Where’s The Fire? WTF It’s At Technorati

If you spent any time at Technorati today you may have noticed a new link for WTF. And if you’re like me you might have thought WTF? Has Technorati lost it’s mind? No it’s not that WTF. Technorati is seeking to reclaim the acronym to mean where’s the fire which is the blog engine’s entry into the social news space ala Digg.

How soon till bloggers begin salivating at the newest opportunity to gain traffic through social media?

How the System Works

Readers vote your WTF blurb to the top, though it doesn’t seem like they can vote you down to bury your post. As with the regular blog search Technorati will use a time weighted voting system so fresher posts have a better chance of being seen.

Unlike Digg you are encouraged to submit your own posts. You’ll need to be registered with Technorati in order to submit and once you’re logged in you choose a topic, write a title, and a description and submit. You’re also encouraged to link back to your post or any other source material you like.

You don’t need a blog though, as you can write all you want in your submission. This is more about generating content for Technorati since all their content now is snippets to blog posts. Of course if you leave all your content in your submission you might not be seeing as much traffic from getting WTF’d. More content for Technorati less traffic for you.

I’m sure it won’t take long for the seo community to give it a go and see what kind of traffic WTF can bring.

How You Might Make the System Work for You

At the moment if you have enough friends and can mobilize them quickly you can easily get to the top of a WTF topic. That may change once the cracks in the system emerge, but for now making it to the top would seem to be all about getting as many votes as you can on your most recent WTF submission.

Choose your topic carefully as they are listed on the front page by the number of blurbs submitted. At the moment the top WTF topic is WTF, followed sadly by the number two topic of Paris Hilton, though Vista is hot and climbing.

Technorati’s already got a strong community built up around it so it’s easy to see how WTF will take off. While I’ve questioned the ability of a small group to bury stories and ban domains at Digg, I also have to question the wisdom of only allowing positive votes. Seems rather easy to game don’t you think? And if it does prove to be able to drive traffic gamed it shall be.

Will it Succeed?

Technorati does have this blog thing down pretty well and I’m sure WTF will see some changes as it gains traction. Will it reach the status of Digg? Hard to say until we see the system in action a little more, but it does have a good start given where it sits. I would like to see the top WTFs come from votes on the results returned in the blog search instead of requiring submission, but that would deprive Technorati of some user generated content.

It’s a good move by Technorati as it will bring them more content and also give their user base a chance to interact more with the site. It’s also another example of how social media will likely dominate the landscape in 2007. and it will give SEOs another social space to attempt to manipulate. WTF will also give astute marketers new ways to find the conversations that predict what’s likely to gather a response.

I’m not sure if the acronym thing is going to work, though. I’m still going to see WTF as what the WTF if you know what I mean.

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  1. Thier use of WTF is an interesting way to get extra attention by using a phrase often used to mean something else.

    Techcrunch reported that this was taken down at some point, Though it looks to be back online.

  2. I noticed it for the first time today too and I thought, “What the… is this all about?”

    It could develop into a nice marketing spin for Technorati. Taking a negative or flippant term and turning it into something positive and uplifting.

  3. One thing I guess I missed when I posted this was that if you now do a search at Technorati and there’s a WTF topic you’ll see a snippet of the one of the blurbs for that WTF. It looks like there’s some good integration between the main blog search and WTF with links back and forth on both sides.

    It’ll be a good way for Technorati to get some user generated content and will probably keep people checking in and out of the site more often and more involved with it.

    It’s still going to be hard for me to ever see WTF as Where’s the Fire, but you’re probably right that it will be good marketing for Technorati.

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