Blogging world flipped by AdAge Apocalypse

I woke up Thursday morning to a shocking development. My ego had been knocked down 60 pegs.

On the right hand column of this blog there is a fancy orange badge naming this site as a top marketing blog, as determined by AdAge magazine. Last week, the organization changed its magic formula to upend a rating system that I, and many other bloggers had depended on as relative sign of the success of our blogs.  In a recent podcast, Mitch Joel recently told me it was the only metric he follows every day, for example. Gini Dietrich posted that she was “really pissed” by the changes.

The system was far from perfect, but if you looked at the results … yeah, they seemed about right.

The AdAge rating system depended on five variables that blended together in a secret sauce to come up with a numerical score. Two of the most meaningful factors, PostRank and Collective Intellect discontinued the availability of their API (raw data source) and had to be replaced.

Post Rank was the most important component, I thought, because it seemed to be an indicator of strong content. It considered how your article had been shared, the level of engagement through comments, and if other people wrote blogs about your blog.

These two important measurements have been replaced by feeds from Facebook and Twitter. To give you some idea of the impact on {grow}’s rating, my PostRank score was 47 out of 50 points … my Facebook score is a 1.  I don’t know why, but it is what it is.

This change had a cataclysmic effect on the rankings. Some blogs moved up or dropped down by 200 places or more!   Many of the changes make no sense at all. For example, one blog that is more or less in my “old” position has not been updated since 2009.  What’s that supposed to mean?

It looks to me that losing these two key scores has made the AdAge ranking virtually meaningless.  However, I’m not arguing from a position of strength since I was one of the big losers in the chaos!

My reaction to this was embarassing. At first, I was shocked and angry.  I spend a lot of time telling people NOT to worry about the numbers and just do great work … and here I was worrying about the numbers!  I was pissed off at AdAge and I was pissed at myself for feeling so strongly about it.

I think this pokes about at a recent theme of this blog — social proof and the fact that oftentimes on the social web a numerical rating provides a more important symbol of accomplishment than actual accomplishment. But this time it really hit home. Even if it’s a fake badge, the business benefits of being on the list can be real.

Now I had fallen into the social proof vortex, even though I’m supposed to know better!   Arrrgh.

At various times during the Day of the AdAge Apocalypse I would catch myself being angry about the shift only to self-correct and remind myself that nothing really important in my life had changed. This Jekyl and Hyde routine continued about once an hour all day.

As high-minded as I would LIKE to be about this development, I can’t deny that this little report card meant something to me. I work so very hard to make {grow} an interesting, relevant and entertaining blog and I felt like I got bitch slapped. Just being honest about it.

I’m a little more calm about it now. I know I need to be focused on “real life” … but my blog has become real life too, hasn’t it?  This whole thing feels like your business credit rating being determined by freaking Facebook or something.

Anybody want to weigh in on this?  Slap me back to reality? Take your best shot baby.

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  • I’d be lying, Mark, if I said this kind of thing wouldn’t get to me too. I can’t really offer a “bitch slap” (no comment) but I can say this: I think this experience is good for you and your business. If you’re preaching “don’t worry about the numbers, just do good work,” it’s pretty meaningless if you can’t hack that advice yourself. Which, I know you’ll be able to hack it in after another day of pouting. Next time you have a client who’s pouting, you’ll know where they’re coming from, instead of standing on a lofty pedestal saying “oh my dear muffin, pay no attention to the numbers! ho ho ho.” Now you know how it feels.

    This is still the first blog I read in the morning. No AdAge # is going to change that.

  • Mark,

    I can understand why you would be upset. That is one thing that is so frustrating about these types of scores. When they are scientific and they actually mean something they are great tools, but when they don’t…. it is frustrating – for you and for the people that see those scores and think that it should be a good reference for which blogs to read.

    I don’t see any Facebook score as being a good indicator of which business blogs to read, because I don’t see very many people using Facebook to share blogposts about their industry.

    Keep your chin up. I read AdAge on a regular basis and have tons of blogs on my reader… I didn’t find a single one through the AdAge score. “Don’t pay attention to the numbers and just do good work” is good advice.

    – Elyse

  • with third party reviews and ranking, there is always that risk. Most users here will be regular users due to its content regardless of scores.

  • I just don’t get the new ranking…if you are judging blogs then it should be done on the strength of the links of the blog, not whether friends and family like it on Facebook. Facebook is not used by all as professional place is it…..ok technorati aint perfect but that ranking would be better than Facebook?

    Also twitter….much of the conversation goes on after the post, so they are not collecting that….

    I used to use Ad Age but now unless they change will have to look elsewhere because this makes no sense? 
    P.S especially when Alexa was always a weird choice as it is not widespread!

