Jason Calacanis was right in claiming that there is no good method for accurately representing blog popularity or influence. He called the blog search sites to the carpet and offered $50,000 in advertising on the Weblogs Inc Network (WIN) for the first search site to come up with a scheme that is better than the current inaccurate system employed by Technorati. Feedster shot to the front and have published their admittedly preliminary Feedster 500 list that is based on the count of links to the blog in question. It’s not a bad list but while really looking at the blogs on this list one fact jumped out at me. Blogs that belong to a network are driven up the list because other blogs in the network cross-link like crazy. You can see this on Weblogs Inc. blogs all the time as they are frequently running “best of WIN” posts across the board that link to other blogs on the network, groups of them at a time. These links are apparently counted by Feedster making these blogs appear to have many more links than it would show if they didn’t do this cross-linking.
I do two podcasts for The Podcast Network which also has a network of blogs, one for each show, and it surprisingly shows up high in the Feedster 500 list. While it makes me quite happy to see it appear on the list am pretty sure it is because all the different network blogs have multiple links back to the main one. It’s the same phenomenon we see with the WIN blogs and even some of the Gawker ones.
I am not saying these blogs in the top 500 list should not be there, I am just pointing out the methodology is highly flawed. Feedster should not count links to any blog from other blogs on the same domain if they want to prevent inter-network cross-linking from driving the number of links to any given blog inaccurately high. This is the same principle that spammers are using to skew Technorati. I would love to hear what others think about this issue.