Secrets of the A-List Bloggers: Technorati Links

So, last week, I took a look at the size of entries and number of entries among A list bloggers. However, many have pointed out that the real secret of the A list bloggers was in the linking. I decided to take that as a challenge and attempted to draw some of the vast amount of cut and paste power of the TNL.net engine to get to the bottom of this linking issue. In this entry, I will take a look at Technorati linking and try to get a better idea of what we mean when we’re talking about links as the secret of the A list bloggers.

The first thing was to get a solid list of data I could analyze. So I decided to grab the data for May 19th and it looked like this:

Technorati Top 100Position 5/19/05LinksSourcesLink/Source
Boing Boing122532146231.5409
InstaPundit215190104251.4571
Daily Kos31583395091.6651
Gizmodo41227892591.3261
Fark51021691211.1201
EnGadget61505178691.9127
Davenetics7757174081.0220
Eschaton8871362791.3876
Dooce9679759901.1347
Andrew Sullivan10768059161.2982
The Best Page In The Universe11633356031.1303
Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall12759255811.3603
lgf: anti-idiotarian13827555141.5007
kottke.org14727854831.3274
WIL WHEATON DOT NET15631453681.1762
Metafilter16759150861.4925
Doc Searls17569049471.1502
(In)formacae (In)utilidade18604049341.2242
Wonkette19587747611.2344
Scripting News20572846711.2263
Power Line21747745671.6372
Balmasque22454445041.0089
Corante23768639491.9463
A list Apart24553639461.4029
Something Awful25451238691.1662
Megatokyo26415438281.0852
Michelle Malkin27609135941.6948
Arts and Letters Daily28398335881.1101
Gawker29445335571.2519
Afterall it was the best I ever had30359135171.0210
The Volokh Conspiracy31587335131.6718
Scobelizer32552434291.6110
Jeffrey Zeldman33413433811.2227
This Modern World34391333641.1632
The Web Standards Project35381032811.1612
Joel on Software36451432791.3766
Media Matters for America37680932052.1245
Television without pity38385931931.2086
Kuro5hin39420831351.3423
Lileks40382431181.2264
Hugh Hewitt41457331071.4718
Joel Veitch42377430611.2329
Truthout43652830232.1594
Baghdad Burning44351929851.1789
Buzz machine45414529711.3952
fleugel46367029191.2573
Informed Comment47390528871.3526
Doppler: redefining podcasting48304028481.0674
geek and proud49316628351.1168
loadmemory (Asian site)50332428221.1779
Photojunkie51286028071.0189
Ross Rader52297627361.0877
The Truth Laid Bear53412727351.5090
Joi Ito54516526711.9337
ScrappleFace55348026091.3338
LexText56267125771.0365
Google Blog57368825511.4457
Xbox58422125451.6585
My life in a Bush of Ghosts59251925151.0016
Astronomy picture of the day60349825111.3931
Crooked Timber61361725081.4422
Vodka Pundit62308523581.3083
Captain’s quarter63367123571.5575
A small victory64322323441.3750
Gato Fedorento65257423401.1000
Mezzoblue66295223161.2746
PostSecret67270723101.1719
Samizdata.net68287222701.2652
Lawrence Lessig69294922431.3148
Counterpunch70327822341.4673
Democractic Underground71391322291.7555
Right Wing News72296722151.3395
StopDesign73303722101.3742
iBiblio74310522061.4075
Samizdata.net (mistake?)75274321981.2480
Abrupto76293521861.3426
gene7299 (Asian MSNSpaces site)77321521691.4822
Where is Raed78240921661.1122
B3TA: We love the web79261421401.2215
Talkleft80290121391.3562
Wizbang81335821281.5780
m1net (MSN spaces site)82354821171.6760
Hoder83542221102.5697
CTRL+Alt+Del84231520751.1157
Brad DeLong85271520691.3122
Blogs for Bush86356020361.7485
Neil Gaiman87219420271.0824
Gothamist88272920111.3570
Thought Mechanics89219720101.0930
IMAO90290520061.4482
Dan Gillmor (old weblog)91260020001.3000
HINAGATA92218619781.1052
Dean’s World93298519701.5152
Defamer94237219481.2177
USS Clueless95257019411.3241
Dive into Mark96254019101.3298
Pandagon97282219091.4783
Blogging.la98306119061.6060
Why are you worshipping the ground I blog on?99223818871.1860
Daring Fireball100257318791.3693
Total4795803509341.3628
Average4795.83509.341.3628
Median3679.52814.51.3267

Nothing particularly revealing here, as the data shows things that we already knew. First of all, the top blogs end up getting a lot of links. This is hardly news and it’s clear that the Technorati 100 follow a standard long tail approach. in fact, it’s almost amazing how the data lines up. When you look at the number of sources, you end up with a long tail graph:

Technorati Sources

Technorati Sources – Original research from TNL.net

However, when you start looking at the links, things get a little funkier. You still get a power law but less so, it seems:

Technorati Links

Technorati links power law? From TNL.net

Basically, the tail doesn’t seem to work. Which brings up an interesting question: is there a power law in averages across the board? Are the top blogs getting more links from the same sources on average or do they get around the same amount of links, just from more sources? To answer that, I decided to graph the amount of links per site. It looked like this:

technorati links per source

technorati links per source

What I find fascinating, is that the A list bloggers, on average do not seem to receive more links from the same sites. They just receive links from more sites. In fact, there seems to be a relative consistency across the board in terms of links per source. If you look back at the chart, you will notice I calculated a few extra values about the set. Your average A list blogger gets about 1.36 links from each source that links to it. However, what’s more interesting is that if you consider the whole set, the median for those top 100 bloggers is 1.33 links per source. So from there we can conclude that the average site links 1.3 time to another blog. In case the A list bloggers, they just happen to be receiving links from more sites (at least as far as Technorati sees the world!)

The clear strategy here is that if you want to climb into the esteemed A-list, you need to get more sites to link to your blog. If you have the same sites linking to your blog on a regular basis, you won’t make it there. This means that the blog world, in a way, is no different from the real world in terms of how popularity is built: one person at a time. However, it could also bring some interesting new insight for bloggers who seek to dominate a niche: it could be argued that niche blogging will get you only so far. If the power laws hold true to niches (and it seems they do), then there is only room for a few people at the top… and if your niche is not one with lots of people in it, forget becoming famous beyond that little niche.

But what does that mean in terms of the wider world? Should we really trust the Technorati numbers? What is the impact of this information? How does this compare to traditional media? Well, that (and more), dear reader, is a subject for future entries so stay tuned to the Secrets of the A-List blogger series for more.

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