Thursday, January 22, 2009

Link To Evaluation

Knowing who links to a site can be very revealing.

If trustworthy people link to a site and say positive things about it, does that site gain in credibility? I think most people would say yes.

What if they just link to the site and say nothing about it? That's harder to evaluate.

Using the link: command by itself is not an evaluation shortcut. For example, pages that link to present ambiguous results. Google returns 4 pages: two of them are about hoax sites, another is an account of someone playing golfcross and the fourth is the 21cif website. Since three fourths of the pages seem to indicate there is some suspicious about golfcross, one might be tempted to conclude the sport is really a hoax. But that's not an accurate conclusion.

One of the problems is that Google no longer returns all the pages that link to a page. Within the last year, only a sample of the pages is returned. Try the link: search in Yahoo and you get
lots more (over 400), if you select the option for picking pages from the entire site, not just the home page. That's a good reason to try more than one database when searching.

Hoax-related pages still show up in Yahoo results, but now there are others: travel sites, blogs, wikipedia, and so on. Now it isn't so easy to conclude that the sport is a hoax.

It still requires reading and interpreting the pages that have a link to golfcross to figure out why there's a link there. Always ask: why did this author include the link?

Among the Yahoo results is a blog by Bernie DeKoven. The context of the page is all about fun and games, including wallyball, slamball and this game played with egg-shaped balls. A link to Bernie DeKoven leaves the impression that he is educated, was a teacher, is an author and has pursued game-playing as a serious pastime for years. He seems to be an expert in games. So does his testimony convince you that golfcross is real?

Maybe you know Bernie and maybe you don't. If you do, does his testimony persuade you that golfcross is legitimate? Does he say strong enough things about the sport?

If you could get to know Bernie and ask him why he thinks golfcross is legitimate, that might help. That's where Web 2.0 becomes very valuable. You can ask questions, join personal networks and get a lot more information than if you were just observing from a distance. Of course this takes a little more time than lurking, but it yields better information.

So, what do you think about golfcross?

An opportunity to learn more about Web 2.0 tools and evaluate will start on Feb 9. Consider joining our 4 week course on Power Searching in a Web 2.0 World. Here's a link to look at the course.

No comments: