We received an eMail the other day that, among other matters, informed us that the sender had found Sounds & Fury by seeing its name on a ranked listing of classical music blogs. This piece of intelligence provoked an interesting correspondence between the sender and us as to the value of such ranked lists, our good self taking the position that such lists are largely nonsense as, if nothing else, the Technorati database on which the rankings are based is ill-constructed and subject to all sorts of statistical distortions which, all things considered, was fairly surly and curmudgeonly of us to point out as Sounds & Fury has consistently placed in either the Top 10 or Top 20 of such ranked lists, the only blog written by a “civilian” (i.e., not a professional musician, MSM journalist or critic, or academic) to do so.
My correspondent, however, had some good points to make in favor of such ranked lists the, for us, decisive one being that such lists are often the only reliable guide a newbie or “outsider” has available to him to sort out the wheat from the chaff initially without his having to slog though dozens upon dozens of blogs himself, most of which turn out to be ultimately valueless reading.
This set us to thinking as to whether there actually existed a reliable and well-constructed statistical database on which to base such rankings. After a careful search, we found one even though it was not intended to serve the purpose of creating a ranked listing of blogs: Google’s “Backward Links” (Google’s name for a site’s incoming links) function. Unlike the incoming links count that determines Technorati’s so-called “Authority” number for a blog which link count is entirely indiscriminate as to source, the list of incoming links to a blog that Google produces is in fact a “filtered” list that takes into consideration the worth and importance of the sources of those incoming links, and therefore omitted from that list are all incoming links the sources of which fall below a minimum threshold level of PageRank, Google’s intricately computed rating of a webpage’s importance within the entire universe of webpages. What was of significance to us for our purpose was that the number of incoming links qualifying for that list is expressed by Google as a single number right at the top of the list’s pages, and that single number is in fact a statistically “clean” expression of both the quantity and quality of the incoming links to whatever blog is under examination, and a perfect number to use in constructing a statistically distortionless (relatively speaking) ranked list of classical music blogs.
Consequently, subsequent to the end of this year’s first quarter (31 March), Sounds & Fury will publish its first installment of a new quarterly updated ranked listing of classical music blogs, the Sounds & Fury Top 50 Classical Music Blogs, on 2 April (we forbore to publish it on 1 April for reasons obvious).
Look for it then.