The PR Friendly Index for March 2009

It’s been a very, very, very long time since I last did this. Index below, explanations below that, and I’ve moved the FAQ to the PR Friendly Index page.

 

KEY
Technorati Authority – unique incoming blog links over the past six months
Technorati Inlinks – total incoming blog links over the past six months
Yahoo Inlinks – incoming web links, not including links within that site
HowSociable Score – social media score calculated by HowSociable.com
Google Blog Hits – Google blog search hits
Google Blog Hits over the past Month – Google blog search hits over the past month
IceRocket – recent posts that link to a site according to IceRocket

1   1  Online Marketing Blog 1,456  
12,082  
84  
1,676  

2   -1  Micro Persuasion 1,386  
26,495  
68  
1,652  

3   0  PR 2.0 Silicon Valley 985  
6,935  
22  
1,331  

4   0  PR Watch 382  
5,030  
52  
332  

5   0  PR Squared 511  
3,023  
13  
548  

6   0  a shel of my former self 286  
3,694  
15  
332  

7   3  Web Ink Now 683  
3,200  
10  
874  

8   -1  NevilleHobson.com 347  
3,368  
11  
408  

9   4  The Bad Pitch Blog 210  
1,197  
11  
179  

10   2  PR Blogger 204  
1,100  
12  
197  

11   -3  The Buzz Bin 140  
1,566  
11  
119  

13   -2  Pop! PR Jots 120  
1,614  
9  
90  

13   6  A PR Guy’s Musings 117  
375  
13  
91  

14   -5  Communication Overtones 142  
2,045  
4  
183  

15   2  Strategic Public Relations 90  
1,157  
26  
56  

17   14  Wadds’ tech pr blog 123  
340  
9  
147  

17   -3  Fleet Street PR 268  
377  
2  
334  

18   4  Young PR 96  
368  
7  
84  

19   -1  Spinwatch 83  
354  
11  
61  

20   3  CustomScoop’s PR Blog Jots 121  
367  
2  
177  

21   New  sixtysecondview 87  
357  
6  
70  

22   -7  Media Orchard 101  
1,594  
3  
65  

23   9  Todd Andrlik 208  
341  
1  
221  

24   18  Drew B’s take on tech PR 79  
338  
8  
54  

25   9  Paul Gillin – Social Media 146  
350  
1  
155  

26   2  Brendan Cooper 144  
184  
5  
55  

27   New  Feverbee 87  
157  
6  
110  

28   11  Occam’s RazR 61  
290  
6  
70  

29   -9  Pro PR 103  
356  
1  
129  

31   -7  PR Newser 139  
167  
2  
168  

31   4  The Flack 72  
337  
4  
56  

33   -8  Murphy’s Law 88  
305  
3  
58  

33   -7  Peter Shankman 403  
132  
1  
424  

35   38  PR Media Blog 81  
115  
7  
76  

35   -8  PR Works 78  
367  
1  
105  

36   10  Cooler Insights 71  
307  
3  
71  

39   17  Blogging Me, Blogging You 55  
356  
5  
40  

39   3  Heather Yaxley 57  
278  
15  
31  

39   5  PR Conversations 59  
229  
7  
50  

40   7  PR Studies 59  
265  
7  
41  

41   -20  PR Communications 50  
316  
3  
69  

42   -12  Flack Life 82  
355  
0  
151  

43   -7  KDPaine’s PR Measurement 56  
241  
4  
51  

44   6  Piaras Kelly PR 49  
205  
5  
50  

45   -12  ToughSledding 46  
256  
5  
43  

46   12  Corporate PR 39  
359  
5  
19  

47   -18  Strumpette 50  
1,188  
1  
48  

48   -32  Canuckflack 63  
354  
1  
45  

49   -6  Getting Ink 58  
238  
3  
43  

50   3  PR Meets the WWW 42  
359  
4  
18  

51   -2  Socialized PR 51  
153  
2  
72  

52   -7  Beyond PR 39  
205  
5  
28  

53   10  Observations of PR 90  
193  
3  
12  

54   -17  Common Sense PR 65  
332  
0  
51  

56   New  Sir Robert Bond Papers 39  
303  
1  
54  

56   5  The New PR 43  
247  
1  
54  

57   2  Engage in PR 59  
194  
0  
78  

58   6  PR Disasters 56  
132  
3  
32  

59   -21  Wired PR Works 39  
169  
2  
45  

60   -6  bitemarks 38  
178  
4  
30  

61   -4  In Front of Your Nose 44  
99  
5  
22  

62   -11  Simonsays 41  
311  
2  
17  

64   1  The Rosemont Loving 39  
84  
5  
24  

64   New  Teaching PR 34  
88  
5  
36  

65   -4  PR Meets Marketing 36  
