b Papa Dog's Blog: More Fun in an Ersatz Economy

Papa Dog's Blog

A Thing Wherein I Infrequently Write Some Stuff

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

More Fun in an Ersatz Economy

Another thing I’ve been spending time and energy well beyond the limits of reason is Blogshares. If you’ll recall, I posted about it a while back, explaining what I knew of how it worked. Around the time I wrote that post, I did a little dabbling. I signed up and received my initial credit of $500 Blog dollars, the theoretical money used to buy the theoretical stocks. Not having any clue how to go about it properly, I just split the money up buying shares in blogs by people I knew or that I read regularly. Since most of my blog circle (self included) is a fairly obscure lot in the blogosphere, they were all dirt cheap, mostly less than a dollar a share. The one exception was So Close, chronicling the travails of a woman in South Africa expecting IVF twins. She’d had a particularly long and hard road to motherhood and there was a large and communicative network following her progress. Her stock were the most expensive of any blog I followed; they were trading at around $8. I had used up most of my Blog dollars, but on a whim I bought ten shares.

Then I went away and did other things for a few months.

A couple of weeks ago, I abruptly remembered the existence of Blogshares. I don’t know what reminded me. It must have been a slow day at work or something. At any rate, I checked in on my stocks and found that most of the thing I’d bought were unchanged, but So Close was now trading at $879.90 a share! I was sitting on a potential fortune in theoretical money! I knew that the twins had been delivered safely, and figured that the blog was probably at its peak of popularity right then and ready to decline, so I unloaded the ten shares and made myself a 10,000% profit. “Ye gods!” thunk I, “if there were a system like this in the real world, people could make money at it!”

So naturally I’ve been obsessive about it ever since. I took the $8,700ish Blog dollar profit and spread it around, purchasing stock in blogs I thought were undervalued. Of course, every make-believe purchase makes the bogus stock’s phoney price go up, so just the act of buying the pretend shares increases the theoretical value of my fake portfolio. After a number of transactions, I find that while I’m not yet a Master of the Universe, if I actually lived in the blog world I’d soon be wealthy enough that I’d be required to vote Republican. My Blogshares net worth stands right now at $79,996.20. The funny thing is, I still have no clue what I’m doing. There are all sorts of ins and outs to the game, and I haven’t really looked into any of them.

One thing that’s particularly interesting is the statistical idea that Blogshares is meant to test and/or illustrate, the theory of Power Law. In a nutshell, this says that a small subset of the population is always going to have a large share of the resources, whether you’re talking about money, fame, popularity, or net traffic. It’s called the 80/20 Rule – 80% of anything will be concentrated into only 20% of the population. What I find interesting is that these seems to happen in a manner completely divorced from the moral or ideological values we may be tempted to impose upon it. It’s wrong that only 20% of the people should have 80% of the money. But it seems eerily inevitable when you find that 20% of the blogs get 80% of the traffic; 20% of the words in the English language get 80% of the usage; 20% of the people should enjoy 80% of the good oral sex.* I’m sure there are conservative commentators using this to conclude that the gap between rich and poor is just a consequence of natural law, but it’s interesting all the same.

So anyway. I don’t ever expect this faversham to have a Blogshares valuation in the top 20%, but I’m now on a quest to raise its worth to be in at least the top 70% or so. In the Blogshares world, the key to valuation – other than stock transactions – is the number of links that lead to a site. Since they can’t monitor the traffic on every blog on the Internet (and since it would be impractical to do so even if they could), what they do is count incoming and outgoing links. The more links there are to a site (goes the theory), the more traffic it must ipso facto sustain. So if anybody out there has a blog of their own, do a poor obsessive a favour, and add a link to mine. Hide the link if you like - I'm not after more traffic, just more linkage. I know it won’t make my stock Microsoft or Disney or Coca-Cola or even K-Mart – but I’d settle for being, say, Amalgamated Paper Products.
*I don’t actually have a survey to prove that last one, but it stands to reason.


Blogger Brownstein said...

Good god, that may be the saddest thing I've read all day, and I've spent the day reading dumbfucks commenting about matters of law they know nothing about. Get hold of yourself, man.

6:07 PM  
Blogger Ruth said...


I've had a link to your blog on my blog or a while now. I notice you don't have any blog links on your sidebar. You know they count incoming AND outgoing.

6:08 AM  
Blogger ArakSOT said...

"Hide the link if you like - I'm not after more traffic, just more linkage."

This won't get you in trouble with the Blog-SEC? Sounds a little unscrupulous to me.

Stock tip: my favorite blog is www.athleticsnation.com.

9:03 AM  

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