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Friday, July 03, 2015

eNidhi India list of top websites listing top bloggers!

This post is highly inspired by repeated updates by Nisha Jha on social media about websites releasing top blogger lists without a transparent process/evaluation. Building on that trigger and using my own experience, observation and analysis, I’m releasing my own Enidhi India certified top sites that list top bloggers!

Of late there’re several sites releasing top blogger lists. Every few weeks some lists popup announcing top XYZ blog/twitter handle/Instagram accounts etc. It appears to be a good business model- start a site, create lists of top somethings, those who got mentioned in those top-XYZ lists will be happy and will promote the list, in return giving visibility, backlink and credibility to the site that published the list.

Of course it is not wrong to identify and publish a top blogger list. Everyone can handle a bit of appreciation and it helps others decide whom to read/follow etc. But then, sites publishing such lists should have some credibility and identify of their own, before they can judge other bloggers/social media accounts. So in this post, I am outlining some criteria we should look into, before taking a “Top Blogger” list seriously. After defining the criteria, I’ve evaluated about 13 sites that published top blogger lists in recent times and have given my score.

So in a way, this post is a list of top websites listing top bloggers

Criteria 1 Identity and Credibility of the website: The website that lists top blogger lists should have an identity of its own. Has it been around for a few years? Does it have some contents worth reading, does it serve any purpose other than its top blogger lists? Had it not published this top blogger list, for what else the site would have been known for?

Criteria 2 Identity/Credibility of key people behind the website. If the website is not well known/popular, how about the people who started it/running it?  Are the well known? Do they have good credibility? Are they bloggers themselves or how are they qualified to judge other bloggers? (Just like how a dancing show judge is expected to be an expert dancer, people who judge bloggers are expected to have some experience in travel, blogging, content writing, photography or related topics.

Criteria 3 Online rankings of the site: While it is wrong to rely fully on numbers, number do mean something. So I expect a site that lists top bloggers to qualify on at least 3 out of below 6 parameters
  1. Have a decent alexa ranking (Say India ranking less than 75000) 
  2. Have at least 5000 twitter followers
  3. Have a google PR 2+
  4. Been around for 2 years or more
  5. Decent reader interaction (say avg 5-10 comments per post or more)
  6. Has decent traffic- Say 1000 visitors per day or more
Criteria 4 Do they follow a transparent, honest process to select top bloggers? Most of the lists do not disclose the criteria used. No one wants to disclose their secret sauce, so it is fine if criteria is not laid out in minute details. But at a high level there should be some disclosure as who what criteria was used to select the bloggers, shortlist them etc. For example, how many blogs were shortlisted and evaluated before declaring top 10? was it personal selection of editorial team purely based on qualitative measure? Was it selected based on statistics (like ranks, followers, traffic etc) or was it done through a public voting things like that. Some lists expect bloggers to register before they are evaluated. Giving some disclosure and assuring readers that a fair process was followed gets lots of credibility score, than blindly announcing a list.

So with above guidelines, I did a quick evaluation of various websites that have released top travel blogger lists in recent times. I was featured in few of these and not listed in most of these, but that has no influence on the scoring. On each of the above parameters, I’ve given a score between 1-5 (5= highest), based on the information I could derive from public sources (such as whois info, alexa.com etc). It is pretty subjective scoring- I’ve given data/rationale where possible. Feel free to debate.

Also the sites shouldn’t force the winner to share the list on their blog/social media profile. (many do it voluntarily anyway). But I don’t have a way to validate it, so I’ve kept that aspect outside of this evaluation in good faith that any subsequent promotion of the website by winners or bloggers who go featured there is voluntary.
I have excluded directory services such as Indianbloggers.org that list every blog for this study. I have also excluded lists published by some bloggers/individuals on say language specific travel bloggers etc.

So here we go- my list of top 13 websites to refer to for top travel blogger lists!
Rank
Website
List Announced
1 How good is the site on its own
2 Identity & Credibility of people behind the site
3 Rankings
4 Process followed to select disclosed?
Overall score
1
 Holidify.com
 Very Good (5/5)
 Very High (5/5)
 Alexa India 2600
15k likes
2500 followers
(4/5)
 Yes
(4/5)
 18/20
2
 quikrpost.com
 Good
(5/5)
Good
Names available, detailed profile not available
(3/5)
 Alexa India 25000
858 likes
70 followers
 (3/5)
 Yes
(5/5)
 16/20
3
 thrillophilia
Very Good (5/5)
 Very High (5/5)
 Alexa India 790
90k likes
7900 followers
(5/5)
 No
(0/5)
 15/20
4
 polkacafe.com
 Very Good
(5/5)
 Very High
(5/5)
  Alexa India 7200
21k likes
681 followers
(4/5)
 NA, appears to be personal choice
(1/5)
 15/20
5
 Theculturetrip .com/

 Very Good
(5/5)
 Very High
(5/5)
 Alexa US 18500
216k likes
42500 followers
(5/5)
 NA,
(0/5)
 15/20
6
 Baggout

