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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 100 Position 5/19/05 Links Sources Link/Source
Boing Boing 1 22532 14623 1.5409
InstaPundit 2 15190 10425 1.4571
Daily Kos 3 15833 9509 1.6651
Gizmodo 4 12278 9259 1.3261
Fark 5 10216 9121 1.1201
EnGadget 6 15051 7869 1.9127
Davenetics 7 7571 7408 1.0220
Eschaton 8 8713 6279 1.3876
Dooce 9 6797 5990 1.1347
Andrew Sullivan 10 7680 5916 1.2982
The Best Page In The Universe 11 6333 5603 1.1303
Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall 12 7592 5581 1.3603
lgf: anti-idiotarian 13 8275 5514 1.5007
kottke.org 14 7278 5483 1.3274
WIL WHEATON DOT NET 15 6314 5368 1.1762
Metafilter 16 7591 5086 1.4925
Doc Searls 17 5690 4947 1.1502
(In)formacae (In)utilidade 18 6040 4934 1.2242
Wonkette 19 5877 4761 1.2344
Scripting News 20 5728 4671 1.2263
Power Line 21 7477 4567 1.6372
Balmasque 22 4544 4504 1.0089
Corante 23 7686 3949 1.9463
A list Apart 24 5536 3946 1.4029
Something Awful 25 4512 3869 1.1662
Megatokyo 26 4154 3828 1.0852
Michelle Malkin 27 6091 3594 1.6948
Arts and Letters Daily 28 3983 3588 1.1101
Gawker 29 4453 3557 1.2519
Afterall it was the best I ever had 30 3591 3517 1.0210
The Volokh Conspiracy 31 5873 3513 1.6718
Scobelizer 32 5524 3429 1.6110
Jeffrey Zeldman 33 4134 3381 1.2227
This Modern World 34 3913 3364 1.1632
The Web Standards Project 35 3810 3281 1.1612
Joel on Software 36 4514 3279 1.3766
Media Matters for America 37 6809 3205 2.1245
Television without pity 38 3859 3193 1.2086
Kuro5hin 39 4208 3135 1.3423
Lileks 40 3824 3118 1.2264
Hugh Hewitt 41 4573 3107 1.4718
Joel Veitch 42 3774 3061 1.2329
Truthout 43 6528 3023 2.1594
Baghdad Burning 44 3519 2985 1.1789
Buzz machine 45 4145 2971 1.3952
fleugel 46 3670 2919 1.2573
Informed Comment 47 3905 2887 1.3526
Doppler: redefining podcasting 48 3040 2848 1.0674
geek and proud 49 3166 2835 1.1168
loadmemory (Asian site) 50 3324 2822 1.1779
Photojunkie 51 2860 2807 1.0189
Ross Rader 52 2976 2736 1.0877
The Truth Laid Bear 53 4127 2735 1.5090
Joi Ito 54 5165 2671 1.9337
ScrappleFace 55 3480 2609 1.3338
LexText 56 2671 2577 1.0365
Google Blog 57 3688 2551 1.4457
Xbox 58 4221 2545 1.6585
My life in a Bush of Ghosts 59 2519 2515 1.0016
Astronomy picture of the day 60 3498 2511 1.3931
Crooked Timber 61 3617 2508 1.4422
Vodka Pundit 62 3085 2358 1.3083
Captain’s quarter 63 3671 2357 1.5575
A small victory 64 3223 2344 1.3750
Gato Fedorento 65 2574 2340 1.1000
Mezzoblue 66 2952 2316 1.2746
PostSecret 67 2707 2310 1.1719
Samizdata.net 68 2872 2270 1.2652
Lawrence Lessig 69 2949 2243 1.3148
Counterpunch 70 3278 2234 1.4673
Democractic Underground 71 3913 2229 1.7555
Right Wing News 72 2967 2215 1.3395
StopDesign 73 3037 2210 1.3742
iBiblio 74 3105 2206 1.4075
Samizdata.net (mistake?) 75 2743 2198 1.2480
Abrupto 76 2935 2186 1.3426
gene7299 (Asian MSNSpaces site) 77 3215 2169 1.4822
Where is Raed 78 2409 2166 1.1122
B3TA: We love the web 79 2614 2140 1.2215
Talkleft 80 2901 2139 1.3562
Wizbang 81 3358 2128 1.5780
m1net (MSN spaces site) 82 3548 2117 1.6760
Hoder 83 5422 2110 2.5697
CTRL+Alt+Del 84 2315 2075 1.1157
Brad DeLong 85 2715 2069 1.3122
Blogs for Bush 86 3560 2036 1.7485
Neil Gaiman 87 2194 2027 1.0824
Gothamist 88 2729 2011 1.3570
Thought Mechanics 89 2197 2010 1.0930
IMAO 90 2905 2006 1.4482
Dan Gillmor (old weblog) 91 2600 2000 1.3000
HINAGATA 92 2186 1978 1.1052
Dean’s World 93 2985 1970 1.5152
Defamer 94 2372 1948 1.2177
USS Clueless 95 2570 1941 1.3241
Dive into Mark 96 2540 1910 1.3298
Pandagon 97 2822 1909 1.4783
Blogging.la 98 3061 1906 1.6060
Why are you worshipping the ground I blog on? 99 2238 1887 1.1860
Daring Fireball 100 2573 1879 1.3693
Total 479580 350934 1.3628
Average 4795.8 3509.34 1.3628
Median 3679.5 2814.5 1.3267

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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1 Comment. Leave new

I’ve been following some of your posts detailing your technorati data mining efforts, and I must say that it was interesting to say the least. I guess a lot more of what you’ve done by hand can be automated by using Technorati’s API and running a few scripts on cron. That way, one can even mine data on a daily basis around a few topical themes to do some trend analysis etc ….

Anyway, nice reading.

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