Looking at tools like Klout or PeerIndex, everyone is trying to assign a score. They are trying to determine how to measure a blogger’s influence, and even worth, in the online space. So far, the results have been mixed. Klout has changed its algorithm several times and still provides a rather gray explanation of exactly how scores are determined:
“Klout measures influence online using data from your social networks. Anywhere you have an online presence, you have the opportunity to influence people by creating or sharing content that inspires actions such as likes, retweets, comments and more. The more engagement your posts receive, the more influential you are. Klout uses this information to provide you a Klout Score that measures your overall influence.” – Klout.com
How are likes, retweets, and comments measured? Is that really an indication of engagement? Or is it often simply amplification? Is there a difference? While I can appreciate the need for marketers and data crunchers to have a way to classify and organize online influencers, I haven’t yet seen the value that Klout is truly providing, except for silly comparisons between bloggers.
A score, however arbitrary, is still a measure. Everyone ranks somewhere, somehow. We may not like the ranking but we’re at least acknowledged for participating in the online space. The blogger lists are a little different. There are no algorithms. These are opinion polls.
The most prominent list out there in the mom blogging space is the Babble Top 100 Mom Blogs. The list grew from 50 in 2010 to 100 in 2011, a clear nod at the increase in bloggers in the space as well as the quality of the bloggers rising to the top. The process for determining the list changed as well:
“Our process evolved as well, drawing not only the recommendations of our panel, but also paying close attention to all of your nominees from last year. We rely on all of you to help us hear of the up-and-comers, the new debuts, and any other great blogger that isn’t already on our radar.” – Babble.com
Unfortunately, at the time of writing, the link to the panelists was broken. But clearly, they are more in tune with the need for a crowd sourced list.
Then there are the other lists. Like the Global Top 100 Mommy Bloggers to Treat and Pamper of 2012.
This one has had a lot of discussion around it this week, mostly negative. While it was an entertaining read, it was one that offended many of these “mommy bloggers.” The author spouted some statistics once again proving the consumer power and influence of the American woman (I don’t actually think any of the bloggers on the list were outside of the United States, despite the “Global” tag used in the header).
Correction: I did see some of my favorite Canadians on the list.
But the offense was at the suggestion that bloggers are a cheap, if not free, channel of marketing and public relations for your company, a misnomer that many bloggers are fighting hard to correct. If I’m not mistaken, the author has since changed a lot of the text of the article since it was originally published to distinguish between amateur and professional bloggers. I call that backpedaling.
His recommended blogger strategies, however, weren’t what got me thinking about lists gone wrong. It was pretty much everything else.
Here’s what’s wrong with his list that should raise red flags before anyone offers congratulations and thanks.
1. Bad grammar
Incorrect or missing capitalization. Missing or misplaced apostrophes. Spelling errors. A professional list is professionally written and usually edited.
2. No methodology stated
So where’d you get these names? And why are they considered the top? If it’s simply your opinion, that should be stated. And it should also be stated why your opinion matters on this subject (professionally speaking, of course). Based on the descriptors for each blogger, it’s assumed that this list is based off of Twitter in some way, shape, or form.
3. Inconsistent criteria
To recognize mom bloggers, they generally should fall into two categories:
They are moms.
They are bloggers.
Many of the people on the list are not moms, nor have they ever been moms. Perhaps it’s time to simply recognize women bloggers instead of letting their reproductive status define their blogging. Also, while sites like Babycenter, ModernMom.com, The SITS Girls all feature talented bloggers, this list is intended to focus on the individual blogger and not collaborative sites.
4. Bad math
This was absolutely my favorite part that no one else seemed to pick up on. A Top 100 list is generally assumed to include, well, 100 people. This list included 276 bloggers. If I do the math, that’s about 176 more than there should be. And I’m not just saying that because I’m number 217 on the list.
5. Questionable credibility
I’m not here to put down Robert Kim, the author of the post. I’ve read some of his posts. I watched some of his videos. He seems like a nice guy. He seems relatively intelligent. But he’s all about quick and easy traffic, and most likely, money. He knows how to create a talked about post (case in point). He knows how to drive traffic. He did a similar list for Event Management Companies and Event Planners.
But his blog has been active since June 2012 and when he’s not promoting his “viral posts” he’s hawking tea samples on his Twitter account. Nice try, Bob, but even this tea lover is not buying into your list.
What are your general thoughts on blogging lists? Do they have any validity out there for bloggers or brands? Do you only find them objectionable when you aren’t included? Let’s talk.