Technorati Favoritism – Trading Favours
Technorati has long had a “favorite blog” feature where users can mark their favorite blogs and be able to browse recent entries from their favorites (like a poor man’s RSS). They also have a Technorati Top 100 Most Favorited Blogs which gets a lot less attention then the Technorati Rank. Six months ago it took only 60 favorites to become a Top 100 blog, now it is still a lowly 125 favorites. There are only seven blogs with over 700 favorites on all of Technorati. This is a feature that never became popular.
But now it is getting a lot more attention with link exchange programs like the one proposed by Dosh Dosh. He wants to get into the Technorati Top 10 most favorited and track if there are any real benefits in increased traffic. His blog focuses on traffic building so this is a very valuable experiment to get some real numbers on whether or not Technorati is worth all the fuss. I’m proud of being in the Technorati Top 2000, but I feel it is more work than it is worth.
So I’m contributing to his experiment in my own meager way. If you add my blog to your Technorati Favorites then I’ll reciprocate and I will add you to my favs. Over the next two weeks I plan on creating an application called Technorati Favorite Your Fans that will automatically go through your Technorati account and favorite anyone who has favorited you to make this entire process of reciprocal linking easier / less painful.
UPDATE 07/04/26: The program is done!
But Isn’t this Cheating the System?
If you stop and think about it the entire “Technorati favorite blogs” is a way for Technorati to cheat/game their users. It is an artificial system to generate links and attention back to Technorati (like the Technorati Rank number, but even less relevant). What’s interesting is that people are only seeing traffic from these link exchanges *because* of the link exchange – being on the Technorati Top 100 most favorited blogs seems to be good for less than 5 hits on average a day.
Users contribute links and time to Technorati to promote the favorites feature for little or no return on their investment. Even showing up as a top result for one of the top 10 Technorati search results seems to bring less than 10 hits per day for Andy Beard. (I saw similar results — although it looks like their new WTF feature is worth paying attention to as a way to increase traffic.)
Technorati wants people to use the favorites feature and has even gone so far as to create tools so that you can instantly favorite all of your RSS feeds. Dosh Dosh’s Technorati Experiment is responsible for at least 300 more people paying attention to the underused Technorati Favorites feature. It is good for Technorati.
3 Ways Technorati Can Fix “Favorite Blogs”
Any time you create a Top List it creates incentive for people to game the system. This is human nature, and the same reason why you have to be careful when you base employee performance on a metric .
- Get rid of the Top 100 Favorited Blogs.
- Add a Recommended Blogs feature that suggests blogs to users in the form of “if you like X you’ll also like Y” based on who favorites what blogs.
- Highlight a user’s favorite blogs in Technorati search results.
- NOTE: they already let you search *only* within your favorites which is a pretty nifty feature and a very easy way to create a custom blog search engine.
 Some classic examples of how metrics get abused:
- Programming where performance is measured by bugs closed leads programmers to checking in code that doesn’t work the first time.
- Support desks where performance is measured by how short the call was leads to employees saying *anything* to get the customer off the line, even if it doesn’t solve their problems.