Partisan Democratic Blogs Sucking The Life Out Of The Blogosphere

Chris Bowers at MyDD attempts to divine some meaning from BlogAds traffic. I’ve framed the title post in the grand terms he used when looking at blogosphere traffic in his stories. While I don’t completely disagree with his findings, I do have issues with his methodology and conclusions.

First it’s worth addressing his critique of top conservative bloggers for not creating communities.

Of the twenty-four liberal blogs in the top quintile, Dailykos, TPM Cafe, Smirking Chimp, Metafilter, BooMan Tribune, MyDD, and Dembloggers are full-fledged community sites where members cannot only comment, but they can also post diaries / articles / polls. By comparison, there are no community sites among the top twenty-four conservative blogs. None, zip, zero, nada.

I’ll let the world in on the two big secrets of Scoop.

  1. It’s a shitty blogging tool – There are, as best as I can tell, maybe two or three good features in Scoop (diaries being the main one), and the rest of the mess is a horrible blogging tool. Want RSS feeds, trackbacks, a custom layout? Scoop doesn’t do trackbacks, the RSS support is confusing and rudimentary, and all Scoop blogs tend to look the same because it’s not real easy to design a layout for.

  • You can’t get the version of Scoop in use at DailyKos – One of the cool features (reader recommended diaries) isn’t in the Scoop available from scoop.kuro5hin.org. In fact as the development page indicated there’s been very little public activity on the Scoop development site, while sites led by DailyKos have been implementing all sorts of new Scoop features. Why is that, you might ask? It’s because Scoop has become, in effect, a bought and paid for tool of the elite liberal bloggers. Scoop development is occurring, funded by Kos and others, and the by product of that work isn’t available to you the lowly blogger. There’s nothing wrong with Kos and crew keeping the good stuff for themselves while the open source Scoop stagnates, it’s just innocuous to suggest that conservative bloggers should be rushing to adopt a feature poor, stagnant product when there are plenty off good blogging tools available that are supported.As to the traffic generated by Scoop sites, Bowers says, “Anyone who spends a significant amount of time on Scoop blogs should not have any difficulty figuring out why this is the case.” The problem with that statement is that anyone who examines Bowers methodology, has a basic understanding of web advertising, and has some familiarity with Scoop should be able to easily identify his error. BlogAds traffic statistics measure page views not unique visitors. Since a site like DailyKos is a traffic vacuum (sucking in and keeping traffic from the wider blogosphere) it’s easy to see how their page view counts keep puffing up. I’ve examined the top 100 sites at the TTLB Ecosystem based on SiteMeter traffic in the table shown below. The SiteMeter comparisons show traffic to the top liberal blogs is 20% higher than the top conservative blogs, but even Bowers admits there are considerably more conservative blogs in the mid-tiers. My guess is that if you were to extend my ecosystem traffic numbers on down into the 200 range (I’ll send you the parsing spreadsheet if you want) the liberal and conservative traffic would be essentially equal. If you were able to extend the traffic calculation even further down the ecosystem the total traffic for conservative blogs would quickly surpass liberal blogs due to the higher number of conservative blogs. Using a power law curve I’d estimate that, were you able to do the traffic calculations into the 1000 range, conservative blogs would hold a 10%-20% traffic edge. All of which goes to show that back of the envelope traffic calculations are an “iffy” proposition, regardless of whose making them.

    Using his data, here’s how Chris characterizes the right side of the blogosphere:

    There are swarms of new conservative voices looking to breakout in the right-wing blogosphere, but they are not even allowed to comment, much less post a diary and gain a following, on the high traffic conservative blogs. Instead, without any fanfare, they are forced to start their own blogs. However, because of the top-down nature of right-wing blogs, new conservative blogs remain almost entirely dependent upon the untouchable high traffic blogs for visitors. In short, the anti-community nature of right-wing blogs has resulted in a stagnant aristocracy within the conservative blogosphere that prevents the emergence of new voices and, as a result, new reasons for people to visit conservative blogs.

    Those “untouchable” high traffic blogs do a damn site more linking to new voices than the liberal communities. Bowers forgets to mention that with traffic on the left converging on a few mega-sites (that by and large do not support smaller liberal blogs by linking to them) they are actually harming independent liberal voices. It’s not just me (the right-wing blogger) saying that, look into recent controversies among smaller lefty bloggers trying to get a little linkage from the big liberal bloggers.

    There’s plenty of new new voices emerging on the right. How do I know this you may ask? Look back at listings of the top sites from 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years ago. The cast is ever changing, blogs rise and blogs fall, and if we’ve learned anything it’s that the blogosphere won’t miss you much if you leave – someone new will step up to fill the void.

