Adding information by linking (and avoiding corporate caffeine)
by Bob DuCharme
The Starbucks Delocator is an accumulating database of non-corporate coffee shops. Like many, I've been annoyed by Starbucks at times and too happy to find one other times (for example, in the middle of nowhere in either Indiana or Ohio on a very hot day while driving to the Dayton airport after the U.S. Grand Prix in Indianapolis). Now, assuming I have some connectivity, I can find good alternatives more easily. Enter a zip code to find coffee shops, or add one yourself.
From a linking point of view, it's an interesting site
because the people at href='http://www.finishing-school.net/'>Finishing School who
assembled it wanted to avoid the expensive, litigious wrath of a
multinational company, so while they named the site "Starbucks
Delocator," their URL and homepage never mention Starbucks. Carrie
McLaren, a reader of Brooklyn's Stay Free Daily, had a nice idea, and
posted a comment on a weblog entry about the delocator to encourage
people to link to the http://www.delocator.net URL with "Starbucks
Delocator" as a link anchor.
It's paying off a little; a recent Technorati search for "Starbucks" found a mention of the Starbucks Delocator at number 4. It's got a way to go in Google, although the number 3 Google hit (and number 2 in Yahoo) is http://www.ihatestarbucks.com.
This is quite a concrete example of how linking can add information: the links that Carrie, this weblog entry here, and others create help to show that a site that doesn't mention Starbucks in its URL or homepage is all about Starbucks. It also demonstrates the increasing importance of the indexes at popular search engines as link metadata.
If you find yourself in an unfamiliar town and prefer your coffee shops more individualized, or if you want to let people with similar sympathies know about coffee shops that they might prefer, check it out, and link to the Starbucks Delocator. (Finishing School has some other interesting projects as well.)