Those of you who read/subscribe to a lot of blogs will no doubt have seen a number of posts about the Feedster Top500.
The Top500 is Feedster’s take on the Technorati 100, but obviously increasing the number to 500. The cynic in me reckons it’s a clever ploy to create more advocates for the Feedster service – particularly as it looks like Technorati is about to be sold (to Yahoo!, Google or Rupert Murdoch depending on who you read).
Assuming the Technorati 100 also appear in the Feedster 500, Feedster are likely to have 400 new bloggers (top bloggers too) who might just start using and pushing Feedster over Technorati. Smart.
This blog didn’t make the Top 500 – so I won’t be pushing Feedster, lol. In fact according to Feedster I only have 188 in-bound links, and you needed 809 in-bound links to scrape in at #500.
I’m not very popular, you see – but then that makes me exclusive, doesn’t it? You are my exclusive readership. 🙂
Don’t worry, if I ever organise a camping event, I’ll invite you!
The backstage.bbc.co.uk site did make it – in at #315 with 1,148 links. I guess I should be happy as I’m obviously paid to run that blog!
But this is all fluff, isn’t it? What I’m really interested in writing about is how this fits with the Long Tail.
The serious bit
You see apart from Amazon and iTunes, blogging has always cited as a great example of the Long Tail. A place where niche publishing is occurring, etc. Plus we are all being told “There’s money in that there tail!“.
So, given the above, why is everyone pushing the Short Head? I reckon it’s because Technorati and Feedster can’t think of a very good way to representing the Long Tail – despite having the data to do it.
And it just doesn’t make any sense to be perpetuating the Short Head. In doing so the “rich get richer” (not only in hits, but arguably in ad revenue) and ‘the beast’ continues to skew to an even longer tail/shorter head – more people subscribe to the head and are less likely to be checking out the tail. Surely this waters down the richness of the blogosphere?
There must be mutually beneficial ways for services like Feedster and Technorati to be pushing folk towards “tail material”? Mutually beneficial in the sense that it’s good for the niche publishers, and good for the blog aggregator/search services. And I’m taking about ways that go beyond Technorati tags (which is a start, but not much else).
I think you also have to question the validity of measuring the top 100/500 by the number of inbound links. The most linked blog isn’t necessarily the most read blog, and vice-versa. (I know that might sound like sour grapes considering I have a low inbound link value, but it’s not)
The key to both issues, I believe, is a valid way of measuring readership. Which is tricky when you consider people read blogs in different ways:
- Via the website
- Via the RSS feeds which contain full content (and don’t require additional click-through, but can’t be measured as to whether the feed is actually being read or just forgotten in an ever growing list of links in an aggregator)
- Via the RSS feeds which contain just summaries (and require additional click-throughs to view the full content)
If there was a way to do this – which was open (ie not Feedster) and enabled the results to be aggregated – then not only could a genuine “Top 100″/”Top 500” be created, but gems in the Blogosphere Long Tail could also be represented by working on spikes in readership.
I’m talking about something like a standardised XML feed that represents the number of hits to blog posts and/or the blog in general. This could then be included in the meta tags of a site, and picked up by anyone who wants to use it.
In order to achieve this, you would need to come up with a way to measure the three different viewing models listed above. A feat I am currently working on – but you are more than welcome to join me!
Let me know if you have ideas!