Is it better to have authority or influence? Authority, as measured by Technorati, is just the number of in-links to a site, but the problem of measuring the quality of those links remains. So why not measure influence?
Onalytica, a UK firm specializing in social network analysis, released a new study on its blog measuring the most influential sites on the topics of “business blog” and “business blogging.” It came up with the top 25 Websites (many which are blogs that we all know and love) and gave them each a number on the Issue Influence Index.
They use a methodology that is widely been adopted in academic circles called influence/output analysis, which is a way to measure citations (textual or links). It is also widely used in economic forecasting. If you like math, you can check the details at Wikipedia.
In the comments, Constantin Basturea points out that the study wasn’t complete as it left out other key terms such as corporate blogging, corporate blog and other such combinations.
He of course is right, but I think it is good to continue to develop models to help make sense of links since all links are not created equal.
Blogger Dan Hill has an interesting take, calling the Technorati measurement of links “allusion capital,” or as he puts it, “The sum of all the times that a blogger entices a person to put their home reference on a post in the form of a hyperlink.”
I also like something that Phil Gomes said in his recent post about why he hates the A-list mentality:
The day you start caring more than two squirts of whizz about your ranking or A-list status is the day you have lost control of your blog — and, with it, your online identity — since that desire to achieve and maintain status will inevitably color what you write and how you write it!!!
Rank is only as interesting as it denotes who is popular at a given moment in time. The relevance of the content on that blog to what a searcher is looking for is infinitely more important.
If you can somehow help a searcher to more easily find content that is relevant to their needs, then you have truly accomplished something; otherwise it is just more chatter about popularity and who is “in,” or as Gomes calls it, the A-list mentality. Unfortunately, I think there is nothing that will stop that completely since it is human nature to compare.
There has been a pretty good conversation about the term authority that Technorati adopted for its new slider at Naked Conversations, including a comment by Doc Searls who says Technorati asked him for a better term, but he hasn’t thought of one yet.
How about most recognized or site with the highest linkrank? I think using the word authority carries too much weight.
Note: Thanks to Debbie Weil at Blog Write for CEOs for pointing me to the study. Her blog shows up #8 on the list.