182  
2  
34  

66   -4  From PR to Eternity 35  
90  
4  
37  

67   -25  Naked PR 40  
162  
2  
24  

68   1  my(PR)palette 18  
170  
2  
43  

69   -3  All Things PR 32  
77  
4  
23  

71   19  PR 2.0 26  
90  
5  
9  

71   -19  Valley PR Blog 26  
145  
1  
37  

72   -23  Tech PR Gems 20  
73  
2  
24  

73   -6  The New Marketing 13  
142  
2  
17  

74   7  Media Guerrilla 29  
80  
1  
26  

75   1  Beyond the Hype 26  
48  
2  
18  

76   8  PR-otagonism 21  
47  
3  
15  

77   -5  Priscilla’s World 43  
46  
2  
4  

78   -23  IndiaPRBlog! 24  
81  
1  
18  

79   -9  The PR 2.0 Universe 21  
95  
1  
12  

82   -7  Glass House 37  
69  
1  
10  

82   4  PR Voice 13  
86  
2  
5  

82   1  PR Girlz 14  
97  
1  
13  

83   13  DummySpit 15  
54  
2  
10  

84   -15  Teaching PR 14  
155  
1  
4  

85   -11  Don’t eat the shrimp 61  
31  
0  
12  

86   New  Ron Torossian 16  
39  
1  
21  

87   New  Paul Stallard 14  
25  
2  
12  

89   -12  Alan Weinkrantz PR 12  
108  
0  
20  

89   6  GREENblog 6  
62  
2  
4  

90   New  balancing act 5  
53  
1  
18  

91   -13  media mindshare 16  
53  
1  
4  

92   -10  Fusion PR Forum 5  
69  
1  
11  

93   4  First Person PR 2  
35  
2  
1  

95   -15  Flacks Revenge 10  
45  
0  
18  

95   -24  Strive Notes 4  
115  
0  
5  

96   -4  Public Relations Rogue 7  
38  
1  
1  

97   -3  Small Business PR/Marketing 4  
20  
1  
2  

98   -18  Point oh 13  
4  
0  
6  

99   New  Final Spin 5  
5  
0  
1  

100   -11  nerd-in-residence 3  
31  
0  
1  

The tech stuff

So as I said, it’s been a while. This is mainly because I’ve moved house, moved jobs, and changed PCs. The first two were substantially hiatus-inducing. The last of these would not, you’d imagine, cause much of a problem but I’ve been struggling to come to terms with Vista for the past month and it proved a formidable obstacle in compiling the stats this time around. Excel just ran terribly slowly, to the extent that if I tried to type a new number into a cell it would take nearly ten seconds before I could continue. This was unworkable.

Fortunately the Cloud came to my rescue. I’ve ranted a bit about cloud computing’s drawbacks in the past, but as a last-gasp attempt to get this to work, it proved a viable solution. I imported the worksheet into Google Docs and suddenly everything was responsive. With some workarounds – limitations to the amount I could copy and paste between sheets, for example – I could actually work properly.

Now, I do not understand why it should be that I can run an app over the web much more quickly than I can locally. I can only assume it’s because the web and associated apps are fairly stable platforms that can be incremented in small bits, rather than wholesale changes hardware, software and operating environments. Plus I get the resources of, well, the web at my disposal, so nearly infinite computing capacity. But it still bothers me that an older version of Excel, on an older operating system, running on a crappy PC with 750MB of memory, should radically outperform something that should be several quanta ahead in terms of performance.

Still, the Google Docs workaround is not ideal. For example, while I’m typing this I’m occasionally having to jump into the spreadsheet to get it to publish properly because I cannot seem to copy all the data from the worksheet into WordPress in one go. I can only copy it reliably when I publish it as text. But the publishing feature doesn’t work every time. And when I do eventually get the code into WordPress, it mucks around with it in a seemingly random way. There are just so many obstacles that you have to avoid in the publication of this index. Bum.

