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 TitlePosition 5/19/05Position 2/20/06
Boing Boing11
InstaPundit212
Daily Kos35
Gizmodo49
Fark523
EnGadget62
Davenetics7 
Eschaton836
Dooce915
Andrew Sullivan1051
The Best Page In The Universe1152
Talking Points Memo: by Joshua MicahMarshall 1226
lgf: anti-idiotarian1335
kottke.org1421
WIL WHEATON DOT NET15 
Metafilter1647
Doc Searls1792
(In)formacao e (In)utilidade18 
Wonkette1925
Scripting News2095
Power Line2133
Balmasque22 
Corante23 
A list Apart2417
Something Awful2544
Megatokyo26 
Michelle Malkin2710
Arts and Letters Daily28 
Gawker2919
Afterall it was the best I ever had30 
The Volokh Conspiracy3174
Scobelizer3234
Jeffrey Zeldman33 
This Modern World34 
The Web Standards Project3557
Joel on Software3639
Media Matters for America37 
Television without pity38 
Kuro5hin39 
Lileks40 
Hugh Hewitt4155
Joel Veitch42 
Truthout43 
Baghdad Burning44 
Buzz machine4560
fleugel46 
Informed Comment4793
Doppler: redefining podcasting48 
geek and proud49 
loadmemory (Asian site)50 
Photojunkie51 
Ross Rader52 
The Truth Laid Bear53 
Joi Ito54 
ScrappleFace55 
LexText56 
Google Blog578
Xbox58 
My life in a Bush of Ghosts59 
Astronomy picture of the day60 
Crooked Timber61 
Vodka Pundit62 
Captain’s quarter6370
A small victory64 
Gato Fedorento65 
Mezzoblue66 
PostSecret674
Samizdata.net68 
Lawrence Lessig69 
Counterpunch70 
Democractic Underground71 
Right Wing News72 
StopDesign73 
iBiblio74 
Samizdata.net (mistake?)75 
Abrupto76 
gene7299 (Asian MSNSpaces site)77 
Where is Raed78 
B3TA: We love the web79 
Talkleft80 
Wizbang81 
m1net (MSN spaces site)82 
Hoder83 
CTRL+Alt+Del84 
Brad DeLong85 
Blogs for Bush86 
Neil Gaiman87 
Gothamist8885
Thought Mechanics897
IMAO90 
Dan Gillmor (old weblog)91 
HINAGATA92 
Dean’s World93 
Defamer9453
USS Clueless95 
Dive into Mark96 
Pandagon97 
Blogging.la98 
Why are you worshipping the ground I blog on?99 
Daring Fireball100 

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 2/20/06NamePosition on 5/19/05
1Boing Boing1
2Engadget6
3File Lodge 
4PostSecret67
5Daily Kos3
6The Huffington Post 
7Thought Mechanics89
8Official Google Blog57
9Gizmodo4
10Michelle Malkin27
11Blog di Beppe Grillo 
12Instapundit2
13Crooks and Liars 
14Lifehacker 
15dooce9
16Herramientas para Blogs 
17A List Apart24
18Think Progress 
19Gawker29
20MSN-SA (MSN Spaces) 
21kottke.org14
22shiraishi.seesaa.net 
23Fark5
24AV Watch Title Page 
25Wonkette19
26Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall12
27The Space Craft 
28Joystiq 
29The Superficial 
30TechCrunch 
31Weebls Stuff News 
32manabekawori (Japanese) 
33Power Line21
34Scobleizer32
35lgf13
36Eschaton8
37Autoblog China 
38Google Blogoscoped 
39Joel on Software36
40Xiaxue 
41AMERICAblog 
42atnewz.jp 
43WRETCH Blog 
44Something Awful25
45nosz50j 
46Overheard in New York 
47Metafilter16
48Cute Overload 
49Paul Graham 
50The Unofficial Apple Weblog 
51Andrew Sullivan10
52The Best Page In The Universe.11
53Defamer94
54Mark’s Sysinternals Blog 
55Hugh Hewitt41
56Techdirt. 
57The Web Standards Project35
58Stuff On My Cat 
59Om Malik
60BuzzMachine45
61Break.com 
62Dr Dave 
63Pink Is The New Blog 
64Microsiervos 
65Signal vs. Noise (by 37signals) 
66Micro Persuasion 
67Blogcritics.org 
68Poynter Online 
69excite.co.jp/News/odd 
70Captain’s Quarters63
71MAKE: Blog 
72Aamukaste 
73John Battelle 
74The Volokh Conspiracy31
75TPMCafe 
76dumpalink.com 
77iammew 
78Seth Godin 
79hcy521 
80Search Engine Watch 
81The Corner on National Review Online 
82toothpaste for dinner 
83aki09041 
84slim 
85Gothamist88
86strawberry2 
87Autoblog 
88VG Cats 
89Yarn Harlot 
90BILDblog 
91Ain’t It Cool News
92The Doc Searls Weblog17
93Informed Comment47
94Rather Good 
95Scripting News20
96Semiologic 
97we make money not art 
98waiterrant.net 
99atsuya furuta 
100Treehugger 

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 105
Top 257
Top 507
Bottom 10 
Bottom 251
Bottom 502

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 102
To 257
Top 5015
Bottom 103
Bottom 253
Bottom 5010

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 101
From top 255
From top 5020
From bottom 5045
From bottom 2522
From bottom: 109

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.

Previous Post
The New Gatekeepers
Next Post
Fatherhood
Menu