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):
- My Real Favorite Blogs
- Technorati Favorites Exchange Experiment: Whores, Prom, and Pig’s Blood
- Responding to Technorati Faves Criticism
- Ruffled Feathers on the Top 100
- What I accidentally learnt about Programming
- Favourites Exchange, my Thoughts!
- Problogger Agrees – Technorati Gaming is Bad
- The Technorati 100 Not So Hot?
- The Technorati top 100 superficial list
- Technorati Favorites and The Cheaters Who are Cheating the System
- The Sad State of Technorati’s Top Favorited Blogs
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.