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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Social Bookmarking vs. Traditional Search
    Social Bookmarking has become huge in the past year. Since http://del.icio.us was introduced there have been several similar sites that offer the same type of service (http://www.shadows.com/ - http://www.blinklist.com/ - http://www.listible.com - http://digg.com/ - http://technorati.com). Personally I'm finding the results of these types of engines to be much better than the traditional engines like Google and Yahoo when looking up newer topics. The data is much fresher and you find out about things much sooner than you would with Google.

    From an SEO perspective bookmarking sites are much more robust against spamming. In order to get listed you need individuals to bookmark your site and in order to get top spots you need a great deal of individuals to bookmark your site. It's really a brilliant way to organize data and I'm excited to be around to see it come to fruition. I know some people here are having a hard time getting free traffic from Google, so this offers us another source of traffic.

    Another nice aspect to this phenomenon is it encourages innovation and user-centric site design. Sites that use AJAX and create pages that aren't necessarily spiderable are getting bookmarked like crazy. It's almost as if you don't need to make spiderable pages to get traffic anymore. I've been a little wary to step into AJAX due to the lack of spiderability (think about GoldenCan). But as more and more people start using social bookmark engines, it'll become less of an issue. I'd love to see sites like del.icio.us compete with Google and I welcome the search competition.

    - Scott
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  2. #2
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    How the heck can a site tell if people are bookmarking you or not?

    From an SEO perspective bookmarking sites are much more robust against spamming.
    "Not yet targeted by spammers" != "more robust against spamming."

    *Predicts thousands of Automatic Bookmarking Scripts being fired up the second anyone scents money in this trend, if it indeed gets big enough to count as a trend*

  3. #3
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    *Checks out del.icio.us*

    Looks like you're supposed to keep your bookmarks *there* instead of on your own comp?!

    That sounds like a dud (dud = the nontechie audience won't do it)...

    My prediction for an inundation of automatic bookmarking bots still stands; if the nontechies start using that, the spammers will follow...they always follow the money trail, and they'll be there if it catches on, just like they did with blogs/splogs...
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  4. #4
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    "I'd love to see sites like del.icio.us compete with Google and I welcome the search competition."

    Ain't going to happen. People aren't going to use social networks to search, they're going to use search engines to search.

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    *Checks out del.icio.us*

    Looks like you're supposed to keep your bookmarks *there* instead of on your own comp?!

    That sounds like a dud (dud = the nontechie audience won't do it)...
    Don't forget Flock (http://www.flock.com/) which automatically exports your bookmarks to del.icio.us. And you may have also noticed sites all over the net sporting "Add to del.icio.us" links on their articles and blogs. Their readers can click these links and add the particular article or blog to del.iciou.us automatically. Of course it requires that they create a del.icio.us account, but that is key in this model.

    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    My prediction for an inundation of automatic bookmarking bots still stands; if the nontechies start using that, the spammers will follow...they always follow the money trail, and they'll be there if it catches on, just like they did with blogs/splogs...
    The nice thing about this is there aren't any bots involved. It's all socially driven and focuses on the links submitted by users. Consider a more democratic DMOZ where everybody can participate and the data is up to date.

    I saw a site the other day that was showing their Google analytics pie chart for referral links. Amazingly this site had more traffic from Stumbleupon (which is another variation of the social bookmark formula) than Google. I wouldn't discredit this so soon. With Yahoo's recent purchase of del.icio.us and their own social bookmark engine in beta I think we'll be seeing much more of this in the near future.

    - Scott
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  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrustNo1
    "I'd love to see sites like del.icio.us compete with Google and I welcome the search competition."

    Ain't going to happen. People aren't going to use social networks to search, they're going to use search engines to search.
    I'm not talking about social networks like MySpace and Friendster. This is completely different. And people are using them to search because they essentially are search engines. Personally I prefer the results over Google.

    For example, I've seen quite a few memorable shopping sites over at del.icio.us by searching for "shopping":

    http://del.icio.us/popular/shopping/
    http://del.icio.us/tag/shopping

    - Scott
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  7. #7
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    I'm in between on these. They definitely will reduce spam unless a bot generates a ton of user accounts and re-bookmarks the site that a bot originally bookmarked. At the same time, it will get play mostly from the techies... So if you're site is techie related, it's a goldmine. By techie, I mean about technology or about people getting hit in the head with hammers. They love that stuff.
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  8. #8
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    >>Don't forget Flock (http://www.flock.com/)

    Never heard of it until now.

    >>And you may have also noticed sites all over the net sporting "Add to del.icio.us" links on their articles and blogs.

    Nope. I read forums, not blogs, and the kind of articles I read are by people who apparently couldn't care less about del.icio.us or any of those trendy sites...

