A (Very) Little Data on Mom Blogs and Nacle Blogs

This post is a comment on the Mom Blogs versus the Bloggernacle Blogs discussion at BCC last week. Specifically,  when the question of size and exposure of different blogs came up, Vada asked if I could crunch some numbers on the question.

Unfortunately, I don’t have traffic numbers, which would probably be most interesting. But it occurred to me, since Sue mentioned Technorati authority, that I could look at how different types of blogs turned up in searches. So I did two searches. First, I searched Technorati for blogs tagged “Mormon” and made a list of the top 100 ranked by authority (a function of number of incoming links). Second, I did a Google search for “Mormon blog” (the search was not in quotes–that is, I searched for matches to the two words, not for the two words as a phrase) and made a list of the first 100 results ranked by order.

Note: If you’re not interested in the details of the method, you can skip to the table now.

I excluded duplicate listings from each list. The Technorati search seemed particularly flaky–once I searched and it told me there were 290-ish blogs tagged “Mormon” and then a day later I searched and it said there were almost 600. I verified my list against the new results, and there were actually very few new ones. The number of duplicate listings had just increased dramatically. With Google, the biggest problem was that a blog and a post on a blog would be found and listed separately, so I had to go beyond 100 results to get 100 unique results.

Once I had the lists, I went through and categorized all of the results. Of course, the two categories I was really interested in were Mom blogs and Bloggernacle blogs. I used a liberal definition of a Mom blog, including ones where couples blogged together about their kids. I also defined the Bloggernacle liberally, including blogs by frequent commenters even if they aren’t listed on the Mormon Archipelago. Really, though, there weren’t many borderline cases for the Bloggernacle or the Mom blogs, and they tended to be farther down in the results, so I doubt how I categorized them made much of a difference. I also included aggregators of blogs with the blog type they aggregate.

Of course, I found more than just Mom blogs and Bloggernacle blogs. I found a few explicitly anti-Mormon blogs, so I put them in a separate category. All other Mormon-related blogs by individuals, groups, organizations, or businesses I categorized as “other.” Among the Google search results, there were two more unique categories. One was non-Mormon bloggers (meaning not non-members of the LDS church, but bloggers who don’t typically blog about Mormon topics) who sometimes write posts about Mormons and Mormonism that draw lots of attention. This happened particularly, as you might guess, in relation to Prop 8. Finally, the Google results included some matches that aren’t blogs at all. Mostly these were references to blogs from other websites, such as newspapers.

With the categorized lists, the next question was how to score the blogs to reflect their prominence. For the blogs listed on Technorati, using authority scores was an obvious choice. I also used three additional scoring methods for both searches. First, I counted every blog equally, regardless of rank. In the table below, I call this the unweighted scoring method. Second, I assigned scores by giving the top blog listed 100 points, the second 99, and so on down to 1 for the last blog. In the table below, I call this the linear scoring method. Finally, to reflect the fact that the top listed blogs are probably dramatically more prominent than the lower-scoring ones (how often do we click through multiple pages of Google results?), I assigned scores based on the square of the linear weights. So the top blog scored 10,000 (=100*100), the second scored 9801 (=99*99), and so on down to 1 (=1*1) for the last blog. In the table below, I call this the quadratic scoring method.

One more note about the scoring methods: The total number of possible scoring points was different for the different methods. For example, for the unweighted method, there were 100 total points, while for the linear method, there were 5050. Because of this, I divided all the scores by the total number of points for the method to make the results easier to look at. This means that the values in the table below are percentages.

Okay, so with the categories and the scoring methods, I scored all the blogs, and added up the scores by category. Here are the results:

Scoring Method Blog Category
Mom Nacle Other Anti Non-M Non-B
Authority 48 14 35 3
Unweighted 36 14 46 4
Linear 41 15 40 4
Quadratic 43 14 39 4
Unweighted 2 19 30 3 24 22
Linear 2 28 32 5 14 18
Quadratic 2 34 34 7 9 15

It’s clear that Mom blogs dominate Bloggernacle blogs in Technorati, regardless of the scoring method used. The Mom blogs score 40+% to about 14% for the Bloggernacle blogs. Interestingly, this is the case even though none of the blogs listed by Azúcar in her comment in the BCC discussion appeared on my list of blogs from Technorati. Had even some of these been included–for example c jane’s blog (also mentioned in the BCC thread, although not on Azúcar’s list) scores a 1552 on Technorati authority, and the highest scoring one on my list only scored 287–the difference would have been even more dramatic.

But in the Google results, the difference is if anything more dramatic in the opposite direction, particularly for the more realistic scoring methods. For the quadratic method, Bloggernacle blogs total 34% of the points to 2% for Mom blogs. In the Google list, BCC was #1, Jeff Lindsay’s Mormanity was #2, FMH was #5, T&S was #7, and DMI Dave was #9.

So what does this all mean? Given their higher Technorati authority scores, it appears that the Mom blogs are better integrated into the larger blogosphere than are the Bloggernacle blogs. But given their higher Google rankings, it appears that the Bloggernacle blogs may be more visible to the internet in general. This is consistent with the big Mom blogs not being tagged “Mormon” on Technorati. I would guess (I don’t read them–sorry!) that this is because they mostly deal with topics other than Mormonism. The Bloggernacle blogs, on the other hand, pretty much blog about all Mormonism all the time.

