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Blogs

Techmeme's Leaderboard is Shifting: Nearly 1/3rd of Leaderboard is New

I've analyzed Techeme's Leaderboard several times before (headlines vs. discussions, 'presence' vs. pageviews, etc) and thought it would be worthwhile to understand movement within the leaderboard.

I compared Techmeme's Leaderboard on May 14 vs. today's current Leaderboard (July 12). Techmeme ranks their top 100 blogs by "Presence", the percentage of headline space a source occupies over the 30-day period. The results are fascinating.

First, Techmeme's head has gotten less powerful. TechCrunch represented 8.05% of Techmeme's headlines on May 14th and fell to 7.55% two months later... the 7th largest gain during that period. Techmeme's top 10 sources represented 31% of all headlines two months ago and now account for 29%.

Only two of Techmeme's top 10 sources grew during that period: Silicon Alley Insider and the New York Times. In fact, five of the top ten sources saw the largest total drops:

Techcrunch (#1 on May 14, #1 on July 12): -0.49% ; seventh largest fall Wall Street Journal (#8 in May, #18 in July): -0.61%, fifth largest fall ArsTechnica (#6 in May, #8 in July): -0.79%; third largest fall Between the Lines (#9 in May, #23 in July): -0.82%; second largest fall ReadWrite Web (#4 in May, #7 in July) - 1.03% ; largest fall

Techmeme's Leaderboard ranked by biggest period-over-period change in 'presence':

Techmeme is often criticized for being too reliant on the major blogs... but their Leaderboard's shifting content providers suggests that either:

- Techmeme's algorithm is giving greater credibility to new / small sources, and/or - great content is coming from new / small blogs

Over the last two months, nearly 1/3rd of Techmeme's Leaderboard has turned over: there are 27 new blogs within Techmeme's top 100. The flip side of the argument, however, is that the largest gainers during this two month period are prominent sources and big brands:

Source / Net Gain NewTeeVee +43 Financial Times +43 San Francisco Chronicle +42 CenterNetworks +33 Tech Trader Daily +31 Download Squad +25 MacRumors +24 Infinite Loop +24 Valleywag +23 AppleInsider +22 Washington Post +22 A VC +15 Lifehacker +14 Mashable! +11 PC World +11 Apple 2.0 +10 Futuristic Play +10 Engadget +9

Techmeme's Leaderboard compared from May 14 to July 12:

Disqus - After 5 Days on Disqus, I'm Turning Back to Wordpress Comments

I'm an avid reader of Fred Wilson's blog and was tempted to test-drive Disqus when Fred first integrated it onto his site. I finally decided to install it on my blog (which is powered by Wordpress) after Fred wrote his post "Three Reasons to Use Disqus". It's worth noting that installing Disqus is amazingly easy. I installed Disqus on Sunday... Today is Thursday and I have decided to remove it.

Why?

In concept, Disqus is bold and a clear improvement over static comments. I believe fully that threaded, social and portable commenting is the future of discussion and is certainly empowering for readers. I like being able to follow a user's activity across other blogs - for instance, I just accessed all of Gabe Rivera's Disqus comments (here) and arrived on some fascinating blogs (that I wouldn't have found otherwise).

As a blog owner, though, Disqus simply isn't empowering enough.... yet:

My core issue is that the content (and it can be argued that comments and discussions are the most important aspect of a site) isn't truly mine. It's rendered via javascript on my end and as direct html on Disqus.com. That means that I lose all of the SEO value of the comments (which is significant) and Disqus gains from it. Honestly, that makes me quite uncomfortable. A couple other critiques:

- Trackbacks are critical elements of a blog (SEO, navigation, etc). They aren't yet available with Disqus and are must-adds.

- Disqus doesn't provide commenter emails and contact information. Sounds minor, but I have engaged directly with numerous readers and formed deep relationships. Another must-have before I switch back. (update: according to Daniel Ha of Disqus email addresses are accessible; full response in below comments)

- The administration and deep interactions occur on Disqus.com - and consequently off my site. Furthermore, as the admin, there is neither enough transparency nor available configurations.

