In the post, Jason wonders whether No. 1 ranked TechCrunch is really as credible a news source as CNET (No. 2) , The New York Times (No. 3), or Reuters (No. 12). Never mind that the venerable The Wall Street Journal ranks No. 17.
Certainly, there are plenty of questions to be asked about TechMeme’s rankings. Reasonable people can debate whether a showing on TechMeme endorses the credibility, popularity, or legitimacy of any blog. But with due respect, I think Jason misses the point so obvious when reviewing the leaderboards’ Top 100 sources. Jason writes that:
[The TechMeme leaderboard] shows TechCrunch as the go-to blog for all things tech or, assumedly, tech-business related.
There’s no questioning TechCrunch’s popularity, but with just a 7% presence among the many links TechMeme mines and promotes, it can hardly claim total world domination. Nor can any of the other blogs that make the leaderboard’s Top 100.
The leaderboard, in fact, is a perfect illustration of the Long Tail. Referrals from TechMeme are highly distributed, just as blog readership is. The blog-reading public hasn’t landed on one or two sites as a sole source of news, information, and opinion about the tech market. Instead, these numbers suggest that the tech-interested public reads lots of blogs in order to get, one would assume, a diverse and complete read on the industry. Whatever you think about TechMeme’s algorithm, fact is that the site is discovering links from sources that’d the average reader wouldn’t have time to investigate on his own.
It is oddly paradoxical for any social media site to claim victory over any other. That would be, after all, an anathema to the very idea of linked social media as a conversation borne out in links and referrals. More people may go to the top ranked blogs more frequently than they do to other social media sources, but the fact is they are going to a wide range of sources for news and opinion.