  • Brian

    Hi Mark

    You summed up my feelings exactly.  Their old ranking wasn’t perfect but it felt accurate and when my blog cracked the Top 150 last year, it was a proud moment to be among bloggers that I read and respect.  For roughly 9 months Business 2 Community was in the Top 50 (somewhere between 40-45 depending on the day) and before the change was #39 (personal best) only to fall to #258 the very next morning.  I thought maybe I did something wrong but when I saw that your blog as well as others that I have come to love fell out too, I knew it wasnt just me.  The icing on the cake was seeing that one blog that wasnt updated in nearly a year jumped into the Top 20.

    The new ranking puts way too much value on RTs and Likes and only looks at the last 5 posts which hurts bloggers that update their site frequently.  I am surprised that they wouldn’t have crowdsourced the Top 150 bloggers on their list to get their feedback before doing something that creates a very volatile ranking system (in its first couple of days, the movement as been all over the place).  I nearly removed the badge from my blog but left it because my hopes are that they will find a better alternative soon.

    Regardless of their ranking system, your blog is top-notch in my book.  Keep up the great work.

    Brian

  • Anonymous

    I am so happy to read this! (I mean, it’s not good news. As you mentioned, we also got bitch slapped) but I was trying to talk myself off the ledge as well; “numbers don’t matter. Rankings are just hype. Do good work, and the rewards will come.”

    Well… it’s not unlike Klout. We need a measurement – a baseline off which to work. I love Jenn’s comment below and totally agree. People will still come for the good content. But it is a nice “marketing” tool that lends credibility to the blog, no?

    So yeah, we’re bummed.

  • Do they explain exactly how they calculate those scores anywhere? Or how they choose blogs to be put on the list in the first place, because I know popular blogs that cover the same topics as ones on that list that never manage to make it on there.

  • Mark, I’m sorry you got slapped. It’s not nice to change the rules in the middle of the game.

    Yet, as you know, I’ve been skeptical about social scoring all along. The algorithms used today will probably look ridiculously amateurish a couple of years down the road. Also, the whole scoring system seems to be based on “popularity”, and as long as Facebook and Twitter are synonyms of popularity, it is bound to skew the results.

    But don’t worry. Even if the numbers change, that’s the problem of the number-makers. Your content will still be relevant and read by those who really matter.

  • What she said. 🙂 

    Even though this sucks, Mark, know that you still have a strong, viable community behind you. No AdAge score (or other badge) will change that. 

  • Coreen

    Hi Mark,
    Your honesty here about your reaction is quite refreshing. You weren’t afraid to expose a little bit of ego to ultimately reveal what seems like a true problem here. Your words could seem like an emotional rant if it weren’t for one terrific piece of evidence against the Ad Age change–the fact that an inactive blog took your previous spot in the rankings.

    I have a feeling, based on facts like this, Ad Age may make more changes. Hopefully, those changes will put your blog back where it belongs.
    –Coreen

  • Mark, I was really ticked on your behalf. I was ticked that Gini wasn’t there. But let me offer this…

    The whole list in general kind of ticked me off. 

    Now, since my ranking is probably 7,000,293, I am also not arguing from a position of strength, per se, but in reading down the list, I was sort of bummed at how few surprises there were. That’s not to say that the top 10 or top 50 don’t *deserve* to be there, but it seemed very … I don’t know. Vanilla, sort of. 

    That’s why I made up my own list that same day (and you were right on top there, bubelah!).  

    I’d love for one of the mainstream blog list-maker people to search out blogs that everyone may not know. PushingSocial should be on there. Lisa Petrilli, Laura Click, and so many others should be on there. Yes, Social Media Examiner is a great site, but it also appears on every. single. list. You lose appreciation for that kind of ranking when it happens every single time. Or at least I kind of do.

    Keep your chin up, sir. You rock!

  • Mark W Schaefer

    Thanks Laura. I never take that fro granted!

  • Mark W Schaefer

    You are so wise. How did you get that way. Send me some. Thank you my friend!!

  • Thanks very much Elyse. I do think there are some benefits to being in the Top 50. That was kind of my goal … just stay at that level. Who know where it will end up but I think I need another goal!

  • Yeah, that’s where I am Anna.  Google owns Postrank now. Maybe Google will come out with its own ranking. I would be Ok with that. Anything would be better than AdAge.

  • Thanks Brian. Sorry to hear that you crashed too.

  • Thanks for pouting with me Lisa : )

  • Nobody explains anything around these parts. It’s all top secret. That’s the way we like it. It’s called competitive advantage : )

    Frustrating!

  • Yes, that is the center.  Thanks for the reminder!

  • It’s not entirely AdAge’s fault. The two key rankings are no longer available. The problem is, they have made themselves irrelevant with this move. Honestly the old ranking kind of demonstrated they didn’t really get it.  I mean we have two guys from AdAge putting together the system for the world of blogging. Who are they?  I have never heard of them. Whatever. : (

  • Well said. Great points Margie!

