October 16, 2007

Algorithms Cause Fight Between Linking and Original Reporting

I stepped away from the computer for the better part of 12 hours today, and found the world hadn't changed all that much. Guess that's good.

Following Sunday's kerfuffle around Google Reader stat tabulations, both official and unofficial, there continues to be a lot of discussion throughout the blogosphere on what statistics are relevant or not, and whether they are valuable, or simply point to a bunch of ego-focused invalids aiming to give themselves greater visibility. Additionally, comments from Jeremiah Oywang question whether some of the clear gaming of public news aggregators, like TechMeme, can be snuffed out.

Yesterday, Pete Cashmore of Mashable called B.S. on the whole argument, saying Google Reader's stats were prefilled, and therefore tainted. Of course, Google Reader spokespeople disagreed. Scott of Blogcosm, in an effort to round up the discussion, correctly notes a lot of this back and forth could have been avoided if Google had just listened to my requests back in March, for more transparent data. His clearest comment on whether they would? "I'm not holding my breath."

Which leaves us with the TechMeme issue. Jeremiah Owyang correctly pleads with bloggers to stop following TechMeme around and to start adding real substance. But, as I noted in a comment to him, sometimes it seems that those of us without the big brand names (yet) just might break a story or have original reporting, but proving that to a faceless algorithm is nearly impossible. As a result, to gain the real estate that's felt to be deserved, a little link play is needed.

Frederic at The Last Podcast backs me up, saying, "Sometimes I know I had a story first, but nobody linked to me, so I will still tag on to the Techmeme headline." It's kind of like chasing for scraps, but somebody's got to do it...

1 comment:

  1. It seems like it is true, a big brand can talk about anything, link to the original source and still take an "H1" position node on techmeme. I believe I've seen that happen as well.

    I'm sure we'll see Gabe respond in the comments.