Technorati is a free internet search engine for searching blogs, which has indexed over 100 million blogs and 250 million pieces of tagged social media (Wikipedia). It is a potential important service for bloggers because it keeps track of how many different blogs link to your blog. So, it works similar to the citation score (i.e. H-index) for “real” authors (of peer reviewed scientific papers). The more you are linked by different bloggers, the more “important” your blog is considered.
Technorati introduced a new score, “Authority” for this purpose. The Technorati Authority is the number of blogs (irrespective of importance and including spam blogs) linking to a website in the last six months. The higher the number, the more Technorati Authority the blog has.
The Technorati Authority is often part of other “objective” blog scoring systems as well. The algorithm for the Healthcare 100 even depends on 3 Technorati scores: Authority, Ranking and Inlinks.
In addition, Technorati can be used to follow the posts of favorite blogs and linking posts.
Regularly I found that Technorati was kind of unstable and lingering behind. Some blogs linking to me were not included, but as long as the deviation is not too large, it is not that worrisome.
However, approximately 10 days ago my rank suddenly fell OVERNIGHT from ~46 to 5!!
Concurrently many linking blog post had gone: there were more than 250, now there were 50.
The old and the new posts have stayed, but those in between vanished.
New post have linked to me afterwards and my authority has “grown to 10”, but I’m sure it should be near 50.
As a consequence I made a free fall in the Top Health care list: from 198 to 351, which is entirely attributable to the drop in Technorati Authority and Ranking (highlighted scores)
Perhaps faulty Google backlinks may have something to do with it. Just before the drop in my Technorati ranking many Google Links disappeared (Google Links are the “Incoming Links” in the WordPress dashboard). And, as off yesterday, there are regularly wrong Google backlinks: links from my favorite blogs, without “Laika” being mentioned in the actual posts. (Note: this appears a different issue, blogged in a separate post)
However, in the past, Google links were quickly restored, whereas wrong or lacking Technorati links were not.
I mailed to Technorati a week ago, but didn’t receive any response yet (except for the receipt of the message).
Am I the only one with this problem? Apparently not. In the Technorati Forum discussions (see here), a lot of items deal with this very subject. See for instance the Topics Rank & Authority Dropped Like the Stock Market (Superb title, thanks! ) and Reactions and authority disappearing
Some ‘tormented’ responders like msager doubt the real value of Technorati, see for instance Why hasn’t the press noticed that Technorati has been broken for almost a year?
Even Wikipedia mentions criticism of Technorati:
(…) In May 2006 Technorati teamed up with the PR agency Edelman. The deal earned a lot of criticism, both on principle and as a result of Edelman’s 2006 fake blog scandals. Edelman and Technorati officially ended the deal in December 2006. That month, Oliver Reichenstein pointed out that the so called “State of the Blogosphere” was more of a PR-tool and money maker for Edelman and Technorati than a reliable source, explaining in particular a) why Technorati/Edelman’s claim that “31% of the blogs are written in Japanese” was “bogus” and b) where the financial profit for the involved parties was in this.
In May 2007, Andrew Orlowski writing for the tech tabloid The Register (…) suggests that Technorati has decided to focus more on returning image thumbnails rather than blog results. He also claims that Technorati never quite worked correctly in the past and that the alleged refocus is “a tacit admission that it’s given up on its original mission”.
Another point of criticism is that there is no quality ranking. Each blog that links to you (no matter if it’s a spam blog and irrespective its (real) authority) increases your Technorati Authority with 1.
Finally there are regular outages: disappearance of favorites, links, slow indexing.
Combined with inadequate response to outages and questions raised by bloggers (its clients), Technorati Authority and Technorati Ranking don’t seem to be the reliable and valuable scores, they could have been.
But what is the alternative?