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TechMeme: Anti-linking Engine

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I’ve noticed this several times and thought I’d bring it up.

TechMeme seems to penalize bloggers who link to other bloggers. Most bloggers believe that a major part of how TechMeme decides which is the most important story is to count links. That isn’t true in following mine, and other people’s results.

I believe there’s a “linking penalty” on TechMeme. At least it seems that way after doing my own link counting.

Let’s say there’s three stories.

Story A links to B and C.

Story B only links to A.

Story C doesn’t link to anyone.

Who will be most popular at TechMeme? Often times “C” will be. But shouldn’t “A” be? Since that’s the one that has the most inbound AND outbound links?

In my experience it won’t be and that often C, who didn’t link, or get linked to, will often be the top pick.

Why is that? Because I think Gabe wrote an anti-gaming algorithm which looks for bloggers linking to each other. I believe his algorithms are penalizing bloggers who often link to each other.

Here, look here at the story about Google Gears on TechMeme.

There are currently five articles that are showing up as headlines on TechMeme (this was the order that they appeared at time of writing — being higher is better).

1. By Artur Bergman on O’Reilly Radar. (His article doesn’t link out to other bloggers who covered this story).

2. By Nick Gonzalez on TechCrunch. (Nick links to me).

3. By Martin LaMonica at CNET. (His article doesn’t link out to other bloggers who covered this story).

4. By me. (I link to both Artur and Nick’s articles).

5. By David Berlind at ZDNet. (His article doesn’t link out to other bloggers who covered this story).

Now, how many blogs are linking to each?

Artur has three links, according to Google’s Blog Search at the time I wrote this article. (No outbound links).

Nick has five links
. (Nick links to me as his only outbound blog link).

Martin’s has zero links
. (No outbound links to other bloggers).

My blog has eight links
. (The most links!!! and I link out to two other bloggers, so most inbound and most outbound links).

David Berlind has no links
. (No outbound links to other bloggers).

So, lesson learned. If you wanna be the top dog on TechMeme, don’t link to anyone else but get them to link to you.

Or, is something else going on? I’m sure Gabe will say that most of the eight people who linked to me don’t count to his algorithm because he only looks at what the seed bloggers (folks who’ve been hand picked to be counted) are linking to. That might be true, but I’ve looked at enough result sets now to start a theory that there’s something else other than a straight counting of links going on.

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TechMeme: Anti-linking Engine
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