A recently released ranking of the ‘Top 25 Most Influential People on the Web’ ranks Gabe Rivera, the creator of the technology blog aggregator Techmeme, over Kevin Rose of Digg. You may be wondering how Gabe, pictured left for the millions of Web surfers that have never heard of him, claimed the rank of 17th most influential.
Frankly, so are we. So we’re going to take a look at both sites in terms of size, news influence and audience profile and see if the BusinessWeek rankings hold water.
Digg has a large and highly active community of users that submit and vote on the top news from around the world. In August the social news site had well over 22 million unique visitors per online traffic analysis tool Compete.
Techmeme is a relatively newer site that has an algorithm to determine the most critical news on the Internet industry as it emerges. It had an audience of just over 220 thousand unique visitors in August or .1% the size of Digg’s.
It’s somewhat difficult to estimate just how much each of these sites influences the news on a daily basis. Both are not only news destinations, but also highlight the most important stories on the other online news source of the day.
One way to evaluate them both on a level playing field is to estimate the amount of traffic that they refer to sites that get on their front page. Most sites don’t disclose the details of their traffic source, but we’re willing to hazard a guess. If you want to contest these estimates, please feel free to disclose your experience in the comments.
Getting onto the Digg homepage can drive so much traffic to a site that it can take the site offline for hours, a phenomenon known as the ‘Digg Effect.’ Estimates on how many pageviews the Digg Effect can bring in range from about 10-20 thousand pageviews in a single day.
Techmeme is relatively new, so its influence is not nearly as widely known, nor felt. Generous estimates of the amount of traffic that Techmeme drives to the stories it features are in the ballpark of just a few thousand pageviews.
The last measure of influence that we can use to determine how influential these two sites are is by the make-up of their audiences. While no demographics are freely available, we can make some assumptions based on the nature of the sites.
Digg’s community is made up of Internet enthusiasts from all walks of life and virtually every part of the globe. While their users may not be creating the news themselves, they are always looking for the most interesting stories about anything and everything they can find on the Internet.
Techmeme’s audience consists of Internet mavens, bloggers and journalists looking to stay at the forefront of breaking news. However, the site has been criticized as being an echo chamber of journalists writing stories based on their popularity with other journalists. Nevertheless, the site boasts highly savvy readers and sparks a lot of conversation.
Calling a draw on this last one may draw the ire of many Diggers, but there isn’t really a clear winner on this one. Both audiences are very savvy and highly engaged.
With a clear and commanding lead in 2 of our 3 measures, we have to hand it to Digg and its beloved Kevin Rose. With the help of Diggers everywhere, the site has become one of the most popular and influential sites on the Web.
It will be interesting to see if Gabe Rivera’s newfound notoriety will translate into long term success for his fledgling blog aggregator. He’s certainly been creating a buzz among the ranks of news sites and journalists over Techmeme’s leaderboard, which ranks the sites it displays by the number of stories it highlights. Maybe he will even find his site on the business end of the ‘Digg Effect,’ and hopefully he’s ready.