“The Blog 500” Challenge (prize: $50,000 in advertising or $10,000 in cash)

There’s been a lot of back and forth about A-list bloggers, the Technorati 100, the value of lists, and how to “work the A-list.”

Well, I’m sick of the Technorati 100. Now, it’s good to have a list (more on this later), but we need a better list that is more accurate and includes many more people, and both old-school and new-school bloggers.

… and I’m willing to pay for itsort of (more details on that to come). 🙂

Some background: Having created what became an absurdly powerful 100 list with my last company, Silicon Alley Reporter, I’ve seen the controversy, venom, and power such lists can create. I’ve got some mixed feelings about them truth be told. These lists are really powerful at building an industry. They help define emerging spaces, and they get new players press, readers, and clients (i.e. advertisers). So, a good list is good, and a bad list iswellbad. We have a bad list now and we need a good list.

Technorati has it really easy because they don’t select the 100 themselves, they just create the ranking based on the number of sources that link to each blog (not the number of links but the sourcesmore on this later). Ironically, even though the Technorati’s 100 is so easy to compile the end result is lame. It’s got a number of problems:

1. It counts sources not links. Why are the total number of sources more valuable? I don’t know, but that’s what Technorati says, so it must be true. Which is more valuable: getting 100 links from 10 sites or 100 links from 100 sites? You could argue that 100 links from 10 sites means that you have loyalty from those 10 sites and that 100 links from 100 blogs shows no loyalty. You could also argue that having more sources means you’re more wildly respected. At the end of the day, Technorati should show both lists.

2. It is not updated often.

3. People drop off the list for no reason.

4. It’s based on the number of links for all time. This means if you have not been around for two or three years you’re not gonna make the list. It protects the old school folks and makes the list self-perpetuating. The “all time” setting is what causes the Technorati 100 to never change. I’d much rather see it be a trailing 90 days, or trailing six months. Heck, I’d settle for over the past year! Anything is better then just saying the Top 100 is based on who’s been around the longest. Technorati should have the guts to piss off the top 100 folks and make the default list based on the past year. You would see 1/3rd of the folks on the current 100 fall off the list I bet (I could be wrong, who knows). The default list should be a trailing year, and then you can make a adjunct list of the “All Time” and the “Hot and New.” The “Hot and New” list would be based on the past 30 days and has the folks from the Technorati 100 “All Time” list, but the “All Time” folks would be in light grey so the focus was on the new folks.

5. Why 100? While we’re at it, why does it need to be 100? I’d say 500 would be a better cut off. Show off a little more of the tail!

Where is the Feedster 500, the Blogpulse 500, the Pubsub 500, the Yahoo Blog Search 500, the Bloglines 500, and the IceRocket 500?

What’s wrong with you guys!?!? Get on the ball and give Technorati some competition!!! Right now everyone is focused on the Technorati 100 which is really flawed for the reasons I’ve given above. Technorati gets half its press from the 100 listdon’t you want to get a taste of that!?!

Bottom line: The blogosphere deserves a feature rich, frequently-updated, and fair system.

If I was running a blog search engine, the first thing I would do is a 500 list that kicked butt. However, I don’t own a blog search engine.

I need this 500 list so bad that I’ll give an incentive: I’ll give $50,000 in advertising to the first person to come up with a better 100 list based on the feedback I’ve outline above (i.e. 500 folks, by links, based on the trailing 12 months, up and comer list, etc).

**Or** if some programmer out there wants to build this for Weblogs, Inc. I’ll pay you $10,000 in cash for a proper list straight up.

Let the games begin!

The fine print: Brian and I will judge the products and our decision will be final. There is no time line for this, we’ll just wait for someone to come up with something amazing. If it takes a month it takes a month, if it takes two weeks it takes two weeks.

Post your progress in the comments below for everyone to see!

Update: Dave Sifry gets the first comment. I wonder if Technorati will win the prize!
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