It is a huge responsibility to be (and remain) on the top in terms of quality. Nepali Times, an English weekly printed colorful (on glossy paper) is considered top-of-the-class, ‘elite media’ in Nepali journalism. Dazzled by the ‘English kaleidoscope’ I used to believe everything they publish in face value. But, when I came across a latest article, about ranking of Nepali blogs, the unconscious belief in me shattered like a glass vase, falling from a height.
Nepali Times is all about judgment. Judgment of people, judgment of policies, judgment of relationships, judgment of art/artists, and Judgment of products. Although, I still believe they are the best in town, it’s time to evaluate if they are keeping up with the expectation? After reading this article, I for the least, will be a bit more cautious in taking their judgments and credibility.
Ranking stuffs is not an easy task. It is an art, mathematics, and a rigorous exercise – based on facts and figures. Google, leader in ranking websites rank websites based on backlinks, number of incoming and outgoing links in a website. Alexa, another website ranking tool evaluates data from users who install their toolbars. These limitations have made them credible in their own field and their ranking comes with their respective limitations attached.
Let’s see the Nepali Times ranking (This is misleading):
(Top ten blogs from Nepal ranked in order of visits.)
They have given a boundary – visits. It is not clear whose visits it is (I suspect, is it only the author’s visit!) If it were general people’s visit, the author should have mentioned the source. When I visited the sites mentioned, all I could find the visit data were of the blogs ranked 1, 4, and 10. There is no doubt, Mysansar is the top in every terms.Talking about the rest of the blogs – I don’t think any of the blogs deserve the position granted by Nepali Times. Some low ranking blogs have much better visitor than mentioned and others don’t even deserve mentioning. For example, one of the blogs mentioned was updated last year, and doesn’t have a single original content. Some other blogs are mere online archives of articles published in the print media.
What is blog?
The article defines: “In Nepal, blogs are transforming the way urban Nepalis get their information.” I thought that was a news site, or Nepali Times magazine itself.
In my view – blogs the mouthpiece of person or an organization with a facility to discuss and debate. Unless a blog is defined properly, there is no point in ranking them.
What is “visits” ?
The ranking criteria of the article visits can be the number of people that visit a particular site in a day/month/or year. A single person can read more than one articles and those ‘page views’ are usually more than ‘visits’. For example, in March 2011, xnepali had 1 million pageviews. But, each visitor had an average page views of 2.7 pages (i.e. 382,000 visits). Many sites don’t reveal this information, so it is not easy to get this data from all the websites.
What is Nepali?
It seems easy, but it’s not. A Nepali blog, can be linuxcandy.com, a blog made by a Nepali blogger, but there is no mention of it being Nepali anywhere, or a xnepali.net/movies, where Nepali is written in the domain name itself. It can be lexlimbu.com, a blog by a UK resident Nepali who can speak but can’t read/write Nepali that well.
The blogger Ushaft (Ranked 3) after thanking the author of the article said (in Twitter), “But, I think it is misleading to say they are “ranked based on visitors”- would be better to say stg (something) like “our pick” or “a random cross-section of blogs” … not-so-good blogs are on the list you’ve made.” Ushaft adds, “I hope a little more care would be shown in such matters in the future.”
Another blogger Aakarpost (Ranked 9) told he his blog had 75,000 pageviews last month (excluding his own visits). That is more than twice the total pageviews of the blog ranked 10, in it’s entire existence since 2008 (~ 1,100 per months).
Anil of Aaakarpost had even analyzed the Alexa ranking of Nepali sites to compile this ranking – Mysansar (1/17), xNepali (2/72), itinfoz (3/78), techsangv (4/99), aakarpost (5/137), chapagain.com.np (6/185)nirmal.com.np (7/244) ashesh.com.np (8/314) – where the first number in bracket is blog rank in Nepal second number is the total website rank in Nepal. The rank proposed by Aakar is at least based on credible data (with it’s own merits and demerits).
I ask the following Twitter users (Representatives of the blogs ranked by Nepali Times) to post their views in the comment section:
7. (Couldn’t find Twitter user)
UPDATE: I am updating this article in fear that the negative tone in the article might undermine the quality of the blogs mentioned in the Nepali Times article. In terms of quality, the top ranked blogs, by Nepali Times, deserve mention (but, without the numbers attached to them). Here are my evaluation of the blogs:
Mero report – a community blog striving to redefine journalism is gaining popularity in Nepali blogsphare. The contribution of another blog, initiated with the motive similar to meroreport, Dautari, can’t be overlooked. Most probably the first Nepali blog in English, blog.com.np doesn’t deserve to be ranked based on visits. Ushaft is a seasoned journalist with views to ponder upon and respect. Anil of Aakarpost is a dedicated blogger with useful and informative contents in it. I don’t read much of Hamroblog, but I have heard that he is a good journalist. The fun filled Guffadi’s blog is a worthy mention too.
My question was – How can somebody say the following blogs (that weren’t ranked) are bad?
NepaliKeti’s blog, Dhaiba‘s blog, Durjaya Chetana, Lex Limbu’s blog, CP Aryal‘s blog, Krishna Thapa‘s blog, blog by Archana Shrestha, Rajesh’s KhasKhas, Anish’s eNepal, Bhojraj Dahal’s Nepal Diary, Tajim’s blog, Dipak’s Diary . Yes, this is my personal list of blogs. I expect some good stuffs in them. That doesn’t mean they will rank in a list of top ranki
ng blogs in Nepal. I shouldn’t be ranking them unless I have credible data, knowledge, and resources to do so.