  • Seriously, I wouldn’t worry about it to much. I just looked at a site in the top 10, and it doesn’t have great traffic (or alexa rating), not a significantly high amount of Twitter followers, Facebook fans, and the posts barely get any comments or social shares.  Not sure where the “competition” really is there or if it’s just someone’s favorite site.

  • I’d echo Jenn’s comment. No! Not the one about the “bitch slap” :=) This is still the first blog I read every morning. And I don’t worry about the badges on the right one bit. 

    Just seeing the level of engagement in your comments, tweets (and, well, sod Facebook!) is social proof enough. Even one of my shiest students posted on Twitter last week that your book had changed his mind about Twitter. Sure, a small step. But small steps to a big change. 

    Start the week by telling yourself you rock and then move forward. 

  • Anonymous

    Of course I understand your frustration about this Mark but it’s your content that brings me back to your Blog and NOT the AdAge ranking.

    Take care,

  • There is only one true measurement of a blog, and that’s whether or not it is achieving it’s main goal. If that’s leads and sales, that’s the only numbers that matter. If it’s number of retweets, FB likes, etc., that’s the only measurement. If it’s a top spot on someone’s list, then that’s the measurement.

    Can there be secondary goals? Sure. But they’re still second.

    What’s your #1 goal with this blog Mark? It never seemed to me it was to be on someone’s list. Sure it’s nice but will it stop you from delivering the value you do and getting clients? At this point I doubt it.

  • That was so cool to get a tweet from your student!  Thanks! 

  • Thanks for being a loyal reader Claude! 

  • I do believe there is an intangible related to social proof. For example last week I was introduced as a Top 50 blogger today I am at 125.  What’s the value of that delta?  Not sure. Yesterday I was at 94 by the way.   So AdAge is just whacked out I think! 

  • OK Mark, I’ll be honest bro, a  little Mountaineer talk if you will…. 😉

    Dude, why do you really care? I know you mentioned above that it has business implications, but can you say what those are specifically? For example, how many consulting or speaking gigs have you gotten from Adage? Is it a metric that can even be measured? Do your clients often bring it up, or is it a false perception of importance on your end.

    Plus, I think the trend is less badges (at least for rankings) in the side bar anyway. They actually hurt conversions (many studies have shown this) and  besides that, many companies that would want your services don’t have a clue as to what Adage is.

    I’m nowhere near your league Mark, but these past 3 months, now that I’m almost full time ‘Sales Lion Guy’, have been some of the most profitable of my life in terms of businesses contacting me, and I’m not even on that dang list. (I hadn’t check if I was until I read that article of yours)

    Now granted, I think you’re awesome Mark for being so real and saying what’s on your mind. You could easily act like this didn’t affect you, but you kept it real, which is one reason your readers really appreciate you….as I know I do.

    The minute we start thinking about badges, and what dopy algorithms think, is the minute we lose track with who and what we’re really all about.

    Just my thoughts, thanks for the invitation Mark.

    Marcus

  • Christine

    Mark, my advice is get over this small s**t and carry on. Your blog is my all-time favourite. For what it’s worth, yours is the only subscription that has not only maintained its status in my personal email inbox, it’s also the only one I read faithfully. That said, this is only my second comment. I am a single point on a deep and wide demographic, that might tell you your reach is much farther than any fancy schmancy tool in the SM toolkit well ever reliably measure. I would love to fit more blogs into my life–hey, I would LOVE to one day actually say that I have faithfully kept my own blog updated (I am a writer, after all). Alas, time is ever the enemy. But reading YOUR blog is still, IMHO, time well spent in a shrinking world of good content.

  • Gordon Phillips

    Looks like a business opportunity to me.  Blog Ranker by {grow}.  Why would you trust a bunch of adverting journalists in the first place?  🙂

  • My how the EGO is so temperamental. I’d even say this post was written by your EGO. You absolutely had to know your community would come to you and catch you from your fall (in the rankings). 

    Having had a similar life experience as you from a paternal perspective, I wholeheartedly understand the need for personal validation. Until I fully accepted myself and the gifts that GOD has blessed me with, I constantly looked at the scoreboard of life. How did I compare to my friends, my neighbors, my family, everyone? But it was all wasted energy and most of the time led me in the wrong direction. 

    Mark, at your core, is the heart of one of the most generous people I have ever met. We all accept you and love you.  

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  • Oh, Mark! I can see how it would get you.  Sure we try not to get caught up in numbers, but let’s face it, they are like bad accidents – you cant help but look!

    I think Klout is putting more emphasis on Facebook lately for influence scores.  I have dipped a bit (and so have a few others I follow) without any change in my habits. That being said, their is a person I know, who rarely tweets, yet either maintains a score in the 60’s or goes up when others I know interact & influence loads of followers goes down.  

    This is one of my issues with taking these scores seriously.  I think they need to spell out the scoring so there is no question.  How can someone who hasnt blogged since 2009 rise, while you fall?

