Lets face it, bloggers love stats and rankings, even if they are based upon meaningless data. For some it is an ego thing, or just a measure of their own worth or progress to achieve whatever goals they have set for themselves, and for others it is monetary. If you want to sell advertising on your blog other than PPC or CPM based, you need to have some kind of carrot to wave at advertisers to encourage them to part with their advertising dollars.
Adage Power 150
Over the last few days for instance I noticed that Advertising Age have rejigged their Adage Power150 which I previously discussed a few months ago. It is great to see that Google PageRank has a lot less importance, and the inclusion of Yahoo link data, but there is an over reliance on Technorati.
Technorati is easily gamed, because they count links from the sidebar and footer, which can easily be encouraged by creating widgets and WordPress Themes. They do try to clean up their own Top 100 list, manually removing blogs that seem to have an overbearing number of links from viral content.
There are also some aspects of how a theme is designed that have a huge affect on how many links Technorati claim from a single blog, or the number of blogs that Technorati think are at a single domain.
Technorati currently accounts for 70 of the possible 150 total points a blog can receive, and the top ranking blogs can gain close to a full quota, unlike PageRank for which only 6 or 7 points can reasonably be attained.
You will notice that a lot of the Yahoo references show zero – values returned from an API need to be cached and discounted if they are zero, or return a number that is a significant change. I have seen Yahoo numbers drop from 30K links down to less than 9K, only for them to rebound.
It should also be noted that Yahoo also give credit for nofollow links from places like Delicious, Stumbleupon, and even blog comments. Not all links are created equal.
There is a bonus with the changes – I have gone from around 30 on the list to 17 or 18, and Adage is a low but consistent traffic source and has certainly extended my reach with new subscribers.
Top 100 Make Money Blogs
Another list that sends traffic daily is Mark’s, but again it suffers from a number of anomalies.
First of all PageRank plays a visible factor, or I am sure Yaro would be placed a few points higher, he used to be a PR6, and whilst it might not affect position so much, I have highlighed the other sites that currently have a penalty.
There also seems to be a problem with the Technorati rating on a number of blogs being much lower than it should be. I am not sure if this is a canonical domain problem, or some kind of new factor being applied to specific domains for data accessed by API.
Many niches don’t link out as much as meta blogging and technology blogs, and those in related niches such as venture capital.
PR3 (I remember it being a 4?), Technorati rank 44,000 (141 blog reactions), Alexa around 200K
The current statistical measures people use just don’t relate to the vast majority of bloggers.
Existing Stats Are Not Accurate?
Alexa is based upon toolbar usage – though their own toolbar isn’t very useful for many people, webmasters in the meta blogging niche can recommend the highly useful Search Status toolbar for Firefox that feeds Alexa with the same data.
Compete used to suffer from poor uptake of their Firefox toolbar because of problems with Firefox, but when Compete was added to the Search Status toolbar, again meta blogging and SEO blogs saw a boost.
With Technorati being used as a factor in so many monetization services, various methods have been used to boost links from other bloggers. Whilst they might get manually edited out of the top100 blogs on Technorati (and I have written how to avoid this several months ago), their numbers still get reported through the API though there is no guarantee that will last forever.
What would top bloggers do if the API for Technorati starts to report zero for anyone that Technorati feel is gaming the system?
Quantcast is accurate, but only if you include their tracking code on your blog and get “Quantified”
If you don’t, you end up claiming they are inaccurate in your end of year stats ;) – sorry Rand, I couldn’t resist that one.
If you compare our data and the SELand data to what Compete, Quantcast or Alexa are reporting, you can see how tragically inaccurate those services are. Sadly, that’s no anomally. Everytime I get access to a client’s visit data, I’m always curious to check the three and have not once found accuracy, even on a relative basis. Third party traffic metrics still have a very, very long way to go.
note:the Quantcast images will display much clearer in a feed reader, they are limited on display width on the blog and forced to a smaller size
Search Engine Land traffic is directly measured, as is my own, the other sites are just a panel estimate. As SEL effectively makes the others almost invisible, lets replace SEL with Marketing Pilgrim
You can see some clear traffic spikes in the panel estimates, probably due to click traffic from other sites which have Quantcast code embedded such as Digg
In fact of the major social news and bookmarking sites, only Digg and Propeller are Quantified.
