Of MEL and Technorati: Crunching the Op-Eds in the Post-TimesSelect Era (a highly unscientific analysis)

Yesterday Fishbowl went to Technorati to check out our links (that’s how Fishbowl makes friends – hi, weirdbroodingloner@aol.com!) and noticed something interesting: the top three searches were for something called “Find the Brownie,” which at first sounds like a delicious scavenger hunt but is actually the title of Paul Krugman’s op-ed from yesterday, echoing the Time report about cronyism in the Bush administration. Now, as Tom Scocca pointed out in last week’s Observer, the scions of the Op-Ed page are barely grazing MEL, with only two post-TS columns cracking the weekly list (and none today). BUT — and this is interesting — check out the top six searches in the Technorati top ten:

Top Searches This Hour
1. “Find The Brownie”
2. “Paul Krugman”
3. “Bring Back Warren Harding” (Ed. – it’s by Frank Rich)
4. “Bob Herbert”
5. Krugman
6. “Maureen Dowd”

(number 9 is “Nickelback” – yes, they’re Canadian but even so, what is up with THAT?)

Now this says some interesting things about TimesSelect in the blogosphere. For one, people are actively seeking out these “distinct voices” (to quote the NYT) on blogs. Are they hoping to find copies for free? Are they TimesSelect customers, making their powerful voice heard on Technorati? Did they read the articles for free and remain as engaged as ever? I have no idea; I really thought these Technorati searches would lead me to a tasty baked good. What I do know is that even in week two, definite patterns about TimesSelect use and Op-Ed readership are emerging…and it looks like the program may have unintentionally offloaded the discussion to the blogosphere, cutting the actual source out of the conversation and shifting the page views away from the NYT. Interesting.