rating the bloggers

Friday, October 08, 2010

My website/blog is now – and always has been – ad free. In fact, I work very hard to make it clutter-free. Instead of linking to hundreds of other wine blogs, which is the formula for garnering more eyeballs and higher ratings, I link to just those few that I personally read and find most rewarding. I have an rss feed and a Facebook and Twitter link, but that’s about it for clutter. I have worked very hard at designing an easy-to-scan, no b.s. look and feel. Hopefully, you readers find it to be just that.

I point this out not to pat myself on the back, but to mention that, as a result of these decisions, this blog generates not one cent of income. And since it does not, and furthermore has been essentially designed to make it impossible to monetize, I have not paid much attention to blog ratings.

I know that there are various metrics that can be used, and various enterprises that can tell you how you are doing, but so far I have not really had a grip on any of that, other than the occasional PG post that rises to the top of the daily/weekly/monthly winebusiness.com rankings.

The other day I received this note, from a ranking service called Wikio.

“Hi Paul, This is Oliver from Wikio, I am contacting you about our new Wine rankings for October. The official ranking will go online at the end of the week but as your blog has done extremely well, gaining several places and entering the top 20, I was wondering whether you would be interested in getting an early look and publishing an exclusive before it goes live on wikio.com. Let me know, and I’ll send you over the HTML code to you as soon as I have it.”

I was intrigued, so I wrote back to Oliver to inquire about Wikio’s methodology. How had I suddenly risen to within spitting distance of such rarefied bloggers as Dr. Vino, Tom Wark, Alder Yarrow, and Josh Wade?!?

Oliver was kind enough to offer this guidance. “The position of a blog in the Wikio ranking depends on the number and weight of the incoming links from other blogs. These links are dynamic, which means that they are backlinks or links found within articles. Only links found in the RSS feed are included. Blogrolls are not taken into account, and the weight of any given link increases according to how recently it was published. We thus hope to provide a classification that is more representative of the current influence levels of the blogs therein.”

“Moreover,” he continued, “the weight of a link depends on the linking blog’s position in the Wikio ranking. With our algorithm, the weight of a link from a blog that is more highly ranked is greater than that of a link from a blog that is less well ranked. I know this is all a bit confusing but we think it gives the best idea of a blogs influence and thus we make the rankings. Unfortunately we don't have all the blogs in our database although we do try.”

Well, I understood most of that, and of course I’m happy to hear that someone besides Mrs. G is actually perusing these unfined and unfiltered musings. So I’m going ahead and putting up the html ranking that Wikio provided.

1Dr. Vino's wine blog
2Fermentation: The Daily Wine Blog
3Vinography
4Wine Library TV
5Drink Nectar
6Brooklynguy's Wine and Food Blog
7The Gray Market Report
8LENNDEVOURS
91 Wine Dude
10Vinotology
11Do Bianchi
12On the Wine Trail in Italy
13Rockss and Fruit
14paulg's blog – unfined & unfiltered
15simply breakfast
16Palate Press
17Sip With Me!
18Dirty South Wine
19Yours for Good Fermentables ™
20Top Fermented

Ranking made by Wikio


To repeat - this is not meant to be entirely self-serving. Hey, I'm number 14, not numero uno!! But I'd love to ask those among you who may be more knowledgeable than I to comment on the value and importance and relevance of blog rankings, and particularly those from Wikio.

I’ve lived with media ratings all my working life, but especially during my years in radio and television. In the broadcast media, as long as I’ve known it, you live and (mostly) die by ratings. Is that going to be true also for the blogosphere?

11 comments:

Dave McNeilly said...

Paul, as a reader only, ratings don't have an influence on me. If the blog is informative and well written, I'm in.

Lists are so subjective anyway. I mean, it's always interesting to see Rolling Stone's Top 100 albums, songs, guitar solos, etc, but I rarely agree with the order or all the selections (and ommissions). Same as wine ratings. So, probably the same with blog ratings (not that I've ever seen any).

For monetizing your efforts, ratings are probably more important, but whose ratings are potential advertisers going to trust? I'd prefer to look at the comments section of the blog in question and see how interactive and intelligent it is.

Palate Press said...

Paul,

I question the rankings. Because of the Palate Press Advertising Network, I have real numbers about page views for at least a quarter of those sites, and can tell you that those numbers bear very little relationship to much of anything, and certainly not to page views or unique visitors. They are, because of their methodology, more of a measure of favorite wine blogs of wine bloggers than a measure of favorite wine blogs of wine consumers. In other words, it measures the limited viewership circle-[finish this yourself] inside the wine blogging community.

That doesn't mean those aren't all great sites, and that those at the top don't deserve to be. Indeed, who is a better judge of wine bloggers than other wine bloggers. I am simply stating that the real numbers would not, at least for the several sites that are part of the Ad Network, produce rankings anything like that. Also, there are several other sites, based upon real number, that would slot easily into that group of very good sites.