    See also: Arguing with signposts, Outside The Beltway, PoliPundit, The LlamaButchers

    Liberal Blogs
    1) Daily Kos 428619 visits/day (2)                                   428,619
    6) Eschaton 104570 visits/day (7)                                    104,570
    12) Wonkette 48001 visits/day (51)                                    48,001
    13) The Washington Monthly 37850 visits/day (14)                      37,850
    14) The Smirking Chimp 37768 visits/day (645)                         37,768
    18) Blog for America 33746 visits/day (666)                           33,746
    19) Crooks and Liars 33615 visits/day (252)                           33,615
    28) MyDD :: Due Diligence of Politics, Election Forecast & the World  14,971
    33) Taegan Goddard's Political Wire 13224 visits/day (178)            13,224
    43) The Poor Man 10994 visits/day (253)                               10,994
    44) pandagon.net - just poppin' and bloggin' 10970 visits/day (56)    10,970
    45) TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime 10917 visits/day (54)             10,917
    47) onegoodmove: I thought these things might be clues 10081 visits/  10,081
    50) This Modern World 9510 visits/day (116)                            9,510
    58) BuzzFlash - Daily Headlines and Breaking News 7840 visits/day (1   7,840
    59) Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal 7571 visits/day (90)              7,571
    62) The Agonist | thoughtful, global, timely 7186 visits/day (517)     7,186
    67) LiberalOasis 6680 visits/day (291)                                 6,680
    74) Jesus' General 6169 visits/day (280)                               6,169
    79) The Left Coaster 5813 visits/day (289)                             5,813
    94) TBogg     4745 visits/day (243)                                    4,745
    96) Editor: Myself | Hossein Derakhshan's Weblog (Persian) 4714 visi   4,714
    100) The Blogging of the President 4456 visits/day (391)               4,456
    
    

    Traffic/Day 860,010

    Conservative Blogs
    4) Instapundit.com 119030 visits/day (1) 119,030
    7) lgf: banned from metafilter! 77328 visits/day (5) 77,328
    9) Power Line 68265 visits/day (4) 68,265
    10) Michelle Malkin 53742 visits/day (3) 53,742
    15) www.AndrewSullivan.com - Daily Dish 36465 visits/day (16) 36,465
    17) Riehl World View 36184 visits/day (1277) 36,184
    21) Scared Monkeys 25685 visits/day (238) 25,685
    22) HughHewitt.com 24595 visits/day (17) 24,595
    23) Captain's Quarters 23523 visits/day (6) 23,523
    24) PoliPundit.com 18792 visits/day (52) 18,792
    29) Wizbang 14350 visits/day (19) 14,350
    31) Kim du Toit - Daily Rant 13672 visits/day (132) 13,672
    32) The Volokh Conspiracy - - 13379 visits/day (10) 13,379
    34) Roger L. Simon: Mystery Novelist and Screenwriter 12942 visits/d 12,942
    37) RedState.org 11356 visits/day (109) 11,356
    41) The Shape of Days 11146 visits/day (759) 11,146
    46) Belmont Club 10313 visits/day (72) 10,313
    48) Outside The Beltway 9648 visits/day (15) 9,648
    51) a small victory: Check it out, I'm like a buzzbomb 9391 visits/d 9,391
    55) ScrappleFace 8482 visits/day (25) 8,482
    57) Sound Politics 8000 visits/day (694) 8,000
    60) Cox & Forkum Editorial Cartoons 7530 visits/day (63) 7,530
    61) mensNEWSdaily: 1deAs are c0ntagiOns 7345 visits/day (251) 7,345
    63) Right Wing News (Conservative News and Views) 7153 visits/day (4 7,153
    64) Winds of Change.NET 6803 visits/day (30) 6,803
    65) Daily Pundit 6788 visits/day (191) 6,788
    66) JustOneMinute 6733 visits/day (248) 6,733
    68) BuzzMachine ... by Jeff Jarvis 6621 visits/day (61) 6,621
    69) The Spoons Experience: Guess you broke into the wrong goddamn re 6,548
    73) BLACKFIVE 6275 visits/day (38) 6,275
    80) The Jawa Report 5788 visits/day (67) 5,788
    82) Ace of Spades HQ 5487 visits/day (76) 5,487
    85) The Political Teen 5198 visits/day (268) 5,198
    86) Mudville Gazette 5172 visits/day (29) 5,172
    89) Austin Bay Blog 5022 visits/day (531) 5,022
    92) Althouse 4886 visits/day (140) 4,886

    Traffic/Day 699,637

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