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Wikio Charts – Sneak Preview


5:32 pm - December 1st 2008

by Jennie Rigg    


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Dan Dan the Wikio Man sent me a little present today – a sneak preview of this month’s Wikio Politics chart. Care for a nosey?

So, we seem to be pretty settled at number 3, but there has been a bit of movement outside the top three… Is anyone else mildly disturbed by the high position of Dizzy Thinks?

I’d comment further, but I am watching brand new Sarah-Jane Adventures (with a very special guest) and am totally distracted…

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Is anyone else mildly disturbed by the high position of Dizzy Thinks?

If that’s what the people like, good luck to ’em.

Is anyone else mildly disturbed by the high position of Dizzy Thinks?

Second only to the dismay at the popularity of blogs where fuck-tard is considered the acme of intelligent expression.

I discussed their methodology when they first contacted me.

While I’m sure, Wikio is straight-up, their algorithm favours sites linked to from large blogs *within the main body* of the blog (not the blogroll).

So, The Mainly Dale’s Daily Dozen (as far as I can make out) will push the blogs he frequently links to ever higher in the rankings.

Of course, as LC provides daily links within the main body, this will similarly skew the results but only if certain sites are constantly featured.

Surely Wikio could devise a system which would ignore a batch of, say, five or more links contained within one post.

I hate lists, full stop.

Also, it seems they’ve also changed their ‘general’ list: http://www.wikio.co.uk/blogs/top

we’re number three on that too… while a few months ago that was dominated by tech blogs. I have a feeling they’re still adjusting that algorithm.

Dale’s Daily Dozen

I’m on my best behaviour. I will not comment.

Well the algorithm favours a cluster of blogs that reference each other, and strangely doesn’t seem to take into account number of readers, unless I have missed something.

I think the reason we are 3rd in the general as well as the political, Sunny, is that a load of political blogs submitted themselves in the last few months.

I don’t see a problem with wikio’s methodology, but I do think they ought to be more active about trawling for blogs, rather than waiting for them to be submitted.

Dizzy is heavily plugged (I nearly said ‘groomed’ there but they would both probably be upset) by Dale, to whom he must surely give the credit to for his high ranking. Dizzy’s blog can be amusing, but his attempts at Dale-like ‘exclusives’ are really lame.

But generally, I’m with Sunny, bugger the lists!

I think the only problem with the algorithm is that not enough blogs are included, I’ve considered going around submitting all my friends blogs so that I get a bit more of a bump, but I’d still be 180ish which is a bit too high anyway (getting linked regularly from the netcast definitely boosted me there, and I wonder if the ‘written by’ text with links counts as body text as well?).

I don’t value the lists in and of themselves, but they are a very good place to point non-bloggers as a starting point: rather than believing Dale’s hype, it’s very clear there’s a very diverse top ten, and the liberal/left/non-Tory blogs are strong. When BBC and other journalists adhere to the repeated meme that all the top blogs are right wing it annoys me, this is a good way to show them it’s not true at all.

Of course, that I’ve contributed at times to three of the top ten blogs is a mere sign of quality being recognised, naturally 😉

Andy: how on earth would you go about confirming readers? All the arguments over stats I’ve seen, how to measure, what counts, etc would just cause argument after argument.

Incoming links are the best measure of success within blogs, and Wikio seems to rank that better than the other attempts (Tehcnorati’s system just plain doesn’t work). Google uses just incoming links, Wikio uses just incoming links.

I like that as a nice pure measure. Sure, the weighting and algorithm are subject to tweaking, and it’s a work in progress, but the top ten look about right to me overall.

>Surely Wikio could devise a system which would ignore a batch of, say, five or more links contained within one post.

I’d prefer to have them all in. The problem with chopping posts with lots of links is that it would undermine all the roundups – Britblog, Scotblog and so on, which do link to a wide range of places.

>Dizzy
I’d put that down to mainly the US Election Live Blog and perhaps the “Alex Hilton needs some anti-Tory ammo” piece.

