How many bloggers love me… let me count the ways

There are some fun things happening in the blogosphere. It reminds me of 20 years ago on the CompuServe Forums.

There were forums for every topic possible. Politics, technology, religion, music, you name it, it was there.

One of the fun “sports” on the technology forums where I hung out was to play the “I’m smarter than you” game. These were nerd versions of rap wars that occurred on every forum. I have to admit I used to love to battle it out on the networking forums.

Ethernet vs Token Ring vs ArcNet. Netware vs Banyan vs Lan Manager. Which servers were best. Lotus Notes vs anything at all. It was a blast to try to match wits and to see where the rest of the CompuServers would come in.

The measure of success? The length and duration of the thread.If you could start or get heavy on a thread that would total thousands of posts and last for months if not years (OS/2 junkies know what I’m talking about), it was almost as if you had established yourself as an “authority” on the subject.

The forums were so good, that I used to search them first for answers to technical questions before I would call the publisher or manufacturer.

Which brings me to the blogosphere.

It’s deja’ blog all over again.

Today, there are what seem to be thousands and thousands of bloggers who spend most of their time writing about what other bloggers blog.

Thats not a bad thing.

There are people who read my blog and often link back. In fact, it’s a good thing. It expands my audience to the upstream bloggers’ audience.

What is getting a little wierd, and I have to admit entertaining, are the “incentuous networks” and how they sometimes try to game blog search engines to increase their rankings.

Some of the blog search engines try to rank “authority” based on links to a blog post. That’s cool, and it’s a valuable tool.

Lots of bloggers like to show how many other sites have “linked in”. Again, that’s cool and it’s a nice little ego boost, even though because of the different ways to count the links, it’s not really of much use beyond bragging rights. But hey, if someone stumbles upon your blog and there are lots of big numbers, they are more likely to read. So I guess its useful from that perspective alone.

But all of which has led to an interesting type of pressure occurring in the blog search engine market.

Bloggers want blog search engines to have features designed for bloggers.

That’s not a bad thing. As different bloggers do evaluations of different search engines, we will find out more features that are desirable for bloggers and how best to implement them.

But it leads to a question.

Should a blog search engine be designed as a tool for bloggers, or as a tool for people who happen to blog and everyone else.

Of course they aren’t completely mutually exclusive. You can have features that support both, but as the number of features grow, the responsiveness of engine declines.

And since blog search engines are relatively new, It could create a lot of confusion for those who don’t want to use a blog search engine as a blog reference tool, but rather as a more traditional search engine that is keyword based.

This post of course is a long way of saying that despite all the evaluations going on around the blogosphere, blogs.icerocket.com will focus on providing a service to the majority of internet users who don’t blog, or who blog as a social experience.

In particular we will focus on supporting business users who want a continuous feed of fresh information relating to those things that are important to them.

So far it seems to be working well. Our traffic is exploding.

Hopefully the bloggers who use our tags, scripts and other tools we will be providing will notice lots of new traffic driven to their sites. Hopefully it will be mostly first time blog readers experiencing all the great content bloggers create every day and they will love your site so much, they will subscribe to it.

36 thoughts on “How many bloggers love me… let me count the ways

  1. blog commentators often cite the same sources from their feed reader over and over and seem to measure the quality of a blog search by how great it tells them they are rather then how relevant or recent the search results are.

    Comment by runescape money -

  2. I’ve just started playing with IceRocket, and my sense is that one of the challenges is separating thoughtful and useful information from jibberish and online graffiti. Maybe something like the ranking systems used on eBay where blogs collect ‘quality points’ from folks who find them of value. How you collect the feedback and keep THAT system from being manipulated would take a clever approach.

    Comment by wow powerleveling -

  3. Great articles. If you think about the structure of the blog and the way blog space works … it’s exactly what Google and other search engines value. I am actually surprised that currently, Blogs don’t get even more top ranking for every category and industry.

    Google most likely has some “Blog identification” to prevent a complete marketing “Blog Takeover”.

    The best thing a business can do is .. add a blog to it’s marketing strategy. It will benefit the customer as well as the search engines.

    Comment by BizMord Marketing Blog -

  4. Within the last 1-2 years, newsletters became the “old days” and “Blogs” became the new wave. In my opinion we’re moving into the right direction. I remember the time when marketing newsletters were the #1 source for information on what’s happening in the business world. Now … blogs. I don’t have to give out any info I don’t want you to have … just add a marketing blog to my RSS in Yahoo and I am done. Great.

    Also, don’t forget … I don’t have to open up my email box. In 1 line I see what the story is about. If I mouse over I see that marketing message I will choose to either act on or ignore. In my humble opinion … if you fall asleep or something and not surf the web or e-mail and you come back 1 year later … you’ll think you’re on another planet.