    >>Their readers can click these links and add the particular article or blog to del.iciou.us automatically.

    Aaah...

    >>Of course it requires that they create a del.icio.us account, but that is key in this model.

    That's anticonversionary/limiting...

    The nice thing about this is there aren't any bots involved. It's all socially driven and focuses on the links submitted by users. Consider a more democratic DMOZ where everybody can participate and the data is up to date.
    There aren't any bots involved, YET!

    What I'm saying, is that spammers will write bots to auto-generate accounts and bookmarks, as soon as they catch scent of it. Just like they made programs which auto-"write" blogs. They even had/have ways to autogenerate blog accounts! These bookmarking sites will have to put in some serious measures to prevent a similar bombardment...
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  9. #9
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snib
    Don't forget Flock (http://www.flock.com/) which automatically exports your bookmarks to del.icio.us.

    The nice thing about this is there aren't any bots involved. It's all socially driven and focuses on the links submitted by users. Consider a more democratic DMOZ where everybody can participate and the data is up to date.

    - Scott
    Do you see this as being a Craig List type of phenomenon on a broader scale because everyone (if one has an account) can participate?
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  10. #10
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    I don't see it realting to Cragslist too much. I think it might get used by teeny boppers too, now that I think of it... They spend money though...

    Snib, have you checked out www.Digglicious.com ?

    AJAX about AJAX and social bookmarking
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  11. #11
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    BTW Leader, when I said they reduce spam (although I know you were addressing Snib), I meant it will reduce it at the top of the list. You can submit 10,000,000 bookmarks, but they will never be seen unless other bookmark YOUR bookmark. So it would be a multistage bot that they would have to develop. It can be done, though... So your point is valid in that it WILL be done
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  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    There aren't any bots involved, YET!

    What I'm saying, is that spammers will write bots to auto-generate accounts and bookmarks, as soon as they catch scent of it. Just like they made programs which auto-"write" blogs. They even had/have ways to autogenerate blog accounts! These bookmarking sites will have to put in some serious measures to prevent a similar bombardment...
    I don't think this will be a problem. There have been mechanisms in place for the past several years that prevent this. Most notably the human validation image that we see all the time when logging into Linkshare. I don't think I've heard of any bots that can get around this and the email validation hurdles.

    - Scott
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  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhia7
    Do you see this as being a Craig List type of phenomenon on a broader scale because everyone (if one has an account) can participate?
    I think the only similarity between this and Craig's list is how it's become popularized. They don't use advertising and generate traffic all by word of mouth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Noth
    I don't see it realting to Cragslist too much. I think it might get used by teeny boppers too, now that I think of it... They spend money though...
    Right now it's mostly being used by technical users which is still a very valuable market. I'm sure teeny boppers will get into it eventually, but not quite yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Noth
    Snib, have you checked out www.Digglicious.com ?
    Yep, it doesn't really impress me from a technical standpoint, but it does provide some interesting up to date information.

    - Scott
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  14. #14
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Some earlier CAPCHAs have indeed been cracked (according to sites by people who are apparently intrigued by the challenge of cracking 'em). Sorry, I forgot just where I read it.

    But, the CAPCHA writers keep on upgrading, so it's an arms race. Currently the anti-bot people seem to be winning easily. So if they have that, it should hold the automation off...for a while.

    But I see that del.icio.us's login page doesn't have one of those...

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    Some earlier CAPCHAs have indeed been cracked (according to sites by people who are apparently intrigued by the challenge of cracking 'em). Sorry, I forgot just where I read it.

    But, the CAPCHA writers keep on upgrading, so it's an arms race. Currently the anti-bot people seem to be winning easily. So if they have that, it should hold the automation off...for a while.

    But I see that del.icio.us's login page doesn't have one of those...
    Here's something I just found about the topic:

    http://swik.net/User:alex/Alex+Boswo...g+Vs+Spam/busk

    So yes, it is somewhat vulnerable, but it does exclude some of the aspects of traditional search engines that make them spammable.

    - Scott
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  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Another thing I forgot to mention was the cumulative effect of all of this. There are a good handful of tools that take the information from social bookmarking sites to provide something like this:

    http://glozer.net/trendalicious.html

    So not only will you increase traffic through social bookmarking sites, but the traditional engines will pick up these links and increase traffic based on PageRank. I've been experiencing this first hand and since I've started getting listed in these engines, my Google traffic has nearly doubled.