On the whole I’d say it’s good that a single popular piece or important piece can boost a blog for a few weeks. Ditto when a whole nest of blogs are listed together – that means that a niche gets some attention for a time. If Jenny followed through that should happen to femi-poli-blogs in a month or so.

>While I’m sure, Wikio is straight-up, their algorithm favours sites linked to from large blogs *within the main body* of the blog (not the blogroll).

I think excluding blogroll links is a good thing. It reduces the importance of blogs which are living on past glories, and is a differentiator from Technorati.

>I think the only problem with the algorithm is that not enough blogs are included

I submitted 150 UK Blogs when I happened to have them in a spreadsheet – the more the merrier.

>we’re number three on that too… while a few months ago that was dominated by tech blogs. I have a feeling they’re still adjusting that algorithm.

I’ve written about the development of the algorithm here:

http://www.mattwardman.com/blog/2008/10/05/wikio-rankings-changes-for-top-political-blogs-exclusive/

Although it has changed again (link value now deprecated over 10 months on an exponential basis rather than 9 months as a straight line).

In short: yes.

>take into account number of readers

That way lies madness. Also there are any number of services that do that already (blogflux.com have a selection of UK Poliblogs on them for example), so it would be a loss of diversity.

Matt

From Wikio

“Moreover, 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 top blog is greater than that of a link from a blog that is less well ranked.”

So, if you’re near the top, you can influence the ranking (probably considerably) of many smaller blogs just by putting a daily list of links in the body of your site.

As for not being bothered about lists, well I’m sure many are not too bothered about where their own blog appears but they may well be concerned about the ranking of other blogs.

What happens when, due to a ranking system, someone is lauded as having one of the top political blogs, others take this as gospel and the individual goes on to represent him or herself as a political expert or a spokesperson for the blogging community to a much greater audience through various mainstream media?

We may all then whine about misrepresentation etc. etc.
However, if we ignore how these rankings are put together we will only have ourselves to blame when someone is given a much bigger platform from which to espouse his/her views and attempt to influence others who are not as partisan as the regular readership of his/her blog.

Wikio’s algorithm may not need tweaking but safeguards need to be put in place to stop the possibility of distortion by the inclusion of lists of links in posts. Maybe Wikio should even think of penalising those who it believes are using this method to influence the standing of other blogs.
Until this or part of this happens, in my opinion, Wikio’s worth is greatly diminished but it may well be perceived as a true measure by the msm or even those foolish enough to invest cash to support certain sites.
Wordpress plugins can identify possible spam by the number of links individual comments contain. It should therefore be technologically possible to identify clusters of links and exclude them from the calculation of a Wikio ranking.

Old Holborn wasn’t even in last month’s top 100 – for good reason, some might add.

Matt,
I suppose I must have been writing may last comment as you posted yours.

We must agree to disagree on link clusters.

You refer to my comment about excluding blogrolls. I agree this is a good thing.

My comment about this was to emphasise the importance of links to blogs in the main body of the blog. I wasn’t whingeing that blogrolls were not included 🙂

In fact, now that The Mainly Dale may have disenfranchised some of his early supporters by moving his full blogroll away from the front page, maybe he is giving back by providing his Daley Dozen.

Beyond Wikio, one thing I have noticed recently is the WordPress dashboard displaying an increased number of ‘incoming links’.
However, as far as I can see, these are probably from the *existence* of my blog on someone’s blogroll not because someone has clicked on a link.
As you’ll be aware, this feature of WordPress is now based on Google and has been for some time.
I therefore assume that Google methodology has changed (for the worse).

I therefore assume that Google methodology has changed (for the worse).

And you’d be correct.

Previously, Google’s blog search only picked up links within the main body of an article and disregarded the contents of a site’s blogroll.

Now, every time a new article is posted on a blog it registers every single link on a page, so if you’re on someone’s blogroll you get a new article that’s ostensibly linking to your site showing up every single time some one posts irrespective of whether the article itself links to your blog.

