How would you like your text and a link to your blog(s) to show up at the very top of a Technorati search as the #1 result? As shown in the picture to the right, I just did that. If you do a Technorati search on "Michael Keren", with or without quotes around his name, you wind up with a screen like the one I've shown, and right up on top is a peach-ish/tan-ish box with a flame next to it that has a headline, some text and a link to my Technorati profile. I just put that up there a few minutes ago.
It turns out that two days ago, Technorati released a new feature called "WTF", which they are defining as the more "work-safe" acronym of "Where's The Fire?"  Essentially, you can create a "blurb" explaining why there's a "fire" around a certain search term and post it. Other Technorati users can then vote on the blurb and the blurb with the most votes is the one that lands on top of the list. As explained on Technorati:
Ever wonder why something is sooooo popular? Why are the hot topics hot? WTFs explain the buzz around people, things, and events. Who writes these WTFs? You do! Anyone can write one on any topic, and everyone can vote for the best explanations. The ones with the most votes rise up and the dreck sinks. Let millions of other people benefit from your genius… no blog required!
Dave Sifry writes more about the new feature and says this:
Here at Technorati HQ, we know that we're taking a pretty risky step - we're putting our highest-value real estate - the topmost search result - in the hands of our community. This is a big social experiment to see if people will work together to help create something great and useful, and will use the voting system to push up the best explanations to the top.
Indeed they are taking a risk... and the experimentation is great to see. Now let's see how successful it is. I can see the power of it... but I can also see the abuse. Since anyone who is a Technorati user can create WTF blurbs for any search, there is nothing to prevent people from leaving blurbs that are quite negative. For instance, in light of today's economic news, I could (but won't) go leave a blurb on the Exxon Mobil search that says:
Exxon Mobil is a sleazy oil company that announced a quarterly profit of $39.5 billion which works out to a *profit* of $4.5 million dollars *per hour*, while the US Senate is debating whether the minimum wage should be bumped up to $7/hour.
Uh, oh... sounds like yet one more thing that PR and marketing folks need to pay attention to! I'm guessing the PR folks could put a counter-definition up there as a WTF blurb, but then you've got to get the most votes to wind up on the top! (And in today's climate, gee, which one is going to get more votes?) Of course, you could do it for individuals as well. For instance, because Mitch is just way too easy to pick on, I could (but won't) add to the "mitch joel" Technorati search:
Bald black-wearing blogger from "beautiful Montreal" with tons of groupies who raves about Second Life and pronounces "image" a funny way.
I don't know what happens if Mitch then posts a WTF blurb of his own and both have no votes. Does the latest blurb win?
So the question is - will bloggers in search of links go through and populate Technorati with WTF blurbs that might get people to view their Technorati profile and then their blog? Will we see "fights" to determine whose blurb gets on top? How long will it be until unethical people start WTF-spamming to drive links to their profile and blogs?
Interestingly, there doesn't seem to yet be an overly easy way to monitor if there is a "WTF" blurb written for your company... obviously you can look at the page for your search. If there is already at least 1 blurb, you can monitor the URL "www.technorati.com/wtf/<name>", as in http://www.technorati.com/wtf/michael-keren, but it's not clear to me that there is yet an automated way to do this (like an RSS feed).
It will be fascinating to see how people use - and abuse - this system. So the question, if you are a Technorati user, have you written a WTF blurb for the searches that relate to you? Will you do so? Or will you let others... (and no, Mitch, I won't be submitting that one for you!)
 Non-English readers may not realize that "WTF" is also translated in at least American slang as "What The F___?" with the commonly used profanity that sounds a lot like "duck" (as Dan continues to try to keep his blog work-safe).