Technorati 100 Here Today Gone Tomorrow

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
Boing Boing 1 1
InstaPundit 2 12
Daily Kos 3 5
Gizmodo 4 9
Fark 5 23
EnGadget 6 2
Davenetics 7  
Eschaton 8 36
Dooce 9 15
Andrew Sullivan 10 51
The Best Page In The Universe 11 52
Talking Points Memo: by Joshua MicahMarshall 12 26
lgf: anti-idiotarian 13 35
kottke.org 14 21
WIL WHEATON DOT NET 15  
Metafilter 16 47
Doc Searls 17 92
(In)formacao e (In)utilidade 18  
Wonkette 19 25
Scripting News 20 95
Power Line 21 33
Balmasque 22  
Corante 23  
A list Apart 24 17
Something Awful 25 44
Megatokyo 26  
Michelle Malkin 27 10
Arts and Letters Daily 28  
Gawker 29 19
Afterall it was the best I ever had 30  
The Volokh Conspiracy 31 74
Scobelizer 32 34
Jeffrey Zeldman 33  
This Modern World 34  
The Web Standards Project 35 57
Joel on Software 36 39
Media Matters for America 37  
Television without pity 38  
Kuro5hin 39  
Lileks 40  
Hugh Hewitt 41 55
Joel Veitch 42  
Truthout 43  
Baghdad Burning 44  
Buzz machine 45 60
fleugel 46  
Informed Comment 47 93
Doppler: redefining podcasting 48  
geek and proud 49  
loadmemory (Asian site) 50  
Photojunkie 51  
Ross Rader 52  
The Truth Laid Bear 53  
Joi Ito 54  
ScrappleFace 55  
LexText 56  
Google Blog 57 8
Xbox 58  
My life in a Bush of Ghosts 59  
Astronomy picture of the day 60  
Crooked Timber 61  
Vodka Pundit 62  
Captain’s quarter 63 70
A small victory 64  
Gato Fedorento 65  
Mezzoblue 66  
PostSecret 67 4
Samizdata.net 68  
Lawrence Lessig 69  
Counterpunch 70  
Democractic Underground 71  
Right Wing News 72  
StopDesign 73  
iBiblio 74  
Samizdata.net (mistake?) 75  
Abrupto 76  
gene7299 (Asian MSNSpaces site) 77  
Where is Raed 78  
B3TA: We love the web 79  
Talkleft 80  
Wizbang 81  
m1net (MSN spaces site) 82  
Hoder 83  
CTRL+Alt+Del 84  
Brad DeLong 85  
Blogs for Bush 86  
Neil Gaiman 87  
Gothamist 88 85
Thought Mechanics 89 7
IMAO 90  
Dan Gillmor (old weblog) 91  
HINAGATA 92  
Dean’s World 93  
Defamer 94 53
USS Clueless 95  
Dive into Mark 96  
Pandagon 97  
Blogging.la 98  
Why are you worshipping the ground I blog on? 99  
Daring Fireball 100  

