think the folks at Weblogs Inc are honest enough to clean this up. We’ll see.

Posted:
October 15, 2005 by Nathan Weinberg in:

22 Responses to “How Weblogs Inc Games The System”

  1. Ant Onaf Says:

    Totally disagree.

    I don’t think Weblogs Inc. is doing anything wrong. They are simply cross-linking which is not unethical most sites with multiple domain do it. The only way it could be considered unethical is if they only did it because of search engine ranking, but they cross-link for the benefit of the visitor. Most traditional search engines already penalize for excessive cross-linking, but I doubt this rule would apply to Weblogs Inc., because search engines understand their methodology. I think the problem falls on Technorati and other blog search engines…Weblogs Inc., is doing the common thing.

    I notice you even cross-link your sites, even though it is sub-domains.

  2. Mihai Parparita Says:

    One solution would be if those links used rel=”nofollow” and Technorati ignored such link.

  3. Nathan Weinberg Says:

    Cross-linking is one thing, if done editorially. These are automatic posts, posted to overy 50 blogs, all giving major link juice, and none are editorial, just promotional.

  4. David Sifry Says:

    We’re looking into it. Thanks for the heads up.

    Dave

  5. Nathan Weinberg Says:

    Not that this validates my post or anything, but I just have to mention that Dave is the CEO of Technorati.

  6. Devin Says:

    Hmmmmmmmmm… I’d be interested in hearing Jason’s response.

  7. Philipp Lenssen Says:

    Also, the Gawker Media weblogs are doing similar (e.g. Lifehacker posting “best of Gizmodo”). Like here:
    http://www.lifehacker.com/software/gadgets/gizmodo-goodies-130848.php

    At least, Gizmodo is related to the Lifehacker theme…

    When you look at a single permalink post of a Weblogs Inc blog like the one you’re pointing to, I think it becomes painfully obvious they’re trying to Googlejuice themselves up in rankings. I mean, who really cares about the 500 links to “Oakvill Estates”, “Card Squad, the Card Player’s Weblog”, or “The Cancer Blog” in a blog about *Google*? If it doesn’t serve the human visitor, it’s surely aimed at the searchbot.

    It’s exactly this linkfarmish appearance that makes me not want to link to a Weblogs Inc article unless I absolutely have to. This behavior, in the long run (and if enough people do it) will actually lower the rankings of Weblogs Inc.

  8. Philipp Lenssen Says:

    By the way, both the Weblogs inc Luxist Estates blog, the Autoblog, the TV Squad, HD Beat, as well as the Card Squad blog, have managed to sneak into the Blogpulse top blog posts list (sometimes, with multiple posts) for today:
    http://www.blogpulse.com/05_10_15/topWeblog.html

    I’m not saying just because it’s Weblogs Inc, it doesn’t belong in that list, but this quantity is certainly more than suspicious. Linkfarm or not, it seems to be working for Weblogs Inc!

  9. Randy Charles Morin Says:

    Introducing a new feature at KBCafe. Every three hours, I’m posting a Best-Of. Eight times per day multiplied by 8 blogs, that’s 64 new Technorati juicy links / day. Nah, make that hourly.

  10. Coolz0r Says:

    “Jason McCabe Calacanis had an enviable problem. Advertisers eager to reach niche audiences were banging on his door. But the CEO of Weblogs Inc., a collection of 90 blogs, didn’t have enough front-page space to sell them.”

    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_43/b3956060.htm

    Not enough front-page space? Huh?

  11. Nathan Weinberg Says:

    Eh, Randy, you’ve got it all wrong! See, you need to link to each blog eight times per post (see how Weblogs does it), so you get eight links eight times a day for eight blogs, a total of 272 new Technorati links a day.

    Coolz0r: I’d love to have his problems (:-)), but lets not start the backlash here. That can be somebody else’s problem. I just want the Technorati issue resolved.

  12. Nathan Weinberg Says:

    Check this out:

    http://tech.memeorandum.com/051016/p7#a051016p7

    What an unfortunate choice of linkage!

  13. jason Says:

    Just got off a plane… Will write a full response tonight.

    This is once a week, and it is done by a human.

    It is not to game the system it is to promote our blogs.

    I think it is fair to say that a) people know this, b) search eng. Know it, and c) it is not a big deal.

    If it was automated that would be kinda wrong I agree.

