TechMeme on … TechMeme

Gabe Rivera’s TechMeme is a favorite info destination for thousands of technology enthusiasts and news junkies all over the world.   However Bobbie Johnson over at the Guardian  has taken a mini-swipe at TechMeme, suggesting that the relative low traffic from the site shows that people are overrating TechMeme’s importance in the scheme of things technological.    

Robert Scoble, in response, has a  great  summary of how he gets very different traffic depending on the source.     Although he does not focus on the *topic*, clearly that matters a lot as well.    Scoble’s blog is influential enough that it would often send more traffic to a linked site than TechMeme.     I’ll have to check my own stats to be sure but I the times I’ve had links from “A list” bloggers like Robert Scoble, Jeremy Zawodny or Matt Cutts  it has sent more traffic than my frequent links at TechMeme – though I have never had a post be a “headliner” at TechMeme.    In fact I don’t think Gabe’s algorithm would allow his “second tier” sites to have featured posts.   My (wild) guess is that TechMeme has at least two lists of blogs/sites, and only sites and blogs on his top tier list can have the posts featured prominently – others are relegated to the comments section even if it’s a more detailed, more linked, or better post.  

I think this “small stable of premier technology sites” may be a potential defect at TechMeme that keeps the Tech echo chamber very loud but not very diverse, though Gabe may have learned that this helps keep irrelevant posts out of the mix.     At SES I was talking with Matt Cutts about how the TechMeme algorithm might work, and how it might be applied to a broader set of blogs as a ranking mechanism.  

Nick Carr jumped on this TechMeme traffic bashing bandwagon suggesting “juicelessness” which is a  cleverly coined phrase but  misleading because TechMeme clearly reaches a lot of key technology folks and that’s a juicier kind of audience in terms of advertising and influence than, say, 16 year old Diggers.  

So, I’m sticking with TechMeme and redict it’ll get bigger and better. 

8 thoughts on “TechMeme on … TechMeme

  1. Nick Carr jumped on this TechMeme traffic bashing bandwagon

    Actually, I posted about Johnson’s article last night before it had appeared on Techmeme or otherwise become any sort of bandwagon.

  2. Hi Joe…on your “others are relegated to the comments section”. The #3 post on Techmeme right now is from “Schrep’s blog”. Never heard of that one. Not exactly a Tech news powerhouse (today excluded!)

  3. Sorry Nick – I should have said you “helped start” the TechMeme Traffic bashing bandwagon!

    Hi Gabe – touche! I’m emailing Cutts to tell him this new flaw in my feeble attempt to reverse engineer your techmeme algorithm. Keep up the good work dude!

  4. Concerning the “A”list of bloggers: Is there really any such listing? Does Kathy Griffin actually live on “the D-list”? Where is the Social Registry maintained? Just what shade of blue does a blogger’s blood have to be for him to appear on the A-list? Is such determined by social means of “I list your blog, you list my blog, we get well known but still don’t say anything worth much”? If VanessaFox reads a blog to learn something is that different than VanessaFoxNude reading a blog to learn something because VanessaFoxNude is more memorable a name than VanessaFox? Is the suffix added to her name a qualifying factor for being “on the A-list”? With social evaluator (oops, did I just invent a new shade of meaning for what is improperly termed social networking) sites such as Digg, Technorati, StumbleUpon revealing indications of some sort of ranking do we ignore the existence of pre-existing networks that “ping pong” items back and forth to raise their supposed “value” on the net?

  5. FG “Who is on the A List” is a fun question and I’ve failed to answer it even after threatening to bring ’em all down in a blog revolution. You are on to the scheme and challenge above – many who are often called “A list” bloggers were folks who started blogging before it became fashionable to do so. Most are OK writers but in my opinion the best writing is generally off the A list. Referencing each other more than seeking out more good newcomers to blogging is, IMHO, the main reason the A list has become one of the big problems with blogging. Google made hyperlinks *so valuable* that they are now withheld far too much as part of opportunistic internet approaches. I have no idea how to fix this, but this force is making the “link rich richer” rather than enhancing the viability of the internet.

    The Technorati top 100 is sometimes used as a “proxy” for the elusive “A list”, and I should point out that people like Robert Scoble and Mike Arrington – clear “A list bloggers”, blog like maniacs and help move the tech world along at its dizzying pace.

  6. Sometimes being first has a tremendous advantage. I’ve posted before an analogy about putting all your efforts into winning the first election because then you will be the one counting the votes in the next election. However, there has also been mention of a variety of sites such as Friendster being superior to MySpace in every category except success.

    Is the linking situation becoming akin to the ‘not wanting to be a member of any club that would have me as a member’? Applying to a “fall back” college can be a death knell for getting into Harvard, is the same way with the A list blogs?
    Can a technology blogger form a Nigerian Banking site and link to his technology blogging competitors so as to down-rank them with Google?

    Often a search term will appear but the blog entry is a very small pat of butter spread very thinly or even it can turn out to be an ever smaller pat of margarine spread even more thinly! Ofcourse, sometimes that can be satisfying to some. I sometimes think that the B list and the D list would be better: Brevity and Directness. Ofcourse, my posts would make neither list!!

  7. FG – I think your insights have been excellent and hope you wind up writing a blog. The A list are primarily early adopter tech folks. Blogging seems to be heavily technology and politically focused, but I think that will diversify over time.

    I don’t think the A list aversions / incestuous linking patterns are easy to generalize about but no, I don’t hink it’s as much a concern about association with other blogs as it is a “selfish” protection of links as web currency. I Although I’m a pretty good “linking out” guy I even see myself drawn into this when I link to other sites, sometimes thinking “Hey, what have they ever done for ME?”

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