UK Blogosphere: Top 10 British Blogs 2 April, 2007 — Stuart Brown

Underepresented, undersubscribed and dominated by the US?

Posted in Blogs & Blogging, Old Media vs New Media
Tagged with: , , , , ,

You may be able to guess by the .co.uk domain name and the Anglo-centrism of Modern Life, but to clarify, I do indeed hail from the United Kingdom. With all the buzz about blogs in the UK media (notably the BBC, Guardian and the Times Online, amongst other forward-thinking publications), one would have thought the UK blogosphere would be a shining example of how to embrace new media. Right?

The top 100 Technorati blogs tell a different story - practically every blog is US-based, with a predominantly North American readership. A few non-English blogs do sneak into the top 100 (in the Chinese, Japanese and Farsi languages most notably), but the overwhelming majority shows a comprehensive bias towards the US. Indeed, at the time of writing, there is but one explicitly UK blog in the Technorati top 100 - gapingvoid, a popular cartoon blog by London-based Hugh MacLeod.

Determining factors

Technorati and PR company Edelman released a report in October 2006 on the 'Top 10 most influential UK blogs', which I suspect was based on the Technorati linking data - 'influence' is a very vague term, and hard to measure without some concrete metric.

Measuring by a metric such as Technorati rank is prone to flaws, however, as the system can be gamed somewhat (think linkbait, free wordpress themes and other link-whoring techniques) - and only the last 6 months of link data is taken into account for the ranking score. It's better than using Alexa traffic figures - but it's far from perfect.

I was curious to find out exactly which blogs comprise the best of the British blogs - and to find out that I had to determine a concrete metric by which to measure them by. Traffic and link data are of dubious worth, given the amount of artificial influence available, so I decided to determine the relative merits of the UK blogosphere by the size of the RSS readership - much in the same way circulation is measured for magazines.

As ever, the Bloglines reader statistics are a great source of readership data, as the service is the most popular available which publishes readership figures. With a reader share of between 10-20%, the Bloglines data gives us a sufficiently large sample to make some more solid assertions of a blog's audience.

Collecting the readership data is a breeze - the difficulties only arise in searching for potentially popular UK bloggers. A search for 'top uk blogs' will only take you so far - I trawled my blogroll looking for prominent UK bloggers, in addition to turning to existing lists, brit blog directories and listings, and even Wikipedia's British Blogger category.

The search was exhausting, but unfortunately by no means exhaustive - so be advised that there may be some omissions. If you do know of any other British bloggers with a sufficiently high readership (or, indeed - if you are one), then let me know and I'll recompile the listing.

The Listing

Rank Site Readership* Blogging Since Alexa Ranking
1. Simon Willison 3,730 June 2002 33,349
2. Mashable 2,666 July 2005 2,558
3. Andy Budd: Blogography 1,809 August 2003 46,745
4. plasticbag.org 1,488 November 1999 94,305
5. And all that Malarkey 1,261 May 2004 48,962
6. Random Acts of Reality 899 October 2003 272,207
7. Music Thing 850 August 2004 122,473
8. Clagnut 794 April 2002 53,267
9. English Cut 769 January 2005 280,459
10. Gapingvoid 659 January 2004 22,128
11. Modern Life 543 May 2006 32,214
12. Mark Boulton 529 January 2003 45,458
13. Hicksdesign 523 April 2003 43,625
13. Guido Fawkes 514 September 2004 239,025

*Readership figures taken from publicly available figures at Bloglines.com.
Date serves as indication of the earliest post currently available in the blog archives.
Serves as the merest hint of traffic data. Likely to be rather inaccurate.

Honorable mentions and near-misses go to: CollyLogic, Chromasia, and A Welsh View.

UPDATE: Added English Cut at #7 and Music Thing at #5.

UPDATE 2: Added new #1 - Simon Willison. Shunted plasticbag.org up to #4 (multiple feeds,eh?).