More Wikio Ranking News

After last month’s call to arms for wine bloggers to collaborate more to avoid being relegated to the second rank of sites in the Wine & Beer category on Wikio, not a great deal has changed (yet) but there are a couple of bright lights.

First, the news at the top is that Pete Brown joins us Dirty Rascals as he is toppled as king of this particular castle and Pencil & Spoon takes his top spot.

Lower down, and there is an 11-place rise for Mr Simon Woods and his “Drinking Outside the Box” after a concerted blogging effort this month (his ASUS Transformer must have energised him) and a stonking 15 place rise for Bibendum Wine, in part thanks to what must have been an exciting Americas Most Wanted Tasting I think.

There are now 4 wine blogs in the Top 20 (compared to 3 last month) so maybe the tide is turning? 

Well done all!

1 Pencil & Spoon
2 Pete Brown’s Blog
3 Zythophile
4 Beer Reviews
5 Woolpack Dave’s beer and stuff blog
6 Drinking Outside The Box
7 Are You Tasting the Pith?
8 Bibendum Wine
9 The Good Stuff
10 Tandleman’s Beer Blog
11 Master Brewer at Adnams
12 The Pub Curmudgeon
13 Ghost Drinker
14 Raising the Bar
15 The Wine Conversation
16 Rabid About Beer
17 the beer monkey
18 Called to the bar
19 Spittoon
20 HopZine.com

Ranking made by Wikio

 

ADDENDUM (4/7/2011) – ONLY FOR THOSE WHO CARE ABOUT THE ACT/ART OF BLOGGING:

I feel I should add an addendum to this post, as the discussion comes up each time rankings of this sort are mentioned.

I am not subscribing wholeheartedly to the Wikio concept and algorithm, and I do not think that making this list should be the goal or target of a blogger. On the contrary. What is a “Top Blog” in any case? Everyone’s is different.

Just like the discussion of individuals’ “influence” by the likes of Klout, PeerIndex and so on, blog rankings are always going to be very limited interpretations of a niche of content on the web.

But what else is there?

Not everyone has the luxury of time and experience to know what blogs they might like to read, or people they should follow. There are still those who are joining the social web every day, looking for places to start their discovery, or expand their horizons. I know I still feel that way.

In the case of wikio, the rankings have been criticised because they do not take into account a site’s traffic. There are very well read, very well written, blogs out there that do not get to the top of this list. Is that a reason to dismiss them entirely? 

Not in my opinion. Traffic is not the best way to judge a blog. Traffic can be ‘gamed’ by attracting a lot of useless visitors passing through with no interest in the subject but lead there by misleading links or other dubious practices. How do you differentiate those sites who spend years building their traffic through solid effort from those who simply pay spamming organisations? Getting around this issue in a fair and general way, has tested cleverer people than me for years.

Every blogger or reader can give you THEIR list of top blogs, but are these any better or less arbitrary than the automatically generated ones that use rules and the few publicly available measures to rank sites?

Wikio looks at the links to, and from, other sites (including twitter) to decide which sites other content creators consider worth linking to. As a guide to ‘interesting’ sites, I think this is as good as any. It means that bloggers need to encourage other bloggers, and their readers, not only to come and read their content, but make the effort to link to it in their own writing. This is a whole lot more of a challenge than getting people just to visit the site for a second or two.

The focus, therefore, is not on the raw numbers of visitors or readers someone might get, but the interaction that blog or post has generated among the social community, after all, we are supposed to be breaking down information silos and encouraging sharing.

Of course this method IS flawed. It focuses too much on other bloggers and not the value to readers in general. It gives extra weight to links from the existing ‘leaders’ and so creating a self-referential A-list. It doesn’t look at the value of the interaction, only the raw numbers of links. I could go on.

All these rankings are a guide to the performance of a blog or group of blogs, and if treated as a sign or ‘health report’ and not as gospel, they can add value and help bloggers create better, more engaging content, and readers to find new voices to explore.

I have no affiliation with Wikio, they simply asked me if I wanted to publish this sneak preview.

