What killed Technorati

Technorati has gone the way of The Truth Laid Bear and many of the blogs it once ranked:

Once upon a time, not long ago, anyone in the world who wanted to gauge the relative impact of any blogger—say, HughHewitt.com vs. MichelleMalkin.com or Instapundit vs. Daily Kos or Fark vs. Eschaton—knew exactly where to go for the latest, up-to-the-moment rankings: Technorati. During the salad days of blogging in the first decade of the 21st century, nobody could touch Technorati when it came to searching and sizing up the roiling mass of hot-blooded humanity that came to be known as the blogosphere. You could forget all about the New York Times Best Sellers list. That was dead-tree media ranking other dead trees. The Technorati “Top 100 Blogs” was America’s ultimate guide to influence. It was the scorecard of the hat-tip champions.

Alas, those days are now done.

With little fanfare last month, Technorati quietly shut down its blog directory and rankings.

It’s not hard to understand why bloggers eventually lost interest in both blog-ranking systems. I know why I did. Neither system paid sufficient attention to their core market, and both allowed non-blogs to freely enter the rankings, which promptly pushed down the blogs that had once been ranked highly, even when they had considerably more traffic than they did before.  This old post is informational in that regard:

According to Sitemeter, there were 2,000 visits yesterday on only the 12th day of this blog. Thanks for stopping by, everyone! The Truth Laid Bear even had Vox Popoli ranked in the Blogosphere’s top 150, much to my surprise.

There were 17,245 Sitemeter visits here and at AG yesterday (40,304 Google Pageviews to use the modern metric), and yet even that 69 percent annual growth probably would not suffice to put me within shouting distance of the top 150 blogs today, much less the big corporate sites.

What both NZ Bear and Technorati should have done was to maintain a very clear distinction between site-rankings and blog-rankings, thereby preventing the situation where the corporate site equivalents of the Dallas Cowboys were being compared to SEC, Ivy League, and high school teams. It simply wasn’t even remotely meaningful for the proprietor of a little sewing blog or whatever to be informed that Fox News, CNN, and Jezebel got more traffic than she did. What had once been a useful comparison became an irrelevant statement of the obvious.

The other problem was sub-par metrics. Technorati, for example, put too much value on links in lieu of actual traffic. That’s why blogs like Whatever were so ludicrously overrated (and why their proprietors were always careful to conceal their actual traffic metrics), because they did a good job of cross-linking and driving up their Technorati rating at the expense of less-linked, but better-trafficked blogs.

In any event, to paraphrase Glenn Reynolds, the ranking systems come and go, but we are still here.