Another drawback this time around was that the Google Docs calls proved unreliable. Icerocket and Google Blog Month searches were very ‘bitty’, and I had to manually go through quite a lot of the results. Google and Yahoo no longer play ball with the Import features in Google Docs, so they had to go (part of the criteria for whether to include a metric are that they can be readily pulled out of search results). Even Technorati figures, using their API, needed quite a lot of polishing. This why Technorati Inlinks also had to go: there is no alternative that I know of available, that I can view online, to substitute for missing figures.

I don’t know whether this was just ‘one of those things’, or whether results are being deliberately marred by the search engines involved. Or maybe Google Docs Import features aren’t doing their jobs as well as before?

I also realised that, in the PC changeover, I’d lost my copy of the Easybee software so I couldn’t grab figures for HowSociable. I pinged the author and got the software back but decided I just couldn’t face building up all the calls to grab the data again. It takes quite a while, plus it’s contrary to the concept of grabbing data quickly and easily. Plus screen scraping is naughty.

Notwithstanding, I also explored the possibility of using the Yahoo Pipes Fetch Page module to grab data from HowSociable, Google and socialmention. This didn’t work satisfactorily either, mainly because pages take a while to render so the timing goes wrong in that Yahoo Pipes tries to grab a page before it’s been rendered properly. And, in the case of Google, it didn’t want to play with Yahoo Pipes. Playground sulks abound.

So, the number of metrics has lessened this time around. We’re just doing Technorati Authority, Google Blog Search, Google Blog Search for the month, and IceRocket, because Yahoo and Google don’t wanna play any more, and HowSociable is a pain in the arse.

The Inny/outty/uppy/downy stuff

There are some big risers and fallers. This is partially down to the number of new entries but even so, Tech PR Gems has plummeted while PR Media blog has shot up. I guess this is down to the length of time since I last published this index. Sorry about that.

For me the most interesting and surprising result was that Steve Rubel’s Micropersuasion no longer tops the table. I wonder whether it’s because Steve’s running an individual blog, whereas Online Marketing is a group effort so it can more readily maintain its position through more posts, or a supporting awareness programme. Perhaps I need to dig out the Technorati Authority study again to see whether this is down to Steve declining, or Online Marketing Blog rising, or a combination of the two.

There have been moves:

There are new entries:

Who inevitably replace old entries:

  • The last man in europe last posted in January 2008 so to all intents doesn’t really exist any more
  • Note to editors was still an ‘active’ blog but just didn’t make the cut, unfortunately
  • Media artifacts has been deleted
  • Wordymouth has also disappeared off the face of the blogosphere
  • Change and internal comms probably didn’t belong here in the first place
  • Corporati hadn’t posted since last July
  • Tech PR War Stories also hasn’t been terribly active

The Study stuff

After the recent Twitter PR Week episode, I had to think long and hard about whether I wanted to compile this index. Possibly the reason for the brouhaha was that people could have been clearer about what they were trying to achieve, and the assumptions behind the study.

So, for the sake of clarity, what I’m trying to achieve here is an ongoing, developing investigation into how to measure blogs, what can be measured, and to engage in debate about the benefits and drawbacks to each method. Look, robot, I’ve even put another poll together if you want to tell everyone what you think with just one click. (And actually, while you’re at it, it would be luverly if you could also vote in my other poll.)

As I say in the PR Friendly FAQ, and as I’ve always said, this is quantitative, not qualitative. I would only ever use it as a first step in measuring any blogger population. For the qualitative stuff, I’d refer you to the ‘What are we talking about’ study, which I also intend to revisit. But, of course, the best way to know what any blogger is talking about is to read the blog.

As for what’s behind the study, well the list is purely the blogs that I tend to read. It’s changed over the months, through discovery of my own or recommendation from other people. So, while I think it’s a good list, it’s not necessarily the only one, or even the best. It’s mine.

Basically, if you’re reading this and you’re about to tell everyone how ridiculous this index is, or flame me, or kick the cat, then for everyone’s sakes please read the PR Friendly FAQ first. If you still want to kick off, by all means do. And you can also vote in the poll this time too.

