The TechMeme Leaderboard Is Link Bait

October 5th, 2007 | Categories: SEO, blogs, launch, marketing, networks, social media, strategy

TechMeme Leaderboard logoThis week, TechMeme officially launched its anticipated “Leaderboard”. The board tracks the top 100 news sources on TechMeme, based on the number of headlines attributed to each source over the previous thirty days. To some degree, it can be interesting to follow. But I think it poses more problems than benefits. What is truly the point of displaying the top 100 sources? It simply creates a hierarchy of power and inflated egos.

Such a ranking system isn’t what the blogosphere needs. We all know that TechCrunch is popular, but we don’t need to be reminded yet again. The so-called hierarchy (A-listers, B-listers, etc..) is a bunch of crap. Blogs are meant to break down these barriers. A leaderboard simply creates an echo-chamber and a positive feedback loop within the realm. In other words, blogs may be giving way to the manufactured world of popularity.

I don’t really care who has the biggest presence. I don’t care that a lot of people read XYZ blog. What I care about is the content - I truly appreciate insight and analysis beyond the basic facts. If the content is good excellent, readers will follow. They don’t need to be influenced by a ranking system to see what ‘everybody else’ is reading. This is the herd mentality.

Personally, I judge every blog based on the quality of each individual post. Over time, I become more and more loyal if the content meets or exceeds my expectations. On the contrary, I lose respect for blogs when the content begins to degrade and succumb to mediocrity.

The TechMeme Leaderboard simply reinforces the so-called leaders and ignores quality content from lesser known sources. The way I see it, this board does nothing more than provide an added marketing mechanism for TechMeme. Now, the ego maniacs at the top will re-visit the leaderboard on a daily basis to view how their ranking has changed. Lemmings and wannabes will also frequent the chart to catch a glimpse of their idols and get an idea of what they should be reading. Is this what the blogosphere was meant to be? I hope not.

In my opinion, the best quality content nowadays isn’t always found at the top. A lot of these blogs have taken a more conservative approach and refuse to take a stance or express an opinion. This creates appeal to a larger crowd, but shows neglect for the initial minority. To some degree, these blogs are moving toward the more traditional media model (shame on them). Lower level blogs have nothing to lose. Therefore, opinions and thoughts are articulated in a much more concise and thought-provoking manner. This is the reason such content shouldn’t be ignored.

Don’t get me wrong… I’ve always been a big fan of TechMeme in the past. I just think this new move may be one filled with ulterior motives.

PS. I’m not bitter about not making the list. I couldn’t care less. It isn’t the reason I blog.


  1. david Says:

    Though I don’t disagree with anything you say, the fact remains that counting readers/subscribers/impressions/whatever is usually a relatively effective way to assess quality. Usually (though admittedly not always) when something is read by a lot of people, it’s because it’s good.

    Now, creating a club that favors established blog can make it harder for quality lesser-known stuff to break through, I see that argument. I even support it. But, I don’t think it’s a good reason to completely dismiss something like the Leaderboard.

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