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More on Technorati Favorite Swapping

Posted By Darren Rowse 1st of May 2007 Pro Blogging News 0 Comments

Well it does seem that my post expressing my opinion on Technorati Favorite Swapping has caused quite a stir among some bloggers engaging in the practice (I link to many of them at the end of this post).

I don’t want to be drawn into a long, heated, personal and angry debate on this so I’m not going to respond to some of the personal jibes made my a handful of people – but wanted to briefly reiterate my main points in the hope of being a little clearer about what my post was trying to achieve.

The reason for my previous post was simply to respond to the question that I was getting asked frequently – ‘what do you think of swapping Technorati Favorites’.

I was getting asked that question and being asked to swap favorites so often that it became smarter to write a post about it than to respond to each request individually.

My hope was not to start a flame war or for the discussion to become heated or personal. This is why I didn’t link to anyone who I saw swapping favorites – unfortunately with a small group of commenters, other bloggers and emailers things have gone into the personal realm – and the heat has been turned up. I have deleted and edited a few of the harsher comments left on my previous post because of the language used.

ProBlogger a blog about helping bloggers to improve their blogs. As a result I feel that I have some level of responsibility to give my opinion on whether I think different strategies are worthwhile endeavors to improve a blog.

One of the most common mistakes that I see bloggers making (and one of the mistakes that I’ve made) is becoming obsessed with one aspect of their blog. This happens in lots of ways, some become so obsessed with design that they don’t actually write much content, others write so much content that they never interact with their readers, others get so into SEO that they forget about connecting with other bloggers and so become so obsessed with monetizing their blogs that they do so at the expense of their blog’s design.

Over the last few weeks I’ve increasingly seen bloggers obsessing about getting into and climbing the the Most Favorited List on Technorati. Along side this increased interest in climbing ‘the list’ we’re now starting to see tools and services spring up to make it easier to add thousands of favorites at once and keep track on whether they are being reciprocated or not.

While most bloggers who are swapping favorites are not ‘obsessed’ – some are and I began to worry that perhaps things were getting a little out of hand.

The point of my post was to bring a little perspective to it – both as someone who is already high on the list but also as someone who has at different times in my blogging journey become obsessed with different elements of my blogs – to the point that they suffered.

The main points of my post was:

  • The list doesn’t bring that much traffic – true, the few readers that it might bring in indirectly from my profile page are something that I value (every reader counts) but there are plenty of other ways to bring in more traffic than that – ways that I think add real value to both your blog and your readership.
  • I’ve not noticed it increase my blog’s profile – difficult to measure I know.
  • It does boost one’s ego a little – however there’s only room in the top 100 for 100 people, of the hundreds (thousands?) of bloggers who are putting energy into climbing the list only a few will get there.
  • The REAL benefit of Favorites isn’t the list – the real benefit of using Favorites is that it can put your blog in front of Technorati users when they hit Technorati’s front page. My arguement isn’t against the favorites feature – I think it’s well worth promoting – my argument is to shift your attention away from the list and use favorites smartly (finding people who genuinely like your blog and who will be reminded by Favorites to read it).

My other hope from the post was to get some sort of guidance from Technorati on the issue. My concern is that many great bloggers are swapping favorites and my worry is that if they do come down on the practice that those who innocently do it because everyone else is will be penalized. Unfortunately we’re still yet to hear anything from Technorati on this.

The main people behind favorites swapping are good people. I read their blogs daily and I respect their opinion.

Most of them talk about this as an experiment and seem to have genuine motives for doing it. I’m all for experimentation and will follow the results with interest – however these things have a way of blowing up and becoming more important than they really are.

My hope was simply to bring a little perspective to the topic and encourage bloggers to keep some balance.

Ultimately a blogger makes their own decision on how to build their blog and if they want to swap favorites as part of that strategy then knock yourself out – go for it.

But do so having thought it through, knowing what the benefits and costs of it will be and with my encouragement to keep yourself focussed upon the other important parts of your blog.

If you’re interested in reading the other side of these arguments then I’d encourage you to start with Maki’s post on the topic which at times gets a little deeper than I ever thought possible on such an issue but which is his opinion on why this experiment is a worthwhile thing to get involved with.

