Rude Blogging Health 27


On the basis that he and a couple of his Tory mates had jacked it in, Iain Dale has declared political blogging to be dying. For some extraordinary reason, the Guardian has given him both a puff piece for his new online political magazine, peculiarly described as a blog by sixty friends of his, and a comment article about him.

I suspect the Tories who have dropped out, have done so because they found you cannot make as much money out of blogging as they hoped. As the Guardian notes, it is pretty hard to sustain £1,000 a month income. This blog operates on the principle of not trying to make money, though the odd book sale is welcome. Tory blogs like Conservative Home and Labour blogs like Left Foot Forward have full time staff paid for by the party or the party donors. But Tories who want to get rich, found blogging wasn’t the way to do it.

But this site is as popular as ever – and that is very popular. Cision ranked this blog as the 7th most popular blog of all kinds in the UK in 2010.

This is in stark contrast to the wikio blog rankings, which most UK political bloggers use as a reference – and on Wikio this blog does not score highly enough to feature. The reason is that the wikio rankings are based solely on the number of incoming links from other UK political blogs, weighted by the ranking of the blog sending the link.

This means that if all conservative political bloggers continually post links to each other, they can drive each other up the rankings. This they do, quite deliberately. Ditto other parties. Independent bloggers not involved in a mutual group link-fuck have no chance to compete.

Amazingly, the Wikio rankings give no value to the number of readers you have, nor any value to links from abroad, or from anywhere other than other UK based political blogs. In the last week – and by no means unusually – this blog has been linked from the New York Times, El Pais and Huffington Post. That would give me a wikio score of nil. But a blog getting links from the insignificant Tory Bear or Dizzy Thinks would get a big score.

Not only does Cision include foreign links, much more crucially it scores for the number of readers you have. Amazingly, Wikio pays no attention at all to whether anyone reads you in calculating your blog ranking. This blog has more readers than Wikio’s no 1 ranked blog, Liberal Conspiracy, and has a multiple of the readers of most of Wikio’s Top Ten. (I like Liberal Conspiracy and hope they will compete with my success eventually!!) Number of readers is the main reason this blog scores so highly on Cision.

Here is the Cision methodology:

Is it a “top” UK blog? Our point of departure is the assumption that a blog’s influence is represented by the amount of people seeing it and the potential for it to be referenced elsewhere (including in search engine results).

A long list is therefore compiled using an algorithm to reflect two key measures of web popularity, inbound links and traffic measured in monthly unique users (when available). For each blog these elements are weighted to achieve a balance between measurable impact to date (traffic) and likelihood of future impact (links as a proxy for search visibility). The long list is then reduced, with each entry re-evaluated according to additional metrics, notably update frequency, total number of posts and interaction between blogger and reader. However, as blogger/reader interaction evolves, we now also evaluate interaction not only as blog post comments but also as engagement taking place offsite such as on Twitter and Facebook.

We exclude blogs that are directly affiliated to print media publications, such as newspaper and magazine blogs, as the influence of the main media provides the blog with an advantage. We are currently looking to rank blogs that are affiliated with mainstream media, as well as separating commercial and individual blogs

So the answer to Iain is that good blogging is in good health. Tory drivel is in trouble.


27 thoughts on “Rude Blogging Health

  • Vronsky

    “Tory blogs like Conservative Home and Labour blogs like Left Foot Forward”

    Typo. Should read: “Tory blogs like Conservative Home and Left Foot Forward”

  • Dunc

    “I suspect the Tories who have dropped out, have done so because they found you cannot make as much money out of blogging as they hoped.”

    I suspect they may also have found that their “style” (for want of a better word) is better suited to opposition than government…

  • Tom Welsh

    “This means that if all conservative political bloggers continually post links to each other, they can drive each other up the rankings”.

    They are welcome to keep on doing that. Gradually they will create their own little black hole, a tiny partition of the Web inside which they can jabber to their hearts’ content.

    And the rest of us will be rid of them.

  • glenn_uk

    I always like it when people drop out, and declare the whole business is no good any more, rather than admit _they_ are no good anymore/ burned out / can’t keep up etc. . What’s up with the Guardian these days? When it’s not acting as a stooge for the likes of that war criminal Cambell, it’s championing these Tory blogs. Doesn’t Dale look incredibly smug in that picture? Must be due to the establishment press (incl. the BBC) unquestioningly taking his self-promoting hype at face value.

  • Paul Johnston

    I did some work for a research group looking at the interlinking of blogs and mainstream media using a web crawling tool developed at the Australian National University. Whilst the project didn’t get funding I did some work which did suggest what you call a “link-fuck” (don’t remember us using that term however) 😉
    However I do spot an error in this post in that no article/blog/anything which talks about political blogging can fail to mention Guido.
    So there sorted that out for you.
    No thanks required.

  • Paul Johnston

    Dunc:
    Totally agree with what you said, that’s more likely the reason.
    Screaming look how bad things are works better for this media rather than “Turned out nice hasn’t it” does.

  • Herbie

    The Tory blogs only worked when Nulab was universally despised, even by former Labour supporters.

    Now that the Toerags are in government supported by the totally useless Lib Dems, performing more or less the same tricks, scams and criminality as Nulab, the Tory blogs are no longer interested in attack mode. For them it was never any more than a party thing. Principle had no part to play in their objections.

    It’s interesting that Dale at least seems to understand this. Guido is still busily attacking Nulab whilst ignoring the things now done by the Tories that he used to attack in Nulab.

    Guido’s blog has very obviously gone downhill since the election and he himself is much less of media interest than he was. I’d imagine that Orla is back on at him to get a proper job again.

    The better more principled blogs are still here and going from strength to strength. And that’s what people need to remember.

  • A. Prole

    I am sure that Ariaianna Huffingdale decided to jerk off in public with 50 of her bestest mates when someone in America flogged an electronic organ for a few squillion dollars. Kerching! I could do that. Gissa blog.

  • kingfelix

    That would be the same Guardian who sent me an apology today over emotively referring to Bin Laden’s compound, in two separate stories, as ‘his lair’.

    I find it hard to understand why the hallmark of the Guardian’s view of being ‘left-wing’ is that you give space to people ideologically opposed to you. The Daily Mail wouldn’t give a leg-up to an equivalent leftie in a 1000 years, and they wouldn’t foist such puff on their readership. So, today, it’s Iain Dale, who resembles one of those middle-aged moaners who will tell you how good music ended just as they exited their 20s and now it’s ‘only crap like Lady Gaga…’

    Likewise, the Guardian has a mystifying hardon for Sarah Palin and Carla Bruni.

    I see it’s the Taliban who will be dancing in the street tonight (no music allowed).

  • JimmyGiro

    There are more copies of the bible than of the works of Shakespeare; and vastly more copies of Jordan’s (Katie Price) latest ventures into social fuckwittery, than there are copies of Thermodynamics by any author. It is the Stalinist attitude that “quantity is its own quality” that is being used to destroy ‘culture’.
    .
    Even scientists have fallen foul of this, as witnessed by the arguments for and against ‘Anthropogenic Global Warming’, where slander and ad hominem are the common tools for discourse, when not resorting to mere authority, as who has the biggest hockey dick wins.

  • angrysoba

    “That would be the same Guardian who sent me an apology today over emotively referring to Bin Laden’s compound, in two separate stories, as ‘his lair’.”
    .
    Are you serious? You complained about THAT?

  • danj

    No need to put ‘Tory’ before drivel. Drivel is just drivel. The word Tory is a noun not an adjective.

    Good Tory blogs are VERY popular. I can recommend GUIDO.

  • mark_golding

    Incoming links from relevant popular sites certainly do rank high in determining organic positioning with Google. I have twenty sites on my server – I must remember to find some relevance to use them to link here.
    The top site on Cision, ‘Bad Science’ has about 3,400 links while craigmurray has 340.**
    **Using – link:craigmurray.org.uk in a Google search

    • craig Post author

      Mark –

      Yes, I fear that we lost a load of search engine ranking points somehow when we transferred from movable type to word press and rebuilt the site three months ago.

  • kingfelix

    ““That would be the same Guardian who sent me an apology today over emotively referring to Bin Laden’s compound, in two separate stories, as ‘his lair’.”
    .
    Are you serious? You complained about THAT?”

    Sure, why not? I want to read news reports. If I need the scary language, I’ll dig out an old Pan’s Book of Ghost Stories.

    Oh, did I do something that violates your code. Such a shame.