There is a replacement widget which swaps out Google for Technorati, which is less much prone to this issue, but otherwise the signal to noise ratio coming from Google is so poor as to make it worthless, which I why I’ve signed up for and have been running the Woopra beta for the last couple of months, which I’m very impressed with.

http://www.woopra.com/

On word of warning, when I signed up it did take about three weeks for my application to join the beta programme to be accepted – not sure if they’re still handling sing-ups that way but it is worth the wait, not least for the live tracking feature in the Java client which shows you exactly who’se lurking on your blog at any given time.

The Google incoming is now terrible, it used to be much better than Technorati as it seemed to only pick up main content posts, but most of my recent incoming links have been my comments when I’ve said something on a non-WP site or a WP one that switched off the no-follow thing. Really annoying.

Technorati has always been hit and miss, I’ve found Blogpulse quite good at times.

@BBDO: I’m with Mr Wardman on the value of link cluster posts, several of the blogs I read are just linkbloggers, collating the best of the web. Some do one post per subject, and thus have many many posts per day, others use delicious to do a daily linkdump (I do that sometimes) and others do a ‘netcast’ style thing, which we’ve been doing here since the beginning (well, I say we, Aaron, Jennie et al, not a job I want, at all).

If readers begin to think that linkdump isn’t good enough, then they’ll begin to devalue the blog itself: Dale’s daily thingy is no less damaging than any other method, and he’s been linking to the likes of Dizzy for ages (because he likes that style of blog: there were many much better Tory blogs I was reading at the time, ah well).

Also? Dale’s been promoting himself as ‘top blogger’ since way before this sort of ranking came out, and he’s still repeating the false meme that there’re no decent left wing blogs. That the top ten includes several, and they’ve been there by any sane metric for awhile, shows he’s wrong. Yes, he remains ‘top’, but if we really wanted to here at LC we could take him off there.

We just can’t be arsed.

@Unity: Woopra looks interesting, LMK when it’s out of beta?

Ye gods. Just checked my Google incoming. Cabalamat has linked to me, twice, it seems. One is my comment, the next is his ‘recent comments’ plugin, which has me there as well on his next post.

That’s bad. Guess I’ll have to try Blogpulse again. TBH, I prefer to get a few more instead of missing them (which is my gripe with technorati), but that’s just too many.

On clusters, we need to distinguish between Google search and Google Blog search. If Google started seriously penalising clusters then it would render operation Usmanov and similar much more difficult. Although I’m sure we’d find ways.

Google is far more restrictive in links it “counts” than e.g., Yahoo – and has hundreds of other factors involved anyway, as we all know.

I’d basically agree on Google Blog search.

On Wikio – the other two gems about Wikio are a) That they have a UK-specific service, and b) That they actually talk to us. Aside from that, I’d certainly share some of the points made.

>So, if you’re near the top, you can influence the ranking (probably considerably) of many smaller blogs just by putting a daily list of links in the body of your site.

You would need to ask them.

I’d suggest that number of postings about rankings is a good measure of “degree of tosser-ness”, and that quoting a number without defining how it is defined is an even stronger “tosser” indicator.

>What happens when, due to a ranking system, someone is lauded as having one of the top political blogs, others take this as gospel and the individual goes on to represent him or herself as a political expert or a spokesperson for the blogging community to a much greater audience through various mainstream media?

I’d say that it is difficult to do much about audiences and mainstream media commentators who insist on being idiots – Andrew Spleen springs to mind – I regularly beat them up about statistics, but they still quote “page impressions”. A trench war.

>Maybe Wikio should even think of penalising those who it believes are using this method to influence the standing of other blogs.

That’s an idea, but I’d hate to be the person implementing it.

>Wordpress plugins can identify possible spam by the number of links individual comments contain. It should therefore be technologically possible to identify clusters of links and exclude them from the calculation of a Wikio ranking.

To take an extreme case, I’d probably agree for clusters of more than say 50 links. But – for example – I did this post which had more than 75 links and only covered half of Blogpower:

http://www.mattwardman.com/blog/2008/07/21/blogpower-roundup-the-matt-wardman-civil-liberties-edition/

While in the huge lists of “Top 300 blogs”, the valuable ones are actually the
lower ones.

