Ranks Blogs For Consumers, Could Help Bloggers Monetize

Betting on consumer demand for an easier-to-navigate blogosphere, a startup has launched a blog-ranking social network, which, if successful, could also help bloggers get more money from advertisers.

"There's really no good resource for people to simply find quality and useful blogs," according to Kenneth Yeh, who founded late last year with partner Gladys Kong.

There are, in fact, several services available for consumers to search the blogosphere, including Technorati, IceRocket, Google's blog search, and the Nielsen BuzzMetrics service BlogPulse. Yet, even the competition sees promise in a streamlined, consumer-facing blog-ranking social network.

"There's probably an untapped demand among everyday consumers for an easier way to find good blogs," said Pete Blackshaw, executive vice president at the Nielsen Online Strategic Services division of the Nielsen Company. "BlogPulse is a little industry-facing, and Technorati might overwhelm some consumers. There's always value for consumers in simplicity."



At launch, is reaching out to both bloggers and readers to connect through its online discovery, exploration, and sharing community. And while the site is designed to help bloggers connect with audiences, is marketing itself as a consumer-facing site.

The site, which is already attracting roughly 10,000 unique visitors daily, contains a database of nearly half a million English-language and what its founders consider "qualified" blogs.

Still, its founders have yet to approach investment firms for venture capital, or ad networks to monetize the site.

"Our immediate goal is providing usefulness to consumers," said Kong, adding that her team is in the process of choosing the right ad network with which to partner. Yeh and Kong plan to eventually launch their own ad network--which could, in theory, be distributed across a network of blog partners.

In's index, a blog's quality is not based on traffic, but on what the company's staff of 10 full-time editors consider satisfactory based on look, writing style, and relevancy to a particular topic area. Along with an editorial ranking of 1-to-10, blogs with a large enough audience are given viewer rankings.

If's model takes hold, it could prove to be a boon for bloggers who feel undervalued by advertisers, according to Nielsen's Blackshaw.

"A more complete ranking system could give bloggers the ammunition they've been looking for with advertisers," Blackshaw said. "We're researching a lot of the same things, trying to figure out better ways to measure the value of blogs."

For each blog in the index, there is a detailed overview page where people can learn more, find related blogs, view recent posts with direct links to full posts, and contribute their own reviews. Visitors can browse by categories, sub-categories, or keywords and sort by user rating, popularity, and editor rating.

Visitors are encouraged to create a profile dashboard featuring additional information about themselves, a listing of their reviews, friends, favorites, shared blogs and comments. The profile dashboard also features a mailbox for communicating with other members of the community.

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