Popularity contests, I can’t stand them. All that gushing for verification, all that competition… sorry? I’m 10th??!! …

Popularity contests, I LOVE THEM. Aren’t they great!!!

For those that missed it, there was a mini-furore (a fure?) recently when a new site launched with the aim:

… not so much to create a fuss about viewing figures, because popularity isn’t everything, but to provide a convenient and interesting place where new UK blog readers might start from.

It lasted less than a month. Why? Well because finding a reliable source of statistics is almost impossible, I have access to three sets of stats dedicated to this site. One offered by my hosting company (which I consider the most accurate), SiteMeter (added recently, I’ll explain why in a minute) and ExtremeTracking which I’ve used since April 2002. One thing that came up during the short life of Best British Blogs was the discrepancy between stats, something I can now vouch for as SiteMeter and ExtremeTracking rarely, if ever, agree.

Of course popularity ISN’T everything, in fact I was quite surprised that I only read, passingly at that, two of the first ten sites listed on Best British Blogs. The main problem, of course, that an accurate site title would have to be “Best British Blogs that have publically available stats that are on the radar of the author of the site”. Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, does it.

I think it’s fair to say that, when it comes to blogs, ANY site that dares list a Top ANYTHING list is at the whim of the bloggers within the target circle. If you choose not to opt-in then obviously the list won’t be complete and shouldn’t be regarded as such. With that in mind then, I do think that the “Top of the British Blogs” list (which, thankfully, is accurately named) may be a bit more opt-in accurate. As it isn’t relying on external stats packages but collating the figures itself it should be considerably more accurate and, more importantly, consistent than any other method.

And to answer a recent comment which stated: “Since it requires voluntary registration, it can’t really be a good measure of weblog popularity. Or perhaps just a measure of those people who crave popularity.” I point you to the Orwellian post, particularly the first section “Sheer Egoism”.

Of course, all this has nothing to do with the fact that I’m currently 10th in the list. Honest.

Related links
The British Blogs Top 10 (and now Bottom 10 too).
BritBlog Roundup is probably the best of the bunch as it links to the best (in the opinion of the author, obviously)(correction: as nominated by you dear reader) posts from the past week. Great idea and has already uncovered a few gems.
Slightly further afield there is Top European Blogs which grew out of the Best British Blogs and is based on site stats. However a pinch of salt is required as your site must be using SiteMeter and be on the author’s radar. In other words, if you want listed let him know.
And finally I’m adding in a link to You are hurting us and On the Absence of Women (sent on by Adrian) as they touch on the impact “Top 10” lists (and blogrolls) can have and is a fascinating read. More thoughts from me on that, later. below.

Further update
Probably an entire post in itself but let me say this. A Top 10/100 list isn’t necessarily a bad thing. For those NEW to blogging it gives them a frame of reference which they can use to either aim for or rail against. Both are equally required. Equally for those who have been blogging for a while (let’s say 2+ years) they’ll also realise that these lists carry, for them, little meaning or value. Anyway, as I said, this is better suited to it’s own post, more on THAT later.