Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Technorati's Statistics

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Aug 05, 2005

Re: Technorati's State of Blogs report

Joho writes: "Dave Sifry has been posting data Technorati has gathered about the size and nature of the blogosphere, at least the big chunk of it Technorati knows about."

Sorry to complain, but this report is almost completely implausible. It may represent Technorati harvesting patterns, which may skew toward sites that use tags, but it is almost certainly unreflective of trends in the blogosphere as a whole.

If we look at the chart provided, the number of posts using "tags or categories" was zero as of january 1, 2005. But it is ridiculously easy to find blogs that used categories prior to that date; here's one. And Here's 359,000 more.

The fact is the 'category' tag has been around as long as RSS 2.0 (and was inherent in RSS 1.0's dc:subject even before then). It has been widely used since it was introduced. To create a chart, therefore, showing zero instances as of January 1, 2005, is grossly misleading.

The conflation hurts the rest of the article as well. For example, when Sifry writes, "Technorati has tracked over 25 Million tagged posts from January to July of 2005," does he mean Technorati Tags (tm) or does he mean "tags or categories"? When he says, "About 12,000 unique tags are discovered each day," the same question may be asked.

p.s. While I'm writing:

Technorati continues to report 972 posts from 647 sites for - a number still unchanged since July 15. In that time the website ranking dropped from 705 to more than 800, then climbed (somehow) back to today's 736.

Meanwhile, ongoing comparisons between Technorati and other aggregators such as PubSub and Blogdigger show Technorati capturing less than a third of the links in the blogosphere to

Meanwhile, the 'number of links in the last 6 days' has fluctuated between 6 to 16 to today's 4 in the last three days. A link from 'Elearning Queen', which showed up earlier this morning, is gone now. The link to all results continues to fail, making longer term comparisons difficult.

For one of my recent articles, How To Be Heard, written July 28, Technorati display only 5 links, while even Google has rounded up 89 links in the same time. This is a significant difference - 89 links would put my article right at the top of the Technorati popular listings.

Technorati right now offers no statistical validity and should not be quoted as indicative of web trends or blogosphere trends. I do not want to speculate as to why Technorati is obtaining the results it is. But the results obtained certainly lend themselves to such speculation.

Update: the note above was posted as a comment to Joho the Blog, where the original article appeared. It appears not to have made it through comment moderation - so much for the rules. Not sure how to make this post appear in his trackback, but here's the trackback URL, we'll see it that triggers the magic trackback gods:
I'll keep watching, and if the comment does appear, I'll note it here.

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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