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PdF's 2009 Top 50 Political Blogs

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, January 7 2009

We've been doing some housecleaning (in preparation for rolling out a site upgrade) and it's been some time since I dug in and updated our list of top political blogs. Indeed, an embarrassingly long time. Sorry!

Anyway, here's a fully revised and up-to-date list of the top 50 political blogs, along with two top 20 lists for the top liberal and conservative blogs.

What immediately jumps out to me is how many of the top 50 are based on traditional media platforms like newspapers and TV networks, as well as some venerable journals of opinion. In 2005, the last time I delved through this data, nearly all the top blogs were by untraditional independent types. Now we're seeing a hybridization of the form. Also, and I'm hardly the first to note this, far fewer of the top blogs are written by individuals. Maybe only one out of five on our top 50 list are done by sole proprietors, or in some cases duos. That's also a significant shift.

All three lists are based on Technorati's measure of "authority," which is the number of incoming links to the blog for the last six months. Let me be the first to emphasize that this is hardly a perfect metric. The number of incoming links shown by Technorati sometimes varies, which is a quirk of how their databases work. And not all incoming links are created equal, but Technorati has no way of saying so. In other words, please don't obsess about a blog's exact position on these lists, as bloggers like to say, your mileage may vary.

That said, most observers agree that incoming links are a pretty good measure of reputation and, more practically, traffic. In a more ideal world, we'd have a way to rank sites by incoming traffic and say for certain that Huffington Post has X million readers per month vs Y million for Daily Kos. Again, such comparisons aren't nearly as satisfactory as they might appear, because you're comparing group blogs to individual blogs, and when it comes to particular topics and audiences certain bloggers have far more influence than their generic traffic might suggest.

Finally, I should note that some sites that ought to be included in the political blogosphere--like Townhall.com or Raw Story aren't in this list. That's because they haven't registered at Technorati as blogs, and thus have no "authority" number. If and when they do register, we'll do our best to update the list.

Likewise, if we've inadvertently left a high-ranking blog off these lists, please whack me on the head with a two-by-four, or preferably, leave a comment below and we'll investigate.