A year ago we profiled an oddly-named service called ://URLFAN, which we concluded was a good 'Influence Index' for the Web. ://URLFAN ranks websites by popularity, based on blog mentions. Unlike analytics services like Alexa or Compete, ://URLFAN doesn't measure website traffic. It's similar to Technorati, only ://URLFAN ranks all websites and not just blogs.

We noted in our original review that ://URLFAN's ranking list will inevitably be biased towards users of social media - and in particular bloggers. That's a relatively small proportion of the world, however we think it's still a useful index because social media users are highly influential. With that in mind, which websites are currently ranked the most influential on the Web?

://URLFAN is, as we write this, "currently ranking the popularity of 3,783,534 websites by parsing 302,023,552 blog posts from 5,948,937 blog feeds."

The list below is ://URLFAN's all-time top 10. The number in brackets to the right of each item is last year's top 10 ranking (Nov '08).

#1. en.wikipedia.org (1)
#2. youtube.com (3)
#3. flickr.com (2)
#4. twitter.com (9)
#5. google.com (4)
#6. myspace.com (6)
#7. facebook.com (-)
#8. imdb.com (5)
#9. nytimes.com (7)
#10. apple.com (8)

There is one new entrant, Facebook at #7. washingtonpost.com moved out of the top 10, dropping from #10 last year to #12 this year.

Twitter is the biggest mover, up 5 places to #4.

Wikipedia is still the most cited website on the Web, for social media users and bloggers. YouTube and Flickr, two oft-used media sharing services, occupy the next two spots.

Last year we noted that there were 10 independent blogs in the top 100, including ReadWriteWeb. There are the same number this year, with a couple of new entrants. Here is the blog list circa November '09, again with last year's rank bracketed:

#23 techcrunch.com (#25)
#26 huffingtonpost.com (#32)
#33 engadget.com (#28)
#37 boingboing.net (#29)
#39 gizmodo (-)
#41 mashable.com (#91)
#53 arstechnica.com (#50)
#60 lifehacker.com (#63)
#78 readwriteweb.com (#97)
#93 smashing magazine (-)

Finally, what's new at ://URLFEED this year? You guessed it, a Real-Time Web feature! The site has introduced a Real-time Buzz Radar, which tracks buzzwords in the blogosphere. 'Chrome OS' is number 5 on the list currently, on the back of Google's Chrome OS event last week.

://URLFAN isn't a perfect measure of influence - you could easily argue that Google's PageRank is far better. However we continue to like the concept and we believe it's an accurate and up-to-date reflection of influential websites on the Web.