    Try not to let it ruin your day (easier said than done, I know).  

  • To me this means Adage rankings are worthless Mark. Using Facebook? What a farce. With 70% of profiles and communication private how can they use this meager source. And I have blogged incessantly about the lack of sharing on the site. For every 4 accounts that log in today only 1 will share a link, video etc.

    I bash the trade rags for lack of quality often (and I don’t actually include Adage or Media Post in the trade rag category but they are lumped in) in their reporting and instead of stepping their game up they keep proving why I don’t put any value in them aside from basic news. If they really were so good at Advertising and Marketing or knew so much wouldn’t they get paid more as Advertisers or Marketers?! Cold blooded logic.

    Now for the good news and you will hate this immensely. I have taken pride in finding the insurgents who don’t BS and who buck the entrenched interests that fleece clients of $$ vs helping clients. You are one. And I wrote a guest blog on Danny Brown about not paying attention to the ‘Rockstars’ because if everyone reads them there is no competitive advantage to be had. I was worried some of these insurgents were becoming rockstars and what happens then?

    So being selfish I prefer you stay an insurgent. But to make up for it send your clients a rate increase and my testimonial and they will rubber stamp your price 8)

  • Yes, this was one big pity party.  : ) 

    Here’s the main reason I published it — I think all too often bloggers try to come across as super heroes.  They hide the insecurities and flaws behind brave words.  I thought it was important to set an example by showing that there is a human being behind the blog.  It’s time to shed these  personas of infallibility.  I was knocked off center and wanted to show that we’re all subject to that sometimes, even if it was unorthodox to publish something that would certainly put myself in a negative light.

    I hate coming across as a whiner, but you know … sometimes I am.  I decided to be fully human.

    Thanks for your kind words Jeremy!

  • Certainly somebody will come up with a better system. It’s inevitable. 

  • Maybe one of the best comments ever. Thanks for stepping out from behind the curtain to let me know!  That’s the kind of feedback I don’t get so often.

  • Well said fellow Mountaineer.  As I mentioned to Jeremy (above) the easy thing to do would be to bury this but I made a decision to be fully human and whine.  One way to try to push things and {grow}.  : ) 

    Very much appreciate the kind words and support Marcus!! 

  • All good points Kristi.  It’s mostly ego : ( 

  • Mark, I’m here to tell you that I’ve never noticed your badges.  

    Actually until this post I’ve never really taken the time to look to the right on your blog.  Yes, I’ve spotted your video clip, the follow me buttons and the archive, but I seem to have a blind spot when it comes to badges and top this and that. I don’t put much credence in brands, buttons or top ten lists. I’ve never been interested in the ‘fact’ that apparently eight out of ten cats prefer whiskas.I was alerted to you by another human being.  It’s your content that brought me in and keeps me here.I believe that somewhere in us we all want more gold stars in our copy book then the kids sitting next to us in primary school.  I sincerely hope and believe that doing business and deciding who we choose to work with is based on results and referrals rather then gold stars and badges given out by a third party cooked up in some magic sauce, the ingredients of which we have no control over.

  • Ask @jenn_Whinnem:disqus to call Adage and blow her Vuvuzela into the phone. I bet she would.

  • Mark you still rank for me. In 2007 the Omani goverment shut down access to a huge cave I was using for breakthrough events. I bitched and moaned, screamed it was unfair. Its life. The only thing that really matters to me now as a regular reader of grow, wacha u going to about it? How are you going to climb the ladder back up? By your side all the way Mark

  • Great point, Jenn! Mark, your proof is in the results you generate from your blog with the many different audiences you have: your readers, your colleagues, and the people that hire you. I don’t think this number means anything to the first two groups, not really.  If this number means something to the latter group, you are already climbing back up and know what to do about it.  Cheers!

  • Well, now I can’t come back here any more. I only visit the top 124 blogs :). 

    Of course seeing your rank drop in any metric is a horrible feeling, especially when you were ranked so high on such an exclusive list. It’s definitely an accomplishment. Your reaction was natural. 

    But at the end of the day, your loyal readers (and even not so loyal ones) will still come back because that little badge doesn’t make your content any better or worse.

  • Massive shifts are the norm on the Power150 list as they gain/lose accesabilities to 3rd party API.

    I’ve been on this ride many times before. I debuted as #49 in the original ToddAnd incarnation of what would become the AdAge Power 150 back in 2007. In the last 4 years (holy cow, 4 years!?), I’ve bounced from the top to the bottom back to the top.

    I just checked and it seems the latest adjustment has stuck my blog ( http://shotgunconcepts ) at #788.

    Much of my fall from grace is attributed to two things: I changed from blogspot to self-hosted WP and killed all my old inbound links. But much more of it is because I just don’t post as much as I used to.

