Thursday, December 27, 2007

Sphinn's Wisdom: 60% success

Although I've been too busy to spend much time there in recent months I am a heavy Sphinn user. I've submitted 99 topics - which makes me one of the most active contributors. Of my submissions only 7% have gone hot - which makes me one of the lowest performing contributors.

Hehe. The reason for this is simple to me - I'm a peculiar type of tech-marketing geek. What's hot news to me isn't always hot news to the crowd; even if it's Sphinn's crowd. On Sphinn posts like "10 ways to build a top 10 list" still go hot. Of course, I find a lot of really useful posts on Sphinn and that's why I use it so much. Sphinn's also a great way to see what the masses of SEOrs are focusing on this week.

I thought it might be fun to review the last 25 of my submissions, comment on whether I agree with the wisdom of the crowd or not and reflect on what each post did what it did on Sphinn. The 'result' label is used to state whether I agree with a story's current status. If a submission to Sphinn has gone hot and I don't think it should have been then the result would be 'disagree'.

Aussie UGC sites may to have kiss their SERPs byebye
Current Sphinns: 5 (not hot)
Andrew's View: Big news for Australia but not enough Aussies on Sphinn to really warrant the story making the headlines.
Result: Agree

New Google Analytics tracking full of bugs
Current Sphinns: 12 (not hot)
Andrew's View: This should have gone hot with twice as many Sphinns. This was a big deal for Google and resulted in some interesting emails. Google's reply to this post was announced on one of their blogs and published on the Analytics Group. I can't quite convince myself of the most likely reasons why this post didn't do so well in Sphinn. Sphinn has a larger percentage of SEOrs than PPCrs and so analytics in general isn't such a hot topic (SEOrs always have the SERPs to look at) and the post linked back to an SEO agency rather than a blog page and I suspect that doesn't help.
Result: Disagree

Sphinn's search
Current Sphinns: 36 (hot)
Andrew's View: This was an easy hot post to make. It discussed whether Sphinn's search functionality could be better. Having said it was an easy post to make I would have been disappointed if the Sphinn community was so disengaged in Sphinn itself that they didn't vote.
Result: Agree

Barry Schwartz achieves ultimate goal!
Current Sphinns: 7 (not hot)
Andrew's View: This was a post about Barry getting to appear in SEOMoz's card game. I sphunn it just to see the pulling power Barry's name has - 7 sphinns. That's quite impressive. I'm sure everyone who also sphunn the post had their own reasons but this certainly wasn't ever a hot sphinn.
Result: Agree

Facebook 'to drop' creeptech ad system
Current Sphinns: 8 (not hot)
Andrew's View: This was the first post, by days, to Sphinn about the trouble Facebook's Beacon was in. It should have rocketed to the homepage but didn't. Why not? I don't think the Sphinn community was that interested in advertising on Facebook at the time and certainly didn't care about Beacon. If I had used the word 'privacy' in the title rather than using The Register's title for the post then the submission would have picked up more sphinns.
Result: Disagree

25% of all searches end in a purchase & other NEW stats from Google
Current Sphinns: 12 (not hot)
Andrew's View: I think this should have also gone hot. It's not common to get killer new stats like that from Google. The figure needs to be thought about - 25% of all searches engine in a purchase. What? Do they really? Matt and Tim Nash picked up on this and had the appropriate discussion over on the Clicks.ws forum. I think Google lumped a whole bunch of searches together and described the collective set as a 'single search'. That's worth getting your head around if you're an SEOer...
Result: Disagree

Calacanis wants another $20m for Mahalo's money pot
Current Sphinns: 34 (hot)
Andrew's View: It's ironic that the SEO community, many of whom don't get on with Calacanis or Mahalo, keep the names hot property. It's pretty rare to see a post about a tiny search engine go hot on Sphinn. I like having my submissions go hot at Sphinn but really, logically, this one shouldn't have done so. It went hot because people want to vent, spleen and click.
Result: Disagree

Google gets Content and Search confused. D'uh.
Current Sphinns: 5 (not hot)
Andrew's View: This may be my biggest disappointment. This post caught Google or a key Google partner messing around with the fundamental concepts of AdWords and the content network. If this was less technical I would almost expect main stream media to pick up and run with this one. Why didn't Sphinn? I suspect, again, we're looking at the large percentage of SEOers rather than PPCers on Sphinn and perhaps only dealing with a small number of people who would be personally effected by this mistake to any significant degree. To the travel sites listed in the example then this Google 'quirk' could, in total, perhaps start looking like a million dollar issue.
Result: Disagree