The Not Study stuff

Another increasing difficulty has been categorisation. While there’s debate about what exactly constitutes a blog, there’s also the difficulty of what constitutes a PR blog. People who once wrote about PR now write more about social media – me included, leading me to wonder whether I should even appear in this index myself! Other people who write about social media also touch on PR, and this is a trend I see continuing. So should I set up a separate social media index? Should I mix the two up?

I’ve also wondered about whether I should be looking at more cross-platform metrics, that is, should I be including Twitter stats here? Given the recent Twittermania, maybe I should. Bloggers are probably more influential when they’re on Twitter too. Then we’re in the tricky territory of what we’re measuring, whether it’s the blogger, or the blog. The answer should, I think, be the blogger – but then search terms become a problem. URLs are unique, whereas names are not. It’s much easier to search for a blog address than a blogger’s name.

And finally…

One the main reasons I haven’t updated the index in a while is that it’s such a pain in the arse. Every time I think I’ve got the method nailed, the next month things have moved around or changed so I have to find ways around them. It could be that search engines have changed their layouts, or blogs have moved. New blogs come in, old blogs fade away. Any change just takes so much time to accommodate. Plus, I find I’m adding more and more explanation to the end of this, which isn’t a good sign.

So what to do? Reduce the metrics, given that Technorati Authority pretty much governs the rankings? Or reduce the number of blogs in the index? Or just give up?

Let me know. You can vote in the poll, and/or comment. But be gentle.

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22 thoughts on “The PR Friendly Index for March 2009

  1. Brendan – thanks for listing my blog and it is a pleasure to be one of the newbies. How do you find the time to do this?…….but please do it.

  2. Hi Robin,

    True enough, but this is the problem of categorisation – as in, you’re decidely social media, not strictly PR. I totally get your point that you’d probably fit in the rankings, but I’ve got to keep this ‘PR’. As I said in my explanation, maybe I don’t even fit into this anymore! Not sure what to do. Maybe split this between social media and PR? Have two indexes? Bring the two together? Any ideas appreciated.

  3. Depends on your definition of ‘fix’! 😉

    Toprank blog talks about digital PR. OK, this could be social media, but it’s a mention of PR.

    Richard Millington used to run the PR Place, which was decidedly PR. I see what you mean though, he’s now more into building communities. Not quite the same I guess.

    Which illustrates another point: tracking all of this. Again, as I said in the explanatory notes, people change their subject matter. While I do read these blogs, I don’t read all of them, every day. When people change it’s difficult to keep up with everything.

    I once discussed this all with Todd Andrlik, the guy who pretty much invented the template for a lot of ranking lists, who also testified to the problem of adminstrating indexes. I figure that eventually he too realised it was too much to take on, hence the total automation of his list, plus the handing over to Ad Age for the back office work.

    So, any more suggestions? There’s an opportunity here for you guys to do something for a social media index maybe…?

  4. Well – by that definition, we’re in! Just check out the HTML title tags on the home page. And perhaps a few of the tags used on our posts, e.g.:
    http://wearesocial.net/blog/tag/reputation-management/
    http://wearesocial.net/blog/tag/corporate-communications/

    In all seriousness, have you thought about approaching Peter Hay at PR Week UK? Perhaps they could take over your list in the way the AdAge took over Todd’s?

  5. Hmm, looking at html title tags isn’t a bad idea. But how do you arbitrate for this kind of situation: https://brendancooper.com/2008/10/13/top-tip-put-your-keywords-in-your-title/ – that is, where people work in PR, but don’t actually state this? Where they say it’s ‘communications’, for example, which is possibly more accurate even if more generic (if that even makes sense)? In which case, do we put together a ‘comms’ index? Would that include advertising? In fact, don’t we just end up with… the Ad Age Power150? Which isn’t even 150 any more?

    Interesting suggestion for PR Week but that would involve setting PR Week against Ad Age, which is a bit like King Kong vs Godzilla with myself as the lissome Fay Wray in between…

  6. Oooh, nice to know my blog hasn’t fallen off the rankings.

    Re Twitter – it’s an interesting idea, particularly as I’d say Twitter is the biggest single source of traffic to my blog these days bar none – which makes me think it’s increasingly influential. I considered including this in the index we put together (with the help of your good self, of course) of parenting blogs – those who were active on Twitter generally performed above their weight in the rankings – ie newer blogs with a single author performed higher than you might expect, because they’d built a community on Twitter.