    - Scott
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  17. #17
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Here is an interesting blog post about social bookmarking and how it could evolve into
    something to be used with feeds, feedmarking

    http://eirepreneur.blogs.com/eirepre...rking_fee.html

    http://del.icio.us/danja/readinglist+tech
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  18. #18
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    *Checks the Trendalicious page*

    Like I suspected, the bookmarks are *extremely* techie/coder-heavy (according to the list that was showing at the time I clicked)...

    But, disappointingly, the one with the most 'marks is some TV-related site And, there's nothing showing other than that TV site, for the "regular Joe" viewer.

    Judging by that, if you have a site that's not oriented toward coders or webmasters, the chance of getting anywhere on a social bookmarking site is almost microscopic.

    While the basic concept is fairly cool (in some ways--in other ways, not), IMO the concept will have to reach a much broader audience (in terms of interests) in order to be a contender against traditional search.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    *Checks the Trendalicious page*

    Like I suspected, the bookmarks are *extremely* techie/coder-heavy (according to the list that was showing at the time I clicked)...

    But, disappointingly, the one with the most 'marks is some TV-related site And, there's nothing showing other than that TV site, for the "regular Joe" viewer.

    Judging by that, if you have a site that's not oriented toward coders or webmasters, the chance of getting anywhere on a social bookmarking site is almost microscopic.

    While the basic concept is fairly cool (in some ways--in other ways, not), IMO the concept will have to reach a much broader audience (in terms of interests) in order to be a contender against traditional search.
    Today's not a good day for trendalicious. Sometimes it lists up to 50 different links with a nice variety of topics. I check it every day and have found some great sites. Many are technical, but there have been some that aren't. I've also noticed an increase in the number of non-technical tags and sites being listed, so we're just getting started here. Just look at www.43things.com which is one of the least technical tag-based sites. While it's not a social bookmarking site it does cover a wide variety of topics.

    - Scott
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  20. #20
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    I still try to submit a bunch of Non-spam, non technical stuff to Digg and Deli every once in a while. I purposely don't send them a page of aff links (I hate those as much as the next guy). But if I have a good content page that's unique, I'll post it to my Delicious account. I see some traffic.

    I guess to Leader's point, I had an article with the word "it" (Not IT, it) and "crowd" in it close together, and that's seen the most traffic
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  21. #21
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    That one (43things) looks pretty cool; lots of variety and people into more "regular" stuff. And I like how the topic names are sized according to interest (I saw similar on Technorati, but the convos weren't right there [at least, they weren't the last time I went to that site several months ago], so it ended up being a PITA and I quit bothering with looking at their list...)

    Not so sure I see any marketing angle on 43things' setup, though, except for trying to start a site like that, or maybe dropping a link here 'n there. Building up the popularity one of those sites looks like it'd have the same challenges as getting a forum going, and then some...
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  22. #22
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    That one (43things) looks pretty cool; lots of variety and people into more "regular" stuff. And I like how the topic names are sized according to interest (I saw similar on Technorati, but the convos weren't right there [at least, they weren't the last time I went to that site several months ago], so it ended up being a PITA and I quit bothering with looking at their list...)
    The alternating font thing is based on tag clouds. Flickr has a really nice example here:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/

    Not so sure I see any marketing angle on 43things' setup, though, except for trying to start a site like that, or maybe dropping a link here 'n there. Building up the popularity one of those sites looks like it'd have the same challenges as getting a forum going, and then some...
    Yeah, I think a good way to work it is to build something similar or follow a very narrow niche with a similar feature. The nice thing about marketing sites like this is it comes much easier than marketing a forum. You'll get traffic just for offering these types of features. Think back when forums were brand new and cool and how easy it was to popularize them. That's how it is for Web 2.0 features right now.

    - Scott
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  23. #23
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    i tried a couple of samples "searches" at del.icio.us, as a consumer, the results were horrid.

  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donuts
    i tried a couple of samples "searches" at del.icio.us, as a consumer, the results were horrid.
    I tend to stick to a few tags that I know will have good results, for example:

    http://del.icio.us/popular/web2.0/
    http://del.icio.us/popular/tagging/
    http://del.icio.us/popular/mashup/
    http://del.icio.us/popular/shopping/
    http://del.icio.us/popular/css/

    etc.

    It also depends on what you're searching for. So far most of the information pertains to development, technology, blogging and web 2.0 sites.

    - Scott
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  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donuts
    i tried a couple of samples "searches" at del.icio.us, as a consumer, the results were horrid.
    Why not tag some of your pages with these searches and see if it gives you any traffic. If the problem is that there isn't any data yet, why not fill it in? I'm sure there are other consumers out there trying these searches when they hear about del.icio.us.

    I can see there's a lot of data in there already so you may need to encourage tags by adding a "add to del.icio.us" link to each of the pages you'd like to rank. This is certainly on my todo list.

    - Scott
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