Based on the recent discussion about new gatekeepers, I recently wondered whether we were just deluding ourselves in thinking that there were gatekeepers. What provoked this line of thinking was a recent comment by Doc Searls in which he says that “being an alpha blogger was like being an alpha paramecium.” This pushed me to analyze the rank of move within the Technorati 100. As frequent readers of this blog know, I did a study back in May 2005, in which I analyzed linkage to members of the Technorati 100. Using this data as a point in time, I have now decided to revisit the list and see how much movement happened.
The first thing to do was to map out which of the May 19, 2005 members were still on the list. The results looked like this:
|Blog Title||Position 5/19/05||Position 2/20/06|
|The Best Page In The Universe||11||52|
|Talking Points Memo: by Joshua MicahMarshall||12||26|
|WIL WHEATON DOT NET||15||Â|
|(In)formacao e (In)utilidade||18||Â|
|A list Apart||24||17|
|Arts and Letters Daily||28||Â|
|Afterall it was the best I ever had||30||Â|
|The Volokh Conspiracy||31||74|
|This Modern World||34||Â|
|The Web Standards Project||35||57|
|Joel on Software||36||39|
|Media Matters for America||37||Â|
|Television without pity||38||Â|
|Doppler: redefining podcasting||48||Â|
|geek and proud||49||Â|
|loadmemory (Asian site)||50||Â|
|The Truth Laid Bear||53||Â|
|My life in a Bush of Ghosts||59||Â|
|Astronomy picture of the day||60||Â|
|A small victory||64||Â|
|Right Wing News||72||Â|
|gene7299 (Asian MSNSpaces site)||77||Â|
|Where is Raed||78||Â|
|B3TA: We love the web||79||Â|
|m1net (MSN spaces site)||82||Â|
|Blogs for Bush||86||Â|
|Dan Gillmor (old weblog)||91||Â|
|Dive into Mark||96||Â|
|Why are you worshipping the ground I blog on?||99||Â|
This provided me with a departure point but it wasn’t really getting at what I wanted. Obviously, a fair number of people had changed position. So I decided to take a cut of the same data on the 20th of February and start mapping out movement. It looked as follows:
|Position 2/20/06||Name||Position on 5/19/05|
|6||The Huffington Post||Â|
|8||Official Google Blog||57|
|11||Blog di Beppe Grillo||Â|
|13||Crooks and Liars||Â|
|16||Herramientas para Blogs||Â|
|17||A List Apart||24|
|20||MSN-SA (MSN Spaces)||Â|
|24||AV Watch Title Page||Â|
|26||Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall||12|
|27||The Space Craft||Â|
|31||Weebls Stuff News||Â|
|39||Joel on Software||36|
|46||Overheard in New York||Â|
|50||The Unofficial Apple Weblog||Â|
|52||The Best Page In The Universe.||11|
|54||Mark’s Sysinternals Blog||Â|
|57||The Web Standards Project||35|
|58||Stuff On My Cat||Â|
|63||Pink Is The New Blog||Â|
|65||Signal vs. Noise (by 37signals)||Â|
|74||The Volokh Conspiracy||31|
|80||Search Engine Watch||Â|
|81||The Corner on National Review Online||Â|
|82||toothpaste for dinner||Â|
|91||Ain’t It Cool News|
|92||The Doc Searls Weblog||17|
|97||we make money not art||Â|
This provided me with two points in time: One in May 2005 and one in February 2006, 9 months later. If the theory of gatekeepers held true, the lists should have been pretty consistent.
What the data showed, however, was that the technorati 100 list is a very dynamic one. Let’s take a look at some of the moves.
Only one blog, Boing Boing, manage to hold its position steady in the last 9 months. Sitting at the top spot, it looks like it won’t move for a long time to come.
In this new list, 9 blogs successfully moved up in the last 9 months. They are:
Those were all blogs that appeared on both lists and managed to climb up in the ranks. More surprising, however, was the fact that 65 new bloggers appeared on the list, new claimant to the title of top blogger. A quick analysis seems to point to Asian blogs becoming a major force, one that I personally have not heard much about in discussion of the evolution of the blogosphere. David Sifry’s State of the Blogosphere did not cover any of this type of movement when he did his last overview of the state of the blogosphere. I don’t know if he deliberately decided to ignore the data or whether he did not see it as that important but I consider this a pretty powerful observation. In a world where globalisation is key, the blogosphere has not yet fully grappled with the impact of the Asian Pacific region and there probably will be some interesting discussion around this in the future.
From a legacy standpoint, it also seems that upward moves are not fully distributed across the space. The following table shows how the legacy upward moves were distributed among the population:
So being in the top 50 percentile makes it easier to move up, which would give some credence to a network effect. However, because we are talking about such a small segment of the population, it is impossible to generate any meaningful conclusion from the data.
While 65 blogs already dropped off the list, the 25 following blogs are in danger for the next 9 months as they have suffered a drop in ranking over the last 9 months:
The interesting thing, in terms of that drop is that it seems to affect members across the list as a whole in a similar fashion. A quick analysis of the drop breakdown shows no clear advantage in being near the top of the list versus being closer to the bottom:
More interesting is that this number is low compared to the blogs which disappeared completely from the top 100. That number stands at 65 and breaks down as follows:
|From top 10||1|
|From top 25||5|
|From top 50||20|
|From bottom 50||45|
|From bottom 25||22|
|From bottom: 10||9|
If you take those numbers, it means that a total of 90 blogs (25 dropping within the list and another 65 dropping off the list completely) ended up with a lower position in 9 months. Combined with the fact that 9 blogs moved up, this means that 99 percent of the list was dynamic.
This, to me, was a pretty stunning revelation: while there is much obsession about who is and isn’t on those lists, it seems that their nature is a lot more dynamic than expected. Going beyond that, it also look like being on top is no guarantee that you will stay there (if anything, it is a guarantee that you will not, as 9 out of 10 blogs fell and 65 percent disappeared from the list altogether).
Because the overwhelming majority of the blogs listed in May 2005 experienced a downward spin, it seems that the concept of a network effect is widely overstated. In fact, there seems to be the equivalent of a reverse pull, where being a Technorati 100 is only a short lived glory.
© Tristan Louis 1994-present Some rights reserved.