Technorati Authority the Authority?

It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve logged into Technorati to examine what they think of this blog. To be honest, I’ve come close to giving up on Technorati. A few years ago I realized that their window into the blogosphere was schizophrenic at best. At the time, it revolved around scaling issues as Technorati seemed to be continually unavailable or at least perpetually slow. That changed, props to them. It had to or they were going to die a slow agonizing death that made everyone else suffer. They made some other improvements along the way too by enhancing their user interface, introducing new features (such as WTF – I know their endgame is to be ranked #1 in Google for WTF – by my estimate, they are at #5 which is not bad for an acronym that means something completely different!).

Still, they are better but they are not there. Technorati CEO David Sifry puts out his quarterly reports regarding the blogosphere in an effort to cement themselves as the authority. Still, they are not the authority. We are prepared to replace all Technorati data with Google Blog Search data at b5media, for instance, and why would we do such a thing if we believed in Technorati as the authority?!

Today, I logged into Technorati to take a look at this blogs statistics courtesy of Technorati and I noticed a change. They had replaced the verbage that read “884 blogs linked here” with “Technorati Authority: 884″. Fascinating! What are they up to, your intrepid blogger thought as he clicked deeper into that definition. Interestingly, this is an excerpt of the May 4 blog post on the Technorati blog that explains what actually went into this (and by the way, this snippet is courtesy of Clipmarks)

On Fri. May 4th, we updated Technorati.com to include the Technorati Authority for blogs listed on the Blog page and in search results. This update changed the earlier references of “N blogs link here” and “X links from Y blogs” with the single Technorati Authority number. On the blog page, we also show the Technorati Rank.

Technorati Authority is the number of blogs linking to a website in the last six months. The higher the number, the more Technorati Authority the blog has.
<snip>
Technorati Rank is calculated based on how far you are from the top. The blog with the hightest Technorati Authority is the #1 ranked blog. The smaller your Technorati Rank, the closer you are to the top.

So really, there is no actually change here. The only change is a verbage change that is creatively implemented to make you think theres a change. It’s also conveniently self-important. Your thoughts?

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Aaron Brazell

Aaron Brazell is a Baltimore, MD-based WordPress developer, a co-founder at WP Engine, WordPress core contributor and author. He wrote the book WordPress Bible and has been publishing on the web since 2000. You can follow him on Twitter, on his personal blog and view his photography at The Aperture Filter.

11 thoughts on “Technorati Authority the Authority?”

  1. Nothing really has changed.. the ‘authority’ listing was always there – they’ve just renamed it. Authority versus Rank is bound to become the latest ‘tastes great! less filling!‘ argument for those who care.

    Personally? Makes more sense to me to say “I’m ranked #1 in Technorati” (out of however many millions of blogs they track) rather than say “I have an authority score of 10,000″ – – rank makes more sense. (disclaimer – I’m not really ranked #1 in Technorati :p)

  2. Aaron,

    We’ve been working very hard at Technorati to continue to improve the data, the data quality, the speed of the experience, and to add additional context around what you’re searching for. I’d love to hear more about your complaints with the service, we’re continuing to work 110% to get you the best experience you possibly can from us.

    Give me a call – 415 846-0232. I’d love to hear from you and see how we can make the service better.

    Dave

  3. I think technorati is a great site for finding out who links to your site and the growing popularity. How would we find out if it is working properly and covering all links?

  4. David-

    Acknowledged that you guys have made the experience far better. No doubt. The speed is vastly improved, though not really “there” yet. I still end up waiting longer than I should. Have you guys applied the 80/20 rule to the site? I’m also massively alarmed by the number of b5media blogs that have lost their claim in Technorati (which naturally causes all kinds of problems if we’re using your API, though I’m not 100% convinced it’s your fault – I don’t know). There’s other things that I could discuss with you and I may give you a call sometime. Perhaps a better solution would be to connect with you for coffee or a beer when I’m in the Bay area in July. I’m sure there’s a number of things we could discuss that would be helpful to Technorati as well as b5media.

  5. Technorati is the best blog search engine, but the numbers of ranking serve no real purpose. I do appreciate breaking blogs down into groups of authority as they’ve done, but the individual numbers don’t mean much. Of course the entire ranking system is gamed by folks who produce successful WordPress templates and those who create blog networks and link to all their properties. ;) For a true measure of a blogs worth, only in-post links should be tabulated.

  6. I would agree that in-post links are more important than permanent “blogroll” type links, although they can be gamed, too.

    The premise that being linked by any blog is as useful as any other blog in determining “Authority” is rather dubious, though. Surely, a link from an opinion leader in a given field is more important in that regard?

  7. Yah, good point. I guess that’s why Google has an advantage since they have so many data points available to them in calculating their version of authority (Page Rank). Instead of pure quantity of links, I guess Technorati needs to weight links. I want to make a BCS analogy here, but that system is so broken I probably shouldn’t. ;)

  8. True, although PageRank is kinda screwy, too. OTB has dropped from PR7 to PR6 for some reason, although we’re supposedly about to go back to PR7. Yet, our incoming links and link quality have never been higher. (I’m showing with 46,712 backlinks.)

    At the same time, my Hollywood site has become a PR6 and my Sports blog is a PR5 despite comparatively little linkage, let alone standing in their respective communities. Indeed, my new blogs all hit PR5 almost instantly even with no significant links from outside my network.

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