In the end, perhaps this boils down to a distinction I once saw made between blogs about Mormonism and blogs by Mormons, where the former is (mostly) a subset of the latter, but the latter is much bigger. (Sorry–I can’t recall who made this point so I can’t credit it.) Perhaps the Bloggernacle falls largely into both sets, while the Mom blogs fall in the latter set but not as much in the former.


  1. Fascinating. I am so glad someone enjoys looking at numbers like this. I like the results, but wouldn’t like the process.

  2. I believe the distinction comes from David Sundwall’s original list of Mormon blogs which he divided into those with Mormon content (which he calls LDS blogs) and those with Mormon authors (which he calls Mormon blogs).

    Your conclusions echo mine (although mine were based on assumption and anecdote, instead of statistical inquiry). So there’s that.

  3. ESO, I’m glad you found the results interesting. I kind of enjoy the process too. Does that make me sick? 🙂

    John, thanks for the pointer to my forgotten reference. Also, sorry–I should have acknowledged that of course my conclusion was blatantly plagiarized from having read all y’all’s many interesting comments on the BCC thread. Of course I wasn’t saying anything new here.

    Ardis, thanks. Also, Keepapitchinin was #15 in the Google search, but didn’t appear in Technorati’s top 100. Actually, now I just went back and looked you up manually, and your blog scores a 32 authority in Technorati. Also T&S scores a 134. This would have put T&S at #5 and Keepa at #31. But neither of these blogs were on my list–they didn’t appear when I searched Technorati for blogs tagged “Mormon.” I would have guessed they would be. When you set up your blog profile at Technorati, Ardis, was “Mormon” one of the tags you used? I would have guessed so.

    So perhaps all the Mom blogs are tagged Mormon after all and the search tool is just flaky. (Or did I use it incorrectly?) Also this may be why some commenters expressed reservations about the value of Technorati authority rankings on the BCC thread. Hmmm.

    Indeed it did, Steve. Indeed it did.

  4. Fascinating stuff. If I understand it correctly, Technorati authority is based on number of blogs that link to a particular blog, regardless of readership or size. So a large authority means that lots of other blogs link to it. As I understand it (not being an active reader of the genre) the mommy blogs foster a culture of mutual linkage. The google ranking, while relating to incoming links factors in lots of different factors, not all of which I understand.

  5. I assigned scores based on the square of the linear weights. So the top blog scored 10,000 (=100*100), the second scored 9801 (=99*99), and so on down to 1 (=1*1) for the last blog. In the table below, I call this the quadratic scoring method.

    Ziff, you are a beautiful man.

  6. Are you going to post the list of the top 100 on google and how you categorized them? I paged through the list myself, and was disappointed to discover that neither lfab nor MSP appears to turn up in the top 100. I was going to ask if you would have listed them as “Bloggernacle” just because we’re sufficiently integrated with the Bloggernacle discussions to warrant it… 😉

    OTOH, if you make an oh-so-slight change in the query, and google for mormon blogness, my two haunts make up the top four entries. 😉 (I also score well on the query exmormon blog.)

  7. Wow, Ziff, thanks! Aren’t you glad I volunteered you without even telling (let alone asking) you? I know I am! Thanks for the indulgence of my fascination with stats.

  8. Ziff,
    Not at all. I was just saying that I had come to a similar conclusion, not that I considered this poached. Remember, you rock!

  9. Oh, no problem, John. Even if the data were new, the conclusion definitely matched yours. I do have a tendency to read stuff that I like and then forget that I read it and repeat it back as though it were new. I guess my imitation is only unconscious flattery and all that. 🙂

    Vada, thanks for volunteering me. Really. I’ve been such a blogging slacker–it’s great to have you prod me out of my thoughtless stupor with a fun question.

    C.L. Hanson, I’ll see how well the list goes into a comment. I’m not sure if it would be that illuminating, since I didn’t even note names for non-blogs, but I’ll put it up.

    Mark, thanks!

    J. Stapley, that’s my understanding too. I think authority is also time-based, so only links less than 6 months old are counted. So it’s better (from a Technorati perspective) to have fresh links to your posts than generic links to your front page. Of course, the Bloggernacle blogs also have lots of mutual links, but maybe there are so many fewer of us that it doesn’t make as much of a difference? Or perhaps we don’t link directly to one another’s posts as much? I don’t know.

  10. If I understand how google works, the searched page would have to contain both the words blog and mormon on it. This means simple that mommy blogs don’t blog as much about being mormon and blogging at the same time, or don’t have the term “mormon blog” in their title like BCC, T&S, and Mormanity.

  11. Also, doesn’t google do something to tailor future searches based on past searches from the same IP address?

  12. Or perhaps we don’t link directly to one another’s posts as much?

    Yea, but we’re always going to other people’s blogs and linking back to our own posts, so there is that.

