Blogdex functionality is gradually ramping up, slowly making it a useful piece of online kit – even though it’s still not done anything that hasn’t been done before (and it doesn’t seem to render quite perfectly on Macs).
Let’s block through some of them one-by-one: 1) Updates – a simple page that tells you what they are planning to add to the site addresses (adequately?) one of my main concerns about the site – namely that it doesn’t promote sites, in fact quite the opposite – it gives people a way to find interesting links without actually reading them. Their response: “blogdex is not intended as a destination to bypass bloggers, rather a place to organize and distill all of the information they generate”.
2) The main page now includes a list of all the people who originally found the link that has been popular enough for blogdex to track it. A couple of questions arise for me here. The first one is how blogdex distorts the popularity of these links by merely saying ‘these links are popular’ and the second is whether or not people can promote their own sites simply by trying to get onto one of those lists. That is – if I link to the current top link on blogdex without giving a damn about the content, then will I show up in the list of linkers, and will I receive traffic from that list? If so – this could lead to a gradual homogenisation of weblog content and a huge disparity between the ‘top-ten linked-to’ things and ‘the rest’.
3) The Top Links of All Time is a strange little page. It tracks the top several hundred links that have been collated by blogdex over all the time the site has been running. But which links are incorporporated into this system is a bit of a mystery to me. I mean, as far as I know, Blogger itself hasn’t been in the top ten of the site since it launched – and yet it is number one on this list with over 2/3rds of all the weblogs tracked containing a link to it. Is the main list excluding text-links that stay the same across a weblogs life. For example, I have a link to Davo on the right of this page all the time, but it’s not part of the ‘blog’ itself – is this not included in the main list perhaps? And is it included on the ‘top links’ page?
I’m unclear about what exactly is being tracked. I would really like to know what is being tracked – I’d love to know whether (for example) cross links between weblogs are actually excluded from this ranking. If Jason said something stunningly apropros, or detailed a genius scheme for revitalising the web industry – I’d want links to it to be tracked. Otherwise, aren’t we treating weblogs as a place which doesn’t produce content, but just links to it? Where’s the valuation of the commentary?
Nonetheless, this Top Links of All Time page makes fascinating reading. You can find plasticbag.org lurking on the second page at number 33 – only five places behind plastic.com and only six behind the godlike Zeldman. Implausible, but pleasant.