Why IzeaRanks IS Needed, But Might Be Rejected
When you create a page on a blog to help you sell your advertising inventory, how can an advertiser trust the traffic figures you give them, and why should they have to research whether you in some way gamed the statistics?
If you are a large publisher and it is a significant advertiser, you might be willing to give them access to some real statistics, such as Google Analytics through shared access, or your advertising administration system might provide reasonable stats to advertisers. As an example B5Media use Valueclick – I would hope Valueclick have some tools to provide statistics that can be verified before an advertiser makes a purchase.
For smaller publishers it would be possible for them to use existing services like Quantcast, but they don’t, because using Quantcast isn’t being encouraged by the people that count… the monetization services and advertisers.
For all the negative publicity Izea has had due to their PayPerPost service, one thing remains clear – they are an advertising company looking to help bloggers make money. They are not a competitor.
I would be more worried if I was placing tracking code on my blog if Izea in some way were a competitor creating content, such as Performancing with their Metrics service, which Izea themselves almost purchased though then it was a different animal, and not just a branded version of an existing tracking service.
I am a firm believer in not making things too easy for competitors, well with this blog I don’t care so much, but certainly for niche sites. I don’t worry too much about monetization services gaining stats, and I never looked on MyBlogLog having access being a problem. I am not sure if Blogcatalog are collecting anything, but again, they are not exactly running a blog network.
The IzeaRanks interface is honestly pretty basic compared to what is offered by Quantcast as far as raw traffic stats, and you are certainly missing all the segmentation data (though I am not sure how reliable that is).
Izea’s “RealRank” is based upon the following factors (from their announcement)
- 70% weighted towards visitors per day
- 20% weighted towards amount of ACTIVE inbound links per day
- 10% weighted towards pageviews per day
I am not sure whether Izea have come up with a way to have only “Real” pageviews and visitors counted, as many stats packages have problems with the pre-fetching of pages from Stumbleupon causing massive errors.
The active inbound links is an interesting statistic. Links that deliver real traffic. It is relatively easy to build up links and gain PageRank from obscure sites, or to game rankings with themes and widgets, but those links rarely get clicked on by visitors. Even blogrolls are pretty much ignored by visitors unless you have an unfair advantage of your sitename starting with the letter A ;)
Many people state that the value of RealRank will be based upon how many bloggers use it. That is partially true, but the real traffic and unique visitor values will be valuable to advertisers even if just one blogger signed up for the service.
I am disappointed that Izea are not doing anything with feeds, though it is much easier to do that with WordPress blogs than blogs on Blogspot, especially with the way Google have now integrated Blogger and Feedburner. The technical skill that would be needed to feed a feed into izea and back out to Feedburner would cause countless technical support problems, and Izea have enough technical support problems with some of their other services, and no end of headaches.
There is an API, I am sure some smart people will jump on it and use it to provide something useful, though I am not sure how quickly that will happen. The usage restrictions of 5000 calls per day is generous.
Do You Have An Advertising Sales Page?
If you have an advertising sales page on your blog, have no doubt that advertisers will start to expect the availability of real statistics, not something you quote from AWStats.
You could include Quantcast, but you might as well include IzeaRank at the same time especially if some smart people come up with a way to present the stats effectively.
I can see Paul’s point at Mashable, that Izea maybe should have concentrated on the whole of the internet, and not just the blogosphere, but you could argue that the BBC or the Washington Post should be included in the Technorati Top100 as well, because they offer RSS feeds.
In my mind the individual rating of blogs by RealRank is meaningless unless it it put into context of their topical niche, such as I could compare Mashable with Techcrunch on Quantcast and discover that neither are quantified, so the statistics are totally worthless.
I can understand why Darren doesn’t necessarily need it, or other B5 Media Blogs, but many niche bloggers do need something they can use to demonstrate their relative worth. Just a week ago a key tip from Shoemoney on Darren’s blog was about a clear advertising page.
Is there a difference between clear and transparent/honest/uncoloured ?
How much creative license should people use to sell advertising?
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