Others posts about it include (warning, some get a little heated):

Once again – I’m not wanting this to become heated or personal. I do respect a blogger’s right to choose to promote their blog as they wish and hope that people will take this post in the spirit that it was intended in. I also hope that people will not be ostracized for taking either side of the debate. There are some amazing blogs out there that have swapped favorites and some great ones who don’t – hopefully we can keep the conversation constructive and informative.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Thanks for clarifying your thoughts, Darren. I thought your original analysis of the fave-exchange as “sad” was a little unnecessary, given that many bloggers do not receive the traffic you do and are just looking to try different kinds marketing experiments, such as the fave-exchange. Nonetheless, your analysis of the situation is very accurate and I appreciate your insights.

  2. Great come back. The funny thing I notice is that both you and Maki have responded to eachother in a kinda civilized way. The harshest remarks came from the “third party”.

    This post really reflects what was going through my mind when I was doing some chores around the house and cooking green peas with goat, right before I wrote my post.

    By the way, thanks for the linkback.

  3. I’m glad we were able to resolve this in a civilized way also. Thanks for taking the time out to clear up the situation.

  4. I do not understand how Technorati is so popular… it doesn’t bring in any traffic even if you are a fairly popular blog.

    And the Technorati site just seems to be slow as dirt all the time… I really wish somebody could explain the reason for bothering to deal with it.

  5. i also noticed a few typo’s within technorati’s sign up process

  6. Thanks for including my post on the subject :)

  7. Darren,

    I appreciate that you always come back to the basics — it’s all about good blog content and not chasing too many other rainbows while trying to build both traffic and a good reputation.

    Thanks for keeping above the fray!

  8. I was observing the one day of blogging silence and still have a response in the works.

  9. Thanks Darren, for highlighting and including several alternative opinions on the topic of Technorati Favorites exchanges.

    This was very much needed. A balanced argument will always allow for more constructive discussions and less mud slinging or one-sided criticisms.

  10. As I stated yesterday I did pull my Technorati Link Exchange from my blog, however I still kept the favorites button right up top and people are still jumping on board which is appreciated. Like “The Geek” stated earlier, Technorati doesn’t really bring ant traffic so I stopped wasting time creating tags for every post. Although my Technorati rank has dropped since I stopped tagging, the amount of traffic coming from Technorati is so low that it has not made a difference in that respect. Perhaps if I ever hit the top 100 it may be worth while. Until then, there are better ways to build traffic.

  11. I have to be honest, I went to Dosh Dosh after seeing the buzz go around. I tried it, but it hasn’t overwhelmed my life. I favorited at least 100 people, and I stopped already. So far, the reciprocal favorites hasn’t done anything for me.

    It was fun to be part of, gaming Technorati and all, but I can’t say it was useful, except maybe to Dosh Dosh, who started it.

  12. It’s just another fad for the net. Two months from now it will be something else. Good content and relationships are the key to building your site, not chasing after the next new way to promote it. Kinda’ reminds me of the story of the Tortoise and the Hare. Maybe its time for everyone to take a breather and read the story for some guidance.

  13. Wouldn’t it be much more useful if technorati had top 100s for different subjects of blog? That way there could be a lot more bloggers getting exposure and would provide more details of the blogs themselves. Maybe they could use the tags to classify them?

    There are so many different types of blogs and different topics but technorati does not seem to take that into account.

  14. Thanks so much for the clarification, Darren; I’m sure a lot of your readers appreciate it as well. I just wanted to stress on what you said about balance — it is utterly indispensable. I’m not saying it’s the easiest thing in the world to do, but creating a stasis among all the elements of one’s blog is crucial…take yours (and many others), for example.

  15. i’m glad that you stated your opinion, and i thought it was genuine, without being cruel or rude. getting heated about it shows that some people identify themselves with their blogs too much. some may need to step away from their computers for a vacation. i think you do a great job of maintaining your blog’s mission, this post is no exception. you offered technical info with the added bonus of personal experience from someone who has “seen the other side” and has come back to tell others about it. i appreciate your insight.
    i can appreciate experimentation as well, but these types of trading, gaming, etc. is really just cheating. is it more important to see inflated stats, rather than have any clue if someone actually likes the work being presented? for some, i suppose it is. but in the end, it’s just an illusion. i’d rather have one genuine reader than 100 fake ones. at least i would know if i was blogging to a brick wall in cyberspace.

  16. I had been thinking about trying it, but never got around to it. After I saw so many others doing it, I figured why bother.
    Maybe I’ll find something better. :)

  17. Technorati Top Favorited Buzz…

    After all, some blogs really benefited from the favorite exchange and some gained nothing but a few “favorite” in technorati. You just have to decide what you want to do and have fun doing it….

