Image via CrunchBase
Today’s BitchMeme is brought to you today by Duncan Riley at Inquisitr. Duncan complains that TechMeme is biased although Gabe Rivera, its creator, denies this. How did this get started? It starts with the Business Week article that listed the 25 most influential people on the web. Gabe Rivera is on this list and he is highlighted as the “traffic driver”. Duncan’s original point was to enforce the idea that TechMeme does not really drive that much traffic. If you read the post, you will realize there is some history between Duncan and Gabe, but you really should read the post and try to ignore the tone.
One of the questions discussed by Duncan is whether TechMeme is influential. As stated, it does not bring much traffic to a site, but some people say that a headline on TechMeme can drive some additional links to your site. The influence is in the eye of the beholder, but that is not the real issue with TechMeme. The issue has to do with bias and Duncan has some excellent information on this. Duncan compares the statistics for Mashable and Silicon Alley Insider (SAI).
At the time of writing, SAI has had 118 headlines on Techmeme for September/ October 2008 compared to Mashable’s 9. On links, SAI has a Technorati authority score of 4556 (it’s ranked 41st overall) and in traffic, the various services place SAI at one third to one half of Mashable’s traffic; Quantcast has the split SAI 650,000 to Mashable 1.4 million, and both are direct measures from each site (although Quantcast does under-report numbers a little bit in my experience.)
The data is rather interesting. Mashable is generally considered one of the top 5 web news blogs along with TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb and others. So, it does look like there is some sort of bias.
What do we do about it? Well, if you do not like the information presented on TechMeme, do not visit the site. Where do you go to find this type of news aggregation then? That is the problem. People talk about the social news sites like Digg, Mixx or Reddit, but they are geared towards top stories, not a group of sites talking about one story. TechMeme is trying to group the conversation. Even sites like HackerNews do not give the visual representation of the discussion like TechMeme. Another site often mentioned in this idea is Technorati. Most bloggers think of Technorati purely as the “authority” ranking. However, it does have a story aggregator that is grouped by category and story. So if you go to Technorati Technology, you will see a list of stories that is very similar in nature to TechMeme. The problem with Technorati is that the early adtopers (or tech elite or digerati or whatever we want to call them) have essentially written off Technorati as slowly dying or at least going in a different direction.
What it comes down to is that there really are no options for the type of technical post aggregator. Am I missing any sites that do what TechMeme does for technology? Or are the options still being created? Is ReadBurner headed in that direction with their new categories? Is there really nothing else?