    Comment by Igor Mord Marketing -

  5. Within the last 1-2 years, newsletters became the “old days” and “Blogs” became the new wave. In my opinion we’re moving into the right direction. I remember the time when marketing newsletters were the #1 source for information on what’s happening in the business world. Now … blogs. I don’t have to give out any info I don’t want you to have … just add a marketing blog to my RSS in Yahoo and I am done. Great.

    Also, don’t forget … I don’t have to open up my email box. In 1 line I see what the story is about. If I mouse over I see that marketing message I will choose to either act on or ignore. In my humble opinion … if you fall asleep or something and not surf the web or e-mail and you come back 1 year later … you’ll think you’re on another planet.

    Comment by Igor Mord Marketing -

  6. I just attended the NYC SES seminar where I believe good 5% of attendees were blogging. Amazing I would say.

    Comment by Sam Hogan -

  7. I am still trying to find something like a blog search engines that would show medical related blogs and then sort them by popularity. I guess that would come in the future. The only problem is that health and medical related industries are still 5 years behind in the online circle.

    Comment by LifeStation -

  8. This is a fine blog and i will definately bookmark it. I have a site that covers pretty much related stuff ( business leads ) Business leads.

    Comment by Fred G K -

  9. I agree with you

    Comment by Free Porn Vids -

  10. I also am in the camp that wants a blog search engine that searches only blog posts, with no reference to how many other blogs link to it.

    The number of blogs linking to a post can be artificially contrived, as is done by certain marketing bloggers I know of, thus is virtually meaningless.

    If blog link/pop quality could be factored in, that would be ideal.

    Thus if Tom Peters, Seth Godin, Jakob Nielsen, Blog Maverick, EvHead, Slashdot, etc, linked to a blog post, that would boost its rank.

    But if Joe Marketer, SEO King, or Greedy Blog Consultant linked to the post, it would slip down in ranking as being suspect of incestuous blogging.

    Incestuous inner circle blogs should be penalized.

    Comment by Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate -

  11. The guy who mentions being ranked in Alexa worries to much about their ranking. If none of my sites were ranked on Alexa, it wouldn’t matter to me as long as they were on Google.

    By the way Mark, nice post!

    Comment by Charles E. White -

  12. I havent been able to get this working yet but I am working on it.
    Theres quite a number of pages to put this into.

    thanks🙂

    Paul
    http://www.thegoogleblog.com

    Comment by Paul Kain -

  13. Blog search engines are overrated and mostly a waste of time.

    When I do searches (on any engine) nearly half of all items are spam. The few actual articles you get are usually from news sites, not blogs. The rare blog item you find usually is a 2 line post from one of those online journal “blogs”. Finding relevant information on a topic is nearly impossible with a blog search engine. Not icerocket in particular, all blog search engines are like this.

    You have to do a really specific search to get actual blog posts but even then they are rarely on the actual topic you are searching for. Finding blog posts on google is as reliable as Technorati or Icerocket or any of the others.

    You figure out how to fix this problem and you’ll own the blog search market.

    http://blogs.icerocket.com/search?q=antigua+%2B+carnival

    Comment by Matthew -

  14. I’m new to all this blogging stuff, but I do know about using specific keywords to attract more traffic. I screwed around with that a bit with little results.

    One day I wrote an article about my Passion for the fledgling sport of Pro Beach Volleyball.. still my favorite article on the blog portion of my site.

    I got five or six times the traffic I had ever gotten. Apparantly a lot of people felt the same way I did.

    Go with your passion, the people will come.

    Comment by Crackpot Press -

  15. Have you ever gone to Alexa to see how icerocket ranks:

    http://www.alexa.com/search?q=icerocket

    Comment by Alexa -

  16. You don’t have to look further than at TV ratings for Survivor vs traffic on all Survivor-related websites (official and non)
    to understand the relationship between so-called “podcasting” and blogging.

    No contest.

    Comment by Daniel Farfan -

  17. Yea i saw it on CNN to very cool stuff!! Anymore television apperrances in the future?

    Comment by jessica -

  18. I couldn’t agree more with the points you made in this article. I too was noticing a large uprising in “my blog is better than your blog” phrases and thought that this could kill the little man like Wal-Mart to a Mom & Pop Bait Shop. With IceRocket, I hope the majority of “little men” or social bloggers get the hits they deserve and the readership they so desire.

    Comment by Casey Peters -

  19. Hello Mark. I’m here because I saw your piece on CNN this morning. Very interesting. And thanks for turning me on to Icerocket…

    Comment by mooalex -

  20. WOW! IceRocket is beyond useful! I’m fairly new to the blogosphere (March 2005) and I’ve been looking for an easy way to add an RSS button to my blog. With IceRocket, it only took 5 minutes to sign up, figure it out, and have it working on my blog. That’s so hot!