  • angrysoba

    “Sure, why not? I want to read news reports. If I need the scary language, I’ll dig out an old Pan’s Book of Ghost Stories.”
    .
    If you’re that easily scared by the language then I am surprised you can pick up a newspaper.
    .
    “Oh, did I do something that violates your code. Such a shame.”
    .
    Only on aesthetic grounds. It would be a bigger shame if the tin-eared began demanding all articles be written in as bland a fashion as possible. If this is the one that you are referring to then I would certainly put you in the tin-eared category:
    .
    “Cars jammed into fields, hawkers selling snacks, young families out strolling: the scene outside Osama bin Laden’s house in Abbottabad had a summer festival feel as local residents flocked to the lair of the world’s most famous villain.”
    .
    I think it’s a fine article myself. I might have to write to the Guardian to congratulate them and tell them to keep up the good work!
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/05/osama-bin-laden-pakistan-locals-flock-house

  • kingfelix

    Me: “If I need the scary language, I’ll dig out an old Pan’s Book of Ghost Stories.”

    You: “If you’re that easily scared by the language then I am surprised you can pick up a newspaper.”

    When your reading comprehension skills are as poor as this, I don’t doubt that you find all sorts of things surprising, including the fact that nobody takes your comments seriously.

  • Vronsky

    “lair”

    The Guardian phrase does seem like a bit of humorous hyperbole. On the other hand ‘compound’ was everywhere. I thought Craig had a campaign against private homes being referred to in way that immediately designates them as legitimate targets?

  • angrysoba

    “When your reading comprehension skills are as poor as this, I don’t doubt that you find all sorts of things surprising, including the fact that nobody takes your comments seriously.”
    .
    What made you think the word “lair” was scary? The writer of the piece was clearly using a juxtaposition of “the scene outside Osama bin Laden’s house in Abbottabad had a summer festival feel” with “the lair of the world’s most famous villain” to entertain the reader. I don’t think it need be considered a crime against informative news. However, if you are not convinced I hereby call my first witness Suhayl Saadi, if he doesn’t mind, to explain that this is not an insidious use of language to push the NWO agenda or anything but merely a journalist giving free rein to his literary muse. I have no problem with that.

  • angrysoba

    “The Guardian phrase does seem like a bit of humorous hyperbole. On the other hand ‘compound’ was everywhere.”
    .
    I concur wholeheartedly with Vronsky. Even better, the very same article goes on to ridicule the previous descriptions of the place being a “millionaires mansion” or “luxury villa”.
    .
    He was saying that it was clearly no such thing and might have been using “villain’s lair” as a humourous and hyperbolic placeholder.

  • kingfelix

    “What made you think the word “lair” was scary?”

    “lair – a wild animal’s den.”

    If you can’t quite grasp that using the word ‘lair’ instead of ‘house’ or ‘compound’ carries a markedly different semantic load, then I can’t help you. I said ‘scary’, I could’ve said ’emotive’. It hardly fits with the ideals of reporting, which should be factual.

    The first time it was used, it was in a headline on the website front page.

    The Guardian production editor disagrees with your own, ahem, ‘analysis’ :

    “I quite agree, as does the foreign editor.

    These “lairs” must have slipped through because of the sheer amount of material we have been producing about this story. Not that that is much of an excuse. We will do our best to avoid it happening again.

    With best wishes,
    David Marsh, production editor, the Guardian”

    But, whatever, I’m dealing with a simpleton.

  • angrysoba

    King Felix, for all your grandiose title you really seem like a boring person. Good luck to you.

  • Richard Robinson

    (quotes)
    The Guardian production editor disagrees with your own, ahem, ‘analysis’ :

    “I quite agree, as does the foreign editor.

    These “lairs” must have slipped through because of the sheer amount of material we have been producing about this story. Not that that is much of an excuse. We will do our best to avoid it happening again.”

    King Felix, for all your grandiose title you really seem like a boring person.
    (endquotes)
    .

    I think it’s interesting, that they’d say they were so busy churning out stuff that they don’t even want to defend what they said. It recalls the original meaning of the word “cliché”.

  • Clark

    Angrysoba, Kingfelix was right to complain about the use of “lair”. Its use glorifies the raid, venturing into a dangerous place. However, reports indicate that there were families living there, including several young children.

  • angrysoba

    “Lair” is not only defined as a wild animal’s den:
    “a secluded or hidden place, especially a secret retreat or base of operations; a hideout or hideaway: a pirate’s lair.”
    .
    “The Guardian production editor disagrees with your own, ahem, ‘analysis’”
    .
    Then I disagree with the Guardian editors.

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