The power of blogs

Prologue 1: Let me start by encouraging you to consider using Yahoo! Search instead of Google if only for this single feature: Yahoo searches within the domain of the websites in its collection, whereas Google ignores the domain (as far as I can tell), and so Yahoo can deliver more relevant results. What does this mean? The domain is the first part of the web address, such as my www.madphilosopher.ca. So if you search for the phrase “madphilosopher” on both Google and Yahoo!, Google won’t find my site but Yahoo will. In fact, I’m currently the top hit in Yahoo!, even beating out the site www.madphilosopher.com. Maybe this isn’t important to you, but perhaps it will make your web searching more fruitful. Try it here:

Prologue 2: Okay, now that you’ve tried that, you might think I’m a total loser because the opposite of what I said actually occurred. But I swear it didn’t work this way yesterday when I was doing research for this post. That is, with Google, my site didn’t use to appear within the first 10 hits, but with Yahoo! I was number 1. Now the opposite is happening. Murphy’s Law, I guess. But I’m not the only one to have discovered this no-longer-true discovery. James Slusher wrote about this very thing back in February 2005.

All of this is to announce that I’ve switched to using Yahoo! search instead of Google for the majority of my web searches. Why? The primary reason is quite interesting. Basically, I started to read the Yahoo! Search Blog and the Google Blog. And what did I find? I found that the Google blog was surprisingly trivial. Sure, Google occasionally announced new and old features through their blog, but a lot of what they were talking about was fluff and sounded like it was being written by an airhead. Seriously. It still sounds that way to me. But Yahoo’s blog was quite serious in tone, and they wrote about technologies and partnerships that seemed to support the vision and kind of growth that I would like to see in the future Internet. Some examples of engaging content would be the post on the partnership with Wikipedia, on Wikipedia and geography, and on the partnership with the Creative Commons.

The contrast between these two blogs showed me the differences in the hearts and visions of the two search companies. Note that the choice to publish a public blog was a marketing strategy by the two. Via their blogs, Yahoo! and Google choose to communicate directly to the public, and what they talk about and how it gets said are both consciously and subconsciously determined. Yet even if what they present is merely spin, the readers of the blogs react to the content nevertheless. So for me, my reaction was a revocation of my allegiance to Google. Making that choice was a surprising outcome for me, one that I didn’t foresee when I first subscribed to the two blogs. The Cluetrain Manifesto begins by stating that markets are conversations. Certainly. And the conversations of the markets are being furthered through the use of blogs.

I think it’s time for me to go back and reread the Cluetrain Manifesto cause it’s been a few years since I first saw it. If you haven’t already, go read it for yourself. And please leave me a comment below. I’d appreciate your reaction to this weblog entry and what it says about the consequences of blogging (corporate or otherwise). I’d love to hear stories about how you’ve reacted to the blogs you read or have read in the past. Keep the conversation going. And as a teaser, let me say that I’ll have a follow-up to this entry on the power of podcasts, so expect to see that next.

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