 Average
(shopping on home page + blog full of top lists)
(2/5)
 Very High (5/5)
 Alexa India 2800
17k likes
 (3/5)
 Yes
(5/5)
 15/20
7
 tripoto.com
 Very Good
(5/5)
High
(profiles not listed on sit  but could figure out profiles from linked in
(4/5)
  Alexa India 1500
228k likes
3200 followers
(5/5)
 NA
(0/5)
 14/20
8
 travel.india .com/
Good (5/5)
 Poor
Profiles of key people couldn’t be seen
1/5
 India Rank 98
1800 likes
110 followers
(4/5)
 No
(0/5)
 10/20
9
 Padhaaro. com
Pretty decent
 (4/5)
  NA
Team details couldn’t be seen, but few contributor details profiled
(2/5)
 Alexa India 12500
2800 likes
1000+ followers
 (3/5)
 NA
(0/5)
9/20
10
 Hoparoundindia .com
 Average. Blog last updated in Sep 2014
(2/5)
 Poor (some generic text, no names or profile
(1/5)
 Alexa India 21000
12k likes
985 followers
 (4/5)
 Partial
(2/5)
 9/20
11
why.travel
 Decent (last updated March 2015)
(4/5)
 Poor
(1/5)
 Alexa Global 1.1 million
357 likes
86 followers
(1/5)
 Partial
Scoring is given, rational not disclosed
3/5
 9/20
12
 Travelfriendz .com
 Average
Blog last updated in Feb. Not much action on home page
(2/5)
 NA
(0/5)
 Global rank 3.6 million
624 likes
9 followers
(1/5)
 Yes- Short list criteria not known but Questions were rolled out
(4/5)
 7/20
13
 Myoksha
 NA
No active content on site
(0/5)
 NA
No details available
(0/5)
 Alexa India 38000
750 likes
116 followers
(2/5)
 Partial (admits it is not complete list

(2/5)
 4/20

Did I miss out on any important lists? What are your thoughts? I think I should roll out a badge these sites can publish on their side bar stating "eNidhi India certified top site to list top bloggers'.. what say?

29 comments :

Siddhartha Joshi said...

It was refreshing to see this post, different from travel posts by highly relevant to travelers, esp those who do it with some degree of professionalism.

Just as an addition you can also chalk out a possible secret sauce that can be used for making these lists in future. It could be a combination of quantitative and qualitative, including things like design etc :)

Anuradha Shankar said...

Nice one, Shrinidhi! good to see that you have taken Nisha's idea further and actually compiled this list! going by the number of sites compiling top travel bloggers lists, you really should put out those badges too! these sites will be rushing to display it on their site :P

Mahesh Divya said...

Thanks for taking efforts to collect data & sharing with us.

Thanks Nisha & Shrinidhi.

rupam sarma said...

Thanks a lot for sharing :)

Roohi Bhatnagar said...

I was actually wondering about the credibility of such sites and here you are with all the research and a list! Good work, Shri :) You should give them a Badge :D

Nisha said...

First, I must thank you for writing this. Seriously, I couldn't have done so.

You have really took pains to compile them. Congrats! Let us spread the word now. :)

There are a few more lists which happened recently. I'll send you urls separately.

The only way to tackle this situation is to boycott them or to tell them that the list has no meaning. It can be done by only them whose names appear in the list. I have been refusing to be a part of such lists, let alone sharing.

The onus of this is on senior bloggers. It is their responsibility to question the authenticity. I would urge them to be professional.

I can understand the excitement if a new blogger's name appears in a list. S/he'll be jumping with joy and why not? They are naive and are trying to get some recognition. They don't know the difference between a genuine and a bogus list. But if senior bloggers, in spite of the knowledge share the same claiming to be in top list then I am sorry, our 'future' isn't in safe hands. :D

I have some points to say for criteria 3.
You say, the sites should have Alexa < 75000. Just to say, my own Indian ranking is around 9500. :) Trying to understand how a site way below my own site can approve of my credibility & goodness.

Now that PR is dying out, DA & PA makes more sense. Include it. It can be calculated by Moz.

Criteria 4.
I would prefer to have the criteria to be fully transparent. After all they are judging our credibility, we should know theirs. :)

If it's a personal choice or based on subjective reasons, they must mention it. Also, in that case, they cannot use 'India's' top bloggers in their title, it is 'their' top bloggers. It misguides everyone.

The only way is to boycott these lists, question them in comments/mails etc and tell them where they are wrong. I have been doing this irrespective of my name appearing in the list or not.

I again reiterate, The onus of this is on senior bloggers. It is their responsibility to question the authenticity. I would urge them to be professional. If they say they don't have time to question, then how do they have time to share such lists & collect some fake ‘congrats’?

Once again, I thank you for this compilation. Let us take it forward.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Sid: Thanks for being the first one to comment.

I can define some formula, but I am no authority to dictate the same. Ideally it should be right mix of data (traffic, rank etc) and expert judgment of quality

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Anuradha Thanks.. Don't have time and graphics skills to roll out badges.. anyways authentic sites do not need my certification

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Mahesh Divya and Rupam

@Roohi, Badge is under thought process :)

Nisha said...