    Best j

  14. Things That ... Make You Go Hmm Says:

    More blog network negativity circulating over WeblogsInc automated “Best of” posts

    Nathan Weinberg over at InsideGoogle is wondering if WeblogsInc is gaming Technorati, Blogpulse and others by using their automated weekly Best Of script to pound out their network wide automated messages:
    This is something all the blog search engines…

  15. TDavid Says:

    I’ll call BS that it’s not being at least a little automated because all the posts are the same for each global crosspost. So there is cross posting code in play at least … unless Jason is suggesting that one person is writing this and then manually copy/pasting to each of their 50+ blog postings?

    Nah, that can’t be.

    If that’s the case, then Blogsmith needs a new programmer *BAD*. And I feel really sorry for the person who has that miserable job every week of manually copy/pasting 50+ same posts.

    And whatever human is doing it should probably know better than to crosspost to blogs like the WIN Spam blog so that multiple Best Of posts aren’t put back to back.

    Yeah, Jason, you better write up an explanaton for your thinking on this because something is out of whack here.

  16. Make You Go Hmm: » More blog network negativity circulating over WeblogsInc automated “Best of” posts Says:

    […] Nathan Weinberg over at InsideGoogle is wondering if WeblogsInc is gaming Technorati, Blogpulse and others by using their automated weekly Best Of script to pound out their network wide automated messages: This is something all the blog search engines need to work around, or that Weblogs needs to stop doing until they do. It is wrong to congratulate yourself on having your blogs in high positions on link-based lists when many of those links are self generated. Its that gray area between link spam and editorial linking that this falls into, and I’d like to think the folks at Weblogs Inc are honest enough to clean this up. We’ll see. […]

  17. Jason Says:

    Not sure if it has to but cut and pasted… I know that when we started we did that and we put a request in to automate it. So, it must be automated now since it’s going to the blogs which are not updated right now (i.e. event blogs or ones we’ve retired or blogs that we’re looking for bloggers on).

    If Technorati wants to take the links from Best Of out it’s fine with me… link rank doesn’t mean anything anyway. What matters is traffic–at least in terms of running a business and paying our 130+ bloggers ever month. That’s what i focus on… getting those bloggers paid.

    this is sort of a non-issue in my mind. We like to do a modest amount of cross-promotion like many other bloggers… we’re bigger then most so the math makes it look like abuse, but with 90+ blogs, 10,000+ blog posts a month, 130+ bloggers, etc. the links have litte to no impact on our blogs.

    in fact, Engadget being on the top page of Technorati sends us–brace yourself–300/400 people a day…. it has no impact on our business. Like zero.

  18. Eran Globen Says:

    AFAIK, for purposes of ranking Technorati only counts distinct _sources_ that link to a specific blog, not individual links. Also recently they started counting all links from the last 180 days as opposed to counting links on the front page only. So this practice is really not much different from keeping a blogroll of other sites in the network which seems rather reasonable for a business entity to do.

  19. Rauru Blog » Blog Archive » Technorati vs Spam Blog Says:

    […] もう一つは、InsideGoogle が目ざとく気づいた、Weblogs Inc による SEO の話。 2500万ドルと噂される額で先日 AOL に買収された Weblogs Inc について、Technorati のリンク単価を計算するっつー馬鹿な話は以前紹介したんですけど、その計算でも使われた Technorati のリンク数が、 SEO 的に水増しされていたんだそうです。つまり、Weblogs Inc に属する数百の blog が、お互いリンクを張り合って、リンク数を嵩上げしていたと。これが Blog Network っつーやつの小賢しいとこですな。 まあ似たような話は Google も過去辿ってきた道なんですけど、Technorati も何かランキングアルゴリズム的に考えにゃあならんでしょうな。 […]

  20. Philipp Lenssen Says:

    Jason in his first post:
    “If it was automated that would be kinda wrong I agree.”

    Jason in his second post:
    “So, it must be automated now since it’s going to the blogs which are not updated right now”

  21. paradox1x Says:

    Technology, Citizen Journalism, and More

    Sometimes information is all that stands between eating and starving (Philly Future). Must read: Dan Gillmor’s talk at the University…

  22. Jason Says:

    Philipp (#20)… in terms of automated let me be clear… it’s written by a human–not automatically inserted.

    the automatic part might be that the HUMAN post might be cross-posted to multiple blogs.

    best j

Leave a Reply