Fake smut codec ruse used to punt Google Pack
Current Sphinns: 6 (not hot)
Andrew's View: Old news and a lazy post. Perhaps the biggest news here was that this issue was making the news again. There's no reason why this post should have gone hot at Sphinn.
Result: Agree

Google blocks Yahoo's Pipes
Current Sphinns: 11 (not hot)
Andrew's View: This was the surprise hit of the winter. Betsy Schiffman, a journalist blogger, from Wired.com's Epicenter picked up on this news and penned Godzilla vs. Mothra: Is Google News Blocking Yahoo Pipes? It's another story that resulted in emails whizzing back and forth between search engines and my inbox. I'm surprised the story didn't go hot on Sphinn. I think if Google Operating System, SERoundtable or Google Blogoscope had had the story then it might have. It's not dramatic search news but it's rare news. I think it should have gone hot.
Result: Disagree

Jakob Nielson makes SEO predictions
Current Sphinns: 12 (not hot)
Andrew's View: This story could have done better with a different title. I'm in the situation where I can make stories about Jason Calcanis go hot but when Nielson talks about SEO - it's luke warm. Although that contrast doesn't seem right I think I'll agree that the Sphinn community needs to keep the focus on content and not fawn over famous names. It was a good story but probably best kept off Sphinn's homepage.
Result: Agree

Be Informed! Mobile Marketing figures that you might not know
Current Sphinns: 4 (not hot)
Andrew's View: A classic example of where I say "wow!" and Sphinn's crowd says "Meh!". Right now there are no stories in Sphinn's Mobile Search category page (which is an error; as this story was contributed to it) but that just shows (as no one's noticed) how low down on the radar mobile marketing is to most Sphinners. That's a shame. The SEM community who make up Sphinn need to start paying attention to the 'new new media' and should start lusting after these figures as I do!
Result: Disagree

France decides that Wikipedia not a publisher
Current Sphinns: 5 (not hot)
Andrew's View: Hey, this is big news in France. The implications are fairly huge. It means, for example, Google's Knol is unlikely to count as a 'publisher' in France either. Google's lost some trademark cases in France but they could (in theory) start to rank for Knol pages on those very same keywords - and wouldn't that be interesting. However, let's be honest, the French community is not strong on Sphinn. Just as the Aussie stories didn't make the homepage this French story was never going to either.
Result: Agree

The Ask.com Blog: Introducing the New Ask Maps UK
Current Sphinns: 5 (not hot)
Andrew's View: Ah, the UK story had as many Sphinns as the French story. I would think the UK community on Sphinn was far larger than the French one. It may simply be that Ask expanding their rarely used map service to the UK wasn't so much of a story. This is a good example of how you can use Sphinn to see what's likely to generate a buzz and what isn't. If this post had picked up more sphinns then it might have been worthwhile doing a blog post comparing the mapping options available in the UK... but as no one seemed to care, I didn't bother.
Result: Agree

Did Ionut Alex Chitu leak Matt Cutts' email address?
Current Sphinns: 5 (not hot)
Andrew's View: A bit of tabloid reporting from yours truly on this one; all inspired by a cheeky email I received. I'm surprised (but pleased) that the Sphinn community largely ignored this - it was picked up by Search Engine Land, though.
Result: Agree

The secret to Web 2.0 success
Current Sphinns: 3 (not hot)
Andrew's View: This was a post to a joke - a comic strip poking fun at the web 2.0 business model. If more people actually visited the stories from sphinn rather than just voting then this submission would have had far more sphinns.
Result: Agree

Official Google Blog: It's not about the spam
Current Sphinns: 2 (not hot)
Andrew's View: The surprise here is that so few sphinners cared about the story at all. If Google had shared similar figures for SEO spam and talked about the steps they take against it then it would have been a huge story. The fact that email spam is rising is a business model for every search marketer to take and use to win email marketing budget off their client. However, there isn't an email section in Sphinn so this shouldn't have been a homepage item.
Result: Agree

