As anticipated, Kent Newsome didn't believe my concerns around viral link tagging were valid, saying he saw them as another way to help balance an uneven playing field. He writes, "For me, the (tags are) a small attempt to end run around the fact that, despite writing hard for years, I simply cannot get many of the popular bloggers to allow me into the conversation.", adding, "The blogosphere isn't a perfect place, but it's the only one we have."
For perfect transparency's sake, I had been thinking for quite some time around this issue of external hyperlink padding, and was absolutely concerned that by using Kent as the example, that he would see it as a personal attack. My thoughts around this post had been ruminating for weeks, as I saw the practice spread. But what I truly want to get across is that while I still believe the practice is bogus, that I think the onus now falls on the search engines, like Technorati and Google, to close the holes in the way they tabulate these results. Kent is a great guy and his blog has some outstanding content, which is why we've traded links and comments for months. That's not up for debate.
If there's a better example of a prominent blogger who I respect who uses this practice, I'm happy to add them to the discussion, but for now, that hasn't happened, and Kent is on whom the sword fell. Be sure to see Kent's response here: Fear and Loathing in the Blogosphere. As he and I discussed before, blogs are about conversations. So what do you think?