AdAge changes their formula, bloggers have meltdowns.

Adage.com Power 150 BadgeIf you’re not a blogger, or have been out of the loop, it’s possible you missed the catastrophic event that unfolded last week and is still leaving bloggers reeling: AdAge changed it’s formula for the Power 150!

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. – Mark Schaefer explained in his rant about the change.

They have now replaced those two numbers with a twitter and facebook number. However, there is no rhyme or reason to the twitter & facebook numbers (that I can see) and apparently, I’m not alone. Judging by the number of people talking about it on twitter, it’s been a huge hit to blogger egos (and we all know how sensitive those are!), made worse because they don’t know how to fix it.

But, I solved it. I know how to fix it.

Stop monitoring your “judgement” numbers, keep writing awesome content, and know that you are a success because people keep reading, commenting and participating.

Now, even I am shocked at myself for saying this. It was only a couple months ago that I wrote about being proud of your “judgement” numbers (although I did cover the whole “stop comparing yourself” thing…) but today, I changed my mind (hey, I’m allowed to!).

Here’s my thought: Would you write worse content if someone told you you were now #2000 instead of #20? I’m pretty sure you’re all going to say no, that you’d write the same content regardless, right? Well, that’s the point…the content is what matters, not the numbers.

In saying this though, I know bloggers will argue. Bloggers feel the numbers give them validity, they give them a place to stand and shout from and they make them seem important. I mean, how would we know who the “better” blogger is without a ranking system with arbitrary formulas? (I kid…)

The bottom line is: These “judgement” numbers are just a load of crap. And I think we need to cut out the “judgement” numbers completely.

These include:

  1. Measurements created by a website that are based on data provided by other websites based on strange formulas that no one really knows.
  2. Scores that can be gamed simply by knowing how they work.
  3. Values assigned to someone because of number of followers/fans/connections.

Now, there are some numbers that we still should focus on. These are hard numbers. These include things like:

  1. The number of clients we are working with
  2. Sales numbers for each month
  3. The percent growth our business has month over month
  4. Analytics on our own website, tracking real clicks and results without arbitrary formulas

What do you think? Can we stop placing so much power in the hands of “judgement” numbers and just be amazing on our own?

  • Mark Schaefer

    Thanks for carrying on the conversation Kirsten!

  • http://www.ginalynette.com Gina Lynette

    Being the PollyAnna, Sugar-Coated Idealist that I am, I thought that that — being amazing — was the whole point of putting your thoughts into some format that other folks could access — for money or not. And then I started seeing hit counters and badges and awards and then folks would do the comment swap game… and now these other metrics that measure, um, other metrics are all over the place.

    It’s only because of Mark that I even know what a klout score is. Well, now that I do, I’m proud to announce that this vegetarian has bacon klout. I’ve, evidently, worked my whole life for that recognition. Someone told me that means I’ve won the Internet. So, the rest of you might as well go home, right?

    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.

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