Here's a snapshot of six of the 20 most viewed articles from the Most Viewed list as of a little after 9 AM PST today. I've added a views per comment ratio. It's a measure of how much Gather community interest there is in these articles. Of course it's based on the assumption that member interest is reflected in the comments an article elicits.
|Title||Views||Comments||Views Per Comment|
|Did Rihanna give Chris Brown Herpes?||10173||38||267.71|
|MMA Fighter War Machine Gay Club Fight and Arrest||196||1||196.00|
|CHRIS BROWN and RHIANNA TAKE GATHER BY STORM||718||9||79.78|
|West Coast IVF Clinic Named By Octuplet Mom Nadya Suleman||653||11||59.36|
|Porn Star Senate Race with Stormy Daniels?||314||7||44.86|
|Selena Roberts, Sports Illustrated reporter, now part of the Alex Rodriguez steroids saga||182||9||20.22|
It's pretty clear to me that these articles are designed to create page views through search engine optimization. The people who assemble these articles follow a strategy that will make the articles show up in search engines. The basic idea is to include as many "hot" keywords at the beginning of the article and in the tags as possible. If the technician who built the article guessed right, the articles will show up in the first page of a Google search and people will click on them.
It appears that the SEO is working for the mechanics who assembled the articles. The articles are generating many more unique page views than most Gather content. The views per comment ratio shows pretty clearly that there's not very much Gather community interest in the articles. It also probably indicates that few people are joining Gather in order to be able to comment on them.
I invite you to read the articles and make up your mind about the content. From what I've read, most are paraphrases of things available from news services. None of them offer much in the way of original opinion or actual thought.
For those of you who are interested in Gather Points there's something to consider about these articles. At any given time there's a finite number of points available. Unique page views are an important component in the point algorithm. It's pretty easy to argue that articles like the ones above are a new, more sophisticated way of gaming the Gather Point system. It's nice to see a change from the "Name Things Beginning with the Dipthong 'AE'" games or the "I'm Leaving Gather" articles but the SEO articles seem to me to be just another cynical way to pursue points.
Maybe I'm an idealist. I'd like to think that people post stuff on Gather so others can read it, think about it, and maybe even discuss it. I don't like to think that Gather will become a place where people hone their SEO techniques in order to win Gather Points.