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
1 Boing Boing 1
2 Engadget 6
3 File Lodge  
4 PostSecret 67
5 Daily Kos 3
6 The Huffington Post  
7 Thought Mechanics 89
8 Official Google Blog 57
9 Gizmodo 4
10 Michelle Malkin 27
11 Blog di Beppe Grillo  
12 Instapundit 2
13 Crooks and Liars  
14 Lifehacker  
15 dooce 9
16 Herramientas para Blogs  
17 A List Apart 24
18 Think Progress  
19 Gawker 29
20 MSN-SA (MSN Spaces)  
21 kottke.org 14
22 shiraishi.seesaa.net  
23 Fark 5
24 AV Watch Title Page  
25 Wonkette 19
26 Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall 12
27 The Space Craft  
28 Joystiq  
29 The Superficial  
30 TechCrunch  
31 Weebls Stuff News  
32 manabekawori (Japanese)  
33 Power Line 21
34 Scobleizer 32
35 lgf 13
36 Eschaton 8
37 Autoblog China  
38 Google Blogoscoped  
39 Joel on Software 36
40 Xiaxue  
41 AMERICAblog  
42 atnewz.jp  
43 WRETCH Blog  
44 Something Awful 25
45 nosz50j  
46 Overheard in New York  
47 Metafilter 16
48 Cute Overload  
49 Paul Graham  
50 The Unofficial Apple Weblog  
51 Andrew Sullivan 10
52 The Best Page In The Universe. 11
53 Defamer 94
54 Mark’s Sysinternals Blog  
55 Hugh Hewitt 41
56 Techdirt.  
57 The Web Standards Project 35
58 Stuff On My Cat  
59 Om Malik
60 BuzzMachine 45
61 Break.com  
62 Dr Dave  
63 Pink Is The New Blog  
64 Microsiervos  
65 Signal vs. Noise (by 37signals)  
66 Micro Persuasion  
67 Blogcritics.org  
68 Poynter Online  
69 excite.co.jp/News/odd  
70 Captain’s Quarters 63
71 MAKE: Blog  
72 Aamukaste  
73 John Battelle  
74 The Volokh Conspiracy 31
75 TPMCafe  
76 dumpalink.com  
77 iammew  
78 Seth Godin  
79 hcy521  
80 Search Engine Watch  
81 The Corner on National Review Online  
82 toothpaste for dinner  
83 aki09041  
84 slim  
85 Gothamist 88
86 strawberry2  
87 Autoblog  
88 VG Cats  
89 Yarn Harlot  
90 BILDblog  
91 Ain’t It Cool News
92 The Doc Searls Weblog 17
93 Informed Comment 47
94 Rather Good  
95 Scripting News 20
96 Semiologic  
97 we make money not art  
98 waiterrant.net  
99 atsuya furuta  
100 Treehugger  

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.

Boing Boing: King of the blogosphere

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.

The movers and shakers

In this new list, 9 blogs successfully moved up in the last 9 months. They are:

  • EnGadget (from 6 to 2)
  • Post Secret (67 to 4)
  • Thought Mechanics (89 to 7)
  • Google official blog (57 to 8)
  • Michelle Malkin (27 to 10)
  • A list apart (24 to 17)
  • Gawker (29 to 19)
  • Defamer (94 to 53)
  • Gothamist (88 to 85)

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:

Top 10 5
Top 25 7
Top 50 7
Bottom 10  
Bottom 25 1
Bottom 50 2

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.

The endangered list

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:

  • Daily Kos (from 3 to 5)
  • Gizmodo (4 to 9)
  • Instapundit (2 to 12)
  • Dooce (9 to 15)
  • Kottke (14 to 21)
  • Fark (5 to 23)
  • Wonkette (19 to 25)
  • Talking Points Memo (12 to 26)
  • Powerline (21 to 33)
  • Scobelizer (32 to 34)
  • LGF (13 to 35)
  • Eschaton (8 to 36)
  • Joel On Software (36 to 39)
  • Something Awful (25 to 44)
  • Metafilter (16 to 47)
  • Andrew Sullivan (10 to 51)
  • Best Page in the Universe (11 to 52)
  • Hugh Hewitt (41 to 55)
  • Web Standard Project (35 to 57)
  • Buzz Machine (45 to 60)
  • Captain’s Quarter (63 to 70)
  • The Volokh conspiracy (31 to 74)
  • Doc Searls (17 to 92)
  • Informed Comment (47 to 93)
  • Scripting News (20 to 95)

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:

Top 10 2
To 25 7
Top 50 15
Bottom 10 3
Bottom 25 3
Bottom 50 10

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

A dynamic list

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.

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About the Author

Tristan Louis

Writing and working on the internet since 1993, I've launched 6 companies, of which 2 (internet.com and Earthweb) went public and two were sold (Net Quotient and MoveableMedia). My latest, Keepskor provides tools allowing anyone to develop mobile and connected TV games without writing a line of code. This is my personal site and all opinions here are mine.