Scott Karp of Publishing 2.0 took a look at the Technorati 100 yesterday and found that, even before he had quit blogging there, Dave Winer's Scripting News was out of the top 100. Steadily replacing the old A-list was a group of blogs, mostly from the Far East, that have seemingly charged up the charts in days. Is it a new A-list emerging? Maybe. Or could it just be an overenthusiastic web script at work?
In with a bullet at number eight was M¥$ŤěяĬǾũ§ ĢÎѓĻ: a blog stuffed full of platitudes and proverbs in Arabic and English that has seemingly warmed the hearts of 8000 blogs. Most of the link-love they gave the 20 posts at the site, as recorded by Technorati, came in the last 48 hours.
They must be some proverbs. It's taken the unrelentingly sickly diet of pet pics at Cute Overload months to get to the 6500 links from 4500 sites that pushed it to number 38 in the blog hit parade.
It's not just M¥$ŤěяĬǾũ§ ĢÎѓĻ who has stormed into the Technorati A-list. You have Myhurt at Japanese blog-host FC2, who has amassed more than 12'000 links from close to 6700 sites, most of them also hosted at FC2. From number 15, it's not long before we find another new entry. That is the blog of Singaporean xEuNiCex at number 18, followed closely by another MSN Spaces blog, Dada. And then you have Kikasae, another subscriber at FC2blog who has managed to amass links from no less than 4474 sites in a matter of 23 hours, together with a bunch of other MSN Spaces blogs and China's Autoblog, which collected a pile of links from video-hosting service SeeHaHa.
Now, they could all be very popular people. Or something else is going on. My first thought was that someone was trying a novel spam attack on Technorati using MSN Spaces and similar co-hosted blogs as the bait. A page of links to the xEuNiCex blog as tracked by Technorati all had the same entry summary:
Updated spaces falan’s space noshiespace KoRSaN HaCK™ chob’s space facundo’s space Mo Till The Cat arrr… Art N!tru »-(¯`v´¯)-» xE… breana’s space More… [IMG]
Similarly, there was repeated nonsense text in the entries for M¥$ŤěяĬǾũ§ ĢÎѓĻ. But the links did not exist on the blogs named as sources. I posted a couple of comments to Scott Karp's blog to the effect that someone could well be pinging Technorati with fake trackbacks, and that the script that handles those pings was not checking their accuracy.
But it was when I looked at the links to Myhurt that the penny dropped. Many of the summaries for the links to that blog look like this:
skin presented by myhurt : BLOG
If you look at the pages at FC2, you will see this text. Right at the bottom of the page. In the boilerplate. It seems that Myhurt has knocked up a nice template that has been used by a lot of FC2 bloggers. And Technorati has picked up those links as real trackbacks in the way that it does not for all those links to SixApart at the bottom of Movable Type blogs.
I could work out where Technorati was picking up the MSN Spaces links from. The text did not seem to exist on the source pages. But, the clue is right at the start of the summary text: "Updated spaces". The MSN engine pumps links to the most recently updated blogs into each page. And some of the blogs got lucky because that was the moment a script - whether Technorati's or a system designed to mess with Technorati's ping receiver - happened by.
I expect we will see a slightly different Technorati 100 come Monday. If this little mess is not a spambot, and it's looking less likely, it could well be the result of an attempt by Technorati to get MSN Spaces and similar blogs into its results, in the wake of criticism over the last set of blog statistics, that has gone a bit awry.