Seth Godin has written about his feelings about what’s happened to his ZList in a new blog post, Zlist update. He is “amazed, then delighted and then disturbed by the response“.

I revisited the Squidoo Zlist, now prefaced with a new statement that reads, in part:

Please don’t vote people down just because they’re above you in the rankings. Please don’t add a blog to this list that’s not relevant (hey, you can start your own list… it’s free. Just click that button on the top right of the page). I know this sounds trite, but here you go:

Please click as if someone were watching. Do the right thing and the world comes out ahead. Thanks.

In his followup post, he speaks to the core of what was frustrating me.

Several bloggers worked hard to game the list I posted, instructing folks to vote other (worthy) blogs down. That’s sad.

Several bloggers added their blogs even though they were clearly irrelevant to the point of the list.

And many bloggers got their feelings hurt because if there’s a list, and you’re competitive, then being near the bottom of the list is a bad thing.

In all honesty, I didn’t bother to look to see where my blog now sits or even to see if it is still on the list at all.

The day the list came out, I was shocked and thrilled to find my blog on it, and while the list was still fresh and not attacked by darts, my blog was always in the top 50 somewhere. Three days into it, I don’t know what the hell happened and I could no longer stand to watch the proceedings. You can become totally convinced that you have enemies online when you see any list that rates and scores your website on an hourly basis.

My enemy may be nothing more than competition, or campaigns to move other blogs upwards, but by then, as Seth points out, what started out as his intent to point to undernoticed blogs that he chose has been exploited as a new sort of competition, where anyone can play and anyone can ruin the party.

He’s toying with shutting it down. I don’t blame him for that.

It’s not that lists are bad. It’s that they’re sometimes exploited or marketed in ways that create an unintended result, or even cause harm. I LOVE to point to site discoveries and cheer on good works. They deserve the praise and recognition. I attach to their feed. In some cases, I refer them to clients or friends to friends. It’s natural. Not forced. My choice.

I have control over my approach, however. When Seth created his list, it may have been a smooth idea to help show people what a Squidoo looks like. Nothing wrong with that. He gave control of that list to other people, however, and by doing that, all sorts of negative human responses to opportunity took over. It’s natural to want to see your favorite blog move up, but somebody else’s must come down. It’s no longer “Seth’s choices” at this point. I’m not even sure the list ever was.

I don’t want to know whatever happened to my blog on his list. Getting on a Seth list at all was major cool. I danced around the living room and blabbed about it to a family who has no freaking clue who Seth is, nor do they care.

I bet there are days when he wishes more people felt that way sometimes.

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Kim Krause Berg’s long background in web design, SEO and usability includes software application functional and user interface testing, accessibility, information architecture and persuasive design. She shared her passion for Usability and SEO through her site and private consulting at Cre8pc for 17 years. Kim founded Cre8asiteforums in 1998. In the fall of 2012 she sold her forums to Internet Marketing Ninjas and retired from private consulting to join their Executive Management team where she continues her work in usability testing, customer experience and conversions design.

My Online Course: Web Site Usability 101


American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T)

Information Architecture Institute

Usability Professionals Association (UPA)