Good, clean fun with Technorati Favorites

Add to Technorati FavoritesMaki over at the wonderful blog Dosh Dosh has been running an experiment that has to do with the Technorati bookmarking system.

In a nutshell, Technorati tracks popular blogs in two ways: “Most linked to”, and “Most favorited”. While it can be extremely difficult to rank in the “Most linked to” list, the “Most favorited list” is a lot easier. Right now, you only need about 130 people to add you to their Technorati favorites to make it into the top 100.

Sounds intriguing, eh?

#13 and climbing..

In fact, Dosh Dosh has already broken into the top 100 and still rocketing up the charts – just now passing up Guy Kawaski to land at number 13:

I encourage you to head on over there and see how the experiment is set up. It is essentially an offer to exchange favorites, but the twist is that Dosh Dosh is also encouraging bloggers to run similar exchanges and then hosting the full directory of them right there on the original blog post. The end result is essentially a giant orgy of Technorati favorites.

Wow! Look at the possibilities…

The things I like about this, with the exception of the ingenious automated workaround Andy Beard came up with, this is a wonderful opportunity for bloggers to socialize with other bloggers that they may never have met otherwise and to take a look at their blogs. In my opinion, this is what social media is all about.

But on the other hand…

Dosh Dosh isn’t breaking any policies at Technorati, that I am aware of. I firmly believe that all social media sites should be extremely clear about what behavior is acceptable and what is unacceptable. As Technorati hasn’t warned against this kind of thing to the best of my knowledge, I don’t think there is a real problem with it as far as they are concerned.

My only problem with the Dosh Dosh approach is it is relatively indiscriminate and, in some ways, a little short sighted because I think it undermines the intent of Technorati’s favorite feature.

On this subject Maki writes:

Rankings of any sort have always consisted of malleable elements which can be manipulated and the Technorati 100 is no exception. All blogs are free to hold similar contests or schemes to increase their rankings if they so wish and this is pretty much an open playing field.

Now, I’m not exactly the guardian of Technorati, but this strikes me as a problem. What Dosh Dosh describes as possible is exactly what’s going to happen as word leaks out. This will be replicated and blogs will have to hold similar indiscriminate exchanges in order to compete for those rankings. I’m not sure if that is entirely bad, or that Technorati thinks it’s bad, but I do know it is going to make SMO look even worse than some think it is and I’m not happy about that part.

I think a fundamental tenet of white-hat SMO is to participate in social media sites in a way that builds them up and improves them.

Now, here is a Technorati Exchange I can get behind 100%:

A Technorati Exchange (with a small catch)

I am always interested to meet other bloggers and see their blogs. The only catch is that I don’t like reading crappy blogs and won’t add them to my bookmarks.

I would like to exchange Technorati favorites with blogs that aren’t crappy, spammy or sploggy. If you have an interesting blog I will add you to my favorites and I will publish a link to your blog here.

Here is how my Technorati Exchange works in detail:

  1. Please don’t do a thing if you don’t like my blog. If you can’t honestly favorite it, please don’t.
  2. If you do like it, please add it to your Technorati favorites by clicking this link and let me know your Technorati username in the comments and note your blog in the website field.
  3. I will explore your blog, and if I find it interesting and think others might like it I will do two things.

    First, I will add you to my Technorati favorites. My handle is mblair007. If I really like your blog a lot I might even add you to my RSS reader, or I might drop in from time to time.

    Second, I will list on the bottom of this post with a brief capsule review and encourage other people to check out your blog and get to know you.

So, in a nutshell this is kind of like a blogger bookmarking party. Let’s get to know each other, get bookmarked and have some good, clean fun.

Please don’t enter if you think your blog is a little crappy. That’s like coming to the party after not showering for a couple weeks. Your time would be better spent cleaning up your blog.

If you do think your blog is crappy (unless you are a spammer or a splogger), I’d like to hear from you in my contact form over at my blog on website optimization and I might (no promises) be able to give you some tips over there on how to improve it. Or, you might just be being too hard on your blog and it might be pretty good after all 🙂

UPDATE: Please make sure you read Maki’s comments below. Maki makes a couple of compelling points in regards to the positive impacts of the experiment and also pointed to a great take on all of this over at Engtech. Engtech’s has illustrated that this whole experiment is helping to breath life into Technorati’s favorites system which has not been widely used.

Also, if you are interested in what can be done with OPML as a means of aggregating and maintaining a social network, please check out Andy Beard’s post that I alluded to above. His excellent post really deserves more attention than a drive by link. Andy is all about building readership through adding value and I didn’t intend to imply otherwise. His RSS feed is cemented in my reader.

UPDATE II: As I mentioned to Andy on his blog, after exploring Technorati Favorites deeper, I’ve gone over to the dark side in a sense. The reason for this is that I’ve been using as the repository for my archive of website bookmarks. This includes the list of websites that are used in the SMOsearch Google CSE. is a little bit of a pain to work with in that there isn’t a particularly easy way to grab your OPML file from it. Andy’s post prompted me to investigate Technorati’s OPML capabilities and I am impressed. You can easily grab an OPML file off of any user’s bookmark tags. Also, unlike, it only bookmarks sites and so you get a clean OPML file of sites, as opposed to a mixed file with sites and pages. Over the course of the next week I’ll be converting SMOsearch to use Technorati favorites.

I’ll also make a Technorati favorites search off of my SMO index available from the SMOsearch page as each search has it’s advantages.

In order to experiment with Technorati’s Favorites and their favorites search when pushed to the max with a diverse mix of feeds, I’ve imported my OPML, Andy’s OPML, Maki’s OPML, Robert Scoble’s OPML, and Garry Conn’s OPML.

I’m staring at a massive page of favorites in Technorati — 1882 favorites to be exact. My Favorites page is 6MB large and takes a while to load and render, even on DSL. Ouch!

And so in about two or three minutes of uploading OPML files, I’ve become perhaps the most indiscriminate bookmarker around…

I’m going to be visiting the sites that I scooped up over the course of the next couple weeks, tossing those that deserve to be tossed and tagging the keepers.

Now that I have bored you to tears with talk of OPML…

IN CLOSING: My Technorati Exchange continues per the rules above, and nothing has changed in that regard except I very well may have favorited you already 🙂

UPDATE III (3 May 2007): I’m not going to allow comments here that pull the old “redirect through Alexa trick” to game Alexa rankings. Also, I wanted to say that this coming weekend I am going to close up this exchange and post my capsule reviews of the Blogs I’ve found here and favorited.