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Blog link tracking reviewed

Blog link tracking reviewed

With the demise of Technorati from the top spot of blog link tracking there’s never been a better time to take a look at some of what’s available in the marketplace.

Blog link tracking has come along way since Technorati and Daypop where at the top of the list. New sites have come along and bloggers have never had it so good in terms of choice.

There are 6 blog link tracking sites of note as follows:

For purposes of this review I’ve included Technorati in the list and yes, I’ve ranked them in my prefered order, although for some there isn’t an awful lot in it. For statistical comparison I’ve used the following Weblog Empire sites that have various degrees of traffic and stats; reference: BH=Blog Herald link count, TGB=The Gadget Blog link count, WVW= The Windows Vista Weblog link count

1. Blogpulse
Count: BH: 1959, TGB: 130, WVW: 9
The first three are hard to separate but Blogpulse comes out on front not because it has the best link tracking but because it has the best and nicest looking suite of tools of all of the services. BlogPulse Profiles is a particular favourite because it allows me to fairly accurately benchmark the status of the Blog Herald against other blogs in relation to recent links, as well as providing me with details on who is linking in as well.

For: great layout, wonderful tools, fairly quick
Against: doesn’t have quite as many incoming links as some of its competitors

2. Feedster
Count: BH: 2918, TFB: 217, WV: 17
Again, a really hard choice because if I was looking at link counts alone Feedster would be topping this list, because in my experience Feedster are delivering the most comprehensive list of incoming links to blogs: period. Where they don’t match Blogpulse is all the complementary stuff like comparative tools etc. The Feedster 500 is a great start but I’d love to see these numbers updated daily like Blogpulse Profiles does in terms of links (and like Technorati did once upon a time). Like Blogpulse the results can be delivered by RSS so I’m using Feedster and Blogpulse daily for my link profiles for my blogs.

For: brilliant link results
Against: a little slow at times if you using the web interface, limited additional tools

3. Bloglines
Count: BH: 2908, TGB: 130, WVW: 8
Most people would think of Bloglines as an RSS reader, but not as many people would realize that it also does link tracking as well. Some highly competitive numbers but very basic in its structure….but then again isn’t that why we like Bloglines in the first place? Given some of the technical problems they’ve been having lately I’m also not to sure on how up to date the figures are as well, it surprised me for example to see such a difference in the figures between this service and Feedster on my newer blogs where as the figures for the Blog Herald were nearly identical.

For: easy to use, quick
Against: basic features, some questions mark over recent results

4. Technorati
Count: BH: 1852, TGB: 49, WVW: 10
It funny when I think about it, but all the other sites on this list have been benchmarked, to some extent, on what Technorati use to be like. In jumming to fourth position though we are making a big leap from the top three because we are now talking in terms of Technorati September 2005 and not April 2004, or for that matter 2003. The grand old master of blog search is unfortunately these days to busy doing deals with the likes of Newsweek to focus on delivering superior search results, and when you do click search on Technorati its like pulling the leaver on a slot machine, some times you’ll get lucky and get a result, others times you wont get a result at all because of technical difficulties or time outs.

For: established name in blog search, sentimental use
Against: often slow or doesn’t work at all, link counts are significantly behind its competitors and at other times don’t show incoming links for days on end (when its competitors do). The once wonderful and easy to use interface has been replaced with a design which isn’t as friendly….. I wont go on.

See Also
Image Optimizer Plugins for WordPress

5. Pubsub (Pubstats)
Count: BH: 1130, TGB: 74, WVW: 19
I’m not sure what to say about Pubsub because I know it will result in an email from Bob Wyman, but suffice to say despite some recent changes and some nice looking new bells and whistle, I cant help but wonder who ever designed the charts and stastics was on speed at the time because there are all these wonderful daily stats but nothing that actually adds them up, perhaps better described as a richness or color and numbers but without something to finish it off. Pubsub also indexes non-blog content as well, which has its use for corporations who are interested in what bloggers are talking about but pollutes the search if your looking for blog links. Indeed to get a total count of blog links I had to use TalkDigger to get them because I’m stuffed if I know where I can get a total figure from on PubSub. Put in a slightly more user friendly interface which totals the count (and compares to total to other blogs) and you’ve got a service that is probably better than Technorati, at least for speed.

