Technorati now allows anyone with a login to write a brief dscription on a single search query. When someone searches with that exact term the blurb or WTF, as it’s called, shows up above all of the blog posts. CEO David Sifry explains his thoughts on the feature in <a href="http://technorati.com/wtf/wtf/2007/01/31/explain-a-search-with-wtf-let-the-world-know-how-m-1"his WTF about WTF and on his blog. BTW, WTF stands for “Where’s The Fire”, not my first assumption.
This is a new influence landgrab for bloggers. Introduce a word or figure out the hot topic and write the WTF. If that term becomes popular then you have the prime real estate. Like Technorati tag pages, I am sure that WTF pages will become well-ranked. Technorati has no-follow on outbound links, so posting a WTF and linking to your site might yield some traffic, but it won’t add much to your Page Rank. The top WTF is chosen based on votes, but from what I’ve seen so far, the oldest WTF has the most votes. Their algorithm degrades votes over time, but there hasn’t been enough activity yet to see that in action.
We were given early access to the preview and I thought it was very telling that the password was “tammynyp”. Tammy NYP was a Singaporean teen who had a sex-phonecam-video released by some enemy cheerleaders. It was the hottest search on the internet for a while, but for people who came late to the game this feature could be really useful in explaining why that odd phrase was so hot right now.
This could have been a method for pulling in relevant Wikipedia entries (like Google), but as David makes clear in his WTF they wanted more timely thoughts on a subject. It also allows their users who don’t have a blog to get involved in the discussion. It will make Technorati a really big group blog on some hot topics. If the uptake on this feature is broad enough it may become its own form of a Wikipedia, not a bad place to be.
For some history on the feature check out Niall Kennedy’s blog post. He worked at Technorati when the idea came up at a hack day.
Update: Technorati’s BuzzTV did a piece on WTF and included this blog post. It’s always fun to see remixing and they did a good job of showing text in an interesting way.
Technorati Starts Collecting User's Thoughts Directly via WTF
tags: Web 2.0