Post details: The TTLB Ecosystem's Long Tail

The TTLB Ecosystem's Long Tail

Posted by Andrew on July 23rd, 2006

Food chainThe Truth Laid Bear is a well-trafficked clearinghouse of U.S. political blogs. One reason it is so well-trafficked is the TTLB Blogosphere Ecosystem, a real-time ranking of blogs based on numbers of incoming links. It turns out that bloggers care a great deal about where they stand in the blogosphere -- at least enough to go to the trouble of registering on the TTLB site and linking to the ecosystem page from their own blogs. It also turns out that the TTLB ecosystem exhibits a long-tail distribution, reminiscent of the same food chain that its fanciful rank names were designed to evoke:


Name of Rank Number of Blogs Min. No. of Links
Higher Beings 10 1783
Mortal Humans 20 1047
Playful Primates 70 579
Large Mammals 960 163
Marauding Marsupials 960 108
Adorable Rodents 960 80
Flappy Birds 1921 50
Slithering Reptiles 1921 33
Crawly Amphibians 1921 23
Flippery Fish 1921 16
Slimy Molluscs 1921 13
Lowly Insects 1921 10
Crunchy Crustaceans 1921 8
Wiggly Worms 1921 6
Multicellular Microorganisms 19811 1
Insignificant Microbes 19319 0

The fact that an overwhelming majority of the blogs registering to be ranked in the TTLB ecosystem have a negligible number of incoming links is not surprising. After all, almost all of us are voiceless. But I am a little puzzled about why so many Microorganisms and Microbes would go to the trouble of registering on TTLB, when they could so readily have obtained an accurate count of their few (if any) incoming links and thereby ascertained their insignificance in the blogosphere without TTLB's assistance. Is it the systematic tendency of Americans to overestimate their own opportunities for social mobility, as has been exhibited in the ongoing dishonest debate over the repeal of the federal estate tax? Or is it just the appeal of cute names?

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