At the International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, my colleague Navot Akiva, a research scientist in Nielsen BuzzMetrics’ Tel Aviv innovation center, pointed out an interesting finding buried in one of the research papers:
[O]ur conclusion that the intensity of traffic directed to a blog through search engines (which use traditional page-rank algorithms) does not seem to correlate with the â€œrealâ€ popularity of the blog, suggests that social-network-based navigation may be playing an increasingly important role in web navigation in general, and blogosphere navigation in particular. On that count we note that in blogspace, the popularity of a blog is more a reflection of its ownerâ€™s social attributes (e.g., celebrity status, reputation, and public image) than a reflection of the number and rank of other blogs or web pages that point to it. This highlights the need for the development of page-rank algorithms that take into consideration the social attributes of blogosphere actors (as opposed to solely on the topology of the underlying blogspace), possibly using inference techniques.
So what does this mean for search mojo, Technorati status and other beliefs about influence? The paper, “Traffic Characteristics and Communication Patterns in Blogosphere,” can be downloaded here. It was authored by Fernando Duarte, Bernardo Mattos, Azer Bestavros, Virgilio Almeida and Jussara Almeida, from the computer science departments at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil and Boston University in the U.S.