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Bigwig is a systems administrator at a public university
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November 26, 2002

H - 24 Deadline for

H - 24

Deadline for the next Carnival is Tuesday at 5 pm, EST, as normal. This looks like it will be a fairly large one, as we have almost 20 submissions already in, with a hefty number coming from bloggers new to the CoV, which is good.

Good because the traffic patterns from the last two Carnivals indicate that the largest single source of visitors is Blogdex, despite regular links from 5 or 6 blog heavyweights. The second biggest source of traffic is visitors from the smaller sites. Large audience sites send us less traffic every week they link to us. For those of you who thought Hraka was a blog heavyweight, I can only say that you've been sadly misled :)

I'll take The Daily Pundit as an example. Bill has been very good to us, linking to the CoV every week, yet the numbers coming from his site to the Carnival grow fewer every week. What I think this indicates is that eventually a particular blogger's regular audience grows accustomed to a weekly Carnival link, and have either already bookmarked Hraka and thus come directly, or they don't come at all. After all, if the CoV isn't your cup of tea the first couple of times you come to see it, it's not likely to be any other time, either.

But it appears that a page one ranking on Blogdex makes up for losing visitors from the deep-pocketed sites. The longer the Carnival goes, the less valuable a link from the Daily Pundit, or File 13, or Cut on the Bias is as far as direct visits from those sitesare concerned. Their links soar in value indirectly, because the higher a rank the Carnival has on Blogdex, and the longer it stays there, the more people pour in from there.

Which brings me to a realization. It's possible to manipulate Blogdex. We do it every week when I beg for links from the Blogdex registered among you. Not only is it possible, it's fairly easy. 7 or 8 links is all that it takes to put a site on the front page. Right now #4 on the page is Michelle, and she's only got 10 incoming links.

I can see a time in the future when groups of the Blogdex-registered will all agree to point at each other's posts on a particular day, thus covering the first page on Blogdex with posts of their own choosing. That's got a really powerful propaganda potential. Imagine hacking Blogdex on Election Day 2004, with blogs for the party of your choice. Likely it wouldn't swing a lot of votes, but it would make a hell of an Internet ruckus.

And it would likely get the perpetrators kicked out of Blogdex, assuming that they have some mechanism for removing sites that practice......spamlinking? splinking? I think I'll go with spelunking, as it has both the necessary initial phoneme and already exists as a word. There's also the visual image of lots of caves joining together to form one massive cavern, which is a decent visual metaphor for Blogdex, to my way of thinking.

So assuming that there is a Blogdex punishment for spelunking, each group could only do it once. Another Blogdex hack would be possible if one person created multiple free blogs, registered them all and pointed them at the same content every now and then. Such a a practice would also be a lot harder to track, especially if the spelunker took the time to actually update each log with an innocuous link each day. Rather than updating one blog eight times a day, the nefarious spelunker would update eight blogs once a day, and whenever he either wrote something or saw something he wanted more widely spread, he would link to it.

I don't think I can figure out a way to prevent that, at present. I'm going to look at the Blogdex registration process again. Back later.

Posted by Bigwig at November 26, 2002 12:00 AM | TrackBack
Postscript:
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.
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