Popular blogs suck – IMHO

Over the bank holiday weekend (in the UK) Daniel Bernstein, in a guest column on SiliconValleyWatcher, has created quite a debate by calling for “blogging to be handled by the absolute best-of-the-best’ our industry offers”. It sparked a lot of comments but that original post that interested me. It was Daniel’s response on Bitemarks:

“With a fanatical base in place, is it time to initiate some kind of quality control on PR blogging, possibly to create a standards body that would emulate the open-source community’s meritocracy model? Maybe the top ten percent of PR bloggers (in terms of traffic, page rank, etc.) are given the authority to set standards for transparency, standards for citation, standards for plagiarism, etc.”

No, no, no. Traffic, page rank etc are absolutely the worst way to do this. They are merely an indicator of popularity – not of quality, authority, expertise, knowledge, experience, ethics, morality, honesty or any of the criteria that I would use in deciding who to listen to. Popularity has nothing at all to do with ability to set standards for transparency, citation, plagiarism etc.

In my 40+ ‘must read’ blogs there isn’t one that is listed in the Technorati Top 100. I think there are a couple that are in my c-list. I do read Top 100 blogs but only because professionally I have to. My ‘must read’ blogs are those that:

a) I learn from – people who demonstrate knowledge, expertise, experience or insight

b) Are ‘niche’ and cover topics that I’m particularly interested in

c) Are enjoyable – fun, witty, whatever the reason they appeal to me

d) Are well-written – carefully crafted copy is a joy to read


About Stuart Bruce

International communications consultant and PR trainer specialising in online public affairs, digital corporate communications, online PR and social media; frequent national media commentator and conference speaker.
  • http://www.accmanpro.com Dennis Howlett

    Here's something controversial. Most people play the page rank game whether Technorati/Google/tech.memorandum, whatever because to date, this has been a consumer land grab situation that doesn't demand much thinking.

    If you're talking B2B then that's a differrent story. I know people who are regarded as influential who don't appear as top rankers on these lists – not even vaguely top anything. On the other hand I know top class bloggers who are living on Pot Noodle. so there is no 'fairness' here but who said there should be?

    Relying soley on page rank is wrong – though an indicator. What really matters is the quality of conversation and the quality of the participants.

    At the moment, much of what I see is little more than a talking shop among pre-existing like minded people. There's no incentive to bring othersw up because on the the basis of page rank – they're invested in maintaining their links. Blogocircles.

    Flawed. i'd rather have 10K qulality visitors a month than 1 million butterflies. But – there is a strong case for building to critical mass. which varies from blogger to blogger.

    In my space I only want to reach maybe 20K, perhaps 30K/month – the importance comes in the distribution around clusters so I have clusters in the US, India and EU. I also have clusters around topic areas. Both are valuable measures for me in assessing content validity, post usefulness to the community and so out to value.

  • http://blog.bitepr.com Daniel Bernstein

    Interesting point. Are you arguing against using page rank/traffic to determine leaders or are you arguing against having blogging leadership? Please clarify.

  • http://www.businesspr.ru Inna

    What is yr favorite blog?

  • http://www.wordymouth.com Michael Sommermeyer

    At the rate Strumpette is growing in popularity it might be fun having her tell me what to do, or at the very least fun to watch her sit in a room with her new friends at Edelman writing up a policy paper for PR Bloggers.

  • http://prstudies.typepad.com Richard Bailey

    Thanks for linking to this: interesting… But thanks above all for introducing some perspective. We don't do hysteria so well in Britain (except over Rooney's metatarsal, Prescott, asylum seekers etc etc). Edit that: there's enough hysteria in the world already.

  • http://www.english.education.gov.qa/content/blog/detail/3351/ aziza

    I have read your blog impressively, it is really informative and brought us to discussion

  • http://www.natterjackpr.com/archives/2006/05/the_opt-in_pr_l.html PR Opinions

    The opt-in PR lobotomy…

    I’ve pointed out many times before that whilst blogs have performed a fantastic public service by democratizing people’s ability to share their opinions, it’s an awful pity that more people haven’t heeded Mark Twain’s advice that it’s better to keep……

  • http://www.marcomblog.com/2006/05/04/authority-and-respect/ Marcom Blog

    Authority and respect

    A number of events caught my attention this week and my thoughts immediately turned to the gentle seekers of knowledge and wisdom here in your very fine establishment. One such event was another great post by Stuart (the) Bruce…

  • http://www.accmanpro.com Dennis Howlett

    Daniel – were you referring to what I said? If so then check out Jeff Nolan's site for what he's doing at SAPPHIRE this year. I challenge you to find bloggers you'd recognise on any of the 'usual suspects' top anything roster. Nonetheless. The people Jeff is reaching out to are considered sufficiently important for him to put $$ from his own budget into the gig. Watch out for what he's considering doing at SAPPHIRE Europe. That speaks volumes to me.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/davidtebbutt/ David Tebbutt

    Sorry about coming late to this. Head down preparing for two weeks of business travelling (USA, Spain, Ireland).

    Totally agree with you. No surprises there. Quality and relevance are what matters.

    How the heck can one quickly find good quality and relevant blogs? Emphasis on the quickly. So far, I've done it by referrals, searching for topics and seeing who's making interesting comments etc.

    Is there a Clusty for the blogosphere? Something which clusters results. At least you have a fair chance then of easing the search.

    Is it hard slog, or are there tools out there that make life easier for us?

  • http://profile.typekey.com/stuartbrucepr/ Stuart Bruce – Wolfstar

    Daniel, apologies for the delay in responding. I'm strongly arguing against page rank/traffic. It does have a role in B2C but hardly figures in B2B. The problem with rank is that it is self-fulfilling. If I had time I'd analyse the Top 100 to see how many new entries you get, given the number of excellent, new blogs being created I suspect there would be a disparity. The only recent one that springs to my mind without looking is Guy Kawaksi.