Measuring the Techmeme Lederboard and what the stats suggest

Louis Gray has a good post looking at the past six months of the Techmeme lederboard and which sites have grown in reach as others have faltered. His analysis of the big blogging sites and their increase in percentage of lead storiesTechCrunch in particular–is interesting, as is his noting how “big media” aka and “blogging/indie media” aka GigaOm, intersect.
One thing Louis doesn’t examine that I’d like to see him add to this review is the growth–or shrinkage–in reach of some of the solo bloggers–both the ones he calls out like Mathew Ingram, Robert Scoble, Steve Rubel and Steven Hodson, and others who provide more reflection and commentary and less breaking news (yeah, like this blog).
The interest there would be to see how the solo blogger’s focus and reach fares as the blog networks get stronger–as online media increasingly fragments, it’s as interesting to watch the people in the middle as the ones at the top–at a certain point, the behaviors around who’s at the top–and how they scale up–become increasingly predictable. It would be neat to note, however, if that second and third tier get more traffic and reach–or less-because of their association with the big guy’s stories.
Looking at VentureBeat’s rise in the Techmeme stats as they’re fueled by investment dollars suggests a resources=traffic correlation that is worth checking further.
I’d also like to know how much of the big blogging networks traffic is being bought and how much is truly viral or organic. Are TechCrunch, GigaOm, and others seeding their traffic with SEM search terms? And if not, are the big media players going that route? Techmeme doesn’t account for marketing, only linking, and yet reader acquisition is always a factor that has to be in play.