I don't remember what got me going this morning, but I've been doing a little investigative work on the changing nature of the progressive blogosphere. I had a hunch that some of the initial big names in the business are faltering. And that does - in fact - turn out to be the case.
One source that turned out to be interesting is the Blogosphere Authority Index, (BAI) which has been tracking both liberal and conservative blogs on measures such as blogrolls, hyperlinks, site visits and comments since 2008. Since blogrolls and hyperlinks tend to measure inclusion in the "good ol boys network" and # of comments varies greatly, I'm most interested in site visits as a measure of impact.
The person who measures BAI (Dave Karpf) seems to need a little updating in his categorization of blogs as "progressive" or "conservative" since he has Huffington Post listed as one of the former and Little Green Footballs as one of the later. Those of us who have actually been watching know that both of these blogs have undergone huge changes in the last few years. I say that because on almost all measures Huffington Post is rated as #1. But I'm going to ignore it because I don't think its representative.
When we go back in time to January 2008, here are the top ten progressive blogs according to their site visits:
1. Daily Kos
2. Crooks and Liars
3. Think Progress
4. Talking Points Memo
7. America Blog
8. Washington Monthly (Kevin Drum)
10. Carpetbagger Report (Steve Benen)
Now lets look at the top ten in January 2012 (with changes from 2008 in parenthesis):
1. Fivethirtyeight (new)
2. Daily Kos ( -1)
3. Talking Points Memo ( +1)
4. Democratic Underground (new)
5. Think Progress ( -2)
6. Truthdig (new)
7. Crooks and Liars ( -5)
8. Firedoglake ( -2)
9. Balloon Juice (new)
10. Washington Monthly (Steve Benen - no change if you consider the author)
Blogs that dropped off the top 10 list since 2008:
- America Blog
- Carpetbagger Report (shut down when Benen moved to Washington Monthly)
When I started blogging in 2005, the BIG names in the progressive blogosphere were Daily Kos, Atrios, Crooks and Liars, America Blog, Digby, Firedoglake and MyDD (later Open Left). Three of those have dropped off the top 10 list in the last 4 years. Daily Kos has lost first place to Nate Silver at Fivethirtyeight, Crooks and Liars dropped 5 places and FLD is -2 (and is basically even with Balloon Juice!).
In addition, what's not showing up since I'm only looking at the top 10 is that MyDD - which had ranked #13 in 2008 has disappeared off the top 25 list altogether and sunk into oblivion while Open Left - which was ranked #20 - shut down altogether.
Blogs added to the top 10 list since 2008:
- Fivethirtyeight (everybody loves Nate Silver)
- Democratic Underground (not sure what's going on here except it probably has to do with their forums)
- Truthdig (new home of the firebaggers?)
- Balloon Juice (pragmatic progressives on the move!)
Based on what I can deduct from a couple of different sources, BooMan Tribune and The Obama Diary (two of the very best pragmatic progressive sites) would rank somewhere between 25th - 30th place on this list.
In conclusion, I think the landscape is changing. Lets continue to get the word out about pragmatic alternatives to the poutragers. You can do that by visiting all of those great blogs over on the left and sharing their wonderful content with others.