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"Warning: Blogs Can Be Infectious"

From: Graham Klyne <gk@ninebynine.org>
Date: Mon, 08 Mar 2004 10:13:31 +0000
Message-Id: <>
To: public-esw@w3.org

The following spotted in ACM's Technews service, at:

Is there any contact between this and HP's semantic blogging work?

I also wonder if it has any implications for FOAF-related applications.


# "Warning: Blogs Can Be Infectious"
Wired News (03/05/04); Asaravala, Amit

Researchers at Hewlett-Packard Labs used Intelliseek's BlogPulse Web 
crawler to mine numerous Weblogs, after which they mapped out the 
connections and topics shared among a large number of sites. Analysis 
showed that topics would often appear on a small number of relatively 
obscure blogs a few days before showing up on more popular sites. "There is 
a lot of speculation that really important people are highly connected, but 
really, we wonder if the highly connected people just listen to the 
important people," explains HP Labs researcher Lada Adamic. The team 
learned that when an idea "infected" at least 10 blogs, 70 percent of those 
blogs failed to supply links back to another blog that previously mentioned 
the idea, so the researchers devised methods to deduce the point of origin 
of information by noting textual, link, and infection rate similarities. 
"What we're finding is that the important people on the Web are not 
necessarily the people with the most explicit links [back to their sites], 
but the people who cause epidemics in blog networks," says HP researcher 
Eytan Adar. The scientists have encapsulated their techniques into the 
iRank search algorithm, which ranks sites according to how well they inject 
ideas into the mainstream. Future plans include making iRank resistant to 
Google-bomb-type attacks, while some of the team's research is accessible 
online via the Blog Epidemic Analyzer program. The HP Labs research could 
help sociologists chart the course of knowledge epidemics, which marketers 
could also exploit to sell their products directly to the most influential 
members of a group.
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Graham Klyne
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Received on Monday, 8 March 2004 08:14:45 UTC

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