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13 November, 2004

BlogExplosion

Having seen a posting at Spinneyhead, I joined BlogExplosion yesterday.

Essentially, it's a link exchange scheme.  After viewing the blog of another member for thirty seconds in the BE frameset, one receives 0.5 credit and can click on to the next blog.  For each credit earned, one's own blog is served to another BE member.  It's also possible to place a banner in the head of the BE frameset to promote one's blog; one credit buys 35 banner impressions.  Bonus credits can also arrive at random: typically two or three, though I received a 25-credit bonus yesterday.

Ostensibly, the scheme increases a blog's audience, introducing it to people who mightn't otherwise see it. That's great, but the only blogs which would gain full benefit are the populist (and almost by definition, American) ones. I certainly don't deny the authors a right to write whatever they want (though I do resent tacitly assisting the 12-15% which disseminate xenophobia, politics or religion, or usually all three), but they're rarely ones I'd choose to read, and I doubt they'd be especially interested by mine.

Yet the ostensible motivation seems secondary to an unstated objective: to merely increase the absolute number of visitors. The quickest means of promoting one's own blog is to click on to the next site after 30 seconds, then the next, then the next, without taking the time to even look at each blog. One could even open BE in a separate tag (or window, for IE users) and browse elsewhere 'for real' at the same time. Fine for those interested in raw hit counts, but I don't see the point. The Ministry as a whole (Tull departments, trading lists and blog combined) receives 525 visitors per day, on average, who view 1,654 pages per day because they want to, not through an artificial obligation. The extra 54 hits received since about 20:00 yesterday - which don't necessary equate to people even looking at the site - somehow feel like empty numbers, not true visits.

Since I set it up last night and allocated a few credits to it, my banner has been shown 111 times. However, there's no particular impetus for someone to click through. I have to confess I haven't clicked on any myself, and only six people followed up those 111 opportunities, a rate of 5.41%.

There has been some true value to the exercise, as I've discovered & bookmarked about five blogs for repeat viewing (outside BE, I mean). However, according to my account stats I've viewed 108 blogs, some very briefly. In summary, I've visited a lot of sites I wouldn't otherwise choose to see, in return for an empty numerical boost I don't really value. I will continue use BE to find new, interesting blogs, but I don't see it becoming an important part of my browsing routine.

Comments

I came to the same conclusion pretty quickly. Basically, it's what I used to do with weblogs.com- surfing for cool stuff but finding some dire stuff as well- but with the added advantage of generating some traffic.
It has had a positive result, because I'm also sending visitors to the EcoHouse blog, which has now been "blogmarked" by at least six people.

Posted by Ian at November 13, 2004 02:49 PM
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