Bobbie Johnson over at the Guardian is talking about why we all overestimate Techmeme’s influence. He is mostly looking at the fact that Techmeme doesn’t refer a lot of traffic to their site, even though they are firmly establishing in the Top 100:
But in taking a swipe at the diminishing influence of the biggest sites on the leaderboard, Winer also points out something else that is crucial: for all that Valley-centric news junkies claim Techmeme as a crucial aggregator, it simply doesn’t refer much traffic. The Guardian features on Techmeme’s leaderboard – at position #57 as I write this. But for us, it represents a tiny proportion of referral traffic.
I’m not going to disclose numbers – the stats dominatrix here at Guardian Dungeons would have me eating gruel for years if I did – but suffice it to say that Techmeme doesn’t rank in the top 100 referrers to the Guardian’s technology pages.
I agree and disagree here. I have been on Techmeme a number of times (not as a headline though) and the traffic from Techmeme itself was negligible at best.
Raw traffic, however, is not what Techmeme is about. Techmeme is a niche site. Where Techmeme excels is in the mindshare in that niche of blog addicted, Technorati watching, Web 2.0 geeks. Maybe there is not that many of us, but Techmeme does a great job of tracking the memes within this group.
Being on Techmeme means more mindshare – traffic is secondary. Indeed, often more traffic comes from people who read Techmeme and cite you than from Techmeme itself.
Just like with a lot of extremely right-wing Christians, maybe the net has given us an inflated sense of the size of our tribe. Hey, Techmeme isn’t called a circlejerk without reason.
p.s. I am not defending Techmeme to get onto Gabe Rivera’s good side. He has already publicly said that I am not his friend.