    Be interesting to see how you’d measure it, though – followers? Twitter Grader?

  7. I’m going to stick my neck out here and say I’d probably use Twitter Grader, because it seems to me to do something similar to Technorati Authority.

    Before everyone laughs, I’d say that Twitter Grader looks at factors such as number of followers, number of friends, frequency, tenancy and recency – the last three of which fall under ‘classic’ metrics for any blog, and which are encapsulated in the authority figure being updated, as it is, according to six-monthly rolling stats and therefore taking into account time.

    I think. I pinged Twitter Grader a while back asking for exactly what they’re measuring and I think that’s what they said. Unfortunately I cannot find the email, and their forum logon is so torturous that I’ve just given up trying to find out what they say there.

    Whatever measure you take, this ties in with the issue I outlined in the explanatory notes regarding whether we’re measuring the blog, or the blogger. It probably should be the blogger – as in, how influential is this *person* – in which case, yes, we probably should include Twitter. We could also then look at HowSociable and socialmention which give aggregated figures across lots of platforms. But they’re unfortunately not terribly well specced for grabbing data.

    Plus, looking for bloggers is more difficult than looking for a blog because blog URLs are unique, whereas blogger names are not. Imagine a blog by someone called John Smith – it would not be easy to get an idea of how that person fared on cross-platform branding ‘scoring’ sites, whereas johnsmith.wordpress.com would be.

    This is where you probably need to get the big guns in, who employ their server farms and algorithms to track this stuff in a more methodical, scientific way. Again, as I say in the notes, this is intended as a very first step in that direction: identify who’s talking about your subject matter, then rank them in some way. Then, you need to start really looking at them and listening and learning, etc etc etc

    Oh, and Twitter’s already been done – see http://www.rainierpr.co.uk/blog/2008/11/top-50-uk-pr-people-by-twitter.html, and the entire PR Week Twitter ‘thing’.

  8. Hey, thanks for listing my blog. It’s always nice as a newbie to have those little bits of recognition. Thanks for going through the trouble of including the new kids.
    I really like the Index, not as a precise measurement tool (we each have those), but to see what’s out there, what’s popular and what sticks. I am due to revise the Links section on Final Spin, the Index will be a big help.
    I need to go trough the list again and see how the other blogs whose author(s) is writing anonymously are faring. You don’t get the benefit of people dropping by just because they know you. Strumpette being the great counter-example, but not something I plan to imitate. It was fun once, for a while. No point in re-creating it.

  9. Brendan – thanks for updating your list (and including FirstPersonPR.com). I recently went through the painful process of moving my blog to its own hosting server, which wiped out all my links & authority — but your index continues to send traffic my way!

  10. Hi all,

    I need to bring your attention to the fact that I got the URL wrong for Tech PR Gems. They now have their own URL at http://techprgems.com, so I’ve updated the table to reflect this.

    Of course, in doing this, the spreadsheet went doo-lally. For some bizarre reason, Google Docs saw fit to lose most of the equations that govern position changes. I think I managed to sort it out but I had to lose the colour-coding for positions, so they’re all black rather than green for up and red for down.

    So Tech PR Gems haven’t plummeted quite as far as we first thought – just 23 positions rather than 60 as was the case with the old URL! Of course, this index means absolutely nothing – unless you’re not in it, or your address is incorrect… 😉

  11. Pingback: are you PR-friendly? « balancing act

  12. Pingback: Goodness Gracious, Great Blogs of Fire! » The Buzz Bin

  13. Thanks for taking the time to put this list together. I was not aware of a couple on the list. This list is simply fantastic!

    Now I have to get our act together, so we can make the list next time!

    JP

  14. Pingback: Back with the first post of the year «

  15. “he’s now more into building communities. Not quite the same I guess”

    Here, here!

    Get that pretentious FeverBee imposter offa this list right now. He’s not one of us genuine PR folk. It’s high time we draw the line about what is and isn’t PR.

    I recommend we keep it as suggested. Keep PR, social media, marketing, tech and media blogs in. Online community and dancing blogs out.

  16. Hmmm, but if I keep PR, social media, marketing, tech and media blogs in, we’re pretty much at the Power 150, aren’t we? Which I was trying to avoid.

    Ho hum. P’raps the PR Friendly Index has run its course now. It was an interesting exercise but I think we’ve all moved on quite a bit since it started.

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