Mystery score

Mystery score

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

I Would Do It Differently, Myself

A.C. Douglas has posted a list of what he's calling the top 50 classical music blogs. He has used an idiosyncratic means of determining the ranking, based on a listing of incoming links "generated by Google."

If I were ranking any group of blogs, I'd do it by hits, which give an indication of the size of a blog's readership. That's a better gauge than incoming links. There is just no way this blog should be ranked above parterre box and Opera Chic, which I would guess have a readership an order of magnitude greater than mine.

17 comments:

A.C. Douglas said...
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A.C. Douglas said...

Your blog has a higher ranking this quarter than Parterre Box and Opera Chic simply because your blog has been around longer than the latter, and the former just recently changed its URL.

Not to fret. As the methodology spells out (you did read the methodology, right?), this will "smooth" out over time.

And ranking by hits is impossible to do from the outside.

ACD

A.C. Douglas said...

I should have added to the above that even if hits were countable from the outside, one would need a way to sort out many multiple hits from the same users (very much the case with both blogs you mention). Very tough and horrendously tedious to do even were one to have access to the actual stats program output.

ACD

Dan Johnson said...

Actually, I think any hit-counter worth its salt offers a "unique visitors" statistic. But wouldn't repeat traffic be a good way to determine a site's popularity anyhow?

Lisa Hirsch said...

Yes, I read the methodology.

Dan's right; analytics programs have unique-visitor counters as well as undifferentiated aggregation of hits. And I agree with him about repeat traffic.

A.C. Douglas said...

You're both wrong -- on several counts, the decisive one being that an outsider has no access to those stats except in those rare cases where the blogger makes his stats public.

But even if one had access, that unique visitor count is calculated differently by different stats packages; ergo, no way to normalize them. Ditto multiple visits. I don't mean multiple visits on different days, or even different parts of a day. I mean multiple visits within a matter of hours by the same user. One would have to take an inordinate amount of time to parse the whole thing. Impossible.

But all the above is entirely moot. One would need uniform access to a blog’s stats across the entire universe of blogs.

Again, impossible.

ACD

Lisa Hirsch said...

That isn't nearly as decisive as you think. I'd be perfectly happy to disclose my statistics, at least in email, and likely others would as well. (My readership is quite small.) I also believe it's feasible to get a bunch of bloggers to all install the same package because there is really not much overhead involved.

We're also not talking about the entire universe of blogs, merely a couple of hundred classical music blogs.

A.C. Douglas said...

You might be perfectly happy to disclose your statistics (well, it's not a matter of disclosing, but of making them public so they can be accessed by an outsider), most would not, particularly for this purpose. And it's not a matter of "installing a package." Everyone would have to agree to use the same third-party statistics service. And when I said "universe of blogs" I of course meant the universe of CM blogs, certainly not the entire blogosphere.

It's simply — and totally — an unworkable method, Lisa.

ACD

Lisa Hirsch said...

My speculation above says quite clearly "install THE SAME [analytics] package."

I'm much less convinced than you are that most CM bloggers wouldn't disclose this information. Alex Ross disclosed ages ago that he gets about 2000 hits per day. I get something on the order of 100 to 120, which spiked to 300-400 (!) when poor Jerry Hadley was dying. You see why I think it's absurd to rank me so close to Alex.

Even the raw numbers, unmassaged, give a reasonable informal index of "top."

A.C. Douglas said...
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A.C. Douglas said...

Lisa: Whether you consider it absurd or not, the incoming links to your blog determine your blog's ranking, not your hits. I've already given you solid arguments as to why hits is an impossible to use index, practically. Incoming links are not, and they're a quite good indicator of a blog's importance. Google thinks so (PageRank is, at bottom, based on incoming links), Technorati thinks so (their Authority number is a measure of incoming links), and so do I.

What can I say. We work with what’s available to us. We can do no more.

ACD

Tim said...

I seem not to have qualified even for consideration for ACD's blog ranking. I would guess it's because my blog is hosted by a newspaper, but I don't know. I do feel that I'm a good citizen in the classical blogoshpere though.
http://artsblog.freedomblogging.com/category/uncategorized/

Lisa Hirsch said...

Tim, yeah, you are.

Parterre didn't change URL. They changed where they're hosted. I think the URL has been www.parterre.com for years.

A.C. Douglas said...

Tim: I struggled with the question whether to include the Arts Blog in the eligible blogs list precisely because you are "a good citizen in the classical blogosphere." But as I've expressly excluded institutional blogs from consideration in the listings, and excluded as well blogs not written principally by a single individual, I ultimately had to exclude the Arts Blog as well even though I myself read it daily, and enjoy the reading.

Wish I could find a legitimate way around that. I know! How 'bout you start a blog on Blogger. I'd list that in a New York minute.

ACD

Tim said...

I left a comment earlier, but I guess it went into the ether. Pity, it was pure Shakespeare.

Thanks, ACD for your generous words. You read me daily? Gee, I better do better work.

As you no doubt remember, I started as a lone blogger here with Classical Life, and blogged for about a year and a half by myself. When it was decided that the other arts writers would blog too, I suggested we keep the blogs separate, but a group blog was settled on. I have my own "category" though, so you can still just link to that to read the Classical Life blog.

I'm pretty independent here, and my editors don't tell me what I can or cannot blog about. In fact, few of the higher ups here even read my blog. Still, if you want to eliminate institutional blogs from your list, that's your business.

In Musical Perceptions' latest blog rankings I came in somewhere around 32. Given Lisa's honesty about her numbers, I think I'd rank somewhere near her on your list.

A.C. Douglas said...

Tim: I posted a detailed explanation concerning why I chose to exclude both group and institutional blogs from the S&F Top 50. It can be read here.

ACD

Lisa Hirsch said...

Hmm, I have two reports now of comments going into the aether today. This is suspicious.