The Neighbourhood

Why is it that when you create a blog on one of the popular hosting sites, it already has a reputation even when it’s brand new? And why are the reputations clearly bad in some categories? It’s because the neighbourhood where you host your new blog also affects its reputation.

Earlier, I discussed how reputations traverse the domain hierarchy. This is exactly what happens here. Your blogging service hosts a huge number of blogs under the same domain, all of which might not be exactly trustworthy. In fact, many of them could be just spam. In our system, the reputations of these thousands of neighbouring blogs affect the reputation of the parent domain your hosting service reserves for its users. And when you create a new blog under one of these domains, it initially inherits the parent’s reputation.

Reputations for blog hosting domains

In the figure above (see larger) you can see a snapshot of the reputations for some of the popular blog hosting domains. These reputations can be seen as an indication on how the average reader initially views a previously unknown blog. Without any past knowledge of contents or quality, the reader will derive her expectations from earlier experiences with nearby blogs. Obviously, the more popular a hosting service becomes, the more questionable content tends to end up there.

This behaviour in WOT was modelled after the real life. In the physical world you are constantly reminded of your surroundings. It’s likely that you’ll trust a business located in a good neighbourhood far more than a one in the shady part of town.

Therefore, until we have enough distinct information about your blog, the reputations of all the other blogs under the same domain will continue to contribute to your reputation. Only once we have enough reliable testimonies, we can ignore your neighbourhood. Of course, the best way to avoid this initial prejudice is to register your own domain and host your blog there.

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