Thursday, February 22, 2007

Making Lists

 Blogger Todd And has put together his "Power 150" list of "Top Marketing Blogs." (Nope, we're not on it, and no, we're not bitter, really. We haven't been at this as long as many of you.)

People love lists. We want to know what the most popular books, movies, blogs, and web sites are. Every year we see lists of the best cities to live in, the best companies to work for, and so on, and so on. Human beings have a propensity to rank things... even when ranking isn't terribly functional.

Todd's list is worth checking out because there's lots of good reading there. I intend to go check these blogs out when I have free time (OK, well, that could take a while). But as I read about his methodology, I started wondering, does this make sense in the context of blogs, and highly-customized web content and web communities?

Google PageRank (0 to 10) – Google PageRank is a link analysis algorithm that interprets web links and assigns a numerical weighting (0 to 10) to each site. High-quality sites receive a higher PageRank. The Power 150 ranking uses the actual PageRank as part of its algorithm.

Bloglines Subscribers (1 to 20) – Bloglines displays the amount of subscribers each blog has to its feed(s). Subscriber ranges were determined (i.e., more than 20, more than 30, etc.) and each range was assigned a number (1 to 20) that was used as part of the Power 150 algorithm.

Technorati Ranking (1 to 30) – Technorati ranking relates the number of sites pointing to a particular blog. The more link sources referencing your blog, the higher the Technorati ranking. Similar to the Bloglines Subscribers value, Technorati ranking ranges were determines (i.e., top 9,000, top 10,000, top 20,000, etc.) and each range was assigned a number (1 to 30) that was used as part of the Power 150 algorithm.

Todd And Points (1 to 15) – As the only subjective measure in the Power 150 algorithm, 1 to 15 opinion points were assigned to each blog. Todd And values frequent, relevant, creative and high-quality content. The use of audio, video and graphics is also heavily weighted in the Todd And Points.

Kudos to Todd for using some relatively objective measures. And bigger kudos to him for recognizing the subjectivity of this with that last category.

Because, let's face it: this is even more subjective than most lists. What makes a blog the "best" on your personal list? Let's be honest: many of are, on any given day, talking about the same things. "Best" often means "I love the way this author tells me the same things as everybody else."

And people read "marketing blogs" (talk about a category that covers a lot of ground) for different reasons. Some of us are looking for practical tips about how we do marketing. Some of us are looking for the kind of professional chit-chat that we used to get around the coffee machine, but now that we work solo there's nobody near the coffee machine to talk to but the cat. Some of us want to see what big advertisers are up to and what our peers think of it. (For most of us, it's some of everything.)

The nature of blogs is that they don't have to appeal to mass audiences: it's hundreds and thousands of content creators building small communities with thousands and occasionally millions of readers. Who are often fellow creators. Top 150? I'm not sure what that means.

But yes, I'm as fascinated by everybody else by what everybody else is looking at, so I'm having fun looking through Todd's list. Honestly, though, it's more meaningful to me if somebody like Mary mentions two or three blogs, because I have the context of reading Mary's blog, and if she recommends a small number of blogs, I believe that she's places real value on them.

Which reminds me - Maureen and I really need to pay some attention to our own list of favorite blogs on the right, because we haven't updated it in ages. Bad bloggers!

Technorati tags: ,

1 comment:

Mary Schmidt said...

Back at you John! And, thanks so much to pointing me to Toothpaste for Dinner and the post re Second Life. Made my day.