    Comment by Valerie -

  21. mark,

    i think you bring up a good point but one that’s already been solved. if you look at the majority of search engines already out there they obviously cater to the general public.

    i think you need to release an api since you already have build in support for xml feeds.

    examples:

    google maps is a general use application for looking up map and satellite information. they released (people where hacking before) an api that allows you to build some pretty awesome custom functionality using their data. they release mod for the general public.

    you could do something similar and see what the popular items are and add new feautes that way.

    flickr. they have an application where people are able to view photos. like search, but there is a general path most people follow. they released and api and now you have all kinds of cool features that people want.

    releasing an api builds a community and the users build tools to get the information they want. if it’s popular add it to the mainstream app.

    just my two cents.

    your rebuttal🙂

    Comment by Justin -

  22. have you noticed how people are creating blogs with bogus verbage/links only to support/drive traffic toa site/blog?

    having a formula to mitigate that would be great.

    Comment by midosm.com -

  23. i agree that the blog search engine shouldn’t just be for bloggers. the reality is that most people will never use icerocket except bloggers, because most of them use whatever opens up in their internet browser.

    Comment by Josh -

  24. i love your writing mark. i’ve read your articles for a few years now and i think your brilliant. enough ass kissing, this is the 1st time i’m writing and probably the last. i know you discourage ideas, especially stupid ones, but sometimes that’s the only direction people have in the presence of greatness. god, i can’t help myself.

    ok, i’ll get to the point, here’s my idea.
    for the slam dunk contest:
    have nate robinson spot shaq in the audience, ask for his 32 xxxxx shirt, pretend to back down a 7′ teammate and when under the rim, a powerdunk,ala shaq. who says there are no new ideas?

    for the technology that’s already available:
    bluetooth car stereo with no cd player. you take your bluetooth ipod, sit in your car and your stereo acknowledges the bloothtooth device(s) and asks for your music category.

    for comedy sketches.
    cops – in iraq.
    nra x-games (bullet loading, hot shell ducking…)
    hobo olympics (too easy)

    anyhow, feel free to make fun! i have a sense of good humour

    Comment by Manny -

  25. focus…why not have icerocket.com default to blog search?

    Comment by Pat Sullivan -

  26. mark, how many more posts are going to be commercials for icerocket? i loved your point of view in your posts on podcasting and i would like to hear your un-biased assessment of blog search options, rather than pimping one of your investments.

    Comment by Todd -

  27. i *heart* blogs.icerocket.com

    Comment by Amy -

  28. mark,

    as a group/network we have 8 blogs. i believe, as with all other parts of our business, that the engine should favor the customer/reader. without visitors, we are all just talkin’ to ourselves.

    make it easy and they will come.

    Comment by Mike Sigers -

  29. mark: thanks for your recurring references to stuff we did at compuserve 20+ years ago. while the technology was a strong underpinning of our service, we always knew that it was our community of members which was the real asset.

    i don’t really understand the distinction between the two flavors of blog search engines you describe, but i agree with the thinking that the business opportunity lies in meeting the needs of those who are looking for valid current information.

    i’ve just started playing with icerocket, and my sense is that one of the challenges is separating thoughtful and useful information from jibberish and online graffiti. maybe something like the ranking systems used on ebay where blogs collect ‘quality points’ from folks who find them of value. how you collect the feedback and keep that system from being manipulated would take a clever approach.

    Comment by Paul Lambert -

  30. ethernet vs token ring vs arcnet. netware vs banyan vs lan manager

    you know enough about the topic to mention ‘banyan’. i am in a modest amount of awe. banyan was (sniff) my first nos love (sniff) ah the good old days that really weren’t. banyan, she broke my heart she did.

    Comment by Brian Dunbar -

  31. the best thing blog search, as a tool for bloggers can do is drive traffic to thier sites so it should be designed for readers before bloggers.
    blog commentators often cite the same sources from their feed reader over and over and seem to measure the quality of a blog search by how great it tells them they are rather then how relevant or recent the search results are.

    are you experiencing a blockquote fetish today? the added white space is nice and i am not going to get in to the semantics of the line breaks.

    Comment by Conann -

  32. man, the idea of these rising megaconversations blows my mind. orson scott card must be wetting his hegemonic pants.

    Comment by Nick Douglas -

  33. i❤ blogs.icerocket.com

    it works like a charm!!!

    Comment by cali -

  34. how about everyone comes up with a standard way of tagging posts. i’m using technorati right now, but mostly because of a movabletype plugin that handles it for me. i’d rather just have them tagged once and have all the blog search engines grab that tag.

    Comment by James Fee -

  35. a blog search engine should be designed for people who what to search the blogoshere, regardless if the user is a blogger, has a blog, or even cares about blogging. it should not be a tool for the blog geeks to try to manufacture the popularity they so dearly lacked in their high school years.

    Comment by Dmadman -

  36. good stuff. at some point you do have information overload. i hang out on kuro5hin.org, which you may have heard about. i have a bit of a reputation there, so sometimes people blog about me (they are diaries there). google will pick up some of them. so a search there is more relevant to me because i can see if it is someone i recognize (and thus trust). actually i just checked and my memes that exist primarily there aren’t showing up on your blogsearch.

    Comment by Ryan Keppel -

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