New Ranking System Slices, Dices Blogosphere Buzz

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2005-09-26 Print this article Print

The new blog- and site-ranking service is calibrated to avoid news of the moment by measuring strength, persistence and vitality of links. has released a blog and Web site ranking tool calibrated to avoid the Janet Jackson wardrobe-malfunction, buzz-of-the-minute phenomenon. PubSubs LinkRanks, released on Monday, measures strength, persistence and vitality of links that appear in the more than 16 million Web feeds the tracking service monitors. LinkRanks differs from competing ranking systems on a number of fronts. Relying on a nightly analysis of Web feeds, PubSub calculates which blogs are the most influential, which are getting the most number of links, and which links come from the most influential sites.
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Beyond that, PubSub provides a detailed set of data that shows, for each site referred to from a feed, for each day, how many people linked to that site, how many people linked out and how many entries were created on that site. "We compute ranks on a daily basis," said CTO and Cofounder Bob Wyman. "We dont do what everybody else does: We dont just count up links to a site and say the guy with the most links has the most popular site. The reason is we have to recognize that not all links are created equal. A link from a popular and influential site is much more valuable than from a site nobodys every heard of." The page ranking system Google uses to figure out the relevant of pages uses much the same logic, Wyman said. PubSub also pays attention to a few other factors. On a particular day, if one site links to another multiple times, the service doesnt rank subsequent links as high as the first link. The reason for that, said Wyman, is that if someone links within a story, theyll typically link multiple times as they point to various aspects of the same site. Also, new links are given higher ranking than older links. So as a link ages, its value is discounted. Click here to read more about how blog ping services probably wont mesh. Thats an attempt to prevent a Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction type of situation, Wyman said. "When Janet Jackson had her wardrobe malfunction, a couple of sites quickly put up links to pictures of the events," he said. "As a result they earned a tremendous number of incoming links. "They rapidly became the most influential site for Janet Jackson," he said. "The reality is that most of those sites had nothing to do with Janet Jackson and werent particularly interesting, either. But they had 10,000, 15,000 or more links. That may work in the Web world where people search for retrospective [ranking] in overall times. But most people care about who has the buzz today." Instead of showing which sites are influential on a given day, LinkRanks shows which sites have been persistently influential over the prior 15 or 30 days. That shows which sites can maintain buzz, Wyman said. "The most interesting sites are those who sustain the buzz over a 15- or 30-day period," he said. "Somebody whos at the top of the heap over the last 30 days, this is probably a site that bears your attention and deserves to be kept track of over time." PubSub is demonstrating how LinkRanks can be used in its "Fashionable Blogs" list, which shows the rise and fall of influence and popularity among fashion bloggers. PubSub plans to partner with a variety of domain experts in the future to provide other such focused ranked lists of specialty blogs. LinkRanks is available on PubSubs site. PubSub is offered by PubSub Concepts Inc., in New York. Check out eWEEK.coms for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.
Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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