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Feb 4
My Thoughts On Stowe Boyd's Blog Conversational Index
Stowe, very novel idea.  I agree that there ought to be some way whereby blog search engines measure much more than just the number of links to a given blog.  And I agree that the amount of conversation (comments, trackbacks) going on at a blog relative to its number of posts is an important characteristic.  Your post may lead to lots of new forms of measuring blogs.

But I think we need to take into account a few other things.  I'd love to get some feedback from you and anyone else.  Just some half-baked thoughts to fuel the conversation.

1. Comment quality varies.  Some blog posts have a long line of very short, congratulatory (or derogatory, or spam) comments, for example, while others might have just a few really thoughtful comments.  I'm not sure how to really measure the *quality* of a comment, but I think there's more to it than saying, "Well, Blog X has twice as many comments per post on it as Blog Blog Y does, so Blog X is getting more conversation."

2. Many blogs start out conversation-poor and gradually pick up speed as they gain a consistent following.  What if one could see if Blog X's CI (conversational index) was increasing at a faster rate than Blog Y's?  Perhaps that in itself would be an interesting statistic: the daily rate of increase or decrease in the CI over a given period of time.  (Ten points for anyone who gives this a sexy name.)  So, say on January 1st I have 50 posts, 20 comments and 5 trackbacks at my widget blog: CI = 2.  If by January 11th I have 60 posts, 40 comments and 20 trackbacks, my CI = 1.  (I like Don Dodge's higher-is-better idea - maybe we ought to reverse the formula.)  So over 10 days, my CI has "doubled" (halved).  I'm getting twice as much "conversation" as I was ten days ago.  If my friend's blog on widgets has gone from 20/20/0 to 40/20/0 in those ten days, his CI has *decreased* from 1 to 2.  So someone searching the web for blogs about widgets could readily see that mine has improved in terms of conversation relative to my friend's.  Of course, there could be a default time period for the calculation of this simple growth/stagnation metric - say, one month - but the search tool should allow the user to specify a different time period, like one year or one week.

3. What about the author's comments at her own blog, or trackbacks she sends back to her older entries?  Should those count the same?

4. Could this statistic be meshed with a particular individual's CI?  That is, if I have five blogs, could we somehow calculate my average CI (using the totals from all of my blogs)?

5. Is a comment always equal to a trackback?  Or are trackbacks more important because they are more rare or indicate a foreign post, which typically includes more info than a comment?  (What if I had posted this information at your blog instead of mine, for example?)

6. What about the number of commenters on or trackbackers to a blog?  For example, sometimes we see blogs with hundreds of comments from just a very few faithful, while other blogs have fewer comments, but from a larger number of people.  So maybe the formula should be expanded to reflect the number of commenters/trackbackers, like so:
CI = P / [(C + T) / U].  (P = posts, C = comments, T = trackbacks, U = unique commenters and trackbackers.  Example:

Blog A:
P = 50
C = 20 including author's comments
T = 5 including author's trackbacks
U = 5 including author

CI = 50 / [(20 + 5) / 5] = 50 / 5 = 10.

Blog B:
P = 50
C = 20 including author's comments
T = 5 including author's trackbacks
U = 25 including author

CI = 50 / [(20 + 5) / 25] = 50 / 1 = 50.

Blog A: CI = 10.
Blog B: CI = 50.

Although both blogs have the exact same number of posts, comments and trackbacks, Blog B's conversational index is much higher because it has enjoyed conversational input from a much higher number of people.

7. My head hurts.  I feel like a geek.

Anyway, I hope this gets some more thoughts flowing.  Maybe someone can go all mathematical and sabermetricky on this.  (Somewhere out there is a diehard baseball fan waiting to morph into a bona fide blog statistician!)  I look forward to hearing what you have to say about this.

Dec29
BlogPulse: Bloggers Rely On Mainstream Media Sources
The BlogPulse 2005 Year in Review report includes a list of the top media sources referenced in blogs.  BlogPulse compiled this data by counting the number of times bloggers linked to different media sources throughout 2005.  Here are the top five:

1 . Yahoo! News
2 . BBC NEWS
3 . The New York Times
4 . CNN.com
5 . Washington Post

See the complete list of the top 25 media sources used by bloggers.

It may surprise many business bloggers to know that mainstream, "traditional" media sources remain the most-cited news sources among bloggers.  As companies increase their use of blogging to report on corporate news, they may become increasingly likely to cite each other rather than citing indrect sources like press releases and outside reports.

Perhaps 2006 will see a breakthrough as blog news sources like the Gawker or Pajamas Media networks might crack the top 25.  Time will tell.
Nov29
Updated Blog Network List Coming Soon

One of the Web's most prominent blog network lists, BlogNetworkList.com, will soon be much better, according to Matt at Blog Network Watch.  If you are or want to be part of a blog network, this news should benefit you.  (You might also consider joining Know More Media, of which I am a proud member.)

Over the long Thanksgiving weekend, Matt offered me a sneak preview of the next version of the Blog Network List.  I can't share with you all that I've seen there, but let me say that it's an exciting and refreshing improvement over the current version.  My favorite improvements:

Some fun facts, according to the new Blog Network List:

  • Only 7 blog networks (out of dozens) have 40 or more blogs.
  • 9rules currently has the most blogs (93), followed closely by Pajamas Media (88) and Weblogs, Inc. (85).
  • Four of the top 10 blogs in Technorati's rankings - Engadget, Gizmodo, Instapundit and Michelle Malkin - belong to blog networks.

Matt has commented before at Business Blog Wire on the difficulty of estimating the true monetary value of a blog network.  On that note, Weblogs, Inc. CEO Jason Calacanis has just posted about the inflated valuation of blogs and blog networks, warning against overestimation.

Look for the new Blog Network List sometime in December 2005.  Comments or questions are welcome.

Nov15
Technorati Front Page Can Feature Your Blog
Here's how you can enjoy a few minutes of fame on the famous Technorati.com front page (like me):

1.  Have a great blog.  Sorry, it takes some time and effort.
2.  Visit Technorati.com.  Underneath the search box on the right-hand side, click on "Add your blog!"
3.  You'll arrive at the Blog Finder help page.  The instructions are simple: Sign up for a free Technorati account, then claim your blog and add a few tags and a nice little description.
4.  Sit back and watch the blogosphere cameras roll!  You should soon see your blog under the "Featured Bloggers" heading at the Technorati Blog Finder main page.  And maybe it will be included in the rotation on the Technorati main page itself!
5.  PC users, hit F11 for full screen browing, then hit the "Print Screen" key.  Capture that beast!
6.  Paste it into a graphics editor, save the pic and post it on your blog for all to admire.  (Here's my screenshot.)  (Okay, have another.)
7.  Humble yourself.  Anybody can do it.  You just happened upon this gem.

Hopefully this will help boost traffic to your business blog!
Nov14
Know More Media Makes The Blog Network List
Just a quick heads-up: our fledgling business blog network, Know More Media, is now listed at the big Blog Network List!  (Still on the C list, of course, but that'll change soon ...)  Thanks for mentioning us, whoever you are :).

Please send us your suggestions.  We plan to make a dent for good in the business blogging world.

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