declining traffic on Technorati and considered the exit options for this blog vertical search and portal site. The challenge from Google Blogsearch is certainly serious. It is difficult to compete with Google on speed and breadth of the results. But Technorati is more than a search engine for blogs - it is also a directory and a popularity site. In this post, we tap into Technorati to review the current 100 popular blogs. We attempt to understand what is popular in the blogosphere today; and why.Earlier this week Emre wrote about
How Technorati measures popularity
Technorati has a three ways of measuring popularity. Firstly an automated system based on links from other blogs. This is similar to the original Google page rank algorithm, which essentially says that importance of the site equals the number of incoming links. Technorati measures the popularity of the blog by number of incoming links to its posts.
Another measure of popularity is favorites. Each user of Technorati can favorite any blog they like. This can be done via a bookmarklet or directly on Technorati site - for example click here to Favorite Read/WriteWeb ;-).
Finally, recently Technorati introduced a Digg-like way of measuring popularity, called WTF. It lets users vote on blog posts.
Of all the three ways that we described, the automated way is the most robust. The favorited is probably second best because it lets people who visit a blog and get familiar with it, then add it to their Technorati Favorites. The digg-like feature is difficult to take as a measure of goodness, at least for a single post. More time needs to pass before this voting scheme can really kick in and give robust results. So for this post, we will only judge the automated measure - but you can deploy the same technique to analyze rankings by other approaches.
Engadget - the most linked to blog
According to Technorati, Engadget is the top linked-to blog. Technorati counts 428,199 links from 27,289 blogs, while Google Blogsearch counts 179,035 links. Here is the Alexa chart showing Engadget's growing rank over the last five years.
The next chart is the daily page views. We've used Technorati itself as a comparison, because Alexa now normalizes the data and it's not obvious what the number stands for. It appears to be to percentage of the total daily page views tracked by Alexa.
Top 20 blogs
Next we look at the top 20 blogs in Technorati and analyze topics, distribution of links and a relative weight. Incidentally, Read/WriteWeb is (as of this writing) ranked number 42 in Technorati - we've been steadily climbing the charts this year :-)
|Blog||Links from blogs||Topic||Weight|
|http://www.lifehacker.com||12894||Tech Productivity Tips||0.05|
Two gadget blogs hold first and fourth spot. Strickly speaking, the top twenty blogs are dominated by Politics. Note that we classified under Technology fairly different blogs like BoingBoing, TechCrunch and LifeHacker. Still it is no surprise to see politics, technology and gadgets as the three most discussed topics. The Blogosphere is expanding to the masses, but the at the heart of it is technology. Techies love gadgets, so that makes sense too. But politics is actually a natural and non-geeky thing to be discussed on blogs. People want to talk back at the analyists on CNN and so blogs are the perfect way to do this.
I also want to highlight two other blogs in the top twenty. First there is an Art/Mystery blog Post Secret. I am not sure I get it completely, but it seems to be a blog where artists upload postcards that are both art and contain an encoded secret. The second notable blog is http://sethgodin.typepad.com, a blog written by marketing guru Seth Goddin. The blog contains marketing tips and anecdotes and that are not only useful, but also fun to read.
Next we look at the distribution of links, to see if there are interesting patterns.
There are two things to note here. First, the number one blog, Engadget, has significantly more blogs pointing to it than the #2 blog BoingBoing. The second thing is that the differences between the rest of the blogs is about the same (one exception is the dip between the 3rd and 4th blogs). This is remarkable and it implies very close competition. You can also infer this by summing up all the incoming links and then normalizing individual blogs by this factor - this is what we show in the weight column in the Top 20 table above (last column). Doing the weight is useful, because you conclude for example that even though there are 2 gadget blogs and 6 politics blogs, the weight in each category is about the same.
Top 100 blogs
Finally we analyze the topics of the top 100 blogs. Please note that we might have missed a blog or two or classified them differently. Also over 10% of blogs we classified as 'other'. In addition, we have not listed categories with just one blog in them. Neverthless, the chart below should give you insight into what is popular in the blogosphere:
From the chart we can see that 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. The other categories have significantly less blogs representing them in the top 100.
We wrap up this post with another chart, this one from blogpulse:
The data in this chart does not disagree with Technorati (although it does not exactly match). So it seems like the blogosphere is buzzing about Technology, Politics and Pop Culture. And of course, gadgets! Please tell us your favorite topics online, since this is technical blog and it would be great to get non-technical blog pointers.