Technorati: Big Business with Bogus Data
Since the PR giant Edelman and Technorati are working together they are both trying to become an industry reference for statistics on the blogosphere. Of course this is free publicity for both and in plus they can sell the data for good money to their customers. The question is how reliable is Technorati’s data? How serious is that business? Have a look:
Japanese, the most active blogging language? Really? Are all the “gomiburoggu” (fake blogs) part of that statistic? How is that data handled and sold and why has no one asked these questions before? Insiders know that most Japanese blogs are fake (to trick Google).
Reality check on Technorati’s EU top 100
First of all: Technorati is not as important as they want us to believe. A big number of bloggers don’t use Technorati and thus the data that they deliver is all but complete and often just plain wrong. Why do we know that?
Round table for top bloggers turned out to be old school self promotion with bogus data
Edelman and Technorati tried to bring the big European bloggers and the big European corporations at a roundtable and discuss matters of the blogosphere with them. As it turned out it was less a roundtable than a self PR for Technorati and Edelman. The one French guy I spoke to described the event as a mere disaster. In Germany it was commonly described as ludicrous (watch the Painful video if you have the nerve):
- It was announced as a meeting of bloggers and industrials. In Germany only two representatives from the industry showed up
- Instead of discussing (they called it round table) the attendants had to listen to a one hour presentation. But as bad comes to worse:
- Not just the event as such, actually the data that Edelman/Technorati presented on behalf of the situation of the blogosphere in Germany was totally bogus: Among the top 100 German bloggers there were many unknown ones in the top 10 and 36 of the most relevant were missing. And all the other European charts turned out to be as amateurish.
- Asked why that is the case, technorati tried to blame the beta stage of their software. No matter who’s fault it is: Fact is, Technorati’s data is incomplete and as such statistically not usable. Yet Edelman presents Technorati data as the mere fact.
Japanese leading the blogosphere? Unlikely
Based on obviously unreliable Technorati data, Edelman claims that the Japanese blogosphere defines about 31% of the global blogosphere while the English share is about 25%. Sensational, isn’t it?
Lack of reliable European data
By just comparing the overall Internet language market share of English (35%) and Japanese (8.4%) it becomes quite clear that this result is not just sensational but also rather unlikely. Technorati Japan is popular, that’s all this study tells us. Of course it depends how they define “blog entry”. But looking at how wrong they were with their top 100 European bloggers the whole study collapses like a house of cards. However you put it, that Japanese are 31 times more productive in terms of blogging than the German statistically just doesn’t seem probable. For someone that reads German blogs and lives and works in Japan even less.
Myspace alone has more blogs
More doubts arise if you look at the mere number of Myspace blogs (106 Million September 2006) and Facebook profiles (7.6 million). These mostly English blogs produce less entries than 8 million Japanese blogs (including 5.7 Million mixi profiles). No, guys, I don’t think so. The numbers just don’t add up.
Internet data is hard to verify
The problem with Edelman/Technorati potentially publishing unreliable data is that this data is hard to verify as there are hardly any resources to check back. The overwhelming amount of raw data and the fact that everyone refers back to Technorati as their main source just doesn’t allow to verify their claims.
Two brands profit from the publicity
Given how sensational it sounds to say that “31% of blog entries are Japanese”, it becomes clear that this data gets distributed quite quickly. And being cited everywhere by two big names it is also blindly believed. Japanese are crazy anyways, so you never know, right? Two brands obviously profit from that publicity.
But what if that data is all as bogus as the German top 100 bloggers? If that is the case, there is no need to boycott the two companies, sooner or later they will slip and fall on their backs.
Technorati’s chance to make big bucks
Please get me right: I don’t think Technorati doesn’t know about web related matters. I doubt their statistical competence and their responsibility. Eventhough they do acknowledge that they are “grossly undercounting the Korean blogosphere”, it seems irresponsible to publish and sell that messed up data as a work in progress. As this is not how it’s percieved by the public. We all know that people often blindly believe in numbers.
Edelman: Panic on the Titanic
And I don’t think Edelman is evil and presents us wrong data in order to manipulate us or push their Japanese customers into blogging by telling them how important blogging is in Japan.
20,000 Dollars per month “to check the blogosphere”
Looking at how naively they orchestrated and handled the repeated Wal-Mart flogging and how badly they operate their website, maybe they are just plain amateurs. Not in terms of PR. In terms of new media. Robert Pickard, CEO of Edelman Japan confirmed that “social media relations services might range from USD 5-25k per month”. And the main tool for “social media reliations” is Technorati. Again, if that is true, it’s not evil. It’s amateurish.
PR reinventing itself as New Media consulting?
Maybe they’re just a panicking PR giant, realizing that the days of PR are counted. Panicking, the try to shake off their ultra-conservative armor and quickly get into a new field to reinvent themselves as No1 New Media gurus. New field? Guys, to me it looks like you just ran into a mine field.
Or to be less dramatic: You’re about to get messed up like me, when I try to play Playstation against my teenage cousins.
Or to be clear: Like this grandpa, high on ecstasy, back in 1993, flipping and shaking to the pounding beat of hard core techno music on the dance floor of Les Bains Douches, Paris – flipping and shouting to break down only three minutes later and be carried out on the shoulder of some body guard under the loud applause of the young crowd.
UPDATE: Since December 2006 Technorati and Edelman no longer cooperate. Thank God.
UPDATE2: Technorati Japan gets shut down in October 2009.Ð