Blog ranking and the MessageSpace distortion
He is now ranked No.12, which is beneath all of those to whom he is undeniably inferior (possibly excepting Tom Harris MP, who is a gentleman and a scholar so we will let it pass), but inappropriately above the likes of John Redwood MP, Douglas Carswell MP, Hopi Sen and the infinite worth of Dr Richard North at the EU Referendum blog. His Grace is even above the principal ‘grassroot’ blogs LabourList and LibDem Voice.
It is, of course, a delight to find oneself more highly ranked than The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Mail, the BBC’s Nick Robinson, Alastair Campbell and some of the more media-savvy MPs of all parties.
But it remains a mystery to His Grace why this should be.
Especially given the manifest distorting effects of some high-profile MSM linking to their select favourites; the unofficial patronage bestowed by the main political parties who provide links to their favoured few; and the exponential growth of mutual-back-slapping advertising networks.
For example, it appears that 10 of the Top 11 Wikio blogs are supported by MessageSpace revenue, and benefit from this community’s links and heightened profile.
Liberal Conspiracy is the exception, but the list establishes a direct correlation between Top ranking blogs and MessageSpace.
Of course, there are those who will say that MessageSpace makes use of these blogs precisely because they attract a lot of traffic, not vice versa.
But the benefits are manifestly mutual. MessageSpace says: ‘We work with some of the best, high traffic and most influential news, politics and current affairs websites in the UK. We work with these sites to help them earn revenue to sustain them and the important role they play in their political spheres, and also within the wider political debate.’
So, MessageSpace ensures financial subsidy to sustain these sites. During the fourth quarter of 2008 (the last figures quoted by the company), the income of bloggers broke down as follows:
• The single highest paid blogger had sales on average of £3,872 per month.
• The top 10% of bloggers had monthly sales averaging £2,861 in - a rise of 64% from £1,741 last year .
• The middle 40% of bloggers had average monthly sales of £351.
• The remaining 50% had average monthly sales of £54.
Jag Singh, MessageSpace’s CIO says: “What the numbers show is that for our leading bloggers it is now possible to be a full-time professional. For the semi-professional bloggers it provides a few thousand pounds a year, earning them the enough for a family holiday. For the rest it certainly pays their internet bills and enough to upgrade to a new lap-top annually.”
Cranmer would rather have liked his recent holiday to have been paid for. He wrote to MessageSpace (three times) to enquire about community membership. When he finally received a response, it was a rejection. Though they assured him that he was ‘at the top’ for future consideration. But this was months ago, and other blogs have since joined who were clearly more ‘at the top’ than His Grace ever was. He is evidently not deemed to be an acceptable site for their advertisers, despite having reached in excess of 60,000 absolute unique visitors, and despite being far more highly ranked than many of the sites which are deemed to be acceptable.
And the reason can hardly be because His Grace caters for a small and insignificant religio-political niche. Pink News is part of the MessageSpace network, and one is left to observe once again that the political concerns of the Christian majority are subsumed to those of vocal minorities.
Surely the ‘pink pound’ cannot be worth more than the holy one.
What is interesting to note is that Labourlist and LibDem Voice feature prominently in Wikio’s Top 10, but ConservativeHome (not part of the MessageSpace network) comes in at No17, beneath His Grace.
It is, of course, ludicrous to believe that ConservativeHome is in any sense less influential or informative or less widely read that either Labourlist or LibDem Voice.
Blog lists are increasingly discredited as a means of assessing popularity, influence or connectivity. Even Technorati has changed the way it calculates how many sites link to a certain blog, such that Cranmer’s ranking now swings anywhere between 123 and 277 in the space of a few hours.
But the MessageSpace distortion appears to be incontrovertible.
Perhaps someone with a lot of time on their hands might develop the appropriate algorithm so that yet another list might be produced to negate the effect.