For: lots of interesting charts, quick
Against: lots of interesting charts which don’t total up and then compare your blog to non-blogs, still a bit behind in terms of link counting.

6. Icerocket
Count: BH: 1187, TGB: 107, WVW: 7
The Blog Maverick’s blog search site is starting to become fairly popular, but is probably better known for search as opposed to link tracking. In testing I was surprised at the strength of some of the results but its slots into 6th because I couldn’t find an easy way of actually bringing up a link count, until I tried putting the http:// in front of each URL. Seems simple but you’d think somewhere in the advanced search it would say this! Honestly Icerocket could easily be 4th or 5th on this list. The layout reminds me some what of Feedster, and once you get the links up its plain sailing.

For: quick, clean, growing quickly
Against: no instructions on getting links, still a bit behind on link counts

Update: bizarre, one day later at the WSJ: New Search Engines Help Users Find Blogs

View Comments (13)
  • I think it helps to have a stable history at one address.

    I blogged for years using a
    handmade html page
    that underwent a directory change and redirect at one point, but when I switched to MT and a different server, the blog became nearly invisible.

    Technorati and IceRocket see my blog and some of its links. BlogPulse has nothing on my blog; it does see some recent inbound links but, oddly, it doesn’t see those from Doc Searls.

    Because they don’t see so much, I think they’re all just fair.

  • Francesco: Actually, he’s been leaving a fair number of valuable comments on my site. I let him through, in spite of the URL, because I value conversation.

    Duncan: Links in IceRocket are easy. Click Blogs. Then Click Links under the search box. I never had problems with them. If that’s your only real complaint, I’d move them above PubSub and Technorati. Particularly because they do have extra features like trending and such.

  • Yes, but almost all traffic linked to specific posts, particularly on hot topics like Katrina, comes via Technorati (my experience). I agree links are not well handled. But, if you want traffic, go Technorati.

  • Duncan: I’ve worked with the folks at Intelliseek, the parent of BlogPulse, for months now, and they are smart, dedicated people. I agree their suite of tools is outstanding, and I readily recommend BlogPulse for a variety of applications. Rich

  • You wrote: “all these wonderful daily stats but nothing that actually adds them up”. Thanks for the compliment. Now as for the criticism: It is important to understand that we’re offering a different kind of numbers than the other services. What we focus on is the pattern of behaviors over time, not simply the raw numbers. Thus, we generate daily numbers and LinkRanks and soon, we’ll be generating LinkRanks over longer periods of time. We don’t keep an accumulated “InLinks in all time” since we think that would be a pretty useless number and carries no useful statistical information that can be used to compare different blogs (because the sampling period varies between blogs).

    You wrote: “to get a total count of blog links I had to use TalkDigger to get them” Please be aware that TalkDigger only has access to the last 30 days of data when they scrape our pages. Thus, while numbers from the other services are “Links they have seen over all time” the TalkDigger number for PubSub is only “Links seen in the last 30 days.”

    By the way, did you notice that we provide an Atom feed for every one of the 15+ million blogs we report on? We think that providing this data via feeds makes a great deal of sense and should make it easy for folk to accumulate data on their own sites over whatever period might interest them. The Atom feed for BlogHerald can be found at:
    http://www.pubsub.com/site_stats_feed.php?site=blogherald.com

    Thanks for your review comments. We’ll be releasing quite a few enchancements to our statistics over time. One we’re working on now is computing LinkRanks over periods longer than a day. Take a look at the following demo page to see one view of what the results might look like:

    http://demos.pubsub.com/linkranks1000/

    We hope to please you more in the future.

    bob wyman

  • Duncan, great list. I just recently re-launched with technorati links, but I’m going to change it very soon. Probably going with blogpulse. Great list and thanks for putting it together.

  • Thanks for taking the time to compile the list.

    I must quibble though: Feedster is a waste of time (as of now). It doesn’t know me and I don’t know it. Blogpusle only “ranks” (I believe this implies no profiles for any blog outside…) the top 10,000. Technorati still has the best layout and design for my (lack of) money but, OY, so slow and unreliable. I’ve tried the Bloglines route and though they are my fav in the feeds/subs department, I think I’ll take a wait and see attitude toward their tracking. The others you metioned I will certainly try, especially Pubsub since Bob Wyman was kind enough to troll you.

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