The Wall Street Journal reports that Technorati is cutting deals that provide some time-based exclusivity on pings. Essentially, Technorati has made agreements whereby they receive pings before any other service. This allows Technorati to have the most up-to-date information relative to its' competitors.
David Sifry, chief executive of Technorati, says his company gets an edge from exclusive deals in which some blog-hosting companies ping Technorati before anyone else.
Business Week mentions it also.
On the Feedmesh list, Bob Wyman posted some thoughts about time-based exclusivity for pings and suffice to say he doesn't like it.
...this means that we’ll see barriers to entry that will remove any hope of new entrants into the space – they won’t be able to afford to buy the pings. Also, we’ll see that whoever is able to buy the most or fastest pings will end up “winning” in the marketplace even if the technical services they provide are inferior. This is not a good thing.
I have no idea how prevalent this practice is with Technorati. One can hardly blame them for trying to get an edge over competing services. However, I am surprised that anyone would agree to such a deal. Technorati's performance has degraded so terribly that the site is now unreliable. One example -- while I was at Barcamp, I noticed my posts would take literally 6 or more hours to show up (yes, I was pinging them and my tags were done correctly). It is more likely that the time-based exclusivity is actually slowing down the distribution of a blog's content, which is not good for any publisher.