Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Nature Blog Network—Popularity vs Quality

Billed as The Toplist for Every Species of Nature Blog, the Nature Blog Network (NBN) sees itself as “a resource for the very best nature blogs on the net—based on actual page views.” Simply counting page views is a great way to indicate the popularity of a blog, but popularity does not necessarily correlate with quality.

My fear is that people who use the NBN will tend to focus only on the top blogs (i.e., those that appear at or near the top of the list), thereby missing blogs that may rival the top blogs in quality, but which for various reasons have not achieved the popularity of the “toplist” blogs.

I pride myself in maintaining an extensive list of bird blogs on my blogroll. I currently feature some 313 active blogs (221 North American, 70 European, 13 Asian, 5 Australian, 3 African, and 2 South American). Of the 60 bird blogs listed on the NBN today, nearly half of them (29) are not now included on my blogroll (in most cases, because I was unaware of their existence).

My conclusion is that the NBN is a great resource for locating and accessing bird blogs, but if you just focus on those at the top of the list you’ll be missing out on some high-quality writing and photography. In reality, the NBN will never replace the Google blog search in utility (i.e., ability to readily access blog posts on topics of interest). And finally, your bird blog won’t appear in the NBN at all unless you take the time (just a few seconds, really) to join. So get busy!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still don't understand your classification of "bird blogs" when looking at your list!

February 19, 2008 11:02 PM  
Blogger Nate said...

I agree, my precipitous drop off the front page of NBN was met by an equally precipitous drop off in hits. And there are several excellent blogs farther down than even mine that definitely deserve exposure.

It's the whole "blogs are popular because they get hits and they get hits because they're popular" cycle that it's hard to break into.

February 21, 2008 8:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I share the concern that people may focus on the first 40 blogs on the list to the detriment the remaining 131 (and counting!) sites on the Nature Blog Network. But how is that different from the first page of Google Blog Search? At least with NBN, any blog in the network has a chance to appear as a Featured Member on the front page above the fold.

Yes, most popular doesn't always equate to highest quality but over the long term, the cream usually rises to the top. A directory like this is designed to help expose readers to a broad cross-section of nature blogs so that everyone finds the sites they're best suited to. It's also set up to funnel readers to even lightly visited sites.

N8, your blog is outstanding but pretty new in comparison to most of the front page sites. Keep at it and I know you'll attract a much larger readership. I'm a fan!

February 24, 2008 3:56 PM  

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