  13. Yea, but we’re always going to other people’s blogs and linking back to our own posts, so there is that.

    Jacob J, if that were true, this comment would have a link back to Keepa in it.

  14. Okay, C.L. Hanson, here are the results of my Google search:

    # Name Category
    1 By Common Consent nacle
    2 Mormanity nacle
    3 Mormon Truth!! anti
    4 Mormon Coffee anti
    5 Feminist Mormon Housewives nacle
    6 Ex-Mormon Blog List other
    7 Times and Seasons nacle
    8 LDS Blogs other
    9 Dave’s Mormon Inquiry nacle
    10 Mormon Blog other
    11 Mormon Mentality nacle
    12 comMITTed to Romney other
    13 Juvenile Instructor nacle
    14 Mormon Neighbor Blog other
    15 Keepapitchinin nacle
    16 The Mormon Blog other
    17 Nothing Wavering other
    18 A Mormon Missionary’s Blog other
    19 Ongofu nacle
    20 My LDS Direct other
    21 Mormon Mommy Wars nacle
    22 The Mormon Curtain anti
    23 [not a blog] not blog
    24 Mormon Moms Who Blog mom
    25 Mormon Matters nacle
    26 All About Mormons Blog other
    27 [not a blog] not blog
    28 Mormonism Blog other
    29 A Soft Answer nacle
    30 [not a blog] not blog
    31 [not a blog] not blog
    32 Mormon Soprano other
    33 [not a blog] not blog
    34 The Book of Mormon Online Weblog other
    35 Mormon Metaphysics nacle
    36 Nine Moons nacle
    37 Mormon Factor other
    38 Temple Study nacle
    39 The Mormon Organon nacle
    40 The Long Now not Mormon
    41 Mormon Renaissance other
    42 [not a blog] not blog
    43 [not a blog] not blog
    44 My Almost Mormon Blog other
    45 Mormon Bloggers other
    46 Best of the Web: Mormon Blogs not blog
    47 The Fix not Mormon
    48 BlogFlux: Mormon category not blog
    49 RingSurf: Latter-day Blogs not blog
    50 FaithWorld not Mormon
    51 Instant Tea not Mormon
    52 Illinois Press Book Blog not Mormon
    53 LDS Anarchy other
    54 Article VI Blog other
    55 Credo not Mormon
    56 Glenn Thrush not Mormon
    57 Gideon Burton other
    58 Pundits Blog not Mormon
    59 Adventures in Mormonism nacle
    60 [not a blog] not blog
    61 ChristiaNet not Mormon
    62 Blog TopList not blog
    63 FAIR Blog nacle
    64 Mormon Memorabilia other
    65 [not a blog] not blog
    66 The Caucus not Mormon
    67 [not a blog] not blog
    68 [not a blog] not blog
    69 Courage Campaign blog not Mormon
    70 Anderson Cooper 360 not Mormon
    71 First Things not Mormon
    72 Blog Segullah nacle
    73 The Backyard Professor other
    74 Mormon Doctrine other
    75 The Blog Herald not Mormon
    76 Sciencebase not Mormon
    77 More Good Blog other
    78 SFGate Politics Blog not Mormon
    79 San Francisco Sentinel not Mormon
    80 My Mormon Friend.com other
    81 [not a blog] not blog
    82 [not a blog] not blog
    83 Chuck’s Book of Mormon Blog other
    84 Towleroad not Mormon
    85 [not a blog] not blog
    86 [not a blog] not blog
    87 Images of the Restoration other
    88 [not a blog] not blog
    89 Americans United blog not Mormon
    90 Mike Tidmus not Mormon
    91 The Health Care Blog not Mormon
    92 Trapped by the Mormons not Mormon
    93 [not a blog] not blog
    94 Defensor Veritatis other
    95 The Religious Researcher not Mormon
    96 Religious Studies Center other
    97 News for the Mormon Legal Community other
    98 Gay TV Blog not Mormon
    99 A Mormon Family Blog mom
    100 [not a blog] not blog

  15. If I understand how google works, the searched page would have to contain both the words blog and mormon on it. This means simple that mommy blogs don’t blog as much about being mormon and blogging at the same time, or don’t have the term “mormon blog” in their title like BCC, T&S, and Mormanity.

    Ooh, that is an excellent point. Not only do the Bloggernacle blogs specifically blog about Mormonism, they often blog about blogging about Mormonism. 😉

    Ziff — Thanks for posting the list!

  16. No problem at all, Ardis. As you can probably well see, we suffer more from a lack of comments (and posting) than a surfeit, that is, unless we’re hosting an argument about presiding. 😉

  17. Wow, I neglect blogging for a while, and return to find that I’ve missed a great argument. I can’t resist observing that gender is playing a very interesting role in this debate, and thinking that someone (but not me!) should look at that more. But this is a fun post, Ziff.

    In a classic observation–or at least one that always makes me laugh for some reason–Bruce R. McConkie stated that the book of Job is “for people who like Job.” Perhaps a similar thing could be said about the Bloggernacle.

  18. In light of the comments, may I (humbly) propose an addition to your title? “Zelophehad’s Daughters: Kicking Y’alls Trash Since 2006”


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