Sean Wu recently released Tag and Ping, as a result, the internet marketing community has been flurrying with the news. A few people have e-mailed me for my thoughts on the whole tag and ping phenomenon.
I’ve not read Sean Wu’s Tag and Ping, so cannot comment on the quality of its contents, however, the premise of tag and ping is getting links and traffic to your site through folksonomy.
A “folksonomy” is a collaboratively generated, open-ended labeling system that enables Internet users to categorize content such as Web pages, online photographs, and Web links. The freely chosen labels – called tags – help to improve search engine’s effectiveness because content is categorized using a familiar, accessible, and shared vocabulary. The labeling process is called tagging. Two widely cited examples of websites using folksonomic tagging are Flickr and Del.icio.us.
This is not new. People have been using social bookmarking sites to help manage their links, and blog search engines with tag clouds to help them quickly locate information for quite a while. As a side effect, some of the sites being listed on these social sites would receive inbound links and traffic and that is what internet marketers are starting to latch on to. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t see anything wrong with marketing your content or product if it’s worth marketing. What worries me the most is that it will be exploited by unscrupulous marketers who don’t get it or care to get it.
About six months ago, I decided to start researching tagging and social bookmarking to see, first hand, how they would affect my blogs. The same time I started my research on tagging, I also decided to start using the services for much of my online research for other projects, sifting through content and compiling information from each of them. In many instances, it proved to be more useful than using any of the big three search engines (Google, Yahoo!, MSN).
My conclusion is that tagging works for growing readership, increasing targeted traffic, and getting quality backlinks, but is a double edged sword. Tagging can be a way for people to easily find the information they’re looking for, but those same people will become aggravated if only scraped content blogs trying to scam some PR from the backlinks start popping in Technorati, IceRocket, del.icio.us et al. As a result, the services will be forced to implement countermeasures to protect their assets and keep their users happy. This could mean implementing the rel=”nofollow” attribute, blacklisting sites, deleting accounts, or other undesirable measures.
That said, please tag responsibly.
If you’ve read Sean’s guide, have any thoughts concerning tag and ping or tagging in general, feel free to share. I’d love to hear how you feel about it.
If you’re looking for a cost effective guide to tagging, then I’d recommend Lisa Ginger’s Tagging Secrets. This book is geared towards the beginning marketer who’d like to use tags to build traffic.
Also, if you have any specific questions about tagging, you’re welcome to ask me via comments or by sending me an e-mail.
[tags]tag and ping, folksonomy, tagging, sean wu, technorati, del.icio.us, delicious, flickr, internet marketing, tagging secrets[/tags]