August 04, 2005

Tag, Rag, Sag - I still don't do it.

I found Om Malik's recent post on the dark side of Technorati Tags interesting for many reasons--the first of which is the way he eloquently describes the problem with Technorati Tags that I've been having: an inability to keep scammers and spammers out of the mix.

I discovered that if the tag was “mortgage” it took me to special tagged page. However, most of the links on the tagged page essentially were some sort of a spam-blog, which basically was set-up for the express purpose of extracting money from Google. Never mind, Technorati gets money from AdSense. I checked out other tags like VoIP, Broadband, DSL, Cable, Vioxx and what not. (I did not check all the popular tags, but I hope you do!) The entries were highly dominated by spam links. Interestingly, the page ranks of these tagged pages were pretty high.
If you read around the broadband space at all, you know the spam blogs he speaks of. I know them intimately. And every time I click on a Technorati link where I think I see a "glimmer" of content only to end up at VERIZON, COMCAST, DIGITAL TV, VOIPP, blah-blah-blah, I feel duped, betrayed. Maybe that's not logical, but it's a fact.

And it's a big problem when you're trying to use the Net to do what you came to the Net to do: read words that matter to you.

Technorati tags give spammers one more opportunity to BYPASS the conversation and jump right in for the kill. And not just spammers--other blog opportunists as well. Even within our own mix.

The more we force categories and constructs on one another (If you're participating in this discussion, Tag it Such-and-Such, i.e., or else you won't be heard), the more we defeat our own purpose.

I prefer to follow the conversation through hyperlinks--those magical devices that brought us all together in the first place. Even using an RSS reader, I'm a "click the link" kind of girl. Because the more we open the door to the conversation dead ends like spam blogs and regurgitation blogs with Google Adsense motives, the more we drown in the noise of meaningless pixels.

Om also makes the intersting distinction between tagging photos WITHIN flickr, and tagging posts via Technorati. He's right on:
Many forget that Flickr is a photo site, needs a finite amount of meta data, and can be tagged because there are a few hundred thousand ways to tag information. A puppy is a puppy is a puppy. Rather a bat is a bat even if its flat. What works for photos doesn’t work for words.

And that isn't to say I wouldn't ever try tagging even after all of these years of blogging. I would use tags to categorize my own posts if Blogger offered that functionality inherently. It doesn't. And so far I'm opting out of the "HOSTED" tag space. The Web is webby enough for me--and I like it that way.