This article: Wired News: Search Results Clogged by Blogs seems to have sparked a lot of discussion on various blogs about the relationship between blogs and Google. There seems to be some debate as to whether it is a good thing or not that on most Google searches there are likely to be a great many blogs that show up in the results, and often ranking higher than a more "direct" source of information. For instance, a blogger writing about a restaurant they've been to may well rank higher than the restaurant itself- in fact, the restaurant may not show up at all. Dave Winer asks if this is really such a bad thing and comments that part of the problem is that many of the online news services do not allow open access to their archives (charging a fee) which means that they are not accessible to Google and therefore out of the count, ranking-wise.
The Wired article quotes Fredrick Marckini, CEO of iProspect saying that "...companies often don't realize that they're competing for placement not only with traditional rivals but with anyone who posts online."
"The Web is absolutely the great equalizer," he said. "Good content rises to the top on the Internet. It doesn't matter if the medium is a blog or a corporate Web page."
Marckini said many corporate websites do not generate as much traffic from search-engine queries as they could because they don't maintain static URLs for internal pages. This prevents search-engine crawlers from indexing those pages and including them in query results.
Many bloggers, on the other hand, post long scrolls of text on homepages or on a small number of internally linked pages, making it easier for crawlers to access them.
IT seems to me that often, as in the case of the small restaurant or public event or rally etc that Blogs are actually likely to perform a service- drawing something to the online audience's attention that might have otherwise go missed. However, I must admit to to a pang of guilt everytime I see that someone has come to my site via Google trying to find out about pigeons or "why dogs howl at sirens" (you'd be surprised by how many people seem to want to know this). I really should find out the answers to these questions, just so that the visitors get something for their efforts.
Ok, I had a go at a backstory over the weekend (posted below). If anyone else wants to have a crack at it, I'm happy to not use mine. Or if anyone wants to add/change something please feel free. I guess it's really only to give participants a chance to form a character and to give us a kick-off point.
Vlado- could you give me the log in details for Exit Page Left so I can send them on to participants? Will we be able to have multiple users?
Something to consider: Do we want to have character profiles posted on the blog so that we have an idea of who we are dealing with as we write? I have a list of questions that I keep handy when I'm creating a character (just obvious things, but I find it useful to getting a good grasp on the type of person they are.) If anyone would find this useful I will email it on.
Looks like we can get started very soon, which is good. I'll email everyone who has contacted me about participating to get final numbers and to give out the instructions in the next day or so.
Backstory Not so many generations ago our family- The L family, was the sort that everyone envied. Our houses were beautiful and well-appointed, our children and animals well groomed and perfectly behaved. Our teeth were straight and white, our skin clear, our minds well-educated and everyone wanted to marry us, do business with us, or be us.
The L. family name was once synonymous with the Twine Industry. Oh twine, with your multiple uses and knot-handling abilities, how well and how long you served us. How we wished it could have stayed like that forever. Inevitably, however, new technologies, such as Sticky Tape, Velcro and the Postpac, for example, have reduced the twine industry a fraction of its former size- and now our family business faces an inevitable and rapidly approaching death. But the biggest factor in our fall from the top has been the crumbling of within the ranks of the family itself.
What started the descent? Who was the first to marry beneath them, to end up on fraud charges, or to insist upon undertaking an utterly self-indulgent career as a rockstar or an installation artist? Who first broke our collective family hearts by running away to join the circus or the Seventh Day Adventists? Family members are now scattered across the world- some left for love, others ventured out in non-twine related careers of their own. Still others, it is suggested, amongst the more bitter family members, annually huddled around joyless Christmas tables, have left to deliberately separate themselves from the family and its hold.
Do not misunderstand me. We are not yet in total ruins. There are still loyalties, allegiances and fondnesses in place. This webblog is a testament to that, established purely for the purpose of keeping the members of the L. family in touch with each other, despite geography, despite history. There is another reason for this Weblog, however- there are those of us who have good reason to suspect that there are even darker days still ahead for the L. family. Old powerful families attract enemies and create rivalries. Some of us believe, or at least fervently hope, that keeping the lines of communication open is our way to survive what lies in store for us.