...so we decided that we would create system where our bloggers reward the good folks and ignore the idiots and spammers. This is basic B.F. Skinner: we’re giving random positive reinforcement to good contributors by giving them a “star,” and we are extinguishing the behavior of the bad contributors by not allowing their comments to see the light of day.
The Star System—as we are calling it for now—is simple. Our bloggers give readers a star for every good comment they put up. That is, a constructive comment that ads to the dialogue. The blogger doesn’t have to agree with what the commentator is saying, the star is simply the reward for creating a constructive post.
A list of the top 20 “Stars” is going to placed at the top level of each of our blogs. Each of the listings links back to the commentators blog giving them three rewards:
1. public recognition
2. traffic to their blog (which on some of our blogs is worth *thousands* of dollars a month)
3. a link from a highly-ranked blog which will result in better search engine ranking for their blog.
This is an awesome idea. The only thing that I would tweak would be to allow the other readers to rate the comments. This way, it becomes a community activity and less of a burden on the weblogsinc bloggers and also allows the community to feel ownership over the community.
Nevertheless, I love the aggregated list of top commenters. I love the idea of rewarding people with traffic for getting engaged in a discussion. When I used to comment incessantly on Judith's social software weblog, I did it partially because I wanted Judith's attention. I figured commenting (just like blogging) was a form of building relationships and conducting public relations. Although, that may not be weblogsinc's intentions, this enables startups and other bloggers to get the attention of the well trafficked bloggers in the weblogsinc network.
In other blog network news, Creative Weblogging launched FastSupplier which creates an RSS'ified version of the yellow pages. I think this system is just as ingenious. The yellow pages should be free and syndicatable. And for their trade blogs, this is perfect content. It is informative and educational for the reader. But, obviously gets the job done for companies.
This is the stuff I was talking about when I was talking about how content networks will become direct marketing channels for companies/advertisers. And their technology, not their content will differentiate how well they can serve companies/ bring quantifiable ROI to advertisers.
I wonder if/how these two weblog networks will leverage their new technology and applications beyond their networks? Innovations like these shouldn't be chained inside of what are primarily media companies. I think there is a lot more potential for these applications if other media entrepreneurs and content creators can leverage them to support their livelihoods as creators.