Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Do The Math

Opinio Juris and Tax Prof Blog have both issued lists of the most popular law blogs (in the latter case, law professor blogs). They compiled their list by looking at the Ecosystem Traffic Rankings, and listed in order any blogs found in the top 2,500. Just to massage my ego, I decided to see where I'd fall (this blog almost definitely doesn't qualify as a pure "law" blog, but humor me).

My rank is 2,036, which would put me last in the group (but still would make the cut). That's pretty cool. I should also note that this is coming off one of the weakest blogging months I had in quite some time--when I blog full strength, I average closer to 200 hits a day (rather than 178 currently). So if anything, my position at the moment is understated.

But I was curious to note that my traffic ranking was considerably better than my link ranking (4,042). But upon further inspection, my blog actually had one of the smaller variances. The two blogs bookending me, for example, had link ranks of 5,726 and 1,266, but the blog with a traffic rank of 2,038 had a link rank of 35,796--way out in the hinterlands. What gives here?

Going by link count ranking instead of traffic reshuffles the deck--but perhaps not as much as one might expect. Here's the original list using traffic counts (with my blog added) from Opinio Juris:
1. The Volokh Conspiracy (#46)
2. How Appealing (#146)
3. Balkinization (#189)
4. Professor Bainbridge (#192)
5. Sentencing Law and Policy (#367)
6. TaxProf Blog (#371)
7. Discourse.net (#420)
8. Conglomerate (#448)
9. PrawfsBlawg (#475)
10. Concurring Opinions (#524)
11. ACSBlog (#762)
12. Leiter's Law School Rankings (#765)
13. Appellate Law and Practice (#1083)
14. Southern California Law Blog (#1084)
15. Opinio Juris (#1183)
16. Ideoblog (#1194)
17. ContractsProf Blog (#1225)
18. CrimLaw (#1378)
19. Business Law Prof Blog (#1820)
20. The Debate Link (#2036)

Here's the list via link rankings:
1. The Volokh Conspiracy (#10)
2. Professor Bainbridge (#61)
3. Balkinization (#164)
4. How Appealing (#245)
5. Discourse.net (#823)
6. Conglomerate (#1248)
7. Concurring Opinions (#1337)
8. Southern California Law Blog (#1155)
9.PrawfsBlawg (#1564)
10.CrimLaw (#2059)
11.ACSBlog (#2130)
12. TaxProf Blog (#2175)
13. Sentencing Law and Policy (#2726)
14. Opinio Juris (#3326)
15. Ideoblog (#3866)
16. The Debate Link (#4042)
17. Appellate Law and Practice (#4628)
18. Leiter's Law School Rankings (#9050)
19. ContractsProf Blog (#10479)
20. Business Law Prof Blog (#12577)

I'm not saying that link-counts are a better barometer of a blog's worth than daily hits. In fact, I'd probably lean toward hits as the best measuring tool, though both have their uses. It is interesting to see, though, which blogs are linked disproportionate to their hit-counts, and which ones are read more than linked.

It's interesting to see that the majority of these blogs fall into the latter category. With the exception of the top-most blogs (Volokh, Bainbridge, Balkin), every blog on the list has a better traffic ranking than link ranking. Somebody must be filling that space--there must be blogs that get better link rankings than traffic rankings. Are these just blogs with inflated counts due to game-like "link swapping" and blogring membership? Or is something else at work here?

No comments: