At first I wasn’t sure why I was asked to get a sneak preview of the rankings for beer blogs by Wikio and blog about them, apart from Stan recommending me and Alan, but I got a pleasant surprise when they finally arrived in my inbox. For the category Beer Blogs, which appears to cover North America (or at least the U.S. and Canada), I apparently moved up from #4 last month to claim the top spot for December. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t feel good, especially because I have so much respect for the work done by the majority of the writers in the Top 20, and many of them are personal friends as well as colleagues. Who doesn’t welcome the validation that they’re doing a good job?
Wikio December Beer Rankings
|1||Brookston Beer Bulletin (+3)|
|4||Drink With The Wench (+4)|
|5||The New School (+2)|
|6||Appellation Beer: Beer From a Good Home (-4)|
|7||A Good Beer Blog (-1)|
|8||Beer in Baltimore (+2)|
|9||Seen Through a Glass (-4)|
|10||Washington Beer Blog (+8)|
|11||Seattle Beer News (+17)|
|12||The Stone Blog (not in Top 100 in Nov.)|
|14||KC Beer Blog (+2)|
|15||Beer Therapy (+15)|
|17||It’s Pub Night (+3)|
|18||Jack Curtin’s LIQUID DIET (-3)|
|19||Thirsty Pilgrim (+/-0)|
|20||Brouwer’s Cafe (-7)|
I added the relative movements of each blog from last month. Three blogs dropped off the Top 20, and three new ones appeared, of course, including one that hadn’t been ranked before.
I confess I never looked closely before at how the rankings are compiled, but essentially Wikio explains it like so:
The position of a blog in the Wikio ranking depends on the number and weight of the incoming links from other blogs. Our algorithm accords a greater value to links from blogs placed higher up in the ranking.
A blog linking another blog is only counted once a month i.e. if blog A links to blog B 10 times in a given month, it is only counted as having linked to that blog once that month. The weight of any link decreases over time. Also, if a blog always links to the same blog, the weight of these links is decreased.
Only links found in RSS feeds are counted. Blogrolls are not taken into account.
Not everybody seems to put much stock in the rankings, and I think that’s simply because it’s difficult to quantify such subjective notions as quality, authority, influence, knowledge of subject, effectiveness in communication, etc. Plus, they’re just getting started in North America. This is only the third month they’ve been tracking beer blogs here. Jeff Alworth, whose blog Beervana was No. 1 the last two months (and the first two to rank U.S. beer blogs), had a great analysis of the rankings in an October post entitled The Number One Beer Blog in America. And in November, Stan Hieronymus at his Appellation Beer Blog had a lively discussion about How Wikio Ranks the US Beer Blogs which also included some interesting comments.
But how should we be deciding such a complicated question? If not using weighted links from RSS feeds, what should the metric be? And for purposes of discussion, lets set aside what I assume will be the many arguments why we shouldn’t bother at all. What else should be included? Traffic? Should there be a BCS-like poll taken?
Also, I know there are other ways in which rankings are done, such as Alexa (which once you drill down to “beer” is all but useless for our purposes), Google PageRank (mine’s never changed in 6 years), and several where they only track blogs that register, making those ones also pretty useless. And for Twitter there’s WeFollow, which seems to never change. Anybody know of any others?
In the end, I think it’s good fun so long as we don’t take it too seriously. Maybe it makes me work a little harder now that I know I’m being judged against my peers. Doubtful, but it’s still something I’ll continue to at least look at. Like most people — I assume — I’m driven to do a better job all the time, constantly challenging myself to be a better writer, communicator, taster, etc. Comments, Facebook “Likes,” Re-Tweets, traffic, Google analytics and people coming up to me at beer festivals all provide different kinds of feedback about how I’m doing at my chosen profession. Having one more way by which to measure myself can’t be a bad thing. And especially not this month, where I got an early Christmas present. How cool is that? But congratulations to everybody on the list. I know it’s a cliche to say we’re all winners, but in fact I think that’s true. Over the past six years that I’ve been blogging, the number and quality of beer blogging has vastly improved. And that’s a good thing for beer, and for all of us. Happy holidays.