NEW YORK Despite making inroads into the mainstream, the most influential blogs are often forums for discussing technology and political trends, according to a new study.
A research project by public relations firm Edelman and blog search engine Technorati ranked the 10 most influential blogs in five markets. In the U.S., four of the top blogs were tech related and four were devoted to political passions on the left and right. (Boing Boing, another blog deemed "most influential," covers society and culture with a heavy dose of tech trends.)
To rank a blog's status, the study relied on Technorati's system of tallying a blog's unique in-bound links from other blogs as a proxy for influence. By this measure, techy site Engadget ranked the most influential. The site is part of the AOL-owned Weblogs network. Boing Boing and Gizmodo, another gadgets blog, follow. Other top 10 blogs include The Huffington Post, Daily Kos and TechCrunch.
The development of the blogosphere mirrors the Web itself, said Steve Rubel, svp at Edelman and owner of the No. 48 most influential blog, Micro Persuasion. "It's around pockets of passion where people have an agenda," he said.
Of the top 100 blogs in the United States, 34 percent are about technology, 26 percent cover culture and 25 percent deal with politics, according to the report. While many bloggers are pouring out their innermost thoughts, just 3 percent of personal diaries made it into the U.S. top 100. This is much lower than other markets Edelman and Technorati tracked. In Italy, for example, 43 percent of the top 100 blogs are personal. The only company blog to make the U.S. Top 100 was Google's.
In a separate survey, Edelman's StrategyOne unit found blogs are still a niche phenomenon: 69 percent said they do not read blogs. Blog readers tend to skew younger and slightly more male, according to the survey.
"I don't think that accounts for people who lurk or don't know they're on a blog," Rubel said. "They may not know they're blogs because they're so well designed."
For those reading blogs, the choices are expanding. Technorati pegs the global blogosphere at 56 million, doubling every six months, with 1.2 million posts daily.