Once upon a time, not long ago, anyone in the world who wanted to gauge the relative impact of any blogger—say, HughHewitt.com vs. MichelleMalkin.com or Instapundit vs. Daily Kos or Fark vs. Eschaton—knew exactly where to go for the latest, up-to-the-moment rankings: Technorati. During the salad days of blogging in the first decade of the 21st century, nobody could touch Technorati when it came to searching and sizing up the roiling mass of hot-blooded humanity that came to be known as the blogosphere. You could forget all about the New York Times Best Sellers list. That was dead-tree media ranking other dead trees. The Technorati “Top 100 Blogs” was America’s ultimate guide to influence. It was the scorecard of the hat-tip champions.
Alas, those days are now done.
With little fanfare last month, Technorati quietly shut down its blog directory and rankings. “Technorati did not announce the closing of its ranking index explicitly, but the information is buried inside a blog post announcing a major revision to the site,” notes Jon Russell of The Next Web. “Our new website becomes the entry point to our advertising platform, our core product,” Technorati announced in the aforementioned post.
“Unlike other directories it focused on content, rating and sorting blogs on a 1000 point scale using its ‘Technorati Authority’ algorithm,” Business2Community.com’s Orun Bhuiyan recently observed. “For many bloggers, hitting the Technorati Top 100 was an ambitious dream—and those who realized that dream gained celebrity status on the web.”
For the onetime kingmaker of the Little Green Footballs set, it’s an ignominious development. At the peak of its influence in the mid-2000s, Technorati was a darling of the new media industry. In 2006 the site was feted alongside Eminem.com at SXSW. The Guardian dubbed the site’s founder “the ringmaster of the blogosphere.” China blocked it.
But then, at some point, the inhabitants of the blogosphere started emptying out, lured away by the new crop of social media networks. Somewhere between the rise of Friendster and Myspace, Facebook and Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, people stopped updating their blogs and then abandoned them altogether en masse. The sonic boom of American blogging came and went. Various eulogies for the fading art form soon followed.
Now the demise of the blogosphere can count among its collateral victims the once-prized algorithm that previously judged it. As the blogosphere used to say: Ouch.