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The Long Shadow of Past Blogging Prowess

Dave Aiello wrote, "CTDATA is a pretty good weblog. Sites like Scripting News and The Doc Searls Weblog link to us fairly regularly. I started a small wave that swept across the Blogosphere recently with The Internet Needs a Search Engine Driven Off RSS Feeds-- an article that contributed to the creation of Feedster and rssSearch."

"With all of this recent attention, you'd probably think that CTDATA is fairly high up the food chain in the Weblog community. Think again. Most of the sites that track weblogs, such as Technorati, BlogStreet, and TTLB, show an uptick in interest in this site whenever we publish an article that gets popular attention. But within a few days, we are languishing in the 'Insignificant Microbes' section again."

"The reason this happens is that big time bloggers link to us if we publish a good story. But, their attention to our site only counts in the blogging community for as long as that link appears on their home page. None of the major weblogs blogrolls us. Getting on the blogroll at one of these major weblogs is the surest path to a permanent improvement in a site's statistics."

"One of the impediments to up and coming weblogs, in my opinion, is sites that have fallen significantly from past glory but somehow still manage to show up on the blogrolls of influential sites. An example of this, and I can see the thunderbolts from Mount Olympus coming now, is a site like Camworld."

Dave Aiello continued:

I admire Cameron Barrett's work. Up until about six months ago, his site was a must read for me. But since then, it has been infrequently updated, hasn't had any real focus, and recently inexplicably rolled back to December 31, although more recent articles are still accessible if you Google them.

I want to see Camworld come back because I enjoyed reading it. But why should that site, in it's current condition, be rated so much higher on many statistical measures of popularity than ours?

Camworld has 187 blogs linking to it, according to Technorati, versus 10 for CTDATA. Does this mean that many more bloggers go to Camworld on a daily basis to see what's new? No, it means the site was interesting enough to be put on the blogroll months ago, and blogrolls are hardly ever pruned.

I know a couple of things about blogging that are irrefutable:

  1. If you snooze, you lose.
  2. You are only as good as what you've posted recently.

The dirtiest secrets about blogging, in my opinion, are the undue influence of major site's blogrolls on what is considered popular, and the unique inertia that governs these blogrolls. I have adapted the old slogan, popularized by the Black Flag Roach Motel, to blogrolls:

Blogs check in but they don't check out.

I think one responsibility of running a widely-read weblog ought to be ensuring that your blogroll reflects reality: Don't just point to friends who used to be interesting; Point to sites that deserve the attention. The Weblog Community will be a better place for it.

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CTDATA Venutures (CTDATA) develops Internet and Intranet applications for corporations and non profit organizations. Our services include:

  • Consulting services for Movable Type and TypePad-based publishing systems (visit our Weblog Improvement website for more information),
  • Financial services business process consulting,
  • Content management system and knowledge management system consulting,
  • Apache web server engineering and hosting,
  • MySQL, Sybase, and Microsoft SQL Server architecture and development,
  • SOAP, REST, and XML-RPC system architecture and programming, including Amazon Web Services and
  • Weblog publishing.
For more information, contact Dave Aiello by email at dave [at] daveaiello.com or call him at +1-267-352-4420.
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