While smart web developers figured out early on that affiliate programs and link exchange were smart marketing. Bloggers have taken it a step further with blogrolls or lists of links as a form of "currency". Following a trackback, I found this post by mac software developer Rainer Brockerhoff at his blog billed as a "Stochastic Aleatory Ontological Expostulations". It appears that he sees links as a form of Whuffie, "hey 'huckleberry thats a mighty large blogroll your hefting theya". His large list of links gets him a ranking of 108th most prolific linkers at The Blogging Ecosystem.
To borrow from wordsmith Tim Oren at Due Diligence: I am not sure if blogrolls are "fungible". Meaning it is not a goods or commodities that is freely exchangeable. Really anyone could just take an entire top 500 (of 101,617) links and blogrol them onto a page. This would likely build some traffic. But to me when I scope a blogs 'linkum, I expect it to have some relevance to the content. I especially like when they categorize or define the hyperlinks. My blogroll is a small list of blogs that I regularly visit and that seem to share some of the interests that I have. Then again I do not spend much time in the "social blogoshpere" that teens munge about in, with blog titles like "my sucky life", and posts like "I am having my period today." These blogrolls tend to be links of their friends who have blogs, a smaller network of buddies. While, I try not to blog about blogging as too many sites exercise this masturbatory behavior, I think the idea of social networking and it's complex application in the blogosphere is worthy of study. Check out this cool graph and indepth study from Ross Mayfield's Blog. [UPDATE: Also see Technorati's David Sifrey's archived post about this.]