What’s popular in the blogosphere–at this very second–and why those stats are just plain wrong

Alex Iskold has a piece at Read/Write Web that explores Technorati as a tool for measuring popularity in the blogosphere and then describes what’s popular right now by analyzing the top 50 blogs listed by Technorati.
Reading Alex’s piece, which Richard edited, so many off the mark assumptions leapt out at me, I needed to write this post.
According to Alex, “Tech is the number one focus of popular blogs. Politics is second and pop culture third, which clearly gets a lot of attention both off line and online.”
That’s all fine, but I’d suggest that this is only the case because we’re not in the middle of an election race–and that the minute the Presidential elections–or any other hotly contested political battle-kick in, these stats will flip, big time.
Furthermore, looking at the top blogs misses the singular impact of the long tail and the aggregate value of networks.
While it’s true that that highest common dominator as described by Technorati stats is political, tech/consumer tech and pop culture blogs, I’d argue there’s a significant readship and interest in parenting blogs(mommy blogs in particular), gossip blogs (does pop culture cover that?), erotica and sex blogs, and DIY, crafting and design blogs that Technorati stats–somehow so persistently squewed toward what geeks read–consistently fail to account for.
I bet that if you could compare Technorati stats with Topix and Feedburner stats, for example, you’d get a very different picture of the sum total of what was popular in the blogosphere–and it would be a more accurate view.
(Susan sez: I understand Technorati is measuring links to blogs to derive the top 100, my point is that there are other, more accurate measures writers like Alex should take into consideration–or, put another way, generalizations can be inaccurate.
Interestingly, when I run a search for Mommy blogs on Technorati, I get 388
results back as blog posts, but when I run the same search on Google BlogSearch I get 271,743 results for mommy blogs–Now, I realize that neither one of these is counting very accurately, but it’s a heads up.
And when I typed in
politics blogs on Google BlogSearch, there were 221,295 results (for posts) compared to Technorati’s total of 24,582–the point being, even as I acknowledge the different ways that Technorati and Google Blogsearch compute and present their totals, that Technorati is no longer be presenting the most complete and accurate picture of behavior in the blogosphere–and hasn’t been for a while.)
So Alex’s piece is an interesting exercise in deconstructing Technorati stats–but not the bellweather for blogosphere topics, readers, or even what’s truly popular beyond the eternal top ten –or in this case top 50–list.
I’d value seeing Richard follow up with another analysis of what people are actually reading and writing in the blogosphere across a broader range of categories and then work backwards to tell us what analytical tools are most clearly measuring that behavior–how about it–a true look at where readers–and writers–are putting effort beyond the greatest common denominators.

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  1. Alex iskold says:

    Hi Susan,
    Thanks for commenting on my post. Unfortunately everything is relative in real life and online. That includes measurement tools. It is rather difficult to get “perfect” data.
    To your point about long tail – I agree, but this is not what the post is about. Perhaps we should do another one on the topic.
    Thanks for reading R/WW,

  2. Richard says:

    Hi Susan and thanks for the detailed response. Your suggestion to do a follow-up post is an excellent one, so I will put that on the ‘to do’ list.
    Look forward to catching up when I’m over in the valley again (later this month as it happens).

  3. ClappingTrees says:

    Wow! Susan, what you have written here truly resonates with me. Excellent point: “Technorati is no longer be presenting the most complete and accurate picture of behavior in the blogosphere–and hasn’t been for a while.”
    My personal experience: I have been trying to claim my blog on Technorati for months but to no avail. Mind you, I was merely trying to claim ownership, not even trying to compete with anyone inn any contest. From Technorati’s support forums, one can easily gather that I am not alone. In fact, many others have tried to do likewise and failed.

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