"Link Love - Is Google Searching the Right Stuff?" was the topic of this week's Yi-Tan call with Jerry Michalski and Mary Hodder. The observation is that all of the sites that keep track of "top 100" lists or "top hits" scores for searches or weblogs have opaque algorithms for determining same, and what results as the lists are not very accurate once you exit the mass public Internet and get into more specialized fields or subfields.
Rich Wiggins was noting this problem to me this morning, with the observation that an attempt to diagnose a mysterious "four beeps and fail" boot sequence on his IBM Thinkpad X40 resulted in nothing useful with any of the obvious Google searches for that topic - and Rich is really good at search. The searches turned up all kinds of ways for you to buy a Thinkpad but precious few on how to fix it.
Mary Hodder pointed out one really interesting salient point about the metrics used to compute influence and activity within the sadly named "blogosphere". (ugh) Most of the blog ranking tools use links as their proxy for love. In my experience, however, it's the good and useful comments and discussions that are a lot better reflection of whether someone really cares enough to click through and make a difference, and all things being equal I'd rather be part of a conversation all in one place (think Confer and a place like CRLT:MICROS) rather than a huge diffuse everyone talking about everything everywhere (think Technorati).
I mentioned on the call my conversation with Wayne Baker last week over bi bim bop about how people are differently influential in a network by the amount of energy they bring to others in their sphere. Should we be recasting our measures and metrics as "link energy" rather than "link love"? James Governor from Redmonk uses the term in roughly the right context.
Thanks for the call Jerry and Mary!