    I like the Power150 as a nice snapshot of “our world” in marketing and to find new marketing blogs. But I don’t place much stock in the “rankings” anymore. The first reason is because of the massive shifts and swings when they change it.

    The second reason is a perennial problem. It’s no longer a marketing blog list. It’s a SEO blog list. When you look through, you quickly see most of the links are SEO or other search engine type blogs. And while that’s obviously a big part of marketing today, it’s not that big a part.

    But the bigger point of your post is spot on. Numbers don’t matter. But then again they do. It’s nice to have a measuring stick. Maybe or maybe not against other blogs, but also against yourself. When you see ranks like this rise or retweets, stumbles, etc .. you can see that people like consuming your content.

  • They do explain how it’s all calculated. Overall here: http://adage.com/article/power-150/power-150/119692/ and recent changes here:  http://adage.com/article/power-150-blog/power-150-diy-facebook-twitter/229833/ and

  • Maybe it’s because you have not been writing about AdAge as you have been about Klout. :).

    Like the others say, I hardly look at the badge, since you seem to speak
    to me (except when you write about Klout :)). Even though I am
    almost out of the blogosphere (writing or reading) due to other pressing
    commitments…your blog remains one of the mainstays.

  • Well if there ever was a person who didn’t care about being popular…here I am. When they needed to get rid of the body in Pulp Fiction they didn’t call Oprah. Or Opie. Or even a Soprano. They called Winston Wolf. Because Winston he took care of business. Blogger.com is down right now but I wrote a post about Mark being Winston Wolf. I would rather be that than anything.  Winston’s name their price. Winston’s have clients at their mercy. They need his help.

    If you ever read @vinnywarren:twitter ‘s blog he get’s quite a bit of business because the BIG Brands with Big Agencies need him. He called it being their Mistress. And imagine being told ‘I know we pay you big bucks as our creative agency for TV but we are hiring Vinny Warren/the Escape Pod on this job’

    Vinny had 6 spots in the finals at Cannes Lions. In fact he did Twitter w/ Wheat Thins before the Old Spice idea was out of diapers.

    I agree with you Marcus. Did Mark make your list of 7 bloggers who don’t care what you think of them? Now that is THE list to be on 8)

  • The reason I’m mad about it is because we get business from being a top 50 AdAge blog. Actual, real business. So, no matter what we think about the numbers, in this case they matter. And, from a completely selfish point-of-view, I’ve worked REALLY hard to get our ranking in the top 50. It stung pretty badly to open Spin Sucks on Thursday morning to see we’d fallen…a lot. 

    I think the bigger issue is in how AdAge handled it. I understand why they did it. But they didn’t communicate with any of us about it. We found out by opening our blogs last Thursday to a nice little surprise.

  • Yup.  Feel the same way. Thanks Gini.

  • Very nice of you to say Jacob.  Thank you!

  • Wise words Mr. Victor. Wise words. 😉 I, too, used to rank myself by AdAge and popularity. It tore my life apart and I was completely miserable. I am now on a different path that has the following foot stones: God, Family, Friends, Work (yes, in that order). Now, I am the happiest I’ve ever been.

    Mark, Jeremy is right… you have a good heart and are so very generous, especially when people turn for you for help. That, my friend, is the real world and what people will always remember about you–not some silly rank. 

  • Thanks for contributing your perspective Jennifer.

  • I don’t characterize myself as an insurgent necessarily. I guess these characterizations come from others! : )   I just try to be myself as best as I can … even when I’m whiny.  Thanks Howie.

  • Thining of just taking them down actually. I need to get in a more rational frame of mind first : )

    Thanks very much for caring enough to comment Cath!

  • You know, I’ve never really intentionally climbed a ladder in the first place. That’s kind of the irony here. I’ve not gamed the system … I don’t even do SEO in a mindful way.  So these ratings are truly independent of effort and probably always will be.   A weird dynamic. Thanks for the thought-provoking comment and the support, John!

  • Thanks for the kind comment Eugene.

  • This is really a great historical perspective!  I also noticed the same thing about the SEO blogs. They were charging up the list. I think that is probably a demonstration that the system can be gamed more than anything else. Unless you were long-established and played the SEO game, there was literally no way to move up and the new system is probably even worse. Alas.

    Thanks for this very interesting comment Chris!

  • Yet another reason to like you, Mark. You’re human. 🙂

    I try not to care too much about numbers either, but I catch myself on the pity pot more often than I’d like to. I have to laugh at myself sometimes when I think about how little these numbers really affect my life both personally and professionally. Yet, here I am (more often than I care to admit) getting jealous because my numbers line up so poorly against someone else’s. Typically someone I have never met who has worked much harder than I have to earn those numbers and who is in an industry where those numbers matter to their livelihood.

