Saturday, March 31, 2007

Yet More On Blogroll Purges

Terrance at the Republic of T comes late to the other PurgeGate controversy, the one about blogroll "amnesties" by key A-List progressive bloggers which turned out to be purges of the littler guys. Still, in a long and thoughtful post he takes a lucid look at most of the issues arising from that controversy. For instance:
links are a kind of currency that follow the same rules as currency in any other economy: those who have the most tend to get the most, tend to keep it, and tend exchange it mostly among themselves.
Which is so obvious a concept to many that there's even an online game based on it (here's the Newshog entry). However, beyond games, links greatly determine both credibility and traffic - and that means that for many they also determine revenue from blogads. The virtual currency of links is directly proportional to dollars. It's ironic that big Rightwing blogs tend to be far more communal, more socialist, in their sharing of linkage while some of the big Lefties seem to want to be the new robber barons of the internet.
everyone reads them because “everyone reads them,” thus the cycle is perpetuated and upper tier becomes more stratified, much to the consternation of the strivers just below the top tier. In a monetary economy, those with the most gold have the power. In a linking economy like the one that exists in the blogosphere, those with the most links — the most currency — have the power. And they pretty much wield it as they wish.

...There is a definite freedom in not being on the blogrolls of any of the major blogs. I can’t be cut from blogrolls I’m not on, and I can’t miss traffic that I never got from them in the first place. (I was on the Fire Dog Lake blogroll for a while, but got cut from it at some point though I can’t determine when that was.) So, this whole clash of the titans breaks out just over my head and I miss it.

And there’s a strange kind of schizophrenia this inspires among those at the top of the list. On the one hand, they seem to be fully aware of the power of their blogrolls, when guys like Aravosis, Atrios, Kos and Bowers hold forth at length about why they aren’t going to link to some blogs. On the other they seem to deny that they hold any such power, like Kos’ claim that he’s not a gatekeeper (though Skippy says Kos is a gatecrasher who’s closing the gate behind him), though the “blogroll purge” is kind of like closing the gate.

Sure the blogs that were cut can still be found, but they won’t be getting the kind of traffic that comes from having a link on Kos’ blogroll. And that’s partially because many of the readers at Kos at other major blogs are like the people I mentioned in the scenario above: they’re looking where everyone else is looking, because everyone else is looking there, and everyone else can’t be wrong. By extension, if there was something worth looking at somewhere else, then everyone would be looking at it already. And if they look at anything else, it will probably be what the “authorities” (to borrow a concept from Technorati) tell them to look at, in the form of a link.
I've already said my bit on this particular PurgeGate. Blogroll links are also a form of respect and endorsement and I don't see why we should endorse those who don't respect the work we do at Newshog. I definitely don't see why we should drive traffic, and thus ad revenue, to those who don't give a flying f**k about us.

To be on the Newshog blogroll, a blog must either do us the respect of blogrolling Newshog in return or by linking to the Newshog bloggers' work a couple or three times. I spend time making as sure as I can be that the blogroll is up to date but I can make mistakes too, so if your blog should be there and isn't let me know.There are no free rides just because "everyone links to that blog".

I'm rather happy that this policy has led to what I believe is one of the very best blogrolls around.

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