>Wikio’s algorithm may not need tweaking but safeguards need to be put in place to stop the possibility of distortion by the inclusion of lists of links in posts.

I think I’d want to see some data on that – e.g., “roundup links” from the top 10 blogs over a 6 week period in the past – to show me there is a problem, combined with an indicator from Wikio of the weighting. I wonder if they have that data?

I’d place the focus on getting all the blogs into Wikio, and perhaps ways of getting more attention to less well-known ones.

On a final note, the people who really need reliable and credible are probably advertisers, but sometimes they want a simple story like everyone else. I would use:

1 – Google Analytics as it is standard, biting my tongue because it gives Goog more information.

2 – The free “Quantised” Version of the Quantcast.com service.

3 – The ABCe audit service based on log files, even though it gives result perhaps 2x or 3x higher than 1 and 2 and costs £2-3k to do.

Of these three, 3 is the worst imho.

Then I would want to explain the method as well.

The current Stats Pariahs are the news magazines. The Speccie publishes stats but not the process used.

>Old Holborn wasn’t even in last month’s top 100 – for good reason, some might add.

Yes he was: 55 in politics, 90 in all blogs.

For me, there are far too many mostly crap blogs out there.

I could probably say that 20 political ones are any good – in that I mean they’re a compliment to the MSM commentary and reporting.

I don’t think there is much point in bitching. Most of us are legends in our own lunchtime.

The British blogosphere will follow every other media phenomenon. A few will rise to the top, and then cement their position and absorb talent from others.

There will be a few noted exceptions, but I think group blogs will dominate the next election and beyond.

Well I’m happy and so are my readers

What’s your problem?

That’s odd, I always thought you seemed miserable, bigoted, vindictive and angry, like your readers…

That’s why we’re happy. Very few places left for us to be miserable, bigoted, vindictive and angry. Normally, we have to stand outside in the rain or huddle in a shed.

If they can all fit in a shed, it’s just as well Wikio doesn’t take number of readers into account..

If they can all fit in a shed, it’s just as well Wikio doesn’t take number of readers into account..

Is that right? Seriously?

Aaron? We’ve had this conversation up thread already. If you can propose some way that they possibly could…

Old Holborn

For info – I agree you are getting much traffic, but the numbers you are quoting are “Visits” not “Visitors”, and therefore not comparable with all the rest.

http://bastardoldholborn.blogspot.com/2008/12/november-stats-blah-blah-blah.html
http://www.sitemeter.com/?a=stats&s=s49friday

Not making any accusations (Cranmer did it as well this month), but last time that caused a “slight dispute”.

If you want to compare with others you need Google Analytics on the blog and to quote their Absolute Unique Users figures: otherwise fiskthrowers will be directed at the door of your shed.

Matt

I don’t do advertising so I’m not bothered in the slightest whether they are unique visitors, visits or aliens from Mars.

I wonder whether football clubs ask the people going through the turnstiles “did you come to last weeks game? If so, I need to note it. Fulchester United is looking for “unique” supporters you see and if you’ve been before, you don’t count”

>I’m not bothered in the slightest whether they are unique visitors, visits or aliens from Mars.

OK. Your call – but first one more time, then I’ll shut up.

If you are going to run around publicly comparing your “Visits” figures with other bloggers’ “Unique Visitors” figures (i.e., apples and oranges) as you did here:

http://tinyurl.com/vividimagination

then people will initially think you are an idiot. Then in a couple of months people will start calling you an idiot.

Just a friendly heads-up for you. If you are happy for that to happen then just keep on.

I’m done.

Aaron? We’ve had this conversation up thread already. If you can propose some way that they possibly could…

I’m confused. Never mind. Forget it.

If you are going to run around publicly comparing your “Visits” figures with other bloggers’ “Unique Visitors” figures (i.e., apples and oranges) as you did here:

http://tinyurl.com/vividimagination

then people will initially think you are an idiot. Then in a couple of months people will start calling you an idiot.

Can I just point out that I’ve been calling him an idiot for years? :o)

PS. Or here: http://tinyurl.com/oldholborn

So, not entirely done, then? :o)

Stylish. I am done now.

:-!


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