My reply to Sid: - There is one site which judges Indian blogs on almost all parameters including design, traffic, frequency etc. with well defined criteria. And that is the only site which has the most credibility as well. It maintains a directory of bloggers in alphabetical order. People look forward to see their names in that list. :)
For me, that is the only list I believe in.

The site is http://www.indiantopblogs.com

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Nisha

Appreciate such a detailed comment. it went to spam by mistake.

Criteria 3: Just one tool's number might not be enough, so I selected more than one and as long as few of them are in good standing, it should be fine. One may not be able to be popular on all ranks. I think I should reduce Alexa rank from 75000 to 40000 or so. Numbers can't be ultimate decision makers,but certainly count. I will check DA and PA

Criteria 4: that is preferred, but even google, alexa won't give out their inside details. There will be a bit of human factor and someone got to judge which is relatively better. It is the same everywhere- a dancing show winner are selected by judges but it won't be announced as judge's personal choice.

It is a demand-supply economy. As long as there're audience for such lists, sites will keep releasing. Yes, demanding a transparent process will help clean up things a lot and create a level playing field for everyone.

Thanks again

Nisha said...

Of course, I don't deny the human factor but it should not be the only factor. :)

Yes, demand & supply. And we demand a better supply. :)

nickolaikinny.com said...

It seems to be a trend these days I've noticed, but surprisingly only in the India circle. Thanks for the share, I'm glad other people have started noticing the fake fad and making difference with right information.

The Tales of a Traveler said...

Such a great initiative Srini .. hope PR agency do notice your hard work.. But I guess many bloggers in the list truly deserve to be featured but coming to ranking like top 10 /12 does not matter bcoz there are bloggers who have seen india extensively , some have just started exploring india , some are good at writing , some are good at photography ... :) :)

There are international sites who do ask for google analytics screenshot before preparing this kind of list but in India its more about personal choices and instant marketing. ...

Tushar said...

Thanks. I am still on the way towards top listed bloggers. :)

R Niranjan Das said...

Good job, Shrinidhi.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

THanks Niranjan

Tushar: I am sure you will reach soon.

@Swati: Thank you for the comments. Yes, nothing against the bloggers who got featured. Most of them are doing great work and deserve appreciation. Just that the practice of you scratch my back, I will scratch yours is not good.

Yes, some of them have well defined process and consider both quality and quantity. For many others as you said it is easy way of getting some visibility for themselves.

Thanks Nick

Thanks everyone for the likes and support.

Noopur Kothari said...

Great Initiative by you :)

ishjindal said...

Hello Shrinidhi,

Thanks for including us in the list. And just to mention, you can find the team details here : http://www.padhaaro.com/meet-the-team/

Maria said...

You know I write, not yet blog just for fun not to be ranked... but here also competition. I appreciate sites that have good content, genuine blogger who interacts etc...don't see traffic and all...I think this is for pros but I will look at the sites here, we all know SEO is good business and lot of pressure to find sites with traffic and ranking, it will help.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Maria
Thanks for your comment

@Jindal- thanks, will take a look

@Noopur: Thanks

shutterbugruts said...

Shri,

As I always said, I really knew you are one person with great honest feedback and understanding towards "Travel Blogger Industry" I have been seeing many travelers (including ) experience once to share the badges of the website who has announced them as best blogger . However, keeping international standard in mind, not even one qualify for the same. You have given quite some points to qualify for the list.Also mentioned the the list which have been drawn in recent market for the announcement. However certain PR companies do not consider the announcement as for them only the content on the blog matters..Very well written :)

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Rutavi for your comments.

Can you list a few international standards that we can strive to meet?

Bhushavali said...

Ha ha ha ha... ROFLMAO... Awesome Shri... Very interesting post...

Prasad Np said...

Just because a site has good ranking / Traffic does not make the list published by them good. E.g. the first site you mention changed their list for reasons known to them. In the first cut they published some bloggers name were mixed like if there are 2 bloggers Ram Kumar and Amit Sharma, they came up with Ram Sharma etc. the criteria is also totally arbitrary there some were clubbed in Solo, some in photo blogger and some were changed from one category to another without assigning any reason. Most of these sites are coming up with lists to get link backs to their sites from bloggers so from top ten bloggers we have reached to Top 101 blogger and that does not have name like Mridula Dwivedi so how is it a good list that does not have the PIONEER and one of the most popular / read / oldest travel blog in India ?

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Prasad:
I just measured based on 4 criteria I have explained. Of course it may not be a perfect way to assess. Yes, there are loopholes and hidden agendas- readers should be smart enough to decide how seriously they want to take a list.

thanks for commenting

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Bhushavali.. everyone has replied seriously.. glad you found it funny :)

sharath bhat said...

I keep looking for good blogs. And thought here is a list of lists of top blogs. But this article talks only about "Travel" bloggers. What about lists of blogs in general? What are some credible lists of top bloggers?

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Sharath

You will find websites that list all bloggers by category-Indiblogger and blog adda have good lsiting, http://indianbloggers.org/ is one etc and few surveys have come out listing top bloggers by category