Will the blogosphere live or die by ratings? No, I don't think so. First, many people, like you, don't take advertising. They write for love of wine and writing. So how would you die by ratings? Second, for those taking advertising, they will live and die by their page views, their uniques, and their demographics, if going it alone, and by the strength of their network if they are part of an ad network. The strength of that network, of course, will be measured by the same real numbers, numbers advertisers demand, not by rankings.

Wayne Kelterer said...

Paul, I see them as somewhat like wine ratings I guess. They might be helpful, but in the end you have to drink what you like and read what you like. High ratings don't mean you should like it, and also like wine some of the best work out there might be unrated.

Congrats though, that is very cool for you.

Wayne
alongpour.com

Josh Wade said...

Paul,

You are too funny and thanks for including me. I am no where near deserving to be including in the likes of Dr. Vino Tom Wark and Alder Yarrow.

Palate Press (David) - The rankings of Wikio have to do with linkbacks in articles. If you are referenced, quoted, or linked on other web sites then you'll be ranked high. The ranking has nothing to do with visits or visitors.

Josh Wade

PaulG said...

Thanks everyone for providing some background and clarification. I confess it is satisfying to think that the blog is being read and commented on, rather than just sailing off into intergalactic space...

EastMeetsWest said...

I've seen a lot of bad wine blogs. I've started reading them because I wanted to get an insight on something I didn't know much about. The worst is a certain someone from WA, who I guess you have deleted numerous posts from. He uses sensationalism instead of focusing on the actual product and educating his followers. I don't believe being a blogger gives anyone the right to lie! Freedom of speech doesn't equal to having the right to circulate slander. I cannot stand bloggers that write about family wineries and their history, but they haven't even talked to anyone from the winery. There are a lot of phonies out there and maybe a rating system will weed out some of the corked ones. Hey it's kinda like rating wine, isn't it?

PaulG said...

EMW, thanks for posting. Sadly true, I did have to go to moderating all comments mostly due to one particular individual. But eventually people get tired of hearing the sound of their own one hand clapping... I hope!

1winedude said...

I always struggle with this sort of thing. I've recently changed my stance (again!) on rankings. I've decided that I don't like talking about myself as much as I do about wine, so I've recently shied away from mentioning this sort of stuff and instead put them on my "About" page.

WHich is not say that you shouldn't talk about it Paul - in this case especially it's a means to an end, and you're promoting discussion and not instead of promoting yourself (not that you don't deserve to promote yourself... ah, you know what I mean! :-).

I think that, in general, modern cultures really dig ranking anything - competition, comparison, etc. is just fun. They also help to winnow the field of bloggers for consumers and wine fans who are getting overwhelmed with the volume of blogs, and I think that's really valuable for a lot of people.

Just like when rating wines, however, the context is really important and so it's also really important for people to consider how the rankings are made - a topic that itself is also pretty freakin' confusing (at least, it is for me! :-).

I've found myself wishing that another service might come along to amalgamate all of these various rankings and produce the uber-ranking of rankings!

Cheers!

PaulG said...

Well stated, Señor Dude - and watch out, I'm creeping up on you!

Albert Hasse said...

For what it is worth, there are so many wine blogs out there and it comes down to a singular key element for most readers: Content. Am I interested in the way you communicate your message and do I like what you are writing about?

I might check a blog out a few times because of a ranking, but to get me to 'stay' and follow a blog, I genuinely have to like the writing style, positioning of the writer and the perceived or real value of what the writer is saying. It also doesn't hurt, in my case, if you are somewhat entertaining!

For what it is worth, ranking or not, I like your stuff. Keep up the good work!

Ken Payton said...

It seems Top Fermented #20, and Yours for Good Fermentables #19, are bothe beer blogs. And #15, simply breakfast is about, well, breakfast. This is a problem repeated by many blog ranking outfits. Often links are broken, the writer has given up or has not posted anything new in many months. Also unflattering, though instructive, are the blogs often omitted altogether. Jancis Robinson (her non-subscription blog), Andrew Jefford, Jerry Dawes, Bertrand Celce's excellent wine terroirs, Joe Dressner, Alice Feiring, and many more, do not even rate a mention by some metrics.

A glance at Wikio's list above would have us believe Asimov's The Pour is out paced by the aforementioned 'simply breakfast'! What a world!

From what I gather, in order to be ranked a service must first know of a blog's existence. Many an analyst is unfamiliar with the fields they rank. My experience with such folks when I've been approached is that it is their service itself they are attempting to promote. After all, most of them offer blog optimizing services of one kind or another, for a price!

Post a Comment

Your comment is awaiting moderation and will be posted ASAP. Thanks!