TechMeme Top 100 is ‘Top 100’ of what, exactly?

It’s all too-easy to confuse yourself and think that TechMeme’s latest feature is a top 100 list of authoritative blogs, based on the number of citations they receive per month on the venerable meme tracker. Even Michael Arrington announces it as:

“…tomorrow bloggers will have a new top 100 list to aim for – the Techmeme Leaderboard.

The list will be created based on the blogs that created the most headlines on Techmeme over the previous thirty days (so it will change frequently).”

(emphasis mine)

However, when you take a careful look at the list (+ screenshot), you realize that actually it’s not a hot list of blogs at all.

33% of the ‘blogs’ are actually not blogs at all. Below are the Top 100 for launch, with non-blogs listed in bold:

  1. TechCrunch
  2. Engadget
  3. New York Times
  4. Ars Technica
  5. CNET News
  6. Read/WriteWeb
  7. GigaOM
  8. BBC
  9. InfoWorld
  10. Wall Street Journal
  11. The Register
  12. Reuters
  13. Silicon Alley Insider
  14. paidContent
  15. Between the Lines
  16. Gizmodo
  17. Google Operating System
  18. eWEEK
  19. Search Engine Land
  20. Computerworld
  21. Crave: The gadget blog
  22. Associated Press
  23. TorrentFreak
  24. Webware
  25. VentureBeat
  26. The Unofficial Apple Weblog
  27. Business Week
  28. CrunchGear
  29. Business Wire
  30. Google Blogoscoped
  31. Techdirt
  32. Microsoft
  33. Bits
  34. Rough Type
  35. DailyTech
  36. Scripting News
  37. mathewingram
  38. PR Newswire
  39. CenterNetworks
  40. The Boy Genius Report
  41. ZDNet
  42. Guardian
  43. All about Microsoft
  44. PC World
  45. Wired News
  46. Inquirer
  47. AppleInsider
  48. Epicenter
  49. Tech Trader Daily
  50. Washington Post
  51. Forbes
  52. Bloomberg
  53. Times of London
  54. Apple
  55. BoomTown
  56. InformationWeek
  57. Publishing 2
  58. Scobleizer
  59. A VC
  60. iLounge
  61. Download Squad
  62. All Facebook
  63. Financial Times
  64. Boston Globe
  65. Electronista
  66. Yodel Anecdotal
  67. apophenia
  68. Official Google Blog
  69. Google Public Policy Blog
  70. USA Today
  71. Compete Blog
  72. AdAge
  73. Apple 2
  74. WebProNews
  75. Mashable!
  76. New York Post
  77. Googling Google
  78. iPhone Central
  79. Todd Bishop’s Microsoft Blog
  80. NEWS (Ben: not sure what this is)
  81. DigiTimes
  82. Digital Daily
  83. BuzzMachine
  84. comScore
  85. Security Fix
  86. CNN
  87. Andy Beal’s Marketing Pilgrim
  88. NewTeeVee
  89. startedsomething
  90. Think Secret
  91. ProBlogger Blog Tips
  92. Reflections of a Newsosaur
  93. GNUCITIZEN
  94. O’Reilly Radar
  95. MediaShift
  96. ipodminusitunes
  97. Doc Searls Weblog
  98. Kotaku
  99. Valleywag
  100. Los Angeles Times

With the list above, I have not highlighted blogs by mainstream media. But if you go conservative and also discount ‘fringe blogs’ such as Official Google Blog (no comments, practically a press release repository) and Engadget (is it really a blog anymore?) you’re left with about 50% ‘blog’ sources.

I therefore wonder what value this list really is, other than “Top 100 sources bloggers link to” – which seems somewhat navel gazing at best (and maybe not even ‘what bloggers link to’). The only thing this exercise has done for TechMeme is to demonstrate how skewed (esp at the top end) it is these days towards non-blogs.

I’m a big user of TechMeme, and hold a lot of respect for it’s inventor Gabe Rivera. Assuming innovation is a continuing and never-ending process, it’s good that he’s rolled out new features – however I don’t think this was the best feature he could have bought to the table.

It’s value for others to latch upon is limited and I fear many will tout it as a new ‘top 100 for blogs’ when clearly it isn’t. Technorati’s Top 100 Blogs may have it’s flaws, but at least it’s made up of, er, blogs.

11 thoughts on “TechMeme Top 100 is ‘Top 100’ of what, exactly?

  1. I was going to make the same list but you saved me the time! I always wonder what exactly is a blog – some just hold on to the blog title so they can be ranked in the services you discuss – and because “being a blog” is still hot.

    Great job Ben!

  2. I pointed this out in my write up too. And in what sense are Engadget, TechCrunch, GigaOm and ReadWriteWeb blogs? Because they use WordPress? As if that mattered somehow. I think if it’s not the “unedited voice of a person” it really isn’t a blog.

  3. Without wishing to sound snarky – isn’t the reality this list is really Gabe’s Faves rather than a meaningful listing? That’s speaking as a ZDNet blogger (and yes they ARE blogs under Dave Winer’s definition albeit with a rotten comment wall we all know sux.)

  4. I don’t really think it is supposed to be a list of hot “blogs”. I think it’s supposed to be a list of hot “news sources”, which are quite a bit different.

    Oh, and thanks for generating this list: I just compared this with Top 100 in Technorati and Top 100 sites to make it to the Digg frontpage.(http://blog.yuvisense.net/2007/10/01/mini-statbot-leaderboard-vs-technorati-top-100-and-digg-top-100/) This list has more in common with the Digg Frontpage than Technorati, so I think this is not competition to Technorati. Technorati measures popularity, this one doesn’t.

  5. I am a big fan of Gabe and his work on Techmeme too. I think you hit the nail on the head with your analysis Ben. It also brings to question, when is a blog no longer a blog? But we can save that conversation for another day over a drink or something. 🙂

  6. Is the shoe on the other foot now with regards to Big Media and do I detect a sniff of contempt for the “non-blogs”, and how dare these lesser entities be breathing the same rarefied air as us Bloggers on this list?
    As Yuvi pointed out, these are “news sources” – with a focus on technology.
    More significantly, Big Media will probably be looking at the TechMeme Top 100 with worry as their audience is now being diluted by the preponderance of influential blogs and “blogs”. And with the eyeball drain, the ad dollars go too.
    So Ben, this list is more significant than you imagined. We can be pedantic about the nature of the beast – blog or non-blog, but to the average reader, it is all just a news source that they spend time on, and that is where the value is.
    Whether the list is authorative or not is open to debate and it’s a recognition that market adoption, especially by the influential ones the list is favorable to, can bestow. That’s how all lists eventually get their authority.

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