Jason Calacanis offers a prize(?) to whoever can come up with a ‘kick butt’ list of the top 500 weblogs. $50,000 in advertising to anyone who could come up with a better ranking system or $10,000 cash to a programmer who creates such a system for his company.
To actually build a ranking system, you need the data. We need to build a bot to search and store all the metrics that we will rank on. While we’re at it, we might as well build a pinger that slurps posts as they happen.
Lets decide on the metrics…
- the text itself
- the domain/blog the post comes from
- links from other blogs
- non-blogged links
- all the same info on each trackback/pingback
This also assumes that the best way to rank the most popular blogs is how many inbound links they generate. What about just controversial blogs and hot topics? They generate a lot of buzz because of the polarizing nature of the controversy. Does controversy or buzz actually equate to popularity? I could say something outlandishly pro-Bush or anti-Bush that gets picked up by an well read blog or a search engine and generates 100,000 pageviews in a day but does that mean I’m popular? If we add a dampening factor of time, inbound links sustained week after week over a couple of months we would find a more accurate representation of relative popularity. But then what about bloggers that only post a couple of times a week?
What other options do we have for rankings? The number of feed subscribers? The number of daily visitors? The number of top ten search results everyday? Anything we come up with can eventually be gamed by anyone who wants to. Why do you think Google’s ranking is such a closely held secret?
What, now, is the point of a top 500 blogs of all genres? Blogging is a largely personal experience, its off the cuff, emotional and more of a conversation. You can find blogs on every subject known to man. Who gains from a popularity list other than the ego of those involved? If I want to read from an authority on Italian cooking would the top 500 get me anywhere? Maybe one or two blogs. Lumping every subject together in one big list thorws away one of the most important advantages of blogging compared to other forms of media… the individuality of subject.
Now we need a topic-based parameter.
Take the data gathered from this pinger/bot and build an interface that lets me manipulate the results like a fast food menu. ‘Give me 250 of the most actively linked blogs on PHP coding over the last 45 days’. Now thats a list that would be useful to me (today). Tomorrow could be a whole new list.
Give me some fancy buttons to post on my blog linking back to my top list and every other list out there would be playing catch up for the next year.
Screw the $10,000 I want in on the backend profits.