When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

29 November 2005

Q: Are we not men? A: We are Devo!

(Warning: Long, detailed post about how blogs are ranked. Skip right over this if you're not blog-obsessed.)

There's some de-evolution taking place in the TTLB Ecosystem -- a sort of taxonomy and pecking order for member bloggers, which "automagically" gives you an evaluation of where your blog fits in compared to other member blogs.

Most Ecosystem members display their status prominently on the front pages of their blogs (on enrevanche, it's in the right-hand column near the bottom: "I'm a ____ in the TTLB Ecosystem.")

Well, Ecosystem curator N.Z. Bear is tweaking the algorithms used to rank the members of the Ecosystem, and as a result enrevanche (along with many many other blogs) saw its status plummet overnight.


In our case, even though our numeric rank in the Ecosystem is higher than it has ever been, we went from "Large Mammal" all the way down to "Flappy Bird" in a matter of hours, and I wouldn't be surprised to wake up in the morning and find that I am now a thermophilic aquatic bacterium (one of those odd little microscopic beasties that lives in hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor.)

A lot of people are up in arms about this (see the comments to N.Z. Bear's post) even though it's far from clear that the refining and the shakeouts are complete, but we're not worried.

First of all, and I truly mean this--I don't blog primarily to bring in an audience, though that's a happy side-effect. I blog because it's cheaper and more effective (for me) than psychotherapy.

Also, I'm not worried because I have a lot of different ways--none of them perfect, but all of them together presenting a useful picture--of measuring how the blog is growing and developing.

First, there's Sitemeter, which measures page views and unique visits, and sometimes captures some other useful information about where visitors are coming from and how they're finding us.


And Sitemeter tells me that, over the last year, our traffic has been slowly building; the trendline is in the right direction. (The spike in April was an aberration; different articles on the site were linked by MSNBC and Slate in the same month.) The number of unique visitors, the value in green, interests me more than total page views, the value in purple, though both are important pieces of information.

Sitemeter tells me that we're building and retaining an audience.

Then there's Technorati, which tells me who is linking to me and in what context. According to Technorati, there are 120 sites linking to enrevanche at the moment, and over 550 links coming in.


And if you check out who's linking to me at any given time, they are, by and large, good, well-written sites that are written, edited and maintained by people I respect. (11,322 may not be the Top of the Pops, but that's out of a claimed 22 million blogs indexed - meaning that we're in the 99.5% + percentile.)

Technorati tells me that we're getting noticed by the right people.

Since I started blogging, I have followed a very simple formula. I write about what interests me, and I put it out there. I don't spend a lot of time or energy promoting the blog; based on what seems to attract visitors, if I were to go whoring after traffic, I think I'd start over with a blog named "Controversy, Bloviation, Vitriol and Kittycat Pictures," but there's enough of that on enrevanche already, I think.

So we're just going to keep doing what we've been doing.

If you've stayed with me this far, thank you for your support.

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