the grass is greener on the internet

Tinyurl and Twitter take down Technorati
June 23, 2009, 3:32 pm
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Technorati used to rule the blogging world. And you’ve probably already heard the claims that since they started allowing commercial sites  – such as the Huffington Post – to register there’s been a stalemate for the top rankings. Whatever.

No, the worst problem for Technorati is that its Blog Authority figures just don’t measure what counts anymore.

It’s nice in theory. Just like academics get to compare who gets cited the most in which journal and by who, the Blog Authority figure counts how many other blogs have linked to a blog in the last 180 days. Multiple links from the same source don’t count.

Let’s leave aside the peer review debate of whether popularity equals authority (or controversiality – I had a lecturer who is the second most cited person in Australia because he wrote a paper saying corruption could be good). And let’s acknowledge off the bat that no measurement is ever going to be perfect.

But with the rise of Twitter, and link-shortening services like Tinyurl, a lot of link-sharing and referencing is going un-counted.

Retweet counters have emerged in the way that only open source can provide: haphazardly, with several services vying for attention and none yet to become the leader. However, Technorati (and Google PageRank, I suspect) are yet to take Tweets into account. It’s also harder to track Tinyurl links – is the only major URL shortener that shows up on my WordPress referral links.

The argument for the academically minded is that Twitter links don’t count for the same reason links from your networking profiles don’t count – you could put as many links as you like up. But this is also a forum where a lot of link sharing is going on. There HAS to be a way to catch those links.

And as I realised last week, Facebook is by far the best place for promoting blog posts, and more ‘referencing’ is occurring on there which is not being caught on Technorati or Google either [nicely summed up by Copyblogger]. Could Facebook aggregate the most-linked sites without compromising privacy?

Although, FINALLY… Google can index Flash content. Great news for brands with flashy websites.

The point is, rankings based on on blog-to-blog links are going to slip in relevancy as microblogging increases in popularity. It’s like judging an academic by how many citations they have in journals and ignoring their conference papers.


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