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Monday, Oct. 1, 2007 at 1:12 pm

Techmeme, Technorati — Let’s Blog the Whole Thing Off…

By Robert Gorell
October 1st, 2007

techmeme.jpg

Rank is something we bloggers take very seriously. The problem is, nobody seems to be that good at measuring it — not yet, anyway.

For the past couple years, bloggers have loosely relied on Technorati to do the job, with blogs ranked according to their number of incoming links from unique blogs. For some bloggers, though, that may change now that Techmeme has announced a new feature, Techmeme Leaderboard, that ranks blogs according to how often they appear on, well, Techmeme.

Over at TechCrunch (no relation), Michael Arrington has the scoop:

To be exact, top blogs will be ranked on presence – “the percentage of headline space a source occupies over the 30-day period.” Discussion links are not taken into consideration – only full headlines are counted.

I think this is a much better way of ranking the very top blogs than the Technorati approach. Technorati has deep flaws, for reasons stated above. Techmeme, by contrast, has zero spam and tends to mirror what the tech blogosphere is writing about perfectly.

That may be true, but keep in mind that a Techmeme rank will have limited value outside of the tech world. And how about a few other pros and cons for the two sites…

Technorati

Pros: All blogs treated equally, regardless of focus; rank determined by incoming links; current go-to source for comparing blog popularity (i.e., let’s you know where you stand vis-a-vis other blogs).

Cons: All blogs treated equally, regardless of focus; links from spam blogs and pay-to-link services can distort a blog’s true rank; buggy, and often slow to update.

Techmeme

Pros: Niche focus; real-time indicator of tech/business news stories; threads popular stories, linking to blogs that discuss the primary news source.

Cons: Bias toward tech news; encourages copycat/echo chamber-style blogging (e.g., right now I’m blogging about something a lot of other bloggers have covered); tends to reward popularity over analysis.

Back in August, when a glitch caused Technorati to bestow upon us the coveted #1 spot, I suggested to fellow bloggers that, if rank meant everything

. . . every blogger who’s had even one link documented by Technorati could rejoice more than they already are after being accidentally ranked #1 todaythanks to a glitch.

If rank meant everything, you wouldn’t have to create fresh, original content.

If rank meant everything, blogs wouldn’t be worth reading.

Everyone would be baiting links (like I am).

Like money, when rank means everything, it means nothing.

Do blog readers really care about rank?

Would content by any other number smell as sweet?

Why does a blog’s rank actually matter? Well, there are a few answers. Rank matters to anyone selling ad space on their blog. It’s also directionally interesting since it helps bloggers get a sense of growth. Oh, and there’s that whole “human nature” thing: We’ve been grunting over who’s the biggest and baddest since our days as lesser, knuckle-dragging hominids — which, as geological time goes, wasn’t too long ago.

Any bloggers, tech or otherwise, like to share their thoughts?

Any Techmeme fans ever use Today.GrokDotCom to scoop stories? We do. ;)

[UPDATE: Technorati names Richard Jalichandra as new CEO; Techmeme founder Gabe Rivera explains his new Leaderboard.]

Comments (7)

  1. Technorati has serious problems indexing and ranking (WordPress) blogs. Google does NOT have that problem. Technorati seems like a joke these days, I would not rely on their rankings. My blog has not been updated for 40+ days, and I’m far from alone. I think Technorati will lose their position within a year unless they start to get the basics right.

  2. Lorelle often likes to comment that “…stats don’t matter!”. But I’m not sure I entirely agree…

    I’ve been teaching people HTML (on HTMLHelp.com) literally since it was created. And out of 100 million visits over the past more than a decade, I’d be willing to bet that (and I’m being really conservative here) at least half of those people cared if there were going to be visitors to the sites they were building.

    I’ve had people ask me at least 10,000 times how they can get more traffic to their site. So, I think it’s fair to say that although people may have different reasons – they almost all care about ranking as a measure of how much attention they are getting as compared to the next guy.

    Given that ranking is going to be important, I worry about those who place too much emphasis on it. Especially if they are focusing on just one metric – like Technorati.

    Sure, I keep an eye on my stats (FeedBurner subscribers, Technoratic, PageRank, etc.) but at the end of the day I find it’s more important to obsess over the quality of the articles I put out. Well, that and a little bit of promotion here and there. If you stick to the basics, the traffic will come. I promise.

    John P.

  3. [...] More: Rpbert Gorell, GrokDotCom, Techmeme, Techorati – Let’s Blog The Whole Thing Off… John Whiteside on Web 2.0 and all that jazz, Monkey Business Mike Sansone with some useful stats [...]

  4. As you mention Rank is a double edged sword. You want a solid rank to ensure a certain ‘community status’ but you also want the right kind of links. Rank can be skewed by link-baiting posts, by being sensational or pay per links.

    You not only want Rank, but you need ‘quality’ Rank. You want links from bloggers within your area that are linking to a broad section of your content, not just that one hit post.

    People also use a single metric to evaluate the success of their blog. Multiple metrics should be used. Talking to Jeremiah Owyang, he was adamant that Blog Grade is Not Just One Thing, it isn’t just a single metric. You need to evaluate your blog using a variety of metrics to ensure that you are meeting your goals.

    As you mention a single metric can become valueless, like the Technorati gliche that gave everyone an Authority of 1. It was fun to be number 1 during that time period.

  5. The A-list is dead. Technorati is a joke. TechMeme is limited in its scope. I don’t suggest that rank is not important. I just think, with the advent of social media, particularly (yes, I’m gonna say it) Facebook, the playing field has changed.

    I continue to echo the opinion expressed by Copyblogger Brian Clark in that the real value in blogs at this juncture is that they provide real “value.”

  6. There is a new blog aggregator/ranking site called Social Rank that is initiated by manual peer review. They claim to use an interesting mix of attributes when assigning rank. I wrote a post about it here, at HD BizBlog.

    They are listing posts from about 3,000 blogs in 30 different categories. Is this the future of blog ranking?

  7. [...] recently, he asked again while discussing the Techmeme Leaderboard… so I would to “share my thoughts” as he [...]

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