Monday, March 26, 2007

Blogroll Amnesty Day, Meta & Flamewars

the decision of some high traffic blogs to redo their blogrolls caused so small amount of pain. of course, anyone who thought that a wholesale culling of blogrolls _wasn't_ going to result in hurt feelings and resentment was really naive. links are _the_ currency of the blogosphere. i don't think it's farfetched to say that a large number of bloggers feel that delinking their blog is tantamount to a personal rejection.

nevertheless, some perspective is necessary here. losing a place on the blogrolls at eschaton or daily kos is not the end of the world. i don't believe atrios is trying to define the parameters of what is an acceptable liberal voice. he wants his blogroll to contain links to blogs that he himself reads. this is a perfectly acceptable policy to have for one's blogroll. atrios doesn't owe anyone a place on his blogroll. it would be nice of him to reciprocate links, but he's under no obligation to do so. it's even unrealistic to expect him to reciprocate every link.

there may be more validity to the accusation that markos wants to define the parameters of the 'sensible' left because he focuses so much on branding dKos as the online hub for people-powered politics. he also has a history of ham-fisted censorship and an army of 'trusted users' who carry this censorship out. nevertheless, markos rightfully has editorial authority over dKos. he pays the bills to keep it up and running. his efforts have provided, in an unprecedented fashion, a platform for the average joe to access an audience of hundreds of thousands without coughing up a substantial wad of cash. good diarists attract more users, thus raising the value of advertising space on the site. both markos and the diarist get something out of their relationship with one another. dKos can even be a platform for building a readership that one can lure to one's own blog. the variety of dKos spinoffs attests to that.

markos does have a specific vision he wants to implement, and if one is dissatisfied or unhappy with it, there is a whole wide world of blogs out there to explore. i often find an intimate discussion of fewer than 50 comments more satisfying than the megathreads attached to recommended diaries at dKos. fantastic free content management software is available to anyone who wants to forge their own online community.

while sites like dKos and the eschaton get the lion's share of traffic to political blogs, the medium itself is still in its infancy. there's a lot of room to grow the overall audience for blogs. most americans don't even read blogs yet. the majority of human beings in the world haven't even been online yet. growth for american political blogs is at an ebb right now, but that's because most people don't care about politics until it gets close to election season. i personally believe that the base of readers for political blogs hasn't even neared its peak yet.

so, that's my 2 cents. it's probably not even worth 2 cents.

other people have offered quite a bit more than 2 cents:

jon swift
maryscott o'conner and others
CE Petro
susie madrak

there are other posts out there, but these should get you started. if you care, that is. with all that said, i'm more than willing to share linky love with other bloggers. atrios and markos don't have a monopoly on that.


emily2 said...

to be honest, i'm glad we're not a high traffic site. i feel i have more freedom to shoot off my mouth without a bunch of people jumping all over me, telling me i contradicted myself or that i'm a ho. and then i'd have to respond. and blah. blah. blah. it'd be a job more than recreation. more prison-like than free. i like screaming out into the wilderness.

i had high traffic sites in the past, and lemme tell you, people are psychotic on the internet.

i prefer posting my neuroses (and idiosyncratic babble) without psychotics getting in the way.

small sites rule!

upyernoz said...

hey thanks for the link, err, um, currency!

emily1 said...

you're welcome, but it's only worth a plastic nickel. i post about pilonidal cysts and having a dream in which i jam a popular children's toy up my butt. i have no 'trusted blogger cred' to lend anyone.

emily1 said...

to be honest, i'm glad we're not a high traffic site. i feel i have more freedom to shoot off my mouth without a bunch of people jumping all over me, telling me i contradicted myself or that i'm a ho.

me too. managing a high traffic site seems to be a little like playing basketball with a beehive.

emily2 said...

indeed. blogging should be therapeutic rather than a reason to go to therapy.

skippy said...

well, as i've said elsewhere (and in fact you linked to it), my beef is that kos, and to a lesser extent, duncan, did a disservice to blogtopia and yes i coined that phrase as a whole.

by (a) not sticking together, like the righty blogs; and (b) destroying futher chances of lefty results in google searches on a higher ranking level, kos (and to a lesser extent, duncan) wounded the left...not fatally, mind you, but severely, at least in a figurative sense.

and in kos's case specifically, i find it highly hypocritical in light of his previous spouting of "crashing the gate" and "taking back our government."

he can't talk populist, then act elitist, and not get called out on it.

for the record, skippy's traffic has not suffered when we got dropped off the 4 big rolls (jesus general and glenn greenwald also dumped us).

emily1 said...

the internet changes practically at the speed of light. whatever negative impact that blogroll amnesty day had on liberal blogs, i don't think it will be long-lasting, and sometimes i question whether it _has_ had a negative impact.

the main thrust of your critique and maryscott's, i believe, is that high-traffic blogs affect google search results. i'm having a difficult time understanding the distinction between this and the matter of how much traffic they deliver to other blogs.

what is the difference exactly? are you concerned that the potential growth in traffic to smaller blogs is harmed because of the impact that high traffic blogs have on google search results? i'm really confused about this distinction between direct (the blogroll itself) and indirect exposure (the effect that high traffic blogs have on search engine results).

another point maryscott raised is value of short blogrolls vis a vis long blogrolls. maryscott supports long blogrolls because adding a blog to one costs the blog-owner nothing. i agree with her that this is the case. adding a link to a blogroll requires only trivial effort.

i'm not sure i agree with her assertion that all links are created equal. i think shorter blogrolls give more exposure to each individual blog on the blogroll. advertisers clearly value certain positions on a site more highly than others. they are also willing to pay more for advertising space on a high traffic site with relatively few ads than a high traffic site loaded with ads. i think it is highly likely that these differences in price are supported by research into browsing behavior.

all this aside, one of the things that baffles me about all of this is that high traffic blogs are high traffic because everybody is linking to them, including the very same people who are upset that these sites aren't linking back to them. i think there's much more to be gained from smaller blogs taking greater care to link to each other rather than calling out atrios or kos as elitists.