I think Disqus is close. And I expect that I'll give it another test-drive shortly. But it's going to take some additional benefits as a blogger (I clearly see the benefits as a reader); and as I think about services I'm willing to pay, perhaps that's the solution for Disqus: offer premium accounts. I'd be willing to buy that.

DirecTV Commercial with John Michael Higgins - They Just Don't Get It

My favorite ad campaign at the moment is DirecTV's spoof of Comcast and other cable providers. They have the 'Best in Show'-cast starring and John Michael Higgins tries to convince the executives of ways that his cable company should combat DirecTV. The best spot is when Higgins says they need to go viral and "blog it out". Great stuff.

But DirecTV doesn't get it.

The commercials are terrific and ripe for blogging (as they suggest)... but the ads aren't even embeddable or available on YouTube. Here is their flash file in widget form - enjoy the commercial and the irony:

Understanding PerezHilton.com's Pageviews & Unique Visitors

A few weeks agon, I wrote about the trouble with PerezHilton.com as a business. Since that post, Perez Hilton 'quantified' his popular blog with Quantcast and we have more data to look at.

It's fascinating. Perez has built the 158th biggest site on the web. Thats bigger than TechCrunch (1,352), Gizmodo (250) and almost every other blog on the web. In fact, the only blog that I could find to be bigger is HuffingtonPost.com (102).

Two interesting observations from Perez's newly quantified data. First, as you would expect with any blog, traffic moves when interesting news breaks. And considering that Perez's business is based on breaking celebrity news / drama / scandals, Perez's traffic moves according to the availability of juicy gossip. This leads to massive fluctuations in traffic. The chart below shows monthly uniques which are nearly 1/2 of the late February stats. As an advertiser trying to leverage Perez's traffic, it's nearly impossible to budget marketing dollars accordingly.

The more interesting chart is daily pageviews. Most sites see big swings based on specific days and times - but Perez sees traffic swings of nearly 3x between weekdays and weekends.

The Trouble with PerezHilton.com As a Business (Perhaps Blogs For that Matter)

Want celebrity gossip? The online destination of choice is PerezHilton.com - which, according to Perez, boasts larger readership than People Magazine (the perennial #1 print magazine). That success has turned Perez into a star - he has his own MTV and VH1 shows, is seen in celebrity magazines galore and he's fetching sponsorship deals both personally on on his website.

So you would think that PerezHilton.com would be growing because of all of this. Wrong. Pageviews, uniques and visits are relatively flat (perhaps even down).

Why? Simply put:because blogging doesn't scale.

As Perez Hilton becomes more of a star, his focus clearly has shifted. There are fewer daily blog posts and, more importantly, fewer 'meaningful' blog posts (there is now lots of content about Perez himself). There is only so much time in the day and only so much juicy gossip.

Meanwhile, there are ways to solve this. Blogs like TechCrunch, Valleywag and others are hiring full staffs and publishing content more regularly. In fact, PerezHilton.com is quickly taking a backseat to TMZ - which is using its growing staff to out-pace Perez on all fronts.

Gawker is another great example. Sites like DeadSpin.com have strong traffic in their verticals, but they too become flat over time. Growth then comes from the larger network and increase authorship. Kotaku.com, for instance, is surging and Valleywag.com is growing nicely behind it's increased authorship.

PerezHilton.com:

The GawkerNetwork:

Top Sites Reach Reach% gizmodo.com 8,705,071 28.8% lifehacker.com 5,701,369 18.8% kotaku.com 4,498,218 14.9% gawker.com 3,247,225 10.7% fleshbot.com 2,137,780 7.1% consumerist.com 1,966,213 6.5% jalopnik.com 1,758,997 5.8% defamer.com 1,721,438 5.7% valleywag.com 1,304,718 4.3% jezebel.com 1,297,423 4.3% deadspin.com 1,231,847 4.1% io9.com 1,154,466 3.8% wonkette.com 961,723 3.2% gridskipper.com 471,975 1.6% idolator.com 319,265 1.1% gawkershop.com 9,543 < 0.1% gizmodo.net 8,145 < 0.1%