My interest in the ranking is only to see whether the wine blogging community is doing a good job of supporting each other in a way that helps them, and their readers, to create and enjoy better wine content. In my view we are not doing as good a job and promoting each others best materials as we once did, but we are committing to improve this, and so I monitor our performance as best I can.

  • Jamie Goode

    Robert, thanks for the clarification. As the author of the first UK wine blog, with more traffic than any of these blogs in the wikio list, you can understand why I find this list annoying. I don’t get traffic through spamming or dubious practices. But I don’t see why such a list, dominated by low-traffic beer blogs, should be taken seriously. The only way for me to get my blog on to this list would be for me to interact lots with the blogs already on the list. Including the beer ones. I’m happy to link to blogs that are relevant with interesting content and do so all the time. But I’m not going to join in and play the game of linking to these highly ranked wikio blogs just to climb a ranking of dubious merit in the first place. And I’ll continue to complain about the legitimacy of such a ranking. It doesn’t serve readers well, and just helps to perpetuate a bloggers’ bubble where bloggers just read and commentate on each others’ blogs.

  • Juel Mahoney

    Robert, I get quite respectable hits, very respectable – enough to not work full time and devote my time to it – yet I am not on this list. I find it hard to believe that this is a great algo. Sorry. It’s not bitter, just stating facts. When it comes to linking to other blogs and reading other blogs, I say I am a high to heavy user. Just maybe not on the ones listed. I like interesting stuff – not people who buy their lists. Also, my readers are intensive. The return visits and how many pages they read and how long they stay count more to me than if they stay for a few seconds. Not sure this is really getting this – but great for people with good SEO – then again, why champion this?Bests, Juel

  • Robert McIntosh

    thanks Jamie – you are not alone in that criticism, and I do agree on the whole, but is there any other way to monitor the activity in this area? Who is putting in the effort and getting rewards? We could all block wikio, but that wouldn’t help.We need something dynamic.I try to keep an eye on all sorts of sites, such as postrank (recently bought for redevelopment by Google – so watch this space), peerindex, even Empire Avenue, just to see if there are clever alternatives, but I’m not sure there is anything vastly better than this simple/simplistic approach

  • Robert McIntosh

    Juel – have you checked whether your feed is being monitored? Have you submitted your site? This is not about how you write your own blog or interact with your readers. I know you are doing a great job (as I am one of them). This is the fact that, on the whole, we are better off when we are also supporting others, and readers are being introduced to other blogs as well. I do not believe in SEO for the sake of it, but the core of it is simply making your site visible for readers to find, and helping others to do the same – surely nothing wrong with that?

  • Jamie Goode

    Robert, there’s Alexa (only really useful for sites with v high traffic, but a good indicator of rough status), then there’s google page rank. But a metric like the wikio rankings is so flawed I don’t think it is worth supporting. There’s nothing wrong with making your site visible and SEO – but this isn’t that.You are encouraging us to ‘support’ a list of sites just because they happen to be in this ranking. I’ve no problem with supporting and sharing link love with good content, but I’m not going to do it in the hope of climbing some bizarre list of blogs.

  • Robert McIntosh

    Thanks Jamie. Alexa, as you say, is not relevant to 95%+ of blogs (lack of traffic) and Google Page Rank is a very rough indicator (all will be 1-5)I am not encouraging you to link to these specific sites at all, and I don’t really care about whether we individually climb the list – and only mentioned the two above because it was the only thing of note.My aim has always been the general point. If wine bloggers were better at linking to other relevant (!) blogs, then as a group we would perform better and by definition, have greater visibility and impact. Google’s Page Rank is based on a very similar model to this (around links in particular), so if you rate PR, then why not use this very specific, granular, look at wine blogs’ performance without worrying too much about the ACTUAL list of top 20?

  • Neïla Metz

    Hi Robert, I am Neïla from Wikio. Thanks for your explanation about Wikio. Indeed there are various ways to classify blogs, and unfortunatly there is no way to make everyone happy! At Wikio we believe that sharing with others is one way to prove the quality of a blog. Each month, there is only one backlink that will be counted from one blog to another, thus we are trying to avoid small communities to backlink or tweet all the time. Indeed there is only one tweet between two blogs that will be taken into account. We do not take into account truncated feed and blogrolls.