Every now and then I’ll dig through my referrer log to see where folks are coming to the site from. Mainly this is to weed out the spammers before they move up from referrer log spamming to trackback spamming, but it’s also a good way to get an idea of who’s linking to SEB and what they’re saying about it. There are a number of good blogs that I’ve found simply because they linked to Stupid Evil Bastard and someone clicked on that link, but sometimes what I find at the other end can lead to a paradigm shift in the image I hold of my own blog. Take for example this entry by Martin Stabe from his blog MartinStabe.com.
Martin is a political blogger based in the U.K. and that entry in particular is about his “increasing disillusionment with British blogging.” Specifically, how even the most popular of British political blogs lag behind in readership compared to their American counterparts. It’s entirely not the sort of entry I would ever expect to see a reference to SEB in and yet there it is:
To put this in a global perspective, this means Britain’s top political blogger, Worstall, is at 179 in the TTLB Blogosphere Ecosystem traffic ranking (which today credits him with 2,330 daily visitors), light years behind the handful of American bloggers at the fat end of the blog readership distribution.
This puts the most widely-read British blogger in a class behind such well-known American outlets as Stupid Evil Bastard and light years away from the “Higher Beings” who have the capacity to shift American political and journalistic discourse.
Now I know that I have a good number of British regulars who make a point of stopping by and I’ve always been very pleased about that because the U.K. has always had a fond place in my heart for reasons I’m not entirely sure of, but probably due to far too many years of my youth spent watching Doctor Who, Benny Hill, Monty Python and other lesser known British cultural exports. That said, it’s never really occurred to me that my blog was particularly well-known in Britain, the United States, or anyplace else for that matter. I mean, yes, we do get a lot of hits for not being focused solely on one topic such as politics, but SEB itself is light-years away from the kind of traffic that Daily Kos tends to receive. So hearing it referred to as being a well-known American outlet just blows my mind. Martin himself is a freelance journalist covering mainly political issues both in the U.K. and here in America, but beyond that I have no idea how widely read he is or whether the citation of SEB was some type of backhanded compliment.
Even if it was it’s still pretty cool. I hadn’t looked at the TTLB Blogosphere Ecosystem rankings in awhile so I was surprised to see that I’m currently holding the 143rd spot (interestingly the top ranked British blogger mentioned by Martin has dropped from 179 to 195 currently) with around 2957 visits a day according to Site Meter. The only blog that I read regularly that I see higher up the list is Pharyngula at the number 70 spot with 5892 visits a day. Which is really odd to me because I could’ve sworn there were a number of blogs, including British blogs, that I read that are way more popular than SEB. Blogs like Neil’s World always struck me as being way more popular (and certainly more relevant) than SEB ever was. But what do I know?
If you check out Martin’s full entry then be sure to check the link to the entry on Power Laws, Weblogs, and Inequality by Clay Shirky. It was originally published in 2003 and it talks about how wide diversity and freedom of choice results in inequality in social systems in general and blogger popularity in particular. It made for some fascinating reading.