Friday, April 29, 2005

The bloggiest papers in Oz

Prompted by Martin Pike and inspired by Ethan Zuckerman I thought it would be interesting to discover what are the bloggiest Australian newspaper web sites.

Martin wrote in a comment to an earlier post here:
"The Age website generally is something incompatible with the world of blogging, and other fast-moving link-driven media, because of the requirement that people register.

The requirement assumes that someone is a repeat visitor from a single IP address, and this is so often not the case.

In blogging, where we use multiple links in the manner of references within single posts, it makes sense to avoid sites like the Age (in favour of blog-friendly sites like newsltd and the Australian) because you don't want to click readers through to somewhere they may be hit up for registration, a process far to long and unwieldly for blog use, where people may be reading several posts on several different blogs in the space of minutes.

I wish it would change, I hate having to direct so much traffic to the Murdoch rags."
Martin's argument is entirely understandable, but it misses an important technical point about News Ltd web sites.

All of their newspaper sites lock their content behind a pay-per-view barrier after a week or thereabouts, so blog links decay quickly. Added to this News' online strategy has been to direct traffic through their individual newspaper sites to news.com.au. That strategy is immediately obvious from looking at the numbers below. News.com.au has the largest share of News Ltd blog links at 3,631.

Traditionally, metrics on the web has revolved around unique visitors (or browsers) and page impressions. It still does, but with the rise of blogging has come a new metric: links. On that score Fairfax's news sites - The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald - lead the pack by a mile despite their registration requirement.

By comparison, The Australian Financial Review's subscription site barely registers with bloggers. On the other hand, the 55 links it does have are from the last 7 days. By comparison the very small numbers of links to The Australian, Herald-Sun, Daily Telegraph and Courier Mail represent the few articles these sites choose to keep unlocked. (I have no idea what their criterion is for selecting free articles.)

ABC News ranks below news.com.au but above all the other Murdoch newspaper sites. As the national broadcaster they need to be included, even in a survey as unscientific as this one.

The only thing surprising about the ABC News result is that as a free site with no registration requirement it isn't at the top of the ladder. The ABC site has 8,940 blog links to it but that's across their whole output rather than just news. In online terms the ABC is a sleeping giant.

So too is News Ltd, but following Rupert's speech of a fortnight ago we should expect that to begin to change.

And what about ninemsn? Kerry Packer's JV with Microsoft sells itself as "Australia's number-one website destination, capturing the largest online audience in Australia ... 74 percent of all Australians online use ninemsn regularly to get the news, information and communication services they want."

Maybe. But the low numbers of bloggers linking to it suggests they don't see ninemsn quite the same way.

Here are the results using Technorati:

Fairfax sites
Sydney Morning Herald - 8,326 links
The Age - 5,140 links
Australian Financial Review - 55 links (past 7 days only)

News Limited sites
News.com.au - 3,631 links
The Australian - 89 links and 56 links (URL variants)
The Herald-Sun - 65 links and 20 links (URL variants)
Daily Telegraph - 17 links and 20 links (URL variants)
Courier Mail - 14 links
Adelaide Advertiser - 20 links and 11 links (URL variants)

ABC
ABC news - 1,178 links
ABC.net.au - 8,940 links

Ninemsn
news.ninemsn.com.au - 20 links
ninemsn.com.au - 60 links

2 comments:

Stan said...

Slightly off topic, I just came across this provincial newspaper site in the South Pacific which looks and feels just like a blog:

http://www.solomonstarnews.com/

I found this a pretty interesting development. Despite looking very professional, I get the feeling that this site would be pretty easy to operate in a technical sense and it's just the sort of newspaper site that could work in any Australian town and even some largish suburbs. The interaction with the readers on every story also seemed pretty innovative.

Anyway, just thought you and your readers might be interested.

hm said...

Thanks, Stan. I reckon you're dead right about the Solomon Star. It's a model that could work very well indeed for regional and suburban papers.