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October 09, 2007

Google Juice Put to Good Use

The second most visited post on Fractals of Change was written to publicize a comment posted after I ranted about AT&T ripping off American soldiers on calling card calls home from Iraq and Afghanistan (a practice apparently continued by at&t, BTW). The post gets so many visits because commenters have used it as a bulletin board to amplify the advice my original commenter gave on how to make calls home free or at least at decent rates. No post of mine has ever drawn so many comments; no other post gets comments (not counting comment spam) more than a year after it was originally written. The latest just last week adds significant new information for soldiers.

Google indexes the words and phrases in the comments as well as the words I originally wrote. As I explained yesterday, FOC has fairly good Google juice because of the other blogs which point to it. So, when soldiers or the families Google words having to do with soldiers calling home including the magic initials DSN (still not sure what it stands for but it’s a government network which lets military families make free calls to soldiers IF they can only find an access number), they see my post. As they scroll down through the comments, they often find access numbers and other helpful suggestions. Even better, many leave more access numbers and more helpful suggestions there. That’s the way the Web should work.

Note that this builds on the same spirit of helpfulness that wikipedia and wiktionary do. People really do want to help each other with the things they care about. Am still mulling over what kind of site might be set up as a search engine where people look for info on timely topics ranging from a current network outage to a longer-term need to avoid being overcharged for calling home from a war zone AND where they’re encouraged to add to the store of knowledge on the subject.

Meanwhile, I’m very glad to have my post used as a bulletin board for information much more helpful and current than what I originally wrote.

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