McAnerin to Patent an SEO Technique? - IPGeoTarget
Current Sphinns: 8 (not hot)
Andrew's View:  McAnerin has said he's not going to be restrictive with the patent so hopefully we'll not need to worry about this story suddenly becoming very hot in late 2008 or 2009. This was a close call but really this should have been bigger news. McAnerin is a cornerstone of the SEO community and I think people should have sphunn to support McAnerin, or out of concern for the patent, or out of interest that we're seeing SEO patents or out of interest for the technologies involved.
Result: Disagree

Who's lost their 10/10 PageRank score?
Current Sphinns: 15 (not hot)
Andrew's View: Typical sphinn bait this. In truth hardly any of these sites were a direct victim of the so-called 'PageRank massacre'. The point of this post, for me, was to illustrate that on average PageRank goes down. As the internet grows the average PageRank enjoyed by a single page drops.
Result: Agree

YouTube With PageRank 3
Current Sphinns: 32 (hot)
Andrew's View: This is so typical of many SEO bloggers; "PageRank doesn't matter!" followed by a vote for a PageRank story, or worse, "PageRank doesn't matter! You bastard, you killed my PageRank!". This was more than  PageRank story, though, this was an illustration of Google struggling to grade its own sites accordingly. That's why most people sphunn the most. Nevertheless, I'm not sure this should have been headline news.
Result: Disagree

Vanessa Fox wonders what Google's doing. Is this an algo change?
Current Sphinns: 44 (hot)
Andrew's View: A classic sphinn success. Vanessa Fox's blog is a mix of content and (like mine) does not have a regular update schedule and so many people who are interested in her posts may not be on her RSS feed. Here we find an ex-Googler musing over what Google was doing and she had the SEO sphin on the story. This story is certainly worthy of being hot.
Result: Agree

Microsoft ContentAds showing up on publisher sites
Current Sphinns: 9 (not hot)
Andrew's View: The main reason why this post didn't go hot was because it was a duplicate. I suspect a more famous sphinner posted a better title after me (but I've not checked and it may well be that I posted the duplicate - I just remember the duplicate issue!). The truth remains that Microsoft ContentAds are big news and Sphinn should have had a few more hot posts related to both Yahoo and Live's content network attempts. This should have been hot.
Result: Diagree

eBay hoping to ignite Neighbourhood spirit
Current Sphinns: 5 (not hot)
Andrew's View: A story about eBay Neighbourhoods and their 600 niche social networks. Remember that? No. Here we find Sphinn acting as a seer and helping to predict what might be successful. The sphinn community gave this story as much attention as the internet gave the attempt.
Result: Agree

EU privacy verdict on Google set for new year
Current Sphinns: 7 (not hot)
Andrew's View: An update on where Google stands with EU law and their data warehouse policies. This is the sort of story which may interest other search engines or data gathers like DoubleClick, ValueClick, AOL or even TradeDoubler but on hindsight I can see why the Sphinn community wasn't so thrilled.
Result: Agree

Shock! Horror! Google's market share grows!
Current Sphinns: 5 (not hot)
Andrew's View: The title of the story almost explains why the submission wasn't worthy of going hot. Is this really news or just an expectation? The submission was made because we had the increasingly successful Compete share some more data. In fact, the story would have been sphunn more and would have been more worthy of a hot label had it been about Compete's data sharing rather than than the figures shared.
Result: Agree


And the results?

Quickly counting down the list I can see I agreed with Sphinn's wisdom 15 out of 25 times. That's 3/5th of the time or 60%. That's pretty good.

3 comments:

SlightlyShadySEO said...

I've noticed early in the morning, there seems to be a surge of utter crap that goes on, barely getting a sphinn. But more peak times, yeah, Sphinn's % is getting much better!

Sam Freedom said...

...what Shady said. ;-)

I was really thinking the same thing as I read through, that some of the ill results is due to an influx of spammers and crap that comes through in the morning.

Refreshing analysis, thanks.
Sam

SEMSpot said...

Yes with the few posts I have submitted that went hot, all 4 were submitted late morning or mid day. Everything else that I submitted early in the morning (8am-10am est. time) just got buried at the bottom of the new list. The mods are doing a pretty good job and deleting all the spam crap, I still think I will wait a little longer though before I try and submit anything. I wonder though what time Sphinn gets there peak traffic.

Steve