    I have no illusions of becoming Internet famous, an A-list blogger, or a guru of any kind. (A famous novelist, perhaps, but that’s another story for another time.) I’m just an ordinary guy who enjoys writing, sharing ideas and conversing online. Yes, I love it when people visit my blog, especially when they leave comments or tell me something I wrote made them think or had a positive impact on their day; but having a certain Klout score or visitor count or subscriber base or [insert your favorite metric here] has absolutely no affect on my job, my family, my friends, and the things that matter in my life (unless someone offers a Klout perk that involves paying my mortgage for me).

    All that said, I can see why you and Gini got so upset about the changes to the AdAge formula. You *are* in an industry where (right or wrong) numbers can affect your livelihood. While I personally didn’t find either of your blogs through the AdAge list, I’m sure others have. So a lower ranking might mean fewer new visitors. But I don’t think it will affect how anyone who’s already read your blog or engaged with you on Twitter views you. You’ve both earned reputations for publishing excellent content and nurturing strong communities. So just keep doing what you’re doing, and don’t let the numbers get you down.

  • I love your honesty in this post, Mark! This is a perfect example of why relying on metrics like this (and Klout, among others) are completely flawed. Do they matter? Unfortunately, yes — as long as (lazy) potential clients/employers take short cuts to find out who to hire, people will place importance on these lists. But they are not a reflection of quality or accomplishment.

    As you allude to, you are just as influential as you were a week ago. And, buck up — you’re still an AdAge 150 blogger!

  • Coming from someone that looks forward to reading your blog Every Day, I understand your frustration, and feel it is somewhat justified, but honestly this new ranking sounds like BS to me.

  • I never meant you were gaming the system Mark…As I said I read Grow because you always provide great value here. From the early days when I discovered the Tao of Twitter to today, it’s always a pleasure to read you and perhaps I was a bit too abrupt. 😉

  • I knew you didn’t mean that John. I was simply building on your comment. Sorry for the confusion.

  • Thank you for the quite relevant and inspirational voice of experience here Beth. I’m on the same path as you, or try to be, but in this carbon form naturally can only be on a journey. That’s why it is so embrassing to get knocked off the path.  Thanks so very much for your comment!

  • Noted.

  • I think your comment really sums up the problem. In this business, the numbers, byt way of social proof, do matter.  People will look at a numerical badge far more often than they would ever look at my bio on LinkedIn.

    Emotionally I disdain that, intellectually I understand it, and spiritually I have to rise above it.

  • So happy to see my new IRL friend in the comment section today. Thanks for the encouragement!

  • That seems to be the majority viewpoint!

  • It’s not surprising that AdAge rank was something you took pride in.  We’re
    all hard wired to measure our success in some way.  Measurements tend to involve numbers, so they do kinda matter.  The key here is choosing which numbers matter to you.

    I’ve read comment after comment about how your new AdAge Ranking has had NO EFFECT on  decisions to continue reading GROW (mine included).  That means that (at this point) 66 people cared enough to ice your cheek.  Is this post even 24 hours old yet?  To me that is a more accurate measurement of success.  You’ve cultivated relationships that mean something.  THAT is what you should be proud of.

  • Wow what a nice comment. Very cool. Thanks for this gift Nakia!

  • Ah, I love that “My how the EGO is so tempermental” because it tries so hard to be so reasonable and RIGHT!  And Mark, “This Jekyl and Hyde routine continued about once an hour all day.”  How I smile in recognition.  Have you gotten to every 3 hours?  Every 6?  And darn good giggle in the middle of it?  Good on you Mark for howling, even knowing that your clan would rain down comfort & advice & love upon you.

  • I was floored by the shift as well…but I slapped myself back to reality and deleted my monitor page ( a pw protected page I used to watch all my numbers, from adage to klout, etc). I’ve just finally had enough of comparing myself to everyone else and am going to focus on what I love – writing good content and running my business.

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  • Gini you will always be Top 50 to me!

  • Amen!  Nothing to add to that!

  • I do not read because of the AdAge ranking, I read because of the value of the material you share. But I know how you feel! There are certain rankings/statistics that I measure myself with that have nothing to do with being effective at my job.

  • Thanks for caring enough to comment, Mark.

  • Yeah, I knew you guys would say some of this stuff, but I am trying my best to offer an authentic view into my social media journey. So if I am a cry baby, I’m a cry baby. : )  It’s important to not be perfect, at least I think so.

  • Shelly kramer

    Numbers are numbers are numbers, Mark. And they’re only as good as they are today – because tomorrow they change. Maybe we’d do better to all quit ranking ourselves or, better yet, quit believing in the value of those numbers and just focus on doing good work.

    It’s like worrying about someone who writes a blog post about “The Best …….” and you’re not on it. It doesn’t mean you’re not terrific, just that it’s their list. 

    Being ranked by Ad Age is great, I’ll give you that. But that didn’t make your blog. You made your blog. Now get over it and remember what’s really important. And it ain’t this crap.

    Mwah to you, m’dear.

