://URLFAN is an indexing service which ranks websites by popularity, based on blog mentions. It's been around for a while, but we think it's reached the point now where it's a very useful tool to measure influence on the Internet. ://URLFAN is similar to Alexa and its measurement of popularity is reminiscent of Google's PageRank. ://URLFAN also has similarities to Technorati, except that instead of indexing just blogs - ://URLFAN indexes all websites.
://URLFAN states that it parses "the millions of blog posts that are generated everyday, literally counting every mention of every website we come across." It claims to filter out spam, broken links, and "other various material" in order to come up with its rankings. As of right now, it claims to have ranked the popularity of 3,783,534 websites by parsing 124,732,102 blog posts from 2,068,929 blog feeds. Here is the top 10 currently:
The entire top 100 is listed here. Where the comparisons to Alexa and Google fall down is that ://URLFAN doesn't measure how many people visit a website, only how many blogs mention it. So the resulting ranking list will inevitably be biased towards users of social media and in particular bloggers - which is still a relatively small proportion of the world. So although ://URLFAN states that "unlike Alexa, there is no approximating in our ranking system since we're using concrete data to generate the results", it's also fair to point out that the concrete data they're using is from a small subset of the population.
Still, we do think ://URLFAN is an interesting measure of influence. The social media users of this world are known to be highly influential when it comes to products, opinions and so on. So in that regard ://URLFAN's index is a decent measure of influence and therefore potentially valuable to marketers. We can see for example that Flickr and Twitter are being used a lot by influencers, which is good to know if you want to attract the attention of those people.
In terms of blogs, there are just under 10 independent ones that we counted in the top 100. ReadWriteWeb is one of them, in at #97.
Note: we noticed that many of the websites listed had a big jump in "positive mentions" in October-November, making us think that perhaps ://URLFAN's index increased markedly at that time.
Other independent blogs that make it to the top 100:
- techcrunch.com #25
- engadget.com #28
- boingboing.net #29
- huffingtonpost.com #32
- arstechnica.com #50
- lifehacker.com #63
- dailykos.com #82
- mashable.com #91
This is pretty good company to be in. It must be said too that there are a lot of mainstream newspaper websites in the list, so clearly 'old media' is still pretty influential!