Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Why Technorati is better than Google (when it comes to certain things)

The exciting news: over 30,000 new blogs are being created per day right now. The bad news: perhaps as many as 40 percent of these new blogs are "spam blogs" - hundreds of blogs owned by a single scumbag, that is, automated to constantly refer to each other, and to simultanously refer to whatever it is that the scumbag is selling, so that their collective linking will cause the scumbag to rate high at a Google search on the subject. Google, naturally, currently doesn't have much of a way to combat the problem, but the good folks at Technorati do - as explained in staff member David Sifry's blog, they're actually watching the referrals that come in to their own search engine, with actual human eyes, and are banning spam-blog providers as quickly as they can get established. Mr. Sifry claims that Technorati is currently catching about 90 percent of spam-blog pings right now; they're hoping that with increased visitor participation, they can get that number up to nearly 100 percent.

Most people, I think, would laugh at someone wanting to start a new search engine at this day and age, one that would directly compete against Google - and indeed, the miserable failures of such overhauled sites as MSN Search seems to justify such skepticism. But Technorati, in my opinion, is doing it the right way - instead of competing against Google on that company's terms, Technorati is building a much more specific search engine than theirs (one just for blogs, to be precise), and are selling it as something that's much more reliable than anything Google could even hope to achieve, precisely because of this human-filtering element. In effect they're saying, "Hey, go ahead and go to Google when you're doing a regular web-wide search - we're happy to admit that they're great at that. But if you're trying to track blogs, or see who's been talking about your own blog, or see what it is that other bloggers are talking about, we simply do a much better job than Google ever could."

Mr. Sifry's blog, by the way, also contains all kinds of other fascinating information about the blogosphere, as recorded by the Technorati search engine. Like: the number of blogs in existence has tended to double every five months over the last couple of years, with the current number now 1,600 percent higher than the number in existence just two years ago. Anyway, it's certainly a lot to chew on, and definitely makes a convincing argument for why you should be tracking your blog through Technorati in the future, not Google. (Thanks to Seth Godin for originally pointing this out.)