    Shelly
    @shellykramer:disqus 

  • Would expect nothing less than a good ass kicking from you : ) 

    I knew this might come across as whiny, but there is another reason I published it — I think all too often bloggers try to come across as super heroes, and I’m concerned about that, especially after the events of the past two weeks.  It’s time to shed these  personas of infallibility.  I was feeling whiny … so I showed up whiny. I’m exploring all the edges.  Thanks for the heartfelt mwah.  Much appreciated Shelly.

  • First – I am not a fan of any popularity contest that is run by computers. I don’t care how fancy their algorithms are. 

    Second – I totally get the “whine” factor here & think that a) you’re totally justified and b) it’s good for others to see that even for a successful blogger like you, it ain’t all rainbows and butterflies (never mind unicorns). 

    Although I acknowledge that these rankings and scores carry weight, I still think it’s ultimately more important to focus on what you do best and (try to!) forget about keeping score. The potential windfalls from an outside “authority ranking” like the Ad Age Power 150 is, I’m sure, an awful nice boost to your business, BUT in the long term, who wants to rely on an outside source to generate leads? 

    What you do best is write and publish insightful and thought-provoking content AND create honest-to-goodness relationships. THOSE are the things that make you the success you are. THOSE are the things that will continue to drive your business no matter where you fall on the Power 150 or any other “top blah-blah” list. 

    You and Ginny are  pissed & I don’t blame you. My advice? Wallow for a minute and then give AdAge (and any other high & mighty org) the old “forget you!” You want to be ranked based on the criteria that are important to you? Start your own Power150. You become the authority and help inspire others to do “authentic business” by rewarding the work and behavior that YOU find valuable. Bring a little humanity back into blogging and blog ranking. 

    I dare you. 
    😉

  • I went from ~168 to ~329. I’ll be honest, that kinda bites. I was looking forward to breaking 150 and I had my eyes set on breaking 100. I’ve been keeping tabs on my ranking ya know. I didn’t use to. But when I noticed I was moving up, I saw it as a sign of progress. Ego driven? I suppose. But you gotta admit, it’s a pretty good feeling. And besides, it’s good social proof. 

    Now, it’s just back to the grind. 

  • Gini: that bites. I feel for you. Sure, it’s not that big a deal, but when you can attribute actual business derived from a stat like that, it does matter. Ultimately, I’m with you, it was a bit of a bummer to just way up and see the rankings out of sync. An update, email, something, would have been nice. 

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  • I feel ya brother.  It’s like getting A’s on your tests all year and then bringing home a C on the report card. : )

  • Realy great comment Jamie and I think you have summed up a lot of points here. I think that there will be a competitive ranking that emerges out of this. It has to.  I’m not the person to do it though. First, I have no interest in doing it, especially having to deal with the gamesmanship and politics tht would be associated with it. It would be a battle every day.  Second, I don’t have the time to do it. My life is barely in balance and can’t tip right now!  : )

    Thanks for sharing your always interested and enlightened view!

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  • So, I’ll tell you what I did in exact order: 

    1.) Read your post all the way to the bottom.
    2.) RAN to chrisbrogan.com to see just how poorly I did.
    3.) Felt that same kind of ego thing, but in the reverse. 
    4.) Came to read the comments and realize just how silly we BOTH are for pegging our emotions and values on a number we can’t really control except tangentially. 

    In that order. 

    We all have egos. Mine is as fragile as anything (you well know). I used to really really really let people get me down all the time. It was a really tough thing. Everyone who had a negative opinion could just bark it out and I’d go into a depression (and I mean anyone – someone selling coffee, whatever). But, now I’m working on that. 

    I’m still not over AdAge, I’m going to say right now. But seeing this post and thinking and reflecting on it REALLY made me think about that, because it’s running counter to everything else I feel, and so I should really think about that. 

    Why do we pick the badges and measures we do? You know? Why do we give sidebar space to our own social proof? 

    And yet… 

    Peace and good will to you. 

  • Here’s what works for me and my supporters…
    Letting go of my ego by listening to my heart.
    You are welcome to ask me how.

  • Marc Winitz

    Mark (and Chris) – as I am fans of both of your work it’s probably time for some self reflection based on worrying about a number. Have a watch, it’ll be the best 20 minutes you both spend today: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4Qm9cGRub0)!

  • Ah Howie. I love you, too!

  • It was a bummer and there was no communication about it. Plus, the things they’re tracking now are silly. We all know the TweetMeme button only works half the time so it’s not a great measurement tool. Plus it can totally be gamed. What can’t be gamed are unique comments and engagement. So now if I have 25 or 500 comments, it’s ranked the same. Baloney.

  • Hey Mark:

    On one level, I understand your frustration and the temptation to look at a numerical ranking of your efforts. We were trained as small kids to know the score — grades, baseball teams, Casey Kasem’s weekly AT40 — so why not continue that into adulthood?