  18. I think your over analysing this, no one I have come accross doing this has delusions of grandeur over it.

    I did it because I could, it required little effort and I was curious….. it was fun playing with it, and, seing as my blog doesnt make a penny, having fun is what its all about……

  19. I have to admit, I raised my eyebrow at your use of “sad” in the last post. But I also know that one word defines no one.

    And as usual Darren, you’ve hit the issue with class, honesty and a well experienced perspective. Something that’s always appreciated.

    And should be.

  20. Gee. I missed all of the fun!

    Really, though the idea of exchanging favorites is one I hadn’t heard of before this, I came upon this post through my Technorati favorites, which is interesting, since I really only have a handful.

    Exchanging favorites is an interesting idea, and I appreciate your posting on it, before I stumbled upon it some other way. I think if I tried it, it would probably be just a waste of time for me, with negligible results

    Of course, I don’t get a lot of traffic to any of my blogs since I don’t spend a lot of time trying to get traffic to them. All but one serve simply as a dynamic outlet for the content for the sites they are associated with. Most of my on-line time is spent working on content. That’s what’s important to me.

  21. […] Pro Blogger – Technorati Favorite Swapping […]

  22. I’ve been pondering on the impact that Technorati has on the blogging community and have seriously questioned its “benefits.” It has been a really good venue for finding helpful information and creating networks among blogging peers. I view it as this really huge club and everyone just wants to be a part of it to be cool and noticed. I don’t see anything wrong with that; I’m just concerned that some may have the tendency to get off-track a little.

  23. Hi Darren,

    Thanks for linking to my post, I agree it sounded like a great idea at the time, and if anybody uses technorati purely to do this, it’s probably not a concern they’ll have, but it certainly messed up my morning cup of coffee with all my blogs aggregated into Technorati!!

  24. Thanks for the balanced post Darren (and for the link). I hope as you said we can all continue with just working on great content, I agree a number of people perhaps got a little obsessed with the concept (myself included) so I have started the healing process by releasing some of the source code (what my site is meant to be about!) which hopefully people (mainly programmers) will take an interest in.

  25. […] Rowse, famous from his blog, Problogger.net, had his say on the matter here and here once it all got heated and started to get […]

  26. I just don’t understand why people would do these kinds of link exchanges. It devalues the service that Technorati provides by artificially inflating the ranking of sites. I only favorite a site if it is a blog I actually like reading… if only everyone made it so simple.

  27. Everyone is talking about technorati favorite exchange, So I thought I should also contribute a bit. Well everyone is using this “Add it to my Technorati Favorites” feature to encourage his/her blog readers.
    Well, when I want some information on technorati, Definitely I am not going to search it on the top 100 list of most favorited blogs.
    I would rather use search feature.

  28. Technorati shows my blog as not having been updated in over 200 days. Whether or not I’m listed in the “Top 100” is the least of my worries.

  29. Another point about these blog fads (applies not just to the Technorati thing, but to many of the memes going around, too) — for most of us who write on topics that are not web and not blogging, a post about Technorati link exchanges would be totally off-topic… Get a number of those posts up there among the regular content that serves the readers, rather than the blogger and an otherwise targeted blog can be diluted to its detriment, right?

  30. […] Rowse wrote a new post which reassesses the topic of favorites swapping. In his post are several links to other bloggers […]

  31. […] In the 2 months I’ve been blogging, I managed to raise my unique daily visits to an average of 150. I hit 450 once when I tried submitting my OpenOffice.org vs. Open Office article to Digg, del.icio.us, Netscape and reddit. The next day I submitted my article about the different Ubuntus to the same sites and that brought me 680 unique visits. With this I was trying to get some of those many visitors to keep coming back. I did see a rise from 90 daily to 150, so who knows, maybe it worked. Or maybe it’s because my post about my real favorite blogs was mentioned on Darren Rowse’s blog. […]

  32. […] further reading, Darren and Maki both have their good points regarding this whole […]

  33. This debate is not new in Spanish speaking blogosphere. In our discussion I think got stablished that rankings cannot reflex the blogosphere structure, the information they provide is not very useful. Why? Mainly because the blogosphere is not a network but many and rankings presents the top linked or top somethinged of the biggest network as the most globally influential… what is simply false.

    More: http://www.deugarte.com/wiki/contextos/rankismo

  34. […] More on Technorati Favorite Swapping […]

  35. […] and Additional Reading Darren Rowse wrote a new post which reassesses the topic of favorites swapping. In his post are several links to other bloggers […]

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