    I’m also kind of appalled that AdAge would make such an arbitrary change to their formula when it’s pretty apparent that some folks are counting on it to be some accurate measure of good blogging. The analogy that came to mind first is the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Of course, it isn’t a direct analogy (so, forgive me Finance Gurus), but we rely on that number and if the DJIA suddenly measured how many twitter followers those companies had, we’d be incensed.

    But beyond those elements, I have to say about the same thing I said on Kirsten’s blog. The reality is that I read blogs because I really enjoy well-written
    prose and real people. Blogs often offer both. Until a measurement tool
    can tell me who is engaging and who is a bot, I’m going to keep tooling
    about the web looking for stuff I like and then buying/reading/sharing
    it as I see fit. Who am I kidding? That’s how I’ll do it even if such a
    thing were developed.

    Oh, and bacon klout. I have it. And I’m a vegetarian married to a Jew. So either there’s mold in the secret sauce or we’re obsessed with meaningless measurements. I’m voting both.

  • Hey Mark:

    On one level, I understand your frustration and the temptation to look at a numerical ranking of your efforts. We were trained as small kids to know the score — grades, baseball teams, Casey Kasem’s weekly AT40 — so why not continue that into adulthood?

    I’m also kind of appalled that AdAge would make such an arbitrary change to their formula when it’s pretty apparent that some folks are counting on it to be some accurate measure of good blogging. The analogy that came to mind first is the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Of course, it isn’t a direct analogy (so, forgive me Finance Gurus), but we rely on that number and if the DJIA suddenly measured how many twitter followers those companies had, we’d be incensed.

    But beyond those elements, I have to say about the same thing I said on Kirsten’s blog. The reality is that I read blogs because I really enjoy well-written
    prose and real people. Blogs often offer both. Until a measurement tool
    can tell me who is engaging and who is a bot, I’m going to keep tooling
    about the web looking for stuff I like and then buying/reading/sharing
    it as I see fit. Who am I kidding? That’s how I’ll do it even if such a
    thing were developed.

    Oh, and bacon klout. I have it. And I’m a vegetarian married to a Jew. So either there’s mold in the secret sauce or we’re obsessed with meaningless measurements. I’m voting both.

  • Which is why I just added Kirsten’s page to my list of weekly visits.

  • I have actually been studying this subject a lot. The fact is, we care about it, because our readers care about it. Research proves it too.

    We might not like to think that or admit it, but it’s true. People will look at our “badges” long before they would ever read about our credentials, accomplishments or bios. So badges DO play an important role in this very dense world of information. 

    I’m a big boy and I’m over it. I’ve already moved on, but if you’re going to play in the social web sandbox, ya better bring some social proof with you. Sad but true. Oh well, let’s write about some more fun things.  I think it is time for a post about beer or Star Wars or something.

    Namaste Mr. Brogan.

  • Wait a minute. Who let common sense into this joint? : )

  • You’re an influencer on bacon???  Damn. I would pay for that.

    I think that DJIA analogy is a good one. My old company was one of the DJ Industrials. Now, that is MAJOR social proof. And, it probably had some subtle business benefit too, but it was mostly status. I think if they ever lost that status the building would probably melt into the ground ; )

    Thanks so much. I’m glad you have found some well-written blogs and this one too : )

  • Jiminy crickets Mark, “common sense…?” and I was coming from and listening to my heart ; )

  • Well
    Mark, you’ve certainly hit a nerve with this one! And I feel for everyone who
    suddenly was left “without” based on the demise of a very interesting
    service. One which, I might add, seems to have delivered a tremendous amount of
    value to a lot of people. Not just emotionally, but I’m guessing for those who
    were generating some revenue from their blogs there was some monetary impact
    here as well.

    So, I’m
    going to put this comment as succinctly as I can. In the end, you get what you
    pay for. We’ve talked about the “economy of free” many times.
    Postrank was a great service (and a very important one). Everybody loved it.
    Everybody “Needed” it. Everybody said it created value. But few would
    pay for this supposedly valuable service. Why should they? It was free….. and
    now it’s gone. Why? Because you cannot (nor never will be able to) eat free.

  • I for one, really appreciated the transparency, Mark. 

  • I do love me some {grow} — partially because of the use of braces. My signature emoticon has been ;~} since about 1995.

    Being a numbers geek (it’s a serious case — we had a little party on 4/29/92 when the DJIA closed at 3333), the 30 components are as big a nostalgic indicator of time period for me as any fashion or musical trend. Being down nearly 400 today… well.

    I’ll happily share my bacon influence with you. Surely such a valuable commodity is transferable, right?

  • Yup.  We are aligned on that one. Maybe this is the beginning of the end of free. 🙂 

  • Oh man … see … I knew this blog would pay off some day. If you could put in a good word on the bacon front it would be really cool. Nature’s most perfect food.

  • Howie, you always make me smile:)

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